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Published Jun 7, 2022 9:34 AM

Never underestimate the gains to be had with a medicine ball. Who knew something as simple as a literal ball could help you take your exercise routine to the next level? Slam them. Throw them. Knock out a few dozen ab twists with them. I bet a few of you didn’t even know that they made medicine balls specifically to train baseball and softball players, myself included. The online marketplace is brimming with medicine balls for your at-home gym, but it can be a bit confusing to decipher the differences between each product to find the right product for you. Allow us to help.

Enter the Task & Purpose buyer’s guide to the best medicine balls on the market today. From the bare basics to the more niche swole spheres, we’ve got you covered for whatever your routine may need. We’ve combined our reserves of knowledge with extensive research to curate this guide for you, so scroll on through and happy shopping.

Methodology

As journalists who’ve made fitness a staple throughout most of our military careers, the Task & Purpose staff always strive to deliver the most informative yet honest reviews in every buyer’s guide we curate. From kettlebells to resistance bands and pull-up bars, we always make sure you’re eyeing the right products. I’ve personally enjoyed throwing medicine balls into my circuits and have used enough to know what’s hot and what’s not. 

The products gathered on this list were assessed purely on research from what real-life people have experienced with each one, answering things such as, “How can they be used in a variety of workouts? Are they nice to grip and easy to hold or catch? Are they lifetime equipment, or do they fall apart after a few uses?”

Retail giants such as Amazon are invaluable resources for such information and have helped us find genuinely good products via customer input. But a quick Google search also reveals unique, alluring buys that we were hard-fetched to find outside of manufacturer sites, and we couldn’t ignore them. Companies such as Rogue Fitness and TRX Training, have provided great insight into their own products via their customers’ input. Products with little-to-no consumer feedback were usually ignored as we lean heavily towards items that can back their claims with real-world experience. 

As always, readers are always welcome to learn more about how we curate our buyer’s guides.

The Amazon Basics Medicine Ball was a product that genuinely had me raise an eyebrow, impressed at its acclaim and diverse packages. Starting at a base price of under $30, this product features a weight range stretching up to 20 pounds and can be aided by a variety of other equipment, including kettlebells and dumbbells. All you have to do is check the right option box for you. Compact diameters of just over nine inches plus a textured, basketball-like surface make gripping a no-sweat affair, allowing you to focus harder on your routine. I can see these being a perfectly well-rounded product for basic workouts such as lunges, squats, and twists, and most consumers laud its ease and effectiveness.

Extreme bodybuilder types may shy away from this product, however, as it is only available for up to 20 pounds. As a reference for beginners, most gyms will carry multiple 25-pound medicine balls and above. A handful of consumers also report having had their products ship with strange, oily films. It’s not uncommon, but these products especially proved difficult to grip and clean upon first taking delivery.

Product Specs
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Weight range: 6 to 20 pounds
  • Diameter: 9 inches
PROS

Can be bundled with other equipment

Agreeable price across all bundles

Compact size for easier handling

CONS

Only available up to 20 pounds

Best Value

If the Amazon Basics products were strong values, then the F2C is an outright steal topping out at roughly $25. Two. Five. Many other medicine balls are double to triple the cost. It’s almost a mirror image of the Amazon Basics as well, with a textured rubber surface and basketball-like design, which will surely aid with grip for basic exercises and catching. It’s reportedly a solid choice for bouncing in the same manner as a basketball, thus opening up athletes to new kinds of exercises.

With its bounciness established as a defining trait, it goes without saying that this is probably the worst choice for slamming. As some ill-informed buyers have found out the hard way in their reviews, just don’t try it. You will catch a 12-pound ball to the face. Speaking of, 12 pounds is as high as the weight range goes, meaning that it won’t be ideal for those interested in medicine balls for hardcore strength training. But given some consumers’ wild experiences with improperly using this product, that’s probably a safety feature, anyway.

Product Specs
  • Material: Rubber
  • Weight range: 6 to 12 pounds
  • Diameter: Not disclosed
PROS

Value as strong as the athletes who train with it

Textured, basketball-like surface aids grip

Good for bouncing

CONS

Unavailable in heftier weights

Definitely not for slams

The ProsourceFit Soft Medicine Ball is a robust product with great versatility at a price that undercuts many other balls of the same design. Falling into the niche of wall balls, this sports a synthetic, soft-touch surface for soft impacts on contact. It’s weighted and sized right to still function as a usable medicine ball for all your basic routines but features an appreciable level of added durability for throws and wall ball workouts. A double-stitched seam ensures it stays in one piece, and the lifetime warranty is there to have your back in the off chance it fails you.

