The 8 Best Massage Guns For Recovery in 2022

Photo: Hyperice Hypervolt

Even under the most optimal training conditions — good diet, sufficient sleep, and consistent stretching — chances are good that sooner or later an injury is going to strike. The bad news is that it usually happens when you least expect it. However, the good news is that it doesn’t have to keep you from making forward progress. In fact, with a little bit of patience and some diligent recovery practice, you can be back to full strength in no time at all.

One of the best tools to get the job done is a massage gun. Proven to deliver everything from improved sports performance to powerful pain relief, they’re an essential piece of equipment for anyone who exercises with any regularity. So, while you can go it alone and play the odds when you’re sidelined from your workout sessions for months on end, you’ll be wishing that you got yourself a massage gun. And besides, their benefits aren’t limited to athletic applications. If you’re dealing with an everyday ache or a nagging niggle, picking up a massage gun will only serve to improve your day to day life. What’s more, they’ve even been found to improve sleep quality and increase immunity while also reducing depression and anxiety and helping with digestive disorders.

Given that massage guns are still a relatively new piece of tech, there’s little information available to help you decide the best one for your needs. On the one hand, lower-priced models are easy on your wallet; however, they may be little more than a repurposed power tool. Whether it’s because of poor construction or an irritating noise level, they’re probably best left alone. And when it comes to the more expensive options, price isn’t always a guarantee of performance. Sure, they may look like a capable piece of equipment, but that’s not to say that something more affordable wouldn’t do the same thing. All that is to say — if you’re looking to improve your recovery prospects, have a read to see what we’ve picked for the best massage guns.

Photo: Theragun Pro

How Do Massage Guns Work?

The Reality Of Personal Recovery

Much like foam rollers, massage guns employ myofascial release therapy in order to relieve your muscles of any existing soreness, also known as myofascial pain syndrome. In practice, this involves the stimulation of specific spots within your myofascial fibers — the tissues that support your muscles — in order to reduce tension and tightness. Most of the time, myofascia should feel soft and stretchy, so it’s easy to tell what’s in need of a good massage. That being said, half the battle is finding the exact location of your problem area; because triggers are so hard to place, it’s better to think of rolling as a broad-strokes method of myofascial release rather than attempting to target any one particular point.

However, where rollers rely on gravity and body weight in order to apply the proper amount of pressure, massage guns are completely self-sufficient, and, as a result, handheld. Powered by a small electric motor, they deliver a rapid succession of percussive movements in order to improve blood flow throughout your muscles and soften knots in the process. So, while a foam roller might require a couple of passes to get the same effect, massage guns are ideal in that they’re both more powerful and more precise — a combination that allows them to be a much more efficient form of muscle relaxation. In other words — given a quality massage gun, you can accomplish in minutes what would take hours with a regular old foam roller.

As such, massage guns make for the ideal accompaniment to your existing training regimen. Sure, they’re largely reserved for post-workout recovery; however, that’s not to say that they aren’t useful during warmups as well. On the contrary, with demonstrated benefits including decreased stress, reduced tissue tension, and improved range of motion, they’re equally — if not more — helpful when used for pre-workout applications.

Photo: Hyperice Hypervolt Plus

What Features Are Important?

Key Considerations To Keep In Mind

Noise: While there’s no denying the benefits that massage guns have over their manual counterparts, they come with one not-unnoticeable caveat: excess sound. Above all else, noise is likely to be the deciding factor when grabbing a gun for yourself. Whether you have a gym of the home variety or you’re working out in a public place, it’s important to keep treatment quiet — all the more so if you plan on providing a massage for someone other than yourself. Because let’s face it, while a loud massage gun might not be an issue to the one performing proper recovery, it’ll only come to annoy those around you over time. They might look like power tools in form, but that doesn’t mean that they need to sound like them too.

