When stretching and foam rolling aren’t enough to ease post-workout muscle soreness, a massage gun can help provide some relief. The best massage gun is designed to help reduce lactic acid buildup, promote recovery after a tough training session, and increase blood flow to sore or tender areas. It can also temporarily increase your range of motion before you even begin your workout.
I’m in my mid-thirties and work out hard four to five days a week, so I know the value of using a good massage gun to help with my recovery. In addition to my trusty foam roller, I use a massage gun several days a week to ensure my muscles are always feeling their best. Having been a fitness writer for almost three years, I have also spent countless hours researching the best massage guns and have become intimately familiar with features like stall force and amplitude. In the roundup review below, I compile all of that information to bring you the top 10 massage guns on the market.
How We Chose the Best Massage Guns
The Breaking Muscle team has tested more than a dozen massage guns over several months, using them before and after workouts, in between sets, and at random times throughout the day when we needed relief from achy muscles.
After testing each product, we utilized a proprietary scoring system to rate it on a scale of one to five (one being the worst, five being the best) in various categories, such as percussions per minute (PPMs), amplitude, decibels, portability, available attachments, and overall value. We then combined those individual rankings to give each device an overall score and narrowed down our list to the best of the best.
Our Top Picks for the Best Massage Guns
Best Massage Gun Overall: Therabody Theragun Pro
- Displays various routines on an OLED screen
- Comes with a soft carrying case and attachment pouch
- Connects to the Therabody app for personalized, guided massage routines
- Comes with a two-year limited device warranty
- Only comes with one battery, so the battery life is shorter than it was on previous generations
The Theragun PRO tops our list as the best massage gun overall due to its ergonomic design, ability to deliver a powerful massage, fast charging, and relatively quiet operation.
The Theragun PRO is currently in its fifth generation. Like the previous iterations and other models like the Theragun Prime, it has a triangular-shaped, ergonomic handle. At 2.76 pounds, it’s about a quarter of a pound lighter than the fourth generation, making it even easier to hold and use.
Additionally, the fifth generation Theragun PRO is 20 percent quieter than the fourth generation. You can use it while catching up on your favorite TV shows at night or at the gym without disrupting the other members. At its highest speed setting, it’s about 66 decibels, which is quieter than a washing machine or dishwasher.
The speed settings are also the same between the fifth and fourth generations. The Theragun PRO has five speeds ranging from 1,750 to 2,400 PPM. The stall force of 60 pounds and the amplitude of 16 millimeters are also the same between the two iterations. These specs make it one of the most powerful massage guns we’ve tested. While it may be too much for beginners or the average person, it can be beneficial for elite athletes or those who put their bodies through frequent, intense workouts.
The Theragun PRO comes with Bluetooth connectivity, so you can use it with the Therabody app to sync personalized recovery routines to the device. You can choose routines to follow before or after activities such as running or strength training; to address muscle tension in specific areas, like the glutes; or to relax before going to bed.
The app also includes video instructions and tells you how long to massage each area for enhanced muscle recovery. If you’ve never used a massage gun before, following the app’s guidance can help ensure you’re targeting your muscles effectively.
However, one drawback (and one of the only changes from the fourth generation that we don’t like) is that the fifth generation Theragun PRO only comes with one battery. The battery life between the two generations is the same at 150 minutes, but since the fourth generation came with two batteries, you could essentially get up to 300 minutes of use.
That said, the battery on the fifth generation can be charged with a USB-C cable, so it does charge faster than the fourth generation (about 75 minutes versus 125 minutes when charging the fourth generation on a charging station).
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Best Massage Gun on Amazon: Ekrin Athletics Bantam Mini Massage Gun
- Quiet operation
- Cheaper than many other options on our list
- Compatible with USB-C charging cables
- Lifetime guarantee and warranty
- Comes with a carrying case
- Doesn’t have as many speed settings as other mini massage guns
- Doesn’t come with a charging cube
You can find dozens of massage guns on Amazon, but consider the Ekrin Athletics Bantam Mini Massage Gun one of the best. It’s quiet, has an impressive stall force for a massage gun of its size, comes with a decent battery life, and is easy to travel with.
