The 9 Best Massage Guns of 2022 | Tested by Health

2022-11-10 20:38:09 By : Mr. Rex Wang

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Massage guns are handheld devices that use rapid percussive therapy to increase blood flow and improve circulation, loosening up tight underlying soft tissues and helping to reduce perceptions of pain or soreness. Just about everyone can benefit from the precise, restorative massage that these devices provide, says Dr. Karena Wu, PT, DPT, OCS.  Feet Bath Spa Massager With Heat

The 9 Best Massage Guns of 2022 | Tested by Health

Both strenuous exercise and hours of sitting can cause muscle tightness, soreness, and sometimes even pain. These symptoms may be a result of low oxygen levels and built up lactic acid in the muscles, Wu says.  

“The benefit of using a massage gun is that it helps pump fluid so that your body clears that lactic acid and you can have a faster recovery time,” she adds. 

“They’re great for at-home, regular use to help loosen up tight muscles—without needing to leave the comfort of your own home and book a regular massage.” 

Choosing a high-quality massage gun is essential—not just for performance and safety, but for your budget, too. These devices are more cost effective than booking regular massages, but only if you make a smart, well-vetted purchase. To find the best massage guns, the Health team tested 18 products at home, following usage guidance from our experts. The team evaluated and rated each massage gun for effectiveness, comfort, ease of use, stall force, portability, and overall value. 

Here are the best massage guns, backed by our testing.

Achedaway Pro’s 16mm Amplitude Gun Deep Tissue Percussion Muscle Massager comes with five pressure modes and four massage heads, providing relief to our tester who suffers from muscle tension and knots. Renpho’s Mini Massage Gun is a great budget-friendly pick that delivers similar, satisfying results in a smaller package. 

Why We Like It: With four massage heads and five speed levels, our tester was impressed by this product's versatility and performance.

It’s Worth Noting: The somewhat bulky design made it difficult to massage hard-to-reach areas.

After testing 18 massage guns, the Achedaway Pro was an obvious choice for our best overall pick—it’s easy to use, highly portable, and extremely effective, our tester said. The device comes with four massage heads and five easily adjustable speed levels, making it great for all users.  “I was impressed that the massage gun came with five pressure modes, which is suitable for people of all levels, from beginners to workout pros,” our tester said. 

Also helpful for beginners, the massage gun includes an instruction booklet with how-to guides and graphics. “I like that it came with a carrying case,” our tester said, “the massage guns I already own don't come with a case, so having one makes for easy transport.” 

While there weren’t many downsides of the device, our tester did note that it was slightly heavy and somewhat bulky. It was difficult to hold when massaging hard-to-reach areas, like the back.

Price at time of publication: $299

Why We Like It: This mini device provides maximum relief after just one use, and it's quiet, too.

It’s Worth Noting: Our tester would have preferred a more seamless shut-off.

This mini but mighty massage gun is lightweight, quiet, and comes with a carrying case—it’s the perfect accompaniment for travel. Our tester liked that it felt safe, controlled, easy to use, and provided rapid relief: “I almost immediately felt muscle soreness relief and dissolution of tension when using this product.” 

The device includes a body map that demonstrates how to properly massage each muscle. One might assume that the Repho Mini Massage Gun is not as effective as larger, more heavy-duty devices. But this isn’t the case, according to our tester: “I would 100% recommend this to a friend because it performs just as well as a larger massage gun, but in a compact package.”  

The only component our tester found inconvenient was the massage gun’s shutdown process. There’s one button on the device: You press it once to turn on, and four more times to get to the maximum speed level. But instead of pressing the button once more to shut it off, you have to hold it down for a few seconds—which our tester found frustrating.  

Price at time of publication: $80

Why We Like It: The additional attachments and widely adjustable speed levels make it easy to target a variety of areas and concerns.

It’s Worth Noting: Our tester would have appreciated more detailed instructions and a clear storage place for each attachment.

With 15 unique massage heads and 20 adjustable speed levels, the TOLOCO Massage Gun was an easy pick for the most versatile. “I'm impressed with the range of intensity,” our tester said, “the lower settings are really mild and soothing and the higher settings are nice and intense, without causing too much pressure.” 

The device felt lightweight and easy to maneuver, according to our tester, who was also impressed with how quiet it is. Plus, this massage gun comes with a carrying case and long-lasting battery life, so you can take it on the go. 

Our tester loved the versatility of each attachment but did wish for a more in-depth guide on where and how to use each one. And while she appreciated the carrying case, it would have been nice to have a clear storage spot for each attachment. 

Price at time of publication: $220

Why We Like It: The device provided deep relief to our marathon-running tester.

It’s Worth Noting: The percussion may be too intense for some.

If you’re a runner, you’re probably familiar with the delayed onset muscle soreness that happens about 24 to 48 hours after a run. Typically, this unfortunate, uncomfortable sensation will go away on its own after a few days. But if you want to quickly alleviate pain and jump right back into your running routine, a massage gun will help speed up the muscle recovery process, says Dr. Bill Peters, DPT, owner of Pro Sports Performance Physical Therapy. 

