Battle of The Massage Guns

Ainsley McKay By Ainsley McKay - updated January 8th, 2024
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If you’re the average person, you could probably do with a good massage. Maybe you’ve got built-up muscle tension from sitting down all day or you feel stiff following a bout of exercise. If your fascia tissues are stiff, you’ll likely experience tightness, muscular imbalances, and even soreness. A massage gun is a great way to battle these problems! Xiaomi and Beurer offers a superior experience at an affordable price point! The question is, are cheaper massage guns an effective therapy device, or should you splash out?

Let’s see how Beurer devices stack up against leading therapy device company, Therabody. The Theragun Prime is Therabody's cheapest device (aside from their Mini device which is made for on-the-go), but it’s still more than double the price of Beurer's cheapest massage gun. Regardless of where they sit on the price scale, these devices are designed to achieve the same goal. Massage guns are fantastic for targeting your Fascia: a system of connective tissues that wrap around your muscles, tendons, and bones. Did you know that most back complaints stem from this part of our body? In this article, we’ll take a look at different massage guns from different brands, at different price points and consider how effective they are at easing your aches and pains.

Beurer MG99 & Elite Max Massage Gun

A picture of Beurer MG99 Massage Gun in use.
A picture of Beurer MG99 Massage Gun in use.

At the cheapest end of the spectrum, we have Beurer's MG99 Massage Gun and Xiaomi's Fitness Therapy Massage Gun. Xiaomi is known for creating high-quality, reliable, and affordable devices; but for today's battle, we're going to look more closely at Beurer's MG99 seeing as it comes with an additional attachment head (four total), two additional intensity levels (five total), and is slightly cheaper at approximately $150 at the time of writing. With a sleek and minimal blue design with black accents, it has a nice aesthetic that even looks good amongst premium devices.

The MG99CY works by carrying out a high-frequency vibration that deeply stimulates the fascia, brushes out muscular knots, and eases tension and muscular stiffness. It delivers five intensity levels, varying from 1800-3000 revolutions per minute, with the vibration frequency and intensity easily adjustable. To effectively treat different body parts, you also need the right head attachments. The MG99 comes with four massage attachments heads, including a round head for massaging the back, arms, thighs, calves, and other large muscles; a “U” shaped head for massaging the neck and both sides of the spine; a “bullet” type head, suitable for targeting deep tissues such as meridians, joints, the palms of the hands and feet; and, finally, a flat head for relaxing different muscular areas of the body. You pretty much get all the head attachments you could possibly need! Most of them have a smooth, silicone surface meaning they’ll feel smooth against your skin as opposed to rough like some super cheap massage guns offers (think sandpaper on the skin!).

The MG99 offers spectacular value - especially for less than $200! If you want a bit more variation with speed/intensity levels and more versatility with the attachment heads, then Beurer's Elite Max Massage Gun might be a better fit. It offers 9 levels of speed varying from 1200-3000 RPM, the addition of a small ball head (ideal for small muscle groups), and the bullet head is more of a spiral, enabling it to get deeper into your knots and fascia. 

Both of these massage guns have a great battery life, lasting up to five hours (and an extra 30 minutes for the Elite Max) meaning you’ll never be interrupted in the middle of a massage. If you were to use this massage gun for only 10-minutes a day, it would last you approximately 30 days on a single charge. 

Therabody Theragun Prime Massage Gun

Theragun Therabody Prime Massage Gun
The Prime prioritises the most essential features with smart capabilities for when you need them.
Theragun Therabody Prime Massage Gun
The dampener head is designed for overall use as well tender or bony areas.

The premium option we’re looking at is Therabody's Theragun Prime Massage Gun which is approximately double the price as the other options on this list. This should come as no surprise though considering it's a brand endorsed by professionals and athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo. So is it worth it? Let's take a look at what's on offer. We'll begin by noting that the Prime prioritises Therabody's most essential, original features, with some added smart capabilities. According to Therabody, it's proof that sometimes, the simpler the better.

The Theragun Prime has five built-in speeds that are shown with individual LED indicators. Where you're treating sensitive areas or need the full power of the device, you can adjust the speed accordingly between a scientifically calibrated range of 1750-2400 PPM. The Therabody App also connects to the Prime via bluetooth to activate guided treatment routines and show the device's current speed and force. It offers less levels of speed than Beurers mid-range MG185 Elite Max option - however - it offers more depth and also allows you to choose precise speeds via the App.

The key to true deep muscle treatment is a precise amplitude - essentially how far the arm or shaft of the device extends and retracts to reach the body and deliver each percussion. The Theragun stands apart with a 16mm amplitude that reaches 60% deeper into muscle than average massagers. Most low-amplitude, high-speed massagers rapidly vibrate and desensitise the skin. Going beyond mere vibration, the Theragun actually leaves the surface of the skin at 40 times per second, allowing it to target a localised area of the body without the brain acclimating to the stimulation.

When it comes to the head attachments, the Theragun Prime includes four of them: a standard ball head (ideal for overall use on large and small muscle groups), a dampener head (ideal for tender or bony areas, though perfect for overall use too), a thumb (ideal for trigger points and the lower back), and a cone head attachment (used mostly for pinpoint muscle treatment, including the hands and feet). What really makes these attachment head stands out is their make and material - what touches your body matters, and hard plastic or coarse materials found on some super cheap massage guns can harm the body and skin. The Prime's attachments are made with non-porous closed-cell foam that feel better on the skin and can be easily wiped clean for a more hygienic experience.

The Theragun Prime has a shorter battery than Beurer, offering approximately 2 hours of non-stop use on a single charge. This is significantly shorter than the five hours offered on the earlier options, but if you're using this in-clinic or at home, it's easy enough to get into the habit of putting it on charge after every use. 

The Verdict

When weighing up these very similar devices at such different price points, it’s reasonable to assume you’re sacrificing a lot of quality on the cheaper alternative. The design and build of Beurer's massage guns are actually of impressive quality - much better than a lot of cheap massage guns you’ll find on the market. Plus, the devices have so much variety across the different attachment heads, speeds, and even massage modes so you can really cater to your needs, and you can do so starting from less than $200.

At roughly double the price, you can opt for a premium message gun from Therabody which doesn't necessarily offer more options when it comes to speed and head attachments. However, the Prime is focused on offering the most essential features to a massage gun, in the most premium way possible. This includes non-porous closed-cell foam which is more comfortable on the skin and body, and speed/intensity levels that can be more precisely adjusted via an app. While the Theragun's maximum PPM is less than Beurer's at 2400, it does have an amplitude of 16mm that reaches 60% deeper into muscles than average massagers.

All in all, our conclusion is that if you're looking for the best value massage gun - we recommend one of Beurer's Massage Guns which offers up to five massage heads, a wide range of intensity/speed levels, and a long battery life. It'll easily get the job done at about half the price of the Theragun Prime. If you've got extra cash to spend and you want the most premium build and design, optimal comfort and efficiency, and added smart functionality, then by all means, treat yourself to a Theragun Prime (or one of Therabody's many other options).

If you want to consider some more muscle recovery and therapy devices before making your decision, check out our article on Top Muscle Recovery Tools!


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Ainsley McKay

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