Battery Life: After assessing the available options for noise level, your next consideration should be battery life. Look for massage guns that provide several sessions’ worth of percussive power without requiring a recharge. Sure, it’s easy enough to hook it up to an outlet after you’re done, but you don’t want to be left without recourse in the event you forget to top up between sittings. Worse still, you’ll be tied to a charger if you want to use it with any regularity. In your daily life, this might not be much of an issue, but if you’re headed off on a weekend away or you’re the type to leave it in your gym bag between workouts, you’ll appreciate the added convenience that comes with having more juice.

Percussion Speed: When it comes to massage gun performance, this is one quality that sets the premium picks apart from the budget buys. Simply put, percussion speed is the rate at which a gun is able to make contact with your muscles, measured in strokes per minute (sometimes in HZ). At their most basic, massage guns will come with only one or two speed settings — a great one-size-fits-all approach, but hardly what you’d consider an individualized recovery experience. On the other hand, some models will come with three, four, or even more intensity levels. Slower speeds are advisable when your muscles are feeling particularly sensitive — a beating is the last thing they need. It follows then that higher speeds would be best when you need to pound out those pesky knots because they’ll allow you to really dig in and give you the relief you require.

Max Power: Measured in pounds, the maximum power a massage gun is able to provide is the maximum force that it can exert at full extension. Models with higher ratings will be able to penetrate your muscles far deeper than those with more meager figures. In practice, this translates to more effective pain relief because the head of the gun can actually reach the point of pain rather than simply numbing the skin on the surface.

Attachments & Accessories: Last but not least, you should be aware of where on your body you’re likely to use a massage gun. For instance, if you’ll only be using it on larger muscles like your quads and calves, you won’t need much in the way of extra attachments. However, if you plan on putting your massage gun to use on specific trigger points or particularly hard to reach areas — like your upper back, the arch of your foot, or even your neck — it’s to your advantage to grab some smaller items to help with the work. What’s more, some models even come with an articulating head, allowing you to massage your muscles from a variety of angles and make the most of your available leverage.

Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage gun

Although it comes in at the lowest price point on our list, the Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun is much more than a budget buy. For starters, it comes with more intensity levels than any other offering we’ve featured here. So whether you’re using one of the lower 20Hz or 30Hz settings, the more moderate 35Hz setting, or even the most powerful 40Hz or 45Hz settings, rest assured there’s an intensity perfectly suited to your level of pain. But that’s not all — it also comes with five different massage heads so that you can cater your recovery specifically to your needs. And when you consider that it comes with a battery life that’s good for up to six hours of run time, this is one option that can punch well above its weight.

Battery Life: 3-6 Hours
Number Of Speeds: 5
Included Attachments: 5

Purchase: $119

Vybe Premium Percussion Massage Gun

Next up is the Vybe Premium Percussion Massage Gun, an offering that comes at a slight premium over the previous pick but that promises to be much quieter as a result. So, while the above option maxes out around 75dB when set to its peak output, this massage gun comes in nearly 15dB quieter — at a comparable speed setting. What’s more, it can provide over 30lbs of percussive force with each stroke, allowing you to get in there and really work out those knots. Sure, it might not be as feature-heavy as some of the higher-priced options we’ve included, but it hits the sweet spot in terms of paid-for performance.

Battery Life: 4 Hours
Number Of Speeds: 5
Included Attachments: 4

Purchase: $170

Theragun Mini

If you’re after the most portable massage gun available, look no further than the Theragun Mini. At only 6 inches long, 5.3 inches wide, and 2.25 inches deep, it’s incredibly compact. And because it weighs just under 1.5lbs, it’s also incredibly lightweight. However, while it may be small in size, don’t assume that it’s lacking in performance. On the contrary — like the rest of the Theragun lineup, the Mini delivers a premium massage experience. For instance, its patented Theragun Triangle ergonomic design is comfortable to hold while being easy on the wrists. And because it’s powered by a QX35 motor that features the brand’s sound-dampening QuietForce Technology, it’s virtually silent. All in all, it makes for the perfect pocket-sized addition to your workout gear arsenal.

