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The great thing about yoga is that it’s an ever-evolving landscape where new products, techniques, and beliefs can emerge and take hold. One such innovation is the yoga wheel, a prop that is gaining traction among folks interested in changing up their yoga routines to try something new.
Yoga wheels can be used to enhance stretches, deepen backbends, and add support to challenging postures. With a wheel, you may be able to perform poses that were previously unattainable!
Which are the best yoga wheels, and how do you go about incorporating them into your practice? Read on for an introduction to this product and our opinion on how to determine the most appropriate wheel for your own practice.
What Are Yoga Wheels?
The yoga wheel is an item that has appeared more often lately on yoga websites and Instagram pages. This versatile piece of equipment typically measures around 12 inches in diameter and about five inches in width. Wheels can be made of PVC, synthetic plastic, or even cork.
If you’re familiar with foam yoga blocks, wheels can serve a similar purpose. The benefit of a wheel is that its rounded shape can nestle into the contours of your body to provide support in areas where blocks aren’t as effective, such as the middle of your back.
While most yoga wheels are round, newer models have more of an oblong, football shape. They still have that curved outer edge to fit along the curves of your body.
Dharma Yoga founder Sri Dharma Mittra is generally credited with having invented the yoga wheel when in 1978, he saw a thick plastic tube in the window of an industrial factory. He imagined that such a device could be useful in yoga, if constructed from the right materials.
For that reason, you’ll see many of these products referred to as “Dharma yoga wheels,” even if they weren’t actually created by the Dharma brand. Dharma has become sort of a generic term for these wheels.
Finally, some companies have begun manufacturing 3-packs of yoga wheels, featuring large, medium, and small wheels packaged together. This is a smart idea, since not everyone has the same size body. It doesn’t make sense for a large guy with a football player build to be using the same size wheel as a small petite woman! Scroll to the end of the article for our reviews of these three-packs.
In this article, we’ll break down the top yoga wheels in the following categories:
-Best Overall Yoga Wheel
-Other Great Plastic & PVC Yoga Wheels
-The Best Cork Yoga Wheels
-The Best Wheels with Non-Traditional Shapes
-The Best 3-Packs of Wheels
Our Choice For the Best Yoga Wheel: UpCircleSeven
The UpCircleSeven wheel does a nice job of walking the line between comfort and durability. It’s not too hard and rigid, thanks to its extra padding, but it’s strong enough to last. That’s really all you can ask from yoga wheels. If they are stable enough to provide the support you need during your poses, then they will do the job. This one claims to be able to hold up to 550 pounds, which is much higher than most other brands.
This wheel comes in various colors. That’s a cool bonus, since many other wheels don’t have a lot of variety in their designs. While the UpCircleSeven model comes in traditional black, we really love the ones with a gray exterior and turquoise interior. Be sure to check the prices of each color – sometimes, due to supply and demand, different color wheels will have different prices, even though they are otherwise the exact same product.
UpCircleSeven also makes a cork wheel. As noted earlier, cork wheels have a slightly different feel and are less common than plastic ones, but cork is a more eco-friendly material that doesn’t have any chemicals or dyes.
We have a hard time coming up with any criticisms of the UpCircleSeven wheel. This product comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which means you can return it for a refund if you’re unhappy. That’s another reason we love this brand. If you’re curious about trying a yoga wheel, this is a great brand to choose!
Reviews of Other Top Plastic / PVC Yoga Wheels
You can find lots of other quality wheels aside from the UpCircleSeven. The following list includes the rest of the best yoga wheel reviews available as of this writing. These suggestions are merely one writer’s opinion, so as always, use your own judgment to find the one that fits your needs.
Reehut Yoga Wheel
The Reehut wheel is another good yoga wheel for working on your balance and releasing tension in the back and the shoulders. Reehut is an emerging name in the field of yoga gear – in just the past few years, they’ve come out with solid yoga blocks, yoga straps, and towels. And they have a really solid yoga starter kit.
The Reehut wheel is composed of TPE synthetic plastic on the inside and non-slip TPE foam (similar to yoga mat material) on the outside. This dharma yoga wheel can support up to 330 pounds. That’s not as much as some of the others on this list, but then again, since not too many yoga practitioners weigh more than 330 pounds, it’s plenty supportive.
