It’s the latest (but expensive) technology on the wellness scene that’s getting tongues wagging. There’s something of an importance to these muscle-releasing bits of kit with brands such as Theragun, formally known as Therabody, being spotted in the hands of celebrities and elite athletes. It’s like a grown-up version of the foam roller under your bed collecting dust.
Their longevity is to their credit, as they’ve gotten better and better with every passing year. With companies like Therabody celebrating their fifth anniversary this year and cheaper alternatives popping up all the time, the massage gun market is growing every day.
Wirecutter massage guns For 2022
Putting the cream of the crop of massage guns to the test, our health and fitness expert was tasked with determining which ones could whip aching muscles into shape.
After months of suffering from WFH, Esquire editors also shared the products they used to soothe their numbers.
The following are their top recommendations:
- POWERFULLY QUIET - Proprietary brushless QX150 motor with QuietForce Technology delivers powerful, professional-grade deep muscle treatment as quiet as average massage devices
- 300 min. CONTINUOUS BATTERY LIFE - Includes 2 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (150 min. each). Charge one while the other is in use and continuously swap for all-day run time.
- CUSTOMIZABLE SPEED RANGE & OLED SCREEN - Monitor current speed and force on OLED screen, access any speed between 1750-2400 PPMs via Therabody app
- ROTATING ARM & ERGONOMIC MULTI-GRIP - allows you to hold the device in a number of ways while reducing strain on your hands and arms.
- SMART APP INTEGRATION - Connects to app via Bluetooth to run personalized wellness routines based on your behaviors & preferences
- QX65 MOTOR WITH QUIETFORCE TECHNOLOGY - proprietary brushless motor delivers powerful deep muscle treatment quieter than the average massage device
- 120 MIN. BATTERY LIFE - internal Lithium-ion battery offers double the battery life of previous generations for 2 hours of continuous use
- 5 SPEED RANGE & LED SCREEN - Monitor current speed on the LED screen, use with Therabody app
- ERGONOMIC MULTI-GRIP - provides a number of ways to comfortably hold the device without strain on hands and arms
- SMART APP INTEGRATION - connects to the Therabody app via Bluetooth to run personalized wellness routines based on your behaviors & preferences
- SO MANY CHOICES!: 3 intensity levels, 4 interchangeable attachments, plus 3 massage programs put you in control of your massage experience.
- MUSCLE MASSAGE: The high-intensity, spot-specific percussion head uses repetitive strokes to help relieve sore and stiff muscles for increased range of motion.
- PRESSURE SENSOR TECHNOLOGY: Gives visual feedback throughout massage so you know the massage force applied to your body.
- CAN’T STOP, DON’T STOP: Lightweight and rechargeable with extra-long battery life, its cordless design also makes it great for use at home or on the go.
- WHAT’S IN THE BOX: (1) HoMedics Therapist Select Pro Percussion Massager, (1) Quick Start Guide, (4) Massage Attachments, (1) 1-Year Warranty
- RELIEVES YOUR SORENESS AND STIFFNESS: The massage gun can be effectively relieves your muscle soreness, stiff backs and relax your full body.
- 9 SPEED LEVELS & 12 MASSAGE HEADS: Come with 12 attachments, you can use percussion massage gun in different muscles group, use them all for a full body massage. You can adjust the speed to provide the right pressure according to your needs.
- LONG BATTERY LIFE: The deep tissue massage gun is equiped with 3000mAh, lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, delivering up to 3, 200 percussion per minute. It works up to 6 hours in full charge condition.
- ULTRA-QUIET DESIGN: The brushless motor and high-quality bearing make almost no noise, which makes sure you will not disturb others when you are using our massage gun in the office, gym or wherever the day takes you.
- PORTABLE WITH A CARRING CASE: The massage gun is portable enough to take with you to the gym, office or on vacation. It is ideal for professional athletes and leisure sports.
- Massage gun, can effectively relieve muscle fatigue and pain, promote blood circulation, relieve lactic acid, and let you enjoy the comfortable experience brought by deep tissue massage gun
- Muscle massage gun, 20 speed levels, from low, medium to high, bringing different intensity massage experience
- Cordless massage gun, 10 replaceable massage heads help users relax all parts of the body
- Handheld percussion massage gun, ergonomic silicone handle design can effectively prevent slipping and make it easy to grasp
- Deep tissue massage gun, with lightweight design with carrying case, simplifying storage and transportation
- Powerful Multifunctional Massage Gun: Cholas cordless fascia massage gun deeply relieves stiffness of muscles by providing powerful percussive massage therapy. It can improve the overall health of the body’s soft tissues, prevent inflammation which caused by adhesion between the fascia and muscles. The powerful massager is suitable for everyone from professional athletes to recreational gym-goers
- 10 MASSAGE HEADS: Cholas deep tissue muscle massager comes with 10 replacement heads and Handheld design allow you to reach every muscle. 10 massage heads to meet all muscle relaxation needs. provides a relaxing massage experience.Activate the muscles. greatly reduce muscle recovery time.
- 30 Modes and LCD Touch Screen: This massager gun adopts high-quality motor, it have 30 Adjustable vibration mode. You can adjust the frequency according to the different parts of the massage.the high-precision mould connected the machine head and the body tightly, Our percussion massager equipped with LCD touch screen showing speed levels.You can easily find the vibration amplitude that suits you best.
- Powerful and Very Quiet: Enjoy your deep tissue massage gun and repair your muscles in a relaxing silence. Cholas Massage Gun is developed with low noise motor. With 25 db of newest noise reduction technology and a high-torque motor. Convenient single-handed operation with a comfortable grip. Feel free to use it without worrying about disturbing others.
- Long Working Time: 2400mAh high-quality rechargeable lithium battery, ensures a 6 hours working time. Note:Fully charge battery for up to 6 hours before first use to extend battery life. If there is any quality problem with the product after purchase, please contact us and we will solve it for you
- DEEP MUSCLE RELAXATION - CRYOTEX Massage Gun can deeply relieve the body's soreness through deep and powerful muscle massage after exercise. Handheld Massage Gun for Athletes helps restore the body faster, promote muscle repair, promote blood flow and relieve lactic acid. It can also be used to prepare the body during warm-up before exercise.
- 6 MASSAGE HEADS & 20 SPEED LEVELS – Comes with six different heads to provide targeted treatment for every muscle group. Different massage heads and speed levels provide a relaxing massage for every muscle’s need. It reduces bone and muscle damage that might occur in one-level intensity massage guns used for sensitive muscles. Our percussion massager equipped with LCD touch screen and automatically turn off function with non use.
- LIGHTWEIGHT & CARRYING CASE INCLUDED - Only 2 lbs, ergonomic and easy-to-use. Its compact size and case makes it easy to carry to use at work, gym and other places wherever you go.
- POWERFUL & VERY QUIET – Enjoy your deep tissue massage gun and repair your muscles in a relaxing silence. Cryotex Massage Gun is developed with low noise motor. With 45 db noise reduction technology and a high-torque motor, professional deep tissue massager has 20 adjustable speed settings delivering up to 3,200 percussions per minute.
- LONG WORKING TIME: The Cryotex cordless massager is equipped with 2600mAh high-quality lithium-ion battery, providing 6 hours of battery life after fully charged. Cryotex have stable force till the end of charge. The body massager has an LED battery indicator so you don't have to worry about power outages.
- The Percussion Massage Gun helps relieve fatigue, pain, muscle soreness and stiffness. Ideal for relieving shoulder, neck, waist, and back pain.
- 4 ADJUSTABLE SPEED LEVELS: The Massage Gun Deep Tissue offers 4 different speed levels meet different muscle group, awake your whole body muscles, provide great deep tissue massage.
- LONG BATTERY LIFE: The Deep Tissue Massage Gun Equipped with 2500mAh high-quality rechargeable lithium battery, can be continuously run for up to 4 hours.
- LOW NOISE: The Muscle Massage Gun is equipped with the updated noise reduction technology brushless motor, which makes the noise less than 45dB when used, creating a comfortable environment.
- 10 MASSAGE HEADS & STORAGE CASE: The Massage Gun for athletes includes 10 heads allow you to reach every muscle, promoting circulation and and decompose lactic acid. Plus, the set Equipped with a portable suitcase, you can relax your muscles anytime, anywhere.
- 【Professional massage gun】This massage gun is designed for deep muscle treatment, recovery and pain relief. It helps users increased blood flow, fast relief muscle pain, relief the fascia and knots and makes your full body relax.Whether you are an avid athlete or simply suffer from muscle aches, this massage gun will leave your body healthier, shapier and pain-free.
- 【Equipped with 5 massage heads and 6 variable speed】The massage device is has 6 speed strength levels, which allows you to adjust the speed to provide the right pressure according to your needs. 5 massage heads help the user relax all parts of the body.
- 【Low decibels and better battery capacity】With the newest noise reduction technology, it provides silent and intense massage. 2500mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery, delivering up to 3, 200 percussion per minute. It works up to 5 hours in full charge condition.
- 【Lightweight design with carrying case】You can use a muscle massage gun to relax and rejuvenate at home, office, gym and even while travels. If you like sports, training, any other sport, this is perfect. It is ideal for professional athletes and leisure sports. Addition, the set equips a carrying case simplifying storage and transportation.
- 【Happy experience】The massage gun deep tissue also has excellent performance in daily massage and maintenance, relaxation of stiff muscles. It is also suitable for the back and neck of the office caused by sedentary work. You can choose a diferent grade massage to relax, drive away fatigue and awaken muscle vitality, and give your body a “charging”.
- Massage Gun, equipped with a 4800mAh Lithium battery, lasts from 15-24 hours massage use on a single charge.
- Musle Massage gun, multiple speed levels meet different body needs, great for neck back arm leg muscle massage.
- Handheld Percussion Massage gun, can effectively helps relieve muscle soreness, promote blood circulation.
- Quit Massage Gun, only about 25- 55 dB, 1300 to 3,200 rpm, provide great deep tissue massage for athletes anywhere.
- Deep Tissue Massage Gun, only 2.1lb, Gross weight 4.2lb with lightweight design with carrying case.
- Easy to relax muscles: Usually we need to relax the muscles after exercise or long-time working, this massage gun helps for relieves tight muscles, soreness, and stiff backs.
- 6 Speed levels: This massage gun deep tissue has a total of 6 speeds (1-2 wake muscles, 3 relieve soreness, 4 deep tissue massage, 5 muscle recovery, 6 suitable for use after high-intensity exercise).
- Interchangeable massage heads: Ball head can be used for arms, lower back, hips, thighs and calves; bullet head can be used for meridians, joints, palms, soles of feet; flat head can be used for relaxation and shaping of all muscle groups; u-shaped is available on the shoulders, spine and bilateral muscles.
- Lightweight and portable : Cordless deep tissue massager. The muscle gun massager weighs 3.2lbs and has a travel bag to make it easy to carry . we can use this muscle massage gun at home, office, gym or on the go.
- Long battery life: It takes 3-4 hours to full charge can use 5-6 hours. It only about 45 dB and surely gives you a relaxing massage.
What you should look for in a percussive massager
Speed and power: The two most important elements are definitely these two. There are different pain tolerances and massage preferences for each person, but anyone can benefit from having at least two settings on the massager, one of which is less intense so that you can use it to relieve muscle tension or pain on sore muscles.
Type of motion: Percussion and vibration are very different, as mentioned in the NordicTrack description. Take into consideration which mechanism is more important to you when shopping for a massage gun.
Portability: Massage guns need to be compact enough to store in a bag or suitcase or come with their own carrying case if you’re going to be traveling with them. Some units, such as TimTam, are rather bulky, despite being handheld.
Attachments and accessories: The massage gun will be used where on your body? In general, you don’t need any attachments or accessories if you’re only going to use it on your large muscles, like your back and legs. For specific trigger points and places, such as the arch of your foot or the neck, you would benefit from attachments that are designed specifically for those locations.
Battery life: All electronics benefit from longer battery life, as it goes without saying.
Cost: If your budget is tight, you should look at therapeutic massagers. Massage guns can range from inexpensive to expensive depending on the speed, power, and motion settings.
Massage guns: how do they work?
In addition to helping you recover, they fight muscle soreness. Through rapid percussive movements, it’s a kind of deep tissue massage that stimulates muscles, increases blood flow, and softens knots. They can be used while warming up or post-workout, and they feel good too, being able to hit all the right pressure points that can increase endorphin production. It is at least possible for massage guns to provide temporary relief for problem areas.
Dr. Daniel Giordano, CMO of Bespoke Treatments, says that massage guns can benefit decreased muscle tension, relaxed muscles, and enhanced blood flow. Every day, I use one before, during, and after I workout.”
Massage guns: how to use
How should you proceed once you have one?
According to Giordano, a massage gun can be used to warm the body, promote blood flow and circulation, as well as stimulate the nervous system, getting you prepared for exercise. The muscle area should be flushed back and forth with the gun for 15-30 seconds, back and forth.
As for mid-workout treatments, the approach is similar. The author warns that stretching between exercises during a workout may negatively impact the user’s force output and cause them to have reduced performance. To increase blood flow and reduce muscle tension, use warm water for 15 to 30 seconds. Exciting the muscle should loosen it again for the remainder of the workout.”
In addition to helping you recover from a heavy session, massage guns can also help you improve your flexibility. In a relaxed body, you can reduce cortisol levels (stress) and create a healing environment for recovery, which will help you reach an anabolic state of recovery, says Giordano. “To do this, you need to move your muscles up and down for 90 to 120 seconds.”
You should rest the head on your muscles as it moves and switch it on before you touch your skin. Added excessive pressure or digging into the body is unnecessary, Giordano explains. When you find a ‘trigger point’, make sure not to dig into it.
If the pressure hurts, you should decrease it. Try not to run the machine over your bones or joints. Slowly moving across the muscle, at 1-2 inches per second, is his recommendation.
As part of our three-week test, our fitness experts used the massage guns to prime and recover their muscles during their daily routine of running, weightlifting, HIIT, yoga, and more.
Based on their power and impact on the muscles as well as their ease of control, their interchangeable massage heads, and their ability to move easily over the skin and muscles, these devices were evaluated. Before determining our final rankings, we also looked at the design’s practicality and ergonomics.
Massage guns offer high-quality, therapeutic relief without costing a fortune. When it comes to starting out with percussive therapy before investing in a higher-end tool, we recommend the Sportneer Percussive Massage Gun due to its price point, battery life, customizable features, and reliability.
TheraGun PRO (view at Therabody) or Theragun Elite is the best choice for those who have used massage guns for a long time and want to take their muscle recovery to the next level. You have plenty of customization options with these top-of-the-line options from a well-known brand.