Best deep-tissue massage guns

According to competitive athletes, putting time and effort into recovery is just as important as training hard. That’s why many athletes view deep-tissue massage guns as an essential recovery accessory.

After tough workouts, muscles feel sore and fatigued. One way to get relief is through massage therapy. Deep-tissue massage guns, also called percussive massagers, deliver thousands of pulses per minute to relieve muscle tension and soreness.

To learn more about deep-tissue massage guns and how they work, keep reading this guide. We’re also sharing a few of our favorite models below.

What does deep-tissue massage therapy do?

According to Healthline, “deep-tissue massage involves slow, forceful strokes to reach deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue.” In addition to relieving muscle tension, deep-tissue massage reduces stress and may lower blood pressure.

What is a deep-tissue massage gun?

A deep-tissue massage gun, also called a percussion massager, replicates the slow, forceful strokes applied by massage therapists. This is achieved through a rapid pulsating action that penetrates muscles to deliver targeted relief.

Massage guns are ergonomically designed so users can reach most muscle groups on their own. However, assistance may be required to massage hard-to-reach muscle groups of the back and calves.

Professional massage and manual massage devices

Massage guns are ideal for self-massage, but some individuals still prefer professional massages or manual massage devices. If you’re wondering how they’re different from massage guns, here’s an overview of their pros and cons.

Pros and cons of professional massages

Professional massages are performed by licensed massage therapists who receive their education from an accredited school.

Professional massages deliver a customized massage experience, sometimes with aromatherapy or calming sounds. Individuals lay or sit in relaxed positions, which helps them destress and unwind while they experience relief.

Unfortunately, professional massages are expensive, ranging from $50-$150 per hourly session, so they’re not within everyone’s budget.

Pros and cons of manual massage devices

Manual massage devices include massage sticks, foam rollers and massage balls. They allow you full control over the massage experience. Users can apply as much or as little pressure as they like, and they can place the massager anywhere on the body. Manual massage devices are also considered the most affordable type of massage therapy.

However, force and effort are required during use. As a result, some users say just using these devices feels like a workout on their own, making it rather counterproductive.

Features of deep-tissue massage guns

Deep-tissue massage guns deliver relief by penetrating muscles and connective tissue with rapid pulses. This is expressed in percussions per minute (PPM). Most deep-tissue massage guns range from 1,000 to 3,700 PPM.

The higher the PPM, the deeper and more intense the massage will be. Some entry-level massagers have a single intensity setting, while mid-range and high-end options can have as many as six.

Deep-tissue massage guns may come with different attachments, including fork head, flat head, bullet head or ball head attachments.

These attachments are made for targeting specific muscle groups, though they come with a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately, massage guns come with detailed manuals that guide users through effective techniques.

The majority of deep-tissue massage guns on the market today are wireless and have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. This aids in portability and it means users won’t need to wrestle with a cord as they manipulate it.

Charge times vary considerably, though most are fully charged after four to six hours. Usage time varies even more — on a full charge, some massage guns can only be used for 20 minutes at a time, while others last through two hours of continuous use.

Some people seek out deep-tissue massage guns that operate quietly. They say that low-noise operation contributes to a more relaxing and therapeutic massage session.

Deep-tissue massage guns that are marketed as “quiet” usually operate at 45 decibels (dB) or less. For reference, 45 dB is as loud as normal spoken conversation.

Other deep-tissue massage guns are noticeably louder. Some consumers compare the noise levels to small kitchen appliances or window air conditioning units.

Deep-tissue massage gun cost

Entry-level deep-tissue massage guns cost $80 and below. Mid-range devices made by reputable companies run $130-$250, while premium deep-tissue massage guns can run as high as $600.

Best deep-tissue massage guns

Best cheap deep-tissue massage guns

iReliev Percussion Massage Gun: $129.95 at iReliev (was $249.95)Considered a beginner-friendly option, this simple massager has one-touch operation. It offers three levels of intensity and comes with four penetrating attachment heads.

PlayMakar MVP Percussion Massager: $149.95 (was $249.95)Those interested in a quiet therapeutic massage should reach for this low-noise massage gun. It offers six levels of intensity ranging from 1,200 to 2,700 PPM, making it more powerful than other budget-friendly options.

Best mid-range deep-tissue massage guns

Hyperice Hypervolt Vibration Massage Device: $249 at Best Buy (was $349)Users characterize this powerful massager as the “jackhammer” of deep-tissue massage guns. At only 2.5 pounds with an ergonomic grip, it’s one of easiest options to hold. Also available from Amazon

Theragun Prime: $299 at TheragunAs one of the brand’s best-selling massage guns, this Theragun boasts a 120-minute total battery life and integrates with the Theragun app for easy operation. Also available from Best Buy

Best high-end deep-tissue massage gun

Theragun G3PRO: $599 at TheragunThis contoured Theragun offers an adjustable arm for full-body reach, making it easy to target the lower back and calves. Users praise its wedge attachment for targeted shoulder massage.

Best deep-tissue massage guns for travel

Sharper Image Deep Tissue Massager: $216.99 at Macy’sThere’s a lot travelers love about this massage gun, including a 4.5-hour runtime and whisper-quiet operation. It comes with a durable carry case to hold the gun, charger and attachments.

Theragun Mini: $199 at TheragunTiny and mighty, this small deep-tissue massager fits in your pocket for easy portability. It has three speed settings and a comfortable, contoured grip. Also available from Amazon and Best Buy

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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