Massage guns have exploded in popularity in recent years, becoming a cherished gadget among both pro and amateur athletes. While the jury is still out clinically as to whether they work as well as people claim, manufacturers say massage guns deliver a type of deep tissue massage that helps to reduce muscle pain, improve circulation and generally supplement recovery.
Regardless of the contentious benefits of massage guns, they have a loyal following who swear by them. A more high-tech alternative to foam rollers, massage guns are used by athletes of all abilities for preparing for workouts, speeding up recovery times and preventing muscle fatigue.
If you’re in the market for a massage gun, there’s a lot to choose from, with everything from high-tech massagers that can deliver up to 4800 percussions-per-minute to low-cost, travel-friendly models that you can easily fit in your hand luggage.
To help you find one that is best suited to your needs, The Recommended spoke to a fitness expert and massage gun enthusiast for some advice. We asked him why you should consider using a massage gun, how you should use them, and asked him to recommend some of his favourites, all of which you can find at the bottom of this article.
The best massage guns at a glance:
- Best overall massage gun: Hypervolt 2 Pro
- Best portable massage gun: Hypervolt Go 2
- Best for leg recovery: NormaTec Pulse 2.0
- Best value massage gun: Renpho Massage Gun
- Best miniature massage gun: Theragun Mini
- Best budget massage gun: Renpho Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager
- Best customisable massage gun: Ansgec Massage Gun
- Best ergonomic massage gun: Theragun Elite Percussive Massage Gun
The best massage guns
Best overall massage gun: Hypervolt 2 Pro
Provides substantial power
If you’re in need of a massage gun that packs a lot of power, the Hypervolt 2 Pro is a solid pick. Our fitness expert works out twice a day and says he always has it to hand when training.
Designed to offer deep-penetrating relief to stiff muscles, the Hypervolt 2 Pro has five intensity levels, which you can toggle between using the device’s digital speed dials, and has a cordless battery life of up to three hours. It can also be connected to the Hyperice app via Bluetooth, where you can find expert tips and routines.
Best portable massage gun: Hypervolt Go 2
Lightweight and portable
The smaller cousin of the Hypervolt 2 Pro, our fitness expert says the Hypervolt Go 2’s lightweight and compact design is ideal for keeping his muscles primed when he travels.
A budget-friendly alternative to the more expensive Pro 2, the Hypervolt Go 2 has three speeds that you can toggle between using Hyperice’s signature digital speed dials. Weighing just 680g, the Go 2 is also smaller than the Pro 2, which makes it easier to pack in a gym bag and take with you on the go. It also boasts a three-hour cordless battery life.
Best for leg recovery: NormaTec Pulse 2.0
Designed to stimulate blood flow in your legs and boost recovery, our expert says he uses the NormaTec Pulse 2.0 every day and finds it’s great for reducing pain and soreness in his legs and hips.
The NormaTec Pulse 2.0 works by compressing and decompressing your leg muscles in order to stimulate blood flow. It has seven intensity levels, and you can target specific areas for additional attention using the handheld device included. It is also approved by the Transportation Security Administration, which means you can take it on a plane if you have an event or training camp abroad. The Normatec Pulse 2.0 is used by professional athletes, including four-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion Naomi Osaka.
Best value massage gun: Renpho Massage Gun
Lightweight and powerful
Reaching speeds of up to 3200rpm, the Renpho offers the best value for money of the massage guns on our list, providing some serious massaging power for the price tag.
Lightweight and compact, Renpho’s signature massage gun weighs in at just 680g, meaning it’s great for taking with you on the go. It has five speed settings to choose from and is said to provide a 10mm-deep massage. It also has a built-in 10-minute timer and comes with five massage heads, all with unique shapes to target different muscles.
Best miniature massage gun: Theragun Mini
If you’re after an ultra-compact and lightweight massage gun, the Theragun Mini measures just 21cm tall and 18cm wide, making it the smallest and most portable massager on our list.
Despite its size, the Theragun Mini still packs some impressive power, boasting three intensity settings and a maximum speed of 2400ppm. It is also designed to provide up to 150 minutes of battery life and comes with a travel case. The Theragun Mini is used by a host of elite athletes, including Liverpool and England football player Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Best budget massage gun: Renpho Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager
The cheapest massager on our list, the Renpho Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager may not be the most compact massage gun, but it nonetheless provides an impressive 3600ppm.
Designed to deeply soothe tight muscles, this massager from Renpho comes with five different massage heads which each target different muscles and body parts. This massager has an extra-long, anti-slip silicone handle and is cordless, which is great for people who struggle with mobility issues for massaging hard-to-reach areas of the body.
Best customisable massage gun: Ansgec Massage Gun
Wide range of settings
With 30 intensity levels to toggle between and six interchangeable massage heads, Aldom’s massage gun is ideal for those looking for a highly-customisable massager.
The Ansgec massage gun also boasts an impressive battery life, claiming to last up to eight hours, and is fully chargeable in as little as four hours. This massage gun’s 30 intensity levels can be toggled using an easy-to-use LED display, and the gun itself delivers between 1200 and 4800ppm.
Best ergonomic massage gun: Theragun Elite Percussive Massage Gun
Multiple grip positions
The Theragun Elite massage gun features a unique, ergonomic handle that provides multiple grip positions for targeting hard-to-reach spots.
This massage gun has five speed settings, with a max power of 2400ppm, and its battery is said to last for 120 minutes of continuous use before needing to be recharged. It also comes with five interchangeable massage attachments for targeting different muscles, as well as a carry case for portability. The addition of Bluetooth allows users to connect to the Theragun app, which suggests treatments based on your preferences and behaviours.
Our fitness expert
Zack George is a CrossFit athlete and fitness influencer who was crowned the UK’s Fittest Man in 2020. Born and raised in Leicester, Zack successfully qualified for the European CrossFit Regionals in 2018 before achieving first place in the UK CrossFit Open in 2020. This earned him a place at the CrossFit Games 2020, however, due to Covid, his place was rescinded.
In April 2021, Zack suffered a season-long injury. During his time away from fitness, he released his first book, Start Where Other Stop, and began documenting his recovery on his YouTube channel. He says he now has his eyes firmly set on the 2023 season and booking his ticket to the CrossFit Games.
Why should you use a massage gun?
Zack uses massage guns to aid his warm-up pre-workout, as well as to recover more efficiently post-workout. “Massage guns help to prime muscles for action by delivering targeted pulses to the muscle fibres,” he says.
“They also help to reduce muscle fatigue by offering deep-penetrating relief to still muscles, so you can train harder and recover faster.”
Zack says that massage guns do this by increasing blood circulation, “allowing for more oxygen and nutrients to reach the muscles, and release lactic build-up in the body post-exercise”.
Who would you recommend to try using a massage gun?
Zack says that anyone who exercises on a regular basis should try using a massage gun. “These tools are so important in maintaining a healthy and functioning body,” he says. “I would especially recommend a massage gun to someone who is struggling with muscle tightness and soreness as they help reduce tension and improve mobility. I’ve always had issues with my ankles and knees, so I use a massage gun to stay on top of my recovery.”
He adds that massage guns are also great for people who sit for long periods, as they can “help unlock tension and tightness in the shoulders and back”. For the same reason, he says that people who travel a lot could benefit from massage guns, as many are TSA approved for aircraft cabins and so can be used to provide muscle relief after long journeys.
What are the best massage guns?
Zack favours the Hyperice Hypervolt range of massage guns. “I always make sure to have the 2 Pro to hand when I’m training as it’s the most powerful, so works well for me as I train twice a day.”
When he travels, Zack prefers the Hypervolt Go 2. “It stops my muscles locking up and it’s so small and light I can take it anywhere,” he says. “I use the Hyperice Hypervolts with a variety of their other products and find that it results in less muscle tension, fewer injuries, and better recovery.”
For leg-specific massages, Zack opts for the Normatec leg sleeves, “which have been great for my hips”. They work by compressing and decompressing the muscles, which stimulates blood flow and recovery.
If you would like to read more expert-recommended fitness round-ups, check out our Fitness page for a full list of recommendations, including the best resistance bands, the best kettlebells, and the best dumbbells, recommended by personal trainers.