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The 9 Best Massage Guns Of 2022, From A Certified Personal Trainer

Best massage guns theragun collage with people using device
Image by mbg creative
September 29, 2022
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If you've ever had a professional massage, you're likely familiar with the blissful feeling of your knots and tension melting away. With massage guns popping up across most major retailers, we can now bring the burn—and subsequent bliss!—wherever we go.

While massage guns can feel like a super-luxurious investment reserved only for professional athletes, as an ACE-certified personal trainer with a specialization in orthopedic exercise, I recommend them wholeheartedly to all my clients. These tools can speed up recovery, help release lactic acid, increase mobility and flexibility, and reduce injury—and they'll help you stay pain-free, too.

A study from the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research1 found that vibration therapy, such as that found in a massage gun, can improve muscle performance, and therefore potentially eliminate delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)—otherwise known as that pesky dull throbbing that peaks between 24 and 48 hours post-workout.

Ready to feel the relief of a massage from your own home? Below, find your ultimate guide to selecting the best massage gun for your needs.

How we picked:

Features

We chose massage guns that possess all the bells and whistles you’ll need for sufficient recovery, from a variety of attachments to clear screens.

Settings

From speed to pressure patterns, we prioritized massage guns based on their variety of settings.

Comfort

The massage guns included below are all comfortable enough to hold and operate for extended periods of time.

Reviews

Real customer feedback is important, so we chose massage guns with rave reviews and high ratings across the board.

What is a massage gun?

A massage gun is a handheld percussive device that uses vibrations to release stubborn knots and tension resulting from rigorous training or poor posture. These guns each feature a range of attachment heads that are uniquely designed to facilitate massage in a variety of body parts and muscle groups, including your back, your hip flexors, and your calves. Each massage gun boasts a unique number of speeds and vibration patterns, for a more personalized experience on any given day.

How to use a massage gun.

To properly use a massage gun, you'll want to first make sure your muscles are relaxed. Start on a low setting and work your way up as your muscles become more accustomed to the pressure. Then, begin by gliding or floating the massage gun over your knot in light circles to activate the area and allow for light myofascial release.

Once you've pinpointed your desired area, you can either hold the massage gun over it with little movement to target it directly or continue to massage it in circles. You'll know when to lay off a certain area if the pain is a) unmanageable or b) begins to dissipate and no longer requires attention.

Most massage guns have an automatic shut-off feature to avoid overstimulating your muscles, so just be sure to respect your boundaries and know when to stop—and always avoid going over the bone. When working on your upper body, for example, it's best to stay away from your spine and focus only on muscles and knots in the surrounding areas. Steer clear of any bruises, cuts, or open skin, and take extra care to avoid the front of your neck and ankles. Avoid your torso to prevent hitting your kidneys and other essential organs, and do not use the massage gun over any type of injury site, be it a sprain, strain, or fracture.

If you've encountered a fairly stubborn knot, there's no need to pummel it with the entirety of your strength, as this can damage your skin and place undue stress on your knots, potentially triggering them to tense up again. While most massage guns are designed with user-friendliness in mind, it might be a struggle to reach certain areas. In this case, don't be afraid to recruit a partner or trained professional for assistance.

When should you use a massage gun?

Massage guns are generally safe to use before and after workouts, as well as on rest days to promote recovery. Before a workout, it's helpful to use a massage gun to perform gentle myofascial release. This should supplement your warmup instead of replacing it.

Counterintuitively, you don't want to dig too deeply into your muscles before your workout since this can damage your connective tissues and activate certain proprioceptors that lock your muscles in place and subsequently compromise performance. After your workout, you'll want to first perform a full-body stretch and then go over any muscle groups or stabilizer muscles that need a little extra TLC.

Our picks for the best massage guns

Best value: Theragun Prime Massage Gun

Pros:

  • Ergonomic handle
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Cons:

  • Too intense for some
  • Expensive
Number of speeds: 5
Number of attachments: 4
Weight: 2.2 lbs
Noise level: 69 dB
Battery life: 2 hours
Trial period: 30 days
Warranty: 1-year(30 days for the attachments)

A prime example of a nearly-ideal post-workout recovery device, the Theragun Prime has all the bells and whistles for $300. Each massage session can take two routes: a self-guided treatment swapping out the four included massage attachments or a pre-designed session accessible through the Bluetooth app to target specific muscle groups and concerns. Either way, you can expect the percussions to dig into muscles 60% deeper than other designs with up to 2400 percussions per minute or PPM. (FYI, this is how many times the percussion head moves back and forth).

