Best Budget Massage Guns – Cheapest (But Still Good) Options, And Things To Know About
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Hello and welcome! Today we will look at the best budget massage gun. Believe it or not, you can get a decent massage gun today for about $50, which was unheard of when massage guns first came out.
We have always insisted on buying a massage gun that is decent enough to do the job. Finding one such massage gun at a cheaper price isn’t anyone’s cup of tea. So today, we will tell you how to find the best affordable massage gun for your needs.
We know there are plenty of cheap devices on Amazon. We will not list any of those here – we know most are crap. Instead, we will list devices that we have tested and proved ourselves.
Also, look out for our reasoning behind the picks and how the cheap guns differ from their expensive counterparts.
- Our top pick for the best cheap massage gun is the Taotronics TT-PCA004. Its impressive performance, robust motor, good ergonomics, and long-lasting battery make it an exceptional value, especially at the discounted price of $54 with code TT10.
- Many of the least expensive massage guns have a low stroke length and deliver a vibrational feel.
- Despite the low price, these massage guns can still be effective if they offer ample stall force and a high number of percussions per minute.
- The key to an effective budget massage gun is its ability to maintain a fast revving speed, even when pressed against the body.
- Beware of cheap brands overstating their performance features such as amplitude, stall force, and percussion range.
Read on to learn more, or jump straight to our best picks.
- Cheap vs. Expensive Massage Gun – Where’s the Catch?
- How Cheap Massage Gun Brands Try to Wow Customers – Know the Tricks
- Best Budget Massage Gun Options Available
- Two Great Options for Those Willing to Increase Their Budgets
- Budget Massage Guns Wrap-Up
Cheap vs. Expensive Massage Gun – Where’s the Catch?
Are cheap massage guns any good? It’s not unusual to see budget massage guns pitting themselves against their expensive counterparts, claiming to be just as powerful.
However, they simply aren’t what they promise.
Most inexpensive massage guns we’ve seen rarely have anything to stand against a +$150 massage gun. The best these brands can do is overstate the specs to try and match those of the expensive guns.
They mostly exaggerate the three crucial massage gun aspects, amplitude, stall force, and percussions per minute.
Here let us explain…
Aka stroke length, is the distance traveled by the massage gun head during percussions.
Many cheap massage guns tend to have low amplitudes – often between 6-9mm or at best 10mm. If a device promises 16mm or even 12mm, they are probably lying.
These guns tend to be more vibrational than percussive. They will not deliver punchy hits as do high amplitude guns.
But what is the implication of this? Is it a bad thing?
No. In our view, shallow hits are equally as effective as punchy hits; you just need to know where to apply them. In fact, it’s not just the cheap guns that have low amplitude; even best massage gun brands employ low amplitudes for some of their guns – a good example is Ekrin.
However, in our experience, low amplitude has to be matched with good stall force if the gun is to be effective. It also has to have high percussions per minute.
A low amplitude gun has to rev fast to be effective. This is because percussive therapy works by overriding pain signals to the brain, thereby releasing muscle tension (1). The rapid strokes of a massage gun greatly impact this process.
The same intensity can be drawn from hard and deep hits that you get from high-amplitude guns. Such guns don’t have to rev fast – Theragun is a good example of such a setup.
Since most budget massage guns have a low amplitude, they must have a high percussion rate of at least 3000RPM – this number should reflect in their specs and be practical too.
But, there is a catch with this as well.
Even though most inexpensive massage guns will tend to rev high, they may not maintain that intensity when pressed against the body. This is where you have to check for stall force.
Stall force is a massage gun’s motor ability to withstand pressure.
You need the percussive intensity of an affordable massage gun to be consistent for it to be effective. This is especially crucial when you press the gun hard against the body.
You need the pressure to get deep into the muscle and relieve clogged blood vessels (2),(3) that cause muscle tension.
Sadly, many cheap massage guns drastically fail to withstand considerable pressure – most have extremely low stall force. Even though they advertise a high stall force, they easily collapse under the least amount of pressure. This results in non-effective treatment.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom for these affordable percussive massagers. We found some of them reasonably strong in our tests, and we list them below.
TIP How we verify the important aspects (amplitude, percussions, and stall force)
- We use a high-precision digital calipers to confirm the real stroke length (amplitude).
- For percussions, we use a laser tachometer that tells us the actual percussions for different speeds.
- Stall force is tricky to verify. We compare the stall force of budget massage guns using benchmark devices that we know their real stall force.
How Cheap Massage Gun Brands Try to Wow Customers – Know the Tricks
Our experience tells us that many brands selling cheap massage guns will try to lie their way into selling a massage gun. We’ve seen many overstate the crucial aspects of their massage guns.
