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The Best Massage Guns For Any Budget

Theragun Pro vs Hypervolt 2 Pro
Theragun Pro, left, and Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro, two of the best massage guns we’ve reviewed (Image credit: Sam Rider / Future)

Massage guns are next-generation foam rollers: devices designed to activate muscles before exercise and accelerate recovery afterwards. They draw on a technique called percussive massage therapy, where pressure is rapidly applied to the soft tissue of a muscle to help break down knots and boost blood flow, flexibility and mobility.

Since the launch of the Theragun, the first successful device of its type, in 2016, rivals have waged an arms race to compete with the US brand. Yet the benefits of percussive therapy aren’t particularly well established. “There’s no scientific, PubMed-based evidence on the Theragun itself,” Claire Small, clinical director of Pure Sports Medicine, told us in our first Theragun review.

In fact, there’s very little gold standard, peer-reviewed research on percussive soft tissue massage, with a machine or otherwise. Yet that hasn’t deterred an army of athletes and sports stars who use them to gain an edge on their opponents.

While the jury might still be out on their benefits, massage guns are certainly more fun to use than foam rollers. If you have the funds to add a massage gun to your exercise arsenal, we’ve found the key points of difference are battery life, noise, power and range of attachments. Here we’ve taken a pummelling to bring you our thoughts on the best massage guns in the recovery range right now.

The Best Massage Guns

Therabody Theragun Mini

(Image credit: Sam Rider / Future)
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Travel-friendly massage that still packs powerful percussion

Specifications

Weight: 650g
Max PPM: 2,400
Battery life: 2.5 hours
Interchangeable heads: No

Reasons to buy

+
Useful app offers helpful guidance
+
Compact
+
Lightweight
+
Ergonomic grip
+
As powerful as top-end mode

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most elegant-looking

Don’t let looks deceive. This is mini by name but mighty by design. Theragun’s travel-friendly massage gun can deliver a wallop with three speeds of 1,750, 2,100 and 2,400 percussions per minute. Despite its size, it’s actually less discreet than some of the more robust alternatives – which we discovered to our horror when our bag started vigorously vibrating on a recent commute to work – but almost half as heavy as the Hypervolt. It also lasts longer with a battery life of 2½ hours.

Read more in our Theragun Mini review


Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro massage gun

(Image credit: Sam Rider / Future)
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Power, battery life and app-friendliness combine to great effect

Specifications

Weight: 1.18kg
Max PPM: 2,700
Battery life: 3 hours
Interchangeable heads: 5

Reasons to buy

+
Elegant machine
+
App easy to navigate
+
Excellent routines and guidance
+
Impressive power and battery life
+
Significantly cheaper than main rival

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Overkill for amateur use
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Pressure alert light visible only from behind

The Hypervolt 2 Pro is built for elite-level athletes with a price to match. The latest evolution of the Hypervolt Plus, its speed settings have jumped from three to five, ranging from 1,700 percussions per minute to a sector-leading 2,700 PPM. In comparison, the rival Theragun PRO tops out at 2,400 PPM. A swish digital dial replaces the old push button for switching speeds and there’s a new pill-shaped handle, although we found we preferred the old design on both counts. More usefully, the Hypervolt 2 Pro’s battery life has also been upgraded to keep going for three hours, up from 2.5. However, its best feature is the accompanying Hyperice App, which boasts a vast library of Bluetooth-enabled guided routines to help you make the most of your expensive new toy.

Read more in our Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro review



Theragun PRO

(Image credit: Sam Rider / Future)
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Professional-grade pummeling

Specifications

Weight: 1.3kg
Max PPM: 2,400
Battery life: 2.5 hours
Interchangeable heads: 6

Reasons to buy

+
Beautifully designed
+
Versatile multi-grip handle
+
Intuitive app and guidance
+
Dynamic, customised routines
+
Dual batteries for continuous use

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Noisier and significantly more expensive than main rival
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Offers similar features as next model down

The Theragun PRO is an exquisitely crafted, pleasingly tactile device that provides five built-in speeds from 1,750 to 2,400 PPM and a range of professional-grade features. Its limitless run time, thanks to two interchangeable 16V rechargeable batteries, and versatile multi-grip handle help it stand at the pinnacle of the massage gun market, while the Therabody app guides users through the optimum grip, force, frequency and technique to target each muscle. But can it justify that eye-watering price? It should deliver tangible ROI for serious athletes and massage therapists, but it’s a harder sell for everyday gym-goers and runners when the Theragun Elite (£375) and Prime (£275) offer similar features. 

