Using a Balance Board as a key fitness tool has taken a long time to make its way into the mainstream. For decades, balance training has been an integral part of physiotherapy and advanced athletic training. In the last few years, however, the general fitness community has begun to embrace balance board training as a means to become fitter, stronger, less injury prone and better at sports.
In this article, we will provide you with the most complete, all-encompassing balance board reviews that you’ll find anywhere. We’ve got in-depth reviews of 15 of the best balance boards you can buy, broken down into category type. Everything you need to know to get the best balance board for your buck is right here!
Summary: The Best Balance Boards
Rocker Roller Board
Sphere and Ring Board
1. Balance Board Benefits
Proprioception is a subconscious activity that our bodies are constantly undergoing to keep us balanced in space. It is our sense of spatial awareness. We normally don’t think about it until it lets us down.
Poor balance is the major sign of impaired proprioception. Balance training will improve your proprioception, allowing you to control your body in situations where your balance is challenged. As a result, you will be less likely to sustain a balance-related injury. Whereas previously, you would have taken a tumble, your enhanced proprioception will allow you to correct your balance and readjust rather than fall to the ground.
Regular exercise on a Balance Board will strengthen your joints. This will help you to withstand the pressures on your joints that would have caused a sprain or worse. Balance Board training has proven beneficial in reducing the incidence of ankle sprains in athletes, especially those who had previously suffered an ankle injury.
Improved Sports Performance
Balance Board training is directly applicable to almost every sport. The ability to be in total control of what your body is doing at every moment, to have an advanced level of agility and mobility to make quick turns, ducks, and dives is what sets a superior athlete apart from an average one. Training on a board develops these skills. It will allow you to develop your kinesthetic awareness so that you can master your body control in a game situation.
The muscles that make up your core are central to all movement. They provide the link between your upper and lower body. The core is made up of the abdominal muscles, the deep lateral stabilizing muscles, and the erector spinae muscles. By developing the muscles of your core, you will be making yourself infinitely stronger, more coordinated, and more able to handle the tasks that are placed on your body.
Balance training is one of the most effective ways to develop your core. The fact that you are balancing on an unstable platform forces your core muscles to be constantly switched on as they regulate your body’s positioning in order to maintain your upright position. This means that every exercise you do on the board is a core exercise. This will make your abs and erector spinae much stronger, which will take a lot of pressure away from your lower back. Strengthening the core is one of the best things you can do to minimize lower back pain.
More often than not we attempt to train to get stronger by working muscles groups in isolation. However, the key to functional strength is for all of the muscles of the body to work together. This includes the small, stabilizer muscles that often get neglected with traditional strength training.
Balance Board training allows you to hit the-all important stabilizer muscles. Because you are constantly in a position of imbalance, these stabilizer muscles are constantly being forced to contract. They are working in concert with your larger muscle groups to keep you balanced.
To develop your muscular strength even further, you can perform your weight training exercises on a balance board. By lifting a resistance on an unstable platform, you’ll be making the exercise a lot more intense – and beneficial.
2. Types of Balance Boards
There are 5 basic types of balance board, each with its own level of difficulty. Boards are differentiated on the basis of their fulcrum (attached vs non-attached) and degree of movement that the board offers.
The five types of Balance Boards are:
Balance Board Type
Rocker Roller Board
Sphere and Ring Board
3. Balance Board Reviews
3.1. Rocker Boards
A Rocker Board consists of a flat board, which may be wooden or plastic with a fulcrum attached below it. Some Rocker Boards, especially those designed for children, are made of a single curved platform.
A Rocker Board only allows you to move in two directions; front to back and side to side. The direction of movement depends on where you place your weight on the board.
Rocker Boards are the least challenging of all of the Balance Board types. They are an ideal entry level board for those who are new to balance exercise. Because you can soon gain confidence on a Rocker Board, it is also an ideal platform upon which to begin adding some resistance exercises to your balance training routine.
