We are all looking for a way to create a home gym without sacrificing an entire room. Fortunately, most companies completely understand this and are looking for ways to ensure that you have options for small items that produce big results. While you could just go with sit-ups or planks for your midsection, you aren’t going to see the same results as you would with an ab roller.
Don’t let the simple appearance of these wheels fool you, this exercise is hard!
The idea behind an ab roller is that it uses the natural weight of your body to create a more difficult workout – thus giving you better results. There is not a product on our list that will give you perfect abs and burn off all your fat without you eating healthy and incorporating it into your workout routine, but as a part of your weekly routine, there are a couple of great contenders on this list.
Top Ab Wheel Comparison Chart
Things to Consider When Choosing an Ab Roller (Buying Guide)
Before we get into specific rollers, it is key to know that they all have a few things in common. Generally, they offer a solid grip, a wheel or wheels, and the best offer something to place your knees on. You simply get onto your knees, grip the handles, and start to lean forward, then pull back. This is a brutal work out for your abs, but the results can be amazing. So here are the best ab rollers in our opinion starting with our favorite.
A special note about some of the rollers on this list. We will be mentioning spring loaded rollers from time to time. All that means is that they have a spring that helps control the speed in which you go. The advantage or disadvantage of the spring won’t be discussed (outside of durability) as it is a personal preference. It may make things a little easier for those that are not in great shape, but it also offers another piece that can break. We will make note of that throughout the reviews, but no extra points for having a spring or not – in most cases at least.
Best Ab Wheel Reviews
There are some concerns with the insides wearing out too early, but that is going to happen with most products. From my research, most have had the same experience I have had with this guy. With that said, understand that it can break and the spring will likely go out at some point so if you find a great deal pick up an extra.
You will also find that the thicker size of the wheel is a positive and a negative. First, the negative. You will need a slightly larger area to use the roller as your arms will need to be spread out a bit further. This can be difficult for smaller individuals as it doesn’t leave much room for adjustment. This isn’t a huge issue for the majority of people out there, but you may find it difficult to get comfortable in some cases. The handles also have a downward curved design which can feel unnatural at first.
A special note about the knee pads that are included as they will be mentioned when compared to other pads on the list. The pads here are two small-sized pads, just right to comfortably fit your knees and they are connected by a strap. This forces you to get into a good form from the start, which is a huge bonus.
Overall, the thicker wheel makes this the sturdiest and easiest to use ab roller on the list. It keeps you from having to worry about anything coming lose or breaking while in use and offers some of the best stability for straight lines or curved lines. I would argue that there are better ab rollers in our future, but for now, this one is the top of the line roller out there.
- Knee pads included and strapped together for more stability.
- Multiple ways to work out from carpet to hard floors.
- Works great when trying to turn left and right to work your entire core.
- Spring can wear out sooner than expected.
- Should support your weight without a problem, but may feel unstable for larger individuals.
This is one of the big kits on the list. While others are fairly easy to use and get right to the point, this is a full kit with resistance bands, a storage bag, and a knee pad. The three-wheel design also offers more stability but can make turning a little more difficult than the other designs.
The anti-slip grips work as well as the memory foam grips in keeping you connected to the roller even when the sweat starts dripping. The wheels are also adjustable, so if you wish to go with just one or two you can, but the three-wheel design gives you as much stability as the top pick on our list. The knee pad that is included is arguably as good, if not better, than the knee pad on the top of the list. The only issue I have with the “mat” style is that it allows you to get in the habit of putting your knees in the wrong place, leading to bad form.
This is one of the largest rollers on the list due to the fact that it has three wheels and multiple accessories, so if portability is a concern, this requires a bit more room – not a lot, enough to mention. Those accessories are worth talking about though. The carrying case keeps everything in one place and the mat is useful for any type of floor. The resistance bands are the big stars of the show though.
While almost every roller on this list offers some sort of ability to increase intensity over time, the resistance bands ensure that you can take that intensity a few steps further. While the bands aren’t as adjustable as I would have liked to see, they do offer a way for you to get a bit more out of the equipment than just about any other roller on the list.
The modular design (the three wheels) is great on paper but does require you to do some extra work if you need to change up your workout. This just misses the number one spot due to this fact alone. The Perfect Fitness (our #1) requires you to put it together once and you are ready to start a high intensity or low-intensity workout. The ODOLAND version may require some adjustments to the wheels, attaching straps, and moving around on the knee pad to get the right feel. This is a great choice but misses the top spot by a hair because of the extra requirements to get the full workout that you want.
- Resistance bands add a great deal of intensity to your workout.
- The included knee mat is a great addition to any type of floor.
- The three-wheel design is unique and offers a variety of workout options.
- The knee mat allows you to get in the habit of using bad form.
- More pieces mean more adjustments during your workout.
