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Taotronics Massage Gun Review: Is The Cheap TT-PCA003 Any Good?
Welcome to our hands-on Taotronics massage gun review. Today we’ll be reviewing the model TT-PCA003. It’s probably the most affordable gun we’ve ever reviewed.
We know, we have always had a thing against cheap massage guns. But then again that comes from our experience (often bad ones) with such gadgets.
This one has something that intrigued us. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s not so bad either. We’ve had it for a couple of weeks and we have to say, we like what we see.
We will share our thoughts here in this Taotronic TT-PCA003 review and also tell you why we chose to include it in our best massage guns under the $100 list.
- Is Taotronics a Good Brand?
- Taotronics Massage Gun Review: TT-PCA003
- Who is it for Then?
- Warranty and Price
- Taotronics Best Alternatives
- Taotronics TT-PCA003 Review Summary
Is Taotronics a Good Brand?
Taotronics is one of those brands that are easy to ignore. Unless you were buying something specific and randomly chose one from them, you wouldn’t know about them.
However, they are a consumer electronics company that deals with a wide range of products. They love massage guns and have sold tons of them.
They have been selling their guns for the better part of the last 3 years, first on Amazon, and now also on their own store. That tells us they have a customer base that trusts them. Which means, they’re probably reliable.
We have purchased 3 massage guns from them till now. They include Taotronics TT-PCA003, TT-PCA004, and their latest mini massage gun. We have had a nice shopping experience every time and their shipping is fast.
The TT-PCA003 massage gun has been on the market for 3 years with many good reviews. That tells you something…
Taotronics Massage Gun Review: TT-PCA003
Taotronics TT-PCA003 Specifications
|Feature||Taotronics TT-PCA003 Specs|
|Stall Force||35 lbs*|
|Stroke Length||10 mm (12 mm*)|
|Percussion range||1000 – 3000 RPM (1400 – 3200*)|
|Noise (decibel)||42 – 57.4 dB (40 – 50 dB*)|
|Battery Capacity||2600 mAh|
|Pros||Good stall force|
Wide percussion range
super low price
|Cons||lower than advertised amplitude|
|Current Price||$45.99 at taotronics.com|
Now that we know something about Taotronics as a company, let us find out what their massage gun looks like.
This one is a proper full-sized massage gun – it’s often good to declare this so we know how to review it.
It’s nothing special with the T-shape we have to admit. However, it’s slightly more rounded than Hypervolt and perhaps a tad sleeker.
The body is made mostly of plastic. The model we’ve purchased is satin gray with black on part of the handle (mid-part), the back panel, and the attachment mounting area. There are other color combinations including blue and all black.
That said, we love that it’s well put together, unlike some under $100 massage guns we have seen. For less than $50, this thing looks pretty awesome!
What is Included?
There is a carrying case. It’s pretty awesome to have a carrying case for a device that costs less than $50. This is probably not a top-of-the-shelf case, but it does the job.
There’s a wall charger included, attachments, a thank you note and warranty information, and a manual with information on how to use the device.
There is also information on how to use the device on different muscles. This is awesome, especially for beginner users.
TIP Check out our guide on how to use a massage gun.
We know we have seen these controls setup before. Oh, yes, Legiral Le3, Fitpulse, and the popular Chirogun. Just a quick run-through of the controls;
- There is a main switch at the bottom of the handle. The same setup as many other Hypervolt-like massage guns.
- The controls are mainly “touch” rather than buttons. They are all marked on the display on the back of the device.
- There are + and – for increasing and decreasing speed. This is a nice setup because it eliminates having to cycle through all speeds to get to the desired setting – it’s often the case with one-button operation devices.
- The number displays at the top indicate speed (to the left), and battery percentage (to the right).
- The display will turn off after 3 minutes of no activity. This is meant to save the battery.
Overall this is a good setup that we like. No complaints here.
This gun comes with 6 attachments. That is pretty normal for any gun that costs anything over $150. However, for a gun that is 1/3 that price, we have to say it’s quite something.
Again, we are not overpraising the attachments here (they look pretty standard), we’re just saying it’s a great bargain to have 6 for that cheap..
Here’s what we think about them;
- The flat head (with tiny bumps) – This one can be used on larger muscles especially when you want a more aggressive massage.
- Ball head – This one is meant to be universal. It’s pretty standard but made of EVA foam. We don’t recommend using it on clothes.
- Air-cushioned head – This one is meant to be used on sensitive and bony parts of the body. It’s also improvised with small bumps on it.
