Remember back in high school, when you nearly won state—and you would have, except for that busted knee? Well, we don’t either. We do, however, wistfully remember what life was like when we were active youths with furnace-like metabolisms. Now, though, many of us lead sedentary lives, especially those who have desk jobs, and that goes double for our WFH brethren.
That’s all the more reason to hop back on the fitness train in 2023, but after a long hiatus from gym zeal and bent steel, many of us have been uniquely, awfully, insanely sore. For that, we can thank DOMS. No, not that kind—we’re talking about Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, which is super common when you hit the gym after taking a long break from your fitness grind.
Of course, many of you hardcore health folks have been keeping up with your exercise plan on the reg, and regular muscle soreness is just a part of your everyday life. Either way, fitness freaks and gym noobs alike can all agree that one of the best ways to combat achy and stiff muscles is a good ol’ fashioned massage, and since we can’t always be shelling out our precious clams for a real-deal shiatsu session. we’re investing in the next best thing: a high-quality massage gun.
Now, it’s important to remember that you absolutely do not have to be a gym rat to own one of these babies. Everyone likes a good massage, and while they are great for people who do heavy resistance training and are looking for sports recovery equipment, soreness and muscle pain can come from a ton of different sources. That’s why we’ve put together this short list of the best massage gun models on the market right now, from high-end, celebrity-endorsed technological marvels to their affordable dupes. Blast on, friends.
The Best Beginner Massage Guns
If you’re psyched about the idea of owning a massage gun, but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. Ekrin Athletics makes a percussion massager that has up to 56 pounds of force in its compact design, comes with a travel case, and features a whopping eight-hour battery life. It’s also made with a unique, 15-degree angled handle, which allows for less wrist extension and the ability to target those hard-to-reach areas.
Another good starter piece is this aesthetically pleasing handheld massager (not a euphemistic product name) which comes from Lyric, a company on a mission to establish a new category in wellness, with its Rhythm Therapy—a combination of touch and movement with “vibroacoustic frequencies to stimulate the nervous system,” the website reads. “The result is customizable wellness based on your needs and preferences.” It also features an intuitive touch-screen display and comes in a variety of colorways.
The Best Mid-Range Massage Guns
Maybe you’re getting really into Crossfit lately, or you downright refuse to let Chad steal your latest Strava KOM. Whatever the source of your newfound fitness (and soreness), you need a massage gun that can match your tenacity. The Pulse Roll Muscle Massage Gun is reasonably priced and features quiet noise technology, so it doesn’t sound like you’re starting a lawn mower while you try to relax. It also sports a three-hour battery life, and includes six portable, easy-to-clean, interchangeable heads.
The Hypervolt 2 is another sweet option that you might have already heard of—it’s basically the original Hypervolt, but with some serious upgrades. It’s lighter and more powerful than Hyperice’s original version, and features a newly designed ergonomic handle. For even more insight into your health, the Hypervolt 2 is integrated with HyperSmart—tech that makes it easy to “find the warm-up and recovery plans that will help you feel and move better with step-by-step expert guidance through the Bluetooth connected Hyperice App,” according to the website.
We know you’ve heard of this one. The Theragun has practically become synonymous with the term “massage gun”—and for good reason. Therabody products are the cream of the crop when it comes to percussive recovery gadgets, and the Theragun Prime is no exception. It’s connected to the Therabody app, comes with four attachments, customizable speed settings, and has a unique, multi-angle grip for everyone and every body.
The Best Massage Gun 2022
OK, so you’re finally at the point where you’re eating every three hours to fuel your muscles, and you’ve haven’t had to swipe your key fob at the front desk of your local iron-working facility—sorry, we mean, “gym”—in months. You need a massage gun with all the bells and whistles, because you just finished leg day, and now you can’t sit on the toilet. Thankfully, Therabody has your back with the Theragun Pro. This is the Cadillac of percussive recovery gizmos, and the brand believes so strongly in its professional-grade durability that they throw in an industry-leading two-year warranty. Its grip is not only ergonomic and multi-angled, but the whole thing rotates so you can hit all of the hard-to-reach areas on your sore and stiff body. The PRO's commercial-grade brushless motor also delivers up to 60 pounds of force, quietly, with Active Torque Control that helps maintain power without diluting treatment speed or quality.
The Best Portable Massage Guns
Most of us don’t have the luxury of putting life on hold to get a good massage session in, which is why a portable massage gun is such a solid investment. Whether you have a long commute, you’re away on business, or you’re one of those
hardos people who like to work out on vacation, the Hypervolt Go and the Theragun Mini both feature compact, ergonomic designs that make them ideal for on-the-go recovery. The Hypervolt Go is equipped with Hyperice’s patented QuietGlide technology, which means it has a near-silent motor, which is perfect for getting some pain relief during a crowded commute—plus, it comes with two interchangeable head attachments. Not to be outdone, the Theragun Mini has a sizable 150-minute battery life, three speed settings, and an easy-to-use, multi-functional power and speed button.
The Best Affordable Massage Guns
We get it: Most of these massage guns cost significantly more than a real-life, premium massage does. Lucky for you, there are a slew of affordable massage gun alternatives out there that get the job done for far fewer of your hard-earned clams. The Olsky Deep Tissue Massage Gun is one of our favorites, since it holds a super-long charge and comes in at under 50 bucks. The TOLOCO Massage Gun is another great option, and while it’s a little pricier than the Olsky, it features 20 different vibration speeds and 15 attachments for blasting all parts of your body.
If you’re an “As Seen on TV” fiend like we are, just hearing “Sharper Image” is enough to conjure memories of infomercials filled to the brim with random gizmos and gadgets designed to improve your home’s QOL (quality of life, kings). This massage gun from Sharper Image was a major hit over the holiday season, landing as a perfect gifting option thanks to its budget-friendly price. While it’s technically the first gen version of the Powerboost massager, it still boasts all the features any average person could ask for in a percussive massager—including three speed settings and five attachments.
Now all that’s left to do is kick back, drink a protein shake, and relax.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.