Although this gun has the highest sound decibel out of all the options on this list, the brand’s proprietary QuietForce technology ensures you (and anyone around you) are not disrupted while you use it (a.k.a. it's still not that loud). Plus, it has an ergonomic multi-grip handle that reduces stress on your hands and wrists, a 120-minute battery life that allows for more thorough sessions, and closed-cell foam attachments that offer a more hygienic alternative to plastic. Bonus: There's even a carrying case to store all the components.

What Customers Say:

A fan favorite, this massage gun has rave reviews on both Amazon and Theragun's website. One satisfied Amazon shopper writes, “Best purchase ever. This helps tremendously with soreness and recovery time! The handle makes it super easy to use it on my back! If you know anyone with tight muscles or works out, this would be an amazing gift!! I love mine so much. The battery lasts a long time and in about a month I’ve only had to charge it twice.”

Best for athletes: Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro

Pros:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Weighs more than most devices
Number of speeds: 3
Number of attachments: 5
Weight: 3 lbs
Noise level: 62 dB
Battery life: 2.5 hours
Trial period: 30 days
Warranty: 1-year

It’s not hard to see why Hyperice has partnered with the NBA. Whether you’ve just begun an intensive weight-training program or you’re well into your career as an elite athlete, Hypervolt's top tier tech helps access stubborn knots to get you back to tip-top shape in time time.

The latest percussion massage gun from Hyperice, the Hypervolt 2 Pro, packs more power than previous model yet weighs less than before. An efficient and effective addition to your recovery routine, it comes with an accompanying app for tailored massage programs built around your needs. And while the gun only offers three speeds, many users report that the lowest setting feels as intense as the highest setting on other massage gun models.

What Customers Say:

While previous models of this device earned hundreds of rave reviews, the newer launch date of this model means there are far less—but they're equally impressive.

Best portable: Theragun Mini

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Multiple colors
  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Only one attachment
Number of speeds: 3
Number of attachments: 1
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Noise level: 61 dB
Battery life: 2.5 hours
Trial period: 30 days
Warranty: 1-year(30 days for the attachments)

It turns out powerful things can come in palm-sized packages. This portable massage gun features an ergonomic, rounded grip (much like the Theragun Prime) to allow for comfortable extended use. The single rounded attachment is widely considered one of the most versatile nodes, due to its ability to target the muscle fiber without pinching it directly. Even better, you can interchange it with any attachments from the rest of the Theragun lineup, if you prefer. Despite the gun’s small size, this massage gun has a slightly longer battery life than the brand's other models.

What Customers Say:

Slightly higher than the Theragun Prime, the Mini has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating and over 5,000 reviews on Amazon. One shopper writes, “I am pleasantly surprised (one might say shocked) by how well this little device does its job.” Another adds, “Perfect for traveling! Absolutely worth the money.”

Best splurge: Theragun Elite Massage Device

Pros:

  • Reaches deeper than most brands
  • Customized routines

Cons:

  • Expensive
Number of speeds: 5
Number of attachments: 5
Weight: 2 lbs
Noise level: 65 dB
Battery life: 2 hours
Trial period: 60 days
Warranty: 1-year

If you’re able to splurge on a top-tier massage gun, the Theragun Elite is your best bet. The gun’s signature triangular handle allows for a greater range of motion when accessing hard-to-reach areas, and it comes with five attachments, depending on your needs. The bright OLED screen makes it easy to control, and the brushless motor is said to be 75% quieter than previous models. 

As with the brand's other products, you can connect via Bluetooth to the corresponding app and choose from a number of customized massage routines. This model also has wireless charging capabilities.

What Customers Say:

According to reviewers, this massage gun is a must-buy—and for some, it even takes the place of professional massages. One person raves, “I have chronic pain, including arthritis and fibromyalgia. Before the pandemic, I was getting a 30-minute professional massage every week. That is where the Theragun comes in. Nothing that I tried on my own broke up whatever was causing my pain. The Theragun was able to do this.” Negative reviews seem to come from people who unfortunately received defective products. Thankfully, the brand offers a 60-day trial and a one-year warranty.

