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Shopping Guide: The Best Massage Guns and Theragun Alternatives of 2020

SPY logo SPY 11/21/2020 Oscar Hartzog
a man sitting on a skateboard © Courtesy of Hyperice

This year a lot of athletes discovered the benefits of massage guns. These workout recovery devices used to be a sports massage and stress-relief secret kept on the down-low by pro athletes and physical therapists. Now, these tools are being adopted by everyone from casual runners to occasional weightlifters. In fact, we’ve seen more interest in massage guns this year than we have in any other product featured on SPY, and so we’ve made it our mission to test and review as many as we can. We take a lot of pride in connecting our readers with the best massage guns.

The massage gun market is currently dominated by one brand: Theragun. However, thanks to the high price tag (Theragun massage guns cost between $300 and $600), a lot of athletes have gone looking for reasonably priced Theragun alternatives.

Why are Theragun products so expensive? These small, gun-shaped devices aren’t like the handheld massagers that you’re used to. 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 delivered a major upgrade to regular handheld massagers with more precise, concentrated functionality. They 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, breaking down lactic acid, fighting chronic pain, relieving soreness, etc. — but they’re also great for portable, easy stress-relief.

Recently, Theragun rebranded as Therabody and released a new generation of premium massage guns. Even the basic model, Therabody Prime, outclasses the best massage guns from competitors.

CURRENTLY ON SALE!
a close up of a mouse: theragun therabody prime © Provided by SPY theragun therabody prime

This “simplified” percussive therapy massager has a quiet brushless motor and lasts for two hours on a full charge. Noise was a major problem with earlier Theragun products, but the Prime significantly cuts down on the noise. This massage gun has five speed settings that range from 1,750 strokes per minute to 2,400 strokes. Plus, it can connect to the new Therabody app via Bluetooth. Yet at $300, it’s much more expensive than the best massage guns on Amazon (see our top Theragun alternatives below).

  

What Are The Best Theragun Alternatives?

Therabody massage guns are effective, high quality tools, but there’s still the problem of the price tag.

You can buy the Theragun Prime for $300, while the new Theragun Elite will set you back $400. The Theragun Pro costs $600 and comes with two rechargeable batteries and an adjustable massage arm, among other bells and whistles. That’s great for pro athletes, but outside most people’s budget. Unfortunately, some of the highest quality alternatives to the Theragun are actually 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 among the top-rated massage guns.

To help our readers make the right purchase decision, we’ve tested a lot of massage guns in 2020 to see if they delivered on what their Amazon descriptions promised. Recently, one of our editors, Taylor Galla, set up a trial station in her home gym for friends to try out various massage guns and vote on which one they liked best. Taylor’s favorite was actually the Mini Massage Gun from addsfit, which came alongside the larger version that also topped the list. She also loved the regular-sized addsfit Massage Gun and the Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun for its slim design and power. Out of her athletically-inclined friends the reviews were mixed, but everyone loved the mini. And those are just the most recent massage guns we’ve reviewed.

massage gun trial, best Theragun alternatives © Provided by SPY massage gun trial, best Theragun alternatives

The massage guns pictured, left to right, are the addsfit Massage Gun, the Ekrin Athletics B37 gun and the TriggerPoint Massage Gun. Reviews and detailed descriptions of all three are included in the round-up below. (Since addsfit’s Mini Massage Gun is small and not really in the same league as the bigger ones, we’ve written a separate review of it on the site.)

If you want to invest in the best massage guns, then the brands to know are Theragun and Hypervolt. The Hypervolt is currently out of stock pretty much everywhere (it’s one of the top Christmas gifts of 2020), but we’ll be sure to add a link in here again once it’s available again. The lower you go in price, the more you will sacrifice in quality. That being said, if you’re looking for the best massage guns and low-priced Theragun alternatives, keep reading for the most popular products.

1. Hypervolt by Hyperice (Out of Stock)

BEST OVERALL

The Hypervolt massage gun (from Hyperice) costs about the same as the cheapest Therabody massagers, but some sports therapists actually prefer the Hypervolt and Hypervolt Plus models to Theragun. The Hypervolt costs slightly more than the options below, 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, intensity and brand reliability of Hypervolt is worth the extra dough.

Unfortunately, the Hypervolt is sold out online ahead of the holiday shopping season. We’ll update this post as soon as inventory is available again. We would also urge our readers to be very careful of Hypervolt listings on Amazon right now. There are many third-party sellers offering “Hypervolt” massagers on sites like Amazon and eBay. These listings are either from price gougers who jacked up the price, or are products of dubious authenticity. (Keep scrolling to read more about avoiding knock-offs in the massage gun market.)

a close up of a tripod: best massage guns of 2020 © Provided by SPY best massage guns of 2020 Buy: Hypervolt Massage Gun $279.00   

2. addsfit Deep Tissue Massage Gun

RUNNER UP

This is an incredible massage gun for the price. It feels and looks very similar to a Hypervolt but costs about half the price. It has nine different adjustable speeds that vary between 1,700 and 3,300 percussions per minute, an amazing range that’s effective in massaging muscles throughout the body. During our testing, we found that even the first level of intensity was powerful enough to soothe sore muscles. It’s also not too heavy but still has enough weight to be forceful in its movements as you’re using it. The silicone massage heads are very well-made and super easy to switch out. We also found this gun to be much quieter than most Theragun alternatives, and it’s actually quiet enough that you can use it while watching TV without any disruption. Finally, like all of the best massage guns, the addsfit massager has a lengthy battery life.

