Handheld percussion massagers are all the rage right now and have been for some time.
It seems like anywhere you go online you can read or head people talking about these amazing devices, especially the premium model from Theragun which both top athletes and celebrities seem to like.
If you like many others with less disposable income than celebrities were shocked when you saw the high price tag of the Theragun, then I am sure you will find value in checking out these four Theragun alternatives below.
All the alternatives are so-called handheld percussion massagers which is what
The design you see on a model like the Theragun, which looks something like a repurposed jigsaw or maybe a gun, is arguably the design of the most recent generation of handheld massagers.
The four Theragun alternatives are sorted from cheapest to most expensive, but they are, of course, all significantly cheaper than the Theragun.
Summarising Comparison Table
1. Jigsaw Massager Adaptor
Jigsaw massage adaptor is as the name implies a massage adaptor for your jigsaw.
Technically it is not a percussion massage in itself, because it requires that you have a jigsaw and equip it with the adaptor (instead of a saw blade).
The adaptor was invented by a 2014 CrossFit Games champion who wanted a much cheaper solution than what was on the market. When he started selling his custom-made jigsaw adaptors at his local CrossFit gym (“CrossFit box”) it quickly became popular.
There is a selection of three different massage heads which you can buy separately or in a bundle.
The massage itself obviously depends on the which jigsaw you use, but the adaptor fits well into most jigsaws and will give a decent massage.
Pros And Cons
If you want a cost-effective percussion massager and own a jigsaw then getting the
It is definitely not as cool-looking and gimmicky as other massagers, and you might get some weird vibes if you bring it along to a sports event or at the gym. However, it gets the job done.
If you don’t have a jigsaw already at home, a popular choice seems to be the Black & Decker BDCJS20C 20V MAX JigSaw with Battery.
A fair warning: you will also have to overcome the initial uncomfortable feeling of “immediate danger”. A jigsaw is normally not supposed to be used on the body.
2. Pure Wave CM7
The CM7 is a very popular handheld massager designed for consumers.
It has a special dual-motor design each with its own distinct functionality. I have not found other handheld massagers that offer this.
Basically, you get a more versatile massager with the potential to suit a broader variety of needs.
Paired with the 6 different massage heads that are included and its variable speed and you can get a massage anywhere from very subtle to intense.
It has a long battery life of up to 180 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about constantly charging.
The Pure Wave CM7 customers are generally very positive towards the product, and the pure wave is also liked and recommended by professionals.
You can see for yourself what these two cool physical therapists have to say about the massager. By the way, I can highly recommend their youtube channel.
The Good And The Bad
The CM7 is a great and affordable massager designed for normal consumers.
With its longer length and shaft you are able to massage your upper and mid-back easily by yourself, which is not the case with the “jigsaw”-design like on the
A critique would be that although the CM7 has a long battery life compared with others, the battery is built-in, which means if (when) the battery someday dies the machine is useless as well.
The company has tested the battery thoroughly and reports that the battery should at least be able to work 2-4 years of frequent use. This is something you don’t have to worry about with other models.
It should be noted, that the CM7 is a consumer product and its durability should not be expected to be the same as for example the Thumper or Timtam which are designed with professionals in mind i.e. treating clients.
3. Thumper Mini Pro (Not Only For Pros)
The Mini Pro has two massage heads that operate simultaneously and is unique in that way compared to the other massagers.
It is designed to be used with either one or two hands and because of its long shaft it is great for self-massaging back and neck similar to the Pure Wave.
However, unlike the Mini Pro is designed for both professionals and non-professionals. It is intended for use at home or at the office for easy treatment of aches and pains
Advantages And Disadvantages
While it does have a relatively small and light design, its main selling point is not portability and it is operated with a power cord.
So if it is important for you to be on-the-go with your massager, then the Mini Pro is not the one for you.
On the other hand, if you just want to treat yourself at home then the power cord might be the perfect option and you won’t have to worry about charging at all.
It comes with a 2-year warranty.
4. TimTam Power Massager v1.5
The TimTam Power Massager is truly a powerful massager. With its industrial-grade motor, it is the most powerful one among this list.
It is endorsed by many professional athletes and among all the options here, it is the massager that is most similar to the model from Theragun.
