If you’ve watched TV with ads at any point this year, you almost certainly have seen at least one advertisement for Theragun percussive massage devices. You probably have also seen videos and photos of them on social media sites.
Since you’ve made it to this post, we are going to assume that you already know the benefits of percussive therapy and why you might want a therapy gun. But you are having a hard time choosing the right product for your needs.
In this article, we are going to take an in-depth look at two popular products: Theragun Prime and Theragun Elite. We are going to compare their designs, features and costs so that you can figure out which product may be a fit for you.
Below, you can view a quick comparison table. Scroll down to learn about these two products in detail.
Theragun Prime vs. Theragun Elite Comparison Table
|Speed||5 settings||5 settings|
|Amplitude||16 mm||16 mm|
|Force||30 pounds||40 pounds|
|Battery||12V Internal Lithium-ion Battery (120 minutes run-time, 80 minutes charging time)||12V Internal Lithium-ion Battery (120 minutes run-time, 80 minutes charging time)|
|Interface||LED indicator lights||OLED screen|
|Smart Features||Therabody app||Therabody app|
|Dimensions||8.9 in x 6.3 in x 2.7 in||9.5 in x 6.7 in x 2.8 in|
|Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
About the Therabody Brand
First, a little background on Theragun. This line of products is manufactured by a company called Therabody. Sometimes you will hear people refer to the company itself as “Theragun.” That is because Therabody used to be known as Theragun. But the name changed in 2020.
Therabody and the Theragun line of products were founded by chiropractor Dr. Jason Wersland, who came up with the product to treat his own muscle and nerve pain from a motorcycle accident he suffered in 2007.
So, many customers who purchase Theragun products are doing so as a home remedy for their own pain. But the products have also become very popular with athletes who want to soothe sore muscles following workouts.
There have been multiple generations of Theragun products. The two we will be looking at today, Prime and Elite, both belong to the current generation.
Theragun Prime: A Slim Percussive Therapy Gun
Let’s launch into our product comparison for Theragun Prime and Theragun Elite by introducing both products. We’ll begin with Theragun Prime.
The word that Therabody uses to describe the Prime percussive therapy gun is “Simplified.” Between the two, this is the more basic device. It sells for $100 less than Theragun Elite.
Theragun Elite: A Premium Percussive Therapy Gun
Therabody describes the Theragun Elite as a product featuring “elevated, premium design.”
The company also says that this is its “quiet” Theragun. So, if you are worried that the therapy gun you purchase is going to sound like a power drill or a jackhammer, this is probably the product you are most interested in.
So, the question you probably have is, “Is the Elite worth the extra cost over the Prime?”
Let’s break it down, going over the commonalities and differences between these two devices one by one.
Construction and Design Comparison
At a glance, these two therapy guns are very similar in design. Both of them feature the company’s specially designed ergonomic multi-grip. This grip is adaptable to your needs, letting you hold it in different positions. That way, you can keep arm strain to a minimum.
While both devices weigh 2.2 pounds, there is a slight difference in their dimensions:
- Elite: 9.5 in x 6.7 in x 2.8 in
(24.0 cm x 17.0 cm x 7.4 cm)
- Prime: 8.9 in x 6.3 in x 2.7 in
(22.5 cm x 16 cm x 7.3 cm)
So, the Prime is just a little bit smaller than the Elite. Indeed, Therabody refers to it as its “slim” model.
So, if you think you would find a slimmer model a bit more comfortable to use (i.e. if you have small hands), you might slightly prefer the Prime in this category.
Both products use the exact same 12V Internal Lithium-ion Battery. Whichever product you go with, you can expect 120 minutes before the battery runs out, and 80 minutes to charge it back up to full capacity.
Amplitude, Force, Depth, and Speeds
The Elite and the Prime both feature an amplitude of 16 millimeters. In case you are not aware, it is the amplitude that determines the depth. According to Therabody, this amplitude allows 60% more depth than you would get from an “average massager.”
Here is how the devices compare in terms of speed settings:
- Prime: 5 built-in speeds (1750, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2400 percussions per minute) and app-controlled customizable speed range (any speed between 1750-2400 percussions per minute).
- Elite: 5 built-in speeds (1750, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2400 percussions per minute) and app-controlled customizable speed range (any speed between 1750-2400 percussions per minute).
As you can see, these speed settings are completely identical. So, this doesn’t need to be a deciding factor for you in your purchase decision. You will get the same range of function with either device.
But one area where there is a difference is with respect to force.
The Prime applies 30 pounds of force, but the Elite can deliver up to 40 pounds of force. So, if you are looking for a more powerful device, the Elite can outperform the Prime in this way.
Theragun Elite vs. Prime Noise Comparison: Which Therapy Gun is Quietest?
Therabody has this to say about each device in terms of noise:
Prime “strikes the perfect balance between being quieter than an electric toothbrush and packing a powerful treatment into a slimmer, more durable frame.”
The company simply says that Elite is “quieter than average massage devices.”
Comparing both products to the previous generation of Theragun devices, Therabody says that Prime is 70% quieter and Elite is 75% quieter. In fact, all of the models in the latest generation feature Therabody’s QuietForce Technology.
Older generations of therapy guns were really loud—as in more than 100 decibels. Basically, if you were running one of them, you probably felt like you were in a factory next to loud industrial machinery. Needless to say, that was not the most relaxing experience.
If you have used one of those older gen devices, you will be relieved to hear that Elite and Prime are much quieter than that.
