Best Percussion Massagers
When you’re in pain, you want relief straight way. When that pain is muscular, a massage gun will deliver results faster than traditional massage tools. That makes it an invaluable tool for anyone with muscle pain issues. Massage guns are especially beneficial for athletes, who are constantly putting stress on their muscles.
In this article, we uncover the five best massage guns on the 2019 market. We’ll also do a side by side comparison of the two most popular models on the market AND we’ll provide a buyer’s guide to put you in complete control of the buying process.
The Top 5 Massage Guns of 2019
Vybe Exerscribe Personal Percussion Massage Gun - Our #1 Budget Model
The Vybe Personal Percussion Handgun is the lowest priced percussion massager that we have reviewed to date. You are able to pick it up for less than two hundred dollars, which is about a third of the price of the most expensive model we looked at.
The first thing that impressed us was the fact that the Vybe massager provides you with a rotating massage arm. This 90- degree rotational ability is something that you don’t get with many more expensive models. It is a very handy feature which allows you to reach into the harder to get areas on the back of your body.
The Vybe massager comes with the following 3 massage heads:
- Large Ball
- Standard Ball
While the two balls allow for manipulation of large and small muscle groups and the cone is good for deep tissue massage, the absence of any type of fork head means that you can’t really apply pin point attention to any area.
Another very impressive feature of the Vybe percussion massager is that it provides you with six variable speeds. This is more than any of the other models that we reviewed!
A handy feature is the push button trigger control, which allows you to keep the trigger down without having to fatigue your finger.
The biggest problem with the Vybe massager is the noise factor. At 80-100 decibels, the noise on the top speed is the loudest of all the massage guns we looked at. There is also no soft head option. So, if your skin is sensitive to the heavy pressure that you get with this type of massage, this isn’t the unit for you.
At just under four pounds, the Vybe is the heaviest of the six massage guns on our list. However, its ergonomic triangle design minimizes the fatigue effect when using it for an extended period of time.
YesIndeed Deep Tissue Percussion Full Body Massager
The YesIndeed percussion handheld massager is an entry level percussion massager. As such, it is moderately priced in terms of the overall market. But that doesn’t mean that it’s low quality. In fact, the Yes Indeed massage gun is a very solidly constructed unit that does its job well.
You get four speeds with this gun, with the following percussions per minute:
The pulse rate is consistent and, at the top speed, really gets deep into the muscle tissue to quickly work out those stubborn knots. The unit comes with a convenient carry bag.
The YesIndeed massage gun provides you with the following 3 interchangeable massage heads:
You don’t get a fine point head to target intricate muscle areas with this gun. As a result, it is not your best choice to get into areas like the extensors of your wrist.
At 2.8 pounds, this massage gun is light enough to be taken anywhere. The relatively light weight will also allow you to use it for a prolonged period of time without excessive wrist or forearm strain. However, the unit is a little top heavy so you’ll probably want to use your other hand as a support on top of the unit after a couple of minutes of use. This can be a problem if you are working on the back side of your body.
The unit comes with a lithium battery that provides 30-40 minutes of life if used at full speed.
The YesIndeed massage gun is one of the noisiest units that we reviewed. This can be a problem if you are wanting to use it in public areas, such as the warm-up area of your gym.
Intelitopia Massage Gun
The Intelitopia Massage gun is a mid-priced handheld percussion massager. It provides you with four massage heads to work your muscles from a range of angles. These are:
- Round ball
These heads cover all of your massage bases, allowing for muscle manipulation as well as giving you the ability to get deep into those tricky deep muscle knots and trigger points.
There are three speeds on the Intelitopia massage gun, ranging from 1800 to 3200 percussions per minute. The maximum intensity delivered is good, but not up to the levels that you get with the top end models such as the Hypervolt and Theragun.
The battery length of the Intelitopia is an impressive 4-6 hours by way of its lithium-ion battery. This is considerably longer than the other massage guns under review. However, it will take 2-3 hours to fully charge.
Another impressive aspect of this unit is how quiet it is to operate. With most massage guns emitting a noise level of between 60-80 decibels at their maximum speed, the Intelitopia averages between 40-50 decibels.
The high-powered brushless motor of the Intelitopia has a built-in heat dissipation factor, which ensures that it will not overheat over time.
Hypervolt Portable Massage Device
The Hypervolt from Hyperice is marketed as a vibration recovery tool. It comes with four interchangeable heads that easily pop on and off. The attachments are:
- Flat head
- Round Ball
- A single pin
The Hypervolt provides you with three speeds. The maximum intensity is 3200 percussions per minute. That provides an effective level of treatment for general muscle manipulation. However, when it comes to seriously knotty muscle issues, this unit might not be up to the job.
