Best Percussion Massage Guns for 2024

A short percussion massage can do wonders before or after a long run.

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Best Percussion Massage Guns for 2024

If you’re a runner, I know you know it–that debilitating post-workout muscle soreness that leaves you gingerly hobbling up and down steps after a long run. When you get done with a long or difficult run, excess metabolic waste pools in your leg muscles, causing inflammation and soreness. This painful yet oddly rewarding feeling in your muscles is delayed onset muscle syndrome, or DOMS.

DOMS is an unavoidable side effect of training and pushing your limits, but using a massage gun can help you recover quickly. It uses rapid strikes to force that waste product into your circulatory system, speeding up your body’s recovery. A 2023 systematic review from The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that percussion therapy through multiple massage gun treatments elicited a reduction in musculoskeletal pain or DOMS, while single-use treatments were linked to acute increases in muscle strength, explosive muscle force, and flexibility.

Whether you're trying to reduce DOMS or just looking for a quick warm-up tool, we can help you learn how to use a massage gun, and pick the right one to fit your exercise routine.

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I’ve been using all of these massage guns and therapy devices on my own muscles, pressing them into sore tissue to get ready for races and stowing them in my bag to prevent cramped hammies afterward. Some of these picks have also been tested and recommended by members of the Runner’s World test team, including Runner-in-Chief Jeff Dengate. Together, we focused on the things that mattered to us: the massage experience, noise, attachments, battery life, and price.

Ekrin may not have the same brand name recognition as Therabody, Theragun or Hyperice, the Ekrin B37 packs impressive stats, giving you exactly what you need and nothing you don’t. In hand, the B37 feels solid and easy to use. It produces enough power to ease the deepest muscle aches and pains.

I love its simple, ergonomic design, and easy user controls. You use one button to both turn it on and off, and switch among its five speed settings (1,400-3,200 percussions per minute.) It’s estimated 8-hour battery life is nearly 2 hours longer than that of any other gun we tested. Neatly tucked in a well-organized carrying case, its four solid plastic head attachments are perfect for hitting every muscle. Hands down, the Ekrin B37 is the best performance-to-value percussion massage gun that I’ve tested.

While it does not bring quite the same level of intensity as some of the pricier options, the Mebak 3 still provides a quality massage—plus it has the benefit of being shockingly quiet. It has five speeds, seven attachments, and a touch screen display that makes it appear more expensive than it is. It has an auto shut-off safety feature which turns it off after 10 minutes, but you can restart it and use it for longer without any issue of overheating.

This newcomer has a luxury style and quality build. And, it comes in a nice hardshell case that has storage space for the gun, seven attachments, and the charger (with international adapters). Hydragun bills itself as the quietest massager, though it’s just nominally quieter than the Hyperice Hypervolt 2. Runner’s World Runner-in-Chief Jeff Dengate used an iPhone decibel meter to test how loud each was at roughly the distance from your ear to thigh.

“The Hydragun, on the lowest of six speeds, was just 42 dB, a whisper,” he said. “But that’s slower and softer than I’d ever use the device, typically preferring level 3 as the lowest setting—49 dB. By contrast, the Hypervolt 2 on the first of three speeds is just 53 db. So, that’s not a massive jump.” On the highest power, however, the Hypervolt 2 (60 dB) was actually a smidge quieter than the Hydragun (62 dB). In any case, both are quiet.

The Hydragun doesn’t connect to Bluetooth apps, but has a smart, ergonomic design, including an angled handle that’s covered in a rubberized coating for a comfortable massage session. It’s an affordable-ish massage gun for anyone who doesn’t want to annoy their partner with a noisy massage gun and still values a solid performance.

The TriggerPoint Impact delivers a strong therapeutic massage, featuring a top-weighted design and angled handle that give you great control to hit specific, hard to reach spots. There’s just one small massaging head, but the versatile rubber tip works well on the glutes, IT bands, calves, and everything else. You get four speeds, topping out at 3,300 RPM, and a solid construction that doesn’t rattle or stall easily like some massagers at this price. It’s pretty quiet, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a quiet office setting.