- Bullet head – It’s used for trigger points, joints, palms, and soles.
- Fork head – It’s good for the spine area. It can also be used on the Achilles, or as a double-tip bullet head.
- D-shaped or wedge head – It’s probably a modified flat head here. It doesn’t have the bumps on it though. We love it more than the others – does the job pretty well.
Overall we think it’s fantastic to get 6 attachments for a sub-$50 percussion massager.
However, they are not really top-of-the-shelf attachments – we have seen better ones. They’re a bit overdone in our opinion (sort of trying to re-invent the wheel).
For instance, what are the bumps for on the cushioned head? We missed the normal flat head here – but someone else might find those bumps useful. But we wouldn’t complain so much about what you are getting here.
You can only expect so much from a cheap massage gun. This Taotronics massage gun has the typical T-shape. We know those tend to put a lot of strain on the wrist when you have to use them for too long.
There are exceptions, such as when you get plenty of rubber on the handle or when the handle is extended to help you reach your back as you massage yourself.
Here the handle is pretty thick, which may prove difficult to handle for folks with small hands. However, it’s long enough for a DIY massage and has plenty of rubber on it to improve the grip.
If you want something thinner, you might want to go with our favorite Ekrin 365 (which costs 3 times the price of this one), or Bob and Brad T2 (which costs 2 times the price here).
However, you will be relieved to hear that it only weighs 2.15 pounds with the ball head attached. It holds just like the first Hypervolt.
We just wish they rubberized the entire handle to the top to make it even easier to hold and use.
We obviously sighed pretty hard when we had to test this device to see how it performs. We didn’t expect much, but we hoped for some surprises.
It is the distance traveled by the massage gun head as it percusses and determines what kind of therapy you can get from a massage gun.
The advertised length by Taotronics is 12mm. “Sweet,” we thought when we first saw it. But we had to test it just to be sure.
Unfortunately, it’s overstated. Our measurements gave us close to 10mm (or 9.5m to be precise). But that isn’t so bad for the price of this thing.
If you have been following our posts you know that 10mm is vibrational at best, but a good kind of vibrational. Good enough to do what a massage gun is supposed to do.
The fact that it’s closer to 10mm also means that this is a better Taotronics than model TT-PCA004 which has less than 9mm.
It’s also worth pointing out that 10mm of amplitude can be really good if complemented with enough stall force.
Stall force is the pressure withstood by a device’s motor. It’s also an important aspect that determines what kind of massage therapy you can get from a device.
Taotronics doesn’t disclose the stall force information. But we have noticed this with other brands as well – Hypervolt doesn’t ever say what the stall force of any of their devices is. That is why we do our own measuring using devices that actually disclose that information.
For this device, we have to say we were quite surprised. We didn’t expect this much power, especially on higher speed gears. Sure the device feels pretty weak at those lower gears (precisely between gears 1 to 3).
However, it gets pretty hard to stall from gear 4 all the way to 10. We have to say this is very impressive. A good stall force and 10mm amplitude sounds pretty good for a massage gun this cheap. That means it can kick into muscles and deliver a serious massage.
We have to say this gun performs better than many Amazon darlings such as Chirogun, Legiral, Fitpulse, Darkiron, Butyce, and others, which, by the way, are way more expensive.
Speeds and Percussions
Another positive surprise about this Taotronics is the wide percussion range. The advertised range is 1400-3200RPM.
However, our measuring gave us 1020-2986RPM – so approximately 1000-3000RPM. The slight discrepancy aside, this is good for this kind of massage gun.
The wide range means you can start slow and then go aggressive at higher speeds. This is what you want with a versatile massage gun.
For this Taotronics, the middle range gears really impressed us. At speed 4 or 5 it doesn’t percuss fast but you can feel how strong it gets.
We just don’t like that it has 10 speeds. That is too many to cycle through and back. Luckily there are controls for that, but still cumbersome to keep pressing (but then again the wide range justifies it).
Another thing we noticed that got slightly on our nerves is how it kicks back after stalling; it doesn’t kick back at all. It just stops and doesn’t resume like what we see with other guns.
We don’t know why this happens. But that’s about it, you can easily turn it back on and it will work. A minor inconvenience for the price we guess.
We don’t expect devices with 10mm amplitude to get very loud while in use. This one isn’t an exception.
It’s pretty quiet, especially on lower gears. It gets a little whirry at higher speeds, but nothing too disturbing. Our decibel measurements gave us 42dB to 57.4dB compared to what is advertised; 40-50dB. This is good enough but not the quietest gun out there.
