After doing a fair amount of online research I purchased the Maxi Pro Thumper Massager for my wife’s birthday earlier this year. Thumper makes the claim that many of their massagers (including this one) are used by loads of industry professionals (physical therapists, chiropractors, sports teams, etc.). I am a former collegiate athlete now turned recreational athlete, but I work out (hard) every day or every other day, so I the idea that this was a “professional” model rather than something you’d find at Walmart or Target appealed to me. We already had a Homedics hand-held/wand massager, but it just wasn’t powerful enough to get deep into large sore muscles like the quadriceps and hamstrings.
I did some shopping and searching online and eventually found the Comfort Store Direct in Lewis Center, Ohio, USA had the best price (and free shipping at the time), so I bought it from them.
The unit arrived a week later in a specially designed box, so it was undamaged and ready to go right out of the box. The Maxi Pro is primarily designed for 2 person use, so I patiently waited for my wife to come home to give it a shot. My wife loved the Maxi Pro immediately but I wasn’t quite sold on it. Don’t get me wrong, I did like it and it was MUCH easier to use than hand-held/wand massagers, but I quickly noted that the only real setting on the unit that was having much of an effect on me was level 5, the highest setting. As far as I was concerned, the other 4 lower settings really didn’t do much at all.
Since we were using the Maxi Pro on its highest setting I consulted their web site for answers and found that Thumper has a more powerful an Equine version of this unit, which was especially designed for elite athletes and of course horses. This unit looks the same as the Maxi Pro but apparently has a stronger motor in it.
Over the course of the next few days I wrested with the idea of going through the bother of sending the Maxi Pro back and getting the Equine model. After 3 days I cracked and gave in. I contacted the Comfort Store Direct and requested a return authorization number, which they gladly gave me – by the way, both my wife and I dealt with these folks and they were always pleasant. I shipped the Maxi Pro back at a cost of about $15 (not bad) and came to the conclusion that the extra $40 for the Equine more powerful motor would be worth it.
When the Equine unit arrived I gave it a shot on my quadriceps (don’t need 2 people for this), and I have to say that I was initially disappointed with it. I really expected a notable difference in power between the two units but I just didn’t feel it. Later that night my wife tried the unit and while she agreed with me that it might not be significantly more powerful, she felt it might be slightly better.
I sent Thumper an email asking if perhaps I got an underpowered unit and indicated that I was a little disappointed with this new model. To their credit, a Thumper representative responded to me within 24 business hours, she kindly explained that, “The depth of the stroke on the Equine Thumper is 15% higher than with the Maxi Pro. The drive assembly which is the mechanism responsible for the “punch” has a different tolerance than the one on the Maxi Pro therefore the impact is greater.“
The Thumper rep indicated that I could return the product for a refund if I would like, which I appreciated. I emailed her back and indicated that my wife really did like the unit (and I didn’t think it was too bad) so a refund would not be necessary.
- The unit is heavy (8 lbs), but it actually works to its advantage. You don’t need to press down on the massager to feel pressure; the weight of the unit does it for you.
- The two handles on the unit make it easy to move manipulate/move/adjust.
- If you are flexible and a little creative, you can actually use the Maxi Pro/Equine Model without someone else assisting
- Quiet. In fact, it’s much quieter than the hand-held/wand unit we have that’s less powerful. It’s not difficult to watch television and use the unit at the same time.
- Very easy to use on someone. In fact, you can often place the unit on someone (like the lumbar part of the back) and the unit will work without you having to hold it at all. You may have to balance it with just a couple of fingers just so it stays in place – either way it’s easy.
- Instead of a vibrating motion most massagers have, this one actually pounds up and down like a piston (you can actually see it doing this). I found this approach was much more effective in giving/receiving massages.
- Fast, friendly customer service – the rep I emailed at Thumper was very nice.
- Feels pretty sturdy and durable…although I’ve only had it for a few weeks.
- Don’t get that fatigued feeling in your hands, wrists and forearms that you do from vibrating hand-held/wand massagers. It really doesn’t require a lot of effort to give someone a massage.
- Unit does not heat up during or after use.
- Not portable if you’re traveling, but that wasn’t really a concern of ours.
- For the most part, this is a 2-person effort, using the massager by yourself is doable but tricky.
- Still would like it to have a higher, more powerful setting for both units.
- The instructional DVD they send you is worthless. In fact, there was a depth adjustment dial at the bottom of both units that I didn’t even know until the Thumper rep let me know via email.
I’d recommend this unit to anyone in the market for a personal massager that’s tried other vibrating models that don’t quite get into the muscles enough. It’s easy to use, but I’d suggest purchasing the unit if you have a partner that’s willing and able to work with you. At around $300 it’s not the cheapest model out there. Personally I’d go with the Maxi Pro since it’s less expensive and I didn’t feel a tremendous difference between it and the Equine model.
by Jeremy Tuber