Back roller wheel company Chirp has significantly expanded their product line over the past years since launching their original Chirp Wheel, with their most recent new massage and pain relief tool being the subject of this review: The Chirp RPM, a rolling percussive massager.
‘What’s a ‘rolling percussive massager’?’ I hear you ask.
Well, I’ll get into that more in this Chirp RPM review, but essentially it is what it says it is, it rolls like a foam roller, and it’s a percussive massager. It’s very different to the typical ‘massage gun’ style percussive massagers you’ve probably seen or may already own, although it’s essentially competing with these devices.
I would describe it as a much more advanced version of the Chirp 3-In-1 Muscle Roller Stick, which take a lot of the work out of rolling when it comes to certain muscle groups.
If you’re not familiar with Chirp, check out our Chirp wheel review, which provides a load more detail and background on the company and their most popular product, the Chirp Wheel.
Chirp is one of those innovative consumer-facing companies that finds its way onto Shark Tank – the company featured on the show several years ago, after we had already been using and reviewing their earlier products here at Trail & Kale.
The key specifications of the Chirp RPM
- Price: $299 from gochirp.com
- What it’s for: muscle soreness and fatigue, pain and discomfort, tension and muscle knots, and possibly helps accelerate post-run or post-workout recovery. It’s especially great for the feet!
- Functions: 5-speed reversible spin, hands-free base
- Power: uses a rechargeable battery with a battery life of around 4 hours
- The competition: plain old foam rollers, vibrating massaging foam rollers, percussion massage guns, manual foot massagers and any number of balls and manual devices designed for massaging feet, legs and backs in particular.
3 features of the Chirp RPM that I squarking love!
1. The foot massage it gives you when used in its base
This is one gadget I wish I’d had when I was pregnant last year. Oh, to have an easy way to massage those tired feet! It would have been delightful.
When you use the Chirp RPM by holding it, you need to push the oval button on the bottom for the rollers to spin. It stops when you release the button. You can also slide the small button next to it to change the direction of spin.
When used with the base, the Chirp RPM will continuously roll as the button gets activated with the weight of the roller pushing down on it.
This makes it great for giving a hands-free massage parts of your body such as your feet as well as your hamstrings and glutes, if you can arrange your body to have that part over the RPM while still being able to control the pressure (so your full leg’s weight isn’t resting on it).
I’m now back to running regularly postpartum, and currently training for a faster half marathon, using one of our free run training schedules/plans, so my feet are working hard for me and using this roller is enjoyable at any time during the day to ease the aches and tension that can build up in my arches and Plantar Fascia.
It’s especially great to use after a long run or mountain bike ride when I want to get some pressure and stimulate circulation in my tired, sometimes aching feet.
I expect using this rolling massage device for a robust foot massage is going to be how most people would also use it the most. It certainly seems that way from reading other reviews of the Chirp RPM on their website.
For fellow runners and regular Trail & Kale readers, you’re probably going to like it if you spend a lot of time on your feet and are looking for gadgets that genuinely help with that all-important post-run recovery.
For example, you may be planning to use it every day when you get home from work and take your shoes off, or to keep it under your desk and using it every day you’re at work if you have a desk job.
Using it as a foot massager is my favorite feature and use for the Chirp RPM, and it would make a great gift for anyone who would enjoy the easy foot massage it provides. To take things one step further (see what I did there?!), I would also suggest combining it with the wearing of some of these recovery slides and shoes.
2. The massage coverage it provides
When you use a standard massage-gun style percussion massager, you’re really targeting a specific area – where the head of the massager is repeatedly pressing until you move it around.
That makes those massage guns fantastic for releasing a specific knot or getting into a smaller, tight area, which is why they are so popular among runners, other athletes and physical therapists alike.
However, for a massage of a larger area of your body in one go, without having to use your bodyweight, the Chirp RPM is ideal. It’s truly great for relatively effortlessly rolling and pummeling larger areas of your body such as your thighs, especially your hamstrings and IT band, but also your quads, as well as your glutes and calfs.
I personally would not use this massager for my back, apart from the side of my lower back, above my glutes. There are other, more easy to use alternatives for comfortably and effectively massaging your back out there, that are more forgiving because they’re made with silicone or foam, rather than hard plastic.
That includes Chirp’s range of Chirp Wheels, which are specifically designed to help stretch out and massage your back and neck – and they really do work as described. I have been using our Chirp Wheels for years now, almost on a daily basis before bed, to stretch my back after a busy day.
3. How easy it is to use
Let’s face it, it’s not fun ‘driving’ your massage yourself by rolling your whole body, or part of it, around on a foam roller, trying not to let it roll or slip out from underneath you and trying to put on enough pressure and get in deep enough to actually have an effect without hurting yourself in the process.
That’s especially true for me if I’m trying to get some really good pain and tension relief on an area such as my glutes or ITB, for example.
With the Chirp RPM, you can hold it using both handles, and control the pressure and speed of the massage with your hands, rather than rolling your body up and down on an object you’re pinning to the floor with your body weight.
It’s much easier to get a good massage this way, and because the rechargeable battery can last up to 4 hours at a time between charges (depending on how you use it), you can use it multiple times between charges.
Features that I feel could be improved
1. The weight
The Chirp RPM is fairly heavy to lift and use for long periods of time above your waistline, for example on your arm or upper back.
It’s worth noting that this is also a criticism I have of some of the bulkier percussion massage guns, which can also weigh enough to be unwieldy. I personally don’t use it for these parts of my body, partly because of the size, and partly because of the weight.
If you’re using it on its base or on your lower body then this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
2. It’s fairly noisy
Many massage guns are noisy, but this alternative device is also noisy because the plastic rollers make a clacking noise when they move, which gets louder the higher up in speed you go (you can choose from 5 different speeds). So, you can’t really use this device and do something like watch TV at the same time and you may disturb others around you.
This, along with having softer rollers, or the option to choose them instead of hard plastic rollers, is something I would like to see improved in the Chirp RPM v2 if and when Chirp launches a second version.
Chirp RPM review summary
The Chirp RPM rolling percussion massager will undoubtedly appeal to you if you’re looking to upgrade from using a basic foam roller to try to massage out knots and sore spots, or aid post-workout recovery.
It will also appeal if you’re looking for a very efficient way to pretty much effortlessly regularly massage sore, tired feet, instead of rolling them on a wooden foot massager or golf ball.
Is the Chirp RPM worth the money?
There’s no getting away from the fact that this product retails at $299, which feels high compared to alternatives. So, for it to be worth the money, I would suggest you need to forsee yourself using this A LOT!
If you don’t expect to get regular use out of this then it may not be for you. You could, perhaps, consider other less costly, more basic rollers that Chirp has in their range, such as this manual Chirp 3-in-1 muscle roller that has a similar two-handle design and is great for rolling out those larger thigh muscles and costs around $70.
There are also less expensive alternatives out there for other massage types, for example – if you just want a rolling foot massager, you could also instead something like this Theraflow Foot Massager that only costs around $16.
That being said, Chirp offers a ’60-day Feel Good Guarantee’, so you can try it out and send it back for a full refund in that period, if you don’t feel it’s for you or you’re not going to use it enough.
Where to buy the Chirp RPM
The Chirp RPM is available for $299 at gochirp.com. Check the product page of Chirp’s website for any promotions or discounts they may be offering!