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 might 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:
Very powerful percussive moments
Hard carrying case
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.Read more
Health benefits include: Improved circulation, better recovery times, cellulite reduction, improved sleep, reduced heart rate, and relaxation in a holistic sense.
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.
Very powerful percussive moments
Hard carrying case
Weak battery life
While it looks like a power tool that you would keep in your garage, this is actually an amazing tool to keep your muscles loose and happy. This design from TimTam offers much more than simple vibration to penetrate deep into tired and damaged muscles after a long training day. It may come in at a pretty steep price point, but we promise that this design is worth each and every penny.Read more
What makes this option stand out from the pack is that it uses percussive beats to loosen even the tightest of muscles - and that includes tight hamstrings! The entire heat moves up and down at great speeds to really penetrate deep into muscles. It comes with additional heads to accommodate both large and small muscle groups that are a cinch to quickly swap out.
This option also boasts a swiveling head that makes it easier for you to reach certain areas of your body without requesting backup. Due to the fact that this design uses a lot more power than standard vibrating options, it is important to note that this design does not hold a charge quite as long as some of the other options on our list.
If you need something super powerful to really penetrate down deep, this design from TimTam is a great option. By using percussive movements instead of just simple vibration, it is able to penetrate much deeper into larger muscle groups such as hamstrings. This option may cost quite a bit more, but it is a great option for athletes that are looking for power.
6 different massage heads
Harsh high speeds
What we liked most about the Bobbito gun is that it is small and compact, but it can deliver quite a punch. Designed for athletes, it hosts enough power to really get deep down into the tissue to ease soreness and strain after a long day out of the trails. It boasts a sleek design that is unlike anything else out there on the market and has a few design features that make it stand out from the pack.Read more
The 2020 model of the Bobbito has a few key upgrades that will make your life a lot easier. The most notable upgrade is that the motor has a heat dissipation function that will prevent it from overheating. This means that you can extend the duration of your massage without the entire machine shutting off due to overheating.
It also comes with six different massage heads for various types of massages in different areas of the body. Large heads are designed for larger muscle groups, and smaller pointed heads are great to dig into smaller muscle groups. It has a display screen that shows the intensity, and it hosts a 2400mAh high-quality lithium battery for up to 6 hours of use on a single charge.
If you are in the market for something that is composed of high-quality materials for longer massage sessions that target different muscle groups. This option from Bobbito is a great option. While the right tag is pretty steep, this design is one of the more affordable options when compared to other brands.
4. Rolling With It Vibrating Peanut
Long battery life
Small and compact
Great for massage rolling
10-minute auto shut-off
Not for smaller muscle groups
Need something that you can toss into your gym bag to take with you on the go? This option from Rolling With It is one of our smallest designs found on our list, but it is pretty mighty despite its small stature. This option is easy to hold in your hands and soothe tired muscle groups, and the lithium battery holds a charge for a very long time before it needs to be plugged in again.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this option is that it is incredibly easy to use. If you don’t want to toggle with unnecessary settings and just want something you can turn on and go to town, this is your best option. It hosts 4 simple power settings for mild to intense massaging sessions.
It has a lithium battery that lasts quite a bit longer than other options out there on the market. On a single charge, many users found that it lasts at least 6 hours, and in some cases even more! It even has a battery indicator light on the base of the unit to indicate when you need to plug it in to give it a quick charge.
This is a great option for those that need something small and compact to take with you on the go. It holds a charge for up to 6 hours or more and has four different power settings that pack quite a punch. Plus, the size isn’t the only thing that is small! The lower price point makes this one of the most affordable options on our list!
5. 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.
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.
6. Pulse FX
Long battery life
Need even more power? The Pulse FX sends intense percussive power to large muscle groups to help heal and soothe after your most intense workout sessions. It is one of the most expensive options out there on our list, but it is also the most powerful. If you want something that is powerful and easy to use, keep reading!Read more
What we like most about this sleek design is that it is incredibly easy to use. It packs 16 mm of percussive power to penetrate down deep into muscle and tissue. It has a smart grip that makes it easy to pivot to reach hard to reach areas such as your hamstrings or shoulders as well.