Best quiet: Toloco Massage Gun

Pros:

  • 20 speeds
  • 15 attachments

Cons:

  • Potential issues with charger
Number of speeds: 20
Number of attachments: 15
Weight: 2.1 lbs
Noise level: 40 dB
Battery life: 4 hours
Trial period: 30 days
Warranty: 1-year

Don’t let the buzzing whir of most massage guns prevent you from testing one out for yourself. Instead, opt for the best-selling Toloco, with a high-speed quiet brushless motor. At just 40 dB on its lowest setting, this massage gun is as quiet as they get. It comes with 15 attachments and a portable case for easy transport and features a grippy silicone handle. The bright LCD display quickly shows you which setting you’re working at, allowing you to easily adjust to your preferences.

What Customers Say:

With nearly 30,000 Amazon ratings, this massage gun has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. The only complaints seem to be about issues with the charger not working, but the reviews are primarily positive. One shopper says, “I am so happy I bought this. I get really big knots in my shoulders and they ache really badly until I get a massage, which takes a few times to break them down. This device broke them down in one day and the aches are gone. I cannot believe the power this thing has.”

Best for shoulders: Renpho R4 Massage Gun

Pros:

  • Adjustable angles
  • Less expensive

Cons:

  • Short battery life
Number of speeds: 4
Number of attachments: 6
Weight: 2.2 lbs
Noise level: 45 dB
Battery life: 1.5 hours
Trial period: 30 days
Warranty: 1-year

A unique curved design and five adjustable arm angles make this massage gun ideal for targeting hard-to-reach areas like your back and shoulders. The brand claims you’ll only need to change it once per week if you use it for 15 minutes or less per day. The devices comes with six attachments and has an anti-slip silicone handle for maximum comfort and ease-of-use. While this is a less expensive option, it doesn’t seem to skimp on quality, per the abundance of positive reviewers.

What Customers Say:

There are a few reviews that mention a short battery life, but many argue that the battery life is sufficient and the bulk of the feedback on this massage gun is positive. It has 4.5 stars overall, with nearly 5,000 five-star ratings. One reviewer raves, “The different speeds are great for different preferences and body parts. It helped get rid of the pain in my back, shoulders and calf from an injury. I've had it a few months, use it regularly and only charged it twice. The battery lasts and the light indicators help keep track of it. Everyone who has tried it loves it. Worth the investment.”

Best budget: DDVWU Massage Gun

Pros:

  • 12 attachments
  • Very quiet

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say it could be stronger
Number of speeds: 7
Number of attachments: 12
Weight: 1.98 lbs
Noise level: 40 dB
Battery life: 8 to 15 hours
Trial period: 30 days
Warranty: 1-year

While there's definitely value in investing in a high-tech massage gun—i.e. durability and innovation—sometimes you just need a gadget that gets the job done. This more affordable pick is proof that you don’t need to dip far into your savings to soothe sore muscles. It boasts an impressive 12 attachments, including a thumb head to massage soft tissue under the feet and a U-shaped head to relieve cervical spine tension. Its LCD display is equally impressive, with user-friendly touch controls that allow you to adjust the setting to your personal desires. To save battery and prevent overheating, it also has a 10-minute auto-shut off feature.

What Customers Say:

Another highly rated pick, this massage gun is an Amazon bestseller with more than 7,200 ratings. People love the value it offers for the price, and one reviewer says, “Wholly moley! This massage gun was amazing! I'm the type that is in between a 'regular' and a deep tissue and this one has 7 settings and various 'heads/tips' for different areas or different sensations. I like the digital display of the setting speeds and battery life. It didn't last long before my brother tried it and had me order one for him too. So far there's nothing about it I don't like.” A ton of reviewers mention the strong battery life, but some do note that they wish the highest setting was stronger.

Best lightweight: Comfier Mini Massage Gun

Pros:

  • Less expensive
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Can be slippery to hold
  • No battery indicator
Number of speeds: 1
Number of attachments: 4
Weight: 1.2 lbs
Noise level: 45 dB
Battery life: 5 to 7 hours
Trial period: 30 days
Warranty: 1-year

With a pressure amplitude of 6.5 millimeters, and a total weight of one pound, the Comfier massage gun provides an all-around comfier experience (and one that won’t make your arms tired). It's available in multiple colors, provides a super-quiet massaging experience, and comes with four attachments to fit every need. Thanks to the palm-sized design, you can pop this massage gun in your bag or purse for on-the-go massage therapy. How great does a post-flight massage sound, right? 

