fbpx
Latest News
A look at the best massage guns for percussive therapy

A look at the best massage guns for percussive therapy

Finding time for proper workout recovery is — but shouldn’t have to be — a luxury.

Between a job, social life, and chasing eight hours of sleep, workouts get squeezed into the day’s only free time slot. A proper cool down (let alone a massage) is usually the thing that gets half-assed, or else skipped completely.

Percussion massage guns make it possible for you to nurture your tissues and sore muscles without waiting for an appointment with a physical therapist or massage therapist.

The mesmerizing skin ripples that you’ve probably seen in an Instagram ad are more than a weird flex: The form of portable muscle therapy that started with professional athletes has trickled down into the lives of your average gym-goer who doesn’t have the time or money for foam rolling sessions on sore days.

The ability to give yourself a deep-tissue massage at home is also potentially life-changing for anyone suffering from chronic shoulder, neck, or back pain. When a cheap massage ball is too weak but weekly acupuncture is too daunting, a massage gun might be the perfect middle ground.

How do massage guns work?

Percussive therapy is the name of the game — which is essentially a more professional term for “your muscles like it rough.”

Athletes turn to deep-tissue massage for quick pain relief and faster recovery times. Here, a professional masseuse delivers forceful, rapid thumps to a specific area of the body to stimulate a specific set of muscles. The percussive therapy afforded by a massage gun lets individuals perform this same type of penetrative tissue attention on themselves without extra help, and in minutes instead of an hour.

Treating something that hurts like a punching bag may seem like the last thing it needs. But beating that damaged deep tissue into submission has a desensitizing effect, and if you’ve ever tried a cheap As Seen On TV massager on back knots, you know it takes some oomph to feel anything. These short-duration pulses enhance blood flow, soften knots, and accelerate the repair of muscle fibers, all of which can lead to better-prepared warmups and quicker recovery times. This form of self-myofascial release is huge for folks who have a hard time keeping up with a routine due to .

Your mood might see a spike, too. The pressure point relief that massage provides has been linked to decreased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), an increased production of endorphins (the feel-good chemical), and even a lower heart rate.

Do massage guns and foam rollers do the same thing?

Both tools focus on that aforementioned myofascial release. The foam roller pushes lactic acid out of your muscles in a gentler and slower manner than a massage gun. They can be different sizes (including small enough to knead legs or large enough for the whole back) and can be textured with spikes of sorts to better reach pressure points. The rolling can help with flexibility and even be incorporated into yoga-esque stretching sessions — an approach that some may find more relaxing than a massage gun.

But foam rollers simply aren’t using the equivalent of 30 to 60 pounds of force. They’re not about to replace a traditional massage session. For hardcore athletes and gym goers (or people with severe chronic pain), the sheer intensity of the vibrations is more effective on deep-sitting tissue. The swappable attachments that most massage guns come with are able to pinpoint super specific muscle groups in ways that a foam roller may not be able to.

Whether a percussive massage gun or a foam roller is better for you just depends on your pain type and how you prefer to cool down. If you like it gentle and need to *easily* roll out some kinks (especially in the neck or back), go foam roller. If your body is begging for some serious, deep targeted relief after working your muscles to the death on a daily basis, go massage gun.

But remember, percussive therapy isn’t a fix-all. A massage gun may be able to replace pricey massage appointments or heckling your gym partner to help you stretch, but nutrients from a balanced diet, sleep, and proper hydration are still crucial to the muscle growth and recovery process.

Which massage gun is the best?

Frequent workout schedules and high pain levels might make a $600 massage gun worth it — but in other cases, a less-intense device may be more beneficial. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Shape: Popular massage guns come in two main shapes: a donut design and an L-shaped design that looks like a radar speed gun. Which one to choose mostly depends on what feels more ergonomic to you, but the donut shape could reach tricky areas better if its head can be pushed to different angles.

