Top Handheld Massager - Updated December 2017

Our experts reviewed hundreds of handheld massager and have picked the best 5 available on the market.

Best of the Best

Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax Massager


Thumper E501 NA Sport Percussive Massager


Best Value

HoMedics Homedics Thera-P Compact Percussion Massager


Wahl 4196-1201 Heat Therapy Massager


Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager


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With unique, easy operation, and highly therapeutic results, this massager will last a lifetime. Designed to help athletes recover after strenuous workouts, it has a large head and plenty of speed settings. Affordable stress and muscle-pain relief in a compact package. Many attachments make this a highly versatile and affordable massager. Unique and highly effective attachments, very long cord, and optimum design.
Just one speed, and a little loud. It's not exactly designed for compact storage, and is over $100. Has a tendency to overheat with extended use. No extended reach, and the motor is pretty loud. Powerful vibrations coupled with pinpoint attachments can be too painful for some, and lacks longevity.
Perfect for personal use or use on others, this universal massager will pay for itself many times over. Great design for solo use and ideal for athletes. Great for everyday aches and pains, this is a cheap but effective unit. If you need something small to fit in your travel bag, this will do the trick. For those who need high-powered, aggressive relief from sore muscles or chronic pain, this is a fine choice.

Contenders


Massagers relax our muscles, relieve stress, and increase circulation. No one can deny the benefits of a massage, but getting regular treatments is too expensive. Handheld massagers are your safe, efficient alternative, giving you the power to relieve stress at home, by yourself and with no official training.

Of course, not all handheld massagers are created equally. The best are easy to use by yourself, provide professional-grade massage, and won't break your bank. The right massager will change your life for less than a dinner out.

Considerations


Ease of Use

Most massagers are pretty straightforward, shaped like wands with attachments or extensions at the tip. Touch the massaging end to the affected area to experience instant relief. There are some exceptions, of course, like the Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax Massager.

Price and Warranty

Standard handheld massagers cost under $50, but if you need specialized massage therapy, there are more expensive units available. Additional features, like a heating element or different attachments, typically raise the price of a handheld massage.

Features

Why just get a simple vibrating nub of rubber when you can enjoy extra features, like heated massages, soft-touch attachments, wireless operation, and multiple speeds? We look at all the fun additions that make these handheld massagers excel.

Performance

Handheld massagers typically use either percussion or vibration to replicate a traditional massage. Some are intended to reach deep tissue, while others are intended for more light, regular use. Choose the right combination of intensity and massage technique for you.

Ease of Use


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Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax Massager

Unique on the list, the Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax Massager is not a wand. Instead, it's a handset that slips over the user's hand and sends pulsations through the palm and into the underlying tissues. The unit is easy enough to slip onto your hand, but the bands may become loose during use, especially with vigorous massaging. It's about 2.6 lbs., so it's lightweight enough to complete a whole body massage without fatigue.

Thumper E501 NA Sport Percussive Massager

We love the design of this massager, which is a full 19.5” long for ultimate convenience reaching your back and extremities. The ultra-wide head holds two percussive knobs on a replaceable attachment and covers a large area of the body. At 4.6 lbs., it's light but may seem heavy after extended use. This unit comes with replacement heads that are easy to assemble.

HoMedics Homedics Thera-P Compact Percussion Massager

Shaped very similarly to the Thumper, this model is about 2/3 the size. The handle is about foot long, which is enough for most people to massage hard-to-reach areas. The head isn't as large, either, but it still features two massagers on the head. They are easily replaceable with your choice of massager density. Setting selection is on the handle and includes two speed settings.

Wahl 4196-1201 Heat Therapy Massager

This handheld massager does not feature an extended arm, but instead gives the use a firm grip around the handle, with the massaging head positioned right above. Unlike the other attachment-based massagers on this list, the vibrating attachments are in the shape of a disc, with the exception of the Spot Application attachment. The attachments securely and easily interchange, but users complain that it lacks the reach and cord length of other handheld massagers.

Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager

The Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager was clearly designed with easy use in mind, with finger grooves in the grip, a curved and extended arm, and a pinpoint attachments. The plastic casing feels thick and sturdy, even through the maximum 3,350 pulses per minute. It's definitely too large to pack away for easy travel, but most customers will like how solid it feels during use. Despite its size, it weighs just 3 lbs.

Price and Warranty


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Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax Massager

Oster is known for their sturdy appliances, and this is no different with a chrome-finish housing and solid ball-bearing construction so the vibrating element is totally secure. For this level of care in construction, the $78.74 price tag seems more than reasonable. Remarkably, quite a few users report owning this model for decades before replacement. It comes with a 1-year warranty, but you won't likely use it.

Thumper E501 NA Sport Percussive Massager

This is the most expensive unit on our list at $129.00. The price comes both from the sheer size and the advanced technology used with the Thumper E501 NA Sport Percussive Massager. Without any pain, this machine manages to penetrate deep within your muscle tissue to relieve large portions of your body at once. It comes with 2 replacement heads and is covered by a 2-year warranty.

HoMedics Homedics Thera-P Compact Percussion Massager

For those on a more modest budget, the Homedics Thera-P Compact Percussion Massager is just $28.42. For about a fifth of the price of the Thumper, this device provides well more than a fifth of the massaging power. It may not be able to penetrate deep muscle tissue, but for general use you can trust this massager to deliver pinpoint relief of everyday stress. A 1-year limited warranty is included with purchase.

Wahl 4196-1201 Heat Therapy Massager

For being the least expensive model on our list, the number of attachments and settings available with this model are impressive. Starting at $23.40, it's not surprising that the Wahl 4196-1201 Heat Therapy Massager does not come with a warranty. Because of its compact size and affordable price, this is an ideal travel piece which won't be missed too much if it gets lost or broken along the way.

Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager

Falling midrange on our list, the Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager starts at $34.99. Like the other Wahl, it comes with 4 total attachments, each designed for a specialized massage therapy technique, adding significant value to this item for all around versatility. It comes with a two year warranty, and most customers report it lasting much longer.

Features


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Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax Massager

With a 9'+ power cord, the Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax Massager ensures you'll never be stuck to the outlet during a massage ever again. The heavy-duty frame feels solid, yet the device is light, and features a rubber base for comfort against the hand. While this unit only has one speed, intensity can be controlled by how firmly you lay your hand, and almost all reviewers report ecstatic results.

Thumper E501 NA Sport Percussive Massager

The developers took massaging technology to a new level with this machine, patenting their own class of percussive pulses. The result is gentle, relaxing stimulation against the skin, coupled with deep, penetrative relief to underlying muscles. It features 5 different speed settings, and comes with a softer head attachment for gentle relief. We couldn't find a definitive cord length, but most users report it being satisfactory.

HoMedics Homedics Thera-P Compact Percussion Massager

Weighing in at an incredibly svelte 2.2 lbs., this massager won't compound your stress with any strain during operation. Soft and heated massager attachments are included, too, so you can personalize your level of therapy. Users do note that the heating element doesn't get very hot, but it's a welcome addition nonetheless. Some reviews also mention that the cord is relatively short. Select from 2 speed settings and three different attachments.

Wahl 4196-1201 Heat Therapy Massager

Starting with 2 speed settings (for deep and light massages), this massager also features 4 interchangeable attachments, including a heating element. We appreciate this attention to detail, wanting to give customers the most comprehensive therapy possible with the right attachment for the job. Users do complain, however, that the heating element takes a while to warm up, and that the motor is pretty loud.

Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager

This model comes with 4 attachments, each designed for a special therapeutic purpose. The 4-pronged attachment replicates the movement of a masseuse, for example, while the Accupoint attachment is meant to target pressure points and knots. The variable speed selection allows you to pick the perfect intensity for your needs, without having to choose between a couple presets. Importantly, this model is also complete with an 8' power cord to ensure you can take a relaxed position during the massage.

Performance


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Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax Massager

While this unit only has one speed, intensity can be controlled by how firmly you lay your hand, and almost all reviewers report ecstatic results. Those with MS, asthma, and other chronic ailments report relief of their symptoms through use of this gentle yet effective tool. Vibrations from the top of the massager flow through your hand and cause therapeutic vibrations from skin-to-skin contact. The device is perfect both for giving yourself or someone else a relaxing massage.

Thumper E501 NA Sport Percussive Massager

The Thumper E501 NA Sport Percussive Massager was designed for athletes, intended to penetrate the thickest, toughest, and most overworked muscle tissue. Using patented percussive technology, the Thumper tenderizes deep tissue with tactile and 'energy transmission' techniques. 5 different speeds (between 20 and 40 pulses per second) allow you to change the intensity of your massage. Go from light, relaxing pulsations, to thoroughly relieving the deepest knots and trouble areas with ease.

HoMedics Homedics Thera-P Compact Percussion Massager

For the price and weight of this device, you'd be right to be suspicious of its massaging power. You certainly won't get the same deeply therapeutic percussion from this massager as you might from devices like the Thumper, but it still provides satisfying relief from common stress. Users do report that after extended use, this machine's motor has a tendency to overheat and must be rested to avoid damaging the unit.

Wahl 4196-1201 Heat Therapy Massager

Intended for “light tissue” therapy, the Wahl 4196-1201 Heat Therapy Massager is for those who need a gentle, delicate touch. While you shouldn't expect the deep tissue tenderizing of more powerful and expensive units, this will be fine for stimulating circulation and relieving tense or knotted muscles. Even though the heating element takes a while to reach maximum temperature, many users still find the attachment to be very helpful, adding a level of enjoyment to their massage.

Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager

This machine's powerful speed settings are almost moot for some users, who say that the lowest setting is strong enough for everyday use. Others appreciate the true deep tissue reach of this machine, along with the unique attachments for targeting stubborn knots. Longevity appears to be the biggest downside of this machine, with plenty of buyers reporting the unit breaking after less than a year of use. While this massager comes with a 2-year warranty, you shouldn't buy this model if you require frequent or heavy use.

Best of the Best


Both the unique massaging technique (through skin-to-skin contact), and the thoughtful design really raise the Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax Massager above the rest. Massaging wands are helpful to reach odd places, but they don't really give you the control or coverage of the Stim-U-Lax.

That would be enough to sell us, but even more impressive, this machine has been known to last 20+ years for some customers. When old units finally die, they are compelled to get the same device, despite the fact that home-massage technology has supposedly improved. With the same heavy-duty metal and rubber construction, you can be sure this massager was meant to last.

Don't settle for fancy massage wands with multiple speeds and attachments that simply distract from cheap construction. For a massager that will provide instant, relaxing results for years to come, there's no other choice but the Oster Professional 103 Stim-U-Lax.

Best Value


The handheld massager market is flooded with cheap units that barely reach your muscle tissue and break after a few uses. If you're sick of tossing such massagers in the junk drawer after just a few weeks or months, you'll be glad to know you still don't have to spend an arm and a leg for relaxing, lasting results.

The Homedics Thera-P Compact Percussion Massager is lightweight, but feels substantial during use and not like other budget units that threaten to tear themselves apart. This model also packs plenty of power, giving you control over two speed settings, and coming complete with three attachment heads for targeted therapy.

For light, regular relief from muscle aches and pains, depend on the affordable, yet effective, Homedics Thera-P Compact Percussion Massager.