This Hydragun Is Absolutely Just a Massage Gun and That’s Fine

This Hydragun Is Absolutely Just a Massage Gun and That’s Fine
Image: Hydragun/HBO
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Returning to exercise after months of lockdowns, dead arms from three COVID vaccines and the next excuse, the Christmas period, the Hydragun has proven the value of a massage gun to me.

There’s a lot of massage guns in the market, this we know.

Here at Gizmodo Australia we’ve reviewed a whole lot of them. They have to do something great (because they can’t really do too much different) in order to receive our blessing and recommendation to buy. So let’s see what the Hydragun is packing.

A massage gun, but better

The pitch from Hydragun is that it’s more than just a massage gun, that it’s a ‘symbol of innovation’. My first thoughts? Woah, there’s a lot more involved than I thought.

hydragun
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The case it comes is in is quite nice and allows for easy carry.

The Hydragun comes with six changeable heads. I don’t mean to be so crude, but you can’t start the description for one of the heads with “For deeper penetration…” if you don’t want me to comment on how vibrator-adjacent this thing is.

The six heads are comprised of four plastic ones: the Ball, which is for larger muscle groups (glutes, quads, calves), the Fork, for that aforementioned deeper penetration on medium muscle groups (forearms, shoulders), the Bullet (really, Hydragun?) which is for inner joints and areas like your feet and a flat head, which is for use on particularly sore muscles.

The other two heads are steel, one is round and the other flat. They do much of what their plastic counterparts do, but it’s actually a better experience because they glide over material easier.

Using the Hydragun

My first thought when attaching a head to the gun and pressing ‘on’ was, “wow, OK, this thing feels sturdy”. Far better in quality than any others I’ve held. There’s no rattling sound, it doesn’t feel like the head is about to fly off and it doesn’t sound like my electric toothbrush. The battery life is also great, but more on that later.

It’s heavy, but not heavy, heavy. It’s not awkward to hold, but after a little while I did need a break from holding it.

hydragun
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Hydragun suggests there are three ways you can use the device: as a warm up (so before your workout even begins to loosen your muscles – 30 seconds per muscle area does the trick); between sets (around 15 seconds per muscle group that you’re training); and as DOMS prevention.

Instead of reading the booklet first (please, always read the booklet first), I thought the best test would be after squats, because I obviously tried to overachieve and I was sore. Very sore. So I chucked the Ball head on the Hydragun and away I went. It hurt, but that good hurt that comes from getting a massage.

If you’ve never used a massage gun before, the feeling is an awkward one. Unlike a massage from a human, the gun doesn’t knead your muscles, it punches you, over and over, with its rapidly moving arm. The Hydragun puts out a powerful, pummelling action of 3200 RPM.

There are six speeds on this thing, so if being pummelled that aggressively isn’t your thing, you can take it a little easier. To be honest, the sixth speed is just too much.

“Hydragun is engineered to deliver 12 mm amplitude and up to 53 percussions per second, which allows it to dig deeper into your body and give stronger effects,” the company says.

I got lost in a rabbit hole trying to learn how exactly massage guns work, with theories spanning the vibrating gun sending pulses of happiness to your brain, so placebo effect, and a logical, it “un-stresses” your muscle, therefore making you feel less tight. All I can tell you is that my thighs stopped burning and I was able to walk straight. I also can report no bruising and no burns, but my arm felt a little funny after holding the vibrating gun for so long, but nowhere near as bad as I thought it would, this is where the quality of the gun also shines through. Hydragun recommends no more than 10-15 minutes on each area, and this advice should be taken.

At first I wasn’t convinced there needed to be so many different heads for this darn thing, but using a smaller head on a larger area actually hurt a little and using a bigger head on my forearm, for example, didn’t really get in there as much as a head targeted for that area did. So I’ll concede.

I learned shortly after that I should use the gun when I ‘cool down’ for the best results for me.

Some tips? Start on a lower setting, avoid boney areas and instead head for larger areas (like thighs) and keep the Hydragun moving. Remember, less is also more.

Charging and the Hydragun’s battery life

This is pretty straightforward, I got a full charge from nearly dead in 3.5 hours. It actually lasted a very long time, too. Over a week, in fact (but I didn’t use it an obnoxious amount). Either way, I’m impressed with the battery life and the charging time. So big ticks there.

A little PSA

While Hydragun don’t explicitly say you can’t use the device for releasing your inner Samantha Jones, it does provide a safety warning that: “Your massage gun should never be used under any bed covers or pillows” as “this will cause overheating and may cause a fire”. So I just want to be clear that I am under no circumstances suggesting you use the Hydragun for anything other than its intended purpose. But if you’re interested in something, can I point you over here?

The Hydrogun verdict?

I’m by no means an athlete, I hurt after the most basic of workouts, but if you’ve gone past the point where a little magnesium won’t help you recover and you’re seeking a massage gun, I have to say spending the money on a decent one is worthwhile.

The Hydragun is usually RRP $599 but is on sale at the time of publish for $399, which is, yeah, not cheap, but if you buy a cheap one from a random online retailer, you’re going to get what you paid for. You might also do yourself some damage, which isn’t ideal.

The team at Hydragun focus a lot on this device being innovated around the needs of athletes and the quality is tops.

I’m definitely going to keep using it for recovery.