Here at SPY, we pride ourselves on the number of massage guns we’ve tested and reviewed. Over the years, we’ve tested every massage gun worth buying, and quite a few that aren’t worth buying. The best massage guns are made of high-quality materials, have user-friendly designs, durable attachments and a long-lasting battery. Most importantly, the massage gun you choose should actually be an effective recovery tool that eases muscle soreness. During our many years of testing and researching this particular product category, one brand has always stood out amongst the rest: Therabody.
Therabody is the company that makes the Theragun, a popular line of premium massage guns. (The company also has a line of CBD products under the brand name TheraOne.) Along with competitor Hyperice, Therabody’s massage guns are category leaders, the standard against which other massagers are judged. Of course, they’re also some of the most expensive options, and since Amazon is full of cheap $100 massage guns and Theragun alternatives, we know a lot of shoppers are wondering, “Are Theraguns worth it?” To help answer that question (spoiler alert: the answer is yes), we wanted to put all of our Theragun reviews into one place, and break down the pros and cons of what this luxury brand has to offer.
For these Theragun reviews, SPY was sent the Theragun PRO, Theragun Elite, Theragun Prime and Theragun Mini to try. Needless to say, they’re all super impressive devices, but how do they stack up against each other? And which device should you buy, depending on your fitness level and physical needs? Keep on reading to see how they compare, and which ones are worth the investment.
Theragun Reviews: Theragun Prime
The Theragun Prime has been Therabody’s flagship massage gun for years now, and it still delivers just as well as it always has. It has a sturdy, stripped-down design compared to the Elite and PRO models, with the same caliber of top-notch features you want in a gun from Therabody. This is the gun in their line you should buy if you’re moderately into fitness, want a massage gun but don’t need the best one that’s ever been made, and if you like getting value for your money. Frankly, it’s the Theragun with the most reasonable price tag.
- Speed Range: 5 Available Speeds — 1750, 1900, 2100, 2200 and 2400 Reps Per Minute
- Size Dimensions: 2.2 pounds
- Battery Life (Tested): 110 minutes
- Motor Power & Depth: QX65 (Same as Theragun Elite), 16 millimeters of amplitude, 30 pounds of force
- Head Attachments: 4 — a dampener, standard ball, thumb and cone
Price: $299 $279 — on sale!
You should buy the Theragun Prime if you…
- Workout regularly but aren’t a professional athlete, and want a great recovery device to help your muscles bounce back
- Are ready to make an investment in a top-notch device, but don’t want to spend $500 or $600 on your massage gun
- Love the Therabody brand and want a simplified version of the best massage gun they offer
Theragun Reviews: Theragun Mini
We loved the Theragun Mini, which we’ve consistently rated as the best mini massage gun from any brand. This is also a frequent recommendation in SPY gift guides, especially during the holiday season. For shoppers who don’t want to spend too much money and are looking for a massager they can use while watching TV, this is a great investment. For serious athletes looking for more intense workout recovery tools, it’s not going to provide a deep enough massage.
- Speed Settings: 3 Available Speeds
- Size Dimensions: Small, Portable
- Battery Life (Tested): 150 Minutes
- Motor Power & Depth: QX35 Motor, 12 Millimeters of Depth
- Head Attachments: 1
You should buy the Theragun Mini if you…
- Want to invest in a high-quality recovery device from Theragun, but don’t want to spend more than $200
- Want a smaller massage gun you can very easily travel with (yes, the Theragun Mini is TSA-friendly!)
- Want a massage gun for everyday use, as opposed to recovery for an intense injury or workout regimen
- Like miniature things that are easy to hold, lightweight and designed with ergonomics in mind
Theragun Reviews: Theragun Elite
This is Therabody’s mid-tier option in terms of price and power. Priced at $400, the Theragun Elite offers more power and intensity than the Theragun Prime, but isn’t the most powerful model the company makes. In our testing, we found that the highest settings on Theragun PRO were actually a little too intense, so we think this model is the right choice for athletes who want an intense deep tissue massage.
