In 2019 there has been a surge in fitness gadgets and accessories that claim to help you train harder, smarter or recover better. Unfortunately, a lot of these companies are new or based outside of Australia meaning you have limited to no protection under consumer law and they’re likely to inflate their benefits to get the sale. With my background in technology I can also confidently say that with a new company or product you often experience poor support or build quality after having paid a premium.
There’s a lot of noise in the fitness industry about gadgets and when you put them to the test they just aren’t worth putting your hard-earned dollars towards and we’re going to cut through it for you.
What is a Massage Gun and what do they do?
A massage gun is essentially a handheld device you put an attachment on the end of and work knots out of muscles – something that when I was studying my fitness certificates I learned is actually called “Self Myofascial Release” or SMR for short. SMR can be done with a foam roller, spiked ball, lacrosse ball or really anything you can get into a muscle or trigger point and stimulate blood flow with.
SMR is similar to massage in benefits, but limited in effectiveness based on your own ability to target the right place, hold pressure on the desired area and tolerate the pain involved in getting the muscle released. The desired effect is to trigger the body to send blood to the area, bringing with it anti-inflammatory bodies, nutrients and oxygen which allows the muscle to relax, relieving stiffness and pain.
From the release of the muscle you’re able to “reconnect” the brain to it and use it properly once more. When we sustain strains or injuries to areas the area can become shut off as the body seeks to find other ways to accomplish tasks without using knotted, pulled and very sore muscles to protect them from overuse injuries and major tears.
Enter Massage Guns & their various attachments.
Why you want a Massage Gun
Have you ever just needed your feet rubbed? Do you get sore and just want your traps worked? Are you constantly trying to work a booking in to see a good massage therapist or a physio? Sometimes you just can’t. You’re left sore, trying to take a day off work and in the meantime your workouts suffer and you sit in pain.
Having a handheld tool that gently massages or pounds an area into submission based on your desired setting, attachment and pain threshold is a great way to promote blood flow and release a muscle without needing to roll around on the floor at the gym, bug your partner for a massage and can even help you avoid injuries entirely. Your only real limit is whether you can reach the area.
It works on tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles. It’s also portable so you can do it literally anywhere – on the couch watching TV, at work or even on the train (I suppose…I mean I’ve seen some weird things on the train).
What’s more, the pulsing action on the sore spot, like an actual massage, allows for speedier recovery by promoting more of that good blood flow and helps to move out lactic acid which means you’re able to clear up Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) faster.
This type of treatment can also help increase range of motion and potentially also help break up old scar tissue on injuries.
It’s like doing a deep tissue or a remedial massage on yourself. It can literally be the difference between a good and bad gym session.
Massage Gun Australia Vs Jigsaw Massage
I’ve decided to check out a couple of massage tools that caught my eye. One by Massage Guns Australia called the Booster X Pro and another by Jigsaw Massage. The Booster X Pro is a complete massage toolkit in a specially made handheld gun and the other is a modified jigsaw bit which will slip into any off the shelf jigsaw (except a Ryobi, there’s a specific attachment for those).
Two different approaches to the same concept and within almost every fitness fanatic’s price range.
We’ll start with the first thing anyone is going to ask – “How much is it?”. As I mentioned above, there’s a range of solutions on the market at the moment ranging from $100 right up to and above $850 so the two I’ve picked represent conservative end in terms of price point.
I’m going to hazard a guess and say if you’re what people refer to in retail as a “Price Shopper” you’re not going to read beyond this point. In my experience you’ll usually get what you pay for, especially with electronics, but there’s a tipping point in the middle of the market where for the extra dollars you don’t get much more, so I want to make sure you make the right choice.
So let’s compare.
Jigsaw Massage Bit – $40 US / $60 AUD plus shipping of around $45 AUD at the time of writing. So around $105 shipped to your door for one massage head, or $200 AUD for all 3 available attachments.
Massage Guns Australia’s Booster X Pro – $499 AUD as at the time of writing this article.
Generally, when you make a purchase you don’t need to worry about buying extra parts, but that’s not the end of your expenditure if you buy the Jigsaw Massage Bit, you’ll need something to put your attachments in unless you already own a Jigsaw. Let’s assume you don’t.
I went to Bunnings and bought the cheapest Jigsaw I could find, an Ozito skin for $59 AUD. I luckily have an Ozito battery powered mower so didn’t need the battery kit, but if you need the whole thing, the battery will cost you $35 and the cheapest charger will cost you another $19 which brings the true cost of the Jigsaw Massage Bit to around $220 if you have the cheapest of the cheap setup with one massage bit, or $315 for all 3 attachments.
Ozito tools don’t have a great reputation in the first place so you’d be wise to keep your receipt or risk buying another within a year if you’re a heavy user (or just unlucky).
