Best Muscle Massager for Runners: Muscle Hopping, Never Stopping

A massage gun is more and more of a thing in recent years. This evolved version of an old battery-powered massager has become an obsession among athletes, including runners. If you are into running and …

man use massage gun

A massage gun is more and more of a thing in recent years. This evolved version of an old battery-powered massager has become an obsession among athletes, including runners. If you are into running and want to efficiently fight soreness in your muscles, you may be interested in the best muscle massager for runners. Well, I got some. Let’s define the champion among them and find other massage guns worth a shot (pun intended). And if you’re new to this device class, we’ll break it down a little on how to make the most use of it.

Prodact
Top Pick
TOLOCO Massage Gun, Upgrade Percussion Muscle...
Goog Value
Fusion Black Pro Muscle Massage Gun Deep Tissue...
Premium Choice
Medcursor Massage Gun,Handheld Deep Tissue...
Title
TOLOCO Massage Gun, Upgrade Percussion Muscle...
Fusion Black Pro Muscle Massage Gun Deep Tissue...
Medcursor Massage Gun,Handheld Deep Tissue...
Prime
Pros
Comes in various bundles
Flexible adjustments
Strong motor
Top Pick
Prodact
TOLOCO Massage Gun, Upgrade Percussion Muscle...
Title
TOLOCO Massage Gun, Upgrade Percussion Muscle...
Prime
Pros
Comes in various bundles
My Review
Buy c
-
Goog Value
Prodact
Fusion Black Pro Muscle Massage Gun Deep Tissue...
Title
Fusion Black Pro Muscle Massage Gun Deep Tissue...
Prime
Pros
Flexible adjustments
My Review
Premium Choice
Prodact
Medcursor Massage Gun,Handheld Deep Tissue...
Title
Medcursor Massage Gun,Handheld Deep Tissue...
Prime
Pros
Strong motor
My Review
Buy c
-

Best Muscle Massager for Runners Reviews: Choose Your Weapon

  1. Toloco EM26 — The Top Pick
  2. Fusion Black Pro — Runner Up
  3. RENPHO RF-GM168 — Premium Choice
  4. Medcursor MMG0101
  5. DACORM Y8 Pro Max
  6. CHIROGUN Massage Gun
  7. MKHS 9H-309

I suppose you have already got tired of those Theragun ads; good as they are, they are just as terribly overpriced. As for me, the one by Toloco is the top option if you want just a good runners massage tool. The array of massagers I’ve tried has some models that will well suit your needs, so let’s start with the best.

1. Toloco EM26: The Top Pick

Specifications:

  • Material: Silicone
  • Color: Black
  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Product Benefits: Muscle Fatigue,Deep Tissue,Blood Circulation

One of the best things about sports is honesty. Don’t lie to yourself or others. Some Chinese manufacturers arrange fake HQ somewhere in San Francisco, Berlin, or Dubai, but Toloco is self-aware enough to provide its address in Guangzhou, and that’s okay. And if you have ever happened to have a Huawei or Xiaomi phone, you know China isn’t just about cheap trash anymore.

As for this massage gun, it looks decent and stylish, with its black body and touchscreen controls. The anti-slip grip is comfortable, and the body is just heavy enough at 2.1 lbs. to feel solid and yet lightweight. It’s less noisy than you might expect (just 40 dB) due to a brushless motor. It’s just incredible how the head vibrates, and the hand that holds the device feels just a small portion of that vibration, even at the highest levels.

Its richness in settings is great. It has 20 speed levels for various purposes, from warm-up and relaxation to professional mode for strong massage. The display shows the battery level, too. In addition, it comes with ten massage heads for various body parts. The manual explains where to use which one. The bundle also includes a carrying case to take it to the gym and have your warmup or cool down massage right there.

As you might expect, the price is lower than that of those more famous. It depends on the particular color option (the bundle is the same), but even the most expensive of them is under $80.

PROS:
  • Solid build
  • Comes in various bundles
  • Low-vibration handle
  • Replaceable massage heads
  • Decent price (under $100)
CONS:
  • Poor support (because of logistics)

2. Fusion Black Pro: Runner-Up

Specifications:

  • Use for: Hands
  • Color: Black Pro
  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Product Benefits: Promotes Blood Flow, Increases Muscle Flexibility, Muscle and Tissue Recovery

While little is known about the brand itself (even its official site reveals nearly nothing, throwing some common stuff about “our team’s love and passion for high quality”), the massager named Fusion Black Pro is quite popular. It really looks like a futuristic weapon, with its matte black surface and a round display on the back. In terms of shape, it’s rather similar to our top pick (and all of them are, simply because it’s a human hand and the entire body that defines the ergonomics).

I found its grip even more comfortable than that of the one by Toloco, maybe because of its larger anti-slip area. The entire body is heavier than most of them, but still not too heavy; you probably won’t find it an issue because of a great handle.

As for its noise, it’s quite tolerable in general, though at 45 dB, it’s a bit louder than others. Yet it delivers enough power to get to your bones with its vibration. I liked how the display shows the speed and the battery level in colored rings instead of simple numbers; it’s more visual and looks fresh.

And yes, it comes with a case and with six replaceable heads for different muscles. The price is slightly higher (about $100 on the official store, others sell it for more), but if you like its looks and don’t mind some heavy feel as it grants stronger performance, I’d recommend it.

PROS:
  • Great performance
  • Flexible adjustments
  • Ergonomic design
  • A great display
  • Good battery life
  • Decent support
CONS:
  • Comes with fewer heads
  • A little noisier than others

3. RENPHO RF-GM168: Premium Choice

Specifications:

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Color: Gray
  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Style: Gray

Unlike others that look like gadgets, the massage gun by RENPHO boasts the appearance of a power tool. It’s not about drilling into your muscles but to relax them. But it indeed has the power to reach deep. It’s also heavier than others.

Even its touchscreen is square, not round like that of previous ones. The information it displays, though, is the same: the current speed, the battery level, plus controls. The device has 20 speeds, which is already a standard. Turning it on is a bit tricky and involves two buttons, but it works well as a security measure to avoid accidental activation.

If you can’t help thinking it must be noisy, you are right. It’s probably the noisiest of the reviewed massage guns, and even the vendor says something vague like “lower than 63.5 db”. The motor it uses is powerful enough, though, to outrun others. It has its backsides: even at lower speeds, it’s overperforming, so if you need a gentler one, you better look at something else.

Like it should, it comes with a case, a manual, and six replaceable heads. Though it’s been around since 2019 (which is rather a long time for such a young device class), it stands the competition well.

PROS:
  • Very powerful
  • Impressive design
  • Solid feel
  • Strong motor
  • Decent bundle
  • The battery life is great
CONS:
  • Too strong even at lower speeds
  • Noisy

4. Medcursor MMG0101

Specifications:

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Color: Gray
  • Power Source: Battery Powered

It’s… a pleasure to hold. Even when it’s off, it delivers that smooth sexy touch with its comfortable anti-slip handle. It fits well in my hand (rather a big one). Even more impressive is the perforated metal cover for the motor that dissipates the heat fantastically. Frankly speaking, I didn’t keep this device by Medcursor working for hours, but it will surely pass such a test better than others.

You may be a little disappointed by its lack of display; though it’s, in fact, a gimmick, it makes other massagers look like gadgets. This one, instead, relies on a single button, which is less comfortable (you need to go the full circle of speed to return to the previous choice) but quite reliable. The battery level is shown by a colored LED indicator.

It’s also very quiet, probably even quieter than our top pick (the manufacturer says it’s under 35 dB). And it didn’t take a sacrifice in terms of power: the motor delivers a lot of it, on par with the previous one. Though it only has 5 speed levels, it is enough for most situations. As for other unusual options, it also uses metal in two of its six heads; if you like the metal touch or find it easier to clean, you’re welcome.