The lithium battery lasts between 60-90 minutes. Obviously, the higher the speed that you use, the faster the battery life will be consumed. So, if you were using it constantly at maximum speed, it would die after about an hour.
The Hypervolt is relatively quiet while in operation. As you increase the speed, the noise level does increase slightly but, in comparison to the majority of other units, the noise level is impressive. That means that you can use it in social settings, such as the gym, without it becoming a distraction for other people.
The Hypervolt comes with a handy carry case for ease of portability. The unit comes apart for even easier carrying convenience when traveling. The handle / battery compartment pulls apart from the main housing so that you get two pieces that are about 8 inches in length each.
The Hypervolt is a lightweight unit at around 2.5 pounds. However, its weighting is top-heavy, which makes it quite fatiguing on your wrist.
We should note that a rather concerning number of Amazon reviewers have had problems with the reliability of the Hypervolt’s operation. In nearly every case it worked for the first few week’s and then cut out.
Theragun G3Pro Massage Gun - Our #1 Premium Model
The Theragun G3Pro is the latest incarnation of the Theragun percussion massager, following on from the G2. Theragun are the only manufacturer who offer a range of percussion massagers. Their stable includes the following:
The G3Pro is the top of the range model, with a price to match. The first difference between the G3Pro and the G2 is that it is fifty percent quieter. Even so, it is noisier than many competitors, including the Hypervolt.
The G3Pro comes in just two speeds. These are 2400 and 1740 percussions per second. Even though this is less than other units, th G3Pro provides you with a greater percussion effect compared to other models which combine vibration with percussion. The maximum torque of this unit is 60 pounds which adds considerably to the percussion effect.
The massage arm on the G3Pro is adjustable to four positions. This is great for allowing you to get to hard to reach parts of your body.
You get six attachments with this unit. They are:
- Large ball
- Standard ball
The quality of these heads is the best of all the units we have looked at, being made from premium silicone. The range of heads is also the most complete of the six percussion massage guns we looked at.
TheraGun VS Hypervolt
The Hypervolt by Hyperice and the TheraGun G3Pro are two of the most popular models on the market right now. So, how do they compare? Let’s investigate . . .
The TheraGun looks quite different to the Hypervolt due to its unique ergonomic triangle handle design. This allows for great balance in the hand and relieves wrist pressure when using it for an extended period of time. The weight of the entire unit is about 2.5 pounds, which is similar to the Hypervolt. However, the balance of the Theragun makes it a more comfortable gun to operate.
The Theragun comes with 6 attachments, compared with the 4 that you get withy the Hypervolt. This allows for more intricate manipulation and deeper tissue penetration.
The Theragun does not provide you with the fork head that you get with the Hypervolt. However, the cone head is just as effective at getting at your fine muscles, such as the extensors in the forearms.
Where the Hypervolt is marketed as a vibration therapy tool, the Theragun is sold as a percussive therapy machine. Unlike the Hypervolt, the arm on the Theragun is adjustable, providing you with more flexibility of use. This is great if you are trying to work on your back or other hard to reach muscles. The arm does take a bit of effort to adjust. This is actually a good thing as it ensures that it will not move by itself when you don’t want it to.
The Theragun comes with two exchangeable lithium batteries and a lithium battery charger. The battery life is not as good as you get with the Hypervolt, being between 30-40 minutes.
The Theragun is considerably louder than the Hypervolt, even though the marketers tell us that the latest version, the G3Pro, is 50 percent quieter than the previous version.
The Theragun has just two speeds, compared with the three speeds on the Hypervolt. Compared with the Hypervolt, the effect, especially at the top speed, is more like a jackhammer than a vibration. As a result, it provides a more intense workout on the muscle, making it better to work out knots and address pain.
As with the Hypervolt, the Theragun G3Pro comes with a carry case. The case is high quality and compact.
The Theragun G3Pro is considerably more expensive than the Hypervolt. Keep in mind, that the G3Pro is the top of the range model from Theragun. They do have lower priced models that do not have an adjustable arm and have a lower top speed.
Both massage guns weigh about 2.5 pounds. However, the Hypervolt is more top heavy. That means that, after a few minutes of use, you may get some hand fatigue, requiring you to use your other hand to grasp the top of the device. This is not really practical if you are working on your own back, however!
The Theragun is more ergonomically balanced, minimizing wrist and forearm fatigue.
