Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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HOW WE TESTED

After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested most of our top five — the Theragun PRO,  iReliev Percussion Massage Gun, Theragun Elite, and Theragun Mini — to be sure that these products are worth your time. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.

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Buying guide for Best massage guns

For anyone dealing with sore, stiff muscles, massage is often the most effective physical therapy treatment. But in many cases, traditional massage isn’t able to provide the speed and pressure that some conditions require for effective pain relief. That’s why a massage gun can be so helpful for athletes or anyone else who suffers from chronic muscle pain.

A massage gun is a handheld device that resembles a power drill. It provides vibration or percussive therapy to the muscles with quick bursts of pressure. This deep tissue massage can pinpoint specific muscles to effectively loosen them, stimulate blood flow to the area, and relieve pain and inflammation. A massage gun also allows you to treat your injury in the privacy of your home, which can save you significant money.

massage gun
Because a massage gun provides deep tissue massage, it can aid in breaking up scar tissue, which may help soothe pain and relieve tightness.

Key considerations

Materials

To ensure that your massage gun lasts as long as possible, you want a model made of durable, high-quality materials. Stainless steel components are usually the most durable, but aluminum guns are also an effective option. Both metals also offer greater safety should the massage gun overheat.

Size

Massage guns vary in size, and larger models typically require another person to move the device over your body. Other guns are small enough that you can use one without any assistance. Consider what size would be most convenient for you. If you live alone or travel frequently, you’re better off with a smaller device that you can operate yourself. 

Design

For a massage gun to be as user-friendly as possible, it should have an ergonomic design so you’re able to hold and operate it easily. Look for a model that feels comfortable in the hand. Those with a longer handle typically offer the most comfort. And make sure that the gun isn’t too heavy, so you don’t have to worry about hand fatigue when you’re using it.

Expert Tip
Specific muscle groups respond best to the individual attachments that come with these massage guns. For example, the large ball shape attachment works well for the glutes and chest while the small finger shape attachment works wonders for the forearm muscles.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Heads/attachments

You’ll get more versatility from a massage gun that comes with interchangeable massage heads or attachments. That way you can target different muscles and adjust the amount of pressure based on the head or attachment you use. For most users, the more massage heads included with the gun the better. 

Features

Speeds

A massage gun’s speed is measured in percussions per minute (given as revolutions per minute, or rpm). Faster guns pulsate more quickly. Low-speed massage guns don’t typically provide much relief, so it’s a good idea to choose a gun with multiple speed options.

Rotation

For the most effective massage, opt for a massage gun that rotates at least 90°. By rotating at different angles, the gun allows you to treat different muscles and areas of the body while still applying the right amount of pressure. Rotation is especially important when you’re treating areas that are difficult to reach, such as your back. 

Portability

If you travel regularly, you’ll want a massage gun that’s easy to take on the go. That means choosing a smaller, more compact gun that doesn’t weigh too much. Guns that are large enough to require another person to use aren’t the best option for travel.

Battery

Most massage guns are cordless and run on rechargeable lithium or lithium-ion batteries. It’s important to consider the battery life because you want it to last through an entire treatment. Look for a model that runs for at least 30 minutes per charge, so you have enough time to treat all of the areas you want to target. It helps to choose a model with removable batteries, too. You can buy additional batteries so you’ll have a backup in case you run out of power in the middle of a massage. 

Decibels

Massage guns make noise, which can range as high as 110 decibels. Some are noisier than others, and it’s best to avoid those models that are extremely noisy because they can ruin the relaxing experience of a massage. Look for a gun that features some type of noise-dampening technology to make sure that its operation is as quiet as possible. 

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EXPERT TIP
Massage guns are also known as percussion therapy guns and can be used before, during, and after exercise.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Massage gun prices

Massage guns vary in price based on the number of speeds, battery life, noise level, and other features. Most guns cost between $65 and $1,370

Inexpensive

The most affordable massage guns are typically models that have speed options but offer a maximum speed that isn’t very fast. They can make a lot of noise, too, and usually have a battery life of 25 minutes or less. You can expect to pay $65 to $180 for these massage guns.

Mid-range

These massage guns also feature multiple speed options, but the top speed is typically much faster. They can make a lot of noise and usually have a battery life of 30 minutes or more. You can expect to spend $180 to $560 for these massage guns. 

Expensive

The most expensive massage guns are those with multiple speed options and offer an extremely fast maximum speed. They make less noise and offer a battery life of up to 4 hours. You can expect to pay between $560 and $1,370 for these massage guns. 

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Expert Tip
Please be aware that you can overdo it with these self-massage guns. Spending too much time treating one muscle or area can increase inflammation and soreness the next day.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Tips

  • Turn a massage gun on before you touch it to your body. You could bruise yourself if you turn it on while it’s touching your skin.

  • Start with the lowest speed. If you start at a higher speed, it may cause pain and even injury.

  • Massage guns are also known as “percussion therapy” guns. Can be used before, during, AND after exercise.

  • Don’t press the massage gun into your muscles when you first start treatment. Instead, allow it to glide gently over the skin. You can then gradually increase the pressure as you go back over the muscle.

  • Move the massage gun slowly over your treatment area. You don’t want to cover more than an inch per second. 

  • Loosen muscle knots. If you have a knot, allow the massage gun to sit on the area — without pressing into it — for several minutes. This helps loosen up the muscle and soothe any stiffness.

  • Take deep, slow breaths as you use the massage gun. It helps you relax, making the entire treatment more soothing and beneficial. 

massage gun 2
Don’t use a massage gun on your face or head. The vibrations are too strong to be comfortable in those areas.

FAQ

Q. What are the benefits of a massage gun?

A. Whether you’re someone who’s suffered an injury or an athlete in training, massage guns have a variety of benefits. The vibrations help increase blood flow and reduce lactic acid in the body to speed up muscle recovery. It also helps oxygen get to the muscles to relieve pain and cramps, and it loosens up tight muscles to improve range of motion.

Q. Are there any injuries you shouldn’t treat with a massage gun?

A. There are some injuries that a massage gun isn’t suitable to treat. These include pulled muscles, sprained ligaments, inflammation injuries like tendonitis, and broken bones. If you’re unsure whether you should use a massage gun, talk to your doctor.  

Q. How long should I use a massage gun on a particular muscle?

A. Most experts recommend using a massage gun on a spot for at least 15 seconds but no more than 2 minutes. Quick treatments of 15 to 30 seconds work best to activate or reactivate muscles, while longer treatments of up to 2 minutes can help with pain relief and muscle recovery. 

It’s usually unnecessary to use a massage gun daily, but you can if you find you’re getting better results. As with any treatment, if the massage gun is causing pain instead of reducing it, discontinue use and consult your doctor. 

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