Everything worth buying is just so expensive! … Or is it?
Hand grippers are an awesome tool to have in your fitness toolbox and they are actually incredibly affordable.
These handheld trainers can help you build forearm, finger, hand, and wrist strength.
They can be used as a rehabilitation tool after injury or illness. Or they can be used to help you make big gains in strength and to add some bulk to your forearms.
I created a list of 7 of the best hand grip trainers available after doing a lot of research and testing. Take a look at this year’s picks for the best hand strengthener below and add one of these great tools to your arsenal.
- 1 1. Captains of Crush Hand Gripper – The Original Master of Gripping
- 2 2. Finger Master Hand Exerciser – The Best Choice for Guitarists & Rock Climbers
- 3 3. xfitness Hand Grippers 2.0 – A Good Choice for Beginners
- 4 4. GD GRIP Pro-70 – Seven Grippers in One
- 5 5. Gripmaster Hand Exerciser– A Tool Used by Federal Agents
- 6 6. Kootek Strength Trainer – The Gripper With Comfy Handles
- 7 7. Hand Grip Rings by Iron Crush® – A Simple Yet Powerful Tool Unlike Any Other Gripper
- 8 Buyer’s Guide – Questions & Answers
- 8.1 Do hand grippers actually work to build forearms?
- 8.2 Will I burn calories with a grip strengthener?
- 8.3 Can they help with carpal tunnel syndrome?
- 8.4 Do you think it can help lower blood pressure?
- 8.5 How often should I use my hand gripper?
- 8.6 How to pick which one to get?
1. Captains of Crush Hand Gripper – The Original Master of Gripping
Captains of Crush is the most well-known brand in the hand gripper industry.
They’ve been around since 1988 and they’ve built up a solid reputation for having a trustworthy product that gets the job done.
This classic, nice-looking silver gripper is extremely durable, thanks to the billet aluminum and alloy steel construction.
It’s available in a range of 11 strengths, from 60 lbs to 365 lbs.
Captains of Crush recommends that you buy three different strengths, one for warm-ups, one for your work sets, and one for challenge work. This 3-gripper method will ultimately lead to the biggest and quickest gains.
The grip feels pretty rough and can definitely lead to calluses or can even rip up your skin. For some, this may be a good thing but it can be a turn-off for others.
Wearing gloves when using these, like those designed for weight lifting, can help minimize the risk of your skin getting painfully torn up.
2. Finger Master Hand Exerciser – The Best Choice for Guitarists & Rock Climbers
Many people use hand grippers just to increase overall grip strength or to add bulk to their forearms, but these tools have other uses as well.
Both musicians (guitarists, pianists, and string players) and rock climbers need to build a certain kind of grip strength. In addition to building the overall strength, they need to focus on the grip strength of individual fingers in order to maximize performance in their respective fields.
A hand grip strengthener like the Finger Master Hand Exerciser meets that need by letting the user exercise the hand as a whole as well as focus on individual fingers.
The resistance level can be set for each individual finger. You can use all the fingers at once or you can lock a few of the fingers in a down position so you can just focus on a few fingers at a time.
That said, there is some customization possible. There are five finger spots for four fingers and you can lock a few of them down to find the right position for your hand.
This will work well for most grips. It’s also nice for rock climbers to be able to use it in a variety of hand positions, to mimic somewhat the different positions they will use while climbing.
Another nice feature of this exerciser is that you get access to online exercise videos. It walks you through a number of different ways to use the tool to get the most use out of it.
3. xfitness Hand Grippers 2.0 – A Good Choice for Beginners
This is a nice looking hand grip strengthener with a simple, classic design. You have your choice of colors, including black, blue, yellow, pink, and silver. You also have your choice of resistance levels, from 50 to 350 lbs.
The handle is non-slip, great if your hands tend to get sweaty.
Another feature that is great for sweaty hands is the rust-proof spring. On some hand grippers, sweat can lead to rust and that can shorten the lifespan of the product, but that definitely won’t be a problem with this one.
The more you use this, there is a tendency for it to start to get a bit squeaky, but it’s nothing a little WD-40 can’t take care of.
These are well constructed and should last a long time but if it doesn’t, xfitness offers a 100% lifetime guarantee.
They are pretty affordable to begin with but it’s nice to know that if they don’t stand up over time, you’ll be able to get a replacement.
There is also a no questions asked money-back guarantee within 60 days if you try the gripper and it isn’t for you. This makes it a great choice for your first gripper. You can give it a try without worrying you’ll be stuck.
