Best Handheld Massager: Relaxing Your Muscles Without Assistance

Handheld massagers got huge in recent years. Some even claim these devices can replace massage therapy (which in some cases is true), and there’s no doubt they are great for both physical and mental relaxation. …

Using handheld massager on the leg

Handheld massagers got huge in recent years. Some even claim these devices can replace massage therapy (which in some cases is true), and there’s no doubt they are great for both physical and mental relaxation. If you haven’t got one, you might be thinking of getting it for yourself, too. But how do you choose the best handheld massager, and what do you want it for?

This question is harder than it seems. Though Theragun is the undisputable hype champion, the devices by Therabody are quite expensive, and rivals can deliver comparable results for much less money. For exactly this reason I decided to leave the most famous vendor off the list, choosing Renpho EM-2016S as the best option. Other ones, though, also have their advantages. In these brief reviews, I will focus on user experience rather than specs. Are you ready? Let’s get to the tissue!

Product
Top Pick
RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager...
Runner-Up
Massage Gun Deep Tissue - Percussion Muscle...
Premium Choice
MIGHTY BLISS Deep Tissue Back and Body Massager...
Snailax Cordless Handheld Back Massager with...
Title
RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager...
Massage Gun Deep Tissue - Percussion Muscle...
MIGHTY BLISS Deep Tissue Back and Body Massager...
Snailax Cordless Handheld Back Massager with...
Prime
Pros
Built-in overheating protection
A powerful low-noise motor
Easily adjustable with a knob
Heating feature
Buy с
-
-
-
Top Pick
Product
RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager...
Title
RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager...
Prime
Pros
Built-in overheating protection
My preview
Buy с
-
Runner-Up
Product
Massage Gun Deep Tissue - Percussion Muscle...
Title
Massage Gun Deep Tissue - Percussion Muscle...
Prime
Pros
A powerful low-noise motor
My preview
Buy с
-
Premium Choice
Product
MIGHTY BLISS Deep Tissue Back and Body Massager...
Title
MIGHTY BLISS Deep Tissue Back and Body Massager...
Prime
Pros
Easily adjustable with a knob
My preview
Buy с
-
Product
Snailax Cordless Handheld Back Massager with...
Title
Snailax Cordless Handheld Back Massager with...
Prime
Pros
Heating feature
My preview

Choosing the Best Handheld Massager: Some Great Devices Reviewed

  1. Renpho EM-2016C — Top Pick
  2. Flyby F1Pro — Runner-Up
  3. Mighty Bliss MB-201 — Premium Choice
  4. Vivreal LY-651A
  5. SNAILAX SL-498
  6. DACORM Y8 Pro Max
  7. Voyor VRMM1-NEW
  8. Kelices KE-01
  9. No products found.
  10. VIKTOR JURGEN VJ016

There are more models of personal massagers that it was hard to choose even eleven models. All of the ones below are worth a shot; but you better also decide where on your body you want to apply it the most often: back, shoulders, neck, legs, feet, hands, or elsewhere. This should define the shape and the set of heads you’d need for that.

1. Renpho EM-2016C: Top Pick

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Material: Plastic
  • Item Weight: 0.8 Kilograms
  • Brand: RENPHO
  • Color: Black, White

Among many Chinese manufacturers, Renpho is remarkable because it focused on the American market from the beginning, which implies certain quality control and better support than an average Chinese company offers. The percussion massager reviewed here is among the most popular models on Amazon, and for a reason. Unlike fashionable massage guns, this one is rather a large head, long handle type, easier to apply on places like your back. It helps that it’s lightweight, being under 2 lbs.

It boasts an even higher speed than the reference model of the industry – Theragun Pro (3,600 RPM vs 2,400 RPM). You can switch between five modes, from the lightest to the hardest, with buttons on the handle. It also comes with five replaceable heads which are suitable for massaging different body parts and a manual explaining where to use which. It comes with a charging stand, which is comfortable yet makes it impossible to use the device while charging. Another protective measure is automatic shutdown after 20 minutes of work. The battery lasts up to 140 minutes, though, and after cooling down it’s ready again.

The device lacks some gimmicks like an OLED screen or a mobile app, but it still does its job well. Its price due to this minimalism is well under $50, which makes it one of the most attractive options around.