Rocker Boards may be constructed from hardwood or from a strong plastic material. Wooden boards are considered to be of higher quality and carry a higher price tag. They are made from such durable timbers as Baltic birch plywood. The rocking base is often constructed of plastic material.
Although Rocker Boards can only move through one plane, the better boards are adjustable in their degree of tilt, generally allowing for a range of between 10 and 15 degrees.
Some people may find that a Rocker Board gets to be too easy for them too soon. If you are an experienced athlete, dancer or just a person to whom balance comes naturally, you may find that you soon outgrow a Rocker Board. You may be better off going directly to a Wobble Board.
Some Rocker Board models come with a choice of fulcrums. This allows you to progressively increase the demand on your body as your skill level improves. It is important to check how the detachable fulcrums are held in place. If Velcro is used, it may not be the most reliable.
Some of the Rocker Boards on the market feature a curved deck. This is a more advanced type of board. The curvature gives less contact with the fulcrum or roller. This makes it want to spin almost instantly. Beginners are advised not to try a curved base rocker board.
Rocker Board Pros
- Offers bi-polar movement from left to right
- Least challenging of the Balance Boards
Rocker Board Cons
- Only provides one degree of movement
- Does not provide dynamic balance training
3.1.2 The Best Rocker Boards
The Fitter First 20-inch Pro Rocker Board is a very different Rocker Board experience. Its dual fulcrum adds a unique training experience but also makes the board quite a lot less challenging. This makes it ideal for physio patients and those starting from scratch but not so good for people who want to begin with a challenge.
The Fitter First 20-inch Rocker Board features a unique square deck design to provide a larger platform to stand on. Whereas most rocker boards will have a central fulcrum, this board features two patented spheres that are positioned on the outer sides in the middle of the underside of the deck. These discs are adjustable, so can be spun up and down. This allows you to set 3 different angles on the board. The steepest setting is 15 degrees. The flattest setting is 10 degrees.
The board is single plane, so it only moves through one angle. For physio patients or people with limited mobility, this board is easier to control as opposed to a Wobble board. This provides more stability and safety.
Value for money
The Fitter First 20- inch Rocker Board can be purchased for around $110. This puts it at the high end of the Rocker board market. Keep in mind, though, that many Rocker boards are made from plastic and this board features two fulcrum discs that are adjustable to three settings.
The deck is made from heavy-duty hardwood and the disks on the underside are constructed from very tough polyurethane plastic.
TheraBand is a respected player in the Balance Board industry and has here produced a solid entry model Rocker Board at a very good price point. This board is durable, reliable and responsive.
The TheraBand Rocker is a 14 x 13.1 inches square board that offers a 30-degree angle of deflection. Made from black molded plastic, the board features a specially designed tactile surface to activate and relax the feet. This makes it an ideal board to exercise on with bare feet.
The board is durable and lightweight. It offers exercise through one plane of instability at a time, making it ideal for beginners and those coming back from an injury. The board comes with an illustrated instruction guide. The bottom of the board features an anti-skid surface.
Value for money
At under $60, the TheraBand is half the price of some of the competitor Rocker Boards on the market.
The Board is constructed of heavy-duty black molded plastic. The board design features a deep groove pattern, which helps with grip, especially when you use it bare footed.
The Uniplane rocker provides an excellent option for people who are coming back from injury, suffer from arthritis or have balance challenges. As a general balance tool, however, it is a bit limited, with most people soon being able to move beyond its challenge level.
The OPTP 484 is a wooden uniplane rocker that is designed to be used as the first step towards rehabilitation by those who have suffered lower body joint injury. The board is a one-piece unit with a large fulcrum that provides a less challenging experience ideally suited for rehab.
The board has a maximum angle of 34 degrees and is constructed of hardwood. It features three non-slip grips which run horizontally across the deck. This rocker board supports a weight of up to 400 pounds and has the following dimensions: 13.5” x 14.5” x 3.5”.
