Have WFH Neck & Shoulder Pain? These Massage Guns Provide Deep Tissue Massage At Home

by Ileana Morales Valentine

Getting to a masseuse regularly can be tricky to fit into your schedule (not to mention expensive). The best massage guns have a powerful motor and multiple speed settings to conveniently give you a deep tissue massage at home or on the go. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you shop.

Why Choose A Percussion Massage Gun

There are two types of massage guns: percussion or vibration massagers. Percussion massagers mimic the movement of kneading hands, providing strong and deep pressure to muscles; this tool can enhance workout warm-ups and recovery, relax muscles, and help promote blood flow. While vibration massagers can be good for chronic pain, they provide only surface-level pressure, so I’ve focused on the more powerful percussion massagers for the list below.

Motor Type & Noise Level

Massage guns usually look like power drills, and they can be noisy like them, too. Though initially more expensive, those with brushless motors are usually quieter and last longer than traditional brush motors. You can decide what noise level is tolerable for your use (and some noise is to be expected) but it’s helpful to know that about 70 decibels or lower won’t be louder than the sound of a shower or dishwasher; a massage gun as low as 35 decibels won’t be louder than a babbling brook or computer.

Speed & Pressure Settings

A great percussion massage gun will also have multiple speeds for varied pressure. Those settings can provide up to thousands of revolutions per minute (RPM's), and a maximum force of between 25 and 60 pounds to dig deep into muscle tissue. Speed is measured in RPM's and anywhere between 1,740 and 2,400 RPMs is considered powerful enough to relieve sore muscles and tension.

Any of the best massage guns below will quickly soothe knots or tightness in your muscles, and each pick is highly rated on Amazon.

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The Overall Best Massage Gun

While it is an initial investment, this popular Theragun massage gun comes from a leading brand in percussive therapy that is used by professional athletes and physical therapists, not to mention plenty of celebrities. This sleek-looking unit quickly works out muscular pain with one of its two speeds, from 1,750 to 2,400 RPM, which is backed by a maximum force of 40 pounds. This speed is adequate for relieving aches and pain, according to many reviewers. Several commented it's their "best purchase ever." At 65 decibels, the noise level is comparable to an air conditioner running. This newer model is quieter thanks to a brushless motor.

The powerful machine holds a full charge for 60 minutes. It includes four attachments — a standard ball for general use, a dampener for treating tender areas, a thumb for trigger point therapy, and a cone for precise treatment — as well as a power adapter and a travel case.

A helpful review: “Overall, the gun works very very well. It leaves your muscles relaxed. I weight train, spin, HIIT, and run. The tension in my shoulders releases nicely. My calves and outer thighs relax to comfort quickly. Really enjoying my purchase and for note, I'm not the type to splurge on things of this price — so it had to be awesome for me to actually buy it. If you are on the fence — I say jump in, you'll love it."


The Runner Up: A More Affordable Option That’s Also Quieter

Looking for a quieter massage gun? This pick's brushless motor keeps the noise level impressively low, somewhere above a whisper but lower than an air conditioner, with 35 to 55 decibels. That does mean it packs a little less punch than my fist pick; this massage gun has a maximum force of 30 pounds, though it provides 1,800 to 3,200 RPM's with three speeds — making it the choice with the highest revolutions per minute. It's also half the price of the Theragun, and can run longer on one battery charge (up to 3 hours).

With an impressive 4.8-star rating on Amazon and nearly 5,000 reviews, this massage gun also has some bonus features that fans love: In testing, it survived a six-foot drop so it's super durable and it has a 10-minute automatic shutoff. Plus, it works for up to three hours on a single full charge. This massage gun also comes with four attachments and a carrying case for easily toting and using anywhere.

A helpful review: “I've always had issues with flexibility as a frequent gym goer, and recently have had real problems with Sciatica from tight hamstrings and quads. I was recommended this by my physio - and I'm so impressed!! ... You don't need to use it very long each day, but it really makes a difference and is easy to use ... This percussion gun is super quiet!! ... The top speed is very powerful, and 3 speeds is really enough ... I use bottom speed for a light massage or activation, and top speed with some force when I really want to work out a major muscle group."


The Most Budget-Friendly Deep Tissue Massage Gun

This affordable massage gun is powerful with a good battery life (up to 2 hours), plus it's priced well under $150. Six speed adjustments allow for 500 to 2,400 RPM's with 60 pounds of maximum pressure. But, it is the loudest on this list, despite a brushless motor, coming in at 60 to 80 decibels; think somewhere between an air conditioner and a garbage disposal.

The massage gun with a rotating head comes with three attachments: a standard ball for general use, a large ball for covering wider areas on the body, and a cone for penetrating muscles with deep tissue massage. The compact gun comes with a travel case.

More than a dozen reviewers commented that this highly rated massage gun is "worth every penny," and given its budget-friendly price, you'll be shelling out less of them.

A helpful review: "Amazing results. The first time I used it there was serious soreness afterwards because there was so much tension that had been stored for so long! Now, while the massage of my calves and shins is still intense, there is no lingering soreness ... I've been in physical therapy for about 2 years ... I've paid hundreds of dollars for a doctor to do to my shins essentially the same thing I am doing myself with Vybe."