Don’t let the phrase “massage gun” scare you off. These handy tools are designed to provide an amped-up home massage while hammering away at muscle knots and soreness. Unlike a massage wand, a massage gun offers a pummeling or thumping action rather than a buzzing effect. Also, many of them are also rechargeable and wireless, allowing a convenience that the wired wands can’t provide. Here are our favorite massage guns.
Silent and satisfying
A massage gun works by offering quick, repeated pounds to the affected area of the body based on the Swedish style of percussion therapy known as “tapotement.” Used since the 1800s, practitioners insist that this type of pressure helps increase the range of muscle movement, improves circulation, and – of course – releases tension. It’s a style that can be used on the entire body. While some massage guns offer more tech than a smart TV, this model from Turonic was perfect for us because it’s so easy to use. It offers five speeds and seven massage heads – the foam ball attachment remains our favorite – and charges quickly. It’s lightweight and easy to hold above any body part you’re treating. Plus, it’s quiet enough – operating at about 45 dB – to use without disturbing nearby conversations. It offered us 8 hours of operation before recharging was required – the longest battery span of any gun we inspected. And for a full-size gun, it’s still small enough to pack in the suitcase and bring along on vacation. Count on us bringing it with us on our next cruise to help with aching feet. (Read our full review here.)
Pros: Long battery life, easy to use, convenient size, handy carrying case.
Cons: Not as many speeds or attachments as some competitors.
Easy to hold
Most massage guns are no-brainers to operate. Make sure your model is fully charged and then choose the attachment you think will work best on the muscle group being treated. For starters, we recommend the foam ball, which won’t be too rough on bony areas. This massage gun from Toloco has 20 speeds and 15 replaceable head attachments. The handle has an ergonomic silicone grip that steadies the gun in the hand and minimizes slips and drops. Each gun comes with a wall charger, manual, attachments and a handy carrying case. It weighs just over 2 pounds, which will reduce the fatigue that builds up when using it. It’s about average in the noise created, and the battery lasts about 6 hours.
Pros: Bargain price, lots of speed and attachment options, carrying case included.
Cons: More attachments than most people need.
Bring it with you
While there are plenty of “do’s” for massage guns, there are some “don’ts” that experts agree on. The big one: Don’t overdo it. Keep your initial sessions light and short and see how you feel in a few hours and the next day. Overuse or too much pressure can lead to some unsightly bruising. And please don’t continue to use if you’re experiencing pain. (Definitely avoid joints and open wounds – that should go without saying.) This Theragun Mini immediately caught our attention for its size. It’s a mere 5x2x5 inches making it 20 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than the previous Theragun Mini. It should fit nicely into a purse, backpack or fitness center bag. And yes, it almost looks like a Stealth jet airplane. It offers three speeds and comes with a dampener, standard ball and thumb attachments. It’s also Bluetooth-enabled so you can access the personalized wellness routines in the Therabody app.
Pros: Small size, quiet operation, best portable option.
Cons: Limited power and attachments, can be awkward to hold, and harder to reach some body parts.
Personal trainers for years have recommended foam rollers to clients to help them soothe aching muscles. If you’ve ever tried using one at home, you’d probably agree the rollers lose their appeal once they’re sitting in the family room. Massage guns, on the other hand, offer a similar soothing feel without the space invasion. The Ekrin gun caught our eye initially for its ergonomic design, which does indeed help you comfortably reach more of your body. Unlike some of the competition models, the Ekrin gun offers just a handful of speeds and attachments, but the ones included are the ones most fans use anyway (particularly the fork for kneading away at troublesome knots). It’s super quiet and offers 8 hours of operation when fully charged.
Pros: Smart design, quiet operation, long battery life.
Cons: Can feel top-heavy during longer sessions, limited attachments.
Only 1.2 pounds
Don’t let the little size fool you – for some people (particularly seniors) a regular massage gun can be too powerful. This mini massage gun from Comfier weighs less than two pounds, so it’s easy to hold for longer sessions. A built-in 2000mAh rechargeable lithium battery delivers up to 7 hours of operation once charged via the included USB cord. It has four speeds and four attachments.
Pros: Surprising power, portability, long-lasting battery.
Cons: Can feel awkward to hold, offers more vibrating action than pulsating relief.