5 Best Handheld Massagers Reviewed (2018)

While you can certainly give yourself a massage, you'll want to take advantage of a handheld massager. These amazing massagers will get to out-of-the-way spots you can't reach. They provide added benefits depending on their features. They'll provide benefits like massage with heat that will relieve muscle knots as well as deep tissue massage that can rid your body of pain.

Instead of giving yourself a massage or spending hundreds of dollars for a professional massager, handheld massagers give you that professional massage experience at home. They're crafted based on the massage you'd get in a professional spa or health facility and meant to give you relief of tension and pains you have in many parts of your body. The massagers have varied speeds and pressures to put mild to moderate pressure on the muscle knots that are causing pain and tension through the entire body.

The 5 best handheld massages picked for this list are based on tests and research as well as customer response to the many massagers on the market today.

1. HoMedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Massager

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Some of the best massagers have many features and one of them is heated massage. This is true of the HoMedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Handheld Massager. It's an electric massager that is adjustable to give you a personalized experience. Heat works well with deep-tissue tension because it relaxes knotted muscles. This is especially helpful in the back where you're not able to reach without the assistance of a massager.

The HoMedics HHP-350 has two sets of heads that can be changed to really give you a personalized massage. The electric massager has high pressure and low-pressure settings with pivoting heads to really pound the surface of the skin. That's important if you need a deep massage to ease those knotted muscles. The hard head attachment pounds deep into the sore muscle. It becomes a form of therapy for relieving sore and painful muscles deep within the body.

The high speed of the massager provides a maximum of 3,100 beats per minute. That can be really therapeutic to those who need a more intense massage. The settings can be changed as the massager is in action on the muscle to get the correct speed and intensity as you use it.

If the high speed is too intense, you can lower it and switch from the hard head to the soft head, which is much gentler. There are also impact speed adjustments that can be made with either head to bring even more personalized choices to the massage.

The HoMedics HHP-350 has an ergonomic handle that allows you to stay in control of the massager without sacrificing the speed and quality of the massage. You can add heat to the massage with the press of a button as you are running the massager. This means you can turn off the heat while it's running, too.

The HHP-350 is able to run for longer and provide more intensity because it has a cord that delivers continuous power to the device. This limits the placement of the device, but that shouldn't be a huge factor since there is likely a wall socket near your bed or couch.

Overall, the power, heat, and adjustable heads give the home user a massager that will rival the hands of a professional massage therapist in a spa environment. It provides relaxation and deep tissue massages that can relieve pain and tension.

Things That Customers Like

  • The HHP provides a bit more power and intensity than the average massager.
  • It's simple to reach the back and neck for deep, heated massage.
  • HHP has adjustability that customers love.
  • The cord is long enough for massages anywhere.

Things That Customers Don't Like

  • The heat wasn't strong enough for some customers.
  • The unit can be heavy when held in an awkward position too long.

2. Brookstone Max 2 Cordless Dual-Node Percussion Massager

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The Brookstone Max 2 can be used while it's plugged into the wall, or it can be used with the battery. The lithium-ion battery, which is built into the unit, is a high-capacity battery that will last for a very long time. The included charger is fast charging, so you'll fill the battery in no time for cordless use.

A cordless massager has many benefits. One of them, for example, is that athletes can use this in the locker room or carry the unit where it'll provide the most value. You can also take the massager to countries that don't have a compatible power outlet and use it for hours before the battery is dead.

The Brookstone Max 2 is made with an aluminum body that makes it nearly indestructible while being lightweight, too. The fact that it's lightweight means that you won't get arm strain trying to hold the massager for a long period of time.

The massager is easy to control with it's two handles that are ergonomically suited for long-time use. You'll never have to worry about your hand cramping as you give yourself a longer massage. The two massage nodes mean that you don't really have to push that hard anyway. The nodes move themselves while vibrating, so you'll get a deeper and more complete massage without as much effort.

There are 3 programs for deep tissue massage called soothing, energizing, and pulsing. The soothing massage program is meant for relaxation. The nodes will smoothly move over your body. For the energizing program, the massager works in small waves that promote blood circulation to the muscles, which will rejuvenate them instantly. The pulsing massage program gives short percussive taps to the muscles.

There are 5 speeds available for your massage with the Brookstone Max 2. The speeds help with the intensity. The lower speeds start at 1750 RMS and max out at 2550 RMS.