Our product tester gave the Bantam Mini 4 and 5 stars, respectively, for the handle and battery life. She liked the handle’s slim design and rubberized grip and found it easy to reach all the muscle groups she wanted to massage, including the upper back. Based on her testing experience, the six-hour battery life listed on the website was accurate. She also appreciated how the battery indicator lit up in different colors based on how much battery is remaining (blue for 80 percent full, purple for 60 to 80 percent, solid red for between 20 and 60 percent, and blinking red for less than 20 percent).
At just 33 to 55 decibels, the Bantam Mini is quieter than an electric toothbrush, which is around 60 decibels. You can easily use it while watching TV or in the presence of others without annoying them.
We also like that the Bantam Mini has USB-C charging capabilities. It comes with a charging cable, but if you lose it, you can use any USB-C charger you probably already have at home. Plus, you can charge it multiple ways, whether you want to plug it into the wall with a charging cube (which it doesn’t come with) or plug it into your laptop. The various options you have for charging it mean you’ll rarely have to worry about it not having any juice left.
The Bantam Mini comes with four attachments (flat, bullet, fork, and round) — more than the three attachments you’ll get with other mini massage guns, such as the Theragun Mini, but fewer than the six you’ll get with larger massagers, like the Sportneer Massage Gun. Still, the attachments it does come with are pretty standard and will allow you to massage nearly all of the main muscle groups in the body.
Compared to the Theragun Mini’s 12-millimeter amplitude and 20-pound stall force, the Bantam Mini only has a 10-millimeter amplitude but boasts a 35-pound stall force. We gave it 5 out of 5 stars for the stall force but only rated it 3 out of 5 stars for the amplitude. Our expert product tester, who’s also a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level 1 Coach, says the amplitude is just average (or slightly above average, at best) for mini massage guns.
However, the lower amplitude and stall force may not be a concern if you don’t use massage guns often or prefer a less intense massage. Other customers are satisfied with the power the Bantam Mini provides. One reviewer says, “The Bantam might be small, but it really performs – so much so that I now only use the Bantam. The Bantam’s ~10mm amplitude, 3200 ppm speed, and the 35 lb stall speed feels great on tired and sore muscles.”
The Bantam Mini comes with a carrying case that is just seven inches when measured diagonally. If you want to travel with it, it shouldn’t be too hard to find space in your luggage for it, even if you pack it in a small carry-on bag. The hard outer shell should also keep it protected if your suitcase gets jostled around.
One of the areas the Bantam Mini falls short is the speed settings. The Breaking Muscle staff member who tested it only gave the speed settings 3 out of 5 stars. While she says they’re suitable for a mini massage gun, the three fixed speeds (2,000, 2,600, or 3,200 PPM) are fewer than what you’ll find on bigger massagers, such as Ekrin Athletic’s larger model, the B37 Massage Gun.
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Best Massage Gun Under $100: Sportneer Massage Gun
Sportneer Massage Gun
- Product weight: 2.3 pounds
- Stall force: 40 pounds (according to the Amazon product listing)
- Amplitude: 11 millimeters
- Speed: Six settings ranging from 1,300 to 3,200 PPM
- Attachments: Six (Ball, bullet, U-shaped, flat, and two metal flat heads)
- Battery life: Up to seven hours
- Long battery life
- Comes with six attachments, including two chrome attachments that you can use for hot/cold therapy or with essential oils
- Six speed settings
- Less expensive than many other options
- Handle design could be better
- Heavier than several other massage guns we’ve reviewed
Technically, the price of the Sportneer Massage Gun as of this writing is $120, but Amazon is offering a $20 coupon, putting it right at the $100 mark. You can also sometimes find it at a discounted price around the holidays and other major shopping periods, like Prime Day. It’s still one of the best budget massage guns available for that reason.
