5 of the best massage guns: How to choose, health benefits, and more

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Massage guns are handheld products that a person can use to target any muscle area. They may help with general muscle pain, and people often use them following a workout to aid recovery. Share on Pinterest People can choose from a range of available products. They may wish to consider various factors, such as design, noise level, and portability, when making a decision. This article discusses how massage guns work and their benefits and risks. It also lists some of the massage guns that are currently available to buy.

How do they work? Massage guns use percussive therapy, which is similar to vibration therapy. They oscillate forward and backward, applying pressure to tense muscle tissue. In doing this, they can release buildups of fluid and tension from the area. Research shows that a person may benefit from vibration therapy if they exhibit muscle tenderness during workout recovery. These individuals may consider using a massage gun post-workout because it can help remove lactic acid buildup from the muscle, which is usually the cause of muscle soreness. As the results of a 2014 study indicate, vibration therapy may help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Learn more about DOMS here.

Health benefits Some benefits of a massage gun may include: muscle and tissue relaxation

temporary relief of tension

prevention of DOMS

increase of blood flow and circulation

increase in flexibility and athletic performance Those who exercise regularly, especially those who experience DOMS, may benefit from frequent massage gun use. A 2020 study found that vibration therapy may assist with strength and mobility in people with peripheral artery disease. Similarly, a 2018 study showed that vibration therapy might also benefit adults with cerebral palsy. Other health conditions that massage guns may be beneficial for include: soft tissue inflammation

scar tissue

fibromyalgia

sciatica

osteoarthritis Mental health and sleep conditions Massage guns may also be useful for those with mental health or sleep-related conditions, as the relaxation of the muscles can help manage stress in the body. The National Institute of Mental Health recommend performing muscle relaxation exercises to combat stress.

What are the risks? With incorrect use, massage guns may injure the body. For instance, they may cause ruptured blood vessels, nerve sensitivity, or muscle fiber damage. A person can take steps to lessen the chance of causing damage. These include: starting with the massage gun on a slow setting

taking extra care around bony areas

avoiding nerves and blood vessels, especially in the neck

not overmassaging any one region of the body

following the manufacturers’ recommendations — most massage gun models come with a maximum recommended use of 2 minutes on each muscle group

taking extra care around pulled muscles and torn ligaments People who are pregnant or have deep vein thrombosis (DVT) should consult a doctor before using a massage gun and follow their advice.

How to choose a massage gun People looking to purchase a massage gun may wish to consider: Power and speed: Most models of massage gun offer a choice of speed and power settings.

Most models of massage gun offer a choice of speed and power settings. Portability: Some models are lighter and smaller and have a longer battery life to facilitate easy transportation.

Some models are lighter and smaller and have a longer battery life to facilitate easy transportation. Design: Some massage guns may make accessing difficult-to-reach areas of the body easier by having features such as an extended handle.

Some massage guns may make accessing difficult-to-reach areas of the body easier by having features such as an extended handle. Warranty and reviews: Reading trusted reviews for products could help when deciding on the best model. It is also essential to look at the warranty terms, should there be any fault or need for a replacement product.

Products Below, we look at some of the best massage guns available to purchase. Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information is purely research-based. Theragun G3Pro Theragun claim that the G3Pro is their most powerful deep muscle treatment. They also state that a person needs to use it for just 30 seconds on each muscle group to achieve the desired effect. The G3Pro has six closed-cell foam head attachments, providing a soft alternative to plastic for the skin. This material also makes it more compatible with oils, lotions, and sweat, which people can wipe easily from the attachments after use. Other features of the Theragun G3Pro include: adjustable arm to target hard-to-reach areas

two speeds: a deep treatment and a lighter option for sensitive areas

reduced noise compared with previous models

two interchangeable batteries and a charger

up to 60 lb of force

a travel case

a weight of 3.10 lb

a 2-year warranty Shop now. OPOVE M3 Pro Massage Gun This OPOVE model comes with a nylon and glass fiber anti-drop shell to reduce the risk of damage. It is available in black or silver. The massage gun weighs 2.5 lb, and the company include a carrying case with each purchase, making it easy to transport. Other features of the OPOVE M3 Pro Massage Gun are: uses QuietGlide technology to limit noise level to 39–55 dB, depending on the selected level

three speeds

rechargeable battery with 3 hours of battery life

five head attachments

30-day return policy and free shipping

1-year warranty Shop now. Hyperice Hypervolt Plus The Hypervolt Plus model uses QuietGlide technology to keep the gun’s noise levels low. The Hypervolt Plus includes Bluetooth connectivity, allowing connection to the Hyperice app. This app helps a person with personalized health and well-being programs, warm-ups, and routines. Other features of the Hypervolt Plus are: three speeds with a maximum of 53 hertz

up to 3,200 percussions per minute

five head attachments

weight of 3 pounds (lb)

