Normatec Pulse 2.0 Review - Recovery Compression Boots

The Normatec Pulse 2.0 recovery compression boot system is here and today I'll review it and see how it stacks up against its predecessor, the Normatec Pulse.

The Skinny

I'm just going to come out and say it, I have always been a fan of the Normatec Pulse system. However, as the highest price unit on the market I am like a tough-love parent and expect nothing but the best. I am hard on it because I want to see them produce the best product they can and at the best price for consumers.

To watch the Normatec MVP shrink in size and price to the Normatec Pulse has been amazing. To see it shrink in price and size again for the Pulse 2.0 is truly impressive in a day of age where many companies are pushing back and increasing prices. In addition, they have included new features like Bluetooth connectivity which some will highly value.

However, the pressure has never been higher for Normatec. Rapid expansion by less expensive brands like Speed Hound and Air Relax have now forced Normatec to get more lean and efficient. Simply put, competition is good for consumers and while I do appreciate the lower price point and smaller size, it is still hard for me to ignore less expensive brands. Ultimately access to recovery shouldn't be afforded to the super rich and Air Relax and Speed Hound make a great affordable alternative. With that being said, Normatec claims that 97% of all professional sport teams are using Normatec.

As for the Normatec Pulse 2.0 system, my recommendation is on hold for now. While the Normatec Pulse 2.0 system is a very nice device with some nice features and upgrades that I will go over, I did have some problems with the legs. I am not sure if this issue is unique to me, or maybe it was the first couple of batches and it is now corrected, but my legs consistently had the zippers jamming making for late night frustrations as I tried to clear the jam.

With that being said, I will update this review when I get confirmation the issue has been either fixed or was an isolated incident. I have reached out for comment but have received none. In the meantime, I highly suggest making your purchase thru Amazon if you want to purchase the Pulse 2.0 system. This way you have 30 full days to use the system and make sure you aren't having the same zipper problems before your Amazon return window closes. In addition, you save 5% if you are an Amazon Prime Visa card holder. Normatec offers a 14-day return window (restocking fee applies) thru their own website and I did not test the generosity of their direct return process. Note, if the regular leg system is out of stock consider the hips + legs,

With that being said, let's compare the two units.


Little Bit of an exaggeration on size between
Normatec (see above)
Size & Weight - The Pulse 2.0 is 27% smaller and 6oz lighter

It is hard to argue with a device that is claimed to be 27%  smaller (not verified) and 6oz lighter (I verified this) than its predecessor. Although the original Pulse can be operated with one hand, a smaller and lighter device always makes it even easier to handle and that is a nice feature.

The smaller size is also nice for traveling. However,  I must admit it is hard to tell from a direct photo comparison (see above) and Normatec's own illustration greatly exaggerates the size difference.

Price - The Pulse 2.0 is $200 less 

While the original Pulse debuted at $1695, the price was more recently lowered to $1495. Normatec has moved the price down even further with the Pulse 2.0 all the way to $1295. In addition, you can save $65 with your 5% off Amazon Prime Visa card.


Useability - The Pulse 2.0 has a new LCD touchscreen 

The Normatec Pulse 2.0 maintains the exact same user interface as the original Pulse except the Pulse 2.0 has smaller buttons that are inline with the smaller device size. The buttons are no longer tactile buttons but are faux tactile buttons that use a touchscreen. In addition, you can also control the device via Bluetooth and an app that is available for Android and iOS devices. The touchscreen does not provide any additional functionality and I actually preferred the larger tactile buttons of the original Pulse.


Battery Life - Battery life has decreased from about 3 hours down to 2 hours

I put the battery under the same testing that I did for the original Pulse which consists of continuous run at pressure level 5. The Pulse 2.0 was tested with the Bluetooth on and I received 2 hours of continuous battery as opposed to ~3 hours with the original Pulse. I suspect both the Bluetooth and the LCD touchscreen consume more power and it is possible the battery is smaller too although I didn't confirm this with Normatec.

Connectivity - The Pulse 2.0 has added Bluetooth connectivity

At first I balked at the idea of Bluetooth, but I must admit it is strangely convenient to use once setup. For younger generations that are glued to their phones while in the boots, well, it is simply natural to have the ability to control the unit with your phone.

Even though the device is right next to my bed and easy to adjust I did find the phone app to be much more pleasing than expected. The phone app also has a lot of additional functionality that you don't get with the original Pulse. I'll talk more about those features below but in it is a nice upgrade to have the Bluetooth.

Pairing the Pulse 2.0
was pretty straightforward


Massage Pattern - The Pulse 2.0 has one additional massage pattern

The new Pulse 2.0 gives you the ability to use either Normatec's patented Pulse mode or Sequential. The original Pulse only has Pulse mode. Sequential mode is slightly different in that it squeezes each leg zone one by one, from bottom to top. and holds the pressures of all zones. The pressure only releases after the cycle is complete. Pulse mode inflates essentially one bag, then another, and then release that first bag, while moving on to third bag. It repeats this all the way to the top.

Pulse 2.0 offers two
different massage patterns

Zone Control - The Pulse 2.0 allows you to deactivates zones.