The Therabody Theragun Pro Plus is an incredibly powerful, feature-rich massage gun. It features a market-leading 16mm amplitude and stalls out at 60 pounds of force, second only to the Achedaway Pro. That’s strong enough to reach even the deepest of tight knots.

Perhaps more importantly, it has multiple features that you won’t find on any other massage gun. There’s an adjustable heat therapy attachment, which shortens the time it takes to warm up muscles. It made a remarkable difference in warming up my muscles prior to heading out the door for a run.

There’s also an infrared LED light Therabody claims will stimulate circulation and boost healing as you pummel your sore muscles. I didn’t necessarily feel the benefits of the light therapy, but it definitely isn’t a feature I’ve seen anywhere else.

Before you buy it, though, the most striking aspect of the Theragun Pro Plus is its price tag. It costs more than double what you would spend on a top massage gun. I think extra power and special features are worth the expense for physical therapists and trainers, but it’s overkill for most amateur athletes.

The Turonic G5 comes with seven massage tips of varying shapes. Hard, narrow tips allow you to target knots, and broader tips give you soothing release without beating up tight tendons. It’s among the quieter massage guns on this list, even with a high 3,200 rpm max speed. Its impressive 8-hour battery life, tied only with that of the Ekrin B37, was enough to go for weeks without a charge. It could use a design tune-up–it’s a bit heavy, and the shape makes it hard to reach your back–but it’s one of the most adjustable (and most affordable) choices around.

The Ekrin Bantam proves that you can make a portable massage gun without sacrificing power for portability. This pint-sized percussion massager delivers a pretty powerful punch with 10 millimeters of amplitude and topping out at 35 pounds of stall force. With a carrying case, it’s easy to pack up and bring to events.

The Bantam’s lightweight design is easy to handle—the 1.1-pound frame fit in my hands better than any other portable gun, and was lighter than any other portable gun I tested. With 6 hours of battery life, it can keep up with most of my full-sized picks.

On top of everything else, it’s less expensive than our other favorite portable massage gun, the Theragun Mini 2, so we think of it as a bargain, too.

Weighing in at only 1.8 ounces, the Hypervolt 2 is remarkably compact and lightweight for a full-size massage gun. It’s well-balanced, with a rubberized handle that makes getting a firm hold easy and comfortable. It features a quiet 60W brushless motor with an adequate 40 pounds of stall force and a solid 12-millimeter amplitude, though we didn’t love that it only has three speed settings. Despite that, it’s a light and handy tool–a great pick for new athletes who need something affordable and reliable.

The Hypervolt 2 comes with five useful attachments out of the box, but we’re particularly into Hyperice’s heated head attachment, which it sells separately. Compared to spending hundreds of extra dollars on a Theragun Pro Plus, this is the best heated massage gun we’ve tested.

If you’re looking for the raw power to really dig in and hammer out tight spots, there’s no better massage gun than the Achedaway Pro. This beefy gun tops out at a whopping 80 pounds of force, far exceeding any gun I tested. Its 16-millimeter amplitude drives the deepest possible massage you can get with a massage gun, tying with the pro-grade Theragun Pro Plus, but for half the price.

The Achedaway Pro features five speeds, ranging from 1,700-2,800 percussions per minute. Its removable 3200 mAh Lithium battery provides enough power for 3- to 4 hours of treatment. It comes with a carrying case with four well-made attachments including semi-soft standard ball, firm flat head, bullet and fork.

The one knock I found is in its design: The gun itself is bulky and top-heavy, making it difficult to maneuver. For example, its large size and off-balanced feel made hitting my calves and forearms feel awkward. However, if you’re the type of runner who enjoys beating your deepest sore muscles into submission and finds the Theragun Pro Plus too pricey, this is an excellent power-to-value massage gun.

To make sure everyone knows how to use their message gun, we asked Dr. Rachel Tavel, P.T., D.P.T., C.S.C.S. for some tips to get the most out of your massage gun. Start by holding the device at a 45-degree angle, with the application head in contact with the target muscle. Depending on your current goals and run routine, you’ll vary your usage slightly.

