Finding the right massage gun for you. Review: Theragun Mini and Elite

    Massage guns are becoming an increasingly more popular item. Whether you’re professional athlete, a massage therapist, or you just enjoy sport, everyone is loving these devices. Even people who have found themselves sitting in a chair all day long are benefiting from massage guns.

    A few months ago we checked out the Theragun PRO. It’s one of the top of the line massage guns and perfect if you’re using it all the time or have the cash to splash. But what if you’re on a budget? Can you still find a decent massage device for your needs?

    Luckily, Therabody have more products for you to consider.

    Three massage guns to consider. There are more, but we’ve been trying these three in particular.

    The Theragun Elite and Theragun Mini are great massage guns that come with a cheaper price tag than their expensive brother, the PRO. The Theragun Elite has almost all the features of the Theragun PRO and will suit many sportspeople. If your on an even tighter budget, or you’re wanting something a little smaller to carry around, then the Theragun Mini is perfect. We got our hands on both to test them out.

    Theragun Elite or Theragun Mini? That is the question.

    Theragun Elite vs. Theragun PRO

    The Theragun Elite comes with many of the features of the Theragun PRO. Both have the similar massage power and most of the same attachments (you get two more with the PRO model). The Theragun PRO however is a much heavier gun and therefore even at the same massage frequency, the PRO gives a slightly deeper massage. You can always achieve the same result by pushing harder with the Theragun Elite.

    Theragun PRO (left) vs. Theragun Elite (right). You can see the Elite is slightly smaller than the PRO.

    One of the other main differences with the Elite is the is the massage arm isn’t adjustable like the PRO version. This feature isn’t a deal breaker for most users. People can easily get away with the Theragun Elite, even as a professional sports player.

    I tried out both guns at the same time. Lying on my front, I closed my eyes and had someone else run both guns over my back. Whilst I could slightly tell which is which, they are so similar there is also no difference. After the massage I felt the same effect from both guns.

    Personally, I like the white colour that the Theragun Elite is available in. The PRO only comes in black, with the option to have a blue or red highlight. Again, this is definitely not a deal breaker, but I like to stand out when it comes to my devices. Especially now with everyone buying massage guns.

    The Elite is only $649 AUD compared to the PRO at $899 AUD.

    Beautiful stark white shiny finish with blue highlight really makes the Theragun Elite stand out from the crowd.

    Go for something lighter and more compact

    One of the things I have enjoyed about the Theragun Elite is that it’s a bit lighter than the Theragun PRO. The PRO version is relatively heavy, and after using it for several minutes my arms became fairly tired. The Elite is a lot easier to use, especially for someone of my build. My housemate who has about 20-30kg on me has no trouble using either of them. So if you’re looking for something that’s a little easier to use and hold, then opt for the Elite over the PRO version.

    Both have digital dials to give you information on massage intensity, battery life, and mode. So you won’t be missing out on this feature if you opt for the Theragun Elite.

    Digital display tells you how much battery life is left.

    Weight matters

    Theragun PRO weighs in at 1.3kg, whilst the Elite is only 1kg. This won’t sound like much, but there’s a huge difference that 300 grams makes after holding it for ten minutes. Try it next time you’re at the gym – just hold a 500 gram weight in front of you and see how long you last. It’s harder than it sounds! The Elite has a slightly smaller battery (hence a lighter weight), so you’ll get 120 minutes of use instead of the 150 minutes per battery from the PRO. Even if you’re out playing sport all weekend, you probably won’t need more than an hour or so of run time.

    The Theragun Elite needs to be plugged in directly to charge.

    The slightly smaller build on Theragun Elite also makes it perfect for storing. The Theragun PRO whilst it has the option of an additional battery and external charging (you need to directly plug in the Theragun Elite instead of removing the battery when charging the PRO), this light form factor means all the Elite’s accessories fight neatly into the carry case.

    Everything out of the box fits inside the Theragun Elite carry case.

    Interchangeable massage heads, charger, and booklet all fit into the Theragun Elite’s carry case. If you purchase the PRO, you’ll need to find additional storage spaces for the charger and various heads. Not to mention this isn’t the most convenient thing to travel around with.

