Which Massage Gun Is Best For Me? Buyer’s Guide On Choosing The Right Massage Gun
A massage gun targets the pressure points in your body, using oscillating movements to create rapid pulses that help in pain relief. Besides providing comfort, massage guns also loosen up knots in muscles and reduce soreness.
More importantly, they stimulate blood flow. Since these guns are handheld, they’re easy to use and conveniently portable. However, finding the perfect massage gun is not as easy as it may seem since there are many options available.
Below, we help you choose the best massage gun for daily use.
How To Choose The Best Massage Gun?
Massage guns have some functional factors, while others are secondary. While the former is integral, the latter is optional, yet make your massaging experience better.
Another simple categorization of massage guns is based on their oscillating technique - percussion or vibration. Both kinds are equally efficient, and your choice merely depends on your preferences.
Here are some features you should consider when buying a massage gun.
Amplitude refers to the oscillation’s extent from the position where the gun’s head touches your skin. Basically, if the amplitude is higher, the gun will offer deeper and stronger vibrations.
Typically, high-amplitude devices are percussion, while those with a lower amplitude fall under the vibration massage guns category.
If you’re using a massage gun with a higher amplitude, you can get a comparable massage even at a lower speed. For instance, a high-amplitude massage gun working at 2500 RPM may have the same intensity as a low-amplitude massage gun working at 3200 RPM.
But how do you decide between the two? Usually, high-amplitude massage guns are preferred by athletes since they have a higher pain tolerance. Moreover, they need an intense massage to relieve deep muscle pains and soreness.
On the contrary, regular users will find low-amplitude massage guns to be just as useful. If you have low pain tolerance, a high-amplitude massage gun might be painful for you.
Speed determines how quickly the massage gun works. Simply put, it is the measure of the number of times the massager’s head hits your skin. As the speed goes up, so does the intensity.
Typically, massage guns have a speed range from 2000 to 32000 RPM.
In some cases, the speed is also mentioned in percussion per minute or seconds. You should look for massage guns with 1400 to 2800 PPM.
However, there’s no one-fits-all speed since everyone’s needs are different. Thus, it’s better to opt for a massage gun that has variable speeds, such as the Exogun with six speed settings.
While lower speed settings are suitable for comforting sore muscles, high speeds help relieve deeper-set pains and tight knots.
Motor power is another fundamental aspect of choosing the best massage gun. A motor’s power level impacts the rigidity of the massage.
The most important term to know about motor power is the stall force. It refers to the amount of pressure needed to be applied by a massage gun before its motor stalls. A motor with higher power will have a higher stall force and more percussion power.
It’s best to choose a massage gun that has a brushless motor. Such motors are better than other kinds of motors since they offer a deep-tissue massage.
Additionally, brushless motors are also less noisy and do not increase the whole unit’s size.
In most cases, people tend to use their massage guns at home or the gym. However, if you travel a lot or plan to keep your massage gun in the luggage, you must consider its portability too.
Most massage guns come with a carrying case, so this is not always a concern. A case also enables you to keep all the massage gun attachments in one place.
Another thing to keep in mind when determining portability is the weight. Choose a massage gun that weighs about 2 to 2.5lbs as it’s the perfect size for easy portability.
However, if a massage gun is on the heavier side but otherwise has stellar features, we recommend you to go for it. You can always make some extra room in your bag for the additional weight and size.
Since they have motors, massage guns tend to make a certain level of noise. But some are noisier than others and might end up giving you a headache while you’re trying to comfort your muscles.
When buying massage guns online, read the reviews to see if someone has complaints about noise. Preferably, you should buy in person as it will allow you to check the noise level for yourself.
Fortunately, most companies write the noise production, in decibels, in their massage guns’ product descriptions. Don’t forget to check that information.
Here’s an overview of the standard noise production for massage guns:
- Lower than 50 decibels: Very quiet
- 50 to 60 decibels: Quiet
- 60 to 70 decibels: Acceptable
- More than 70 decibels: Too loud
When buying handheld massage guns, it’s essential to consider their battery life. A device with a short battery span will often disappoint you, requiring a recharge when you’re in dire need of a massage.
On the other hand, a massage gun with a longer battery life will allow you to give yourself a massage without worrying about the battery running out. Make sure the massage gun at least has an hour-long battery duration.
Travelers will fancy Exogun since it has month-long battery life.
Some massage guns even come with multiple battery packs so that you can use one while the others are recharging.
Removable Or Non-Removable?
A majority of the massage guns come with removable batteries. If you consider portability, removable batteries are a huge yes since they can be stored anywhere. However, these take a bit longer to charge.
On the other hand, non-removable batteries charge quickly, but such massage guns take more room. So, which one to choose?
If the features are similar, always choose a removable version. But if the device has better features and a reasonable price, there’s no harm in opting for a non-removable battery.