The new Pulse 2.0 allows you to disable as many top zones as you would like. Previously this feature was only available on the Pulse Pro. Note the operative word "top". For example, you couldn't have say zones 1, 2, 4, 5 operating, while skipping 3. But you could set it up to do zones (1 only) / (1, 2) / (1, 2, 3)  / (1, 2, 3, 4). This is useful if you share a pair of longer boots with someone who is too short for them. Also you could use it for say an ankle injury and only focus on zone 1 and 2.


Setting the legs zones

Rest Time - The Pulse 2.0 allows control of the rest time

This isn't a super big feature in my opinion, but the Pulse 2.0 allows control of the rest time between one cycle finishing and the next cycle starting. By default it is 30 seconds but can be adjusted from 15 seconds all the way up to 90 seconds. 


Reporting - The Pulse 2.0 adds reporting

The Pulse 2.0 allows you to record your session activity and automatically submit it Strava or Training Peaks. Now coaches can call out athletes for not doing their recovery as prescribed. It is a small feature, but I am sure the data geeks will rejoice.

Please note, you must be connected thru Bluetooth in order for the data to be logged. This also goes for all the other software features listed above. There is no way to customize these features or get the reporting on the actual device, you must use the app.




Compatibility - all the hoses and attachments are compatible with the the previous Pulse system.

Pressure - there have been no pressure changes. The max pressure is still 100mmHg plus 10mmHg boost to 1 zone of your choosing

Summary

While the Normatec Pulse 2.0 has some notable improvements including the smaller size and weight, added Bluetooth connectivity, and features that were previously only found on the much more expensive Pulse Pro, I would still like more feedback from others and Normatec regarding my boot issue. While I suspect this could have been an isolated issue with early manufacturer runs, I can't recommend a pair of boots that is constantly jamming at the zipper. The last thing I want to do after coming home from a 20 mile run is fight a zipper.

However, I know that Normatec will fix this issue if it truly is an issue. I will update the review if I hear back and can confirm. In the meantime I really suggest making the purchase via Amazon so you can return it if need be. If $1300+ is too much for you, know that Speed Hound makes a really amazing system for $650 that goes to higher pressures (250mmHg vs 100mmHG) and has a super-slick user interface.

Discussed Links

- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System - $1295 on Amazon
Normatec Pulse 2.0 Legs + Hips - $1695 on Amazon
- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Legs + Hips + Arms - $2295 on Amazon
Normatec on eBay - Used and New (Various prices, generally $700-$1200)

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 - perfect chairs for compression boots recovery if you are on the go or even at home on the patio.

Speed Hound vs Normatec Review
Air Relax vs Normatec Review
Normatec Pulse vs Pulse Pro Review
Normatec Pulse vs Normatec Pulse Gen 2 Review - quiet upgrade to original Pulse that was never heavily advertised and pushed by Normatec but fixed a few issues with the Pulse

Theragun G3 Review vs Tim Tam Trigger Point Percussive Recovery Massager

Bivi (Tim-Tam Style) vs Theragun G3
Percussive Recovery Devices 
Theragun is one of the leading percussive recovery massagers on the market, but how does it stack up against more affordable options like the Tim-Tam style of massagers? This percussive review shootout will hopefully answer that and help you make a more informed buying decision.

The Skinny

Recovery devices continue to be all the rage among athletes and non-athletes alike. Everyone is looking to recover faster, feel better, and the lack of time (and cost) for regular massage is being replaced by recovery compression boots, foam rollers, and percussive devices like the Theragun, Hypervolt, and Tim-Tam.

After extensive testing I found generic Tim-Tam style massagers (I tested the Bivi) performed better in many categories than the Theragun G3 at nearly 1/3 the price. In short, the Bivi massager is faster (when turned all the way up), lighter, more adjustable (1-6 speeds), comes with two 2 batteries so you can always have a fresh battery, and a head that adjusts 90 degrees so you can target every last place on your body.

However, it was louder than the Theragun and the Theragun wins with being able to change tips faster. Both devices are good devices and belong in the recover tool box of athletes. If you want the quieter device go with the Theragun. Otherwise the generic percussive devices seem to fit the bill.

Here is how the two devices stack up in their respective categories:


Price - Advantage Bivi


One of the clear advantages of the generic percussive devices is they are much more affordable than more name-brand products. I purchased the Theragun G3 off Amazon for $399 and with tax it came out to $426. The Bivi massage gun was $145 to my door.


Noise - Advantage Theragun


On the surface the Theragun is definitely the quieter device, but it is still loud. And keep in mind that it isn't a true apples-to-apples comparison either as the Bivi has a higher maximum speed and more speed produces more noise.

Bivi does advertise the device as being loud and powerful in their description and that is partially why I went with it. I wanted a powerful device. However, at the end of the day I did some basic sound tests with a decibel meter and the results are as follows:

Noise test - tested approximately 1 foot from the decibel meter at full speed
- Theragun 85 dB at speed 2
- Bivi 95 dB at speed 6 (87 dB at speed 1)

Regardless of which device you go with, I would still recommend getting some sound protection. The following are inexpensive and effective noise reduction safety ear muffs that can reduce the dB level by 28dB.


