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Massages can do wonders for muscle pain, sports injuries, stress and other ailments, but who has the time and money for regular professional massages?
Massage chairs allow users to experience many of the same benefits as professional massages but from the comfort of your home, and they’re more affordable than they once were. They can be used to relieve pain from a variety of health conditions or simply aid in relaxation.
Massage chairs come in a variety of styles, with different massage types, body coverage and special features. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive buying guide to help you wade through the various options on the market. Read on for our top picks for the best massage chairs and what to consider when choosing one.
The Best Massage Chairs of 2018
Editor’s Pick – BestMassage Shiatsu Massage Chair
Runner-Up – Ideal Massage Shiatsu Massage Chair
Best Budget Buy – Flash Furniture Massaging Recliner
Best Full-Body Massage Chair – RELAXONCHAIR MK-II Plus Massage Chair
Best for the Price – Real Relax Full Body Massage Chair
The BestMassage Shiatsu Massage Chair is a high-quality, full-body chair at a relatively affordable price. It features four massage styles, including Shiatsu, kneading, tapping and knocking. In addition to traditional back massage options, the chair includes rollers for your feet and airbags to compress leg muscles. You can even insert your arms into the armrests for arm and wrist massages. It also has an L-track, so rollers extend near the glutes.
The chair has four intensity settings that can be controlled through a large, detachable remote. Its back automatically adjusts to your height, and you can recline up to 170 degrees. It also features heat therapy in the lower back and feet. All around, the BestMassage is a top-performer.
The Ideal Massage Shiatsu Massage Chair has a wide variety of features to please any user. It has four different massage styles, including Shiatsu, kneading, rolling and vibrating. You can choose from four auto programs or use manual control to pick from fourteen combinations. Airbags are located at the shoulders, arms, seat, legs and feet, and six kneading balls help relieve stress in your feet.
Intensity and speed are both adjustable. You can customize massage duration between five and thirty minutes. The chair also has three different zero gravity positions. All of these features plus a heated backrest add up to the ultimate in relaxation.
If you’re looking for a solid massage chair at a fraction of the price of other chairs, check out the Flash Furniture Massaging Recliner. This chair resembles a traditional recliner and ottoman and takes up less space than other massage chairs. It features a kneading massage style, and you can use its remote control to choose from nine massage modes and five intensity levels. The chair can target your legs, thighs, lumbar and back.
While the chair doesn’t have as many features as more expensive chairs, at fifty pounds, it’s much easier to move around. It also offers a side pocket for storage and the seat and back are heated. The plush, leather upholstery makes the chair feel much more luxurious than its price tag implies.
The RELAXONCHAIR MK-II Plus combines rollers, airbags and stretching for the ultimate full-body massage. It features four auto programs, three manual options (kneading, tapping, combo), three airbag intensity levels and three speed levels. It also has a spinal decompression mode that works to stretch your back and legs. Airbags surrounding arms, legs and feet contribute to relaxation for your whole body.
The MK-II Plus has three zero gravity positions, and body scanning allows the chair to customize pressure based on your spine. Its L-track system allows for deep massage all the way down to your glutes, and a heated backrest will relax your lower back muscles.
For a relatively affordable price, the Full Body Massage Chair by Real Relax includes a variety of features. It has fifty airbags, eight massage points and four auto programs. Massage styles include kneading, Shiatsu, rolling and vibrating, and you can also target specific areas like your shoulders, arms, glutes and calves. The chair also includes rollers near your feet and a heating system to aid in muscle relaxation.
The Full Body Massage Chair has three different zero gravity positions, with the full position raising legs above the heart for reduced heart rate. The remote control is easy to read and fits into a side pocket. You can also listen to music while relaxing using the chair’s built-in bluetooth speakers.
There’s great variety when it comes to massage chairs, and it can be difficult to know what to look for. In our buying guide, we first look at who might benefit from a massage chair and then delve into the top considerations to make when purchasing a massage chair.
Massage chairs might seem like a luxury, but when you consider the variety of benefits they provide, a massage chair may feel more like a necessity. Massage chairs can help alleviate symptoms of a variety of conditions, including:
Size & Weight
Massage chairs tend to be larger than regular chairs, and additional features often mean bigger chairs. Be sure to check the product dimensions before purchasing a chair. Also keep in mind that many massage chairs recline, requiring extra space behind the chair. Many choose to place massage chairs in an office or bedroom, where there might be more space, rather than a living room.
Massage chairs can also be very heavy, so enlist help when moving it into place. More minimal chairs weigh around 50 pounds, but most weigh between 100 and 300 pounds.
It’s important to understand what massage styles are included in a massage chair before making a decision. After all, you don’t want to purchase one that’s not suited to your needs. Most massage chairs include options for multiple massage programs, but be sure to see what’s included. The most common massage styles are:
Massage chair rollers also come in one of two configurations. Those on an S-track are arranged along your spine, while an L-track includes rollers near the glutes and hamstrings. If you primarily have back pain, an S-track might be sufficient, but if you experience soreness in your lower body, you may want to opt for an L-track.
Massage chairs vary greatly in the features they include. Be sure to check out everything a massage chair has to offer and also consider what’s important to you. A certain feature may be impressive, but if you’re not going to use it, it’s just unnecessarily adding to the price tag. The most common features include:
Some massage chairs focus solely on the back, while others provide a full body massage. If you primarily suffer from back and neck pain, then a traditional chair may be perfect for you. If you’re an athlete or on your feet a lot, you may want a chair that targets other parts of your body. Some use airbags and/or rollers to massage legs and feet. Others include rollers that target muscles on the side of your head, which can provide excellent stress relief.
Massage chairs are typically safe to use, but it’s important to keep some tips in mind. First, too much of a good thing does apply to massage chair use. Limit your use to short sessions, around 15 to 30 minutes, once or twice a day to avoid overworking or bruising your muscles. Be sure to supervise children or elderly individuals when they’re using the chair. Also ensure that the chair is positioned so that no one will trip over the electric cord.
If you’re pregnant, there are special considerations. Massage chairs are safe for those with normal, healthy pregnancies but should be avoided if you have a high-risk pregnancy. Either way, check with your health care provider before using a massage chair while pregnant. Don’t use the heat feature while pregnant and avoid Shiatsu massage as deep tissue massage tends to be advised against during pregnancy.
Warranty & Return Policy
Most massage chairs come with a three-year limited warranty, though these can vary between one and five years. Be sure to look closely at warranty terms so you’re not left with an expensive repair or replacement on your hands. Many vary in what they will cover in each year of a warranty. They will commonly cover parts and labor in the first year, parts in the second year and the main structural frame in the third year. Warranties typically cover defects and not normal wear and tear.
Many massage chairs come with a 30-day return window, but check to see if you’re expected to cover shipping costs. Because massage chairs are large, shipping them back can be expensive.