This ab roller is in an interesting spot as it is a mixture of our top two picks. While it is functionally very similar to the first ab roller on the list, with a spring inside, it is the thinner wheel that ties it into the second roller. This is both a benefit and a detriment as it offers a more compact design to give you a clearer view of the direction you are going and ensuring straight lines, but also offers a thinner grip which can be difficult for those with wide shoulders.
The rubberized wheel does feel safer for hardwood, even if there is no real evidence of any roller on this list damaging floors, the peace of mind may be worth the consideration. While the Speed Abs may seem like a less stable version of the Perfect Fitness (#1), that isn’t the case, this is perfectly stable.
On the other hand, this roller does not include knee pads, so expect to pony up a little extra for a pair, or find an alternative, such as a folded towel. The issue, though, is that if you don’t have a carpeted room, you will need some way to ensure that you are getting a solid grip with your knees. Again, this is a spring using ab roller and it runs into the same problems as the others. This roller seems to see the spring go out more frequently though, so keep that in mind. It may be just a small percentage that has the issue, but the issue is more prevalent with this roller than with a few of the higher end ones on offer.
This, in general, is a cheaper version of the top spot on the list, so if you can’t find a good deal on the Perfect Fitness, but you want something similar this is a great place to look. This roller is generally less expensive so it is a great place to get started and see just how much you like this style. There are multiple styles of rollers out there and you will need to find the one that works best for you so a lower price of entry (in general) is something worth considering.
- Simple design and assembly.
- Great size on the wheel that allows you to more clearly see the lines you are making.
- The rubberized wheel feels safer on harder floors.
- No knee-pad.
- The spring seems to be of a lower quality than expected.
- Closer grips aren’t great for larger individuals.
Do you LOVE doing planks?! If you just said “YES” then you are a 100% LIAR!!!! No one on earth loves planks. In part, they can be boring, which means 30 seconds of doing a static plank is perceived as 10 minutes! I can assure you that taking your mind off of your boring and strenuous activity, can work wonders for your ability to persevere and succeed in attaining your goals.
The Stealth Core Gamer (AKA “Plankster”) is an ingenious training aid that combines video gaming and core workouts. You place your cell phone into a recessed cradle on the surface of the trainer, and then it takes you through a series of challenges that force you to tilt to either side and front to back as well as twist. The whole process accomplishes two VERY important tasks. The first is to take your mind off of what is otherwise a virtually unbearably difficult exercise (the dreaded PLANK), and the second is to make sure you are moving while doing the plank which is not done with a traditional static plank. Could this actually be a fun way to not only work out but to do the single most difficult and horrible exercise (the plank) while simultaneously turning it into the MOST FUN exercise in the entire gym? Maybe!
The Core Gamer Trainer promises great results in about 3 min. per day. Not a bad return on investment I say! Also, it’s fully made in the U.S.A.! Woo Hoo!
- Turns the most unbearable (but most effective) core exercise into FUN!
- Includes free APP
- Noticeably more expensive than most (over-priced according to some buyers)
One of the cheaper looking rollers on the list is also one of the more impressive – possibly due to expectations. The big bonus here is the simple construction and design. One metal shaft goes between two textured wheels. The handles attach to the shaft for a comfortable grip and you are on your way.
It is one of the cheaper (price-wise) offerings on our list and you get what you pay for. No instructions are included and no knee pads come in the box. You won’t need the instructions most likely, but again, the knee pads are a big hit for this set. Unless you have knees made of steel, or carpeting made out of clouds, any ab roller is difficult on the knees. Those are major strikes, but the simplicity of the design keeps it in the middle of the pack.
One big pro here is the textured wheels. They are separate and made of plastic, but they have a solid texture that gives a better grip while you are rolling. The issue is that they don’t stick together well, so they will slip a bit when you are moving at angles. You could turn this into a positive, if you really needed to, as the roller requires you to stay in a very straight line.
There are a few minor issues as well. The nubs at the end of the handles have a small point in some cases that can rip into your hands. The handles can slip a bit while you are using the item, making it much more difficult to keep your momentum going while also adding the stress of losing your grip on the whole thing. While it isn’t the best option on this list, if you are looking for a lower cost just to see how well you will do with an ab roller, this is a great place to start.
- Easy to assemble.
- Textured wheels provide better grip on all floors.
- Design can make the wheel feel unsteady.
- The handle may have a few pieces that need to be filed down.
- Does not handle turns well.
This is a unique design for this list as it takes the idea of the single ab roller wheel and splits it into two smaller ab rollers. There are some significant advantages here as it allows you to vary your workout in a variety of ways. The only reason it isn’t higher on the list is that of the fitness required to use these. Imagine trying to do a pushup, but your hands are wheels instead. It can be a great workout but is extremely hard for beginners.