Value for money
The OPTP Uniplane Rocker retails for around $70. This puts it at about a mid range between most plastic boards and the more expensive wooden rocker boards.
The Uniplane Rocker is constructed from quality hardwood, making it extremely durable.
3.2. Wobble Boards
A Wobble Board provides you with more options than a Rocker Board. Rather than simply tilting up and down and side to side, you can now move through a complete 360-degree range of motion. While on the board your objective is to balance and transition without any of the edges touching the floor.
Although there is variation among the brands, most Wobble Boards features a semi-spherical fulcrum, with the rounded part sitting on the ground. The flat side of the fulcrum is permanently attached to the underside of the board, in the center.
The design of the Wobble Board allows for movement in all directions. You are able to achieve absolute rotation in the vertical axis, partial longitudinal rotation, and partial lateral rotation. Wobble Boards are a good choice when you are ready to transition some of the exercises that you have previously been doing on the floor to the balance board. You can do movements like squats, push-ups and overhead presses on the Wobble Board, slowly adding resistance as you become more comfortable.
Some Wobble Boards have holes in the corners of the board designed to attach resistance bands. These provide an alternative form of resistance to allow you to take your balance training up a notch.
Wobble Boards are among the most popular of all Balance Boards. They can be made harder or easier on the basis of the size of the fulcrum. Some boards come with a removable ball fulcrum that allows you to adjust the angle of tilt as in the example shown:
These boards allow you to adjust the angle of tilt from between 10 and 15 degrees.
Wobble Boards can be used with one or two feet.
Wobble Board Pros
- Provides full rotation around a vertical axis
- Is compatible with a full range of auxiliary moves, such as calisthenics
Wobble Board Cons
- Does not offer dynamic movement exercise options
3.2.2 The Best Wobble Boards
This is a very functional board that gives you three adjustment options on a very sturdy deck.
The Fitter First 20-Inch Wobble Board is a tri-adjustable board that gives you 10, 12 and 15-degree angles. This allows you to progressively work your way up through the angles as you improve your strength and balance. Changing the angle simply involves a quick adjustment of the fulcrum.
The fulcrum of the board is made from very strong plastic polyethylene. The board is twenty inches in diameter and is made from three-quarter inch birch hardwood. It is finished with an eco-friendly coating.
This board is designed for beginner and intermediate balance boarders. A 16-inch version is also available for more advanced users.
Value for money
The Fitter First 20-inch Wobble Board retails for around $90. This puts it in the mid range for a hardwood board.
This board is constructed from very sturdy birchwood to a thickness of three-quarters of an inch. The extra coating of varnish adds extra protection. The fulcrum is constructed of very strong polyethylene plastic.
A quality board, with adjustable capabilities, at a great price.
The Isokinetic Deluxe Balance Board is an adjustable wobble board which allows you to operate at either 10 or 15 degrees. The fixed fulcrum raises the board to 10 degrees, with the extra 5 coming from a detachable blue ball. This lifts the height of the platform from two to three inches.
The challenge at a 15-degree incline is slightly lessened by the fact that the pivots are not totally spherical. The board is textured but still offers a slightly slippery surface, so wearing shoes is recommended.
Value for money
With a selling price of under $20, the Isokinetics Deluxe Balance Board is great value for money. For a Wobble Board that offers two angles of challenge, it is simply unbeatable.
The Isokinetic Deluxe Board is constructed from extremely sturdy polyethylene plastic. Polyethylene is a very lightweight material that is amazingly durable. This allows the board to be able to handle a weight up to 300 pounds.
The Yes4All Wooden Wobble Board represents excellent value for money for a functional, sturdy Wobble Board.
The Db6F Wooden Balance Board from Yes4All offers a single angle of tilt and one plane of motion. This hardwood board has a slip resistant surface. The fixed fulcrum is a plastic polyethylene attachment that allows unidirectional movement. This is a basic Wobble Board that performs its function well but does not allow for an angle adjustment.
