This year a lot of athletes discovered the benefits of massage guns. These workout recovery devices used to be a sports massage and stress-relief secret kept on the down-low by pro athletes and physical therapists. Now, these tools are being adopted by everyone from casual runners to occasional weightlifters. The massage gun market is currently dominated by one brand: Theragun. However, thanks to the high price tag (Theragun massage guns cost between $300 to $600), a lot of athletes have gone looking for reasonably priced Theragun alternatives.
Why are Theragun products so expensive? These small, gun-shaped devices aren’t like the handheld massagers that you’re used to. Those awkward devices rarely provided any actual relief from pain and soreness, and they were more of a Brookstone novelty than a genuine massage tool. Theragun delivered a major upgrade to regular handheld massagers with more precise, concentrated functionality. They consist of a ball head that rapidly massages your muscles in what’s called percussive therapy (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt), but sometimes utilizes a rubbing motion as well. Massage guns are built for athletic recovery — loosening tight muscles, breaking down lactic acid, reducing chronic pain, relieving soreness, etc. — but they’re also great for portable, easy stress-relief.
Recently, Theragun rebranded as Therabody and released a new generation of premium massage guns. Even the basic model, Therabody Prime, outclasses the best massage guns from competitors.
This “simplified” percussive therapy massager has a quiet brushless motor and lasts for two hours on a full charge. Noise was a major problem with earlier Theragun products, but the Prime significantly cuts down on the noise. This massage gun has five speed settings that range from 1,750 strokes per minute to 2,400 strokes. Plus, it can connect to the new Therabody app via Bluetooth. Yet at $300, it’s much more expensive than the best massage guns on Amazon (see our top Theragun alternatives below).
What Are The Best Theragun Alternatives?
Therabody massage guns are effective, high quality tools, but there’s still the problem of the price tag.
You can buy the Theragun Prime for $300, while the new Theragun Elite will set you back $400. The Theragun Pro costs $600 and comes with two rechargeable batteries and an adjustable massage arm, among other bells and whistles. That’s great for pro athletes, but outside most people’s budget. Unfortunately, some of the highest quality alternatives to the Theragun are actually more expensive than the cheapest Theragun models.
Dependable massage guns from trusted brands aren’t cheap. As a result, we went looking for affordable Theragun alternatives, with some starting at just $90. However, not every cheap massage gun you can find on Amazon is worth buying. Whenever a new device becomes popular, a lot of cheap imitations enter the market to capitalize on the trend. We saw the same problem with hoverboards a few years ago. Once hoverboards become the must-have device, offshore manufacturers and drop-shippers flooded the market with look-a-like products, some of which had a tendency to catch fire unexpectedly. Unfortunately, thanks to the popularity of the Theragun and other percussion massagers, you will find a lot of fakes and look-a-likes for sale among the top-rated massage guns.
If you want to invest in a massage gun, the best brands to know are Theragun and Hypervolt. The lower you go in price, the more you will sacrifice in quality. That being said, if you’re looking for the best massage guns and low-priced Theragun alternatives, keep reading for the most popular products.
1. Hypervolt Massage Device
BEST THERAGUN ALTERNATIVE
With a recent price drop to $300, the Hypervolt massage gun (from Hyperice) costs the same as the cheapest Therabody massagers, but some sports therapists actually prefer the Hypervolt to the Theragun, and not just because of the lower price. (See also: the Hypervolt Plus). Hypervolt has quietly become one of the best massage gun brands in the market. The Hypervolt costs slightly more than our other options, but it justifies its price tag with a super quiet motor, three speed settings that max out at 3,200 strokes-per-minute, and the best construction around (other than the Theragun). If you can swing it, the build quality and brand reliability of Hypervolt is worth the extra dough.
The features that set Hypervolt massage guns apart from Theragun:
- Better variable speed and pressure settings
- Super quiet motor
- Comes with five different attachments
- Longer battery life than the Theragun
- More strokes per minute
2. Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun
Muscle relief doesn’t have to break the bank. This massage gun from LifePro has a mix of positive and negative reviews on Amazon, with an overall positive rating. It has a lot of the same features as other popular massage guns but at a much better price point. The Sonic isn’t as loud as some Theragun alternatives, and it costs less than $200. The Sonic also has five speed settings and comes with a variety of attachments. Like the best massage guns, the Sonic delivers a targeted and powerful massage with thousands of percussions per minute. This device ranges from 1,200 to 2,800 strokes-per-minute, slightly less than the Hypervolt. However, like the Hypervolt, it features a quiet motor, a comfortable grip, and a long battery life.
3. Exerscribe Vybe Pro
Exerscribe makes a few different massage guns, and we’ve previously recommended the brand’s $150 Vybe V2 massage gun. However, the brand’s new Vybe Pro delivers an impressive 3,400 strokes per minute. In our experience, anything above 3,000 will be painful for many users, especially around tighter muscles and bones, but it’s a powerful deep tissue massager for those looking for an intense deep tissue massage. This is also a highly versatile massager, with nine speed settings and eight massage head attachments. Exerscribe includes a nice carrying case to hold all of the various attachments, which makes it easy to transport for physical therapy on-the-go. If you’re looking for the best massage gun under $200, this is a worthy option.
