PowerDot 2.0 Review: Is It Effective for Soothing Sore Muscles?
From smartwatches and other wearables to percussive devices and even smart home gym systems, the wellness technology space continues to expand, providing consumers with deeper insights into their health and fitness than ever before.
Once reserved for professional athletes, high tech recovery tools are now gaining in popularity among everyday consumers, offering a way to help with post-workout recovery and even manage chronic pain and soreness.
Sold by Therabody, the PowerDot 2.0 is a smart muscle stimulator that claims to have multiple benefits for muscle recovery, pain management, and athletic performance — but does it actually live up to the hype?
This article provides a comprehensive review of the PowerDot 2.0 and whether it's worth the investment.
Therabody, a wellness technology company, acquired PowerDot in early 2021.
Joining products like the Theragun Pro and RecoveryAir compression system, the PowerDot fits the company's mission to make wellness tech available for everyone, not just professional athletes.
The PowerDot uses electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), also known as e-stim, to send electrical impulses to your muscles and cause them to contract.
This type of treatment is frequently used in physical therapy to help with muscle recovery, improve strength, and boost athletic performance (1).
It may also help with chronic pain management, though more research is needed (2).
The PowerDot combines two types of EMS into one unit: neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
TENS helps mainly with pain relief and targets sensory nerves. The electrical impulses from a TENS unit can block pain signals sent to the brain. TENS also promotes the production of endorphins, the body's feel-good chemicals (3).
NMES, on the other hand, targets muscles through motor nerves, using an electrical current to make muscles contract and relax. These currents work at a higher frequency, which enables them to stimulate both slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers (4).
NMES may help increase strength and aid in recovery by encouraging the delivery of nutrients to the affected muscles (4).
To use the PowerDot 2.0, you place pads on the area you’d like to target and select your intensity and desired time.
Once it's up and running, electrical impulses travel to the nerves and muscles of the affected area. Many users describe feeling a tingling sensation.
The device comes with access to a free app that helps the user dial in their experience by inputting their fatigue level and recent activity. Using this information, the app recommends ideal pad placement, intensity level, and session time.
When purchasing the PowerDot 2.0, you can choose either the Uno, which features one receiver (also known as a pod), or the Duo, which comes with two pods. The Duo allows you to focus on both sides of your body at once or to cover a larger area.
Available colors: black, red
Size: 2.37 × 1.71 × 0.54 inches (6.02 × 4.34 × 1.37 cm)
Weight: 0.06 pounds (0.03 kg)
Battery life: up to 20 hours per charge
To use the PowerDot 2.0, you’ll first need to download the PowerDot app, which is available on Apple and Android devices. It requires iOS 10.0 or later or Android 7.0 or later.
The app includes 10 programs. Here's an overview of each program's intended use:
Here are the current prices of the PowerDot 2.0:
The company also offers monthly financing through Affirm for qualified customers.
Keep in mind that the pads need to be replaced after every 20–25 sessions. Replacement packages cost $18 each and come with 2 rectangular electrode pads and 4 round electrode pads.
The PowerDot 2.0 is covered by a 1-year warranty and ships for free.
Getting your PowerDot 2.0 up and running requires a few steps. First, you’ll need to download the PowerDot app and create an account.
Next, you’ll follow these instructions:
The mission behind the PowerDot is to bring EMS to the masses, not just to serious athletes — and customer reviews of the machine are overwhelmingly positive.
In particular, reviewers with chronic pain share that the PowerDot 2.0 helps them manage their symptoms.
Others mention that they find the device effective for warming up their muscles before a tough workout and aiding in recovery afterward. Several reviewers say the PowerDot 2.0 has greatly helped reduce post-workout muscle soreness and relieve joint tension.
Many also comment on the ease of use compared with a traditional TENS unit, which typically has hanging wires and prohibits movement while in use.
Still, no product is perfect, and a few reviewers feel that the PowerDot 2.0 is overpriced, considering that you can buy a traditional TENS unit for around $50.
The main complaint about the PowerDot 2.0, however, is connectivity issues. Some reviewers say the device occasionally loses Bluetooth connection and needs to be reset.
There are several alternatives to the PowerDot 2.0, including the Compex Sport Elite 2.0 and the MyoPux. Here's a quick look at how the key specs of these devices compare:
Also a TENS device, the Compex Sport Elite 2.0 is another option for those who are looking for a way to recover more quickly or manage muscle pain.
Like the PowerDot 2.0 Uno, the Compex Sport Elite 2.0 is priced at less than $200, comes with 1 receiver, and offers 10 programs.
However, it's not a smart device, meaning it doesn't sync with an app. Instead, the device features a small digital screen that you navigate using buttons on the front of the unit.
In addition to lacking a user-friendly app, the Sport Elite 2.0 is marketed more toward serious athletes. As a result, it may not be appealing to more casual exercisers.
