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Best Massage Guns for 2023


Jul 4, 2023 #Guns, #Massage

$120 at Amazon

lifepro sonic handheld percussion massage gun

Lifepro Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun

Best massage gun for beginners

$120 at Amazon

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$100 at Amazon

Renpho r4 pro massage gun

Renpho R4 Pro Massage Gun

Massage gun best for every budget

$330 at Amazon

ekrin athletics b37s massage gun

Ekrin Athletics B37S

Massage gun with best battery life

$199 at Amazon

Ekrin Athletics BANTAM

Ekrin Athletics Bantam

Best mini massage gun for travel

Besides working out, rest days and post-workout recovery are an important aspect of having a healthy fitness routine. Your body needs time off to heal itself and to build the muscle you’ve earned from your workouts. Though a big part of recovery involves resting, eating well and getting plenty of sleep, there are some things you can do to help speed up your recovery. Using a massage gun as part of your cooldown or even as part of the warm-up can relieve sore muscles or prep them before a workout. Massage guns are considered percussive therapy, a form of soft tissue massage that uses vibrations to relieve muscle tension. Percussive therapy is useful to relieve aches, sore muscles, knots, tension and other pains. 

I personally enjoy using a massage gun for maintenance in between my workouts, prior to or after a run, or when I wake up with sore muscles. You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits, either. I have family members who’ve had hip and back surgery who find relief using a massage gun on those days when they’re experiencing aches and pains. 

Since there are so many massage guns on the market, we took it upon ourselves to test various brands over a span of a month. During testing, we looked at the quality of the massage gun, its different features, the amplitude, noise levels, variability of settings and more. Use this guide to help you find the best massage gun to fit your lifestyle, budget and needs.

What is the best massage gun overall?

We found the Theragun Elite was the best overall because it’s both powerful and easy to use. It’s the ideal massage gun, whether you’re new to the gadgets or have experience with them. The buttons on the Elite, and its design, make it easy to operate, with the speed setting and battery life clearly visible. Therabody is known for its popular massage guns, and I tested all its various styles, plus other brands, and narrowed it down to the best ones from there. Even though the others had their own special qualities, the Theragun Elite came out on top as the best overall massage gun. 

Best massage guns

Theragun Elite

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

The Theragun Elite is a powerful, easy-to-use massage gun with a comfortable handle. It provides 40 pounds of pressure and has five built-in speeds, ranging from 1,750 to 2,400 percussions per minute. It also has an amplitude of 16 millimeters, which gets deeper into the muscles.

lifepro sonic handheld percussion massage gun

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

Lifepro’s Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun is less intimidating than other heavy-duty massage guns. It’s also on the quieter side. The battery lasts three to six hours and consists of five speeds ranging from 1,200 to 2,800 revolutions per minute. The LED panel on the Sonic has all the speeds and battery life listed in one place, so it’s easy to read.

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hyperice hypervolt 2

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The Hypervolt 2 is the lightest massage gun on the list (excluding the minis), weighing 1.8 pounds. It’s the second edition of the popular Hypervolt massage gun and has three speeds. With its QuietGlide Technology, it’s quieter than some of its competition.

Renpho r4 pro massage gun

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The Renpho R4 Pro Massage Gun doesn’t look as sophisticated as the other massage guns on this list, but it is still effective. The R4 Pro has a rotating head that can be adjusted into five positions by pressing a large button on the side of the massage head. This feature reminded me of the Theragun Pro, which functions similarly. Being able to change the angling of the massage gun is key because you can target hard-to-reach areas. The R4 Pro also comes with six attachments: L ball head, M ball head, fork, bullet, flat and air-cushioned head.

ekrin athletics b37s massage gun

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

The Ekrin Athletics B37S Percussion Massager has an eight-hour battery life, the longest out of all the massage guns on this list. The B37S has five adjustable speeds ranging from 1,400 to 3,200 percussions per minute. This includes up to 56 pounds of deep percussive force which gets into those hard-to-reach knots. It also has six head attachments, so you have many options to choose from.

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Ekrin Athletics BANTAM

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

Mini massage guns have gained popularity because they’re compact. The Ekrin Athletics Bantam is the best option for traveling. It’s sleek, slim, lightweight, compact (the size of an iPhone) and comfortable to hold. It also has a six-hour battery life, which is long for most massage guns, let alone a mini.

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theragun mini second generation

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Similar to its siblings, the second-gen Theragun Mini packs a powerful punch. It’s the improved Mini in the Theragun collection and it’s a solid upgrade from the original. The second-gen Theragun Mini is quieter than the original Mini, 20% smaller and 30% lighter. This time around you get three attachments with your Mini instead of just the one that the original had.

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Theragun Pro fifth generation

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The fifth generation of the Theragun Pro has an upgraded design compared to the previous model. It’s 20% quieter, smaller and slightly lighter than the original (2.76 pounds vs. 2.91 pounds). Therabody kept the important features of its predecessor: an adjustable head angle, five speeds, a 150-minute battery life, 16 millimeters of amplitude and 60 pounds of pressure.