With the Theragun, you get six attachments, compared to four on the Hypervolt. The quality of the attachments is superior on the Theragun, being made from premium grade silicon. In addition, the Theragun attachment locking system is more secure. There is also more differentiation in the attachments, allowing for more versatile manipulation of the target muscle.
Summing it Up
The Hypervolt is designed as a vibration therapy massager whereas the Theragun is very clearly a percussion instrument. It provides very fast vibrations as opposed to the pulses that you get with the Theragun. If you are a person with sensitive skin, you will be better off with the Hypervolt, as the Theragun may leave red marks or possibly even welts on your skin. It is also very effective for general relief and for targeting your smaller, more intricate muscle groups.
The Theragun G3Pro should be the massage gun of choice for people who are serious athletes or who hit it hard in the gym. It provides probably the most intensive pulse effect that you’ll get on th current market. This makes it very effective at breaking down knots in the muscle. The Theragun is also better suited to people who carry a lot of muscle mass on their frame.
Massage Gun Buyer’s Guide
There is a lot of choice in the massage gun market. Rather than being swayed by the look of the massager, or the slick marketing of the retailer, let’s consider the essential buying considerations upon which you should base your decision.
Different situations will require different pulse intensities. As a result, you’ll want a gun that provides a range of speeds. The intensity of a massage gun is measured in pulses per minute (ppm). You should look for a unit that provides around 3000 ppm at maximum speed.
The torque, or stall force, of a massage gun combines with the ppm to produce overall intensity. The standard torque level is 60 lbs. A gun with a low torque force will be more likely to cut out during use.
The ability to rotate the arm of the massage gun will make it easier to target specific areas of your body. Look for a gun that provides you with at least a 90-degree rotation.
All massage guns are relatively portable, but some are heavier than others. The beauty of a massage gun is that you can use it anywhere. If you’re going for an extended run, you might want to carry it in your backpack, so the lighter the better. You’ll want the entire unit, including accessories, to come in a carry bag so you can easily take it with you.
You should expect your massage gun to come with a range of interchangeable pulse heads to allow for different effects on the target muscle. The massage gun should also come with a carry case and batteries.
When you are dealing with a unit that is designed for portable use, the battery life becomes a very important issue. You should expect a gun that will deliver a minimum of 3 hours charge. Look for a massager that has a lithium or lithium ion battery. Charging time is another important factor. Ideally, the gun should reach full charge in less than an hour.
Massage Gun FAQ
What is a Massage Gun?
A massage gun is a handgun shaped massage device that delivers rapid pulses deep into muscle tissue. This speeds up blood flow and circulation, bringing immediate pain relief and restoring range of motion.
The constant pulsing effect of a massage gun fast tracks the healing process. It can provide the same benefits that you get with traditional remedial massage in just a few minutes, rather than hours.
The type of therapy that you get with a massage gun is known as percussive massage. This concentrated, rapid pulsing effect is the new breakthrough that brings fast relief deep into the muscle tissue, while also stretching the muscle and removing lactic acid.
What Specific Benefits Do You Get With a Massage Gun?
- Treatment of muscles that are filled with lactic acid
- Easing of tight joints
- Faster workout recovery
- Enhanced muscle growth
- Speeds up blood circulation
- Instant pain relief
- Stretches muscles
- Works out knots in muscles
- Enhances range of motion
Why Should Athletes Use a Massage Gun?
All athletes know how important the recovery process between workouts is. Using a massage gun as part of the recovery process will speed up that process by removing lactic acid, increasing blood flow to speed up the delivery of nutrients and oxygen and stretch out the working muscle. If the athlete has a specific pain issue, a massage gun will bring immediate relief to bridge the gap between the injury and professional treatment.
Why Are Massage Guns More Expensive Than Other Handheld Massagers?
You can pick up a good handheld massager for under a hundred bucks. In contrast, a quality massage gun will run into the several hundreds of dollars. There are three key reasons for this:
- They provide a more powerful pulsing effect, which requires a more expensive motor.
- The construction of the device and the attachments is of superior quality
- They are generally more robust and last longer than your general handheld massage tool.
Even though most massage guns sit in the several hundred-dollar range, there are some that are considerably less expensive while still providing a decent level of performance and quality.
A quality massage gun is a fantastic tool to have in your gym bag or around the home. Our overall favorite handheld massage gun was the Vybe Personal Percussion Handgun. This is a low-cost gun that really delivers with six speeds and an adjustable arm. If you’re a serious athlete who is looking for a more powerful effect on your muscles, our go to model is the Theragun G3Pro Massage Gun.