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*UPDATED 05/17/2023 to reflect the latest information*
The Theragun Elite Percussion Massage Gun is one of the best massage guns you can buy. After months of abuse, it still delivers an enormous amount of muscle crushing power and functions like new.
Read on as we take and in-depth look at the Theragun Elite and how it compares to the less expensive Theragun Prime.
The original Theragun is what put massage guns as we know them today, on the map. Originally developed in 2009 by Dr. Jason Wersland, the Theragun brand has steadily evolved into one of the top rehabilitative product focused companies on the planet. From massage guns to compression boots, they sell it all. To date, we have had the opportunity to test 4 of the massage guns–the Theragun PRO, the Theragun Elite, the Theragun Prime, and the Theragun mini. So far, they have all been outstanding.
Relative to the quality of other massage guns we’ve tested, the ones from Theragun are all very well made. From what we gather, they’re very much invested in delivering quality products. And that truly shows with each new generation of massage gun they release.
Ok, enough about the company. Let’s dive into the Theragun Elite and what makes it great.
Theragun Elite Performance
The Theragun Elite is an extremely strong, well built massage gun. Thanks to its all-new QX65 brushless motor, it delivers a very strong and firm percussive massage. With a max stall force of around 40lbs and an amplitude of 16mm, the Elite is able to offer an extremely deep massage that so many crave.
If we’ve scared you off thinking this will be too much force, no worries! Thanks to the 5 variable speeds, you can always dial back the intensity for a gentler massage experience.
So not only is the Theragun Elite powerful, but it’s surprising quiet too. Set on high it only produces about 60dB of sound. That’s equivalent to you carrying on a conversation or listening to some background music.
Bluetooth and App
With the latest 4th generation, Theragun introduced Bluetooth connectivity into the mix with an accompanying smartphone App. Now, you no longer have to fumble around trying to figure out how to use a massage gun thanks to their guided programming. It’s all very technologically advanced, but incredibly easy to navigate.
From choosing the appropriate massage head attachment to treating a specific area of the body or condition, the App will guide you every step of the way.
In practice, the App can be invaluable in that it will not only instruct you where to use the massage gun, but it will also indicate the amount of pressure to apply, where to grip the handle for best results, and what speed you should select.
With the overwhelming number of worhtless Apps out there, Theragun put a lot of effort into making this one functional.
As for battery life, you’re not going to have any issues worrying about recharging anytime soon. Theragun states that the internal battery holds twice the capacity of the previous model and should net you about 120 minutes of charge depending on your usage.
Considering the fact that you shouldn’t use it for more than about 10-20 minutes per session, getting a weeks worth of battery with frequent use would not be unheard of. During our hands-on time, we managed to use it an entire week and it still had at least a 30% charge left. It just kept going and going.
We really appreciated the design of the Theragun Elite. The body only weighs 2.2lbs and is shaped in such a way that it makes it very comfortable to hold in numerous different positions depending on where you need it. The triangular shape makes it super comfortable to hold, allowing you to contact those hard to reach areas of the body on your own.
Currently, the Theragun Elite is available in 2 different colors, black and white. Whatever your preference, you’re sure to like them both. We will say this, the shiny black plastic is a fingerprint magnet, so if that might be something that bothers you, consider going for the white one. Smudges don’t show as easily.
Continuing with the design, the placement of the on/off switch and the speed selector on the top of the handle was a smart decision. It makes it a lot easier to operate and further adds to the incredible ergonomics.
Inside The Box
Inside the package you’ll find an attractive molded carrying case, 5 closed-cell foam massage head attachments, and a charger. Unfortunately, if you’re interested in wireless charging, that accessory stand is $79 extra.
The charging base, although not included, is truly a fantastic option. If you’re anything like us, we hate the clutter of extra cables lying around. In this case, having the ability to not only neatly store your massage gun, but charge it too is pretty slick.
We definitely enjoy having the option to drop the Theragun Elite on the battery charger instead of tinkering around trying to find a cable each time we need to charge it.
