Whether you call them percussive therapy, massage guns, or percussive massagers, these products are one of the top trends in the sporting and fitness world. And you really can’t talk about percussive therapy guns without mentioning the industry leader — Theragun.
Theragun, like other electric massage guns, is a device used to provide therapeutic, physical, and mental relief through massage. Theragun Pro, Elite, Prime, and Mini are all widely sold as electric massage guns. These are all body massagers used to provide targeted massage of the muscles and joints, including muscle, joint and chronic pain. The Pro, Elite, Prime, and Mini versions also provide deep tissue massage therapy, trigger point therapy, and pain relief therapy. These massagers are used by medical professionals as well as athletes and physical trainers.
All of the products being discussed are 4th generation Theragun products, so the company has been able to work most of the kinks out by now. The newest generation features QuietForce technology for a massage experience that is easy on the ears, along with great new features like app-integration, adjustable speed, and improved battery life.
In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a “best massage guns” list that doesn’t have the Theragun lineup well represented.
Because quality percussive therapy devices generally run anywhere from $150 to $800, you want to be certain you are making the right purchase decision. Although it might be tough to shell out $500+ for the premium Theragun Pro, it is far more painful to spend $120 on an off-brand massage gun that stops working right after the 90 day warranty has run out.
Quick Buying Guide: Theragun Pro vs. Elite vs. Prime vs. Mini
Theragun Pro is the premium product in the Theragun product line. Theragun Pro generates the most force, includes the most attachment heads, and is the only Theragun with a rotating arm for maximum ergonomics. It is also the only option that includes two batteries, thus providing significantly longer battery life than the other products.
- If you are willing to pay for a premium product, Theragun Pro is top-of-the-line in every way. Besides being more expensive, and just a hair larger and heavier, there is no reason to choose the Elite or Prime rather than Pro.
- As a further enticement, Theragun Pro is the only product in the lineup with a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty. The other options all have a 1 year warranty.
Theragun Elite is the second most feature-rich product in the Theragun lineup. It has one fewer attachment head than the Pro (5 vs. 6) and only has 2/3 the percussive force (40 lbs. vs. 60 lbs.). It also lacks the rotating arm. However, it has the OLED display, like Theragun Pro, and still outperforms the Theragun Prime in almost every way. The MSRP of Elite is ~$200 less than Theragun Pro, so there is a significant cost savings if you don’t mind losing a few premium features.
- Theragun Elite saves a decent chunk of change relative to the Pro. If you don’t need maximum percussive force, a second battery, an adjustable arm, or the additional supersoft attachment, consider the Elite.
Theragun Prime is the most economical of the full-sized Theragun products. The MSRP is half that of the Pro, and ~$100 less than the Elite. It has only 4 attachments, and just half the percussive force (30 lbs. vs. 60 lbs.) of the Pro. You also lose the OLED screen, which is present on the Pro and Elite but is replaced by simple LED indicators on the Prime.
- Prime still has fully-adjustable speeds, multiple attachments, and app integration. You lose a lot of features, but this is a good value for a full-size Theragun product.
Theragun Mini is the least feature-dense of the Theragun products, but it is roughly half the size and weight of the Theragun Pro. As the name would suggest, Theragun Mini is the most portable option. The MSRP is ~1/3 of the Pro, and ~$100 less than the Prime. It generates the least force of any Theragun (just 20 lbs.) and has only one grip, as opposed to the full-sized Theragun products which have ergonomic multi-grips. Additionally, it only comes with 1 attachment (a standard ball).
- The biggest consideration here is whether you need the additional attachments. The attachments can be purchased separately, but at $20-$30 per attachment, it adds up quickly. If portability and budget-friendliness are your top concern, Theragun Mini is an excellent product.
The Pro is the top-of-the-line offering from Theragun. It is a professional-grade percussive therapy device. It is used to relieve muscle fatigue, soreness, stiffness, joint pain, and other related issues. Pro comes with more features than the Elite, Prime, and Mini versions of Theragun. Moreover, it is much stronger than the Elite version, with a force of nearly 60 pounds. The motor in the Pro version is also more powerful than that found in the Elite and Prime versions.
Features of Pro, 4th Generation
The Pro version comes with six interchangeable massage heads. In addition to the standard four attachments (dampener, standard ball, thumb, and cone) that come with every full-size Theragun, you also get a supersoft and wedge attachment. This full array of attachments allows for targeted massage of muscles and joints, guaranteed to have an attachment for every use.
The Pro is the only Theragun that comes standard with two swappable batteries. Each battery is rated for 150 minutes of use, so you get a total of 5 hours of use between charges.
The head of the Pro rotates, meaning you put less strain on your hand, wrist, and elbow in order to position the device correctly. No other Theragun has this feature.
