Best ab rollers: top ab wheels to tone your core

The best ab rollers target all the muscles in your mid-section, helping build abs whilst also boosting strength and stability

Man working out with an ab roller
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Welcome to my edit of the best ab rollers on the market today, compiled especially for Fit&Well.

Whether you’re back at the gym working out or still getting your sweat on at home, an ab roller is a piece of exercise equipment that no keen fitness enthusiast should be without.

An ab roller is essential a small wheel with two handles either side, which - as the name suggests - can be used to work your abdominal muscles. It might look a little awkward and uncomfortable, but trust me: it’s a key tool in developing core muscles, offering one of the best workouts for abs you can get. It also works the back and arm muscles to boot.

Plus, whilst some core exercises such as sit-ups and crunches only work the rectus abdominis (AKA the six pack), an ab roller hits all of the ab muscles in one go.

This is backed up by a study published in the journal Physical Therapy in which the effectiveness of various ab exercises - including ab wheels, knee raises and reverse crunches - were compared. The results showed that participants who used the ab roller were among the top performers in abdominal muscle activation. 

But why the need to work your core in the first place? Whilst you might personally answer 'to get a toned stomach', firefighter and personal trainer Darren Placid says that it's all about building stability.

'Your core muscles play a huge role in your everyday activities, from getting out of bed to walking down the street to bending over to grab your purse. But most importantly, they literally help you stay upright.’

When it comes to selecting the best ab roller, there are many options to choose from. With it's wide wheel, I love the Vinsguir Ab Roller - a great, stable option to get started with. Check out this and my other picks in the list below.

How to choose the best ab roller for you

When buying your ab roller, you’ll want to take into consideration a few points. I've outlined these below.

Size and portability

Firstly, where do you plan to use your ab roller? Ab rollers aren't typically that large, but if you want to take it away with you on holiday or business trips. or even to the gym, you’ll want to pay attention to size.

Choosing one that doesn’t weigh too much and is easy to break down is also crucial if you want to transport it. Ab Rollers are awkwardly shaped when in tact, and don’t necessarily make for easy packing!

Of course, if you are just using your ab roller at home, the weight of it is less of an issue, but buying one that can be packed away may still be important so you can pack your equipment away.

Comfort

Comfort is another important point. Padded handles can make an ab roller far more enjoyable to use and far less taxing on your hands. Some, such as the Vinsguir Ab Roller, come with a knee pad to take some of the pressure off.

Price

Another factor to consider is price. Whilst ab rollers are generally very affordable (you can expect prices to start around the $10/£10 mark), some options cost considerably more. These are often more premium models, or those that come as part of a set (like the Bafada Ab Roller Wheel Kit), with added extras such as resistance bands, jump ropes and, in some cases, a user guide with ab roller workout suggestions - worth the investment if you're a beginner.

Also bear in mind that the cheapest options may not provide as high a level of comfort during use than slightly more expensive options -so it may be worth spending that little bit more.

So, without further ado, here's my PT-approved pick of the best ab rollers to choose from.

The best ab rollers you can buy right now

Vinsguir Ab Roller with mat, one of our picks for best ab roller

(Image credit: Vinsguir)

1. Vinsguir Ab Roller

The best ab roller for most people

Specifications
Weight: 1.4lbs / 0.6kg
Size: 8cm wide
Self-assembly required: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Comes with a knee pad+Ultra wide wheel for balance and stability +Highly rated in user reviews
Reasons to avoid
-Perhaps too small for some

With an ultra-wide wheel design, the Vinsguir Ab Roller offers great stability and won’t swing from side to side as you roll. It's a great option for all, but particularly beginners.

However, if you do want to roll off to the left or right as a means of working other muscles in the torso, it’s smooth and seamless to do so, and allows you to work your core without wobbling around.

It’s also incredibly comfortable to use, as the rubber cotton handle is easy to grip without digging into your hands. For even more comfort, this ab roller comes with a small knee pad, so you can work your core wherever you are - even on the hardest of surfaces.

This is one sturdy ab wheel too, with the stainless steel shaft able to take a weight of 440lbs or 200kg. All this in a lightweight design.

Lifeline Power Wheel, one of our picks for best ab roller

(Image credit: Lifeline)

2. Lifeline Power Wheel

The best premium ab roller

Specifications
Weight: 3lbs / 1.4kg
Size: 17.5 x 16.7 x 3.8in
Self-assembley required: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Can be used with your feet as well as hands+Comfortable and smooth+Works the entire body
Reasons to avoid
-Large size - harder for storage and travel-More intimidating piece of kit

This is seriously heavy duty, but boy does it offer a good workout - and not just for your core and back. The handles of this abs roller also come with foot stirrups so lower body movements such as plank pike, leg curls and leg lifts can be performed, with the hands placed on the ground instead of holding the roller. And that’s just the start. 

