Percussion Massage: We Compare The Thumper Sport Against the Homedics Compact

A discussion of percussion massage and two options for home use.

Overall, I was disappointed with the Homedics massages.  I really wanted their massager to be successful through the evaluation, but I cannot recommend it based on build quality, ergonomics, and effectiveness.

The Thumper Sport performed much better through the evaluation, and I consider it a better value even though it is significantly more expensive than the Homedics.

We carry the entire line of Thumper Massagers on our BHI site.  Click here to learn more about the Thumper Sport.

Speaker: Hi everybody, another video.

I want to talk to our folks today who may be suffering from back pain, from muscle pain. Our folks may want to improve their immune system. I wanted to talk to people who maybe suffering from carpal tunnel. I also wanted to talk to folks who may be looking to relieve stress and relieve anxiety in their lives.

All those symptoms that you may or may not be suffering from, all those symptoms have been proven according to the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Body Work, all those have been proved by this organization through research material, through research to be addressed through massage therapy. It is something that can be done either outside of the home or inside of the home. So along with massage therapy, I want to talk about our two widely available popular units for home use.

Massage therapy, keep in mind, it has the benefits that we talked about, when I talked about just a moment ago; it’s been used for thousands of years. It’s found on Egyptian drawings massage and body work. I bet you they wish that that they had the quality of this that we have today. It’s also found in a Chinese medical reference book from 2700 BC.

So massage is one of the oldest form of medical care available and it’s been proven to work over the years and it’s obviously still in use today. Around 40 million Americans get at least one professional massage a year. So again, listing off the various ailments that you might be suffering from, certainly the biggest ones that are addressed by massage therapy would be muscle pain, also stress anxiety, trying to release stress and anxiety in your life.

So without further ado [00:02:00], we’ll talk about these two units. Over here on my right I have the HoMedics Percussion Massager widely available online and also locally. It goes through $30, $40. Over here, I have the Thumper Sport massager. It is a great deal more expensive than the HoMedics version.

The Thumper Sport which is the bottom of the Thumper [phonetic] [00:02:23] Equine, above this will be the Mini Pro Massager which is intended for consumers and professionals. The Thumper Sport here is intended mostly for the consumer market. But anyways, the Thumper Sport goes for a $129. We sell it on and the $129 includes shipping within the United States.

And we debated, when we were putting this together, should we be comparing a $34-year product versus one that costs about four times as much and in the end obviously we said, “Yeah, let’s go ahead and do it,” because $129 would probably, you would spend that on just one professional massage. So we don’t think that’s really out of line to be talking about a unit to cost a $129 along with one that costs a great deal cheaper and in the HoMedics version here, I really, really wanted this to work, because I do want to present our customers, those who can’t go as a $129 unit, I want to present our customers with an option that will work for them at a lower cost.

So we’re going to jump into this now with our standard format of doing our product reviews. I’m going to talk about the problem and solution, intended use, ergonomics, build quality, support material, accessories and effectiveness. So we already talked a little bit about the problem and the solution. Both of these address that through percussion massage.

Percussion massage is a massage [00:04:00] that will get more deeply into the muscles as opposed to being more of a surface or light massage. Some of the muscle groups on the body for example are your thighs, have extremely large muscles. So the intention of both of these is to provide enough percussion to get in there and relax those muscles and the muscle tissue.

The intended use, as I stated before, both of these are intended for the consumer market. If you’re a professional watching this, you might find some value, but I’d really recommend stepping up to a Thumper Mini Pro 2. It’s rated for more hours of continuous use. It’s really more suitable for a professional environment over the Thumper Sports, certainly over the consumer-only HoMedics brand.

Moving on to ergonomics. Ergonomically both units are very similar. There is a fair amount of difference with the handle ones. It looks like, I would say, about four-inch difference. That can make a difference for self-massage. If you’re trying to reach a spot, in the middle of your back for example, having a longer handle on the Thumper, usage of the product and – this is important for professionals or those who plan to use these for extended uses, just how much feedback you get in the handle when you’re holding on to it.

We had passed these units around to various folks within our organization and of course I used them for about a week before doing this video and you do get a lot more feedback in the HoMedics version than you do in the Thumper version. That’s more like one of the big points the Thumper Massager is that there’s a lot of isolation between the massage head and the masseuse’s hand, because obviously if you’re doing this for a long, you’ll feel a lot of vibration, you know, it’s going [00:06:00] to cause numbing and tingling in the hand if you’re using this.

Also under ergonomics, I want to talk about weight and everybody likes light weight, but perhaps that’s not the best thing with professional massagers. You want to massager, when you put it onto a person, you want the weight of the head to feet to be applying pressure. You don’t want to be working the massager with one hand behind on top of the head, you know, forcing it down into the tissues.

For that purposes, from an ergonomic perspective, the Thumper Sport is a little bit heavier in the head in, has that longer handle which is, you know, works like a lever, so you’re getting a little bit more of the direct pressure down on to the muscle tissue over the HoMedics version.

