Top 11 Stress Balls You Can Try Right Now

Grab any of these stress balls to combat stress and ease your nerves.

Reviewed by Barbara Clifford, Stress Management Practitioner
Written by Jyotsana Rao, BE
Edited by Shatabdi Bhattacharya, BSc
Fact-checked by Joyce Joyson, MA (Mass Communication & Journalism)  • 

In these hectic times, a stress ball makes for a thoughtful and practical gift! However, do you know the various types of stress balls available out there? While they come in different shapes and sizes, there are ways to make one at home as well! No matter which you choose, a stress ball effectively helps you relax, and helps ease your nerves anytime! To help you decide which one to get for yourself, have a look at the different types of stress balls listed below!

Types Of Stress Balls

You will come across different varieties of stress balls. Some of them are made from the closed-cell polyurethane foam rubber. A liquid component of the foam is injected into a mold to prepare this type of stress ball. The chemical reaction gives out carbon dioxide with bubbles as the by-product, thereby creating a foam rubber stress ball.

Stress balls are also used in physical therapy. Such balls contain gel of varying densities embedded within the cloth or rubber skin. In another type of stress ball, a thin rubber membrane surrounds a fine powder, which can also be prepared by using baking soda as the filling. You will also find several stress balls that are similar to the Footbag.

Shape Of The Stress Balls

Although you will find few stress relievers in a spherical shape, do not be surprised if you come across molded stress balls in amusing custom shapes, transfer printed graphics and quotes, or pads branded with corporate logos. They are usually gifted to the clients and the employees as promotional gifts for branding purposes. The awareness about stress balls has lately increased with the rise in the health problems related to mental stress.

protip_icon Quick Tip
According to a study conducted on hemodialysis patients, squeezing a stress ball for about 10-15 min reduces stress levels significantly (1).

So, which are the best stress balls around and how can you select one for relieving stress? Here is a brief on the top 11 stress balls that are the most popular. Checkout and decide according to your preference:

1. Splat Balls

Splat stress ball

The name comes from the action it makes when you throw this ball against a hard surface like a wall or a table. When it hits any hard surface, it makes the ‘splat’ sound and comes back to you with equal force. Most people who love to play ball and bounce will enjoy playing with the splat ball all through the day. You can squeeze it, bounce it and zap.. it comes back to you. It can be a favorite pastime with your colleagues during a break, and you can easily share the ball with everyone. Many people are hooked to see it splat into a shapeless, gooey ball and then come back to its original shape and find it mesmerizing. If you want to get a feel of how it goes, you can watch the splat balls video on the internet and see them in action. What’s more, you will find multiple splat balls in different colors and varying densities. So, while selecting one, try bouncing a few, and pick up the one that brings a smile on your face with its splat.

2. Koosh Ball

The main motive behind the creation of the Koosh ball was to prepare a toy for children that will be easy to catch. It was designed by Scott Stillinger as a soft toy and would make an amusing noise whenever it landed, much to the delight of the kids. To make his idea a success, he tied a few rubber bands to the rubber core, and thus the Koosh ball was created. Due to its softness and the special noise it makes, the soft, addictive and colorful ball became more popular than expected. It has undergone numerous spin-offs and today, after crossing millions of sales, is considered a stress reliever and also a classic toy for the children. And what gives the ball its special name? The ‘koosh, koosh’ sound it makes when you strike it down is a trademark of this ball from where the name comes.

3. Squeeze Balls

Many people nowadays use squeeze balls to get through a rough day. You can choose from innumerable varieties of squishy stress relieving squeeze balls that you can carry along with you to your workplace, meetings, and also place it on your desk in the office. Generally, people use it when they feel stressed out during the working hours and just want to chill a bit. However, one thing is common in all these types of squeeze balls – they all are good at absorbing stress and giving you some moments of fun. You can as well pick up a few squeeze balls to get a variety while having a fun and stress relieving session.

4. Chinese Health Balls

These have been around for more than 600 years and are also known by several other names such as Chinese Stress Balls, Chinese Ying Yang Balls, and Chinese Exercise Balls. Irrespective of what you call them, you can never be distressed with these balls around. These round balls press the acupressure points in the hand and help you to achieve the Chi or Qi. A beginner should start by pushing the balls with fingers, and an advanced practitioner can start rotating the ball with his fingers and palms effortlessly. At a more advanced stage, you will be able to rotate the ball within your palm without touching it with the fingers.

5. Talking Stress Balls

protip_icon Quick Tip
Typically, a user should begin with a 45 mm ball and progress to a 60 mm ball as their muscles become acclimated to the exercise.

Talking stress ball

These stress relief balls come with an added feature – a voice. You can use them as a stress reliever and enjoy the fun at the office, during travel or at home and de-stress yourself. You can use them to help your coworkers ease their tension after a hard day at work or after long hours of meeting. To make it talk, all you have to do is squeeze it in the right place, and the message will start coming out. More often, when you are thinking negatively, all you need is a few words of encouragement or reasoning, and this ball works exactly the way needed to take you out of the gloom. The ball comes with multiple messages and can suddenly turn a dull and serious atmosphere into a jovial one.

6. Foam Balls

Foam balls are made from the regular polyurethane foam and are known as classic stress relievers. Soft and squishy, they are very easy as squeezers and make for an excellent stress-relieving object during breaks or after long meeting sessions. Use these affordable and durable balls any time of the day and de-stress yourself. These foam balls are available in a wide range of colors, and you can put them on your desk to brighten up your spirit while working.