Theragun Elite Pros and Cons
Theragun Prime vs Elite
We could go on about how much we love the Theragun Elite, but a lot of people are more interested in a Theragun Elite vs Theragun Prime comparison.
At first glance, they’re nearly identical in design. However, beyond that there are a number of key differences that set the Theragun Prime vs Theragun Elite apart that you should know about. Are the differences enough to justify the $100 price premium? We’ll provide the facts and leave that decision up to you.
Theragun Elite vs Prime Exterior Design
Versus the Elite, the finish on the Prime is matte black. It’s not quite as flashy and lacks that polished aesthetic, but honestly the matte finish has its advantages.
As we previously mentioned, the shiny finish of the Elite attracts fingerprints like mad. If you’re a bit OCD, the Prime’s matte finish will save you the hassle of carrying around a microfiber towel to wipe it down at every given moment.
The other unassuming benefit of the Prime’s matte finish is that it’s actually a bit grippier in the hand versus the slick finish of the Theragun Elite. A small but noteworthy detail.
Comparisons of the Theragun Prime vs Elite
In a lot of ways, the Theragun Prime and the Elite are more similar than different when it comes to the features that matter most.
|Prime vs Elite||Theragun Prime||Theragun Elite|
|Number of Speeds||5||5|
|Massage Head Amplitude||16mm||16mm|
|Battery Life||120 Min||120 Min|
|Stall Force||30 lbs||40 lbs|
|Smart Capabilities||LED Indicators, Bluetooth®, App-Guided Presets||OLED Screen, Bluetooth®, 3 Built-In Presets, Force Meter|
|Dimensions||8.9 in (22.5 cm) x 6.3 in (16 cm) x 2.9 in (7.3 cm)||9.5 in (24.0 cm) x 6.7 in (17.0 cm) x 2.9 in (7.4 cm)|
As you can see from the table, the Prime vs Elite are the exact same when it comes to the number of variable motor speeds, the amplitude, and battery life. What the Theragun Prime lacks is the OLED screen with the built-in force meter, has slightly less stall force, and doesn’t include the Wedge closed-cell foam massage head attachment.
Theragun Prime vs Elite Stall Force
As you can see the Prime’s motor produces 10 lbs less stall force than the Elite. But what does that mean exactly?
Stall force refers to the amount of force the massage head can produce as it percusses the body. The higher the force, the more impact you’re going to feel. In other words, if you’re someone that prefers a really deep, hard hitting massage, a higher stall force would be a priority.
For all intents and purposes, the Prime’s 30lbs of stall force is more than adequate in the majority of real world massage scenarios. However, that extra stall force might come in handy when you’re trying to work out knots in meatier areas of the body like the quads or glutes.
The bottom line is this: With the Elite, you’re able to apply just a bit more downward pressure into the muscle without stressing the motor.
Elite vs Prime Smart Features
The built-in smart features is the other area where the Elite vs Prime differ just slightly. Let’s start with the screen first.
The Theragun Elite comes equipped with an OLED display vs LCD display on the Prime. For the unaware, OLED is a newer screen technology that is capable of producing better picture quality through improved contrast. The differences are pretty apparent when it comes to big, modern television sets, but in this case, the benefits are negligible.
Because it’s only outputting the battery life and basic settings, the tiny OLED screen doesn’t really do much over the LCD screen found on the Prime.
The other difference between the Prime vs Elite is the Elite’s ability to program 3 built-in presets. In short, you can create presets with varying speeds, times, and force based on your preference. It’s a simple solution for those that like automation. In our opinion, it’s a neat feature, but dialing in the speed manually on the Prime isn’t all that difficult.
Theragun Elite vs. Theragun Prime: The Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve gone over the main differences between the Theragun Elite and the Theragun Prime, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each model.
Theragun Elite: Pros
Longer battery life: As mentioned earlier, the Theragun Elite has a longer battery life than the Prime, with a runtime of up to 150 minutes on a single charge. This is especially useful if you plan on using the massage gun for longer sessions or if you don’t have access to a power outlet.
Wider range of speed settings: The Elite has a total of six speed settings, giving you more options to choose from depending on your needs. This is especially useful if you have multiple muscle groups with different levels of tension or soreness.