While training for a half marathon, our tester used (and greatly appreciated) the Theragun Mini Massager. “I felt noticeable relief of tension and tightness after use,” she said. “I am training for a half marathon and have had especially tight hips and hip flexors—the Theragun Mini has helped.” 

The small but strong device was easy to use but provided almost too much intensity, according to our tester, who would have appreciated a lighter setting. “It was very easy to use, though the intensity took some getting used to,” our tester said. “I preferred to use the gun on my thighs and hips, as the sensation on my back was too much.” 

It’s important to note that this massage gun only comes with one massage head. But it is lightweight and easily portable, making it a great choice for frequent travelers or on-the-go runners. 

Price at time of publication: $199

Why We Like It: Our tester found this mini massager gun just as effective as its heavy-duty competitors.

It’s Worth Noting: The device doesn't come with a carrying case for easy portability.

For beginners or those on a budget, Recoverfun’s Mini Massage Gun is a great option—it’s easy to use, conveniently compact, and super budget-friendly. But most importantly, the device delivers real results. “At the end of the day, the product is only good if you're going to use it, and I really enjoyed using this massage gun,” she said. “I reach for it after workouts, especially the day after when the delayed onset muscle soreness sets in,” she said. 

Like many others on our list, this device comes with four massage head attachments and four easily adjustable speed levels. Our tester liked this versatility for targeting different muscle groups: “I found that the lower speeds were better for smaller muscle groups on my upper body and the higher speeds did more to break up the tension in my lower body muscles—especially my quads and glutes.” 

One downside, the Recoverfun massage gun doesn’t come with a carrying case for the device itself or the attachments. But it is rather small and effortlessly lightweight so this slight inconvenience doesn’t decrease overall value, according to our tester.

Price at time of publication: $79

Why We Like It: This lightweight, whisper-quiet device relieved our tester of tight back and leg muscles.

It’s Worth Noting: The product has a short battery life and doesn’t come with a carrying case, making it difficult to use when traveling.

Our tester described the Hyperice Hypervolt Go as “whisper quiet,” and said that it was the quietest massage gun that she has ever used. After just one use with the shockingly silent device, our tester felt relief in her tight leg and back muscles. 

The massage gun includes two interchangeable massage heads and is adjustable for up to three speed intensity levels. Our tester felt safe and comfortable using the device: “I liked how lightweight the device was, and the handle was easy to hold and maneuver.”  

But she did note that a longer battery life and carrying case would have been appreciated. Although it’s a small and easily portable device, these factors make it less than convenient for on-the-go use. 

Price at time of publication: $129

Why We Like It: The deep percussion provides relief for especially tight and sore muscles. 

It’s Worth Noting: Our tester would have appreciated a longer handle for targeting hard-to-reach muscles. 

Some high-level athletes have the luxury of receiving regular professional massage therapy, but massage guns are a helpful tool available to all athletes, says Peters. When someone administers a massage themselves, they personally feel the percussion and know how much pressure to apply and where to apply it. “By administering the treatment yourself, you get that instant feedback that you can’t get when someone else is doing it to you,” he says. 

The Theragun Prime is a heaty-duty massage gun with four massage heads and a convenient carrying case. Our tester felt almost immediate relief after using this device. “It was very effective on sore muscles,” she said. “In very little time, I felt that tingle of lactic acid being released and didn't need to take painkillers when I was sore after a workout.” 

Our tester liked the ergonomic handle, noting that it helped her to massage at different angles. But she would have appreciated a longer handle so hard-to-reach areas, like the back, were easier to get to. The device is really powerful, so it’s worth the splurge for athletes or other highly active individuals who experience frequent muscle soreness and tension. 

Price at time of publication: $299

Why We Like It: Our tester was surprised by the smooth yet deep percussion. 

It’s Worth Noting: The large device is not very portable. 

Our tester noticed a huge difference in muscle tension and was surprised by how powerful yet smooth and sturdy the device was. “It’s thoroughly enjoyable, and really does feel like a deep tissue massage,” our tester said. “And because it was an enjoyable experience, I was likely to use it more frequently.” 

The motor is quieter than anticipated, despite its heavy-duty design—a bonus for those in communal living spaces. Plus, detailed instructions are included with the device, which helped our tester figure out the massage gun's controls. 

Sportneer’s massage gun is quite large, which our tester noted was not ideal for on-the-go use. “It’s a home-use massage gun,” our tester said. “A mini version would help its portability.” While we didn’t test this product, the brand does also carry a pocket-sized mini massage gun.

Price at time of publication: $130

Why We Like It: Our tester found this massage gun to be extremely versatile, for both beginners and veteran users alike.

It’s Worth Noting: The vibrating handle is a slight inconvenience, our tester said.

Using a massage gun will not eliminate arthritis, but it can help to make the surrounding muscles stronger for better support to the joints, says Peters. “Massaging the surrounding muscle will increase blood flow to that area, and that blood carries nutrients, oxygen, and other things that can help alleviate some of the symptoms of arthritis.”  