4. Sportneer Percussion Massage Gun
BEST BUDGET BUY
We received a Sportneer massage gun for testing, and after trying it out, we were impressed by this device’s easy operation, compact design and intensity. With a very reasonable price of $130 and similar features as premium massage guns like the Theragun and Hypervolt, Sportneer’s budget massage gun is well worth the money. This massager has five intensity levels ranging from 1,200 to 3,200 strokes-per-minute, which equals the highest setting on the Hypervolt. And like the Hypervolt, the Sportneer has an ultra-quiet motor that maxes out at 55 decibels. We were surprised at how quiet this gun is, especially at the highest setting (which will be too intense for most people).
The attachments that come with the Sportneer could be higher quality. The main massage ball head works very well, as does the fork head attachment. However, some of the massage heads are made out of a lighter, hollow plastic. The massage heads also don’t work as well at an angle, and the Sportneer doesn’t have an adjustable arm like Theragun, TimTam or some Exerscribe models. Overall, these are minor issues, and this is a great alternative to the Hypervolt or Theragun. Here’s the bottom line: this is one of the best massage guns under $200, with premium features at an affordable price point.
5. TimTam Massage Gun
Another great massage gun under $300 comes from athletic brand TimTam. It offers a slight upgrade over the other budget massage guns on this list. Like the Hypervolt (and unlike the Theragun), the massage head can be adjusted on a 90-degree angle, which helps massage harder to reach areas of the body. This powerful massage gun also comes with its own carrying case, a lithium-ion battery charger, and a swappable battery pack. Because you can swap out the battery (buy extra batteries direct from TimTam), this is an excellent Theragun alternative for athletes who travel and sports therapists. The ergonomic design makes this an easy to use massager that provides instant relief to sore muscles.
6. opove Massage Gun
With 4.8/5 stars and more than 4,800 reviews, this massage gun from opove is one of the highest-rated Theragun alternatives on our list. One key feature (that many happy reviewers mention) is a quiet noise level of 35db to 55db. This makes the opove quieter than most other options, which makes a bigger difference than you might expect when massaging while watching TV, working or having a conversation. This massager also features a comfort grip, which is important at the higher settings.
The opove only has three intensity settings, 1,800, 2,400 and 3,200 strokes-per-minute. It’s a powerful massage gun, but there fewer settings to choose from if you prefer a gentler massage. The opove Massage Gun comes with a carrying case for relief on the go and four attachments to customize your massage experience. This massager also boasts a longer charge time than many similar products.
7. LifePro Pulse Fx
BEST FOR TRAVEL
This incredibly compact massage gun has powerful percussion capabilities and comes with its own protective travel case so packing and carrying it is easy. Your average percussive gun comes with about 11mm of amplitude, but this baby packs 16mm of amplitude — equal to the newest generation of Theragun devices. The massage head intensely penetrates your muscles, soothing and reshaping fascia in the process. The handle is easy to grip and the head’s arm has three different adjustable angles for getting to those hard-to-reach spots, a hard feature to find. The powerful vibrations will send ripples of therapeutic relaxing pulses through your muscles backed by a 250W motor with a battery life of up to seven hours. Customize your massage to your needs with three adjustable speeds and a variety of heads for doing different types of massage work.
Spotting Fakes, Dupes & Look-a-likes When Shopping for Massage Guns
Because many of the best Theragun alternatives also cost more than $300, many athletes are looking for massage gun bargains. Unfortunately, thanks to the sudden popularity of percussion massagers, a lot of sketchy off-shore manufacturers and drop shippers have started selling massage guns, too. In fact, these companies often use Theragun and Hypervolt branding to trick customers.
If you aren’t careful, you may think you’ve found a great deal on a massage gun from a top brand, only to realize you’ve accidentally purchased a low quality look-a-like.
At first glance, the product listing above looks promising. A carbon fiber Hypervolt Plus for only $147. Unfortunately, Hypervolt doesn’t make a $147 carbon fiber massage gun. If an unwary customer were to click this link, they would end up on a third-party website. Even the link that says “See more details at Hypervolt” delivers you to a third-party website, one that does not offer genuine Hyperice products.
To avoid getting ripped off when looking for massage guns and Theragun alternatives, only purchase products from retailers you trust. Also, pay close attention to the product photos. Most popular massage guns feature the company’s branding on the product itself. A genuine Hypervolt massage gun will have the branding “Hypervolt” and “Hyperice” printed on the side and back of the product respectively. Likewise, a genuine Theragun will have “Theragun” printed on the side.
When looking for the best massage guns for sale online, be sure to practice due diligence and common sense. Before making a purchase, double-check the product photos and stick with trusted retailers like Therabody, Amazon and DICK’S Sporting Goods. Massage gun reviews hosted on retailer websites can also be a reliable indicator.