Are you looking to purchase the best kickboard for swimming on the market for yourself or for your swimmer?
Then read along for the 15 best swimming kickboards on the market and who they are best for. Next, we will share more about the types of kickboards on the market and the benefits of each.
We will also unpack how to use a kickboard and the benefits of using a kickboard during training.
Let’s dive in!
*Note, this section includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Table of Contents
Types of kickboards
There are 6 types of kickboards on the market.
- Traditional tombstone kickboard: The standard kickboards you are most likely to see on a pool deck.
- 2-in-1 boards: Also known as the pull-kick board, you will learn why soon. 😉
- Arrowhead kickboards: Less common; not our personal favorite.
- Handgrip kick boards: Great boards, but if you learn with one it can be difficult to switch to a board without grip cutouts.
- Kid-friendly kickboards: These boards are sized especially for kids, usually featuring a fun creature or design.
- Ergonomic kickboards: Kickboards that help minimize stress and tension to the shoulders and neck.
Different kickboard materials to consider
Kickboards come in varying materials and textures! Below we will share the top most common kickboard martials.
- Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA): most common kickboard material; very buoyant, meaning it floats well!
- Expanded Polypropylene (EPP): the same material used in making foam rollers, more environmentally friendly, more durable, also floats well, not as stiff but sturdy
- Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) also known as styrofoam: Not as long-lasting, and stiff but easier to break, not recommended for competitive swimmers, not as durable as EVA and EPP
- Expanded Polyethylene (EPE): softer, usually used to make pool noodles, flexible material, more affordable, not as durable
From our experience, more buoyant kickboards seem to allow swimmers to keep a better body position when kicking. For competitive swimmers or any adult swimmer trying to become better, we recommend kickboards made from EVA or EPP.
Best Overall Kickboard: TYR Classic Kickboard
This is one of our top kickboards and #1 recommendation for someone looking for a new kickboard or their first kickboard. I have personally owned this kickboard for 10 years and it still looks brand new! No, this is not sponsored by TYR (we wish!); this kickboard is just that great.
Beyond that, this kickboard is longer and thicker than most tombstone kickboards so it is extremely buoyant but softer than most. The extra surface area from the board makes it a great choice for both beginners and elite swimmers!
Recommended for: Pre-teens, teens, and adults! This kickboard is a great adult-sized kickboard for swimmers of all levels. This is an ideal kickboard for taller athletes but is suitable for all athletes especially those with wide shoulders since this board is the widest of our recommended kickboards.
Made of: EVA foam
Dimensions (Length x Width x Thickness): 20” x 11.5” x 2”
Weight: 1 pound
Best Kick Board For the Hand Grip Lover: Arena Swim Kickboard
If you love a swimming kickboard with a hand grip or are a new swimmer who struggles to keep a grip on your board this is a great kickboard for you! It’s more lightweight than TYR kickboard. It’s also slightly shorter and less wide.
Therefore, this swimming kickboard may not be as great for swimmers who are taller or in larger bodies.
Recommended for: Swimmers of all levels who aren’t bothered by having a hand grip on the board. Beginner swimmers may especially enjoy the kickboard hand grip!
Made of: EVA foam
Dimensions (Length x Width x Thickness): 16” x 10” x 1”
Weight: 0.4 pounds
Best Budget Kickboard: Sporti Adult Kickboard
Like the TYR and Arena handgrip swimming kickboards, this Sporti pool kickboard is made of soft but buoyant EVA.
If you are looking for a board that is light more affordable and smaller than the TYR kickboard then this is an excellent choice!
Recommended for: The swimmers looking for a budget board or a swimming kickboard that comes in more bright colors and designs! This is a great choice for a gym swim.
Made of: EVA foam
Dimensions (Length x Width x Thickness): 18.5” x 11.4” x 1.3”
Weight: 0.6 pounds
Best Ergonomic Board: Ray-Board Swim Kickboard
Hands down the Ray Board Ergonomic Kickboard is the best choice for swimmers looking to relieve shoulder pain when kicking. It’s compact and easy to use. The ergonomic shape takes care of the shoulders to help you take your kick to the next level pain-free.
We love that it comes in both adult sizes and junior sizes!
Recommended for: Swimmers with a history of shoulder problems or shoulder injuries. This is one of the most comfortable kickboards, if not the most comfortable kickboard on the market. This kickboard tends to be loved by Masters swimmers.
Made of: EPP foam
Dimensions of adult kickboard (Length x Width): 20” x 18”
Weight: 0.75 pounds
Best Pullkick Kickboard: Speedo All-Age Pullkick Training Aid
The great thing about this swimming kickboard is that it is a 2 in 1! You can use the Speedo Pull Kickboard as both a kickboard and a pull buoy.
