Here’s our hands-on Zarifa Z-Smart Health Plus massage gun review. This is Zarifa’s top model.
We got interested in Zarifa when we found out their devices are HSA/FSA-approved. We reviewed the Z-Smart Mini, which, all factors considered, had some pretty neat features.
So now we’ve got our hands on something bigger and maybe more solid? Not sure yet; we’ll see.
Just to give you a heads up, this gun’s got a few things we haven’t seen on any other massage gun before. Plus, there’s another Zarifa USA Z-Smart we’ll check out before we’re done.
So, strap in, it’s gonna be a wild ride.
- Zarifa Z-Smart Health Plus Video Review
- Zarifa USA Z-Smart Health Plus Massage Gun Review
- So, who is it for, and Is it worth it?
- Best Alternatives
- Zarifa USA Z-Smart Health Plus Review Symmary
Zarifa Z-Smart Health Plus Video Review
For the starter, we’ve crafted a detailed unboxing and feature-testing video of the Z-Smart Health+ massage gun. This video will enrich your understanding of our subsequent discussion in the review.
Get a real-life perspective on the massage gun in action and its unique attributes before we delve deeper into our written analysis.
Zarifa USA Z-Smart Health Plus Massage Gun Review
As always, we’ll begin with the hard facts. Here’s a table of the Zarifa USA Z-Smart Health+ massage gun specifications, so we all have a clear reference for further discussion.
Zarifa USA Z-Smart Health+ Specification
|Features||Zarifa Z-Smart Health+|
|Stall Force||~60 lbs* (advertised: 20 – 30 W)|
|Stroke Length||9.71 mm* (advertised: 16 mm)|
|Percussions Range||1610 – 2640 rpm* (advertised: 1680 – 3500 rpm)|
|Battery Life / Capacity||6 – 8h / 5200 mAh (removable)|
|Noise||51 – 55 dB* (advertised: <50dB)|
|Main Pros||Powerful Motor|
Variety of attachments
|Main Cons||Bulky design|
Max. percussions and amplitude lower than advertised
(at the time of review)
|Discount Code||MGA |
|Where to buy with discount||Get it at www.zarifausa.com|
First Impressions and What’s Included
Our Z-Smart Health Plus massage gun showed up in a box. After messing around with Hypervolts, every time we see a box, our hearts do a little flip. Because usually, that means there’s no carrying case – which, in our book, is a must-have for massage guns. I mean, it’s always nice to carry around these not-so-cheap gizmos in a handy carrier.
But our worries went poof as soon as we popped open the box and found a regular carrying case – big sigh of relief!
This case is pretty huge compared to, let’s say, the ones that came with our hefty Ekrin gadgets. Right off the bat, we knew it was hiding a big gun inside.
We unzipped the case and voila! There was the Z-Smart Health Plus massager, hanging out with all its add-ons: 8 attachments, a wall charger, extra gaskets, and a leaflet that was supposed to be a user manual but didn’t really say much. We were like, “Whoa, wait, that can’t be all they’ve got to say about this thing, can it?”
At first sight, the gun looked like something that popped out of the year 2015, back when massage guns were the new kids on the block. It really screams old school. Plus, the gun looks bulky (we’ll dig into the design in a sec).
When we held it, we could tell it was a mix of aluminum alloy, PP, and ABS stuff. The handle’s got a rubber cover (thumbs up for that 👍).
The gun is finished in a plain, matte black (and you can also get it in satin matt red, if you prefare). It’s not super flashy or anything, but it beats the red finish on the other Zarifa Z-Smart we’ve reviewed too.
We usually give kudos to devices that bring something fresh to the table with their design (anything’s better than the same old, same old, right?).
But the Zarifa Z-Smart Health Plus massage gun goes with a T-shape. You know, like the old Hypervolts and 80% of Chinese devices that seem to mimic it.