From what previous users have indicated, the battery life lasts much longer than similar percussive devices. One charge provides up to 6 hours of continuous use on a low setting and 3 hours when users on higher settings. It also has a pivoting head that makes it easier to reach certain muscle groups.
The Pulse FX is a great option for those willing to spare no expense for unmatched percussive power. Users love that it has a comfortable grip with a pivoting head to reach all muscle groups without the need for a second pair of hands. It may come in at a pretty steep price point, but we feel that it is well worth it!
7. 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.
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.
8. Body Sport
Great for large muscle groups
Increases blood flow
May need a partner to use
Not battery powered
No, this isn’t a belt sander. This design from Body Sport is designed to really get down to business to help reduce pain and inflammation, as well as increase circulation. The wide, flat surface of this handheld works double-duty at applying pressure for compression and vibrates to melt away tensions. If you want to hit large muscle groups, you may want to check out this design from Body Sport.Read more
What makes this design unique is that it has a wide, flat head that covers more surface area than pinpoint heads. While it won’t be able to target smaller groups like some of the other options with changeable heads, it is able to hit larger areas for quick relief. Dual handles allow the user to also apply a lot of pressure to the affected area, which also compresses the muscle to promote circulation.
By utilizing a grounded power cable, this option provides much more power than battery-powered options. The downside to this option is that it is harder to take it with you on the go. To use, you must always be within arms reach to an electrical outlet. The upside, however, it is that provides a lot more beneficial muscle-melting power!
If you need something that is made to ease inflammation and tension in large muscle groups, this is a great option. It is important to note that the design of this option means that you may need to employ the help of a friend to work on muscles in your back and shoulders. It comes in at a pretty steep price point, but a long line of satisfied users feel that it is well worth it!
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.
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.
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
If it isn't effective, it is likely to end up in the graveyard of fitness gear that lives at the bottom of your closet.
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.
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 are tired and sore. The last thing you want is something unnecessarily complicated.
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.
Battery operated designs are by far the most popular and most effective. 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.
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.
Sore muscles follow you wherever you go, and we wanted to select designs that could travel with you.
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.
Designs such as the Rolling With It Peanut is one of the most compact designs to make our list. It is the perfect size to slip into your gym bag or your suitcase when working out far from home.
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.
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: What is the best handheld massager?
For performance, we recommend selecting a design that uses percussive movements. Percussive designs, like that from Pulse FX, pulse a trigger up and down very rapidly to really dig down into muscles. It is important to note that these options often come at a pretty steep price point, but they are well worth it.
If you are on a budget, vibrating designs are the next best thing. The Rolling With It Vibrating Peanut is one of our best values, and it makes it easy for users to turn up the power to dig deep into muscles. Plus, it is small and compact to take with you on the go!
q: How do I use a handheld massager?
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 it's 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. Be sure that you select a design with a smaller attachment to really get down in the grooves!
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.
q: Where can I buy a handheld massager?
Most sporting goods stores worth their salt will have an area dedicated to easing tired muscles. However, many stores only have non-powered options that are good, but not great. If you really want something that packs a punch, you may need to venture online.
Online retailers are the best source of powerful products. The higher-end designs are often left off of store shelves and made available online. The good news is that all of the products on our list are readily available right now to take home to ease those aching muscles!
q: Are handheld massagers healthy?
Yes! If you are super sore after a brutal workout, you may feel compelled to reach for an aspirin. However, before you put any chemical into your bloodstream, there are better alternatives out there!
A good handheld massager is the healthiest option to fight pain. Not only do these handy little devices feel great, but they also offer important health benefits as well. Sore muscles occur when the tissue and fibers inside of the muscles become damaged when exercising. A good way to help repair them is to increase blood flow to the affected area. By stimulating the tissue and allying compression, blood will easily flow to the area to help ease the pain.
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