For strength or recovery, these are the best exercise balls for 2023…

The exercise ball – often also called a Swiss ball or gym ball – may have had its heyday in 90s workout videos, but it shouldn’t be consigned to history just yet. That’s because it’s actually one of the most useful pieces of home gym equipment you can buy.

Used right, exercise balls are excellent tools for core training and mobility exercises, plus a variety of bodyweight or weighted workout routines either at the home or in the gym. Most are portable, lightweight and easy to inflate, so you can transform your living room into a budget gym in no time. 

An exercise ball can be incorporated into a number of fitness routines including yoga, pilates, resistance and core training. You can get good results using an exercise ball, because it creates instability, forcing your core muscles to work harder.

Almost any exercise can be intensified by using an exercise ball, including lying on it for chest presses and flyes instead of a bench. Just make sure you know your exercise ball’s load capacity.

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Here’s our pick of the best exercise balls

  1. Technogym Wellness Ball Active Sitting ($305 / £230) – Best for longevity
  2. Core Balance Gym Ball (from £20.99) – Best for size options
  3. Pure2Improve Exercise Gym Ball (from £28.99) – Best for comfort
  4. Decathlon Domyos Durable Swiss Ball (from $12.99 / 17.99) – Best value
  5. TRX Stability Ball ($27.95 / £27.95) – Best for weights workouts
  6. Body Power Exercise Ball (£19.99) – Best for stability
  7. Body Sculpture Gym Ball (£19.99) – Best for travel
  8. Pro 11 Wellbeing Yoga Ball (£14.99) – Best for grip

(Read on for full reviews…)

The Technogym Wellness Ball Active Sitting

BEST EXERCISE BALLS FOR LONGEVITY

Technogym Wellness Ball Active Sitting

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$305 / £230, technogym.com 

Firmness: 5/5
Durability: 5/5
Comfort: 5/5
OVERALL: 5/5 

Sizes: 55cm | Pump included: No | Weight limit: 353lb (160kg) | Colour: Black

OK, so the price is eye watering – thanks to its Italian craftsmanship – but the Techogym Wellness Ball Active Sitting could be your exercise ball for life, and it doubles up as an ergonomic office chair. (There are cheaper versions with lower specs if you really can’t justify the price.)

While testing, I found that sitting on the Wellness Ball requires constant micro-movements, which improves the spine-stabilising action of your abdominal and lumbar muscles. With the lower half denser than the upper, it’s stable and won’t roll away mid-exercise. That’s helped by a removeable multi-layered fabric, which improves support, cushioning and grip and has a handle for easy transportation.

Core balance exercise ball

BEST EXERCISE BALLS FOR SIZE OPTIONS

Core Balance Gym Ball 

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From £20.99, corebalancefitness.co.uk (not currently available in the US)

Firmness: 5/5
Durability: 4.5/5
Comfort: 5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5 

Size: 55cm / 65cm / 75cm / 85cm | Weight limit: 551lb (250kg) | Pump included: Yes | Colours: Black / grey / pink / purple / teal 

The Core Balance Gym Ball has the widest choice of sizes and colours of any exercise ball I tested, with a total of 20 available combinations. It comes with useful extras, too, including a pump and tape measure to ensure correct inflation, as well as a plug remover.

Comfort, grip and stability all impressed me, as did its upper weight limit of 250kg – so it’ll easily handle you and your weights. If you want an exercise ball that fits and does all the basics well, Core Balance’s range is well worth a look.

Pure2Improve Exercise Gym Ball

BEST EXERCISE BALLS FOR COMFORT

Pure2Improve Exercise Gym Ball 

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From £28.99, very.co.uk (not currently available in the US)

Firmness: 5/5
Durability: 4.5/5
Comfort: 5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5 

Weight: 2.6lb (1.2kg) | Size: 65cm / 75cm | Weight limit: 440lb (200kg) | Pump included: Yes | Colour: Black 

Pure2Improve’s exercise ball is one of the firmest and most comfortable balls I tested. Its surface strikes the right balance between smooth and grippy so I found it useful for both static stretches and more dynamic exercises alike.

Stability is impressive, and it’ll withstand weights up to 200kg, making it a good alternative to a weights bench. It’s a good choice for new exercise ball users, too, with 18 exercises printed around its circumference to get you started.

Decathlon DOMYOS Ball

BEST EXERCISE BALLS FOR VALUE

Decathlon Domyos Durable Swiss Ball  

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From $17.99 / £12.99, decathlon.co.uk

Firmness: 4/5 
Durability: 4/5
Comfort: 5/5
OVERALL: 4/5 

Weight: 4.4lb (2kg) | Sizes: 55cm / 65cm / 75cm | Weight limit: 286lb (130kg) | Pump included: No | Colours: Peacock blue / damson | Warranty: 2 years 

The Decathlon Domyos Durable Swiss Ball is the cheapest of the exercise balls I tested, yet it’s grippy and boasts an impressive two-year guarantee. There are three sizes, too, and Decathlon provides a handy chart to help you pick the best size for you based on your weight.

It’s one of the bulkier balls when deflated but I found it super quick and easy to inflate, making this a useful travel option. And with a poster including nine exercise suggestions, you’re ready to go as soon as soon as you pump it up.

TRX Stability Ball

BEST EXERCISE BALLS FOR WEIGHTS WORKOUTS

TRX Stability Ball

BUY IT NOW:

From $27.95 / £27.95, trxtraining.eu 

Firmness: 5/5
Durability: 5/5
Comfort: 3/5
OVERALL: 4/5  

Size: 55cm / 65cm | Pump included: No | Weight limit: 1,000lb (453kg) | Colour: Black | Extras: Access to TRX virtual classes

The firmness of the TRX Stability Ball is second to none in my opinion. It’s an ideal option for strength-based exercises, with a whopping 453kg weight limit – though I will say, it’s not the grippiest option for those looking to perform more dynamic exercises.

