Best Balance Pads

Updated October 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

19 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
171 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for the best balance pads

Last Updated October 2019

A balance pad may look a simple exercise tool, but the workout benefits you get from using one are great, and you will definitely work up a sweat using it.

To put it simply, a balance pad is a square or rectangular piece of foam about two to three inches thick. The average size for a regular balance pad is around 20 x 16 inches, with larger ones up to 38 inches long and even longer ones available for use on a balance beam. They are mainly used for strength training and physical rehabilitation.

In most exercise scenarios, you place one foot on the pad, keeping the other foot on the floor or lifting it off the ground entirely. The soft, spongy material of the mat forces you to use all the muscles in your feet, ankles, calves, thighs, and core to maintain your balance while standing on it.

The first time you use one, you may feel your muscles start to tremble with the strain in just a few minutes. With repeated use, there are plenty of fitness benefits to be had. If you’re interested in buying a balance pad, read on for more information.

Balance pads are one of the best workout tools for seniors who can’t manage high-impact exercises or lift heavy weights. Any exercise on a balance pad is similar to the difference between walking on a sidewalk and walking on a sandy beach.

Key considerations

If you’re serious about obtaining a low-impact workout that delivers results, there are several things you need to consider before purchasing a balance pad (or two).

Size

Small: These balance pads are so small that you can only put one foot on them at a time. They are typically oval and measure no more than 16 x 9 inches. Some may be rectangular.

Regular: These are the standard 20 x 16-inch size. They are large enough to accommodate both of your feet at the same time when you’re doing squats or similar exercises.

Large: These balance pads measure around 38 x 16 inches. Some manufacturers refer to them as extra-large. They are intended to be used with both feet on them simultaneously.

Balance beam: These pads are intended to be used as a balance beam on the floor (so you don’t have a long way to fall) and measure around 63 x 10 x 2 inches, more or less. The base of these balance pads is usually wider than the top. Walking one foot in front of the other on these pads is a true exercise in maintaining your balance.

Quantity

The number of balance pads you need depends on whether you’re working out by yourself or with a partner.

Single workout: Most balance pad exercises involve only one pad at a time. You may be performing maneuvers such as lunges. You switch from one foot to the other on the pad, or occasionally, you put both feet on the same pad to do deep knee squats with your arms raised in front of you. If you work out by yourself, one balance pad is all you need.

Partner workout: If you work out with a partner, you need a balance pad for each of you. The more workout partners you have, the more balance pads you’ll need.

Dry vs. wet

Balance pads float. In fact, many people buy them for use as flotation devices. Average-size balance pads make excellent kickboards. Large balance pads can serve as whole-body boards for small children and infants (provided you’re close by to keep them safe). A balance beam pad makes a good neck rest in the swimming pool, keeping your head and shoulders comfortably above water while allowing you to relax.

Safety

By design, balance pads force you to strain your muscles to maintain your balance. Inevitably, you’ll lose your balance and fall while using the pad. To prevent injuries, you need to use your balance pad in a wide-open area, free from furniture or tables with hard, sharp edges. If you don’t have a mostly empty room that can be dedicated as an exercise room, then you should make sure someone is available to spot you during your workout.

EXPERT TIP

Standing one-legged on a balance pad is the best way to strengthen your ankles. The small but constant instability forces your lower leg muscles to work overtime to keep you from falling over.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Material

Balance pads are typically made from closed-cell foam of one sort or another. Some are made of EVA foam; others tout a latex-free construction. Some manufacturers even claim the material is non-toxic and eco-friendly. The takeaway is that all balance pads are made from a soft foam that works on land as a balancing pad and in the water as a flotation device.

Color

Depending on the manufacturer, you may or may not have a choice of color. In those cases where the manufacturer offers only one color, it is usually some shade of blue. The primary colors offered for balance pads are black, blue, green, purple, and red.

Textured surface

Upgraded or “elite” balance pads have a non-slip material on them. Balance pads are best used when you’re barefoot, and the textured surface helps you maintain traction on the pad. Notably, a balance pad with texturing will likely cost more than one without.

EXPERT TIP

Bicep curls strengthen your biceps and triceps if they are properly done. Standing on one leg on a balance pad turns it into a whole-body exercise. For beginners, use 10-pound weight in each hand. Stand on one leg and do six bicep curls. Switch legs and do another six curls. Do three sets like that to give your whole body a low-impact workout.


Staff  | BestReviews

Balance pad prices

Low price: $19 to $40 is the low-price range for balance pads. In fact, this is where you’ll find the bulk of all balance pads. Small and regular-size pads are in this category.

Mid-range: Average-size balance pads that are textured run from $64 to $75. The textured surface is the primary difference between this category and the low-priced category.

High price: The high-end prices will be anything over $75 for large balance pads and balance beam pads. The higher price in this category is primarily a reflection of greater physical size.

Tips

  • Standing on a balance pad makes you feel wobbly. Start with both feet on the pad. Slowly lift one foot off the pad while holding your arms out to your sides. You’ll begin feeling a burn in no time.
  • Lunges, in which you place the front foot on the pad and the rear foot on the floor, are a great exercise. Start out slow, and gradually increase your speed as you get more comfortable.
  • Stretching exercises in which you place one knee on the pad and the other foot on the floor can help improve your balance as well as stretch your muscles. Balancing on your knee forces you to concentrate.
  • Sit-ups where you lift your legs, head, and shoulders are sometimes called v-ups. They are a great way to exercise your abdominal muscles. Doing the same exercise with a balance pad under your buttocks multiplies the effect.
  • Balance pads come with cleaning instructions. Often, you must simply wipe the pad down with a damp towel to keep it clean. Some arrive pre-sanitized to help guard against the build-up of bacteria and fungus.
EXPERT TIP

Because balance pads are so lightweight, you can take them in your suitcase when you travel. That way, you can get a workout right in your hotel room.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

The ProsourceFit Exercise Balance Pad is slightly smaller than average at 15.5 x 12.5 x 2.5 inches, but it makes up for that by offering a textured surface, and the lower price tag is a great deal. It comes in three colors; black, blue, and purple.

We found a lot to like about the Monkey Movement Large Foam Balance Pad, although the term "large" may be a bit misleading. It is 15.5 x 13.5 x 2 inches, which makes it smaller than the average balance pad. However, it is textured and includes a resistance band. It has a solid, middle-of-the-road price, but some people object to the relative thinness of the pad.

Balance pads are commonly used in physical rehab centers to help patients improve motor skills and joint stability.

FAQ

Q. Are balance pads just for beginners?
A.
It depends on what you’re using it for. If all you’re doing is standing on the pad, yes — a balance pad is fine for beginners. If you’re doing actual exercises, no — the balance pad adds a measure of instability to your stance that immediately engages the small muscles to help you maintain your balance. This automatically makes the exercises more difficult.

Q. Do balance pads have any non-exercise uses?
A.
As previously mentioned, they make good flotation devices. Also, if you place one on the seat of your chair, the instability will engage your core muscles as you try to balance yourself. You’re actually getting a workout just by sitting one of them!

Q. What’s the difference between a balance pad and a balance board?
A.
Balance pads are made of foam, whereas balance boards are made of a harder material. The softer material of a balance pad is great for engaging multiple muscle sets, but both are beneficial, and both provide a low-impact workout that can help improve your balance and strength.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey