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No matter how you prefer keeping fit, it's natural to experience muscle soreness. This pain may affect your training and can even cause you to take unplanned days off. While it's important to rest your muscles, massage guns can also provide relief by loosening you up and getting some blood flowing. Massage Gun
Massage guns work by pounding your muscles at rates of up to 4,000 times per minute. The depth of the stroke (called a percussion) and the amount of force it exerts determines how powerful it feels. Muscular people who prefer hard massages should look for a gun with a higher stroke rate, more percussions per minute, and more force, while sensitive folks should opt for a lighter-duty massager.
As someone who routinely works out in a variety of ways, my body knows soreness all too well. But this also makes me a prime candidate to test any and all massage guns I can get my hands on. And so I do.
Whether I'm prepping for a 10k, recovering after a long bike ride, or winding down after lifting weights, massage guns have become my go-to. I've tested guns from popular brands like Theragun and Hyperice, as well as models from lesser-known companies like Vybe — and I've rounded up my six favorite below.
At the end of this guide, I've also included insight into how I test massage guns, as well as what else I tried that didn't make the cut.
The Theragun Prime may not be the brand's flagship but it still offers a high-quality massage experience in a durable, easy-to-use package that's half the price.
Pros: Battery offers up to 2 hours of use, has an ergonomic design that helps get to hard to reach areas, comes with four different attachments, compatible with an app for speed customization, one of the quietest models in Theragun's lineup
Cons: Although it's half as expensive as the Pro, $300 is still expensive
Although Theragun's top-tier massage gun, the Pro, previously sat in this top spot, recommending a $600 massage gun as the "best overall" is a bit ill-considered. To be clear, the Pro is a fantastic massage gun but one that's best used in a professional setting or by an elite or professional athlete.
Enter the Theragun Prime, a massage gun that costs half as much as the Pro yet still offers more than enough in the way of percussive massaging for the majority of people who keep active. It features a similar ergonomic design, comes with multiple attachments for different massage types, and has a battery that lasts up to two hours on a single charge.
But above all, the Prime is just really effective. On side-by-side tests between it and the Pro, the largest difference is the fact the Prime's head doesn't move, meaning it's a bit less versatile. This is mostly a minor nitpick, as the position it's in still allows you to reach muscle groups all over your body (which is thanks in large part to its ergonomic design).
The Prime also features speed ranges from 1750 to 2400 percussions per minute, and these are even customizable via the Theragun app so I could dial in exactly the speed I needed. This is a feature for more advanced users but still nice to see made available to everyone.
It's also worth pointing out how quiet the Prime is. Although it's not at a whisper, it's far quieter than most guns I've tested, including massage guns from Theragun's own last generation.
Then there's the cost. I often see the Prime retail for $299, which is roughly half the standard price of the Pro. Massage guns are a big investment and although the Prime's price tag isn't exactly a drop in the bucket, it is a more modest purchase and one that is a great step up from an entry-level model like the Mini or a budget model like the Vybe.
The Vybe Premium Percussion Massage Gun has five speeds and runs for up to four hours on a single charge, and it cuts the price of other massagers in half.
Pros: Affordable, runs quietly, four-hour battery runtime, comes with four massage heads and a carrying case, five speeds
Cons: The massager's arm doesn't adjust, built-in battery
For its price point, the Vybe Premium Percussion Massage Gun has some impressive specs. In addition to its five speeds capable of pumping out 3200 percussions per minute, it comes with a travel case and weighs only 2.2 pounds, making it portable and easy to hold for long periods. It also has an impressive four-hour battery run time and an ergonomic design allowing for multiple grips.
The percussions are approximately 10 mm deep and have a force of 30 pounds, which isn't outstanding but should be able to work out most knots relatively quickly.
The Vybe Pro Premium comes with four head attachments - bullet head, flat head, fork, and large ball – that can accommodate specific muscle groups. It utilizes a brushless motor, which allows it to run quietly, too. The estimated noise level is anywhere from 50 to 60 decibels.
The Theragun Pro is a powerful, customizable, and durable massager that's worth every bit of its $600 price tag.
Pros: Two-year warranty; adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds; 60 lbs of no-stall force; easy to control and use; comes with six different heads, an extra battery, and a carrying case
The professional-grade Theragun Pro stands out from the rest with its superior performance in a premium package. And, it's speed settings are customizable, allowing you to dial in exactly the percussion per minute that you want with various massage heads.
It also has a long-lasting battery life (and comes with two batteries), so your 60 lb. gun can dig into deeper muscles for a good while.
What makes the Pro especially attractive is Theragun's introduction of QuietForce Technology, a feature that makes the operation of the gun far quieter than any previous massage gun in the brand's lineup. It's still pretty loud, don't get us wrong, but it's noticeably quieter than earlier models.
Other features include a built-in OLED screen (which displays the current PPM, a real-time force meter, and battery life), and a rotating massage head. If it's professional-grade relief you seek, the aptly named Pro is your best bet.
The Hyperice Hypervolt runs quietly yet can work for up to three hours at 3200 percussions per minute.
Pros: Quiet, come with four head attachments, three speeds up to 3200 percussions per minute, lightweight, comes with carrying case, long battery runtime
Cons: Massage arm doesn't rotate, only one place to grip the unit, slightly confusing to use at first
The Hyperice Hypervolt Vibration Massage Device is exceptional because it runs quietly — 54 decibels on its highest, loudest setting — and has a battery runtime of three hours. The battery is also detachable, so if three hours isn't long enough, you can buy extras on the Hyperice site to keep your sessions going.
It comes with four separate head attachments: fork, bullet, flat, and round. Everything fits into a handy carrying case, which along with the device's 2.4-pound weight, makes it easy to transport. There are three speed settings — 1800, 2400, and 3200 percussions per minute — so you're sure to find the right speed for your problem areas.
The biggest drawback is that the two power buttons are somewhat confusing at first, and you can only hold the unit in one place, as opposed to the three grips of Theragun's massagers. But, while testing the Hypervolt, I was impressed with how well it worked out my knots. I found it warmed up my legs well before my early-morning runs. The grip felt comfortable in my hand without ever getting too heavy as well.
Therabody's fourth generation of massage guns introduced the Theragun Mini, a portable device that packs a percussive punch in a much smaller package.
Pros: Affordable, offers the same PPMs as Theragun's more advanced models, portable
Cons: Only offers 20 pounds of no-stall force, won't help with deep tissue work
The Theragun Mini is Therabody's first portable massage gun, making muscle relief much more convenient.
Shaped like the spade you'd see in a deck of cards, the Mini fits in just one hand and offers a similar amount of percussions per minute (PPMs) as its more advanced kin. This allows it to deliver worthy massages perfect for quickly warming up before a run or relieving tight spots.
The main difference between the Mini and the more advanced Theragun models is how much no-stall force it's able to dole out. Whereas devices like the Pro or Elite are capable of 60 and 40 pounds, respectively, the Mini only touts a 20-pound threshold.
For deeper tissue massages, the Mini might not suffice. But Therabody didn't introduce it to satisfy that need. It's an on-the-go solution that bridges the gap between more advanced massages (or more advanced massage guns).
At $199, it's also the cheapest massage gun in its lineup and one that's entirely worth the investment — even for people who don't previously own a massage gun. Think of it as a suitable entry-level massage device.
If you're someone who's always asking the massage therapist to go harder, the TimTam Power Massager is your best option.
Pros: Extremely powerful, features an adjustable arm, the battery is swappable, comes with a carrying case, delivers deep stroke length
Cons: Loud, might be too intense for some, short battery runtime
The TimTam Power Massager is simply "powerful": It offers one speed — 2500 strokes per minute — and the stroke depth is roughly one inch deeper than any other massager on our list. Though it only has one handle, the arm rotates 90 degrees to make it easier to work hard-to-reach areas. And, at 2.1 pounds, it's incredibly light.
According to the manufacturer, the battery runtime is only 60 minutes per charge but it's removable, so you can buy additional batteries on the TimTam website. The site also has an array of heads you can pick up if the ball tip is not enough for your needs.
While researching this guide, we tested countless massage guns. There were a few that barely missed the cut. Here are the six we almost included:
Drum Massage Gun: While our review of this product proves it's effective and worth the money (thanks to its four speed settings that are all incredibly quiet), it didn't quite measure up to our other picks because it's heavy to carry.
Theragun liv: There's a lot to like about Theragun's lowest-priced option. Unlike its more expensive models, the liv only comes with two head attachments, one speed, and doesn't have as nice of a carrying case. However, it still packs 2400 percussions per second and has three grippy ergonomic handles. I've tested this gun personally and found it gets the job done but the extra heads are missed and I'd prefer a removable battery.
Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Massager: Calling this a "massage gun" is a bit of a stretch, but it essentially performs the same functions as the aforementioned devices. It's an excellent solution if you have a limited budget, too. It comes with four attachment heads and has variable percussion speeds ranging from 2,000 to 3,350 strokes per minute. The biggest negative is that it isn't cordless and the power cable is only nine feet long.
TimTam PowerMassager Pro: TimTam's top-of-the-line model is unique in that it has a heated tip that offers an added therapeutic touch to its deep tissue relief. The massage arm has 175 degrees of rotation, three speeds (1000, 2000, and 2800 strokes per minute), and a deep stroke length of 32 mm. We chose not to include it in our guide because of the high price. We think the G3 and Hypervolt provide better value.
Accugun Quiet Pro: Flyby, the makers of the Accugun, claim that the Quiet Pro is quieter, lighter, and runs longer on a single charge than any of the guns sold by Theragun, Hyperice, or Vybe. It also comes with six head attachments and features three speed settings. It's also backed by a one-year warranty. However, the Quiet Pro only has one handle, and the arm doesn't adjust so you may experience arm fatigue during longer massages.
ElecForU Carrying Case Massage Gun: This massage gun comes with six heads for targeted relief. It features a brushless motor, which allows for quiet operation, and there are five speeds ranging from 1200 to 3600 strokes per minute. According to the manufacturer, the battery runtime is an outstanding 4 hours. The biggest negatives are that it weighs more than three pounds and only has one handle.
Each of the massage guns featured in this guide went through a series of tests to see how well it compared across these five categories: Loudness, percussions per minute, ease of use, battery power, and accessories. Here's how each category specifically factored into which massage guns made the cut.
Loudness: If your gun is too loud, it makes enjoying your favorite TV show difficult and may annoy others. I hold a sound meter 12 inches away from the massage gun while it's at its highest speed to gauge loudness. If quietness is important to you, look for one that's under 60 decibels.
Percussions per minute: This includes percussions or strokes per minute, how deep the strokes are, and if the speeds are adjustable. You may find different speeds feel better on different body parts. And, stroke depth generally correlates with how "hard" the massage feels.
Ease of use: Several characteristics make a massager easy to use, including weight, number of handles, how comfortable the handles feel, whether the massage arm the heads attach to is adjustable, and if the controls are intuitive.
Battery power: You don't want a gun's battery dying in the middle of a session, and you also want it to be ready to go for your massage., Look for a massage gun with a long battery runtime, along with swappable batteries so you can have a backup if one dies.
Accessories: Round hard foam heads come standard with most massage guns. The better options also come with other head attachments for working different body parts. For instance, if you plan on working small muscle groups, a cone or pointy head is useful. A carrying case for your gun and accessories is also a must if you travel often.
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