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Isn’t it amazing that as technology progresses, our gadgets and appliances get smaller and smaller? Portable phones that were once as hard and heavy as a brick can now be held at the palm of our hands and tucked neatly into a side pocket.
Not only gadgets, even skilled services have been condensed into objects that you can use anytime. Too tired to vacuum the carpet? A smart robotic vacuum cleaner that can clear your carpet unsupervised. Need to water an entire garden? Automatic sprinklers can replace an entire morning of work.
Need to get a massage? You can forget visiting a massage parlor and get a handheld massager instead.
These things are amazing. They can help you soothe your tired and aching muscles in the comforts of your own home or bedroom. Even better is you don’t have to put up with the exorbitant prices of a massage service and, if you’re an introvert, you can avoid mingling with other pesky patrons while you’re trying to relax. The handheld massage industry has become a very lucrative market for people who don’t like the idea of a complete stranger touching their skin.
The industry is booming! There are so many handheld massagers out there, that choosing the right one has become quite difficult. No need to worry though. The experts are here.
We also reviewed the best massage chairs right now, check them here.
Best Handheld Massagers in 2019 Reviews
We rummaged through all the handheld massagers to help you narrow down your choices. And to make sure that we separate the diamonds from the duds, we have put our sore muscles, our aching bodies, and even our wallets to the test. In the end, we have narrowed down the list to only 6 of the best handheld massagers on the market.
It’s time to pamper up and give yourself some much needed self-care. These 6 handheld massagers are so good that they can replace any masseuse…almost.
#1. The Purewave CM-07 Extreme Power Massager
The CM line of Purewave Power Massagers is considered the best line of handheld massagers on the market. Even chiropractors use it in their therapy sessions. Its vast array of features puts it a cut above the rest of the competition has become a primary choice by both professionals and home-users.
Under the hood, the Purewave CM-07 is powered by a motor that sends 3,700 pulses per minute, the most powerful percussion massage motor in a handheld massager on this list so far. The intensity levels can be adjusted according to your liking using a variable speed controller on the handle.
If in case you want to use it on various parts of your body, the Purewave CM-07 comes with 6 interchangeable attachments. Each attachment has its purpose, among them is the air-cushion stick which is perfect for sensitive areas such as the ankles, the knees, and the wrists. Another one is the point stick which is designed to mimic acupressure massage. And if you want a deep-tissue massage, then the six head stick would be the right one for the job due to its wide surface reach.
The product can also be used cordless with its lithium-ion battery. The battery can be charged with an AC cord for under an hour and offer up to 180 minutes of continuous use. This means that if you use the massager for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, it’ll take almost a week before you charge it again. However, as a safety feature, you can’t use the massager while plugged in. But with its cordless capabilities, 6 attachment heads, and powerful motor, the Purewave CM-07 is truly the most versatile handheld massager in this list.
- 6 attachment heads that can cater to every type of area for massaging. The type of massage that you prefer will also depend on the type of head you will use.
- Nothing beats a massager that allows cordless operation. Using it without a cumbersome cord getting in the way provides freedom and versatility in every massage.
- The Purewave CM-07 could have been the perfect handheld massager if only it came with heating options. Sadly, it doesn’t. If you need a massager that can do heat massaging, you’ll need to look for something else.
- All those bells and whistles come with a price. As the best handheld massager in the list, it is also the most expensive.
#2. The HoMedics HHP – 350 Percussion Action Massager
The HoMedics HHP – 350 Percussion Action Massager, compared to the other products mentioned in this list, may come across as either more streamlined or more innovative depending on what you are looking for in a handheld massager. This is another product that also has an optional heating feature and variable speed settings but with lesser customization options. But I guess, simplicity has its advantages.
For starters, the HoMedics HHP – 350 has two massage heads that pivot up and down to give an effective deep tissue massage. Operated by a powerful motor that unleashes 3100 pulses per minute, the massager also comes with 4 different speed settings to let you customize your massage from a soft, relaxing massage, to something vigorous and firm.
As far as customizations allow, the HoMedics HHP – 350 comes with only two attachment modes, one for a firm massage and another one for a gentle massage. Most users recommend using the massager without the attachments in order to maximize the heat from the massage heads.
A very popular feature of the HoMedics HHP – 350 is its ergonomic handle. Unlike most models, the HoMedics’ handle is shaped like the handle of saber and an inner loop keeps your grip tight and secure. This is why the HoMedics HHP – 350 is highly recommended for travel
- Uniquely designed ergonomic handle that improves grip and mobility.
- Optional heating option and dual pivoting heads for an improved massage experience
- Lesser customization options with only two attachment heads.