  • Percussion massagers vs. vibration massagers: Not all pain is created equal. Percussion massagers mimic the kneading hands of a masseuse, providing pressure strong enough to hammer below the top layers and tend to damaged muscle fibers. This is ideal if heavy-duty workouts are your lifestyle, but 60 pounds of force may simply be too much in other situations. Occasional exercisers, seniors, and folks with chronic pain may prefer the surface-level rumbling of a vibration massager, which provides the same speedy pulses with less “punch” for a more relaxing experience. Vibration massagers usually oscillate in more rapid strokes with less horsepower.

  • Customization options: You wouldn’t massage a bony spine like you would a shoulder with a tough knot — you don’t need a professional to tell you that. If you have multiple muscle categories that need to be worked on and varying levels of strain, look for a device that offers lots of different speeds (RPM) and attachment heads to target each specific muscle group. When comparing specs, remember that higher speed doesn’t always mean vigor. The amplitude (how deep the massage head will push into your body) relies on the amount of force (usually measured in pounds) behind each pulse. Heavier force on a slow speed setting will feel more intense than a faster speed setting with weaker force.

  • Noise: No one wants to be *that* person at the gym who’s distracting everyone — or *that* parent who just woke up a sleeping baby — by using a device that sounds like a construction site. It might be impossible for these drill-like massage guns to be completely silent, but the reviews will let you know if the noise is tolerable or obnoxious. The quietest ones will be somewhere between 30 and 60 decibels, mimicking a whisper to normal conversation level. For reference, a vacuum’s hum is around 75 decibels.

  • Battery life: Charging a massage gun after every use would be a huge inconvenience. People have lives! The best massage guns have batteries that last between 150 and 180 minutes (or more, if they come with two batteries). Most guns are so strong that the recommended self-massage time is just a few minutes. A 150 to 180 minute battery life has you set for days, even with daily use.

Here are the best massage guns on the market right now:


Ergonomic donut handle and four-way adjustable arm • Corresponding app shows how to use attachments • Most forceful percussions for fast muscle recoup • OLED screen displays current force and speed • Comes with a carrying case

Not the quietest • Gets hot after being on for a while

People are down to pay for the gold standard, which delivers 60 pounds of force and has an interactive app.

Theragun Pro

Pro athletes stan the Theragun for its high-velocity reps and six swappable attachments.

  • Battery life:
    300 minutes (includes two 150-minute batteries)
  • Speed settings:
    5
  • Force:
    60 pounds
  • Strokes per minute:
    1,750 – 2,400
  • Stroke depth:
    16 mm
  • Interchangeable tips:
    6

Theragun has secured its spot as the Apple of massage guns over the past few years. Its product line has greatly expanded to meet multiple price ranges, but the Theragun Pro is still the market hardass.
The fourth gen Pro packs the same 60 pounds of force into each 16 mm punch as its predecessors, now with five speed options instead of two. The percussions are so forceful and deep that Theragun suggests sessions of just a few minutes, depending on pain levels and the attachment. Six total choices (a supersoft head, dampener, ball, wedge, thumb, and cone) delivering customizable impact for different muscle groups or parts of the body. The donut shape and adjustable angles make it easier to reach places that typically require someone else’s help. 


30% more powerful than the old Hypervolt • Super quiet • Battery lasts up to three hours • Feels lightweight in the hand • Closest to a professional massage experience

Carrying case sold separately

The feather-light Hypervolt Plus is almost as powerful as the Theragun and with half the noise.

Hyperice Hypervolt Plus

These high-powered vibrations are great for general soreness without losing the peaceful massage experience.

  • Battery life:
    180 minutes
  • Speed settings:
    3
  • Force:
    57 pounds
  • Strokes per minute:
    2,000 to 3,200
  • Stroke depth:
    16 mm
  • Interchangeable tips:
    5

And in this corner, we have the only player that’s giving Theragun any real competition. Hyperice took the original Hypervolt and sprinkled in 30% more power without any real spike in noise level. The Quiet Glide technology provides more of a consistent, well-rounded massage experience than the Theragun’s blunt, loud approach.
The Hypervolt Plus is equipped with pressure sensor lights on the back that offer feedback about how much pressure you’re putting on and how hard to push to achieve the same results next time. It’s a thoughtful feature that pairs well with the Hyperice app, which syncs with the gun to guide you though custom recovery plans.


