The best massage chairs in the industry have one thing in common; they provide a unique massage experience that makes it worth the price. It really is that simple, and has led to a lot of top names producing industry changing chairs. Here are a few that are past and present favorites of the millions of consumers worldwide.
Electric Full Body Shiatsu Massage Chair
- 1 Electric Full Body Shiatsu Massage Chair
- 2 Zero Gravity Heated Reclining Massage Chair
- 3 Ideal massage Full Featured Shiatsu Chair
- 4 RELAXONCHAIR [MK-II PLUS] Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair
- 5 iJoy-2580
- 6 Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair Recliner
- 7 TOP PERFORMANCE KAHUNA SUPERIOR MASSAGE CHAIR
- 8 Real Relax Full Body Massage Chair Recliner
- 9 INADA HCP-S373 (BR) Flex 3s Massage Chair
- 10 Real Relax Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair
- 11 Relaxzen 60-42511105 Leisure Recliner Chair
- 12 “iJoy-2310” Recline & Relax Robotic Massage Chair
- 13 Brands
- 14 Which Companies Offer Exceptional Experiences?
- 15 What Makes A Good Massage Chair
- 16 How Customer Service Improves The User Experience
- 17 Brands With The Most Notable Models
- 18 Advanced Features
- 19 Programming
- 20 Types Of Massage
- 21 Features That Take Some Getting Used To
- 22 Is It Better To Get A Bigger Chair Or A Smaller Chair?
- 23 Maintaining A Massage Chair
- 24 What Breaks The Most Often With Massage Chairs?
- 25 How Long Do Massage Chairs Last?
- 26 Materials
- 27 What Is The Best Material?
- 28 Are Massage Chairs Comfortable?
- 29 Zero Gravity
- 30 What Is Inversion?
- 31 Zero Gravity vs. Inversion
- 32 Zero Gravity Benefits
- 33 Inversion Benefits
- 34 Control Panels
- 35 Remotes
- 36 How Hard Is It To Repair A Massage Chair?
- 37 What Features Should Beginners Avoid?
- 38 How Much Power Does A Massage Chair Use?
- 39 Ottoman vs. Recliner
- 40 What Is 3D In A Massage Chair?
- 41 Massage Tables
At the top of the list is this high priced chair from Best Massage, available in Black, Brown and Burgundy. They manage to do a good job with the colors so that they mix well with other furniture. This setup is a bit more bulky than the usual massage chair, but is well worth using the extra space. The EC-06 is an updated design of their popular series, this time with a focus on long range massage. It works well when in full operation, and can massage from the neck down to the tailbone in a single motion.
The fun doesn’t end there, with its stand up console turning out to be a great addition to the chair. With it you’ll have full access to manual and automatic features without having to hunt for a smaller controller. Full body massages are available, all the way down to the feet. The chair reclines like a dream, and maintains a great comfort level even when not in operation. Durability is high, so unless you crack the console, the chair should last for years. There is a lot to love about this model that lives up to the company’s name.
Zero Gravity Heated Reclining Massage Chair
For a high price consumers can have one of the best massage chairs in the industry. This futuristic looking chair has everything you would need for a comfortable massage. Using a computer body scan system, the rollers built into the back of the chair will match the curves on your body. It leads to a personalized experienced for any individual that wants a full body massage. Humans have a variety of different spine shapes, so this is an important feature to have in a modern day massage chair.
Also high on the feature set of this model is the airbag massage which covers areas from the shoulders all the way down to the feet. The zero gravity included on the chair is 2 stage, which is more than enough to put you in a position to relax. There are two ways to control the functions of the massage; the compact wireless controller that can fit in your front pocket, or the full size visual remote that can program advanced settings. Osaki did a good job with finding the most top tier features to put into a single product. For the perfect massage, this setup comes highly recommended.
Ideal massage Full Featured Shiatsu Chair
Another high priced massage chair with built in zero gravity comes from Ideal Massage, a company known for great designs. This model comes in dark brown, red and black. The colors are basic but the execution is fantastic, so you can expect this to pair well with other high end furniture. Featuring a mode that allows for an uninterrupted 30 minute massage, this chair also has access to 3D intelligent detection. So no matter who sits in the chair, they will get an entirely different experience based on their body type.