Value for money
The Db6F is available for around $25. This constitutes a very good deal, especially for a wooden board. You will be hard pressed to find a quality wooden board at a lower price than this.
This board is constructed of sturdy hardwood. It has a very effective non-slip surface and a rigid fulcrum attachment.
The Fitaboo Board is a simple, reliable, non-adjustable wooden Wobble Board that delivers good performance at a decent price.
The Fitaboo Wobble board is a 16-inch diameter wooden board. The fulcrum is comprised of a plastic polyethylene semi-sphere, which is attached to the deck with a number of sturdy screws. This is a solid, durable board, which carries a maximum weight of 300 pounds.
The Fitaboo Board is finished in white and has a number of slip resistant pads that form an attractive pattern on the deck. Though it looks to be made of plastic, the board is actually constructed of a very strong timber. The thickness of the board is three-quarters of an inch.
Value for money
At a retail price of under $40, the Fitaboo Board is well priced for a wooden board.
The Fitaboo Board is made of hardwood. It is a solid, reliable and rigidly constructed device that will provide you with years of reliable balance training.
3.3 Rocker Roller Boards
Rocker Roller Boards are a step up from Wobble Boards, offering a greater challenge to the user. They add a further element of instability by providing an unattached fulcrum. The fulcrum is in the form of a cylindrical roller pad. The deck of most Rocker Roller Boards resembles the base of a skateboard.
The fulcrum of the board is able to move in relation to both the board and the ground. The pivot point between deck and roller is constantly changing as the cylinder rolls under the board. Normally the width of the cylinder is the same as the width of the deck of the board.
The cylinder is typically positioned in a perpendicular position to the deck. This provides for side to side movement of the board as the weight changes as well as for a lateral sliding action. Some Rocker Roller boards allow for a roller position that is parallel to the length of the board. This allows for a different type of movement, with the board sliding and tilting to the front and back.
There is a range of cylinder types on the market. While some of them are cylinders with a constant diameter, others provide a tapered diameter with a decreasing thickness towards the outer edge of the cylinder. Tapered cylinders are more difficult to balance upon as they provide a heightened level of instability. They do, however, allow for a range of tricks that you could not do on a uniform diameter cylinder.
The point of contact between the bottom of the deck and the roller varies according to the make and model. Some decks provide a guide that fits a groove on the roller. This helps to keep the roller secured aligned and is easier to balance upon. Some models also include a long rail around the bottom lip of the board to stop the roller from rolling too far.
Most rollers on Rocker Roller boards have a diameter of between 6 and 9 inches.
Rocker Roller Board Pros
- More challenging than the Rocker Board
- Provides 3 degrees of movement
- Provides dynamic balance training
Rocker Roller Board Cons
- Does not allow for 360 degrees of movement
3.3.2 The Best Rocker Roller Boards
The Revolution 101 Balance Board is our pick as the best Rocker-Roller board. It provides you with a challenging experience, is very well constructed and comes in at a great price.
The Revolution 101 features a soft-track gripped deck that will provide traction and give you comfort even without shoes. The 11-ply hardwood deck is virtually indestructible while also being lightweight and portable. The roller is made from heavy-duty plastic. This board comes with stoppers on the reverse of the deck, which keep you in control.
Value for money
The Revolution Board is available at around $130. This puts it in the mid range of the Rocker-Roller Board market.
The deck of this board is made from 11-ply hardwood decking, making it extremely strong and hard wearing. The deck is finished with a non-slip track to provide non-slip support. The roller construction is solid.
The original Indo Board is the standard setter for the rocker-roller industry. For craftsmanship and functionality, you cant’ go wrong, even if it is a little pricey.
The Indo Board is comprised of a 30” x 18” wooden deck and 6.5” molded plastic roller. It comes with a 2-hour instructional DVD that teaches you everything you need to know to get maximum benefit from the board. It is available in a range of vibrant colors that are works of art in themselves. The roller works well on carpet and laminate flooring.