#3. The Brookstone Max 2 Cordless Dual-Node Percussion Massager
Now we are getting to the cordless ones. Aside from being another percussion massager, the Brookstone Max 2 stands out from the rest because of its cordless operation. A rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery powers its motor at 1,750 to 2,550 pulses per minute, depending on the 5-speed settings that you prefer. The battery can last up to 3 hours and takes at least 2 hours to charge fully using the AC adapter that comes with the package.
Aside from its preset 5-speed settings, the Brookstone Max 2 also comes with 3 massage programs: Energizing, Pulsing, and Soothing. If you need something that can improve your blood circulation, then choose the Energizing program. If you want to invigorate your muscles with short but strong percussion blasts, then the Pulsing program will be the one for you. And finally, if you want a deep rolling massage that soothes your muscles, then the Soothing program would be a good choice.
Another unique feature of the Brookstone Max 2 is its flexible massage head that shows different ranges of motion compared to other handheld massagers. Its massage capabilities not only move up and down, but it can also swivel from side to side while doing a percussion massage, providing deep tissue manipulation that can eliminate a lot of muscle tension or stress.
- Its ability for cordless operation gives it the best portability among the massagers listed here. 3 hours of cordless use is already a decent amount of time for a relaxing massage on any part of your body.
- One of the best deep tissue massagers in the market.
- The On/Off switch is located near the tip of the handle which makes it prone to accidental switch offs when used on the back.
#4. The Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Electric Massager
Compared to other massagers in the market that are able to switch between different types of massages, the Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Electric Massager specializes more into deep tissue massaging. It has quite a mouthful of a title but it’s vast range of capabilities as a handheld massager are super simple to use.
The Wahl Deep Tissue Massager relieves your tired and aching muscles with a powerful motor that produces 3,350 pulses per minute. Unlike other massagers that have preset speed settings, the Wahl Deep Tissue massager has a variable dial to allow you to fine tune the massage intensity. With the variable dial, you can tailor-fit your massage experience to either a gentle, relaxing one, or to a strong, intense massage that can reduce pain and improve flexibility.
The Wahl Deep Tissue Massager also comes with 4 interchangeable attachment nodes that cater to different massage preferences and needs. The flat disc node can cover wide body areas such as the back and the shoulders. The accupoint head is a narrower node that can be used for pinpoint massages and to relieve tension in specific areas. The muscle ball can be used to help relax some muscles and relieve some knots. Finally, there is also a 4 finger flex node that can mimic the finger massages.
- Aside from ease of changing the nodes, this product has useful and unique massage attachments.
- Considered to be a well-balanced massager with an ergonomic design. It also has an 8-foot cord which makes it very portable and versatile.
- As a massager that specializes in deep tissue massages, it can produce vibrations that might too strong for some people, even at the lowest settings.
- And again, being a massager that uses percussion massages, the motor could get pretty loud due to its strength.
#5. The Ohuhu Percussion Electric Massager
The Ohuhu Percussion Electric Massager prides itself as a model that offers all of the fancy bells and whistles as its top-of-the-line competitors at a competitive price. It’s no surprise that it’s hailed as a perfect gift for athletes, senior citizens, or just about anyone who needs a good alternative to a massage without punishing your wallet.
As the name implies, the Ohuhu Percussion Electric Massager takes full advantage of percussion therapy with its 4 massage options and 3 interchangeable attachment nodes. The four massage options are rated from R1 to R4 depending on the vibration gap times. From R1, which has no gap time between the vibrations, to R4 which has few seconds of gaps.
The 3 attachment modes, on the other hand, can customize your massage experience based on what you need; you can use the reflexology node to soothe tired and sore muscles, the scalp massager can relieve headaches and migraines, and if you need a deep-tissue massage then the 3-head node can do the job for you.
- User-friendly with easy to change heads.
- Has an auto shut-off feature after 15 minutes. This is good for people who are conscious about their electricity use and wouldn’t want an electric appliance unattended.
- The heads are made of rubber, not plastic, which makes suitable for use with massage oils and lotions.
- The Ohuhu has a short power cord at only 71 inches long, thus, taking a hit in the portability department.
#6. The Naipo Double Head Percussion Massager
The Naipo Handheld Massager is for anyone who prefers a strong massage without the noise of an annoying motor. One of Naipo’s major selling points is that despite powerful motor that unleashes 3,400 pulses per minute, it emits noise as little as 60 db. Which means you can actually use it comfortably while watching TV or listening to music. Thanks to its ergonomic handle, it can easily reach problem areas such as the upper and lower back. It is also surprisingly light at only 0.9 kilograms.
