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  • Writer's pictureTyler

Review: Chirp Wheel

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Shark Tank scam or spine savior? My experience with the back pain relief tool that has been making waves across the internet. Learn why I don't think that it is all it is cracked up to be.

 

Overview:


Back pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States, accounting for more than 264 million lost workdays each year. It is estimated that 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives, costing the healthcare system more than $50 billion annually [i]. Given these statistics, it is no surprise that the market for products and services that claim solve this pain is massive. The latest tool to make waves in the space is the Chirp Wheel, which grew massively in popularity after being featured on the hit ABC show Shark Tank, where it was presented to Robert Herjavec and other notable investors.

Chirp on Shark Tank
Robert Herjavec & Chirp On Shark Tank

Getting a massage daily, weekly or even monthly is cost prohibitive for most people. As such, utilizing a foam roller to address tight muscles and relieve pain has become the go-to method for low-cost body maintenance. Being someone who has struggled with various forms of back pain myself, I’ve tried just about every foam rollers and myofascial release tool on the market. Naturally, when I started seeing Chirp ads everywhere, I knew I had to test it out to see if it lived up to the hype. With almost 8,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.4-star average rating, I was optimistic that this would be a great addition to my back pain tool kit.

 

The Chirp Wheel:


While a standard foam roller is a great tool, I liken it to a Swiss Army knife. A Swiss Army knife enables you to cut, screw, saw, and scissor with one tool, which can be handy for basic everyday needs. However, if you have ever tried to use the scissors to cut anything thicker than a piece of paper, you have realized that in trying to be good at everything, the tool is actually not that great at anything.

Chirp wheel comparison

Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach of a traditional foam roller, the Chirp wheel is a purpose-built tool that focuses on solving one problem really well: back pain. The foam-covered, flexible wheel claims to provide relief better than competitors because of its narrower 5" wide form factor, patent-pending "spinal canal," and "compression sensitive" padding that stretch the muscles around the spine. Normal foam rollers are too wide to place concentrated pressure in the right places for back pain relief, which is exactly what the Chirp was designed to address.

 

Pricing/Specs:


To fully assess the Chirp, I ordered the 3-wheel pack, which comes with a 12", 10" and 6" wheel, each designed to deliver different levels of pressure as described below. The pack costs $99, but each wheel can be purchased individually. Orders over $99 come with free shipping.

Chirp wheel pricing
 

First Impressions:


My biggest question going into this review was whether the Chirp would provide enough additional relief compared to a regular foam roller to justify the higher cost, especially for a product that only works on your back. My first impression after unboxing everything was how high the build quality seemed. The foam feels premium, the colors are sharp, and the three wheels look great stacked together. The foam on the outside has a pattern similar to a car tire, which provides extra grip to keep you from slipping off, while still being soft and comfortable on your back. The interior wheel is a smooth plastic that has some flex but still feels quite sturdy. Overall, there is no doubt about the amount of care that went into the design and manufacturing of this product.


Chirp Wheel packable case

As someone who has lots of fitness tools, I appreciate how nice the Chirp looks and that the rollers nest inside each other for storage, which means you can keep them out in the open without them being an eyesore. While the aesthetics may seem like a silly reason to make the purchase, the best tools are the ones you actually use, and keeping them within eyesight will remind you to put them to work.


 

Review:


12" Wheel | Gentle

I tested the largest wheel first, since that is Chirp’s signature product. To really benefit from the wheel, you need to relax in the proper position and allow your muscles to stretch to relieve some of the tension. I struggled to get into a position where I could be comfortable and properly relax. The wheel’s flexibility combined with the compression of the foam made me feel unstable, and I struggled to find my balance. Moving from a carpeted floor to a hardwood floor helped, but I still didn’t experience all the relief I should have.


10" Wheel | Medium

The slightly smaller diameter on this wheel meant I was lower to the ground, which definitely helped me feel more stable. I was able to get a bit more of a stretch in and started to relax into extension, but I still felt a bit too unstable to fully relax. I like to be able to get into a position, take a deep breath, and then let out a long exhale to release tension, often initiating that pleasant "cracking" feeling. I just wasn't quite relaxed enough to get this response the same way I normally can with a foam roller.


6" Wheel | Deep Tissue

While the smallest wheel was the most comfortable for me in terms of balance, it isn't really much different than a traditional foam roller in terms of diameter and feel. Its smaller surface area means it provides more targeted pressure, making it more effective than the bigger sizes for attacking specific pain areas. Where I think it really excels is for providing neck relief. The size makes it very comfortable to lay on and simulate a bit of traction over the spinal column.


 

Verdict:


I had high hopes for this product given the hype, but I’m not sure it’s justified. I was certainly impressed with the quality, delivery, and presentation, and I have no doubt it is a well-built product with great intentions. However, I have had the wheels for a few months now sitting on a shelf next to my foam roller, and not once did I find myself choosing the Chirp. If I were to buy from the company again, the only item that I would consider is the 6" wheel, because it could be easily packed in a bag as a travel-size foam roller.


Overall, I prefer the stability and versatility that a traditional foam roller provides, and I don't feel that I can justify recommending the Chirp given the price. A tool that does less, costs more, and isn't as effective just doesn't make sense when there are many other low-cost options available.


Video Review of the Chirp coming soon!

 

Sources:




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