Things That Customers Like

  • The massager removes tension in the neck and shoulder muscles quickly.
  • The ability to bring the massager anywhere.
  • Deep-tissue massage helps with the sciatic nerve.
  • It's great for massaging legs and calves (not all massagers are).

Things That Customers Don't Like

  • Battery adds weight to the unit.
  • Seems more powerful when plugged into the wall socket.

3. Pure-Wave CM7 Extreme Power Massager

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The Pure-Wave CM7 is a massager with six interchangeable heads and variable speeds that will give you a personalized massage to relieve the aches and pains caused by knots in the muscles. This massager is lightweight and cordless, but still provides more than enough power to properly massage your neck, thighs, calves, and back as well as other areas where you need relief.

While you can get the deep-tissue massage in the big muscles of the body like the thighs, you can also work on sensitive areas like the backs of your knees or in the shoulder joints.

If you can imagine a massage therapist digging deep into your muscle with force, then you will appreciate the various heads of this massager as well as the powerful motor of the CM7 massager.

The unit can be changed from percussion to vibration for sensitive areas like the face or the back of the knees. There are 3 speeds that provide relief with the various massage heads. Whether you need soft, medium, or firm speed, the heads can provide various styles of massages. There's a Swedish, Shiatsu, sports massage and trigger point therapy head available with this unit.

One of the heads is a massage oil stick, which makes it easy to use essential oils with your deep-tissue massage. Areas like the back are hard to reach, but the massage oil stick will help you apply essential oils or pain cream directly to the areas without having to bend uncomfortably to do it.

The microvibration massager can be used to put creams and other facial products onto your face to give you a youthful glow. Jaw pain and tension that cause headaches will be relieved through facial massage with this device.

The lithium-ion battery can be charged for 1 hour to run continuously for 180 minutes. The variable speed is between 1,500 and 10,000 RPMs, but the percussion motor is 3,700 RPMs. The battery makes this massager portable, and it can be run for 20 to 30 minutes on one charge.

Things That Customers Like

  • Almost as powerful as a professional device.
  • Varied attachments are key to a good massage.
  • Great for relieving sciatica pain.
  • Suitable for daily use.

Things That Customers Don't Like

  • The unit is a bit heavy and can be loud.
  • Battery doesn't last very long.

4. RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager

The RENPHO massager is great. The motor has been designed and built to be long-lasting and give you the power you need. With a long-lasting motor, comes a long-lasting Li-ion battery. The combination will keep you massaged, relaxed and stress-free.

This massager can ease any tension in almost all of your joints and muscles. It can be used daily and wherever you need it. It is great for use after sports or any other physical activities. Of course, the massager feels so good that you will not limit yourself to only those times. It is also great for when your day has been stressful (or even when it has not).

The percussion technology is something which interested us when we heard about this unit. This technology helps you relax, over and above the relaxation which comes with the massage. We love additional features in our tech, and this one comes with those which go above and beyond. There is a timer which will turn the unit off after 20 minutes. There is no need to worry about overheating or muscle damage.

If you need a massage on the go, then this could be the unit for you. The portability and the battery life make this massager an attractive option for someone on the go.

Things That Customers Like

  • Easy to operate.
  • One of the most powerful motors on the market.
  • Fully rechargeable.

Things That Customers Don't Like

  • The powerful motor means a bigger unit.

5. Thumper Mini Pro 2

Price: $199.00
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The Thumper Mini Pro 2 has varied speed settings with a power that is perfect for deeper muscle treatments.

With all of the attachments on the massager, it's still lightweight at approximately 3 pounds. The head of the device has two sphere's that can pulse at various speeds. They massage deep into the muscles up to a quarter of an inch, which is deep enough to provide lasting muscle relaxation. The massager will work on the surface of dry skin as well as over light clothing.

There are 3 different speed settings for the Mini Pro 2 that make it a great choice for a variety of body parts. For example, you can switch the pulses between 40, 30, or 20 pulses per second on the back of the neck or the back of the thighs. The power you use for the muscle group will depend on the amount of massage that feels comfortable while digging deep into muscles.

Relaxing back massages can be had at the slow setting, which is approximately 1,200 pulses per minute. A light pressure to the way you slide it across the body means that you can use it on the back of your calves as well as your arms. For extensive work on big muscles, you can use the high-speed setting, which brings 2,400 pulses per minute to the massage.

