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 about these “massage guns”. Especially the premium massager from Theragun known as the G3 Pro is a hot topic, and both top athletes and celebrities have been seen using it.
If you like many others were shocked when you saw the high price tag of the Theragun G3 Pro, then I am sure you will find value in the many theragun alternatives that I have listed below.
All of them are handheld electronic devices that do percussion massage, which is what makes them comparable, but not all of them have the same design as the Theragun.
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.
They are sorted from cheapest to most expensive, but they are, of course, all significantly cheaper.
Theragun Alternative Options
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1. Renpho Massager
The Renpho massager comes with 5 different interchangeable massage attachments. It has three different levels of intensity and 4 different speeds maxing out at 3600 pulses per minute.
This is the cheapest Theragun alternative, and while it definitely gets the job done and is liked by many, it is clearly not of the same quality as the more expensive options on this list.
The Renpho got a long battery life of approximately 140 minutes, but the massager will stop every 20 minutes to prevent overheating.
Pros and Cons
The Renpho comes at a very affordable price, and even though the quality or power can’t compare to other massagers on this list, it could be enough for you.
A common complaint is that it gets too heavy to hold for operating longer sessions comfortably. On the other hand, some people say it can be an advantage when massaging the back. With that being said, you should not count on getting deep tissue massage from this massager.
Another inconvenience is the fact that the massager will shut down every 20 minutes to prevent overheating.
2. 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).
There is a selection of three different massage heads that 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 you a decent massage.
Pros And Cons
If you want a cost-effective percussion massager and own a jigsaw then getting the massage adaptor is a great Theragun alternative.
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.
FYI: I made a whole post comparing the Jigsaw with Theragun in-depth.
3. Pure Wave CM5
The CM5 is the “mid-tier” model in the massager product line from Pado. It does many of the same things as the CM7 mentioned just below. It doesn’t have all the functions of the CM7, but it is a bit cheaper.
It has 3 included massage attachments and can work up to 3700 RPM. It got a built-in battery that can last for about 180 minutes.
The CM5 has a similar design as the CM7 and is also well-suited for self-massaging the back.
4. Pure Wave CM7
The CM7 is the flagship model from Pado and is a very popular massager.
Unlike the CM5, 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 attachments 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 making it another great Theragun alternative.
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 (includes the CM5)
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 massage adaptor and TimTam.
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.
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.
If you are interested in a comparison between the Theragun and Pure Wave CM7, you should click the link 🙂
5. 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 both models from Pure Wave.
The Mini Pro 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 using a power cord might be a fine choice and you won’t have to worry about charging.
It comes with a 2-year warranty.
I have a whole post dedicated to comparing Thumper with Theragun.
6. Pulseroll Massager
The Pulseroll is a relatively new massager, but the company behind it has years of experience creating vibrating foam rollers and massage balls.
Their products have been in the media and are used by professional athletes. In addition, they offer a training course to become a certified Pulseroll instructor targetted therapists and other health professionals.
The Pulseroll has a stall force of 60lbs / 27 kg, which means the maximum force the device can sustain before its speed is reduced to 0. It got 4 speed settings: 1300, 1800, 2500, 3300 RPM and an incredible 3 hours of battery life.
It comes with 6 massage heads/attachments included. Pair that with the various speed settings and you customize just the right massage for any sore spot on your body. It should be noted that the massage head is stationary.
Note: Currently the Pulseroll ships to UK (48 hours delivery) and 30 other European countries. Get in contact with their support about other countries such as the US.
7. TimTam All New Power Massager
The TimTam Power Massager is a very powerful massager. With its industrial-grade motor, it is the most powerful one on 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 could give you a complete treatment of most areas on your body.
Pros And Cons
The TimTam is a very powerful and durable massager and it is the most comparable to the Theragun due to design and functionality. The look is similar and the massage arm can be adjusted in a 90 degrees angle. 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 attachment included, so it is not as versatile. However, other attachments 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.
The TimTam All New Power Massager is the best Theragun alternative if you are looking for power and deep tissue massage 🙂
Note: Timtam also has a pro version. You can check it out here.
8. Hyperice Hypervolt
Used by not only athletes but also pro gamers, this massager is claimed to be one of the quietest on the market.
It is indeed quieter than many other massagers when being used, however, the Hypervolt has been around for a while now and the competitors are getting quieter as new iterations or new products enter the market. Put simply, the noise difference is not as great as it used to be (e.g. 2 years ago).
It comes with four different massage heads/attachments and has 3 speed options with the fastest being 3200 RPM. Unlike the Timtam, the massage arm is stationary and can’t be adjusted.
The Hypervolt is equipped with a powerful and removable battery that will last up to three hours. It is generally rated very high on big eCommerce sites like Amazon. A common complaint is that removable battery gets loose over time.
Checkout the Hypervolt in use to treat “gamer soreness”.
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.
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 highest with up to 3700 and the CM7 has its second massaging unit that does 11,000 RPM of so-called micro-vibrations which are great for the scalp and other delicate tissue.
The TimTam has an impressive stroke length of 26mm and will give you the most punch for your buck and best deep tissue massage! The Hypervolt and Pulseroll have the longest battery life.
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 massager.
The Thumper and the TimTam come with less option to modify the massage, although additional massage heads can be bought separately for the TimTam.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences is the heavy weight of the jigsaw massage adaptor equipped on a Black & Decker jigsaw. It will be a workout in itself to do that massage.
The Pure Wave is on the other hand lightest of the devices.
Making The Decision
If you don’t care about getting a massager with the newest design, then the Pure Wave CM7 is a great and affordable choice. It might not be as powerful as the TimTam or a very strong jigsaw, but it still works well.
If you don’t have a jigsaw already, and won’t need it for something else, then it could be worth spending the extra money on the TimTam or Pulseroll for a lighter and more compact massager. Have in mind that If you are looking for a massager that resembles the Theragun the most, then the Timtam is your best choice. It is the ideal Theragun alternative in terms of function, use scenarios, and design.
Don’t want the hassle with all the batteries? Then the Thumper mini pro is your choice.
Why Get A Percussion Massager?
I put this section in the end because I wanted to briefly cover the topic of why you would want to spend your money on a percussion massager or massage gun as they are also called.
Lightweight and handheld percussion massagers have become extremely popular in recent years. However, massage devices are far from being a new invention.
Perhaps the rise in popularity is due to the fact that this newer generation of percussion massagers actually work well unlike many other massage devices in the past. Personally, I still have memories of many crappy massage devices 🙂
In any case, there is a good reason to be excited about them. Based on the overwhelming amount of positive feedback, it does seem like they really work.
It might not be as good as the old manual massage, but these massage guns
If you are in need of frequent treatments at a sports-masseuse, physical therapist or chiropractor, then a massage gun can be a convenient and cost-effective alternative.
As mentioned there is a massive amount of anecdotal evidence that these work to provide relief for sore muscles, increase blood flow, and to speed up muscle recovery for athletes and sports enthusiasts.
However, it should be noted that the scientific evidence surrounding the topic is not very clear about why it works or the extent of it. But this is a general concern for massage, and not specific to these massage guns. Notable effects that evidence suggests include:
- It could help alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Read more about it here (meta-analysis).
- The so-called myofascial-release can potentially help muscle recovery and performance. Read more about it here(meta-analysis).
- Decrease to cortisol and increases to the level of the two neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
In my fair opinion, with the rise in popularity and as the market for these devices grows larger, I would also expect a growing commercial interest in having clear scientific evidence proving that they actually work.
So perhaps we can expect more research on the topic in the future.