As beneficial as exercise is, and believe us, it really is useful, it can take a toll on your body. If you push yourself too hard while working out, you run the risk of injury and experiencing all manner of aches, pains, and complaints in general. When it comes to warming up before exercise, and indeed, cooling down and easing joint and muscular issues after exercise, foam rollers have proved to be particularly beneficial over the last several years. These simple pieces of reinforced foam tubes can help to break down knots in the muscles, break up scar tissue, ease joint pain and discomfort, and plenty more besides. Lately, though, there have been advancements in foam rolling technology.
Nowadays, you can use a vibrating foam roller instead, which many health experts and officials believe to be even more beneficial. But what is an electric massage roller, are they better than regular foam rollers, what are the best products on the market today, and how do you know which one to purchase? All of the above, and more besides, will soon become clear as we look at the 5 best vibrating foam rollers on the market today.
What is a vibrating foam roller?
A vibrating foam roller, also known as an electric foam roller, is an advanced variation of the standard foam roller that we mentioned briefly in our intro above. Specifically is an electric foam roller, powered by battery, that provides even more power to the self-myofascial release that foam rollers provide when used. This is a technical term used to describe the action of rolling on these devices to massage muscle tissue and ease pain, soreness, stiffness, and discomfort. A vibrating foam roller generates more power from the batteries, and so it can add even more power to the massage that you are providing for yourself.
Are vibrating better than regular foam rollers?
Over the years, we’ve seen more and more vibrating foam rollers appearing on the market and being advertised as viable and effective alternatives to regular foam rollers. But which is better? Well, in terms of power, of course, the vibrating foam rollers are better because they get their power from a battery and can generate more power when you use the roller to massage yourself. Think of it as a pneumatic drill beating up the asphalt as opposed to a handheld manually operated one. Many health experts and officials also sing the praises of these devices as well.
A sports and medicine doctor by the name of Jordan Metzi, MD, has stated that, even though there aren’t as many scientifically-backed facts yet regarding the effectiveness of vibrating foam rollers because they’re so new, early findings are looking extremely positive. PTs such as Dan Giordano, PT, CSCS, DPT, has stated that using an electric foam roller may be more beneficial because the increase in power may promote a significant improvement in circulation. This circulation can, in turn, improve blood flow to the part of the anatomy that you happen to be foam rolling. This increase in blood flow will result in more oxygen and nutrients being delivered to the affected area, which will help to speed up recovery times. They’re also great for prepping the muscles and joints for a physically demanding workout, making them great for pre-workout warm-up routines. Metzi, who also happens to be the author of a best-selling book entitled ‘The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies’ is a big advocate of electric foam rollers and believes that they will only become more popular as more research is carried out into just how effective they really are.
Best Vibrating Foam Rollers
Top 5 choices for 2020
Now, to help you find your ideal electric massage roller, we are going to look at 5 of the most popular devices currently on the market today.
Epitomie Fitness VIBRA vibrating foam roller – This foam roller has five-speed settings; it comes with a carry case and vibrating foam rolling training. This foam roller is a next-generation device that would make a welcome addition to any warm-up and cool-down routine before and after exercise. It deliverers intense vibrations and can go up to an astonishing 3600 RPM, which will have your muscles and joints feeling fresh and relaxed in no time at all. This roller has a sleek and stylish design and features four intensity settings and one pulse setting, making it incredibly comfortable and effective. The rechargeable battery lasts over 4 hours, so there is plenty of use you can get out of it between charges.
- 4 vibration settings
- 1 pulse setting
- 4-hour battery life
- USB recharge cable included
- Great for joint and muscular pain
- 3600 RPM
- Carry case included
- Honeycomb grid for pinpoint therapy
- High-density EVA
- Can be a little heavy
- 2-year warranty could perhaps be longer
NextRoller 3-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller – Featuring a sleek black design with honeycomb grid, your warm-up, and cool-down routines will become more efficient than ever before. There are three levels of vibration provided by the NextRoller. It is a fully portable and rechargeable and is just 6-inches in diameter, 13-inches in length. The roller comes with a 1-year warranty and is excellent for targeting various parts of the anatomy. It even features an ergonomic handle to improve ease of transportation.
- 3 vibration settings
- Dynamic honeycomb texture
- Ergonomic handle
- Cutting edge technology
- Used by professional athletes
- Battery life is just 2 hours
- 1-Year warranty isn’t perhaps ideal
LifePro 4-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller – This is one of the most powerful vibrating foam rollers currently on the market offering four vibration settings with frequencies of 10,400 mAh from the battery. At just 11 inches in length, it is portable and compact and can easily fit into your gym bag and be taken with you to the gym to use before and after you train. It even offers an in-built timer for an even more impressive user experience. With a lithium-ion battery life of between 2 and 4 hours, you can get plenty of use out of the roller between charges. Perhaps most appealing of all is the 100% lifetime money-back guarantee.
