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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 2 Pro 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 2.6 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.
Plus, you can download the Hyperice app and connect your new massager to it, helping you further personalize your at-home massage settings.
2. Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Device
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. TOLOCO Massage Gun Muscle Massager
If you’re intimidated by massage guns, the TOLOCO massager might be the best choice for you. With 20 speed levels and 15 massage heads, you can continuously test what your muscles need before jumping into anything that might feel too harsh. This option is also one of the most comfortable, with a grippy, ergonomic handle. Keep everything in one place with its practical, easy-to-store travel case.
4. Vybe Pro Muscle Massage Gun
The Vybe Pro massage gun is designed to reduce muscle soreness before or after a grueling workout.
It’s got nine different speed settings and a total of eight attachments, including a muscle knob to target biceps and triceps and a wishbone attachment to massage your neck or shoulders. Battery life runs a total of three hours and you’ll get a carrying case with your purchase allowing you to take this massage gun on the go.
Plus, the brand says it features quiet operation and offers up to 33 pounds of pressure to help bring your tired muscles back to life.
5. Hypervolt Go 2
Hyperice’s newest percussion massage gun is the Hypervolt Go 2 and it’s extremely portable, weighing only 1.5 pounds.
You’ll get three hours of battery life on a single charge and a nifty LED light indicator will let you know when your message gun is all powered up. You’ll get two attachments with your purchase, a flat head and bullet head attachment, depending on which muscles you’re looking to target. I used the flat head attachment on my shoulders and middle back and found great relief post my workout.
There are three power modes as well allowing you to choose the intensity of your massage. Plus, it boasts minimal noise levels even on its fastest speed setting (it’s not completely silent but it’s not as loud as some of its competitors) meaning you can easily use this massage gun in a public space as well. It’s TSA-approved too so dump it in your carry-on before you head on your next trip.
Looking to get more out of your new massage gun? Download the Hyperice app and test out guided workouts for muscle relief. Whether you need to release stress and tension or soothe those tired muscles after a grueling workout, the Hypervolt Go 2 is the portable massage gun you need (I carry mine in my gym bag too so I can easily use it before and after my PT sessions).
6. 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).
7. HoMedics Percussion Massager
The Therapist Select Plus Percussion Massager by Homedics combines six intensities and six different attachments allowing you to personalize your massager to your liking.
Each attachment is built to massage a different part of your body. For example, the wedge-shaped attachment is best for your neck, back or waist whereas the U-shaped attachment is best for your shoulders, spine or forearms. This percussion massager also uses deep tissue techniques to knead your muscles and ease tension through its pulsing motion.
Extra features include an easy-to-grip rubber handle, a cordless design and an included storage case so you can easily take it with you while you travel.