The Oopove massage gun is versatile for users of all levels, our tester said. “It had all the attachments that I needed for various body parts, and you can use it both on a low setting if you like a more gentle massage or on a higher setting, which is still strong enough for someone who likes deep tissue massage.” The device is also easy to use, quiet, and (most importantly) effective. Our tester loved that the device was lightweight and compact, but still delivered powerful percussive therapy that helped to relieve sore and tight muscles. 

Our tester felt equally safe and comfortable while using the device on the upper and lower body. While the handle is ergonomic and easy to hold, our tester did not appreciate that it vibrated on higher settings which made for a more difficult grip. But this slight inconvenience did not take away from the massage gun, our tester said. 

Price at time of publication: $130

To find the best massage guns on the market, the Health team tested 18 devices from the comfort of their own homes. Massage guns can be a valuable tool in your overall health and fitness routine, so we asked our testers to incorporate these devices into their normal lives and provide real-world, honest insights. 

10 testers evaluated their massage guns at least four times: before and after an upper body workout, and before and after a lower body workout. For upper body workout days, testers were instructed to use smaller attachments for 30 seconds on the arms, back, and neck. And for lower body work days, they massaged the quads, hamstrings, lower backs, and calves for 60 seconds each. 

Throughout testing, testers noted the time of day, duration of use, and any special features, such as additional attachments, Bluetooth connectivity, app compatibility, and more. 

In order to accurately assess each device, testers rated their massage guns on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) for effectiveness, comfort, ease of use, stall force, portability, and overall value. 

Massage guns that provided rapid relief and decreased muscle soreness scored high on our list, along with products that were easy to use, ergonomic, versatile, and quiet. Those that didn’t make our list were bulky, noisy, inefficient, and provided little control—these massage guns missed the mark on one or more key attributes. 

If you’re going to be incorporating a massage gun into your routine, you want something that’s intuitive and easy to use. A quality device should have clear instructions for seamless operation. Some, like the Theragun Prime, even include app compatibility with how-to guides and instructional videos.

Some massage guns come with additional attachments—such as flat, round, and bullet massage heads—that target specific areas and concerns. If simplicity is important to you, choosing a device with just one massage head might be a good idea—the Theragun Mini Massager is a great option. But if you’re looking for a more complex and versatile massage gun, the TOLOCO Massage Gun has 15 unique head attachments, including an arrow head for deep tissue relief and an elbow head for palm and sole massage. 

You don’t want to purchase a device that will shut down in the middle of your relaxing, restorative massage session. To avoid this inconvenience, purchase a massage gun with a long enough battery life to last you through many therapeutic treatments. At up to 480 minutes on one charge, the Opove Massage Gun M3 Pro has the longest-lasting battery life on our list. 

If you plan to use your massage for travel, choosing one with great portability is important. Easily portable massage guns will be smaller and more lightweight, oftentimes coming with a handy carrying case. The Renpho Mini Massage Gun is perfect for on-the-go use because of its lightweight, compact nature and ergonomic carrying case. 

A regular massage is typically administered by a certified massage therapist. You can book the experience both at-home or in-studio, but it tends to be costly. During a regular massage, therapists use their hands, fingers, and thumbs to glide, knead, and stretch—usually treating the whole body. 

With a massage gun, you don’t get that same manual therapy, says Jeffrey Dreon, licensed massage therapist. But massage guns provide precise and localized percussion therapy that’s ideal for targeting trigger points, and great for quick, convenient, and cost-effective relief. 

A massage gun is not necessarily better than a regular massage—the two treatments are different, and both can deliver satisfying results. But it’s important to remember that a certified massage therapist will know precisely how much and where to apply pressure, whereas the average massage gun user will not. 

“You must exercise caution when using these devices,” says Dreon. They should not be used on the spine, bones, joints, abdomen, and face, he adds.  

When purchasing a massage gun, you should definitely keep your own budget in mind, says Wu. The price of a massage gun ranges relatively widely, but you can typically expect to pay between $80-$300 on a quality device. Cheaper options are better suited for beginners or those looking for a smaller, travel-friendly option. But those massage guns may not perform as well or last as long as other, more expensive options. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty device with additional attachments and long-lasting battery life, you can expect to pay more. The cheapest massage gun on our list is often available for $80, while our top recommendation, Achedaway Pro’s 16mm Amplitude Gun Deep Tissue Percussion Muscle Massager, was $299 when we published this list.  

Commonly called knots, myofascial trigger points are stiff and hypercontracted areas in the muscle that may be tender to the touch and sometimes even painful. Muscle knots are typically found in the back, shoulders, and neck, and can be a result of psychological stress, bad posture, fatigue, and more.

In other words, myofascial trigger points are the pesky, marble-like knots that you feel just under your skin. And massage guns can help to relieve this discomfort, pain, and limited mobility. 

“These devices can help with loosening them up, but to truly eliminate knots it requires stretching and contractions”, says Wu. 

The 9 Best Massage Guns of 2022 | Tested by Health

Foot Massager Electric Michelle Parente is an experienced lifestyle journalist, specializing in health and wellness content. She is passionate about making reliable and well-vetted product recommendations. Michelle has personally used massage guns for years, and knows how a great product can truly elevate your wellness routine.