The Sportneer Massage Gun comes with six massage heads, which is standard for regular-sized massage guns. What helps it stand out is that two of the massage heads are chrome. You can heat them in hot water or put them in the freezer to elevate your massage experience. You can even use them with essential oils or CBD oil. These are great additions because not even high-end massage guns like the Theragun PRO come with metal massage heads. We gave it 4.75 stars out of 5 for this versatility.
Our product tester also gave it high marks for the six speed settings. These are more than most massage guns in this price range offer, but it does mean there’s a larger variance between speeds.
At 30 to 45 decibels, it’s quieter than other massage guns that are about the same size and don’t provide as many PPMs. For comparison, the Theragun PRO only goes up to 2,400 PPM and is 66 decibels at the highest setting. The Sportneer Massage Gun goes up to 3,200 PPM. Our product tester said it was the quietest massage gun she’s tested. Several customer reviews agree, with one saying, “It…is pretty quiet at the moderate speeds we use and the vibration that travels to your hands from holding it is acceptable for the amount of massaging it’s able to put out.”
Weighing 2.3 pounds, it’s not the most portable massage gun. The included carrying case is a nice touch, but we didn’t think it was anything special. We gave this massage gun 2.75 stars for overall portability and 3 stars for the carrying case. If you travel often and want a massage gun that’s less bulky, a smaller option like the Theragun Mini or Ekrin Athletics Bantam Mini may be a better choice.
Furthermore, considering the size of the Sportneer Massage Gun, we didn’t find the 40-pound stall force and 11-millimeter amplitude impressive. Other options like the Ekrin Athletics B37 weigh about the same but have a 56-pound stall force and 12-millimeter amplitude. Still, the specs are decent for a budget-friendly massage gun and would be sufficient for those who don’t need an intense massage.
Unlike other massage guns with a triangular handle, the Sportneer massage gun has a straight handle, which could make targeting areas like the upper back more challenging. However, the handle has a 45-degree angle to help with that. Our product tester also noted that she had no trouble wrapping her small hands around the handle and liked the soft-grip rubber coating. She rated the handle 3 out of 5 stars.
Sportneer claims this massage gun has up to seven hours of battery life. Based on our testing, we think this is accurate. We used it when it was fully charged for 15 to 20 minutes a day for a week — just over two hours total — and the battery still had plenty of juice.
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Best Massage Gun Under $50: OLsky Massage Gun
- Comes with more attachments than any other massage gun on this list
- LCD touchscreen allows for easy speed adjustments
- Carrying case is included
- Long charging time of three to four hours
If you’re looking for an ultra-budget-friendly massage gun, the OLsky Massage Gun could be for you. For less than $50, you get a quiet, lightweight massager with a wide array of attachments that can help relieve muscle tension and stimulate blood flow to tender areas.
The decibel level ranges from 35 to 55, similar to the Ekrin Athletics Mini Massage Gun and B37 Massage Gun. If you use your massage gun in a public setting or while watching TV, the low noise level won’t interrupt other people or drown out your entertainment.
The product listing claims that it takes three to four hours to charge, but it seems like this is only if the battery is completely drained. Some customer reviews suggest it can take as little as 30 minutes to charge if it still has some juice left. However, there is a battery indicator on the LCD touchscreen. You’ll be able to quickly gauge how much battery you have left before you have to charge it again, so you shouldn’t be met with any surprises if you try to turn it on and find that there’s no battery left.
It comes with 10 attachments, which is impressive, especially considering the price point. Not even the nearly $600 Theragun PRO has that many. Some of the attachments are standard, like the spherical and bullet heads. Others are more unique, like the air compression head and the spade head. Whether you’re looking for a soft, relaxing massage or need to really attack a painful muscle knot, the OLsky Massage Gun will be up to the task. Plus, it comes with a sturdy carrying case with various compartments to help keep all of the attachments organized.
The 30 speed settings it offers are more than any other item on this list — the next highest is the Sportneer Massage Gun with six speed settings. However, this may be more than you really need to get an effective self-massage. As one customer review says, “The only thing is that it has like 30 levels. I think it only needs 5 or 6, but I guess if you are super sensitive having more levels would help you adjust accordingly.”
