Theragun G3 Review vs Tim Tam Trigger Point Percussive Recovery Massager

Bivi (Tim-Tam Style) vs Theragun G3
Percussive Recovery Devices 
Theragun is one of the leading percussive recovery massagers on the market, but how does it stack up against more affordable options like the Tim-Tam style of massagers? This percussive review shootout will hopefully answer that and help you make a more informed buying decision.

The Skinny

Recovery devices continue to be all the rage among athletes and non-athletes alike. Everyone is looking to recover faster, feel better, and the lack of time (and cost) for regular massage is being replaced by recovery compression boots, foam rollers, and percussive devices like the Theragun, Hypervolt, and Tim-Tam.

After extensive testing I found generic Tim-Tam style massagers (I tested the Bivi) performed better in many categories than the Theragun G3 at nearly 1/3 the price. In short, the Bivi massager is faster (when turned all the way up), lighter, more adjustable (1-6 speeds), comes with two 2 batteries so you can always have a fresh battery, and a head that adjusts 90 degrees so you can target every last place on your body.

However, it was louder than the Theragun and the Theragun wins with being able to change tips faster. Both devices are good devices and belong in the recover tool box of athletes. If you want the quieter device go with the Theragun. Otherwise the generic percussive devices seem to fit the bill.

Here is how the two devices stack up in their respective categories:


Price - Advantage Bivi


One of the clear advantages of the generic percussive devices is they are much more affordable than more name-brand products. I purchased the Theragun G3 off Amazon for $399 and with tax it came out to $426. The Bivi massage gun was $145 to my door.


Noise - Advantage Theragun


On the surface the Theragun is definitely the quieter device, but it is still loud. And keep in mind that it isn't a true apples-to-apples comparison either as the Bivi has a higher maximum speed and more speed produces more noise.

Bivi does advertise the device as being loud and powerful in their description and that is partially why I went with it. I wanted a powerful device. However, at the end of the day I did some basic sound tests with a decibel meter and the results are as follows:

Noise test - tested approximately 1 foot from the decibel meter at full speed
- Theragun 85 dB at speed 2
- Bivi 95 dB at speed 6 (87 dB at speed 1)

Regardless of which device you go with, I would still recommend getting some sound protection. The following are inexpensive and effective noise reduction safety ear muffs that can reduce the dB level by 28dB.


Batteries - Advantage Bivi

Bivi - 2x Batteries + charger

The Theragun G3 has one built in battery that is not replaceable. Theragun claims that it lasts 60 minutes, but in my testing I found that it only lasted for about 50 minutes at level 2 (highest level) and that was without any resistance being applied to the unit. In addition, just like your phone, that battery is going to continue to degrade with each charge cycle until it will barely hold a charge.

From a workflow perspective this makes it a little tricky because if you always charge the device after use then you are going to shorten the lifecycle, but you also don't want to pick up a dead Theragun or one the dies half way into your recovery session either. Their Pro model does include replaceable batteries but it is $200 more.

Bivi comes with two batteries and a separate charger unit. In my tests it lasted for 56 minutes on level 6 (highest level) but again without any resistance being applied.

From a workflow perspective you can easily forget about charging after each session knowing you have a fresh battery always ready to go. This will effectively lengthen the life of the batteries.


Ease of use - Advantage Bivi


The Bivi massager features a pivoting head that allows you to adjust the head to better target certain areas of of your body with maximum leverage. The Theragun G3 only has a fixed head position. In addition the Bivi goes to much higher speeds which I really enjoy. From an ease of use perspective I found the Bivi head moved more smoothly across my skin than Theragun G3. It was a subtle difference but nonetheless positive.

Bivi - 3 different head positions


Tip Heads - Theragun


The Bivi has a standard threaded tip design with which you screw on the tips. It comes with 3 different tips with 1 additional standard tip for a total of 4. Specifically they include two different round balls and a triangle tip for more specific and aggressive targeting.

The 4 included Bivi Tips


The Theragun G3 comes with a pop-and-lock sort of design and 4 different tips.


The 4 included Theragun Tips


In my experience I prefer the pop-and-lock sort of design as it is a few seconds quicker to change tips than unscrewing and screwing on another tip.

I could see the Theragun tips breaking as there is a specific track which allows the tip to come on and off quickly but remain secure while in use. Those tracks are made of plastic. However, the Bivi threaded design also could lead to some occasional loosing during use which requires a quick re-tightening as well.


Durability / Warranty - Advantage Bivi


I experienced no durability concerns after six weeks of solid testing with an estimated 30 hours into the units. I do have to occasionally screw back on a tip with the Bivi but given the massive vibration I am not shocked by that. Given the non-replaceable battery we know the Theragun is going to die, or at least become functionally unusable at some point down the road. How long it takes will depend on your usage, number of charge cycles, etc. When the batteries dies on the Bivi you can buy new ones or just buy a whole new unit for a fraction of Theragun's price. Regardless both companies have 1-year warranties on their products.


Weight - Advantage Bivi


Both devices are reasonably heavy and it may not be an issue for some, but holding a vibrating weight for 15-20 minutes could make the lighter Bivi a more desirable unit to some.

Bivi - 2 lbs 5 oz
Theragun - 2lbs 10oz

Theragun weight vs Bivi 


Speed / Power / Force Mode - Advantage Bivi


Six power levels
Speed is not the same thing as power and force but I am lumping these in together for simplicity. Without expensive equipment I can't adequately test these aspects but what I can say is that anecdotally I prefer the speed and power of the Bivi when it is at its highest setting. I do feel that on the lowest settings the Bivi lacks power when applying the gun with firm pressure to a spot but I did this just for testing. In true use application I find I use both devices at their fastest settings.

Bivi has an adjustable speed level from 1-6 on a dial, while the Theragun G3 has two levels of speed (high / low). Theragun claims that it is 40 pulse per second or 2400 RPM on high (1740 RPM on low), while the Bivi claims 2600 RPM. Again I didn't objectively verify this but I feel like the Bivi is noticeably faster than the Theragun when at their max.


Summary


The Bivi is an extremely powerful and much more affordable alternative than the Theragun. It has a larger feature set including more speed levels, replaceable batteries, and a pivoting head. The Bivi is also built much more like an actual industrial tool such as a jigsaw while the Theragun is a more refined consumer product.

The one defining feature the Theragun has is in the noise department. Again they are both still loud, but if you have pets, family members, and neighbors, then it might just be worth the additional cost for the Theragun. The faster tip exchange is a nice feature as well that I routinely benefit from on a daily basis. Not earth-shattering but nice nonetheless as I do routinely switch up the tips.

Regardless I believe the percussive devices are a versatile tool in the recovery tool box and you can benefit from either one of these devices. I have links to these products below and more recovery reviews you might like like as well.

Discussed Product Links 


Theragun G3 - $399 on Amazon
Bivi Percussive Gun Massager - $145 on Amazon
Mpow Noise Reduction Ear Muffs - $11.99 on Amazon

Theragun G3Pro - $599 on Amazon
Tim-Tam Recovery Massager - $150 on Amazon
Hypervolt Recovery Massager - $370 on Amazon
Generic Hypervolt - $230 on Amazon

Other Recovery Reviews You Might Like


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Speed Hound vs Normatec
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