It seems like in the world of post-workout recovery, there's an arsenal of massage guns to choose from. Designed to help increase blood flow and pound away any aches and pains, these portable percussive products can be worthwhile investments to anyone that's felt the nagging pain of DOMS after training.
But much like bringing a knife to a gunfight, some massage guns can leave you feeling ill-equipped, and thus, underpowered when you go to treat those achy thighs, arms and calves.
We've pulled the trigger on plenty of massage guns over the years, highlighting standouts and duds alike across the battalion. Throughout our tests, however, three have continuously stood out as the cream of the crop: two you've probably heard of, and one lesser known. While the Theragun Pro from Therabody and Hypervolt 2 Pro from Hyperice continue their dominance in the massage gun realm, we've also been thoroughly impressed with the compact Sonic X from Lifepro.
While all three massage guns have merit when it comes to relieving aches and pains, which one is the surest shot? To find out, I tested these massagers for multiple weeks to determine which portable recovery device is the best pick of the bunch. Whether winding down after a long day in my office chair, recovering from an intense session in the squat rack or just activating my muscles before a long run, I was determined to confirm where these massage guns best fit in the slew of products out there targeting muscle recovery.
The Contenders for Best Massage Gun
Lifepro Sonic X Percussion Massage Gun
No name brand? No problem. The Lifepro Sonic X is exceptionally quiet through its five available speeds ranging from 1,400–3,200 percussions per minute, and the convenient carrying case easily houses the included charging cord and six available attachments. Plus, the profile features a Pressure Sensor LED ring that changes color depending on the pressure placed on a targeted muscle area, allowing for a more dialed-in recovery routine.
While this machine lacks Bluetooth connectivity for guided relief, this affordable, compact massage gun has definitely left a mark on my post-workout sessions.
Therabody Theragun Pro
This is, probably, the silhouette you picture when you think of a massage gun, and for good reason. Recently updated to a fifth generation with even more muscle-relaxing features, the Theragun Pro is a foundational piece within the fitness recovery realm. The triangle-shaped profile allows for multiple handle points that make targeting any area a breeze, and the swivel head that can be adjusted to multiple angles only adds to the versatility. Just be prepared to drop a pretty penny on such a premium recovery device, though — this is one of the most expensive massage guns on the market today.
Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro
Hyperice is a workhorse in the recovery game, and the brand’s flagship massage gun is no different. With a nimble 2.6-pound frame, the Hypervolt 2 Pro is a versatile device that can easily hit a number of muscle groups with little strain, and the turn-style adjustments are simple to use, too. Additionally, the Hypervolt 2 Pro is Bluetooth compatible, unlocking a slew of guided recovery sessions through the Hyperice app. The only thing missing in this premium massage gun package is a carrying case — while you do get a pouch for the five available attachments, you do not get a case for the gun itself.
How to Choose Which Massage Gun is Right for You
There are two key statistics to pay close attention to when determining the right massage gun — stall force and amplitude.
Stall force is the amount of pressure needed for the gun to stop applying perpendicular force into the muscle. This essentially indicates how hard you can press into a muscle area before the machine bogs down. Amplitude, on the other hand, measures how much distance the massage gun head can travel back and forth. This shows how deep the massage gun can hit in the muscle bed — a higher amplitude indicates a deeper massage.
The best massage guns often feature stall forces over 50 pounds and amplitudes somewhere between 12–16mm. The Sonic X, Theragun Pro and Hypervolt 2 Pro all fall within these ranges, providing deep-penetrating relief with enough boost behind each percussion to keep the device running smoothly.
In addition to the massage gun's measurables, you'll also want to consider the device's battery life. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than reaching for your percussive massage gun only to find a low battery indicator. Premium models will typically last between 2–4 hours between charges, with some, like the Theragun Pro, offering interchangeable batteries for extended use between charges.
Lastly, you want to look for a massage gun that includes a handful of head attachments to target different aches. Larger heads, like a flat or rounded ball, can cover wider surface areas like the thighs or lower back, while more precise heads like a bullet or thumb attachment can be great for smaller muscles, or when you really want to dig in to a nagging knot. To give your recovery routine some much-needed variety, I suggest searching for a massage gun with 3–5 available attachments.
Test 1: Ergonomics and Ease of Use
Massage guns, on their own, are supposed to relieve stress and pain, not add to those irritants. For this sake, it helps when a massage gun is ergonomically sound and easy to toggle.
The Lifepro Sonic X features a curved handle that measures roughly six inches long, creating plenty of space to grab and grip the device for a swathe of handling area. I had no troubles targeting hard-to-reach muscle groups thanks to this feature, and also appreciated the singular button toggles at the top and easy-to-read LEDs that indicated the chosen speed.
Speaking of easy-to-grip handles, it’s hard to ignore the versatility baked into the Theragun Pro. I enjoyed the triangle grip silhouette, and the swivel head is the cherry on top for premium, targeted relief. The toggles are a little more involved than the Lifepro option, but when paired to the companion Therabody app, the experience is near seamless.
Finally, despite the hammer-like silhouette of the Hypervolt 2 Pro, this massage gun is surprisingly nimble. The comfortable handle made any recovery session cozy, and the turn-style toggles at the rear of the device made on-the-fly adjustments extremely accommodating. The Hypervolt 2 Pro also pairs to a companion app for even more convenience, making this an exceptional option as well.
