There’s a lot of buzz about the Chirp Wheel right now. It launched on Kickstarter, it aired on Shark Tank, they were sold on QVC, Amazon sells them now, and bloggers of all types are sharing their stories.

But my first impression of the Chirp Wheel was: it looks like a yoga wheel. And yoga wheels have been around for years. So why all the hype?

Let’s investigate that question and compare the Chirp Wheel vs the yoga wheel.

Wheels, Wheels, Wheels

Since the invention of the wheel thousands of years ago, wheels have taken on many forms. Most notably, the spoked bicycle wheel! Where would our sport be without that?!

There’s also the ab wheel, for high-intensity ab exercise; the yoga wheel, to enhance your yoga practice; and now, the Chirp wheel, to stretch your back and relieve back pain.

The yoga wheel and the Chirp wheel look suspiciously similar, so we’re going to focus on those ones here.

Where did yoga wheels come from?

Yoga wheels have been around for years now. I first came across the Dharma Yoga Wheel in 2016, which I believe was the first commercially available yoga wheel (though the concept of a yoga wheel had been around for many years prior).

At the most basic level, you lie back on the wheel to stretch your back and hip flexors and open up your chest and shoulders. You can also incorporate the wheel into various yoga poses and exercises, but the most common use is for stretching.

Where did the Chirp Wheel come from?

Now there is something called a Chirp Wheel, and the company behind it launched on Kickstarter in 2018. So it’s a relatively new innovation.

I can only assume they were inspired by the yoga wheel, because, well… just look at it. The Chirp wheel looks an awful lot like a yoga wheel, with some minor cosmetic differences.

Is there more to it though? Yes.

The Chirp Wheel has nothing to do with yoga and everything to do with back pain. It is a purpose-built tool for dealing with back pain. (Sadly, I bet more Americans deal with back pain than practice yoga.)

Chirp Wheel vs Yoga Wheel

At fist glance, they look the same. A plastic wheel covered in foam. Sometimes they even come in the same green/black color combo.

But there is one significant difference…

The Chirp Wheel has specially designed foam rubber with a center channel cut out for your spine. Where a yoga wheel rolls right on your spine, the Chirp Wheel focuses on the muscles directly along your spine, without touching the spine itself.

So both products would allow for stretching your back, from a skeletal perspective. You can arch your back and get into a deep stretch. But the Chirp wheel also stretches and massages your muscles.

Chirp claims to offer a “4-way stretch,” pushing and pulling your spine from four different directions. And it all combines to offer more back pain relief than a regular yoga wheel does.

What’s the price difference?

When I purchased the name-brand Dharma Yoga Wheel years ago, it cost $86 plus shipping. Today, the price is a more reasonable $60. A single Chirp Wheel also costs $60. So the price is identical!

The difference is that you can get a cheap yoga wheel. There are many options now. There are brand name ones like I mentioned, some cheap ones, and even the knockoff ones you buy from AliExpress. If you’re looking to save money, the cheapest and easiest option is probably to order one from Amazon for under $20.

With the Chirp Wheel, there is only one Chirp Wheel. It’s $60 for one, or $110 for a set of three sizes.

None of the Chirp Wheel lookalikes have the spinal canal. They are all the same basic yoga wheel design. You’d have to try to custom cut and shape some foam rubber yourself, and I bet your DIY Chirp Wheel would end up being just as expensive as the real thing.

Some of these knockoffs are really cheap. I even caught a deal for $25 for a set of 3!

amazon search results showing knockoff chirp wheel

But again, those are yoga wheels.

Sizes

The Chirp Wheel comes in 12″, 10″, and 6″ sizes. The 12″ is ideal for stretching your back. The 10″ is available for anyone seeking a slightly more intense stretch. The 6″ one is designed more for myofascial release – targeting trigger points in your back, neck, and shoulders.

Yoga wheels often come in a 12″ or 13″ size. (Although more and more companies are imitating the 3-pack sizes that Chirp offers. Like these UpCircleSeven yoga wheels.)

So basically, you can get yoga wheels in the same sizes as the Chirp Wheels.

Chirp Wheel: Pros and Cons

To make this simple, here is a pros and cons list for the Chirp Wheel:

Pros:

  • It is an FDA registered medical device
  • Recommended by chiropractors (they have a network of over 3,000 physical therapists and chiropractors endorsing the Chirp Wheel+ for treating back pain in patients)
  • Patented spinal groove
  • Targets spinal muscles effectively
  • 20mm thick padding for comfort
  • Many happy customers

Cons:

  • Only available in one color scheme
  • Can’t save money by purchasing a knockoff version

Yoga Wheel: Pros and Cons

Here is a pros and cons list for a yoga wheel:

Pros:

  • Low-priced, affordable options
  • Various colors and styles to choose from

Cons:

  • May put pressure directly on spine
  • Can’t effectively target just the spinal erector muscles for myofascial release
  • Padding is only 5-10mm thick

Which Wheel For You?

Should you use a yoga wheel as a Chirp Wheel alternative? Or should you get the real thing?

For yoga poses, working on back bend progressions, or regular old stretching, a yoga wheel is fine. But if your goal is back pain relief, get the Chirp Wheel.

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