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Whether you’re a cardio junkie or strength training aficionado, if you have a consistent workout routine, your muscles are going to get sore. Stretching helps a lot, but you might want to consider a massage gun, also known as a percussive massager, to get out those tough knots and make sure your body is fully recovered before your next workout.
What Is a Massage Gun?
Massage guns are typically small, handheld devices that help to deliver targeted pressure to sore joints and muscles. They get their name from their L-shaped design, with a long, grippy handle on one end, and a motor-driven massager on the other. When powered on, the massager’s “heads” rapidly pulse over a designated area to help break up scar tissue, ease knots, and relieve tension.
Why Are Massage Guns So Effective?
Similar to foam rollers, the handheld massagers are meant to release tight muscles. The quicker your muscles are loosened, the less sore you feel and the quicker you recover before your next workout. The best massage guns offer multiple speed and strength settings, allowing you to find a rhythm that works best for you. They’re safe to use all over the body, from your shoulders and back, to your glutes, calves and even the bottom of your feet (say, after a run or hike). The latest massage guns are also portable enough to take with you to the gym, office or on vacation. They’re all wireless too, so you don’t have to worry about getting tangled up in cords while getting your recovery in.
The best massage guns also come with interchangeable heads (or “tips”) so you can find something that’s round and gentle to roll over the body for general aches and pains, or choose something that delivers more targeted touch-points and relief.
What Are the Best Massage Guns?
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to ease sore muscles but haven’t given massage guns a try, below are a few options that do a great job of easing muscle pain.
1. Hypervolt by Hyperice
The Hypervolt has made a name for itself around the fitness and sports world, which is why it’s our top pick for an easy-to-use, at-home massager. Not only is it produced by one of the most notable names in workout recovery, Hyperice, but it’s also one of the most versatile in terms of how many parts of the body it helps with recovery. With five interchangeable attachment heads, the percussive massager promises to ease tension in your legs, arms, back, torso and neck. At just 2.5 pounds, the massage gun can easily be taken anywhere and its battery lasts up to three hours so you don’t have to worry about charging it after every single use.
Need more proof of the Hypervolt’s power? It was just named the “Official Recovery Technology Partner” of the NBA, with Hyperice providing all NBA players with court-side access to its hand-held percussive massager for in-game recovery.
2. Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Device
MOST EFFECTIVE MASSAGE
If athletes aren’t using the Hypervolt, then they’re using the Theragun. The massage gun comes with six attachment heads and two interchangeable batteries to make sure you’re prepared for all your muscle recovery needs on the go. What makes this device standout from other massagers is that it provides a 16 mm extension into muscle which allows for deep tissue impact — making it the perfect choice for anyone that has a tough time with relieving muscle tension.
On top of it all, the Theragun has an adjustable arm with four angles to you attack those hard-to-reach spots and its Bluetooth connection lets you easily track and monitor your settings and results. Battery life is a whopping 300 hours too.
3. TaoTronics Professional Deep Tissue Muscle Massager
If you’re intimidated by massage guns, the TaoTronics massager might be the best choice for you. With 10 speed levels and six massage heads, you can continuously test what your muscles need before jumping into anything that might feel too harsh. This option is also the longest-lasting massage gun with a battery that lasts up to 10 hours — it also automatically turns off after 15 minutes to prevent overheating. Keep everything in one place with its practical, easy-to-store travel case.
4. Fusion FX Heated Percussion Massage Gun
You’ll feel a difference right away when using the Lifepro Fusion FX massager thanks to its built-in heating technology, which uses warm, gentle heat, to help soothe tired muscles. Combining heat with powerful, percussive vibrations, this is a two-in-one punch that delivers instant relief.
This is the best massage gun for serious aches and pains, with five different speeds and five different massage heads so you can find the right combination for you. The Fusion FX reaches deeper and goes harder into your sore spots than similar units at its price point, to help relieve tension more effectively. It’s also great for those with dense body mass.
The high-powered motor delivers consistent, high-penetration vibrations. Need to reach those hard-to-hit spots? The grippy handle works in either hand, and ensures no-slip usage. A single charge gets you up to four hours of use (though in our experience, you’ll only need 10-15 minutes or so to start feeling results).
5. Naipo Portable Massage Gun
We like the ease and portability of this Naipo massager, which weighs less than two pounds and comes with a handy carrying case that tucks easily into your suitcase or gym bag. A single charge gets you up to seven hours of use, while five different intensity levels let you control your desired relief pattern. This set also comes with five different massage heads, from a large rolling ball to a more targeted “bullet” attachment.
The Naipo massager is quiet enough to not disturb your neighbors (we used it in a hotel room and our friend in the next bed slept through any noise) and it’s gentle enough to use on sensitive areas of the body, like your neck and glutes. For fast and easy recovery on the go, the Naipo portable massage gun is a no-brainer to add to your kit.