Even in full operation the chair is quiet while using a four wheel driven massage that goes up and down the body. Four exclusive programs are built into the system, so you don’t have to worry about setting up manual options when you want to quickly relax. Heating functions feel good when paired with the other features, and for thin doors the chair has two removable panels so it fits through. The last thing to mention is their inclusion of a standup visual remote control for advanced features like zero gravity. With its professional look, high customization and overall customer friendliness, this Ideal Massage chair is one of the best in the industry.
RELAXONCHAIR [MK-II PLUS] Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair
Sticking with the high price is this Relaxonchair model from another company that excels with design. It’s available in charcoal and chocolate, with the latter looking great with any setup. For those unfamiliar with this series of massage chair, it is the upgraded RC-MKII, the flagship product in their lineup. The L track massage system uses rollers to conform to the back curves of the person in the chair. It is similar to 3D technology but uses dual rollers to go from the back all the way down to the glutes.
The purpose of this massage chair is to mimic a lot of the high end functions of more expensive massage chairs. That includes fully automatic programs, customizable targeted massages and even a 3 stage zero gravity mode. Heating and back lumbar support is included in the package, and surprisingly they went with a full size remote controller rather than a standard stationary one. It worked out well for this model, and was the correct choice for keeping the aesthetics of the chair in order. Considered one of the sneaky great picks in massage chairs, Relaxonchair scores high again.
For something a little different, the iJoy-2580 fits the bill quite nicely. It comes in black or expresso, with both colors sticking to a professional look. The price idles somewhere in the midrange, so there are plenty of customers that will get a good value with this purchase. In full operation the chair can massage the neck, back, shoulder and lower back areas with ease. Body targets can be set manually or through the preset massage programs available on the control panel.
Luxury features of this model include a built in power outlet for charging or powering small and medium sized devices. The chair can handle up to 200 pounds in weight and heights up to 6 ft. tall. To fully customize the experience, there is a removable massage softening pad. By getting used to this feature, users can adjust the intensity of their massage on a per user basis. And for setups that don’t have room for larger massage chairs, this is the perfect fit even when it is in the reclining position. With over 35 years of experience in the industry, Human Touch delivers another great product with the iJoy-2580.
Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair Recliner
This is your basic full body massage chair, but at an affordable midrange price. It uses advanced motor technology to increase the available massage area outside of the normal zones, and sometimes up to 60% in all areas. The chair does a really good job of simulating human hand movement, both soft and firm in power. And just like the 3d technology of higher end chairs, this model uses an OPTO sensor to adjust to an individual user’s body and find their shoulder position.
Individuals that have waist problems will spend a lot of time using the heating function. It starts up fast and really soothes the muscles and joints in the area. A benefit to purchasing this massage chair over the others is due to the expansive user guide included. It is the best of its kind, and very beginner friendly for all levels. And with the low overall power usage of the unit, consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of the chair without running up their electricity bill. This is a great choice for the budget consumer that wants a top tier experience at an affordable price.
TOP PERFORMANCE KAHUNA SUPERIOR MASSAGE CHAIR
Available in multiple colors, this high priced massage chair is all about style and function. Buyers can choose between brown/black wg, coffee brown, dark brown/black and dark brown/black wg. All of the available colors look excellent in a modern setup thanks to the high quality material used. The overall design of the chair has been tinkered with, and this model now sports a more user friendly remote control. Air intensity massage remains a great feature with this revision by providing up to five massage levels. With a newly designed 6 roller system, the chair packs quite a punch when you need deep tissue massage.
This is also one of the most accommodating chairs in the industry and supports weight up to 320 pounds and height up to 6’5 inches. It is in a special category that even has 21 inch wide seats and 24 inch shoulder support. The Sm-7300 is the chair to own for larger individuals that don’t want to be cramped in smaller massage chairs. And as a plus for new users, there are 9 automated massage programs ready to go without any additional input needed from the user. With all of its customer pleasing options, this turns into an easy top three choice for massage chairs.
Real Relax Full Body Massage Chair Recliner
Real Relax introduced another zero gravity chair into their lineup, and it is beautiful in either black or brown. Both colors look great, using a professional and clean finish to round out their design. Available at an average price for is current tier, this model has been a favorite of many customers. It comes with a remote controller that makes it easy to control the chairs most advanced features. Buyers won’t be intimidated by the design, and they spaced out a lot of the important buttons so there is no confusion with the preset and manual options. Setting up the strength of the massage can be done in a click of a button, with options to add it to a currently running setting or a preset of your very own. This was an important feature for the remote control design, and one of the big improvements with model Favor-03.