PROS:
  • Usable form-factor
  • Powerful impact
  • Pro 3
  • Built-in overheating protection
  • More than affordable price
CONS:
  • Fewer gimmicks
  • Takes quite long to cool down

Massage with Renpho EM-2016C

2. Flyby F1Pro: Runner-Up

Specifications:

  • Use for: Whole Body
  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Material: Percussive Therapy
  • Brand: Flyby
  • Color: Black, Grey

In the “About” story of Flyby, its founder admits that he established the company to promote a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t imply giving up drinking; I’m up for it! The massage gun by Flyby, though, has nothing to do with alcohol intoxication. It’s used against another sort of intoxication: the lactic acid that stays in the muscles after a workout or physical job. And what we see is quite a usual but well-made massage gun meant for self-massage.

Its design is traditional for its class, with a big anti-slip handle, replaceable heads, and LED indicators on the back that show the current speed and the battery level. There are just three speeds: 1800 RPM (for warm-up), 2400 (for relaxation), and 3200 (for deep tissue impact). The massage gun is battery-powered, and the battery lasts up to 4 hours, though it depends on the mode.

The device is rather quiet (up to 40 dB), but the motor is powerful enough to provide a force of 50 lbs. The weight of the device itself is again 1.8 lbs. The shape of it is not as suitable for self-massage on the back, so you better have someone else help you. The rest of it is great, especially given its price well under $80. Just try not to lose the charger: it’s not your generic USB-C, but a proprietary one, and getting a replacement one may take too long.

PROS:
  • Strong motor
  • Popular form factor
  • A powerful low-noise motor
  • Lightweight
  • Nice design
CONS:
  • No fine speed tuning
  • Proprietary charger

Flyby F1Pro in the hand of the sportsman

3. Mighty Bliss MB-201: Premium Choice

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Brand Mighty: Bliss
  • Is Cordless?: Yes

I couldn’t find any information about the actual vendor; so let’s just trust Amazon and Walmart that found it trustable enough to make it there. The device by Mighty Bliss is indeed bliss for self-massage fans due to its shape. Again, it’s a large head-long handle type that’s applicable on one’s own back, unlike massage guns, and it makes it worth a look. With its 18” long handle, any area of your body is accessible, and you can touch it. Thank you for massaging me!

As for its motor, it’s powerful enough, though a bit noisier than it could have been. The speed, though, is up to the impressive 3,700 RPM, and the knob on the body allows for quick switching. The heads… hmm, they are of quite exquisite shapes, nothing like the minimalism you see in heads for massage guns. They cover larger areas where they send the vibration. There are six heads in the pack and the AC adapter you better not lose.

What’s also impressive is the lifetime warranty by the vendor. The device, though, feels solid, and issues with its functioning are rare. It comes with a storing bag, an adapter, and a set of six heads. The heads are mostly made of soft rubber, so the touch of the device is gentler despite all the force. The amplitude is also lower than others offer, but it’s not ruining the experience. Definitely worth a try, especially if you have nobody to help you or don’t trust anyone with your body.

PROS:
  • Ergonomic design
  • Long battery life
  • Very strong
  • Easily adjustable with a knob
  • Lifetime warranty
CONS:
  • Low amplitude

Mighty Bliss MB-201 Set on the orange background

4. Vivreal LY-651A: With a Display

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Material: Plastic
  • Item Weight: 1.87 Pounds
  • Brand: VIVREAL
  • Color: Gray

If you want your massage gun to feel like a gadget, look at this. The massager by Vivreal (quite an obscure brand again) boasts a very informative dashboard on the body, displaying the current parameters. This makes your massage session feel futuristic, even despite of lack of physical difference.

Overall, it’s an already familiar large head, long handle type of device which is better for self-massage than traditional guns. Its handle is almost 16” long which is still enough to reach the remotest areas of your back and the rest of the body too. It comes with six heads which feel softer than those by others. Yet the force it delivers is enough to reach the deeper tissue of your sore muscles.

The dashboard on the back has separate touchscreens for choosing the mode, adjusting the speed, or turning the device on and off. There is also a graphic battery indicator. What’s most interesting is that it has vibration modes along with speeds which reach 3,200 RPM. These modes offer various intervals between active and passive phases, so you better just try them and check. The long battery life will allow you to check them all in one go.

