Best massage guns in 2023 (UK)

Finding time for proper workout recovery is a luxury, but it shouldn’t have to be like this. Between a job, social life, and chasing eight hours of sleep, workouts often get squeezed into the day’s only free time slot. A proper cool down (let alone a massage) is usually the thing that gets glossed over, or skipped completely. What you need are the tools to help you stay on top of both your body and your schedule.

Enter the massage gun. Turns out that those mesmerising skin ripples are more than just a weird flex. This form of portable muscle therapy began with professional athletes but has trickled down into the lives of your average gym-goer who doesn’t have the time or money for foam rolling sessions on sore days. That means you, us, everyone.

If you have chronic shoulder, neck, or back pain, the ability to give yourself a deep-tissue massage at home can be life-changing.

Look properly and you’ll find a range of models, all with their own unique features and specifications to suit your muscle recovery needs. Here’s some handy information to get you started.

How do massage guns work?

Percussive therapy is the name of the game, and it’s a more professional term for “your muscles like it rough.”

Athletes turn to deep-tissue massage for quick pain relief and faster recovery times. Here, a professional masseuse delivers forceful, rapid thumps to a specific area of the body to stimulate a specific set of muscles. The percussive therapy afforded by a massage gun lets individuals perform this same type of penetrative tissue attention on themselves without extra help, and these devices are said to provide hours worth of massage benefits in minutes.

Treating something that hurts like a punching bag may seem counter-intuitive, but beating that damaged deep tissue into submission has a desensitising effect, and if you’ve ever tried a cheap massager on back knots, you know it takes some oomph to feel anything. These short-duration pulses enhance blood flow, soften knots, and accelerate the repair of muscle fibers, all of which can lead to better-prepared warmups and quicker recovery times. This form of self-myofascial release is huge for people who have a hard time keeping up with a routine due to delayed-onset muscle soreness.

Your mood might see a spike, too. The pressure point relief that massage provides has been linked to decreased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), an increased production of endorphins (the feel-good chemical), and even a lower heart rate.

We should point out that percussive therapy isn’t a fix-all. A massage gun may be able to replace pricey massage appointments or heckling your gym partner to help you stretch, but nutrients from a balanced diet, sleep, and getting proper hydration are still crucial to the muscle growth and recovery process.

What are the most important massage gun features?

Frequent workout schedules and high pain levels might make a £500 massage gun worth it — but in other cases, a less-intense device may be more beneficial. These are some factors to consider:

Percussion massagers vs. vibration massagers — Percussion massagers mimic the kneading hands of a masseuse, providing pressure that hammers below the top layers and work damaged muscle fibres. This is ideal for heavy-duty workouts. Casual exercisers and folks with chronic pain may prefer the surface-level rumbling of a vibration massager, which provides speedy pulses with less “punch”.

Speed options — Look for a device that offers different speeds (RPM) and attachment heads to target each specific muscle group. When comparing specs, remember that higher speed doesn’t always mean vigour. The amplitude (how deep the massage head will push into your body) relies on the amount of force behind each pulse, and heavier force on a slow RPM setting will feel more intense than a faster RPM setting with weaker force. 

Noise — No one wants to sit in a public place (or at home with a sleeping baby) using a device that sounds like a building site. It might be impossible for these drill-like massage guns to be completely silent, but the reviews will let you know if the noise is tolerable or obnoxious.

Battery life — Many people depend on their massage gun for a rushed cool down in the middle of a busy schedule, and charging after every use is a huge inconvenience. The best massage guns will get up to three hours of battery life while the weaker ones max out at around 40 minutes.

What is the best massage gun?

There is a lot to know about massage guns, and it’s important to do your research before making a purchase. To make your job a little easier, we have tracked down six examples of devices that cover all the bases.

We’ve tried to find something for everyone and every budget. You can find impressive models from top brands like Theragun(opens in a new tab) and Hyperice(opens in a new tab). You just need to scroll through the options and pick a favourite. Your muscles will thank you.

These are the best massage guns in 2023.

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