Percussion massage guns are all the rage. With next-to-no effort required, these massage guns can help you recover faster and better than ever before. While they may intimidate some with their power drill look, these handy tools can help you say goodbye to muscle tension and soreness. It’s basically like having your own personal massage therapist available at any time and within the comfort of your own home.
Ekrin B37 Percussion Massager
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Hyperice Hypervolt Plus
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Cyrotex Massage Gun
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- Top 5 Best Percussion Massage Guns For Recovery
- What is a Percussion Massage Gun?
- How to use a percussion massage gun?
- Are Percussion Massage Guns Effective?
- What Muscles/Injuries Can They Treat?
- When not to use a percussion massage gun
- Key Features to Consider When Buying a Percussion Massage Gun
- The Best Percussion Massage Gun: Product Reviews
- What Else Should You Know?
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Top 5 Best Percussion Massage Guns For Recovery
Since arriving on the athletic and recovery scene, percussion massage guns come in all shapes, forms, and brands. For consumers, this creates serious decision fatigue. That’s why we’ve decided to lay it all out for you. What is the best percussion massage gun? Do they really work? Let’s find out!
Here are our top 5 picks:
What is a Percussion Massage Gun?
A percussion massage gun is a fairly simple hand-held device. The end of the gun applies pressure pulses into the muscular tissue, similar to a deep tissue massage. Many of these guns also come with various settings which means you can set the pulsating speed specific to your comfort.
Like a regular good ol’ deep tissue massage, these guns are particularly useful for targeting muscle knots or tension spots, and quickly increasing blood flow and improving range of motion in the targeted area.
Basically, percussion massager guns are a form of vibration therapy. This means that they apply quick bursts of pressure that ripples outward from the site of application. Physical therapists and massage therapists use similar techniques during treatment sessions.
Usually, these manual therapy techniques involve light, rapid, and pressured strikes to the area in order to create a similar ripple effect. In massage therapy, this technique is often referred to as tapotement. In a way, percussion massage guns are the new-age technological answer to an age-old massage technique.
In addition, certain types of dry acupuncture and other modalities used in a clinical or massage therapy setting have similar advantages. In other words, you get very similar benefits to manual therapy treatments, such as physical therapy or massage therapy, all within the comfort of your own home and without the long-term and ongoing expense of individual treatment sessions.
While the percussion massager gun technically won’t completely eliminate muscular soreness, it can help with recovery through the effects it creates. The pulsating pressure on the muscle and connective tissues increases blood flow to the area and aids in releasing muscle adhesions, also known as muscle knots.
This pressure and these vibrations cause the myofascial tissue and muscle tissue to become unstuck, which releases pesky and bothersome knots. And this is where you feel relief (and also why percussion massage guns may be 110% worthwhile for you). If you experience frequent muscle knots or soreness after your regular workout, a massager gun may be the game-changer you need to take your recovery to the next level.
How to use a percussion massage gun?
Not sure how to use one? No problem! We recommend holding the pulsating gun on problem areas for 30 seconds to two minutes for optimal results. This gives time for the muscle tissue to release, as well as for blood flow to effectively increase.
It’s also best to use the gun right after your workout on the muscles that you expect to feel sore in the next 24-48 hours. As a result, you can prevent increasing soreness in the days following your exercise or training session.
Are Percussion Massage Guns Effective?
By now, you might still be questioning the legitimacy of these products. After all, they are still quite new compared to other products, such as the good old fashion foam roller. So, is it just a gimmick? Does it really work? These are common questions that many individuals have when it comes to a percussion massage gun.
Rest assured, a percussion massage gun comes with scientifically-backed proof indicating its efficacy. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research stated that vibration therapy and massage are equally as effective when it comes to reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness.
This means you could actually get more bang for your buck by purchasing a massager gun as opposed to paying the expensive price of multiple deep tissue massage appointments. Assuming of course that you have someone to help you apply the gun on areas that you cannot reach properly.
While foam rollers, massage balls, and other myofascial release tools have the capabilities to dig into the deep tissue, a percussion massage gun does this and has the added benefits associated with vibration therapy, including improved circulation and decreased joint pain.
Related Read: Best Myofascial Release Tools For Workout Recovery
In turn, this may make it more effective when it comes to post-workout or training recovery. Plus, these massage guns are super easy to use.
