This is a review guide to the 7 best slam balls you can buy online, including a buyers guide to help you choose the right one.
Slam balls are versatile, iron-sand filled balls that are typically used for strength training. They are heavier than a medicine ball and they won’t bounce back when you slam them.
Commonly used for CrossFit and other strength/fitness workouts, the best slam balls come in a range of weights and there are plenty of models on the market. Choose between smooth and textured balls, those with valves and those without, and ranging in weight from a few pounds to 100 lb+ slam balls.
Table of Contents
What Is A Slam Ball?
A slam ball is a weighted, sand-filled, rubber-coated ball. They are similar in some respects to a medicine ball, except that they are thicker and therefore less likely to break when thrown against a hard surface.
They are commonly used for strength training and, depending on the slam ball exercises you do, they can be used to train shoulders, triceps, and calves, as well as the back and the core. They can greatly improve muscle mass and the dynamic exercises can even add a little stress-beating fun to your daily workout, although you will need a solid floor on which to use one.
Benefits Of Slam Balls
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of different types of exercise equipment on the market today, and everybody has a favorite. From kettlebells to resistance bands, they all have their functions and their benefits, and the slam ball is no different. The following are some of the benefits to incorporating slam ball exercises into your regimen.
- Core Control – Your core connects your upper body to your lower body. A strong core enables you to utilise more muscle groups at once while also promoting better stance and improved stability. Core strengthening is vital to seasoned athletes because it enables more explosive muscle use, but it is important to everybody. Improve core strength can alleviate muscle and joint pain while improving posture.
- Cardio Endurance – Slam ball exercises tend to concentrate on strength training, but they can also improve cardio endurance. They elevate the heart rate, improve blood flow, and get the lungs pumping. If you are concentrating on cardiovascular endurance, use full-body movements that really get you sweating and breathing hard.
- Functional Training – Functional training is strength and endurance training that has a purpose. For athletes, this means using exercises that mimic the movement involved in their sport. For non-athletes, it can mean strengthening the body to better cope with actions performed at work, playing your favorite sport, or simply to improve your body for everyday movements. Slam ball exercises, such as the overhead slam, are considered functional training exercises so are highly beneficial.
- Fun Training – Most people suffer a lack of training motivation at some point. This is especially true if you pull off the same moves using the same equipment every day. It gets boring and this boredom saps motivation. Ball slams are fun. They can be used to alleviate stress and the feeling of power that comes with slamming the ball on the ground is motivation enough for a lot of people.
Slam Balls vs Medicine Balls
The slam ball is like the medicine ball in a lot of ways. They are both heavy balls. However, there are important differences. A slam ball is heavier than a medicine ball and it has a thicker coating that is less likely to bounce.
If you slam a medicine ball on the ground, there is a good chance that it will rebound and hit you, but this shouldn’t be an issue with a slam ball. The extra weight of the slam ball means that it is more often used for strength training, too.
Buyers Guide To The Best Slam Balls
Slam balls can be a great addition to the home gym, but you do need to ensure that you use them safely. You need a solid surface that won’t break, and you should probably avoid using this type of equipment if you live in close proximity to your neighbors.
The downstairs apartment won’t thank you for your 20-minute slam ball workout. Apart from a decent surface and appropriate workout gear, though, you only need the ball itself, which makes the slam ball a versatile and flexible piece of home workout equipment. Consider the following factors when buying:
Slam ball grip can be smooth or textured. The smooth surface is easier on soft hands, especially if you are performing dozens of repetitions of a high intensity exercise. However, as you sweat the surface of the ball will become slippery which can be hazardous with moves like overhead smashes. A textured surface provides better grip but it will take some time for your hands to get used to the feeling.
Not all slam balls are the same size. Typically, men use bigger versions than women, although this isn’t always the case. Explosive exercises like overhead slams are better served by a smaller smash ball, while cleans are easier to perfect with a large ball. 9” is the most common diameter and the size that is recommended for functional training exercises.
Your slam ball will take a battering through the course of its life. You will probably be lifting it above your head and slamming it down onto the ground as hard as you can, repeatedly. Even a medicine ball will struggle with this kind of treatment, which is why a good quality slam ball should be made of a thick and reinforced rubber. Durability is still important, so read customer and buyer reviews to ensure that your ball will last without easily splitting.
Generally, slam balls come in weights ranging from 10lb to 50lb, although there are much heavier than this available.
What Size Slam Ball Should I Buy?
Women should consider starting with a 10lb ball and men with a 20lb ball, before working up to heavier weights. Some experts recommend a third to half the weight of your one rep max weight of a standard weight training exercise.
Valve or No Valve
Slam balls can come with a valve or no valve. The valve is used to inflate and deflate the ball, which is useful, but the valve is an area of weakness and unless you avoid slamming the ball down on the valve surface, it is likely that you will eventually cause the ball to split. A ball with no valve does not carry this same risk.