Value for money
The Board retails for around $160. This is the cheapest board in the Indo range, but still places it in the upper price range of the marketplace.
Indo Board is one of the most respected names in the industry and their boards are known for the quality of their construction. The deck is constructed of very durable hardwood and is finished with a non-slip coating. The roller pad is made of indestructible plastic, giving you confidence that this product will stand the test of time.
This is a good choice for people who are looking to move up from the Wobble or Rocker Board to a harder balance challenge. Very experienced boarders may not get the degree of difficulty that they are looking for, however.
The Bongo Board from Fitter First is modeled off the original Bongo Board from the 1950’s. It looks more like a skateboard than most rocker-roller boards. The deck is constructed of maplewood ply and has an undercarriage constructed of polypropylene. The roller has a urethane outer with a polypropylene fill. The unit also comes with a nylon and rubber bungee cord as a safety feature. The roller has tapered edges to provide that extra level of challenge.
Value for money
The Bongo Board retails for around $110. This places it at the lower end of the rocker-roller market and represents very good value for money.
The Bongo Board deck is constructed of hardwood maple ply. This provides a heavy-duty platform that will take up to 300 pounds in weight. The polypropylene undercarriage is sturdy and well connected. The roller is made of thick urethane that is guaranteed to stand the test of time.
This board represents very good value for money and is a good introduction to the rocker-roller experience. It doesn’t represent the type of challenge that experienced users would be after, however.
The Carrom Balance Board has a high-quality hardwood deck but, unlike most rocker-rollers, comes with a wooden roller rather than a urethane one. The roller consists of four discs which are connected together. The discs run along a track on the underside of the deck. This limits the degree of motion that you are able to achieve on the board, as there is no sliding option. The deck has a UV polyurethane finish and has two non-slip tabs on either end.
Value for money
The price of the Carrom Balance Board is under $60, putting it at the low end of the market. It is less than half the price of the big name boards.
The deck is constructed of quality hardwood. The four discs that go to make up the rollers are also made of ply, though its quality is not as high as the deck. When you receive the board, you will have to put the discs together with the aid of a couple of adjustable wrenches.
3.4 Sphere and Ring Boards
A Sphere and Ring Board is similar to a Rocker Roller Board in that they both feature unattached fulcrums. Whereas the Rocker Roller Board has a cylindrical roller, the Sphere and Ring Board features a rubber ball as the fulcrum. A ring around the underside of the deck provides a protective barrier for containing the ball. This provides an even greater level of challenge, as it allows for 360 degrees of movement in every conceivable direction.
With a slight adjustment of his body, the rider is able to move from side to side, backward, to the front, or diagonally. He can also perform full 360-degree moves. This type of board offers the greatest range of motion and has been used to perform some truly amazing tricks and stunts.
As well as being able to be used for advanced movements, Sphere and Ring Boards provide a great workout to the muscles of the body. They are able to activate muscle groups that would not be reached if you were using a Balance Board that just provided movement through a single plane of motion, such as a Rocker Board.
The following factors determine the level of difficulty presented by a Sphere and Ring board:
- The size and shape of the ring
- The size, weight and bounciness of the ball
- The size and shape of the board
Sphere and Ring Board Pros
- Unattached fulcrum to provide the user with a greater challenge
- This type of board is able to activate and engage synergistic muscles that are not reached with other boards
Sphere and Ring Board Cons
- Not suitable for beginners
3.4.2 The Best Sphere and Ring Boards
The quality of this board is exceptional and the functionality high. The CoolBoard offers a higher level of challenge for the experienced balance boarder at a realistic price point.
The Cool Board package comes with a hardwood deck and a disc. The deck features grip tape to prevent slipping. On the undercarriage of the deck, there is a large indented portion, which serves as a track to confine the ball. Depending on the package you choose, balls are either inflatable or solid urethane. The original model comes with an inflatable ball.