Overall, we’re very impressed with the design and usability of this gun. It’s well-made, powerful and easily adapts to your preferences. It’s a bit bulky in it size and design, but when looking for a massage gun that’ll soothe your muscles, you’re not necessarily looking for something compact.

a close up of a tripod: addsfit massage gun, best theragun alternatives © Provided by SPY addsfit massage gun, best theragun alternatives

Buy: addsfit Massage Gun $169.99

  

3. Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun

BUDGET BUY

Muscle relief doesn’t have to break the bank. This cheap massage gun from LifePro has a mix of positive and negative reviews on Amazon, with an overall positive rating. It has a lot of the same features as other popular massage guns but at a much better price point. The Sonic isn’t as loud as some Theragun alternatives and has proven extremely popular with SPY readers. If you’re looking for the best massage gun under $200, the Sonic is one of our top recommendations, and has been since the beginning of the year, even as new products enter the market.

The Sonic percussion massager has five speed settings and comes with a variety of attachments. Like the best massage guns, the Sonic delivers a targeted and powerful massage with thousands of percussions per minute. This device ranges from 1,200 to 2,800 strokes-per-minute, slightly less than the Hypervolt. However, like the Hypervolt, it features a quiet motor, a comfortable grip and a long battery life.

best massage guns - sonic massage gun © Provided by SPY best massage guns - sonic massage gun

Buy: Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun $119.99

  

4. Exerscribe Vybe Pro

MOST POWERFUL

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 above 3,000 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 deep tissue massage. This is also a highly versatile massager, with nine speed settings and eight massage head attachments. 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. If you’re looking for the best massage gun under $200 with excellent customer reviews, this is another worthy option. The Vybe Pro has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, and it’s a great mid-tier option for athletes.

vybe pro 2 © Provided by SPY vybe pro 2

Buy: Exerscribe Brushless Massage Gun $197.99

  

5. Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun

CONTENDER

We previously named the original Sportneer massage gun as our top Budget Buy, but Sportneer recently released an updated version of this popular massager, the Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun. The brand sent SPY this new gun for testing, and once again we’ve been impressed by this budget massager’s features. 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. Like most cheap massage guns, the massage heads could be of higher quality, and there’s no accompanying app or smart features.

Because it’s a relatively new product, the Elite D9 doesn’t have as many massage gun reviews as similar products. However, this massager does have a ton of great features, especially considering the low price. And unlike most budget massage gun brands, Sportneer’s massager is backed by reliable customer service that you can trust.

a close up of a microphone: sportneer massage gun © Provided by SPY sportneer massage gun

Buy: Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun $129.99

  

6. TimTam Massage Gun

MOST CUSTOMIZABLE

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 powerful massage gun also comes with its own carrying case, a lithium-ion battery charger, and a swappable battery pack. Because you can swap out the battery (buy extra batteries direct from TimTam), this is an excellent Theragun alternative for athletes who travel and sports therapists. The ergonomic design makes this an easy to use massager that provides instant relief to sore muscles.

tim tam massage gun © Provided by SPY tim tam massage gun

Buy: Tim Tam Power Massage Gun $199.99

  

7. LifePro Pulse Fx

BEST FOR TRAVEL

This incredibly compact massage gun has powerful percussion capabilities and comes with its own protective travel case so packing and carrying it is easy. Your average percussive gun comes with about 11mm of amplitude, but this baby packs 16mm of amplitude — equal to the newest generation of Theragun devices. The massage head intensely penetrates your muscles, soothing and reshaping fascia in the process. The handle is easy to grip and the head’s arm has three different adjustable angles for getting to those hard-to-reach spots, a hard feature to find. The powerful vibrations will send ripples of therapeutic relaxing pulses through your muscles backed by a 250W motor with a battery life of up to seven hours. Customize your massage to your needs with three adjustable speeds and a variety of heads for doing different types of massage work.

Pulse Fx Massage Gun © Provided by SPY Pulse Fx Massage Gun

Buy: LifePro Pulse Fx $249.99

  

8. Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun

BEST DESIGN

We recently tested the Ekrin Athletics massage gun, and we really liked it. This massager has a slim design that seems like it’s gotten rid of unnecessary bulk. It’s plenty powerful without taking up too much space or being difficult to hold for long periods of time. It has five different speeds built into it, and we appreciated that each setting felt like a substantial increase or decrease. The first level is also quite manageable for beginners or those with very sore muscles, which is ideal for people who prefer gentler massages. The grip and ergonomic design is this gun’s biggest selling point, and you really can reach many parts of your body because of this. The functionality of the gun and buttons are less clear than other models we’ve tested, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this gun for older, technologically-challenged users.

