The 8 Best Exercise Balls to Buy in 2020

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The modern exercise ball is often known as a Swiss ball, but it was actually invented by an Italian. Aquilino Cosani first created the prototype back in 1963. Going by the name “Pezzi balls,” they were used in physiotherapy programs for newborns. Eventually they began to experiment with larger models designed to accommodate adults, and the Pezzi ball evolved into the modern exercise ball.

Now quite distant from their origins in pediatrics, exercise balls have become popular for yoga, pilates, gym workouts, and even as chair substitutes. For each use case, they’re cheap, safe, and easy to use.

But there are a ton of companies out there, and they’re all going to tell you that their stuff is the best for you. Despite this, some exercise balls are more well-suited to certain tasks than others. We don’t want you to have that oh-so-familiar sense of regret you get when you go through your bank account’s transaction history a week later, so we put together this guide to help you choose the right exercise ball for you.

What to Look for in an Exercise Ball

Though any given exercise ball can most likely work for any task that you throw at it, this doesn’t mean that it’s optimally designed for it. For this reason, not only will general quality considerations come into play when you’re choosing a product, but so will how you intend to use the product. When you’re shopping for an exercise ball, keep the following in mind:

That being said: as is the case with buying anything, you need to know how much you can get out of that thing before buying it. And to know how much you can get out of that thing, you need to figure out what you want to get out of that thing.

The following guidelines will help you figure out what you want out of your exercise ball:

Quality

First and foremost, your exercise ball needs to be well made. A low-quality thin-walled exercise ball might be prone to warping and bursting, while one that is thick yet not pliable won’t be as comfortable as it could be. The best exercise balls strike a balance hear, being soft and supple yet strong and durable.

Sizing

No matter what you’re going to use your exercise ball for, you should be able to sit on the ball comfortably without falling down. And as a general rule of thumb, these guidelines are good to abide by:

  • For shorter folk (under 5’5”): 18 inches.
  • For people of average height (5’6”-6’0”): 26 inches.
  • For those of you with pituitary glands that worked overtime during puberty (6’1” and above): 30 inches.

Weight Limit

It’s also important to keep in mind the weight limit of the exercise ball you’re purchasing. For average-sized individuals, almost any exercise ball on the market will stand up to light use, but if you’re planning on doing intense workouts you’ll need to pay very close attention here. It’s not enough to pick a ball with a limit that exceeds your own weight, as the pressure you apply when moving will greatly exceed just your own mass—especially if you add dumbbells or other weights to the equation.

If You’re Replacing Your Desk Chair With a Ball

The sizing requirements are the same as above, but you should be able to sit in a way that allows you to focus on your work best. Choosing a size based on the above will make it so that you should be able to sit on the ball with your legs inclined at an angle of 90 degrees to the floor, and that you should be able to position yourself such that your elbows can rest easily on the desk at an angle of 90 degrees. Some exercise balls are more suited to using as chairs than others, and some even include anti-slip bases for extra stability.

If You’re Using an Exercise Ball for Working Out

An exercise ball that’s being used with its name in mind has slightly different considerations than one being used primarily as an alternative to a chair. Weight limites and durability play a larger role, as you’ll want to make sure the extra pressure that you (and possibly your weights) put on the ball don’t cause it to burst. Some balls even come with handy exercise guides that can give you helpful ideas for how to use the product to get fit. It’s always nice to have workouts designed for the specific product that you own, but just in case you don’t or want to go above and beyond, we’ve gathered some of the best exercise ball exercises later in this guide.

Top 8 Best Exercise Balls 2020

1. Best Overall Exercise Ball: URBNFit Exercise Ball

Why we like it: The URBNFit Exercise Ball is, hands down, one of the best exercise balls available on the market. Offering value for a price point way above what it costs, it is also extremely popular (and deservedly so).

Editor’s Rating:

Colors Available: Black, Blue, Green, Pink, Purple, Red, Silver, White
Sizes Available: 18, 22, 26, 30, and 34 inches

Can Be Used For

Everything from home gyms and work desks to physiological aids like treating sciatica, herniated discs and helping labor cramps.

