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What Makes Stress Balls Different from One Another? About Density and Durometer

We sell nearly 2,000 different stress relievers on Qualitylogoproducts.com. That means customer questions are both welcomed and inevitable!

However, two similar questions consistently pop up, which I’d like to take on in today’s blog post:

What’s the difference between these stress balls?

OR

Which stress ball is firmer or softer?

We completely understand how stress balls can be confusing, especially when you’re trying to decide between two or more versions that look 99.9% similar! The answer to both of the above questions can be answered with the help of two little words: DENSITY and DUROMETER.

What do “density” and “durometer” mean, and how do they affect stress balls?

Density refers to the mass of a material; so, in the case of a stress ball, density would apply to the hardness or softness.

A durometer measures a material’s density and its resistance to permanent indentation. This unit of measurement is used to evaluate all kinds of plastics and synthetic materials, like rubbers (on the softer side of the hardness scale) or acrylic plastics (on the firmer side of the hardness scale).

Durometer measures density on a hardness scale, with the highest numbers correlating to the hardest materials. As you can see in the image below, rubbers and polyurethanes are on the lower side of the spectrum, which means they’re more flexible to the touch:

You're my density... I mean, my destiny.

Most stress balls are made of polyurethane, a foam-like substance, which is why they have a soft and resilient consistency when squeezed. But even though they’re made from essentially the same materials, polyurethane consistency can still vary on the hardness scale! That’s why no two stress relievers will feel exactly the same.

Now, let’s take a look at this newfound knowledge from a promotional-product-specific standpoint!

As I mentioned earlier, we’re often asked about the difference between similar stress reliever shapes on our website. For example, there are at least 10 different round stress balls on Qualitylogoproducts.com, and they all vary in price.

What’s up with that?!?

Here’s your answer: Even though all of our round stress balls may look exactly the same, they’re not! Every factory manufactures their own versions of these stress balls. That means the materials vary from place to place, and therefore the density and price vary from place to place.

Still confused? No problem. I’m here to help!

I ordered samples of 4 of our top-selling round stress balls and compared their density (by hand, of course…I don’t have the means to scientifically measure it via durometer) to help clear up some customer confusion.

Here are the contenders:

Custom Stress Balls: Q653

Custom Stress Balls (Q653): Soft and squishy

Round Stress Relievers: Q17459

Round Stress Relievers (Q17459): Medium firmness

Round Stress Balls (Economy): Q9173

Round Stress Balls Economy (Q9173): Soft and squishy

Round Stress Balls: Q13452

Round Stress Balls (Q13452): Firm density

I tested each stress ball for resistance and overall feel, and I also asked my fellow QLP Blog Squad members for their input on each.

What was the verdict? Nearly everyone favored the Custom Stress Balls (pictured in the upper left). If you like a stress reliever that’s easy to squeeze, then this one’s a good choice. It’s squishy and it almost has a gel feel to it, even though it’s made entirely of polyurethane. The Round Economy Stress Balls (pictured in the lower left) are of a strikingly similar consistency, and they cost a bit less.

If lightweight, slightly-firm stress balls are your cup of tea, then you’ll love the Round Stress Relievers (pictured in the top right). They’re not tough to squeeze by any means, but they provide more resistance than the two I mentioned above. And last but not least, the Round Stress Balls (pictured in the bottom right) are the way to go if you prefer firmer stress relievers. These puppies definitely have the highest density of the four you see here!

Please note, however, that stress ball density can vary even within the same shipment. It won’t be a drastic difference, but no two stress balls are created equal!

If you’re concerned about stress ball flexibility or density, then I’d strongly suggest ordering a sample prior to placing your order. There’s only one true way to determine satisfactory stress relief levels: by giving them a good squeeze for yourself. Some people like harder stress balls (more resistance – good for hand-strengthening exercises) and others prefer softer stress balls (less resistance – good for the occasional stress relief throughout the day). You’ll want to get the best one for your needs!

Which stress ball would you buy? Based on the information in this post, are you more likely to favor one stress ball over another? Do you prefer softer or firmer stress relievers?

Image credit to QualityLogoProducts.com, Clipart.com, and PlasticsINTL.com.


Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. Jill writes for the QLP blog and assists with the company’s social media accounts. You can connect with Jill on Google+.