Battery Life: 1.5 Hours
Number Of Speeds: 3
Included Attachments: N/A

Purchase: $200

Ekrin Athletics B37

Founded by two former collegiate athletes, Ekrin is a brand that knows recovery and injury prevention inside and out. As such, their B37 massage gun is the product of real-world experience, with a performance that’s on par with other expensive alternatives. To start with, it’s capable of providing up to 56lbs of force — more than enough to massage even the tightest of myofascia. But better still is the fact that its long-lasting battery is good for up to 8 hours of use. So whether you’re storing it in your bag between sessions or sharing it amongst friends after you’re done, there’s plenty of juice to go around. Top it off with a 15° angled handle for better reach and a sound rating between 35 and 55dB, and what results is a massage gun that equips you with everything you need to get in some quality recovery.

Battery Life: 8 Hours
Number Of Speeds: 5
Included Attachments: 4

Purchase: $230

AchedAway Pro Massage Gun

Although having a high-powered massage gun is ideal when you need to target a particular trigger point, sometimes your muscles are in need of something on the mellower side. Enter the AchedAway Pro, an offering that eschews out and out force in favor of gentle, soothing relief. With operation speeds between 1,700 and 2,800rpm, it makes for just the right amount of massage when your muscles have already been through the wringer. And because it comes with four different replacement fittings — including a specialized soft head, an aluminum flat head, a rounded bullet head, as well as a dual-pronged forkhead — you can hit different parts of your body that much more effectively. So where the first option would be best on anywhere you might use your thumbs, the last option would be perfect for your neck and spine.

Battery Life: 3-4 Hours
Number Of Speeds: 5
Included Attachments: 4

Purchase: $300

Hyperice Hypervolt Plus

As the cheapest Bluetooth-enabled massage gun on the list, the Hypervolt Plus makes for an easy value proposition. In practice, this means that courtesy of its fully-connected app, adjusting the speed is as simple as a tap of your smartphone. What’s more, it features Hyperice’s patented pressure sensor, an addition that allows you to gauge how much force you’re applying at a glance. With its three white LEDs, the harder you press, the more that light up. But the best part is that because of its high-torque brushless electric motor, it’s impressively quiet. So where other massage guns skew more towards power tools than they do purpose-built recovery devices, the Hypervolt Plus is a model that you can even use while someone is watching TV — in the same room no less.

Battery Life: 3 Hours
Number Of Speeds: 3
Included Attachments: 5

Purchase: $400

TimTam Power Massager Pro

When nothing but the most powerful massage gun on the market will suffice, TimTam’s Power Massager Pro is the answer you need. Capable of generating up to 75lbs of percussive force, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of other options that top out around 50-60lbs. However, the Power Massager Pro isn’t just a one-trick pony; with an ultra-quiet 10dB low-speed setting, a skin temperature sensor for optimizing muscle performance, and a set of powered attachments capable of heating to 99.5°F, it also makes for one of the best multi-purpose massage guns you can buy. And with five pre-programmed settings for specific area application as well a 175° rotational head, you can hit every part of your body with ease.

Battery Life: 1 Hour
Number Of Speeds: 3
Included Attachments: 3

Purchase: $500

Theragun PRO

Rounding out our list is the Theragun PRO, an offering that sets the benchmark against which all massage guns are measured. Across every metric, it’s a pretty consistent performer, so while it might not have the edge on some of the more specialized options, it does everything well without any real drawbacks. For instance, it comes with a pair of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, each capable of providing 150 minutes of runtime. So when one runs down, it’s as simple as popping it out and swapping it for a fresh one. But that’s not all — the Theragun PRO also comes with an OLED screen that displays both current speed and a responsive force meter. And when you consider that its five different settings can be controlled via the app thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity, this is one option that’s pretty hard to pass up.

Battery Life: 5 Hours
Number Of Speeds: 5
Included Attachments: 6

Purchase: $600

The 12 Best Foam Rollers

While massage guns make for an efficient way to reduce pain and relieve tension, sometimes it’s better to go old school and go analog. Whether you need to hit more muscles at once or you simply need something that’s better for your budget, be sure to check out our guide to the best foam rollers.