Whether you’re a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast, you can benefit from a muscle stimulator.
These devices can help with muscle recovery, endurance, strength and can also jump-start your warmup and prepare your body for intense exercise or sports.
One such device is the PlayMakar PRO Electrical Muscle Stimulator— a fully wireless device that offers electrical muscle stimulation.
If you’re interested in buying the PlayMakar Pro, but you’re on the fence about whether it’s worth the purchase, this review should help seal the deal.
In this post, I’ll share everything you need to know about the PlayMakar Pro including its best features and what makes it so special.
I will also share my own findings and results after trying out the device for myself.
In addition, if you are interested in the PlayMakar SPORT model, that’s covered here too!
What is the PlayMakar Pro EMS?
The PlayMakar SPORT Electrical Muscle Stimulator is a small, wireless device that you can take anywhere.
It comes equipped with 14 programs designed for pain management, endurance, muscle recovery, and to enhance muscle strength.
It also offers 25 levels of intensity, ideal for hardcore athletes, and offers 5 to 10 hours of use time on the hand control and 3 to 5 hours of use time per pod.
The unit is designed by PlayMakar Inc—a sports recovery and movement optimization brand boasting over 20 years of experience in the development of medical devices.
The company was founded in 2016 by Mike Williams and they are committed to creating FDA cleared products that incorporate clinical base support.
Their EMS device is just one among a range of products geared towards optimizing athletic physical ability.
What’s included with the PlayMakar Pro?
- Pro-1000 remote
- Expandable receiver2 pods (4)
- 2.75x 2.75 small snap electrodes (4)
- 2.74×4, large snap electrodes (2)
- Dual USB charger and adapter
- Tote bag
What is EMS?
Electrical muscle stimulators use electrical impulses to elicit muscle contraction in the body.
These are most effective when used in conjunction with an exercise routine, optimizing your workout by making it more intense.
EMS aids in athletic performance, rehabilitation and recovery.
Main features and benefit of an EMS device
Electrical muscle stimulators boast several benefits for professional athletes and persons who are focused on fitness and health.
It can enhance your athletic training as it allows your muscles to work harder and for a longer time span than they would on their own.
It helps with muscle recovery for stiff and weak muscles either due to inactivity, after a surgery or due to illness.
Muscles can also become stiff due to intense exercise or physical activity.
An EMS device– due to the electrical frequency it releases into the muscles—can help with blood flow and release endorphins to aid in muscle recovery.
If you suffer from soreness in the lower back, an EMS device can also relax these muscles and ease tightness in this area.
Things to consider before buying an EMS device
If you’ve never bought an EMS unit before, there are some important things to keep in mind before buying one.
Is the product suitable for you?
Most importantly, make sure that you can use the device.
If you are pregnant, or if you wear a pacemaker it is not advisable to use an EMS device.
Also, if you suffer from heart related conditions, you must consult your physician before purchase.
Additional TENS unit function
Consider if you want a device that only offers an EMS function or one that doubles as a TENS unit.
EMS focuses on muscle recovery and aids in athletic performance while a TENS unit aids in pain relief.
Wireless vs Wired EMS Units
If you want a device that offers flexibility, then a wireless option is more ideal.
This is also a better choice for athletes that travel often, since you can use it anytime and anywhere.
Plus, wires are hard to conceal if you want discretion while using your unit.
Power Intensity & Modes
A range of modes and intensity levels allow you to uniquely tailor each pod based on where it is placed on your body.
Some areas may require more intense levels than others, depending on the muscle group.
For your own safety, ensure that your EMS unit is FDA approved.
This should be explicitly stated in the product description, and if it’s not, ask the manufacturer about this information before purchase.
Features and benefits of the PlayMakar Pro Muscle Stimulator
There are lots of EMS units on the market these days, some are even cheaper than the PlayMakar.
So why should you invest in this device?
Here are some of the unique selling points that set this EMS unit apart from the others.
You won’t have to tussle and fight with annoying wires during use since the device is completely wireless.
PlayMakar is also light and discreet, making it easily conceal during use, and easy to travel with.
Your unit comes with 4 pods, but you can easily purchase backup pods to use while the others are charging.
The USB charger and adapter are for charging your device, offering several hours of use before requiring a recharge.
25 Intensity levels and 14 programs
You can adjust to intensity level to match the level of your workout, with 25 options to choose from.