The Naipo handheld massager comes in two variants, one that has a single head and another that utilizes a double head set-up. Both variants come with 6 interchangeable nodes that are made of silicon and plastic. Changing the nodes is a breeze and takes only 30 seconds for an almost uninterrupted massage experience.
The Naipo also has an optional heating feature that can soothe stiff muscles and relieve muscle tension. The gentle, penetrating heat can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius at maximum but a built-in safety feature that protects the device from overheating. It is highly recommended to use the heating feature together with the round-shaped nodes.
- Built-in heating feature makes it perfect for people who suffer from muscle aches and pain.
- Ergonomic handle gives it a good reach and suitable for areas around the lower back and shoulders.
- Despite having an ergonomic handle, some users complain that it is slightly heavier compared to other massagers in the market.
Choosing the Right Handheld Massager
So, how were we able to come up with our list of handheld massagers? Like choosing any gadget, there were several factors we had to consider before making the cut on our list of choices. Everyone has their preferences due to lifestyle, budget, and even medical needs. Here are some factors that you should consider the factors when choosing your first handheld massager.
Heat Massaging and Heat Settings
One of the great things about using a handheld massager is the ability to readily get a massage with heat therapy. Having a real heat therapy massage is not only expensive, but also requires tons of preparation on the part of the masseuse. A handheld massager with heat massaging settings is not only convenient, it also becomes advantageous for someone who needs immediate treatment for cramping and muscle stiffness. Heat therapy will definitely benefit you if you experience any of the following muscle ailments.
1. Strained muscles: If your line of work involves exerting a lot of physical strength for long hours, you can end up with sore muscles all over your body to the point where you can develop a ton of strain all over. This also happens when you don’t get enough sleep or lack Vitamin D in your diet. You also experience this pervasive muscle soreness whenever you are sick with the flu or the cold.
Applying heat therapy on painful muscles can help relieve the tension and relax the pain away. What’s great about handheld massagers with heat therapy is that you can quickly direct the massaging on any part of your body. This is perfect for anyone who is sick and can’t get out of the bed or even the house. Your painful muscles can render you immobile but a handheld massager can get you comfortable and soothed in no time.
2. Lower back pain: Everyone experiences lower back pain at some point in their lives; but several factors, such as age, lifestyle, and diet, can make this pain a hell of a lot worse. The main problem with back pain is that it’s not only difficult to get rid of, but lower backs are challenging places to treat medically. This is why handheld massagers are often designed to be able to reach these problem areas easily, especially those with heat therapy features.
Heat therapy can improve the blood circulation around your lower back to soothe the muscles surrounding the spine. This, in turn, allows the muscles to get more oxygen and nutrients and speeds up healing. Heat therapy can also relieve the tension around the muscles and help regain some flexibility around your lower back.
3. Knots: The point of massages is to relieve muscle knots, those small clumps of tension in your muscles that can give you a dull, constant pain in a certain area to the point that it affects your posture. Muscle knots, if left untreated, can produce more muscle knots and eventually lead to unexpected muscle cramps during moments of heavy exertion. These muscle knots often appear on the upper portions of your back. You can distinguish this knot whenever you feel an uncharacteristic bump along the sinew of your muscles as well as the mix of pain and relief whenever you press down on one.
Thankfully, heat therapy can get rid of these muscle knots. Handheld massagers are perfect for this job because of their ability to target any area on your back. Applying heat on muscle knots can get rid of the tension and let the knots melt away, giving you this unbelievable sensation of relief and relaxation.
Compactness and Weight
The point of a handheld massager is to replace the masseuse’s hand as much as possible. When was the last time you experienced a weak massage from an obviously inexperienced masseuse? Not as refreshing as you expected right? This is why despite a massager’s size, it still needs to have some heft and weight in it.
Handheld massagers are designed to be a little heavier than it looks in order to make it stable and balanced. The added weight also allows the possibility of changing the massage intensity and keeping it stable even if the motor runs at varying speed. A handheld massager with the right weight is able to provide a deep-tissue massage and penetrate more into the muscles. If the massager is too light, then it wouldn’t be as comfortable and effective as a real massage.
Handheld massagers may not offer the same versatility and variety as a real masseuse but you can always choose the right model based on the massage technique you prefer. Every type of massage technique have their unique benefits. Determine the massage technique you would like and choose the model wisely.
1. Percussion massage – This is the most common massage technique that you’ll see in handheld massagers. Percussion massage involves creating short, rapid pulses that penetrate deep into the soft tissues of the body. Although a masseuse can duplicate a percussion massage by delivering short raps into the muscles using their wrist. Machines are able to sustain the pulses longer and deeper. Such is the reason some of the best handheld massagers utilize percussion massage.