The wheel is solid - it’s practically a tyre - and the handles are comfortable. It wheel engages hips, lower back, obliques and abdominals to help boost strength and posture. The handles are covered in soft foam so you’re not left with callus hands and the wheel is super smooth. 

The design of this model is said to make it a little tougher than conventional ab rollers, so it might be better suited to the more advanced. Plus the price is fairly hefty, so it’s not something you’d want to buy and subsequently chuck in a cupboard and forget about.

In saying all this, the size of this roller makes it a little tricky to transport so it’s definitely a piece of kit for the home workout fan. But don't let that deter you - it’s so good that a study by the University of California Berkeley dubbed it ‘The Best Core Trainer In The World’. 

Opti Ab Wheel, one of our picks for best ab roller

(Image credit: Opti)

3. Opti Ab Wheel

The best budget ab roller

Specifications
Weight: 12.7oz / 360g
Size: 9.8 x 6.9 x 6.9in
Self-assembly required: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Durable+Super lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Tough handles

For a no frills abs roller, this does the job. For the price, you can't really expect too much - it does what you need and that’s pretty much it. 

You get what you pay for; there’s no fancy rubber handles or dual wheels, but it's easy to put together and take apart, and the wheel is fairly durable. It’s quite a slim wheel however, so if you aren’t used to using an abs roller, you might find it a little trickier than some of the others as you can veer off in several directions!

This is a really lightweight ab roller, so naturally it’s brilliant for packing up and taking to the gym or dismantling and packing into luggage. It's also fairly durable - you could throw it around a bit without fear of it getting ruined.It’s plastic with no fancy bits so it’s hard to break.

If you want a cheap and cheerful piece of workout equipment, this will do the trick.

Bafada Ab Roller Wheel Kit, one of our picks for best ab roller

(Image credit: Bafada)

4. Bafada Ab Roller Wheel Kit

The best multi-purpose ab roller

Specifications
Weight: 5.5lb/2.5kg
Size: 9.9 x 9.9 x 6.2in
Self-assembley required: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Lots of stability so great for beginners+Comes with various other home gym equipment +User manual with clear instructions
Reasons to avoid
-Do you really need all the included items?-Ab roller's unusual shape isn’t ideal for transporting 

When an ab roller isn’t enough on its own, why not go all out and get a set that also contains push up bars, a jump rope, resistance bands, a hand grip and core sliders. All these pieces of equipment don’t just help work your core, they also offer a good cardio workout as well as strength for the upper body. The set comes with a knee pad for added comfort.

This ab roller in particular is different to many we’ve seen as instead of the usual two one or two wheels, it has four wheels. This allows for even more stability, which makes it a great option for beginners. It also means you are likely to be less prone to injury when using this ab roller.  

Also in this set are two ab roller pull ropes. These can be attached with one end around the feet, the other end around the wheel, as a means to make the ab roll a little easier to control.

H&S Abdominal Exercise Roller, one of our picks for best ab roller

(Image credit: H&S)

5. H&S Ab Abdominal Exercise Roller

The best abs roller for smooth gliding

Specifications
Weight: 12oz / 340g
Size: 11.8 x 5.9 x 5.9in
Self-assembley required: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Easy-glide dual wheel+Comes with a knee pad
Reasons to avoid
-Bulkier to transport

If there was a close runner up to the ‘the best ab roller for most people’, then this would be it.

This dual wheel ab roller allows for greater control, making it perfect for beginners. Having two wheels means balance is a little easier, as single wheels can turn in various directions; good for working out your core, not so good if you’re a novice at the move itself and are struggling to simply go in one straight line.

It's easy to put together and dismantle, plus the foam knee pad really helps avoid sore knees on hard floors. The ab roll move itself can mean that knees are pressed into the floor and the wheel glides better on hard surfaces, so joints can end up a little sore.  

The handles are really comfortable to hold. What’s more, it’s incredibly durable and the wheels are solid. 

Lucy Gornall
Lucy Gornall

Lucy is Head of Wellness at Pure Sport and was formerly Health and Fitness Editor at various women's magazines, including Woman&Home Feel Good You. She has previously written for titles including Now, Look and Cosmopolitan. She lives and breathes all things fitness; she works out every morning, and mixes it up with runs, weights, boxing and endless box jumps. She is also a Level 3 personal trainer and teaches classes at various London studios, primarily Digme Fitness. Lucy is pre- and post-natal trained and helps new mums get back into fitness after the birth of their baby. Lucy claims that good sleep, plenty of food and a healthy gut (seriously, it's an obsession) are the key to maintaining energy and exercising efficiently. Saying this, she's partial to the odd Negroni on the dance floor with her friends.