If you've been to see a physical therapist or browsed through your Instagram feed lately, you'll likely have come across a massage gun.
The correct terminology is a percussive massage gun, and these drill lookalikes are designed to help aid recovery, decrease sore muscles and increase motion by beating your muscles.
The original massage gun was launched in 2016, and since then a flood of brands have created their own, some are more well known than others.
The use of massage guns looks like it's on an upward trend, and the price is now more affordable than ever before. You can pick one up for under $100 if you know where to look.
The Best Massage Guns Right Now
1. XMIAO Massage Gun
This product is aimed towards fitness enthusiasts who want to relieve soreness from vigorous workout sessions. The uniquely-shaped heads of this deep tissue massager allow focus on hard-to-reach areas that larger massagers struggle to stimulate.
It is suitable for full-body use including joints, shoulders, spine and calves. This model can be customized to suit personal needs and wants with 20 speed levels, with a vibration frequency ranging from 1200 to 3800RPM per minute.
There are 6 different heads that can be used and detached from the main body. Each head has a unique shape to suit different contours and crevices of the body and different muscle groups.
There is a touch-screen display which features speed setting adjustments, massage speed and the battery life. This product is powered by a 2500mAh battery which offers 5 hours of running time before charging is required.
The handgrip is structured out of silicon which prevents slips and allows one-handed use. It operates at a low-noise level of 40dB, making it suitable for use in public areas without disturbing others. This massage gun comes in a black colour and is inclusive of a travel case.
This model has been sold thousands of times on Amazon alone. It's affordable, and built to a high standard with 20 adjustable speeds with a low noise output level. 6 changeable heads, with a carry case and stylish trim complete this package.
2. RENPHO Massage Gun
The RENPHO massage gun comes with 4 detachable massage heads to accommodate a variety of body areas and pain.
The ball head is suitable for soothing large muscle groups and joints, the bullet head can target smaller areas, the hammer head is for full-body stimulation while the U-shaped head fits the neck, spine and shoulder regions.
There are 20 speed settings which cater to different functions such as muscle stimulation, relaxation, breaking down lactic acid, deep massage and professional use for professional bodybuilders. The maximum force on this product is 3200RPM at the highest speed setting.
This product is fitted with a 2500mAh battery pack, delivering 8 hours of life through a single use. There is a touch-activated panel which showcases the battery life, current frequency and speed level adjustments.
This massager gun can be used at home, in a professional workplace or in the gym due to a noise level of only 63.5dB at the highest speed level. After 15 minutes of continuous use, this model automatically turns off to conserve power and prevent accidents.
This is an ideal product for a wide range of people including fitness enthusiasts. It comes with a carrying pouch and is available in a black finish.
3. Jollyfit Massage Gun
The Jollyfit massage gun can accommodate a variety of lifestyles from active ones to more sedentary professions. This product comes with 5 different massage heads to fit all over the body.
The round head should be used for large muscle groups, the U-shaped head fits the neck and shoulders, the cylinder head targets the joints while the flat head can be used anywhere for relaxation. There are 2 extra air cushion head that target responsive areas of the body.
There are lots of advertised benefits to using this device including pain relief, improving blood flow and activating muscle growth.
There are 30 adjustable speed settings which generate minimal noise at 60-70dB, making this product ideal for outdoor use without drawing attention and disturbing others.
The speed level and other controls can be accessed through a touchscreen LCD panel. 2 hours of continuous use is available after each charge due to the lithium-ion battery. The handle is wrapped with a silicon material which enables further control due to strong gripping qualities.
This product is available in a black colour and is inclusive of a travel bag which has dedicated indents for the gun and each massage head.
For those on an ultra low budget, the Jollyfit certainly ticks that box as you can see. It offers similar features to the premium models, without the price tag. Plus you still get 6 massage heads, a carry case and 30 variable speeds. Poor instructions and a lower battery life are noticeable.
4. Darkiron Massage Gun
Using the Darkiron massage gun has many advantages including improving blood circulation and quick pain relief. This product is inclusive of 6 uniquely-shaped massage heads for deep tissue massage and relaxing in all areas of the body.
The round head is suitable for large muscle groups, the U-shaped head is curved to wrap the spine and shoulders, the flat head can be used anywhere for muscle relaxation whereas the cylinder head reaches all the tight crevices of the body. There are 2 additional heads for soft tissue massage.
This product has 30 modifiable speed settings to fit personal needs and wants. The highest force is at 3300 percussions per minute while the lowest is at 400. However, even at the highest setting, this massage gun does not generate sounds more than 50dB.
There is a touchscreen panel where the speed can be customized and the gear setting is displayed. There is also an LED indicator to show the battery life. This product is embedded with a battery that delivers up to 6 hours of continuous use before charging is needed.
It is suitable for use before warm-ups or for post-workout recovery. This product comes in a black colourway and a travel pouch.
5. JAWKU Muscle Blaster
This model is equipped with 4 attachable massage heads that target both large and small muscle groups, making it suitable for full-body pain relief. The handle for the massage head is angled at 15° to accommodate and reach every contour and crevice in the body such as the elbow.
There are 5 speed levels available where 1400 to 3200 percussions per minute can be adjusted to cater to different body parts and personal preferences. This product has LED 5 lights to indicate the speed level and separate buttons to adjust it.
There are also 4 LED lights to show the battery life. Additionally, this model can be used at home, in professional environments or at the gym due to a low-noise of 40dB maximum even at the highest setting.
This product is equipped with a 2550mAh battery which offers between 4 to 6 hours of use depending on the intensity. The benefits to operating this massager include better blood circulation and fragmenting scar tissue.
This model comes in a black and orange colorway in a matte finish. There is an included nylon case that has space for each massage head and piece.
What to look for in a massage gun?
To learn more about what to look for in a massage gun, we spoke with Sarah Stanley, a physical therapist from Melbourne, Victoria.
"The most important things are reliability, noise and battery life." Sarah starts by telling us. "I always choose a combination of the three, but you will pay a lot more for a quieter device."
Ultimately when you're using a noisy device, it can be harder to talk, so if you're using it by yourself this shouldn't be a problem. If using for a commercial use Sarah says, "you want to be able to talk over the sound, so a noisy massage gun is impractical."
Battery life is another big factor with different models offering up different levels of juice. Sarah says, "You don't want the gun to die during use, so either ensure you've got a battery level indicator, or something that will last a good few hours."
Ultimately from our own research, you don't need to spend up large to get a combination of all three, but you may be expected to pay over $100. Most models are the same, just rebranded in a different colour, brand name or style.
Sarah goes on to say, "Make sure you watch some online tutorials on how to actually use a massage gun properly, as the instruction manuals are useless."
Why Use a Percussion Massage Gun?
They should be used as an alternative to a foam roller, but can also be used as a stand alone treatment device. The benefits include reduced stress, pain and tension, to increased blood circulation.
"They are great devices for pre-workouts and recovery. We see many long distance cyclists, mixed martial arts and footballers using them on a daily basis," says Sarah.
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