Batteries - Advantage Bivi

Bivi - 2x Batteries + charger

The Theragun G3 has one built in battery that is not replaceable. Theragun claims that it lasts 60 minutes, but in my testing I found that it only lasted for about 50 minutes at level 2 (highest level) and that was without any resistance being applied to the unit. In addition, just like your phone, that battery is going to continue to degrade with each charge cycle until it will barely hold a charge.

From a workflow perspective this makes it a little tricky because if you always charge the device after use then you are going to shorten the lifecycle, but you also don't want to pick up a dead Theragun or one the dies half way into your recovery session either. Their Pro model does include replaceable batteries but it is $200 more.

Bivi comes with two batteries and a separate charger unit. In my tests it lasted for 56 minutes on level 6 (highest level) but again without any resistance being applied.

From a workflow perspective you can easily forget about charging after each session knowing you have a fresh battery always ready to go. This will effectively lengthen the life of the batteries.


Ease of use - Advantage Bivi


The Bivi massager features a pivoting head that allows you to adjust the head to better target certain areas of of your body with maximum leverage. The Theragun G3 only has a fixed head position. In addition the Bivi goes to much higher speeds which I really enjoy. From an ease of use perspective I found the Bivi head moved more smoothly across my skin than Theragun G3. It was a subtle difference but nonetheless positive.

Bivi - 3 different head positions


Tip Heads - Theragun


The Bivi has a standard threaded tip design with which you screw on the tips. It comes with 3 different tips with 1 additional standard tip for a total of 4. Specifically they include two different round balls and a triangle tip for more specific and aggressive targeting.

The 4 included Bivi Tips


The Theragun G3 comes with a pop-and-lock sort of design and 4 different tips.


The 4 included Theragun Tips


In my experience I prefer the pop-and-lock sort of design as it is a few seconds quicker to change tips than unscrewing and screwing on another tip.

I could see the Theragun tips breaking as there is a specific track which allows the tip to come on and off quickly but remain secure while in use. Those tracks are made of plastic. However, the Bivi threaded design also could lead to some occasional loosing during use which requires a quick re-tightening as well.


Durability / Warranty - Advantage Bivi


I experienced no durability concerns after six weeks of solid testing with an estimated 30 hours into the units. I do have to occasionally screw back on a tip with the Bivi but given the massive vibration I am not shocked by that. Given the non-replaceable battery we know the Theragun is going to die, or at least become functionally unusable at some point down the road. How long it takes will depend on your usage, number of charge cycles, etc. When the batteries dies on the Bivi you can buy new ones or just buy a whole new unit for a fraction of Theragun's price. Regardless both companies have 1-year warranties on their products.


Weight - Advantage Bivi


Both devices are reasonably heavy and it may not be an issue for some, but holding a vibrating weight for 15-20 minutes could make the lighter Bivi a more desirable unit to some.

Bivi - 2 lbs 5 oz
Theragun - 2lbs 10oz

Theragun weight vs Bivi 


Speed / Power / Force Mode - Advantage Bivi


Six power levels
Speed is not the same thing as power and force but I am lumping these in together for simplicity. Without expensive equipment I can't adequately test these aspects but what I can say is that anecdotally I prefer the speed and power of the Bivi when it is at its highest setting. I do feel that on the lowest settings the Bivi lacks power when applying the gun with firm pressure to a spot but I did this just for testing. In true use application I find I use both devices at their fastest settings.

Bivi has an adjustable speed level from 1-6 on a dial, while the Theragun G3 has two levels of speed (high / low). Theragun claims that it is 40 pulse per second or 2400 RPM on high (1740 RPM on low), while the Bivi claims 2600 RPM. Again I didn't objectively verify this but I feel like the Bivi is noticeably faster than the Theragun when at their max.


Summary


The Bivi is an extremely powerful and much more affordable alternative than the Theragun. It has a larger feature set including more speed levels, replaceable batteries, and a pivoting head. The Bivi is also built much more like an actual industrial tool such as a jigsaw while the Theragun is a more refined consumer product.

The one defining feature the Theragun has is in the noise department. Again they are both still loud, but if you have pets, family members, and neighbors, then it might just be worth the additional cost for the Theragun. The faster tip exchange is a nice feature as well that I routinely benefit from on a daily basis. Not earth-shattering but nice nonetheless as I do routinely switch up the tips.

Regardless I believe the percussive devices are a versatile tool in the recovery tool box and you can benefit from either one of these devices. I have links to these products below and more recovery reviews you might like like as well.

Discussed Product Links 


Theragun G3 - $399 on Amazon
Bivi Percussive Gun Massager - $145 on Amazon
Mpow Noise Reduction Ear Muffs - $11.99 on Amazon

Theragun G3Pro - $599 on Amazon
Tim-Tam Recovery Massager - $150 on Amazon
Hypervolt Recovery Massager - $370 on Amazon
Generic Hypervolt - $230 on Amazon

Other Recovery Reviews You Might Like


Rapid Reboot vs Normatec
Speed Hound vs Normatec
Air Relax vs Normatec

$20 Off - Hyperice Percussion Massage Gun Discount Coupon Code

Save up to $50 on Hyperice Hypervolt percussive recovery massager with Hypervolt discount coupon code HyperVolt50. Discount expires December 31 2019.


