I am a 54 year old male and I have the aches and pains to prove it. You can blame it on all the pickleball I’ve been playing, but I’m not about to stop playing pickleball. I can’t keep popping ibuprofen, so what’s left? Massage gun, natch. These magical machines can soothe sore muscles almost as well as a massage therapist, and they don’t require an appointment. Therabody’s Theragun lineup is synonymous with these tools, and the second generation Mini promises amazing results from a device as compact and lightweight as possible. Does he deliver? Here is my Theragun Mini review.
Theragun Mini design
The Mini features one of the more unusual designs I’ve seen; There is no such thing as a “gun” about it. Instead, it is triangular, with a fairly wide top edge where you hold it. Therabody calls it “ergonomic,” but I disagree: the top-down grip makes it difficult to reach certain areas (like over the shoulder) and forces your wrist to bend more than using a traditional angled massager (like Akrin Bantam Athletics). Conclusion: I don’t like the design.
I seem to be in the minority with this view. The Mini has an impressive 4.8-star rating from Amazon buyers — more than 5,000 of them. Perhaps its other benefits outweigh the occasional discomfort of holding it? Read on.
The device weighs just over 1 pound, on par with other small massagers. It has three speed settings and comes with three attachments: the fader, standard ball, and thumbscrew. Missing is a forked head to specifically target the neck, spine and Achilles tendon. There is a zip carry bag in the box, but it doesn’t fit all 3 attachments, just the one that clips on.
Theragun Mini features
Therabody includes a small but informative printed instruction manual to help you with basic setup and operation – and it’s as simple as it gets: turn the Mini on, toggle the speed setting, and use the Mini. You also have the option to pair it with your phone; The eponymous Therabody app includes dozens of routines geared specifically for the Mini. Whether you’re looking for lower back relaxation, relief from “tech neck” or even pickleball recovery, there’s a step-by-step routine for that.
I can’t overstate the value this provides, because with most other massage guns, there’s a lot of guesswork involved: What muscle groups should I target? What attachment should I use? till when? The Therabody routine eliminates the confusion. It’s like having a physical therapist on hand to guide you.
The app can also connect to a bunch of third-party apps (Apple Health, Strava, etc.) and create custom actions for you based on their data. Then there’s the Freestyle mode, which includes a slider to adjust the speed with many more options than the three presets. You can also see a live “strength meter” that shows how much downward pressure you’re applying, which can help you avoid overdoing it.
Speaking of power, the Theragun Mini packs more power than most models in its class, with a capacity (aka stroke length) of 12mm; It beats many competitors at 6-8 mm. As a general rule, the higher the amplitude, the deeper the massage. Whether or not this is a good thing depends on the user; When I target the calf muscles, for example, I need to use a very light touch, otherwise it’s painful. A lower capacity model would be fine in this case.
Despite having such a powerful engine, the Mini is surprisingly quiet; In fact, it’s among the quietest massagers I’ve tested. but, because Despite its powerful motor (and compact size), it has a relatively short battery life: about two hours. This is hardly a deal-breaker — it’s handy enough to recharge the device via USB-C — but it’s definitely on the low side compared to other little niggles. (The Bantam mentioned above, for example, can work for up to six hours.)
Theragun Mini performance
So what is it like to actually use the Theragun Mini? Let’s just say it helps keep me in the bullpen. I’ve found that allowing the app to walk me through different procedures makes a huge difference, as I get a thorough, specific massage instead of just flickering in the dark (so to speak).
I still struggle with grip, though, which is an awkward and uncomfortable feeling at times and I don’t have as much flexibility as a “shotgun”-style massager. But it’s okay if you work mostly on the forehead, or you can persuade your partner to hit some hard-to-reach muscle groups.
At $199, the Mini also costs more than a lot of mini massagers—in some cases, much more. (For example, I’m in the midst of one review at just $40.) There’s no question that it delivers serious muscle-kneading power, and I love the companion app. I’m not sure these aspects alone justify the high price, especially given some of the usability issues. My guess is if you buy a Theragun Mini, you’ll like the Theragun Mini – but maybe you can buy something cheaper and like it just as much.