Read more in our Therabody Theragun PRO review


MuscleGun Carbon massage gun

(Image credit: Sam Rider / Future)
A great value elite-level massage gun

Specifications

Weight: 980g
Max PPM: 3,200
Battery life: 5 hours
Interchangeable heads: 4

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic value
+
Comparatively quiet
+
Huge battery, broad speed range
+
Robust carry case

Reasons to avoid

-
Disappointing attachment heads
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Basic user guide and accompanying app
-
Lacks integration with third-party health apps
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Handle is cumbersome

This UK brand’s sleek, minimal, top-end massage gun is one of the fastest, lightest elite-level devices around. Its industrial-grade, energy-efficient brushless motor allows the gun to fire at 1,400, 1,800, 2,200, 2,600 and a supersonic 3,200 PPM, while weighing less than a kilo and delivering a notably lower, more tolerable sound than its direct competitors. One single hour of charge returns an impressive five hours of use – twice that offered by the industry-leading Theragun PRO, and it comes in a smart, compact carry case.

Despite its impressive hardware, its four basic attachment heads let it down somewhat, and its app falls short of the interactive functionality offered by Therabody and Hyperice. Nevertheless, at almost a third of the price of the PRO and 10.5oz (300g) lighter, it punches well above its weight. 

Read more in our MuscleGun Carbon review


Renpho R3 Mini Massage Gun

(Image credit: Sam Rider / Future)
Best mid-range massage gun

Specifications

Weight: 680g
Max PPM: 3,200
Battery life: Not given
Interchangeable heads: 5

Reasons to buy

+
Beginner-friendly
+
Compact and portable
+
Easy to handle
+
Long-lasting battery
+
Broad range of speeds

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks power for advanced gym-goers
-
Inferior head attachments
-
No compatible app for guided massage

At a smidge over three figures, yet capable of delivering percussion 800ppm above some of the leading contenders, the R3 Mini could be one of the best pound-for-pound massage guns on the market. Its five speed settings start at 1,800ppm and max out at 3,200ppm, while registering a pleasingly discreet 45 decibels. Combined with its desk-friendly dimensions and mere 680g in weight, the R3 is equally suitable for use at home, in the office or on your travels. The only drawbacks are a lack of Bluetooth-enabled apps for guided routines and suitable head attachments to help users make the most of this compact, modestly-priced massage gun.

Read more in our Renpho R3 Mini review


Core Balance Massage Gun

(Image credit: Core Balance)
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Core Balance Massage Gun

Big on power but light and portable, this is a budget-friendly contender

Specifications

Weight: 600g
Max PPM: 2,400
Battery life: 6 hours
Interchangeable heads: 6

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Portable
+
More interchangeable heads than most
+
Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks design flourishes of pricier models

Core Balance might not carry the cachet of a Theragun or Hypervolt, but this massage gun more than holds its own. It’s light and portable at just 600g, delivers up to 2,400 percussions per minute and comes with six interchangeable heads, plus its rechargeable battery goes for six hours – longer than any other here. It has also been designed to cut off after 10 minutes of continuous use so you don’t get overstimulated. How considerate.


HoMedics Pro Physio Massage Gun

(Image credit: HoMedics)
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HoMedics Pro Physio Massage Gun

Versatility is the name of the game with a gun that does hot AND cold

Specifications

Weight: 716g
Max PPM: 3,000
Battery life: 5 hours
Interchangeable heads: 6

Reasons to buy

+
Detachable hot and cold heads
+
Solid battery life
+
More interchangeable heads than most

Reasons to avoid

-
Can feel bulky

HoMedics’ Massage Gun adds an extra dimension to percussive massage therapy with the introduction of heat therapy. Its three intensity settings range from 2,100 to 3,000 percussions per minute and a full charge will run for 3½ hours, but its standout features are detachable hot and cold heads. The heat head can be warmed up to 47°C within two minutes to help alleviate tightness and increase blood flow to stiff muscles. The removable gel head goes in the freezer before use to gently cool your muscles after especially spicy sessions.

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix (opens in new tab). Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.