In this review feature, we check out the best massage chairs on the market. 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. 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.
5 Best Massage Chairs of 2017
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 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 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 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.
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.
Believe it or not, Panasonic is also in the massage chair business. Their Real Pro series of massage chairs is one of the best massage chairs out there.
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.
General Thoughts on Massage Chairs
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. Though prices have come down over the last few years pretty quickly, most of these chairs still carry hefty price tags. The best and top rated massage chairs are very expensive. There’s no two ways around it unfortunately. There are a few scenarios where it makes it easier to justify the cost. 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! Ain’t nobody got money for that.
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 differientiating 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.
How do Massage Chairs Work?
Air bag type massage chairs utilize 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 type massage chairs rely 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.
What to Look for in a Massage Chair
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 about $10,000 squirreled away you could certainly get a chair with all of these features.
- Cost & Shipping Options
- Power or Manual Recline
- Settings and Programs
- Heated Massage Chair
- Music Player
- Weight Capacity