Tom's Guide Verdict
The Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun is a budget-conscious option suitable for most users
Excellent battery life
Wide speed range
Includes 2 chrome-plated attachments for use with massage oils
Low stall force threshold
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Dimensions: 13.1 in x 10.6 in x 3.7 in
Weight: 2.3 pounds
PPM range: 1300-3200 (6 speeds)
Noise level: 40-65 decibels
Battery life: 6 hours
Battery charge time: 3-5 hours
The best massage guns, like the Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun, take all of the benefits of a great massage and package them into a compact handheld device. Thanks to fast percussion and a variety of attachments, massage guns can release tension and increase blood flow in most of your body’s tight muscle tissues. They’ve become a popular and easy-to-use tool that can help alleviate stiffness and pain, prepare the body for exercise, prevent injury, and even improve sleep.
The bad news is that massage guns can get expensive. With some costing upwards of $600, you may start to wonder if hiring a masseuse would be more economical. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the Sportneer Elite D9, which is priced well below $200. But does the Elite D9 sacrifice quality for affordability? Are you better off paying more to get a truly effective massage? Read our full Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun review below.
Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun Review: Price and Availability
The Sportneer Elite D9 is more reasonably priced than other “Elite” massage guns - at $129.99, it’s almost $300 less than the Theragun Elite. It’s also significantly cheaper than competitors Hypervolt 2 Pro, TimTam Power Massager, and LifePro Fusion FX. There are a handful of models that retail for even less than the Elite D9, but it should still be considered one of the most inexpensive massage guns on the market.
Pricing stays consistent across all the major online retailers. Amazon offers a one-time 5% off coupon, and signing up for marketing emails from Sportneer could always snag you a deal. But since the Elite D9 is relatively affordable, waiting for a sale doesn’t seem so crucial.
Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun Review: Design
Sportneer employs a pretty standard design for its Elite D9, shared with the likes of the Hypervolt 2 Pro and LifeFusion FX: a vertical, foam-covered handle attached to a horizontally oriented motor and shaft. There’s a reason this design is common — it’s simple, user-friendly, and works well to target most of the common tight spots on your body.
Weighing in at 2.3 pounds, the Elite D9 isn’t the heaviest gun you’ll find, but it certainly isn’t light. That’s a good thing in terms of its durability, but not as good for its usability — while the muscles you’re massaging may get to relax, your forearms and wrists will get a considerable workout. On the plus side, the cylindrical shape of the Elite D9’s handle makes it easy to get a good grip, which is something I had trouble doing with the flatter, wider handle of the Hypervolt 2 Pro. An attribute to be aware of if you have smaller hands, like me.
A singular button on the back of the gun powers on and off the device, and allows you to cycle through 6 pre-programmed speeds: 1300, 1700, 2000, 2400, 2800, and 3200 PPM (percussions per minute). This is quite an impressive speed range when compared with the pricier Theragun models, which only operate between 1750 and 2400 PPM.
Surrounding the Elite D9’s sole button are four sections of lights: the left and right quadrants that indicate current speed, the top quadrant that indicates current force production, and the bottom quadrant that indicates current battery life. The addition of a force production meter, usually reserved for more expensive massage guns, is a helpful touch.
Included with the Sportneer Elite D9 is a zippered hardshell carrying case with dedicated compartments for the gun, each individual attachment, and wall charger. There’s also a mesh pocket to store any incidentals you may want to keep with your gun, like oils or lotions. While it isn’t exactly a space-saving storage method, it’s definitely protective (and not nearly as bulky as the Theragun Elite’s carrying case). It may sound silly, but the well-designed case really elevates the Sportneer Elite D9 as a whole product, especially when you consider that some higher-end massage guns don’t come with a case at all (I’m looking at you, Hypervolt 2 Pro).
Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun Review: Attachments
The Elite D9 come with six attachments: a “ball” head, suitable for larger muscle groups like your quads and glutes; a “fork” head for use around the spine, on the calves, near the shoulders, or for sensitive and bony areas; a “cone” head to use around joints, on pressure points in the feet, and for deep tissue massage; a “flat” head for more general usage; and chrome-plated “flat” and “ball” heads that can be used with oils or lotions for easier cleaning.
