When it comes to recovery and muscle tightness, rollers and massage guns are my go-to. The Sportneer K1 Massage Gun joins a plethora of massage guns available on Amazon. Knowing that, how does an inexpensive, compact massage gun stand up to daily use?
Sportneer K1 Massage Gun Features:
- Includes 6 massage heads
- 5 intensity levels
- LED status with battery indicator
- Uses 48Wh LG battery cells
- Up to 6 hours of use on a single charge
- Massage amplitude: 11mm
- Stall force: 35 lbs
- Weight: 1.76 lbs
- Sound: 30-45dB while in use
- Includes carrying case and additional rubber o-rings
- MSRP: $99.99
Compact and powerful massage gun
It’s funny to think that massage guns haven’t been around that long. I distinctly remember one of the first times going to the chiropractor (Utah Spine & Sport) and they used “the percussor” ahead of an adjustment. They could really dig into tight muscles and loosen up tight muscles. Within a few years, massage guns were everywhere — led by Theragun and Hyperice. Their high-priced models may have the attention of high-rollers, but what about the rest of us, who need sore muscle relief and improved recovery, but don’t want to spend $300 on a massage gun? Enter the Sportneer K1 massage gun, priced at less than $100 on Amazon.
I’ve long been a fan of percussion massage guns, but let’s see what some of the experts have to say. According to UCLA Health, “Percussive massage helps distribute the thickened fascia fluid to relieve the pressure and tightness you feel. Repeated pressure at high speed thins the fluids, making the fascia more pliable so that your muscle can move more easily and efficiently.” With that, I strongly believe every athlete should have a massage gun and the Sportneer K1 is a great unit to have.
Out of the box, the K1 has everything you’ll need — six massage heads, carrying case and up to 6 hours of use on a single charge. Compared to my other massage gun, the K1 feels much more compact and natural in my hands. Turning it on is straightforward, just hold down the power button until it turns on, then a single push to adjust intensity. As with other units, it starts with the lowest frequency (1200 rpm), then increases to level five (3200 rpm). In practice, I would prefer it to start at level 5, then go down from there. I find that I use most often. It’s not as bad as our other massage gun, which has 20 intensity settings that you have to scroll though, but it still feels like needless clicks if the majority of people use it at the highest setting.
Having said that I prefer level 5 most of the time, I have come to appreciate the lower RPM settings for muscle soft tissue injuries. I have recently pulled my calf muscle and level 2 is just right for that kind of injury.
Let’s talk a little about the six massage heads. Each one has an intended purpose, but I mainly used the chrome ball head for maximum intensity and ease-of-use on top of clothing. The foam ball was likely the second most popular — mostly with my teenage daughters, who are always sore from dance and gymnastics. As I said, I have found the chrome ball head to be my go-to for lower-back, hip, quads, glutes, calves and feet. It’s also great for upper-back, neck and shoulders. Again, I also love how smooth it floats over clothing because I’m not always wearing athletic clothes when a massage is needed. It even works great over jeans.
The only downside of the chrome head is it can tend to wander, due to the lack of friction. A steady hand is required to ensure it doesn’t veer off course and hit a bone. Here are the heads and their intended uses:
- Ball head: For large muscle groups (quads, glutes, etc.) and extreme muscle and joint soreness.
- Fork head: Mainly used for spine, neck, calves and shoulder for sensitive muscles or bony areas. This is really intended to be used with intensity levels 1 and 2.
- Cone head: Mainly used for joints, deep tissue and small muscle areas (wrist, feet, etc.). Intended for intensity levels 1 and 2.
- Flat head: Ideal for general use and all muscles.
- Chrome flat head: For general muscle use at amplified intensities. It cleans easily and works over cloths and with oils.
- Chrome ball head: Again, for general muscle use at amplified intensities without that hard edge. It cleans easily and works over cloths and with oils.
In-hand, the matte plastic texture offers just enough friction to easily manipulate. I can rotate and move the K1 massage gun into just the right positions without losing grip. The diameter of the handle is just right for larger and smaller hands. In addition, the motor area is also easy to handle in the case of added pressure by using two hands, for particularly stubborn muscles.
In use, the K1 is as quiet as I would expect and don’t find it to be particularly loud. I can use it at night, while my wife is sleeping and she doesn’t know the wiser. The compact design is also easy to toss into a bag, for travel. If you want to be more official while traveling, the carrying case offers a nice touch, but I’d be fine just with the chrome ball head on any trips.
After over three months of use, I still find the power and battery life to be just as it was on day one. I will say, however, that the motor has developed a subtle rattle that wasn’t there at the beginning. Our other massage gun has the same issue, but slightly worse. It doesn’t seem to affect performance, but does increase the sound of the unit while in use by just a touch.
The rubber power button and intensity indicator area is functional, and does add extra grip in-hand. However, my wife has expressed that she doesn’t like the power button and I’ve wondered about its longevity with fingernails digging into the rubber over the course of time. The battery indicator is only accurate when viewed directly. At an angle, the indicator can still appear green, even when it’s yellow or red. Another rubber cover is placed over the lower screws, holding the motor housing together. At first, I thought they were additional buttons for an unknown purpose, but peeling it back just reveals screws. If the intent of that rubber cover was to aid in dual-handed use, its placement is not all that functional.
- Compact design
- Powerful massage intensity
- 5 intensities is just right — no need for 10-20 useless intensities
- Matte finish feels great in-hand
- A variety of heads to suit your needs
- Chrome-tipped heads are my favorites and they work great over clothing
- Small rattle developed after a few weeks of use (but it hasn’t affected performance)
- Longevity of the rubberized power button (time will tell)
- Battery indicator isn’t clear and varies based on the viewing angle
The Bottom Line: Sportneer K1 Massage Gun
Every athlete should have a massage gun. Using them regularly eases muscle pain and aids in recovery and flexibility. The Sportneer K1 Massage Gun has been a hit with our active family and I’ve found it to deliver a quality overall massage with the chrome ball head.
Buy Now: Available from Amazon.com