Forgive us for stating the obvious, but a lot has changed over the last two years. Working from home has become a much more common occurrence, and it seems to have made its way to the top of must-haves for jobseekers, businesses had to find a way to survive online, gyms were closed for what seemed like forever, some people pretty much threw their fitness goals out of the window whilst others simply found another way.
Whether you’re one of the many striving to get- or stay fit, or if you suddenly find yourself working from home more often or transitioning to using a laptop, a massage gun could be just what you need.
In this article, we'll cover:
What is a massage gun and who is it for?
A massage gun is a handheld device, akin in shape to a gun, which can be used to provide percussive massage therapy. Percussive massage simply refers to a massage treatment that provides rapid pulses (or strikes) into the muscle tissue - just as percussion refers to instruments which are played by being hit.
The action of the massage gun rapidly hitting the tissue is designed to help improve blood flow around the body, improving range of motion, helping to alleviate pain and inflammation. These factors make massage guns a great tool for recovery as well as injury prevention.
Massage guns are a great tool for anybody looking to:
- Improve flexibility
- Recover post-training
- Combat muscle aches and pains
- Improve posture
- Relieve stress
What to look for in a massage gun:
With such a wide range of massage guns available, you could be left asking yourself what even makes a good massage gun and how you’re going to figure out what the best option is for you. We have you covered.
One of the more technical terms you’ll come across when checking out massage gun specifications, the amplitude refers to the depth at which a massage gun operates. In other words, it’s how far into the muscle tissue the head of the massage gun will be hitting as it percusses. Generally speaking, a good amplitude would be somewhere around 12 to 16 mm, and that’s the standard with most massage guns these days anyway.
Stall force is another important consideration if you’re going to be getting good use out of your massage gun. This is the amount of pressure which can be applied before the massage gun essentially gives in and stalls. A lot of top-end massage guns tend to have a stall force of about 40-50 lbs.
A lot of massage guns come with a handful of speed settings, with the lowest setting being around 1300-1800 RPM and the highest being around 2500-3300 RPM. Ideally, when you use a massage gun, you’ll want to start on a lower setting and work your way up to a more powerful massage only when it’s comfortable to do so. With this in mind, it’s very handy to have a massage gun with a multitude of speed settings - definitely not just one, and most certainly more than 2 or 3.
Going back now to the shape of a massage gun. We didn’t mention earlier that they normally have a large, round “head” at the end. This is the part that vibrates and hits your tissues. However, our bodies and muscles are quite versatile, so massage guns come with an array of attachment heads. Generally speaking, the more the merrier, as a wider range of massage gun heads is a good indicator that you’ll be able to target more different muscle groups.
There are so many different massage guns out there that there are now Lite and Mini versions on the market. This means that you can take your massage gun with you, wherever you need to be.
A lighter massage gun means even better portability. Crucially, it also means that your arm isn’t going to get tired. With modern massage guns, you shouldn’t be expecting a weight of much more than 1 to 1.5 kg.
We’ve saved this one for last so you don’t forget it. It may seem trivial, but a good battery life is going to make a huge difference when it comes to selecting the right massage gun. As your average session lasts up to about 15 minutes, then an additional hour of battery life equates to an additional 4 massages before you need to recharge your massage gun.
If you’re reading this article, then you’ve probably heard of Recovapro. You’d be right in thinking that there are plenty of other competitors out there with just as good a product offering. We’ve managed to whittle it down to the below 5.
1. Pulseroll Pro Massage Gun
At £224.99, the Pulseroll Pro Massage Gun is the least expensive of the Recovapro alternatives. With a 3-5 hour battery life, 6 head attachments and a convenient carry case, the Pro Massage Gun is a great option whether you’re at home, on the move or recovering away from home after a training session.
The Pulseroll Pro Massage Gun also boasts a 4.8 star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot, an unbiased review-hosting site, so you can be confident in its quality.
2. HoMedics Pro Physio Massage Gun
Costing £299.99, the HoMedics Pro Physio Massage Gun is the most expensive of our 5 Recovapro competitors. Whilst it has a small amplitude, it offers a good RPM, fair battery life and a very impressive 3.5 year warranty. It also has 6 massage heads, and there’s something very different about them.
The HoMedics Pro Physio Massage Gun comes with a hot and a cold attachment head. You might want to set a reminder though - the cold head needs to go into the freezer 4 hours before its needed.
Cons: Despite its price, the HoMedics Pro Physio massage gun has a low amplitude of 12 mm and stall force of only 18 lb. We’d like to add a disclaimer that this information couldn’t be found in the product specifications sheet, but was on the product page as an answer to a customer question. There was similarly no information about how loud the gun is, though the massage gun reportedly has an ultra quiet brushless motor.
3. Power Plate® Pulse™
The Power Plate Pulse stacks up against the competition, with an impressive amplitude and stall force, as well as 6 attachment heads and a 1 year warranty.
Cons: Very similar in spec to the Pulseroll Pro Massage Gun, the Power Plate Pulse comes in at a slightly higher price and has a less efficient battery, which will last 2-5 hours compared to Pulseroll’s 3-5.
4. Hydragun Massage Gun
The Hydragun massage gun comes with a 1.5 year warranty and no less than 7 attachment heads! Three of the attachment heads are made from steel, for a harder massage. Hydragun’s massage gun has also been intentionally designed with a 99° handle for a more natural grip.
Cons: Whilst the Hydragun Massage Gun has an impressive max speed of 3200 RPM, there is no information provided regarding the other speed settings, or indeed how many there are.
5. Theragun Prime
Theragun Prime is Therabody’s simplified version of their massage gun. It has an impressive amplitude of 16 mm and 5 pre-programmed speed settings, as well as customisable speeds - basically, you can pick any speed between 1750 and 2400 RPM.
Cons: Despite the great amplitude, the Theragun Prime has quite a low stall force of 30 lbs. Whilst its speed settings are completely customisable, the top setting is 2400 RPM (600 RPM below the next lowest top speed). Theragun Prime also only comes with 4 attachment heads, whilst most of the competition are offering at least 6, so you may need to skip a couple of muscle groups if you go for this one.
Massage guns are a great tool for recovery and injury prevention. If you’re considering investing in one, there are a lot of alternatives out there to Recovapro. The Pulseroll Pro Massage Gun is a great and an affordable option. Aside from the impressive technical specifications (12mm amplitude and 50 lb stall force), the Pro Massage Gun is lightweight, has 6 attachment heads for a versatile massage, will last 3 to 5 hours before needing to be recharged and comes with a free case, making it very easy to transport.