The 4 Best Handheld Percussion Back Massagers (2019)

To tell you the truth, I prefer the good old manual massage. Don’t you?

Nothing fancy, just a basic deep kneading massage.

However, most of us can’t afford regular massages to relieve our achy back.

The good news is:

A high quality, handheld, deep-tissue percussion back massager can serve the same purpose – at the comfort of your home – any time you need it.

(For a fraction of the cost)

handhelf percussion back massagers deep tissue

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In a hurry?

Electric handheld massagers not only extend one’s reach, but they offer techniques and sensations that are difficult or impossible to replicate with human hands.

But:

how do you find the best handheld personal massager without emptying your wallet?

We’ve done all the research for you, and found the 4 best handheld percussion massagers in 2019  – for quick relief from back pain, workout recovery, sciatica, back muscle spasms, muscle knots and more.

They’re easy to operate, they can reach those unreachable sore spots in your back and can immediately relax your back muscles, anywhere and anytime.

Through our many hours of research, here are the 4 best personal electric back massagers in the market:

The Top 4 Handheld Percussion Back Massagers

Spoiler alert: #3 is our choice for 2019.

 FeaturesOur Rating
Homedics PHP-350
Percussion & vibration
Dual pivoting heads
3 attachments
Timer
4.1
TheraRub
Percussion
Dual head
3 attachments
4.2
Vybe PRO
Percussion massage gun
5 attachments
Cordless
4-hour battery
🥇 4.8
Wahl 4290
Percussion & vibration
7 attachments
Heat option
4.1

1. HoMedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Massager – for Deep Tissue

Homedics NHP-350 Percussion Massager

HoMedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Massagersee today’s price

The Homedics back and shoulder Percussion Massager has dual pivoting heads, speed control and 3 attachments (Firm, gentle and heat), plus a good ergonomic handle.

The heads go in and out like hammers or pistons, you can pinpoint your sore muscle and give it a good shiatsu knead, any time you need to and in hard to reach areas as well.

Weight – the Homedics weighs 2.5 pounds and features both vibration and percussion, while the latter’s speed is adjustable.

There is a different button for vibration massage, with several levels.

Through our research, we’ve found that the Homedics is a well made personal hammer massager, and the power level does not decrease when you increase its level. Great for a healing and relaxing massage.

You can replace 3 massage heads

The length of the electric cord is good – at least 3-4ft.

Input: 120vac 60hz 20w.

From all 3 massagers mentioned in this article, the Homedics handheld massager is the only one with an automatic timer, which makes it shut off after about 15 minutes.

Cons – our research has found that this model is a replacement of an earlier model by the same company. The first one was heavier, better constructed and lasted for many years.

Many of the users have pointed out this fact, but none the less most users are satisfied with the current model as well.

✅Homedics Massager Best Price

Check this page to find the best price for the Homedics massager. If you find it for less than $35 – it’s a great deal.

2. TheraRUB® Percussion Professional Electric Massager – Best for Muscle Spasms

The TheraRUB electric massager is a full-size professional-strength percussion massager with dual head percussion massage and 3 massage heads.

The TheraRUB offers variable speed settings and has an extra-long 14-foot power cord.

Noise – this massager is not exactly quiet, but more like “moderately noisy”. Not unbearable though.
But, if the sound is an issue for you, maybe you should go for one of the 2 other options covered in this guide.

Input – 110-120 volts, 60 Hz

Weight – it’s not too heavy to use, and the handle does a pretty good job of shock-absorbing. However, it can be difficult to hold in one place for long and you’ll have to consider finding a massage helper.

Heat – the TheraRUB massager does not feature a heat option. We would say that it’s the only thing missing in this high-quality handheld back massager.

TheraRUB 3 massage heads

Cons – for some people the TheraRUB percussion massager can get a bit heavy to use and some users say that the massage heads do not fit snugly, so you may find them falling off occasionally.

But, this inexpensive back massager is nothing but cheap. It’s a professional-grade back massager that can do wonders for your aching back.

TheraRub Best Price

We were surprised to find it for such a low price on Amazon.

3. 🥇 Exerscribe Vybe PRO Professional Massage Gun – Best for Muscle Knots

bets percussion massager gun for back muscle knots

Most powerful handheld massager – check today’s price

The Vybe Pro professional massage gun is one of the highest-rated percussion massagers on Amazon, so we had to check it out.

We found that it just may be the best and most powerful cordless percussion massager, and we highly recommend it to loosen back muscle knots and for workout recovery.

👉 Here’s why:

With up to 3400 strokes per minute and 33 lbs max force, the Vybe PRO really feels like a powerful deep tissue massage.

