- A high-quality massage gun is lightweight and quiet enough to use for long periods, has the power to relieve soreness, and is easy to use.
- I like the Theragun G3 Percussive Therapy Device because it has an ergonomic design with three comfortable handles, runs for 60 minutes on a single charge, and has multiple speeds.
- Though it’s expensive (currently $399 on Amazon and Best Buy), this massager comes with four head attachments, a travel case, and a one-year warranty.
Whether you’re a casual runner training for a 5K or a serious athlete hoping to make the team, you need to push your muscles if you want to experience gains. The cruel paradox is that your muscles tend to become sorer the harder you work them, making it tough to always bounce back for your next work out. Fortunately, massage guns are here to speed up your recovery.
Percussive massage guns help promote blood flow and loosen you up by pounding on your muscles dozens of times per second. They have hard plastic or foam heads designed to work all areas of your body.
The Theragun G3 Percussive Therapy Device offers the best balance of price, performance, and features. The triangular design provides three handles for maximum comfort and leverage and it offers two different speeds capable of delivering powerful stroking. After spending some time with the device, I found it to be an incredibly useful tool for both recovery and warming up for a workout.
The Theragun G3 comes with four heads that attach to the massage arm. Each is designed to work different muscle groups. The attachments are:
- Standard ball — Has a wide range of general uses.
- Dampener — Meant for tender and bony areas as well as general uses.
- Thumb — Intended for wherever you might use a thumb to massage yourself, including your lower back and trigger points.
- Cone — Designed for trigger points, focused muscle treatment, and small muscle areas, such as the wrists and feet.
The G3 has a built-in battery and comes with its own power adapter. The massager, heads, adapter, and user manual all fit conveniently into the provided travel case, too.
Here are some of the G3’s technical specifications:
- Weight — 2.6 pounds
- Dimensions — 9.5 inches by 7.5 inches by 2.5 inches
- Battery runtime — 60 minutes
- Speeds — 1750 and 2400 percussions per minute
- Stroke depth — 16mm
- Maximum force — 40 pounds
- Warranty — 1 year
The Theragun G3 arrived fully charged out of the box, so I didn’t have to wait before putting it to use — I was able to press the power button and soothe my sore shoulders within five minutes. I would have liked more information in the user manual but the device is intuitive enough to easily pick up and use right away. If you do want more details, the Theragun companion app has plenty of additional info.
The G3 comes standard with the dampener head already attached, though you can easily switch out heads by simply pulling them off and swapping in another. There are just two buttons on the top handle, one for power and the other for switching between its two speeds.
What makes Theragun’s G3 stand out
One of my favorite aspects of the G3 is its design. Thanks to a triangular shape, you’re able to easily grip it in three different spots to get the most comfortable angle for your needs. The body of the gun is also covered with a grippy rubber-like plastic that adds to its ergonomic feel. Plus, it’s lightweight enough to hold for longer sessions without making your arm grow tired.
I also like that the G3 has virtually no cleaning or maintenance needs. Though Theragun doesn’t provide any cleaning instructions, I found a damp cloth was all I needed to wipe down the device when it was dirty. After thoroughly drying it off, it was as if the device was brand new again.
Theragun is unique in that it offers support for its products via a companion smartphone app. There’s no WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity but the app does provide useful information on how to get the most out of the device. There are guides on how to warm up your muscles prior to exercising or working out tough knots, as well as soothing regimens designed to help you sleep.
Cons to consider
The biggest negative of the Theragun G3 is how loud it is. When on its highest setting, my sound meter read 71 decibels from 12 inches away — a similar decibel level to a vacuum cleaner. When I’m massaging my muscles, I’d like to be able to listen to an audiobook or watch TV at the same time. With how loud this unit is, it’s hard to do that. Fortunately, it gets the job done quickly.
After testing the G3 for five months, the glue holding the dampener attachment to the bit that attaches to the massager wore out. I can still use the dampener (my favorite attachment) but I have to make sure I hold it at the right angle. Not a dealbreaker but not terribly ideal, either.
The G3 uses a built-in battery, which means that if it dies, you have to charge it before you can use it again. You can’t just purchase extra batteries and swap them out. I never had a problem with this but if you travel a lot or plan to use the massage gun professionally, it might be an inconvenience. For comparison, the step above the G3, the G3Pro, comes standard with two batteries (more below).
The bottom line
Despite these negatives, we still think the Theragun G3 is a useful massage gun for both recovering from and warming up for workouts. Though it has an expensive price tag, it’s benefit as a quality recovery tool is worth the investment.
- Should you buy it? For most people, $399 is a bit much for the pleasure of loosening up muscles. However, compared to regular appointments with a licensed massage therapist, this is an excellent deal and much more convenient. Of course, the G3 is no substitute for a professional massage but it can supplement your sessions and allow you to avoid visiting your normal masseuse as often. For these reasons, I recommend the G3 to anyone wanting an affordable alternative or supplement to regular massages as well as to athletes who need a convenient way to care for their muscles.
- What model should you get? The G3 is Theragun’s midrange option. The company has two other options:
- G3PRO ($599) — There are several ways the G3PRO is superior. It comes with 6 head attachments, 2 swappable batteries that have a longer 75-minute runtime, and it has a more powerful 60-pound maximum force. It has the same three-handled design but it also has an adjustable massage arm, which makes it easier to reach all your muscles and so you never have to hold the massager at an awkward angle. If price is no object and you want the best, consider the G3PRO.
- liv ($249) — What liv lacks in high-end features, it makes up for in ease of use and price. This device weighs less and has a smaller footprint than the other Theragun massage guns while retaining the same triangular shape. You only get one speed (2400 percussions per minute), two heads (the standard ball and dampener), and a shorter battery runtime of 45 minutes.
- What are your alternatives? If each Theragun alternative is out of your price range, or you’re just interested in other options, you might consider these solutions:
- Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Massager ($27.99) – If you have a limited budget, this is a good beginner massager. It has variable percussion speeds up to 3,350 strokes per minute and comes with four heads. Unfortunately, it has to be plugged in to operate and the cord is only nine feet long. So, you can’t stray too far.
- Accugun Quiet Pro ($119.99) — According to manufacturer claims, this device runs longer, operates quieter, and is more lightweight than any of Theragun’s offerings. It has three speeds and comes with six heads. Unlike the Theraguns, the Accugun only has one handle and the massage arm doesn’t adjust, so you may have to hold it at an awkward angle to reach areas like your lower back.
- Hyperice Hypervolt ($349) — I tested the Hypervolt for several months, and it’s one of my favorites. I especially like how quietly it operates so I can watch my shows while using it. It has three speeds, comes with four head attachments, has a battery runtime of up to three hours, and is lightweight. I just wish it had more than one grip — or at least an adjustable arm.
Pros: Three handles for a comfortable grip, easy to use, lightweight, two speeds, comes with a travel case and four separate head attachments
Cons: Runs loud, can’t switch out the battery