Review: Chirp RPM Is the Most Unique Massager We’ve Tested

From the folks who brought you the internet-favorite, wheel foam roller

The Chirp RPM device, which we tested and reviewed. Is this the right massage device for you?
Credit to Chirp for inventing yet another recovery device we haven't seen before.
Chirp/Juanma Hache/Getty

You may remember Chirp for its wheel-shaped foam roller, a hollow hunk of plastic outfitted in cushy rubber, designed to relieve pain from your low back up to your neck. All you have to do is lean back against it, orienting your spine along the very middle of the tool. Cracks ensue.

We’ve continued to use the thing for years now, for two primary reasons: it works (it’s adept at digging into those trigger points in the back), and it’s simple (of all the devices in my recovery box, it requires the least amount of thinking).

To that latter point: unlike massage guns or compression boots, I never have to worry if my Chirp Wheel is charged, or sift through settings, or decide what part of the body I’m targeting. You just put it on the floor and get going.

So I was a little surprised, to be honest, when I first saw Chirp’s latest toy — the Chirp Recovery Percussive Massager (or Chirp RPM), which resembles a fifth-grade boy’s Nerf artillery. This device does need to be charged, and has larger, full-body ambitions, compared to the brand’s debut product. What does it do, exactly? And is it any good at…doing that thing? I tested it out to see.

This Chart Will Simplify Your “Recovery Fitness” Routine
Some strategies help heal the body. Others are a waste of time.

Not Your Father’s Massage Gun

The Chirp RPM is shaped like a massive kitchen rolling pin — handles on either side, with a twisting base at the center. It’s the most unique recovery device I’ve tested yet, and I’ve tested a ridiculous number of them over the years.

Why so different? Well, Chirp figured out a way to combine two recovery philosophies: rolling massage (e.g., a roller stick) and percussive massage (e.g., a massage gun). Once the RPM gets humming, it’s both spinning over and into your muscle or trigger point of choice.

Operating the toy is pretty simple. You simply press the start button, choose from five different intensity settings (you can also choose which way the device spins), then start your session.

What’s Our Verdict?

I’ll be honest, I have complicated feelings about the Chirp RPM. I’ll start with the not-so-perfect:

  • You have to hold the power button the entire time for the device to work, which can get difficult depending on the area you want to hit. For instance, Chirp’s Instagram account shows a lady massaging her neck and upper shoulders. She’s white-knuckling that button to make sure the device doesn’t turn off.
  • This is made more difficult by the fact that the RPM is quite heavy.
  • Also, it’s noisy. It reminds me of the early days of massage guns, when the very first Theragun Pro (listed at $600, remember that?!) sounded like a lawn mower.

Still, there’s a lot about the tech that I love:

  • There’s so much surface area to work with here. This toy answers the question: What if my entire foam roller were a massage gun? If you take the time to learn how to use it properly, it can prove an absolute gamechanger for so many regions of the body.
  • To that point, the RPM works quite well for simple lower-half massages. Use it on your calves or IT bands and you will most definitely work out some knots.
  • Its best, hold-the-phone function, though? Relieving the feet!

This is where, assuming you have one goal (avoid/eradicate plantar fasciitis) and some money lying around ($250, to be exact), it is 100% worth getting the Chirp RPM. You can run your feet over the device while keeping it in its base platform; just use the toe from your other foot to hold down the power button. As someone who runs more than 20 miles a week, I can attest that this is where the full might of that rolling-percussive combo is unleashed. It feels like heaven.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!