The Most Important Information
In my opinion, plyometric boxes are one of the least valuable pieces of training equipment you can possibly buy. This is especially true if you’re a beginner. Even the best plyometric boxes can usually be replaced with everyday items and surfaces, namely stairs and the ground.
You shouldn’t buy a plyo box for box jumps if you don’t have a flat floor and a roof that’s at least 3 feet taller than you.
If you have bad knees or you’re a gym owner, a plyo box can be a reasonable addition to your gym. Of course, if you simply enjoy training with a plyo box there’s no harm in purchasing one either.
Note: You can make a plyometric box for about a quarter of their current market price if you have some spare time. Click here for a DIY plyo box video.
If you already know what to look for, feel free to skip to my recommendations. Otherwise, please continue reading to better understand the reasons behind my suggestions.
Wood plyo boxes should be made with ¾-inch thick plywood shaped like puzzle pieces. This increases its structural integrity considerably. The screws in a wood plyo box should be countersunk so that they sit flush with the surfaces. If they’re rounded, the box will sit unevenly on the floor.
High-quality wood plyo boxes can handle upwards of 400 pounds (181.44 kilograms) so they’re suitable for nearly any weight class. These cost about the same price as steel boxes but are much cheaper than high-quality foam plyo boxes.
Some plyo boxes come with smooth sanded edges. This is nice, but not necessary. You can always sand down the edges yourself.
Disassembled Vs Preassembled
Only wood plyo boxes can be ordered disassembled. Personally, I highly recommend that you order your wooden plyo box(es) disassembled. It’ll save you a fair amount of money and also reduces the likelihood of the product arriving damaged.
Note: You’ll likely need to buy your own wood glue to assemble your plyo box.
Only wood plyo boxes can be purchased with or without this feature. As far as I’m concerned an anti-slip exterior is only useful if your plyo box is sitting on a slick surface like concrete. If you train on a slick surface, you can purchase a plyo box with an anti-slip platform or some gym mats.
Note: An anti-slip platform is not needed if the wood plyo box weighs enough.
Your feet will only ever slip if you allow dust to accumulate on the surface of the plyo box or under your shoes. Be sure to wipe both of these down if things aren’t feeling as grippy.
A wood plyo box may come with a durable vinyl exterior. The idea here is to create a water-proof surface. This is only useful if you’re going to take your plyo box outside since any sweat that falls onto it shouldn’t degrade the wood substantially.
Depending on the style, a metal plyo box may be able to handle more weight than a wood plyo box for a similar price.
Metal has sharp edges. If this bothers you, a semi-creative solution could be to attach a soft material to the edges.
You’ll need your metal plyo box to have rubber feet to prevent it from slipping if you train on a slick surface. You’ll also have to wipe the dust from these rubber feet every once in a while to stop it from slipping.
Metal rusts. Even if you keep it indoors the gradual accumulation of sweat will still cause rust. There are no protective exteriors available for metal plyo boxes. If you own a pure metal plyo box, you should dry it after each use.
Foam plyo boxes are quite unstable for the most part. Expect to sink into a foam plyo box when you step on it at least a little.
Most people buy foam plyo-boxes as opposed to wood plyo boxes since they’re afraid of hitting their shins. Personally, I’m happy to put my shins at risk if it means I can train with a much more stable wood or metal plyo box.
If you plan on using your plyo box for any exercises, stretches, etc, where something other than your hands or feet will be resting on top of the box, foam is a much better option. This way sharp edges won’t bother you while you train.
Foam boxes slide around quite a bit. If you don’t have a corner to put them in, you shouldn’t bother with one. A wood or metal box will adhere to surfaces much better than foam.
A foam plyo box will usually come with a heavy-duty vinyl exterior. This should be snug at first, but it will inevitably loosen over time.
A 3-in-1 plyo box can be made of either wood or foam.
I believe that a 30x24x20-inch plyo box will add the most value to any gym. As a commercial gym owner, you can benefit from smaller 3-in-1 plyo boxes but I believe that these should only be purchased in addition to a 30x24x20-inch model.
A three in one plyo box will take up more space than any other plyo box style since they must be stacked on top of one another instead of stored inside of one another.