These are some of the marketing tricks they use:
- They will tell you how their device has many speeds, often 20-30 speed gears. This creates the impression of a high-performing gun with probably a high percussion range. But in our opinion, the opposite is true.
In a real sense, you don’t need that many speed gears on a massage gun – 5 to 6 gears are enough (why do you think Theragun has fewer speed gears?). We can live with maybe 10, but not more. Bottom line; don’t pay much attention to speed gears.
- They promise many attachments. Our perspective on that is that there’s nothing wrong with this, except it doesn’t necessarily make a device better.
You will probably only need 5 attachments to massage the entire body. If a brand promises 10 attachments, the likelihood is that they are probably different variations of well-known attachments. In practice, they just don’t offer a different effect. So instead, we prefer to evaluate the quality of the attachments and how varied they are.
- Many inexpensive massage guns tend to only come with hard attachments. However, based on our experience with dozens of massage guns, you need one or two soft or semi-soft attachments for bony and sensitive areas. Our advice then: Don’t go for quantity, rather, go for quality and good variety.
What to expect in most budget massage guns?
- You will hardly get any fancy features with highly affordable massage guns. Don’t expect to find pressure sensors, dynamic modes, OLED screens, and Bluetooth connectivity.
- Many budget massage guns tend to wear off quickly – often within months after purchasing them. It happened to us many times as well (but not only with cheap massage guns).
- Many have short warranties. The best you can find is a 1-year warranty or, as is often the case, no warranty at all. Customer support and care is often lacking, as we found out with such brands as Legiral and Chirogun – it’s very difficult to find support in case something goes wrong (we tried).
- Many are often no-name brands that sell from China. So you often won’t get any decent customer support, or contacting brand may otherwise prove difficult. Of course, there are exceptions, but since the massage gun market is highly fragmented, there are many no-name brands that offer nothing else than a product itself.
Luckily, there are a few brands that try to do things differently.
We combed the market for this before writing this article. We even found a cheap massage gun with a lifetime warranty from one of the famous brands.
Best Budget Massage Gun Options Available
In our research and testing, we found 4 massage guns that stand out from the cheap devices crowd. These deliver good performance at very affordable prices.
Taotronics TT-PCA004 – Best Cheapest Massage Gun
This Taotronics is the best cheapest massage gun, and we didn’t need to have a long debate to figure it out. It is insanely cheap – only $51 (after discount). However, it has incredible specs that will surprise many users.
We’ve had our unit for almost a year now and are loving life with it – it still works like it’s new.
So first, we love its compactness. It looks like a mini and full-sized hybrid. It weighs a paltry 1.67 pounds and will be very easy to maneuver.
You’ll also appreciate its ergonomic design—something you rarely see with inexpensive massage guns. The handle is a good size – not as thick as many others like it. It’s a squared handle with rounded corners. The entire handle is rubberized, which adds more grip.
It’s not just the handle, the whole design looks flashy for something that costs very little. We love the metal finish at the top.
But we love the performance of this thing even more. If you ever thought you couldn’t get a performing cheap massage gun, this one’s different.
We measured amplitude to be 9mm. This sounds a bit on the lower side, but we’re glad it’s not lower than 9mm. You’ll still only get light percussion therapy with this stroke length, but the stall force will help improve it.
This gun has a stall force of 30lbs, and in our test lab, we found it pretty accurate. So this is impressive. For comparison, Theragun Prime, which costs way more, has the same stall force.
What about the actual percussions per minute? Well, you get a range of 1000-3000RPM – we also verified that this is indeed true.
With this kind of setup, you get fast hits that will not slow down even under pressure. It is a good massage gun for your back, arms, and neck. It should also occasionally help you massage large muscle groups like the quads and hamstrings.
There’s just one bit we didn’t like about this device in our test: the 20-speed setup. These are way too many to cycle through. Even so, it makes sense when you have enough stall force and a wide percussion range.
We found our Taotronics also well-equipped. It comes with 6 attachments that are decent in quality. One is soft and useful if you want to massage sensitive areas. It also comes with a carrying case – a nice touch from a budget device, right?
We also measured the sound level (the photo above) and it doesn’t have a noise issue. The battery has a capacity of 2600mAh, which is on par with the bigger and heavier guns.
It comes with a 1-year warranty. We know Taotronics has a robust customer support system that handles all issues smoothly.
Taotronics TT-PCA004 amazingly only costs $54 if you apply the TT10 coupon for 10% discount. Get yours at the Tatronics store here.
