Best Hand Grippers

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

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

77 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
145 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Why trust BestReviews?
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best hand grippers

Last Updated August 2019

Hand muscles aren’t usually our highest priority at the gym. We rarely aspire to have well-proportioned thumbs or toned palms. And yet, so much of our workout depends upon having a good grip. You can’t clean-and-press your way to a new personal best with weak hands.

Even if you’re not a gym rat, there are other reasons to improve your grip. Maybe you’ve developed a touch of arthritis or grasping a screwdriver isn’t as easy as it once was. But you don’t need a gym membership or a personal trainer for strengthening. You need a hand gripper.

Hand grippers are small exercise devices that you hold in your hand and squeeze against resistance. They come in different designs and varied resistance levels. Which one is right for you? Keep reading to learn more. If you’re ready to buy, check out our recommendations for the best hand grippers on the market. 

Don’t forget muscles come in pairs. If you’ve been heavily working your grip, you shouldn’t neglect your extensor muscles. Working both sets of muscles will reinforce your grip and help your overall strength training.

Key considerations

When choosing a hand gripper, you’ll need to decide on your goal. Here are a few questions to consider first.

  • Do you want to strengthen your grip for a better hold on the pull-up bar or free weights at the gym? If you’re in the market for recreational hand grippers to improve your workout, a more rugged style may be best for you. Many have round metal handles that mimic the shape and thickness of a bar. Some are knurled or textured to give you a more secure grip.
  • Are you recovering from an injury and hoping to regain strength and function in your hand? Or do you need more hand strength for functional reasons, like opening jar lids or other household tasks? If so, you should look at hand grippers with comfortable, ergonomic handles. These plastic nonslip handles usually have a space for each finger to guide your hand position. Athletes can also use this design, but it will not give them the same grip simulation as a round bar handle.
  • Are you trying to master a new hobby, like guitar or woodworking, that requires you to use hand muscles you didn’t even know you had? A few grippers allow you to move each finger independently to isolate weaker areas. This feature is especially important for musicians, who may need to strengthen individual fingers to improve their instrument technique. It’s also beneficial for those recovering from a hand injury that affects their fine motor skills.
CAUTION

Different manufacturers may use different resistance rating tests. Make sure you understand the scale before you make a purchase, or you might be disappointed.

Features

Adjustability

If you’re strength training for the gym, you’ll want to increase your resistance level over time. You can achieve this by purchasing a hand-gripper set that includes multiple resistance levels, buying one that has adjustable resistance, or investing in stronger grippers over time.

If you simply want to increase functional hand strength or if you’re recovering from an injury, a hand gripper with a single resistance level might be best for you. Once you reach your desired level, you can then decide to buy a stronger gripper or maintain at the same level of resistance. Of course, if you’re not sure where to start, you can always buy an adjustable gripper, too.


Resistance levels

  • Hand grippers designed mainly for rehabilitation have a lower weight resistance than those meant for the gym. Some start as low as 10 pounds of resistance. If you’re recovering from an injury and regularly seeing a doctor or physical therapist, ask what resistance level is best for you.
  • Hand grippers meant for recreational use generally start around 50 pounds of resistance. Grippers between 50 and 60 pounds are a good choice for those who are new at the gym or for self-imposed “rehab” of the hand muscles. Grippers in the range of 80 to 100 pounds are good for active individuals whose exercise or occupation does not involve a lot of hand work.
  • For those who have already been strengthening their grip or work in a job where hand strength is vital, there are grip trainers in the 150-pound range. Hand grippers above 150 pounds should only be used by those who have plateaued in their grip training and need to move to something stronger.


Spring mechanism

Hand grippers feature a number of different resistance mechanisms:

  • Basic grippers operate on steel loops that flex and extend as you squeeze. Some made in this style are extremely strong; others are not. The thickness of the metal on the loops makes all the difference.  
  • Some grippers stretch a steel spring when you squeeze. Look for thicker coils and regularly examine the point where the springs attach, because overstretching them can cause them to fail.
  • Other grippers compress a steel spring when you squeeze. By design, this style cannot fail due to overstretching.
DID YOU KNOW?

