We spent over 30 hours researching more than 60 different models. We then purchased eight of the best muscle massage guns for a comprehensive side-by-side analysis. For our review update, we not only chose to examine leading brands that you'd recognize by name but also economical units that came with promising user reports. Our selections were tested by a team of reviewers with differing body types and muscle recovery preferences, and each model was rated on power performance, sound, functionality, and overall user experience. We took into consideration elements like design features, settings, and accessories for a thorough examination of ergonomics when testing each product.
Max PPM: 2400 | Amplitude: 16 mm | Run Time: 2 hours per charge
REASONS TO BUY
Powerful motor with deep percussions
REASONS TO AVOID
While the Theragun Elite is missing a few of the bells and whistles included with the Theragun Pro, it is still one of the highest-performing models we tested. It offers users deep percussive power that will unlock the most stubborn knots. With five different speeds and five different massage heads, you have plenty of options to customize your experience. This model is also Bluetooth compatible and can be paired with an app that will run you through a variety of different massage routines.
While it's considerably cheaper than the Pro, the Elite is still quite spendy. The quality is unquestionable, but the initial buy-in cost is high. It's also not surprising that such a powerful machine is noisy, but we still think it's worth mentioning that this model was one of the loudest we tested. We found that for the person using the machine, it doesn't really matter, but it might be more obnoxious for bystanders. If the cost is no issue, you won't be disappointed with this high-quality and powerful machine.
Max PPM: 2,400 | Amplitude: 16 mm | Run Time: 150 min per battery
REASONS TO BUY
Very high-quality design
Powerful motor with deep percussions
Two batteries for continuous operation
Multiple grips and piston angles
Features Bluetooth integration
REASONS TO AVOID
Most expensive of the lineup
Not as quiet as others
Large carrying case
A bit heavy
The Theragun PRO is an exceptional model, boasting power and versatility beyond most of the competition. It is marketed for "professional grade" percussive therapy, so this power and versatility are no surprise. Its powerful effect was evident to all our testers. This model boasts 2,400 percussions per minute at an amplitude of 16mm, and it was the only model to which we gave a perfect mark in the power performance metric. Even at lower speeds, this model's percussion was beyond compare. Its also Bluetooth compatible with the Therabody app, which includes programs, presets, and tutorials. The Theragun includes a charging stand and two batteries, which means it's ready to go when you need it. You can bring the batteries and carrying case for four hours of runtime if you are on the go. The product itself is ergonomic and made of high-quality materials. It includes an easy-to-grip triangular handle, six closed-cell foam massage tips, and four adjustable piston angles. Overall, this model is a powerhouse of percussive performance.
While this model made some noise, our testers concluded that the hum generated by the QX150 motor wasn't obnoxious or intolerable. The Theragun is pricier than the other models we tested, but if you want an absolute top-tier massage gun, no matter the cost, the Theragun PRO is an excellent choice.
Max PPM: 3200 | Amplitude: 11 mm | Run Time: 4-8 hrs per charge
REASONS TO BUY
Small and lightweight design
Comes with six massage tips and a case
REASONS TO AVOID
Weaker power performance than others
No removable battery
Fewer grip positions
Sporting a compact frame and weighing in under three pounds, the Medcursor Precision is a fantastic choice for those seeking an on-the-go massager. This affordable massage gun tucks away easily in a gym bag or backpack. Its ultra-quiet brushless motor has the lowest decibel reading in our testing, making this device perfect for shared spaces. Even at its highest speed, the motor produces no more noise than a small fan.
While the small motor is quiet, it leaves the Medcursor lacking a bit of power compared to the rest of the lineup. There is little guesswork in operating this massage gun; the five variable speeds are very much point-and-shoot. Furthermore, the low-amplitude strokes act more like vibrations than percussions. However, our testers felt that this model was still totally capable of providing relief from tight muscles and sore knots. We also noticed that we could sustain longer run times on a single charge compared to other similar models, likely due to the smaller motor. If you need a lightweight, packable massage gun at an approachable price, look no further than the Medcursor Precision.
Max PPM: 3180 | Amplitude: 14 mm | Run Time: 3-4 hrs per charge
REASONS TO BUY
Quality materials and components
High stall force rating
REASONS TO AVOID
No carrying case
The Hyperice Hypervolt is perhaps the most recognizable gun-style massager on the market, and other manufacturers have emulated the design. It is a high-speed, mid-amplitude massager that delivers powerful strokes with considerable stall force. Because of this, the user can apply a great deal of pressure when targeting sore muscles, and the device won't back down in power.