Weight capacity is 449 pounds but the actual weight of the chair is only 200 pounds, so it isn’t a large piece of furniture to move around. And if by chance you do need to move it a lot, the chair comes equipped with 2 wheels in the back. They help out buyers a lot if they are the only ones that will be moving the massage chair. With an included video and instruction manual, assembling it from start to finish takes just under half an hour. Even if this is your fist time putting together a massage chair, there should be no problems at all getting through the harder parts of the installation. An HD VFD display screen is included so that you can visualize advanced customization features, and should be used when available. So many of the chairs in this price range don’t have even half the features of this model, so it is a definite buy if you want a good deal. The PU Leather is the icing on the cake for either color, and really drives home the value of this product.
INADA HCP-S373 (BR) Flex 3s Massage Chair
Last on the list is a massage chair from Inada, the often overlooked HCP-S373. It is one of the most expensive massage chairs in the industry, but includes high end features that would make a lot of the mainstream brands jealous. Available in dark brown, this is a chair made for serious massage chair enthusiasts. From head to toe buyers will get a full body massage with advanced air bags. Some of the customization options includes a focus on specific body parts like the shoulder, with easy to use programs targeting zones of the body. Built in heaters in the chair and arm rests keeps you warm and blood circulation when needed.
Consumers that want something a little more in-depth can use the hybrid massage function. By combining air massage with roller massage this model gives a preset program that is unlike anything else on the market. There are four preprogrammed massages, but an incredible amount of customization available to create your own massage. This is one chair where the manual should be read from back to front, even if you only plan to use the basics on the remote control. With all of the advanced modes, buyers will realize that paying a premium for this chair is well worth it. To get one of the most advanced chairs in the industry, put a priority towards getting this model or a chair with similar features.
Real Relax Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair
The amount of product features that are present in this mid-priced chair is incredible. There are 35 air bags placed strategically throughout the chair that work well with the foot rollers on the bottom. Up to four preset massage patterns are selectable from the start so that you don’t have to mess with the manual mode. With an eye on the importance of the back, they placed 8 massage points on the backrest portion of the chair to destress that particular area.
Taller users can extend the footrest, and a good quality heater is built inside the seat to help circulate blood flow. The zero gravity is not on the level of higher tier chairs but is still useful for positioning purposes. A good inclusion that doesn’t get enough credit is the informative VFD display screen, which in some ways completes the entire package. Even the leather was a pleasant experience and shows that high quality is available at a lower price- with the right company. Considering the price of this massage chair is so low when compared to its peers, it is a must have for the budget conscious consumer.
Relaxzen 60-42511105 Leisure Recliner Chair
Based on multiple customer reviews and professional reviews, this is still one of the better massage chair ottoman combos in the industry. Available in black, camouflage and brown, it continues to be a great low priced entry into massage chairs. The camouflage color is something new that isn’t available by from a lot of companies. That doesn’t mean that this product is all looks, since underneath the beautiful exterior is 8 vibration massage motors. With the help of the ottoman, it relaxes the upper back all the way down to the calves.
It’s a real treat to use the 9 preprogrammed modes since there is so much variety in the zones they cover. And with body zones being covered so well by the chair, manual mode puts you in a position of great power to relax specific parts of your body. Regular chair options like swiveling, reclining and intensity settings are available at the click of a button. The maximum supported weight is 300 pounds, so it can handle a lot of body times. At such a low price, this is the steal of the century for massage chairs.
“iJoy-2310” Recline & Relax Robotic Massage Chair
Available at an average price for the black and expresso colors, this is a wonderful throwback to the iJoy line and where it all started. The iJoy-2310 is a smaller massage chair that packs a lot of punch in all of its modes. It’s the main flagship series from Human Touch, and sports the perfect ergonomics that customers have become enamored with over the years. It fully reclines to 180 degrees, offering a nice experience when you want to kick back and get a full body massage. With 3 preloaded massage programs, chances are a single button press is all that is needed to get you comfortable. Available in both the custom and preloaded programs are kneading, percussion, rolling and compression massage techniques. This is the ultimate way to relieve sort muscles without taking up a ton of the space in your home or office.