What Muscles/Injuries Can They Treat?
A percussion massage device is useful in treating a variety of muscle discomforts and injuries. Got a recurring injury? Or do you have a new and fresh injury that just happened? A massager gun might help.
Generally, a percussive massager helps eliminate muscle soreness and stiffness. It’s best used as a recovery tool, along with stretching and re-hydrating after your workout. As the gun rapidly pulsates into the muscle tissue, blood flow increases. In turn, this encourages nutrients and other compounds to flood into the area where the massage gun is being applied. Consequently, your muscles and other tissues can recover faster and better.
There is also some evidence indicating the effectiveness of percussion therapy to help reduce symptoms in those with fibromyalgia, specifically when it comes to treating trigger points. This also gives way to the possibility that a massage gun may also prove useful when it comes to treating chronic pain conditions or injuries.
When not to use a percussion massage gun
A percussion massage gun isn’t safe in every situation. A massage gun is a no-go for pulled muscles, sprains, broken bones, and inflammatory injuries, such as tendonitis or bursitis.
In fact, for most of these injuries, rest is highly encouraged until the pain subsides. When tolerable, gentle stretching can help restore range of motion, followed by the appropriate strengthening exercises to help improve function.
For most injuries, it’s important to have an expert examine your affected limb in-person. This is because many injuries are unique to each given situation, and your goals may differ from another. Once your injury is healed, a percussion massager may help prevent future injuries by reducing muscle tightness and improving range of motion
Key Features to Consider When Buying a Percussion Massage Gun
Before you purchase a handheld massager (they don’t come cheap!), you want to examine a few key features to ensure you’re making the best choice. If you have never purchased one before, the stats on features can quickly get overwhelming with percussions/minute, stroke length, force in lbs. etc.
This product is generally pretty expensive, so some of these features seem to be complicated only to justify such high prices. So it is important to understand the factors that really matter. Factors and features that you will want to keep your eye out for include:
A deep tissue massage digs deep. Many percussion massage guns also have differing pulsating levels. Different levels are great to see what is more comfortable for you. Having too many levels tends to have diminishing effects as it may become indistinguishable to you. So anywhere a handful of levels is enough.
Your recovery should not feel like a whole other workout after your workout. Thus, the percussion massager you choose should be relatively light. Most massage guns weigh in at about 2 pounds to 2.5 pounds, and any heavier may indicate a lesser quality product. It may also pay to have a lighter massage gun for transportation purposes.
Design and Comfort
The massager should not feel awkward to hold. You should move with ease while holding it against your body. For this, pay attention to the handheld portion of the device. Does it look comfortable? Are there grips in place?
It should feel comfortable to hold and not as though you are struggling to balance the device on a given muscle.
The material finish is also important when considering touching the tip to bare skin. Many of the products have a soft-touch material. The handle should have a premium finish that does not slip easily but allows for a firm grip.
You also don’t want the massage gun jumping all over the place as you attempt to use it. The device should feel stable. Again, it should be easy to use - not another workout. After all, this tool should be used as part of your recovery routine. Thus, you should be able to hold it steady with little effort.
Some massage guns can be quite loud. Sometimes, this is due to the percussion speed. Other times, this is due to the massage gun itself. Either way, it may be something you want to pay attention to. For instance, will you use it if it’s too loud? If not, you will want to be mindful of this.
This product is unique in that both ends of cost can be bad. Too cheap, and it will not last, or will hurt you. Too expensive, and you are buying things you don't need. This is why our choices dwindle down to the few products that actually make sense for the price from a functional perspective.
The Best Percussion Massage Gun: Product Reviews
Are you ready to find out what the best percussion massage gun is? Which ones should you be looking into? We’ve got our top list of the best percussion massage products. Check them out below.
Overall #1 Pick
Ekrin B37 Percussion Massager
- 8-hour battery life; longest lasting
- Functionally meets all needs and affordable
- 5 speeds and 4 attachment pieces
- 56lbs of force
This percussion massager is highly rated and is affordable. The reason we chose this as the top product is because it hits all the key aspects that are necessary without overdoing with unnecessary features, while maintaining quality.
It has the right amount of pulsating speed levels at 5 speeds. When on the highest of speeds, the 4th and 5th level are close to undistinguishable. So other products with more speeds are simply frivolous.