It also has an OLED screen which allows for full customization of speeds between 1,750 and 2,400 percussions per minute. Only the Pro and Elite have the OLED screen. Speed can also be controlled via the app.
The Pro generates a force of 60 pounds with the strongest motor in the Theragun lineup. Wireless charging is also available with the additional purchase of a charging stand.
Lastly, the device is available in two standard color options (black and red), as well as a 24K gold plated option that is available through the Theragun website. I don’t know why anyone would need to spend almost a thousand dollars for a 24 karat gold massage gun, but I want one!
Theragun Elite is another percussive massage tool that offers targeted pain relief therapy to muscles and joints. It is a mid-range product between the Pro and the Prime. The 40 pounds of percussive force also falls in between the Pro (60 lbs.) and Prime (30 lbs.).
Features of Theragun Elite, 4th Generation
The Pro version comes with five interchangeable massage heads. In addition to the standard four attachments (dampener, standard ball, thumb, and cone) that come with every full-size Theragun, you also get a wedge attachment. So, it lacks the supersoft attachment that comes with the Pro. However, this can be purchased for only $30 from the company’s website, and not everyone will need it anyway.
Unlike the Pro, which has two swappable batteries, the Theragun Elite only has a single battery. And this battery is only rated for 2 hours of use. This means that the Elite (and Prime, which has the same battery) actually has the least battery life of any Theragun product.
Although Theragun Elite lacks the rotating head, it still has the ergonomic multi-grip handle that is available with every Theragun except the Mini. And the Elite still has the OLED screen that allows for full customization of speeds between 1,750 and 2,400 percussions per minute. Speed can also be controlled via the app.
As mentioned above, Theragun Elite provides 40 pounds of force, with the second strongest motor in the Theragun lineup. Wireless charging is also available with the additional purchase of a charging stand.
The Elite comes in three colors (black, red, and white), and retails for ~$200 less than the Pro, and ~$100 more than the Prime.
Theragun Prime is the most budget-friendly of the full-size percussive therapy devices made by Theragun. It has a motor which provides 30 pounds of force, which is less than the other full-size options (Pro & Elite), but stronger than the Theragun Mini.
If you are looking to save money on a Theragun, yet still want a full-size gun with numerous attachments, the Prime is your best bet.
Features of Theragun Prime, 4th Generation
By choosing the Prime rather than the Pro or Elite, you definitely sacrifice some bells and whistles.
You lose the OLED screen, which is instead replaced by simple LED indicators. And if you want the supersoft or wedge attachments, you will have to spend another $50 through the Theragun website. Prime comes only with the standard four attachments (dampener, standard ball, thumb, and cone).
The motor is also weaker, providing only 30 pounds of force. And, alongside the Elite, the Prime is the only Theragun that has less than 2.5 hours of battery life (120 minutes). Wireless charging is not available, even with the additional purchase of a charging stand.
Lastly, there is only one color choice (black).
But not everything is bad. This is still a full-sized percussive therapy device from Theragun, one of the industry leaders.
Theragun Prime can still reach the full range of speeds of the Pro and Elite. The device is still app-compatible, and it has the same 16 mm amplitude as the more premium models (in other words, it provides a similar deep tissue effect).
Additionally, you still get the Theragun 30 day trial period and 1 year warranty. And you are saving a few hundred dollars by sacrificing some premium features.
Theragun Mini is the least expensive Theragun massage gun, with an MSRP that is ~1/2 that of the Elite, and ~1/3 of the Pro.
The motor is the weakest (only 20 pounds of force) and it only comes with one attachment. But it is also the smallest, lightest, and most portable product in the Theragun lineup. In fact, it is roughly half the size and weight of Theragun Pro. So if you want to save some money and get a travel-friendly Theragun, the Mini is hard to beat.
Features of Theragun Mini, 4th Generation
As mentioned previously, Theragun Mini is the most feature-poor product in the lineup.
To begin, Theragun Mini only comes with one attachment (standard ball). Every other Theragun has a minimum of four. Although the attachments can be purchased separately, the costs add up quickly, at $20-$30 each. If you want the portability of a Mini but still want the flexibility of multiple attachments, consider the Booster Bundle through Theragun’s official website. This bundle comes with 7 attachments.
Instead of an OLED screen, Theragun Mini just has three simple indicator lights for speeds. And rather than having fully adjustable speed, you are confined to the 3 presets only (1750, 2100, and 2400 pulses per minute).
Owing to the fact that it has the weakest motor in the Theragun lineup, the Theragun Mini also has a lower amplitude than the other models. Rather than the 16 mm of tissue extension, you only get 12 mm of extension into tissue. This just means that the Theragun Mini resembles a vibrating massager more than it resembles a true percussion therapy device.
