Monday, 20 May 2024

Calisthenics, Fitness, Recovery, Roundup, Strength Training

Best Massage Gun: 8 Best Percussion Massagers For 2023

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Hand holding a massage gun

Massage therapy has long been touted for its ability to reduce pain and strains in the muscles and aid recovery. In days past, your only options were home massages or visits to a spa for professional treatments.

Those days are well in the past thanks to the massage gun, a piece of gym equipment that has taken the fitness world by storm. These devices offer all the benefits of massage therapy from the comfort of your home and at a fraction of the cost. They are also a good alternative to foam rollers.

However, the market is saturated with these handheld devices. This makes it difficult to figure out what the best massage gun is. Not to worry, though, as we’ve tested many of these and have developed a comprehensive list of the best ones, depending on different needs.

Whether you’re into lifting, calisthenics workout rings, cardio, gymnastics, or CrossFit, there is a perfect massage gun for you.

What is a Massage Gun?

Best massage gun next to a figurine

Before we dive into our massage gun reviews, let’s briefly discuss what massage guns are. After all, you can’t exactly use a device you have little-to-no information on.

Simply put, massage guns — also known as percussive massagers — are portable, handheld devices that pound the muscles repeatedly. While they may look like a drill and don the word “gun” in their name, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

They help your muscles and body recover faster after intense workouts just like traditional massage treatments. They do this by increasing blood flow to specific body areas, which reduces muscle tension and inflammation.

Massage guns are suited to anyone who experiences muscle soreness and tenderness, from CrossFitters and boxers to lifters and calisthenics fans.

The Best Massage Guns for Home Gyms

We all know that when any item starts gaining popularity, the market gets flooded with various versions of that item from multiple brands. Likewise, massage guns suffer the same fate with many products — good or bad — introduced into the market. As a result, choosing the right one can be difficult for various reasons.

You may find that you buy one, but it fails to keep up with your intense workouts. The massage gun may also be too big to bring along if you’re a frequent traveler, or it may be noisy enough to affect people you share space with. After that, you still need to consider your budget — all of which can be pretty overwhelming.

Luckily, we’ve done all that for you. We took the liberty of testing many of the top massage guns from major brands and came up with a list of the 8 best portable massagers.

Rating: 4.9
Theragun Elite
  • Type: Percussion
  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Amplitude: 16mm
  • Price: $$$

Just like the many athletes, influencers, and gym rats that swear by it, we found this to be the best massager gun in the market. While this Theragun offering is rather expensive, it does more than just live up to its price tag as it is quality from head to handle. Heck, even the carrying case it comes in is incredible.

We found the high-end massage gun versatile enough for all types of massages during testing. Its 16mm amplitude meant we could drive its head into the deepest parts of the muscles. The five-speed settings and different heads allowed us to adjust the intensity and heads to fit our needs best.

  • Weight: 2.2lbs
  • Stall force: Max. 40lbs
  • Five-speed settings
  • Multi-grip design
  • Five attachable massage heads
  • OLED Screen

While lightweight (despite a bulky design) and featuring an incredibly quiet motor, the battery life disappointed us a little. Given its price point, we expected this portable massage gun to last a little longer than two hours — which can be a negative for users wanting full-body treatments.

Nonetheless, we love its ergonomic design as you can comfortably massage various body parts, although reaching the middle back was a little challenging. Despite its cost, it’s a relatively beginner-friendly massage gun with instructions provided on the Therabody App it comes with.

Another great touch with the best Theragun massager is that it boasts an OLED screen showing current speed and force. We loved this, mainly because we could tell when we were about to stall due to pressure. See why it’s one of the most expensive massage guns?

Rating: 4.8
Hyperice Hypervolt Plus with Bluetooth
  • Type: Percussion
  • Battery life: 2-3 hours
  • Amplitude: 13mm
  • Price: $$$

Despite its sleek and compact design, this Hyperice Hypervolt massage gun iteration does more than enough to hang with the big boys. It has a stall force that’s right up there with the bigger massage guns and a decent amplitude. Although, we would have appreciated a few more speed options to drive it even deeper on the flesh surface.