The exercise ball is made of tough, resilient, polyvinyl chloride. It’s burst resistant, which means you don’t have to worry about doing that thing where you’re at a birthday party with balloons and have had one too many beers, and it can support a weight of up to 2,000 pounds. The grip is also firm and sturdy.

This all-purpose ball should be able to handle anything you can throw at it. Its wide range of sizes means there’s an ergonomically correct position for everyone, and there’s really nothing that this product fails to do well. It does lack some of the added accessories that products designed specifically for sitting or workout out include, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work quite well in both cases.

The URBNFit also comes with two stoppers, a stopper remover, and a two-way hand pump.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Good grip
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile usage
Cons
  • Doesn’t include any specialized features

2. Best Exercise Ball Chair: Gaiam Essentials Balance Ball & Base

Why we like it: This kit from Gaiam not only includes a high-quality balance ball, but the inflatable ring base keeps it in place and makes it perfect for an alternative desk chair.

Editor’s Rating:

Colors Available: Black, Grey, Navy, Purple
Sizes Available: 26 inches

Can Be Used For

Though technically suitable for exercise use, too, this Gaiam exercise ball is truly best suited for somebody who wants to use it exclusively as a desk chair.

While many of the products on this list aim to hit a happy medium between suitability for sitting or exercise, Gaiam’s Essentials Balance Ball and Base goes all-out towards making an exercise ball that’s perfect as a chair substitute.

It doesn’t have as high of a weight limit as most exercise balls (it’s only rated to handle up to 300 pounds), so you won’t want to use it to lift weights, but the soft surface and brilliant inflatable base combine to make it a perfect seat that won’t roll out from under you.

An air pump is included, so you can be set up and ready to go within minutes after receiving the product.

Pros
  • Stable base
  • High-quality material
  • Durable
  • Fantastic customer service
Cons
  • One size only
  • Relatively low weight limit makes it mostly unsuitable for working out with weights.

3. Best Exercise Ball for Gym Workouts: RGGD & RGGL Exercise Ball

Why we like it: The RGGD and RGGL Exercise Ball is designed from the ground up to take a central place in your home gym, and it succeeds in optimizing and improving any exercise-ball-based workout.

Editor’s Rating:

Colors Available: Black, Grey, Mint Green, Orange, Purple
Sizes Available: 26 inches

Can Be Used For

Though technically suitable for any use, all of the added cost of this relatively expensive (yet totally worth it) exercise ball went into features that make workouts easier and more effective, so you’re better off choosing another product as a chair alternative.

If you’re in the market for an exercise ball that focuses solely on exercising itself, you can’t beat the RGGD & RGGL Exercise Ball. Not only will you get one of the thickest balls on the market made from a stable, rigid, burst-resistant material that can withstand up to 2,100 pounds of pressure, but you’ll also get a stability ring—and even resistance bands that wrap around the ring to transform the ball into an all-in-one workout center.

You can do more exercises with this ball than with any other, and you’ll be aided in doing so with their helpful workout guide. As this product combines an exercise ball and workout bands, the multitude of options presented here are uniquely useful.

The main downside with this exercise ball is the price. It’s expensive, but not so much that the price isn’t justified—if you plan to work out with your ball a lot. If you don’t, you can get an equally good exercise ball for less money, you’ll just lose out on the extra exercise accessories. There’s only one size option, too—the 26 inch ball is suitable for anyone of average height, but tall and short people may need to look elsewhere.

Pros
  • Safe and durable
  • High weight limit
  • Great workout accessories
Cons
  • The ball itself (excluding the accessories) isn’t any better than some slightly cheaper models
  • No sizing options

4. Best Premium Exercise Ball: TheraBand Professional Series

Why we like it: Though a bit more expensive than most exercise balls, the TheraBand Pro Series will last you a lifetime and provide high performance all the while.