TSA-approved for carry-on luggage

quick battery recharge

1-year manufacturer warranty Shop now. VYBE Pro Percussion Massage Gun The VYBE Pro Percussion model appears to be one of the less expensive models available. The company claim that this massage gun is suitable for athletes of all abilities. This model has eight massage heads to choose from, all of which target specific areas of the body. VYBE do not give information about the item weight, but they say that the package’s total weight is 4.53 lb. Other features of the VYBE Pro Percussion model include: nine speeds and can reach up to 3,400 strokes per minute

maximum noise level of 60 decibels (dB)

3 hours of battery life and an included charger

a travel case

30-day return policy Shop now. Recoverfun Mini Massage Gun The Recoverfun model is a portable massage gun available in three colors: black, red, or pink. This mini massage gun weighs 1.1 lb and comes with a travel bag for easy transport. This model may suit regular travelers. Other features of the Recoverfun Mini model are: maximum noise level of 48 dB

5-hour battery life

four speed settings that can reach up to 3,200 strokes per minute

four massage heads

1-year warranty Shop now.

Theragun alternatives: The best budget massage guns for 2021

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I’m pretty sure every person on this planet could use a massage right now. But until we’re all vaccinated and it’s safe to see a massage therapist, the next best thing is a massage gun. The question is, do you really need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a good one?

I put my muscles on the line to find out. (It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it.) I started with the most affordable models from premium brands Hyperice and Therabody, then worked my way down to the most inexpensive off-brand massagers I could find. (Not represented here are the super-sale deals that come along every few weeks, like this model for $29. They sell out quickly, so follow The Cheapskate to make sure you catch the next one. Scroll to the bottom to learn how.)

Read more: The best online therapy for 2021

These things come in all shapes and sizes, from full-size guns that look like hair dryers to mini ones that look incapable of generating much massaging power. (Trust me, they’re capable.) One model has an odd, triangular body; another incorporates two heads. In the end, I tried to get a good sampling of what’s out there, with an eye toward products priced $100 or less.

Indeed, this is the “value” end of the massage-gun category. And some of the prices shown here may actually end up lower thanks to codes and coupons that come and go.

If you want to learn more about percussive massagers in general, read CNET’s roundup of the best massage guns for 2021 and scroll to the bottom for some insight into their features and functions.

Rick Broida/CNET You know the old saying: Two heads are better than one. But is that true of massage guns? I thought Fishda’s Frankenstein was just a gimmick, but damn if it doesn’t deliver twice the muscle-punching goodness. For big areas like thighs and glutes, I genuinely enjoyed this “bigger” massage. Fortunately, it’s not twice as loud as other guns; in fact, it’s surprisingly quiet. It also has a relatively compact form-factor, basically a taller version of the Recoverfun Mini. But there’s some heft to it: At 1.7 pounds it weighs more than any other gun in its size class. Expect arm fatigue to set in a bit sooner with this one. At $150 it’s also on the expensive side relative to other models, though that’s to be expected given the dual heads. However, for a limited time, promo code 50M25UQP drops it to just $75. Weight: 1 pound, 11 ounces

1 pound, 11 ounces Charging method: USB-C

USB-C Number of heads included: Four (times two)

Four (times two) Carrying case included: Drawstring

Rick Broida/CNET Like Therabody, Hyperice is a premium brand with prices to match. And speaking of matching, the Hypervolt Go sells for $199, same as the Theragun Mini (reviewed below). But I like the former more, in part because it comes with two heads instead of one and has a more comfortable gun-style design. It’s smaller than the likes of the MaxKare and Taotronics models, but also larger than the Naipo and Recoverfun. So let’s call it “medium.” But, wow, is it powerful – on par with the Theragun in terms of muscle-punching force. With only three speeds, however, it might prove a little much if you prefer a light touch. Hyperice doesn’t supply a travel case, which is inconvenient, and the AC adapter is proprietary. Between this and the Theragun Mini, I’d choose this. But there are less-expensive models that are also more versatile, so it’s not my top pick. Weight: 1 pound, 7 ounces

