Theragun Mini review: A portable massage gun that's powerful enough to ease up a stiff neck or sore calves. Pro athletes need not apply.
Therabody – formerly known as Theragun – is a household name in massage gun circles. Its products are famous for their ergonomic handle that enables people to massage every part of their body effectively. This includes the back, an area notoriously hard to self-massage.
The newest addition to the Theragun family, the Theragun Mini, is different from the rest of the lot. It has a triangular handle and is said to be even more portable than full-size massage guns. Therabody goes as far as calling the mini 'pocket sized'.
Unless you like walking around wearing cargo trousers, it's unlikely you will be able to shove the Mini in your pockets. Come to think of it, "pocket" could mean backpack pockets, and in that case, you can call the Theragun mini a pocket-sized massager.
Is the Theragun Mini a worthwhile investment? Let's find out.
Theragun Mini review: Price and availability
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 athlete's 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 quickly – there is 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, the Mini is not super quiet either. Using it in open spaces – such as parks and benches – is okay, but I wouldn't start massaging my quads on a train, for example.
Theragun Mini review: How to use it
The Theragun Mini is easy to operate. There is only one button on the device; Long press it to turn the massager on which then will start vibrating at 1,750 strokes per minute (SPM). Press it once more to make it go faster (2,100 SPM) and once more to make it go the fastest (2,400 SPM).
For inexperienced users, even the lowest setting will provide a strong enough massage experience. After the break-in period – around a week or two – you will be amazed at how weak the Mini feels at lower settings compared to when you first started using the mini.
That said, the Theragun Mini is a powerful enough massager, especially considering the small form factor. It delivers powerful strokes even at low-speed settings. The massage head has an amplitude of 12 mm, which feel firm enough on the skin. There is only one attachment included in the box – 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 relatively quickly. Therefore, taking the charger with you when you are out of the house is unnecessary.
Theragun mini review: Therabody App
The Therabody app has recently been launched and mainly functions as a 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.
In the app, you'll find guided routines for sleeping or soothing 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 to have the full Therabody App experience with the Theragun mini, but I assume some corners had to be cut to keep the price down.
Theragun Mini review: Who should use it?
The Theragun Mini would work well for people who have a sedentary lifestyle and exercise 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 how convenient the Theragun Mini is.
The Theragun Mini might not be pocket-sized, but it can easily fit into a 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, the mini might not be powerful enough to relax muscles after rigorous workouts effectively. For them, I recommend the Theragun Elite instead.
Theragun Mini review: Also consider
Similarly to the Theragun Mini, the Hyperice Hypervolt GO 2 is a portable massage gun, albeit with a more standard massage gun shape. It's not quite as powerful as the full-size Hypervolt 2 and 2 Pro, and you also miss out on Bluetooth connectivity, but these are things most non-professional athletes can live without. A great no-compromise entry-level massage gun.