But the problem with this kind of shape, from experience, is it’s not just unattractive, it can be rough on your massaging hand – we’ll break it down when we get to the ergonomics part below.
It’s not an economic design by any means either. The gun looks bulky and heavy. If you are always on the move, and like to carry a massage gun along, this one might just be a pain to lug around.
Plus, the handle is super thick. If you have smaller hands (ladies, this might not be your match) you’ll struggle to hold on to it. So if this is your case, you may want to go with the Zarifa Z-Smart Mini we reviewed earlier.
Oh, and before we forget, the attachments are definitely worth a look– we’ll get into those later!
This design isn’t winning any brownie points from us. It lacks flair and style. It didn’t steal our hearts or catch our eyes. It’s just more of the same old, same old.
Weight, Size, and Ergonomics
Regarding weight, it tipped our scales at 2.38 pounds or 1038 grams. Now that’s not exactly featherweight, but we’ve handled heavier guns.
The dimensions are 9.84 x 7.28 x 2.75 inches, which tells you this device is no small fry. We compared it to the Achedaway Pro (one of the biggest guns in our stash), and this one’s just a smidge bigger.
What about ergonomics?
Well, there’s not much to write home about here either. The T-shape is a red flag for uncomfortable use. You see, when you’re massaging certain parts of your body, like your lower back, this shape can put extra strain on your wrist. Trust us, it’s not fun.
Throw in the super thick handle that’s a handful to grip, and moving this thing around is no walk in the park. Our video show you just how thick the handle is. In case you were wondering, most of us here don’t have small hands.
But wait, there’s more. We’ve had our hands on devices with similar issues before (think the first Achedaway model). But this Z-Smart Health Plus gun doesn’t even have the balance right. Typically, with this design, the weight in the handle (usually where the battery lives) helps you to steer the device.
But with this device, even though the battery is big (5200mAh capacity), it still doesn’t make it any easier to handle. It feels like a hammer to some degree – the top part is too heavy adding even more stress on your wirst.
Controls and User Interface
At the back of the device, there’s a techy round screen that also acts as the control panel. They call it Smart LCD Touch Screen, yet another ‘smart’ thing in Z-Smart device.
But, honestly, it’s kind of a letdown. The screen is dim, so you can hardly see it in a room with just a bit of light, and don’t even think about using it outside when it’s sunny.
Plus, there are no real buttons, so it feels less straightforward to use. To top it all off, the touchscreen doesn’t always pick up your touch – you might need to poke it a few times before it actually does what you want (see video).
Here is what you will find there:
- Speed Indicator
- Speed Adjustment Buttons
- Battery Level Indicator
- Heart Rate Indicator
- Calories Indicator
- Temperature Indicator
- Main Switch
Zarifa includes 8 attachments with this Z-Smart Health+ model. Usually we’d say that’s a lot of attachments. Many doesn’t always mean great quality, but we’ll see.
Here’s what we found:
- Hard Foam Ball – made of EVA foam. It’s minimally soft.
- Hard Dual Prong Head – which is the classic fork attachment. It’s made of hard plastic.
- Hard Angled Head – you can also call it a wedge or bar. It’s also made of hard plastic.
- Hard Bullet Head – it is made of hard plastic.
- Hard Flat Head – also made of hard plastic.
- Soft Air Cushion Head. This one is shaped like Negan’s Lucille2 (Walking Dead fans, you know what we mean 😊) or the head of a baseball bat. It’s soft and rubbery but not really air-cushion-like.
- Hard 5-Pronged Head – it has 5 prongs sticking out like a midget’s fingers delicately grabbing onto an imaginary tennis ball. It’s made out of hard plastic. This one Zarifa says is designed to go at the muscles at multiple angles. We agree – it’s kind of like having multiple tiny bullet heads at once.
- Hard Multi-Point Head which has a circular bump in the middle, surrounded by six smaller ones. Zarifa suggests you can use it for massaging tight muscles, joints, and feet3,4. We think it’s a fancy version of the flat head.
Our Take on Attachments
Aside from the standard attachments like the ball, flat, bullet, fork, air-cushioned, and wedge, Zarifa tries to mix things up a bit with the rest.
But do these unique ones actually make a difference? We’re a bit skeptical, especially after giving them a go.
That said, we can all agree it’s cool that all the key attachments are included. Plus, you can swap them all with the other Zarifa Z-Smart model, which is a nice touch. Just keep in mind, they won’t fit on the Zarifa mini.
The performance capabilities of this gun were what truly piqued our curiosity. We were eager to ascertain the capabilities of this large device.
Before we even conducted our tests, Zarifa’s specifications held quite a bit of promise. Also, we thought that although the design and outward appearance may not have been particularly appealing, the performance could potentially compensate for these shortcomings.
As the old adage goes, one should never judge a book by its cover, right? Let’s dive into the features and performance of this massager.
Amplitude, also referred to as stroke length, is the distance covered by a massage gun’s head during each percussion.
We were initially thrilled when we saw the advertised 16mm, thinking we might have found another powerful device that doesn’t break the bank (think along the lines of Theragun Pro or even the less expensive Bob and Brad D6 Pro).
We brought out our digital caliper and set to work. Much to our surprise, our caliper read only 9.71mm, leaving us aghast at how Zarifa significantly exaggerated the amplitude of this gun.
Falling short by over 6mm from what we expected is genuinely disappointing. Could this be another device that talks a big game but ultimately falls short on delivery?
Regardless, it’s worth noting that 9.71mm is close to 10mm, which isn’t bad if the device can hit the mark on a few other vital performance aspects. We’re referring to high percussions and a robust stall force.
Bear in mind, however, that even with other factors considered, a 10mm amplitude still delivers more of a vibrational massage5, so dismiss the idea of this gun serving as a Theragun alternative.
But now let’s turn our attention to percussions.
Percussions and Speed
Our eyebrows shot up when we noticed the advertised 1680-3500RPM range. In our experience, this range is quite off if we take the 16mm, as advertised, to be the true amplitude. Typically, a device with a high amplitude tends to rev slowly (a look at the larger Theraguns or Achedaway Pro should clarify this point).
But let’s cut the guessing game short.
We measured the percussions to find out the real value and to our surprise (not really), we could only pick up to 2640RPM. Sure the initial value (first speed) 1610RPM was somewhat close to the advertised figure, but the top speed was way too low – missing the mark by close to 900RPM.
Now, if this gun had truly operated at the advertised 16mm amplitude, then this range would be acceptable. Consider, for example, the Achedaway Pro (which we’ve had for a while) and it’s 16mm amplitude and 2730 rpm max. But we already know the Health+ has a 10mm stroke length, right?
This means that this device won’t hit deep into the muscle and the vibrations may not be fast enough to make up for the lack of thrust. However, there is a chance for redemption yet, if Zarifa got one more aspect right, the power.
But before we delve into the stall force, let’s take a quick look at the speeds we have here. The Z-Smart Health Plus has 9 speed settings. Knowing what we know about the percussion range (relatively narrow), we’d say that is 4 more speed settings you won’t need. In our view, this setup would have been just as effective with only 5 speeds.
Stall force refers to the amount of pressure a device can endure before stalling or powering off.
Determining this measure with perfect accuracy remains elusive, but motor power can provide a reasonable expectation. Many brands overlook mentioning this figure – others tend to inflate it when they do.
Zarifa USA claims this device is powered by a 20-30W motor. As we aren’t motor manufacturers, we can’t authenticate this figure precisely. However, we can contrast this power against recognized potent devices in our arsenal.
Without a shadow of doubt, we can attest that this is genuinely a potent gun. We weren’t able to stall it even at the initial speed setting. The gun’s strength intensifies as you ascend the speed scale. Indeed, Zarifa truly delivers in this aspect, and we are impressed.