Editor’s Rating:

Colors Available: Blue, Green, Red, Yellow
Sizes Available: 18, 22, 26, and 30 inches

Can Be Used For

This exercise ball can handle anything that you throw at it, though it’s mostly designed to be a stable, comfortable, and durable workout companion.

If you’re looking for a premium exercise ball that can handle any workout, you can’t beat the TheraBand Professional Series. The quality of construction is top-notch, the anti-burst safety system ensures that the ball deflates slowly and safely if punctured (which probably won’t happen), and the synthetic surface is as comfortable as any.

It’s even premium when it comes to the exercise guide. Unlike many companies that just include a small black and white booklet with their exercise balls, TheraBand throws in a large full-color poster that would look great hung in any home gym.

One of the lone drawbacks to this exercise ball is that the colors are tied to the size options, so you can’t choose them independently. The yellow ball has an 18-inch diameter, the red 22, the green 26, and the blue 30; you’re not able to pick your favorite color in the size that fits you best.

Pros
  • Well built from quality materials
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Anti-burst system
  • Excellent exercise guide poster
Cons
  • Colors and sizes can’t be chosen separately

5. Best Budget Exercise Ball: BalanceFrom Exercise Ball

Why we like it: Despite its bargain-basement price, the BalanceFrom is a perfectly functional exercise ball, both for workouts and use as a chair substitute.

Editor’s Rating:

Colors Available: Black, Blue, Grey, Green, Pink, Purple, Red
Sizes Available: 18, 22, 26, 30, and 34 inches

Can Be Used For

This ball is best used as a chair or for exercises that don’t involve weights, like yoga and pilates. It will work well for these activities, but you should probably upgrade to something a bit more expensive if you plan to add weights.

Though about as cheap as you can find any exercise ball, the BalanceFrom Exercise Ball isn’t without its good points. The weight limit is shockingly high, rated to withstand up to 2,000 pounds, and the slip-resistant finish makes the ball great to sit and stretch on.

It’s also made from phthalate- and heavy-metal-free materials that are thick, durable, and feature anti-burst technology so that you don’t fall flat if the ball does fail. On top of that, you even get a free foot pump—which is even more incredible at this bargain price.

It isn’t without its drawbacks, though. The inflation process is a bit complicated, requiring you to inflate the ball, wait for it to deflate, then repeat a few times before the air will properly hold, and you won’t get any sort of exercise guide with your purchase. Still, for the price, it’s a perfectly solid exercise ball.

Pros
  • Wide range of sizes and colors
  • High weight limit
  • Great value, especially with included pump
Cons
  • Takes a while to properly inflate
  • No included exercise guide

6. Most Durable Exercise Ball: Trideer Exercise Ball

Why we like it: The Trideer is one of the most durable exercise balls on the market. Almost immune to bursting or slipping, this titanic of a ball will never go down.

Editor’s Rating:

Colors Available: Avocado, Dark Black, Black, Green, Purple, Red, Cyan, Fuchsia, Blue, Dark Blue, Indigo Blue, Midnight Blue, Olive, Pink, Silver, Turkish Blue
Sizes Available: 18, 22, 26, 30, and 34 inches

Can Be Used For

Everything from office chairs to yoga to pilates to abdominal workouts and low impact exercises that target the rest of your body.The Trideer Exercise Ball is, hands down, the most durable exercise ball on this list. Able to support a weight of up to 2200 pounds, you never have to worry about the ball bursting under pressure.

The exercise ball is made of eco-friendly, hypoallergenic polyvinyl siloxane. The rubber-like texture of PVS means a very low chance of slipping. The absence of latex material also makes the ball feel very high-quality when touched. This makes it ideal for workouts, since its resistant to breakage, though it would also work fine as a chair substitute—though it’s not quite as comfortable or stable as a ball that was designed primarily for sitting on.

The Trideer also comes with a foot pump. This is much easier than pumping in air yourself: plus, you get a good leg workout in before you’ve even started to use the ball.