Quieter operation: With a noise level of around 65 decibels, the Theragun Elite is slightly quieter than the Prime. This might not make a huge difference if you’re using the massage gun for a short session, but it can be more comfortable to use for longer periods of time.
Extra attachments: The Elite comes with a few extra attachments that the Prime doesn’t have, including a large ball attachment and a cone attachment. These can be useful for targeting specific muscle groups or for more precise work.
Customization options: The Elite has a customizable LED light display and a customizable sound setting, giving you more control over the massage gun’s appearance and operation.
Theragun Elite: Cons
Higher price: The Theragun Elite is the more expensive of the two models, with a retail price of $449. This might be a deal breaker for some people, especially if they’re on a tight budget.
Heavier and larger: The Elite is slightly heavier and larger than the Prime, which might not be a big deal for some people but could be a concern for others. If you’re planning on using the massage gun while traveling or on the go, the Prime might be a more practical choice.
Theragun Prime: Pros
More affordable: The Theragun Prime is priced at $299, which is significantly cheaper than the Elite. This is a major pro for people who are looking for a high-quality massage gun but don’t want to spend a lot of money.
Lightweight and compact: The Prime is lighter and more compact than the Elite, making it easier to use on the go or while traveling.
Good battery life: With a runtime of up to 120 minutes on a single charge, the Theragun Prime has a good battery life. It might not be as long as the Elite’s, but it’s still more than enough for most people’s needs.
Adjustable speed settings: Like the Elite, the Prime has adjustable speed settings to help you target different muscle groups and intensity levels.
Wide range of attachments: The Prime comes with a variety of attachments to help you target specific muscle groups and areas. This is great for people who want more control over their massage experience.
Theragun Prime: Cons
No customization options: The Theragun Prime doesn’t have any customization options like the LED light display or sound setting. This might not be a big deal for some people, but others might miss these features.
Louder operation: With a noise level of around 70 decibels, the Prime is slightly louder than the Elite. This might not be an issue for everyone, but it could be a deal breaker for people who are sensitive to noise.
Fewer attachments: The Prime doesn’t come with the same extra attachments as the Elite, such as the large ball and cone attachments. While it still has a good selection of attachments, some people might miss these additional options.
Which One Is Right for You?
So, which percussive massage gun is the right choice for you: the Theragun Elite or the Theragun Prime? As with any product, it ultimately comes down to your personal needs and preferences.
If price is a major concern for you, the Theragun Prime is the more affordable option. It’s also a good choice if you’re looking for a lightweight and compact massage gun that’s easy to use on the go.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend a little more money and you want a massage gun with a longer battery life and more customization options, the Theragun Elite might be the better choice. It also has a wider range of speed settings and a few extra attachments, which can be useful for targeting specific muscle groups or for more precise work.
In the end, both the Theragun Elite and the Theragun Prime are excellent percussive massage guns that can help improve blood flow, reduce muscle tension and soreness, and improve flexibility and range of motion. Ultimately, the right choice for you will depend on your specific needs and budget.
In conclusion, the Theragun Elite and the Theragun Prime are both excellent percussive massage guns that can help relieve muscle tension and soreness. The Elite is slightly more expensive and has a longer battery life, more speed settings, and extra attachments, as well as customization options. The Prime is more affordable, lighter and more compact, and has a good selection of attachments. Ultimately, the right choice for you will depend on your specific needs and budget.
I hope this article has helped you make an informed decision about the Theragun Elite vs. Theragun Prime debate. Whether you go with the Elite or the Prime, I’m sure you’ll love the benefits that percussive massage guns have to offer.
Editor-In-Chief at Recovatech. Dr. Ben has been a Doctor of Chiropractic for over 10 years, specializing in structural and neurological imbalances with an emphasis in functional movement patterns, exercise performance, and muscle recovery. He has been the team chiropractor for professional baseball and soccer organizations, as well as collegiate athletes. In his personal life, he’s always been driven when it comes to athletics and personal performance. His mornings start by lifting something heavy and end spending time with family.