This special discount coupon code sale is only valid at Hyperice.com. If you are a 5% off Amazon Prime Visa Member you save $25 on Hypervolt when you purchase directly via Amazon + you get the benefit of easy 30-day returns.

You can also save more by purchasing a refurbished HyperIce via eBay. Or take a look at some generic Hypervolts via Amazon like this $145 Bivi model I reviewed.

$10 Off - Vybe Percussion Massage Gun Discount Coupon Code

Save up to $10 on VYBE Percussive Recovery Massager with Hypervolt discount coupon code VYBE20. Promo Sale expires December 31 2019.


This special discount coupon code sale is only valid at Amazon on the Vybe Massage Gun

$10 Off - Tim Tam Massage Gun Discount Coupon Code

Save up to $10 on Tim Tam Recovery Massage Gun with Tim Tam discount coupon code . Promo sale expires December 31 2019.
TimTam10


This special discount coupon code sale is only valid at Amazon on the Tim Tam Massage Gun.

Rapid Reboot Review vs Normatec Pulse 2.0 Compression Recovery Boots

Rapid Reboot vs Normatec Pulse 2.0
Recovery Compression System Shootout
Rapid Reboot's recovery system vs Normatec's Pulse 2.0 recovery compression boots - it has been a question I have frequently received and today I will answer it.


The Skinny


I first noticed the Rapid Reboot recovery system shortly after writing my original Normatec vs Air Relax review and I quickly became familiar with them as they attended all the Ironman Triathlon expos around North America. At their current price of $995 they fall into an awkward category of being more expensive than other brands that I prefer, including Air Relax ($407+) and Speed Hound ($650), but less expensive than Normatec ($1295).

They are a particularly tough sell against SpeedHound because they are $350 more expensive but are made by the exact same manufacturer. SpeedHound actually has a couple of nice features that I prefer too. In short, those features include a quieter unit, cables that come out the top of the legs instead of the bottom, and the unit is smaller.

However, Rapid Reboot still makes a good unit that is $300 cheaper than Normatec. They also have a hip short that I much prefer over Normatec's hip system. Here are some more specifics on each system in comparison to one another.


Rapid Reboot ($995)

Normatec Pulse 2.0 (bottom) vs
Rapid Reboot (top)
- Larger footprint - Of all the units I have reviewed Rapid Reboot is the largest unit by volume and it is considerably larger than Normatec. The unit weights 5lbs 8oz and 9lbs 8oz with large legs.

- Best in class user-interface. Rapid Reboot has in my opinion the best and easiest to use user-interface panel. Speed Hound uses the same panel layout however the buttons are actually larger which I prefer. Regardless I really like the pressure graph compared to Normatec as it helps new users visualize it better. More pressure is not necessarily better. However I have heard at least a few people who prefer to see the actual time tick down which only the Normatec features. Regardless, you can always end your treatment session at anytime even if not complete.

- 3 easy select time cycles of 10, 20, and 30 minutes. You can of course do more than one cycle. Normatec adjusts in 5 min increments from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

- 10 easy select pressure levels ranging from 20-200mmHg. Normatec goes to 100mmHg over 7 levels. Again, I really like the visual of the increasing pressure here for new users.

- 2 easy select modes including: Flush (A) and Massage (B) while Normatec has their single proprietary Pulse mode.

- 4 programmable zones with the ability to shut off zones. For instance if you had just a lower calf issue you could run just zone 1 and zone 2. You only get this feature in Normatec's Pulse Pro model which is insanely expensive at $2500.

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric. Their Gen 2 legs have a very similar "diamond" pattern/texture to Normatec, while the Gen 1 legs have a smooth finish. However, the hoses come out the bottom of the legs on Rapid Reboot. This leaves the cords very long and I find myself getting tangled in them. I much prefer Normatec's top hoses over Rapid Reboot in terms of ease of use.

- Volume: I found that my Rapid Reboot unit was the loudest of all the units I have reviewed. I am not sure if it is just my particular unit, but once I get above 80mmHg the loudness really kicks up. It is fine at 80 and below, but above that it is louder than Normatec.

- Comes in 5 sizes (versus Normatec's 3) and each set of boots has two separate zippers so that one set of legs can accommodate different width legs. Those sizes include:
Leg Sizing Comparison
  • XS (5' and under)
  • S (5' 1" - 5' 3")
  • M (5' 3" - 5' 10")
  • L (5' 10 - 6' 3")
  • XL (6' 3" and above)

- Sizing Note Hack - because you can turn off zones on Rapid Reboot, you can actually use a longer set of boots with a shorter person by deactivating the top zone. You can do this as well on Normatec's more expensive Pulse Pro model ($2500). You can always buy a second set of legs too instead of an entire second unit. Legs are $295.

- Carrying case is included so no need to buy an optional $150 carrying case like Normatec.

- 2-year warranty. 30-day return policy with Amazon. Rapid Reboot boots don't use YKK zippers. Normatec does use YKK. YKK is the gold standard in durability.

- Optional attachments for hips and arms. Rapid Reboot has a superior hip system than Normatec.

