With all of the at-home workouts we’ve been doing these days (not to mention the hours we’ve spent seated in front of the boob tube binging our favorite shows!), our muscles need more than a little TLC. Enter: the best massage guns. These handy little tools use rapid vibration to hammer their way into your soft tissue, and, in turn, increase your blood flow. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 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.
Here are a few key things to look for when purchasing one of these machines.
- Amplitude: The amplitude of a massage gun can tell you just how far the gun can travel on your body and how deep the vibration will go into your muscles. Most full-sized guns range between 9 to 16 millimeters of power, while mini massage guns range between 6 to 8 millimeters.
- Stall force: Stall force, on the other hand, will tell you how much force you can use on the gun before the internal motor will stall. If you're pushing harder than the machine can handle, the other factors won't matter, so you want to make sure you choose one that's sturdy enough for your preferred push.
- Speed: The higher the speed of a massage gun, the more intense the massage will be, so you want to find one that's comfortable for you. Since this will vary from person to person, not to mention the situation (your knotted neck muscles may need a more intense vibration, for instance, than your thigh), your best bet is to choose one that has varying speed settings for you to choose from at any given time.
- Weight: Weight is another important factor to consider when purchasing a massage gun, as an ultra-heavy gun may not be comfortable to use for prolonged periods. Generally, the lighter your gun, the easier it will be for you to maneuver.
- Battery: Generally, a decent massage gun will last you two to three hours, though some may have shorter run times than others. If you're looking to luxuriate in an ultra-long massage, you'll want to choose one with a longer battery life.
- Noise: All that vibration therapy can get a little noisy! If the sound bothers you, this is another factor to consider when making your purchase.