The attachment heads on a massage gun determine the kinds of massages you can get from it. Plus, different attachment heads allow you to massage multiple body parts with the same device.
Some standard attachments include a bullet head and a ball head. However, some massage guns also have other attachments, such as thumb, wedge, and cone. They’re suitable for massaging smaller body parts, such as the hands.
Depending on the number of attachments, you can massage the following parts; upper arms, forearms, neck, chest, shins, adductors, quads, glutes, hands, lower back, feet, deltoids, and upper back.
Keep in mind that as the number of attachments increases, the price does too.
Quite unfortunately, many people overlook the design when looking for the best massage gun. After all, if a device is giving you a massage, why would you care about how it looks, right? Well, you certainly have to care.
A massage gun’s design isn’t just an important consideration for aesthetics but also for practicality. If a massage gun has an ergonomic design, it will lower the strain on your hands and wrists, especially when you’re using it for extended periods.
On the other hand, poorly designed massage guns have uneven weight distribution, are bulky, and may sprain your wrists during use.
If you take a look at the massage guns sold by high-end companies in the market, there are three main design types commonly sold:
- Handheld massage gun
- Jigsaw frame
- Triangular frame
Massage guns with a triangular frame mostly offer percussion massage therapy. Moreover, they often come with a rotating arm. The most notable thing about this design is the ergonomics, as you get a secure grip and easy maneuverability in difficult-to-reach body parts too.
On the other hand, jigsaw frame massage guns have a minimalistic design that’s an intermediate between the other two designs. Some options in this regard include the Kraftgun and Lifepro Pulse Fx.
Although this design is not as common, it’s a favorite among people who need an intense massage.
Finally, the handheld is the most common design. Besides satisfactory ergonomics, you can also find a handheld massage gun in almost every price range.
Most people choose standard handheld massage guns since you can find one as low as $50 or as high as $500. Plus, these massage guns are easier to carry since they fit in most cases.
Massage guns are undoubtedly expensive but paying a high upfront cost is still better than spending $50 on a massage every week. Moreover, having a massage gun at home means you can give yourself or a family member a massage whenever needed.
Generally, high-end massage guns cost a bit more since they have powerful motors, ergonomic designs, and a ton of additional features. Here are the three price ranges for massage guns:
Such massage guns are mostly Chinese products and have average features. They offer percussion and vibrational massage therapies, but you might notice some flaws in design, noise, or performance.
However, massage guns under $100 are suitable for beginners or people who only need occasional light massages.
$100 to $350
Massage guns in this range are ideal for a variety of users, from athletes to the elderly. Nowadays, it’s easy to find massage guns below $300 with exceptional features and reliable performance.
Most massage guns in this range are lightweight, come with carrying cases, durable, and have multiple speed settings.
If you’re an athlete or have been recommended daily massages by your doctor or a healthcare professional, you should look for a massage gun in this range.
These massage guns come with several additional features, such as easily maneuverable heads, extra attachments, and dual functionalities.
Why do you need a massage gun? Do you intend on using it every day or only want occasional massages? All these things impact your choice of a massage gun and the budget.
If you’re in need of therapy against tendonitis, sciatica, or related conditions, you should look for a high-end massage gun with additional attachments and high amplitude.
On the other hand, if you’re merely a hobbyist or want to use a massage gun to relieve minor pains after coming home from work, you should look for a more affordable model.
Such a massage gun will provide considerable functionality and ease of use without breaking your bank.
The efficiency of a massage gun is determined by a number of features, as explained below.
As discussed earlier, the stall force or percussion force is the maximum pressure a motor can apply before it stops. The unit for stall force is pounds.
If a massage gun has a higher percussion force, it will offer a more potent message. Here’s a standard amount of stall force you need for different kinds of massages:
- 20 lbs to 30 lbs: Soft massage
- 30 lbs to 50 lbs: Moderately intense massage
- More than 50 lbs: Intense massage
Stroke length is synonymous with amplitude and is measured in millimeters. It refers to the distance a massage gun moves back and forth. If a device has the same speed and stall force, the effect of its stroke length will be:
- 10 mm to 12 mm: Soft tissue massage
- 13 mm to 16 mm: Deep tissue massage
- 17 mm to 20 mm: For rare conditions when higher intensity is required.
An expensive massage gun doesn’t always equate to higher durability. So, make sure the massage gun has at least a 12-month warranty. Some brands even offer repairs for a year, and that’s always a feature to keep an eye out for.
Also, check their customer service. Do they even respond to complaints? Have previous buyers had poor experiences with returns and repairs? You can get all this information from a brand’s social media comment section, website review section, or third-party review sites.
The best massage gun for you might not satisfy someone else. Therefore, you have to consider your individual needs, budget, and medical conditions before purchasing a massage gun.
Since the guide has comprehensively discussed every feature of massage guns, you can now easily choose one for regular use.