Therabody – formerly known as Theragun – choose the perfect time to introduce the Theragun mini, the subject of this review. The Theragun mini is the smallest percussion device I've seen to date and although it is not 'pocket-sized' as the manufacturer claims, it is highly portable and versatile nevertheless.
Before this Theragun mini review, what I was curious about is whether the mini can deliver a similar percussion massage experience as its bigger siblings or does it lack the power to be useful enough for most people? I also wanted to find out how the handle worked and if it was comfortable enough to hold to work on different body parts.
Is the Theragun mini a worthwhile investment?
Theragun mini review: ergonomics and design
The Theragun mini is a portable percussion massage tool that helps relieve soreness in your muscles on the go. Given the compact form factor, it has less oomph than its bigger siblings and I hope no one expected the same strength and versatility from the £175 mini as from the £549 Theragun Pro.
Unlike more expensive models, the Theragun mini is less of an athletes device to reduce recovery times and more of an office warrior's tool to ease up that stiff neck after staring at the monitor for 8+ hours. It can be operated very easily – there is literally only one button on the Theragun mini – and the grip makes holding the mini comfortable enough for working the traps, shoulders and neck.
The Theragun mini uses the adapted QX35 Motor with QuietForce Technology and although it is not loud per se, it is definitely not quiet enough to use in public without annoying people around you, especially at the highest speed setting. Using it in open spaces, such as parks and benches, is fine but not on the tube or in an office.
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Theragun mini review: how to use it
There are three speed settings to choose from: 1,750, 2,100 or 2,400 percussions per minute. If you haven't used these type of massage tools before, I recommend starting at the lowest setting until you get used to the sensation which shouldn't take long, a couple weeks tops.
For inexperienced users, even the lowest setting will provide a strong enough massage experience but once the initial break-in period is over, you will be surprised how well you adopted to the mini. As soon as the knots in your muscles have been eased, you will be amazed how weak it feels at lower settings compared to when you first started using the mini.
That said, the Theragun mini doesn't feel weak and especially considering the small body of the device, it delivers powerful strokes even at low speed settings. The massager head has an amplitude of 12 mm which feel firm enough on the skin.
There is only one attachment included with the mini – the standard ball head – but it is compatible with all fourth generation attachments.
Theragun mini review: battery life
The Theragun mini has a battery life of 150 minutes and a charge time of 80 minutes. I highly doubt that many people will use the mini for more than 10 minutes a day, meaning you won't have to charge it more than once every other week and even when you do, it'll be charged rather quickly. Therefore, taking the charger with you when you are out of the house is not necessary.
Theragun mini review: Therabody App
The Therabody app has just recently been launched and mainly functions as library of routines you can follow using your Theragun device. Some models can even connect to the app using Bluetooth, not the mini though, but you can still follow the 'protocols' – as the app puts it – manually.
There are even guided routines for sleeping and different body parts and you can use the illustrations to know where to massage the body and for how long. Admittedly, it would be better if you could have the full Therabody App experience with the Theragun mini but at least you have something, right?
Theragun mini review: Theragun percussion massagers
There are four different percussion massagers included in the Theragun family:
- Theragun mini: entry level model, also the most portable
- Theragun Prime: a simplified version of the Elite with no LED screen but still smart app compatible
- Theragun Elite: the top model for individual use with an OLED screen and customisable speed range
- Theragun PRO: professional-grade model with a rotating arm and 300-minute battery life
If you choose the Prime, you are paying £100 extra for the triangular-shaped handle (great for working the back) and the app connection but you are losing out on battery life (120 minutes) and portability. The Elite is the model I'd recommend for athletes and especially for cyclists and runners to work the calves and quads after workouts. The PRO is best for – err – pros.
Theragun mini review: who is it recommended for?
The Theragun mini would work well for people who have a sedentary lifestyle and exercise a bit less than average, such as people working in offices or at other desk-based jobs. I can also see it being useful for people in retail and hospitality who stand around quite a lot and probably not don't pay any attention to their posture in general.
For athletes, the Theragun mini doesn't have enough strength to penetrate the muscles deep enough and effectively help recovery. Even for them, though, the Theragun mini can provide a quick fix and relieve tension on the go without the hassle of carrying a full-size percussion massager with them.
Theragun mini review: verdict
Therabody came up with a great idea to make the entry level model of its Theragun range accessible but not cheap, a fine line to walk indeed. Once you let go of the concept that percussion massagers are for athletes only, you will realise just how convenient the Theragun mini is.
The Theragun mini might not be pocket-sized but it can easily fit into a larger handbag and definitely in a cycling backpack or gym bag. It is also quiet to use in open public spaces but maybe not discreet enough to be used on a bus or in a quiet environment such as an office. It's not loud enough to disturb the family members at home but you might not want to start your session right in front of your TV when your significant other's programme is on.
Thanks to the three speed settings and the high-amplitude percussions, using the Theragun mini will feel powerful enough for people who are not used to sports- or deep-tissue massage. However, for athletes who are, the mini might not be able to effectively relax muscles after rigorous workouts. I recommend the Theragun Elite for them.