Perfect for beginners and intermediate athletes, it’s available for up to 20 pounds, which may deter a few hardcore individuals. And, while the exterior’s durability earned great praise from owners, a few have shared experiences with balls being shipped with deformities, or deforming in the first few uses. In their cases, the weight has shifted, resulting in oblong-ish, imbalanced medicine balls. It’s a solid product, no doubt. Just be cautious in the ordering process.

Product Specs
  • Material: Synthetic leather
  • Weight range: 6 to 20 pounds
  • Diameter: 14 inches
PROS

Soft-touch surface

Simplistic design means high versatility

Tough synthetic leather material

CONS

Only available up to 20 pounds

Reports of unevenly packed weight

Best Soft-Touch

A premium product from a more premium brand, these Rogue medicine balls are ideally suited for enhancing your basic routines and even partake in some wall ball exercises. The weight range is on the broader side of this list, topping out at 30 pounds for more strenuous workouts. The vinyl exterior is soft-to-the-touch while retaining a reasonable degree of durability for harsher impacts and throwing, and heavier weights are reinforced with double-stitched seams. The weighted interior is reportedly designed to retain its shape and not lose its balance, unlike less expensive options.

Speaking of, it’s a pricey thing. The lightest weight starts at $75, enough to shock a few athletes, especially as the price tags climb with the weights. Even with its added strength, it’s still ill-advised to use these as slam balls. In fact, it’s the one thing Rogue Fitness discourages using its medicine balls for, which some may find to be a bummer. Users would also be wise to exercise caution with the heavier weights as one reported that the vinyl surface is harder to catch, thus turning this product from medicine ball to dodgeball in one bad throw.

Product Specs
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Weight range: 4 to 30 pounds
  • Diameter: 14 inches
PROS

Broad weight range

Moisture and scuff resistance

Heavier weights are double-stitched for added strength

CONS

A price tag to wince at

Specifically advised against slamming

Medicine ball to dodgeball with one bad throw

Best for Slamming

The TRX Slam Ball is a medicine ball for, well, you guessed it: slamming. Now, this is a piece of equipment to be thrashed in an adrenaline and Doom soundtrack-fueled rage. It starts at a reasonable $30 and tops out at a lofty $85, and for that, you have access to the broadest range of weight of anything on this list. Amazon listings top out at 40 pounds, but if you head straight to the manufacturer site, you can purchase 50-pound medicine balls. The thick, textured rubber has an almost knurled appearance to it which will surely help your hands stay plastered to the ball during twists and squats.

Overall, it’s a solid and robust product that succeeds in precisely what it’s advertised for, which is intense, aggressive exercises. Exercise caution, however, as a minute number of consumers have reported sand inside their Slam Balls somehow leaking out, raising concerns over quality control. Thankfully, there’s a reasonably generous six-year warranty, just in case.

Product Specs
  • Material: Rubber
  • Weight range: 6 to 50 pounds
  • Diameter: 10 inches
PROS

Broad weight range, especially when bought from manufacturer

Filled with sand to retain shape

Textured exterior for sturdy grip

CONS

Can get a bit pricey

A few reports of sand leaking out

A truly unique item, the Body-Solid Dual Grip is as described: a medicine ball with dual grips for increased versatility. With the addition of the added handles, this product can be utilized for more exercises and functions in place of kettlebells and dumbbells, as many consumers have done. Purchasing this allows users to consolidate their home gym and ditch some equipment while still getting more pumps. Like many other products featured on this list, it’s offered in a generous range of weights up to 20 pounds.

Pricing is a bit of a hurdle for those looking to bulk on a budget. The base model six-pounder starts at $60. Now that’s a burn I only have to do one rep to feel. Perhaps it’s a shipping issue from the warehouses, but there have also been a handful of reports of balls being shipped with an odd coat of oily film that has proven difficult to wash off and hard to grip in the first few uses.

Product Specs
  • Material: Rubber
  • Weight range: 6 to 20 pounds
  • Diameter: 11 inches
PROS

Handles for one- or two-handed gripping

Soft-touch handles for sturdy grip

Greatly increased versatility

CONS

Only available up to 20 pounds

Reports of being shipped coated with a film of oil

Gets expensive quick

Best for Seniors

Take it easy and go with the flow using these Philosophy Gym Toning Balls. I didn’t even know products like these existed, but I’m definitely intrigued that they do. Marketed as “toning balls,” they’re essentially miniaturized medicine balls developed for adding resistance to “softer” workouts for yoga or physical therapy. The weight caps at eight pounds and the diameters can be had in as small as under four inches for one-handed use. These wouldn’t necessarily be for building a body to shame strongmen, but they’re definitely perfect additions to a senior individual’s active lifestyle.

