Best leg massager

Massage & Relaxation

The higher the intensity level, the better the effectiveness can be for some models. Especially with athletes, some people need an intense application from a leg massager, and being able to experience higher levels can be beneficial.

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Which leg massagers are best?

Stretching and foam rolling can effectively reduce soreness and other aches in your legs, but sometimes those methods aren’t enough. Leg massagers can apply more accurate therapy to specific leg muscles when you want to provide your legs with additional treatment. Leg massagers can be great after workouts or after being out all day. If you’re looking for a leg massager that can maximize workout performances and longevity, the NormaTec Pulse 2.0 Leg Recovery System is the top choice

What to know before you buy a leg massager

Manual or electric handheld

Manual leg massagers are operated by simply rolling the device up and down your leg and are some of the most affordable types of massagers you can find. However, electric handheld models can be more effective and require less work. 

Electric models may come with different massage heads with specific purposes, such as one for deep tissue massages and one for joints and trigger points. These electric massagers use high-speed repetitive strokes and vibrations to apply the treatment. They can be effective when you’re traveling on the road, and you want quick relief from stiffness, aches and other minor issues. 

Compression or shiatsu 

Shiatsu and compression leg massagers cover more of the leg than manual and electric handheld devices, requiring less work and having to move the device around. Shiatsu models consist of rolling, kneading and other moving parts meant to replicate the effectiveness of an actual shiatsu massage performed by a massage therapist. The units are fairly large and generally cover the feet and calf area. 

Compression leg massagers may use similar parts of a shiatsu model, except they use compression to get deep into the muscles. Many deem compression models as the most effective way to massage the legs and to use after workouts. These models tend to cover more leg muscle areas than shiatsu models, especially high-end ones. The wraparound style helps to provide great treatment for conditions such as swelling, fluid retention or poor circulation.

What to look for in a quality leg massager

Portability

If you want massage therapy on the road, then look for leg massagers that can operate wirelessly. Various types of massagers are rechargeable, allowing you to not worry about replacing batteries or having to be near an outlet. Shiatsu tends to be wired so that those models will offer limited portability. Compression leg massagers that are wireless tend to run out faster when used in sessions longer than 15 minutes. 

Heat application

Mainly found in compression and shiatsu models, having a leg massager that can apply heat can be an additional benefit. Using built-in heating pads or some other type of technology, the heat can further help muscles loosen. It can also be helpful if you’ve finished or are about to start a workout or play a game in the cold and your muscles are tightening up.

Different intensity levels

The higher the intensity level, the better the effectiveness can be for some models. Some models may only offer one or two levels of intensity, but that’s simply not enough for some people. Especially with athletes, some people need an intense application from a leg massager, and being able to experience higher levels can be beneficial. However, use higher levels with caution as they may not feel comfortable for some. Select models allow you to control the intensity from your phone, making it easy to adjust levels throughout sessions. 

How much you can expect to spend on a leg massager

Leg massagers can range from $10-$1000. Manual leg massagers can cost $10-$20, and electric handheld models range from $30-$150. Shiatsu leg massagers cost $200-$400 and then compression models tend to be the most expensive, starting off around $50 and going to $1,000.

Leg massager FAQ

Is there a maximum recommended length of time for using a leg massager?

A. Some manufacturers provide guidelines for how long you should use their leg massager. For brands that don’t list a specific time, it’s generally recommended not to use a leg massager for more than 30 minutes a session. 

Will a leg massager help my muscles recover from exercise more quickly?

A. Because leg massagers can lessen inflammation and improve blood flow, this can result in better post-workout recovery and reduce muscle pains. This is why many athletes worldwide use leg massagers after practices, workouts and games to reduce soreness. 

Can I buy a leg massager to massage my thighs?

A. There are manual or electric handheld massagers that you can physically apply to the thigh area. While many leg massagers are built to focus on calf muscles, compression and shiatsu massagers can work on the thigh and calf muscles at once. 

What are the best leg massagers to buy?

Top leg massager

NormaTec Pulse 2.0 Leg Recovery System

NormaTec Pulse 2.0 Leg Recovery System

What you need to know: Offering more leg coverage than a massage gun, this leg massager mimics the effectiveness of an actual massage therapist. 

What you’ll love: Using its patented Pulse compression technology, this device provides world-class therapy for your legs. Seven intensity levels give an abundance of options from which to choose.

What you should consider: It has a very high price tag. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top leg massager for the money

PlayMakar MVP Percussion Massager

PlayMakar MVP Percussion Massager

What you need to know: Built with professional-grade technology, this massager can help ease the blood flow in your legs.

What you’ll love: With six interchangeable attachments, the massage gun can target muscle groups in a variety of ways. The traveling case allows you to carry the massager and all of the pieces on the road. 

What you should consider: The device may not be as quiet as other competitors. 

Where to buy: Sold by PlayMakar

Worth checking out

Theragun Elite

Theragun Elite

What you need to know: Deemed by many as the best massage gun on the market, this device provides a deeper massage on specific leg muscles such as the quads and hamstrings. 

What you’ll love: Offering a 60% deeper massage than other percussive massagers, you can control the intensity level of this massage gun from your phone. This gun works quietly by using advanced sound insulation technology. 

What you should consider: This is one of the pricier massage devices on the market. 

Where to buy: Sold by Therabody

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Ade Hennis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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