It has 9 speed settings you can choose from, and the rechargeable battery lasts forever (or so it feels like, battery life is 4 hours per charge!).

It comes with 5 attachments, made with rubber/soft plastic:

  • Large Ball: for large muscle groups
  • Flat Head: general use
  • Bullet Head and Flat Head: Joints, deep tissue, and trigger points
  • Fork Head: Neck and spine

The attachments serve a variety of needs and each one feels really different than the other, and the massager is 50% quieter than most handheld massagers.

It comes with a convenient carrying case so you can take it with you anywhere – including the gym, travel, and work.

Here’s what you get inside:

You get 30 days money-back-guarantee and 2 years warranty, with great customer support.

Weight – weighs a little less than 2.5 lbs

Cons – too powerful to use on bare skin. Use it only with clothes on.

✅ Vybe PRO Best Price

Obviously, this one costs more than the rest of the list. However, we feel it’s definitely worth the price for anyone who needs a regular professional massage for muscle recovery after working out, or recurring trigger points.

Check today’s price on Amazon.

4. Wahl 4120-200 All-Body Massage Powerful Therapeutic Massager

Wahl All Body Massager

Wahl All-Body Massagercheck today’s price

Wahl is a well-known manufacturer, family-owned since its founding in 1919.

Wahl back massagers are famous for being reliable. You know their products will last for years.

(I’ve had a Wahl handheld massager for 15 years before something went wrong with it…)

The Wahl handheld back massager is sturdy, well made with a nice collection of attachments (7 of them, to be exact, including heat).

The various attachments make it possible to use it for anything from a light touch for facials to a deep tissue massage.

wahl handheld back massager

The massager is lightweight (2 pounds) and features an ergonomic handle.

Wahl massager has 2-speed settings and a long cord.

Noise – the Wahl makes a soft humming noise, not too loud for anyone. But, it can get louder if you push down on it for long.

Cons – for some people, the relatively low weight can make it harder to get to the deep muscles and would require more pressure and more effort on your side.

Wahl Best Price

Price – the price on Amazon has really surprised us, we never saw the Wahl handheld massager being offered for such a low price.

The Wahl’s price on Amazon is probably the best back massager deal you’ll find in the near future.

Pro Tip
The powerful back massage you’ll experience from any of these devices will boost the blood circulation in your body, which sometimes causes itchy skin (from all the blood flowing rapidly). Use a simple, wooden back scratcher to relieve the itch and relax even more.

📢 Check out our post about the 3 best Full Body Electric Massage Mats – if you want to cover more than your back in one massage.

Handheld Percussion Back Massager: 6 Things to Check 

When you look for the best percussion (shiatsu) handheld back massager, look for these important features:

1. Length and design of handle – the back massager handle should be easy to hold on to, otherwise, it’ll be difficult for you to reach and keep the massager over your sore muscles and trigger points. Ergonomic design is best.

2. Back massager total weight – on the one hand, more weight means more pressure on your back muscles, which is good.

On the other hand, a too heavy personal massager can be difficult to hold for long, which means you’ll need a massage buddy to help you out every time.

3. Cord/Battery – we would recommend a corded personal massager, so you won’t have to change the batteries all the time, or a cordless massager with long battery life.

4. Heat Option – heat helps to relax the muscles and loosen them up faster, so infrared heat is an important feature in a handheld back massager.

5. Speed Settings – speed options are important because when the speed is too high it can get uncomfortable and painful, at least for some people.

6. Noise – a surefire way to destroy your experience is a horrible noise coming from the massager.
All percussion back massagers will be noisy to some point, but the best ones will not be too noisy to bear.

Percussion Massagers FAQ

What is a percussion massager?
A percussion massager is a handheld device that applies pulses of concentrated pressure deep into your muscle tissue. Deep tissue massage can quickly release knots and pain out of muscles while boosting blood circulation and improving range of motion.
What are the benefits of a percussion massager?
Percussion massage boosts blood circulation to injured muscle tissues and lymphatic system, relaxes thickened connective tissue, helps to break down internal scar tissue, and increases range of motion and flexibility. 
How long should I use a percussion massager?
We recommend using a handheld massager for no more than 20-30 seconds on each muscle area – for maximum results without overdoing it and injuring yourself.

What’s your experience with handheld back massagers? Did you own the all-time best one and want to share it with us? And which ones would you recommend to stay away from?

To your health and happiness,

The Back Pain Relief Products Team

Meital James
 

Meital James, Founder and CEO of 4 healthy living blogs, has a background in Naturopathic medicine, research, journalism, and nutrition. Her blogs are the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and experience and all the posts are verified by scientific findings.

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