There is just one thing to warn about. The device is powerful, but it’s weak at being weak. That is, lower speeds are not going to deliver you light experiences; it will still do the hard work. So if you need it gentle, you need to look elsewhere.

PROS:
  • Comfortable design
  • Various modes along with speeds
  • On-body controls
  • A great display on the back
  • Affordable
CONS:
  • Not for low-power procedures

Vivreal LY-651A in the center

5. SNAILAX SL-498: To Take It Slow

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Material: Plastic
  • Brand: Snailax
  • Color: Black
  • Product Benefits: Muscle Therapy

The name of this brand is the message from its founders: there is always some time to be slow in your life, not to beat performance records but to take care of yourself, reflect, and contemplate. Massage is a physical equivalent of this, so no wonder Snailax also makes these. The device by Snailax is an unusual take on the already traditional large head, long handle massager.

The unusual thing about it is having dual heat nodes that are usually covered by the head, but if you want this massager to induce heat, no head is necessary. You just use it to warm up (this time, literally), and it delivers just like you might expect. In traditional massage mode, it has three percussion modes and six speed levels which are controlled with the buttons on the body.

As for the heads… Oh. There’s an interesting solution. Indeed, there are just three various heads, one of them with three subheads and the other two spoked. On the other hand, for each of them, there is an identical replacement one, so they can say there are six heads, and formally that’s correct.

The battery life of 80 minutes seems unimpressive next to what others boast. But believe me, if you use a massage device for more than 80 minutes in a row, you’ll need something more professional anyway. For custom use, it’s great to have it turned off after 15 minutes of work. For under $50, that’s a great deal.

PROS:
  • Various speed levels and modes
  • Unusual heads
  • Heating feature
  • Low noise
  • Very affordable
CONS:
  • Only three various heads
  • Lower battery life

SNAILAX SL-498 and its box

6. DACORM Y8 Pro Max: The Big Gun

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Material: Y8 pro max
  • Brand: DACORM
  • Color: Gray, Black, Carbon
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 9.65 x 2.76 x 7.28 inches

And this one looks like a serious business. A massage gun by DACORM is what you call one: a big device with a solid handle, a colorful display on the back, a set of no less than 12 heads, and even a carrying case. DACORM is a manufacturer specializing in hand massagers (as no country of origin is specified, you know where they’re from). It’s funny that its parent company is seemingly a pencil sharpener manufacturer that yet has no products to offer.

As for this massager, at least it exists. It has a powerful yet quiet motor (less than 40 dB), an anti-slip coating on the handle, 7 working speeds up to 3.400 RPM, an AI-powered power adjustment system, and a protective mechanism that some may find disappointing. The device turns off after 10 minutes of work to prevent overheating. Well, they could have made better cooling; on the other hand, do you need sessions that long? Taking a break is necessary too, and for antistress massage this is long enough.

It has some unusual solutions; for example, it boasts a round display on the back of the body which makes it look futuristic. What makes it look actual is the USB Type-C connector for a charger on the body, so you can use a charger for your MacBook or Samsung/Google phone with it. The price of the device is about $80, which seems reasonable. Using it on your back is less comfortable, but for the rest of your body, it will provide some magic relief if you combine the speed and the head right.

PROS:
  • Solid build
  • Powerful low-noise motor
  • 7 speeds and 12 heads
  • USB Type-C charger!
CONS:
  • A suspicious manufacturer
  • Supports only 10-minute sessions

DACORM Y8 Pro Max on the dark blue background

7. Voyor VRMM1-NEW: Girl’s Best Road Companion

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Material: Plastic, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
  • Brand: VOYOR
  • Color: White
  • Is Cordless?: Yes

And now for something completely different. The massager by Voyor is the rare “large head short handle” class, which renders it unusable for, say, self-massaging your back but much more comfortable on easier reachable areas, like shoulders or thighs. Well, this used to be the mainstream among handheld massagers once, so see how time flies. Unlike the old school models, though, this one has a rotating head which makes it much more usable on different parts, nevertheless.

