This year a lot of athletes 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. The massage gun market is currently dominated by one brand: Theragun. However, thanks to the high price tag (a Theragun massage gun costs between $300 and $600), a lot of athletes have gone looking for reasonably priced Theragun alternatives.
Why are the best massage guns so expensive? These small, gun-shaped devices aren’t like the handheld massagers that have come before. 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 delivers a major upgrade to regular handheld massagers with a more precise, concentrated functionality. The best massage guns 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 — but they’re also great for portable, easy stress-relief.
If you’re looking for an affordable Theragun, their lightweight Theragun Prime is one of our favorite new products from the brand, delivering relief via a fast-moving massage head. Unlike previous generations of Theragun products, the Prime features five different speed settings. 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.
What Are The Best Theragun Alternatives?
When you’ve tested massage guns and read countless massage gun reviews (and we have), you know that Theragun’s line of premium massagers is hard to beat, but there’s still the problem of the price tag. The Theragun Prime is currently priced at $300, while their best massage guns will set you back $600. That’s outside most people’s budgets. Unfortunately, some of the highest quality alternatives to the Theragun are just as expensive, if not 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.
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 low-priced Theragun alternatives available, keep reading for the most popular products.
1. Theragun Prime
Theragun makes the best massage guns for sale in 2020, but you have to pay a higher price for premium quality. If you can afford the high ticket price tag, this powerful massage gun from trusted brand Theragun is scientifically-calibrated to give you a deep tissue massage that’s worth every penny. The foam heads deliver 30 pounds of force to relieve muscle soreness and speed up your warm-up and recovery. This premium massage gun has a long-lasting and quiet motor that’s trusted by pro athletes worldwide. However, in addition to delivering targeted relief and a long-lasting battery, the Theragun Prime also boasts a user-friendly app and LED screen.
Pros: Intense yet soothing power in a range of speeds. Two hours of battery runtime. High-quality attachments. The Therabody app is a great value-added perk.
Cons: More costly than other massage guns. No adjustable arm.
2. Hypervolt by Hyperice
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. The Hypervolt costs slightly more than 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.
Pros: Variable speed and pressure settings, super quiet motor, three hours of battery life.
Cons: More costly than other massage guns. No adjustable arm.
3. Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun
Sportneer is one of our favorite massage gun brands. Not one of our favorite budget massage guns, but one of our favorite, period. 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.
4. Exerscribe Vybe Pro Massage Gun
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 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. 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.
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.
5. Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun
Muscle relief doesn’t have to break the bank. This deep and powerful massage gun has more than 5,800 reviews on Amazon and an overall 4.7-star rating. It has a lot of the same features as other popular massage guns but at a much better price point. The Sonic has a brushless quiet motor that isn’t as loud as some Theragun alternatives, and it costs less than $200, which is a great value. The Sonic also 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.
Pros: Quiet motor, adjustable speeds and massage heads, easy to use and stable construction.
Cons: Vibration can become bouncy on more contoured muscles.
6. 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. 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 power passage gun comes with its own carrying case and a lithium-ion battery plus charger. The ergonomic design makes this as easy to use massager.
This gun is lightweight and powerful, easy to carry in your gym bag or on an airplane and comes with a swappable battery and pocket charger. It’s also available in two different colors.
Pros: Lightweight and powerful, swappable batteries, natural vibrations designed for muscle relief.
Cons: Only comes with one massage head.
Spotting Fakes, Dupes & Look-a-likes When Shopping for Massage Guns
Because 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.
Before buying the best massage guns on Amazon, double-check the product photos. Massage gun reviews hosted on retailer websites (like Amazon or DICK’s Sporting Goods) can also be a reliable indicator.