Our Take on Performance
Mostly, Zarifa overpromises and underdelivers. The stated amplitude and percussions per minute are excessively exaggerated.
However, this gadget’s substantial stall force empowers it to provide a potent massage. To give you a comparison, the Ekrin B37S in our collection has a 12mm amplitude, can reach up to 3200RPM at maximum speed, and has a stall force of 56lbs. These specifications align quite closely with what the Z-Smart Health Plus offers.
For those well-versed in massage gun usage, these features are ample to satisfy even the most demanding users. Nonetheless, there are other devices on the market that harmonize these aspects more effectively to yield superior results.
Health Plus (Health+) and Extra Features
Do you recall when we mentioned that this gun boasts features never before seen?
This is the section where we delve into them. We appreciate brands that aim for innovation, provided that these novelties truly enhance the value. The Zarifa Health Plus is endowed with a handful of unique features.
Let’s have a closer look:
Heart Rate Sensor
On the left side of the gun, there is a tiny interface featuring a green LED. This is the Z-Tech Health Sensor, which also functions as a temperature reader (more in a minute).
You can determine your heart rate by placing your finger on it. You can then read the figures on the display at the back of the device.
What is this all about? We are baffled as you are. This is a novelty on a massage gun, and the leaflet-style manual offers no clarification.
But how accurate are these readings? We employed a medical heart rate monitor to investigate. The results? Disappointingly inaccurate.
Take a look at the images. The device furnished us with a reading of 98bpm, starkly contrasting with the 60bpm provided by a reliable tool under the same conditions. Furthermore, my Garmin Fenix also showed around 60bpm, a figure entirely different from what the Z-Smart Health Plus sensor indicated.
So not only is this gadget a bit pointless, but it also gives us sketchy readings (or could our unit just be a dud?).
The same interface serves also as temperature sensor. But honestly, it could use some calibration.
During our test, it clocked my temperature at a cool 90F. Now, I know I’m a pretty chill guy, but that’s below the average human body temp of 98.6F, and I’m confident I was in prime health during the test. So, there’s a clear discrepancy with the sensor’s measurements.
But really, Zarifa, a temperature sensor on my massage gun? Do I need to check if I’m running a fever while getting a massage? That’s a new one!
We thought this feature was pretty strange. It purports to show the calories burnt during a massage (well, Zarifa doesn’t say it, but we figured it had to be).
But here’s the million-dollar question: Whose calories is this sensor tracking? Is it for the one doing the massaging or the lucky one getting the massage? And what if you’re going solo and massaging yourself – do you count as two people and get double the calories?
Again, the minimally informative user manual doesn’t shed any light on this, and there is no clarification on Zarifa’s website either.
Plus, let’s be honest, who picks up a massage gun thinking, Yes, it’s calorie-burning device?
The control panel includes a timer that allows you to set the duration anywhere between 1 to 20 minutes, with options at intervals of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, and 20 minutes.
The potential advantage of this feature is that you can program the device to automatically cease operation after a specified period.
However, after a period of usage, we found this feature to be somewhat redundant. We frequently overlooked it, and we would much prefer to gauge the duration based on the comfort and responses of our bodies. This is because what matters most is using the massager correctly and effectively, as you can read in our guide, to ensure it benefits our health.
Our Take on Health+ Features
In short, it feels like Zarifa wanted to make a grand impression but ended up missing the mark.
Really, innovation is wonderful when it adds value and enhances user experience, but in this case, it seems to be more of a distraction than a benefit.
So while we initially gave them a point for creativity, we find ourselves needing to retract it due to the missed execution. It’s a classic case of ‘great idea, poor follow-through’.
In terms of noise, the Z-Smart Health Plus certainly redeems itself.
Despite a number of disappointments in its specs, this device stands out with its quiet and soothing operation. It may not meet all your expectations, but it ensures a serene environment as you enjoy your massage.