The MyoPux is comparable to the PowerDot 2.0 Duo, as it also has two receivers. Plus, at $295 — versus $349 for the Duo — its price is more appealing.
Another benefit of the MyoPux is that it has several pads that run wirelessly. While the PowerDot 2.0 is also portable, a wireless option might be beneficial if you’re planning on moving around during the treatment.
Still, keep in mind that the MyoPux is not a smart device. Therefore, if you’re interested in smart recommendations and want to control your unit with an app, we recommend choosing the PowerDot 2.0 instead.
There are many recovery tools on the market: percussive devices (also known as massage guns), compression boots, foam rollers, massage balls, and more. As a result, deciding which one to buy can be challenging.
Here's a quick look at the most popular recovery tools to help you choose a product that's right for you.
Considered an "old-school" recovery method, a foam roller is simply that — a tube of compressed foam that allows the user to perform a self-massage on tight or sore areas.
Although there are foam rollers available today that vibrate and connect to an app, most are no-frills and very affordable.
Foam rollers are not only effective for managing muscle pain from knots or tightness but may also help increase flexibility and range of motion (5).
If you’re looking for a way to warm up before a tough workout, or even if you sit most of the day, a foam roller could be beneficial.
A massage gun is a handheld device that looks like a drill and can be quite noisy. The device allows you to target sore or tight muscles and relieves tension by decreasing lactic acid and increasing blood flow to the area (6, 7).
While they’re more expensive than a foam roller — massage guns generally range in price from $30–$600 — they can be more beneficial in the sense that they offer more precision and can target areas that a foam roller can't.
Plus, massage guns feature powerful motors to provide a desired amount of intensity, whereas a foam roller relies on your body weight to provide most of the pressure.
A massage ball is about the size of a lacrosse ball and offers an inexpensive way to target sore muscles.
Some high tech massage balls are available that offer vibration settings and Bluetooth connectivity, though most are no-frills.
Choosing between a massage ball and a foam roller depends on the area you want to focus on. A massage ball makes it easier to target a smaller or more sensitive area, like the bottom of your foot or your shoulder blade, while a foam roller is better for larger areas, like your IT band.
Another benefit of a massage ball is that it's portable and good for travel.
Compression boots are inflatable sleeves that are placed around your legs, all the way up to your mid-thigh.
When turned on, the boots fill with air and rhythmically inflate and deflate to help increase blood flow, improve circulation, and reduce swelling in your lower extremities — although no significant performance gains have been found (8, 9).
Often likened to a blood pressure cuff for your legs, compression boots require you to sit in a comfortable position for a designated period of time — usually 20 minutes or so — with your legs straight.
Serious athletes often use compression boots for recovery from tough workouts. While some are designed for more casual exercisers as well, compression boots aren't cheap — a quality set costs around $500. These devices are also quite bulky.
Unlike a massage gun, foam roller, or massage ball, the PowerDot 2.0 offers hands-off functionality and the ability to target a very specific area that may be unreachable with another device. It's also compact, so it's a good option to throw into your gym bag.
Plus, it's more versatile than compression boots because it can be used on almost any area of your body.
In addition to the considerations mentioned above, deciding on a recovery tool that's right for you largely depends on your individual needs.
For example, massage guns and foam rollers are better options if you’re interested in targeting muscle knots or soothing general soreness after a workout.
In contrast, the PowerDot 2.0 is likely the best choice if you have chronic muscle pain or an area that isn't responding well to stretching or foam rolling alone.
The PowerDot 2.0 has many benefits. However it isn't the best fit — or the right investment — for everyone.
If you’re considering using the PowerDot 2.0, consult a healthcare professional first. Some people shouldn't use EMS treatments, including those who are pregnant and those who have implantable medical devices such as pacemakers.
As long as you’re medically cleared to use an EMS machine, the PowerDot 2.0 is worth considering if you’re an athlete or serious fitness enthusiast looking to boost your recovery game. It may even help increase strength and improve your athletic performance.
It might also be a good fit if you have chronic pain that persists despite trying other treatments. But keep in mind that it's still best to consult a healthcare professional to determine whether the PowerDot 2.0 is right for your pain management plan.
The PowerDot 2.0 is a smart muscle stimulator that may help support athletic performance, warm up muscles before a workout, boost post-workout recovery, and aid in pain management.
While it isn't cheap, the PowerDot 2.0 is worth the investment if you’re looking for a high tech way to provide targeted relief to sore, achy muscles.Available colors: Included accessories: Size: Weight: Battery life: Muscle Endurance: Strength Endurance: Resistance: Strength: Explosive Strength: Active Recovery: Extended Recovery: Light Recovery: Potentiation: Massage: PowerDot 2.0 Uno: PowerDot 2.0 Duo: PowerDot 2.0 Compex Sport Elite 2.0 MyoPux Price Uno: Duo: Warranty App Number of receivers Uno: Duo: Number of programs Wireless