The best percussion massagers of 2022
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Updated Dec 28, 2022 12:54 PM
Buying a percussion massager can seem intimidating at first. “A percussive massage gun is a type of handheld portable massager that uses vibration therapy massage on a sore muscle,” says Dr. Allen Conrad of the Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Penn. “The goal of a percussion massage gun is to help relieve pain and soreness of a muscle from an injury or a repetitive motion activity that causes muscle soreness.“
Conrad explains that the best percussion massagers are helpful for large body muscles.“ These include the trapezius, quads, and hamstring muscles on the back of your legs,” he says. “Large muscle groups work well with a massage gun, as the treatment helps alleviate delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is the accumulation of lactic acid and inflammation in the muscles after a strong muscle workout.” In fact, Conrad says a percussive massage gun can provide 5 specific benefits: improved range of motion, better flexibility, decreased spasms, augmented sports performance, and reduced recovery time. That all sounds great to us. Here’s what we found on our search for the best percussion massagers on the market.
How we chose the best percussion massagers
As a freelance journalist for over 10 years, I’ve reviewed technology for publications including CNN Underscored, Popular Mechanics, Tom’s Guide, The Daily Beast, Architectural Digest, Apartment Therapy, The Spruce, and Bob Vila. In addition to conducting extensive research, I’ve tested over a dozen of the best percussion massagers—including those on this list—and also considered recommendations from colleagues, and reviews from other users.
Best percussion massagers: Reviews & Recommendations
The best percussion massagers are easy to hold and won’t make your hand feel like it will vibrate into another dimension. Plus, they should ease your weary muscles after a long run, hard workout, or the occasional yoga snafu where you’re ready for bridge pose but your body disagrees. Including them with other mobility tools can help you recover and hit the ground running (literally). One of these should loosen any apprehension you have about using a percussion massager.
Best overall: Theragun Pro 4th Gen
Why it made the cut: It’s expensive, but the Theragun Pro 4th Generation is smart, has a long battery life, and includes an OLED screen. It can even charge wirelessly.
- Weight: 2.9 pounds
- Battery life: 5 hours (2 swappable batteries)
- Noise level: 60 decibels
- PPM: up to 2400
- Can charge wirelessly
- OLED screen
- Long battery life
- 4 unique arm positions
The Theragun Pro is the most expensive item on our list, but we think it’s the best percussion massager. Conrad also considers the Pro and the simplified Theragun Prime as the two best on the market. It has a professional-grade motor that works quietly, yet effectively. With four unique arm positions, it’s easy to go underneath and around to reach wherever you need to, and the ergonomic handle means your hands and wrists won’t get tired.
The Theragun Pro also has five speeds between 1,750 and 2,400 ppms. Two swappable batteries each last up to 150 minutes and can charge wirelessly. The device includes six attachments: supersoft, dampener, standard ball, wedge, thumb, and cone. The included carrying case makes it simple to lug the whole kit on a trip or to the gym.
Best for professionals: HoMedics Therapist Select Plus
Why it made the cut: The reasonably priced HoMedics Therapist Select Plus is the lightest device on the list, but delivers a powerful punch.
- Weight: 1 pound
- Battery life: 4 hours
- Noise level: not available
- PPM: up to 2,900
- Great price
- 6 adjustable speeds
- 4 hour battery life
- Lacks 4 arm positions of the Theragun Pro
If you want to get the best professional percussion massager for home without spending an arm and a leg on a percussive massage gun, consider the HoMedics Therapist Select Plus. It’s lightweight (only 1 pound) and portable, with six adjustable speeds up to 3,000 ppm. The ergonomic handle makes it easy to grasp, and the LCD touch screen makes it easy to choose the desired intensity level. In addition, the rechargeable battery lasts for 4 hours.
The six interchangeable heads include flat with acupressure, u-shape, trigger point, large round, small round, and wedge. There’s also a convenient storage case to keep everything in.
Best for athletes: Hypervolt 2 Pro
Why it made the cut: The Hypervolt 2 Pro includes customized options and recommendations based on individual fitness levels.
- Weight: 2.6 pounds
- Battery life: 3 hours
- Noise level: 55-65 decibels
- PPM: up to 2,700
- Pressure sensor technology
- Connects via Bluetooth to app
- Professional motor
- Doesn’t include a carrying case
The Hypervolt 2 Pro is the best percussion massager for athletes for several reasons. It has a pressure sensor to let you know how hard you’re pushing into your muscles. The percussive massage gun also connects to the company’s Hyperice App, which allows users to select their current level of activity to get personalized massage programs. It can also suggest certain regimens to target specific parts of your body. In addition, it also scores your progress, based on how often you use the massage gun.
The app includes guided routines and exclusive content from professional athletes, trainers, and physiotherapists. The massage gun’s battery has a 3-hour life, and it includes five speeds. There are also five head attachments: fork, ball, cushion, flat, and bullet. A pouch contains the attachments, but there’s no case included for the gun itself.
Best for travel: Hydragun Atom Mini Massage Gun
Why it made the cut: This sleek massage gun is fast-charging and powerful, but also small enough to easily tuck into a carry-on or gym bag.
- Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Battery life: 5 hours
- Noise level: 50-55 decibels
- PPM: Three speeds: 1,800; 2,400; 3,200
- Small and lightweight
- Comes with three speeds
If you’re looking for power in a small package, Hydragun’s Atom Mini Massage Gun is a great choice. The sleek aluminum device weighs in at just 1.2 pounds, making it easy to toss into a suitcase or gym bag. Choose from three speeds — 1,800; 2,400; and 3,200 PPM — and alternate between three heads (bullet, flat, and ball) to customize your recovery. The motor’s 15.4 pounds of output force is impressive and can help relieve lower back pain. The Atom is also self-standing and designed to work as a desktop companion to help ease muscle tension during long days at your desk. It comes with a USB-C cord for charging and its battery life of 5 hours (30 sessions) is in line with competitors.
