This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Massage guns

Massage guns, also called percussive massagers, have risen in popularity the last few years. According to many consumers, they’re the preferred method to relieve muscle tension and soreness at home. But are they worth it?

It depends. Some people say they’re not worth the investment, since they’re expensive and may not deliver the relief you need. Others say massage guns end up being much cheaper than getting professional massages. 

What you need to know about massage guns

How does a massage gun work?

Massage guns deliver relief with rapid pulses or vibrations that boost blood flow to muscles. After repeated impact, muscles warm up, relieving tension or soothing cramping. 

Many massage guns come with attachment heads for targeted massage. A wedge head, for example, is used for scraping shoulder blades, while a ball head targets larger muscle groups. 

How are massage guns powered?

Most massage guns are cordless and run on rechargeable batteries. Depending on the device, their batteries may offer up to four hours of mixed use. This is different from continuous runtime, in which most massage guns only run for about 20 minutes at a time.

Is it hard to use a massage gun?

Massage guns are appreciated for their user-friendly design. Some even have companion apps for in-depth guidance on massage techniques, as well as muscle targeting or attachment head use. 

Massage gun pros

Cheaper than massages

In the long run, massage guns end up being more cost-effective than getting professional massages. The average professional massage costs $60-$150 for a 60-minute session. Massage guns cost $150-$500 to purchase and own. It only takes a handful of uses for a massage gun to emerge as a cheaper alternative. 

Customized experience

Massage guns offer a controlled, customized experience. Many are equipped with a variety of speed and pulse settings. It’s also common for massage guns to come with up to six attachments for targeted massage of specific muscle groups or body parts.

Perks of portability

Massage guns are more portable than many other types of massagers, such as cushion massagers. Not only are they cordless, their compact designs make them travel-friendly. Many massage guns include carry cases as well. 

Massage gun cons

Not the same as professional massages

Some people feel having to operate their massage guns detracts from the overall therapeutic experience. Instead, they prefer what professional massages offer in total relaxation and relief. 

A professional massage also is more comprehensive. Massage guns are somewhat limited in their capabilities, while a licensed massage therapist may offer deeper, more dynamic massage. 

Hard-to-reach areas

Massage guns are compact, so users need to stretch, bend or contort to cover hard-to-reach areas. It’s more difficult to use a massage gun on the back, so many people need to enlist the help of a partner to use the device in these areas. 

High price

Since massage guns cost $150-$600, they’re not within everyone’s budget. If users don’t plan on using their massage gun on a regular basis, they may end up wasting money.

Are massage guns worth it?

Massage guns are a smart buy for people who expect to use them frequently to relieve muscle tension, soreness and cramps. While most often used by performance athletes and active individuals, they’re just as useful for other types of needs. 

Best massage guns

Theragun G3PRO

Theragun G3PRO

This premium massage gun is feature-rich, with an ergonomic design, six foam attachments and an adjustable arm for hard-to-reach areas. Each pulse delivers up to 60 pounds of force.

Where to buy: Amazon

iReliev Percussion Massage Gun

iReliev Percussion Massage Gun

The battery for this affordable massage gun offers four hours of runtime. It operates more quietly than comparable models and weighs less than 2 pounds.  

Where to buy: iReliev

PlayMakar MVP Percussion Massager

PlayMakar MVP Percussion Massager

With six speeds and six attachments, this massage gun delivers a customized therapeutic experience. It has a brushless motor for quiet operation at approximately 45 decibels. 

Where to buy: PlayMakar

Hyperice Hypervolt Bluetooth Percussion Massager

Hyperice Hypervolt Bluetooth Percussion Massager

A popular mid-range option, this Bluetooth massage gun is controlled through the Hyperice app. Users can adjust settings to target specific muscle groups or body parts.  

Where to buy: Amazon

Best Theragun Mini 2nd Generation

Theragun Mini (2nd Generation)

Appreciated for its travel-friendly design, this massage gun is great for relieving cramps and soreness on the go. It has three-speed settings and its rechargeable battery lasts up to 150 minutes. 

Where to buy: Amazon

Best TheraGun Elite

TheraGun Elite

This dynamic massage gun has three arm angles to cover hard-to-reach areas, head to toe. It has five speed settings and comes with five attachments. 

Where to buy: Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.