You can get two types of therapeutic treatments from massage gun. Vibration therapy, which uses shaking movements, is weaker and broader, applying constant pressure to the surface of the skin. Percussion therapy, which massage guns are known for, strikes the muscles repeatedly for deep, targeted relief.

Percussion therapy reaches deeper into your muscles than vibration therapy, which provides longer and lasting acting effects. Vibration therapy has its uses: It’s an excellent way to help warm up your muscles before a run, for example. If you’re looking to dull DOMS or reach deep muscle soreness, though, you want the percussion massage most commonly found in massage guns.

Amplitude measures how far the massage gun’s head travels from its shortest to longest point. This is the primary indicator of how deep the massage gun can penetrate your muscles. Most massage guns will have an amplitude around 8- to 16-millimeters. The higher the amplitude, the deeper the massage. 

For therapeutic applications, we recommend an amplitude of at least 12 millimeters. If you’re interested in lighter, more general therapy, 8-10 millimeters will do.

Stall force, measured in pounds, measures the maximum amount of force a massage gun applies before it starts to stall out. First and foremost, this tells you how long you can use your massager in a single session. You don’t need to spend too much time on any individual muscle group, but it will allow you to cover more of your body quickly. Like amplitude, it also impacts how deep and powerful a massage gun can penetrate your muscles.

Less expensive guns will have a stall force of 20- to 30-pounds, while top-tier guns can reach as high as 60 pounds.

Most massage guns get power from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which you can top off with a USB cable or a standard charger. Most massage guns can run from 2- to 8-hours on a single charge. 

While battery life isn’t necessarily the end-all-be-all when comparing massage guns, it’s worth noting the battery life against all other specs to find the one that suits your intended use.

Most massage guns feature three to five adjustable speed settings. More strikes, especially when combined with greater amplitude, will translate to a deeper massage.

Massage speed is measured in rotations per minute (RPM), which translates to the number of percussions per minute. These settings can range from 1000- to 5000 RPM, though most will fall into a narrower 1200- to 3200 RPM range.

Massage guns typically allow you to swap among a set of three to five removable massager heads, which come in various shapes and densities that are designed to provide optimal relief to specific body parts. Most of them will have the standard ball and flat heads for large muscle groups like quads and glutes. 

The most common “optional,” but very helpful extras include a dampened ball for sensitive areas, a narrow “bullet” for targeted relief of small knots, and a fork to massage your neck and spine.

Where should I avoid using my massage gun?

Massage guns are safe for soft tissue such as muscles and fascia, but avoid using it on bones, joints, and highly sensitive areas, including injuries.

Is it good to use a massage gun every day?

In most cases, you can safely use a massage gun two to three times per day. Make sure to follow our doctor-recommended instructions on how long to work each muscle group. Any more than that, and you may risk overworking and possibly bruising your muscles. If you aren’t sure whether it’s safe to be using your massage gun for any reason, consult your doctor.

Should I still use a massage gun if I'm not very sore?

Yes! While the massage gun is a great tool to help reduce soreness, it also serves as a fantastic tool as part of a warm-up routine. Using a massage gun to activate muscles prior to your run can get the blood flowing and increase your range of motion.

Cory Smith is a running coach and journalist specializing in running and fitness-related content and gear reviews. He is the founder of Run Your Personal Best, an online running coaching business that has helped hundreds of runners achieve personal bests in distances ranging from 800 meters to 100 miles. Cory holds a USA Track & Field Level 1 and 2 Endurance Certification and was the former Head Cross Country/Track Coach at Penn State Brandywine. Over his running career, Cory has held three Maryland state records, was a two-time National Championship qualifier while at Villanova University, and holds personal bests of 4:03 in the mile and an 8:05 in the 3K. 

Jeff is Runner-in-Chief for Runner's World, guiding the brand's shoes and gear coverage. A true shoe dog, he's spent more than a decade testing and reviewing shoes. In 2017, he ran in 285 different pairs of shoes, including a streak of 257 days wearing a different model.  

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Best Percussion Massage Guns for 2024

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