However, this device does not feel quite as forceful in comparison to the overall award winner. Featuring a brushless 24V motor with Quiet Glide technology, this powerful unit hovered in the mid-range when it came to decibel testing. We would have expected that it came with a carrying case to hold its five attachments and charging cables; however, accessories like extra batteries and a carrying case are available for purchase through Hyperice. The packaging includes a booklet with recommended routines and strategies, though the device lacks any user interface other than a variable speed setting. Undoubtedly, this unit is a solid performer, but cheaper alternatives offer similar performance.
Why You Should Trust Us
As the head coach of an elite youth alpine racing team, our primary tester Rob Woodworth has a nuanced understanding of the importance of muscle activation and recovery. When he's not on skis or in the performance center with his athletes, he can be found biking, climbing, kayaking, or wakesurfing. In his ripening age, he finds tools like muscle massage guns extremely helpful in expediting the recovery of sore muscles and preventing injury through preventative maintenance. He is joined by Buck Yedor, who has worked as a professional route setter for many years. Keeping his body in tip-top shape for work and play has always been of the utmost importance, and muscle massage guns have been an integral part of his self-care routine. Besides preparing for or recovering from athletics, our team also examined performance and functionality in various everyday scenarios to replicate at-home or on-the-go use.
Following research on more than 60 various massage guns, we narrowed the field to eight of the best models on the market. Every model in our lineup is considered a "percussion massager" that delivers concentrated pressure deep into muscles and connective tissue. Though, there are several design variances to note that affected the user experience in particular ways. That said, all of the massage guns chosen for this review were subjected to the same testing rigors.
Types of Massage Guns
There are two primary types of massage guns, vibration massagers and percussion massagers. To quickly summarize the differences, percussion massagers deliver deep, focused percussive strokes that penetrate deeper into muscle tissues than vibration massagers, which are more superficial than percussion massagers. All of the massage guns in our review are percussion massagers.
Percussion-style muscle massage guns hammer down on the surface of your body, sending deep-vibrational pulses into the soft tissue. This type of massage is ideal for recovery after an intense workout because deep muscle penetration allows for increased blood flow to the targeted areas, promoting myofascial release and increased distribution of micronutrients, which are important for healing the body.
Analysis and Test Results
We subjected each muscle massage gun to an arsenal of tests designed to find their strengths, weaknesses, and best applications in use. Contenders were run throughout the range of their operating speeds and subjected to stall force tests that would measure the amount of force each unit could deliver before losing power and "stalling out." To examine versatility, we utilized all the various attachments included with each model and were sure to use each attachment on different muscle groups. Additionally, we performed more exacting tests using a decibel meter to measure loudness and a voltmeter to measure charging performance.
Muscle massage guns run the gamut of cost. With "budget" options starting around $80 and the premium models costing close to $600, we wanted to know if more expensive models produce better results. The Theragun Pro scored significantly higher than all other models, and if you're a serious athlete who needs serious relief, the high cost could be easily justifiable.
For others, lower priced but high performing models like the Hyperice Hypervolt, or the Medcursor Precision will offer a better value. At a significantly lower price than the Theragun, you are getting only slightly reduced performance and utility.
In this metric, we examined the force each muscle massage gun could generate while in various modes of operation. It is common for manufacturers to list each model's percussions-per-minute (PPM) or motor speed; rarely will they mention the actual force or power generated by each stroke.
Since PPM is a somewhat arbitrary measurement of speed, we chose to dig deeper by examining stall force — a performance concept unique to percussive therapy tools.
Stall force measures how much pressure a massage gun can withstand before the motor loses power or stalls completely. Since not every manufacturer has a marketing claim for stall force, we rated it on a scale of 1-10, with 1 requiring very little pressure to stall the unit, and 10 requiring a great deal of pressure to stall. In addition to stall force, we also examined amplitude — a measurement of how far the massage attachment travels during each percussion.
The Theragun Pro received the highest power rating out of the whole lineup; it was the clear winner of this category. With 16mm of amplitude and a stall force rating of 10, this model delivers an extremely powerful percussive blast that is felt deep in the muscle tissue—even at its lowest speed setting. Also boasting a good degree of amplitude is the TimTam PowerMassager Pro, though it didn't have quite as high of a stall force rating. Both models are ideal for those seeking intense therapeutic percussions with powerful motors and a good deal of travel in each stroke.