Value for money
The CoolBoard Balance Board is going to cost you around 180 dollars, which is a fair price considering the many awesome features that it brings to the table.
Each CoolBoard is hand-made in Bristol, England. The deck is machined from high-quality birch ply. It is then finished in four layers of durable varnish.
The SI Board offers the experienced rider or surfer a whole new level of challenge. It is much harder to balance on than a rocker-roller board and will take your balance and coordination ability sky-high. Still, it’s hard to get beyond that price.
The SI Board is the original and most well-known sphere and ring board. It was designed as a land-based trainer for surfers. The board features a urethane ball which sits under the deck and is enclosed by a rail on the underside of the deck. The Freestyle Original comes with a 5" small ball. It also has a 8.5" half ball to provide a less daunting challenge.
The S.I. Board deck is larger than most balance boards at 36” x 18”. The board also features holes to attach resistance bands, which are available as extras.
Value for money
The SI Boards Freestyle Original retails for under $600. This makes it by far the most expensive board that we have reviewed.
The deck of the SI Board is made from durable 9-layer Baltic Birch plywood and finished with a grip coat on the entire board surface. The urethane balls are odor-free and resistant to friction, wear and tear, and cracking.
3.5 Spring Boards
Spring boards are a relatively new entry into the Balance Board market, with the first ones appearing in 2013. This market is dominated by Strongboard, who has a patented springboard design.
The fulcrum of the springboard consists of heavy-duty springs, which sit between a platform and the deck upon which the user stands. When a person stands on the board, the springs compress, causing instability of the deck. The challenge is for the user to re-establish their balance while maneuvering the board. By shifting their weight distribution, the user is able to move the board in any desired direction.
A Spring Board acts as a resistance exercise device as well as a balance board. When you compress the springs your body acts as the resistance when you perform full range of motion exercises. This provides a great way of strengthening the stabilizer muscles of your body. When you do exercises like squats and push-ups on a spring board, you will achieve a much greater level of muscle activation than when doing them on a stable platform.
Spring Boards differ in the strength of the compression springs used. Lighter springs are used in boards designed for children.
Spring Board Pros
- Unique balance experience
- Ideal for resistance training
Spring Board Cons
- Not as challenging as rocker roller or sphere and ring boards.
3.5.2 The Best Spring Boards
StrongBoard offers a unique way to work the body and is a great tool for incorporating with your traditional workout program. It does not, however, offer the range of movement of rocker roller or sphere and ring boards.
StrongBoard introduced the spring board category onto the market in 2013 and, since then, this board has become extremely popular. The small platform rests upon four compression springs, which offer a full range of movement. The spring motion adds a surf-like vibe to your workout. The board comes completely pre-assembled and ready to go. The whole until is very compact and easily transportable. The board comes with a workout poster.
Value for money
The StrongBoard retails for around $270. This puts in on a par with the average cost of a sphere and ring board but makes it a high-end purchase when looking at the balance board market as a whole.
The StrongBoard top and bottom platforms are made from extremely heavy-duty plastic. The springs are from high-tensile steel. The unit is well put together and, though lightweight, feels rugged and durable.
The GyroBoard offers a unique training experience that combines many of the features of other boards.
The Gyroboard is a unique patented board that combines the best features of wobble, roller, and sphere and ring boards into a single design. It features a deck that can spin 360 degrees or be locked in place. The user can control the level of tilt and rock at various angles. The mechanism under the deck has two adjustable tilt stops and adjustable braking mechanism. There is also a heavy-duty purpose-designed steel spring. The unit also has four detachable steel legs.
Value for money
The Gyroboard is available for under $400. For the range of functionality, innovative features, and craftsmanship that this board provides, that’s pretty good value for money.
The Gyroboard deck is manufactured from quality hardwood maple and has been tested to 330 pounds. The spring is high-grade steel. The legs and other components are made from high-grade aluminum.