Heights supported range from 4’10 to 6’0, but there is a little give for the minimum and maximum. That just happens to be the most optimal heights to take advantage of the chairs programming. This is one of the many Human Touch Chairs endorsed by the WFC, and is essential for patients that suffer with back pain. With its small size it is also the best massage chair for apartments or condos, fitting in perfectly with smaller rooms. Weight is under 100 pounds, yet the mechanics are strong enough to handle multiple sized bodies. An included remote control handles everything except the recline button, which can be found on the side of the chair. Ranked as a Consumers Digest best buy in 2013, the iJoy-2310 is still one of the best in the series. And depending on who you ask, it may very well be the best in the massage chair industry for a chair of its size.
There are several brands that have made a name for themselves in the massage chair industry. Unlike other industries, the massage chair industry doesn’t lean too much on big brands and is more about the features that are representative of the company. A good example of this is the popularity of Human Touch and their iJoy series. Their rise to the top is more about innovation with features more than brand prestige, and it is this type of thinking that has led to a lot of young massage chair companies making a name for themselves early. Along with the great strides of younger companies, there is also a downside for other companies that make a more traditional setup; they may go unnoticed. Brands that would have normally stood out will sometimes get left in the cold if they don’t introduce a cutting edge feature. This leads to a lot of repeat (or rehashed) features across multiple massage chairs.
It is something to look out for if you’re buying a massage chair by brand and get caught up in all of the marketing. If you absolutely are tied to shopping by brand, try to look for companies that have a model with several iterations like the iJoy, or ones that have long running flagship models. Either one of these will produce desirable results for buyers that need a massage chair from a company they can trust. A short list of some notable brands that have done a good job of pleasing their customers start with Human Touch, Osaki and Inada.
Which Companies Offer Exceptional Experiences?
Not all massage chair makers have to offer proprietary features for their products to give the best experience. The bulk of them have found a way to give a high tier experience by fine tuning regular features and making them more accessible to new users of massage chairs. And for expert user’s customization is king, leading to the best experience possible since they can get the massage they’ve always wanted. Everyone has different expectations that lead to a full massage chair experience, but companies that have done a better job than most are Human Touch and Relaxonchair. Human Touch has been mentioned before due to their progression with the iJoy series which concentrates on providing the most features into one setup.
Things like unique sizing, auxiliary power outlets and easy to reach control panels makes for a great customer experience. With the power outlets customers can enjoy using other products without needing to be near an outlet. Things like smartphones, tablets, laptops and even radios can be powered and charged without leaving the comfort of the massage chair. With the control panel, they streamlined the usefulness of it by making sure that there are preprogrammed one touch massage programs. This has become a standard on a lot of mainstream massage chairs to benefit users that want to jump directly into a specific massage type. Getting the chair going is as simple as pressing a single button and letting the program run its course. The more programs that are available per console, then the more attractive it is to a potential buyer.
What Makes A Good Massage Chair
There are five key things that make a good massage chair and separates it from the rest of the field; price, features, size, comfort and durability. If you put a checkmark by these five things then there is a high chance that you’ll get the best product for your money. Here is a breakdown of why these five things lead to a great massage chair.
With price there are tiers that mean certain features are unavailable based off of that price. Things like 3d mapping technology is something that you won’t find on a lower priced massage chair. A lot of times you can get a good deal and find higher tier features in lower priced massage chairs, but it’s rare.
An important thing to look at is not only the amount of features in a massage chair, but also the quality of said features. Even if a chair has all of the features that you want, they may not work in a way that makes the massage chair worth getting. Make sure that features are the best in their class, or at the very least match the price they are being offered at.
Size is everything when it comes to massage chairs. It even makes a difference in being able to recline or rotate the chair 360 degrees. There is no point in getting a larger massage chair if it has to be used in a cramped area. Customers should measure and make sure that there is space for what they want to do with whatever massage chair they get.
Comfort isn’t directly tied to just the materials, but the design of the chair and its massage functions. There are plenty of models on the market that have top grade leather material but are uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time. There are also models with comfortable material that just doesn’t cut it with their limited massage features, with some feeling like metal rollers going up and down your back. Massage chairs need to prove they are comfortable to not just sit in, but also during the massage.
How durable are most of these models? There is no easy way to tell which one is prone to breakage. If multiple reviews point to the mechanics of the chair being weak, pay attention to what part they are referring to. By default all moving parts are capable of breaking, and with reclining massage chairs that can be any of over 100 moving parts. If there aren’t a load of bad reviews referring to breakage, then consumers have nothing to worry about with a chair’s durability.