    Charger, four massage heads, and Theragun Elite fit inside the box.

    Now that we’ve checked out the Elite, let’s look at the Theragun Mini.

    Theragun Mini massage gun: ultimate lightweight

    The Theragun mini has all the fun of the PRO and Elite, but in a lightweight package. I just love the Mini so much because it’s small, compact, lightweight, and easy to travel with. It’s not as powerful as the Theragun PRO or Elite, but it’s enough when travelling and it’s a good compromise.

    The mini comes in Black, Red, Dessert Rose, and White.

    Limited edition Red Theragun Mini massage gun (Image: Theragun)

    Great for travelling

    I have absolutely loved travelling with the Theragun Mini. The mini has been with me to Poland, America, and Denmark in the past few weeks. I plan on taking it to Ireland with me this weekend. This gun is the perfect size and weight to stash in your carry-on baggage. Whilst you might get some interesting looks like going through security, the device is perfectly safe to travel on planes.

    Perfect, compact, lightweight design.

    When I went through security in both Dubai and Germany (yay for connecting flights), the security offices had a great time trying out the gun for themselves. This was after their confused questioning of “what is that weird looking triangle shaped thing in your bag”. Just don’t call it a gun when you’re in the airport! I referred to it as a massage device. This was followed by “woah, it’s so good” as each of the guards took turns testing it out. Luckily my connecting flight was delayed otherwise I would have missed it!

    Perfect on planes

    The mini was also very useful whilst you’re in the air. Long haul flights can be a pain and you’ll often get lots of sore spots from sitting in one place for too long. Whipping out the mini on a flight was the perfect way to calm down my muscles and give them some blood flow back. Whilst the gun is relatively noisy in a quiet room, no one even notices the massage gun’s noise over the sound of the aircraft.

    I busted out the Theragun Mini while I was in various airline lounges, in my hotel, and even while I was waiting in my speaker room between presentations. It was definitely the talk of the town and it turns out many people had been trying and loving massage guns. And with up to 150 minutes of run time, you’ll get plenty of massage time in before you need to spend 80 minutes charging it.

    Whilst travelling, I also had the opportunity to continue my sports and gym sessions. Most hotels around the world have decent gyms and I managed to find a local Quidditch team in San Francisco to join in on a game. No I can’t take my physio with me, but I travel with a Theragun Mini. It was perfect for giving my arms and legs a good rub down after sport and gym.

    One thing’s for sure, I won’t be leaving the house without the Theragun Mini anytime soon.

    Hard to reach places

    Something to note if you are purchasing any of the massage guns; Theragun PRO, Elite, or Mini, is that there are some areas that are very difficult to reach on your own. If you are purchasing a massage device because you have a bad back, then you’ll probably need to think twice about the massage gun.

    I have seen people put guns on clamps and use them on their back but I wouldn’t recommend this. The only real way to use it on your back is to have someone else use the gun on your back. If you live alone or are travelling alone, then a massage gun might not be the right fit. Think about the lumbar massage pads instead. But if you like to travel, you’re stuck behind a desk, or you enjoy playing sport, the massage gun is perfect for getting into your arms, legs, and even your neck and shoulders.

    Comparing all the prices

    The Theragun Mini massage gun is one of the best prices around. It comes in at $399.00 AUD. This is much more affordable than the Elite (at $649 AUD) or PRO (at $899 AUD) and removes the barrier to most people owning one. There are also some sweet options for customisation of the Theragun Mini. The gun comes in plenty of colours, and you can buy various coloured silicon sleeves to suit your style.

    If you like the idea of the different massage heads, you can purchase those separately from the Theragun website or their retailers.

    If I’ve convinced you, then it’s only a matter of which one to purchase. Or you could go all out and have a Theragun PRO for home use, Theragun Elite for the office, and a Mini for travelling!

    Michelle Mannering
    Michelle Mannering
    Mish is the Hackathon Queen, having participated in more than 100 events. Between being a Developer and Twitch streamer, Mish also finds time to pursue her keen interest in driving entrepreneurial culture in Melbourne's Melbourne’s esports industry and has founded several tech companies.

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