Pros
  • Extremely durable
  • Wide range of colors
  • Versatile usage
Cons
  • Lacks an included exercise guide
  • Not as comfortable as some other balls

7. Largest Exercise Ball: Live Infinitely Exercise Ball

Why we like it: The Live Infinitely shares the same traits that all the other balls on this list do- but as a bonus, it also comes with a size large enough to accommodate even the giants among us.

Editor’s Rating:

Colors Available: Black, Blue, Green, Grey, Grey Black, Mint, Pink, Purple, Rose, Silver, Teal
Sizes Available: 22, 26, 30, 34, and 38 inches

Can Be Used For

Working out all the kinks in your body, including the neck, back, and shoulders. You can perform various workouts without worrying about the ball deflating. You’ll save a lot of money by being your own chiropractor, but the ball is a bit too unstable to be a great chair substitute.

The walls of the LiveInfinitely are made of 0.7mm thick, sturdy, professional-grade polyvinyl chloride. The absence of latex, heavy metals, and bisphenol A mean you don’t have to worry harmful chemicals, and the capacity of the ball to support up to 2,200 pounds means you don’t have to worry about breaking the ball. It can even withstand taking on a few tiny holes before it breaks.

The LiveInfinitely also comes with a hand pump, 2 air plugs & and a valve remover tool.

Pros
  • Large size and weight limit
  • Wide range of colors
  • Durable
Cons
  • Too unstable to be a good sitting surface

8. ProBody Pilates Ball

Why we like it: The ProBody Pilates Ball is a high-quality no-frills product that will work wonders for your core and spinal strength.

Editor’s Rating:

Colors Available: Silver, Teal, Black, Blue, Pink, Purple
Sizes Available: 18, 22, 26, 30, and 34 inches

Can Be Used For

Core strength, balance, back rehabilitation and for toning and sculpting the upper body.

The walls of the ProBody Pilates Ball are low-odor, phthalate-free material. This also makes it hypoallergenic. Washing is very easy and can be done with a mixture of mild soap and water. The soft PVC-laden material feels extremely high quality against your skin.

ProBody offers some of the best customer service among fitness brands. The fantastic warranty offers you a full refund and a replacement if it bursts within the first 90 days of purchase.

Unfortunately, this ball isn’t designed to be used as a chair substitute. Though durable when used for exercise, it can flatten or burst if sat on for hours and hours.

Pros
  • Good price
  • High-quality material
  • Durable
  • Fantastic customer service
Cons
  • May break if used as a chair

Guide to Buying the Best Exercise Ball

What you want to get out of your ball should be the primary guiding philosophy when picking an exercise ball. Though many exercise balls perform perfectly well in both capacities, there are certain considerations that are more or less important depending on how you intend to use the ball.

Using an Exercise Ball as a Chair


If you intend to use your exercise ball as a chair, the features you’ll be looking for will differ slightly from what you’d want to consider for an exercise ball primarily intended for home gym use. You’ll still want a ball that’s sturdy yet comfortable, and stable yet still able to move around to engage your core.

If you already have a strong core and are used to sitting on exercise balls, a simple, well-built exercise ball like the URBNFit Exercise Ball should work perfectly. If, however, you want a little bit of extra help with stability so that you don’t always have to concentrate on keeping perfect form, something with a stability ring like the Gaiam Essentials Balance Ball & Base would make a great upgrade—keeping in mind that you’re actually getting a slightly worse ball for the price excluding the ring, even though it’s more than good enough to use for sitting.

Our top pick for a chair-alternative exercise ball, unfortunately, only comes in one size, however. If you’re shorter than about 5’5” or taller than about 6”, a sturdy ball that comes in a wider range of sizes like the Live Infinitely Exercise Ball (which comes in sizes as large as 38 inches) or the TheraBand Professional Series (which comes in sizes as small as 18 inches) will be your best bets.