- In-built timer
- Long battery life
- Compact design
- 4-speed vibration settings
- Very powerful
- Roll out individual muscle groups for 60, 90, and 120-second bursts
- Deep muscle relief
- Firm and high nodules
· Some users have experienced issues with the battery life
Vulken 4 Speed High-Intensity Vibrating Foam Roller – The Vulken 4 is one of the most popular electric massage roller devices currently on the market today. The Vulken is 17” in size, so is bigger than some of the other rollers we’ve looked at so far. With low, medium, and high settings, plus the auto pulsating setting, the four settings all provide deep penetrating muscular relief when the device is rolled upon. The Eco-friendly air injected plastic material is made from high-quality materials, and at just over 2lbs in weight, it is also ideal for use on the go.
- Longer design
- Eco-friendly materials
- 4 vibration settings
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Light weight
- Modern design
- Over 2 hours of use per charge
· Can be a little awkward because of its long length
CubeFit Pulse Vibrating Foam Roller – Now, to look at this roller, you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been plucked directly out of a sci-fi blockbuster. This is the only foam roller on the market today that features an LED vibration-speed dial, which enables users to select the perfect vibration intensity for each specific muscle group they happen to be targeting. It features an automatic timer and shut off function, providing an optimal rolling time of 15 minutes. This foam roller has been designed with the users in mind, as it isn’t too soft, nor is it too hard. It is widely considered to be the perfect thickness with a medium density foam to provide the ultimate in self-myofascial release. This roller offers a staggering ten plus hours of charge and eight vibration settings. It is easy to see why this roller is so popular.
- 8 intensity vibration settings
- Speeds from 450rpm to 3600 rpm
- LED-vibration speed dial
- Ease injuries
- Loosen stiff muscles
- Medium-density foam
- Long-lasting 10 plus hours of charge in the battery
- Built-in timer and auto shut off function
- Trigger point therapy
· The only complaint that we can find is that the 1-year warranty could perhaps be longer
Vibrating Foam Roller Buying Guide
Everything you need to know
In this next section, we are going to take a look at a few key features and considerations you will need to look at before investing in an electric foam roller. Follow the tips and advice listed below, and your dream foam roller will be yours in no time at all.
What are the differences between foam rollers and electric foam rollers?
In this next section, we are going to take a look at the main differences between foam rollers and electric foam rollers. Basically, with a traditional foam roller, you roll your muscles onto the roller manually with no extra resistance or power provided. With an electric massage roller, however, you get additional power supplied by the device’s battery. This increase in power allows for much deeper penetration as you roll out your various muscle groups with the device. When a standard foam roller just won’t cut it, a vibrating foam roller will make all of the difference. The electronic devices have different speed and vibration settings, which the user can alter and adjust manually depending on what they’re looking to get from their rolling experience. Because they provide higher power outputs, these rollers can penetrate deeper into the muscles, to provide greater levels of relief for the user. They are more expensive than traditional foam rollers, and they’re heavier. Still, other than that and design differences in terms of LED lights, switches, dials, charging ports, etc., they look very similar to one another.
What to consider before buying a vibrating foam roller
Material – Though a lot of people don’t realize, different foam rollers are made from different materials. The most common material used in the manufacturing of foam rollers is polyethylene, with EVA being a close second. Polyethylene is a material which is quite eco-friendly, which a lot of people don’t realize. It is readily recycled, and when burnt, it gives off far fewer dangerous emissions than other plastics. Each material provides its unique pros and cons, and in truth, as there are that many, it would take us all day to list each one. Take it from us, though, it certainly pays to know what your foam roller is going to be made from well in advance.
Frequency of use – Another crucial thing to consider when it comes to purchasing a vibrating foam roller is how frequently you plan on using the device. You see, different people have different requirements when it comes to these rollers. Some people will use them a couple of times per week to roll out stiff muscles and muscle knots. Others rely on them for rehabilitating injuries and recovering from workouts daily so that they will get a lot more use. How frequently you plan on using your foam roller will determine what type of material to go for. As you might expect, different materials have different levels of longevity. The more you use the foam roller, the softer the material will become. Just bear this in mind if you plan on using your roller daily.
Hardness – When purchasing an electric massage roller, you will also need to consider the overall hardness of the roller in question. You see, some people like to have a roller that is hard and dense, as that is what is needed to get in there and break up any scar tissue and fascia causing them and their joints pain and discomfort. Other people won’t need a roller quite as intense, in which case they can get away with using a roller that is much softer and less dense. Moulded foam is an excellent possibility if you want something medium-hard. If you want a softer roller, however, EVA is the material for you as it can be made smoother than other materials.
Price – In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to worry about how much your new vibrating foam roller is going to cost you. Sadly, life isn’t ideal, and sometimes we need to make do with what we have. If you are looking to save money, you can find plenty of budget foam rollers that are battery operated that will work perfectly adequate. If your need for a vibrating foam roller is higher than usual, though, we recommend that you save a little more money and that you opt for a higher spec roller. Avoid going for the cheapest possible electronic foam rollers as these are likely to break after a while, which will mean that you’ll need to replace them anyways. Take a look online, see how much they cost, and then you can get a rough idea of how much to allow yourself, budget-wise.