The thick, comfortable handle maximizes your reach, so you can give yourself a thorough back massage. It provides 13 inches of reach with only one hand, and it's light enough that using it one-handed won't be a strain. The thick handle puts a damper on the percussion that's transmitted to your hand. It won't cause you to lose your grip on the massager while you're trying to reach your back.

Things That Customers Like

  • This massager is effective and well-designed.
  • The weight is well-balanced between the handle and the head.
  • Enclosed design prevents any tangling with your hair.
  • Penetrates deep into tense muscles.

Things That Customers Don't Like

  • The strength of the massage is not enough for some people.
  • Quality issues with some deliveries.

Conclusion

These handheld massagers allow you to get the same relief at home you'd get from a professional in a spa or massage therapy office. This tension and pain relief comes with a less expensive price tag and the ability to get this relief in the privacy of your own home. 

The Best Overall Handheld Massager

This massager is portable and lightweight while providing various heads for different massage needs. You can get a Shiatsu or a sports massage with the same unit simply by switching out the heads and changing the intensity of the vibrations. There are two motors for percussion and vibration, too. 

The Best Handheld Massager for the Money

The HHP-350 has heat and two heads to customize your massage experience. One head provides a deep percussion massage while the soft head can give a total massage. The speeds are varied and can be changed while the massage is ongoing. This is a great value for the money with the power and variation available in speed as well as power. 

Buyer's Guide for Handheld Massagers

Why Purchase a Handheld Massager?

With a handheld, you're getting a similar experience to that which you'd receive under the hands of a professional. With a professional therapist, you're getting mild to intense pressure on your sore muscles depending on whether you have deep knots in them.

A handheld massage allows you to direct the right kind of pressure directly to the muscles. A therapist won't have to guess the right pressure. All you need to do is press a few buttons or switch out the heads to receive the best massage. It could be an overall massage to relax or one that pinpoints a few sore muscles. Headaches, chronic pain, sports injuries, and anxiety can be relieved with a handheld massager.

What Features Do you Need?

The handheld massager that you choose should provide a variety of massages from relaxing massages to deep-tissue work. It's important to understand that the more variety you have, the more valuable the unit will be to providing relaxation and relief. You might need relaxation one day, but pain relief the next.

Versatility and Focus Areas

In some areas like the neck and shoulders, you'll need a light touch. In other areas like the big muscles of the thighs, you'll need a deep-tissue massager. When you can purchase a massager with a light speed as well as a high, deep percussion setting, you're getting great versatility.

There are those that have interchangeable heads, too. When you can change the heads as well as the speed, you're getting a customized massage experience. The ability to change the heads to focus on a single spot or a wide area is one of the most important parts of the massage.

Heat Settings

Pain and stress usually result in tight, knotted muscles. Heat can penetrate those knots and begin to loosen them. Added to the heat, you get a focused percussion massage, and that pain can start to fade almost immediately as the muscle begins to relax. Heat can be used during a relaxing massage on the back, the neck or the shoulders, too. Handheld devices with heat have a much better chance of providing serious pain relief and relaxation to users.

Power Sources

While some devices have cords, others are cordless. They'll have long-lasting batteries that will allow the unit to be more portable. With cordless units, you might not be getting as much power as you would with a corded unit, but you're getting more reach with a cordless model.

Attachment Heads

It stands to reason that the more attachment heads you have, the more flexibility you have and the more you can do with your massager. Most massagers will come with multiple heads (or they will be available for purchase separately). The more heads you have, the more you will be able to customize your experience and find the massage which works for you.

Benefits of Handheld Massagers

  • Relaxation - We all know that massages are relaxing, and handheld massagers are no different. Handheld massagers can relieve muscle tension and remove bodily stress.
  • Pain management – Relieving stress and tension means relieving pain. As your circulation is improved and your muscles and joints are relaxed, pain begins to slip away.
  • Lower-back pain – Handheld massagers are especially good at pinpointing lower-back pain. The portability, flexibility, and ease of use make them great for back massage.
  • Better sleep – When muscles are relaxed and your stress levels are lowered, you will find that sleep comes more quickly, and your overall quality of sleep is improved.
  • Fresher skin – As the blood under your skin is stimulated, your skin is rejuvenated and begins to look better.

First published on October 13th, 2017
Last updated on May 4th, 2018

Jeanette Lynn
 

Jeanette has been a professional massage therapist since 1998. She devotes her life to helping those who suffer from musculoskeletal pain. She's also a Pilates instructor and has a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN).

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