The OLsky Massage Gun weighs just under two pounds, nearly three-quarters of a pound lighter than the Theragun PRO. It may be a better option if you have smaller hands or dexterity issues and need a lightweight massager. Otherwise, we’d recommend looking at more compact options like the Theragun Mini. The Theragun Mini only weighs one pound, though it only comes with three attachments and only goes up to 2,400 PPM (the OLsky Massage Gun goes up to 3,250 PPM).
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Best Massage Gun for Runners: REP Rapidstrike Massage Gun
- Impressive battery life
- Massage heads are made with silicone that’s easy to clean
- 18-month manufacturer warranty
- Compact and easily portable
- No battery indicator
- Power brick isn’t included
When running, the calves, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and iliopsoas (a hip flexor muscle) can all take a beating. A massage gun like the REP Rapidstrike can help ease soreness and tightness in those areas. Plus, its lightweight construction makes it easy to tuck into your gym bag when you travel to the gym, the track, or a race.
In fact, we gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars for portability because of its compact size. It also comes with a carrying case for easy portability and organization, though we wish the case was more protective, so we gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Still, it’s better than many other massage guns we’ve tried whose carrying cases are made with thin, flimsy materials.
REP doesn’t list specs like amplitude or PPMs. However, based on the information we received from one of our product testers (a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level 1 Coach who’s tested dozens of massage guns and written on them extensively), we’d guess that the decibel level is between 60 and 65. We’d place the amplitude between 11 and 13 millimeters and the PPMs at around 2,200 to 2,400, making it less powerful than the Theragun PRO.
A customer review on REP’s website also seems to agree that this isn’t necessarily the most powerful massage gun. He says, “I do only wish that the higher setting had a little more punch to…get deep into areas that need more work. It’s a trade off between how quiet you want this versus how deep you want it to massage.”
We only rated the handle 3.5 out of 5 stars. It doesn’t have a rubber grip, so it can get slippery, and the straight handle isn’t as ergonomic as we’d like. However, we had no issues with the diameter and didn’t experience a significant amount of wrist or forearm fatigue when using this massage gun.
We found that REP’s claims of up to eight hours of battery life were accurate, but we gave The Rapidstrike 3.5 out of 5 stars in terms of battery and charging. It doesn’t come with a charging brick and there is no battery indicator light. Charging can take about 90 minutes, which is slower than the Theragun PRO but faster than some of the cheaper options like the OLsky Massage Gun.
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Best Mini Massage Gun: Therabody Theragun Mini
- Available in three colors
- LED speed indicator on the side of the device
- Compatile with the Therabody app
- Battery life is shorter than other massage guns we’ve tested
Because it weighs right around one pound and features a compact, triangular design, we consider the Theragun Mini the best mini massage gun on the market.
I had a chance to use the Theragun Mini at the Breaking Muscle testing facility, and I loved how comfortable the silicone-coated massage gun was to grip. The lightweight build meant I was able to hold onto it for several minutes at a time without my hand or forearm muscles getting fatigued.
The Theragun Mini is currently in its second iteration. The first generation only came with the standard ball attachment, but the second generation now also comes with dampener and thumb attachments.
That said, other mini massage guns, like the Ekrin Athletics Bantam Mini Massage Gun and REP Rapidstrike Massage Gun, come with four attachments. The Theragun Mini still falls short in that regard. It is compatible with Therabody’s fourth and fifth generation attachments, but you have to pay around $20 for them — and the device is already close to $200, making it the most expensive mini massage gun on our list.
The 12-millimeter amplitude on the second generation is the same as the first generation. It’s not as much as the 16 millimeters you’ll get with the larger Theragun PRO, but it still delivers an effective massage. The stall force is just 20 pounds, so it won’t deliver as intense of a massage as the Erkin Athletics Mini Massage Gun, which has a stall force of 35 pounds. However, when I used the Theragun Mini, I was impressed with how powerful it was. In fact, I couldn’t even use it on the highest setting, though I can be a bit of a baby when it comes to sore muscles.
