Would you describe yourself as an athlete (don’t worry about what others might say), and are you interested in getting one of these popular handheld massagers you have heard about so often?
Well, then you are in the right place! Because in this review I will be taking a look at the best handheld massagers specifically with athletes in mind.
More and more people are finding these handy massagers useful, but to be honest they are really not just for athletes.
Using a massager has the potential to speed up muscle recovery and make you ready for another session faster.
But it will also relieve sore and aching muscles which basically everyone has.
Having such a device at your fingertips, what is not to like?
Our sedentary lifestyles are actually putting more stress on some muscles than you might think.
Below I have listed 5 of the best handheld massagers for athletes. I have included the top picks from different price ranges, so I am confident that you can find something that suits you.
Summarizing Comparison Table
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Why Get A Handheld Massager?
Lightweight and handheld massage devices have become very popular, but they are not really new.
Perhaps the popularity can be explained by the fact that there seem to be less of the “crappy ones” on the market compared to before.
If you have seen or tested one of these, then I am sure you know what I mean by “crappy” and according to my experience, there have been a lot these in the past.
In any case, there is a good reason to get your hands on one of these more recent handheld massagers, because they truly work.
There is a massive amount of anecdotal evidence and also scientific evidence backing up that percussion (vibration) massage therapy works, which is exactly what these massage devices do.
Percussion Therapy And Recovery
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.
This is exactly the reason why a bunch of athletes but also celebrities have been seen using the popular Theragun, and if you are interested in that sort of “gossip” then you can read more about it here.
If you are often getting treatments at sports-masseuses, physical therapists or chiropractors, then a handheld massager presents both a convenient and more cost-effective treatment method.
Strain On Muscles From Sitting Down
Personally, I have found that my neck and upper back takes a major beating from the many hours I sit down every day.
And that is with several breaks in between, being aware of my posture, having decent ergonomics, working standing up from time to time, and being moderately active with weight training and yoga.
After all, most of us require to use a computer for our work. Although a lot can be done to make that less straining, there is only so much you can do.
If I massage my upper back and neck I don’t just feel better, but I also seem to be performing better at the next gym session.
I am only going to mention posture awareness briefly here, but it is actually very important and it can have a big influence on your overall well-being.
If you want to know more about posture, in general, you can take a look at something I wrote about fixing rounded shoulders and a forward head.
Another thing that I have noticed, is that my hand and wrist also takes a major beating from typing all day, and here a good hand massage can be a blessing.
Theragun G3Pro: The “Ferrari” Of Handheld Massagers
The G3Pro is truly a professional-grade handheld massager made with professionals in mind but designed to be used by anyone.
Since 2014 the Theragun has been used and endorsed by top athletes across the world. The inventor and founder of the company spent 8 years in the development phase with the purpose to create a less expensive, more efficient and accessible product than its competitors.
The G3Pro is the third iteration with more power and less noise than its predecessor. It is powered by a high-tech Japanese motor and powerful batteries.
With its relatively small size, it is portable and well-suited for bringing along anywhere.
It has the two different speed options of either 1750 or 2400 RPMs which according to the founder is the optimal speeds for muscle recovery.
The massaging arm can be adjusted in a 90 degrees angle making the thing easy to navigate and hit all the spots.
Included in the purchase are:
- six different changeable “massage heads” so you can customize the massage
- 2 changeable batteries each with a reported battery life of 75 minutes of continuous use
The G3Pro comes with a 1-year warranty and to see it in action, click on the video below from Theragun’s Instagram profile.
View this post on Instagram
Pros And Cons
The Theragun G3Pro is a premium massager. It is both very powerful and effective and also comes with a lot of stuff included in the purchase.
But its price is set accordingly. There is a reason I called it the Ferrari of the handheld massagers in the heading.
If you just need a massager for personal use, one of the cheaper options might be better.
TimTam All New Power Massager
The TimTam Power Massager is also a powerful and premium massager designed for both professionals and normal consumers. It is the one that comes closest to the Theragun on this list, but it is significantly cheaper.
The massager is also endorsed and used by many professional athletes. It is powered by a powerful motor but with a relatively weak battery. Its battery life is estimated to 40 minutes
However, with its fast speed of 2500 RPM and powerful strokes, it will quickly eliminate muscle soreness.
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
As mentioned the Power Massager is very similar to the G3Pro but cheaper, however, there is also a lot less included in the purchase which is instead sold separately.
With that in mind, it might still be a great and cheaper option compared to the Theragun.
Thumper Mini Pro (Not Only For Pros)
The Thumper Mini Pro is a bit different from the other massagers mentioned here. It is unique in the way that has two massage heads operating simultaneously.
In other words, more tissue will be massaged at the same time. It is also without a battery and has a power cord.
Because of its long shaft, it is great for massaging back and neck by yourself unlike some other massagers here.
It 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
The massager is not designed for portability. Of course, you can bring it along with you easily since its size is still relatively small, but you will need a power outlet.
If that is not an issue for you, this might be a perfect choice since you won’t have to worry about the batteries being charged or not.
It comes with a 2-year warranty.
Pure Wave CM7
The CM7 is a very popular handheld massager with a unique dual-motor design. Each motor-unit has its’ distinct functionality.
What that means is 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.
The main motor operates at a variable speed of 1500 – 3700 RPM, and its smaller motor at 11000 RPM (micro-vibrations) suitable for delicate tissue like the scalp or around joints.
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.
Check out what physical therapists Bob and Brad have to say about the Pure Wave CM7.
The Good And The Bad
The CM7 is a great and affordable massager designed for normal consumers, but still very viable for athletes.
Its length and shaft make it easy to reach neck and back by yourself, so you don’t need assistance like with the “jigsaw”-design on the Theragun, TimTam, and massage adaptor.
Being able to massage your neck and back easily by yourself whenever you want it is probably an important factor in the reasoning behind getting a handheld massager in the first place (I know it is for me).
A critique would be that although the CM7 has a long battery life compared with others, the battery is built-in.
That means when the battery eventually dies (tested to last at least 2-4 years of frequent use) the massager is useless.
Jigsaw Massager Adaptor
Strictly speaking, this is not a handheld massager by itself. It is an adaptor that is equipped on a real jigsaw instead of a saw blade.
It was invented by a 2014 CrossFit Games champion and it quickly became popular when he started selling it at his local CrossFit gym (“CrossFit box”).
There are 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 a decent massage.
See the jigsaw massage adaptor equipped on a B&D jigsaw
Pros And Cons
If you already have a jigsaw at home then this massage adaptor can be very cost-effective.
If you want to test this whole percussion massage therapy concept on yourself, then getting a single massage adaptor is a cheap way to do it.
Equipping your old jigsaw with the massage adaptor is definitely not as cool-looking as some of the other products. It will also be more heavy and noisy, but it gets the job done.
A fair warning: you will have to overcome the initially uncomfortable feeling of “immediate danger”. A jigsaw is normally not supposed to be used on the body.
Best Handheld Massagers At A Glance
I want to make it clear that all the products here are great handheld massagers and well-suited for athletes to speed up muscle recovery.
Having a powerful therapeutic massage conveniently available pretty much 24/7 is going to make a big difference for you. It might even be as some positive costumers describe it: life-changing.
With that in mind, here are my top recommendations by category:
Most premium: Theragun G3Pro
So you want the most premium and most badass massager? Then it is the Theragun G3Pro without question.
With its great-looking design, powerful yet less noisy motor, 2 powerful batteries each with 75 minutes battery life and fast recharge, 6 massage heads, and cool-looking carrying case this is by far the most premium option.
However, the price is set accordingly.
Most affordable: Jigsaw Massage Adaptor.
If you have a jigsaw at home already, then getting a single massage adaptor is clearly the most affordable solution.
Compared to going to sports-masseuse or chiropractor it is also a very cost-effective solution. If the massage adaptor can save you one treatment then you are already saving money.
For more information, you can check out the 3-pack on Amazon by clicking here.
Most popular: Pure Wave CM7
The CM7 is a very popular and versatile massager. It has sold incredibly well for years and I believe is still one of the most widely used massagers.
It is also sold at an affordable price.
You can check out the Pure Wave on Amazon.