This past 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. In fact, we’ve seen more interest in massage guns this year than we have in any other product featured on SPY, and so we’ve made it our mission to test and review as many as we can. We take a lot of pride in connecting our readers with the best massage guns.
The massage gun market is currently dominated by one brand: Theragun. However, thanks to the high price tag (Theragun massage guns cost between $300 and $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 utilize rubbing, pressure point and/or circular motions as well. Massage guns are built for athletic recovery — loosening tight muscles, breaking down lactic acid, fighting chronic pain, relieving soreness, etc. — but they’re also great for portable, easy stress-relief.
Last year, Theragun rebranded as Therabody and released a new generation of premium massage guns. Even the “basic” Theragun model, the Therabody Prime, outclasses the best massage guns from competitors. That’s why it’s our top pick among the best massage guns of 2021. While we haven’t actually tried out a massage gun from Therabody, we have tried out a bunch of the other Theragun alternatives on this list. Keep scrolling for our top picks for massage guns in 2021 for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, stressed out individuals and everyone in between.
Best Massage Gun of 2021: Theragun Prime
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 dropshippers 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-alikes for sale among the top-rated massage guns.
How We Chose the Best Massage Guns
So, why should you trust our massage gun reviews? To help our readers make the right purchase decision, we’ve tested a lot of massage guns over the past two years to see if they delivered on what their Amazon descriptions promised. Recently, one of our editors, Taylor Galla, set up a trial station in her home gym for friends to try out various massage guns and vote on which one they liked best. Taylor is a certified yoga teacher and works out most days of the week alongside her partner and friends, so she had plenty to work from during the trial.
Taylor’s favorite was actually the Mini Massage Gun from addsfit, which came alongside the larger version that also topped the list. She also loved the regular-sized addsfit Massage Gun and the Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun for its slim design and power. Out of her athletically-inclined friends the reviews were mixed, but everyone loved the mini massage gun.
The massage guns pictured, left to right, are the addsfit Massage Gun, the Ekrin Athletics B37 gun and the TriggerPoint Massage Gun. Reviews and detailed descriptions of all three are included in the round-up below, but these are only a handful of the massagers we’ve tested over the years. Most recently, Spy editors have also tested the new Hypervolt GO massage gun from Hyperice, as well as Sportneer’s line of massage guns, which we’ve also added to the shopping guide below.
We’ve assessed the massage guns in this piece based on a few criteria:
- Overall design quality and materials
- Motor intensity, overall power and strokes per minute settings
- Battery life
- Quality of massage gun heads
- Noise levels
Since the benefits of massage guns are somewhat subjective, especially when it comes to easing pain and discomfort, we’ve avoided assessing them solely on their ability to ease muscle soreness, but obviously that was a part of our testing criteria as well.
Top Massage Guns of 2021…
1. Hypervolt 2 Pro by Hyperice
BEST THERAGUN ALTERNATIVE
In September of 2021, Hyperice released a brand new line of massage guns — the Hypervolt 2 and Hyperolt 2 Pro, both revamped, upgraded versions of their original massage gun. The Hypervolt 2 Pro is the best alternative to the Theragun Prime, as it’s $200 cheaper but still has a lot of the great features of a high-quality, luxury massage gun. This includes five percussion speeds, a 90W brushless motor, an ergonomic handle and design, and hours of battery life on a single charge.
The Hypervolt 2 is also a very solid massage gun, with three percussive speeds and a 60W brushless motor. It’s about $100 less expensive, and is perfect for users looking for a medium-tier gun that’s a step above beginner massage guns.
Hypervolt 2 Pro Massage Gun
Hypervolt 2 Massage Gun
2. addsfit Deep Tissue Massage Gun
This is an incredible massage gun for the price. It feels and looks very similar to a Hypervolt but costs about half the price. It has nine different adjustable speeds that vary between 1,700 and 3,300 percussions per minute, an amazing range that’s effective in massaging muscles throughout the body. During our testing, we found that even the first level of intensity was powerful enough to soothe sore muscles. It’s also not too heavy but still has enough weight to be forceful in its movements as you’re using it. The silicone massage heads are very well-made and super easy to switch out. We also found this gun to be much quieter than most Theragun alternatives, and it’s actually quiet enough that you can use it while watching TV without any disruption. Finally, like all of the best massage guns, the addsfit massager has a lengthy battery life.