With the exception of the ball and the chrome-plated heads, all of the attachments are made from hard plastic. I usually find that plastic attachments are a little too rough to use on tender spots, which for me are my calves, upper traps, and TFL (a small muscle on the outside of the hip). Attempting to treat these areas with “forks,” “bullets,” or “cones” provided by other gun manufacturers usually leave me in more pain after the massage than before it. However, because the Elite D9 can be used at a much slower speed than most other models, I was able to target these areas effectively without wincing. This is great news for first-time users or those with excessive tightness and sensitivities — you can “work your way up” to faster speeds or greater pressure while still relieving tension.
That all being said, I got the most usage out of the dense foam ball head — it’s hard enough to make an impact, but forgiving enough to treat tight muscles without yelping. I found it most effective on my pecs at a medium speed, and my quads at a higher speed. I was even able to use it on my piriformis (a muscle in the hip) to diminish some sciatic nerve pain.
Including two chrome-plated heads for use with oils is something I haven’t seen with any other gun, and it’s a detail that makes the Elite D9 feel very “elite” indeed. I used these heads with a few drops of lavender oil I had lying around, and while I found it to be a relaxing experience, I don’t know that it made the massage any more effective. Regardless, the chrome attachments were as easy to clean as claimed. I’m sure it would be a lot harder to clean oils from a foam attachment (and probably not recommended in the first place).
Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun Review: Performance
The Sportneer Elite D9 boasts a six hour battery life, which is remarkable considering its low price. By comparison, the Theragun Pro offers an equally robust battery, but for almost $500 more. Sportneer estimates a 3-5 hour charge time when your battery finally does run out, but it actually took my unit a little under three hours to get to 100%. Once it did, it lasted for an entire week’s worth of testing.
Up to this point, it may be hard to tell the difference between the affordable Sportneer Elite D9 and a higher-end massage gun. However, two important specs reveal the Elite D9’s weaknesses: amplitude and stall force.
Amplitude, or the distance that the attachment and shaft extend from the gun, is a key measurement to determine how deep of a massage you’ll get from your device. Most massage gun amplitudes range between 10mm and 14mm, with some costlier models getting as long as 16mm. The Sportneer Elite D9’s amplitude is just 11mm, and while the gun still provided release to tight trigger points, I could definitely feel that the percussion was not as powerful as that from a Theragun Elite or Hypervolt 2 Pro. This could actually be an advantage for novices who need a little time to get acclimated to a massage gun’s effects. If you’re an experienced user looking for a deep massage, be forewarned that you’ll need to put a little of your own force behind the Elite D9.
Be careful not to use a lot of force though, because then you’ll risk a stall. That happened to me several times during testing, albeit mostly in the lower to mid PPM ranges. There’s some discrepancy over the Elite D9’s stall force threshold, with the user manual claiming 18.7 pounds, and another listing from Sportneer claiming 35 pounds. The actual stall force probably lies somewhere closer to the lower number, I’d estimate around 20-22 pounds. That’s half the force it takes to stall a Theragun Elite (40 pounds), and a third of the force it takes to stall a Theragun Pro (60 pounds).
Sportneer touts the Elite D9 as “whisper quiet,” and when set at a low speed, this is true — sound levels ranged from 40 to 50 decibels. But predictably, faster speeds produced more noise, with the highest speed setting clocking around 65 decibels. That’s still quieter than a lot of massage guns on the market, like the 75-decibel LifePro models.
Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun Review: Verdict
The Sportneer Elite D9 is a fantastic massage gun for the price. It’s got the battery life of a model that’s nearly five times as expensive, a wide speed range to fit a variety of user preferences and specially designed attachments that allow you to incorporate oils into your massage. On the surface, you may wonder why anyone would shell out hundreds of dollars extra for a more well-known brand.
But once you get down to brass tacks, you’ll see what separates the Elite D9 from pricier Theragun and Hyperice offerings — its shorter amplitude and low stall force ultimately result in a less powerful massage.
That’s not to say that the Sportneer Elite D9 isn’t effective. In fact, it may be a better option for beginners or those with acute pain who need a massage gun that provides a little less intensity. It’s also the gun to pick if you’re on a budget and can’t justify spending over $200 on a massage gun no matter how long the amplitude or how heavy the stall force is. Unless you’re a professional athlete, chances are you’d be perfectly happy with the Sportneer Elite D9 Massage Gun. Your bank account certainly would be.
Jennifer Rizzuto is a freelance writer and certified personal trainer based in Long Island, NY. She covers various fitness-related topics and reviews for Tom's Guide. She also writes sketch comedy and short films, and performs frequently as an actor, singer, and improviser. When she's not writing, working out, or performing, you'll find her trying to convince her husband to get a dog.