This year a lot of athletic guys discovered the benefits of massage guns. These devices used to be an athletic recovery and stress-relief secret kept on the down-low by pro athletes and sports therapists. Now, these tools are being adopted by everyone from casual runners to occasional weightlifters.
Theragun is currently the dominator in the world of massage guns, but it comes with a price — a hefty one, that is. Don’t get us wrong, while Theragun gets the job DONE, many athletes look for alternatives that won’t cost them a pretty penny.
Theragun products cost a ton because they deliver a major upgrade that your average Brookstone novelties don’t have, by ensuring a precise, concentrated overall functionality. They typically consist of a ball head that rapidly massages your muscles in what’s called percussive therapy (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt), but sometimes utilizes a rubbing motion as well. Massage guns are built for athletic recovery — loosening tight muscles, reducing chronic pain, relieving soreness, etc — but they’re also great for portable, easy stress-relief.
Whether you’re swooned by the Theragun’s seemingly mystical powers, or you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to balance your back and your bank, check out some of our favorite options below.
1. Theragun G3 Percussive Therapy Device
The Thereagun G3 Percussive Therapy Device is the most affordable Theragun device on the market offering relief via a fast-moving massage head (choose from 29 or 40 strokes-per-second) and a highly portable design. It’s the creme-of-the-crop when it comes to affordable massage guns, and it’s what you’ll find in the lockers of many athletes and fitness geeks.
Pros: Motor pulses up to 40x per second, 60-minute battery runtime. High-quality attachments.
Cons: More costly than other massage guns. From an older generation of Theragun products. Only has two speed settings.
2. Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun
The Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage gun is an affordable option that has five speed settings and comes with a variety of massage head attachments. It also boasts a heavy-duty construction that will stay stable at all of the speed settings. The device itself is also on the quieter side when in use.
Pros: Quiet motor, adjustable speeds and massage heads, easy to use and stable construction.
Cons: Vibration can become bouncy on more contoured muscles.
3. Exerscribe VYBE Percussion Massage Gun
While Exerscribe makes a few different massage guns, the brand’s new Vybe Pro delivers an impressive 3,400 strokes per minute. In our experience, anything about 3,200 will be painful for many users, especially around tighter muscles and bones, but it’s a powerful deep tissue massager for those looking for an intense massage. This is also a highly versatile massager, with multiple settings and massage heads.
Pros: Intense but quiet brushless motor. Three-hour battery life, nine speed settings and eight massage head attachments. Great battery life. Carrying case included.
Cons: Will be too intense for many users. This massage gun is heavier than other options, which can fatigue your hands.
4. Percussion Massage Gun
Sportneer has created a powerful yet affordable massage gun, which boasts a sleek light-up design, easy-to-use controls and a variety of strength settings. On the low end, the Sportneer massage gun delivers a mild 1,200 strokes per minute, while the highest setting delivers an intense 3,200 strokes per minute. The quiet brushless motor won’t make too much noise and lasts for hours on a single charge. At the price point, it’s a quality percussive massager.
Pros: Powerful brushless motor that reduces noise, up to 3,200 strokes per minute and a wide range of speed settings. Lightweight and easy-to-use. Hours of battery life on a full charge. Carrying case included for portability.
Cons: The highest speed setting may be too intense. Massage head attachments could be sturdier and better designed.