Custom vs. Standard: Which Stress Ball Should I Buy?

Choosing which stress ball to give away can be…well, stressful. We have a ton of options to choose from (really, there are thousands of them on our website). If the only thing you’re sure about is that you want to put your logo on a stress ball, it can still be a mountain of a task to decide what kind of stress reliever, in addition to figuring out the color, imprint design, and more.

The decisions actually don’t stop there. Did you know you can also design a one-of-a-kind custom stress ball? You sure can! Take a look at the photo below to see a couple examples of custom stress balls we’ve made (Bubba is actually a custom one too, but he also just wanted to be in the photo):

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Now you might be wondering what goes into a custom stress ball? How much more will it cost? Take a deep breath. We’re here for you. We’ll take a look at both standard and custom-shaped stress balls, giving you information on both so you can decide which is best for your company.

So grab your favorite stress ball (I’ve got Dogbert) and let’s get to it!

Take Stock in Our Stock Shaped Stress Balls

First, we begin with the standard stress balls that you’ll find on our website. If you look at our stress ball category, you’ll come up with nearly 1,900 different squishy relievers. You can get anything from our famous Round Stress Reliever to the not-so-well-known Buttocks Stress Ball. Essentially, you can be as generic or as specific as you like.

So even within our basic selection of stress balls, it’s not surprising if you start feeling overwhelmed. I like to think of our selection like a restaurant menu. Stay with me. If you’re like me, when I go to a restaurant, I always have a hard time choosing what I want to order. I usually end up just ordering something I’ve eaten before. But it can pay to experiment and try something new!

With that said, let’s take a look at a few pros and cons of ordering a standard stress ball:


Here are the pros:

  • The production time is shorter. Compared to a custom stress ball, getting a stock-shaped stress ball with your logo on it can take significantly less time (more on this later). Some standard stress balls can begin production within a day of you confirming the order for us.
  • Overall cost per item is less. This one is pretty obvious. Stock stress balls already have their molds created, and hundreds have probably been made. That reduces the cost per stress ball compared to a custom stress ball that has never been made.
  • Lots of different options. Like I said above, there are almost 2,000 different stress balls just waiting for your logo. So, if you don’t have the budget to create a custom one, you’re sure to find one that will work well for your company and advertise your business effectively.

Now for some cons:

  • It’s already been done. Your company logo will make it unique, but chances are another company has handed out that Football Stress Reliever at local high school football games. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t still do that, or that it won’t have a positive impact on your brand. Just remember that when choosing a stress ball, another company has likely already picked it out before.
  • It’s not specific to your brand. I know, I said in the “pro” section that we have a lot of options. However, even with the thousands of stress ball available, it’s possible the selection that we have won’t stand out as being “your brand” enough. That can only happen with a custom stress ball.
  • There are some limits when it comes to your design. The word “standard” is key here. These stress balls already have their design, color, and imprint location set. You might be able to pick out a different color depending on the type of reliever you choose, but generally the more unique the shape (like our Stressed-Out Man Stress Ball pictured below), the fewer options you have when it comes to choosing a color and imprint location. So overall you lose some customization.


It’s important to take your time when selecting a stress ball. Always consider your audience when choosing an unusually shaped stress ball. Our Spinal Cord Stress Ball might be fine for chiropractors and doctors but probably isn’t appropriate for a children’s clothing store (obviously).

You’ll also notice on our website that some stress balls look almost identical to each other. A lot of the factories that we work with make very similar stress relievers. We offer them all because it’s a way for us to help keep costs down and offer you the best price.

Get Personal with Custom Shaped Stress Balls

If ordering our standard stress balls is like picking something off a restaurant menu, then designing a custom stress ball could be compared to creating the menu itself. There are still some rules you need to abide by, but by and large, you get to tell the chefs what they’re making.

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Anthony, one of our long time sales guys, says stress balls are promotional products that people actually like to keep, and if you have the resources to make one yourself, he highly recommends it. He adds, “When you factor in you will be the ONLY person with this custom design, the perceived value skyrockets, and your client will absolutely be impressed.”

Designing your own custom stress ball can be a daunting task, but we’re always here to help. To start, we need a picture or a drawing of what you are looking to get. It can be a very detailed drawing or a cell phone picture. Either way, we’ll take it from there and create just what you want.

It definitely requires planning ahead, but if you have an annual event you know you’ll have to prepare for or simply want to offer your customers something different in the coming months, a custom stress ball is great option.

