NormaTec Review: the Good, the Bad and How to Save Over $600 – AlphaGun

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NormaTec Review: the Good, the Bad and How to Save Over $600


The Normatec (now the Normatec 3) is a powerful air compression leg massage device made by HyperVolt, also the maker of the popular HyperVolt percussive massage gun.

Used by professional sports teams and athletes, the Normatec 3 boots claim to offer state of the art compression designed for before and after serious exercise.

But at $799 or more, these boots are very expensive. So, it's worth looking at what they offer in detail, and what the alternatives are.

In this Normatec review, I'm going to cover:

1. What the features of the Normatec 3 boots are
2. What's good about Normatec
3. What's bad about it
4. Finally how it compares to the alternatives, some of which are available for as much as $600 less.

What's good about the Normatec?

Founded in 1998 and now part of Hyperice Inc, Normatec are at the forefront of sports recovery technology.

Normatec has a strong reputation - with many famous athletes using their products, including Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi, as well as various Olympic teams.

The Normatec 3 boots are their flagship compression device.

Normatec’s inflatable compression sleeves use patented technology to pulse and squeeze parts of your body to increase blood flow and reduce swelling.

Normatec 3 boots

While most will use it as a recovery device, much like the combination of a compression sock and a massage, you can also tailor the massage routine to be used as a warmup before a training session.

Weighing about 3.6lb, the whole kit is not lightweight, but it's easier to carry than you'd think. The boots are both battery (up to 180 minutes use per charge) and mains powered.

Using either the control panel or the phone app, you can select up to 7 different levels of pressure across 4 different 'zones'.

Normatec 3

The Normatec does not allow you to exclusively target specific areas, e.g. just the feet. However, you can boost specific 'zones' by selecting them on the panel. This just means it massages the selected areas for an extra minute at higher pressure.

The pressure settings range from 1 (low) to 7 (very high), with the lowest being 30 mm/HG and the highest at 110 mm/HG.

Most report only using settings 2-4, as some find the higher pressures uncomfortable. However, others may find the very high settings effective - particularly experienced/high-level athletes.

The two boots are connected by a hose to the control panel and pump. This is the standard way for such devices to operate.

Leg compression boots are not only for use before and after exercise. Some find that using Normatec (or other leg compression boots) before bed can help them sleep, while others have used them to ease discomfort in their legs. Many use such devices simply to relax.

What's Bad About the Normatec?

At $799 for the basic boots alone, the Normatec 3 is not cheap.

Believe it or not, this is actually a reduction in price from the Normatec 2, which cost as much as $1,500.  These earlier versions of the Normatec were not taken up by your everyday jogger or even fitness enthusiast - mostly because of the cost.

Even the Normatec branded backpack (carry cases are not included for the $799 product) costs $150.

While a professional athlete might be able to justify paying this much, it can be hard for anyone else to do so. Particularly when there are alternatives for half this price or even less.

And some of these alternatives offer additional features, like targeted heat. The latest version of the Normatec does not offer any heat features.

Another potential flaw in the design of the Normatec 3 is the sizing. There are 3 sizes available - small, medium and large. These sizes are based on the hight of the user.

Much like with clothing that comes in similar sizes though, choosing the right size can be a challenge - especially if you are on the cusp of two sizes. Add to this that the Normatex offers a zip closure, not something more adjustable like velcro straps.

A couple who are somewhat different in height, for example, may not be able to comfortably share the Normatec, making the device potentially more expensive still.

The effectiveness of the these devices does depend somewhat on getting the size and fit right.

Finally, the Normatec is designed (and priced) for professional, world-class athletes.  Most users will find the device perfectly usable and comfortable, but they may find themselves paying extra for something that they will not use to its capacity.

There are much less expensive alternatives for the everyday user - not just those who want to use it for sports recovery, but general relaxation, relief and comfort.

The Normatec is, however, a fantastic leg compression device.

The Top Normatec Alternatives

While Normatec is the original, there are now a wide range of alternative leg massagers. Prices range from around $900 down to under $200.

At the top end of the price scale are other major brands - the most expensive of which is the Theragun RecoveryAir at $899+.  These boots are very similar in design and function to the Normatec 3, and offer a similar level of power and features. Both the Normatec 3 and RecoveryAir comes in 3 sizes.

The RevoceryAir does not offer as many different massage options, and notably it does not offer the Normatec's 'pulse' program, which is one of the most popular.

Slightly cheaper are Kingsfield's compression boots, which sell for $599.  These offer similar levels of power (up to 200 mm/HG) to the Normatec 3 and RecoveryAir, but come in only two sizes - which are designed for people between 5'4" and 6'4".

Among the reasonably priced alternatives are the Flextron ($249) and our very own AlphaGun AirX ($179, delivered free in the USA).

The Flextron is reasonably priced at $249, and unlike the more expensive devices comes in one adjustable size - it fits people between 5'1" and 6'3", using adjustable velcro straps which allow the user to adjust the width perfectly (unlike the other devices mentioned so far).

The AlphaGun AirX offers this same adjustable shape too, making it a comfortable and adjustable fit for most users - and can even be shared with a partner, for example.

Like the Normatec, the AlphaGun AirX has a range of massage options designed for both athletes and everyday users.

The AirX has 6 programs:

Auto - automatically adjusts pressure during massage

Pinch - similar the the 'pulse' function on the Normatec. Great for warm-up-warm-down.

Press - applies pressure evenly across feet and legs

Leg - targets only the legs

Foot - targets only the feet

Relax - gentle massage designed for relaxation

While the Normatec is designed only for sports massage and athletes, the AirX has a wide range of options for those who want a similar device but at a lower price.

The AirX also allows the user to target only the feet or legs, rather than the options on the Normatec where you can choose to apply more pressure to these areas, but not target them individually.

The AirX has 3 pressure levels - low, medium and high - which are comparable to the mid levels available on the Normatec.

Although the AirX has fewer pressure settings than the Normatec, they are within a similar range, and the AirX offers a feature none of the alternatives mentioned so far have - heated knee pads (with 3 heat levels).

These are great for those who want extra attention for sore knees, but not the high pressure that less adjustable devices apply.

The three knee pad heat options are: low (95°F/35°C), medium (113°F/45°C) and high (131°F/55°C), which can be selected using the control panel.  The device can be used with or without the knee pads.

Perhaps most importantly, the Alpha AirX is currently on sale for only $179 - that's over $600 cheaper than the Normatec 3, and the most reasonably priced of the alternatives we looked at.

Like the Normatec, and other leg compression boots, the AlphaGun AirX is designed to increase blood flow and reduce swelling.  It's an effective warm up and warm down tool, but it's also great for lighter users and those who just want a simple and effective leg massage.

Four key reasons to try the AlphaGun AirX instead:

1. Save $600: the AlphaGun AirX is cheaper at $179 compared to $799+

2. With heated knee pads, adjustable design, 3 pressure levels and 6 zones the AirX is one of the most comfortable and adjustable leg massagers on the market

3. The AlphaGun AirX is designed for everyone, not just professional athletes. The affordable price, adjustability and ease of use makes the AirX ideal for sports recovery, but also just relaxing after a long day.

4. The AirX is shipped free with UPS and delivered in about 2-7 days.

So, for a limited time you can get a comfortable, effective and excellent value-for-money leg compressor for over $600 less by choosing the AlphaGun AirX.

The AirX also comes with a 1 year warranty and 30 days returns.

 

Click here to see the AirX now

 

Normatec 3 review vs AlphaGun AirX 

Keywords: Normatec review, hyperice NormaTec, Normatec comparison to AlphaGun AirX

 


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