The best massage guns 2023: Top devices to sooth knotty muscles

Three of the best massage guns on an orange background
(Image credit: Future)

The best massage guns are very helpful tools that will assist in reducing soreness and increasing your range of motion. They work by using electronics and pneumatics to implement 'percussive massage', otherwise known as 'pummeling your knotty muscles into softness again' with the repeated hammering of the gun's soft massage head. The guns are designed to offer rapid bursts of pressure to knotted muscles and other problem areas of soft tissue, which helps to release tension and encourage blood flow to the affected area, which in turn promotes faster recovery. 

The best fitness tracker or best smartwatch can aid your recovery by tracking your sleep, training, and overall wellness, but massage guns can also help your healing by targeting sore areas, so you can get up and running (or lifting) again a little faster. They can also improve your muscle's range of motion just like a regular massage, according to research from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (opens in new tab).

The biggest selling point of these massage guns is that you don't need to see a massage or physical therapist to use them: you bring that power into the comfort of your own home. It's just a matter of finding the right one for you.

We have tested quite a few of the most popular massage guns on the market, so we know which ones are the best and which ones aren't worth your money. We've narrowed your choices down right here, keeping in mind budgets, features, and power needs. And, if you're a beginner, we also have tips on how to use them the right way in this guide.

The best massage guns to buy in 2023 

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Power Plate Mini+ massage gun

(Image credit: Power Plate)
The best overall massage gun for your desk and the gym

Specifications

Weight: 435g
Percussions per minute (max): 3,000
Runtime (max): 5 hours
Number of attachments: 2
Speed settings: 4

Reasons to buy

+
Good range of intensity settings
+
Smart, compact design
+
Excellent smartphone app

Reasons to avoid

-
A little warm while charging

The Power Plate Mini+ is our number one massage gun thanks to its sheer convenience. It's one of the smallest guns we've tested, but its highest power settings still deliver a powerful massage that'll really help loosen tense muscles.

Its small size is a real advantage; unlike some guns we've tested, the Power Plate Mini+ is small enough to keep in your desk drawer and use whenever you start to feel your shoulders stiffening at work. It's quiet too, so you won't disturb colleagues in the office or your family at home. It's easy to toss into your gym bag as well, so you don't have to wait until you're back home for a good massage that will help start post-workout recovery. The simple travel pouch will help keep it clean and dry en route, and with a runtime of up to five hours between charges, you can go weeks between charges. 

Although it's not supplied with a huge range of attachments, there are large and small heads that work well for targeting different muscle groups, and Power Plate's smartphone app provides guidance so you don't have to flick through a paper manual or hunt for instructions online.

At $179.99 / £179.95 (about AU$250), it's also one of the most affordable massage guns we've tested, and although that's not pocket change, we feel it's a good investment for something so versatile.

Read our full Power Plate Mini+ review

Renpho R3 Mini Massage Gun

(Image credit: Renpho)
The best budget massage gun

Specifications

Weight: 680g
Percussions per minute (max): 3,200
Runtime (max): 6 hours
Number of attachments: 5
Speed settings: 5

Reasons to buy

+
Compact, travel-friendly design
+
Robust build quality
+
Power efficient

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as powerful as professional tools like the Power Plate
-
Non-replaceable battery

The Renpho R3 is a compact, budget-friendly massage gun that has an RRP of $139.99 / £119.99 (about AU$190), but can be found much more cheaply on Amazon, and at the time of writing is considerably cheaper than the Power Plate Mini+.

It doesn't look quite as slick as Power Plate's little massager, but is solidly built and delivers a real punch despite its small size, with a top speed of 3,200 pulses per minute (the same as the Shavron model). It also offers impressive battery life, providing up to six hours of action between charges, as much as premium models. If you're looking for a massage gun that's always ready to go, it's definitely one to consider.

We found that the massage heads fitted securely in place, but the Renpho R3 also comes with two replacement seals in case those on the attachments fail with heavy use over a long time.

Read our full Renpho R3 Mini Massage Gun review

Hydragun massage gun

(Image credit: Hydragun)
A powerful massage gun that packs a punch, but is super quiet

Specifications

Weight: 1.04kg
Percussions per minute (max): 3,200
Runtime (max): 6 hours
Number of attachments: 6
Speed settings: 6

Reasons to buy

+
Ergonomic design
+
Powerful but quiet
+
Lots of attachments for versatility

Reasons to avoid

-
Lowest setting quite aggressive
-
Relatively expensive

If you're looking for a massage gun that really packs a punch, the Hydragun could be the one for you. Even its lowest setting is pretty intense (if you want something more gentle, the lower settings of the Power Plate Mini+ will be more to your liking), but we found is excellent for giving a really deep massage on large muscle groups. 

If you find a particularly tough knot, the bullet attachment lets you really target that, too. Each attachment has a different shape or density, designed for targeting muscles and knots in different intensities and locations on your body.

At $299 / AU$399 (about £220) bought direct from Hydragun it's one of the priciest massage guns we've tested, but it's well balanced in the hand, and the sheer power of its motor means it has to be solidly built. There's an 18-month warranty available in case you're worried about its longevity. There's also a built-in 'stall' button that pauses the motor if it detects that you're pressing too hard to help you avoid injuring yourself.

What impressed us most was that, even when used on its highest settings, the Hydragun was extremely quiet during our tests, perhaps even quieter than our otherwise top-scoring Power Plate Mini+. We measured its noise output at 30dB, which is approximately the same as most electric toothbrushes.