Test 2: Noise and Tech Specs
Recovery can be a great nightcap routine, ensuring your muscles are well-maintained for the next day’s ventures. With that said, it helps when a massage gun is up to the tasks at hand without interfering with your other activities. Yes, you need to focus slightly when it comes to a massage gun regimen, but the device itself doesn’t need to sound like you’re finalizing your next woodworking project.
For noise factors alone, I really enjoy the Lifepro Sonic X. Even at its highest speed levels, the audio readings are not as high as the competing Theragun or Hypervolt. You can clearly tell when you’re at the highest PPM, but the Sonic X doesn’t require you to turn up the volume as you multitask with a recovery session and catchup of your favorite TV series.
While the Sonic X does feature the best noise readings of the bunch, it does lack a little when it comes to other measurables like stall force and amplitude. The Lifepro massage gun packs in up to 56 pounds of stall force and 12mm of amplitude, which are fine numbers for any premium massage gun. When compared to the offerings from Therabody and Hypervolt, though, there’s a little left on the table.
Moving onto the Theragun Pro, I wouldn’t recommend this gun if silence is a pivotal factor. While the fifth generation has gotten quieter from its predecessors, there’s still a lot of rumble in this powerful motor. With that said, though, all that rumble makes for some serious power — up to 60 pounds of stall force and 16mm of amplitude. Think of it in terms of muscle cars — would you expect a Dodge Demon to be quiet with all that oomph under the hood?
In the middle of the pack lies the Hypervolt 2 Pro. Not the quietest, but not the least powerful. While this massage gun does have a noticeable hum when cranked up to the highest speed, it’s not overbearing. Despite the audible cues, this device still has a lot going for it in the guts of the profile. You can expect up to 60 pounds of stall force and 14mm of amplitude in this Hyperice flagship, giving your recovery sessions plenty of power and travel for whatever aches lay under your skin.
Test 3: Attachments and Accessories
As stated before, it helps when your massage gun comes with a handful of additional heads to help alleviate any particular knots you develop in training. All three of these massage guns offer plenty of extra attachments that made recovery a welcome addition to my routine, but the other available accessories are what separated the devices apart from one another.
Starting with the Sonic X, I really enjoyed the slew of attachments offered in the package, including a forked head and soft ball attachment that were my go-to’s for daily treatment. Additionally, the convenient strapped carrying case had cutouts for not just the gun itself, but each attachment and the companion charging cord as well. This made on-the-go recovery much more attainable, and the notion of having everything in one package made storage much easier.
The Theragun Pro also comes with six attachments, including the all-new Micropoint that helps improve stimulation. While this is a significant upgrade alone, I also appreciate the included carrying cases, but be mindful of the pluralization here. Therabody includes a separate tote for the attachments and gun, respectfully, which means you’ll have two cases for one device. Still, you’re able to build out the perfect recovery setup through Therabody with convenient charging stands and extra batteries, available through the brand’s site.
When testing the Hypervolt 2 Pro in this category, I quickly discovered this is best suited for at-home recovery regimens. While Hyperice does include five attachments with the 2 Pro — the Bullet head being my pronounced favorite for pinpointed relief — you only get a travel tote for the attachments in the package. The brand does offer a carrying case for the gun itself, but it’s only sold as a separate purchase. I’ve since employed a dual-Hyperice system for my daily recovery needs, keeping the Hypervolt 2 Pro as my home device and using the Hypervolt Go 2 as my portable option.
Best Overall Massage Gun: Lifepro Sonic X
Despite being the least powerful massage gun in this competition, I found the Lifepro Sonic X to be the standout device in this three-way shootout. The ergonomics fit perfectly to my frame, and I can’t deny how convenient the Pressure Sensor LEDs make recovery sessions. Plus, the six available attachments allow for plenty of versatility across a multitude of muscle groups that make me more confident in my training — knowing I have the tools to alleviate any aches and pains granted me an added boost to push forward when strength training or upping my run tempos. While it’s not the most well-known brand, I highly recommend this massage gun for the majority of athletes out there.
Get the Lifepro Sonic X Here
SHOP NOW (LIFEPRO) | SHOP NOW (AMAZON) | SHOP NOW (BELK)
Best Massage Gun for Guided Recovery Sessions: Therabody Theragun Pro
Okay, so the Theragun Pro might not be my absolute favorite massage gun out there, but it’s hard to deny its effectiveness. I really enjoyed the extra convenience of the ergonomic handle and swivel head, but where Therabody stands out — and nearly claimed the top spot — is in the brand’s companion app. The Bluetooth connectivity opens up an immense library of recovery opportunities that control the Theragun Pro from your phone. No toggles or changing speeds, just a guided regimen that’s uber simple and a great introduction for any novice athlete. If you want the full experience, and don’t mind paying the higher cost, I confidently recommend the Theragun Pro.
Get the Therabody Theragun Pro Here
SHOP NOW (THERABODY) | SHOP NOW (DICK'S SPORTING GOODS) | SHOP NOW (BEST BUY)
Most Durable Massage Gun: Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro
While Lifepro takes the overall top spot, and Therabody takes the convenience factor, don’t rule out the Hypervolt 2 Pro. While my testing has been limited to just a few months of use, this massage gun feels to be the most well-built, creating a sense of superior durability that’s sure to last year after year. Add in the fact that you get comparable stall force and amplitude measurements without the buzzing motor rumble, and this is one massage gun that can easily take the top spot if measured on a different day. Remember, recovery routines are about prolonging performance, and if you want to invest in a device that’ll be there with you through every step, I stand confident with the Hypervolt 2 Pro.