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Massages feel amazing but can be quite expensive to keep up on your own as a regular habit.
Enter: massage guns
Now you can grab some quick relief for sore muscles at home or on the go with your very own massage gun.
But with so many choices that run the gamut on pricing, how can you be sure you’re getting a good one?
In this article, I’ll be sharing my experience with my Hydragun and why I think it’s one of the best (and most affordable) massage guns on the market.
This post is not sponsored; however, I may receive a commission at no cost to you if you purchase through my links.
Click here and use code EMPOWERYOURWELLNESS for $10 off $135 or more for an additional discount.
Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes and is not medical advice. Read the full disclaimer.
Benefits of massage guns
- Increases blood flow and circulation
- Relieves pain/stiffness/muscle soreness
- Improves mobility
- Promotes relaxation
Massage guns have similar physiological benefits as foam rollers but with a slightly different delivery.
Massage guns are also known as percussive therapy (which often goes hand in hand with vibration therapy), delivering quick bursts of pressure to an area to relieve trigger points and muscle soreness (including delayed onset muscle soreness following exercise).
Benefits include increased blood flow, decreased pain and stiffness, and improved mobility. The main advantage over a foam roller is the ability to target specific areas.
Konrad A et al. looked at the acute effects of percussion therapy on calf muscle range of motion and strength.
After five minutes of targeted percussive massage, they noted an improved range of motion and no effect on strength. Therefore, they concluded that using a massage gun before training should not have any effects on performance.
There’s also less “work” involved since you can just hold a percussion massager, and with a foam roller, you need to get on the floor and contort yourself into various positions.
For those looking for deeper, targeted pressure, a percussive massage gun might fit the bill.
Realated read: Vibration Foam Rollers vs. Massage Guns
There are a lot of massage guns on the market.
Ultimately, I went with Hydragun, and I’m really happy I did.
Here are the major pros and cons that I’ve discovered using my Hydragun.
- High-quality look and feel
- 7 different head attachments
- 6 speed levels
- Relatively quiet compared to other massage guns on the market
- Ergonomic design
- Great battery life
- Comes with a carrying case
This massage gun looks and feels premium. The materials have a weighty feel (coming in at 2.3 pounds), but it’s still small enough to keep in your bag. According to Hydragun, the unit is constructed from aerospace-grade aluminum.
Hydragun comes with seven different massage head attachments aimed at targeting different muscle groups or for more or less pressure. Changing the attachments is a breeze as they pop on and off quickly and easily.
My favorite attachments are the rounded silver tip or the foam ball. These are good all-around attachments for most larger muscle groups. The pointed head attachments are great for getting deeper into targeted areas.
There are six different speed levels on the Hydragun. The lower settings are ideal for more delicate areas (such as around the upper trap area).
If you’re looking for a harder massage, this one can deliver. Hydragun has a 12mm amplitude with up to 53 percussions per second to deliver that deep tissue massage at home.
Hydragun is rated at 40 lbs of stall force. Stall force is how much pressure it takes to stop the motor. The higher the stall force, the more pressure you can apply before the motor will stop.
Loud noise is a common complaint with massage guns. Hydragun advertises that they have the quietest massage gun on the market today. The sound rating is listed at between 30-50 decibels, which is less than TV or loud talking. I’m able to watch TV and use my Hydragun at the same time without missing a beat.
The handle is slightly angled, making is easier to use the massage gun on yourself for areas on the side and back of the body. This angle makes it super easy to use on your glutes, low back, and upper traps.
The hydragun boasts great battery life, rated at between 3-6 hours per charge. I use my gun on the lower settings, so I get closer to 6 hours before needing to recharge.
Lastly, as you can see in the photos, Hydragun comes with a lightweight zippered case to store all of your attachments, massage gun, and charger.
At the time this article was written, there are also some other pros to Hydragun when it comes to shipping and warranty. Currently, they offer:
- 1-3 business days shipping to the US
- Free returns and exchanges
- A 30-day risk-free trial period
- 1.5-year warranty
- 24/7 customer support
When I reached out to their team with a question, they were quick to respond and help me out.
Click here and use code EMPOWERYOURWELLNESS for $10 off $135 or more!
- Price may still be considered high
- May feel heavy for some
- Low setting is still quite powerful, may be aggressive for some areas of the body
To be completely fair, we’ll explore this from all sides.
Hydragun costs $299 in the US, which is still a high price (although much less than some other brands on the market – for example, the comparable Theragun Elite). For an additional price comparison, the Theragun Pro is over $500.
Hydragun occasionally runs promotions. I scored a deal around the holidays for mine. You can also get an additional discount through my link here and use code EMPOWERYOURWELLNESS for $10 off $135 or more!
Though the massage gun only weighs 2.3 pounds, some may still consider it heavy.
Lastly, the low setting is still quite powerful and may still be somewhat aggressive for sensitive areas. To decrease the intensity, you can always place a folded towel between your skin and the massage gun.
Frequently asked questions about massage guns
This section isn’t specific to Hydragun but rather massage guns in general. I took to Google to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding this modality.
How many times a day can you use a massage gun?
Most people can safely use a massage gun 2-3 times per day if needed as long as it’s being used appropriately and not causing bruising or swelling.
How long should you use a massage gun on each muscle group?
Massage guns can be very powerful, and more time or pressure isn’t always better. Stick with the time frame of two minutes or less per muscle group to avoid causing adverse effects.
Can massage guns cause problems?
Yes, if used incorrectly or on a person with certain medical conditions to which percussive massage would be contraindicated. (More detail on this in the next question.)
Always make sure you understand how to safely use a massage gun and discuss with your doctor if you’re not sure if percussive massage is safe for you.
What can you not do with a massage gun?
Massage guns are great at working out muscle tension, but there are some areas of the body that a massage gun should NOT be used.
- Over body prominences (e.g., medial/lateral malleoli (ankle bones), greater trochanter of the hip, spine)
- Over the head, face, or front/sides of the neck
- Over the ribs, heart, or kidneys
- Proximal groin area
- Over suspected blood clots or swelling
- Over area with active infections or malignancies
- Over open wounds
- Undiagnosed pain
- Any area that feels too painful to tolerate
Can I use a massage gun on my neck?
Avoid using a massage gun on the front or sides of the neck to avoid damaging vital structures. Avoid any direct pressure on the vertebrae at the back of the neck.
In general, try to stay on the larger muscles like the upper traps between the neck and shoulder to avoid complications.
Why do I itch after using a massage gun?
Massage guns bring blood flow to an area. This vasodilation may also bring a flood of histamines responsible for the itching. This usually lasts only a few minutes and is not a concern for most people.
If you’re having an abnormal histamine reaction, stop using the massage gun and speak with your doctor.
Is Hydragun worth it?
Yes! I’ve been very happy with this percussive therapy massage gun and definitely recommend it as an affordable yet premium option.
The best massage gun for you will need to fit both your price point and physical needs. There are always less expensive options on Amazon, but I find they lack essential features that many premium options have.
Hydragun is a great option for anyone looking to relieve aches and pains at home, whether it’s muscle recovery from a workout or just a day at work.
Konrad A, Glashüttner C, Reiner MM, Bernsteiner D, Tilp M. The Acute Effects of a Percussive Massage Treatment with a Hypervolt Device on Plantar Flexor Muscles’ Range of Motion and Performance. J Sports Sci Med. 2020 Nov 19;19(4):690-694. PMID: 33239942; PMCID: PMC7675623.