- Speed Range: 5 Available Speeds — 1750, 1900, 2100, 2200 and 2400 Reps Per Minute
- Size Dimensions: 9.5″ x 6.7″ x 2.8″ and 2.2 pounds
- Battery Life (Tested): 120 Minutes
- Motor Power & Depth: QX65 Motor, 40 Pounds of Force and 16 Millimeters of Depth
- Head Attachments: 5
You should buy the Theragun Elite if you…
- Are a fitness professional who wants all the power and force you could ever need from a massage gun, without a $600 price tag
- Love the ergonomic arm design of the Theragun Prime, but want a little more power and depth from your massage gun
- Want to make an investment with your massage gun
Theragun Reviews: Theragun PRO
This is nothing like other massage guns we’ve tested, and it offers power, depth and intensity that’s unmatched. If you’re a physical therapist or dedicated athlete looking for the most powerful massage gun — and if you have $600 to spend — then the Theragun PRO will not disappoint you. We found that the ergonomic design makes it easy to massage both yourself and others, and we were also impressed by the battery life. We should note that this is also a very large massage gun, which may make it hard for some users to hold for extended periods of time.
Read More: What Are the Top Theragun Alternatives?
- Speed Range: 5 Available Speeds — 1750, 1900, 2100, 2200 and 2400 Reps Per Minute
- Size Dimensions: 10″ x 7.1″ x 3″ and 2.9 Pounds
- Battery Life: 300 Total Minutes Across Two Rechargeable Lithium Batteries
- Motor Power & Depth: QX150 Motor, 60 Pounds of Force, 16 Millimeters of Depth
- Massage Gun Heads: 6
You should buy the Theragun PRO if you…
- Are a movement professional for whom bodily care and recovery is tantamount and essential to your livelihood
- If you help people recover, train and heal for a living, and want the best possible machine to do that with
- Don’t have a strict budget, and are willing to spend
Theragun Reviews: How We Tested These Massage Guns
We recently featured the popular Theragun Prime in our guide to the best massage guns of the year, and after testing out dozens of massage guns, the Theragun Prime was the clear winner thanks to its power, design and relative affordability. It also won in our recent head to head of Theragun vs. Hypervolt. We’ve tested the entire Theragun line, so we’re very familiar with the Prime as well as their three other popular massage guns: the Theragun Mini, Theragun Elite and Theragun PRO.
After reading all of our individual Theragun reviews above, we wanted to provide some context as to how we tested these guns, how long we tested them for and the specific attributes we looked for when doing the tests.
When testing Therabody’s massage guns, we reviewed them according to criteria such as:
- Overall Design: Does the gun look and feel easy to use? Does it have a sleek design that’s in-line with what you expect from a luxury fitness product?
- Power, Depth and Force: How powerful is the motor? How deep into your muscles does the massage gun? How much force can it generate?
- Quality and Effectiveness of Treatment: Does the treatment feel like it’s working? Does your body feel better after using each massage gun?
- Noise Level: How loud is the gun? Is it disruptive? Surprisingly quiet? Can you use it while someone else is sleeping, watching TV or reading?
- Battery Life: How long does the battery last? Does the battery life drain quickly? How often does it require a charge?
- Price: Is it worth the investment?
Some of the criteria above are more subjective than objective, and some are details you can only note about a gun after you’ve tested it. Our team members have also been using these guns for close to three months now, and have continued to be impressed by their power and user-friendly construction. The multi-grip along is a reason to buy from this line of massage guns over other brands, because you can hold it in a variety of ways to reach every nook and corner of your body easily.
We tested the battery life by letting the guns run for as long as they could on a single charge. This generated a very strange cacophony of noises in our editor’s home, but was our only way of truly knowing whether the promised battery life was truthful. All of them lasted long enough, in our opinion, to check off the battery box in our judgement criteria.
We tested the noise level by trying to watch TV while using them or using them around loved ones trying to concentrate, whether it be on work or a good book. The Theragun PRO is loud, due to its powerful motor, but the others weren’t particularly disruptive once people figured out what was producing the noise.
We tested each gun over the course of a month, or around 30 days, and tested it in a variety of scenarios: before bed, before, during and after a workout, and first thing in the morning and on a leisurely afternoon. All of them worked in all of the scenarios, and brought relief to sore muscles. They’re powerful massage guns, more powerful than the average consumer needs, but they live up to their promise in their design, usability and mechanics.
