We use our hands for gripping every day. But the muscles exerted during this essential action are often forgotten. Everyone talks about exercising the glutes, biceps, triceps, and traps. How many times do you hear chatter about the brachioradialis or extensor carpi radialis longus?
A strong grip isn’t just being able to perform daily tasks, such as opening a jar of pickles. Many exercises, like lifting barbells, pulling cables, or performing chin-ups, also require a strong grip. Often, the hands can fail before other muscles, cutting a workout short.
The best grip strengtheners provide an exercise session for both the hands and forearms. This work improves your daily function and enhances training results.
This article brings you my top five grip strengtheners on the market today. Plus I give you a handy guide of factors you should consider before making your purchase.
What Is a Grip Strengthener?
Grip strengtheners, sometimes known as grippers, have been around since the early 20th century, when they were called hand dynamometers. Originally for testing the power of grip, they’re now mainly used to raise strength levels in the hands and forearm.
This spring forms the resistance part of the exercise. The two handles are pushed together by squeezing the strengthener in one hand. You are fighting against the mechanical energy stored in the spring. When the handles are released, the spring returns to its original shape and the exercise is repeated.
Generally speaking, there are three types of gripper:
- Steel spring: The “typical” gripper design with a coiled steel spring
- Coil: Uses a tightly bound metal coil (generally aluminum) that forms the spring mechanism
- Articulated: Numerous springs individually targeting different fingers
These pieces of exercise equipment can be employed as part of an overall body training regimen. Or used simply to strengthen grip for those who either lack—or wish to improve—hand strength. Here’s a video explaining how to use grip strengtheners:
Not only does the power of the hands reduce with age, but studies have also shown that people today have less hand strength than their equals back in 1985.
What to Look for in the Best Grip Strengthener
Despite most hand grips working on the same principle—resistance formed by a spring—all grippers are not the same. Let me take you through some key factors to consider when making your purchase.
The most basic grip strengtheners are “squeeze and go” and the tension remains the same throughout exercising. However, some feature a spring that can alter its resistance.
If the grip strengthener is too tough to squeeze, it’s useless. Equally, if it’s too easy, then you will receive few benefits—making those with variable tensions appealing.
If your aim is impressive hand and forearm strength, the adjustable type is more suitable. It will allow you to constantly keep the muscles working hard as your power and endurance progress.
Individual Digit Selection
If you’re looking to boost the overall strength of the hand and forearm standard hand grippers are fine. They work the grip as a whole, providing all-around benefits.
However, some people, such as climbers, pianists, and guitar players, for example, may want to concentrate on individual finger strength. Some grip strengtheners have spring-resistant “buttons,” allowing you to focus on these all-important digits. They often have varying resistance levels per finger.
If you’ve tried using a grip strengthener before, you may have experienced a jump. Upon release, hand moisture or a weakening grip allows the grippers to leap from your hands. At best, this is annoying. At worst, it can shoot towards your face and cause injury.
Look for ergonomically designed handles that will fit tightly in the palm, possibly with ridges for the fingers. It should be padded and coated in a nonslip or perspiration-resistant covering. A more comfortable gripper yields less fatigue, allowing for longer exercise periods.
The Five Best Grip Strengtheners
Quality and performance can vary between grip strengtheners. Therefore, it’s essential you select one that is going to be durable as well as easy and safe to use. But it still need to provide impressive returns.
I have put together what I consider to be the best grip strengtheners available on the market today. With the emphasis on quality and solid results, there’s a gripper here suitable for any individual requirement.
This is a great all-around grip strengthener that has everything you need in a standard gripper. A curved handle, combined with a rubber-coated textured relief, means this is going to remain firmly in your hands. Furthermore, the rubber is of medium density, allowing for decent cushioning and reducing the chance of hand fatigue.
The spring coil is adjustable from 22 through to 132 pounds. It’s ideal for both beginners and those who already have a fairly firm grip. This is easily adjusted by turning a dial, no need for a screwdriver.
Built to last, this grip strengthener comes complete with a lifetime guarantee.
- Easy to adjust tension from 22 to 132 pounds
- Comfortable to use
- Lifetime guarantee
- Ideal for rehabilitation, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis
- Tension levels displayed in kilos not pounds
Concentrating on the fingers specifically, this grip strengthener is for those looking to develop individual digit power. An excellent tool for climbers, musicians, or gamers.
What makes this finger exerciser more appealing than its competitors is the tension settings. Each of the four finger buttons can have its individual resistance level changed. This allows you to work the weaker fingers harder or concentrate on those digits which require the most strength.
The design makes it fit comfortably and securely in the hands. The buttons are indented for the fingertips. The palm base has a recess to secure the bottom of the thumb.
- Finger-specific tension levels
- Ergonomically designed
- Even dispersion of pressure on palm to reduce fatigue
- From 5 to 9 pounds of individual finger pressure
- Finger-centric so not ideal for developing large forearm muscles
For people who like to bring things back to basics and love tradition, this could be the ideal grip strengthener. The customary design of two handles attached via a single coiled spring is the simplest. Yet it’s still one of the most effective grippers.
The handles are constructed from aluminum. A crosshatched texture not only gives a secure grip but it resembles the typical barbell appearance.
This is a gripper for the person who wants to take hand strength to the max—not for casual hand exercisers. With adjustable tension settings from 60 to 365 pounds, this is a heavy-duty piece of equipment.
- Traditional design with a modern, adjustable tension-changing feature
- Ideal for the serious hand and forearm muscle builder or those requiring a secure grip for lifting
- Made in the USA
- Used by professionals
- The lowest 60-pound setting may still prove too tough for beginners or those severely lacking hand strength
As a pair, these enable you to exercise both hands simultaneously. You can adjust the tension on these grip strengtheners from 50 to 150 pounds. There are five different settings in increments of 25 pounds. This would make these grippers suitable for both beginners and more intermediate hand strength enthusiasts.
A diamond pattern in relief on the aluminum alloy handles provides additional grip. Also, they’re slightly longer than average, meaning they can fit comfortably in the largest of hands.
A high-positioned spring reduces the chance of trapping your skin. That makes them a good choice for all ages, even children or older generations.
- Suitable for beginner and intermediate use
- Long handles and a high spring for comfort and safety
- Simple to use twist-and-slide tension setting
- Sold by the pair
- Maximum setting of 150 pounds may be too low for extreme strength athletes
This is a budget pair of hand grip strengtheners. It would perform well as a second set for on the go or for children and seniors.
It has just one tension setting of 20 pounds. So these aren’t going to help you develop an eye-watering grip or massive forearms. However, if you’re looking for tone, rehabilitation, or to remain active in your later years, they are ideal.
Measuring just 5.1″ × 3.5″ they can easily be transported, even in your pocket. The large foam handles with finger recesses enable the strengtheners to be gripped securely. That is useful for those with little dexterity.
- Ideal as a second set
- Great for children and seniors or those just looking to tone or rehabilitate
- Budget price
- Comfortable handles
- Come as a pair
- Tension is not adjustable
- May lack sufficient resistance for many people
My Choice for the Best Grip Strengthener
All the above grippers are excellent. However, my pick for the best grip strengthener has to be the Niyikow grip strength trainer.
It’s an ideal all-around performer, with its tension being adjustable from 22 to 132 pounds. The modern easy-to-hold handle design adds to its appeal.
The lifetime guarantee offers peace of mind. So go pick up a set and get started.