You should expect rattling when the device hits top speed. There are also vibrations transferred to the holding hand. However, this doesn’t take away major points from this otherwise superb sub-$50 gun.
But the track record for cheap devices isn’t always good. They tend to get noisier with time. We’ve had this Taotronics for well over a month, and so far everything’s fine and dandy.
We are holding our breaths for a few months (usually 6 to 12 months) down the line when it expectedly starts roaring.
The battery has 2600mAh worth of juice. That is a common capacity for devices this size. It’s pretty okay with how it performs. It drains slowly when used with moderate pressure. A single charge can last for hours or well over a week for minimal sessions.
It has an auto-shutoff feature after 15 minutes to prevent overheating and ultimately save on battery.
There’s an LED ring on the handle that lights up when the battery is charging. It indicates as follows;
- Green when above 40% charge
- Yellow when below 20-40%
- Red when below 20%
Who is it for Then?
This is a good entry-level device that will serve well those who want something to use at home.
If you are on a tight budget and want a massage gun, why not start with this one. It will help you relax, treat sore muscles, treat your back, neck and shoulder, and you can warm up with it before engaging in physical activity.
It’s not the perfect device for demanding users who want a deeper-hitting percussive therapy. You will need one with a better amplitude (check these high amplitude devices instead, but beware, prices will be higher as well).
It’s also not a good Theragun alternative – it lacks the amplitude to make it happen. But the stall force is good enough though.
Warranty and Price
It has a 1-year warranty. This is a standard warranty for most cheap devices. If you want better warranties then you better consider Ekrin or Lifepro devices. Addsfit has one under-$100 device that has a 3-year warranty, the Addsfit Max massage gun.
The price is amazingly low. It’s an under-$50 device. The current price is $45.99 when you buy through their website. We bought from there as well and the experience was awesome. The item ships pretty fast.
Taotronics Best Alternatives
This Addsfit massage gun has a lot in common with our Taotronics device here. The ergonomics, looks, and feel are all pretty identical.
However, the addsfit massage gun looks more advanced to some extent. We are not biased, there are details in this addsfit Max that lack in the Taotronics device.
That said, the performance aspects are strikingly similar; they both have the same amplitude and more or less the same stall force. There are differences, however, with percussions – addsfit Max can rev up to 3300RPM.
The addsfit Max has better attachments. They are softer and more comfortable. They also have a better mounting system compared to Taotronics – push and pull which requires a bit of force.
addsfit Max has a 3-year warranty if you register your device on their website (free of charge). In our opinion, Addsfit is better but you will need more money to get it.
It normally costs $129.98, but you can get it for $97.5 if you use the coupon MASSAGE25. Get it at addsfit.com.
READ MORE Our full addsfit Max review
What better alternative is there than another Taotronics device. We would call it a sibling to the TT-PCA003. But this is the smarter better-looking sibling. The one that gets all the favors and doesn’t feel like they are adopted. We especially like the metal top used here.
It’s also smaller and more compact. It weighs just 1.7 pounds.
It has a premium feel to it and we thought it should’ve been priced a little higher – $100-$150 perhaps.
In terms of performance, it is not very far from TT-PCA003. It has a less than 9mm amplitude and up to 30lbs. of stall force.
It has somewhat better ergonomics with more rubber and better grip. Since it’s smaller, it’s also easier to maneuver. It has the same percussion range as the TT-PCA003, and the same style attachments as well.
If you check our in-depth Taotronics TT-PCA004 review, you will see that we actually like it a bit more than its bigger brother.
It goes for $49.99, but you can get it for $31.99 with the 20OTTdiscount coupon. Same price, same coupon code, slightly different device. Buy it right here.
Taotronics TT-PCA003 Review Summary
We’ve come to the end of our Taotronics massage gun review. We would conclude that this is a good entry-level massage gun – an awesome budget choice for personal use at home. It’s simple but really well equipped.
If you’ve never had a massage gun, this one should be your first if you are looking to save some extra cash. The value for money here is irresistible.
We have listed two alternatives in case one or two things put you off from this one. One of them, also Taotronics, is similar but smaller and stylish.
Taotronics TT-PCA003 Rating
The Taotronics TT-PCA003 massage gun is a good entry-level massage gun. It’s stylishly made and can perform really well. The amplitude is vibrational territory but the stall force is decent. It has so-so ergonomics, but it’s very well equipped. The price and value for money are what make it a worthy buy
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