The Hyperice Hypervolt received solid stall force ratings with its quiet brushless motor. However, its amplitude can't compare to the Theragun. With a powerful motor delivering shallower strokes, the result feels less percussive and more like vibration massaging. But don't be mistaken, the Hypervolt still produces a powerful effect.
Less powerful but still effective was the Medcursor Precision, packing an impressive punch for its size.
Ergonomics & Design
We found the ergonomics of the devices to be just as important as the power output. An unwieldy massage gun that isn't comfortable to operate isn't very useful, no matter how powerful it is. Considering elements such as grip(s), adjustability, and overall durability, we set out to identify which models were easy-to-use and reliably intuitive.
Yet again, the Theragun PRO takes the top spot — with numerous rubberized grips and four different piston angles to provide an arsenal of different massaging positions. We found it easy to reach virtually any sore spot with this massager. Also versatile with grips and piston angle was the TimTam PowerMassager, though the closed triangular grip is a bit smaller and stockier than the Theragun.
The rest of the lineup more or less features the same fixed-angle, gun-style design that incorporates a primary grip on the battery portion of the unit. Of this variety, we found the Hyperice Hypervolt to have the highest-quality design and best overall user experience. The Medcursor Precision received good marks because of its slender and lightweight design.
Massages are supposed to be relaxing, and the loud buzz of an electric motor and rattling plastic is anything but. We chose to examine the relative loudness of each unit and the overall noise the massage gun would produce while in use at various speeds and pressures. We verified or disproved manufacturers' claims of quietness by using a digital decibel meter.
The least-loud muscle massage gun we tested was the Medcursor Precision, which is perhaps not surprising because it has the smallest motor. At its lowest speed, the device registers 51.5 decibels and sounds similar to an electric toothbrush.
Because of their powerful motors, the Theragun PRO and TimTam PowerMassager registered higher on the decibel meter than some less powerful models. However, their solid construction ensures there are no menacing noises from intense vibrations — just a smooth, humming sound. The Hyperice Hypervolt was quiet yet still powerful, clocking in 63.7 decibels at the lowest speed setting.
Features & Attachments
It is typical for a percussive muscle massage gun to have several different tips, attachments, or accessories to achieve various therapeutic effects and target specific muscle groups.
Furthermore, some models incorporate a variety of settings or presets that allow for a customizable experience. We tested each massage gun and used every available tip, attachment, and accessory to see which we liked best. We also fussed around with the various modes and settings when available.
There is no denying that the Theragun PRO is the clear winner regarding accessories and features. With six different massage tips, an extra battery, and customizable programs and presets via Bluetooth connectivity, the Theragun proves itself to be a versatile wunderkind. Sporting quality tips but requiring that you purchase the carrying case separately, we were less impressed by the Hyperice Hypervolt, which lacks any settings beyond variable speed.
The TimTam has heated tips, and we appreciated how the tips threaded onto the piston, which also has five different presets programmed in.
Battery Life & Charging
All the massage guns chosen for this review feature some variety of lithium-ion (LI) battery. This configuration can allow for lighter construction, less discharge, and quicker charging times.
However, not every battery is created equally; each model will have limitations depending on motor draw and storage capacity. Potential operating time was also considered, measured by how easy it was to juice each unit when depleted.
Despite bold claims from some of the competition, our testing showed that the Theragun PRO was the highest performer in continuous run time. With two removable LI batteries that last about two hours each and an included charging stand, you can run the unit perpetually so long as you have access to an AC wall outlet. The Medcursor Precision has a very comparable run time but wasn't able to swap batteries for continuous use.
Though it only comes with a single removable battery that lasts around an hour, the TimTam PowerMassager also comes with an AC charging stand and has extra batteries available for purchase. The Hyperice Hypervolt has batteries that also serve as the primary grip and could technically be described as removable since they detach from the motor. However, this model doesn't include a bonus battery and can only be charged when the massager is not in use.
After researching the best-performing muscle massage guns on the market, we selected eight unique products to purchase and put to the test. Whether you spend too much time at your desk or are sore from a long run, a muscle massage gun can go a long way toward helping you recover. With more and more companies offering massage guns, it can be confusing to figure out which ones work the best. We tested their power performance, sound, functionality, and overall user experience, so you don't have to. We hope our comprehensive results will help you find the right massage gun for you.
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.