Shopping Guide: The Best Massage Guns and Theragun Alternatives of 2020

hypervolt massage gun
Courtesy of Hyperice
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This year a lot of athletes discovered the benefits of massage guns. These workout recovery devices used to be a sports massage and stress-relief secret kept on the down-low by pro athletes and physical therapists. Now, these tools are being adopted by everyone from casual runners to occasional weightlifters. The massage gun market is currently dominated by one brand: Theragun. However, thanks to the high price tag (Theragun massage guns cost between $300 to $600), a lot of athletes have gone looking for reasonably priced Theragun alternatives.

Why are Theragun products so expensive? These small, gun-shaped devices aren’t like the handheld massagers that you’re used to. Those awkward devices rarely provided any actual relief from pain and soreness, and they were more of a Brookstone novelty than a genuine massage tool. Theragun delivered a major upgrade to regular handheld massagers with more precise, concentrated functionality. They 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, breaking down lactic acid, reducing chronic pain, relieving soreness, etc. — but they’re also great for portable, easy stress-relief.

Recently, Theragun rebranded as Therabody and released a new generation of premium massage guns. Even the basic model, Therabody Prime, outclasses the best massage guns from competitors.

theragun therabody prime Courtesy of Therabody

This “simplified” percussive therapy massager has a quiet brushless motor and lasts for two hours on a full charge. Noise was a major problem with earlier Theragun products, but the Prime significantly cuts down on the noise. This massage gun has five speed settings that range from 1,750 strokes per minute to 2,400 strokes. Plus, it can connect to the new Therabody app via Bluetooth. Yet at $300, it’s much more expensive than the best massage guns on Amazon (see our top Theragun alternatives below).

  

What Are The Best Theragun Alternatives?

Therabody massage guns are effective, high quality tools, but there’s still the problem of the price tag.

You can buy the Theragun Prime for $300, while the new Theragun Elite will set you back $400. The Theragun Pro costs $600 and comes with two rechargeable batteries and an adjustable massage arm, among other bells and whistles. That’s great for pro athletes, but outside most people’s budget. Unfortunately, some of the highest quality alternatives to the Theragun are actually more expensive than the cheapest Theragun models.

Dependable massage guns from trusted brands aren’t cheap. As a result, we went looking for affordable Theragun alternatives, with some starting at just $90. However, not every cheap massage gun you can find on Amazon is worth buying. Whenever a new device becomes popular, a lot of cheap imitations enter the market to capitalize on the trend. We saw the same problem with hoverboards a few years ago. Once hoverboards become the must-have device, offshore manufacturers and drop-shippers flooded the market with look-a-like products, some of which had a tendency to catch fire unexpectedly. Unfortunately, thanks to the popularity of the Theragun and other percussion massagers, you will find a lot of fakes and look-a-likes for sale among the top-rated massage guns.

If you want to invest in a massage gun, the best brands to know are Theragun and Hypervolt. The lower you go in price, the more you will sacrifice in quality. That being said, if you’re looking for the best massage guns and low-priced Theragun alternatives, keep reading for the most popular products.

1. Hypervolt Massage Device

BEST THERAGUN ALTERNATIVE

With a recent price drop to $300, the Hypervolt massage gun (from Hyperice) costs the same as the cheapest Therabody massagers, but some sports therapists actually prefer the Hypervolt to the Theragun, and not just because of the lower price. (See also: the Hypervolt Plus). Hypervolt has quietly become one of the best massage gun brands in the market. The Hypervolt costs slightly more than our other options, but it justifies its price tag with a super quiet motor, three speed settings that max out at 3,200 strokes-per-minute, and the best construction around (other than the Theragun). If you can swing it, the build quality and brand reliability of Hypervolt is worth the extra dough.