The head attachments on the gun also felt less high-quality than on cheaper guns like the addsfit. That being said, we like the variety of options included. It’s also a relatively quiet gun, and the noise level won’t bother you while using it.

Ekrin athletics massage gun, best theragun alternatives © Provided by SPY Ekrin athletics massage gun, best theragun alternatives

Buy: Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun $229.99

  

9. TriggerPoint Impact Handheld Percussion Massage Gun

BEST TRIGGER POINT MASSAGE

Trigger point massage is known for targeting a specific muscle, tendon or sore spot and easing tension through targeted pressure. Trigger point foam rollers are known for mimicking this massage therapy at home, and this massage gun is no different. The TriggerPoint massage gun offers four speeds of targeted therapy designed to increase blood flow, hydrate muscle tissue and improve your range of motion so you can prep and recover from workouts effectively. The top-weighted design and angled handle enable you to have better control over the gun and maximize its effectiveness. The motor is quiet, brushless and runs for over two hours consistently on a single charge.

If you prefer intense deep tissue massage, then this might not be the best massage gun for you. However, our testers had a lot of positive feedback after trying out this massager. One liked the weighted design because it enabled him to dig into muscle groups and sore points easier than with other guns. Another liked the feeling of the handle more than other guns. However, SPY editor Taylor Galla thought the plastic heads felt more superficial and less like a deep-tissue massage. The gun also doesn’t come with different heads and only has one option, which limits its scope of massage in some aspects.

a close up of a camera: triggerpoint massage gun, theragun alternatives © Provided by SPY triggerpoint massage gun, theragun alternatives

Buy: TriggerPoint Impact Handheld Percussion Massage Gun $174.68

  

10. Fusion FX Heated Percussion Massage

BEST HEATED MASSAGE

This massage gun introduces heat to the massage equation, and reviewers seem to be in favor. This gun combines the therapeutic powers of heat and massage to help your muscles recover faster and ease aching joints. It’s important to note that the gun comes with a heated attachment, and isn’t heated all the way through as some may think. However, the heated attachment works well according to the massage gun reviews we’ve read and adds to the gun’s overall appeal.

The gun comes with five different intensity levels, five different heads to choose from and three bonus preprogrammed modes that enhance recovery further. These three bonus modes include the heated option, varying speeds, a continuous speed or increasing speed of the massage reverberations. The gun also has a pause button so you can take a break from your session if you need to before picking up right where you left off.

fusion heated massage gun, massage gun, best massage gun, theragun alternatives © Provided by SPY fusion heated massage gun, massage gun, best massage gun, theragun alternatives

Buy: Fusion FX Heated Massage Gun $244.95

  

11. Sonic LX Professional Percussion Massage Gun

BEST FOR PROFESSIONALS

The best massage guns are perfect for athletes of all levels, but this product was built for professional bodyworkers like physical therapists, chiropractors and personal trainers, and it shows. The Sonic LX has numerous rave reviews from professionals and a stellar 4.8-star rating overall with more than 1,300 reviews. This massage gun is powerful — built with a 2,000 mAh motor and 12mm of amps that can deliver an intense deep tissue massage with ease. It has nine different intensity levels, seven different massage heads and is ultra-quiet. It can last for up to four hours on a single charge and comes with a carrying case so it’s easily portable.

diagram: sonic lx professional massage gun, massage guns, best massage guns, theragun alternatives © Provided by SPY sonic lx professional massage gun, massage guns, best massage guns, theragun alternatives

Buy: Sonix LX Professional Percussion Massage Gun $204.99

  

12. Vybe Percussion Massage Gun

BEST FOR RECOVERY

This massage gun is quiet yet powerful, perfect for faster post-workout recovery. The percussion vibration can vary between 500-2,400 strokes per minute depending on the speed you select, and the gun offers six different speeds to choose from. That’s lower than other options, but that’s actually a good thing for older users or those who want something a little less intense. The gun comes with three different heads for targeting different muscle groups — including a small ball for smaller muscles, big ball for larger muscles and a cone shape for trigger point massage. It’s compact in size making it easy to carry around, and the ergonomic square design with the handle makes it easy to maneuver when massaging yourself or someone else. Finally, the adjustable arm makes it easier to massage hard to reach places.

vybe percussion massage gun, massage gun, best massage guns, theragun alternatives © Provided by SPY vybe percussion massage gun, massage gun, best massage guns, theragun alternatives

Buy: Vybe Percussion Massage Gun $149.99

  

Spotting Fakes, Dupes & Look-a-likes When Shopping for Massage Guns

Because many of 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.

When looking for the best massage guns for sale online, be sure to practice due diligence and common sense. Before making a purchase, double-check the product photos and stick with trusted retailers like Therabody, Amazon and D***’S Sporting Goods. Massage gun reviews hosted on retailer websites can also be a reliable indicator.

a close up of a mouse: theragun therabody prime © Provided by SPY theragun therabody prime

  
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