All right, let’s take a look at the pros and cons again:


The pros:

  • No one has it. Again, a pretty obvious positive. Your custom stress ball means just that; it’s custom to your company. No other business will be able to hand out that exact stress ball. So if you’re looking to completely stand out, a custom design is the way to go.
  • It perfectly matches your brand. Similar to the comment above, a custom stress ball is your brand. Unlike that Hamburger Stress Ball, which simply relates to your restaurant, you’re designing one that is your brand. So that mascot you’ve had for years on your website and business cards can come to “life” in stress ball form. Just ask our mascot, Bubba; he loves it.
  • You have more control. You send us the shape you want, and we make the stress ball. But it doesn’t just end there. You have control over the shape, color, and imprint design. You’ll even get an email with an image of the 3D wax sculpture, and we can tweak it however you’d like. In short, this is your stress ball from start to finish.

And now for some cons:

  • There’s a longer production time. It can take anywhere from 12 to 18 weeks to get your custom stress balls compared to a couple weeks for standard stress balls. The times vary depending on overseas holidays and production times. Our factories have to create your specific mold for the stress balls, so that adds to the wait time. Again, planning is the key.
  • The cost is higher. Creating a brand new mold also adds to the cost. Some standard stress balls can cost less than a dollar a piece, but custom ones are usually a few dollars, which adds to the final cost — especially when you consider our final con.
  • You need a high minimum quantity order. There is a minimum quantity of 1,000 units. The reason is that it can take a lot of resources to make your custom mold and the dye blocks that will be used to add color. Production facilities are very precise when making your custom stress ball, so the cost is defrayed on a per unit basis.

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At one point, the minimum quantity for custom stress balls was 5,000, but due to greater efficiency in the production process, it was lowered to 1,000. So who knows, maybe in the future that minimum could decrease again, but for now it stands at 1,000.

In good news, once you’ve ordered your custom stress ball, the cost can be reduced on the next order because there is no need to make a new mold or dye to color the product. The actual cost reduction can vary depending on the design of the stress ball. We’ll always give you a quote up front on what you can expect to spend for your order.

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Bottom line, a stress ball (standard or custom) is a great way to get your brand name out. The Round Stress Ball Reliever I mentioned earlier is consistently in our Top 10 Monthly List of Products. If people didn’t love it, then companies probably wouldn’t keep ordering it.

When it comes to stress balls, we know our stuff. Our own Bubba is a custom stress ball we designed for QLP. So if you’re ever stuck wondering what to do and are having trouble deciding, be sure to call us up! We love chatting (especially about promotional products). You can reach us on the phone 866-312-5646, email (, or via live chat.

Have you ever ordered a custom stress ball before? Ever get a custom stress reliever from a company? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!

expand your brand

Shaun Zinck

Raised in the Chicago suburbs, Shaun is a recovering journalist, but still considers himself a news junkie. You can probably find him browsing the endless depths of the Internet reading about both news and sports, or watching the latest viral videos on YouTube. He enjoys cooking dinner for his wife and annoying his two cats until they scratch him. You can connect with Shaun on .


  1. Mike Wenger

    OK, I have to admit it, I LOVE stress balls. Stress balls are just a cool and fun way to create a buzz at a show or be forever memorialized as a collectible item on your customers’ desk. Its funny to think that a little piece of polyurethane can turn a ho-hum promotion into one which is talked about for years. There is a stress ball to fit every budget and industry BUT for those who really want to stand out, custom is the only way. Whether its a logo we make into a 3-D shape, a product you sell, your mascot, or literally a pun on any part of your business, we can make it into stress ball reality. What’s most fun for me is the fact as a sales person its the opportunity to help design a object from the ground up. From the clay molding to the finishing touches, the process, while long, is very rewarding. With 1,000 piece minimums (and trust me 1,000 is never enough once the promotion hits) these are a no-brainer for me!

    Great article Shaun!

  2. PMO

    Custom stress balls are GREAT!

    OK, truth be told, I’ve only done one order for them – but the customization allowed to the client is awesome. it was also really cool walking with them throughout the process from idea through finished product.

    Also, you can’t beat the advertising benefit of a stress ball. Oh, and they are perfect for throwing at coworkers!

