The 9 best resistance bands 2024 — tried, tested and reviewed

Best resistance bands: Quick Menu

Whatafit Resistance Bands Set

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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 are an investment in some of the best home gym equipment alongside our favorite exercise bikes and more. Whether you enjoy ab workouts, strength and conditioning, recovery routines, or physical therapy, there's a band to suit your needs.

The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine also backs them, explaining that resistance band training could significantly improve 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.

We tested and reviewed the best resistance bands at home and in the gym, adding nine options to our final line-up. These are bands we use ourselves or highly recommend to others, and each has been put through the sweat test against, strength, usability, budget and features like grip, value and what comes in your pack.

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The best resistance bands come in various strengths and styles, and some packs even offer different attachments like ankle cuffs, door jambs, or handles.

These are the main resistance band types:

  • Mini bands/ loop bands: These small bands work well for glute exercises like crab walks, glute kickbacks and fire hydrants. They help with muscular activation and can sit above the ankles or knees during exercises.
  • Long bands/ tube bands: These bands don't loop, so you'll likely find them with attachable handles that allow you to row, squat, deadlift and more. The sets often come with a door jamb and manual for different types of moves you can do with them, and they're versatile for upper and lower-body workouts.
  • Power bands: These thick bands are less versatile and harder to use, but brilliant for assisting exercises like wrapping around the bar for pull-ups or lat pull-downs.
  • Long bands: These come in a wide variety of difficulties. Some are super thin and offer little support or resistance while others are super thick, like power bands, and ramp up the intensity. Typically, they loop, but are much bigger than mini bands and can be used for upper body and lower body exercises.
  • Physical therapy bands: These offer the least resistance and tend to be super stretchy and sometimes chalky. They're reserved mostly for physical therapy exercises, stretches and recovery.

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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