At 12.6 inches in diameter and 5 inches across, it’s one of the larger yoga rings available. This might be the most visually appealing wheel on the market, if that matters. The company currently offers three colors: black, purple, and pink, each of which has a light blue interior.
Gonex Yoga Wheel
The Gonex Yoga Wheel measures 13 inches in diameter and comes in three eye-catching color combinations. The outer layer is soft TPE foam that repels moisture and won’t slip on your mat. The foam is 10 mm thick, which is quite a bit thicker than many other wheels. So if you’re concerned about comfort and want a softer wheel to place under your spine, give the Gonex a try.
Another bonus of purchasing this device is the instructional workout guide that comes along with it. You’ll learn 34 sets of stretches and poses that are perfect for incorporating the wheel. It’s a paper guidebook, so you’ll have it right in your hands for easy access, instead of having to figure out how to download it to a computer.
URBNFit Yoga Wheel & Strap Combo
Here’s an interesting package from URBNFit that includes a sturdy wheel and a bonus strap. The price is quite low, so you may be inclined to think that it’s not great quality, but the company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee which includes the option for a full refund.
The wheel is made from anti-flex PVC and measures roughly 12 inches in diameter. This product only comes in one color, but if you’re just looking for a basic wheel to get started, it’s a solid option.
Cork Wheels: Our Top Picks
BodyGood Cork Yoga Wheel
If you prefer a cork wheel to the ones made of PVC or synthetic plastic materials, consider the BodyGood brand. This cork yoga wheel is on the larger size with dimensions of 13 x 5 inches.
The only difference is that it’s composed of cork, with a foam padding and plastic interior material. Note that the cork on this product is only the outer later. There’s still that inner plastic layer, so the BodyGood product is really more like a hybrid cork-plastic device. That’s true of all cork wheels currently on the market – they all have plastic on the inside.
In terms of price, the BodyGood wheel is a bit more affordable than some of the other yoga wheels currently on the market. And though some might wonder if cork is comfortable, it works just fine for stretching, rolling, and backbends. And it supports up to 500 pounds. This would be a good wheel to try out at home if you’re seeking to expand your postures.
Yogi Bare Stretching Wheel
First of all, that brand name! Yogi Bare! Get it? The Yogi Bare Stretching Wheel is a cork yoga wheel that measures the standard 13 inches in diameter, and the cork section is 6 mm in thickness. The wheel can support 150 kg or 330 pounds, which is the standard among all the best yoga wheels.
In addition to being sturdy and stable, the Yogi Bare is the coolest-looking cork wheel available on Amazon. The plastic interior has a wooden tint, giving the appearance that the entire wheel is solid wood. And the exterior cork layer features the Yogi Bare pawprint and a “Tropical Cork” print of palm leaves. The company does make a couple plastic versions that also have fun designs, such as Cosmic and Burnt Orange.
Gaiam Cork Yoga Wheel
Like the BodyGood, this Gaiam Cork Wheel contains a nice cork outer layer, with PVC on the interior. The outer cork is 5 mm thick and the diameter is 12 inches around. There’s nothing unique about this wheel, but it gets the job done and its lower-range price will be good for your budget.
Gaiam products always earn high marks for durability and quality. The company has been making yoga products far longer than many of its competitors. They also manufacture some of our favorite mats for hot yoga, grippy gloves, and hand towels.
Best Yoga Wheels With Non-Traditional Shapes and Designs
Solofit Double Radian
Interested in a non-traditional yoga wheel? Look no further than the Solofit Double Radian, a cool-looking device that has the same contours as a normal yoga wheel despite its oblong shape.
The Solofit is only 6 inches high – that’s half the usual diameter of 12 inches. That smaller height is a good thing for folks who aren’t as flexible and can’t bend all the way back over a normal wheel. If the traditional wheel is just too big for you, the Solofit can be a godsend for your practice.
We love this wheel because its gradual curve matches the shape of your back more closely than a totally round wheel does. That gives it more of a natural feeling when you incorporate it into your poses. For that reason, anyone can benefit from this design, but folks over 40 will especially appreciate it.