How Customer Service Improves The User Experience
When your massage chair needs to be serviced, the warranty isn’t the only piece to guaranteeing a great customer service experience. For a brand, the warranty acts as a promise to the customer about what is covered (and not). They still have to go through with keeping those promises, and it all starts with customer service. A bad customer service experience leads to warranties being left unfulfilled. And in worse case scenarios it leaves consumers not knowing where to turn when they need information on operating a specific feature. There’s no point in having access to advanced features if you don’t know how to use them and the company refuses to aid you in the process.
Brands With The Most Notable Models
Best Massage, Real Relax, Human Touch and Kahuna Chair have all become the most followed companies in the industry. This section doesn’t just look at flagship models, but includes all massage products that the company has ever created. Popularity was gathered based on buys, magazine mentions and number of reviews. While some models may prove to be a bigger talking point than others (iJoy) there is no denying that these brands make the most recognizable models in the world. First time buyers may have noticed a commercial or aid that pushed these brands and their products.
The good news is that is not only marketing, but also word of mouth based on how much buyers are enjoying the product. So for most users this is a great starting point to figuring out which model would work best for their home or office setup. When comparing all of the products together, the only thing they truly have in common is high quality. Other than that, they are all very much different from one another. The high sales of each model show just how likely there will be a revision or continuation of the main model. If you end up finding a nice massage chair from one company, then there is a good chance that they also had other massage products you’d be interested in. That includes standalone foot massagers, back pads, muscle rollers, shiatsu pillows and shoulder massagers. Sticking to one brand after finding a competing product is important for customer stability (and sometimes warranty benefits).
Advanced features with massage chairs is one of the main selling points for all levels of buyers. It is such an important selling point that most consumers won’t even consider a purchase unless a brand includes it in their model. Advanced features need to deliver not only by being polished, but by being accessible to all levels of users.
Being able to press a single button and get the massage you want is a benefit of a preset program. Massage chairs can come equipped with as many as they deem necessary, but there is no average amount. The main thing a customer should look for with preset programs is their ability to concentrate on specific types of massages. Preset programs that go through all of the massages available are nice, but only work well as demos of the products capabilities
Types Of Massage
Customers sometimes purchase massage chairs without being aware of the type of massages they are capable of. There are many types of massages that concentrate on multiple areas, and a bulk of them may even concentrate on multiple areas. The most common type is full body and shiatsue, with many following those two types to give a lot of options to interested customers. Buyers should stay away from models that don’t offer the massage they are most interested in
The 3D scanning that has become such a big deal in other electronics has made its way to massage chairs. By scanning the user’s body, the chair can adapt to height and weight so that it offers a fully customized massage. This is a high end feature that is well worth the cost and gives each user their own specialized massage once they are in the chair. The more advanced chairs can even scan the body for problem areas and create a program to target that affected area
Whenever a massage chair mentions its rollers, they are referring to the part of the chair that feels like a human hand. Since their value comes from quality rather than quantity, rollers tend to be hit or miss depending on the type of chair. Dual rollers is best, but single rollers can be just as good if they don’t focus solely on short strokes. A full body single roller will do wonders for the body and provide a much more beneficial massage experience
Air bags is one of the most often misunderstood feature of massage chairs. They have recently been put into low end massage chairs after a long reign on only the mid to high end tiers. Their function is simple, and involves inflating and deflating continuously during the massage to stimulate the full experience. This is another advanced feature where number isn’t as important as quality, but in the mid to high end tier market only, a high number of air bags is more likely to equal a better buy.
Heated elements on massage chairs are usually located in the back area, but have expanded to include feet and even arms. An incredible experience can be had using this function for users that suffer from tight muscles. Even if the chair only includes lower back heating, it can greatly reduce the pain and suffering in that area so that the rest of your body is relaxed. Heat pads are available in all tiers of massage chairs and are considered to be a default advanced feature
This is an advanced feature that can be tricky for a number of reasons; not all massage chair recliners are created the same. Have you noticed that reclining in one chair offers you comfort while reclining in another makes you uncomfortable? The same applies to massage chairs and their reclining angles. Higher angles are always better, and this is also where the zero gravity chairs excel the most. Zero gravity is an optimum position for any massage chair with a reclining feature
Full Body Massage
The last advanced feature is one that can be overlooked if you don’t pay close attention. The full body massage feature should always be the best massage preset on the chair. A massage chair that has lower than average comfort with the full body massage isn’t worth spending money on. It should be a complete experience, and ideally one you can get to with a single button press. For most models, it is the default demo mode or preset feature
Features That Take Some Getting Used To
The feature that takes the most time to fully get the hang of is the remote control, or the control panel for models that come equipped with it. Going beyond the one touch presets puts the users into a completely different world where they have to understand massage zones, intensities and other advanced functions. There are many users that go the entire ownership of the product without fully understanding what it is capable of. All of the customization options for a massage chair can be found on the control panel or remote control. Getting to know the most advanced part of your massage chair won’t take long if an appropriate instruction manual is included. If not, then users will have to rely on online help or trial and error.