Recommended for: Masters swimmers who don’t want to carry a kickboard and pull buoy to practice.
Best Arrowhead Kickboard: ADTZYLD Swimming Kickboard
While not our personal favorite, arrowhead kickboards can make you feel like a rocket in the water! The light and aerodynamic build makes you feel fast.
We recommend the ADTZYLD Swimming Kickboard for our top arrowhead swimming kickboard pick kickboard because it has hand grip locations for your comfort and it is more affordable compared to other arrowhead boards on the market.
Recommended for: More experienced swimmers or smaller swimmers. These smaller boards have reduced buoyancy so require excellent body position and core strength from the swimmer! The whole at the top is great for guiding and teaching new swimmers during swim lessons.
Made of: EVA foam
Dimensions (Length x Width x Thickness): 17.13” x 12.6” x 1.3”
Weight: 0.55 pounds
Best Kickboard for Sidekick: Finis Alignment Kickboard
This kickboard is one we would recommend having in addition to a more classic tombstone or arrowhead board. However, this board is an incredible tool!
Recommended for: More elite swimmers. This board will assist with body position and is also great for use paired with a snorkel. We would not recommend this board to athletes new to the sport.
Made of: EVA foam and silicon
Dimensions (Length x Width x Thickness): 12” x 13” x 3”
Weight: 0.33 pounds
Best Kickboard for Young Swimmers: TYR Kids Kickboard
As a swim coach of over 10 years, I have seen kids do things you would never expect such as biting and ripping off chunks of kickboards! If you have been to a public pool with the styrofoam type kick boards you likely know what I am talking about.
This is why we recommend the TYR Kids Kickboard! It’s more durable than most tombstone kickboards but smaller than the TYR classic kickboard.
Recommended for: This is the best kickboard choice for swimmers who are ~10 years and under.
Made of: EVA foam
Dimensions (Length x Width x Thickness): 14.5” x 10” x 1.25”
Weight: 0.55 pounds
Best Pick for Learn-To-Swim: Melissa and Doug Kickboard
The Melissa and Doug Sunny Patch Spark Kickboard is a great pick for kids learning to swim!
Why? Because of the fun shark face! When kids are learning to swim the most important thing is helping to make it as fun as possible so they want to continue to come back and learn more at swim lessons!
The downfall of this board is that it’s made of styrofoam with a thin layer of polyester fabric over top so it may not last as long as the TYR Kids Kickboard!
Recommended for: swimmers under 6 years old who are attending swim lessons and learning to swim.
Made of: EPS foam, also known as styrofoam
Dimensions (Length x Width x Thickness): swimmers under 6 years old who are attending swim lessons. 17.7” x 13” x 1.5”
When in doubt the classic kickboard: Speedo Team Kickboard
Classics are classics for a reason! This is a traditional board you will likely see at most public pools. These Speedo tombstone kickboards are the kind you will find nail marks and occasionally bites out of. It’s firm but does the job!
We love the side grip.
Recommended for: Anyone! Young or old, new or elite, this board will do its job.
Made of: EVA foam
Dimensions (Length x Width x Thickness): swimmers under 6 years old who are attending swim lessons. 19” x 12” x 1.4”
Weight: 0.1 pounds
Where to buy kickboards
For ease, we recommend ordering kickboards online through Amazon or Swim outlet! However, you may be able to buy a kickboard in person at a large championship meet where swim gear vendors are more likely to set up a tent!
If you need a kickboard for swimming today you may have luck finding one at your local sporting goods store.
If you are on a tight budget check out Ebay or Poshmark for gently used kickboards!
Why use a kickboard?
Swimming kickboards are a great training aid that allows you to focus on your kicking technique without thinking too much about your arms to pull.
Using a kickboard is a great way to work the lower body and build leg strength during swim training to become a better swimmer.
How to hold a kickboard?
How you choose to hold a kickboard will likely depend on your personal preference or what your coach requests.
Here are three ways to hold traditional kickboards:
- At the bottom of the board
- At the top of the board
- On the side of the board
Your head position may also vary from head down and breathing to the side or head up focusing on hips up as well. Some coaches may recommend a snorkel to practice a neutral head position or streamlined position while using a kickboard.
In summary, best kickboard for swimming
The type of kickboard best for you will depend on your personal preferences and needs such as:
- Preference for hand grips
- Size: adult-sized kickboards or kid-friendly
- Softer foam boards or harder boards
- Need for a more ergonomic board
We hope this kickboard buying guide helps you find the perfect kickboard for you or a gift for your swimmer.
Katie Schimmelpfenning RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, USA Swim Coach, and former Division 1 swimmer. She helps competitive swimmers fuel and train to optimize performance, recover faster, and prevent injury! She is passionate about spreading evidence-based nutrtion tips to help swimmers across the globe.