For anyone dealing with sore, stiff muscles, massage is often the most effective physical therapy treatment. But in many cases, traditional massage isn’t able to provide the speed and pressure that some conditions require for effective pain relief. That’s why a massage gun can be so helpful for athletes or anyone else who suffers from chronic muscle pain.
A massage gun is a handheld device that resembles a power drill. It provides vibration or percussive therapy to the muscles with quick bursts of pressure. This deep tissue massage can pinpoint specific muscles to effectively loosen them, stimulate blood flow to the area, and relieve pain and inflammation. A massage gun also allows you to treat your injury in the privacy of your home, which can save you significant money.
Our buying guide can help you sort through all the options and find the best massage gun for your physical therapy needs. We’ve also included a few specific massage gun recommendations to make your shopping entirely stress-free.
To ensure that your massage gun lasts as long as possible, you want a model made of durable, high-quality materials. Stainless steel components are usually the most durable, but aluminum guns are also an effective option. Both metals also offer greater safety should the massage gun overheat.
Massage guns vary in size, and larger models typically require another person to move the device over your body. Other guns are small enough that you can use one without any assistance. Consider what size would be most convenient for you. If you live alone or travel frequently, you’re better off with a smaller device that you can operate yourself.
For a massage gun to be as user-friendly as possible, it should have an ergonomic design so you’re able to hold and operate it easily. Look for a model that feels comfortable in the hand. Those with a longer handle typically offer the most comfort. And make sure that the gun isn’t too heavy, so you don’t have to worry about hand fatigue when you’re using it.
You’ll get more versatility from a massage gun that comes with interchangeable massage heads or attachments. That way you can target different muscles and adjust the amount of pressure based on the head or attachment you use. For most users, the more massage heads included with the gun the better.
A massage gun’s speed is measured in percussions per minute (given as revolutions per minute, or rpm). Faster guns pulsate more quickly. Low-speed massage guns don’t typically provide much relief, so it’s a good idea to choose a gun with multiple speed options.
For the most effective massage, opt for a massage gun that rotates at least 90°. By rotating at different angles, the gun allows you to treat different muscles and areas of the body while still applying the right amount of pressure. Rotation is especially important when you’re treating areas that are difficult to reach, such as your back.
If you travel regularly, you’ll want a massage gun that’s easy to take on the go. That means choosing a smaller, more compact gun that doesn’t weigh too much. Guns that are large enough to require another person to use aren’t the best option for travel.
Most massage guns are cordless and run on rechargeable lithium or lithium-ion batteries. It’s important to consider the battery life because you want it to last through an entire treatment. Look for a model that runs for at least 30 minutes per charge, so you have enough time to treat all of the areas you want to target. It helps to choose a model with removable batteries, too. You can buy additional batteries so you’ll have a backup in case you run out of power in the middle of a massage.
Massage guns make noise, which can range as high as 110 decibels. Some are noisier than others, and it’s best to avoid those models that are extremely noisy because they can ruin the relaxing experience of a massage. Look for a gun that features some type of noise-dampening technology to make sure that its operation is as quiet as possible.