Best massage guns for 2021 by Money

Nothing better than a massage to untie knots and soothe sore muscles. If the prospect of regularly paying $ 50 or more for professional massage sessions seems too expensive, maybe it’s time to consider the DIY approach with a massage gun.

A massage gun is a one-time investment that can provide fast, targeted pain relief and aid recovery by mimicking the way therapists knead, roll, and relax muscles to release tension.

Also known as impact massagers, massage guns have a drill-like design with a head that moves back and forth, delivering thousands of pulses per minute. The rapid pulsating action penetrates deep into muscles to break knots, increases blood flow to promote faster recovery times, and reduces lactic acid build-up to decrease muscle pain and ease range of motion. These and other benefits have made massage guns a favorite recovery tool for professional athletes – and amateurs too, of course.

Although these devices use the same principle as traditional massages, they are certainly not a substitute for professional massage therapy. For proper treatment of strained muscles or chronic injuries, it is best to consult an expert who can provide the appropriate pressure and precise movements required for each area of ​​the body. But, when used correctly, a massage gun can supplement your post-workout recovery or just ease everyday aches and pains.

It is important to note that when applying pressure to trigger points and sore muscles with any of these devices, it is normal to experience some discomfort as you would with regular massage. However, if you experience severe pain, it’s a good idea to stop using the device (at least on that area of ​​your body), as you could worsen an injury or put additional stress on your muscles. Also, applying too much pressure for too long can cause bruising.

Still, using a massage gun is completely safe as long as you don’t overdo it.

Massage gun buying guide

Three specifications determine the intensity of a massage gun. Here’s what you need to know about them when buying a device:

• Percussion per minute. The speed of a massage gun is expressed in percussion (or blows) per minute. If a massage gun has a speed setting of 1000 percussions per minute, that means it can hit your muscles 1000 times every 60 seconds.

Most massage guns have four or more preset speeds between 1000 and 3200 percussions per minute. At higher speeds, a massage will be more intense.

• Amplitude. Amplitude (also known as stroke length) refers to the distance the massage head extends from the body of the device during its entry and exit cycles. The higher the amplitude, the deeper the massage head penetrates into the muscle tissue.

A high speed setting usually increases the intensity of a massage on its own. Coupled with high amplitude, it will maximize the device’s ability to loosen even the most difficult knots. In fact, a massage gun with a higher amplitude can feel more intense even at a lower speed.

Massage guns have amplitudes between 10mm and 16mm. The devices with an amplitude of 16mm are capable of treating muscles in depth, which is why they are commonly used by serious athletes looking for more aggressive recovery treatments. Anyone with minor pain can do very well with a range of about 13mm.

• Stall force. As you apply more pressure to the skin, you will come to a point where a massage gun will start to lose power and stop working altogether. The pressure that the device can withstand before stalling is called the stall force.

Most massage guns can withstand around 30 to 40 pounds of force. High-end models can support up to 60 pounds, but this pressure can be uncomfortable for novice users and may only be necessary for serious athletes.

The best massage guns

1. Best overall: Theragun PRO Deep Tissue Muscle Treatment Massage Gun

Theragun PRO massage gun

The Theragun PRO is the latest massage gun from Therabody, a wellness tech company with devices commonly used by professional athletes and celebrities, including the NBA’s. Kyrie Irving and pop star Adam levine.

With an amplitude of 16mm and up to 60 pounds of force, this massage gun can penetrate deep into muscle tissue to enhance muscle recovery, release tension and soothe aches and pains.

It has five preset speed settings of 1750, 1900, 2100, 2200, and 2400 percussion per minute (PPM). But if you connect it to the Therabody app, you can select any speed between 1750 and 2400 PPM, allowing you to choose from a wider range of speeds than any other massage gun model. The Therabody app also recommends guided massage routines according to your preferences, integrates with Apple Health, Google Fit, and Samsung Health, and monitors applied pressure (also displayed on the Theragun’s OLED screen).