Its price is slightly under $100, and, ditching some bells and whistles, the manufacturer focuses on the performance. It even comes without an AC adapter; instead, the engineers installed a standard USB-C port and a cable, so you can use any of smartphone’s USB adapters, for example.

PROS:
  • Very powerful
  • Great materials
  • Good battery life
  • Quiet
  • Comes with extra metal heads
  • (Reportedly) good support
CONS:
  • Comes without an AC adapter
  • Less speed levels

5. DACORM Y8 Pro Max: The Most Heads

Specifications:

  • Material: Y8 pro max
  • Color: Gray
  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Product Benefits: Muscle Therapy

“Musle massage gun” (sic!) isn’t something to read that makes you trust the device. Yet the one by DACORM is better than expected, good enough to make it here. It’s lightweight (only 2 lbs.) but doesn’t feel flimsy. Don’t expect metal or super duper plastic, but the ABS it’s made of is quite decent.

Its display looks like a speedometer (indeed it is, a sort of), and while it has only 7 speeds that bloom on it like petals, it also has an unusual battery level indicator on the bottom of the display. There is a 10-minute timer, so you won’t worry about sweating it for too long.

Like the previous one, it comes with a USB cable but without an adapter. Use your own! Neither is there a manual. But its bundle is anything but poor: it has no less than 12 massage heads, for different body zones. Two of them are orange, designed for joints and soft tissues.  And, of course, a carrying bag.

All in all, it’s just a decent massage gun, the only thing outstanding about it is the number of heads. Others, though, are okay with half as many.

PROS:
  • Built better than it seems
  • Lightweight
  • Unusual controls
  • Exceptionally rich bundle
  • Powerful enough
CONS:
  • No manual
  • The second display isn’t necessary

6. CHIROGUN Massage Gun: Not the Case of Atlantic Rim

Specifications:

  • Color: Black
  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Product Benefits: Promotes Circulation,Deep Tissue
  • Style: Chirogun Pro Black

As you see the name, you may think that somebody just trying to capitalize on the popularity of Theragun. But in no way is Chirogun as terrible as mockbusters by Asylum or AirPods imitations. Its chrome may look cheap, but this feeling dissolves as you hold it’s a quite solid grip and feel the weight.

It has a familiarly round display on the back that lets you control the speed and see the battery level. Its speed controls boast 30 levels – the biggest number on this list. They are distributed between just three zones, though, so instead of choosing the recommended one, you just choose the most comfortable (which will take some experience). As for the motor, it’s among the most powerful on the list and performs great. But with great power comes great noise.

And, boy, so rich is its bundle! Not only does it set the record with its 15 heads; it also comes with two massage balls, one smooth and one spiked all over. The manual is also included, as well as rubber washes, a carrying case, and even a box for heads inside of it. Ah, sorry, an adapter is here too.

PROS:
  • Powerful!
  • Good battery life
  •  Exceptionally rich bundle
  • Well organized
  • Good customer support
CONS:
  • Rather noisy
  • You may dislike the name

7. MKHS 9H-309: Heavyweight!

Specifications:

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

I didn’t find the official site of the vendor, only the store that shows that it’s well about fitness equipment. What I review is the basic version< of its massage gun, but the differences are minor. It’s a 20-speed model with a solid plastic body and a traditionally comfortable grip (well, I should have said they all have it).

You may like the unusual triangle shape of the panel that shows the current speed and the battery level, as well as features the controls. Just like our top pick, it has 20 speeds organized into five zones, from the lowest (warm-up) to the highest (Professional). The motor is powerful and quite noisy at the highest speeds.

It comes with the minimal 6 heads. The thing is the depth, though: it boasts 14 mm amplitude reaches, while some rivals only have 10. It results in a bigger size, and for some purposes (like recovery after injuries), it’s too powerful even at the lowest levels. Yet it’s perfect for relaxation after workouts. And given its price under $60, hardly can one hope for more.