- Available direct from Rapid Reboot on Amazon for $995, but if you are an Amazon Prime Member you save 5% ($50) which brings the total to $945. Amazon offers their outstanding return process giving you comfort, safety, and convenience on this big purchase.

Normatec Pulse 2.0 ($1295)


- Slim design that can be used and moved with one hand versus two hands for Rapid Reboot. Total system weight is 4lbs 10oz for the system with ac/adapter and hose, and 8lbs 10oz complete with the standard legs.

- Has a battery for use when power is not available. Only Normatec features a battery.

- Has Bluetooth connectivity - you can control the unit with Bluetooth connectivity and the downloaded iPhone/Android app. I don't use this feature at all and prefer to use the display to adjust the time and pressure levels. It also tracks your usage stats which I think could be beneficial for coached athletes. I have talked to people that use the Bluetooth and like it, but for me it isn't a huge selling point.

- Comes in three sizes:
Normatec Pulse 2.0 System includes:
Pulse Head Unit, 2 legs, hose, AC Adapter
  • Short (under 5' 3")
  • Regular / Standard (5'4" to 6'3")
  • Tall (over 6' 4")  

- 7 pressure levels with a max of 100mmHg. One zone can be boosted with the ZoneBoost feature to 110mmHg.

- 1 mode of squeezing that Normatec calls Pulse, hence the name.

- Time increment is controllable in 5-minute increments from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

- 5 zones with no ability to program them off or on.

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric that won't show dirt. Hoses come out the top of the legs which I prefer.

- Optional attachments for hips and arms.

- Optional travel case. $150 for a hard-shell case.

- 2-year warranty for the Pulse 2.0 and includes durable YKK zippers.

-  Available direct from Normatec via Amazon for $1295, but if you are an Amazon Prime Visa Member you save 5% ($65) bringing the effective total down to $1230. Amazon offers their outstanding return process giving you comfort, safety, and convenience on this big purchase.

Final thoughts


Compression boots are an absolute must for any serious athletes and are even becoming mainstream among non-athletes as well. Rapid Reboot is a more affordable alternative than Normatec. They have a nicer hip system and go to higher pressures with a better boot size selection than Normatec. However the system is much larger and louder than Normatec and doesn't feature a battery for on-the-go convenience. Most disappointing is the fact that the compression hoses exit out of the bottom of the boots which can make for harder entry and exit - think USB cable tangles.

Another way to look at it is that I loved Air Relax at $350 over Normatec when they were $1695. I love Speed Hound over Normatec now at $650 versus $1295, but I can't see any reason to recommend Rapid Reboot over Normatec when you might as well save $350 and get a better unit that has cords coming out the top, is smaller, quieter, goes to even higher pressures, and is even more user-friendly, and best off all has a "45-day love it guarantee" and that is Speed Hound.

No doubt Rapid Reboot will continue to sell boots at events as compression boots are SIMPLY amazing, but a well-informed and discerning customer is going to go for Speed Hound. The only disadvantage to Speed Hound is they are NOT available on Amazon.

Discussed Product Links:


-
Rapid Reboot Legs on Amazon - $995 - Save $50 w/Amazon Prime visa card.
Rapid Reboot Legs + Hips on Amazon - $1290 - Save $65 w/Amazon Prime visa card
- Rapid Reboots Legs + Hips + Arms on Amazon - $1495 - Save $75 w/Amazon Prime visa card

- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System on Amazon - $1295 - Save $65 w/Amazon Prime visa card
Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System + Hips on Amazon - $1695 - Save $85 w/Amazon Prime visa card

- Speed Hound Compression Boots - Save $50 with discount coupon code: RecoverFaster19

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 perfect chairs for relaxing in your recovery compression boots either at outdoor events or on the patio

Normatec on eBay - Used and New (Various prices, generally $700-$1000)

Other Related reviews of mine


Speedhound vs Normatec Review
Air Relax vs Normatec Review
- Normatec Gen 1 Pulse vs Normatec Gen 2 Pulse Review

20% Jaybird Discount Coupon Code for Wireless Bluetooth Run XT Headphones

Save $20% on Jaybird Run XT Bluetooth wireless headphones with coupon code: workplaylove
(Expires 12/31/2019) 

Rapid Reboot Coupon Code - 10% Off Recovery Compression Boot System

Save $10% on a Rapid Reboot recovery boot compression system with promo discount coupon code Recover10 (Expires 12/31/2019) .

Note, this discount code does not work with Rapid Reboot on Amazon but if you have an Amazon Prime Visa card you will save 5% automatically which is $50.

Also, have you considered Speed Hound recovery boots ($650)? Speed Hound is made by the same manufacturer that makes Rapid Reboot however Speed Hound is: quieter, smaller, has larger buttons, hoses that come out of the top instead of the bottom, and come with a "45-day love them guarantee". I did a full review comparing Speed Hound to Normatec here if you are interested.

How much sleep do professional athletes need? - Endurance Athlete Sleep Formula

Average Nightly Sleep Time for Americans 
Over the years I have engaged in many conversations regarding sleep and specifically how much sleep various professional athletes get. While the results have varied from person-to-person and what period of life they are in, I have found that most athletes who don't have time restrictions sleep quite a bit.