The massage head is adjustable; Pair it with the triangular ergonomic handle and the Theragun can easily reach places (on the back, for example) that would be difficult with other models. It comes with two rechargeable batteries (each lasting up to two and a half hours) and six attachment heads.

The quality and reliability of Theragun have made it a favorite among renowned athletes; if you are not a professional athlete or don’t exercise enough to need deep tissue relief and rapid muscle recovery, this model might not be worth it given its high price ($ 600). For everyday aches and pains and minor aches, a massage gun with less range and less speed options can be just as beneficial.

2. Editor’s choice: Hyperice Hypervolt percussion massage gun

Hyperice Hypervolt massage gun

The Hypervolt, like the Theragun, is a favorite among professional athletes for its reach deep into muscle tissue, providing optimal pain relief and faster recovery. In fact, last year the NBA announced the Hypervolt would be the massage gun par excellence for recovery on the court.

With the Hypervolt connected to the Hyperice app, you can select video-guided routines that explain how to position the massage gun, and the speed of the device automatically adjusts based on the muscle groups being treated.

If you sync the app with Strava or Apple Health, you’ll get personalized recommendations based on your health preferences and trends. There are additional massage routines available from professional trainers such as certified strength and conditioning expert Joseph Sakoda.

The main difference between the Hypervolt and other models is its engine. One of the most common complaints about massage guns is that they can be noisy, especially when used at higher speeds. The Hypervolt, however, sounds much more muted even at its fastest speed setting.

The Hypervolt ($ 350) offers three speed settings (1,800, 2,400, and 3,200 percussion per minute), a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides about two and three hours per charge, and a pressure sensor. It comes with five head tips.

A more recent version, the Hypervolt Plus, is also now available, at a higher price (around $ 400). Both devices have basically the same specs, but the Plus has a 90 watt motor which is 30% more powerful than the original and thus provides an even deeper massage.

3. Best for low prices: TaoTronics massage gun

TaoTronics massage gun

If you don’t exercise regularly or are just looking for minor pain relief, the Taotronics Muscle Massager is for you.

Despite its affordable price (around $ 100), the TaoTronics device offers many of the same benefits as more expensive models. This massage gun comes with six heads and offers 20 speed settings to choose from, with a maximum of 3200 percussion per minute. Its stroke can generate around 40 pounds of force and has a range of 15mm deep – ample enough to relax tense muscles. It automatically turns off after 15 minutes of use to prevent bruising (which can happen if you apply too much pressure or massage for too long).

The Taotronics muscle massager offers an impressive 10 hours of battery life per charge (other massage guns typically last around three hours or less). As a nice touch, the LED lights on the side of the grip let you know how much battery you have left.

4. Best mini massage gun: GLOUE Mini Massage Gun

GLOUE Mini Massage Gun

The GLOUE mini massage gun is perfect for relieving pain on the go. Not only is it light (just under a pound) and tiny (about the size of a smartphone), it’s also much quieter than full-size massage guns. These features make the GLOUE ideal for quick massages while traveling or even during breaks in an office or other shared spaces.

This model will not provide the deepest massage, but it is powerful enough to relieve minor aches and pains.

It comes with four head tips, has four speed levels to choose from – with a maximum of 3200 percussion per minute – and automatically shuts off after a certain time to avoid injuring an area during prolonged use.

5. Best heated massage gun: Medcursor heated massage gun

Medcursor heated massage gun

This massage gun comes with six massage heads and 12 speed settings, and it can reach 12mm deep into muscle tissue. These are all pretty standard. However, the Medcursor has one important characteristic that sets it apart: warmth.

One of the included massage heads heats up to around 118 ° F as it massages your muscles. That’s a rare perk in a massage gun at this price point (around $ 110, when not on sale). Heat is known to help relax tight muscles and increase blood flow for faster recovery and better range of motion.

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