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Lifestyle

12 Massage Guns That Dig Deep for Faster Muscle Recovery

Like a massage therapist in the palm of your hand.
By Lauren Bedosky
May 22, 2024

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Massage is one of the most effective workout recovery tools in your arsenal. Sadly, most of us don’t have the time or the resources to keep a massage therapist on speed dial.

The next best thing? A massage gun.

A massage gun works similarly to traditional massage therapy in that it sends more blood to target areas, which helps tame swelling and may stimulate tissue repair, according to Matthew Cowling, DO, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist in Madison, Wisconsin. It uses percussive therapy (also known as vibration therapy) to deliver rapid vibrations that soften tight muscles. Past research shows that vibration therapy can reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), or that achy, burning feeling you get in your muscles a day or two after a new or intense workout (1).

If you’re interested in adding a massage gun to your recovery routine, keep reading. We’ve ranked 12 of the best massage guns on the market.

Which Massage Gun Works Best?

There are many effective, five-star massage guns out there. Each offers unique benefits to address a wide range of must-haves, from portable design to ultra-dynamic percussive power to a battery that won’t quit. As such, it’s tough to ID a single massage gun that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. However, rest assured that every recommendation on our list is highly rated. You’re sure to find something that works best for you.

Is a Massage Gun Really Worth It?

Massage guns are only one recovery tool, albeit an effective one. They can improve blood flow, reduce pain and swelling, and may kickstart muscle recovery, according to Dr. Cowling. But there are other recovery methods you can use, too, including ice baths, foam rollers, and compression gear.

If you’re still on the fence, consider trying a smaller, less expensive massage gun first (you’ll find a few on our list). You can always upgrade later.

Do Doctors Recommend Massage Guns?

As with many therapies, medical opinions on massage guns run the gamut. Some doctors believe massage guns are unnecessary, whereas others recommend them to active patients to promote muscle recovery. Dr. Cowling, for example, suggests using a massage gun for five to ten minutes post-workout. Sweep the gun over the areas you worked, making sure to avoid bones, joints, and open wounds. If you’re recovering from an injury, check with your doctor or physical therapist before using a massage gun.

The Best Massage Guns on the Market

Best Overall: Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro

You can’t go wrong with this well-rounded massage gun. It offers five different speeds controlled with a digital speed dial, along with five massage head attachments to further customize your therapy. The massage gun features a comfortable grip, a powerful motor, and smart integration with the Hyperice app. A pouch keeps the attachment heads organized, and the battery lasts three hours on a single charge. This massage gun may be a little hefty for some (it weighs 2.6 pounds), so keep that in mind if you struggle with hand or wrist pain.

Best Battery Life: Lifepro Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun

This massage gun packs up to six hours of battery juice, making it the perfect choice for people who hate charging their electronics. The design enables convenient, single-handed operation, and the whisper-quiet motor delivers up to 3,000 percussive strokes per minute, providing deep tissue relief to achy muscles. It also offers five levels of intensity and eight massage head attachments.

Quietest: Therabody Theragun Elite

This highly-rated massage gun is billed as the brand’s quietest option—as much as 75 percent quieter than the earlier generation—thanks to the device’s sound insulation. It offers 120 minutes of battery life, plus an ergonomic triangle-shaped handle that allows you to grip the device in any number of ways to target tender spots. According to the manufacturer, this massage gun also features a 16 mm amplitude (how far the arm of the device extends and retracts to deliver each percussion) that reaches 60 percent deeper into muscle than its competitors. It includes five massage head attachments, a protective carrying case, and smart integration with the Therabody app.

Most Versatile: Vybe PRO Handheld Deep Muscle Massager

Featuring nine different speeds and eight massage head attachments, you’re sure to find the relief you need with this handheld muscle massager. It provides up to 33 pounds of muscle-relieving pressure and 12 mm of amplitude. This massage gun charges quickly, offering about three hours of battery life. It also comes with a convenient carrying case.

Best Budget: Sportneer K1 Massage Gun

This option may be one of the cheapest on our list, but offers an impressive roster of features to rival pricier options, including five intensity levels, six massage heads, and up to six hours of battery life. The compact, lightweight design—it only weighs 1.7 pounds—makes it easy to take this massage gun wherever you go. It also has an auto-off feature that switches off the device after ten minutes, which can prevent it from overheating.

Best Splurge: Theragun PRO

The PRO model is one of the priciest massage guns on the market. It takes the ergonomic handle of the Elite and adds a device arm that can be moved into four different positions. This helps you create ideal angles to reach any area of the body. Choose between five speeds to score up to 2,400 percussions per minute. The PRO includes six attachment heads, a protective carrying case, smart integration with the Therabody app, and a travel pouch for the attachments. While the battery only lasts 150 minutes, the PRO comes with two rechargeable batteries, so you can charge one while the other is in use.

Best No-Frills: Theragun Mini

This compact massage gun is only slightly bigger than your hand, making it easy to slip into a pocket or a gym bag. Despite its small size, you can achieve powerful percussive treatment at three speeds (up to 2,400 percussions per minute) and an amplitude of 12 mm. Like other models from the brand, this mini massage gun packs up to 150 minutes of battery life and comes with a carrying case. The only downside: It comes with just one massage head attachment.

Best for Travel: Ekrin Athletics Ekrin Bantam

Weighing only 1.1 pounds, this ultra-light massage gun is a great way to take recovery on the road. It features a slim, compact design that delivers up to 35 pounds of force. Select from three speeds to score between 2,000 and 3,200 percussive strokes per minute. Four massage head attachments make it a cinch to cover large muscle groups and hard-to-reach spots alike. This device even comes with a sleek carrying case that fits easily in a gym bag or carry-on.

Best for Serious Athletes: Homedics Therapist Select Hot and Cold Percussion Massager

What sets this massage gun apart from the rest of the pack? The massage heads that integrate hot and cold therapy gels. Use the heat therapy head to improve circulation and muscle flexibility and the cold therapy head to reduce swelling and inflammation. The remaining four attachments don’t incorporate hot or cold therapy but can be used for targeted treatment of specific muscle groups. The massage gun offers six intensity levels, up to four hours of battery life, and a built-in sensor that monitors how firmly you’re pressing into your tissues.

Best Mini: Recoverfun Mini Massage Gun

This pocket-sized massager packs a punch. Choose from four massage head attachments and four speeds to generate between 1,800 to 3,200 percussions per minute. It comes with a cotton carrying bag for easier storage and portability. It weighs only 1.1 pounds, and the battery lasts up to five hours on a single charge. This is an ideal option for people who aren’t ready to commit to a bigger, more expensive massage gun or for those who need inexpensive recovery on the go.

Best for Gentle Massage: Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Massager

If you prefer a gun that mimics a gentle massage, give this option a try. It offers a wide range of speeds, along with four attachment heads, including one that replicates the feeling of fingertips. The sleek, long handle helps you reach all over. However, note that this massage gun has to be plugged in to operate. Thankfully, it features a nine-foot cable, so you don’t have to sit next to a power outlet while using it.

Best for Hard-to-Reach Spots: Renpho R4 Pro Massage Gun

To target hard-to-reach tissues, you can’t go wrong with this pick. It features five massage arm positions and an ergonomically curved handle, which enables you to access every sore spot without fatigue or wrist strain. Customize your treatment with any one of four speeds and six massage head attachments. The massage gun even comes with a convenient carrying case.

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