REVIEW – I saw my first massage gun watching Kyrie Irving’s back being treated during the 2017 NBA finals. Since then, massage guns have gained popularity, features, and become much quieter. I have an Addsfit MAX deep tissue massage gun that looks very similar to a Hyperice Hypervolt. Read on to see what I think!
What is it?
The massage gun or percussive therapy device is a tool that can be used to deliver deep vibrating massage to soft tissues. The vibration caused by the gun increases blood flow to specific muscle areas and this can benefit muscles before a workout. The increased circulation can flush out toxins responsible for acute muscle soreness, which is that burning sensation you feel in a muscle during a workout due to a quick buildup of lactic acid. It can also provide relief to, reduce, or prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is muscle pain that begins a day or two after a workout. The relief from DOMS is thought to result from the vibrations acting on the nerves in muscle tissue.
What’s in the box?
- Addsfit MAX massage gun
- rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack
- Massage Head Attachments
- Triggered Flat
- charging adapter
- user manual
- massage booklet
- 3-Year Warranty Card
Size & Weight: 17.4cm 6.5cm”24.9cm, 0.9kg
Stroke length: 12mm
Max Force: 26 lbs
9 Speeds: 1700/1900/2100/2300/2500/2700/2900/3100/3300 RPM
5 Interchangeable Massage Heads
Battery Type: Removable, Rechargeable 2500mAh, 54Watt Li-ion
Battery-powered operation: 270 Mins
Charger input: 100-240V 50/60HZ 0.75A
Charger output: 25.2V 1A 25.2W
Design and features
The Addsfit MAX comes in a cardboard box with rolled ends and a tuck top with dust flaps and a cherry lock. The outside of the box has a black ink image of the gun and silhouettes of the five interchangeable heads. So without opening the box I think that it is above average packaging. Inside, I am surprised to discover a custom storage case.
The case is a hard shell black fabric briefcase-type case with a zipper closure and a silicone rubber-trimmed handle. The inside is fitted with a customized form to hold the gun and battery, and sections to hold the head attachments and charger. In addition, the head attachments come with their own pocket and the charger comes with its own tote bag. The top half of the case is a zippered mesh compartment for storing the user manual, massage booklet, and Warranty Card.
The one drawback of the case is that the components must be separated prior to storage. It would be great if the case allowed storage of the gun, battery, adapter, and any attachment all assembled.
This review has already referred to the percussive therapy device as a gun several times and for good reason. This device is capable of delivering hundreds of blows a minute with over 20 lb of force. It is capable of causing bruising if used incorrectly. Massage therapists are licensed professionals with specialized training and a thorough understanding of human anatomy and kinesiology. I only know a little bit more than the diagrammatic guide book that Addsfit MAX provided. I would recommend that any questions to the operation and appropriateness of the massage gun are directed toward healthcare professionals. Through my research on this device I have found some important words of wisdom:
- Stop or back off if the gun is causing pain. Pain is an indication that your muscles are not relaxing or a signal that the gun inflicting real harm.
- Only use the massage gun on muscles. Avoid using it on nerves, bones, joints, or tendons.
- Do not use the massage gun on any body part that has impaired sensation. With any type of neuropathy, you could be hurting yourself and not realizing it.
- Do not use the massage gun on the neck. The carotid arteries, which run along either side of the neck may be adversely affected by the vibrations and pressure of the gun.
A side by side comparison of the Addsfit MAX and Hyperice Hypervolt will leave little to the imagination of where the design inspiration for this device comes from.
It seems that the shape and color scheme are directly modeled after the Hypervolt. The battery looks to be almost an exact replica and I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t functionally interchangeable. However, I’ll identify a few differences in the design that actually provide compelling reasons why purchasing an Addsfit MAX may be to your advantage.
The battery that comes with the unit is a hefty 2500mAh unit that should power the system on high for up to 3 hours of continuous use.
That’s a lot of massages. The battery is big but weighs less than the rest of the unit and the girth of the battery helps to better position and maneuver the Addsfit MAX to the desired location. Both the Addsfit MAX and the Hypervolt have a toggle at the base of the battery that must be switched on before the button to the rear of the gun will work. Since the Hypervolt, Addsfit MAX, and a few other manufacturers share this design I’m guessing it is just what is offered. The Addsfit MAX batter is customized with the Addsfit MAX logo on the base and the handle so it’s not completely generic. The base has a LED that changes color based on the capacity and this is a different scale than what is used on the back of the gun. Through all of my testing, I haven’t charged the battery and I have only got it to go yellow once, but then it turned back on to green later.