During testing, we found that the battery life was right between two and three hours, mainly depending on which speed setting we were using. While this is not the most impressive battery life (the Ekrin Athletics B37 takes that title), it charges relatively quickly and makes this negligible.

  • Weight: 3lbs
  • Stall force: Max. 45lbs
  • Three-speed settings
  • Quiet motor
  • Sleek design
  • Five attachable massage heads
  • Carrying case sold separately

The five attachable massage heads are perfect for full-body massage treatments. You can quickly change from one to the other to target different muscles.

On the flip side, the sleek design is aesthetically pleasing, but there’s room for improvement in the massager’s ergonomics. We felt awkward holding the gun in certain positions, like when trying to massage the lower back.

Another positive with this massager is how quiet it is and we could argue for it to be the quietest one we tested. If you’re a beginner or struggle to adapt to its design, just jump on the app and find some instructions. You’ll be good to go.

Despite its bulky and weighted design, it’s pretty portable and can be a good buddy for frequent travelers.

Rating: 4.8
Theragun PRO
  • Type: Powerlifting
  • Battery life: 2.5 hours
  • Amplitude: 16mm
  • Price: $$$

If you’re a gym rat or a professional/semi-professional athlete, this is the massage gun for you. It’s the Theragun Elite, but with even more power for deeper percussive therapy for the most serious of users.

It has an incredible multi-grip design and even boasts a moveable massage arm for those hard-to-reach spots we all struggle with. Not only are the amplitude and speed options impressive, but it has some of the highest stall force we’ve come across.

While you’ll rarely have to worry about stalling the device, you can keep an eye on the pressure you’re exerting by looking at the OLED screen. As you’d expect of a massager for sports, it works the deep tissue muscles well.

  • Weight: 2.9lbs
  • Stall force: Max. 60lbs
  • Five-speed settings
  • Quiet motor
  • Moveable massage arm
  • Seven attachable massage heads
  • Comes with extra battery

We found that the battery life itself isn’t the most impressive considering how powerful it is. However, Theragun appropriately thought ahead as it comes with an extra battery. This means you can work on your muscles for five consecutive hours without any disturbances.

While it has become a lot quieter than its previous iterations, we found that it’s still one of the noisier options on the market. Although, once you find a good spot that doesn’t bother anyone else, get to work using the Theragun app.

Thanks to the seven different heads, we could target different muscles at different amplitudes. If you become confused by the heads available, just turn to your app for help.

Rating: 4.7
Ekrin Athletics B37
  • Type: Percussion
  • Battery life: 8 hours
  • Amplitude: 12mm
  • Price: $$$

Sometimes, the fun and benefits that come with a massage gun can be ruined by how noisy they can be. This is particularly an issue if you stay in an apartment with shared walls or live with many people. In comes the Ekrin Athletics B37, which eliminates all those noise problems while performing incredibly well.

While the amplitude may be on the low side, the stall force more than makes up for that. We found that we could enjoy a powerful deep muscle tissue treatment even without the amplitude found in the Theragun Elite and the likes.

  • Weight: 2.2lbs
  • Stall force: Max. 56lbs
  • Five-speed settings
  • Sleek design
  • Four attachable massage heads
  • Comes with a travel case

While the quietness is the Athletic B37’s selling point, the four massage heads added a lot of value for us as we could target various muscles.

Another major positive we found during testing was the fact that the battery could last 8 hours off a single 4-hour charge. This way, we could get in treatment on several days off just one charge — a feat none of the other best massage guns could achieve.

While the muscle massager gun is nearly perfect, we just couldn’t shake off how heavy it felt. Still, it’s relatively portable thanks to the travel case it comes with, meaning you don’t have to make room for it in your own bag.

Furthermore, this quiet massage gun is easily one of the best-value products in the market.

Rating: 4.4
Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Massager
  • Type: Percussion
  • Battery life: Not battery-powered
  • Amplitude: Not given
  • Price: $

Okay, so this offering from Wahl is a different type of massager from the typical massage gun, but it still does a very similar job. During testing, we found that this is the perfect option for anyone looking to provide some TLC to their muscles.

It’s a massager made for the most gentle massages, meaning it’s perfect for casual fitness enthusiasts. While not a “gun” per se, its elongated handle means you can reach some awkward spots — all at a lower budget too.

