Renato Sanchez, PT, DPT, a physical therapist from Bespoke Treatments San Diego recommends first asking yourself why you’re considering a massage gun in the first place.
“What are you looking to get out of one? Is it for recovery, pain relief, or helping you reach your fitness goals?” Depending on your answer, different features may matter more or less to you.
To learn more about what to look for in a massage gun, we spoke with Pham and Josh Orendorf, a physical therapist, certified personal trainer and the owner of Paceline Physical Therapy, in Franklin, Tennessee.
“The three most important things for me are reliability, noise, and battery life,” says Orendorf. “I need something that I know is well-made and won’t malfunction during operation, especially because I’m using it on injured athletes.” Noise is the next most important factor, because you don’t want your massager to drown out everything else whenever you use it, he explains.
Reliability: Orendorf notes that reliability is still key and that it’s worth investing in a legitimate brand with high-quality standards rather than a knockoff. “Be prepared to spend at least $250 to $350 for a quality product,” he says. “I would be very suspect of guns in the $100 range.”
Noise: Pham agrees that keeping treatment quiet is a major priority. “Personally, noise to me is number one,” says Pham. “I want to be able to use the massage guns in public, and having it sound like a power tool would make it unusable.”
Battery life: Next up is battery life, as Orendorf says he also can’t have guns dying in the middle of treatment. He says that he expects a massage gun to last several full days without requiring a charge. “You’ll also want to be able to throw the gun in your bag or take it on a weekend trip without worrying about finding an outlet,” he says.
Power and speed: Sufficient power and speed is essential to effectively penetrate the muscles and promote blood flow. Look for a massage gun with a high percussive force and adjustable speed settings so you can deliver adequate force to different muscles.
Attachments: Different attachments can provide different massage techniques and sensations that may be suitable for different muscles. Look for a massage gun that comes with a variety of attachments to target different muscle groups and areas of the body.
Portability: A portable and lightweight massage gun is ideal, especially if you plan to use it on the go or travel with it. Consider the weight, size, and the case included.
Additional accessories and features: Of course, even the best guns leave room for improvement. Some options come with convenient travel cases and charging stands—something Orendorf would like to see more products offer. He also mentions that dishwasher-safe attachment heads would make for easier cleaning. And, as the market continues to progress, he hopes for smaller (yet still powerful) designs and Bluetooth app integration.