The rear of the unit has a single rubber button that can be pressed in the middle to toggle the unit on or off or can be pressed on either side to change the speed from 1700 to 3300 RPM in 200 RPM intervals. This is the equivalent of 28 to 55 strikes per second. The Hypervolt can only operate at 2,000, 2,600, and 3,200 RPM. So the Addsfit MAX has a more versatile range. Both of these units power on to the lowest setting, so there is more button pressing to get to the higher speeds.
Sorry the image above is blurry but the Addsfit MAX was at the highest speed to get all the LEDs lit.
The top of the gun, opposite where the battery is installed is where the motor is housed. The Hypervolt has more vents than the Addsfit MAX. After using the Addsfit MAX for 10 minutes or so on its highest setting (I was just seeing if I could wear down the battery) The plastic around the motor gets warm, but not hot. Maybe Addsfit MAX determined that extra venting isn’t required. Less venting probably makes the unit a bit quieter. Additional venting may not be required on the Addsfit MAX because it is made from a mixture of PA66 and 15% glass fiber.
The front of the Addsfit MAX seems to have a similar chuck style as the Hypervolt. Both seem to use a plastic cylinder with a rubber o ring that holds the massage adapter in place. The real difference between the two models is the design of the attachments themselves. Rather than providing an EVA ball and other plastic attachments, The Addsfit MAX comes with 5 silicone head attachments. The attachments press into a plastic adapter.
Not only does each adapter have a specific shape designed to enhance the ability to massage different areas, but each shape also has a specific durometer or resistance to indentation. The broader attachments are softer and provide protection against injury when massaging close to bones or joints but the more acute attachments are harder to allow for a more penetrating massage. The attachments all mount to the stem of the attachment base. Removing the attachments from the base is sometimes tricky. Pulling too hard or fast will pull the whole attachment mount out of the gun. This is necessary when putting the gun away while using the case but not required if changing adapters on the fly. As indicated above, it would be nice to be able to leave the adapter base in place while putting the gun in the travel case.
The operation of the gun is whisper quiet. The manufacturer indicates that the average sound force is tested to be under 39 decibels with a sound meter 30cm away from it. I found similar results at the low setting but almost twice as loud at the highest setting (48 dB). Even at the highest setting, the noise the gun makes is quite soft. In fact, compared to some online research from other manufacturers the Addsfit MAX is one of the quietest models available.
The gun has an auto-off feature after running for 30 minutes.
The Addsfit MAX weighs 2 lb 5 oz, or just over 1 kg so holding it against your own or another’s body is easy. The design of the power button on the rear is inset so the gun is easy to hold by the rear, top, or battery. The Theragun and models like it have an adjustable head but OI didn’t find that there was a part of my body I couldn’t reach with the Addsfit.
The Addsfit has a 12 mm massage stroke depth and a 35-pound stroke force. Given all of the cosmetic similarities, the Addsfit has a larger stroke length than the Hypervolt, which only has a 10 mm stroke length. My online research leads me to believe that only the Theragun and models similar to it have larger stroke lengths.
I found that the information online about the proper use of the massage gun is incredibly lacking. It may be that the people who are most educated about this therapy, massage therapists, are reluctant to provide online training for these because they know improper use may be injurious to the patient.
My own experience with this has nonetheless been a pleasant one. I’ve used only the lower speeds and the wider, less specific heads and have focused the therapy on the largest part of the muscle. But even that use has provided a better and faster warm-up before exercising and it has also significantly reduced DOMS after a heavy workout.
What I like
- Quality of build
- Silicone attachments
What I’d change
- Redesign case so the unit can be stored without disassembly.
- Provide more guidance for proper use.
There are many brands to choose from in the massage gun therapy field. The chief manufacturers have a base cost double or triple some of the alternatives. After reviewing the Addsfit I see no reason why choosing a model from a chief manufacturer would provide any additional features or functionality. Addsfit MAX provides reassurance that their product will continue to work with a 36 month warranty. If you are looking for a massage gun or percussive therapy device the Addsfit MAX is definitely worth considering.