Every single professional athlete I have surveyed across running, cycling, swimming, basketball, volleyball, golf, football, cross-fit, triathlon, and baseball gets at least 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Many more get 9, 10, even 12 hours of sleep. Ironically one of the most interesting things about motivational speakers is they are always talking about how one is "sleeping their life away" but high-level athletes know you can't "out hustle" sleep and that it is an incredibly important part of the process.

Regardless, in my career as a professional triathlete I came up with my own Endurance Athlete Sleep Formula that was pretty spot on without using an alarm clock and to wake up naturally. This basic formula is as follows:

Endurance Athlete Sleep Formula:

8 hours of sleep + 30 mins of sleep for each hour of exercise.

Thus if you exercise 2 hours a day you get to sleep for 9 hours. Exercise 4 hours and you get 10 hours of sleep. Simple as that. Now all exercise isn't created equal and intensity matters just as much as duration but to keep it simple this is what I have allowed myself to sleep.

Normatec Pulse Pro vs Normatec Pulse - Recovery Compression Boots Comparison

Normatec Pulse Pro vs. Normatec Pulse
I have gotten quite a few questions over the years on the Normatec Pulse Pro and today I thought I would talk about the differences between it and the regular Normatec Pulse.

Normatec makes a more expensive version of the Normatec Pulse recovery compression system and calls it the Normatec Pulse Pro. This comparison review will highlight some of the features and benefits of the Normatec Pulse Pro over the standard Normatec and why some people may want to purchase a Pulse Pro over the standard Pulse system.

Executive Summary


I spent 88 device hours and came to the conclusion that the Normatec Pulse Pro is really designed to be used in rehabilitation facilities and won't benefit most athletes. It has some features that could be beneficial in very specific uses-cases, but the majority of regular Normatec users using recovery boots for general recovery would never even notice them.

The additional Pulse Pro features are mostly software based features that I will discus in more detail below. Ironically most of the useful software based features are already in less expensive recovery compression boots by default. Systems like SpeedHound ($650), which I reviewed directly against Normatec here, have the ability to turn off specific zones & feature different modes just like the Pulse Pro but they go to much higher pressures (250mmHg). You are much better off getting a Normatec Pulse unless you need one of the specific features of the Normatec Pulse Pro.


Normatec Pulse Pro vs Normatec Pulse 


- Price - The Normatec Pulse Pro is $2495 while the standard Normatec Pulse is $1295.

- User Interface - The Normatec Pulse Pro features a touchscreen panel while the regular Normatec Pulse uses tactile buttons with a non-touch panel. I actually prefer the tactile buttons of the regular Pulse and find it to be quicker and much more precise than "hunting" and "pecking" on the Pulse Pro touchscreen. I did notice some lag at times on the touchscreen as well. It is a small difference but I really prefer buttons. However, I can see why Normatec put a touchscreen in the Pulse Pro. Simply put, the touchscreen is a necessary upgrade for the Pulse Pro as the additional features would be far too complex to setup using tactile buttons.

- Modes - The Normatec Pulse Pro features four distinct modes including: Recovery, RehabCustom and Sequential. The Normatec Pulse only includes the Recovery mode.


Mode selection screen. Sequential mode is chosen
 from a different setup menu of the system

- Customization - The Normatec Pulse Pro allows users to customize their treatment. This means users can change how long each zone inflates, how much pressure is in each zone and the pause time between one complete cycle ending and the next cycle starting.

- Zone Control - The Normatec Pulse Pro allows users to disable as many top zones as they would like. For example, you can't have say zones 1, 2, 4, 5 operating while skipping 3. But you could set it up to do zones (1 only) / (1, 2) / (1, 2, 3)  / (1, 2, 3, 4). This is really only useful if you are sharing a pair of longer boots with someone who is too short for them.

Setting the Pro system to only inflate
3 of the 5 zones.


- Precision Controls - The Normatec Pulse Pro has more precise control of pressure thru the use of 10 levels of compression as opposed to 7 for the standard Normatec Pulse. This allows further fine-tuning of the pressure, but both systems go to the same max pressure of 110mmHg with the Zone Boost feature. However, to change the pressure intensity on the Pulse Pro you have to walk down into the UI a screen and click a tiny button instead of having a tactile button right at your immediate finger tips on the display of the standard Pulse. For someone who moves from intensity 5, 6, 7 in a single session it is annoyance on the Pulse Pro.

The "Intensity" screen of the Pulse Pro

- LCD Brightness - The Pulse Pro has a dimmable display. As a sleep guru, I can't stand bright devices especially when I use them right before bed. The standard Pulse has one illumination level and it can be quite bright in a dark room. 

- The rest of the unit is identical. You get the same battery, the units are the same size, the hoses are the same, and attachments (hips, arms, legs) are the same. You get the same 2 year warranty too.

Using the different modes of the Normatec Pulse Pro


The Normatec Pulse Pro has four modes including: Recovery, Rehab, and Custom modes that all use Normatec's patent "Pulse" sequence. The fourth mode, Sequential is an entirely different sequence pattern.

Recovery Flush Mode - operates in an identical manner as the one and only mode on the standard Normatec Pulse model.