After experimenting with each included massage gun head, trying out the ergonomic arm (that’s adjustable in some cases), testing the battery life and trying out all the various features, we didn’t find many drawbacks to these massagers — except the price tag. Our favorite cheap massage gun, the VYBE Premium Massage Gun, is half the price of the cheapest Theragun models, although it can’t compete in terms of power and intensity.
Unboxing: What’s Included
The Theragun Mini had the least elaborate unboxing mostly because it’s the smallest gun and comes with no extra head attachments. Instead of a rigid case for carrying, it has a flexible yet protective sleeve you zip it into between uses.
The Theragun Prime was a step up from the Theragun Mini, but doesn’t come with a huge zip-up case like the Elite or PRO. It comes with a large protective sack, a storage method I prefer because it takes up less space. The step up comes from the head attachments the Prime comes with, all of which fit easily into the storage bag.
The Theragun Elite had a much more elaborate unboxing, because of its ergonomic shape, which inevitably takes up more surface area when it’s lying down. It comes with five different massage gun heads as well as a carrying case for them which adds more elements to unpack. My first impressions of the Theragun Elite were that it has a very impressive design, is heavier than other massage guns I’ve tried and is easy to hold.
The Theragun PRO is one of the most impressive pieces of recovery equipment, and equipment in general, that I’ve ever unwrapped. The box is huge, and you open it to immediately reveal the large carrying case the PRO comes with. It has the same wide ergonomic handle design as the Elite, with the addition of a bright blue circle embedded in the handle that feels high-end. It’s heavy, but not prohibitively so, and it comes with six massage gun heads, including one that gives this gun one element of its “wow” factor. Stay tuned to hear more.
Massage Gun Designs
The Theragun Mini is potentially one of the best designed massage guns I’ve ever tested. It fits perfectly in the palm of your hand, and the teardrop shape makes it super easy to manipulate when you’re trying to target certain muscles. With a regular L-shaped handle and head design, the pressure your hand is applying via the gun is diverted, making it more difficult to apply effectively on hard-to-reach areas of the body. With the Theragun Mini, you’re applying that pressure directly, making it way easier to use. Out of all the guns in Therabody’s arsenal, this one is my favorite, and the one I think is applicable to most people, super fit or not.
The Theragun Prime is the simplest Therabody massage gun that has the triangle ergonomic grip, and it has an impeccably stripped-down design. It still gives you many of the features of Therabody’s larger, more expensive guns without the power, battery life and force that’s all unnecessary for most users. It has a silicone grip on the back, a one-button on/off design and an LED screen for showing your speed and intensity. It’s smaller than the Theragun PRO and Elite, and has a decent weight to it without being too heavy.
The Theragun Elite has the same brilliant triangle ergonomic arm design as the Thergun Prime and PRO. The arm has a grippy silicone texture that’s easy to hold, and the different massage gun heads are easy to change out with a firm grip and a forceful tug. It’s intuitive to charge, and programming custom Bluetooth treatment plans is possible via the Therabody app, however older users might have a hard time selecting them on the gun itself, as they’re not labeled as clearly as the baseline speed options. The LED screen is easy to read when the gun is off, but when it’s on and vibrating it can get a little fuzzy and hard to make out due to the whole machine pulsing.
The Theragun PRO is a very impressive, high-end, professional-grade massage gun, and you can tell pretty much as soon as you open the box. This gun is not for casual athletes or first-time massage gun users. Rather, I’d say, this model is made for movement experts of the likes of professional athletes, personal trainers, physical therapists and coaches. It has a very similar design to the Theragun Elite with one notable addition: a Supersoft massage gun head made of soft foam to be used on sensitive spots and injuries. If you could buy this massage gun head separately and use it with the other models, I would 100% recommend that, it’s that great. You still feel some pressure, but it’s much lighter and more manageable. Excellent for older users and those recovering from an injury.
Quality and Effectiveness of Treatment
The Theragun Mini is a massage gun I’d recommend consumers use for daily bodily maintenance, rather than injury rehabilitation or heavy-duty recovery. It’s excellent for bringing to and from the gym to activate a muscle before a workout, or target a pressure point after a lift. It’s great for use after an airplane ride or a long day of sitting at a desk. It works very well, better than all other mini massage guns I’ve tried, but it doesn’t have the same power as a regular-sized massage gun, nor is it designed to.
