Not everyone has to money or time to get regular massages done by a professional. Electric massage chairs used to cost a fortune but that is no longer the case. Manufacturers have found ways to construct quality, affordable massage chairs, enabling folks to set them up and reap the rewards at home. In this review feature, we check out the best massage chairs on the market that are perfect for your home or office.
Just about nothing beats coming home after a hard day at work and relaxing in a massage chair for a full body massage and a little Netflix! Massage chairs will work out all those knots and kinks keeping your body limber and healthy. Furthermore, massage chairs can even prevent injuries, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.
In our massage chair reviews section, we will be taking a close look at the best massage chairs currently available. Our readers will also be able to view a selection guide and illustrations of the types of massage chairs. Whether your on the hunt for a massage chair to soothe your back pain or looking for the ultimate relaxation chair, there’s something for everyone.
While data suggests nearly 20% of home owners in Japan have a massage chair, they are not as popular in the United States. That may be changing though as prices continue to drop and the better models become more affordable. The best and top rated massage chairs range in prices. We’ve found a variety of styles to help fit your needs and budget.
Comparison Chart: 10 Best Massage Chairs of 2018
Here we’ve got a summarized version of all of the chairs that we have deemed worthy of our top 10 massage chair list. They are in order of prices ascending, and our review section mirrors this order to make browsing as simple as possible for you.
Mobile and small screen visitors- select the green + symbol to view more specifics on each item.
|HoMedics Quad Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat||Chair Cushion|
|Zyllion ZMA14 Neck and Back Massage Cushion||Chair Cushion|
|Relaxzen Deluxe Leisure Recliner Chair||Chair and Ottoman|
|Recliner Genius Massage Recliner Chair||Recliner|
|Human Touch iJoy-2580 Robotic Massage Chair||Classic|
|BestMassage Curved Long Rail Shiatsu Massage Chair||Shiatsu|
|Real Relax Massage Chair||Zero Gravity|
|INADA DreamWave Massage Chair||Full Featured|
|Relaxon Full Body Zero Gravity Massage Chair||Luxury Chair|
|Osaki OS-4000 Zero Gravity Executive Massage Chair||Zero Gravity|
Review Section: 10 Best Massage Chairs of 2018
Welcome to our massage chair reviews section. This is our curated list of the best massage chairs by price category currently available. Year after year, these chairs have rose to the top in popularity and are the cream of the crop.
We constantly prune and update our pages about every quarter, so you’re always viewing the freshest product selection.
The HoMedics Quad Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat is one of the top massage chair pads. This is a great model if you don’t want to blow a couple thousand and want to keep things lower cost. It is essentially a free standing unit that can be placed on any couch or chair. As long as it is a stable surface you are good to go. Like the Human Touch Massage chair, this unit has percussion, kneading, and rolling massage settings.
Percussion is great for a fast and furious massage, kneading for a deep tissue massage, and rolling is a gentle and tender massage style. Combine the kneading setting with heat, and you have a great massage that will work out knots and relax tired overworked muscles. The downside is you cannot lay down or recline with this massage chair. Nevertheless, the massage rollers are durable and provide excellent pressure. It is a great massage chair for the cost.
This is another great chair cushion option to add to your favorite comfortable seat. The neck feature is unique from many other massage chair cussions. The massage nodes can either roll or rotate, depending on what you’re wanting.
A 20 minute kill switch is built in to prevent the chair pad from overheating. It’s also risk free with a 90 day money back guarantee.
If you’re looking for a massage chair that blends in with the rest of your furniture, Relaxzen has some pieces that are perfect for your decor and home feng shui. This particular model is made from a faux suede material that is one of the best for pets and cleaning.
Eight vibration motors relax your upper and mid back, thighs, and calves. The microsuede upholstery and wood base will fit into most modern homes with ease. It even offers 9 pre-programmed massage settings, which is more than some chairs that cost upward of 2 grand.
This is another solid option for a massage chair that will blend in with typical furniture. It could be the perfect addition to your homes rec room, and for the price you could get one for you and your partner.