Read More Check out our full in-depth Taotronics TT-PCA004 review.
Two cheap Runner Ups…
Sportneer D9 Elite – Inexpensive with a Pressure Sensor
Sportneer is a well-known fitness company. They were among the early entrants into the massage gun space. Their D9 Elite device was one of the earlier devices that is still going strong even today.
We recently saw it heavily discounted, from $129.99 to just $64.99. Despite not being the cheapest in our roundup, it earned its place due to its high quality and rich feature set.
It performs decently, especially for a gun priced this low. The stall force, at around 30-35 lbs., slightly exceeded the Taotronics gun when we put two devices in a head-to-head test.
The amplitude also got a slight edge at 10mm, offering a 10% increase over the Taotronics (albeit just 1mm so a tiny margin)
We found the percussion range impressive, as this device can actually rev to 3150rpm. We verified it with our laser tachometer! This outpaces the Taotronics, though again not by a huge margin.
The handle, as you can see on photos above, is slightly oval, and we like it. We also like that they surrounded it with rubber. Noise isn’t an issue either — it operates very quietly.
This is probably the cheapest massage gun we have seen that has a pressure indicator included. It is visualized by a set of three LEDs. It is a nice to have feature (but not a must-have, though).
It has a carrying case and 6 attachments. Unfortunately, the attachment is the Achilles heel of this device. In our opinion, they feel a bit cheap and are all made of hard plastic, with no soft option included. This is one reason it ranks lower than the Taotronics above.
Overall, this device feels pretty awesome, despite being an aged product already by the market standards. It comes with a 1-year warranty. We have tested it extensively and are certain it will keep working for a long time.
Want to buy? It now retails for $64.99 here at sportneer.com. The last time we checked, the AFDKOF coupon was not working with this lowered price, but it doesn’t hurt to try!
Renpho R3 Active
Renpho R3 Active is another budget device that we have tested extensively. We also know the manufacturer – a Chinese-American brand that is rooted in the US.
Having had the chance to test several of Renpho’s massage guns, the R3 Active model really stood out to us. Its versatility and affordability, especially with the discount coupon that brought it down to a mere $85, made it an exceptional value proposition.
When we put the Renpho R3 Active to the test, we found its performance was surprisingly comparable to our top two budget picks. The device demonstrated a solid stall force of ~30lbs, which we felt was quite satisfactory for an entry-level device.
We also measured the amplitude, which came in at 10mm, so a millimeter more than what we experienced with the Taotronics gun.
It has a percussion range of 1800-3200RPM. It comes with 5 speeds, which, in our opinion, makes it a better setup than Taotronics’.
What we loved about the R3 Active when we test it was its compact size and light weight – much like the Taotronics model, it weighed in at just 1.5 pounds on our precision scale.
The oval-shaped handle, wrapped in rubber, was comfortable to grip and made the massage experience smoother.
The 2600mAh battery also impressed us with its longevity, keeping the device powered for a week on a single charge.
All in all, this device proved to be an excellent companion for soothing massage sessions, aiding recovery, and tackling muscle soreness.
The massage gun comes with a convenient USB-C charger – something we haven’t seen with other guns in this category thus far. We also appreciated the generous kit it came with, including five varied attachments (one of them pleasingly squishy) and a carrying case.
It’s well-equipped too, with 5 attachments (including a squishy one) and a carrying case.
It usually costs $99.99, but you can use the coupon RECOVERME to get it for $85 – a 15% discount. It’s probably not the cheapest gun (Taotronics is way cheaper), but you’ll love its quality.
Read More Check our hands-on Renpho R3 review for more details.
Bitfinic – Cheapest Mini Massage Gun
Bitfinic is the only sub $40 massage gun that we find decent. This one, unlike the Taotronics, is a mini device.
Compared to other minis such as Ekrin Bantam and the Bob and Brad Q2, this one’s slightly bigger. Nonetheless, we still like the compact size. The design is probably inspired by Theragun mini. Even so, we like it and appreciate the nice quality plastic.
Despite the Theragun mini-like design, it doesn’t have the same performance features as the former.
Even though it bears a resemblance to the Theragun mini in terms of design, we quickly realized that the performance features are not quite at the same level.
Its most striking feature is the 10mm amplitude, which is a significant advantage over many other affordable minis that usually struggle to reach 9mm. This difference in amplitude provides a deeper hits than you’d typically get with most mini massage guns.
However, the Bitfinic’s stall force left something to be desired. While it’s suitable for surface-level massage, we found it lacking when it came to penetrative, deep tissue therapy. That said, it performed okay on areas such as neck, arms, hands, and feet. It is also good enough for lymphatic drainage.