Rehab Mode - is designed to target various areas with customized programs for Foot/Ankle, Calf, Knee, Lower Quad, and Upper Quad. Each targeted area has its own specific time and pressures setting for each zone based on what Normatec believes to be the optimal treatment.


Rehab Mode


Custom Mode - allows users to specifically set the pressure level for each zone individually from 30mmHg to 100mmHg in 10mmHg increments. For instance, you could set the first zone of the system to have a higher pressure say 100mmHg and then work down as you get further and further up the leg, say 80mmHg for zone 2, 70mmHg zone 3, 60mmHg zone 4, and 50mmHg zone 5. You can also set the length of time the unit spends in each zone in 15 seconds increments from 15 seconds to 4 minutes.

You can customize each zone with the
"Custom" mode


Sequential Mode - This mode is unlike the other three modes in that it doesn't use Normatec's patented "Pulse" compression sequence. Instead it uses a recovery compression boot industry standard known as "Sequential". In this mode the zones inflate one at a time and none of the zones are released until the 5th zone is complete and then all zones release. This is slightly different than the proprietary "Pulse" mode.


Sequential Mode showing all five zones inflated
They will all be deflated in a second
and a new cycle will start

Summary 


The Normatec Pulse Pro and Normatec Pulse system area great systems that anyone can benefit from. However, unless you have a specific need to customize your program the standard Normatec Pulse is a far more affordable system and easier to use.

If you are looking for some of the Pulse Pro features I would highly suggest taking a look at the $650 Speed Hound system. Many of the "Pro" features are already in the Speed Hound system. In addition, Speed Hound boots can go as high as 250mmHg max vs Normatec's 100mmHg. They also allow you to turn off zones as well to customize your rehab should you need it. They feature "Recovery Flush" and "Massage" Modes and have super slick UI that is easy to use. At $650 they are hard to beat. Here is a link to the review I did of Speed Hound vs Normatec.

Discussed Links


- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System - $1295 on Amazon
Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System + Hips - $1695 on Amazon
Normatec on eBay - Used and New (Various prices, generally $700-$1200)

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 - perfect chairs for compression boots recovery if you are on the go or even at home on the patio.

Speed Hound vs Normatec Review
- Air Relax vs Normatec Review

Speed Hound Recovery Boots Review vs Normatec Compression Boots

Speed Hound vs Normatec Compression Boots Review
Discount coupon codes for Speed Hound recovery boots can be found at the bottom of this review.

It has been a few years since I did my initial review on Normatec vs Air Relax and along the way I have continued to test new compression boots offerings. Speed Hound has been my favorite as of late. They offer an awesome device, with a super-slick user interface and at very attractive price point of $650.

If the Speed House interface looks familiar that is probably because it is made by the same manufacturer that makes Rapid Reboot and Elevated Legs. However, Speed Hound has got the price down to $650 which is $350 less than Rapid Reboot for form factor that I prefer over Rapid Reboot. I really dig the smaller size and sturdy retractable handle of this unit!!! In addition, they have the hoses sewn into the legs. This last point may not seem like a big deal, but the hoses on Rapid Reboot come out of the boots at the bottom and the long cables can quickly get tangled making entrance and exit more difficult.

Compression boots squeeze blood &
lymph from the legs helping it back to the
heart, lungs & kidneys. The end result is you
recover faster and feel fresher!
But this review isn't about Rapid Reboot vs SpeedHound, it is SpeedHound vs Normatec and the reason why is because I still consider Normatec the best known brand when it comes to compression boots.

In short, Speed Hound does everything Normatec does but at 50% the cost of Normatec. I am a huge fan of compression boots and specifically over many other modalities like e-stim (Compex & Marc Pro), percussive devices (HyperIce and TheraGun), and even foam rolling.

The main reason why I am so big on recovery compression boots is because they are passive devices that don't require your attention. As athletes we are already busy and sometimes too tired to be bothered with anything additional and sitting in boots is so easy, so relaxing, and so fun. FWIW, I am typing this review while I am in boots.


Speed Hound ($645 with discount code RecoverFaster19)

Normatec head unit is slightly
smaller than Speed Hound
- Small, portable, compression unit. It is very sturdy with a sturdy handle that pops up out of the unit and collapses for storage. A little bit bigger than Normatec and weighs 8lbs 11oz for the system.

- Best in class usability. The display is so clear and simple to use. I simply love it.

- 3 easy select time cycles of 10, 20, and 30 minutes. You can of course do more than one cycle.

- 10 easy select pressure levels ranging from 20-250mmHg. Normatec goes to 100mmHg over 7 levels. I really like the visual of the increasing pressure here for new users.

- 2 easy select modes including: flush and massage

- 4 programmable zones with the ability to shut off or turn on the exact zones you want. For instance if you just had a lower calf issue you could run just zone 1 and zone 2. You only get this feature in Normatec Pulse Pro model which is insanely expensive.

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric that won't show dirt.