These have been one of the more universally-acclaimed items in my research with very few complaints aside from strange oils on the surface upon delivery. It’s not uncommon, and other items on this list have experienced the same occurrence, but it seems far less pronounced and frequent with the Philosophy toning balls.

Product Specs
  • Material: Soft PVC
  • Weight range: 2 to 8 pounds
  • Diameter: 4.5 to 8.2 inches
PROS

Perfect for elderly or physical therapy

Broad range of diameters for the right grip

Tailored for “softer” exercises

CONS

Definitely not for heavy-weight extremists

Reports of strange film on the surface

Best for Arm Training

Another addition to the list of fitness ball breeds I never knew existed, the Plyo Soft Shell Weighted Ball Set is a unique niche item for baseball and softball players. In the same spirit of the Philosophy toning balls, this item is specifically tailored to tone that throwing arm and sharpen your pitch, perfect for athletes and even physical therapy patients. Weight ranges and diameters are the smallest on this list to mimic the mass and feel of baseballs and softballs in a soft rubber package. They can be inflated as needed, and a carrying case for transport is included.

A common complaint some consumers have had was a slippery surface that sometimes made catching a tricky affair. A few reported having had their products delivered with mild deformities in shape right out of the box, and individual replacements are, at the time of writing, unavailable, meaning replacements call for purchasing a whole new set.

Product Specs
  • Material: Rubber
  • Weight range: 0.2 to 2 pounds
  • Diameter: 3 inches
PROS

Sold in a set of six

Perfect for athlete training or physical therapy

Carrying case included with sale

Can be inflated as needed

CONS

Slippery texture

Reports of slight deformities upon delivery

Individual replacement balls reportedly unavailable

Our verdict on medicine balls

The Amazon Basics Medicine Ball is a top earner for its versatile appeal, inoffensive pricing, and versatile package deals. The F2C Medicine Ball does a mirror-like impersonation at a discounted price. And, the ProsourceFit Soft Medicine Ball adds some extra durability for more intense regiments.

What to consider when buying medicine balls

As it would seem, there’s actually quite an assortment of medicine balls to choose from, depending on your preferred workout methods. Would you like something easygoing and soft for gentle exercises, or do you shred in spite, throwing and slamming equipment in Bang-fueled ragers? There are different medicine balls for different purposes, each with varying levels of feel, weight ranges, sizes, and resiliency. Here are some ways through which a medicine ball can distinguish itself.

Types of medicine balls

Wall ball

A step above a basic rubber medicine ball, these will be a little more robust and pack on some added weight for athletes with a little more verve. These products may often trade rubber exteriors for leather, vinyl, or some soft synthetic material. They won’t bounce, but they will be soft-touch and structured in a way where they can withstand the impact of hitting walls or being thrown and caught. The Prosource Fit and Rogue medicine balls qualify as wall balls.

These will often be a tad larger than normal medicine balls, wider by at least a couple of inches or more, and they’ll be available in heavier weights. Think of maximum weights topping out at 30 to 40 pounds versus 20 to 30 for most regular medicine balls you can buy online. 

Toning

Going in the opposite direction of a wall ball, toning balls will be lighter, smaller, and focused on softer workouts. This makes them perfect for seniors or physical therapy patients; think less like CrossFit and more like yoga. These will often be soft-touch rubbers for plush, cushy impacts and are simply made to add resistance to less strenuous routines. As we’ve learned, some are even tailored for baseball and softball applications to tone throwing arms and sharpen reflexes. 

Weights will often be the lowest, maxing out at eight to 10 pounds for some toning balls. Diameters will often be compact enough to make gripping a thoughtless affair, and some baseball and softball-centric variants will be sized and weighted to mimic.

Slam

The most aggressive and robust of medicine balls, think of slam balls as ‘roided up wall balls. Their exteriors are tougher and their maximum weights are heavier. Some can reach up to 50 pounds, perfect for intense strength training and the act of lifting overhead and slamming down. They’ll be on the larger side, not unlike a wall ball, and they’ll be structured with a soft-ish touch to distribute their force better as they make an impact. 