How does the Solofit Double Radian compare to a regular wheel in terms of practical use? The product is fairly new, so it’s still too early to know whether it was be as long-lasting as the UpCircleSeven or Reehut. But early reviews of this ring say that it provides the same degree of support on the spine.
Acumobility Foam Roller Wheel
This Foam Roller Wheel from Acumobility isn’t a traditional yoga wheel. In fact, it’s more similar to a typical foam roller, but it’s also marketed as a back massager and yoga wheel. And it works really well for all of these purposes!
The raised bumps on the roller are designed to give the bones of your spine room to move and you roll across it. The bumps can be uncomfortable at first – in fact, the company suggests putting a towel between your back and the roller when you start out. But before long, once you adjust to the feel, you won’t need the towel anymore.
The Acumobility roller measures 11.5 by 7.5 inches, making it slightly smaller than other yoga wheels. Its EVA Foam exterior is firmer than other devices, so we wouldn’t recommend it for folks with back pain or spine issues. But for everyone else, this might be an interesting way to get the benefits of a bumpy roller while performing yoga postures.
Yoga Wheel Sets: The Best Multi-Pack Bundles
UpCircleSeven Three-Wheel Set
UpCircleSeven makes the best individual yoga wheel, so it stands to reason that they’d also make the best three-pack. This UpCircleSeven Wheel Set includes very strong and durable yoga wheels. The large wheel is the regular 12-inch diameter model that we reviewed above. The set also includes a medium-sized wheel with a 10-inch diameter, and a small wheel with a 6-inch diameter.
Having three different sizes gives you the flexibility to accommodate all positions and postures. You may find, for instance, that you want the full-size wheel for child’s pose or crow pose, but you need a smaller wheel for pyramid pose. Purchasing the set will allow you to experiment to find an ideal fit for each posture.
The 3-pack bundle is also great for couples or families who practice yoga together. Now you won’t have to fight over one wheel! The only downside to buying a larger pack is that it’s more expensive than a single item. But if you’re committed to using yoga wheels in your practice, the UpCircleSeven set may be the way to go.
Shogun Sports Two-Wheel Set
If the UpCircleSeven three-pack is out of your budget, this Two-Pack Wheel Set from Shogun should be a good option. For the price of a normal wheel, you get two: A large 12-inch diameter wheel, and a smaller 6-inch diameter wheel.
What’s cool about the Shogun wheels is that they provide the thickest padding we’ve found anywhere. The outer layer of TPE foam is a full 3/4-inch thick. That means more cushioning and more comfort. And the TPE foam won’t absorb sweat or odors. It’s a good value for folks who want to give yoga wheels a try.
Should You Choose a Cork or Plastic Wheel?
Plastic is the most common material for yoga wheels as of 2020, but more and more cork wheels are finding their way to the market. Cork is a natural product that doesn’t contain chemicals or dyes, unlike some plastic and foam models.
While you may think that cork wouldn’t be as flexible as plastic, that’s not really the case. There isn’t a huge difference in terms of the sturdiness of cork and plastic products. Cork is bendable enough that it serves exactly the same purpose and provides as much cushioning on your body as the non-cork wheels.
Cork and plastic both repel sweat a little better than the TPE foam used on some yoga rings. That means you won’t have to spend time washing them as often.
Which Factors Determine the Best Wheel For You?
Size / Dimensions. As noted, most wheels are around 12-13 inches in diameter, but some are smaller. The odd-shaped Solofit is 6 inches tall, so it may be the right choice if you don’t think you’re flexible enough to support a 13-inch wheel beneath your back. If you’re unsure which size wheel is best, consider one of those 3-wheel packages with multiple sizes.
Materials / Durability. Some of the cheaper wheels are constructed of PVC material. PVC is fine as a wheel material, but you’ll find that it may not be quite as durable over the long-term as some of the other plastics. Cork is fairly durable, but over time it may start to fray or chip off.