7. Water And Gel Balls

Are you too busy? Then, the first thing you should do is to get a water and gel ball for your desk. It is very important to take a break from the monotonous and stressful work of the day and nothing works better than a good stress ball made from gel and water. These balls are stronger, firmer yet also have a squishy and soft feel to them. Available in multiple colors, these water and gel balls change their color when you squeeze, whereas some come with a cool outer coating that makes you feel great when you squeeze them. From gel beads to glitter, you will come across all types of gel stress balls. Some are even covered with fabric. Choose the color and the design that adds personality to your desk.

Christen O’Brien, a blogger, shared her experience of becoming addicted to using stress balls in the workplace. Someone gifted her a gel and beads-filled stress ball that she loved. She further wrote, “The feeling it gave me — a freedom from pressure, a fast-track to flow-state thinking — was overpowering (i).”

8. Puffer Balls

Puffer balls have a stretchy outside and air filled inside. It is a great fun to stretch, bounce, and squish and squeeze these balls and liven up the workplace during the break with lots of fun and joy. They are good at breaking the monotony of work and also add more color to your desk. You will find them in all types of styles, sizes and colors. For example, if you love animals you can choose the animal shaped puffer balls such as the Critter Puffs or a round puffer ball having tentacles. If extra size is your demand, you can also buy an extra-sized or a super-sized puffer ball.

9. Porcupine Balls

The greatest virtue of the porcupine balls is the way they make you feel when you hold them in your hand. These have a little flexible rubber points, which is why they are known as porcupine balls. Just squeeze, roll on the desk, toss it to your co-worker, and play during the break to relieve stress.

10. Therapy Balls

These balls are usually recommended for developing strength of the hands and are denser than the regular stress balls. It means that apart from relaxation and anxiety relief, these therapeutic balls also prove to be a good strengthening exercise to your hands. A midday workout with few people in your office during the tea time break helps to develop strength of your hand and also lightens your mood.

11. Mesh Stress Balls

A child’s hand squishing a mesh stress ball
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Image: Shutterstock

These balls are made of a gel-like rubbery silicone substance and are placed in a netted container. When the balls are squeezed, the gel oozes through the netting, distorting itself, and reverts to its normal self when released. Also known as grape balls, as they form grape-like clusters when squished, these can bring great relief when you feel like venting. The texture acts as the perfect distraction and stress reliever, with every squish resulting in a different shape that will keep you guessing. In addition to the calming effect, it helps enhance blood circulation, reduce anxiety, and strengthen the arm muscles. The bright colors and the squidgy bubbles are loved by children, and is especially popular among kids with special needs and autism.

Infographic: 5 Most Popular Stress Balls

Stress can creep up at any time and affect your physical or mental health. The commonly used stress relief methods include meditation and aromatherapy, but you cannot try them while you are at work. This is what makes stress balls the best solution for anxiety during a busy working day. Check out the below infographic for the top 5 varieties of stress balls and how they work!

5 most popular stress balls in 2023 (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

This was our list of the different types of stress balls you may buy. They are available in various shapes and sizes to ease stress effectively. Stress balls are made of polyurethane foam rubber with a liquid foam component. Some of them also contain gel and baking soda. Splat balls, koosh balls, squeeze balls, Chinese health balls, talking stress balls, foam balls, water, and gel balls, porcupine balls, puffer balls, textured sensory stress balls,s and strength balls are the most used stress balls. You can choose any of the varieties mentioned above for tension relief and hand exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do stress balls help with anxiety?

Yes. Stress balls may help you calm down and distract you from anxious thoughts. A study found that squeezing a ball with the left hand for 45 seconds eliminated the “choking” feeling right-handed athletes faced due to competitive pressure that resulted from increased anxiety (2). Therefore, using a stress ball may also have similar effects.

What is the difference between a squishy and a stress ball?

Squishies are cute collectibles used as huggable toys, while a stress ball is made to relieve stress and ease muscle tension.

Do stress balls help with anger?

Using a stress ball may help you release some of your frustration and help you relax. Therefore, it may help with anger.

How long do stress balls last?

A good-quality stress ball may last up to 6 months.

What is the white stuff in stress balls?

The white stuff inside a stress ball is polyurethane foam material.

How do you make a homemade stress ball?

You can make a homemade stress ball with a balloon and flour. Blow up a balloon and deflate it until it fits into your palm. Attach a funnel to its opening. Put flour into the balloon through the funnel. Fill as much flour as you can. Tie a knot to the balloon. Your stress ball is ready.

Key Takeaways

  • A stress ball is a ball of foam rubber injected with a liquid version of foam that releases carbon dioxide as an end product.
  • Splat balls make a splat sound when they hit a hard surface and bounce back with equal force.
  • Chinese health balls press the acupuncture points and help you achieve the Qi.
  • Talking stress balls store messages inside them and start speaking if you squeeze them in the right place.

Say goodbye to stress with the ultimate guide to the 10 best stress balls. Click on the video for the top picks to help you find relaxation and relief in the palm of your hand.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. The effect of a stress ball on stress vital signs and patient comfort in hemodialysis patients: A randomized controlled trial
  2. Preventing a loss of accuracy of the tennis serve under pressure
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