Yes, it’s better than its predecessor, but no, not everyone needs it.
Introducing product reviews on Smarter Sweat: Once a month, Ashley or Amanda will post an in-depth product review. These may be products we use in our everyday lives, they may be gifted products, or they may be products from a partner. In any case, our opinions are truthful and our own.
TL;DR: Theragun Prime Review
What I love: The Theragun Prime utilizes Therabody’s new QuietForce technology, so it doesn’t make your brains rattle. It’s powerful, efficient, and makes an immediate improvement in soreness and mobility.
What I don’t: It’s still not as quiet as other massage guns on the market. There’s not much else I don’t like.
Smarter Sweat Takeaway: The Theragun Prime is a trillion times better than its predecessor, the Theragun Liv. It’s still expensive, but worth it for people who are serious about workouts and workout recovery.
Theragun, which recently rebranded as Therabody and released a CBD sub-brand called Theraone, definitely has a stronghold in the percussive massage industry.
Theragun has become synonymous with “massage gun” and “percussive therapy,” and it’s arguably the most well-known player in the game. Only Hyperice (which manufactures the Hypervolt massage gun) comes close in terms of brand awareness and status.
I reviewed the Theragun Prime and Theragun Pro G3 for CNET in 2019, and suffice it to say I wasn’t all that impressed, despite the brand’s status as the gold standard in percussive therapy.
However, Therabody really outdid itself with its new line of Theraguns, the fourth generation of products. Included in the G4 line are the Theragun PRO, Theragun Elite, Theragun Prime, and the Theragun Mini.
This review covers the Theragun Prime from specs and features to my personal experience with the product over the course of a few months.
Theragun Prime: Specs and Features
Like I mentioned already, Theragun really stepped up its game between the generation three products and the new generation four products. The Theragun Prime is the least luxurious of the bunch (aside from the new Theragun Mini), but it still packs a serious punch and is loaded with tons of features.
The Prime has five speeds (compared to the former Liv’s single speed) and comes with four dense, cell-foam attachments for massaging different muscle groups. The Theragun Prime also integrates with the Therabody app, whereas the Liv (the Prime’s predecessor) did not.
The device’s QX65 motor penetrates muscle fibers up to 16 millimeters beneath your skin and can reach up to 2400 percussions per minute (PPM). The slowest speed in 1750 PPM, which is still pretty fast. The Theragun Prime takes the shape of the company’s hallmark triangular design, and the ergonomic handle feels sturdy in-hand.
With a two-hour battery life, LED setting indicators, and multiple third-party app integrations, the Theragun Prime is truly a steal at the list price of $299.
Theragun Prime: What I Love
There’s a lot to love about the Theragun Prime. Like I said, I wasn’t all that impressed with the previous generation of products, but I was blown away when I first used the Theragun Prime in April 2020.
I’ve been using the Theragun Prime one to three times per week since I received it back in April, and I can say with confidence that it does what the company says it does. And in my opinion, it is so, so much better than anything else Theragun has ever put on the market.
I actually like the Prime more than the top-of-the-line model, the PRO.
Here’s what I loved the most about the Theragun Prime:
It’s quieter than all of the other models. The Theragun website claims that the Prime is 70% quieter than previous Theragun models, and I believe it. When I used the former Theragun Liv and the Pro G3, I always felt like my brain was rattling around inside my skull. It was so loud it was often too overwhelming to use. The Theragun Prime, on the other hand, does not sound or feel like a power drill. It’s easy to use even around the neck and shoulders, which is a massive plus because that’s always where I need it most.
It’s powerful when you want it to be. The Prime has five speeds you can control with the app or on the gun itself. With speeds up to 2400 PPM, it gets pretty powerful. I typically don’t use the higher speeds because I like a gentler massage, but I like knowing that if I need the power, it’s there.
But it’s not too much for sore muscles. The first three speeds on the Prime are perfect for moderately sore muscles. I wouldn’t use the Theragun on super sore muscles at all — a foam roller is probably a better choice — but some people with a higher pain tolerance can probably do so with no problem.
It has a long battery life. The two-hour battery life lasts me for weeks, because I typically use the Prime for five to 15 minutes, one to three times per week.
It comes with multiple attachments. The Theragun Liv only came with one large ball attachment and one small ball attachment, but the Prime comes with a dampener, ball, cone, and thumb attachment for use on different muscle groups. For example, the dampener is great for sensitive areas like the neck or hips, while the cone can reach trigger points in your back and the arches of your feet.
The Therabody app and integrations are fantastic. If you’re the kind of person who likes data and routines, you’ll love the Therabody app. Within the app, you can create workout recovery routines, mobility routines, and keep track of how often you use the Prime and for how long. The app also makes real-time recommendations based on your usage of the app and the device.
Theragun Prime: What I Don’t Love
When I review products, I always look for the worst. That might sound counterintuitive, but the main goal is to help other consumers make the decisions that are best for them. But I have to be honest: I don’t have any bad things to say about the Theragun Prime.
I have some “eh” feelings about some particular features, but I didn’t run into anything while testing this product that would prevent me from buying it or from recommending it as a good purchase to others.
Here’s what I didn’t absolutely love about the Prime:
It’s not as quiet as the branding makes it seem. Don’t get me wrong here: The Prime is significantly quieter than the generation three Liv. But it’s still not as quiet as the Hypervolt line of products or some cheaper Theragun dupes. But, Theragun massage guns are far more powerful than other options on the market, so it’s hard to knock them for noise.
The handle could be more ergonomic. Though Theragun claims the triangular design is ergonomic, I still have a hard time reaching certain parts of my back. Unless you have super long arms, you’ll definitely need to enlist the help of someone else to fully massage your back with the Prime.
Theragun Prime: Smarter Sweat Takeaway
For the price point, the Theragun Prime offers a lot. You can find cheaper massage guns, for sure, but they’re just that — cheaper.
I personally think that the other Theragun models (the PRO and the Elite) are a bit too much for the everyday person. Even the Theragun Prime is more than what most people need.
However, if you work out three or more times per week — especially if you’re doing high-intensity workouts, long-distance endurance training, or heavy weightlifting — the Theragun Prime can elevate your routine by helping you recover faster in between workouts, improving your mobility, and reducing muscle soreness.
Theragun Prime: Get Yours
You can get the Theragun Prime directly from Therabody for $299. Therabody offers financing through Affirm, so you can snag the Prime for as low as $25 per month for 12 months with 0% APR.
By Amanda Capritto
Amanda is the cofounder of Smarter Sweat. She's a certified personal trainer, health coach, and functional fitness coach. She also owns another business, where she writes about all things fitness, nutrition, travel and lifestyle.
About Smarter Sweat
Smarter Sweat is a fitness company built from the ground up by fitness experts Amanda Capritto and Ashley Phantz. Amanda and Ashley are both dead-set on cutting through the clutter of the fitness industry and providing raw, real, utterly honest information about fitness and wellness.