Whether you’re a marathoner, bodybuilder, yogi or average human just trying to squeeze in an at-home workout, nothing feels better post-exercise than a massage. (Preferably in front of the television, binging the latest hit show.) Enter: the best massage guns. So what’s so great about them? According to personal trainer Ashley Castleberry, these handy little tools use rapid punching motions to provide percussive therapy. “This helps relieve muscle soreness, reduce stiffness, increase range of motion, promote blood flow and support muscle recovery,” she explains. “Specifically, they break up knots and scar tissue, increase circulation, and prepare the muscles for activity.” The Cleveland Clinic states that this can be an effective means of reducing knots and decreasing tight muscle tissue ahead of your workouts, which may lessen your likelihood of injury.
Alternately, these gadgets aim to provide relief to pressure points in areas like your neck, back and shoulders, and reduce (or at the very least, delay) post-workout inflammation and soreness by lowering your muscles’ ability to create a buildup of lactic acid—the source of all that discomfort. The best massage gun for you will depend on several key factors, including the amount of pressure applied, the speed of vibration, the battery life, the weight and the noise level.