The best resistance bands for home and gym workouts 2023 — tried and tested

Best resistance bands: Quick Menu

Whatafit Resistance Bands Set

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. The quick list
2. Best overall and value
3. Best alternatives
4. Best premium
5. How to buy
6. How we tested

The best resistance bands shouldn't be viewed as the next best thing when you don't have dumbbells, kettlebells, or other gym equipment to use. Our favorite resistance bands feature in our best home gym equipment round-up, alongside our favorite exercise bikes and more. 

The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine explains that resistance band training could significantly improve your hamstring and inner thigh flexibility when used regularly. Moreover, other research has shown that resistance bands can be used to develop explosive power for strength training athletes. As long as your muscles are challenged under load, resistance bands could help you develop strength.

These little power bands could also improve flexibility or aid recovery if you're easing back into the gym. You can slide them into one of the best gym bags for outdoor workouts or loop your leg through them to assist with technical moves like pull-ups. They also help bridge bodyweight and strength training if you're new to the gym. 

The best resistance bands come in a variety of strengths and some packs even offer different attachments like ankle cuffs, door jambs, or handles. For low-impact full-body workouts, we've tried and tested the best resistance bands on the market to help you decide which one is the best for you. And once you've chosen a set, why not try out the resistance band workout Chris Hemsworth used for Thor: Love and Thunder?


Best resistance bands overall and value

Best alternative resistance bands

Best premium resistance bands

How to buy the best resistance band for you

When deciding on which resistance bands you should get, price is usually a good place to start. Some hardcore resistance band kits cost upwards of $100, but you can get a decent set for less than $30. Personal fitness should never break the bank, especially when it comes to basic gym accessories at the beginner level. Nevertheless, you get what you pay for, and poor band construction is an eyeball injury waiting to happen.

As the name implies, these dead-simple gym accessories can add an extra challenge to various exercises; when leveraged properly, they can also provide assistance for more challenging exercises like pull-ups. The best bands are often stackable, so you can use multiple bands to increase total tension.

Resistance bands come in several basic styles, such as individual tubes, heavy duty superbands and mini bands; the best bands all depend on what you need them for. 

Superbands are just what they sound like: giant rubber bands that instantly up the ante. Mini bands are much smaller, making them useful for physical therapy or just stretching out an achy limb. Tube-style bands have handles, and they’re super for bicep curls, shoulder presses, lateral arm raises and much more.

Most resistance bands are made out of latex or rubber, so keep an eye out for allergy-free materials if your skin is sensitive to the former. 

How we tested the best resistance bands

To see which are the best resistance bands, we performed a number of exercises, varying them based on the type of band we were testing. 

For the mini bands on this list (the ones without any handles), we used one medium-tension band from each brand to perform two sets of 10 reps for lateral arm raises, and one set of 10 reps for lateral walks with a lower-tension band. For any tube-style bands (the ones with handles), we used them for two sets of 10 reps for bicep curls and chest presses

We put the superbands through the same paces as the tubes, in addition to one set (10 reps each) of assisted pull-ups and another of resisted standard push-ups.

The methodology for testing these bands is by no means an exact science, but every body has a different fitness journey, and these things are built for adaptability.

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Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy. 

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