The Core Wheels Trainer is also designed to be used on your toes, in traditional push-up fashion, which eliminates the need for knee pads. This is a positive, but also an area of concern as you won’t get the best results if you are doing beginner pushups. Other ab rollers are designed to be used on your knees and give you better results regardless of your current fitness level.
It is very difficult to find any negatives with the wheels themselves as they are sturdy, lightweight and small. If you are already in decent shape, these may be the perfect pick for you, but they are not the best pick if you are just now trying to move towards a better core.
Regarding the size, and this is important, this is the best design for a small living space, or a home full of plenty of other items. They can easily slide under the bed, fit in a large drawer or sit in the bottom of a closet and never get in the way. In addition, because of the separate wheels, you can create your own workout that works more than just your core. A short video showing some ideas are included with the purchase. Again, this would be much higher on the list if it wasn’t so specialized towards people looking to tone up as opposed to people looking to get started.
- Great for those looking to get a well-toned core.
- Small and durable, probably the best build on the list.
- No need for a mat which gives it a bit more flexibility in where you can use it.
- Much harder for beginners to use than traditional ab rollers.
- The two roller system makes it much more difficult to feel stable while in use
The Core Coaster is not an ab wheel as you might imagine, but in fact a far more versatile tool that accomplishes the same thing but offers way more core-building options. The Core Coaster is a set of 2 triangular-shaped (loosely) plates with 3 wheels on the bottom of each one. The wheels turn in every direction and you can put each hand OR each foot on a plate for an endless variety of variable core-building positions.
One of the big selling points is that in a University of Alabama study, the Core Coaster activated obliques 435% more than a traditional crunch, and 300% more than a pike. That’s kind of a big deal don’t you think? It offers several fitness levels along with a resistance band to help recover from a stretched out position. The Core Coaster can be used on any flat surface at all but it can’t be a rough outdoor terrain or any floor with large gaps between floorboards. The coaster forces you to balance and compensate using peripheral muscles which is exactly what you want. It’s like the difference between using a weight machine and free weights for the same exercise. The free weights give you a much better workout because of the extra muscles (needed for balance and compensation) that is required.
- Activates muscles 435% more than traditional exercises
- Small and portable which can be great for travelers.
- Offers a MUCH more thorough and efficient core/mid-section workoout than competitors
- Small wheels need very flat, hard and clean surface
- Not as ergonomically designed as they could be (can be too small and tippy for some)
Unlike most other ab rollers on this list, the RitFit is more akin to the sit-up devices of old. While it does the same basic work, focusing on your core, it uses a more traditional method by having you lay on your back. This works well for those that have injured knees or are not comfortable with the traditional rollers. While it is a bit easier to use and gives you results a little slower, it is a great starting place.
With that all said, we do have some concerns with this ab roller. The design is asymmetrical and somewhat difficult to put together than the rest on this list. It leads to an odd feeling while you are using it and with no way to increase resistance you are going to be limited in results. While other ab rollers let you enhance the difficulty on the fly by leaning out farther or keeping in specific positions longer, this machine only allows you to twist to work different parts of your body.
Some users report an ability to add ankle weights to increase resistance, but they must be anchored to keep them from moving. The design is also not as sturdy as a traditional ab roller which means you are likely going to need to replace it sooner than you like. You will also likely pay a higher price for this one as it is a larger piece, which could be a problem for many users. The size also prohibits the ability to stash it in a closet or under your bed when not using it. While it is a solid choice, it is number 10 on our list for a reason.
- Great for those that have injured knees.
- Easier for people that are out significantly out of shape.
- More traditional crunches as opposed to the rolling of your entire body like the rest of the list.
- Cost is somewhat prohibitive for the quality of the build.
- Size requires more space than a normal ab roller.
- Limited options for increasing intensity.
Conclusions and Recommendation
Ab rollers are a great way to get your core into shape. You will also notice the burn on other muscles, especially your upper back and shoulders with most of the rollers on the list. While the Perfect Fitness Pro Ab Carver is our clear number one pick, the ODOLAND 3-in-1 comes in at a close second. The only difference here is the amount of work that is needed to change up your work out. The rest of the list comes offers a few unique options for specific needs, but when it comes to ab rollers Perfect Fitness Pro and ODOLAND should fit most people’s needs.
There is one caveat though. If you are having trouble with your knees or need something much easier to start with the RitFit Ab Roller is the best bet. While there are some low-cost options on the list, the top picks aren’t much more expensive at the normal retail price and often on sale. The options on this list are all going to do what you want them to do, just some are a bit more refined and offer a few extra bells and whistles than others. If you are really having trouble picking between a few, keep in mind that those with springs often need to be replaced with heavy use. If that is going to be a problem, skip the spring-loaded rollers and go with the more traditional wheel and bar rollers.
Bonus Ab Wheel Workout
Want some recommended workouts and exercise to get the most use of out your new ab wheel? Here’s a great beginner ab workout and a more advanced technique I used to use while playing college club sports.