We spent over 30 hours researching more than 60 different models before purchasing four of the best muscle massage guns for comprehensive analysis to track down the highest-performing muscle massage gun. 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.There are lots of manual self-massage tools to choose from out there, including massage balls, muscle rollers, and foam rollers. We've also tested home exercise products like yoga mats and exercise resistance bands, outlining our favorite picks.
Top 4 Product Ratings
$499.00 at Amazon
$189.99 at Amazon
$59.99 at Amazon
$499.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Quality construction, powerful, many attachments and speeds, Bluetooth||Excellent construction, rating of stall force is high, design is ergonomic||Light and well-designed, quiet, excellent price, various massage tips||Construction is robust, motor is powerful, programs and presets, heated massage tip|
|Cons||Expensive, large, loud, heavy||Costly, does not have a carrying case||Power performance, can't remove battery, lacking more grip positions||Loud, costly, battery life|
|Bottom Line||Top of the line performance with features and a price tag to match||Powerful performance, a quality build, and an ergonomic design earn this model high marks||This affordable model is lighter weight, compact, and quiet, making it ideal for travel||A beefy unit with an ergonomic grip that delivers lots of power|
|Rating Categories||Theragun Pro||Hyperice Hypervolt||Medcursor Precision||TimTam PowerMassage...|
|Ergonomics & Design (25%)|
|Features & Attachments (15%)|
|Battery Life & Charging (15%)|
|Specs||Theragun Pro||Hyperice Hypervolt||Medcursor Precision||TimTam PowerMassage...|
|Battery Type||Two rechargeable lithium ion batteries||One rechargeable lithium ion battery||One rechargeable lithium ion battery||One rechargeable lithium ion battery|
|Max PPM/Stroke||2400 PPMs||3200 PPMs||3200 PPMs||2800 PPMs|
Best Overall Massage Gun
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 powerful performance is Bluetooth connectivity to 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.
Best Bang for the Buck
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.
Another Powerhouse Option
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. There's no doubt this unit is a solid performer, but cheaper alternatives offer similar performance.
Heavy Duty Massager
TimTam PowerMassager PRO
The TimTam PowerMassager Pro has become a ubiquitous name in the physical therapy world. This device is popular in gyms and performance centers, with its powerful motor and rugged design that even includes threaded tips to ensure a firm connection. With 16mm of amplitude and 2800 max PPMs, the TimTam had nearly identical stats to the top-performing model. Of the three included spherical massage tips, two have added features that may be a selling point to some. One attachment can heat up to 100 degrees while the other provides a subtle vibrating effect to the targeted muscle.
Despite all the good, we noticed that its performance comes with a slight compromise: it is one of the heaviest and loudest massage guns in the review. It also comes at a high cost. Though fairly imperceptible, the device also has just a slightly lower stall-force rating than other top contenders. We would've liked to see a better carrying case option for such a hefty price tag, though numerous accessories (including extra batteries) are available through the manufacturer.
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. Rob gathered insight for this review by having his colleagues, friends, and athletes test each unit in conjunction with their pre-existing recovery or maintenance programs. Besides athletics, the users 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 only the four best models on the market. Every model in our lineup is categorically 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, models like the Hyperice Hypervolt probably offer a better value. At almost half the cost of 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 the percussions-per-minute (PPM) or motor speed of each model; 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, 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. With powerful motors and a good deal of travel in each stroke, both models seem ideal for those seeking intense therapeutic percussions.
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 a little bit 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 compared to 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 that the massage gun would produce while in use at various speeds and pressures. We were able to verify or disprove manufacturers' claims of quietness by using a digital decibel meter.
The least-loud 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 a touch 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. Quiet yet still powerful was the Hyperice Hypervolt 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 yet again 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 actually 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 considered as well, 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 had 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 four 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 towards helping you recover. With more and more companies offering massage guns, it can be confusing to figure out which ones actually 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.
— Rob Woodworth
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