Zarifa claims a noise level below 50dB. Our own tests with a decibel meter (see images below) revealed readings of 51-55dB, ranging from low to high speed. This is remarkably quiet, particularly when compared with numerous other quiet massage guns we’ve encountered.
The Z-Smart Health Plus is equipped with a powerful battery boasting a capacity of 5200mAh – the most substantial we’ve seen to date.
According to Zarifa, charging the device takes 3-4 hours, and it should last for approximately 6-8 hours of usage. While we didn’t test it for this entire duration, we did note that the battery tends to deplete faster when more pressure is applied during use. Given this, an 8-hour usage time seems optimistic, but it should reliably operate for at least half of that time.
The battery can be removed, a feature that would be particularly beneficial if you could purchase a spare, but we were unable to find this option offered by Zarifa’s official website.
The battery’s LED indicator ring is located at the bottom of the handle, similar to the older Hypervolt models. The charging port is also found at the base of the handle.
It’s a bit disappointing that a USB-C charger isn’t provided, as we’re seeing more and more brands adopt USB charging for their devices. Adjacent to the charging port is the power switch.
Warranty and Price
The product comes with a 12-month warranty, a standard provision in many similar devices.
Given the high-tech features boasted by this device, which potentially means more elements that could break (especially considering that high-tech features can sometimes be more prone to issues), we’d have appreciated a more extended warranty.
Currently priced at $249.00, down from the initial $399.99. You can further reduce it by 5% using our exclusive coupon code MGA at checkout at www.zarifausa.com.
But it’s still not what we’d classify as budget-friendly. Indeed, you could opt for the Ekrin B37S, a model that not only boasts more accurate specifications but also offers a lifetime warranty.
Alternatively, you could consider the less feature-rich but relatively equivalent Zarifa Z-Smart variant (the one without Health+). You can delve deeper into these options in our dedicated hands-on Zarifa Z-Smart massage gun review.
So, who is it for, and Is it worth it?
Zarifa USA has HSA/FSA approval which you can learn more about in our article on HSA/FSA eligible massage guns. But is this truly the best option to utilize your HSA/FSA coverage on?
Zarifa certainly believes that this model is equipped to satisfy even the most demanding of users. Nevertheless, given the exaggerated specifications, we have doubts that it can meet the needs of such high-demand users.
Should you invest in this device? Our assessment leans towards a negative.
The reasons are manifold – its amplitude is less than impressive, the percussions per minute don’t quite hit the mark, the extra features feel superfluous, and the design is archaic. We just don’t believe this device justifies its price tag.
You’d likely be better off exploring other alternatives or perhaps considering the less ornate version of the Zarifa Z-Smart massager.
Note Just keep in mind, it is an FDA Therapeutic Class II device6, which means it poses a moderate to high-level risk to the user. It’s always best to use with caution.
While the Zarifa Z-Smart Health+ has its perks and offer some unique features, its performance and price left us wanting more. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of alternatives that we believe outperform the Zarifa in terms of specifications, design, and value.
Let’s take a closer look at why we find these options better.
Zarifa USA Z-Smart. A Better Zarifa
Could the best alternative to Zarifa actually be… Zarifa? The answer is, surprisingly, yes.
The Z-Smart model serves as the slightly less glamorous sibling to the Z-Smart Health Plus. There are a few key distinctions to note.
First, it lacks a detachable battery. Second, it doesn’t include all of the additional Zarifa Health+ features which, to be candid, aren’t exactly essential.
Despite these differences, it delivers a performance comparable to the Health Plus model. It also includes 8 attachments that are remarkably similar and interchangeable.
Furthermore, it’s HSA/FSA approved.
With a price tag around $50 less (remember, you can also use our coupon code MGA for an additional 5% off), it essentially offers the same functionality as its pricier counterpart, excluding the sensors, but provides a better value for your money.
Read More For more details check out our in-hand Zarifa Z-Smart review.
Theragun Prime – Premium Alternative
Should you have the opportunity to pick up a Theragun, we wholeheartedly suggest you seize it.