Best mini: Theragun Mini Gen 4
Why it made the cut: Percussive massage guns can sometimes be tiring to use, but the Theragun Mini is just the right size for those who want a smaller option.
- Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Battery life: 2.5 hours
- Noise level: 50 decibels
- PPM: up to 2,400
As the best mini percussion massager, this compact Theragun Mini is great for small hands, or for people who don’t want to be bothered with a heavier percussive massage gun. This also makes it easier to transport, and the ergonomic grip makes it easy to handle. The massage gun has three speeds and, like the Theragun Pro, it also includes the company’s QuietForce technology, so it won’t be irritating to your ears or those of anyone else close by.
It’s not only smaller but it also has a shorter battery life; still, 2.5 hours is probably enough for the average person looking for a more compact model. In addition, it only has one standard ball attachment, compared to the numerous head attachments you’ll find with other models. The percussive massage gun also comes in a soft case.
Best quiet: Hypervolt GO
Why it made the cut: It’s not cheap, but the Hypervolt GO is also not cheaply made, and it uses quiet glide technology to deliver quiet results.
- Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Battery life: 2.5 hours
- Noise level: 45 – 65 decibels
- PPM: up to 3,200
It’s the second least expensive, and the second quietest, but all things considered, the Hypervolt GO’s combination of price and quietness make it the best value. It has a percussion range that can go up to 3,200ppm, and only weighs 1.5 pounds. The quiet glide technology significantly suppresses any noise.
The Hypervolt GO is small enough to be considered lightweight and easy to use. However, it is substantial enough to work better than a typical minigun, and the battery can last up to 2.5 hours. The device also has three speeds. However, it only includes two head attachments (flat and bullet), which cuts into its flexibility.
Best budget: Sportneer Deep Tissue Massage Gun
Why it made the cut: In addition to the longest-lasting battery, the Sportneer also has numerous massage heads and speeds.
- Weight: 2.3 pounds
- Battery life: Up to 6 hours
- Noise level: 30-45 (40 on average) decibels
- PPM: up to 3,200
- Outstanding battery life
- 6 massage heads
- 6 speeds
- May not be intense enough for some
The Sportneer Elite D9 Deep Tissue Percussive Massage Gun proves that you don’t have to bust your budget to get a quality device. Not only does it have a great price (often available near the $100 mark), but it also has the longest battery life of all the items on the list making it the best budget percussion massager. Depending on the intensity level, it can last from 2 to 6 hours on a single charge. The device has six intensity levels, so you can choose the best frequency to meet your needs at any given moment. The Sportneer also has six speed levels, and it includes six attachment heads: spherical, bullet, fork, flat, metal ball, and metal flat. And, if you’re looking to save a little more and willing to drop down to only five speeds, the Sportneer K1 is another excellent choice with a long-lasting battery, available for under $100.
What to consider when buying the best percussion massagers
Let’s deconstruct some of the most common features you’ll find on the best percussion massagers.
“The quieter the better to ensure you can use this device on areas like your neck and shoulders that can be quite loud for your ears,” says Dr. Sapna Sriram, a chiropractor and injury expert at Integra Health Centre in Toronto.
Since you’ll be using one hand a lot, Sriram advises getting a percussion massager that is easy to use and position on different parts of your body.
“Most guns should come with different attachments that can target different parts of your body and multiple muscle groups with targeted pressure,” Sriram says. The best percussion massagers come with an assortment of attachments to choose from, and Conrad says he’s noticed that which ones are more desirable is usually a matter of personal preference.
Sriram recommends guns that have a few speed settings. “This allows you to customize the number of percussions per minute, which is helpful to ensure the intensity benefits different muscle groups,” Sriram explains.
“Massage guns battery lengths vary greatly, with some lasting an hour and others lasting up to 6 hours before they need charging,” Conrad says. The length may be particularly important if you use it at the gym or when traveling. “Another factor to keep in mind is whether it comes with a charging station, and a travel bag, as all models do not.”
Q: Are percussive massage guns safe to use?
Percussive massage guns are generally safe to use. However, Conrad warns that they are not recommended to use on all body parts—or even by all people. “Anyone who suffers from hypertension, Rheumatoid Arthritis, bone fractures, swelling, varicose veins, or any autoimmune or muscular disorder should consult with their doctor before using a massage gun,” he says. “For example, if you use it on an error that is swollen, it can make the injury worse.”
Q: Can children use percussive massage guns?
Conrad says a percussive massage gun is not a toy and should not be used by children. “It is a helpful method of reducing muscle soreness in the comfort of your own home, but it is also important that it is not within reach of a child which may injure itself,” he says.
Q: How should you use a percussive massage gun?
Before you start using a percussive massage gun, Sriram recommends that you first confirm with your healthcare professional that it’s safe for you to use one. “Also, I would advise you to avoid using the gun over bony areas of your body,” she says. “Try the softer attachment heads first to ensure your body can tolerate the pressure.” She recommends that you start using it with a muscle group for 30 seconds on the lighter setting. “Slowly increase up to 60 seconds, and vary the intensity once your body is used to the device.”
Final thoughts on the best percussion massagers
The best percussion massagers can help you relieve sore muscles and recover faster. The right one for you could be based on several factors, including how much it weighs, how much noise it makes, how many pounds per minute (PPM) it delivers, and, of course, price. The 4th-generation Theragun Pro is expensive, but it’s also a smart device with an OLED screen and four distinct arm positions to help you reach muscles in awkward places. But if you don’t want to pay that much, the other percussive massage guns on the list are also among the best on the market.
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