Percussive massage guns are a hot item these days. This buyers guide is not to advertise a product but instead highlights 8 key things to look for when choosing your new therapy massage gun.
- Don't believe everything you read. Many "Top Massage Gun" web pages are actually sales tools intended to help sell product, not inform buyers. Many of which even have fine print at the bottom warning consumers that it is not an actual blog. Be sure to check for any sort of legal disclaimer identifying it as an advertisement. Good tips and helpful info don't require a lawyer. A good buyers guide will not recommend a specific product, but instead should tell you what to consider when making your purchase.
- Don't focus only on price. First think, what do I want from a massage gun? Like any useful tool over time the right purchase is an investment that could save you money. The cheapest massage gun may be the right one just as the most expensive could be the wrong one. Be sure to consider your needs and application before choosing just on price.
- Consider your usage needs now an later. What is the purpose of your massage gun? An elite powerlifter's needs are vastly different than a Triathlete or someone who is just looking to relax. Newer users don't need high power at first but may wish for it later. Think about how you like to have your massage. Do you like it firm or more gentle? Relaxing or results oriented?
- Check the specs and details. Don't be fooled by general statements like "powerful" or "quiet." Do your best to read and compare product details and specifications. Also look for other included items such as a travel case and additional attachments.
- Determine a percussive massage guns power. The first thing to look at is RPM. Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) will often be set by the speed. Higher rpm ranges will generally feel more powerful and often times give you more selectability. The second thing to look for is stroke length. Stroke length won't vary too much from different guns. A larger stroke length will feel more firm and is more suited for larger muscles such as the legs or for bodybuilding. There can be other factors but these two things translate to what most would consider the power of a gun.
- Determine how quiet a percussive massage gun needs to be. This can be determined by the decibel, or dB rating. Most suppliers will give the lower end of their guns volume performance. Keep in mind this rating may not be reflective of the decibels you will experience while using at higher rpms. To add perspective a library is typically around 30-40dB and a normal conversation is more around 60dB. So if you wish to watch TV or have a conversation while massaging you may wish to target something below 60dB. Generally speaking quieter guns are also going to use a brushless motor. Brushless motors use magnets to reduce friction and are thereby more quiet. Be sure to consider quieter guns can have less power for a similar price.
- Consider the size. Is smaller better? Well that depends. Again it is key to think of your usage. Will you only use your massage gun at home or will you keep it in your gym bag? Smaller guns usually have to make a sacrifice somewhere. Some small guns cost more to manufacture so the sacrifice comes from your wallet. Other smaller percussive massage guns must sacrifice power or battery life to get into that smaller package. Think of your intended usage when deciding how important size is.
- Consider battery life. Your battery life needs is really just another application question. A longer battery life sounds great, and certainly can be if you plan on using it for long periods. However a long battery life can have some consequences that new users may not expect. The main issue with long battery life is this is most typically achieved with a larger battery. The larger the battery the heavier the weight which may not be ideal for longer massage sessions. Consider your needs and look for a range that suits your purpose. More isn't always better.
Have questions when making your choice? Feel free to reach out. We are always happy to help you do it yourself at DIY Massage Therapy.
-Heather Hansbauer, M.A.
DIY Massage Therapy, Specialist