To achieve their goals, they’ll often be packed with sand as their weight and have no rebound at all. Call it a safety feature. You wouldn’t want a 50-pound sphere ping-ponging across the living room. Their grippy surfaces mean that they can still be used for normal exercises, as well. You’ll just have the added benefits of their resiliency.

Key features of a medicine ball

Exterior surface

What’s it made of, and how are they designed? Most basic medicine balls will be made of some textured rubber for strength and grip. The best ones will have noticeably textured surfaces for less slippage. Of course, that changes as you switch up niches.

Wall balls may be constructed of vinyl, leather, or stronger synthetic materials to withstand their greater impacts. Slam balls will be constructed of thick rubbers with extremely textured surfaces for tight holds and to withstand being thrown from overhead without exploding sand all over the place. Toning balls will be especially soft-to-the-touch with a slick rubber surface like that of a yoga ball. 

Weighting

How heavy is it? Of course, how heavy you want your medicine ball depends on your strength and use case. Lighter workouts that call for a pinch of resistance may benefit from smaller, lighter medicine balls or even toning balls such as those from Philosophy Gym. High-intensity or bodybuilding types will require that you lean into heavier weights from 20 pounds and up.

Wall balls and slam balls will be available in heavier weights given their uses in more stringent and strenuous routines. Some slam balls can even reach as high as 50 pounds, heavier than most dumbbells on the racks at gyms. Toning balls, being intended specifically for light workouts such as yoga or physical therapy, will be the lightest with the lowest weight tipping the scales at mere ounces.

Equipment bundles

Who doesn’t love a good deal? On the online marketplace, there are a ton of bundle deals to be had, especially with exercise equipment. Some medicine balls come sold as a set or can be paired with other items such as the Amazon Basics products. In their case, you can choose whichever weight medicine ball you want plus have the option of adding a dumbbell or kettlebell to the mix.

Do keep in mind that this mainly applies to the less-expensive pickings off Amazon’s catalog. Don’t expect premium products such as Rogue or TRX to offer much in the way of package deals when shopping for medicine balls.

Pricing for medicine balls

Most medicine balls will ring in well under $100 for most lower-end or mid-tier products, especially basic medicine balls such as the Amazon Basics and F2C. Such products will start above $20, with the heaviest Amazon Basics currently available costing over $50. Equipment bundles will raise it into the $70 range. A premium slam ball from TRX ranges from $30 to $85 depending on weight, while Rogue’s wall ball ranges from $75 to $133. Our Best Value pick, the F2C medicine ball, costs athletes an inoffensive $19 to $25. Toning balls such as those from Philosophy Gym will be the most affordable bet at $12.

Tips and tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and medicine balls. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • Consider consolidating your workout equipment by using medicine balls with handles in lieu of kettlebells. While not full replacements, they can also suffice for dumbbells when doing curls or extensions.
  • Don’t use such a massive medicine ball for your ab twists and such. Focusing on handling such a large medicine ball will prove to be cumbersome and distracting during your routine.
  • Never use a medicine ball as a slam ball unless it’s specifically tailored to be used as such. Brutal impacts from those exercises can scuff the exteriors and deform the shapes of non-slam balls.

FAQs about medicine balls

You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers.

Q: What is the best weight and size for a medicine ball?

A: It depends on your use. For basic workouts such as lunges, twists, and squats, a medium to small ball — 12 inches and below — would be easier to grip and available in lower weights. Wall balls and slam balls will be heavier for bodybuilding types and are larger for easier catching and better impact distribution.

Q: What are the best medicine ball workouts for abs?

A: From personal experience, choose something where you can get a solid, sturdy grip. Skip slippery surfaces such as leather or non-textured rubber. Use something with handles or at least textured rubber, and preferably a smaller diameter that’s easy to hold closely without your arms positioned awkwardly. 

Q: Are medicine balls with handles better?

A: It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Slamming and throwing? Most definitely not. But for gripping during ab workouts or even using for curls and tricep extensions in lieu of kettlebells? Medicine balls with handles may be the perfect, do-it-all purchase.

Q: What is the difference between a medicine ball and a wall ball?

A: Wall balls are essentially medicine balls bulked up and reinforced to handle more strenuous workouts. They will be available in heavier weights and larger sizes, and sport leather or vinyl exteriors to withstand the impacts of being thrown about. Of course, you can still use them as regular medicine balls.

Q: Can you build muscle with a medicine ball?

A: You absolutely can, just as you could with nearly any other piece of equipment. You’re adding resistance and training your body to overcome it, especially as you increase the weight. Most medicine balls can be used in place of dumbbells or kettlebells for things like ab twists, curls, squats, and more.

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