Like other massage guns in Therabody’s lineup, the Theragun Mini is compatible with the Therabody app. The app delivers personalized wellness routines based on your goals, whether you need to loosen up before a workout, relieve achy muscles after a tough training session, or reduce upper-body tension from hunching over a keyboard all day.
The Theragun Mini uses the same motor as the Theragun Pro, putting the decibel level at around 66 when used on the highest speed setting. This is about the same decibel level as a dishwasher. When I tried it, I wasn’t taken aback by the amount of noise it delivered, and I can be sensitive to super loud noises. So, I think most people should be able to tolerate the noise level of the Theragun Mini.
Best Deep Tissue Massage Gun: Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun
- Long battery life
- Lighter than other massage guns that are just as powerful
- Not too heavy or bulky
- Angled handle helps reduce wrist and forearm fatigue
- Lower amplitude than others
The Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun isn’t the most powerful massager, but it does go up to an impressive 3,200 PPM and has a 12-millimeter amplitude, which is enough to deliver an effective deep tissue massage. We also like the 15-degree handle, which makes it more comfortable to hold for long periods.
The B37’s decibel levels range from 35 to 55, just like the brand’s Bantam Mini Massage Gun. Its proprietary sound insulation puts it amongst the quietest massage guns. For reference, the Theragun PRO fifth generation is 66 decibels, so the B37 may be a better choice if you prefer a quieter massage experience.
The eight-hour battery life is higher than any other option on our list other than the REP Rapidstrike. Even if you use the massage gun every day, a single charge should be enough to last more than a week. One reviewer on Amazon says, “I have been using it for a week and have not had to recharge the battery. I use it about 20 minutes a day total.”
The five speed settings on the B37 are middle of the road. The Theragun PRO offers the same number of speeds, though it only goes up to 2,400 PPM, whereas the Ekrin Athletics B37 goes up to 3,200 PPM. The higher PPM helps offset the 12-millimeter amplitude, which is lower than the Theragun PRO’s 16-millimeter amplitude.
Best Massage Gun for Back Pain: Therabody Theragun PRO
- Displays various routines on an OLED screen
- Comes with a carrying case and a separate pouch to keep the attachments organized
- Syncs with the Therabody app for personalized massage routines
- Two-year limited device warranty included with your purchase
- High price point
- The fifth generation Theragun PRO only comes with one battery, unlike previous models
If you suffer from lower back pain, the Theragun PRO may be able to deliver the relief you need.
Its ergonomic handle and adjustable massage arm make it easy to reach around and massage the back muscles. It doesn’t have a U-shaped attachment, which we generally recommend using around the spinal column. But it does come with a thumb attachment that can be excellent for massaging sensitive muscle tissue in the lower back.
The Theragun PRO’s speed settings range from 1,750 to 2,400 PPM. It has a 60-pound stall force and a 16-millimeter amplitude, which pack a pretty powerful punch. If your lower back is extremely sore, you’ll likely want to start at the lowest PPM and gradually work your way up.
As powerful as it is, the Theragun PRO is quiet. At the highest speed, it reaches about 66 decibels — quieter than household appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. This means you can have a calm, peaceful massage session whether you’re at home or at the gym.
We also like that you can sync the Theragun PRO with the Therabody app for personalized massage routines. If you want to expand beyond the lower back, the app will guide you on how to massage the calves, glutes, hamstrings, or any other muscle group.
The Theragun PRO’s current version only comes with one battery. This isn’t uncommon in other massage guns we’ve tried, but it is a downgrade from the previous iteration of the Theragun PRO, which came with two batteries. However, the listed battery life is 150 minutes, so if you use it for about 15 minutes per day, it should last about a week and a half.
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Best Handheld Massage Gun: Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2
- Longer battery life than other mini massage guns
- Grippy rubber-coated handle
- Lightweight construction makes it easy to travel with
- Only comes with two attachments
- The exact stall force and amplitude aren’t provided
- Doesn’t come with a carrying case
Technically, all of the massage guns on our list are handheld. But we selected the Hyperice Hypervolt Go as the best handheld massage gun because it’s lightweight, and while we found the handle a bit thick for our preferences, we did appreciate how grippy the rubber coating was.
