In the midst of the recent cultural shift toward prioritizing self-care, particularly within fitness and sports communities, many are now turning to massage guns in the hope of finding that one solution to alleviate the stresses our bodies endure daily.
Designed on the principles of percussive therapy, these massagers are acclaimed for their ability to provide a targeted muscle therapy experience at any time — all without the necessity to schedule your next massage appointment.
As we step into 2024, you will find plenty of options within the market, each vying for the title of the best massage gun. This article explores the frontrunners through the lens of our research, with a keen focus on performance, design, and user experience.
Best massage gun: shortlist
- Power Plate — best rated massage gun
- Therabody — best handheld massage gun
- Cloud Massage — best deep tissue massage gun
- Comfier — best portable massage gun
- HoMedics — best massage gun for beginners
Our criteria for choosing the best massage gun in 2024
When putting together our lineup of the best massage guns, we considered several criteria. This approach was aimed at ensuring our recommendations are thorough and tailored to the preferences of many. Notable factors shaping our selection included:
|Built on principles of percussive therapy
|Ease of use
|Easy to manage and control
|Strength and speed levels
|Marrying quality with affordability
- Build. We prioritized massage guns built on the principles of percussive therapy and constructed from quality materials, avoiding the gimmicks often produced in factories lacking credibility in constructing therapeutically beneficial machines.
- Ease of use. Among our top priorities was selecting massage guns that are easy to handle and feature a comfortable grip, allowing users to make use of them for extended periods without experiencing fatigue.
- Settings. Our focus was on massage guns with adjustable settings, specifically speed and strength. This ability to customize intensity allows users to tailor the massage experience to their specific needs.
- Price. We took into account the affordability and value for money of each massage gun. Assessing the features offered in relation to the price helped identify options that cater to various budgetary constraints.
Best massage gun: an overview
While recommending a single device is a tough ask, considering the constant upgrades to existing models and the emergence of new ones, coupled with the fact that individuals may respond differently to different models, we present our final suggestions for the best massage guns currently available on the market.
1. Power Plate — best percussion massage gun overall
Backed by the likes of Serena Williams and Mark Wahlberg, Power Plate Pulse is a powerhouse of a massage gun. It boasts 6 vibration intensity levels, a 6-hour battery life on a single charge, and is intentionally designed to operate without being annoyingly loud.
From the small ball used for feet, calves, shoulders, and traps to the large ball attachment that targets the lower body, quads, and glutes, the Pulse massage gun comes with 6 massage head attachments, making it easy to target every major muscle group.
Setting a new standard among the percussion massage guns, the Power Plate model stands out with its antimicrobial coating. This newly installed addition aims to prevent the growth of microorganisms on the surface of the massage gun that consistently comes into contact with our skin.
While initially priced at $249, this massage gun is now available for a limited time at the discounted price of $179.99. It can be purchased from the official Power Plate website.
2. Therabody — best multi-grip massage gun
Designed with your comfort in mind, the Theragun Prime by Therabody is the only massage gun option on our list intended for use in a variety of ways, all aimed at preventing potential strain on your hands, wrists, or arms.
With its QX65 Motor and patented QuietForce Technology, this slim-profile multi-grip massage gun is purposefully engineered to provide deep muscle treatment while emitting minimal noise, according to its developers.
What is even more intriguing about this massage gun is the fact that it can be paired with the Therabody app. Once paired, the app allows you to remotely adjust speed, activate guided treatment presets, and receive real-time recommendations based on your previous activity.
Therabody multi-grip massage gun, which comes with four easy-to-clean attachments, is currently sold at a one-time price of $299.
3. Cloud Massage — best professional-grade deep tissue massage gun
While marketed as a professional-grade massage gun designed for professionals, the VYBE Pro Percussion Massage Gun by Cloud Massage is assured by its makers to be suitable for anyone seeking a deep tissue massage.
With a total of 9 speeds to choose from, ranging up to 3400 strokes per minute, this massage gun is perfect for those who are looking to experiment with various strength options to find their sweet spot.
Moreover, Cloud Massage's offering not only includes 8 attachable massage heads, each designed purposefully to target specific muscles but it is also enhanced with Advanced Quiet Technology. According to the creators, this technology reduces the device's sound to that of normal talking levels.
You can now purchase the Cloud Massage professional-grade massage gun for $229.99 through the provider's official website.