The Theragun Prime is a well-done massage gun for anyone, and a perfect massage gun for the average user. It has plenty of power, 30 pounds of force, the same amount as the Theragun Elite, and 16 millimeters of amplitude. The Theragun Prime is very effective as soothing aching muscles and radiating away soreness, even if just temporarily, almost anywhere on the body. The percussive therapy it provides feels top-notch. I can’t really sense a difference in intensity between the Prime and Elite, but definitely can with the PRO. However, the PRO’s power isn’t necessary for most users, so if you’re new to massage guns or not a professional athlete, the Prime is the way to go.
The Theragun Elite works very well. It’s designed to give you deep percussive massage and that’s exactly what it does. I pretty much stay on the first speed the entire time, and haven’t felt the need to increase the speed thus far. Unless you’re a professional bodybuilder with a lot of muscle tissue, you probably won’t need the higher speeds to feel the effects of this gun. I spin most days of the week and lift weights almost every day as well, and I’ve been using the Theragun Elite on my quads, glutes and hamstrings consistently. I’ve definitely felt more recovered, less sore and just better overall because of its power.
The Theragun PRO works extremely well. It’s like the Theragun Elite, with more power and depth, so you can go deeper with your muscular recovery at the same speeds. It has the heft you need to penetrate deeply into your muscles and recover fascia, and comes with every massage gun head you could possibly need across the body. I was especially impressed by the Supersoft massage gun head, which works very well if you’re trying to massage a very sensitive part of the body that still needs the work (for me, it’s my calves).
Noise Level: A Rare Drawback to Theragun Massagers
This is an area in which none of the Therabody massage guns pass with flying colors, but none of them are particularly disruptive either. All of them are louder than guns from their competitor brands, like Hyperice, but they all have more powerful motors than their equivalents, so it’s a trade-off. In my experience, you’re never using a massage gun during a relaxing, spa-like massage experience, and the noise level didn’t bother me, personally.
Usually, you’re using them in the gym, after a workout or after a long day of work, scenarios that don’t necessarily call for silence. Noise level is a bit irrelevant if the gun works well and gives you relief, which all of these do, so I don’t knock them for it. If the level of buzzing from a massage chair or vibrator bothers you — or if you like to use your massage gun while watching TV — then you’ll probably be perturbed by Therabody’s massage guns, if not, you’re good. There aren’t many cons to consider when shopping for Therabody products (besides the price tag), but the noise level is the closest we come to a true drawback in our Theragun reviews.
Price: You Get What You Pay For
Ah, another area where Therabody stands out from the rest, and not necessarily in a good way. None of these are budget-friendly devices, but they’re not trying to be either. Therabody is a high-end brand that makes equipment you’re splurging on if you’re buying it. The Theragun Mini is $199, pricier than other miniature massage guns and also their most affordable option. It’s going to be the most relevant to most users’ lifestyles, since it can be helpful for soreness caused by everyday life, in addition to fitness. The Theragun Prime is also a fantastic option for most users who want to splurge on a high-quality, regular-sized device from Therabody.
Unless you’re a professional in the movement space or are a person who invests in the nicest version of every product you purchase, you don’t NEED the Theragun Elite or Theragun PRO. They’re high-end devices that are 100% worth the price, if you’re willing to pay for it, but I believe you can get similar relief from much more affordable Theragun alternatives.
Theragun Reviews: Why Trust SPY.com?
In case the beginning of this post didn’t drive this point home clearly enough, we know our stuff when it comes to massage guns. It’s one of the product categories we’ve done the most testing in, and we’re the most knowledgeable of when it comes to specs, unique features and simple effectiveness.
Our testing process is rigorous, and we continue to use many of the massage guns we’ve sampled well after the testing period has finished, and pieces have been written, and update our readers on anything we find after months and years of using these recovery devices. If you’re looking for your next recovery splurge purchase, you’ve come to the right place.
About the Author: Taylor Galla
Taylor Galla is SPY’s Senior E-Commerce Editor, and she has written extensively on the top massage guns, mini massage guns and athletic recovery products. In her time at SPY, she has reviewed dozens of massage guns from brands such as Therabody, Hyperice, Sonic, Sportneer and VYBE. She has also tested and reviewed some of the top products in the health and fitness space, including the best rowing machines, fitness mirrors and boxing setups. For this review, Therabody sent Galla the Theragun PRO, Theragun Elite and Theragun Mini for editorial review.