  3. Ashley

    My favorite promotional product in the business is the custom stress ball! There are so many fun and creative ones around that I started collecting my favorites. When I find the right one, I have to add it to my collection. I’m a bit of a stress ball hoarder now. Sure, I may have collected so many that they are starting to take control of my office desk. But I digress.

    Standard stress balls are effective at the crowdsourcing approach: getting the company name and information out to as many customers as possible. And due to how amazingly cost-effective standard stress balls are in comparison to other promotional products, a company really can get its name out there. But there is more incentive and less work for customers to remember a brand name with a custom stress ball. Using a creatively chosen stress ball for a company can get a customer to make that connection to a company more easily. In my opinion, we’ve all been there when it comes to cost effectiveness, but if a company is serious about getting their branding message out to potential customers, they have to go with custom stress balls. Maybe that’s just due to the fact that I want to help supply my stress ball addiction… In any case, they both make for successful promotional marketing!

  4. Ryan

    This is great Shaun! Ever since i started here, stress balls have been my favorite item. They can be anything, and they are always a hit!
    Custom stress balls, in particular, are a really cool way to be part of a promotional product from start to finish. You get to see your idea move from just that, an idea, to reality, while getting to call all the shots! With our standard stress balls, you just get to design the imprint. You also run the risk of having the same product as somebody else! The only way to garauntee that your promotion is one of a kind, is to go with a custom stress ball. Trust me, it will be worth it 🙂

  5. keith

    Great information and great post!

    If you can plan ahead of time custom stress balls are really the way to go. You can get exactly what you want and get really get your name and brand out there with your design. A custom stress ball and make a impact and leave an impression.

    If you don’t have the time and are a crunch and the standard stress ball is the way to go and can still be effective in its own way.

    Either way, these are both great for promotional marketing. If you have the time and can plan in advance then I would go the custom route!

  6. Doc

    Great insight on the stress ball industry. I have worked with a few custom shaped stress balls and they have always been a huge hit and re-ordered all the time. It’s a great way to put your brand’s distinct image on a creative piece.

    We also offer so many great deals on many of our other shapes as well. If you don’t need something brand specific, you’ll definitely find something great with our stock stress ball options.

  7. Matt

    If you have the time and the resources a customer stress ball is the way to go 100% of the time. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. You want to make a miniature stress ball of yourself? Go ahead! You want to make a stress ball that is a physical representation of your logo? No problem! The possibilities are endless…IF you have the time an resources. That being said, the amount of standard stress balls that we offer is nothing short of staggering. Anything from a stack of pancakes to an array of solar panels, we have them ready to go for you. just give us a few days and we’ll have your order of stress pigs wearing overalls on your doorstep ready for your 4H event (I’m assuming). The bottom line is whatever your resources and whatever your time table we have the right stress ball for you!

  8. leo

    Custom Stress Balls! Get ‘em while they’re hot! These are priceless and timeless. Why wouldn’t you want to encapsulate your brand into a meticulously carved item? WHY NOT!?!?! I know you may be thinking that the minimum is a bit high (only 1000 pieces) when you usually order 250, but you get your custom made image! We have had so many awesome custom orders it’s hard to say which one is my favorite. I’ll name just one…the custom SUPER GIRL!

    If you can’t seem to get an idea on what to create, let us help! You can tell us about your brand and maybe we can shoot out some great ideas.

    We love to help out and are just as eager to see what your custom items turn out like as you are! Give us a go.

  9. David Willits

    I would say that if your timeline and budget allow a custom job, you’d be crazy to not serious weigh that option. The things that our factories can do nowadays is awesome and your clients will take notice.Plus, if you come up with an original design, you can own the rights to it and be the only in town with that thing showing off your logo!

    Considering the above, there is still something to be said about being able to get a ton of stress balls printed and delivered in a short time with our “off-the-shelf” options. From the original to the animals, vehicles, objects, there are a lot to choose from.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen/heard anybody say that stress balls weren’t a hit. Either way you want to go, please give us the opportunity to see what we can do for you!

  10. Chris

    Hello. I’m looking for 5″ stress ball strips I can use as a handle I can place over an original steel handle. Can I get strip pieces for that? Also, can the material be split down the middle to fit over the hard handle? Thank you for your help. Chris.

  11. Shaun

    Hi Chris!

    I don’t think we sell what you’re looking for, but we do sell some luggage grips that might work, though!

    Check out the Grip-it Luggage Identifier here:

    If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to email us at!

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