The device comes with three heads and supports three levels of intensity. It has also one more extra feature, and it’s red lighting to apply where you need it. As for the motor, it’s not extra powerful and only supports three speeds, but it also supports forward and reverse rotation which is useful to avoid side effects of the massage. The heads are designed with this in mind: they are all wide, made for a softer sort of massage, not like those cone heads that focus on certain muscles that should be penetrated deeper.

Among other features, it lists IPX7 protection class, oil or cream penetration assistance after it’s applied, and a Type-C charging port which (along with its size) makes it definitely the best option for travelers on our list. It shows that this device has been developed with a female audience in mind, in both design and functionality.

P.S. If you read the name VOYOR like VOYOX on the logo, you’ll be forgiven. The designer won’t.

PROS:
  • Unusual form-factor
  • Great portability
  • Waterproof
  • Red light feature
  • Type-C charging port
CONS:
  • Harder to reach remote area
  • It’s not as much for power massage

Voyor VRMM1-NEW on the table

8. Kelices KE-01: The More Heads the Better

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Brand: Kelices
  • Color: Silver
  • Product Benefits: Stress Relief
  • Style: Style-A

The massage gun by Kelices shares a lot with the device by Butyce (starting with both brands being obscure). The official site is nowhere to be found, and the brand is fully represented by Amazon or Walmart. Yet it’s said to be among the best in its category in terms of power, quietness, and adjustability. The device itself is lightweight at just 2.1 lbs. and easy to handle with its anti-slip grip.

The motor delivers quite a strong performance, its amplitude being about 16 mm and 30 working speeds from 1.300 (which is great if you need it low) to 3,200 RPM (the standard value). It’s also said to be the least noisy around, at about 35 dB. Though I didn’t measure, I suspect the measurements were taken at the lowest speed, because the difference between this one and Renpho at higher speeds is completely missing. The informative display which serves as a dashboard is (as usual) on the back.

The feature of this massage gun is its 15-head set, which is meant to provide the best shape for any given muscle or spot. The idea seems great if we forget that Theragun, the reference for the entire class, is good with just six, and there is only one among these 15 made of good rubber, while the rest are plastic. Yet you still can try all of them at different spots and detect the best combinations. It also comes with a storage case (only one if you ask).

PROS:
  • A powerful motor
  • Highly adjustable speed
  • Good battery life
  • Great for gentle application
  • 15 heads and a case!
CONS:
  • Not as low-noise as expected
  • Most heads are plastic

Kelices KE-01 on the black background

9. Hangsun MG400: Corded and Curved!

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Item Weight: 654 Grams
  • Brand: Hangsun
  • Color: Black, Gray
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 5.3 x 6.5 x 16.9 inches

This one is not like the rest of those reviewed, at least because of its unusual shape. Formally, it’s a typical large head, long handle. But the handle is curved, so it’s easy to tell. In addition, it’s wired, unlike the rest massagers that are battery-powered. These traces of the one by Hangsun can be viewed as flaws or as advantages; it depends on where and how you use it.

First, forget about taking it to gyms or trains. A corded device is for stationary use. But it won’t make you wait till the battery charges. The AC-powered motor easily reaches 3,500 RPM and provides a decent impact due to dual percussion heads. The cord may be a problem, but a curved handle is ergonomic and easy to hold. And it’s despite the fact that its head is really large, and on the thin handle, it may even remind you of E.T.’s face.

The force is strong with this one, though, and that may partly be due to the decision to make it corded. Its impact feels really deep when the rubber hits the muscle. While it’s rather a home appliance than a professional handheld massager, it does relieve the pain and bring a healing effect rather than recreational relaxation. It only has three heads but each of them has a replacement one, totalling six.

And (last but not least) it’s probably the most affordable of all the massagers I reviewed. This hand held massage tool is under $30, which makes it a good purchase.

PROS:
  • Quite powerful
  • Unusual handy shape
  • Easy controls
  • Expressive two-head design
  • Very affordable
CONS:
  • Corded, thus non-portable
  • May seem too big

Hangsun MG400 on the bed

10. VIKTOR JURGEN VJ016: A Home Massager

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Material: Rubber
  • Item Weight: 3.45 Pounds
  • Brand: VIKTOR JURGEN
  • Color: White

And again, here comes a double-headed big massager with an electric cord and a big big head. It has a lot in common with the previous one, except for its futuristic black-and-white curved design which reminds us not of the 1980’s E.T. but rather of Eve from Wall-E. Again, it has three pairs of twin heads for various purposes. Well, as this device has been around since 2016, it definitely couldn’t be inspired by Theragun, so everything fits.

