We’re no strangers to massage here on TrueRelaxations. We’ve covered the benefits of both massage and self-massage, arguing that in some regards self-massage is superior to getting a massage. With that in mind, there are of course limits to what you can do with your hands when it comes to self-massage. This is where self-massage tools like massage guns come in handy (literally). With massage guns you can access tense points and induce deep tissue massage easier that would otherwise be rather difficult to do with only your hands.
Handheld massage guns have become increasingly popular for both professional athletes and casual gym-goers alike. Those that deal with chronic-pain and those who just want a healthy and strong body also use these babies frequently. The reasons and benefits of massage in general and percussive therapy in particular are many, ranging from muscle-pain relief, muscle recovery to increased flexibility, improved blood circulation and much more.
However, that’s not all, improved sleep, less stress, anxiety relief and a stronger immune system can also result from percussive therapy and massage.
Things to Consider
First, however, let us briefly go through some essential points to take into consideration before purchasing a massage gun:
- Speed & Power: Keep an eye out for massage guns where the speed i.e. the percussions/strokes per minute and the power i.e. the depth of the strokes can be adjusted (there should at least be two settings). The reason why adjustability is important is because some body parts are more sensitive than others, whether due to the area or because of the muscles happen to be sore, tense or in pain because of a previous workout.
- Loudness: Generally the more powerful the massage gun, the more sound it will produce. Now this all depends on what you can tolerate and how serious you are with your percussive therapy. For example if you’re a serious athlete or sports enthusiast, you may overlook the noise in order for getting the best therapy available for your body. However if you’re more of a casual user of the massage gun, then quietness can be the better choice for you. Ideally try to choose one below 65 decibels.
- Design & Handle: The design and how the device fits into your hand is another important aspect to take into consideration. Short-handled massage guns are optimal for muscles or areas of the body that are easily reachable, while other types of long-handled massagers (manual or automatic) allows you to access more difficult areas, like say the upper back.
- Battery Life: Technology has come a long way, most quality massage guns should be able handle longer sessions without needing to recharge. Some guns come with swappable batteries, which can be quite helpful in case you’re travelling.
- Customization & Accessories: Most massage guns come with round hard foam heads. Some brands offer extra head attachments to make it more multi-functional and versatile in its usage. This customization allows for a safer and more optimal massage of different areas of the body. A handy carrying bag/case for the massage gun is also a plus.
If you’re convinced that you need to get a massage gun, here are our carefully done reviews of the best 5 percussion massagers on the market today in 2020, taking into consideration quality, brand, price and overall effectiveness. Moreover at the end of the article we’ve also got a couple of suggestions on how to best use your newly procured massage gun!
With no further a due, let’s get some!
Top Pick: Theragun G3
- 2 different speeds
- Unique triangular design with 3 different ways to grip the device
- 4 different massage heads
- Includes free travel case
- Comes in 2 different colors (black & white)
- Comes in three versions: G3, G3 Pro and Theragun Liv
Theragun is one of the biggest names in the massage gun industry. Based in Los-Angeles, the company offers three massage gun models: G3, G3 Pro and Theragun Liv. Our top pick is the mid-range option: G3, where you get a nice array of features and effectiveness for a reasonable price. While the G3 Pro is no doubt the best massage gun available on the market, it is also the most expensive. Theragun Liv on the other hand, which is their cheapest model, simply isn’t that good of a product, that is in comparison to other massage guns in that price range, like VYBE.
The mid-range G3 with its unique triangular and ergonomic design comes with 4 different massage heads to target different areas, two speed settings (1750 and 2400 percussions / minute), and a free travel case. The triangular design gives you the option to grip it in three different ways to best massage different parts of the body.
If you’re looking for a quality massage gun that will last, the G3 is the right choice for you.
Best of the Cheap: VYBE
- 90 degrees rotating arm
- Includes a free travel case/bag
- Includes 3 massage tips (standard ball, large ball and cone)
- Comes with two batteries and charges in 1 hour
- 6 different speeds where you can choose between 500-2400 strokes / minute
- Good design (ergonomic and cordless)
- Can get quite noisy (60 – 80 decibels)
- Comes in three versions, VYBE, VYBE PRO and VYBE PRO PREMIUM
VYBE is one of the best massage guns out there, especially considering the price tag, which is about half of the price of the Theragun G3. VYBE is a powerful machine, and its loudness i.e. up to 80 decibels on the max setting, attests to that fact. Luckily it has 6 different speed settings (500-2400 strokes / minute), which is a much bigger spectrum than most other massage guns. While VYBE is powerful it is also versatile, as it can be used for more sensitive areas because of its lower speed options and its 3 massage tips. The rotating arm that holds the tips can be adjusted (up to 90) to reach different areas more effectively. Another great thing about VYBE is that you get two batteries, which is great for travel or lazy people.
VYBE is a great option, although they also offer three models, if you’re a bit on the fence on whether to get a good massage gun or the cheapest one, the bang for the buck is second to none, and this is precisely why we listed VYBE as the best of the cheap.
Most Versatile: Apollo Kinetics Pulse Massage Gun
- 3 speed settings
- Lightweight in 2.35 lbs with battery
- 4 massage heads to target different parts in different ways (cushion, hammer, spine, pinpoint)
- Comes in two different colors (cool blue and volt green)
- Includes travel case
If you’re looking for a versatile, quiet yet powerful massage gun, Apollo Kinetics Pulse Massage Gun could be what you’re looking for. The massage tips are 4, namely cushion, hammer, spine, pinpoint. Each designed for a specific purpose and/or body part. The price is excellent, below 100$, which makes it cheaper even than VYBE. But VYBE is a beast in comparison when it comes to raw power.
The Pulse Massage Gun by Apollo Kinetics is better suited for those that want a more versatile massage gun used in a more casual way. Its very lightweight and highly portable.
How to Use a Massage Gun
It may be hard to know how and when to actually use this great piece of technology. Is it before a workout or after? Before sleep or after you wake up? How long should you use it and which parts of the body? Here are a couple suggestions on how to best and when to use the massage gun:
- Better Performance: If you want to perform better in the gym or the sport that you practice, using the massage gun 30 minutes before the workout, focus on the areas where the exercises focus on the most in order to loosen up the muscles and increasing the general mobility. This is not only good for performing better but also for preventing injuries to occur.
- Improved Recovery: For optimal recovery of muscles, it is recommended to have a certain window between the work-out session and the massage session. This window of time can be hours up to one day. Try avoiding using the massage gun directly after a training session, let your body and muscles rest. The areas to focus the massage gun on are in and around the muscles that you’re exerting.
- Better Sleep: If you’re looking to improve your sleep quality and lessen the time it takes to fall asleep, using the massage gun in combination with other self-massaging techniques 20-30 minutes before bedtime is a good way to do it. The areas to massage should be the entire body, but don’t over do it, we don’t want to over stimulate the muscles and blood flow, just a little massage everywhere is perfect.