This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated.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.

What is the best percussion massager?

You may be able to find relief from sore muscles at home with the use of a percussion massager. They’re great whether you’re training for an athletic event or you suffer from minor aches, pains or other muscular discomforts.

The Therabody Theragun PRO is an excellent percussion massager, particularly if you would like a fully customizable massage experience with an OLED screen and long battery life.

What to know before you buy a percussion massager

What does a percussion massager do?

A percussion massage gun utilizes extremely rapid, short-duration pulses to stimulate deep-tissue blood flow. When used properly, these pulses can help reduce pain. While many manufacturers claim a percussion massager can increase a range of motion, there is currently not enough conclusive scientific evidence to back up these statements.

How does a percussion massager work?

All percussion massagers utilize three elements to achieve relief, including depth (amplitude), speed and force.

  • Depth: The depth is how far the massage head moves back and forth.
  • Speed: The speed is how fast that head moves.
  • Force: The force is the amount of pressure users can apply before the unit stalls.

While the depth and force are usually unchangeable, the best percussion massagers offer various operation speeds.

Percussion massager benefits

The main benefit of these massagers is reducing aches and pains. They’re great for athletes, who commonly use them for training, speeding up muscle recovery.

However, they’re also great for people who suffer from aches and pains after a long day of sitting at a computer for work. If this sounds like you, a percussion massager may be the tool that helps you feel better and live a more active life.

Concerns about using a percussion massager

Before using a percussion massager, you must first check with your doctor to ensure this treatment is for you. Individuals who have recently had surgery, injured a bone, broken skin or have any chronic condition, such as herniated discs, should not use a percussion massager.

Additionally, people who cannot manage their own care or have sensory impairments may not safely use a percussion massager. Pay attention to how you feel and let your doctor know of any changes that arise while using a percussion massager.

What to look for in a quality percussion massager

Variety of massage heads

The shape of the massage head determines how to use the machine. While a large, round head is best for larger muscle groups, you need a narrow design to reach deeper trigger points. The more massage heads your massager has, the better you can target specific areas of your body.

Speed range

The speed of a percussion massager determines the intensity of the massage. The best ones feature variable speed controls so you can choose the precise intensity of your session. However, most models feature a preset selection of three to six speeds.

Ergonomic design

The more comfortable your percussion massager is to hold, the better you can use it. If your hand quickly fatigues, you might not use your percussion massage gun as much as you should.

How much you can expect to spend on a percussion massager

While you can get a budget percussion massager for around $50, the better models start at $120. For most home use, you shouldn’t need to spend more than $300, though training athletes can spend as much as $600 or more for a top-of-the-line model.

Percussion massager FAQ

How long should a percussion massager session be?

A. You should use a percussion massager for a maximum of 2 minutes for any one muscle group. While the sensation might feel good at the time, extended use of a percussion massager in one location can cause bruising.

Can I use a percussion massager on any part of my body?

A. No. A percussion massager is only for muscle groups. You should not use it on bony or sensitive body areas, including but not limited to the head, cheeks, jaw, throat, eyes or genitals. Let pain be your ultimate guide: If it hurts, stop immediately.

What’s the best percussion massager to buy?

Top percussion massager

Therabody Theragun PRO

Therabody Theragun PRO

What you need to know: For individuals who want the best of the best, this is the top-performing percussion massager. It is designed for serious athletes.

What you’ll love: This model comes with six attachments, a charger, two rechargeable batteries and a carrying case. It offers customizable operation with a smart app and a rotating head.

What you should consider: This model may be the best, but it also costs considerably more.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon (4th generation)

Top percussion massager for the money

Best PlayMakar MVP Percussion Massager

PlayMakar MVP+ Percussion Massager

What you need to know: It’s perfect for intense and deep muscle treatment.

What you’ll love: This model offers six levels of speed and a 14-millimeter stroke length for deep tissue treatment. It operates at a reasonably quiet level (less than 48 decibels).  It comes with four innovative massage heads, designed to provide comfort to all areas of your body.

What you should consider: Some users would like a carry case and more heads.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Sportneer Percussion Massage Gun

Sportneer Percussion Massage Gun

What you need to know: This powerful machine has five speeds and is affordably priced.

What you’ll love: The six included massage heads give you plenty of options, while the high-torque motor delivers a potent massage. It runs relatively quietly, at 35-45 decibels, and lasts for 6 hours before it needs recharging.

What you should consider: Some of the massage heads aren’t all that useful.

Where to buy: Sold by 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.

Allen Foster 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.