  • Weight: Not given
  • Stall force: Max. 60lbs
  • Six-speed settings
  • Affordable
  • Ergonomic design
  • Four attachable massage heads

While the amplitude isn’t given, we’d say it’s on the lower end as it performed best at the higher speeds. Like nearly all of the best massage guns, you can change the heads here and target different muscles — just don’t expect much from the slower speeds.

It has a stellar battery life lasting forever as it doesn’t work on batteries but relies on electricity. While that’s great, we weren’t fans of the lengthy cord needed to make it work. However, we appreciated the fact that it wasn’t too noisy, being at the level you’d expect of any massage gun.

While we were skeptical while unboxing it as the weight wasn’t provided, we were pleasantly surprised at how light it is.

Rating: 4.6
VYBE Pro Handheld Deep Muscle Massage
  • Type: Percussion
  • Battery life: 3 hours
  • Amplitude: 12mm
  • Price: $$

If you’re a fitness enthusiast that takes on different exercises quite frequently, you’ll love this massage gun. It’s easily the most versatile percussion massager we’ve tested so far. Not only does it come with eight massage heads, but we also have nine-speed options to choose from.

It’s also really quiet for a massage gun, which was a welcomed feature as we worked our way around the neck and shoulders. We did find that the price was evident in the quality of the head attachments, which doesn’t compare to the higher-end massagers. However, this wasn’t a major issue as we felt we got what we paid for.

  • Weight: 4.6lbs
  • Stall force: 30lbs+
  • Nine-speed settings
  • Multi-grip design
  • Eight attachable massage heads
  • Comes with a case

Thanks to its weight, you’re sure to notice that you’re holding it, and it can bulk your travel bag up a little. But that’s what the case it comes with is for. And if like us you enjoy taking care of your back, you’ll quickly forget about its weight as you easily reach your back.

The battery life is relatively great, especially considering its price point and the number of speed adjustments we made. We thought it wouldn’t be great for intense massages due to the relatively low amplitude and stall force — we couldn’t be more wrong.

The speed options eliminated all those worries for us as we enjoyed an intensive deep tissue massage multiple times at high speeds.

Rating: 4.3
VYBE V2 Muscle Massage Gun

This back massager is built with 6 vibration speeds ranging from 500 to 2400 strokes per minute.

  • Type: Percussion
  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Amplitude: 16mm
  • Price: $

For budget home gym enthusiasts, we recommend the VYBE V2 as it’s the best budget massage gun. Not only is it affordable, but it does an incredible job on various muscles of the body and can be quite intense.

It comes with three massage head attachments for that purpose and boasts a rotating arm that helped us reach some awkward spots. It’s one of the few massage guns that didn’t bring up a huge level of discomfort while we worked on the back.

  • Weight: 3.5lbs
  • Stall force: 60lbs+
  • Six-speed settings
  • Multi-grip design
  • Three attachable massage heads

With a strong amplitude and large stall force, this affordable massaging gun is suited for high-intensity, deep tissue massages in our opinion. We found that its six-speed adjustments helped amplify how deep it went.

Beware though, don’t purchase this if you share walls or immediate spaces with other people as it’s one of the loudest massage guns that we’ve tested.

While we found the battery life to be unimpressive, we appreciated the extra battery which meant we didn’t lose out on much. Plus, it comes with a travel case for anyone who may be looking to travel with this deep tissue massage gun.

Rating: 4.5
Theragun Mini
  • Type: Percussion
  • Battery life: 2.5 hours
  • Amplitude: 12mm
  • Price: $$

Weighing just over a pound and boasting a compact design, this is another portable massager perfect for travelers. It’s also perfect for older fitness enthusiasts who may have shakier hands.

The ergonomic grip design means that people with small hands have found their new best friend here. One thing we didn’t like during testing was that we only had one ball attachment to play with. However, this sufficed for most muscles in the body.

