Hydragun Atom Massage Gun review: bye-bye back pain

I've suffered with on and off back pain for two years, but this helped it so much

Hydragun Atom Massage Gun review
(Image credit: T3)
T3 Verdict

This small but mighty massage gun seriously packs a punch when it comes to easing aches, pains and muscle tension. With an aerospace aluminium-grade body, powerful five-hour battery life and ridiculous quiet noise levels, the Hydragun Atom doesn’t just look the part; it's the business too.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Lightweight and portable

  • +

    Extremely quiet

  • +

    Safety chip automatically turns off device after 10 minutes

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No Bluetooth connectivity

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I find there are two main camps when it comes to massage guns: those who can’t live without them and those who think they’re a complete gimmick. I 100% sat in the latter camp (I’ll never forget the time I was sent a massage gun, and it got so hot that it started melting).

That was until I got to review the Hydragun Atom Mini Massage Gun – a portable version of Hydragun’s original (and larger) massage gun that not only looks the business but is, without a doubt, one of the best massage guns I’ve ever tried.

I’ve suffered from on-and-off lower back pain for almost two years now. I’ve had sports massages, attended physio appointments and used more tubes of Deep Heat than I can remember. However, none of these have been able to relieve the sharp, sudden pain and stiffness I continued to experience in my back.

But it’s not just the powerful pain relief this massage gun offers that makes it stand out from the crowd; it’s been beautifully crafted with aerospace-grade aluminium, has a huge five-hour battery life, is super quiet with SmoothDrive-m™ motor technology and is straightforward and easy to use. Hydrogun say they create “simple, premium recovery essentials”, and I think they hit the nail on the head.

Here’s the full deload so you can discover whether it’s the right massage gun for you…

(First review June 2023)

Hydragun Atom Massage Gun review: price and availability

The Atom Mini Massage Gun was launched back in 2022 and is available to buy now from Hydragun UK, Hydragun US and Hydragun AU for a recommended retail price of £179/$199 /AU$349. 

Hydragun Atom Massage Gun review: What’s changed?

The most obvious change between the Hydragun Massage Gun and the Atom is, of course, its size. While you can expect the original Hydragun to be a similar size to the Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2, the Atom is much smaller and stands to about the size of a Coke can. This made it perfect for popping in my gym bag and taking it away with me on holidays. Apart from its size, though, Hydragun were keen to maintain the brilliant features of their original massage gun, but more on that later…

Its appearance is also completely different, but in a good way, I think. Instead of simply making a smaller version of their original Hydragun, the brand decided to create a completely unique-looking massager. There’s no arguing over the fact that the Atom is very easy on the eye and looks sleek and stylish with its gunmetal aluminium body. It’s an item you’d almost want to pull out at the gym or wherever, as you know, it would be followed with a few eyebrow-raised remarks of “What’s that?”.

Hydragun Atom Mini massage gun

(Image credit: Getty)

Hydragun Atom Massage Gun review: what’s in the box

You get everything you’d expect and need; a USB charger, a compact travel case to easily transport the Atom around in, a product manual, microfibre cleaning cloth (nice touch) and three attachment heads — a ball for everyday use, a flat head for an intense massage and a bullet head for really intense.

Hydragun Atom Massage Gun review: design and build quality

This massage gun doesn’t just perform like a premium product, but it looks like one too. I don’t feel like I have to spend too much time justifying the Atom’s appearance because I think it speaks for itself. It’s sleek, smooth, modern, comfortable to hold; it’s a product you want to use. You can tell the time and effort Hydragun put into crafting it too, because it’s not like they release a new one every year. I know I keep banging on about the aluminium exterior, but I think it’s a really standout feature, as many massage guns are plastic and just feel cheap.

Just like the Theragun Mini, the Atom has three speed variations. Personally, I prefer this to the standard six, as I don’t understand why you need so many and to overcomplicate things. The first setting is what the brand describes as “comfortable” – for everyday use or injured areas – and then the intensity goes up for working out those tight knots. It’s actually more powerful than the Theragun and goes up to 3200 percussions per minute (PPM). Whereas the Thergun only goes up to 2400PPM on its highest speed setting, which is the second highest speed of the Atom.

Hydragun Atom Massage Gun

(Image credit: T3)

Hydragun Atom Massage Gun: performance

Every time I used the Atom Mini Massage Gun, it was a genuine joy. That may sound a little odd, but it’s always a sigh of relief when you find products that actually do what they claim to do, particularly when it comes to massage guns, as there are so many. 

It's easy to operate; you just hold down the on button, which makes the massage gun start vibrating, and then you simply press it again to increase the different vibration levels. As previously mentioned, this massage gun is really quiet, and I do mean really quiet (again, it beats the Theragun Mini, which goes up to 62dB, whereas the Atom is 55dB max).

I’ll be honest; I didn’t use the bullet or ball head much, as I loved the flat aluminium head because it glided over my clothes effortlessly. Plus, you can pop it in the fridge to make it cold if you need some extra soothing. After every workout, I’d use it on my lower back, glutes and legs, and I was never even able to go up to the third setting (I mainly stayed on speed two), so power is one thing you don’t need to worry about with this massager. The next morning the aches and pains I’d experienced were always reduced, never worse. And my partner, who had a powerlifting competition coming up, always says he would’ve never been able to manage his 300kg squat without it, as he, too, suffered from back pain.

The battery life can’t go amiss either, as it’s pretty insane. It can last up to five hours, so I rarely had to charge it. But Hydragun also implemented a safety chip so that the Atom will automatically turn off after 10 minutes of use, just so you don’t overdo it. 

Hydragun Atom Massage Gun review: verdict

I can safely say this is an exquisite massage gun (and that’s not a term in my everyday vocabulary). Having recently also tried Hyperice’s Hypervolt 2, I found I was very quick to revert back to my beloved Atom for its ease of use and quietness.

It doesn’t have any cool tech features where you can connect the massage gun to an app on your phone, like some of the Thergun and Hyperice models. But I honestly don’t care. This may be down to the fact that I’m quite a simple being, but for me, the upmost important thing about a good massage gun is that it should relieve pain and tension. The Atom does this; therefore, I am satisfied and don’t need the extra frills. Hydragun put all their effort and time into the design and mechanics of this massager, and for that, I thank them. I can also confirm I now firmly sit in the other massage gun camp, as I can't be without this one.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.