Since percussion can penetrate deeper into the muscle tissues, it’s the perfect massage technique for people who are undergoing muscle rehabilitation due to surgery, trauma, or disease. This massage technique hastens the repair and growth of tissues by improving the blood flow to the targeted muscle area, and gently stretching the muscles and connective tissues to improve performance and responsiveness. Percussion massage also improves muscle tone and balance by reducing muscle tension and removing the stress from the bones and the joints.
2. Tapping massage – Tapping (or more popularly known as tapotement) is a massage technique where the masseuse uses his or her fingertips to lightly tap on the target area. It is a much gentler technique compared to other percussion type massages such as cupping, hacking, or pounding. However, with sufficient intensity, tapping can soothe the muscle and the bone, making it appropriate for small areas such as the head and the face.
Handheld massagers can mimic tapping as long as they are equipped with the right attachment node and are brought down to the proper intensity. A handheld massager is also perfect for tapping because of its ability to concentrate on small areas of the body. Tapping can stimulate blood flow on the target area, improving the muscle’s elasticity and temperature.
3. Kneading – When you think of massages, kneading is the usual massage technique that comes to mind. In fact, kneading is what most people do whenever they do a massage on anyone, even the untrained ones. Kneading involves compressing the soft muscle tissues using circular movements which, at first, lifts and rolls the tissue away from the bone and then squeezes it against the bone to compress the tension away.
Kneading techniques differ based on the body part on which it is used and its efficacy depends on the skill and the strength of the masseuse. Thus, kneading is a massage technique that most machines are unable to duplicate properly, even handheld massagers. The only type of massage machine that can mimic kneading are massage chairs, although some handheld massagers do come equipped with attachments that can mimic kneading movements. Nevertheless, kneading is recommended in treating muscle stiffness and pain by increasing the muscle’s flexibility.
Sometime you’re looking for a way to relax before going to bed, a simple massage cushion with multiple 3D Shiatsu massage nodes and a heat option is ideal. Check the best massage cushion review here.
Massage Heads and Attachment Heads
The versatility and effectiveness of a handheld massager will completely depend on its massage heads and its attachments. You can customize your massage experience depending on the number and size of the heads, the type of attachments that you can use, and the diameter of the massage head’s coverage.
Handheld massagers can come with either a single head while others have two or more heads. Single heads massagers are good for massaging over hard to reach areas which makes it perfect for people to target specific muscle knots and relieve cramping.
If you are the impatient type and prefer a massager that can target a wide area for faster massages, then you should go for a model that has wider attachment heads. Massagers that cover wider surfaces can target several muscle groups all at once, making it perfect for people who suffer from muscle pain over large areas of their body, like the back.
Attachment heads, on the other hand, allows you customize your handheld massager for specific use on a body part. Attachment heads can also modify your massager for a different massaging experience, whether you need something that can do a kneading technique, a deep-tissue one, or one that covers a wide area of your body. Among the popular attachments that come with different models include:
- Kneading Massage head – These are attachment head designed with a narrow point that can slide down the surface of the muscle and push down on certain points. It is designed to mimic the kneading massage technique.
- Roller head – Roller heads are designed to give a firm massage by using small protrusions on the roller to promote blood circulation.
- Scraper heads – At low settings, these attachment heads are supposed to remove dead skin cells from the body using weak vibrations to gently scrape off the skin. This type of massage head also improves blood circulation and stimulates the muscles for better recovery.
- Scalp massage heads – Some models of handheld massagers do come with a scalp massager attachment. If you want a massager that can be used for your scalp, make sure to choose a model that not only has the right attachment, but can also be placed in a speed setting that is gentle enough for scalp use.
Before buying any type of handheld massager, make sure to read the manufacturer’s label. Some attachments that come with the package may not be intended for other uses.
Power Source and Portability
The point of handheld massagers is its inherent portability. Before purchasing one, make sure that you considered how or where you are going to use it. Will you be taking it with you when you travel? Or will it never leave the house or your bedroom? Will you be using it near a place that has a stable power source? Or do you need something that you can carry around any part of the house?
If you want to own a handheld massager that offers portability, then you would have to choose between one with varying cord lengths or a unit that has built-in batteries. There are massager models that can be used cordless if you want to lounge around the house while getting a massage. There are also models that have power cords that range between 4 feet to 14 feet for varying degrees of portability.
Isn’t technology great? Thanks to handheld massagers, we no longer need to book that pricey day at the spa or wait for hours in queue until it’s our turn with that skillful masseuse. With all the handheld massagers that we’ve listed above, you can get an incredibly relaxing massage without leaving the comforts of your home.