Hand grippers actually strengthen more than your hand muscles — they work everything from your fingertips down to your elbows.

Hand gripper prices

Inexpensive: If you don’t have precise goals but just want to improve hand strength, you can buy inexpensive hand grippers for under $10. At this price, they may or may not be adjustable. Even if they are adjustable, it’s hard to read the setting, unless it’s on the minimum or maximum. They may have grippy pads, but the handles are not likely to be very ergonomic.

Mid-range: In the $10 to $20 price bracket, you’ll find both single-resistance and adjustable-resistance levels. You’ll have more variety in handle styles, from gym bars and ergonomic grips to grips that let you work individual fingers. The handles may not, however, be designed well enough to keep your hands from slipping at higher resistance levels.

Expensive: High-end hand grippers have worked out most of the kinks, but you’ll pay for that level of detail, with prices ranging from $20 to $40. You’ll find solid, durable single-resistance trainers as well as textured, ergonomic, adjustable models. They’ll get the job done quietly, with quality components and well-marked settings.

Tips

  • Triple-digit repetitions aren’t the key to strengthening your grip. You build hand muscles the same way you strengthen other muscle groups — by performing low numbers of repetitions while increasing resistance.
  • If you want to use a hand gripper for strengthening after an injury, ask your doctor or therapist how much resistance is safe for you to use.
  • If you’re not sure what your starting resistance should be, choose an adjustable hand gripper that gives you options
  • Watch for foamy handles that can tear or retain sweat.
  • Grip is everything — avoid slippery plastic handles that lack texturing.
FOR YOUR SAFETY

Be careful of how high you place your fingers on the grips, or you may catch a finger in the springs.

Other products we considered

Most bar-style hand grippers aren’t adjustable, but the GD Hand Grip Strengthener is an exception. Solidly in the “recreational” gripper camp, its resistance level starts at 55 pounds and increases all the way to 176 pounds. Keep in mind that its range of motion might not be as large as grippers with round wind springs. Those who need something smaller or a little gentler on the hands should consider these Vive grip-strengthening rings. Made from silicone, the rings won’t toughen your hands like metal or hard plastic grips and include several common lower-resistance levels.

Experts say hands are about the only muscle group you shouldn’t work while you’re still sore. This is because they are vital to your daily life and prone to injury. Wait until you’ve recovered from your last grip workout before starting the next one.

FAQ

Q. How do I know when I need a higher resistance level?
A.
Generally, if you are able to fully close a gripper for 20 to 25 repetitions, it’s time to move up. However, you don’t need to wait that long before getting a start on the next level. Once you can complete ten to 12 repetitions, you can try your hand at the next level. If you have an adjustable hand gripper, simply adjust your level. If your hand gripper has a single resistance level, once you master ten consecutive repetitions, it’s time to place an order for the next resistance level. Don’t leave a level entirely behind, though, until you can complete two dozen reps. 

Q. My hand gripper has started squeaking. Do I need a new one?
A.
Many hand grippers claim to be silent, but in reality, most start making noise over time. This doesn’t necessarily indicate a structural problem — it’s most likely the metal edges lightly rubbing against each other. If the sound bothers you, lubricate the area where friction is occurring with some oil. This should alleviate the problem, and it won’t affect the tension or your workout.

Q. I’m starting to see rust on my hand gripper. Is it ruined?
A.
Probably not. Many steel items will show surface oxidation if you’re in a humid climate. It’s mainly a cosmetic issue, but if you don’t like the look, it’s an easy fix. You can simply wipe off the rust with a light polishing cream. This should make it look as good as new. After that, give the surface a light treatment with oil or car wax to block future moisture. Stay on top of the treatments to keep the oxidation at bay, and repeat the whole cleaning if you see any more rust.

Q. Can left-handed athletes use standard hand grippers?
A.
For the most part, yes. Many people train both their left and right hands with the same gripper. However, some lefties say they can feel a difference. It may be a matter of hand positioning, or they may also feel a difference because their hand is sensitive to the wind spring’s geometry. If you’re a southpaw and find standard-design grippers don’t feel quite right, there are grippers available that create a more natural motion for lefties. 

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Kailey
    Kailey
    Writer
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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