As we touched upon earlier, choosing a ball with the right size is paramount—and this is doubly true for those who’ll be using their ball primarily for sitting. You do get a few inches of leeway in both directions when inflating your exercise ball, so choose the closest size possible using our sizing guide then inflate the ball to the following ergonomically-correct position:

  • Keep your feet flat on the floor, with a roughly equal weight distribution between both of them.
  • Keep your knees either level with or slightly lower than the pelvis. This is so you can keep the angle from your hips/knees at 90 degrees or slightly greater than 90 to the ground.
  • Your pelvis, shoulders, and ears should be vertically aligned, such that the body doesn’t lean in any direction (bouncing up and down helps you assume this position faster).

Sitting in a proper position with an exercise ball has many benefits. It will not only reduce strain on your joints, but also does a great job of passively improving your core strength while burning calories and keeping you stretched out and limber.

Working Out With an Exercise Ball


Progressive overload is one of the fundamental principles employed in strength-training. It works by gradually increasing stress on the muscles of the body to make them stronger over time. The repeated, scheduled resistance of these muscles (with adequate intervals for rest) against the stress makes them gain in both strength and hypertrophy.

The stress is delivered through the amount of weight levied on your muscles. You know, lifting: dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, milk jugs (if you’re a milkman from the 70s), Smith machines, anything.

With an exercise ball, however, you can do more with the same weight. Because an unstable surface inherently forces your body to use more of its muscles, even if the load is the same. The body responds to the instability of the surface by trying to align itself to make it stable, which activates muscles across your whole body.

Even muscles that aren’t targeted directly can benefit from this. Doing curls on an unstable surface, for example, increases electrical activity in your muscles, which in turn leads to greater activation.

A good exercise ball for working out should have a high weight limit, anti-burst technology (so that you don’t fall flat and hurt yourself if the ball does fail, and can benefit from added accessories like stability rings and resistance bands. If you have your own weights, the Trideer Exercise Ball would be a perfect choice, but if you don’t you can spend a bit extra and get fully equipped with the RGGD and RGGL Exercise Ball.

Exercise Ball Workout Guide

Many exercise balls come with a great set of instructions for effective workouts you can do with the ball, while others leave you on your own to figure that out. In either case, it can’t hurt to learn a few of the best fitness routines that take full advantage of the benefits of exercise balls.

Exercise Ball Pushups are performed by placing your feet on the middle of the ball, then performing pushups as you normally would. This not only builds the chest and arms just like normal pushups, but adds some extra attention to the abs, glutes, and even the legs.

Exercise Ball Squats involve placing the ball between your back and a wall, then performing standard squats. This can be done with your bodyweight or by adding in weights, and improves the safety of typical squats by keeping your whole body in line throughout the exercise.

Russian Twists are done by placing your shoulders in the center of the ball with your feet flat on the floor, extending your arms above your chest, and rotating your torso from side to side. This is one of the most effective abdominal exercises around, but also does a bit to build the muscles in your shoulders, glutes, and back.

Hip Lifts are another great way to build strength in your core and lower body. Get on your back on the floor then place your feet on the center of the ball. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line, then lower yourself to your original position and repeat.

Leg Extensions using exercise balls not only build up all of the muscles in your lower body, but they’re great stretches, too. Just lie face down with the ball just above your hips, then roll your body forward over the ball as far as you can manage. Retract to your original position then repeat, all the while keeping your body in a straight line.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what can be done with exercise balls. There are a myriad of other workouts that these balls make possible, so explore the possibilities to make the most of your purchase.

On top of these exercise-ball-specific workouts, you can do pretty much anything that you can do on a weight bench with an exercise ball. Bench presses, curls, and shoulder presses performed on an unstable surface will transform these lifts into full-body workouts—but make sure that your exercise ball is rated for a weight that can handle not only you, but your weights, too.

Wrapping Up

Though they often look similar at first glance, there is a wide variation among the exercise balls on the market. Though every ball for sale isn’t safe and effective, every one on this list is, so you can rest assured that your choice will work well. But some are better than others for specific tasks, so be sure to review this guide once more to make sure that you choose an exercise ball that isn’t just excellent, but meets your specific needs.