1 pound, 7 ounces Charging method: Proprietary

Proprietary Number of heads included: Two

Two Carrying case included: Drawstring

Rick Broida/CNET Naipo’s massager is the lightest and most compact model in the group, with a small but comfortable grip and more percussive force than you’d expect. Other pluses include five speed settings and four different massage heads. Naipo doesn’t provide a carrying case, which is a bit disappointing. But my only real complaint is that it’s on the noisy side, at least compared with the other “minis” in the roundup, the Recoverfun and Sportneer. At this writing, Amazon seller Twakie US was offering an on-page coupon for $30 off, bringing the price down to an appealing $60. I’ve seen various other coupon or code deals as well, so you should definitely get this when it’s on sale. Weight: 14 ounces

14 ounces Charging method: USB-C

USB-C Number of heads included: Four

Four Carrying case included: No

Rick Broida/CNET Available in three colors (including a rather dazzling red), the Recoverfun Mini is among my favorite massagers in the group. Although it’s heavier than Naipo’s similarly compact model, with a metal barrel that feels a little cold until it warms up, it’s also surprisingly quiet. (When you’re trying to relax, extra noise doesn’t help.) The gun offers four speed settings and Recoverfun supplies the “big four” attachments: ball, bullet, fork and flat. The flat one is made of aluminum, which offers no clear advantage I can see but definitely looks cool. You also get a drawstring carrying case, though you’ll have to supply your own powered USB port for the USB-C charging cable. Weight: 1 pound, 5 ounces

1 pound, 5 ounces Charging method: USB-C

USB-C Number of heads included: Four

Four Carrying case included: Drawstring

Rick Broida/CNET The Sportneer Mini 3 closely resembles Recoverfun’s gun, but it’s ever-so-slightly “mini-er.” It’s just a hair shorter and lighter, but also just a bit louder (not enough to be distracting, though). It has a basic LED display as well, one that shows speed, battery level and runtime – superfluous information, yes, but welcome all the same. The Mini 3 has two tricks up its sleeve. First, in addition to the four standard speed levels, it offers an “AI” mode: A light touch results in a slower speed, but the harder you press, the higher the intensity. This works surprisingly well and consequently I found myself reaching for this gun more often than the others. You can also unscrew the barrel of the handle to add up to about 1.6 extra inches. That’s kind of nice as well, because a lot of minis (including the Recoverfun) are a tad short in the grip, particularly for larger hands. I’m glad Sportneer included a zippered carrying case, but sad that it has room for only two of the four massage heads. The USB-C cord is also quite short. Those issues aside, this is one mini you should definitely consider. Weight: 1 pound, 3 ounces

1 pound, 3 ounces Charging method: USB-C

USB-C Number of heads included: Four

Four Carrying case included: Zippered

Rick Broida/CNET As big, hair dryer-style massage guns go, the TaoTronics offers a lot to like. It’s reasonably light for its size, plus it’s smaller and quieter than MaxKare’s similarly designed model. The metallic green coloring adds a nice bit of flair and I liked the partially squared grip. TaoTronics provides six interchangeable heads and everything fits nicely in the included zippered case – though the latter is actually a bit larger than MaxKare’s. Traveling with this would require sacrificing a sizable chunk of suitcase. The big standout feature here is the speed control, which has settings that range from 1 to 20. Nearly every other massager here gives you maybe four or five. How many speeds does a person really need? I don’t know, but this massage gun is also notable for its unparalleled 4.9-star review average from over 2,300 buyers. The price at this writing: $75 (with coupon), an all-time low and down from the usual $120. Weight: 1 pound, 11 ounces

1 pound, 11 ounces Charging method: Proprietary

Proprietary Number of heads included: Six

Six Carrying case included: Zippered

Rick Broida/CNET Most Theragun massagers – save for the Mini in this roundup – have a distinctive design: They’re not “gun”-like at all, but rather more like a gas-pump handle. TechCare’s is the only one here that comes close to matching that design. Its big, curved handle affords a wider variety of grip choices, and the massage arm itself can rotate a full 90 degrees, which also expands your positioning options. However, it’s one of the heaviest models in the group, and for self-massage purposes I didn’t find much value in the bigger grip or articulating arm. Indeed, I’m not sure I see the value of, say, extending the arm all the way forward. But I did like the super-simple controls and choice of 15 speed levels. One usability complaint: Although this is the only massager with a removable battery, you have to remove it for charging. On the plus side, you can get spare batteries for $20 each. If you like the Theragun design, this comes close for a fraction of the price. Overall, however, there are other massagers I like better. Weight: 2 pounds, 2 ounces