Traditional plyo boxes have angled surfaces which makes them more stable than the 3-in-1 plyo boxes.
If you stay focused and only perform high-quality repetitions, you’ll never fall down. It’s much harder than most people think to knock over a 40-pound (18.14-kilogram) box.
Traditional plyo boxes have narrower platforms which may or may not be annoying for you depending on your size. The platform should be at least as wide as your hips and as long as your feet. The height of each box is your choice.
Since traditional plyo boxes have no baseboards and hollow interiors, they can be stored inside of one another. While this feature can save space, I’ve found that it’s more annoying than helpful in most cases.
Note: Any time you want to access a smaller box stored inside one of the bigger boxes you’ll have to first remove the bigger boxes, take the smaller box you want to use, then put the others back. When you do this 4-6 times per week for 1-2 years it can get pretty annoying.
Adjustable plyo boxes can only be made with metal.
Personally, I think adjustable plyo boxes are less than ideal. They cost more and break more easily. If you’re a gym owner, owning several 3-in-1 plyo boxes means that several boxes can be readily available for multiple clients. Obviously, this isn’t the case with an adjustable plyo box.
The platform should be at least as wide as your hips and as long as your feet. Another reason I don’t like adjustable plyo boxes is that they aren’t that adjustable! I haven’t seen any that can be adjusted higher than 24 inches.
Note: The covid-19 pandemic has forced many products out of the marketplace so definitely let me know if you’re reading this later and have found a taller adjustable plyo box.
Adjustable plyo boxes do not save space when compared to a 3-in-1 plyo box.
The last type of plyo box is actually made from highly unstable rubber and plastic. These allow you to choose the exact height you’d like to jump to. That said, you’ll probably be choosing the height you’ll be falling from too.
You can buy a single step for things like calf raises but I honestly think a stair, a brick, etc, are better options.
A fair warranty for a plyo box is 1 year. In my opinion, a plyo box that’s backed for less than a year should be avoided.
- ¾-inch plywood or sturdy foam with a snug heavy-duty vinyl covering
- 30x24x20-inch 3-in-1 plyo box plus other smaller 3-in-1 plyo boxes if you want
- Weight capacity that matches your strength goals
- The heavier the box the better
- 1-year warranty
Titan Fitness 3-In-1 Wood Plyo Box
Titan fitness makes three different ¾-inch thick plywood boxes. You can get the exact specs for each box by clicking one of the links below.
In my opinion, Titan Fitness currently makes the best 3-in-1 plyo boxes. The 30x24x20-inch plyo box has a 550-pound (249.48-kilogram) weight capacity which is the highest I’ve ever seen in a wood plyo box. The 24x20x16 and 16x14x12-inch boxes have 440-pound (199.58-kilogram) and 300-pound (136.08-kilogram) weight capacities respectively. Each box comes with free shipping and a one year warranty.
The box comes disassembled. You’ll receive everything you need for assembly with the exception of wood glue.
Fringesport 3-In-1 Foam Plyo Box
I believe that Fringesport sells the highest quality foam plyo boxes. They have a larger 44-pound (19.96-kilogram) 20x24x30-inch box and a smaller 30-pound (13.61-kilogram) 16x20x24-inch box.
The vinyl coverings are snug and easy to clean. Each foam box comes with a 1-year satisfaction guarantee with free returns shipping. Ordinary shipping to your home is also free.
Each box has a weight capacity of 330 pounds (149.69 kilograms). This is only a bad thing if you plus any weight you plan on carrying will exceed that weight limit. This foam box is as stable as a foam box will come.
Click here for more details.
Plyometric boxes are very versatile tools that can be used for a number of arbitrary purposes. For this reason in particular I believe that it will prove especially useful to gym owners. That said, depending on what your current set-up looks like, you may find it to be just as useful for a home gym.
I have not recommended traditional or adjustable plyo boxes because they are far more expensive and less versatile. In my opinion, the only plyo box that should be in any gym is a foam or wood 3-in-1 plyo box.
I hope this helps! Please leave a comment if you feel like something was missed or if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in the near future.