It’s constructed of high quality PU leather, and will come to you in 2 easy-to-assemble pieces. With the typical 8 point massage and heating system, you can kick back, relax, and enjoy your shows while receiving the perfect in-home massage.
The iJoy Massage Chair by Human Touch is a reasonably priced model that gets the job done. Specifically the iJoy 2580 massage chair. It has 3 simple and straightforward massage programs: back refresher, neck and shoulder relief, and lower back release. Each program runs for a 15 minute duration.
The rollers have multiple settings that help give the programs the variety it needs to feel great. You get percussion, kneading, and of course rolling. It reclines and the built in armrest controls are very efficient. For under $1000, this is probably one of the best massage chairs money can buy. The only catch is that this chair won’t be comfortable for anyone taller than 6 foot.
If you’re looking for a futuristic looking chair that takes you to a state of pure bliss BestMassage has the at home chair for you. The modern style is equipped with shiatsu type massage rollers that will smooth out back knots and ease pain.
The accessories include surround sound speakers, so that you can enjoy relaxing music during your massage. There’s also a spot for your cellphone so you can have the comfort of it being close by.
I bet you didn’t think you could get a Luxury Massage chair for under a grand, and I bet you didn’t think that it would look this good. The Real Relax Full Body Massage Chair Recliner has over 50 air bags, with 8 massage points and 4 preset automatic massages for extreme comfort right in your home.
Starting a salon or want to spruce up your employee’s lounge? Due to the affordability and the sleek style, this model is perfect for a recreational or professional environment.
The Inada Sogno Dreamwave may be the most advanced massage chair ever created. This is a luxury tier chair and looks like something out of a movie with a futuristic setting. It mimics the technique of professional Shiatsu massage therapists.
It will actually do a full body scan before it does your massage. That helps it target the right pressure points and customizes the massage to your body type. It has over 100 (106) body types to be exact. The fact that it can give the perfect massage for that many body types is pretty awesome in and of itself.
The Relaxon Chair is a great quality massage chair. It is probably the best massage chair for the money. You get all the premium features, but they manage to keep it under $2,000 price point. You have over 10 programs to choose from with this one, so you can hit specific areas of the body or just go for fully body massage luxury.
It will automatically measure the length of the spine in order to give you the most comfortable and effective massage experience. It will be the perfect day to start and end your day.
Some say Osaki is the company that makes the best massage chair in the world. Japan is one of the leaders in robotics and equipment such as massage chairs. Osaki is a force to be reckoned with in the massage chair business. Osaki has been around since 1937 and is headquartered in Tokyo. Their massage chairs start at a pretty high price point, but their models are definitely some of the best massage chairs on the market.
The Osaki 4000 Executive Zero Gravity massage chair is reasonably priced considering everything that it does. You get 6 auto-programs to customize your massage (smart, relax, circulation, healthcare, therapy, demo). On top of that you get 5 speeds and multiple intensity levels. 32 airbags do the work of many hands and fingers, kneading, rolling, clapping, Swedish, combo, or shiatsu style massaging your body to ultimate relaxation.
Why Buy a Massage Chair Anyway?
Here are the top reasons folks decide to purchase a massage chair.
There are a few scenarios where it makes it easier to justify the cost of one of the luxury models. If you were already planning on buying a new recliner you may want to opt for a reclining massage chair instead. In this scenario it is like your getting 2 birds with one stone. You’ll get a comfy reclining chair for watching TV. Plus, you can switch that baby on whenever your body is aching for a gentle (or vigorous) massage.
Another way to look at investing in a massage chair is the extreme cost of professional massages. The average cost of a massage is about $60 for an hour, plus you have to factor in a $5 to $20 tip depending on your mood for the day. If you were to get 1 massage a week for an hour long duration plus tips you’d be at around $1000 after just 1 year.
We don’t know about you but we kind of like the idea of 3-4 massages a week, maybe more. For a year of that many massages (3-5 a week) you’re looking at any where from $4000-$6000. And that’s just hour long massages!
