Updated August 2022
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Buying guide for Best wrist rollers

When you picture a strong body, you probably think of rock-hard abs and bulging biceps. In order to be truly fit, however, you need to remember all of your muscles, especially the ones that help you work out harder. If you want to reach maximum intensity while lifting weights, you need strong forearms, and the best way to build strong forearms is with a wrist roller.

The best wrist roller is durable and simple to use. It must securely fasten so there is no danger of the weight plates slipping off during your workout. A wrist roller should have a comfortable grip and be flexible enough to offer a variety of hand positions so you can experience a comprehensive workout.

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Raising a weight with an overhand grip and twisting your wrist roller clockwise places the focus on your flexors. Twisting counterclockwise with an overhand grip works out your extensors.

Understanding the forearms

Like many areas of your body, your forearms have two sets of opposing muscles: flexors and extensors. You use flexors to decrease the angle of a joint. For example, making a fist and bending your elbow to show off your bicep is flexing. Alternatively, you use extensors to increase the angle of a joint. When you straighten your arm and open your fist, you’re using the extensor muscles in your forearm.

When using a wrist roller, if the resistance happens when you’re moving your knuckles toward your forearm, you’re working your flexor muscles. If the resistance happens when you’re moving your knuckles away from your forearm, you’re working your extensor muscles. To have an effective forearm workout, you need to train both sets of muscles.

The benefit of having strong forearms is a strong grip, which in the gym is essential. The strength of your grip is directly related to how hard you can train. If you have a weak grip, you won’t be able to effectively (and safely) hold and control a barbell that is loaded with weight plates. As far as everyday uses, strengthening your forearms will not only help you make a better first impression with a firm handshake but it will also allow you to open all those stubborn jars unaided.

Expert TIp
Wrist rollers are one of the best exercises to help prevent and fix a variety of elbow issues, such as golfer's elbow and tennis elbow. I recommend performing three sets of 12 to 15 reps, three days a week on non-consecutive days.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Wrist roller features

A wrist roller might seem like a simple device – a line attached to some weights that you roll up using a bar – but there are several design nuances you need to consider to be certain you're getting a quality item.

Handheld vs. mounted

There are two types of wrist rollers: handheld and mounted.

Handheld: A handheld wrist roller is supported by the user and is the most prevalent type on the market. It’s portable and easy to use, and it doesn't require any additional items (besides the weights).

Mounted: A mounted wrist roller is desirable because it better isolates the forearms during a workout. As the name implies, however, this type of wrist roller needs to be mounted – even if only temporarily – so, for many users the lack of portability and versatility outweighs the positives.

Weights or resistance

Almost all wrist rollers require the user to attach weight to a line, which is then rolled up and down like a slow yo-yo for an intense workout. Although they are harder to find, there are wrist rollers that don’t require weights. These devices look like a short bar with two hand grips. A built-in resistance control allows you to dial up the intensity level of your workout. These units are portable and extremely versatile, but they can cost up to three times more than the other designs.

Weight capacity

The weight capacity of your wrist roller tells you what the upper limit of your workout will be. Some can only support small, one-inch weight plates and have a maximum load of 20 pounds. Others have a more durable line and carabiner and are safe up to 300 pounds, which is far more weight than you’ll need.


You need to be able to comfortably hold a wrist roller for it to be effective. If you're using an underhand grip and the bar is hurting your hands, you’ll stop your reps before your muscles are fully fatigued. Additionally, wrist roller grips must be nonslip. One of the most dangerous things that can happen is for the wrist roller and attached weight plates to slip from your grasp in the middle of a set.

Expert Tip
I recommend using the wrist roller AFTER performing the bigger upper body exercises, such as bench pressing, pushups, pullups, rows, bicep curls, and tricep extension. These bigger exercises will require maximum strength in the forearms.
BestReviews Fitness Expert


Higher-end wrist rollers have a dual-line design that ensures the center of gravity stays in the center of the bar. This will help you keep the wrist roller level during strenuous workouts.


The more durable the materials, the safer the wrist roller. This includes the bar, carabiner, and line.

Wrist roller prices


You can purchase a budget model for under $10, but the quality and durability might be dangerously low. Unless you uncover a true gem, you’ll want to avoid these models.


Durable models that cost about $18 to $27 are typically a bar with a center spool that connects to one-inch weight plates. Be careful to read the specifications on these models because the overall weight limit might not be as much as you need.


The higher-end wrist rollers start at around $38 and can cost as much as $58. For this range, look for the strongest, most durable materials, a wider variety of grips, included weights, and a dual-line connecting the weights to the bar.

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Expert TIp
I would also recommend performing the wrist roller exercise with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and close to your side with a palms-down grip to promote isolation of the forearm muscles and prevent shoulder fatigue.
BestReviews Fitness Expert


  • Only move your wrists. Your wrists should be the only part of your body moving during a forearm workout. Wrist rolling takes both hands, but only one hand works at a time. While one hand is rolling, the other is holding the wrist roller steady.
  • Use correct form. Holding the wrist roller at your waist with your elbows slightly bent is the best position to work your forearms. To help further isolate your forearm muscles, you can rest your elbows on a sturdy surface. If you hold your arms out parallel to the floor at shoulder height, the exercise will be more intense, but you will be engaging other muscles and taking the focus off forearm development.
  • Do each set nonstop. Don’t allow the weights to touch the floor because this allows you to rest during your sets. The exercise is to be performed up and down. Don't just drop the weight when you get to the top – let it down slowly, keeping the wrist roller parallel to the floor.
  • Work out often. Since forearms can be trained often, you will want to work them at least three times every week doing both flexion and extension exercises.
  • Work at your limit. To see the most improvement, forearm exercises shouldn't be easy. Vary your grip and spacing and always strive for maximum range of motion to achieve the best results.
"If you allow the wrist roller to simply unwind after you get the weight to the top, you’re only doing half the exercise. The weight's descent should be as slow and controlled as the ascent.m."
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Don't be embarrassed. The first time you use a wrist roller you might only be able to use ten pounds (or less).


Q. Why is it so hard to bulk up my forearms?

A. Your forearm muscles are already accustomed to frequent usage. Every time you grab, carry, squeeze, or twist something, for instance, you’re using those muscles. In order to effectively work them out to the point of increasing muscle mass, you need to target and engage those flexors and extensors using a weight that is heavier than you encounter in your day-to-day life.

Q. Besides increasing the weight, is there any other way to increase the difficulty?

A. There are several ways to increase the difficulty and effectiveness of a wrist-roller workout.  You can increase the repetitions, increase the sets, stand on a platform to increase the distance of each roll, space your hands farther apart, or add thickness to your wrist roller.

Q. What's the problem with holding my arms out parallel to the floor at shoulder height when using a wrist roller?

A. Many individuals do the exercise that way. The position itself isn’t necessarily the problem. What happens when you hold your arms out straight is that your other muscles will fatigue more quickly than your forearms. If you try to work through the fatigue and start leaning back, it creates poor form and unwanted stress. At the very least, your mind will start thinking about endurance and keeping your arms up instead of focusing on getting full extension with each and every roll. In essence, your wrist rolls will become increasingly less effective and the poor form could injure your back

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