The Best Massage Guns of 2020
You want—nay, need—a massage. You've spent the past few months either perched on a dining chair or supine on your sofa, and it hasn't done your back/neck/wellbeing any favors. Ditto your decision to jump spine-first into bodyweight exercises.
Problem is, the idea of sharing a small room with a touchy-feely stranger right now fills you with understandable dread. No amount of Enya or incense could allow you to relax. That's why we've rounded up our favorite percussive massage guns on the market; deep soft tissue manipulators that help recovery, decrease soreness, improve circulation, address posture issues and help you get more out of your muscles. They're pretty enjoyable, too.
So how do they work? Well, they’re designed to combat muscle soreness and aid recovery. It’s a deep tissue massage of sorts, achieved through rapid percussive movements that stimulate muscles, enhance blood flow, and soften knots. You can use them while warming-up or post-workout, and they feel pretty good too, hitting at all the right pressure points that can enhance the production of endorphins. At the very least, they can provide some short-term relief for problem areas.
It’s important that you choose the right model before you invest the money, though. You’ve got the think about the weight, strength, and battery life, as well as the accessories your body needs. That's why we've rounded up the very best on the market. Check them out below, from budget options to top-of-the-range athletics tools.
1| Shavron Massage Gun
One of the newest competitors on the massage gun market, and one of the quietest too with an impressive maximum noise output of 55db. You can put that down to its powerful brushless motor, which is capable of five speeds and reaches up to 53 percussions per minute. (We find that the fastest movement is the best for muscle therapy and the least likely to incur discomfort, but we believe that to be the case with every brand’s model. Let the head rest on your muscles, and don’t dig it in.) It comes with five different heads, though the foam ball is our favorite, and a handy carry case. Where it really shines, however, is its six-hour battery life which will see you right for many a post-gym percussion session. It’s deceptively light, too, and used by professional athletes. Top stuff.
2| Theragun Mini
The Theragun range is great, but wallet-friendly? Not until the Mini arrived this year. It doesn't link up to the app and it's nowhere near as multi-faceted or ergonomic as the company's pricier options, but it still packs a (pleasant) punch. The three power settings range up to 2,400 percussions per minute, it's surprisingly light and quiet, and it boasts a 150-minute battery life. A great starter model.
3| RENPHO Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager
The cheapest option, but one that many professionals swear by (we first found out about it thanks to popular YouTube physiotherapists Bob & Brad). It doesn't reach the speeds that other options on this list do, and the five interchangeable heads are made from hard plastic rather than rubber, but it still does a good job on aching muscles. Just make sure you watch videos for advice on proper technique, and don't just let it ravage your calf muscle for half an hour (we say that from experience.) Cordless, once charged it can provide over two hours of service. It's not too noisy, either.
4| Theragun Pro
The big dog. Alpha papa. Professional deep muscle treatment favored by the pros and the experts who keep them in tip-top condition. The OLED screen provides details on speed, all of which link up with the smart app to create a totally personalized experience (the app itself works in conjunction with other health apps to provide a bigger picture analysis). The arm rotates and pummels you muscles with up to 60lbs of force without waking your neighbors, or even a nearby fly, up from their slumber (for up to 300 minutes with one charge). The Supersoft head, one of six included, is also great for sensitive areas of your body that require a gentler approach.
Matte pink and neon green wouldn't be our ideal color scheme for anything, but the sturdy and dependable RecovaPro has overcome that handicap to earn fans all over the world. Five speeds and five heads provide a properly satisfying deep massage and, while it's not exactly cheap, it's a great transportable alternative to the Theragun range. Handy carry case, too.
6| Power Plate Pulse
Power Plate has previous when it comes to wobbly, vibration-orientated sports tech. The company created a series of muscle-activating balance boards, and now they've made the obvious transition to massage guns. This one is ultra portable and can be charged for up to 5 hours of power, making it perfect for gym trips.
7| Theragun Prime
The Theragun Pro, pricey as it is, was given that name for a reason. It's favored by experts and sports staff, but your average gym-goer needn't splash out that much money. The Theragun Prime is almost identical, but provides five power settings with around half as much force, four attachments, and a more than respectable 120 minutes of battery life. It connects to the same app and, at half the price, will still leave a big impact.
8| MuscleGun Carbon
Possible the lightest of the bunch (bar the Mini), the slick Carbon boasts a 90-day money-back guarantee and a two-year warranty – perfect for those of us who just want to test the waters (note: don't put it in water). It's a proper all-rounder, featuring four heads, five-speed settings, and 44lbs of force at a reasonable price, which makes it one of the best deals currently available on the market.
It kind of looks like a ray gun, and while we usually prefer our massage tools to look less terrifying, the HOPOSO has rave reviews. That's probably down to the price: under £100 for a model that features an LED touch screen, a carry case, up to six hours of battery life, and thirty (thirty!) different speeds. There are also six heads, some rubber, some hard plastic, for all manner of treatments.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.