Purchasing a set of baoding balls is a great choice for anyone looking to focus the mind, relieve stress, and improve dexterity.
They may seem unassuming, but learning to master a set of baoding balls is a skill that takes time and practice.
Before purchase, there are a few factors to consider.
Most importantly, what size is right for you.
Baoding balls come in a range of sizes for different needs.
Without trying them first, it’s hard to know what to get.
Our guide teaches you what to know about size, and other factors to consider before making a purchase.
What are baoding balls?
Baoding balls (also known as Chinese health balls, and Chinese meditation balls) are small balls designed to be held and moved in one hand.
A practitioner circulates two or more balls around the hand in a rhythmic movement.
They can be used to aid meditation, or to improve hand dexterity and strength.
The movement of the ball presses on areas of the hand in a form of acupuncture.
Many find the smooth flow of the balls to be soothing and calming.
What are the different baoding ball sizes?
There are multiple sizes of baoding balls available, ranging from the very small (1 inch) to the very large (2.5 inch).
The sizes most closely relate to the skill and hand size of the person using them.
Before buying a set for yourself or as a gift, this guide can help you to make the right choice.
The size you choose is primarily personal preference.
It’s important to pick what feels comfortable.
Small (roughly 1 inch diameter)
The very smallest of baoding balls are only around 1 inch in diameter.
This makes them ideal for children or some people (typically women) with small hands.
These can be used for beginners, but most prefer to start with something a little larger.
One advantage to the smaller balls is they’re easy to carry around.
If you use baoding balls in public circumstances, the small size is unobtrusive.
If you’re interested in using more than two balls per hand, then this smallest size is recommended.
Medium (roughly 1.5 inch diameter)
Perhaps the most common size for baoding balls, these are perfect for beginners and those with smaller hands.
1.5 inches across, or thereabouts, means they’re easy to fit in a pocket and transport.
There is a wide range of designs and materials available in the medium size.
If you’re purchasing baoding balls as a gift, this size is the most adaptable.
For those just learning to use baoding balls, then medium is the recommended size.
Also, anyone rehabbing a hand injury will feel the benefits best at this diameter.
Medium - Large (roughly 2 inch diameter)
These balls need a little more practice to use, so they’re generally not for beginners.
However, if you have large hands then you may want to start at this size.
You really need to stretch your fingers to use these, so while they improve dexterity, it’s best to have had some practice first.
The larger, hollow balls can move fast, which takes some time to get used to and control.
For many, the difference between medium and medium-large is personal preference.
Baoding balls should be a relaxing and smooth movement.
You may find the weight of the larger diameter creates a better rhythm.
Extra Large (roughly 2.2 - 2.5 inch diameter)
These aren’t particularly common, but are good for those with very large hands or who want to extend their fingers more.
You shouldn’t start with these, as they’ll be difficult to learn to control.
An expert, however, may feel the benefits of this difficulty.
These are quite heavy in the hand.
If you have experience with baoding balls and want to improve your grip, then you may prefer a larger size.
Choosing a Size
What size baoding ball you choose is mainly determined on how experienced you are, and the size of your hands.
For someone new to using baoding balls, it’s better to start small.
However, if you have larger hands then you may find the small balls too hard to work with.
If you’re struggling to imagine the size, for reference the average golf ball is 1.7 inches in diameter.
So the typical size of a baoding ball is slightly less than a golf ball.
What to Consider When Buying a Baoding Ball
Outside of size, there are two other main factors to consider when choosing a set of baoding balls.
Many of the baoding balls are hollow, with a chime inside.
This way when they knock against each other they make a light, ringing sound.
There are also hollow balls without the chime inside.
Some users find the chime relaxing, where others prefer to practice in silence.
Larger balls create a more rounded chiming noise, which may be preferable.
Other balls are solid and made of stone, or other heavy materials such as jade.
These don’t chime, but do generally clink as they knock together.
The more you use baoding balls, the less they should knock together.
The balls should move around each other, in a circular motion.
Ideally, they make no sound at all.
If you plan on using your baoding balls in public, then it might be best to get hollow, non-chiming balls.
For improving dexterity and hand strength, heavier stone balls are recommended.
Some find the chime of a hollow baoding ball aids meditation, where others find it distracting.
While the design may not be important to the function of a baoding ball, it would be remiss to not mention them.
Baoding balls come in a range of aesthetically pleasing patterns.
Most also come in a storage case, which is often attractive to look at.
If you want to encourage yourself to use them often, then a pleasant design encourages you to pick them up.
Plus, it’s nice to have something that acts as both decoration and function.