4. GD GRIP Pro-70 – Seven Grippers in One
To get the most out of hand strengthener training, you will typically want to own more than one gripper. You’ll want one for warming up, one for the bulk of your workout, and one for challenging yourself.
As your grip strength improves, you’ll typically have to keep buying new grippers at one strength level up.
The GD Grip Pro-70 eliminates the need to buy several grippers by offering seven different strengths in one adjustable model.
This offers incredible value and makes it really convenient. You can warm up on the 55 lb. setting and then just turn the knob up a few clicks and work out at the 101 lb. level. This quick adjustment between resistance levels also makes it possible for people to share the gripper even if they aren’t at the same strength levels.
Even though the ridged design will prevent some slipping, the plastic will get slick if your hands sweat a lot.
You can remedy this by applying some athletic tape to the handles or by using weight lifting gloves.
5. Gripmaster Hand Exerciser– A Tool Used by Federal Agents
This is another tool that lets you exercise individual fingers. There are five different resistance strengths to choose from at a range of 1.5 lbs to 9 lbs.
Unfortunately, you are not able to adjust the resistance level for each individual finger. Rather, there is one tension setting that is used on each finger.
It is extremely small in size which makes it convenient for carrying around with you. The small size makes for a potentially cramped and ergonomically-unsound position with no options to adjust the grip position.
This tool uses piston technology, so the mechanism is much like pressing on the valves of a trumpet. Not coincidentally, this tool can be very helpful to musicians who want to improve finger strength, especially in weaker fingers.
It’s also a helpful tool for athletes (my friends over at 301gym, a muay thai camp in Sam Roi Yot, Thailand makes use of this one to improve beginner’s hand strength and grip).
6. Kootek Strength Trainer – The Gripper With Comfy Handles
This hand gripper stands out for a few reasons. It has a unique design that is nice to look it.
Perhaps the biggest thing that makes the Kootek trainer stand out, though, is the comfort level.
It’s an ergonomic design, meaning the position of use won’t put any unnecessary strain on your hands or cause injury. In addition to the ergonomic design, the handles are coated with non-slip rubber, making this one of the most comfortable hand grip workouts you’ll find.
For this reason, they are especially great for people who aren’t necessarily looking to build calluses. This might include musicians like pianists or people using the grippers just for rehabilitation purposes rather than trying to bulk up or build the forearm strength needed to rip a phone book in half.
These grippers are adjustable, with resistance levels of 22-88 lbs.
These numbers are ideal for those using the trainer as a hand or forearm rehab tool but it’s not the best choice for those looking to gain some serious strength and bulk. Unfortunately, the Kootek Strength Trainer also isn’t quite as durable as other models.
Though it’s definitely not the best choice for some people, it has the potential to be a perfect option for others and the price is pretty unbeatable.
7. Hand Grip Rings by Iron Crush® – A Simple Yet Powerful Tool Unlike Any Other Gripper
Iron Crush offers something completely unique to the hand gripper space.
Rather than a trainer with handles that you squeeze together, these are silicone rings that you squeeze together in the way you would squeeze a stress ball. Sold in a set of three different resistance levels, these rings fit comfortably in an adult-sized hand and can lead to fantastic results.
You can use the rings in a few different ways: crushing (squeezing in the palm of your hand), pinching (gripping with your fingertips and squeezing), and extension (inserting your finger through the ring and pushing fingers outward).
If you’re wondering about how durable silicone could be especially when treated to regular force, you might be surprised to learn these are practically indestructible.
Iron Crush is so confident in this that they offer a 2-year 100% money back warranty. If your crazy strength ever leads to the rings ripping, tearing or breaking, they’ll happily give you your money back.
One thing about these rings that is a bit confusing is the resistance levels. They are measured in pounds, just like most other hand grippers, but they aren’t necessarily equivalent. The pound-rating on the rings is much lower than it should be. The 80 lb. ring, for example, really feels more like a 150+ lb. gripper. This is something to keep in mind.
Buyer’s Guide – Questions & Answers
Do hand grippers actually work to build forearms?
Yes! The primary way to build forearm strength and musculature is by working on grip.
Forearm muscles are used to control the fingers.
Exercises that focus on finger grip are the key to building forearm muscles. There are a few different ways you can do this including things like varying how you hold weights you’re using for other exercises.
Using a hand gripper, though, is an easy and direct way to work on your forearm muscles.
By using hand grippers consistently over time, you can expect to see your forearms bulk up. Your grip strength and overall hand strength will also improve from regular hand gripper use.
Will I burn calories with a grip strengthener?
Yes, using a grip strengthener does burn calories.