The Theragun Prime produces under 60 decibels. The Theragun Elite produces under 65 decibels.
Confused? So are we, a bit. We asked customer support to explain why the Elite is advertised as the quieter device compared to the past generation when it produces more decibels than the Prime.
The support person we spoke to was uncertain himself. He said it might have to do with the specific design of each device, and said he would look into it further later.
Given this potential discrepancy, we would not say it seems worthwhile at this time to pay more for the Elite because it is marketed as a quieter device.
Plus, there is not a massive difference between 65 and 60 decibels, particularly when you compare both to the noisy previous generation Theragun products.
Regardless of which one you purchase, you will be getting a relatively quiet therapy gun.
Just as the company said, the noise level should be comparable to that of an electric toothbrush.
That is far more conducive to relaxation than noise levels rivaling industrial factory equipment!
Which Therapy Gun Has Better Ease-of-Use?
Now that we have talked about noise levels, let’s move on to comparing the ease-of-use of Prime and Elite.
On the Prime, you can view which speed setting is selected by checking the LED indicators for each. Alternately, you can check the Therabody app (more on that in the next section).
Here is where one of the major differences comes in with the Elite. Instead of LED indicator lights, the Elite features an OLED screen. This display definitely enhances ease-of-use over what the Prime offers. It provides more information than the LED lights as well, since it shows the force and not just the speed. And as with the Prime, you can use the Therabody app.
Which Therapy Gun Has Better Smart Features?
The Elite and the Prime are pretty much comparable in the smart features department. Both are Bluetooth devices, and both can be paired with the same Therabody app. Setting up the app is fast and easy, as is pairing it, thanks to the instructions that guide you through setup.
You can use the Therabody app to control your device in a couple of ways. You can manually change the speed setting, or you can create and run presets that are customized to your needs.
The app also monitors how you use your Theragun, and gives you recommendations for the future. The company states on its website that it never collects, sells, or shares its customers’ data.
The only difference with the smart features seems to be that with the Elite, since there is an OLED screen, that screen is linked in with the app, so you can use the two in tandem, which is nice.
Attachments, Parts, and Accessories
Another area where there are some differences between the Prime and the Elite is with respect to the parts, attachments and accessories that come with your purchase.
When you order the Prime, you get a protective carrying pouch. This is a soft pouch, so the level of protection it provides is minimal. It will keep your device safe from dust, but won’t protect it from falls or knocks.
With the Elite, on the other hand, you actually get a protective carrying case. So, that is a nice addition, especially if you plan to take the therapy gun with you a lot on the go (i.e. to the gym or on vacation).
Both products come with a set of attachments. The Dampener, Standard Ball, Thumb, and Cone attachments are included with the Elite and the Prime, but only the Elite includes the Wedge attachment.
Therabody says that you can use the Wedge for movements like “scraping” and “flushing,” and recommends the attachment especially for IT bands and shoulder blades.
Is the extra attachment worth paying more for? That depends entirely on your needs. If you need to target the shoulder blades or IT bands, it makes sense to get it. Otherwise, you will be missing a lot of functionality.
As for the “scraping” movements, these can be extremely helpful if you are trying to loosen up tight muscles and bring more blood flow to the area.
So, we would say that it is worth it to get this attachment for other parts of your body too. But you can also purchase the Wedge separately for $20. So, if you decide on the Prime instead of the Elite, you can just tack on the attachment as an additional item in your cart.
What Are Customers Saying?
Customer reviews for both the Prime and the Elite are very positive. Users of both devices say that neither is exactly quiet—after all, an electric toothbrush is still pretty noisy. But those who had tried the previous generation said that the improvement is vast in both cases over the predecessors.
In terms of efficacy, both therapy guns seem comparable, doing a great job at improving stiffness and pain.
Are there any complaints? There are a few, but most of them involve features that are not specific to just one device. Sometimes, the attachments may break, for example, but that could happen with either model. Also, not everybody likes the app (though some users love it).
How Does Pricing and Value Compare For These Theragun Products?
At the time of this writing, the Theragun Elite is around $100 more expensive than the Theragun Prime.
Is it worth paying extra for the Elite? We feel like that is very much going to come down to personal preferences and needs.
In terms of pure value, we actually would have to say the Prime is probably the better choice overall though. Most users will get what they need with this device, and save a hefty amount compared to what they would spend on the Elite.
How Do the Warranties Compare?
The Theragun Elite and the Theragun Prime are both protected by an identical 1-Year Limited Warranty.
Which Theragun Massage Therapy Gun Should You Buy?
You have now had a chance to explore in-depth the features of Theragun Elite and Theragun Prime. As you can see, both are options well worth considering if you are on the hunt for a relatively quiet percussive therapy gun.
Which should you choose? Here are our concluding thoughts:
The Theragun Prime may be right for you if …
- You want a slightly smaller, slimmer device.
- You want to save money on a therapy gun.
- You are not concerned with getting the higher force or additional features that come with the Elite.
The Theragun Elite may be right for you if …
- You want more force than you can get with the Prime.
- You expect to travel with your device a lot, and want a high-quality carrying case to protect your therapy gun.
- You want the OLED screen, and would not be satisfied with just the indicator lights on the Prime.
- You do not mind a slightly larger device.
- You want the additional Wedge attachment, and do not want to buy it separately.
Whichever Theragun you choose, you are getting a high-quality therapeutic device to soothe your muscles and support your well-being. To purchase the Theragun Prime or Theragun Elite now, click the links above.