There are many massage chairs on the market to choose from. However, it can be daunting when your realise they all come with various programs and functionality that you may never have heard of before. This is why we created the Massage Chair Buying Guide.
We advise you on what to look for in a massage chair and how to choose one that is right for you.
About the Guide
Because buying a massage chair is expensive and a long-term investment for the benefit of your health, it is vital to find one that suits your precise needs. But you need to know what to look for.
We have listed the points you will need to consider and explained key features that you will come across. This will help you to make a better informed decision when choosing which massage chair to buy.
Who Is Going to Use the Massage Chair?
First of all you need to decide who is going to use it and the results you want to achieve.
- Is it only for your personal use?
- Is it for your family to use and possibly visitors too?
- Do you need to relieve pain somewhere in the body?
- Is the main reason you want it for relaxation?
Once you have answered those questions it becomes a lot easier to know what functionality you will need.
If you’re looking to find a massage chair that is going to be used by several people, one that has multifunctionality is best. That way, whether the user needs it for relaxation or aches and pains, there will be a program to suit them.
There are a vast array of features available with massage chairs. Some come with very few whereas others have many advanced features. Here are some that you might want to look out for:
- Recliner (zero gravity)
- Extended foot rests for taller people
- Full body massage (Shiatsu)
- Calf & foot massage
- Heat in seat, back or both
- Heaters to warm fingers and toes
- L Track (This gives you a fuller body massage including you buttocks and thighs)
- Body scanning (great if you have pain as the computer body scan will help determine where you need the massage treatment)
- Pre-set time / automatic timer
- Preset programs (check which programs are preset as some have many targeted at certain parts of the body and for certain ailments)
- Remote control (many come with a fixed remote as you don’t need to use it unless you’re sat in the chair)
- Voice response
- Bluetooth speakers
- USB port
- Cup holder
There are various massage techniques you can receive from a massage chair. These are:
- Kneading (rollers have a circular motion)
- Rolling (rollers have vertical motion)
- Tapping (rollers move in towards your body and then away from it or airbags rapidly inflate and deflate)
- Vibrating (rollers move very fast)
- Gripping or Compression (arms or legs are compressed by the airbags then released)
- Shiatsu (rollers put pressure on certain parts of your back - used to reduce tension)
How Strong Do You Want the Massage To Be?
There are many different intensities of massage from very gentle to very intense. It is the rollers or the air bags in the massage chair that are responsible for how gently or vigorously your body is massaged. Many chairs feature both rollers and airbags. Speed and/or position of the rollers or air bags will change the intensity of your massage.
The strength of any of these massage techniques may be adjustable on some chairs but not on others. If you want a range of intensities, check if there is more than one setting.
It is often the case that the more rollers or airbags a massage chair has, the more vigorous a massage you will receive. However, this is not always the case. Some chairs have less airbags but advanced technology, such as the Zero Gravity Kahuna Massage Chair Recliner which boasts “Advanced Air Cell Massage Technology” giving a better quality and quieter massage.
You may also find that the chairs with more motors give a deeper and more powerful massage.
Check out the specifications relating to the rollers and airbags on each chair to make sure they have the type of massage treatment that you are looking for.
Areas of the Body to be Massaged
If you suffer from pain in a particular part of the body or have problems with certain areas then you should look at how the massage chair targets these zones.
Some offer particularly good massage functions for the shoulders and neck, others for the back and there are chairs with more advanced features that massage arms, legs and feet.
Having a heat function for your back will be a feature to consider if you suffer from back problems.
If you are looking for a chair to relieve stress and anxiety you would benefit from a full body (also known as Shiatsu) massage. A Shiatsu massage can help revitalise both your mind and body.
S Track Or L Track
The massage chair will have a track on which the rollers move. If this was straight it would miss certain areas and not prove particularly comfortable.
The S Track follows the curves of your spine so that your whole back benefits from the manipulation of the rollers against your body. However, the L Track, a more modern feature, offers a fuller body massage by extending to the buttocks and thighs.
In many models, you will get a massage in your thighs and buttocks from air bags but the L Track will give you a superior deeper and more satisfying massage in those parts of your body.
Consider your size and shape. People who are particularly big, tall or short should check the size of the chair, height of the headrest and length of the footrest.
If you are going to be sitting in the chair when you are not using it for massage purposes, make sure that the kneading heads are able to recede into the chair so that they are not uncomfortable.
Massage chairs can have several positions or position functions. These are:
- Recliner (zero-gravity)
- Rocker Functionality
- Foot Rest
The reclining massage chairs are also referred to as “zero-gravity” due to the fact that, when reclined, the even distribution of your body weight alleviates stress on your body. This results in a deeper and more relaxing massage.
Size and Weight of the Chair and Manoevreability
Consider the space in which the massage chair will be positioned. Bear in mind that you may need to recline the chair or put up the footrest too which will take up more space.
If you need to move the chair frequently, it is worth looking at how much it weighs and whether it has casters. The Osaki 1000 has easy-roll casters which makes manoevreability a lot easier. If you are short on space, the casters will mean that you could roll it easily into a position where it can be reclined.
Of course, the most important factor in buying a massage chair is that it gives you an amazing massage. However, you will want it to look great in your home too. Consider the following:
Colour: They come in various colours. Most are black, brown, beige, cream or ivory/white.
Material: The faux leather (or synthetic leather) is better than real leather as it is more durable.
A massage chair is an expensive piece of furniture. Generally, the more you pay the better quality and more features you get but this is not always the case. Work out what you can pay and find what is on offer within that bracket.
Prices start at around $400 and go up to about $8000 although there are some that go as high as $16000.
Good Massage Chair Brands to Look Out For
As well as knowing what to look for in a massage chair, you need to also make sure that the brand you choose is trusted and reliable. This way you can be assured that you are buying a chair that has lasting quality. Only buy from a brand that has a good reputation for quality and customer service. Some of the brands which have been most popular with buyers are:
- Real Relax
- Human Touch
Check the warranty the comes with the chair. Some are only a year but others are up to 5 years. If you’re unsure, check the small print or even phone up the company if necessary.
If you buy on Amazon you have additional peace of mind as their sellers have to adhere to certain standards and customer service, so this is a great store to use when buying online.
Customer Reviews and Ratings
At massagechairfinder.com we only recommend the chairs that have the best ratings. We are here to make life simpler for you as it can take some time trying to find the perfect massage chair.
However, it is worth looking at the customer ratings and reviews to see what they say about the chair. When checking Amazon reviews, look for reviews by verified purchasers so you know they have legitimately tried them out.
We suggest only looking at chairs which have reviews of 4 stars or higher.
When shopping on websites other than Amazon, be wary of lots of positive reviews. Sometimes they only display those that are favourable so you get an unrealistic view of whether that product is really as good as they say.
We hope our Massage Chair Buying Guide has helped you with what to look for and how to choose a massage chair. Now you should be ready to have a look at the various options that are available. We have found the best chairs on the market at differing price points and put them in a list for you, together with the features they include, so you can compare them and find the perfect massage chair for you.