Hyperice doesn’t disclose the stall force or amplitude of the Hypervolt Go 2. However, based on our testing and what we know about massage guns, we can assume that the stall force is between 20 and 30 pounds and the amplitude is around 10 millimeters. The stall force is about the same as the Theragun Mini, but the amplitude is two millimeters lower. We rated the stall force 4 out of 5 stars and the amplitude 3.5 stars.
We also knocked off a few points because the Hypervolt Go 2 only comes with two attachments: a flat head and a bullet head. Other mini massage guns come with at least three attachments, so the versatility of the Hypervolt Go 2 is lacking in that regard.
The Hypervolt Go 2 is small enough to travel with, but it doesn’t come with a carrying case, so you’ll need to purchase some kind of pouch or bag separately to keep it safe.
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Best Massage Gun for Athletes: Hyperice Hypervolt 2
- Compatible with the Hyperice app
- Comes with a one-year warranty
- Sensor technology shows how much pressure you’re applying
- Doesn’t come with a carrying case for the massager
For athletes looking to up their recovery game, the Hyperice Hypervolt 2 could be a good choice. Hyperice doesn’t provide the stall force or amplitude. But we estimate the stall force to be around 30 to 40 pounds and the amplitude to be around 13 to 14 millimeters. As such, we think it’s safe to say that this massage gun can deliver the amount of pressure you need to loosen stiff muscles and reduce soreness.
Bluetooth enables you to sync the Hypervolt 2 to the Hyperice app and rivals Therabody’s massage gun tech capabilities. With the app, you can select various routines for warming up or cooling down before or after your workouts. This can be a beneficial feature for anyone who’s new to using massage guns or prefers a more structured approach to their warm-ups and cooldowns.
The decibel level hovers around 70 at the highest speed, making it noisier than the Theragun PRO. Still, it’s no louder than a dishwasher, so it shouldn’t be too disruptive.
While your purchase includes a pouch to keep the attachments organized, it doesn’t include a case for the massage gun itself. If you know you’ll be traveling with it, plan on purchasing another protective case or finding something to wrap the massage gun in to avoid damage.
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What Do Massage Guns Do?
Massage guns use percussive and/or vibration therapy to deliver an effective massage that targets the deepest tissues of the body. They aren’t exactly the same as a deep tissue massage from a licensed physical therapist. However, massage guns can still be a convenient way to provide pain relief and promote blood flow to tender areas of the body when you can’t make it to the spa.
Massage guns typically come with various attachments, such as a ball, flat head, fork, or bullet. Each attachment serves a different purpose. A ball attachment, for example, is ideal for working out painful knots deep in the tissues of large muscle groups like the glutes, hamstrings, or quads. On the other hand, a bullet head attachment can be better for alleviating soreness in smaller muscles like those in the feet or for really zeroing in on painful trigger points.
Massage guns also allow you to adjust the speed and intensity settings for a customized massage experience. Lower intensities are better for those who are new to using massage guns or when working on more delicate areas. Higher intensities allow you to more effectively reach the deeper tissues of your larger muscles.
Benefits of Massage Guns
Now that you know what a massage gun does, you may wonder how it can help you. Below are some of the many benefits of massage guns:
- Increased blood flow. The repeated mechanical motions of a muscle massager help promote blood flow to the targeted area, which can help provide relief if the area is sore or tight. It can also help prepare your muscles for a workout.
- Decreased muscle soreness. Some research has shown that using a massage gun before a workout can reduce the amount of muscle damage you incur. (1) As a result, you may experience less soreness and fatigue during and after your workout.
- Increased flexibility and range of motion. One study in the X showed that athletes who used a massage gun on their calf muscles experienced increased dorsiflexion of the ankle. (2) More research is needed to evaluate how long these effects last, but it is possible that you’ll notice better performance in the gym if you use a massage gun as part of your warm-up.