After running the numbers, you can begin to understand why people invest a lot of money in a fancy massage chair. These chairs are built to last 5 years or longer, some of the best ones have warranties for 10 years or more. Of course, you can use the massage chair as long as you want. There’s no additional fees for 2 hours versus 1 hour. Not to mention, they don’t get tired or complain like your significant other might after a lousy 20 minutes.
You can target exactly which muscle groups or sore areas you want. Conversely, you can crank that baby up for a full body massage all at once, something no professional can do unless they are half octopus.
Benefits of Electric Massage Chairs:
- Target specific muscle groups or sore areas
- Save money on trips to the spa
- Go for as long as you want
- Precisely control strength level of massage from caressing to deep tissue
- Control heat level to get it just right on a cold day
- Switch between massage settings for chopping, rolling, and tapping action
- Watch TV or a movie while enjoying massage
- Does not complain that it is tired
7 Common Types of Massage Chairs
There are dozens of variations of massage chairs. Some massage chairs have many of the following features while others may specialize in one category. Some are over $1000, though budget models can be had for a few hundred. While the only decision consumers needed to make in the past was whether they wanted a full body or back only massage chair now there are a handful more choices you’ll need to make.
#1 Massage Chair Pads
The most affordable option are pads that can be placed on chairs or your couch for example. While some of these are known to break easily or not apply much pressure, there are certainly some decent models out there.
#2 Standard Massage Chairs
There is a big difference between “back massage chairs” and “massage chairs” when searching for products online. Most search engines will associate the back massage chair with those pads that you put on an existing chair. These are much less expensive than a full body massage chair and usually under $200. So keep this in mind when shopping.
This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make. If money is a big factor, you’ll probably want to stay away from the massage chairs and look for a more affordable pad type piece of equipment. However, there are some middle-ground chairs ($200-$500ish) that may not get every inch of your body, but still hit the problem areas for most folks that we will be taking a look at in our review section.
#3 Full-Featured Massage Chairs
Full body massage chairs are the pinnacle of relaxation equipment for at home use. These chairs have slots for arms, hands, legs, and the rest of the body. One of the top rated massage chairs provides users with the equivalent of 1200 square inches of massaging goodness. That means you can get a massage from you head to your toes.
Most of these chairs will also have some type of heating technology as well. As you’d expect, these bad boys are pricey starting at about $1500 and can go way up from there.
#4 Shiatsu Massage Chairs
The Shiatsu chair massager has borrowed the name from traditional Japanese Shiatsu technique of massage. Shiatsu translates to “finger pressure”. In Shiatsu massage, thumbs, elbows, knees, feet, and hands apply pressure to pressure points of the body. These pressure points are known as meridians in eastern medicine.
Shiatsu advocates assert that it can heal the body, spirit, and even emotional issues. At any rate, Shiatsu is a popular term used by marketers of massage chairs. Mostly this is just marketing at play, though sometimes Shiatsu massage chairs incorporate a system that mimics the shiatsu technique with rollers.
Like other massage chairs, these use some type of air bag or power roller system which targets key pressure points of the body such as the lower back. Full body shiatsu massage chairs will hit all the major pressure points of the body helping bring
#5 Portable Massage Chairs
You’ve probably seen a portable massage chair design in a mall set up in the middle of the aisle. They are easy to take down and set up and most massage therapists have one of these chairs in the arsenal to take with them when their on the move. These chairs are slightly declined and help pronounce the user’s back making it easier on the person giving the massage.
#6 Reclining Massage Chairs
If you’re going to go the whole 10 yards with a massage chair, you might as well get a massage chair that reclines. Just like a big plush recliner, most of the nicer massage chairs have a recline feature. This is basically the equivalent of laying down on a massage table at a professional spa but in the comfort of your own home.
The key differentiating factor of reclining massage chairs is manual versus automatic recline. If you don’t want to bother with reaching and pulling a lever (we get exhausted just thinking about it) you may want to consider an automatic massage recliner chair.
#7 Massage Office Chairs
For programmers, web designers, stock traders, gamers, and anyone else who spends a lot of time in the computer chair at home having an office massage chair is a nice treat.
