Last Updated on February 23, 2021
EDITOR’S NOTE: The larger grey ball we purchased has a slow leak we noticed within 24-36 hours of purchasing it. Read our update farther down in this post to learn about our experience with the warranty service.
Aldi rolls out an array of home fitness equipment during the winter months. This is a time when many people are trying to drop the holiday pounds, but cold temperatures in much of the U.S. make outdoor exercise challenging. Aldi can help you create a space in your home for exercise without breaking your budget, and the retailer has been known to sell sit-up benches, fitness bands, stationary bikes, kettle bells, and even treadmills.
If you want some really inexpensive fitness accessories, Aldi sometimes sells exercise balls in a range of sizes to fit everyone. I recently picked up two of them to try at home.
Crane Exercise Balls cost $7.99 each at the time of publication. That’s less than any other exercise ball I found on Amazon.
The Crane balls are Aldi Finds (Special Buys), which means they’re only in stores for a short time. Remember that Aldi does not offer online ordering for its specials, so once these sell out at your local store, they’re gone until the next time Aldi decides to sell them, which might be a year later.
These balls come in three sizes:
- a lime/yellow ball that is 26″ in diameter
- a blue ball that is 30″ in diameter
- a grey ball that is 33″ in diameter.
I purchased the smallest and largest balls. The box for the smallest ball, which is 26″ in diameter, says it is ideal for users up to 5’7″ tall. The largest ball, which is 33″ in diameter, is ideal for users approximately 6’1″ to 6’6″ tall. I don’t have exact user height recommendations for the middle-sized ball that is 30″ in diameter, but I’d assume it’s ideal for users between 5’8″ and 6′ tall.
Each ball comes with spare sealing plugs, a deflating tube, a foot pump, an air pump adapter, and an exercise chart.
The maximum weight load for each ball I purchased is 264 pounds. The boxes state these balls are made of a “robust PVC material” that “gives the ball a high degree of protection against sudden bursting.”
The balls are made in China and come with a two-year warranty serviced by Aspiria Nonfood GmBh, a company based in Hamburg, Germany, whose website states it focuses on “the development, procurement and delivery of non-food products. With a focus on sport, game and leisure products, we supply renowned food retail companies around the world.” If I understand that correctly, it looks like this company’s purpose is to provide nonfood merchandise for grocery stores to sell, which makes it a good fit for a store like Aldi that sells both groceries and a variety of nonfood items. Aspiria’s products include fitness equipment, camping and outdoor recreation supplies, sports equipment, home décor, car accessories, mobility aides, and more.
To contact Aspiria for after-sales warranty service for the exercise balls, call 1-800-407-1458 in the U.S., or email [email protected]
The manual states these balls are intended to be used as gymnastics or sports equipment and “not as a seat for continuous sitting.” The balls are also intended only for indoor use, and the manual says not to use a compressor or compressed air bottle to inflate the balls.
There were no instructions for how to inflate the balls, but it’s pretty straightforward and my middle schooler was able to inflate these with little assistance. Simply pull the plug out of the flat ball, attach the accordion-style tube to the pump, stick the pump “needle” in the ball, and press the pump with your foot or hand. It only takes a few minutes to inflate each ball.
Each ball comes with an exercise chart that features photos and instructions for six different activities: hip raises, push-ups, planks, squats, ball pulls, and sitting.
I bought these balls primarily for my upper elementary and middle school kids to use for exercise and for some at-home gymnastics/tumbling practice because they haven’t been able to attend their usual tumbling classes this past year. I might also use the smaller ball for some exercises myself. We can do balancing and strength-training activities with them, and the kids also have fun lying on them and rolling around some, as kids are apt to do, with their favorite exercises being variations on the ball pull, push-up, and plank exercises shown on the exercise chart that comes with each ball.
The smallest ball works well for me and my kids for most exercises, and while no one in our household is tall enough to meet the height recommendations for the largest ball, I bought it as well because my kids asked for it . . . because a giant ball is just a lot of fun and it didn’t cost much, and my middle schooler enjoys using it for some tumbling activities.
While the manual states the balls aren’t intended for continuous sitting, I’ve also seen my kids using them intermittently as flexible seating while they do virtual learning from home. In talking with friends who own exercise balls, this is a common use for balls like this, so we’ll see if it affects their long-term durability. If you want to purchase one of these balls to sit on at a desk or table, I’d recommend getting the largest size so you don’t feel like you’re sitting too low while working.
After the first day of use, I noticed the largest ball had lost a little air, and I had trouble pulling the plug out to re-inflate it, but a quick search online brought up a suggestion to use two metal spoons wedged under the plug. That did the trick right away. I recommend having someone hold the ball in place while you pull the plug out with spoons, but in a pinch you can brace the ball firmly between your legs to hold it steady.
So far, these exercise balls have been a big hit in my household. It remains to be seen how long they’ll last, how well they’ll hold air, and how resistant they are to popping. However, for $8 for one ball, these feel like a pretty low-risk purchase.
UPDATE 2/23/2021 — The morning after our first full day using the larger grey exercise ball, we noticed it was losing some air. We topped it off with extra air a few times over the next few days. We weren’t sure if our local stores still had exercise balls in stock to do an exchange, so I reached out to the company that services the warranty to see if they could help. They responded quickly — in less than 24 hours — but said they didn’t have any replacement exercise balls and recommended we return our ball to Aldi for a refund. Our family gets a lot of use out of both balls, so we didn’t necessarily want to return the leaky grey ball and not have a replacement. We ultimately decided to keep the leaky ball and simply add air to it as needed.
Crane Exercise Balls are an inexpensive way to bring fitness equipment into your home. Each ball comes with a foot pump, an extra plug, and an exercise chart so you can get started right away. One of our balls leaks some air and we have to re-inflate it often, but it’s a minor inconvenience considering the low price.