What Customers Say:

Nearly 1,200 Amazon shoppers have given this massage gun a 5-star rating. With an overall rating of 4.7, there are hundreds of reviews boasting about the relief they feel. One person says, “Loved it. The price is great. In just two uses I have released a month-long nagging, deep shoulder pain. Plus, when knees hurt it provides instant relief. Easy to charge. Solid feel attachments and case. Small size is easier to travel with, and works as equally well as bigger, more expensive units. I SUGGEST BUY ASAP! YOU CANNOT GO WRONG!” Some people note that the handle is a bit slick, and that there is no battery indicator.

Best battery life: Hydragun Massage Gun

Pros:

  • Quiet
  • Non-slip

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No screen
Number of speeds: 6
Number of attachments: 7
Weight: 2.3 lbs
Noise level: 35 dB
Battery life: 6 hours
Trial period: 30 days
Warranty: 18-month

Fewer things are more frustrating than getting jazzed about a handheld massage session, only to find the battery has gone out. Enter: This convenient model from Hydragun that lasts up to six hours on a single charge. This massage gun is a more expensive option, but it’s pin-drop quiet (at 35 decibels), and it contains six speeds to help you incrementally adjust your massage intensity. Out of its seven attachments, three are made of metal to help the gun glide easily over your clothing.

What Customers Say:

There are not a ton of Amazon reviews for this massage gun yet, but with a 4.4 rating overall, it has a lot of positive feedback—particularly about its battery life and quiet sound. “Astounding! I found relief within a few minutes of tightness in my legs,” one reviewer writes. They go on to say, “Suffering from severe sciatica from a herniated disc, I have tried everything. After a few minutes working on my piriformis and iliotibial band, I found the tightness and stiffness has lessened considerably. I had tried a competitor’s gun but found it to be noisy and cumbersome. The Hydragun is so quiet. On its highest setting, I could watch TV and not have to turn up the volume.”

What to consider when choosing a massage gun.

First, determine your purpose. If you plan to take it on the go, invest in something lightweight and portable. A massage gun with multiple pressure settings and attachments will be best if you plan to use it for both general physical maintenance and therapeutic relief. This way, each session is customized to your current needs, and you can adjust them incrementally. The universal spherical attachment adequately relieves most body parts, but the fork and u-shape attachments can be useful to target each nook and cranny of your body, whether you're performing myofascial release or trigger point therapy.

Most massage guns offer an amplitude, or stroke length, of about 6 to 16 millimeters. The higher the amplitude, the deeper you'll feel the sensation. An amplitude of 10 to 12 millimeters provides a massage that most folks can comfortably tolerate. Don't stress about this feature too much since you can always adjust the force you use to apply the massage gun to your skin.

The force applied to your skin is generally referred to as "stall force." Some massage guns will stall or slow down when a certain level of pressure is applied, ranging from about 20 to 50 pounds. The higher the stall force, the more pressure you're able to apply before it shuts off. Luckily, you don't need to apply very much pressure at all to get a great massage, but if you do find yourself to be heavy-handed, a higher stall force is preferable.

FAQ

What are massage guns best for?

Massage guns help break up lactic acid in the blood that contributes to discomfort and delayed onset muscle soreness and are best for aiding in post-workout recovery. By loosening tense muscles and the fascia that surrounds them, massage guns can boost your range of motion and flexibility and ultimately contribute to enhanced athletic performance and increased movement efficiency during your daily life.

Is a massage gun as good as a massage?

A massage gun is not a replacement for a professional massage, but it can certainly complement it (and allow you to stretch the time in between). A professional masseuse can help to access and relieve those hard-to-reach muscle areas, and the hands-off experience also lets you lean into the full-body relaxation.

Are massage guns worth buying?

Massage guns are worth buying if you're going to use them. Luckily, they'll benefit you regardless of your activity level, and they'll even help soothe sore muscles attributed to a sedentary lifestyle. Massage guns range dramatically in price, and some will only set you back the cost of a few lattes. Just know, the bigger splurge could be worth it, depending on your needs. 

The takeaway.

Whether you lead an active lifestyle or suffer from aches and pains from a desk job, a massage gun is a convenient and cost-effective way for you to find relief in your muscles and joints. While it may seem like there are countless rules surrounding safe massage gun use, the products are ultimately designed to inspire a sense of calm—so don't overthink it. Instead, put it to good use and get your money's worth. Just be warned: You'll have folks coming out of the woodwork asking to test it out for themselves.

Meet The Experts

Marissa Miller is a certified personal trainer and holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition and has over 10 years of experience editing and reporting on all things health, nutrition, beauty, fitness, style and home.