#8 Zero Gravity Massage Chairs
If you’ve been poking around doing some research on massage chairs, zero gravity is a term that may have came up a few times. Zero Gravity is a technology invented by NASA. Imagine an astronaut when they are in that special reclined chair during launch.
This position elevates the legs slightly above the heart and it is a technology some massage chairs have incorporated into their design. Zero gravity massage chairs will simultaneously increase relaxation of the neck and back, increase lung function, eliminates pressure on the spine, and increases your body’s circulation because of the horizontal position.
Top 10 Tips for Selecting a Massage Chair
Massage chairs can be a great way to relax and treat your muscles without having to pay for a masseuse. Read on to discover the top 10 tips for selecting one.
Interested in massage chairs and possibly adding one to your home? You should be! After all, more people have a massage chair than ever before, thanks to them being an excellent way to relieve physical, mental, and emotional stress.
It’s also fun to sit in one of these chairs. They’re popular for the elderly to relax and for the young to enjoy while watching TV or playing a video game. However, they’re far more complex than a traditional chair. They’re also a big investment.
Here are 10 important tips to consider when buying massage chairs:
1. Main Features
This is perhaps the most important aspect to consider when looking into massage chairs. What kind of features do you want? It’s already understood you’ll look into different massage types – and we’ll tackle that in a bit – but there are other features to consider. Some chairs offer heated therapy. Others still offer benefits like neck traction therapy and muscle compression.
You also have to consider the following:
- Back and neck reclining options
- Feet extenders
- Cup holder
- Built-in computer
- A wired or remote control panel
- Memory function
It’s surprising how important a cup holder is. It can get annoying when you realize you need a drink but you’re still in the middle of a massage session. Even if you have a drink, you need a cup holder to place it within reach. A built-in computer with memory function is another important feature some people don’t consider when buying. Some massage chairs let you program a specific combination of massage types and you can save that preference. This ensures you don’t have to input the command repeatedly with each use.
Most chairs have a control panel built into the armrest or on the side of the chair. A few have a separate panel and these come either wired or wireless. Going wireless is more convenient but it is easy to lose the remote control if you’re not careful.
2. Type of Massages
After figuring out the main features, the next step is to consider the types of massage therapies that the chair can perform. Each chair has a few basics, such as the following:
- Swedish massage
- Rapid Percussion
A Swedish massage is the most common form of massage therapy. This is the basic kind of therapy you get when you walk into a spa. It involves gentle rubbing and intermittent application of deep pressure. Shiatsu, on the other hand, involves applying pressure on the body’s acupuncture points. It can feel a little rough and painful for those not used to this kind of therapy. The best massage chairs start their Shiatsu therapy slowly before building up the amount of pressure applied.
Kneading, rolling, and rapid percussion therapies make full use of a massage chair’s built-in rollers and balls. They involve slow and deep applications of pressure to target different muscle groups. Pressure therapy uses airbags to emulate the level of muscle compression you get from real, human hands. This is useful for people in need of massage therapy for their neck, arms, and legs.
3. Size and Design
Yes, the size and design of massage chairs matter. If you get a chair that offers neck, back, and leg reclining then you can’t place the chair in a corner or against a wall. They also tend to be big. A common misconception is that massage chairs belong in the living room. That almost never works out. The main culprit behind this issue is the design.
Many massage chairs are the opposite of aesthetically pleasing. Even when they do have a design that’s pleasing to the eyes, they still stand out compared to the rest of your living room furniture. Putting a massage chair right beside your normal sofa creates a stark contrast that you may not like. One good tip is to look at placing your massage chair in your bedroom, workout room, or office. They have ample space and neutral design to accommodate a massaging chair.
4. Durability and Customer Service
Before buying massage chairs, consider how durable the product is. This is where customer reviews are essential in the buying process.
What to look for in those reviews?
There are two things that come hand-in-hand: durability and the quality of customer service. Do these massage chairs last for a long time? How well do they hold up after repeated use and hours of sitting? If you’re getting at least 3 years of use, you’re getting your money’s worth. Most furniture can last much longer but that’s only because they don’t come with the extended features a massage device introduces.
