If you are looking for a thorough and comparative review of the various massagers from Theragun, then you have landed on the right page!
Officially launching its first product in 2016, the company has quickly become very popular and commercially successful.
Unlike many other electronic massage devices created in the past, the massagers from Theragun have proven to work well and the positive feedback is overwhelming!
In fact, the popularity that these massagers have gotten has created a wave of companies trying to capitalize on this trend by creating similar products.
Some of these are more “copycats” than others, but you can be sure that you are getting the best quality products with Theragun.
In addition, the company is investing a significant amount of resources into continuous research and development of their products.
The company now has various patents and pending patents in major markets, and their current product line consists of three products: G3Pro, G3, and Liv.
These all belong to the third generation of products by Theragun, but it is the first time that they offer three different products.
In this review, I will be taking a close look at all three and discuss why or why not they could be worth spending your hard-earned money on.
Summarizing Comparison Table
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Who Can Benefit From These Products?
In the typical marketing material from Theragun (and their competitors), you will either see the massage device(s) being used by:
- athletes or other performance professionals like dancers or actors, or
- physical therapists, massage therapists or chiropractors.
There is definitely a “professional kind of vibe” behind the Theragun products, and there is the fact that these two groups are qualified users, however, the massager still works by alleviating sore and overworked muscles.
In my opinion, it should not really matter whether your sore muscles are a result of exercising extra hard or working long hours at the desk.
It might be both, which I think is true for many people.
Since we are all spending so much time sitting down working or studying at computers, I would argue that everyone could benefit from getting one of these easy-to-use massagers.
Let me ask you this question: when was the last time you felt sore around your neck or upper back?
Looking At Your Phone, Stress, and Overexertion
A lot of us get sore around the upper back and neck!
There are a couple of reasons that might explain why, but typically it is due to the many hours we sit down and focus on things in front of us, like computers, books, televisions, smartphones, etc.
The result is that we tend to lean forward and hunch over. Sometimes people even do that while standing up.
This will put a strain on your body, it tightens muscles in your hip, neck, and back. It leads to soreness and in worse cases muscle pain, cramps, and bad headaches.
In addition, most of us have busy and stressful lives. Overexertion and stress will also tighten up the muscles, in particular in your upper body.
While getting a massage is not the solution, it can definitely provide a great deal of relief, and it might have other benefits which I will discuss below.
You can always beg your better half for a back and neck rub (which I often do), but that will rarely get you enough in my experience 🙂 This is where an electronic massage device come in handy.
G3 Pro Review – The “Ferrari” of Massage Guns
The G3 Pro is the most powerful of all the massagers from Theragun. It is made of durable plastic and powered by an industrial grade Japanese motor.
It has two speeds options of either 2400 or 1740 RPM and a stall force of 60lbs / 27 kg, which means the maximum force the device can sustain before its speed is reduced to 0.
Like all the massagers, it got a stroke length of 0.6″ / 16 mm. In other words, this is the distance traveled from full retraction to extension (a.k.a. amplitude).
The product comes with 6 different attachments/massage heads. Together with the 90-degree angle adjustability, you can customize and reach various spots on your body with ease.
The G3Pro has 2 strong lithium-ion batteries that are removable and each with a battery life of 75 minutes. Because the charger is capable of fully recharging a battery in about 75 minutes, you can use the massager for very long periods.
Most people would consider the massager to be relatively noisy when operated, but this is a common thing for all these kind of massagers.
It will reach a noise of approximately 70 – 75 decibels depending on the speed setting.
What Is New In The G3Pro?
The G3 Pro is the third iteration and a lot of improvements have been made since the G2 Pro.
In case you are wondering, here is a short summary in bullet-form:
- The design got a complete overhaul. G3 and Liv also use this new design.
- New gearbox design reducing the noise by up to 50 %
- Stronger batteries with extended battery life.
- A second speed option has been added: 1750 RPM
- More massage heads are now included
- Increased adjustability to the angle of the massager
- It got a little bit heavier weighing in at 3.1 lbs / 1.4 kg.
Theragun G3 Review – The “Ford Mustang” Equivalent
Not as sophisticated in its capabilities or long-lasting, the G3 (without the “pro”) is the mid-tier massage gun from Theragun and comes at a significantly lower price than the G3 Pro.
It is made to fit the everyday user who does not need the power and advanced features of the G3 Pro. The massage arm has a fixed angle and can’t be adjusted.
Similar to the G3Pro, it also has a stroke length of 0.6″ / 16 mm, two speeds options of either 1740 or 2400 RPM. However, it won’t take the same amount of load since its stall force is 40 lbs / 18 kg.
The less powerful motor does come with one benefit, among the Theragun massagers the G3 is the less noisiest. All handheld percussion massagers are in general quite noisy, and the G3 reaches approximately 68 and 72 decibels depending on the speed setting
Also, its lithium-ion battery is not removable but instead built into the unit. It has a battery life of 60 minutes.
It comes with four massage heads/attachments which are compatible with the G3Pro.
Check out the video below showing the G3.