The 7 Best Slam Balls – Reviewed
Bearing the above in mind, as well as budget, we have found the following 7 slam balls to be the best that are currently available to buy online.
The Titan Fitness slam ball is a heavy beast of a ball with variants weighing up to a muscle defying 150 lbs. They have a tough rubber shell with a textured grip and the rubber does a good job of soaking up the impact when you slam the ball. This reduces the likelihood of it bouncing back up and causing injury.
Although Titan slam balls tend to be quite pricey, they are among some of the best available, and considering the weight, they actually represent decent value for money for a 100lb slam ball. Their weight, however, means that they have a slightly larger diameter than others, and this can take some getting used to. Titan slam balls receive excellent reviews, although a couple of buyers have said that they had to use chalk to ensure a safe grip.
- Heavy weights ideal for strength training
- Durable rubber coating
- Pricey compared to other models
- Some buyers have complained about the grip
2 – TRX Slam Ball
If you’re looking for something lighter on the muscles and on the wallet, then the TRX slam ball is a good alternative. Its hardened rubber shell absorbs impact from any type of slam exercise and it comes in weights from 6 lb to 50 lb.
The TRX balls get strong reviews for the tire like grip on the exterior of the ball but there have been some complaints of popped balls within a year of purchase. If you’re a heavy slammer, you might be better off with something like the Titan slam ball.
- Great tire like grip
- Reasonably cheap
- Not as wide a range of weights as other makes
- Some reports of popped balls
The Rage Fitness slam ball has a textured surface on its heavy-duty rubber shell. It comes in a choice of 10 lb, 20 lb, or 35 lb weights, and it is one of only a few models that has an air valve. The air valve enables you to add or remove air, therefore achieving the level of firmness you want, but it is a weak point that can lead to destruction if you repeatedly slam the ball down against the valve.
Some buyers have complained that the ball deflates after minimal use, which would suggest that there might be a weak point in the valve. However, it does receive positive reviews for its grip, which is still effective even when your hands are wet and sweaty. This slam ball is better suited to those that are looking to benefit from the weight and dimensions rather than any heavy-duty slamming.
- Great grip, even when sweaty
- Can be inflated or deflated according to preference
- Valve is a weak point and there have been reports of deflated balls
- Only available in minimal range of weights
Available in weights ranging from 15 lb to 50 lb, the Day 1 Fitness slam ball is also available in a choice of black, blue, or red. It has a textured grip on the tough rubber body. It has a diameter of slightly more than 10” so it might take some getting accustomed to if you’re used to the 9” balls.
The Day1Fitness ball is a budget option, and it receives mostly very positive reviews, but there have been one or two complaints of it breaking within a year of purchase. The grip receives a positive review, however, and the sand shifts around in the ball, as is expected in this type of equipment.
- Choice of weights and colors
- Cheap alternative to other models
- Some reports of the ball breaking
The Power Systems Premium slam ball is a professional grade slam ball designed for use in commercial gyms. It has a textured surface, similar to that of a basketball, that offers good grip even when your hands are sweaty. It is also made from a hardened rubber so it will last for years, even with heavy duty slamming activities.
- Basketball-like texture that offers good grip
- Sturdy build that will last
- Not much weight choice
- Expensive compared to some other models
The 9” JFit Dead Weight slam ball is available in a range of colors and in 10 lb to 50 lb balls. There is also a choice of textured finish from the soft finish to textured treads similar to those on a car tire. The lighter balls do have a slight bounce, while the textured and heavier balls absorb almost all impact with no bounce back.
Despite claims of excellent durability, though, some buyers have complained that the ball has broken within a few months of use.
- Range of textures, colors, and weights
- Cheaper than most
- Some complaints of popping
AmazonBasics has done a decent job of offering good quality workout equipment at reasonable prices. They have a range of slam balls, including a selection of grips and weights, and has an 11” diameter.
It has no bounce, so is safe for even the most vigorous of slammers. Most buyers rated the ball positively, although some did complain that the textured grip finish was abrasive on their hands.
- Cheap alternative to bigger brands
- Range of grips available
- Not as cheap as some alternatives
- Some complaints of abrasive grip
Verdict – What Is The Best Slam Ball?
Slam balls offer a functional, full-body workout. They are a heavier and less bouncy alternative to a medicine ball and, assuming that you have the surface on which to use them safely, they can make a great addition to a home gym.
The best all round model is the Titan Fitness slam ball, while Day 1 Fitness model is great for those on a budget. If you want a selection of grip finishes, then the J Fit Dead Weight slam ball has smooth and gripped finishes. Most models have received some complaints of popping, so do ensure that you use yours on the right surface and avoid slamming the ball on the valve, if one is present.
Resistance bands are the best companion to your slam ball workout. See our resistance bands store to find the best one for you.