4. Comfier — best travel massage gun
Now, if you are someone who is frequently on the move and is seeking a way to alleviate the daily stresses and tensions that accumulate in your muscles, the Mini Massage Gun from Comfier could be exactly what you need.
While modest in size, this massage gun can operate at 4 different speed levels, delivering up to 3600 percussions per minute. On a positive note, its compact size makes it easy to pack and take with you wherever you go.
Not yielding to rival models, Comfier's offering utilizes the noise reduction technology of a brushless motor, resulting in noise levels of less than 44 decibels (dB), as mentioned by the makers.
Comfier’s offering is currently available for a one-time price of a mere $82.99. This makes it the most affordable massage gun among those highlighted on our list.
5. HoMedics — best massage gun for those starting out
The final entry on our list is the HoMedics Therapist Select Plus Percussion Massager — a reasonably priced massage gun that holds its ground against other models featured on our list in terms of capabilities.
Similar to other options on this list, the massage gun from HoMedics is customizable when it comes to speed, offering a total of 6 speed levels and an equal number of interchangeable heads for targeting different muscle groups.
Besides, with a cordless design and rechargeable battery, not to mention the portable storage case, it is also convenient for use on the go.
Priced at $159.99, this percussion massage gun by HoMedics is among the more economical options on our list. You can acquire it by visiting HoMedics' official online store.
Comparison of the best massage guns
|Number of speed levels
|Number of attachments
|Advanced Quiet Technology
|5 to 7 hours
|Effortless to transport
|2 to 3 hours
What to look for when choosing the right massage gun for your needs
When selecting the ideal massage gun to meet your needs, it becomes imperative to evaluate a multitude of factors. This guide lays out some of those aspects so that your choice aligns seamlessly with your preferences.
- Level of intensity. Make sure to prioritize assessing the intensity levels. Since different models provide varying degrees of speed, it is important that you choose one that aligns with your desired range. This ensures that, in the end, it matches your comfort level and intended use.
- Price. Take the first step by defining your budget before exploring the options available. Striking a balance between desired features and financial constraints is essential when making your decision. For a well-considered choice, assess the price point while keeping an eye on the long-term value and benefits of the massage gun.
- Independent reviews. Reviews, mind you, independent ones that come from actual users who have had hands-on experience with massage guns, can offer insights into the real-world performance of the device. Whether from the standpoint of performance, durability, or the ease with which the massage gun operates, make sure to look for patterns in feedback.
- Portability. If you are someone who is constantly on the go and plans to use your massage gun while traveling, it is best to look for compact and lightweight options. Some of these even come with convenient carrying cases.
What's a massage gun?
Even though massage guns are often classified into types, some of which we explore in the section below, those that have taken the market by storm and are now widely used to relieve muscle tension operate based on the principles of percussion therapy.
The basic operation of a massage gun or, in this context, a mechanical percussion device involves the motor inside the device, causing a rapid back-and-forth or up-and-down movement of the massage head.
This creates a percussive force that is transmitted into muscles and connective myofascial tissues that are present throughout the body. Such stimulation is thought to promote blood flow, break up trigger points, and even alleviate pain.
We must add, however, that despite these potential benefits and growing interest from both health practitioners and sports enthusiasts, there is currently limited scientific evidence for standardized use guidelines to support the use of percussion devices.
Who would benefit from a massage gun?
Due to their versatile appeal, massage guns have gained increasing popularity in recent years. They find applications in various settings, such as clinical and sporting contexts, primarily for pre-activity warm-up, post-activity recovery, or in alleviating musculoskeletal pain.
Take, for instance, athletes who are accustomed to rigorous physical activities and often experience muscle soreness and fatigue. In their case, massage guns can be a valuable tool to help target specific muscle groups, alleviate tension, and expedite the recovery process.
Another group that may find relief through massage guns is the elderly. As muscles tend to stiffen and joints may become less flexible with age, percussive therapy can help improve blood circulation, reduce discomfort, and ease the stiffness.
A massage gun is also a promising way to relieve tension in the muscles that may develop from sitting at a computer all day, typically from a desk job. Although these percussive devices are not a substitute for physical activity by any means, they may offer a convenient way to address muscle tightness for desk-bound individuals.
Types of massage guns
While massage guns come in various shapes, sizes, and feature profiles to cater to different preferences and needs, they can be classified into two main types based on their mechanism of action — those being vibration and percussion. And although both types operate with the same intention of providing muscle relief and relaxation, they do differ in the way they deliver the therapeutic massage.