Also on ergonomics, and here’s something you probably wouldn’t necessarily think of, and that’s how long these cords are. If we compare the two cords here, this is eloquently as possible on video but I’m going to just try to show you a comparison between the length of the cords. So here’s the end of the HoMedics. The HoMedics version is a great cord. It ended about here on the Thumper cord.

So Thumper cord goes on for seven more feet. This is obviously important both for self-massage and it’s important for, if you’re working on a patient, who’s laying on a table, you can obviously reach him a lot better with a longer cord. You don’t have to go hunting for an extension cord. If I were working on somebody with a HoMedics, I would have to find an extension cord. I just can’t imagine him walking around the table trying to do a massage with a cord that short.

For build quality and warranty, first up, both have a similar warranty. I [00:08:00] have never placed a claim with the use of both of them myself personally, but they both have a two-year warranty. I believe that they both require returns to honor that warranty.

For build quality and craftsmanship, the biggest thing I saw about the HoMedics version and right away is that it has a painted-on silver finish. So it’s an injection molded plastic housing with a painted-on silver finish and already right out of the box I see some of that finish flicking away. So I’d imagine that over the years and through use, especially around the handgrip area, you’re going to start to see some flaking, perhaps if it gets bumped, you’ll see some chipping of the silver finish.

From a – just looking at a quality perspective, the switches are very solid. The unit itself, there’s no shakes or rattles in it and that sort of thing, but I really don’t care for the finish on the HoMedics unit. The Thumper Massage had a build quality, and the Thumper is very well known for their build quality, the build quality we out rated has certainly been excellent, very, very solid, the unit feels solid in the hand. It’s a pleasure to work with any of the Thumper massages including the Thumper Sport.

Regarding the finish issue that I have with the HoMedics, the Thumper Massager has a grayish-bluish coloring to it, but that coloring is actually molded right into the plastic housing. So you’re not going to get, you know, chips or flaking away of the finish.

And I do want to mention here, the country of origin of these units, a lot of folks don’t know this, the Thumper massages are actually made up in Canada. They are made just outside of Toronto, Canada. The HoMedics version, they are an [00:10:00] import from, I believe, this one here was made in China, yes.

Okay, moving on to support material, the HoMedics support material, it comprises a small manual. There’s about four pages of useful information in here. It’s in a couple of different languages. So you get about half this manual a lot of fine print around the warranty, that sort of thing, but I’d say about four pages of useful material, you know, how to use the massager.

The Thumper Massager comes with a great deal more of support material. It does have some advertising literature that they throw in the box on their other products, so you can learn about those. The operator’s manual for the Thumper Massager, it covers a little more than HoMedics. In actuality though, the manual covers about the same number of pages as HoMedics. It’s done also in multiple languages. So you get like the four pages or so how to use the unit, important safety considerations that certainly you should read before going to use it.

But the one real differentiator is the Thumper Sport Massager comes with a DVD on how to use the unit which I think is important, so you can get the most out of it when you’re using it on yourself or somebody else. It also teaches you how to use it safely, which I think is especially important, especially if you’re using it on somebody else.

Moving on to accessories, the Thumper Massager really doesn’t come with any accessories. The HoMedics version does come with one accessory. If you screw off the massage tips and you can put in their place these red ones and there’s a separate button on here [00:12:00] where you can turn on the heat function. And like I said, we had had several people try this before doing the video, I tried it myself and what we found is that you really don’t keep the massager in one place long enough to really feel that heat. When you’re using a power massager such as these, you don’t want to keep it in one spot longer than 10 or 15 seconds. So you really feel much heat.

Now if these were say infrared, I think that that would be a different story than it would get in underneath, you know, underneath the skin layer into the muscles, but that’s not the case. But we’ll count these as being an accessory that comes with HoMedics that’s not available with the Thumper Massager.

And lastly and probably most importantly is effectiveness, how effective how are these two units. Like I said, I really wanted to like the HoMedics unit, but I found it to be relatively ineffective compared to the Thumper Massager.

The Thumper Massager with its larger massage nodes and also deeper pulses really does a better job in terms of deep tissue, goes directly straight down into the tissue and it’s especially important on those larger muscles that I talked about, for example on the thighs, but even your lower back muscles to really get in deeply into the muscles and get through the deep massage that both of these units promise.

I found that there was some penetration into the muscles with using the HoMedics, however, I did find it to be a little more vibratory, if that’s the word, vibratory than I would have liked, where it’s acting more on the top layer, where it’s acting on the skin, certainly not acting on the muscle tissues like I would have liked.

So I [00:14:00] think that just about wraps it up. I would highly recommend the Thumper Sport Massager. Again it’s a $129, but that’s probably less than you’ll pay for one professional massage. Unfortunately, I cannot go ahead and recommend the HoMedics brand.

If you have any questions whatsoever, you can certainly give us a call, shoot us an email. Visit us at to want to know little more about massage therapy and the options are available both for the professional and in the home.

So everybody, have a great day!
[End Video Transcript]

About Steven Kirchhof

Steven is an ecommerce entrepreneur, consultant, and blogger. In addition to running two businesses, he writes for several blogs on topics such as health, fitness, and outdoor recreation. Find Steven on Google+