The device’s percussion range maxes out at 2560RPM, which is not the highest we’ve come across, but given the impressive amplitude, it was acceptable.
It’s a light device that weighs just a pound – the lightest on our list. It has an impressive 2600mAh capacity battery that charges via a USB-C cable.
Despite its affordability, the Bitfinic mini massage gun doesn’t skimp on extras. It comes with a handy pouch, four attachments, and a small charger, making it impressively well-equipped for a massage gun under $40.
Overall, it doesn’t beat the Taotronics, but for the price of just about $30, it’s definitely worth giving a try. You can buy it here.
Read More Check out our hands-on Bitfinic massage gun review for details.
Two Great Options for Those Willing to Increase Their Budgets
Check out these two guns if you have slightly more cash to spend.
Ekrin Massage Guns – What’s The Cheapest One?
Ekrin is a well-known US brand that makes decent massage guns. They are known not just for their top-quality devices but also for their lifetime warranty for all devices and impeccable customer support.
We voted them the number one brand of 2023 for the above reasons and their fantastic quality-price ratio. Their entry-level devices don’t cost $50, but they’re totally worth it if you have more cash to spend.
This is a light, full-sized device with superb ergonomics. We know Ekrin calls it an entry-level gun, but in our hands-on review, it proved more powerful than all the guns we just talked about.
It has really fantastic attachments that screw on rather than push in and out – you don’t have to worry about the attachment coming off. It comes with a pressure sensor like the top models.
It costs $143.99 if you use the coupon MGA20 (20% off) to buy it. You can get it right here.
Father’s Day SALE
Enjoy 25% off the Ekrin 365 and any other Ekrin massager until June 18th. Use code MGADAD25 at checkout to apply the discount. Click here to claim your offer
It’s even cheaper than the 365 model. We tested it on multiple occassions and it never let us down. We recently voted it the best mini massage gun on the market.
It has so much to offer and only costs $119.99 if you use the coupon MGA20 – a 20% discount. Buy it at ekrinathletics.com
New Opove M3 Pro – High-Quality & Pocket-Friendly
This is a relatively new massage gun with a sleek modern look. It’s also very affordable.
Opove is a respected brand that’s best known for its budget Hypervolt alternatives.
When we tested the new M3 Pro, we found it to offer more power than any of the devices we have mentioned thus far (except of the Ekrin 365, that is).
It has a stall force of 40lbs. It also has a 12mm stroke length, so it will be punchier than the guns above. It can rev up to 2600RPM, which we think is awesome with a 12mm amplitude.
It’s also the quietest percussive massager on our list. It has fantastic attachments that vary in shape and materials – soft and semi-soft attachments are included.
It costs $119, which we believe is a steal for what this gun has to offer. Buy it here at opove.com.
Budget Massage Guns Wrap-Up
If you want the best budget massage gun, you have to look really hard at what is already available on the market. Even then, you might not succeed in finding the best one.
Luckily we have done the job for you, and you can find the right one among our picks.
We recommend the Taotronics TT-PCA004 as the best cheapest massage gun. There are other guns that perform really well, and we made sure to include them here.
If you have a little more to spend, you can check out our other recommendations, which cost a little over $100 but are totally worth every penny.
Until next time!
- Considering a massage gun? Here’s what you need to know about percussive therapy. UCLA Health, February 2, 2022
- Konrad A, Glashüttner C, Reiner MM, Bernsteiner D, Tilp M. The Acute Effects of a Percussive Massage Treatment with a Hypervolt Device on Plantar Flexor Muscles’ Range of Motion and Performance. J Sports Sci Med. 2020 Nov 19;19(4):690-694. PMID: 33239942; PMCID: PMC7675623.
- Barbara Alcaraz, M.A., B.A., L.M.T. Massage Therapy Program Chair M. A. Organizational Management, University of Phoenix B.A. University of Minnesota, American Studies L.M.T. Northwest Health Careers. Do Massage Guns Really Work?. Northwest Career College, August 6, 2020.
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Post Update History
Here's a quick rundown of all the tweaks and edits we've made to this article to keep it accurate and up-to-date!
Current version last updated on:
May 13, 2023 Updated pricing information, minor edits and corrections. (Author: Luke)
May 2, 2023 Added more photos and updates after long-term test of the Taotronics, Opove M3 Pro (Author: Luke)
January 7, 2023 Replaced Lifepro device with Sportneer Elite D9 (after hands-on review performed). (Author: Greg)
November 14, 2023 Updated Taotronics TT-PCA004 overview with more photos and information. (Author: Luke)
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