- Convenience. With a massage gun, you can give yourself a massage any time your muscles need a little love — no more waiting until a massage therapist at your local spa can fit you in for an appointment.
- Portability. Many massage guns are small enough to stash in your gym bag so you can include them as part of your warm-up or cool-down routine. They also usually come with carrying cases to help you keep all of the attachments organized.
How Do You Use a Massage Gun?
To use a massage gun, secure your preferred attachment to the device, switch it on to the lowest setting, and hold it against the area of the body you want to target. Slowly move the massage gun over the muscle for one to two minutes. It’s best to keep it moving because this will help promote blood flow; concentrating it on the same spot for too long may lead to bruising or worsen soreness and tightness. If you feel like you need a deeper massage, gradually increase the setting until you reach your desired intensity.
You can use a massage gun at any time of the day. I generally like to use mine for a massage session in the evening to help me unwind before bedtime, but I know several athletes who use theirs as part of their warm-up routine. I’ve also heard of people using massage guns immediately after a workout as a way to cool down and relax the muscles they just trained the hardest.
When Should You Not Use a Massage Gun?
While massage guns are generally considered safe when used properly, there are a few instances where it’s recommended to avoid them. You should never use a massage gun on bruised or injured areas (think a sprained ankle), as they can make injuries worse. You also shouldn’t use one directly on bony parts of the body, like your knee joints. These areas are more susceptible to injury from the force of the massage gun.
For the same reason, it’s best to avoid using a massage gun on the spinal column, as it can cause damage to the discs and nerve roots of the spine.
Lastly, individuals with conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, or certain cancers shouldn’t use a massage gun. Massage guns can worsen inflammation and other symptoms associated with these health conditions.
What To Look For in a Massage Gun
Attachments and Accessories
I highly recommend getting a massage gun that comes with multiple attachments, as they can make a huge impact on your experience with the product. I have a massage gun from Compex, and it only has one ball head. I wish I had taken the time to do more research on the benefits of the different heads before I placed my order. (This is also part of the reason I didn’t include that massage gun in the list above.)
For example, a fork attachment is ideal for massaging around the spine or the area around the Achilles. Damper or foam attachments are good for hitting sensitive areas, like those closer to your bones or joints. Bullet attachments can help you zone in on isolated sore spots.
Before making your purchase, consider where on the body you’ll use the massager the most, and make sure it comes with attachments that are suitable for targeting those areas.
Percussion vs. Vibration
Massage guns can offer either percussion or vibration therapy. Percussion massage guns use an up-and-down motion and can reach at least 16 millimeters into the body tissues. They are better for breaking up muscle knots, but some people find them too intense. All of the Theragun models reviewed above are percussion massage guns.
Vibration massage guns use a side-to-side motion, which is helpful for increasing blood flow and circulation.
You’ll likely want a massage gun that’s relatively quiet, especially if you’ll use it in a public setting like a gym or in the presence of other individuals who live with you. Many massage gun brands list the decibel level of their products on their websites, so be sure to read the product descriptions carefully.
I recommend looking for a massage gun that’s around 70 decibels or lower, which is slightly louder than the sounds of two people speaking to each other and household appliances like dishwashers. The Theragun PRO and Theragun Mini are both good options whose decibel levels are around 65 on the highest speed setting. For an even quieter massager, consider the Sportneer Massage Gun, which only goes up to around 55 decibels.
Charging and Battery Life
A massage gun’s battery life can range anywhere from two to eight hours, depending on the model, how often you use it, and what level of intensity you use most often. Even though you’ll likely only use it for a few minutes at a time, a long battery life is beneficial because you can use the massage gun for several days before needing to recharge it.
It’s also good to look for a massage gun that doesn’t take a long time to charge for those times when it unexpectedly runs out of battery. A unit that only takes an hour or so to fully charge can come in handy in such situations.
Amplitude refers to how far the massage gun head goes up and down. A massage gun must reach at least 16 millimeters to be considered a percussion massage gun, though few options on the market that are listed as percussion massage guns actually reach that deep. Most reach closer to 12 or 15 millimeters. However, this can be a good thing, as many individuals find true percussive therapy to be too intense.