After all, just about every activity burns some calories.
Using a hand gripper definitely burns more calories than just sitting around but it doesn’t compare with the number of calories burned during a really intense workout.
The forearm and finger muscles are relatively small which is one reason you won’t get a huge calorie burn. With consistent use, though, exercising with a hand grip will add a nice bit of extra oomph to your total weekly calorie burn.
Can they help with carpal tunnel syndrome?
Hand grippers won’t help with carpal tunnel syndrome, at least at first.
In fact, it’s important to not overdo your hand gripper training because overuse could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or make the existing condition much worse. A hand grip strengthener training program does help build strength and when done correctly, it can help prevent something like carpal tunnel.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, it won’t help right away and it could make things significantly worse. Once you start to get your carpal tunnel syndrome under control, then you can start to ease into using hand gripper exercises again. Careful use of hand gripper training can be part of a successful carpal tunnel syndrome rehabilitation program.
Do you think it can help lower blood pressure?
There is a lot of evidence that strength training can help lower blood pressure.
Hand and forearm strengthening exercises like those done with a hand gripper certainly fit into this category. Like with calorie burn, it might not make a huge difference but it can definitely move the needle in the right direction.
How often should I use my hand gripper?
It depends on your end goals, but generally, you should approach hand grip training like you would any other kind of strength training.
In other words, you need rest days and this isn’t necessarily something you should be doing every day.
Training every day probably won’t hurt you but it also won’t accelerate your progress. When you’re doing an intense hand gripper workout, three days a week is enough.
If you’re using hand grip training as part of a rehab program, you may want to exercise with the gripper every other day.
Just be careful not to overdo it as that can just exacerbate your injury and it will set you back instead of expediting your healing process. It’s always a good idea to check with a doctor before beginning a hand gripper program and follow their advice about how frequently to exercise.
How to pick which one to get?
Choosing the best hand grip strengthener for you depends on a number of factors.
#1 What kind of Hand Gripper is best for you?
First, consider your goals to decide what type of gripper you’ll need.
Are you looking to build overall strength and add a little forearm bulk? You’ll definitely want a hand gripper with a traditional design like the Captains of Crush.
If you’re looking to build strength in individual fingers, like for rock climbing or playing guitar/piano, you should look for a model that uses finger action like the finger master.
If you’re hoping to use a hand grip strengthener as part of a rehabilitation program after an injury or to help build strength due to things like carpal tunnel syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis, you should make sure to choose a gripper with a solid ergonomic design and a comfortable grip.
#3 How much strength resistance do you need?
The next thing to decide is what strength level to get. Most trainers recommend that you use at least a few different strengths.
Using a model with a lower resistance level can act as a warm up to get the muscles warm and ready for some work. Your main gripper should be a strength level that you can squeeze all the way shut but that you can barely finish a set of 12 repetitions with.
If you can do 12 reps no problem, you’re using a gripper that is too easy for you. As you get stronger, you’ll have to keep graduating to the next level of Hand gripper.
Using a grip strengthener that is too easy for you won’t do you any good, other than as a warmup. Some trainers also recommend that you own a third gripper, one that is quite a bit too hard for you. This lets you sometimes push yourself and test yourself.
But how do you know what strength to start with if you’ve never used one before?
Ideally, you will find someone who owns some to try them out. This would give you a basic idea of what 50 lbs. feels like versus 200 lbs. If that’s not an option, one nice thing about hand grip strengtheners is that they’re all pretty affordable.
Some models are a bit more expensive, but you can find solid Hand grippers for really great prices.
Buying a few doesn’t break the bank so the trial and error method might be worth your while. The best option for you, though, might be to buy one of the hand gripper models that is adjustable.
A few of the models on the list above are fully adjustable and let you work out at a number of different strength levels. Beginners, seniors, and anyone using the gripper as part of a rehab program should definitely start with the lower end of strength levels.
#4 – Handling & Comfort
The rest just comes down to personal preference. If comfort is important to you and you’re not interested in toughening up your hands, you might select a gripper with a comfortable handle or you might choose the Iron Crush Rings.
Color doesn’t really make a difference in the performance of a hand gripper but we all know that certain objects just make us happier because they are our favorite color. If that sounds like you, you might want to choose one of the hand grippers that come in several different colors.
I hope this guide was helpful and that it has helped you decide which hand grip strengthener to buy.
Hand grippers really are powerful little tools that can help you build a ton of strength or can help you safely rehabilitate from an injury or health condition.
Have you tried any of these hand grippers? Are there any awesome hand grip tools missing from this list? Let us know in the comments!