Best massage tools 2022 to release muscle tension and speed up recovery

From sports injuries to aches and pains; tackle those sore spots quickly and effectively with these home tools

Included in this guide:

best massage tools
(Image credit: Meglio)

Whether you suffer from a long-standing sports injury or have joint issues that flare up in the cold weather, a simple massage tool may be all it takes to ease the pain and loosen up those muscles. 

We’ve compiled a list of weird and wonderful-looking massage tools that may look more like torture devices, but we promise they will work wonders on those little niggles that you just can’t seem to shake. 

Most of the tools are relatively small and easily portable for use at home, in the office, or on the go. Some work as a deep tissue massage and others target pressure points to relieve stress and tension. These tools are geared towards fitness use – if you're wanting something more soothing, head to our best massager article.

The best massage tools include foam rollers, massage guns and massage balls which can be pressed against the affected area to smooth out any knots, but for a more intense massage, there are a number of electronic massage tools on the market that are great for a professional back, neck and shoulder massage. 

Best massage tools to buy in 2022

best massage tools: Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller

1. Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller

An excellent roller for stretching

Specifications
Best for: Gym-goers
Type: Foam Roller
Designed for: Legs
Reasons to buy
+
Soft tissue massage
+
Portable
Reasons to avoid
-
Exercises can be tricky 

This is one of the best massage tools for athletes and avid gym-goers. It’s recommended by physical therapists and coaches for avoiding sports injuries, so If you’re a cardio fiend but always forget to stretch, then the Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller is an essential piece of equipment that will ensure you don’t damage your muscles.  It fits in most gym bags nicely, so there’s no excuse not to use it. 

Theragun Elite massage gun on a white background

(Image credit: Therabody)

2. Theragun Elite

The ultimate percussion massager

Specifications
Battery life: 120 minutes
No of heads included: 5
Speed settings: 1750, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2400 percussions per minute
Stall force: 40 lbs
Reasons to buy
+
Excellent built quality
+
Ergonomic handle is best for self-massage
+
Connects to the Therabody App via Bluetooth
+
Custom massager patterns
+
Carry case included
Reasons to avoid
-
 Relatively loud motor

Theragun has been dominating the percussion massager market for a couple of years now and with its latest Theragun range, the brand offers even more versatility to its customers. Of the four Theragun percussion massagers currently being sold, the Elite represents the Goldilocks-zone in terms of features and price: the high-end PRO is more expensive and aimed at professionals while the Prime lacks the OLED screen.

The Theragun Elite offers deep percussion strokes – 16 mm in amplitude, to be precise – and five speed options as default: 1750, 1900, 2100, 2200 and 2400 ppm. These speed options will be more than enough for most users but in case you need some more versatility and would like to set the Elite to 1837 ppm (?), you can do that through the Therabody App.

The Elite connects to the Therabody App via Bluetooth and targeted massage sessions can be started through the app plus you can also update the firmware of your Theragun too. There are quite a few different massaging options available in the app including wellness, sleep and more. Once the Elite is connected to the app, you can control the massager via the phone, such as starting and pausing sessions.

Thanks to the ergonomic handle, the Elite is great for self-massaging and by shifting from one side of the handle to the other, most usually you can find an appropriate position to apply pressure to hard to reach areas such as the shoulder blades and the back of the thighs. The Elite might not have the most powerful motor on the market but it’s plenty good enough for most.

best massage tools: Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball

(Image credit: Meglio)

3. Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball

Best massage ball

Specifications
Best for: Runners and people who sit around a lot
Type: Massage ball
Designed for: Hamstrings, calves, feet
Reasons to buy
+
Compact and portable
+
Inexpensive
+
Carry bag and exercise sheet included
Reasons to avoid
-
Difficult to use it on back and neck

Massage balls are the smaller siblings of foam rollers and are an excellent tool to relieve muscle tension, especially in the lower half of your body. Sit down on the floor, legs extended, one of them resting on the Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball, and do either small circular movements or longer strokes to target leg soreness.

The Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball has a smooth, firm surface so you can apply pressure with it on the leg muscles just by placing the weight of the limb on it, no need to press down. It can also be used on the upper body, especially the front of the shoulders.

Although in theory, even the back and the neck can be massaged with the Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball, it can be quite challenging to do so, especially if you try to do it yourself. Laying on the massage ball and placing the weight of your upper body on it, it can feel quite unconformable to roll around on it.

This issue can be doctored by getting someone else to work your back with the Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball, which also makes using this simple device a social activity. On top of this, the Meglio Lacrosse Massage Ball is cheap as chips and also comes with a carry bag and a little exercise guide, too.

best massage tools: Thera Cane

4. Thera Cane

Best massage stick

Specifications
Best for: Doctor’s Choice
Type: Massage Stick
Designed for: Hard to reach areas
Reasons to buy
+
Deep tissue massage
+
Targets all areas
Reasons to avoid
-
Tricky to use correctly 

Some may think that £25.00 for a stick is a waste of money, but as a doctor’s recommendation, this is one of the best massage tools for back and neck pain. This handy (albeit, strange-looking) tool is guaranteed to get to those hard to reach pressure points and smooth out any knots. It looks fairly intuitive but there is a knack to pinpointing particular problem areas, all of which are outlined in the instruction manual.  

best massage tools: Rock Tape Rock Balls

5. Rock Tape Rock Balls

Best massage balls for your feet

Specifications
Best for: Runners
Type: Massage balls
Designed for: Legs & Feet
Reasons to buy
+
Compact & Lightweight
+
Cheap
Reasons to avoid
-
Spikes can be painful 

If you have flat feet or suffer from plantar fasciitis, then these massage balls will do wonders in reducing any pain caused when running. They’re small and can easily be kept in your gym bag or car so that you can eliminate any heel or arch pain after your workout or run.  

best massage tools: Anself Roller Massager

(Image credit: Anself)

6. Anself Roller Massager

Best neck massager

Specifications
Best for: Travellers
Type: Massage ball
Designed for: Back & shoulders
Reasons to buy
+
Travel friendly
+
Cheap
Reasons to avoid
-
Can’t reach smaller areas 

No one sleeps well when they’re not in their own bed. If you frequently travel or even go on camping trips where there is no bed at all, you can say goodbye to a bad back or stiff neck with this portable roller massager. This is a really cheap item that can significantly improve blood circulation in those areas under pressure, with results just as good as if you’d had a professional massage.  

best massage tools: Escape Massage Ball

7. Escape Massage Ball

A small massage ball for those pesky pressure points

Specifications
Best for: Stress & tension
Type: Massage ball
Designed for: Neck, Shoulders, Back
Reasons to buy
+
Professional massage quality
+
Finds hard-to-reach areas
Reasons to avoid
-
 A little pricey 

We know £20.00 for something resembling a tennis ball may seem far-fetched, but this is one of the best massage tools for neck tension on the market. It mirrors the pressure of a thumb for the most relaxing home massage that really releases stress and tension. This can be used anywhere on the body but is recommended for targeting neck and shoulder tension.  

Also check out TENS machines: what are they and how do you use them?

Sarah-Jane is an experienced writer who has created reviews and buying guides for a number of publications including TechRadar, T3.com, Real Homes and TheRadar. She's a pro at finding the best products on the market and presenting them for your viewing pleasure.