Shootout: Theragun, TimTam, Percussive Massagers
article & images by Nick Salazar
Mar 26, 2019
Ultimately, after I had started using the Theragun, both of the other massagers just started gathering dust. They're louder, less effective, and offer far fewer options as to what kind of massage surface you are using. The Theragun is like a surgical tool, doing exactly what it advertises; its competitors are quite blunt instruments by comparison.
At the end of the day, it's really about the price. Do you want to spend all the way up to $600 on a massage device? If so, the Theragun G3PRO will not disappoint. It's quite awesome. Do you wish you could get away for more like $200? Well, you can, but the results are seriously lackluster. I wouldn't repeat my experience with the TimTam or the Homebrew, knowing the Theragun is out there. I'd either save up for the big guy, or just use the money elsewhere. $200 can still buy you a few professional massages, which I think is a better investment than the lower-tier massagers.
I'll be very sad to see the Theragun go back to the company, but alas, for me the price tag was too high to keep. Given the relatively simple nature of what's involved here, and the relatively small differences between what makes the Theragun great and the Homebrew awful, it seems like this space is ripe for competition. I don't see that Theragun has an especially secret-sauce tech, like you might observe in similar spaces like vacuums, where Dyson continues to thrive despite its ultra-expensive price tags. So maybe, hopefully, in a couple years we'll see a competitor with the quality of Theragun at a fraction of the price. But at present, they're King of the Hill.
Theragun, TimTam, and the homemade variety, side by side.
The G3PRO is the latest and most refined massager from Theragun. It's incredibly slick, MUCH quieter than the competition, and comes complete with a spare battery, seven tips of different sizes/shapes/firmness, and a case. At $600, it's extremely pricey, but it is undeniably head and shoulders better than anything else in this review. Is it worth the extra cash? That's really a decision for the individual user. Personally, I did't want to see my review unit go back.
TimTam Power Massager
TimTam is kindof the budget version of Theragun. It works just fine, but it's no quieter than a shop jigsaw, and only has one tip. That tip is a very hard rubber ball, which offers you just one shape and one level of firmness. Honestly, it'll get the job done, but it's loud and not particularly refined.
The Homebrew (Black + Decker Jigsaw)
At about $100 complete, this is by far the cheapest setup, and comes with the added bonus of being useful as a shop tool. After all, it's just a jigsaw. It also features variable speeds, which is pretty nice, but you have to control that speed with the continuous trigger, which can be a bit tricky. And finding different tips is a pretty tricky situation, you basically scour Amazon or eBay to find something that will fit the jigsaw shank.