The mode of operation for vibration massagers is evident from their name — they penetrate with vibration, creating rapid back-and-forth movements. In comparison to percussion massage guns, these devices are more suitable for people who prefer a gentler massage experience or those who are sensitive to percussive motions.
The use of vibration massagers is backed by extensive scientific research. From increasing blood flow and easing tension to reducing post-exercise soreness and improving performance, the benefits of vibration massage are well-documented.
Specifically, when it comes to improving performance, vibration has proven to be a game-changer. It induces small muscle contractions and increases blood flow to the muscles. This should pique the interest of anyone striving for greater performance, whether they are athletes or fitness enthusiasts.
Unlike vibration massagers, mechanical percussive devices operate on a more robust principle, employing a piston-like mechanism that delivers powerful and rapid strikes to the muscles.
This percussive force allows these devices to create an intense massage experience, making them ideal for deep tissue massage and reaching areas that otherwise would be challenging to access with other types of massagers.
Most percussion massage guns come with interchangeable attachment heads, including balls, cones, flat heads, and even forks. Each attachment serves a specific purpose and is designed for different massage techniques to target particular muscle groups.
The customization options do not stop there — users can also adjust the intensity and speed based on their individual comfort levels and intended goals for muscle targeting.
A brief guide on how to use a massage gun
Despite their widespread application and recent popularity, consensus is still lacking on the parameters for using many percussive mechanical devices, including massage guns. The dearth of research has compelled professionals to resort to self-preferred treatment methods, often relying on recommendations from device manufacturers, anecdotal evidence, or other informal sources.
With that being said, the general guidelines for using a massage gun are to begin with shorter sessions — around 15-30 seconds per muscle group — and gradually increase the duration based on comfort. Apply moderate pressure and let the massage gun's percussive action do the work instead of exerting extra force. Avoid using it directly on bony areas, bruises, or infected areas.
While the key to reaping cumulative benefits lies in consistency, it is imperative to listen to your body. If you experience any discomfort or pain, discontinue use and consult with a healthcare professional.
How do massage guns differ from other massage tools?
Apart from massage guns, several other tools are widely used for self-massage and professional bodywork, each with its own set of pros and cons. Let us explore a few of these alternatives and compare them.
|A convenient and versatile way to target specific muscle groups
|High-quality massage guns can be relatively expensive compared to some other massage tools
|Can be tailored to individual needs, addressing specific concerns or areas of tension
|Scheduling and attending massage appointments can be time-consuming
|Affordable, versatile, and user-controlled self-massage option
|There may be a learning curve to using foam rollers effectively for some
Best massage gun — conclusion
As we conclude our review of the best massage guns of 2024, it is evident that these percussive therapy devices offer versatile benefits. From aiding athletes in muscle recovery to providing relief for those with sedentary lifestyles, massage guns have the potential to become valuable tools for many individuals.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that while these percussive therapy devices show promise in promoting muscle recovery and relaxation, they are still subjects of ongoing research. With this in mind, we encourage users to approach their use with realistic expectations.
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What is the best massage gun?
It is subjective. What shapes the best massage gun for one may not be the same for the next person, as it heavily depends on individual preferences and needs. That said, popular choices include the Power Plate Pulse and Theragun Prime, both known for their innovativeness and standard-setting features.
How often should you use a massage gun?
No clear guidelines have been established so far. Considering that this technology is still the subject of ongoing research, the general recommendation, mostly based on empirical evidence, suggests using the massage gun 2 to 3 times per week. It is advisable to allow at least 48 hours between sessions to prevent overstimulation or potential muscle strain.
How long is too long to be using a massage gun in one session?
Stay under the 2-minute mark. As the use of massage guns is still under ongoing research, it is recommended to limit sessions to no more than 2 minutes per muscle group and closely monitor individual tolerance. Prolonged use may lead to potential adverse effects, and moderation is essential until further scientific consensus emerges.
When should I stop using a massage gun?
Listen to your body. Cease the use of the massage gun immediately if you encounter pain, bruising, or discomfort. Avoid prolonged application to a single area, and refrain from applying it directly to the bone, an infected area, or a bruised region. If you have pre-existing health conditions or concerns about using the device, consult with a healthcare professional.
- Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology. The Effects of Massage Guns on Performance and Recovery: A Systematic Review.
- International journal of sports physical therapy. Mechanical Percussion Devices: A Survey of Practice Patterns Among Healthcare Professionals.
- The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. Effects of local vibration therapy on various performance parameters: a narrative literature review.