2 pounds, 2 ounces Charging method: Proprietary

Proprietary Number of heads included: Four

Four Carrying case included: Zippered

Recommended with reservations

Rick Broida/CNET Another model with a frequently fluctuating price, the MaxKare is big. In fact, it’s the biggest massager in the group. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes it tougher to travel with. To that end, MaxKare provides both a zippered carrying case and a shoulder bag – the better to transport the six included massage heads. The controls are a bit confusing at first, because what looks like a power button on the back of the device is the button that toggles between the gun’s five different speeds. Power is actually controlled by an on-off switch on the bottom of the handle. Then there’s a mode button that switches between “warm up,” “relaxation” and “deep tissue” modes – all of which just make intermittent speed changes while you’re massaging. There’s currently a 30%-off coupon on the MaxKare product page; it drops the price down to $63. Prior to that, it was 10% off a lower starting price, but with the same end result. Either way, it’s an appealing deal – but be prepared for a gun with a bit more bulk and weight than most. Weight: 2 pounds, 5 ounces

2 pounds, 5 ounces Charging method: Proprietary

Proprietary Number of heads included: Six

Six Carrying case included: Zippered and shoulder

David Carnoy/CNET The triangular Mini exerts an impressive amount of force for its size, but the shape makes it hard to hold comfortably. What’s more, Therabody provides only one attachment, a ball head; other models here come with at least two, if not four or even six – for a lower price. Even at the lowest of its three speeds, the Mini feels stronger than a lot of the other guns I tried. In fact, anyone looking for just a light, relaxing massage might find it a little too powerful. Meanwhile, the unit relies on a proprietary AC adapter, not USB-C. That’s one more thing to pack on a trip – and the adapter doesn’t even fit in Therabody’s snug zippered carrying case. While I’d be glad to have this on hand for deep-tissue relief, it’s hard to recommend otherwise. There are too many other models with more features and lower prices. Weight: 1 pound, 8 ounces

1 pound, 8 ounces Charging method: Proprietary

Proprietary Number of heads included: One

One Carrying case included: Zippered

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CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for deal texts delivered right to your phone. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest Walmart discount codes, eBay coupons, Samsung promo codes and even more from hundreds of other online stores. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Answers live on our FAQ page.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Wednesday’s top deals: $56 mini massage gun, $78 Roku projector, $205 Sony WH-1000XM4

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Happy Wednesday, fellow cheapskates! A few random notes before we dive into today’s deals:

OK, on to business. A couple of today’s deals dovetail with recent stories – in a good way, meaning more or cheaper options. Read on!

As always, these are available for a limited time and while supplies last. Pricing is accurate at the time of this writing.

Rick Broida/CNET Amazon seller: YOUYI Direct Price: $56 with on-page 30%-off coupon I just wrote about this guy in my roundup of Theragun alternatives. At the time it was priced at $60, already a great deal; this seller has it for a few bucks less. As I noted in my review, Naipo’s massager is admirably light and compact, with a small but comfortable grip and more percussive force than you’d expect. It offers five speed settings and four different massage heads, though Naipo doesn’t provide a carrying case, which is disappointing. It’s also a bit noisier than other minis I tested, but that shouldn’t get in your way of checking it out.

Onn It was just yesterday I wrote about projectors that would be good for the TikTok Fake Window Challenge. This one is perfect because it comes with a Roku stick (which tucks away in a side panel), meaning it’s YouTube-ready right out of the box. The 720p native resolution is decent, at least for fake-window duty, and I like the decor-friendly cloth top (which isn’t pictured here but you’ll see on Woot’s listing page). At this price, these won’t last long.

David Carnoy/CNET Hang on, refurbished headphones? Actually, these are certified-refurbished, meaning they should arrive in good-as-new condition. They’re also backed by a two-year warranty. So there’s no real downside here, and quite a big upside: Sony’s top-rated ANC ‘phones sell new for $350. In fact, at $205 (with promo code PAYLESSCR, applied at checkout), this is the lowest price I’ve seen. A while back I tested these very headphones at a refurb price of $218, thinking that was a killer deal. Read that story to gauge my overall thoughts on the purchase. (Short version: Huge win.) And read David Carnoy’s WH-1000XM4 review if you’re not yet familiar with the product. (Short version: They kick butt.)

Ultenic Amazon seller: Purui US Store Price: $71.40 with promo code UltenicH8 Humidifiers have come a long way since the cheap, ugly plastic tubs we used when our kids were little. This model not only looks slick, it’s smart: It’s compatible with Alexa and Google devices (“OK, Google, start the humidifier”) and can also be controlled via app. Water is easy to add thanks to the top-fill design, and there’s a spot to add essential oils if you want to do the aromatherapy thing. Oh, almost forgot: The machine can produce warm or cool mist, not just one or the other. The best deal I’ve seen prior to this is $99.

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for deal texts delivered right to your phone. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest Walmart discount codes, eBay coupons, Samsung promo codes and even more from hundreds of other online stores. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Answers live on our FAQ page.