Five different fidget toys for anxiety displayed in blue circles.Share on Pinterest
Fidget toys may help with feelings of anxiety.

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Best on-the-go toys

Best desk toys

Best jewelry

Best for the classroom

Best sensory toy

Thanks to the fidget spinner craze, fidget toys have exploded in popularity in recent years as a way to improve focus, reduce restlessness, and manage anxiety.

Feeling anxious triggers a rise in stress hormones, which can lead to excess, usually pent-up, energy. If you have nowhere to channel that energy, you’re more likely to fidget. For instance, you might play with your hair, bounce your knee, bite your nails, and fold and unfold your arms.

Fidget toys give you a place to channel that energy. This serves as a distraction for the brain, potentially lowering anxiety and improving focus. Experts have mixed feelings about how effective they are, but plenty of people swear by them.

The name can be a bit deceiving, since fidget toys aren’t really traditional toys. Instead, they’re small, purposefully discreet items that are designed to channel anxious energy. The fidget spinner may be the most well known fidget toy, but other variations include:

  • fidget cubes
  • chewable jewelry and accessories
  • rings
  • keychains
  • kneadable doughs

Fidget toys are designed to help with:

  • anxiety
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • general stress relief

From a scientific standpoint, the jury is still out on whether they actually work, though.

A small 2018 study suggests that fidgeting can help relieve stress in the short term, and may help increase concentration and attention. But another small 2018 study shows they may actually be a distraction, especially in children.

That being said, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to support the use of fidget toys. In other words, many people with anxiety swear by them — and there’s something to be said about the firsthand experience.

Curious to give them a try? We’ve rounded up 18 well reviewed options that meet a variety of needs. We’ve taken into account the following:

  • User reviews. We only included fidget toys that have primarily positive reviews and at least a 4-star rating.
  • Type of fidget toy. We included different types of fidget toys, from discreet handheld options to larger pieces that stay on your desk.
  • Price point. We’ve included various options from several different price points, from under $10 to just over $30.

Pricing guide

Price is indicated as follows:

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$30
  • $$$ = over $30

Best on-the-go toys

Looking for something you can fidget with while you wait for an appointment or during your commute?

You can throw these handy options in a bag or even stow them in your pocket.

Coogam Qiyi Speed Cube Bundle

Price: $$

This mini Rubik’s Cube may require a little more involvement than some fidget toys. But if you’re a puzzle-solving fiend, it should hit the spot.

Just keep in mind that some reviewers find this mini version a bit uncomfortable for larger hands.

Tom’s Fidgets Original Flippy Chain

Price: $

The Tom’s Fidgets Original Flippy Chain has two stainless steel split rings and two small pieces of bike chain that you can slide and flip around on the rings for discreet and near-silent fidgeting. It includes small silicone bands for added texture. Because it’s made of bike chain links, it can stand up to a lot of use.

This flippy chain can fit in your pocket. Some reviewers recommend putting it on a keychain to avoid losing it.

Möbii Fidget Ball

Price: $

This option is made of smooth, interlocking rings. If you enjoy textures, stroking the rings may have a calming effect. This toy’s small size may make it excellent for quiet fidgeting with one hand, whether you stroke or rotate the rings or simply spin the ball in your hand.

The Möbii Fidget Ball is recommended for kids 13 years and older since it’s small and could present a choking hazard to younger children.

JOEYANK Fidget Infinity Cube

Price: $$

This aluminum cube consists of eight smaller cubes you can rotate to create different shapes and configurations. Reviews suggest this fidget toy has enough weight to give it a sturdy feel without being heavy.

It can make a small amount of noise when in use, so it’s probably not great for a very quiet environment.

Best desk toys

These options are a little larger, making them better suited for a spot on your desk. Some of them can make pretty sleek decorations, too.

SPOLEY Desk Sculpture

Price: $$

This desktop toy comes with a magnetic base and 220 small magnetic balls. You stack the balls onto the base, arranging them into various shapes. Use it when you’re taking a break from work or need a few minutes to relax or ease anxious thoughts.

The small balls pose a choking hazard, so be sure to keep it out of reach of children.

Toysmith Deluxe Zen Garden

Price: $$$

Zen gardens typically include patches of gravel or sand that visitors can rake to promote a meditative state. Keeping a miniature version on your desk may help make it easier to take a break and focus on something calming if you start feeling anxious.

Toysmith Euler’s Disk

Price: $$$

To work the toy, you set the disk onto the mirror and spin it. The disk spins continuously, creating different patterns of color and humming as it spins faster and faster.

Because this toy does involve noise, it may not be great for very quiet work environments. And if you have any sensitivity to light, you may want to skip this one.

COFFLED Newton’s Cradle

Price: $$

A classic Newton’s cradle consists of spheres that hang from a metal frame. By drawing one ball back and releasing it, you set a pendulum effect in motion. Watching how the balls move can have a soothing effect.

The spheres click when they touch, so keep that in mind when you choose to use this fidget tool.

