If you’re one of those people now working out at home more than ever before, you probably think you already have all the workout gear you need. You snagged dumbbells, a yoga mat, resistance bands and all the other major essentials — or so you thought. One device you might have overlooked, however, is the massage gun, a percussive therapy device that enhances recovery after intense workouts.
Massage guns like the Theragun have been gaining traction on social media for a while now, but they’re not just overpriced toys that make mesmerizing slow-motion videos. If you get a good one, it can be a legitimate therapeutic device that has been shown to help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness by promoting blood flow to your muscles.
Therabody’s Theragun Elite
Therabody’s Theragun Elite
If you want to get your hands on a massage gun, there’s good news. Theragun (which has been renamed Therabody) is one of the most popular massage gun brands out there, beloved for its high-quality products with sleek designs, and it just dropped a whole new line of percussion therapy devices. The new lineup from Therabody includes four massage guns: Theragun mini (Cyber Monday special: $174, regularly $199; theragun.com), Theragun Prime (Cyber Monday special: $224, regularly $299; theragun.com) Theragun Elite (Cyber Monday special: $299, regularly $399; theragun.com) and Theragun Pro ($449, originally $599; theragun.com).
With this exciting release, we wanted to get our hands on a few devices to see how they stack up and if they’re really worth your money. We tested and compared the Theragun mini, Theragun Elite and Theragun Pro for their power, performance and convenience. Not only did we want to note the differences between the devices, such as speed and power, but we also wanted to look at other factors such as ease of use and noise. Each device has its own quirks and benefits, so to help you find the best one, we’ve put together this guide.
We think the Theragun mini is the most exciting and innovative massage device Therabody has put out yet. Its Cyber Monday special $174 price tag (regularly $199) is the lowest of the lineup, making it an amazing introductory device.
The Theragun mini solves a lot of the accessibility problems that seem to come with massage guns. The narrative is usually that they’re bulky and loud and cost way more than what you’d ideally like to spend. That’s been changed with the mini’s tiny size and low price.
While it doesn’t pack as big a punch as the Elite or Pro, the Theragun mini has top speeds of 2,400 percussions per minute, matching the more expensive models. However, it doesn’t provide as much depth or power with its 12-millimeter amplitude, which translates to how far the massager head moves up and down, and 20 pounds of stalling force, which is how hard you can push on it before it stops. (The commercial-level Pro, for comparison, charts a 16-millimeter amplitude and 60 pounds of stalling force.) Despite this, the mini provided us with enough percussive power for a relaxing massage.
Like many, we’ve been working out more due to stay-at-home orders, so having a massage gun handy was a true blessing for sore hamstrings. The mini was powerful enough to blast the stiffness out of our legs after a hard workout, plus it was quiet enough that we could watch Netflix while doing so.
Another perk of the mini’s tiny size is its mobility. You can reach just about anywhere and comfortably apply enough pressure for a deep massage. The only place where it was difficult to apply adequate pressure was the middle of the back. The triangular design of the other Theraguns helps reach your back without twisting your arms. Since the mini is so light (1.4 pounds), the odd arm angles needed to hit those more difficult areas didn’t tire out our wrists or arms as much as other models.
What we found most impressive was this little guy’s battery life. On Therabody’s site, the mini is said to have up to 150 minutes of sustained run time. When we conducted our own test, we turned all the Theraguns up to a 2,100-PPM setting and let them buzz and buzz. They all performed at or above the listed times, but the mini kept chugging along for a ridiculous five and a half hours. It finally died after 345 minutes.
It’s small but mighty, and we really love the Theragun mini. With three speed settings (1,750 PPM, 2,100 PPM and 2,400 PPM), it has enough power to dig pretty deep into muscles, and its low cost, ease of use and lack of bells and whistles make it one of the most accessible massage devices on the market.