Additionally, the unit comes with 14 pre-set programs designed to jumpstart your warmup.
It also helps to increase your heart rate and circulation; activate the muscles; enhance fatigue resistance during long workouts, promote recovery and relaxation after an intense workout and help to improve muscle strength.
Pads are easily replaceable/subscription option
Replacing the pods for your device is quite simple.
By joining the PlayMakar subscription membership program you can get 12 pads, large or small for $24 per month.
Joining the membership program also gives you access to special discounts, promotions and exclusive offers, plus 10% off the purchase on any new device.
If you live in the U.S, you’ll benefit from free priority shipping. Plus, you can also customize the plan to suit or needs or cancel anytime.
It doubles as a TENS unit
PlayMakar also offers Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) which is a safe and drug-free option for pain relief.
It works by sending low voltage pulses to the skin, which helps to release endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) to block pain signals from travelling to your brain.
2- year warranty and 30-day return
If you purchase PlayMakar from the official website, you’ll get a 2-year warranty and there is also a 30-day window to return your device.
The Contents: Wireless PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator
The box of the PlayMakar PRO Electrical Muscle Stimulator has a nice feel to it and its very sturdy unlike a lot of the cheap boxes that most products come in these days.
Once you open the box immediately displayed is the unit itself along with the 4 wireless pods.
Once you lift up the top layer of the box you then begin to see the rest of the contents.
Everything in the box is of a decent quality. There are absolutely no complaints.
The wireless pods snap easily onto the pads and once on, are securely fastened. In the same way they snap off just as easily.
Testing the PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator for the First Time
I must admit I was a little anxious about setting up the PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator.
Anything wireless sounds like a potential nightmare to me and even more so when you have 4 wireless units that need to be set up.
However, I found there were no issues at all.
All the pods were already configured and all I had to do was turn them on and the unit found them right away.
They all came programmed to Channel 1, which means that all the pods will follow the same instructions from the unit (there is the option to get funky where you can program each pod to have it’s own unique channel so you can control each pod independently of the other).
I then snapped each wireless pod on to each pad and stuck it on various parts of my body. For the initial test, I stuck two pads on each forearm.
I turned the unit on followed by pressing the power button on each of the wireless pods. From then on the controls are pretty basic.
You press the ‘set’ button to scroll through the various options and either up or down to scroll through them.
On each press of the ‘set’ button you can choose, TENS or EMS, the program, the intensity and the duration.
Pressing either up or down will adjust these settings.
First, I tried out the EMS function.
It’s originally set to ‘0’ intensity so if you don’t feel anything when you first try it, that is the reason.
I moved it up and I did this far quicker than I should as my right arm was twitching uncontrollably.
As the instructions say do it slowly!
Since then I’ve tried it on other parts of the body and have gotten used to how it works.
All I can say is the PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator works and it works well.
I know it’s working because I used it on my lower abs to drive a little life into them and the next day my abs were sore which was the identical feeling to as if I had worked them out.
As a TENS unit the PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator also delivers.
I have used it on muscle strains around my upper traps which would have otherwise prevented me from getting on with my day.
I also recommend getting the cooling gel as together with the PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator it really does help relieve pain.
If you do choose to wear the PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator for most of the day you’ll likely forget you are wearing it as it is light and discrete.
Regarding the PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator functionality, I have had no problems at all.
The connection from the unit to the wireless pods have never cut off, nor have I ever had to fiddle around with repairing them.
All the wireless pods are extremely responsive to the main unit and have had no lag in them at all.
I was even surprised to later find out that the main control unit doesn’t even have to be turned on while you have the wireless pods attached to you.
You can use the main unit for initial set up, and once the wireless pods have received the instructions you can turn it off to save battery.
And speaking of the battery, the battery life of both the unit and wireless pods do last a long time. I’ve found that I’ve used the system the whole day without having to charge them.
The only annoyance with the battery is having to charge all the units.
In essence, you have to make sure 5 separate pieces of equipment are charged at all times (the main unit and each of the 4 wireless pods).
The PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator comes with a mains charger which has two USB ports. This means you can charge up only two units at one time.
While this is a little annoyance it is a fairly standard charger and USB so you could buy more.
Despite this small issue, it’s worth having it for the sake of the wireless functionality and is only a small trade-off in reality.