Color. Color should be the least of your concerns, as durability and size are far more important. But it’s always a nice bonus when you can get a stylish product. Companies like UpCircleSeven have the widest variety of color combinations. If you can’t make up your mind between products, going with the one that is the most visually appealing is a good way to keep yourself happy.
Price. Even the most expensive yoga wheels rarely exceed $50 these days, so this purchase isn’t going to bankrupt most people. Still, some are slightly more pricey than others, so cost can be a deciding factor between two brands that are otherwise totally similar.
What Are the Benefits of a Yoga Wheel?
As noted earlier, wheels can enhance and deepen postures. They can help stretch your back and shoulders and increase flexibility of the hips, abdomen, and chest. The overall benefits of a yoga wheel can be summed up as follows:
Increases the ability to perform challenging poses. Newcomers to yoga and folks who struggle with flexibility may sometimes get frustrated at not being able to perform challenging asanas. Incorporating a wheel can be a game-changer for backbends, inversions, and many other postures (see our section below on which poses to try with yoga wheels.)
Engages your core. If you use a wheel in balance poses like planks, mountain pose, and crow pose, you may be surprised at how much extra work your core gets. If your regular practice doesn’t engage your core as much as you’d like, the wheel can be a good solution.
Breaks up the monotony. Yoga is a practice with a seemingly endless number of postures, but most of us tend to stick to what we’re familiar and comfortable with. While having an established routine is good, you may find yourself getting into a bit of a rut, especially if you’re doing yoga at home. Bringing new props like wheels into the picture is a way to keep things fresh and new.
Can serve as a back massager. We mentioned the similarity between foam rollers vs. yoga wheels earlier. While wheels are not specifically made to massage your spine, they can in fact serve that very purpose. Rolling the center of your back slowly across the wheel can give your back some relief after a class.
Easy to clean. Because of their cork or plastic materials, yoga wheels won’t absorb sweat and won’t get too smelly over time. When you do want to freshen them up, use a gentle cleaning solution and wipe them down, just as you’d clean a yoga mat.
Wheels are versatile. Just look at the list of yoga wheel benefits we’ve put together. Wheels can be incorporated into most any pose. They can be used to deepen stretches, or to work your core, or to massage tired muscles. They can be used in gentle, restorative yoga sessions (don’t know what restorative yoga is? We’ve got you covered. Restorative vs Yin Yoga), or in more vigorous Bikram or Ashtanga practices. They can be used by young yogis in perfect shape, or seniors who have movement limitations. The versatility of these props makes them worth adding to your collection.
How Do You Use a Yoga Wheel? What Are the Best Poses?
How do you use dharma yoga wheels, exactly? Essentially, they are props used to enhance any pose. Wheels can help greatly with backbends and inversions. Lie on the wheel to open up your shoulders or back. Use them to add a more challenging balance element to postures. Low lunges, pigeon poses, and many others can be given a new wrinkle with a wheel.
Below you can find a video with additional instructional techniques for incorporating a yoga wheel into your practice.
Which poses make the most sense for using yoga wheels? The backbend is the most obvious, as it really opens up your torso as you lean back with the wheel under your spine. But which other poses can make use of the wheel? Here are a few.
Child’s pose. This one’s pretty basic. Hold the wheel with both hands as you stretch into child’s pose. Having your hands on top of the wheel, 12 inches off the mat, will give you a more thorough stretch through the shoulders and upper body.
Half-pyramid pose. Same logic. Place the wheel beneath your ankle as you extend one leg forward into half-pyramid. Your leg will be higher off the ground than usual, and your hamstrings will get a really nice stretch.
Crow pose. Instead of placing your hands flat on the mat, put one on each side of the wheel as you raise yourself up. The wheel will allow you engage your core even more than usual, and your balance will eventually improve once you master holding the posture above the dharma wheel.
There’s no limit to the number of poses you can try with a yoga wheel. UpCircleSeven has a nice list of additional poses you can try on their website.
Which Other Products Can Provide Support in Your Practice?
If you find yoga wheels useful for providing stability and support, you may also want to consider a few other props. Take a look at our guides to the best yoga therapy balls, cork yoga blocks, and yoga straps for stretching.
Which of the best yoga wheels would you most like to add to your practice?