The most important parts that have to hold up the longest include:
- Neck rest
- Bottom cushion
- Leg rest
- Rollers and balls
What happens when these things do break down? This is where your warranty and customer service comes into play. We’ll tackle the warranty in a separate section down below. Good customer service guarantees you’ll get repairs and maintenance done in a timely fashion. Bad service is when a company’s representatives drag you in circles or refuse to honor your warranty. For many businesses, customer service is a top priority and this includes massage chair manufacturers. Don’t trust a company and their chairs if they don’t value your experience with their representatives.
5. Rollers in Massage Chairs
The rollers and balls form the main mechanics of a therapy chair. Together, they move around and apply pressure to your body. This emulates the feeling of a massage from human hands. Keep in mind that these rollers and balls come in different shapes and forms. Different chair brands make them in a variety of ways.
The most important factor to inspect is the level of comfort you get from them. Some rollers feel too strong. Others are too soft. You might find rollers and balls that feel sharp or move too fast. Make it a habit to sit down and test the chair before buying. Check if the massage therapies feel good and relaxing. If you feel pain or discomfort, move on to the next chair.
Remember that function comes before fashion. Even if the chair you’re looking at isn’t going to win any design competitions, it’s still the best choice if you’re comfortable with the rollers.
No, these airbags aren’t for holding you in place in case of a crash. They utilize the same technology, albeit altered so they can inflate and deflate as needed. Their main purpose is to apply uniform pressure to your muscles. You’ll find them around the neck, arm, and leg portions of the chair. With a press of a button, they’ll inflate and apply pressure.
One factor to check is the force applied to your muscles. Make sure the airbags don’t get too tight, otherwise, it’ll hurt and get uncomfortable faster than you know it. You also have to make sure they aren’t too loose because then they won’t get the job done. Some airbags can heat up. They won’t get as hot as a garment steamer, but still warm enough to enhance the massage experience. As mentioned, make sure the airbags are durable. You may need to ask if there’s a way to replace them if they break.
7. Massage Intensity
In relation to the rollers and airbags, make sure you try each of the massage types. This helps determine if you like the level of intensity you get from sitting in the chair. Some chairs press down too hard while others are too gentle, to the point where you don’t feel any of the massage benefits that you’re expecting to get from your chair.
More advanced massage chairs let you increase or decrease the intensity. If they do, see if you can find a sweet spot before deciding to purchase. It’s possible the default setting isn’t what you want but there could be one in there that suits your needs. All this becomes more important to consider when you have several people at home who might use the chair. Have elderly family members or children in your home? Each one has a different tolerance level when it comes to massage intensity. Make sure there’s a setting or level of intensity that works fine for everyone, including yourself.
In relation to increasing or decreasing intensity, you’ll also want to check if the chair gives you a full range of control. Make sure you can control the speed of the massages. Also, check if you can stop any of the massage sessions with a press of a button. You don’t want to get stuck in your chair, especially if the massage setting is painful or uncomfortable.
You don’t need the intense level of control you’d get from robot vacuum cleaners or a phone but you should have the opportunity to manage and customize each massage session. Can you control the airbags individually? How hard is it to recline your back or feet? How hard is it to put everything back after reclining or after using the airbags?
For chairs with a remote control, is there still a built-in panel? This is important because you’ll want to control your chair in case you lose the remote or when it runs out of batteries. Otherwise, your chair becomes one big, expensive brick. If there’s a built-in memory system, can you program your own massage combinations? Can you set the chair to perform a Swedish massage followed by Shiatsu session every time you press a button or do you have to do it manually each time? The convenience of a memory function might be too much to pass up.
Do you need a warranty on everything you buy? If you’re buying something as expensive as massage chairs or as costly as a cooler for your wine collection, the answer is a resounding yes! It’d be disastrous if you didn’t have a warranty and something happened to one of these high-end items They cost a lot and so do their repairs. Maintenance for something as bulky and complex as a massaging chair isn’t something to meddle with, and a warranty is a solution to this problem.
