Several months ago, we published a post titled Don’t Buy A Costco Massage Gun. In short, we had the opportunity to try a few of the models that Costco was selling, including the Sharper Image massage gun, and walked away unimpressed and recommended you look elsewhere. That was simply our opinion.
But as opinions go, everyone has one. To our delight a few of our dear readers thought it productive to share a heated rebuttal to the contrary. They felt strongly that we got it wrong and the Sharper Image massage gun was in fact, a great massager. Chivalry for an inanimate object apparently is not dead!
The point we were trying to make is that compared to other massage guns at the same price point, the Sharper Image massage gun is not your best option.
So to be fair and to not make unsubstantiated claims, this is our full-blown Sharper Image massage gun review with comparisons.
The Sharper Image Hype
Looking at Google Trends, the Sharper Image massage gun is having quite the field day in the search results. Starting around November of last year, inquiries for the sub $100 massage gun sold exclusively at Costco sky-rocketed. That's really not too surprising. A good massager always makes for a great gift for the holidays.
By in large, most the of consumer reviews have been pretty positive too. Like this one, for example:
"This is one of the best, if not THE best, looking massage guns out there. It is sleek, stylish, packs a big punch, and most of all it is quiet! Some of these massage guns sound like a jack hammer, but this thing is super quiet."
However, on the opposite end of the spectrum are a decent number of folks complaining of it arriving DOA:
"I was excited to receive this product. We tried out all the different heads and when I went to truly use it, it stopped working. Will be returning."
And other complaints:
"The product is advertised as “quiet.” It was very loud. I returned the product for a refund. There are other similar products which are better."
Ok, we admit it, we're guilty of cherry picking a review that fits our narrative, but we truly share the same sentiment. The Sharper Image is a perfectly OK massage gun, but there are much better options available. Better build quality, better power, and in some instances, better price.
What The Sharper Image Gets Right
It would be unfair to say that the Sharper Image has no redeeming qualities, because it does.
The overall design is nice with an ultra smooth finish to the body. We like the orange accent rings around the back that provide just the right amount of aesthetic pop.
The website states it weighs about 4lbs, but we think they meant if the massager were in the carrying case with the attachments. On its own, it's about 2lbs, which is standard for a massage gun of this size.
And yes, it does include an attractive carrying case, unlike some other brands--Hypervolt.
A total of 6 run-of-the-mill massage head attachments with extra o-rings to keep them seated are also in the box. They're the standard fair that are sold with most other massage guns. Basic, but they work just fine.
Battery life is advertised to last up to 4.5 hours, which is probably accurate. We've been purposely abusing our unit a bit more for testing and so far has held up really well. We don't think you'll be urgently needing to charge it all that often. Buyer beware, we did see quite a few reviews stating that they returned their Sharper Image massage gun because of premature battery failure. Is that a systemic issue, we're not sure yet. Just an FYI.
Why You Shouldn't Buy the Sharper Image Massage Gun
We imagine that the majority of people that left positive feedback on the Sharper Image massage gun fall into one of two categories:
A. They've never used a massage gun before and this is their first experience.
B. They've tried a much more expensive model and this one seems to do the same thing for much less money.
For those in the "A" category, let's see if this analogy lands. The Sharper Image is like a Honda Civic. It's practical, it gets you where you need to be, and above all, it's affordable. It's the perfect car until you hop into the cabin of a luxury BMW 7 Series. Once you do that, anything less seems overwhelmingly inferior.
And for those in the "B" category, this is why you should not base your decision to buy the Sharper Image on price alone:
The funny thing about this massage gun is that neither Costco's website or a phone call to Sharper Image's customer support line could confirm some fundamental specs; the two most important being amplitude and stall force. Basically, those are two fancy words that describe not only the depth of the massage, but force behind the percussion. The higher the amplitude and stall force, the deeper and more firm the massage gun will feel.
Although it cannot be confirmed, we suspect the Sharper Image has a stall force around 20-30lbs max and an amplitude of 8mm. For comparisons sake and because it's the unofficial gold standard (or BMW 7 Series) that all other massage guns are held to, the Theragun Pro has a stall force of 60lbs and amplitude of 16mm!
As is, the Sharper Image works well on areas of the body like the arms and shoulders. Move to fleshier, more dense areas like the Glutes and the Quads and you'll quickly realize that it lacks that ability to "dig in". In fact, doing so would only stall the motor.
Again, the Sharper Image seems like a good choice, but comparatively, it's severely lacking.
Sharper Image Massage Gun Comparisons
Ok, we've stated our case against it, now we want to offer comparably priced massage guns that offer more bang for your buck.