After factoring in our complete setup the Ozito / Jigsaw Massage Combo = $220 – $315 (depending on exchange rates) & Massage Gun Booster X Pro = $499
If this difference in price concerns you then you may want to know about the Booster’s baby brother, the Booster Lite, which comes in at $329 and also comes with 3 attachments. The advantage here is that you’re buying from an Australian company who is bound by Australian consumer law as well, so if anything were to go wrong after the purchase there are avenues available to you to remedy the situation and have a replacement provided.
There’s no point buying something if you can’t use it. This seems pretty obvious, but the usability of gadgets and tools in fitness is a big thing, especially when you’re investing a few hundred into it so lets see how these two offerings stack up.
The attachment went in to my Ozito Jigsaw with no problem at all. It was pretty straight forward to insert. The battery slips into its slot and then it’s just a matter of aiming it and squeezing the trigger whilst simultaneously squeezing on the safety switch in with your thumb.
Don’t forget for a moment that this is a power tool, so has the safety features of a power tool. You can’t operate the jigsaw without simultaneously squeezing the safety or it wouldn’t be a safe power tool. When you’re pushing down on a piece of wood to cut this isn’t generally an issue because your weight is behind it and the timber is below you, but when you’re trying to work a calf muscle or move your wrist anywhere freely this method just doesn’t work well – and it hurts after a short period of time.
Another big downside is that because it’s a power tool it also features the weight of a power tool, which gives you cramps after a short amount of time in your hand, wrist and forearm. Weighing in at 2.1kg this is more akin to gripping a heavy laptop and trying to move it around.
Not to mention this is loud, like a power tool. You technically need ear protection to use it. In my testing the Ozito Jigsaw Massage combo peaked at 97db which is a lot of noise in the living room. It’s the equivalent of running a hairdryer whereas most ambient noise environments are below 60db. FYI, noise levels above 85db are considered harmful to your hearing.
Due to these reasons you won’t be taking this anywhere, watching TV or using it for a long period of time which for me really takes away a lot of the uses for it. If you live with another person you’ll be sent to the garage or told to use it outside and even then the neighbours will probably complain about the use of a power tool after 5pm.
The combination of these factors meant that when I asked my wife to run it on my back it was too awkward, heavy and loud for her to use for any longer than 30 seconds and even that was using two hands.
A Word of Warning
One other thing which was concerning to me was after searching for other people’s experiences with massage heads that slot into a jigsaw was when I happened to find pictures of some pretty dodgy manufacturing. Some of the heads seem to even be poking through the massage ball at the end, resulting in them puncturing their intended target area! Some were constructed with electrical tape holding the inner bit together around what appeared to be a door stop!
MGA Booster X Pro
This thing was an absolute dream to use. It’s lightweight at 900g and has a simple On/Off operation with a Power button which lets you increase the power as needed. You don’t get that in a Jigsaw. I could even pop it in my gym bag and take it with me to incorporate into my warmup routine which really was invaluable.
Being specifically designed to be manoeuvred, the MGA Booster X Pro also was super easy to use on awkward spots like your shoulder, calf muscles etc.. No cramps, no excessive noise either.
The Booster X Pro also measured at 60db when in use which if you recall is the equivalent of a conversation. This meant it was easily usable on the couch watching Netflix. The dogs didn’t get freaked out by it either. I could hear the show and wasn’t annoying anyone else in the room.
Come to think of it as well I barely have to charge the battery at all either, it just lasted and lasted.
I could not have been happier with it to be honest. Looking at the testimonials on their Instagram page it seems I’m also not alone in that.
If you’re a fitness fanatic or have ever pulled a muscle, enjoy foot rubs or have tightness, aches and pains you’ll definitely want a massage gun in your life.
For me, I’ll be sticking with the Massage Guns Australia Booster X Pro because it was lighter and quieter, making it hands down the best of the two. My Ozito Jigsaw will be going back into it’s box to Bunnings for a store credit.
After regular use my calf muscles are looser and I’ve been able to help relieve some pretty painful plantar fasciitis. The Booster X Pro is definitely one of those tools that moves the needle heavily in the right direction.
The MGA Booster X Pro may be the more expensive of the two options I’ve tested, but it’s by no means the most expensive on the market at all. The Booster X Pro comes with a tonne of attachments, the most flexibility, portability, lowest noise emission and had a load of battery life.
I enjoyed it so much that I decided to reach out to the team at MGA and see if they’d be willing to work with us on a deal for our readers and followers and they’ve been kind enough to provide a 5% discount for all NWN followers.
If you’re in the market for a tool that really helps with recovery then remember to use the code “NWN” on your purchase through Massage Guns Australia.