Its two sizes should suit all but the tallest users and each purchase includes access to the TRX studio, including hundreds of fitness videos as well as live exercise classes to help you get the most from your Stability Ball.

Body Power kitMen's Fitness Endorsed badge

BEST EXERCISE BALLS FOR STABILITY

Body Power Exercise Ball  

BUY IT NOW: 

£19.99 / fitness-superstore.co.uk (not currently shipping to US)

Firmness: 4/5
Durability: 4.5/5
Comfort: 4/5
OVERALL: 4/5 

Size: 65cm | Weight limit: 660lb (300kg) | Pump included: Yes | Colour: Red | Warranty: 12 months

The Body Power Exercise Ball is a robust choice for weights-based exercises, as its anti-burst material can withstand up to 300kg. Its 65cm diameter is an ideal size for most users and I found the surface somewhat tacky, which helps grip most surfaces. Despite that, it still rolled well while I was performing dynamic exercises.

It’s a firm and stable ball, though I did find it quite difficult to inflate, even with the included foot pump. However, there is a 12-month guarantee, making the Body Power Exercise Ball excellent value for money.

Body Sculpture kit
BEST EXERCISE BALLS FOR TRAVEL

Body Sculpture Gym Ball  

BUY IT NOW: 

£19.99, very.co.uk  (not currently available in the US)

Firmness: 3.5/5
Durability: 3/5
Comfort: 4.5/5
OVERALL: 3.5/5 

Size: 65cm | Pump included: Yes | Weight limit: 220lb (100kg) | Colour: Blue

Better for occasional use and for travel, the Body Sculpture Gym Ball inflates and deflates easily and comes with two valves that eliminate air leakage. It has a smooth and soft PVC finish and doesn’t smell as plasticky as some exercise balls, though I did find it could get a little slippery when sweaty.

With a solitary 65cm diameter version Body Sculpture’s exercise ball is suitable for most people but might feel a bit big for some shorter users. It’s not one I would recommend for using weights on, either, as it’s only rated to 100kg, but overall it’s a firm and comfortable option at a good price.

Pro 11 Wellbeing Yoga Kit
BEST EXERCISE BALLS FOR GRIP

Pro 11 Wellbeing Yoga Ball 

BUY IT NOW: 

£14.99, pro11wellbeing.co.uk (not currently available in the US)

Firmness: 3/5
Durability: 4/5
Comfort: 3/5
OVERALL: 3.5/5
 

Size: 55cm | Pump included: No | Colour: Black

Pro 11 Wellbeing is better known for making specialist insoles and supports but its yoga ball is a handy piece of gym kit too, especially for exercising on the go.

With only a 55cm version, it could be too small for some, but I found its slip-resistant material gripped the floor nicely, making it well-suited to dynamic exercises.

It may look uninspiring but the Pro 11 Wellbeing Yoga Ball is a firm and supportive option that would make a cheap alternative to a weights bench.

What to look for when buying exercise balls

Size options 

Exercise balls tend to come in fairly standard sizes – all the products on test are either 55cm, 65cm, 75cm or 85cm in diameter. Some makes will offer just a single size (the Technogym Wellness Ball is only available in 55cm and the Body Power Gym Ball just 65cm). Others, like the Decathlon Domyos Durable Swiss Ball, are available in all four sizes.

Most manufacturers will offer guidance on the best size to get, depending on your height and often weight as well. But a general rule of thumb is:

  • Small, 55cm – under 5ft 4in (1.62m) (also the best size for using as a seat)
  • Medium, 65cm – 5ft 4in to 5ft 8in (1.62m to 1.73m)
  • Large, 75cm – 5ft 8in to 6ft (1.73m to 1.83m)
  • XL, 85cm – over 6ft (1.83m)

Grip

Most exercise balls are made from PVC but the level of grip between them can vary dramatically. Most balls feature raise or textured grip rings while some, like the Technogym Wellness Ball, have a removeable cover that enhances grip. Ideally you want a ball that will grip most surfaces when applying downward pressure, so it won’t slip out from under you. Yet it should be smooth enough to roll without too much friction – particularly if you tend to do more dynamic exercises.

Strength and stability

Most manufacturers will publish details of how much weight an exercise ball can withstand. The Body Sculpture Gym Ball is limited to 220lb (100kg) and shouldn’t be used with weights while the TRX Stability Ball can handle almost five times as much weight – 1,000lb (453kg) and can be used as alternative to a bench. Firmness and stability varies greatly between exercise balls, too. It can be altered to a degree by how much they’re inflated but thickness of material plays a part here too. The Technogym Wellness ball even has halves of different densities to increase its stability.

Ease of inflation / deflation

How easy an exercise ball is to inflate and deflate will determine whether it’s suitable as a travel option or occasion ball, rather than having it permanently inflated. Some can be inflated in a couple of minutes, while others can take up to ten minutes to inflate fully. Make sure you check whether a ball comes with its own pump, too – not all of them do. Also, do they have spare plugs (as these can easily be lost)? Or do they have plug removers, to help with countersunk valves?

Is it suitable for sitting?

The benefits of substituting your office chair for an exercise ball are well known. The constant readjustments required to stay comfortable on a moveable chair switch on muscles that would otherwise stay dormant when seated. But not all manufacturers recommend their exercise balls be used as seats. The main obstacle is size – 75cm and 85cm balls in particular are just too high to be used as seats for most people. Given that desks tend to be around 70cm high, the optimal size for an exercise ball used as a seat is 55cm.

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