Hop On: The 8 Best Jump Ropes

Aug 18, 2015

Category: Gear

Sometimes getting fit means looking to unlikely places for inspiration. In the case of jump ropes, it means looking to little girls chanting as they play double dutch in the park. Sure, you’re a big, strapping man, but those lean young ladies know a thing or two about increasing agility, foot speed, balance, and keeping weight off. You’d be a fool to ignore them. If you want a full body workout that can travel with you anywhere and make you float like a butterfly, then it’s time you got yourself a jump rope and learned all the words to Blue Bells, Cockle Shells.

Getting the right one is all about your personal goals. Weighted ropes give you more strength building in your arms, shoulders, and chest for those times when you can’t hit the free weights. Lighter ropes are meant for speed and make you really work your legs and stay on your toes, literally. In the middle are medium grade ropes for a better all-around workout meant to maximize the calories you drop while helping you build a bit of muscle. To meet any level, we’ve found the 8 best jump ropes for anyone ready to Skip to my Lou.

Valeo PVC Jump Rope

Valeo PVC Jump Rope

Pro: Inexpensive
Con: Not very durable

Best for Beginners: There’s nothing funnier than a guy who thinks that just because 9 year-old girls can use a skipping rope, that he can handle it. Truth is, if you haven’t trained, you need to ease into choosing a jump rope. The best place to start is with a cheap PVC rope from Valeo. Inexpensive enough for anyone and good quality, they’ll give you a sense of what you need out of a rope, or just give you a casual way to burn some calories as you save up for something better. Just know that they will wear out quickly. [Purchase: $8+]

Master of Muscle Crossfit

Master of Muscle Crossfit

Pro: Quick without being a full speed rope
Con: Plastic handles

Most for the Money: As a crossfit rope used for fitness, this has everything going for it. It’s cable so doesn’t tangle or cause lean to one side. The weight is light and lets you quickly master the elusive double-under. The rotation is easy to acclimate to using, and it goes anywhere. Backed with a lifetime guarantee, and some of the most dedicated customer service on the planet, you’ll get a ton of peace of mind out of this jump rope. Our only major problem was the plastic handles which can get slippery if not taped up. [Purchase: $14]

CSX Pro Speed Cable

CSX Pro Speed Cable

Pro: Extremely easy length adjustment
Con: Too quick for most beginners

Quick Step: A true speed rope for the bodybuilder who doesn’t want to ever own a pair of running shoes for their cardio workout, this is a fast cable jump rope made for quick use between sets. Rotation is handled by 5″ smooth ball bearings that never grind to a halt or slow down your spin. A coated steel cables gives you the bare minimum in weight and is meant to challenge you to step up your game. Beginners will find this extremely dfficult since it’s a medium to advanced speed rope, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you sign up. [Purchase: $14]

Vortex Weighted

Vortex Weighted

Pro: Solid weights don’t move
Con: Cord tangles easily

Weight List: We’re on the fence when it comes to jump ropes with weights in the handles. Yes, they offer some upper body strength conditioning benefits, but usually they’re awkward and the results are minimal. Among the weighty, our favorite is the Vortex. While the weights are removable, they don’t rattle around like many for a more sturdy, stable feel. The foam grips are the perfect size and density for giving you a solid hold without the sensation that they’ll degrade after a few hard workouts. We enjoy the narrow rope and ball bearing rotation since it allows users to go for higher speeds, even if it also has a tendency to tangle like a set of earbud cords. [Purchase: $29]

Kaufmann Mercantile Euro Leather Rope

Kaufmann Mercantile Euro Leather Rope

Pro: Exquisite craftsmanship
Con: Poor outdoor rating

Leatherneck: Leather jump ropes are typically used by boxers who prefer the timeless feel and vintage utility that they bring. Sadly, as boxing’s popularity has declined, so too have the quality of the skipping ropes for boxers. For those who kick it classic, the Kaufmann Mercantile offers hand-carved wooden handles of highest quality along with treated European leather for craftsmanship that is undeniable. Ball bearing mounts make it as functional as it is attractive. Just don’t take it into the elements as the leather will be ruined. [Purchase: $40]

Buddy Lee Aero Speed

Buddy Lee Aero Speed

Pro: Parts are fully replaceable
Con: Amazing handles, mediocre rope

Live Long: Buddy Lee is probably the last name in quality jump ropes, and with good reason. They are still producing some of the longest lasting, high-quality ropes in the business. You’ll pay dearly for the quality, but when you put the swivel ball bearing into action, the lack of friction, drag, hesitation, and wear will make you a believer. Each facet of the Aero Speed is replaceable, so the investment only needs to happen once. The incomparable durability will last you for years, while the ability for extremely high speeds lets you amp your skipping rope set to universal proportions. [Purchase: $41]

Tangram Smart Rope

Tangram Smart Rope

Pro: Full fitness tracking features
Con: Expensive

Counter Intuitive: Counting is hard, which is why we have machines to do it for us. The Smart Rope is more than just a revolution marker like you’d get with any hackneyed jump counter. It syncs with the Smart Gym app to monitor your calories burned, number of jumps, time of workout, and lets you keep track of multiple factors to act as a full fitness tracker for your hopping time. 360 degree bearings coupled with a 45 degree rope angle makes this easy to use even if you never bother to slave it to any tablet or smartphone. [Purchase: $70]

Crossrope Complete Elite

Crossrope Complete Elite

Pro: Interchangeable ropes
Con: Overkill for many

Total Package: You’re a serious jump rope fiend if you’re considering the Elite package. Rather than just a simple rope and a set of handles, this has every kind of skipping rope you could want and handles to work with any gym rat’s needs. Go from a 2 oz speed rope to a 3 lbs. muscle builder with a click and a snap into whichever set of handles strikes your fancy. Steel ball bearings allow for full rotation no matter what you pick so the light ones turn fast enough to make you work and the heavy options don’t drag or snag as they make their ponderous arc. Change your routine, fitness goals, and skill level any time. You’ll find the Complete Elite ready to go along for the ride. [Purchase: $160]

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