90% of Amazon ratings are 5 stars • Nine speed settings make experimenting easy • Battery can last weeks on one charge • Settings are very straightforward • Quiet

Build feels cheap • Accessory swapping mechanism is junky • Half the force in poundage as top competitors

Despite cheap build quality, the Vybe Pro operates at incredibly high speeds and is effective for the price.

Exerscribe Vybe Pro

The manageable price point and robust speed settings of the Vybe Pro make it great for beginners.

  • Battery life:
    180 minutes
  • Speed settings:
    9
  • Strokes per minute:
    1,800 to 3,400
  • Stroke depth:
    16 mm
  • Interchangeable tips:
    5
  • Force:
    33 pounds
Exerscribe’s Vybe Pro takes on a chrome gun shape like the Hypervolt. The Vybe Pro has six more speed settings (nine total) with the fastest crossing the finish line at 3,400 pulses per minute. Those nine percussion settings can be tailored to different parts of the body through five massage heads, including a fork shape for the spine that many massage guns don’t include. Be sure to screw ’em in tight, though.
In the massage gun market, a lower price typically means less force. The Vybe Pro administers 33 pounds of force — roughly half of the Theragun’s 60 pounds. The milder punches might be better for someone with sensitive skin or broader aches rather than a heavy lifter.

Unbelievably low noise level — averages 40 decibels • Stellar battery life • Beats surprisingly fast for how quiet it is • Very light to hold • Frequently on sale

Expensive for mediocre power

The closest thing you’ll get to a silent massage gun, but power is sacrificed.

Hydragun

Your most tranquil massage gun experience will come from the less-powerful, whisper-quiet Hydragun.

  • Battery life:
    Up to 6 hours
  • Speed settings:
    6
  • Strokes per minute:
    1,200 to 3,200
  • Interchangeabke tis:
    6
  • Force:
    30 pounds

Wanting your massage gun experience to be peaceful — as a massage should be — can be a lot to ask for when considering devices with big, obnoxious motors. If you can give up some of that power in lieu of the state of your ear drums, the Hydragun is all but confirmed the quietest massage gun on the market right now. It can be as quiet as 30 decibels (think a rustle of leaves) and maxes out at 50 on the highest speeds.
The Hydragun can compete speed wise, but would get the ol’ KO from a Theragun or Hypervolt. It administers half the force of those similarly-priced competitors, and the other 30-pounder on this list is half the price. However, it’s a well-built machine that would provide a smooth, impactful massage for someone sensitive to high force.


Weighs less than two pounds • Simple one button controls • Attachments from Hypervolt Plus are compatible • Faster RPM than Theragun Pro

Only comes with two attachments

It’s not as powerful, but the compact Hypervolt Go provides customizable emergency massages

Hypervolt Go

Keep up with recovery on the road with the mini Hypervolt that has decent settings for the compact size.

  • Battery life:
    150 minutes
  • Speed settings:
    3
  • Strokes per minute:
    2,200 – 3,200
  • Stroke depth:
    10 mm
  • Interchangeable heads:
    2

Athletes who travel or folks who won’t miss the gym even on vacation should have a massager that can keep them feeling good on the road. Hyperice shrunk the regular Hypervolt and put its best features into a 30% smaller body that’ll add just 1.5 pounds to your suitcase.
For its compact size, the Hypervolt Go offers a decent amount of customization settings. Its highest RPM matches that of its older sibling, with three speed settings and two included attachments (flat and bullet) to target different parts of the body. Hyperice has not provided an official number for force in pounds, but the 60 watt motor is about 30% weaker than that of the Hypervolt Plus.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *