Our Favorite Handheld Massagers Tested and Fully Reviewed
Runners and athletes are consistently putting their bodies to ringer to get better, faster, stronger—but many of us quickly forget to take the time to massage and soothe our muscles. If you are always sore and can’t the spring back in your step, this may be you.
If you are looking for a faster way to recover and get back to pushing yourself to the limit, you will definitely benefit from the best handheld massagers—and the best part is they are lightweight, easy to use, and compact.
Enjoy our top picks below!
This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:
Great for runners targeting hamstrings, quads and calfs
Easy to use
Portable for taking in a gym bag
Very affordable with a money back guarantee
Our Favorite Handheld Massagers
Interchangeable heads for a truly custom experience
15 Unique speed combinations that improve usability
Easy to use and portable
Some complain that it's too powerful
This handheld percussion massager is known for its power and affordability. If you need true deep tissue attention, then this is the massager for you! Take a close look at our review below to see if this massager works for you!Read more
Health benefits include: Improved circulation, better recovery times, cellulite reduction, improved sleep, reduced heart rate, and relaxation in a holistic sense.
Ease of Use
This model has settings that mimic Shiatsu, deep tissue, acupressure, Swedish, Chinese and Thai massages. The strength of the massage is impressive an designed to reach even the most stubborn muscles.
Extremely lightweight, this personal handheld massager is really durable and built to last--so, if you want something that works well for you for the long haul, you will love all of the options this handheld massager offers as well.
The Impressive specs include: 15-speed motor that provides 2900-3100 RMS of massaging power, lithium-ion battery which holds enough power for 2 hours of use, and extreme portability
Not only can it be purchased for under $50 on some websites, but it also comes with a large number of detachable heads for a truly custom experience.
2. Physix Gear Sport
Great for runners targeting hamstrings, quads and calfs
Easy to use
Portable for taking in a gym bag
Very affordable with a money back guarantee
Spindles can pinch the skin
Portable, compact yet super effective, this option allows users to roll out lactic acid build up, massage sore and tight muscles and knots. It can help prevent and massage shin splints and plantar fasciitis for runners. It is small enough to carry in a gym bad and doesn’t make any noise.Read more
These 7 individual spindles help to relax the muscles, increase recovery, trigger pressure points, eliminate muscle spasms and ward off soreness. This massager is fairly priced and It comes with a free eBook guide for tips to using.
Ease of Use
Users won’t run into any issues post-run when using this handheld massager. Just grip the handles, apply the desired amount of pressure and roll the stick back and forth.
This option is equipped with stainless steel core and mounded anti-slip handles that have enough grip to dig in deep. The body of this massager is made up of thermoplastic rollers that don’t squeak or many a simple peep.
This handheld massager is the perfect option for those of you looking for something you can take with you wherever you go, then this is a great option for you to consider. It is lightweight and easy to travel with.
The Physix Gear Sport Muscle Roller Stick can be used for just about anyone looking to treat their sore muscles, but it’s great for runners looking to target their quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, treat shin splints and plantar fasciitis. It is extremely lightweight and compact, making it a portable option to be thrown in a gym bag.
3. Pado Pure-Wave CM7
Powerful massager with up to 3,700 RPM
Includes micro-vibration handle for massaging face
Cordless and has a rechargeable battery
A versatile option with lots of attachments including one for the scalp
Max power may be too aggressive for some
Cordless and rechargeable, this handheld massager has up to 3,700 RPM to be able to relieve all those tense muscles, knots and aches while increasing blood flow after that long run or intense weight session. It has a great range of motion, comes with attachments, and is lightweight.Read more
The Pure-Wave CM7 is the king of all-electric handheld massagers. It combines two massagers in one, features both percussion and micro-vibration therapy to treat sore muscles and release painful knots.
Ease of Use
The attachments are easy to use as well. The air-cushion, six-head and point attacks thread on by screwing them. The facial massage stick simply slips on, as does the scalp and body massage sticks.
No problems are using this massager thanks to its speed dial that allows the consumer to adjust the power. Simply turn the dial to add more or take away the intensity following the “+” arch for max power. Above the dial is the power button to turn on and off, and above that is the battery life indicator.
Whether you need to be able to easily store this massager or want to take it with you wherever you go, you will love how portable and lightweight this handheld massager is--so, you definitely can take it with you to the gym, your office, or your family vacations.
When compared to some of the massagers on the list, this one is slightly expensive but guarantees the best value with some of the abovementioned features.
4. The Stick Marathon Stick
Flexible, yet rigid enough for muscle relief
Great for runners with emphasis on leg muscles
Compact and lightweight
Has the appearance like it could break with lots of pressure
Runners may opt to foam roll instead
his is a massager stick that is made with the long distance runner in mind. It relieves soreness and stiffness, as well as increases recovery. It also improves flexibility, while preventing injuries related to the muscles. It comes in various lengths, although is compact enough to put in a bag, and also comes in varying levels of stiffness.Read more
This handheld massager is great to use pre-work to loosen the muscles up, get the blood flowing and increase endurance. After a run or workout, it accelerates muscle recovery time and releases myofascia.
Ease of Use
It contours the muscles, best used on the legs. It works by using nutritional biomechanics to trigger point pain and ease muscle soreness, which makes it an option for those with fibromyalgia syndrome.
Flexible enough for muscle compression with a semi-ridge core and with spindles that roll independently over the muscle, the Marathon Stick is made to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance while repairing muscle and pushing out lactic acid post-run or workout. It has grippy handles that won’t slip as the user applies as much pressure as they wish.
While the length of this massager might make it difficult for you to take it with you wherever you go because it might be hard to stuff in your gym bag. However, other than that you can definitely put it in your car or trunk if you need to.
This hand massager is mid-range priced making it affordable. It does come in various sizes and stiffness, but the Marathon Stick is 20-inches long and weighs 11 ounces with a flexible amount of stiffness.
5. Elite Muscle
Lightweight for taking on-the-go
Targets sore muscle and prevents cramps, yet easier to use than a foam roller
Myofascial release tool prevents knots
Apply as much pressure as necessary
Very attractive price
Harder to use compared to electric options for neck and back relief
This massage roller is manual, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as effective as electric options. The Elite Muscle Roller Stick targets sore and tight muscles for relief while also preventing muscle cramps. The consumer can apply the right amount of pressure that feels good to them, rolling out the tightness while increasing blood circulation. This differs from a foam roller since it is smaller, hand-held, and can be used more easily.Read more
his is a foam roller and muscle massaging stick rolled together in one design. It’s the best feature is its elite myofascial release tool that keeps the muscles from knotting up and helps to keep muscle soreness at the bare minimum.
Ease of Use
This stick is very easy to work. Just roller over the targeted area for about five minutes to release tension and increase blood flow. Because it is a manual massager, the amount of pressure is in the hands of the user. It rolls smoothly and is much easier to use than the foam roller for those new to it.
It features non-slip and easy to grip handles that are comfortable in the hands, even when applying the pressure. This is a stiff stick, designed to mimic deep tissue massages. There is a 2mm gap between each roller, which prevents the stick from tugging at leg and arm hair.
The best part about this massager is that it is easy to use and compact and light enough to take with you wherever you go. If you want to be able to massage yourself before and after all of your workouts, you will love this one.
Use the Elite Muscle Roller Stick before and after exercise to see the best results when combating muscle fatigue. It’s ideal for legs, calves, quads, shins, the lower back and arms. It’s the perfect size to use while sitting down, standing or laying down. This massager is quite fairly priced and the company also provides “how-to" videos on its website.
6. Moji Curve Pro
Great for treating the quads and hamstrings
Portable and lightweight
Easy to use
360 degree moving spheres provide great range in motion
Can be frozen for ice massage to reduce swelling and inflammation
Slight more expensive than other options
Not great for ankles or feet
This massager is one of the best for runners because it performs extremely well at loosening tight muscles, increasing range of motion and relieving soreness after that long run. It also breaks up scar tissue, great for those recovering from an injury.Read more
Because of its shape, the Curve Pro can reach the back well and is also great for working on the quads, hamstrings, calves, shins, IT band, and hips. However, it works best on the larger muscle groups like the quads and hamstrings.
Ease of Use
It is easy to hold with its specialized handles, and its stainless steel spheres allow for targeting pressure points. This is an option best used for larger muscle groups. Best of all, it can be placed in the freezer to use used for an ice massage.
When it comes to design, the Moji Curve Pro has an elongated shape that consists of handles on the earth's side and four stainless steel balls. The handles include slots that allow for a great grip and more controlled pressure. It’s a slight curve contour to the muscles nicely, getting those harder to reach areas. Like other Moji massagers, this option can be frozen to combine with ice and massage treatments at the same time to further sooth the muscles. This also helps to reduce swelling.
Light and compact, this is the perfect personal massager to throw into your gym bag so you can have it on hand whenever you need it.
Despite being more expensive as compared to the others on the list, no issues are learning how to operate this massager. Just hold onto the handles, apply pressure and get to rolling. It’s stainless steel spheres are freely-rotating, meaning it provides 360 degrees of movement for an impressive-feeling massage.
7. Body Back Buddy Original
Unique design that address all trigger points in the body
Lightweight and durable
User controls the amount of pressure
Can be held in different ways
Pricier than other options
Slight learning curve
With its design that can withstand a decade while still proving to be effective, this handheld massager is stronger and easier to grip than cylinder designs. This is a fully body massager that consists of 11 therapy knobs that accesses every pressure point in the body.Read more
Knobs 1 and 11 are used for softer or deep massages anywhere on the body, whereas 8 and 9 are made for the neck. Knots 3, 5 and 7 are for general use, whereas 2 and 10 are for the feet. This truly provides a full body massage that can be given by oneself.
Ease of Use
This option is great for just about everyone to use, even the elderly because of how easy it is to use and its lightweight design. It is most beneficial for athletes since they can address every potential problem area in their body. This includes treating the neck, back, legs and buttocks, shoulders and even foot reflexology.
This massager has an elongated “S” shaped design that features two main “hooks” and handles on each side of its straight line. Throughout the tool is 11 knobs (with three different styles including a dull rounded and pointed one) made for every pressure point in the body for maximum ease of muscle stress.
Although this massager is definitely lightweight and compact, it is more awkwardly shaped and difficult to pack up and take with you wherever you go.
These round knobs mimic the feel of a therapist’s thumb or elbow when massaging. Its unique shape is effect at myofascial release and deep tissue massage. It’s lightweight at just over a pound, yet sturdy and durable. While it is considered more pricey, it helps to treat muscle knots and trigger points and comes with an instructional manual and a 30-day warranty.
8. Moji Mini Pro
Very compact and portable
Unique design that is easy to use and targets muscles really well
Can also be used to ice the muscles as well
The smaller balls are almost too small
Can’t reach hard to reach back spots
Great for those hard to reach areas, this mini massager from Moji is flexible and contours around muscles to really target and soothe them. It fits in the palm of the hand, making it easy to hold and has stainless steel sphere that allow for both soft and harder massages.Read more
The best part is this massager can be placed in the freezer to be able to ice and massage at the same time.
Ease of Use
This massager can be used for everything from everyday aches and pains to sore muscles anywhere on the body. It’s sphere size and design make it versatile while contouring to the muscles to really dig in there and even relive scar tissue.
The placement of the sphere allows for deep tissue massage for quick muscle recovery. The other side features a strap so that the user can hold, fitting the palm.
This option is compact and lightweight, perfect for carrying in a gym bag or purse. The Moji Mini Pro features stainless steel spheres in three different sizes on one side designed to massage the muscles for targeted relief.
When compared to the other hand massagers on the list, this one is slightly less expensive. Since its a manual massager, it’s extremely easy to learn how to use it. All the consumer has to do is wear it on their hand and apply their desired amount of pressure.
Stylish, portable, and best of all cordless
Long lasting battery
Safety shut off feature
Pulses and vibrates, but does not rotate
On the heavy side
Turns off after 20 minutes
This is an electric handheld option with an extremely portable design that includes its best feature: being cordless. It relieves pains for the entire body, coming with different attachments for a more custom massage.Read more
It can work kinks and soreness just about anywhere in the body, especially when looking to speed up muscle recovery. It should not be used to treat fractures and is also not recommended for pregnant women.
Ease of Use
This is an extremely versatile option, mainly since it has adjustment speed and pressures, removable heads and can be taken anywhere.
The RENPHO Deep Tissue Massager puts portability in the forefront, being handheld and cordless. It has a build-in rechargeable battery that can last up to 2 hours on a full charge. This means the user can enjoy an electric deep massage anywhere including the gym locker room or the hotel post-race.
This handheld massager is really easy to use and also portable enough for you to take with you wherever you go or just keep at home, stored away safely.
Despite its slightly priced price, this does not compromise on the value. Its motor is powerful, going at 3600 pulses per minute, so consumers can rest assured that their pains will subside.
Electric option with adjustable speed
Comes with head attachments for further customization
Wide design gets hard to reach spots of the back
Can be too heavy for some, like the elderly to use for a handheld option
Needs to be plugged in to use
Made with high-quality materials, this percussion massager is great for the neck, back, and shoulders. It comes with three removable heads for a variety of massage options.Read more
This option is best used for beck, back, and shoulder relief after a long day of work or post-lifting at the gym. It also can treat foot pain, ideal for plantar fasciitis and shin splints.
Ease of Use
This handheld massage has a double-head design that works extremely well at promoting blood circulation and get rid of muscle aches. It has three pairs of removable heads for a more customized massage.
It has made of ABS and rubber, making it durable and weights 2.4 lbs. It can be used with one hand with its non-slip grip, although is a bit big, which means it covers more surface areas.
This handheld massager is really portable and compact so you can pack in your gym bag, suitcase, or car so you can have it with you wherever you go.
The consumer can adjust the power and intensity of the massager when they want to focus on deep tissue relief or just to rub out the soreness before a big race. Unlike the previous massager on the list, this one is quite affordable and has all the features of a pretty good massager.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
We made sure to take a look at how effective each of the handheld massagers on our list was because we know how important it is to invest in something that is effective and actually works.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massages help to improve athletic performance, reduce pain, prevent injury, and reduce recovery time by dissolving lactic acid in the muscles. It has been shown to decrease late-onset muscle soreness, improve soft tissue function, increase range of motion, decrease swelling and improve conditioning.
As new muscles are developed, the tears can result in a buildup of something called lactic acid. This can contribute to muscle soreness and a loss of flexibility when it’s not properly moved through the body. There are several ways to move lactic acid through the body, and massage is one of the best.
Stretching, staying hydrated, and making sure you're getting plenty of magnesium are some other ways to move lactic acid throughout the body. A hand-held massager can have a big impact on how you feel after working out, as well as shortening the time it takes for your body to recover. To give each product on our list, we considered over 1100 reviews from people from all walks of life.
Instead of relying on just our own experience and opinion, this approach allows us to get a more well-rounded view of the product and how well it works to move lactic acid throughout the body, relieve your muscle soreness, and decrease the time it takes your body to recover. So, make sure to get something that actually works for you and your needs!
Ease of Use
You should look forward to looking using your personal handheld massager whenever you need it-so make sure to get something that is easy for you to use whenever you need it.
Especially with a product like a handheld massager, it's super important that it's easy to use. The last thing you want is to be sore and need to use your massager only to find that getting it to hit the muscles you want it to is difficult and becomes a workout of its own! That would stink, which is why we only included products on our list that have been shown and proven to be simple to operate.
The design, rather than the materials or anything else, is the biggest factor that makes a handheld massager simple to use or not. The products on our list have a variety of designs so that different kinds of people can each find something that will be simple to operate for them. Despite all the differences, there are two different types of handheld massagers.
The simplest of these is what we'll call a stick massager. This one has no batteries and usually very few, if any, moving parts. The user simply presses the product against their body to get a massage. Most of these are simply long sticks, while others have unique shapes with different knobs in different places that the user can use to massage different parts of the body in different ways.
The second type is a battery-operated massager. With these products the user hits a switch that turns on the unit and then presses the massager against their body where they're seeking relief. If this is something you know you prefer, make sure you take a look at all of the battery-operated selections we have to offer on our list of reviews.
When it comes to handheld massagers, we need to make sure we get something that is sturdy, durable, and effective--and taking look at the material and construction is the best way to figure that out.
As with any product, what a handheld massage is made of makes a big difference in how effective it is, how easy it is to use, and how durable and long-lasting it is. For the most part, the products on our list are made of high-quality ABS plastic. This makes them incredibly durable and built to last, which is why it is so popular.
ABS plastic is the type of plastic that can only be heated and molded once, typically during the production process when it is poured into whatever mold is used to make it take its desired shape. Some of the products on our list also include things like stainless steel ball bearings, rubberized handles to improve grip, and small motors to power the battery-operated products.
While choosing products for this buying guide we made sure to only pick products that are made of high-quality parts because this will not only help the product be effective and easy to use, but it will obviously help it to be durable and long-lasting so that you can get your money's worth out of it.
These handheld massagers are designed to be portable and easy to take with you wherever you go and, while some are more portable than others, for the most part, they are really easy to take with you on the go.
You might be surprised to see this on our list of most important factors, but we included it because a lot of people like to take their handheld massagers with them to the gym while traveling for business or pleasure, or when they go to attend races and other running events. For the most part, all of these machines are pretty easy to travel with, but some of that depends on you and your packing style.
For example, the battery-operated products on our list are more compact than the stick massagers. This makes it easy to fit them in your suitcase, backpack, or carry-on bag. However, we recommend that you pack the unit carefully and maybe even wrap it in a t-shirt or something to protect it from damage during transit.
Also, if you're flying and only bringing a carry on bag the size of the massager may mean you have to leave something else that's more important behind, and it may be awkward to explain to the TSA agent what the battery-operated thing you're traveling with is. The stick-type massagers on our list are less fragile than the battery-operated ones.
However, they're also a bit larger and it may be difficult to bring them in a small to medium-sized carry on bag when you're flying. If you're only going to the gym, however, or you're driving to an event, neither of these things should be a big deal and it should be easy to bring your massager with you.
At the end of the day, you need to make sure you invest in a handheld massager that works for you--so make sure to take all of your personal preferences, needs, and consideration at the forefront of your decision-making process.
At the end of the day, all of the above factors contribute towards the type of experience you have with your handheld massager. Different people will have different wants and needs, not to mention different bodies. Because of this, we included a wide range of products on our list and hope that there's one that's suitable for you.
To determine the score for this factor we looked at each product on the list and its overall blend of effectiveness, ease of use, quality of materials, and portability to determine what the overall score for this final factor was. We also considered over 1100 reviews from real-world users.
This is important because what may work, or not, for one RunnerClick editor may not work for you and by looking at so many experiences from people from all walks of life we are able to bring you the most realistic ratings and reviews of the products in this buying guide. And, at the end of the day, you need to make sure you get something that works specifically for you.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Massagers have a relaxing effect on the body, resulting in a better quality of sleep. Studies show that the body's stress levels are significantly lowered during a 10-20 minute massage, which can help greatly in your ability to get a good night's sleep.
The great thing about all the products on our list is that they're designed so that you can give yourself a massage without needing help from anyone else. This will allow you to get relief at anytime and anywhere.
In general most of us need to drink more water--but it's especially important to drink lots of water after a massage. This is because during a massage a lot of toxins are flushed from the body and drinking a lot of water will help your kidneys to flush them out.
Other Factors to Consider
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massages help to improve athletic performance, reduce pain, prevent injury, and reduce recovery time by dissolving lactic acid in the muscles. It has been shown to decrease onset muscle soreness, improve soft tissue function, increase range of motion, decrease swelling and improve conditioning.
As new muscles are developed, the tears can result in a buildup of something called lactic acid. This can contribute to muscle soreness and a loss of flexibility when it’s not properly worked out. This is another thing that a handheld massager can have a huge impact on. Again, this is an excellent way to improve your recovery time and your health in its entirety.
At the end of the day, you need to make sure you invest in a handheld massager that fits all of your needs and that also means you get something that fits your budget. So, before you buy, just make sure you invest in a handheld massager that will work for you, fit your needs, and be a great investment for you in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do I use a handheld massager?
Percussion models will need to be held above an area so that they rest lightly on top of the https://runnerclick.com/best-soap-for-dry-skin/. You can apply pressure as needed to increase the effectiveness of the machine. For stick massager, the vibration can be adjusted using pressure and by rolling the apparatus over your muscles.
The level of use is really at the discretion of the user. Just make sure that you’re not doing anything that causes pain or that makes you uncomfortable.
q: Can a handheld massager reach my back?
There are many options on this list that can reach all areas of the back including the lower back. Make sure it is lightweight so its not too heavy to hold and has a good grip to reach these areas.
q: How often should I use a handheld massager?
Massage as often or little as desired. It’s beneficial to massage both before and after a run or workout.
q: What is a deep tissue massage?
This consists of deeper pressure when massing the muscles to reach the tensions and fascia to relieve tension and tightness
q: Can this massager work for shin splints?
Yes, all of the options on this list are great for treating shin splints.
q: Are these products noisy?
This depends on each model. Electric massagers tend to be noisier than their counterparts. However, the best handheld massagers are typically also a lot quieter compared to some really noisy options out there.
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