Overall, we’re very impressed with the design and usability of this gun. It’s well-made, powerful and easily adapts to your preferences. It’s a bit bulky in it size and design, but when looking for a massage gun that’ll soothe your muscles, you’re not necessarily looking for something compact.
addsfit Massage Gun
3. Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun
Muscle relief doesn’t have to break the bank. This cheap massage gun from Sonic has over 12,000 5-star ratings on Amazon from users, and overall a very positive ranking. 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 has proven extremely popular with SPY readers. If you’re looking for the best massage gun under $200, the Sonic has long been one of our top recommendations, and has been since early 2020, even as new products enter the market.
Read More: The Best Massage Gun Deals
Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun
4. Hypervolt GO
If the $300 price tag of the Hypervolt gives you pause, Hyperice also has a smaller, portable version of their signature massage gun called the Hypervolt GO. It’s 30% smaller, but just as powerful and feels great on sore muscles. Spy Editor Taylor Galla also got a chance to try out this gun and loved it. The massage gun, despite its smaller size and compact design, feels very high-quality, and weighs heavily in your hand like a tool you want to use. It’s got a powerful motor that’s still, somehow, very quiet. On the first speed setting, you can’t tell the gun is on unless you’re sitting right next to it. The higher the speed gets the louder it gets, but it never reaches a disruptive level. It only comes with two massage gun heads, which makes it easier to travel with, but they’re really the only two most users need — a flat palm head and a trigger point.
Hypervolt GO Massage Gun
Hypervolt GO Massage Gun
5. Hypervolt Plus
Hyperice also has a Hypervolt Plus massage gun that boasts features such 30% more power, Bluetooth-enabled speed controls and their patented QuietGlide technology. It also has Hyperice’s Hypervolt Sensor Pressure Technology built in so you always know exactly how much pressure you’re applying to your muscles. This gun is Hyperice’s equivalent of the Theragun Prime, meaning it’s the most advanced and the most pricey. However, if you can swing it, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Hypervolt Plus Massage Gun
6. addsfit Mini Massage Gun
BEST MINI MASSAGE GUN
addsfit’s Mini Massage Gun is pocket-sized, sleekly designed and super handy for hitting trigger points or super sore spots throughout the body. It’s very lightweight and stylish, and comes with three different massage gun heads that are easy to change between. It’s got a one-button design so it’s very easy to turn on, off and scroll through the modes. Despite its small size it can still get up to 3200 strokes per minute, making it a powerful addition to your recovery regimen. You can find our full review of the addsfit Mini Massage Gun here.
addsfit Mini Massage Gun
7. Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun
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 massager’s 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. Like most cheap massage guns, the massage heads could be of higher quality, and there’s no accompanying app or smart features.
Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun
8. Cryotex Massage Gun
This massage gun from Cryotex not only has a near-perfect rating on Amazon of 4.8/5 stars after 4,600 reviews, it’s being offered for $80 off its listing price, so it’s a great deal if you’re looking to save. It comes with six different massage gun heads and 20 different speed levels for all intensity levels. It’s super lightweight at 2 lbs and comes with its own carrying case. The motor is powerful but designed to be quiet and operates at 45 dB on average, especially when in lower-intensity modes. The battery life lasts for six hours after a full charge and it has an LED indicator so you always know how much juice is left. This is a solid pick with a great price tag to match, so hurry up and click before the deal is gone!
Cryotex Massage Gun
9. Exerscribe Vybe Pro
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. The Vybe Pro has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, nearly 3,100 5-star reviews, and it’s a great mid-tier option for athletes.
Exerscribe Vybe Pro
10. TimTam Massage Gun
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, making it a great middle-tier option for athletes. 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.
Tim Tam Power Massage Gun
11. Theragun Mini
BEST FOR TRAVEL
We recently wrote up a round-up of mini massage guns due to their portability and lower price. This mini massage gun from Theragun isn’t just smaller, it also has a much lower price tag than some of their other guns and can also similar relief, especially when targeting specific muscle groups. It’s compact, powerful and ultra-maneuverable — so you can press it anywhere on your body you need tension eased or pressure released. It has an ultra-quiet motor, three different speeds and it’s small enough to throw in any bag or pocket when you’re on-the-go.
12. Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun
We recently tested the Ekrin Athletics massage gun, and we really liked it. This massager has a slim design that’s gotten rid of unnecessary bulk. It has five different speeds built into it, and we appreciated that each setting felt like a substantial increase or decrease. The grip and ergonomic design is this gun’s biggest selling point, and you really can reach many parts of your body because of this. The functionality of the gun and buttons are less clear than other models we’ve tested, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this gun for older, technologically challenged users. The head attachments on the gun also felt less high-quality than on cheaper guns like the addsfit. That being said, we like the variety of options included. It’s also a relatively quiet gun, and the noise level won’t bother you while using it.
Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun
Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun
13. 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 is no different. The TriggerPoint 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 enable 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.