And rather than the ergonomic multi-grip that is seen on the other options, Theragun Mini has a handle that provides fewer positioning options. It still feels pretty comfortable to use, but it is less ergonomic than the other choices, which makes it a poor choice for some users.
One area where Theragun Mini outperforms Elite and Prime is battery life. While the Elite and Prime each have 2 hour batteries, the Mini has 2.5 hours. This further enhances the portability and travel-friendliness of Theragun Mini.
The Mini also has more color options, 4 (white, black, red, and desert rose), than the other models.
Who should buy one versus another?
The Pro version is ideal for use in the home. This device can provide targeted massages for muscle pain, spasms, and tension in the body. We advise that if you have a lot of painful muscles and tendons in the body, this device is a perfect choice. Pro version can also treat stiff joints and chronic pains in the body, such as arthritis.
The Theragun is a revolutionary tool that we can use for targeted massages. This device provides targeted massage more effectively than any other choice on the list. Before using these products, we advise that you consult your doctor for clear and professional guidance.
The Elite is also an excellent device for body pain, muscle tension, and spasms. It is a lighter and more portable device (slightly) that you can use in the gym or working out. Elite is also a great device to use while traveling. It can provide targeted massages to help relieve pain and muscle tension. We perceive it as a great choice for athletes, active lifestyles, and elderly parents.
Prime is lighter, more portable, and easy to use. This device can help you manage pain and muscle spasms by providing targeted massages. We recommend this device for people with active lifestyles. It is also suitable for athletes and your elderly parents due to its ease of use. Prime is also convenient for people looking for a device to relieve tense muscles and stress in the back, neck, shoulder, and legs. The Prime is an affordable device with a one-year warranty.
If you need on-the-go percussive therapy, Theragun Mini is your best bet. It doesn’t provide the power of the other guns, and there are fewer premium features, but the small size and light weight make up for its other shortcomings. This is the only option that can comfortably be thrown into a purse or backpack without taking up too much space. If that isn’t enough, it is also the cheapest Theragun on the list.
The Importance of Percussive Therapy
(Standard disclaimer: we aren’t physicians, and this should not constitute medical advice!)
Percussive therapy, as delivered by devices like Theragun, isn’t just a trendy topic in the world of health and fitness; it’s a proven method to facilitate recovery, enhance performance, and maintain overall well-being. This modality works by delivering rapid, concentrated pulses deep into your tissues, promoting increased blood circulation and temperature, both of which assist in muscle recovery and flexibility.
Moreover, percussive therapy assists in breaking up scar tissue and reducing muscle knots while soothing discomfort in soft tissue areas. It essentially mimics the kneading and stroking done during a massage, but at a much faster rate. This rapid application and release of pressure create a neuromuscular response that may help relieve pain and enhance mobility. Whether you’re an athlete seeking to enhance your performance and recovery or an individual looking for pain management solutions, percussive therapy can offer notable benefits.
Any discussion of top massage guns should absolutely include the Theragun name.
Theragun Pro packs the most features, strongest motor, and also provides a 2 year warranty along with an extra battery. However, it also costs significantly more than any other option on the list.
Theragun Elite has a lot of the features of Theragun Pro, but it saves you a few hundred dollars. But you lose the adjustable arm, the extra battery, and an attachment head.
Theragun Prime is further stripped down, with fewer attachments, no OLED screen, and less power. But it is the most affordable way to purchase a full-sized Theragun.
Theragun Mini is lacking in motor power and only comes with 1 attachment. But it is about half the size and weight of the full-sized devices, and significantly cheaper as well. So if you need a quality percussive therapy device that also provides portability, Theragun Mini is tough to beat.
Is Theragun worth the investment?
Absolutely. The price may seem steep, but considering its high quality, performance, and potential health benefits, a Theragun device is a worthy investment, particularly for those who exercise regularly or have chronic muscle pain.
Can I use Theragun every day?
Yes, you can. It’s safe to use a Theragun device every day, but remember, it’s about how you feel. Some muscles may feel sore if overstimulated, so be sure to adapt your usage to your body’s response.
How long should I use Theragun on each muscle group?
Generally, 15 seconds to 2 minutes per muscle group is a good rule of thumb. It’s best to start with a lower time and work your way up based on your comfort and recovery needs.
Can Theragun be harmful?
If used improperly, it can cause harm. (Hopefully this is obvious, but) avoid using it on your head, open wounds, or any bony areas. Also, those with nerve sensitivity or specific health conditions should consult a healthcare professional before use.
Are there alternatives to Theragun that are cheaper?
There are cheaper alternatives available, but they often lack the power, design quality, and technological capabilities of Theragun products. It’s crucial to assess whether the lower price point compromises the efficacy and durability of the device.