EASTBULL Useless Box

Price: $$

The EASTBULL Useless Box isn’t a traditional fidget toy, yet it can still offer a distraction from distressing or upsetting thoughts. To use it, you insert two AA batteries and flip a switch that opens the box. After the box opens, a mechanism pops out to flip the switch off, automatically closing the box’s lid. Every time you flip the switch, the cycle repeats.

Best jewelry

Fidget jewelry can be a great option to help soothe anxiety when you’re on the move or trying to be discreet.

Sac Silver Fidget Ring

Price: $$

Spinner rings, also referred to as worry rings, work in a similar way to fidget spinners. They have two stacked bands, one of which stays in place on your finger, and one that you can spin around the fixed band.

You can find spinner rings in a variety of styles and colors. This one is versatile and has a unisex style and reasonable price. It’s also made of sterling silver, so it won’t turn your finger green after a few wears.

Steel Lynx Customer Möbii Necklace

Price: $$

Like the Möbii Fidget Ball at the top of our list, the pendant of this necklace features smooth, interwoven rings. They come in a variety of colors, so you can choose your favorite or even customize a design with multiple colors.

Reviews suggest this fidget necklace may work well for adults and children old enough for jewelry since it offers a quiet, discreet way to fidget at school, work, or home.

Goda Acupressure Rings

Price: $$

These springy rings are designed to strategically stimulate pressure points on your fingers, but they can also make great fidget toys.

Slide it up and down your finger for stress relief and a massage.

ARK Krypto Bite Chewable Gem Necklace

Price: $$

Some people may chew things, including pen caps, fingers, and shirt collars, when feeling anxious. A chewable necklace is a discreet option that you can use just about anywhere and offers some sensory input that can be calming for some.

The ARK Krypto Bite Chewable Gem Necklace is sophisticated enough for adults but durable enough for children. It’s made from medical-grade thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), which is a type of rubber that’s similar to silicone, but more durable. It’s completely latex-free and free of BPA, heavy metals, and phthalates.

Best for the classroom

Keeping fidget toys in the classroom may help some kids manage stress and anxiety.

Solace Fidget Chair Kick Bands

Price: $$$

Kick bands, also called resistance bands, may be helpful for anyone who tends to jiggle their feet or kick chair, table, or desk legs when feeling anxious or stressed.

They attach to the chair legs and reviewers say they’re relatively silent.

Panny & Mody Chewable Pencil Toppers

Price: $$

Chewing may offer a quiet way to relieve tension and stress for those with anxiety. These chewable pencil toppers from Panny & Mody are made of 100-percent food-grade silicone that’s completely nontoxic and free of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalate.

The pencil toppers have multiple textures — large studded bumps and smaller rounded bumps — to provide different sensations. Just make sure students don’t share them and spread germs.

Tangle Therapy Relax Toy

Price: $$

The Tangle is a popular fidget toy for classrooms and other quiet environments because it doesn’t produce noise. It includes connected, curving pieces you can reshape, take apart, twist, and put back together.

Reviews suggest it can benefit children and adults alike. Children may find the toy entertaining and soothing. It may promote relaxation or stress relief in teens and older adults.

Many reviewers report that this fidget toy helped them manage symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other distress.

The Tangle Jr. is a smaller version that may work well in the classroom or on the go.

Best sensory toy

People who are sensitive to sound or light may feel stressed or anxious as a result of sensory overload. However, not having enough sensory input can also cause distress. That’s where sensory fidget toys come in.

The Squeeze Aromatherapy Dough

Price: $$

Also called stress-relief dough, adult play dough is pretty similar to the stuff you played with as a kid. However, this option from The Squeeze is infused with 100-percent lavender essential oil, which can help promote feelings of calmness.

The benefits are twofold: Squeezing and kneading the dough may help reduce stress and anxiety, similar to the way a stress ball works, while the lavender helps soothe through aromatherapy.

What are the different types of fidget toys?

There are many types of fidget toys, including fidget spinners, stress balls, fidget cubes, chewable jewelry or accessories, putties, and doughs. While each fidget toy works in a different way, they all share a common goal: to help reduce stress and anxiety and improve attention and concentration by focusing on anxious energy.

Do fidget toys help with stress?

There are limited studies on whether or not fidget toys specifically help with stress and anxiety. But the act of fidgeting itself has positive short-term effects on stress levels. Still, many people swear by fidget toys. There’s lots of anecdotal evidence that fidget toys help reduce stress and improve concentration in children and adults with ADHD.

Can adults use fidget toys?

Anyone, including adults, can use fidget toys. Many fidget toys are totally discreet — some look just like jewelry — so they won’t stand out if you have to use them at work or in other situations when you don’t want to call extra attention to yourself.

Fidget toys can be a handy thing to keep around for moments of stress and anxiety.

While there’s some debate over how well they work, there’s no evidence that they’ll make your symptoms worse, so they’re worth a shot if you’re interested in them.