The TimTam will quickly eliminate muscle soreness and also warm up the muscle by penetrating deep into even the thickest of muscle tissue, e.g. a thick bodybuilder thigh.
According to the company, spending as little as five minutes using the massager can give you a complete treatment of pretty much all areas of your body.
Pros And Cons
The TimTam is a very powerful and durable massager and is completely comparable to the Theragun. It is a clear rival but at a significantly lower price.
Comparing to the other massage alternatives here, the TimTam is with only one massage head included not as versatile. However, other massage heads can be bought separately.
If you have someone to assist you, the TimTam will make quick work of your body and you probably have to spend less time compared to the other massagers mentioned here.
UPDATE: TimTam has a new model named “Power Massager v2.0” coming out soon. You can preorder it here and save 100 dollars. If you consider waiting, know that TimTam is discounting their v1.5 massager because of the new model coming out soon.
Percussion Massager Specs: Comparison
Each of the massagers you see above can all serve as a good alternative to the more expensive model from Theragun.
If you are not sure which one to chose, then these tables should be useful.
|Jigsaw + B&D||up to 2500||0.75″ / 19 mm||20 V, 1.5 aH,|
est: 30 min.
|Pure Wave||1nd: 1500 – 3700|
|n/a||7.2 V, 2.2 aH|
est: 180 min.
|Thumper||1200, 1800, |
|0.25″ / 6 mm||Power cord|
|TimTam||2500||0.6″ / 16 mm||12V, 1.5 Ah|
est: 30 min.
As you can see, all the massagers can get to a speed of about 2500 RPM which some experts claim to be the optimal speed for boosting muscle recovery.
However, the Pure Wave can go much higher with up to 3700 and it has its second massaging motor that does 11,000 RPM of so-called micro-vibrations great for scalp and other delicate tissue.
The TimTam and B&D jigsaw equipped with the
(L x W x H)
|3 massage head |
|5 lbs / 2.3 kg||11″ x 9″ x 3.5″ /|
27.9 cm x 23 cm x 8.9 cm
|Pure Wave||6 massage heads|
|1.75 lbs / 0.8 kg||16.5″ x 2.75″ x 4″ / |
42 cm x 7 cm x 10 cm
for upper back
|3 lbs / 1.4 kg||13″ x 6″ x 5.5″ / |
33 cm x 15 cm x 14 cm
|TimTam||1 massage head,|
arm has 90 deg.
|2.2 lbs / 1kg||7.9″ x 6.5″ / |
20 cm x 16.5 cm
(L x H)
Perhaps of the more noticeable differences is that with the jigsaw massage
The Thumper and the TimTam come with less option to modify the
Both the Thumper and the Pure Wave are great for self-massing the back and neck because they have easy reach. The TimTam is the most compact masager.
Making The Decision
If you don’t care about getting a
If you don’t have a jigsaw already, and won’t need it for something else, then it could be worth spending the extra on the TimTam for a lighter and more compact massager. It is also the closest you will get to the Theragun.
Don’t want the hassle with all the batteries? Then the Thumper mini pro is your choice.
Why Get A Percussion Massager?
Lightweight and handheld percussion massagers have become extremely popular in the recent years. However, they are far from being a new invention.
Perhaps the rise in popularity is due to an increasing variety of massagers available that actually work well. Perhaps it is because the memories of all the crappy and cheaply made massagers in the past are finally fading.
Or perhaps it is the combination of the both.
In any case, there is a good reason to be excited about these amazing massage devices because they really work. It might not be as good as the old manual massage, but it is still very good and useful.
If you are in need of frequent treatments at sports-masseuse, physical therapist or chiropractor, these handheld massagers present a convenient and cost-effective method.
This is probably still true for most even if you get the more expensive Theragun.
The anecdotal evidence shows people are overwhelmingly positive, you can just go see for yourself on any of the major online retailers that show customer reviews.
Also, there is scientific evidence backing it up. And it would be my guess that more research is going to be made in the near future.
Besides relieving sore muscles, the massager can potentially 1) speed up recovery by dispersing built-up lactic acid and increasing blood flow and 2) increase athletic performance by reducing muscle stiffness/tightness. Read more about how here.
This is exactly the reason why a bunch of athletes has been seen using the Theragun, and if you are interested in that sort of “gossip” then you can read more about it here.