The features that set Hypervolt massage guns apart from Theragun:

  • Better variable speed and pressure settings
  • Super quiet motor
  • Comes with five different attachments
  • Longer battery life than the Theragun
  • More strokes per minute
best massage guns - hypervolt Courtesy of Amazon

  

2. Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun

BUDGET BUY

Muscle relief doesn’t have to break the bank. This massage gun from LifePro has a mix of positive and negative reviews on Amazon, with an overall positive rating. It has a lot of the same features as other popular massage guns but at a much better price point. The Sonic isn’t as loud as some Theragun alternatives, and it costs less than $200. The Sonic also has five speed settings and comes with a variety of attachments. Like the best massage guns, the Sonic delivers a targeted and powerful massage with thousands of percussions per minute. This device ranges from 1,200 to 2,800 strokes-per-minute, slightly less than the Hypervolt. However, like the Hypervolt, it features a quiet motor, a comfortable grip, and a long battery life.

best massage guns - sonic massage gun Courtesy of Amazon

  

3. Exerscribe Vybe Pro

MOST POWERFUL

Exerscribe makes a few different massage guns, and we’ve previously recommended the brand’s $150 Vybe V2 massage gun. However, the brand’s new Vybe Pro delivers an impressive 3,400 strokes per minute. In our experience, anything above 3,000 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 deep tissue massage. This is also a highly versatile massager, with nine speed settings and eight massage head attachments. Exerscribe includes a nice carrying case to hold all of the various attachments, which makes it easy to transport for physical therapy on-the-go. If you’re looking for the best massage gun under $200, this is a worthy option.

vybe pro 2 Courtesy of Amazon

  

4. Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun

CONTENDER

We previously named the original Sportneer massage gun as our top Budget Buy, but Sportneer recently released an updated version of this popular massager, the Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun. The brand sent SPY this new gun for testing, and once again we’ve been impressed by this budget massagers features. The newly updated Sportneer Massage Gun is whisper quiet at 30dB-40dB; however, the brushless motor still provides up to 3,200 strokes per minute, which is more than enough power for a satisfying deep tissue massage. And unlike most budget massage gun brands, Sportneer’s massager is backed by reliable customer service that you can trust.

Pros: Super quiet massage gun (30-45 decibels) with intense, targeted percussion massage. Long battery life with auto-shutoff to avoid overheating.

Cons: Massage heads could be higher quality. No app or smart features as with premium models.

sportneer massage gun Courtesy of Amazon

  

5. TimTam Massage Gun

MOST CUSTOMIZABLE

Another great massage gun under $300 comes from athletic brand TimTam. It offers a slight upgrade over the other budget massage guns on this list. Like the Hypervolt (and unlike the Theragun), the massage head can be adjusted on a 90-degree angle, which helps massage harder to reach areas of the body. This powerful massage gun also comes with its own carrying case, a lithium-ion battery charger, and a swappable battery pack. Because you can swap out the battery (buy extra batteries direct from TimTam), this is an excellent Theragun alternative for athletes who travel and sports therapists. The ergonomic design makes this an easy to use massager that provides instant relief to sore muscles.

tim tam massage gun Courtesy of Amazon

  

6. LifePro Pulse Fx

BEST FOR TRAVEL

This incredibly compact massage gun has powerful percussion capabilities and comes with its own protective travel case so packing and carrying it is easy. Your average percussive gun comes with about 11mm of amplitude, but this baby packs 16mm of amplitude — equal to the newest generation of Theragun devices. The massage head intensely penetrates your muscles, soothing and reshaping fascia in the process. The handle is easy to grip and the head’s arm has three different adjustable angles for getting to those hard-to-reach spots, a hard feature to find. The powerful vibrations will send ripples of therapeutic relaxing pulses through your muscles backed by a 250W motor with a battery life of up to seven hours. Customize your massage to your needs with three adjustable speeds and a variety of heads for doing different types of massage work.

Pulse Fx Massage Gun Courtesy of Amazon

  

7. TriggerPoint Impact Handheld Percussion Massage Gun

BEST TRIGGER POINT MASSAGE

Trigger point massage is known for targeting a specific muscle, tendon or sore spot and easing tension through targeted pressure. Trigger point foam rollers are known for mimicking this massage therapy at home, and this massage gun from a brand that just so happens to be called TriggerPoint is no different. This massage gun offers four speeds of targeted therapy designed to increase blood flow, hydrate muscle tissue and improve your range of motion so you can prep and recover from workouts effectively. The top-weighted design and angled handle enables you to have better control over the gun and maximize its effectiveness. The motor is quiet, brushless and runs for over two hours consistently on a single charge.