Ekrin chose the right amount of speeds that actually have an impact in feel and comfort. Level 1 (the slowest) is great to begin the massage, and then level 4 feels great to finish the muscle group.
Another great advantage of this massager gun? It’s got a variety of different massager heads or attachments. This is great when you’re switching muscles or areas on the body. For instance, the bulb-like head provides more depth and a greater vibration in deep and bigger muscles, such as the gluteal region. Meanwhile, the smaller attachments provide more comfort along bony areas, such as the upper back and trapezius muscles. These smaller attachments prevent discomfort associated with placing the device on bony protrusions, since it allows for a more refined area of application.
The fork is my favorite on the corners of the feet, and coverage of the muscles aligned to the spine. It massages those muscles without touching the bone.
Lastly, with 8 hours of battery life, the Ekrin B37 is the longest life battery product available. This is perfect for repeated usage for professional settings.
- Ergonomic handle
- Able to deliver up to 60 lbs of force
This percussive massage gun comes with many pros compared to cons. Perhaps its biggest downfall is how much it weighs, which could make it difficult for some users to comfortably use it. However, it does come with varying pressure levels, is fairly quiet, is stable, and provides optimal comfort for the user via the many different ways to hold it.
The Theragun pro is also the most expensive of the bunch, which is why it is not the top pick. Features like extra removable battery, app controlled custom speeds, and the multiple handle positions that can be created are unique and certainly justify the price. However, this type of gun would be better suited for someone who has experience using the gun and can take advantage of these types of premium features.
Another important aspect to note for this gun is the depth of penetration. A massage gun should be able to go deep into the muscular tissue. If it’s only brushing the surface, you won’t get the same effects, and at that rate, you might as well head to your local massage therapist. This massager gun claims to go 60% deeper than the average massager gun, which makes it a top competitor in our list.
- Weighs only 2.2 lbs
- Affordable compared to other brands and types
With 5 built-in power speeds, this percussion massage gun is light in weight, quieter than your average toothbrush, and relatively easy to use. However, the handle isn’t as ergonomically friendly as other massager guns. Yet, the lower cost may make-up for this.
The battery life also leaves something to be desired. However, if you’re only using it for about 10 minutes each time on various muscles and if you were to use it every day, this would last almost two weeks.This gun, like the Theragun Pro, also reaches 60% deeper than the average massage gun. Again, this has many advantages, since it is the depth and force that will produce the benefits of these devices. It also comes with various attachments, along with suggestions on what body parts to use them on, which is great for those that have never used a massager gun before.
Hyperice Hypervolt Plus
- Sleek design
- 5 different attachment pieces
- Carrying case available at an extra cost
The Hyperice Hypervolt Plus massage gun’s saving grace is that it comes with 5 different attachment heads. Unfortunately, there isn’t much else that sets it apart. Consumers report that it’s louder than other types and brands.
The battery life is below average, and it’s fairly heavy for a massage gun. Yet, the design does offer a bit more. The grip handle makes it easy to use and apply to the body, providing ease of use and optimal comfort. However, the weight may counteract these benefits, depending on the person.
Cyrotex Massage Gun
- The most affordable compared to all other massage guns
- 20 speeds
- Lightweight at only 2 lbs
The Cyrotex Massage Gun is probably one of the most cost-effective guns on the market. It’s lightweight, easy to use, has a relatively good battery life, is quiet, and offers 20 levels of intensity (which is way more than the average massage gun).
With the differing levels of intensity, each individual may find it easier to find a level that works for them and their comfort level. However, it may not provide as much comfort with use.
What Else Should You Know?
If you’re new to any massage gun, the key is to go slow. Start on the lowest possible setting and find the best pressure or intensity for you and your body. Avoid any bony protrusions, since the gun can bruise these areas or cause pain and injury - especially if you aren’t careful.
For instance, if you went for a run or went full-throttle on leg day, using this gun on your hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes may provide some relief in the days that follow. If you’re using the product correctly, which means a maximum of two minutes per area, using the percussion massager should only take about 10 minutes.
And who knows? A percussion massage gun might be just what you’re missing as part of your recovery routine! Luckily, you found a list full of the best percussion massage guns, as described above. Choose wisely and enjoy recovering in the best way possible after your next workout.