Theragun Liv Review – The Budget-friendly Version (“Volvo Sedan”)
Theragun Liv is the lightest of the massagers from Theragun both in terms of weight and capabilities.
Many of the features seen in the other models have been removed in order to lower production cost, and by doing so the company can offer the model at a much lower price point.
The machine can still give you a good massage and has the same stroke length, but it only offers one speed of 2400 RPM and its built-in lithium-ion battery will only last about 45 minutes.
The massage arm has a fixed angle and the Liv can sustain a maximum force of 30 lbs / 13.5 kg.
It is a bit loud and reaches approximately 75 decibels when operating.
It comes with two massage head attachments, but these are not compatible with the G3Pro or the G3.
Comparison – Theragun G3 Pro vs G3 Vs Liv
As you might have seen in the videos above or elsewhere, the three massagers all have a similar design and look.
They do have almost the same shape and weight. The G3Pro is actually a larger and weighs more than the G3, and the G3 is larger and weighs more than the Liv.
However, the differences are tiny as you can see in the table below.
The G3 has a lot of the same capabilities as the G3Pro, and it offers the same two speed settings. While the motor is not as powerful as in the G3Pro, it does have the benefit of being a bit less noisy.
Both the G3 and the Liv have the massage arm set in a fixed angle. So if you want the 90-degree adjustability, that makes self-massage easier, then your only choice is the G3Pro.
As mentioned above, the Theragun massagers are all relatively noisy when being operated. This is a common thing with handheld massage devices, and if the noise is a big concern I suggest you check out the Hypervolt that reaches somewhere around 65 – 70 dB and should be the quietest on the market.
To make this more relatable, a normal conversation at a restaurant is about 60 decibels, and when you are speaking/whispering in the library it is around 40 decibels.
All Theragun massagers have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, but with the G3Pro you get two powerful and removable batteries. The G3 and Liv both have built-in batteries.
The Massage Heads Explained
The Theragun massagers come with a variety of different massage head attachments each design with a specific purpose(s).
The total number that is included in the purchase depends on the model, but they can also be bought separately.
Just keep in mind that the G3Pro and the G3 use the same kind of attachments, while the Liv uses its own kind. They are not cross compatible.
Depending on which body part you are targeting and how sore/delicate that muscle tissue is, you can choose the right attachment for the job.
The “dampener” and “standard ball” are your go-to options for general use. While the dampener is good tender or bony areas, the standard ball is a good choice for treatment during a workout.
The “large ball” is designed for large muscle groups like the quads and glutes, and the “wedge” can work your shoulder blade and IT bands.
For increased accuracy, you can use the “thumb” for trigger point therapy or the lower back. With the “cone” you gain even more precision and it is great for targetting smaller muscle areas and trigger points.
All attachments are antimicrobial, non-porous, and hygienic. If you apply lotion or essential oils or if you sweat, all can be wiped away easily.
Above you see the attachments that are included in the purchase. The G3Pro and G3 also come with a travel case, while the Liv comes with a drawstring pouch.
All Theragun massagers come with a 1-year warranty. 2-year warranty in an EU country.
Does The Theragun Massagers Really Work?
I want to start off by saying that there is an overwhelming amount of positive anecdotal evidence that these handheld percussion massagers work.
By “work” I mean that they help all alleviate sore muscles and can be used to reduce recovery time in athletes (both pros and amateurs).
I have tried them myself and it does truly feel like they work. First of all, using them on sore muscles feel great, but it also makes me more excited about working out again because I feel less sore.
With that being said, you might be surprised to know that the research on the topic is surprisingly vague and it is something that affects massage in general and not just these machines.
In fact, when looking to the scientific evidence it is not clear at all how massage “works” or to what extent. Furthermore, many of the claims you will read online are nonsense!
In my opinion, these are the most notable effects that evidence suggests:
- It could help alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Read more about it here (meta-analysis).
- Potentially speed up muscle recovery and performance due to the so-called myofascial-release. Read more about it here(meta-analysis).
- Could make you happier and more relaxed by decreasing cortisol and increasing the level of the two neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
If you have small to moderate issues e.g. tight neck and upper back, using a massager could spare you from going to a masseuse, physical therapist or chiropractor.
And if your issues are worse than that, the massager could perhaps help you recover faster and make the treatments less frequent or fewer.
From that perspective, getting one of these massagers from Theragun could prove a cost-effective alternative since visiting a professional clinic quickly adds up!
Bottom Line – Choosing The Right Massager
The G3Pro comes with two interchangeable batteries that each have 75 minutes of battery life, but unless you need to use the massager very often or for long periods, I doubt it will be necessary.
Most people will be looking at 10-20 minutes of massage, and then both the G3 and Liv have more than enough battery life.
With that being said, the extra force in the G3Pro could be useful to make quick work of thick muscle tissue like large thighs. E.g. if you squat a lot.
The Liv is a good option if you don’t need a lot of deep tissue massage. E.g. you are mostly looking to massage your sore upper back and neck that you get from working long hours at the office.