TriggerPoint massage gun, best massage guns, best theragun alternatives Courtesy of Amazon

  

8. Fusion FX Heated Percussion Massage

BEST HEATED MASSAGE

This massage gun introduces heat to the massage equation, and reviewers seem to be in favor. This gun combines the therapeutic powers of heat and massage to help you muscles recover faster and ease aching joints. It’s important to note that the gun comes with a heated attachment, and isn’t heated all the way through as some may think. However, the heated attachment works well according to reviewers and adds to the gun’s appeal.

The gun comes with five different intensity levels, five different heads to choose from and three bonus preprogrammed modes that enhance recovery further. These three bonus modes include the heated option, varying speeds, a continuous speed or increasing speed of the massage reverberations. The gun also has a pause button so you can take a break from your session if you need to before picking up right where you left off.

fusion heated massage gun, massage gun, best massage gun, theragun alternatives Courtesy of Amazon

  

9. Sonic LX Professional Percussion Massage Gun

MOST PROFESSIONAL

This massage gun was built for professional body workers like physical therapists, chiropractors and personal trainers and it shows. They have numerous raving reviews from these professionals in their ratings section and a 5-star rating overall with over 1,300 reviews. This massage gun is powerful — built with a 2,000 mAh motor and 12mm of amps that can reach deep tissue with ease. It has nine different intensity levels, seven different massage heads and is ultra-quiet. It can last for up to four hours on a single charge and comes with a carrying case so it’s easily portable.

sonic lx professional massage gun, massage guns, best massage guns, theragun alternatives Courtesy of Amazon

  

10. Vybe Percussion Massage Gun

BEST FOR RECOVERY

This massage gun boasts the fact that it’s not quiet, but it’s quite powerful and helpful with recovery. The percussion vibration can vary between 500-2,400 strokes per minute depending on the speed you select and the gun offers six different speeds to choose from. The gun comes with three different heads for targeting different muscle groups — including a small ball for smaller muscles, big ball for larger muscles and a cone shape for trigger point massage. It’s compact in size making it easy to carry around, and the ergonomic square design with the handle makes it easy to maneuver when massaging yourself or someone else.

vybe percussion massage gun, massage gun, best massage guns, theragun alternatives Courtesy of Amazon

  

Spotting Fakes, Dupes & Look-a-likes When Shopping for Massage Guns

Because many of the best Theragun alternatives also cost more than $300, many athletes are looking for massage gun bargains. Unfortunately, thanks to the sudden popularity of percussion massagers, a lot of sketchy off-shore manufacturers and drop shippers have started selling massage guns, too. In fact, these companies often use Theragun and Hypervolt branding to trick customers.

If you aren’t careful, you may think you’ve found a great deal on a massage gun from a top brand, only to realize you’ve accidentally purchased a low quality look-a-like.

hypervolt look-a-like A typical look-a-like product listing Courtesy of Google

At first glance, the product listing above looks promising. A carbon fiber Hypervolt Plus for only $147. Unfortunately, Hypervolt doesn’t make a $147 carbon fiber massage gun. If an unwary customer were to click this link, they would end up on a third-party website. Even the link that says “See more details at Hypervolt” delivers you to a third-party website, one that does not offer genuine Hyperice products.

To avoid getting ripped off when looking for massage guns and Theragun alternatives, only purchase products from retailers you trust. Also, pay close attention to the product photos. Most popular massage guns feature the company’s branding on the product itself. A genuine Hypervolt massage gun will have the branding “Hypervolt” and “Hyperice” printed on the side and back of the product respectively. Likewise, a genuine Theragun will have “Theragun” printed on the side.

When looking for the best massage guns for sale online, be sure to practice due diligence and common sense. Before making a purchase, double-check the product photos and stick with trusted retailers like Therabody, Amazon and DICK’S Sporting Goods. Massage gun reviews hosted on retailer websites can also be a reliable indicator.

theragun therabody prime Courtesy of Therabody

  

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