  • Weight: 1.2lbs
  • Stall force: Max. 20lbs
  • Three-speed settings
  • Compact design

As you may expect due to the design, we found the small Theragun massager to be perfect for light-intensity treatments. During testing, the 12mm amplitude in tandem with three-speed options and a 20-pound stall force proved to be perfect for casual fitness enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, this Theragun massage gun is quite loud for its size. But, the noise isn’t annoyingly unbearable.

We loved the fact that we could use this percussive massager various times throughout the day as it had good battery life. Perhaps even better is the fact that it fully charges in just 80 minutes.

With all that, why not give a chance to what is arguably the best lightweight massage gun?

Top Benefits of a Muscle Massage Gun

Person using massage gun on bicep

Now that you know what our picks for the muscle and body massagers are, it’s important to understand why you should buy one. While muscle recovery is the device’s most popular benefit, its health benefits stretch well beyond that.

These apply to all types of users, from avid gym fans and serious athletes to joggers and people that just want to be in shape. While we can’t list all of them, these are the main benefits that come with using the best massage guns.

Note: As a fairly new technology, research into massage guns is still in its early stages and more benefits are sure to be found in due time.

Muscle soreness

Starting off the list of benefits is what the device is renowned for — muscle recovery after workouts. This can affect performance at the gym as well as your ability to perform daily activities.

DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is a condition that most, if not all, people experience after some form of exercise. Symptoms usually include pain, stiff and tender muscles, and swelling and can last for up to three days.

A massage gun helps treat these symptoms by reducing the amount of recovery time and reducing muscle pain.

A study found that vibration therapy, of which massage guns have an element, is effective at the prevention and management of DOMS. All this means you can go back to the gym sooner than you normally would have when dealing with DOMS.

Range of motion

Person using massage gun on ankle and calf

Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and tissue are all important for movement. As the best massage guns work on these parts of the body, they tend to improve mobility — especially when used during warm-ups.

Massage guns decrease muscle and joint stiffness, meaning your sweat sesh will be mostly free of uncomfortable instances. This was all discovered by one study, which then suggested the incorporation of a massage gun in warm-ups for improved flexibility.

However, a traditional warm-up (i.e. stretching) is still a necessity and massage guns are more complementary devices rather than a replacement.


While the best massage guns are the more expensive alternatives to foam rollers, they also happen to be affordable alternatives themselves. They are better value for money when compared to traditional massage treatments you’d get from a massage therapist at a spa.

A good massage gun can cost as little as $100, which may seem expensive initially. However, take into consideration you’ll be using it every week of its lifetime, and there are no additional fees for use.

In comparison, an hour-long spa session can cost as little as $50 per session. However, these could be weekly or monthly sessions that will eventually pile up to a grand total that costs way more than the massage gun itself.

Best Massage Guns Buying Guide

Massage gun in case with attachments

Before purchasing a massage gun, there are various factors to consider to make sure you get the one most suited for your needs. These include the following:


Intensity, which relates to speed and power, is arguably the most important thing to weigh up when purchasing a muscle gun massager. If you know you’re mostly massaging sensitive areas, opt for one that is on the lower side of intense. If you’re keen on intense deep massages, opt for the most intense ones.


This simply means how far the head of the gun travels, which directly translates to how deep it hits. So, the higher the amplitude, the higher the strength — meaning intense deep tissue recoveries need high amplitude massage guns.

Note: Stall force (how much pressure can be applied before the gun stops working) is also important here.

Battery life

Sure, most of the best massage guns are rechargeable nowadays, but battery life still matters. This is especially important if you’ll be using a massage gun while traveling — some massagers may even come with an extra battery.


Best massage gun comes in a case like this

If you’ll take your handheld massage gun with you as you travel from destination to destination, it needs to be portable. This means it has to be small enough to fit in your travel bag and weigh on the lower side of the scale. A travel case is also useful here.


Noise is another factor to consider before purchasing a massage gun, not only for yourself but also for the people around you. Some of these guns can be extremely noisy.

The Best Massage Gun Summary

As you may have seen with the guide above, there isn’t one single best percussion massage gun – it’s all about finding the right one for you. You don’t want to be a casual jogger purchasing an extremely powerful device that may end up doing more harm than good.

Along with gym gloves, a massage gun is a great piece of equipment to add to your home gym. The only question that remains is, which best portable massage gun will you be buying?

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