Owning a massage gun hosts a ton of benefits like improving athletic performance, reducing stress and tension, providing pain relief, preventing injury, and so much more! But there are so many kinds of massage guns on the market, it can feel overwhelming trying to find the best massage gun for you. The perfect one for you and your budget exists, it's just a matter of finding it. That's why we created this guide. After reading this, you'll be able to identify what to look for, so you can choose a massage gun that matches your preferences and needs.
How to choose a massage gun: Size
Size matters when looking for the right massage gun.
Before we get into the nitty gritty on size, identify how you're going to use your massage gun. Are you using it on-the-go while traveling? Or do you see yourself using it mostly at home?
If the answer is on-the-go while traveling, you'll want a mini massage gun. Mini massage guns are great because they're lightweight, compact, and typically come with a carrying case where you can conveniently keep all parts together and organized. An added bonus — they put less strain than a full-sized gun on your wrists because they're lighter. Our favorite mini massage gun is the Bob and Brad Q2 Mini Massage Gun for travel-friendly trigger point therapy.
If the answer is mostly at home, you'll want a full-sized massage gun. Full-sized massage guns are heavier and larger, but can pack twice the stall force and amplitude of a mini massage gun and offer much more when it comes to versatility and features. If your plan is to use your gun primarily at home, it's better to have options — go full size for deeper amplitude and more versatility.
How to choose a massage gun: Amplitude
Amplitude is a key component in getting the right massage gun for your body.
A massage gun's amplitude is how deep you'll feel the vibration penetrate your muscle. The higher the amplitude, the deeper you'll feel it.
I've seen massage gun amplitudes ranging from five to 16 millimeters, which makes a big difference! Mini massage guns typically host an amplitude of six to eight millimeters, while full-sized massage guns offer eight to 16 millimeters. To break it down: budget, full-sized guns typically offer eight to 10 millimeters, mid-range — 10 to 12, and top-tier — 12 to 16 millimeters.
Personal preference comes into play here. Six to eight millimeters will serve someone who prefers a lighter touch well, while eight to 12 will suit most fitness afficionados. Twelve to 16 is for the heavy hitters — those that want the deepest reach.
How to choose a massage gun: PPM and adjustable speed
Percussions per minute, or ppm is the rate at which the massage gun connects with your body. Usually, massage guns have adjustable speeds where you can increase or decrease your PPM for lower or higher-intensity trigger point therapy. If the massage gun you're looking at does not have adjustable speeds, do not buy it. There are plenty of better options that do.
A good PPM range for a mini massage gun is 1500 to 3000 ppm, while a nice range for a full-sized massage gun is 2000-3400 ppm. Personal preference comes into play again depending on how much vibration you might want, but a good range that will suit most users is 1800 to 2800 ppm.
How to choose a massage gun: Stall force
Stall force is the amount of pressure (in pounds) you can apply to your massage gun during use before the motor stops.
This can vary greatly, ranging from 25 to 60 pounds which is an enormous difference! Again, your choice will depend on personal preference and strength. Maybe you want to pack a more powerful punch, so you'll opt for a heavier stall force. The average user will be satisfied with a stall force of 32 pounds.
How to choose a massage gun: Battery
Another important aspect to consider when choosing the right massage gun, is battery life.
If you're a massage therapist and are going to use your massage gun over and over again on multiple clients, you're obviously going to want the longest battery life. If you're an average user, who plans on doing 10-to-15-minute sessions here and there, extra-long battery life doesn't make a huge difference. If you're going to take your massage gun on the road and won't have easy access to a power source while you're traveling, long battery life matters — see where I'm going here? Choose a battery life that will suit your needs.
In general, a battery life of two to five hours is good and standard on a massage gun.
How to choose a massage gun: Materials
While what your massage gun is made of might not make a huge difference right out of the box, it is going to come into play in the long run if it's going to withstand the test of time.
Durable materials like anodized aluminum and silicone are going to last a lot longer than pieces made of plastic and foam. We recommend opting for premium materials (if your budget allows) for longevity purposes.
How to choose a massage gun: Massage heads
All massage guns are going to come with at least one or two massage heads, but what you want is a nice variety.
Massage heads come in different shapes and materials, designed to tackle, and alleviate your various muscle groups.
You'll want a massage gun that offers full body coverage, so it's good to opt for a gun that comes with enough attachments to cover all major muscle groups. Like we mentioned above, materials matter. We recommend opting for silicone, steel, and rubber, over plastic and foam.
A mini massage gun is going to come with two to five interchangeable massage heads, while a full-sized gun should come with five to six.
How to choose a massage gun: Handle
An ergonomic handle can make or break a massage gun.
If you're going full-sized, the handle is especially important, because the gun is going to be heavier. You want a handle that puts the least amount of stress on your wrists, and gives a nice, firm grip. We prefer silicone or a texturized rubber for a no-slip grip.
There are also handle extensions available to give you some extra length, and help you access those hard-to-reach places on your back.
How to choose a massage gun: Price
Obviously, you'll want to choose a massage gun that fits within your budget. There's an enormous price range for massage guns. I've seen great valued guns as low as $30, and premium guns as high as $500. Just because it seems like the fanciest and costs the most, doesn't necessarily mean it's the best. So do your research, and make sure the gun you choose checks all of your must-have boxes and falls within your price range.
How to choose a massage gun: Features
When choosing the best massage gun for you, assess the features you prioritize. There are smart, pre-programmable massage guns if you want something techy. There are massage guns that offer hot and cold therapy with a special massage head. There are massage guns that offer a huge assortment of attachments for specialized full-body coverage.
Massage guns can offer a variety of specialty features, but to sum it up, the features that are non-negotiable are:
- 7+ millimeter amplitude
- Adjustable speeds
- 1800 to 2800 ppm
- 30+ pound stall force
- Interchangeable massage heads
- 2+ hours of battery life
Bringing it home
Now you're ready to choose your massage gun. Check out this list of best massage guns and bring the right therapy tool home. Massage gun therapy offers a long list of health benefits for both body and mind. Daily sessions with your massage gun can make a big difference, so treat yourself to the trigger point therapy you deserve.