Comments

  1. Jana Quinn

    Awesome post to clarify the differences between what look like the same exact products online. I personally am smack in the middle when it comes to density and prefer a mid-high durometer. Basically, I like squishing stress balls and watching them reform slowly into the original shape. Nice reference for people considering their first promotional stress ball purchase.

  2. Jeff Porretto

    Nice post Jill! I always knew there was a difference between them, but it’s not until you can try them one after another that you can really compare them.

    I also noticed that the nicer, softer, “gel-like” ones seem to wrinkle less when sqeezed, and therefore would hopefully have fewer unsightly creases after a lot of use. Double bonus!

    • Eric

      I actually had the same thought as Jeff. They may look the same, have the same color scheme, and be made from a similar material…but you’d be amazed at how differently the density can be, as well as the surface elasticity. The less it wrinkles, the longer that logo stays on…and your contact information remains readable! Never hurts to spend a bit more and spring for the higher quality items!

      Interesting post, Jill!

      • Jill Tooley

        Thanks, you guys! Believe it or not, I had fun researching this post. I felt like I was in college again…haha.

        I hate creased stress balls! They don’t relieve as much stress when they get like that (I have to have a smooth surface, otherwise it bothers me). The first one I mentioned is my favorite — by far. :)

        Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Mandy Kilinskis

    I like my stress relievers to be on the softer side, but not too soft. I don’t need hand therapy hard, but I want there to be some resistance. After all, I want it to actually help me relieve some stress! :)

    Great post, Jill! It’s nice to see the break down of our most popular stress balls!

    • Jill Tooley

      Thanks! Me, too. But I’d rather have one that’s too soft than one that’s too hard. The last thing I need is to get angrier while trying to relieve stress. ;)

  4. Amy Swanson

    You really did your homework on this post and it shows, Jill! Excellent job on explaining these two terms in a easy-to-understand way. A must-read for everyone who wants to order stress balls, but are unsure of what terms to know.

    • Jill Tooley

      Aw, thanks, Amy! I kind of missed doing homework, so this was a good project for me. ;)

  5. Rachel

    I didn’t realize how much difference there was among stress balls until I saw those samples in person. I think I agree with Mandy — I prefer the “soft but not too soft” stress balls the most. :) Thanks for this helpful post, Jill!

    • Jill Tooley

      I never knew, either, until I started digging for this article. Durometer? Density? I’d heard of them, but I didn’t know they related to stress relievers. Now I know, and I’ll never forget it. :)

      Thanks, Rachel!

  6. david k waltz

    Jill,

    That is helpful to understand the terminology in order to appreciate the differences between items. Can’t wait to try them out at my next conference! Thanks!

    • Jill Tooley

      You’re welcome, David! I’m so glad I could help you understand stress ball terminology a bit better. I can’t resist picking them up at conferences and conventions, even though I have about a half-billion of them in my desk already. They’re addicting, somehow. ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Cybernetic SAM

    Yeah I am very tactile and I definitely have my preferences. It is kind of weird to think about, most people just think a stress ball is a stress ball nothing more. The fact that there are so many variations of texture is awesome! Great Post!

  8. Jenna Markowski

    Who knew there was so much to learn about stress balls?! This post was extremely helpful, and I’m sure will be a useful resource for our customers. It’s interesting how every person has their own stress ball preferences — that’s definitely something that brands will have to keep in mind!

    • Jill Tooley

      I know, right? I could have gone on longer about stress balls, but I didn’t want to bore anyone. Hopefully this helps customers/future customers decide which one is right for them!

  9. Jen

    What a great post Jill! I had an idea about what density was, but durometer was a completely new term for me. It’s so nice to have this post to refer back to if I’m ever in need. Thanks for the useful information. :)

    • Jill Tooley

      Thanks, Jen! I’m glad I could edu-ma-cate you on stress ball density and durometer. :)

  10. Alfred

    Thanks for the great information about “density” and “durometer” and also how they affect stress balls. The fact that there are so many variations of texture is awesome!.

  11. Jonny

    Nice post Jill!

    Thanks for sharing the actual difference between different stress balls. I understood the concept of density and durometer.

    I must do a practical experiment with two different types of stress ball to get the better understanding of density and durometer.

  12. Julie Mussared

    Now we need a post about what makes can koozies so different :)

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