Other massage guns you’ll find on the market, like the Ekrin Athletics Bantam Mini Massage Gun, only reach as far as 10 millimeters. However, these could be good options for those with sensitive skin or anyone who prefers a gentler massage experience.
Stall force is the amount of force you can apply to an area before the massage gun’s motor stalls. It is often listed in pounds and ranges from 20 to 60 pounds, for the most part. Stall force can affect which massage gun you decide to purchase because it indicates how aggressively you can press the device into your muscles. In turn, this affects the intensity of your massage.
A stall force of at least 30 pounds is ideal if you prefer low- to moderate-intensity massages. A stall force of at least 40 to 50 pounds is better if you prefer a more aggressive self-massage.
Percussions Per Minute
Percussions per minute (PPM) is the number of times the massager’s head will hit your muscle per minute. These can range anywhere from 1,700 to 3,200 PPMs. Most massage guns, including the Theragun PRO, REP Rapidstrike, and Hyperice Hypervolt Go, offer several different speed settings, so you can tailor your massage based on which muscle you’re targeting or how sore you are.
The design and product weight of a massage gun can impact how comfortable it is to hold. A heavy, bulky massage gun may be difficult to use, especially if you have dexterity issues. It can also cause wrist fatigue to settle in quickly or make it more challenging to hit the targeted areas effectively.
In our experience, massage guns with triangular-shaped handles, like the Theragun PRO, are easier to maneuver than those with straight handles, like the OLsky Massage Gun. Straight handles can make it more difficult to hit hard-to-reach areas, like the scapula in the upper back.
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- Product weight: 1.98 pounds
- Stall force: Not listed
- Amplitude: Not listed
- Speed: 30 speed settings up to 3,250 PPM
- Attachments: 10 (Y-shaped, tower, air compression, spade, mushroom, spade, wedge, bullet, U-shape, and spherical)
- Battery life: Two hours, depending on which speed you use it at
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Best Deep Tissue Massage Gun
Best Handheld Massage Gun
The best brand of massage gun is Therabody. They have many high-quality models, including the Theragun Elite, Theragun PRO, Theragun Mini, and Theragun Prime, that are available at different prices and come with different attachments. We especially like the Theragun PRO because of its 60-pound stall force and 16-millimeter amplitude, and it’s no louder than the sound of two people having a normal conversation.
Some massage guns, like the Theragun PRO, cost almost $600. However, you can find high-quality massagers for more than half that price. A massage gun in the range of $200 to $300 can still offer a ton of value if it has an adequate enough amplitude, multiple speed settings, and various attachments to help provide powerful, effective massage.
In our opinion, Theragun is better. Even though Theragun massage guns tend to be more expensive, they are more powerful and offer more speed settings. We also think the four adjustment points on the Theragun PRO allow for a better massage experience, and Hypervolt massage guns don’t have that capability.
To find a good massage gun, look at specs like the stall force, amplitude, speed range, and available attachments. A decent massage gun will have at least three speed settings, which will allow you to adjust the intensity of your massage based on how sore you are. Amplitudes of 12 to 15 millimeters are sufficient for most people, as is a stall force of around 40 pounds. However, if you have a very muscular build or prefer a more intense massage, 16 millimeters of amplitude and up to 60 pounds of stall force may be a better option.
Furthermore, look for massage guns that come with multiple attachments, like a bullet, flat head, ball, and U-shaped attachment. This way, you can target various body parts in different ways.
- Kim, J. Y., Kang, D. H., Lee, J. H., O, S. M., & Jeon, J. K. (2017). The effects of pre-exercise vibration stimulation on the exercise-induced muscle damage. Journal of physical therapy science, 29(1), 119–122. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.29.119
- Konrad, A., Glashüttner, C., Reiner, M. M., Bernsteiner, D., & Tilp, M. (2020). The Acute Effects of a Percussive Massage Treatment with a Hypervolt Device on Plantar Flexor Muscles’ Range of Motion and Performance. Journal of sports science & medicine, 19(4), 690–694.