Furthermore, the units charge very quickly so you don’t have to wait too long to charge all of them anyway.
A nice addition to this product would be a standup charger which can charge all pods and unit at the same time.
The carry bag that comes with the PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator works well to keep everything together however for storage I recommend getting the extra case for tidier storage (shown in the image above).
Regarding the electrode pads, they are well made and highly durable.
I’ve used the same set that I got with the original unit and it is still sticking onto my skin without any issue.
No doubt at some point they will need to be replaced, but I’d guess you can use each pad around 20 times before you start to see some loss in stickiness or deterioration in the pads.
The replacement pads could be considered on the expensive side and this is one of the downsides.
At the time of writing it’s approximately $16 for 1 pack of 4 pads.
However, if you subscribe on the PlayMakar website, you can get it for half price which seems much more appealing.
I personally had a problem getting more pads as I am based on the UK. If you live anywhere other than the United States you’ll want to make doubly sure you have easy access to more pads before you purchase the EMS unit.
What Do Other Users Say?
Based on Amazon reviews, buyers were impressed with the user-friendliness of the device.
Some persons who used wired units in the past found the wireless option of the PlayMakar Pro quite convenient.
Customers were also happy with the wide array of intensity levels and some shared that the device was effective for shoulder injuries and tarsal tunnel relief, while the TENS unit worked well for chronic back pain.
They also appreciated the 2-year warranty, making a note to point out that the company offers good customer service.
Users on the official product page recommend the PlayMakar Pro for athletes at any level.
Some concerns from buyers on Amazon was that the electrode pads must be replaced after a while and the bulkiness of the receiver pod was also pointed out by customers. The price tag was also an issue.
Nonetheless, it’s a 2-in-1 device offering EMS and TENS and has a range of intensity levels and programs for professional athletes, fitness enthusiasts and persons who regularly engage in sports and recreational activities.
Conclusion: Should you buy the PlayMakar Pro EMS Unit?
The PlayMakar PRO Electrical Muscle Stimulator does exactly what it is supposed to do and is a great option for athletes looking to reach peak performance during training.
The unit is equipped with several modes and intensity levels to satisfy all users and the wireless feature makes it comfortable to wear, to the point that you forget you are even wearing them.
You can charge up your device and use it anytime and anywhere with no hassle, plus the TENS feature is a bonus for pain management.
As some users say, it is one of the more expensive EMS units on the market. If price is a problem then you may want to consider Playmakar’s cheaper alternative.
An Alternative: PlayMakar SPORT wired EMS
If you like the PlayMakar Pro, but you’re worried about the price, a viable option is the wired alternative known as the PlayMakar SPORT Electrical Muscle Stimulator.
It is more cost-efficient, but just as effective as its wireless counterpart—offering 25 intensity levels and 10 pre-set programs to choose from.
Much like the pro version, this device also has a TENS unit for pain management and comes with a pro-500 remote, 2 large snap electrodes, 4 small snap electrodes, 2 snap lead wires, USB charger and adapter, a tote bag and a belt clip holder.
There isn’t too much that is different between the wired version and the wireless version apart from the obvious. Wires!
I saw no difference between power or responsiveness between the two models and they performed pretty much the same.
Furthermore, the PlayMakar SPORT Electrical Muscle Stimulator has its own share of benefits, offering less hassle since only the base unit requires charging unlike the Pro version where you must charge each pod.
The other plus is that it is cheaper than the wireless version.
Despite, these advantages the wireless feature of the PRO model trumps the wired version so if you have the extra budget it’s well worth paying for the wireless feature.
With the wired version it does get on the annoying side having to place the pads on your skin with all the wires hanging from them.
Furthermore, untangling the wires after using it isn’t as much fun either!
For this reason, the wireless PlayMakar Muscle Stimulator is a game changer over the wired version.
That being said, if you do decide to go with the PlayMakar SPORT Electrical Muscle Stimulator it is definitely a decent, and cheaper alternative.
There is no dip in performance between either model.
Whichever model you do end up going with you’ll find the product does its job well.
Buying directly from PlayMakar gives you access to their membership program, which includes free shipping, plus 2-year warranty with purchase.
To be safe, if you suffer from heart conditions, it’s best to consult your physician before use.
If you wear a pacemaker, an EMS unit is not the right solution for you, as it can interfere with the device. Also, do not use one if you are pregnant.