I’ve been practicing Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) for more than 2 years now. If you don’t know what SMR is, it’s a fancy word for “self massaging” for healing scar tissues. Two essential tools needed for performing SMR is the foam roller and the lacrosse ball.
My old foam roller recently gave out (got too soft), so I went shopping. After a lot of research, I narrowed down my choices to either the PB Elite Molded Foam Roller or Trigger Point Performance Therapy’s The Grid Foam Roller. I did a search on the internet for an honest review of the differences between the two and could not find one comparison, so I ended up purchasing both rollers so I can talk about the differences between the two here (yeah, I went a little overboard).
Quick Side Side-by-Side Comparison
|PB Elite Molded Foam Roller||The Grid Foam Roller|
3 ft. long, 6 in. diameter cylinder with smooth (flat) surface.
13 in. long, 5 in. diameter hollow cylinder with patterned surface.
|Firmness Rating||5 of 5||5 of 5|
|Penetration Rating||4 of 5||5 of 5|
|Surface||Smooth/flat like a traditional foam roller.||Patterned to mimic massage pressure from:|
|Durability||Lasts 3 times as long as a regular celled foam roller.||The manufacturer claims that it will last forever.|
My Impressions of PB Elite Molded Foam Roller
What I like about it:
The roller is firm, long, wide, and light.
I’m comfortable rolling on something that is at this length. I feel like the length of the roller contributes to how stable I feel when I’m rolling.
The length also allows me perform more moves than a shorter roller. One particular move that I like to do is to roll from my glutes to the side of my hip, then to my hip flexors (front of my hips), a move that would be impossible to do with a roller that is smaller than 2 ft long.
I’ve used these rollers at my local 24 hour fitness gym (where rollers take a lot of pounding) and they were still firm when I used them. So it sounds like there is truth in the claim that they will last at least 3 times longer than a regular celled foam roller.
What I’m not too fond of:
If I was comparing this foam roller against a regular foam roller, this section would be empty.
Compared to The Grid Foam Roller, the PB Elite foam roller doesn’t penetrate my muscles enough. This is probably due to the lack of patterns on the outside of the roller.
My Impressions of The Grid Foam Roller
What I like about it:
The roller can get really deep into my muscles. The PVC pipe core probably contributes to a lot of the firmness. The various patterns on the roller also allow me to target my muscles in various ways (it’s also kind of fun!).
Considering that it’s only about a foot long, it’s surprisingly stable.
The roller is quite portable. I took it on a trip with me over the weekend and I was able to save some space in my travel bag by sticking some lacrosse balls and other SMR gear inside the hollow core of the roller.
The company (Trigger Point Performance Therapy) claims that it will last you forever.
What I’m not too fond of:
Since I am a big person, the short length really limits the number of foam rolling options. I pretty much can’t use this for upper body rolling at all. I don’t mind paying more money for a longer roller!
The patterns on the grid is a gift and a curse. When I used it to roll out my upper back, it left bruise marks. I guess my skin in that area is more tender than the skin on my quads and calves.
I haven’t seen any complaints on it breaking down, but I still wonder what is the average liftspan of the grid foam roller.
I also wish the roller came with some end-caps so that I can seal off all of my SMR gear inside the roller. Right now, I can leverage the hallow space, but things just roll in and out of it so I have to stick it in a bag.
Time to Choose
Consider how much pain you can handle. If you are new to foam rolling and can’t handle that much foam rolling pain, then go for the PB Elite. If you are a rolling pro, you should opt for The Grid Foam Roller.
Consider your body size. If you are a big person (like me), you’ll probably feel more comfortable/stable rolling on the PB Elite foam roller.
Consider how much you travel. If you travel a lot, you’ll benefit more from the portable Grid Foam Roller.
Consider your foam rolling routine. If you typically roll out your upper body too, you will need to opt for the PB Elite foam roller because The Grid is simply too short (size does matter when it comes to rolling).
There you have it. I hope this honest comparison between the two can help you guys choose the right foam roller for you. A final tip for choosing between similar products (in general): don’t get caught up in the marketing hype of why a particular product is better than another. Use a little bit of common sense to figure out which product is right for you (assess your routine, body composition, and lastly your lifestyle).