Read our full Hydragun review

Shavron Vibration Massage Gun

(Image credit: Shavron)
Seriously fast percussive massage for restoring sore muscles

Specifications

Weight: 1kg
Percussions per minute (max): 3,200
Runtime (max): 6 hours
Number of attachments: 4
Speed settings: 5

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent muscle guide
+
Comfortable ergonomic design
+
Fairly quiet in use

Reasons to avoid

-
Attachments don't lock in place properly

The Shavron Vibration Massage Gun is approximately the same price as the Hydragun, above, and is another excellent mid-range percussive massager. It's not as quiet, but it's lighter, making it more comfortable to hold for long sessions. A timer will cut the motor after 10 minutes to help ensure you don't keep going for longer than is recommended.

Its five power settings are simple to control, and range from a gentle massage to a vigorous pummelling that's suited to large, particularly tight muscles. It's seriously  fast, delivering between 1,400 and 3,200 pulses per minute.

We found Shavron's muscle guide particularly useful, helping us identify which muscles we should be aiming for, and target them safely. However, because it's printed on paper rather than presented in an app (as with the Power Plate Mini+), it's a little fiddly to use with one hand while wielding the massage gun in the other.

It sometimes gets a substantial price cut at Amazon, so if it's above your budget at the moment, it's worth adding to to your wishlist and checking again at a later date.

Read our full Shavron Vibration Massage Gun review

Homedics Pro Physio Massage Gun

(Image credit: Homedics)
Powerful, assertive massage with an optional heated attachment

Specifications

Weight: 900g
Percussions per minute (max): 3,000
Runtime (max): 3.5 hours
Number of attachments: 6
Speed settings: 3

Reasons to buy

+
Heated massage option for muscle relaxation
+
Great range of attachments
+
Powerful massage

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy to hold for long periods
-
Relatively expensive

As its name implies, this massage gun from HoMedics wouldn't be out of place in the hands of a physiotherapist. Of all the machines we've tested (including those that didn't make this roundup), it's the one that delivered the strongest, most assertive massage – and when you really need it, the optional heated attachment is bliss, aiding in helping tough muscles relax.

All of that comes at a price, and this is also the most expensive massage gun here at £299.99 (about $410 / AU$550) – though it's sometimes available at a slight discount when bought direct from HoMedics. At the time of writing this particular model is only sold in the UK, but the Therapist Select Hot & Cold Percussion Massager available in the US is similar.

You get an excellent choice of attachments (there are six to choose from), and each one fits in easily with a pushing/twisting action. They stay firmly in place, even on higher power settings, but are easily removed when you're done. The HoMedics Pro Physio Massage Gun has a runtime of around five hours, or three and a half if you're using the heated function.

It's definitely an investment, but if you really want to treat yourself, or have a partner who'll be using it as well, you may be able to justify spending the extra cash.

Read our full HoMedics Pro Physio Massage Gun review

How to choose the best massage gun for you

The best massage gun for your particular needs will depend on a few different factors. First and foremost, you need to look at your budget. If things are tight, opt for a smaller percussive massage device like the Renpho above, which is also small enough to stuff in a gym bag. 

If you have more cash to spend, or want to keep it for home or office use, you could instead opt for one of the larger, more powerful models such as the Shavron Vibration Gun. Power will also be a consideration: if you do a great deal of exercise, especially endurance or muscle-building work, you might require a powerful percussive massager to really iron out those difficult knots. If you’re more used to light exercise and a bit of a sore neck due to too much time at your desk, one of the less powerful models will likely do the trick. 

Finally, take a look at the available accessories such as the different collection of heads. If you’re looking to hit your chest and back after big lifting sessions, you might want a larger, wider head, while narrower heads can really undo knots in more specific areas, digging underneath the muscles in your calves, for example. If your massage gun of choice doesn’t have many attachments, consider your training habits and what you want out of a percussive massager. 

How we test massage guns

We examine and rate each of the massage guns for price, availability, design, features and battery life. We go hands-on on each percussive device by trying out the different heads across their specified uses, as well as any additional features such as heated or cooling functions. At the end of each review, we’ll tell you what kind of use, and individual, each gun is best suited for as well as a list of any weak points we found.  

Frequently asked questions:

How do I use a massage gun the right way?

All of the guns we've recommended here come with guides to help you. Our top-rated massage gun, the PowerPlate Mini+, also has a smartphone app with video tutorials. 

However, there’s a few extra things to remember when using a massage gun for the first time. Most importantly, to avoid injury, don't use a massage gun on a bony area or a joint, or on an injury like a sprain or broken skin. 

Hydragun (opens in new tab) also advises always keeping the massage gun moving rather than leaving it in one place, and not using it in one area for longer than a couple of minutes to avoid bruising. 

Finally, listen to your body – if the massage is painful, stop.

Are massage guns worth it?

If you make a habit of getting regular massages to relax your muscles and improve your range of motion, research suggests percussive massage is just as effective. A one-time purchase could save you cash on regular massages, just without the incense and the dark room. 

If you've never had a massage and struggle with the idea, a percussive massage device, even a cheap one, could be a good place to start improving your range of motion. By using the gun on tight or sore muscles, you can start to increase your flexibility, alongside a regular stretching routine. 

Matt Evans
Fitness & Wellbeing Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness and wellness. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.


Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.