PROS:

  • Strong build
  • Rather quiet
  • Many speed levels
  • Unusual control panel
  • Very affordable
CONS:
  • Quite heavy and bulky

How Muscle Massager Guns Work

The principle of the massage gun is similar to that of a jackhammer. It applies bursts of pressure to the area its head contacts, sending the vibration deeper into the tissue. Varying the shape of the head, you can apply it to various muscles and areas. In fact, it’s a sort of percussive therapy, a long and respectable practice (that is still rather an art than a science, though).

Benefits of Massage Guns

Not only is massage gun good for runners; any athlete may benefit from it. Being widely used by chiropractic professionals, massage guns are also great to apply to oneself. They have proven worthy for delaying onset muscle soreness (it’s the pain you feel three days after a hard workout). After a séance with a massage gun, you recover quicker. As for its therapeutical effect, the studies are still ongoing. But the first results are positive. So not only are muscle guns worth it if you’re an athlete; they may deliver you some pleasant relaxation regardless.

When to Use a Massage Gun Device

Runners may use it both before and after the workout, applying it to their thigh muscles and calves, and also shoulders. Before the workout, you better stick to the lowest speed and give each muscle no more than a minute or two. This will improve your performance, which has been corroborated by studies. After the workout, you may apply higher speeds; feel how it resonates with your muscles to regulate it.

How to Use a Massage Gun Device

No matter when you use this device (being portable, it can be used anywhere, from gyms to open water), there are some rules.

  • Start the slowest. As you feel the vibration respond within your muscles, increase the speed.
  • Warm up slowly, cool down faster, but still start slow.
  • Don’t abuse it. The ten-minute timer is here for a reason.
  • You can’t always apply it yourself. It’s better to have another person massage your back and shoulders, for example.

It’s great to have a manual in the box; it will tell you how to use the muscle massager abilities of this particular model.

How to Choose Handheld Massagers

Now that you’ve read the reviews, you may want to know which is the best for you. Here are the instructions for making our choice. What handheld massage guns do athletes use? How do they choose it? The answer is: personally and taking recommendations from their doctors and coaches. You better embrace this method too to know how to choose muscle massager for runners.

Speed

Most guns have a decent middle speed range, but it’s the question of extremes. For therapeutic purposes, you may need the one with the gentlest touch. For recovery after hard workouts, especially if you’re a muscular type, you better search for those performing well at the highest speeds.

Weight

It’s the question of comfort. Choose whatever feels good in your hand. Unless you travel a lot and carry the device with you; then you better opt for a lighter massage gun, even if you prefer bulkier ones.

Noise

Again, it’s personal, but usually, the more powerful is the motor, the noisier it is. Of course, some of them combine the best of both worlds, but it comes for a price. So you better choose the speed and then either enjoy the silence or rock the house.

Battery

Usually, the longer the battery lives, the better. But hardly will you have a 4-hour session unless you use it on many people. So even a 4-hour one will do (though an 8-hour one is better). As for charging, you may find ones with USB-C ports better, for example, for traveling. In addition, losing an adapter is no tragedy with these.

FAQ on Massage Guns

Given how new this fashion is and how untested these devices seem for many, there are always questions. Okay, let’s address some.

What are the disadvantages of massage guns?

They are not as versatile as they seem. Even with the handiest grip, you cannot reach all the areas of your own body, so you better have someone else do it. In addition, you should be cautious with them; they are for massage, but still guns.

Do massage guns help with runner’s knee?

Yes, they do. Many of them come with special heads for joints, including knees. But read the manual carefully and consult the doctor because joints are among the most problematic areas to massage.

Can massage guns cause damage?

Massage guns don’t kill people; people do. So, again, read the manual and talk to your doctor.

Massage to the Masses!

As you see, now you can easily find a decent and affordable massage gun – either Toloco EM26 or any other from this list. They are all under $100, and they perform for much more. You better consult your doctor before using them, but I guess they’ll greenlight its usage. But remember that it doesn’t work as a panacea but as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Have you already picked your gun? Or maybe you own one of them, or maybe a model I somehow skipped? If so, share your impressions with us in the comments section!

 

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