Most warranties don’t last long, however. Keep in mind that they tend to last only between 3 and 5 years. Even then, they only cover repairs for specific parts of the chair. There may be instances where the warranty is still valid but they won’t cover the repair costs because the damaged part isn’t included in the contract. Make sure to read the fine print and understand which parts and kinds of damages the warranty will cover.
Another aspect to check is if the warranty guarantees 100% coverage. Some sneaky warranty scams involve partial coverage. This means you’ll still have to shell out cash in case of a repair. Others don’t pay for repairs right away. Instead, the manufacturer reimburses you for the cash you spent. Make sure to read the contract because they might only pay a certain percentage.
Last but definitely not least, consider your budget. Massage chairs are not cheap and even the less expensive ones cost more than $300. At the end of the day, only go for a chair that fits within your financial comfort zone. That said, you get what you pay for, and this philosophy works ten-fold in regards to massage chairs. The more expensive the chair, the more likely it will have all the features you could ask for. They’re more durable, more beautiful, and more likely to give you the type of massage you need.
Of course, not every expensive chair is a must-buy. Here’s a quick and simple technique to find the ideal chair that’s within your budget:
- List your minimum and maximum budget
- Check for chairs in that range
- Note down the top 10 according to reviews
- List down each chair’s features
This will narrow down your choices. You can then spend time thinking over which chair suits you according to both your needs and wants.
With these tips, it’ll be a breeze to find the best massage chairs that suit your budget and needs. That said, there are many out there on the market today. It can get overwhelming to look at all that’s on offer. Too many choices can be a bad thing, especially if it impedes you from making a sound decision. Don’t fret! Simply follow these tips and see if any of them hit the mark.
Massage Chair Buying Guide: Summary
There are some features you should keep your eye on before pulling the trigger on a massage chair. What is the best massage chair? It all depends on what you are looking for, but if you’ve got some extra cash squirreled away you could certainly get a chair with all the top features.
Here are some considerations to take into account before you click that buy button:
- Cost & Shipping Options. Budget is going to be the biggest factor for most folks when they are considering an investment into a massage chair. Shipping can further—and in some cases—greatly increase the overall cost of getting the chair to your home. Amazon Prime members can fortunately get some real good deals on shipping and in many cases free shipping.
- Warranty. A key factor to look for when shopping massage chairs is the warranty. Longer, comprehensive warranties should signal the fact that the manufacturer has confidence in their product and its longevity.
- Power or Manual Recline. Most of the pricier models will have power everything, but in some cases you’ll have a handle that enables you to manually recline the chair.
- Heated Massage Chair. Just like the heated seats in luxury vehicles, some massage chairs also come with heating functionality. On a cold winter day, it’s heaven.
- Material. Leather, synthetics, and fabrics are the most common upholstery on these chairs. Much of this comes down to user preference.
- Weight Capacity. For some budget models, larger individuals may want to double check on the weight capacity of the chair.
- Settings and Programs. You’d be surprised at how loaded some of these massage chairs are, there are so many bells and whistles on some of them it can actually come with a bit of a learning curve to get everything down. That’s part of the fun, learning the chair and which features and combination of features you enjoy the most. Some chairs have preset programs that will focus on certain parts of the body or back.
- Extras. Bonus features such as handheld or panel remote controls, music players, headphone ports, 3D robotic massage, and phone chargers are nice extras to have.
How do Massage Chairs Work?
Air bag. This type of massage chair utilizes airbags connected to a central computer that tells them when to inflate and deflate. Essentially, the intensity of your massage will be proportional to how fast and how much air each bag receives. An air bag that is fully pumped up extremely fast will exert a lot of massaging force on the body. By inflating and deflating the airbags at different speeds and tempos, massage chairs can stimulate many types of massage techniques.
Roller. A roller type massage chair relies on a number of gears, motors, rollers, and sometimes vibrating mechanisms to work their magic. Manufacturers have become pretty clever with their designs, finding ways for the rollers to mimic different massage types. For example, you can get a chair that does rolling, tapping, kneading, gripping, or shiatsu technique. Some of the most expensive chairs you may be able to switch between all of them and decide which you like best.