Corded massagers tend to be more powerful, and this one is no exception. It delivers a lot of power, the motor is capable of delivering up to 3,350 RPM, and the speed, as well as the intensity, can be adjusted with buttons on the device right as you use it. So, the application of this device varies from deep tissue massage to purely recreational relaxation and fatigue relief.

As for the manufacturer, I did a little search but found out nothing; so let’s just hope major stores know better. The price of this device is about the same as that of the one by Hangsun, as well as most of its specs. Even the changeable heads are about the same shape and material. So the choice between the two is mostly aesthetical.

PROS:
  • Powerful motor
  • Double-head design
  • Futuristic look
  • Well time-tested
  • Affordable price
CONS:
  • An obscure brand
  • Non-portable (corded and heavy)
,

Using VIKTOR JURGEN VJ016 for massage

How to Choose the Best Handheld Massager for You: Buying Guide

All of the devices above are great, but how do you choose your best electric massager? The answer is in deciding on what you want it for. The choice comes after understanding.

Types of Handheld Massage Devices

There are basically two types of devices, as you have seen. So let’s break it down a bit and take a look at both.

Massage Guns

The name of this class (which also remains drills and other tools) may be derived from the fact that the “barrel” of it has to be aimed, and the grip resembles that of a gun. These are great for applying extra pressure to a certain spot which results in efficient deep tissue massage. Great for muscle relaxation and lactic acid annihilation. Massage guns are usually battery-powered. Their main flaw is inconvenience when you want to apply it on your own back. That is, you can touch your back with it if you try, but it’s better to ask someone to apply it there correctly.

Using handheld massager on hand

Large Head, Long Handle

These devices are great for massaging the parts of your body (mostly the back) that you can’t reach with a massage gun. They have been around for a longer time and have their own army of fans. They may be weaker and not so greatly suited for applying extra muscle power to make the effect deeper than the default amplitude. Yet they are just handier for many.

In addition, they can be corded or cordless. Both types have their advantages, though cordless ones are now trendier. Yet if you only plan to use the electric massager at home, a corded one is quite a solution. It’s just as powerful (or even stronger), handy, and less expensive.

Before choosing your massager, answer some questions yourself.

  1. Where do you want to apply it? Is it your neck or your back, or are these areas easier to reach, like feet, thighs, or shoulders?
  2. Do you need more force to recover after physical efforts, or is it just regular relaxation?
  3. Do you intend to use it outside of your home?
  4. Have you got someone to help you with massage, or do you have to do it to yourself alone?
  5. How much are you ready to spend on it?

These are the questions the answers to which can help you choose your personal massage device.

Handheld Massager Set on the table

FAQ on Handheld Massagers

And now for some questions that are still hanging on. You can ask your own in the comments if I didn’t answer yours here.

Is a Handheld Massager Worth It?

If you care about your body but don’t want to attend massage therapy for some reason, then yes, it’s worth it. Anyone does some physical job in their life, even if you live an office lifestyle. So you need to relax your body just like anyone else.

Are Handheld Massagers Good for Muscles?

If applied right, they are. You need to find the right mode for them. Deep massage assists circulation, improves relaxation and removes the pain. So you can use your muscles better during workouts and feel much less pain after them.

How Often Can You Use a Handheld Massager?

Don’t abuse it. Some of them automatically turn off after some time, to cool down the motor. But your body needs to cool down as well. And remember that though massage can relieve you from pain, it may cause it as well. But your perfect session duration is up to you and your experience.

Using handheld massager for massage

Good Vibrations in Your Hands

If you have never dealt with handheld massagers, you may be skeptical. But once you enjoy the feelings it brings, you will stop understanding how to live without it. And it doesn’t take the most expensive model to bring new vibrations into your life. Renpho EM-2016C will do the trick, and if you think better about your needs, you may benefit even more from some other massager from this list.

Have you already got one? Which model? Are you satisfied with it? Have there been any issues? If you have something to tell us, welcome to the comments!

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