- Whisper quiet

- Available in 110V (USA) and 230V (Non-USA)

- Comes in two sizes.
Sizing comparison of leg sleeves
  • Medium (5' 5" and taller)
  • Long (5' 4" and shorter)

- Sizing Note - because you can turn off zones on Speed Hound, you could always go with Long if you wanted to share a long pair of boots with someone who needed short. You would simply deactivate zone 4 for the shorter person. You can do this as well on Normatec's Pulse Pro which is $2500. You can always buy a second set of legs too. They are $225

- Comes with width extenders for those needing more width. Speed Hound boots are slimmer than Normatec. While compared to most triathletes, I have pretty stocky calves and thighs and I fit comfortably, but if you have really large calves/thighs it is something to consider. They do have wider models as well so if you are a lymphedema patient reading this then I might suggest you go with the wider legs

- Carrying case is included so no need to buy an optional $150 carrying case.

- 45 day "love them" guarantee with a 2-year warranty.

- Optional attachments for hips and arms.

Highly affordable direct from Speed Hound with an extra $50 discount when you enter discount coupon code RecoverFaster19 at checkout. They are NOT currently available Amazon as the company is doing it best to keep costs lows and selling direct helps keep those costs low.


2018-2019 Normatec Pulse ($1295)
 


- Slim design that can be used and moved with one hand. Head unit is smaller than Soundhound. Total system weight is 8lbs 7oz for the system.

- Has a battery with a stated battery life of 3 hours. In my extensive testing this is pretty accurate but the Normatec Pulse 2015-2017 had a battery that wasn't reliable. I definitely recommend what Normatec calls the 2018 Normatec Pulse. I call it the Normatec Pulse Gen 2 and wrote up a separate post on the Gen 1 vs Gen 2 Pulse here. If you are a purchasing from Amazon you will be getting the Gen 2 pulse automatically as those units are sold direct to Amazon from Normatec. If you are purchasing from a reseller/vendor check with the vendor as they may still be selling old stock

Normatec Pulse System
- Comes in three sizes:
  • Short (under 5' 3")
  • Regular (5'4" to 6'3")
  • Tall (over 6' 4")  
- 7 pressure levels with a max of 100mmhg

- 1 mode of squeezing known in the industry as sequential compression, tweaked with Normatec's patented "pulse" technology with the zone boost option.

- Time increment is controllable in 5-minute increments from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

- 5 zones with no ability to program them off or on.

- Available in one "world voltage" model only

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric that won't show dirt.

- Optional attachments for hips and arms.

- Optional travel case. $150 for a hard-shell case.

- 2-year warranty for the Gen 2 Pulse. 1-year warranty for the 2015-2017 Gen 1 Pulse.

-  $1295 direct from Normatec or save $75 by using your Amazon Prime Visa (5% cash back) to purchase via Amazon Prime.

Final thoughts

I continue to believe strongly in recovery compression boots as a must own device for any serious athlete and I can't speak highly enough of Speed Hound. I simply love these boots and I know you will too. If you purchase Speed Hound you can be confident that if the sizing is not right or you just don't like them that you always have their 45-day "love them" guarantee.

Normatec makes an amazing device as well, and I'm not knocking it, and I love them too, but I just don't see how they can compete at this price level. Normatec has grown into a behemoth and recent HQ move in super expensive Boston combined with all the athlete sponsorship they do with NFL, NHL, NBA sports teams and players inflates the cost to you the consumer. If you are a Normatec brand believer, do me a favor, take a chance on Speed Hound with their 45-day guarantee and drop me line and tell me what you think.

Normatec does sell on Amazon directly but they are often out of stock and then 3rd-party sellers sell at an inflated price. I can't recommend purchasing directly from Amazon enough. You can save 5% with an Amazon Prime Visa card + you get their amazing return experience.

Discussed Product Links:

- Speed Hound Compression Boots - Save $50 with discount coupon code: RecoverFaster19

- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Compression Boots on Amazon - Save $65 with your Amazon Prime visa card.

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 perfect chairs for relaxing in your recovery compression boots either at outdoor events or on the patio

Normatec on eBay - Used and New (Various prices, generally $700-$1000)
- Normatec Gen 1 Pulse vs Normatec Gen 2 Pulse Review
- Air Relax vs Normatec Review

100% WORKING Running Warehouse Coupon Code - 20% Off Discount Nike VaporFly 4%

Running Warehouse discontinued most of their commonly available coupon code as of Jan 1st, 2019. As a result many loyal shoppers were disappointed by this change. Those common codes were:

RUNBLOG10 - 10% off
FB15D - Facebook 15% off sale item sonly
CP10 - 10% off
CP15 - 15% off 

However. There are some new codes like

Global20IG - 20% off
ShopLocal2019 
SupportYourLocalRunningStore2019 

I was able to secure a 15% off coupon that I used to make my last shoe purchase on 4/10/2019 that saved me $100 including nearly $50 on Nike Vaporfly 4%. For now, I am making it available to active members of the Slowtwitch Triathlon Community.

I will not make the code public as Running Warehouse will be sure to kill it. To receive your code please DM me on SLOWTWITCH and I'll send the code back. If you don't hear from me in 24 hours try again.




Speed Hound Coupon Code - $50 Discount Off Recovery Compression Boots

Save $50 with coupon code - RecoverFaster19
Save $50 on a set of Speed Hound Recovery Compression Boots with promo discount coupon code RecoverFaster19 (Expires 12/31/2019).

Note, this discount code does not work with Speed Hound on Amazon. The coupon code is only valid at TheSpeedhound.com.