One of our testers liked the weighted design because it enabled him to dig into muscle groups and sore points easier than with other guns. Another liked the feeling of the handle more than other guns. However, SPY editor Taylor Galla thought the plastic heads felt more superficial and less like a deep-tissue massage.
TriggerPoint Impact Handheld Percussion Massage Gun
14. Mebak Deep Tissue Massage Gun
This massage gun comes with all the desired features in a great massage gun, including seven different interchangeable heads and five different speeds that tap out at 3,200 RPM. It’s portable, quiet with a noise level range between 35-50dB, and has a long-lasting battery that can work continuously for 2-3 hours, or for 2-3 weeks with consistent, daily use. It’s got a clear LCD touch screen display you can use to change the speeds, and it only weighs 2.1 pounds making it travel friendly. It also has over 8,900 5-star reviews and has been given an “Amazon’s Choice” badge in the product category.
Mebak Massage Gun
15. Sonic LX Professional Percussion Massage Gun
BEST FOR PROFESSIONALS
The best massage guns are perfect for athletes of all levels, but this product was built for professional bodyworkers like physical therapists, chiropractors and personal trainers, and it shows. This massage gun is powerful — built with a 2,000 mAh motor and 12mm of amps that can deliver an intense deep tissue massage 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.
Sonix LX Professional Percussion Massage Gun
16. Vybe Percussion Massage Gun
BEST FOR RECOVERY
This massage gun is quiet yet powerful, perfect for faster post-workout 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. That’s lower than other options, but that’s actually a good thing for older users or those who want something a little less intense. The gun comes with three different heads for targeting different muscle groups, all some users may need, and the compact size makes it easy to carry around.
Vybe Percussion Massage Gun
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.
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.
Benefits of Massage Guns
Massage guns are a great way to supplement professional massage therapy from a masseuse at home, and reduce your muscle soreness and pain with a portable, easy-to-use device. Massage guns are designed to help stimulate blood flow to targeted areas and reduce pain post-workout to help your body recover. They also help to scramble up fascia so your body can reorganize it post-workout and grow stronger in the process. I personally love using massage guns because they’re great for overall muscle maintenance and recovery alongside a rigorous stretching routine and consistent use of a foam roller. They’re great for easing pain in hot spots and super sore areas quickly, and are relaxing to use after a long day or grueling training session.
If you want to invest in the best massage guns, then the brands to know are Theragun and Hypervolt. The lower you go in price, the more you will sacrifice in quality. However, another important factor in receiving the benefits of any massage gun is knowing how to use it effectively. We’ve created a guide on how to use massage guns that any user, new or experienced, will find helpful.
Read More: How to Use a Massage Gun
Frequently Asked Questions About Massage Guns
Massage guns are percussive therapy devices that provide deep-tissue massage to muscle groups throughout the body anywhere via strong, powerful, relatively quiet motors. They often come with multiple speed and intensity settings, and some come with interchangeable heads. They offer relief and recovery in a handheld package.
The best massage gun for you depends on a lot of things — your unique body, your recovery needs and your budget. Therabody makes the best massage guns, they're most known for their Theragun collection. However, their guns tend to be expensive, so we've provided a list of more affordable alternatives here.
Good question. We've got a whole guide on the best ways to use a massage gun. Start on the lowest setting and sense your comfort level from there. Point the gun directly at your muscle and let the head massage your tissues, moving across the muscle group. Avoid joints, bony points or super sore spots. They're excellent for working out knots, kinks or sore muscles — but you want to make sure it's the good kind of discomfort rather than the painful kind. Please consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting any new recovery regimens.
This depends on the individual, but no more than once a day is a good rule of thumb. Because of the intensity of percussive therapy, every time you use one you are introducing tiny traumas to your muscular tissues, so you want to be tactful about how hard and often you're using a massage gun. They can be great for quick sessions right before or after a workout, or right before bed to calm the body.
Massage guns tend to be expensive, but their popularity has spurred the creation of some super high-quality budget options. Currently, our pick for the best budget massage gun is the Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun. It comes with all the features you want from your massage gun, including eight different massage gun heads, five powerful speeds and a quiet brushless motor. It's also available for less than $100, and is regularly on sale.
If you're regularly on-the-go and want to take your massage gun with you, then the Hypervolt Go is a solid pick. We've tested this one hands-on, and it's got a compact design that's easy to throw in a suitcase or backpack. It's got a high-torque, QuietGlide motor as well as three different speeds to choose from up to 3200 RPM. It only weighs 1.5lbs, so it's lightweight and easy to use, and it's TSA-approved to bring in any carry on suitcase.