The Theragun Elite: More Than Just A New Name
Theragun, founders of the percussion massage gun, made a surprise unveiling of four new and very exciting models this week. In addition, they also announced their new company name, Therabody, which will further embrace their expansion into other wellness products.
These new 4th generation models deliver the most innovative and fresh new features we’ve ever seen in this space. Starting from the most to least expensive, we have the flagship Theragun Pro ($599), the Theragun Elite ($399), the Theragun Prime ($299), and the peculiar wedge-shaped Theragun Mini ($199). We went hands on with the premium Theragun Elite to see if it’s just another iterative update or a major leap forward for the company.
Relative to its G3 predecessor, the new Theragun Elite is a better version in almost every conceivable way. That’s not to say the Theragun G3 was a slouch. No, in fact we dubbed it the most premium massage gun you could buy at the time. It was a show stopper for sure. Stellar design aside, we just couldn’t overlook certain flaws that left us wanting. To our approval, the Elite aims to rectify those wrongs.
Topics we will cover:
- Improved design
- New, quieter motor
- Improved battery life
- New software app with Bluetooth sync
- Theragun Elite vs. Hypervolt Plus
At first glance, there’s not a whole lot that differentiates the G3 from the Elite. Largely, that’s a good thing. We love the ergonomic triangular handle and one-piece design. It’s a perfect example of both form and function. Aesthetically speaking, we do regret that they brought back the glossy plastic accents.
Out of the box it’s a stunner, but after 5 minutes of use it quickly turns into a fingerprint magnet. Sadly, along with the smudges, we did notice some very fine scratches in the glossy finish. A minor gripe and observation we want to make you aware of.
On a more positive note, we are pleased to report that Theragun managed to not only make the Elite’s footprint smaller, but also shaved off 0.5lbs of weight. The new Elite now only weighs 2.2 lbs. Initially, that might not seem like a lot, but with extended use you really begin to feel the strain in your arms.
Theraguns have always been renowned for their incredibly powerful motors, but they’ve also been known to be obnoxiously loud too. The G2 essentially sounded like a jig-saw (looked like one too) and the G3, although 50% quieter, was still louder than most other massage guns.
It seems Theragun took that criticism to heart, locked themselves in the R&D lab, and emerged with their proprietary QX65 motor with QuietForce Technology.
According to their website, they “leveraged advanced sound insulation” to create a motor that produces 75% less noise than the G3. While it still delivers the same powerful 40lbs of no-stall force pressure, it’s marketed to be quieter than a standard electric toothbrush.
After a couple days of full on testing, we are happy to report that their claims are true. You can easily carry on a conversation, watch TV, or use this thing in public without drawing the ire of your closest neighbor. They finally nailed it with this one.
The other aspect of the motor that we’re super enthused about is the variable 5-speed motor (1750-2400PPM) with the same signature 16mm amplitude. We criticized the G3 for only offering a 2-speed motor. It felt very limited relative to every other massage guns out there with some offering as many as 20 incremental speeds.
Unlike the PRO model, the Elite still maintains the built-in, non-removable battery. For us, we are totally OK with that especially since they doubled the battery life to 120 minutes!
While it’s not recommended to use a massage gun for more than 15 minutes for the entire body, we always felt like the battery life of the G3 wasn’t enough.
Also very handy, the built in OLED screen now displays the battery percentage so you know exactly how much charge is left. That’s a nice alternative to the 3 blinking lights that oftentimes left you wondering.
Therabody App and Bluetooth
Ah, Bluetooth. It’s everywhere, isn’t it? Nowadays if something has a circuit board, it’s gotta have Bluetooth too– even if it adds little to no value.
When we saw Theragun added Bluetooth to the Elite, an involuntary eye roll ensued. Great, another piece of worthless half-baked technology to fumble around with we thought.
We were wrong.
In truth, the new Therabody app with its wireless connection to your massage gun is a revelation! It’s really that good and we think you’ll fall in love with it too.
So obviously, the first thing you need to do is install the Therabody app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play. Assuming you have the Elite powered on, the process is fairly seamless from there. Follow a few simple prompts to connect your phone to the Elite and you’re automatically connected.
For our unit, we were prompted to install a firmware update. That always makes us leary that we’ll brick our device, but it was smooth sailing too. It took approximately 10 minutes, but kept us abreast of it’s progress on the OLED screen.
Once you’re in the Therabody App, you’re able to select a whole host of different presets and programs. Each preset is designed to target a certain body part, condition (i.e. back pain,plantar fasciitis, etc), or routine.
What’s really neat is that the Elite allows you to program 3 different routines or presets directly to your massage gun. At that point there’s no need to even open the App, you can simply select it directly from the manual controls on the Elite.
We also love that each program is guided. Everything from the body part, the time, the pressure, the specific massage attachment, to the intensity are all modifiable. If you’ve ever been a little unsure where and how to use a massage gun, this App is a game changer.
The Theragun Elite, like most other massage guns, comes with a molded case, 5 closed-cell foam attachments, and a power adapter.
Now the attachments are actually quite nice. The closed-cell foam is very dense, yet has just enough give to feel very comfortable. Most attachments out there are made of a very hard plastic. As we are using it on the back, for instance, we find that you can comfortably roll over the spine without it feeling jarring or painful.
Long term durability of the foam is a potential concern, but from what we gather, they’re of very good quality. Word to the wise: don’t lose them. A replacement attachment will run you $20 each. Yikes!
Although it will cost you another $79, a wireless charger is available for the Theragun Elite. It’s pricey, but pretty slick.
A proper Theragun review is never complete without a proper comparison to its biggest rival, the Hyperice Hypervolt Plus.
The short answer? The Theragun Elite leap frogs the Hypervolt Plus in almost every way.
Not only is the Theragun Elite technologically more advanced with the Bluetooth Therabody App integration, but the new 5 speed motor provides a deeper massage too. You’ll often read reviews that state the Hypervolt Plus provides more of a vibration massage while the Theragun is more percussive. It really depends on your preference, but we choose the latter.
The Elite also weighs less. When you compare the Elite’s 2.2lbs to the Hypervolt Plus’ 3.0lbs, that’s almost a pound more. That might not seem like much, but you’ll certainly notice in practice.
In the end, because their pricing is so comparable, the Theragun Elite simply offers more for the money.
Should you buy it?
The Theragun Elite is everything we would ever want and more from a massage gun. Unlike the previous generation G3, this feels like a fully realized, well thought out 2.0 product.
For the longest time, it was hard to recommend or even justify the exorbitant cost of a Theragun. There are enough competitors on the market that offer nearly identical features and quality, at half the price. These new models, however, set a benchmark so high above the competition they’re likely to not catch up anytime soon.
If you’re looking for the absolute best massage gun with the most innovative features, look no further. This is the one you want.