Massages are commonplace for professional athletes like runners, cyclists and basketball players, but for the rest of us, they’re still kind of a luxury. The good news is, there are tools you can buy to mimic a massage — and they’re easy to use. Now, you don’t have to book an appointment to get the sweet, relaxing taps similar to a Swedish massage parlor. All you have to do is grab your (charged) massage gun, select your head and paint away your aches and pains.
While there are plenty of massage guns on the market targeting DOMS and daily muscle aches, two of the most recognizable silhouettes are the Hypervolt 2 Pro from Hyperice and the Theragun Pro from Therabody. Both these devices have brought premium massage therapy to the masses for years, but which machine reigns supreme?
To find out, we turned to these two pro-grade massagers for our daily recovery sessions. Whether coming home from the gym, ending the workday with a quick cool-down or relaxing my muscles in-between slowpitch softball games, we worked out our knots and soreness, highlighting features and perks to determine which gun should be kept in the holster — and which should be placed back on the shelf.
The Contenders for Best Pro-Grade Massage Gun
Therabody Theragun Pro
With a commercial-grade brushless motor delivering up to 60 pounds of no stall force at five different speeds (1750, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2400 percussions per minute), the Theragun Pro easily packs a punch in its premium, ergonomic profile. Choose from six different head attachments and work your muscles back to proper performance levels. The Theragun Pro also features a rotating arm for multiple approach angles, and can be controlled via Bluetooth through the companion app for guided recovery sessions. One of the biggest perks to this smooth-operating, albeit loud, massage gun is the interchangeable battery system, so you can rest assured you’re always operating at a full charge — provided you have a charged battery at the ready.
Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro
At a surprisingly nimble 2.6 pounds, The Hypervolt 2 Pro is easy to maneuver as you use the 60 pounds of stall force to knock out those pesky DOMS. The dial-style controls allow you to seamlessly transition between the five available speeds, which top out at an impressive 2,700 percussions per minute. Hyperice also boasts a companion app, which you can sync to your device for guided sessions as you let the machine do the work for you. While the Hypervolt 2 Pro only comes with five available attachments — compared to Theragun’s 6 — you do get the ever-popular fork head, which can be great for targeting the spine and shoulder areas.
How to Choose Which Massage Gun is Right for You
When it comes to determining which massage gun to purchase, the two most important specs to consider are stall force and amplitude. Stall force is the amount of pressure needed for the gun to stop applying perpendicular force into the muscle. This stat, indicated in poundage, 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. Both the Theragun Pro and Hypervolt 2 Pro feature premium stall forces of up to 60 pounds. The Theragun option does have a longer amplitude of 16mm (the Hypervolt 2 Pro carries a 14mm stroke length), but both should be able to provide plenty of penetrating relief, regardless.
You also want to consider the battery life of your massage gun, because there’s nothing worse than reaching for your device only to find its charge depleted. Premium models will typically last between 2–4 hours between charges.
Lastly, you want to look for a massage gun that offers a bit of variety in the attachments department. 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 fine-tune your recovery as you target smaller muscle groups. We recommend searching for a massage gun with 3–5 available heads, as this should be enough to sculpt a well-rounded recovery routine. Both the Theragun Pro and Hypervolt 2 Pro offer six and five heads, respectively, giving plenty of power to the user through multiple modalities.
Test 1: Ergonomics and Accessories
At first unboxing, we took notice of the feel of each massage gun, as well as the available heads. It’s worth noting that since both these models are the premium-grade offerings from Therabody and Hyperice, they’re significantly heavier than slimmer models due to the smaller motors and less features. Despite this weight increase, both the Theragun Pro and Hypervolt 2 Pro felt exceptionally well in the hands, and we felt it was very easy to reach all potential muscle groups without strain. The triangle-shaped silhouette of the Theragun Pro, however, did make it easier to hit far-off knots like at the back of the hamstring. Combine this with the adjustable head and no muscle strain ever stood a chance. The Hypervolt 2 Pro’s silicone handle was comfortable enough, but one point of grip cannot compare to the multiple offered via Therabody.
Next, both massage guns offer a separate carrying case for the available attachments, allowing for simple storage capabilities. The heads were fairly similar, albeit with their brand-specific varieties. Clear standouts were the aforementioned fork attachment from Hyperice and the wedge head from Therabody. Both attachments were great at their specific fields, with the fork easily targeting the spinal area, while the wedge made any lower body aches fade away routinely.
Test 2: Charging and Battery Life
When comparing battery life and charging capabilities, it comes down to perspective. Yes, the Hypervolt 2 Pro’s battery is larger, with three hours of power compared to one Therabody pod lasting 150 minutes. With that said, though, since the Theragun Pro comes with two interchangeable batteries, you’re able to experience roughly five uninterrupted hours of recovery between full charges. We typically kept one pod on-charge as we worked, which allowed us to have plenty of juice throughout our entire regimen. When the Hyperice model would drain, you had to halt any relief, since no extra batteries are available and you’re unable to purchase separate pods (Hyperice does offer a charging base for the Hypervolt 2 Pro, to at least clean up the charging aesthetics).
In terms of charging time, we found the Theragun was slightly quicker to achieve 100 percent battery — 75 minutes compared to roughly 150 minutes with the Hypervolt.
Test 3: Performance and Ease of Use
Okay, now to get into the meat of this head-to-head. After multiple rounds of recovery sessions and utilizing all available attachments, both the Theragun Pro and Hypervolt 2 Pro clearly showed why they’re some of the most popular massage guns on the market. We were easily able to hit any pained areas with little discomfort, although we did prefer the Theragun’s more ergonomic feel, as well as its adjustable head angle. We also tested both devices at their maximum speeds, and while Hypervolt holds the faster ppm at 2,700 — Theragun maxes at 2,400 — when you get to those sorts of numbers, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two.
Both devices connected easily to their companion apps, too, but for our tastes, we preferred the library of available sessions through Therabody rather than Hyperice. There were simply more modalities to choose from, which catered more so to our needs and requirements. Neither program is flawed, in our eyes, but for our needs, Therabody took the cake here.
Our Pick: Therabody Theragun Pro
The race was extremely close, but due to the ample amplitude and stall force, more ergonomic profile and interchangeable batteries, the Theragun Pro had to come away with the title in this massage gun shootout. We never questioned the effectiveness of the device, regardless of speed or head chosen, and the Therabody app compatibility just made any recovery session all the more enjoyable. Plus, the Therabody Pro comes with a hard carrying case that houses the gun itself and battery packs; something we didn’t think we’d need, per se, but ultimately turned into an unforgettable perk.
Despite the Therabody victory, those interested in the Hypervolt 2 Pro shouldn’t be hesitant. The compatible app, available attachments and comfortable silicone handle make this an exceptional massage gun for a variety of needs. Additionally, the Hypervolt 2 Pro is the cheaper option between the two. If you want pro-grade recovery at a lesser cost — and can stomach not having a carrying case — the Hypervolt 2 Pro makes an excellent option.