Whirly Board Review
- Lab tested
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The Whirly Board is not as hard to use as it looks, but it is harder than most of the other balance boards that we’ve tested. Using the Whirly Board encourages a lot of leg movement without being a major distraction. While it’s not for everyone, it has enough positive qualities that it could be a solid board.
Price varies with distance
32″ x 8″ x 4″
|Where to buy||
Buy on Amazon
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Positives||One of the most fun balance boards we’ve tested due to its overall design. Encourages frequent leg movement while balancing. Reasonably priced with a lifetime warranty.|
|Negatives||Requires a bit of a learning curve, especially for people new to balance boards.|
Don’t Judge a Whirly Board by its Cover
The Whirly Board is a product that grows on you. Sure, we were skeptical at first of what appeared to be an unforgivingly steep center balancing point—it simply did not look like a product that you’d be able to use while getting real work done, let alone in an office environment. And a day or two of use, the verdict on the Whirly Board became clear. It provides a lot of lower body movement while unfortunately inhibiting one’s ability to work at an adjustable height desk.
The Whirly Board is sized like, and clearly modeled after, a skateboard. The top surface is coated with a rough, sandpapery layer called grip tape that gives you tons of traction and prevents your feet from slipping—this is basically the best and safest coating available for balance boards (you’ll want to make sure to use this one with shoes on). Each end of the board is angled upward. While this doesn’t seem like an important feature, it is nice to stand with your feet asymmetrically as you fidget with the board from time to time, with one foot on an end and the other in the center. The deck is available in plain wood grain, a mountain print, a selection of fish prints, with other limited-time prints also available. The center ball color is also customizable. Bulk orders are eligible for custom prints, including company logos, as well.
On the underside of the board, you’ll find the large center ball and two smaller side balls. The side balls function mostly as “stoppers”, so your board doesn’t act like a complete see-saw, and it actually feels pretty forgiving to go from side to side on the board. You can also balance on the side balls by placing one foot in the center of the board and the other foot at the end of the board, though this requires too much concentration to do regularly while working. Rocking your feet front to back gives you a deeper stretch (since you’re using the whole center ball without the side balls interfering) and isn’t recommended until you get pretty comfortable with the board.
Using the board feels intuitive and we quickly got used to the challenge. Plant your hands on your desk or keyboard to steady yourself, and you should feel stable on top of the Whirly Board. It may not be for everyone, but it certainly can suit a wider audience than just those proficient with a skateboard. Though we still end up short of recommending it for use while working. For that, we’d go with something like our top-rated iMovR Gymba Ergonomic Balance Board.
There are two major factors that make the Whirly Board easier to use than it looks. The first is the fact that, when you’re at your adjustable height desk, you’re using your hands to anchor yourself as you type, and the board is stable enough that you can do this without thinking about it. Balancing on the board away from a desk is more challenging, but at your desk, it’s incredibly easy. The second factor is that due to the board’s two smaller side balls, the intimidating size of the center ball doesn’t really come into play unless you’re tilting backwards or forwards.
We’ve been following the balance board trend for over a year now, and we’ve seen everything from incredibly easy to super challenging boards. As you spend more time on a balance board, you get more used to it, and you build up your tolerance. Many balance boards that provide more of a challenge or a workout aren’t appropriate for a work environment because they will surely hamper your typing and mousing ability, as well as your concentration. The brain can only take on so many foreground tasks, and if it’s constantly expending effort to keep your body balanced it will take a toll on your other cognitive functions.
This is why we wouldn’t recommend the Whirly Board for people who are working (at least, not for very long), those with particularly bad balance, or those with health problems who aren’t able to adjust their positioning quickly and painlessly. It’s a product that can help healthy workers stay healthy.
Price and Quality
The Whirly Board starts at $119, which is a seriously reasonable price considering the quality of the product. It’s made of real maple and real grip tape. Because it doesn’t purport to be a magical health solution to any of your knee or leg problems, the price isn’t unreasonably jacked up. However, after several weeks of use, we did notice that the center ball on the bottom stopped balancing perfectly (it’s only really noticeable when the board is not in use). With continued wear, will the plastic of the ball eventually become uneven? We don’t know for sure, but the good news is that the Whirly Board does come with a lifetime warranty, so if anything goes wrong, it should be covered.
The Bottom Line
While the Whirly Board probably won’t be sweeping corporate offices across the nation due to its skateboard-inspired design (it’s probably more at home at startups or forward-thinking tech companies), that doesn’t mean it’s a bad product. In fact, it’s a really good one that rewards anyone willing to put in the time to learn how to use it. But that’s also the main reason we don’t love it for use while working. It’s a little too dificult. If you’re already a fan of balance boards, you’ll dig the Whirly Board.
For more information on balance boards, check out our balance board comparison review.