Theragun Prime is a fantastic massage device brimming with exceptional features, including a superb design and ergonomics, thanks to the distinctive triangular design.
The specifications aren’t just empty promises either. It delivers a genuine 16mm amplitude and a robust, albeit slightly less forceful, stall force.
Added perks like Bluetooth connectivity and a handy companion Therabody app enhance its value.
When comparing attachments, those on the Theragun Prime outshine those on the Zarifa Health Plus. True, the Theragun comes with only four, but these are the precise ones you need and will use daily. Moreover, they are of significantly better quality.
The Theragun Prime is priced at $249, the same as the Zarifa. In our opinion, it’s definitely the better deal. You can purchase it on the official Therabody.com website (which we recommend) with an additional 10% discount using the code X8YZF10. Alternatively, you can get it on RecoveryForAthletes.com with a 5% discount using the code HEALTH5.
In both cases, you can also use your HSA/FSA card.
Read More Dive deep into our in-depth Theragun Prime review for a full scoop on its features, performance, and value.
Ekrin B37S – Better in Every Aspect
The Ekrin B37S is a remarkable massage gun that we’ve been using for some time. And we love it.
When compared to the Z-Smart Health Plus, it boasts superior amplitude (12mm) and a broader percussion rate (1800-3200 RPM). It also packs a significant punch when it comes to stall force.
In terms of ergonomics, it’s one of the best guns on the market with its angled handle that alleviates stress on your wrist during use. The materials and build quality are of the highest caliber.
It comes equipped with a built-in pressure sensor and a dynamic mode -two features that truly add value during a massage session.
Its price tag is on par with the Zarifa Health Plus. It is priced at $329.99, but with our exclusive coupon code MGA20, you can get a 20% discount, bringing the price down to $264. What sets it apart, however, is the lifetime warranty and unparalleled customer service that come along with it.
Read More Want more details? Check out our comprehensive Ekrin B37s Review.
Zarifa USA Z-Smart Health Plus Review Symmary
So, that is our in-depth Zarifa Z-Smart Health Plus massage gun review. This gun has one positive that stands out: it’s powerful and very hard to stall even at lower speed gears.
However, the rest of the features don’t really impress. Zarifa tends to exaggerate key aspects like the amplitude and the number of taps it can deliver in a minute. Although these features are good enough to provide a fair massage, there’s a good chance you could find other massage guns out there that can do more.
Zarifa USA Z-Smart Health+ Rating
Overall, our in-depth Zarifa Z-Smart Health Plus massage gun review reveals a mixed bag of results. While the device boasts impressive stall force power, other key features such as amplitude and percussion rate fall short of expectations (given by a spec). The extra features feel unnecessary, and the outdated design leaves much to be desired too. Considering these factors, we hesitate to recommend this massage gun at its current price point. It’s worth exploring alternative options that offer better value and performance.
User Review( votes)
- 1.Health+ Massage Gun Health Plus | Percussion Massager. Zarifa USA. https://www.zarifausa.com/products/health-plus-massage-gun
- 2.Lucille (TV Series). Fandom.com. https://walkingdead.fandom.com/wiki/Lucille_(TV_Series)
- 3.Moraska AF, Schmiege SJ, Mann JD, Butryn N, Krutsch JP. Responsiveness of Myofascial Trigger Points to Single and Multiple Trigger Point Release Massages. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Published online September 2017:639-645. doi:10.1097/phm.0000000000000728
- 4.Peppard A. Trigger-Point Massage Therapy. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. Published online May 1983:159-162. doi:10.1080/00913847.1986.11708544
- 5.Konrad A, Glashüttner C, Reiner M, 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;19(4):690-694. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/33239942
- 6.Classify Your Medical Device. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/overview-device-regulation/classify-your-medical-device
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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:
September 16, 2023 Minor content update for better readability and experience. (Author: Greg)
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