Battery life – This is a very, very important consideration when it comes to buying a vibrating foam roller. Yet, people often overlook it in terms of importance and focus on more trivial factors. The reason why these devices can provide such impressive power outputs is because they get their power from a battery. Batteries need charging, and once they lose their charge, they’re useless until you charge them up once more. The last thing you want is to find that your foam roller’s battery needs charging daily because it’s merely not holding its charge or because its battery sucks. This will quickly get annoying because you’ll need to charge it on a near-daily basis. Imagine getting to the gym, taking out your foam roller, getting ready to roll out on it, and warm-up, only to find that the battery is dead and the roller is useless until charged. If you only plan on using the roller a few times per week, a battery life of 2-hours should be fine. If you use it a little more frequently, 2 – 4 hours may be better. If you use it multiple times per day, or if other people in your household use it, you may want to look for a higher spec roller with a battery life of upwards of 10 hours.
Vibration settings – Okay, the entire unique selling points behind these foam rollers is the fact that they vibrate and are therefore more powerful than regular foam rollers. Now, the stronger the vibrations, the more like an actual massage the effects become. This is why massage chairs and stools vibrate in order to mimic the effects of receiving a massage. Vibrating foam rollers take things to a whole other level, assuming that you can find the right one. As you may have noticed, most of these foam rollers have four settings, which are: low, medium, high, and pulse. Generally speaking, a foam roller offering four settings will indeed see you right. However, some have less, and some higher spec models have more. We can’t describe each one in great detail because it all depends on whichever specific model of electronic foam roller you have your eye on. For best results, try the roller on various parts of your anatomy with multiple vibration settings. See how it feels on each setting and see whether the roller ticks all of the necessary boxes.
Length – Up next, we’re going to talk to you about the importance of choosing a foam roller that is the perfect length. Each manufacturer is different, and as a result, different rollers come in various lengths. If you have smaller and shorter limbs or want more of a compact roller, you can look for foam rollers with shorter lengths. If you have longer and thicker limbs, or if you wish to cover more parts of your anatomy as you use the roller, you can purchase a roller which is much longer. Some rollers can be as long as 18 or more inches in length, which can be beneficial, though it can also be detrimental and have its drawbacks as well. Before you begin your hunt for an electric massage roller, first figure out how long your roller needs to be. It may be that the typical 10 – 12-inches in length is perfectly adequate for your specific needs and requirements, or it might turn out that you need something longer, in which case you’ll want to look for an 18+ inch foam roller.
Comfort – So far, we’ve looked at many different considerations when choosing a foam roller, other than comfort. Now, foam rolling is not enjoyable. If it’s enjoyable, you’re either not doing it right, or you’re some kind of sadist that enjoys pain. Whereas foam rolling may feel like modern-day torture, the pain it causes is the type of good pain that you know is doing you a whole world of good. For some people, though, the pain is that intense and unbearable that they would rather suffer from joint issues than subject themselves to the torture device that is the foam roller. When you use a foam roller, it needs to be comfortable. Sure, pain is a given and is to be expected, but if the pain is unbearable, then you need to look for a different model and find something a little more bearable. To get an idea of how comfortable a foam roller is, you should ideally try before you buy. Try the roller in various positions, on various parts of your anatomy, and be sure to try it with different vibration settings to get an idea of whether or not you can tolerate it. You should definitely experience a little pain and discomfort, but if it’s too extreme, try to find one that feels more comfortable.
How durable is it? – Durability is another essential thing to consider when it comes to choosing a vibrating foam roller. You want to buy something that is going to last a long time, which means that the more durable the foam roller, the better. A foam roller isn’t just a purchase; it’s an investment. You don’t just use a vibrating foam roller as a quick fix when your muscles are aching, you use it regularly and incorporate it into your daily lifestyle and routine. Therefore, you want a foam roller that is going to last you a heck of a long time. The more durable it is, the better. You will need to consider the material the roller is made from, as well as the roller, and of course, the battery as well. If the battery looks set to last just two years tops, that’s hardly the best investment, so the best advice we can give you here is to look for something decidedly better.
What are the benefits of vibrating foam rollers?
We’re now going to finish off by looking at what the main benefits of foam rollers are, especially the electric foam rollers, which we’re looking at today. Vibrating foam rollers work exceptionally well because they provide more power and stronger vibrations that help to penetrate deeper within the tissue. This, in turn, helps to break up muscle fascia, which could be coating the muscles and joints and restricting movement and mobility. They also help to break up knots in the muscle and boost circulation to and from the affected area. This improvement in flow allows for increased rates of recovery, and it can even provide athletic benefits before exercise as more oxygen delivered to the muscle cells means more energy for the muscles, resulting in greater levels of muscle contraction.