Other massage guns we tested

  • Hypervolt 2 Pro … The Hypervolt 2’s successor was louder and heavier than I would’ve liked, but it has five speeds and is a good option if you find the speeds on the Hypervolt 2 aren’t enough.
  • Hypervolt Go 2 … Hypervolt’s travel-size massage gun fell short when it came to power. It also didn’t come with a travel case. It’s a good option if you prefer something quieter than the Theragun Mini.
  • Theragun Prime … This Theragun version seems too expensive for its simplicity. However, if you’re loyal to Theragun and prefer a simple massage gun, the Prime is your best bet. 
  • Theragun Pro (4th gen) … This version didn’t make the list because the fifth generation stepped things up a notch, and it’s quieter. If you don’t care for the new updates, you can get the fourth generation for $100 cheaper right now. 
  • Theragun Mini (1st gen)… Compared to the new Theragun Mini, the original is heavier, bigger and louder. But it is still a good option if you’re looking for a small massage gun you can use on the go. It’s also $20 cheaper than the new version.
  • Vybe Flex Percussion Massage Gun … This massage gun had attachments that felt like cheap plastic, and it wasn’t as powerful as others on this list. It’s inexpensive, though, so it can be an alternative if you’re not looking to spend a lot.
  • Vybe Pro Percussion Massage Gun … Compared to the other massage guns on this list, the design for the Vybe Pro looks less sophisticated and the buttons feel easy to break. I also found the arm too long, which adds to the weight of the massage gun.
  • Lifepro DynaMini Massage Gun … This mini lacked power unless you cranked it up to the last two settings. It would have also benefited from a non-slip rubber coating on the handle because the whole massage gun is made up of a heavy metal. 
  • Renpho Mini Massage Gun … This pocket-sized massage gun is an affordable option if you aren’t looking for a fancy design. But it’s made up of all plastic and makes me question its durability if it were to fall. 

How we test massage guns

Design: Although massage guns have a standard shape, we looked at the designs and materials that make up each massage gun. Even if they look similarly, the knobs, buttons and screens can vary per product.

Amplitude: The amplitude or the depth of the massage is the key to owning a solid massage gun. The higher the amplitude, the deeper the massage gun can target your muscles. We looked at the amplitude and observed how the massage gun felt in use. 

Noise: Massage guns are known for their loud vibrations, therefore we observed the level of noise generated by each massage gun. Although you can’t entirely eliminate the noise created by the massage gun, we took into account the size and decibels. 

Features: We looked at any unique features the massage guns offered such as apps, screen display, attachments available, carrying cases and more. 

Factors to consider when buying a massage gun

  • Think about how much you’re willing to invest in a massage gun because a good one can cost anywhere from $100 to $600. 
  • Determine if you’re looking for a heavy-duty version or if you’d be happy with a less intense massage gun. 
  • Some massage guns offer either vibration or percussion therapy. Put simply: Vibration therapy sends vibrations and constantly touches the surface of the skin, whereas percussive therapy uses pressure to get deeper into the muscle and glides on and off of the skin. The latter tends to be the preferred option of many. 
  • Ask yourself how often you’ll be using the massage gun. If it’s frequently, then you’ll want to consider a massage gun with a decent battery life. 
  • Determine if you’re planning on taking it while traveling or on the go. There are smaller massage guns on the market that are suitable for these purposes. 

Massage gun FAQ

How do massage guns work?

Massage guns work by sending fast and powerful pulsating strokes that penetrate deep into muscle tissues. They increase muscle stimulation, reduce soft tissue pain and improve blood circulation, speed up recovery and improve your physical performance.

What are massage guns for?

Massage guns typically use percussive therapy, which has been found to help with recovery after a workout, relieving muscle aches, soreness and pain. Some people like to use a massage gun to warm up and promote circulation to a specific area before their workout.

Where should you use a massage gun?

You can use a massage gun on big muscle groups like your quads, hamstrings, glutes, back muscles and even your neck, hips and calves. However, you want to avoid using a massage gun on any injured areas, bones or joints. Remember that harder and faster isn’t always better. Derrickson advises, “Start on the lowest setting and find your tolerance and what you need in the moment.” He says you should never be forceful with a massage gun, adding, “You don’t want constant pressure on one area the entire time, instead let it glide over the muscles.”

Who should use a massage gun?

Typically it’s OK for anyone to use a massage gun. But if you have a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, it may interfere with the circuitry. If you’re pregnant, you should also avoid massage guns or first get clearance to use one from your doctor. 

Is it OK to use a massage gun every day?

Massage guns are safe to use every day, as long as you use proper technique, but you don’t want to overdo it since it can reduce the benefits of the therapy. Dr. Grant K Radermacher, a sports chiropractor, says, “Start with a small region of soft tissue and work with it for a maximum of 2 minutes.” Anything longer than two minutes or static work can irritate the region, and/or create an adverse reaction of restricted blood flow due to compression. 

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