A massage is a great way to relieve pain and muscle tension. That’s why professional athletes get them as a part of ordinary training. Indeed, the general public is well aware of the benefits of massage therapy. Whether for rehabbing from an injury or everyday stress relief, millions of Americans visit a masseuse every year.
But visiting a masseuse in person isn’t always convenient. While most states have lifted their Covid restrictions, that’s not the limitation for all people. For one thing, if you want to get a massage every day, that can get expensive. For another thing, you have to physically drive to a massage parlor. For these reasons, many people choose to use their own massage gun at home. With your own massage gun, you can get the relaxation you need without the cost of a masseuse visit. Not only that, but you can get a massage on your schedule. If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, you’ll have enough time to get the job done. Even if you’re a regular at your massage parlor, your own massage gun is a substitute on your off days.
We’re about to review the Urikar AT1 Massage Gun. Urikar is a manufacturer we’ve reviewed in the past. Not long ago, we looked at their Urikar Pro 1 mini massage gun, and we liked what we saw. The AT1 is a bit larger, and comes with a richer set of features. But is owning this premium massage gun worth the steep up-front investment? To find out, we’ll need to take a deeper dive into all of its features and benefits. We’ll also need to look at what it could do better. We’ll examine the physical design, the control scheme, and how it’s used. We’ll also look at the battery and the various attachments. After that, we’ll summarize what we’ve learned, and render our verdict. Let’s begin!
Why Use a Percussion Massage Gun?
Before we go any further, let’s talk about what a percussion massage gun is. When most people think of a massager, it’s something that vibrates, or oscillates from side to side. When you press it against your skin, it agitates the muscle and other tissues underneath, providing relief. A massage gun, on the other hand, oscillates up and down like the piston in a motor. This still agitates your muscles and other tissues, but in a different fashion. The key takeaway here is that neither type of massager is better or worse in general. Instead, like different types of manual massage, they each provide their own benefits.
A traditional vibrating massager works similarly to a Swedish massage. This type of massage focuses mostly on the upper layers of tissue, and covers a wide area of the body. A percussion massager, on the other hand, functions like a shiatsu massage or trigger point massage. Instead of covering a broad area, a percussion massage focuses on a particular spot, and gets into deep tissue. Percussion massagers are ideal for working out knots in deep tissue, breaking up scar tissue, and treating deep bruises.
Another advantage of percussion massagers is that they stimulate blood flow to the area of the massage. For this reason, they’re often used in rehab to help treat injuries. Massaging the injured tissue encourages blood flow, which speeds up the healing process. We’re saying “tissue,” not “muscle,” for a reason; percussion massagers can also be used on joints.
Finally, percussion massagers can be used as an aid if you’re a professional masseuse. As you probably already know, massages that require a lot of pressure are exhausting to perform. If you end up booking several of them in a row, you’ll come out needing a massage yourself. A percussion massage gun lets you take care of clients without pushing you past your own limits.
The Urikar AT1 Massage Gun is built with a skewed four-sided frame that houses a pistol grip. In fact, the first thing you’ll notice is that you aren’t limited just to using the main grip. In fact, the grey plastic housing is molded so that the frame can be gripped from the bottom or side. This makes it easy to use the massager in a variety of positions. In addition to pressing down from behind, you can also pull it towards you. This is useful if you need to reach across your own body or up over your shoulders to reach the target area. And by gripping from the bottom of the frame, you can easily apply pressure in a lateral direction. The whole massager weighs less than three pounds, so it’s fairly easy to manage in any position.
The overall aesthetic is appealing, with a breathing light on the side that moves in time with the massager. The back of the housing sports an LCD display, which can be used to adjust the automated functions. You can also adjust settings manually from here if you prefer not to use automatic mode. The power button itself is located on the bottom of the frame, alongside the charging port. In this same area, there’s a blue LED that illuminates whenever the power is turned on. All in all, it’s easy to operate, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to turn it on and use it.
The package includes a set of six different tips to apply different types of pressure. There’s a bullet-shaped tip that applies pinpoint pressure. There’s a flat tip that applies pressure to a wider area. In between, there’s a round tip that covers a medium-sized spot. There’s an additional textured tip, and a flat tip for reaching the insides of joints. The last tip is a two-pronged fork, and is designed for working in the area along the spine. This gives you plenty of options in terms of the massager’s configuration.
With all of that being said, the AT1 is a little bit pricey. If you’re looking for a more affordable percussion massage gun, consider the Urikar Pro 1. It costs less than the AT1, but smaller and slightly less powerful.
Controls and Operation
The Urikar AT1 is capable of operating at speeds of up to 3,800 RPM. This is thanks in large part to a powerful brushless motor, which stands up to 65 pounds of stall force. This means you have to apply 65 pounds of pressure to the massage gun before the head stops oscillating. The result is a very strong massager capable of reaching tissue depths of up to 16mm. At that depth, you can reach deep scar tissue in joints, where other massage guns can’t go.
The AT1 includes a smart “auto mode” that’s activated by default. In this mode, the massager automatically recognizes which tip has been inserted. Based on that, it will make massage recommendations. It will also automatically determine the speed and force of the motor. In addition, there’s an infrared sensor near the front that detects when the tip is near your body. When you set the massager down, it will automatically stop running to save battery life. When you put it up to your skin, it will start back up again.
The problem with auto mode is that it tries to be smarter than it is. Unless you want to perform one of a handful of pre-defined massages, it can be a frustrating experience. For most people, it makes more sense simply to deactivate auto mode and use the AT1 as an ordinary massager. There are eight power settings to choose from, along with a wide range of speeds. You’ll be able to get the exact speed and intensity you want, without relying on Urikar’s presets.
For even more massage options, the Urikar Pro 3 Massage Gun is a solid choice. It provides several different power settings, so you have a very wide range. That said, the maximum power isn’t quite as high, so you can’t reach the deepest tissues the AT1 can reach.
Battery and Charging
The AT1’s internal Lithium battery has a capacity of 2,600mAh. This provides sufficient charge for about 10 hours of operation. However, keep in mind that this is a manufacturer rating. Urikar bases their 10-hour claim on operation at low power. The higher you run it, the shorter it will last. Even so, you can expect a minimum of around six hours. That’s more than you’re ever likely to be continuously running the massage gun.
To help extend the battery life, Urikar has built a couple of power-saving features into the design. To begin with, the screen shuts off after five minutes of disuse. Even if you’re still using the gun, it will go dark if you aren’t adjusting any settings. Furthermore, the AT1 will shut down completely after 15 minutes without any activity. This way, it won’t run dead if you have to step away for a phone call and accidentally leave it running.
The package includes a simple AC power adapter with a barrel-shaped plug. It will charge the massager in about two hours, even if the battery is completely dead. Charging overnight, every night, is no problem whatsoever.
The Urikar AT1 Massage Gun ($90 Off Code: URIKARPR1) is one of the most powerful handheld massage guns on the market. With 65 pounds of stall force and up to 16mm of penetration, it can reach even the deepest of tissues. To be fair, you pay a bit more than you will for less powerful massagers. You’ll also be better off ignoring most of the smart features. But even so, there’s a lot to like here.
For one thing, you get a number of power settings and a wide range of speeds. You also get six different tips to apply pressure in six different ways. The powerful battery allows you to work for hours on end. And with three different grips, you can work at any angle you need to. There’s a lot to like here, and very little to complain about.