Zero gravity is the next thing that customers have to get used to. The first time you go into zero gravity mode, it may seem a bit much. Some users will dive directly into it and feel it is the best thing ever. Then there is the small amount of customers that may get a little motion sick from the experience. Since no one person will have the same experience with zero gravity, a good way to test it before you get a massage chair is by leaning completely back in your recliner. This isn’t the best simulation of zero gravity, but it is a close enough representation to where you’ll know if it will be a problem. Any type of inner ear balance issues or dizziness problems can be found out by using this proven method.
Buying a massage chair means you have to look at the size requirements to take advantage of all positions. That means users have to factor in rotation, ottomans, recliners, zero gravity and even reclining positions. Things get slightly more complicated if you plan to have multiple massage chairs in one room. Operating space is important here, and the last thing you want is to have to move the chair to a fixed position to take full advantage of its capabilities. Sizes are available online that goes into deep detail of the important parts of the chair, but they often neglect sizes that look at the advanced positions. An extra few inches here and there will make a big difference when left out of a specification chart.
And with all of the massage chairs needing to have access to a wall outlet, their placement becomes more about maximizing space rather than making space available. Rooms with a lot of outlets won’t be as restrictive to the size requirements of massage chair, nor will rooms that have floor outlets or extenders. So in an ideal situation, massage chairs will be put in rooms that have plenty of ac outlets so that their placement is more varied in the current setting. Just looking at size alone, most massage chairs are no bigger than regular lazy boy recliners, even when fully extended. With the proper measurements and a good room setup, it won’t be a problem to put multiple chairs in a single room.
Weight of a massage chair is overlooked when going over the specifications of the product. Weight is a big deal if the product will be placed on anything other than the first floor. Moving a 300+ lbs. massage chair up a flight of stairs is no fun. Things are also frustrating when a high end piece of furniture needs to go up the stairs. Buyers don’t want to spend top dollar on a product only to have it fall to its doom in a matter of seconds. And if you haven’t already mapped out a place for it in the room, then it will need to be moved multiple times before you’re comfortable with the placement.
Too high a weight is a downfall of many top recommendations, and it is also why some people are starting to transition to lower weight massage chairs. Setups that change on the fly need the versatility of a light chair, something that only a few manufacturers provide. When a light massage chair isn’t available, you can look into products that have better sizes. And when neither one of those are available, look for massage chairs that have built in wheels. There are a couple of ways to get around the weight problem with the chairs, you just have to go out of your way to single them out.
Is It Better To Get A Bigger Chair Or A Smaller Chair?
Preferences in size depend greatly on what features you want the most. A bigger chair will always provide a better full body massage experience. There is no way around that since a lot of smaller chairs lack the extra mechanics to simulate a premium full body massage. Missing things like the massage motors in the armrest will be one of the many features you lose out on when going to a smaller option. For smaller chairs, buyers will get much better flexibility in where they want to put it.
Massage chairs with an included ottoman are popular for reading rooms and sunrooms. And with the inclusion of smaller recliners, buyers get a lot more varied options than the bulkier larger chairs. Since all customers want different massage experiences, getting a big chair isn’t always a necessity. If you can get everything you need out of a small massage chair, then you will gain a lot of confidence in the buying decision. They are lower priced, easier to move and have a lot more variety in their design. In the end it will always come down to what you want the most out of your massage chair- and how much you’re willing to pay.
Maintaining A Massage Chair
A great way to destroy an expensive piece of electronic furniture is to treat it like regular furniture. Liquid spills will do much less damage than casual neglect. Small things like not using a surge protector or letting rips in the leather spread are actually huge. The maintenance of a massage chair comes down to treating problems as they arise, and not letting them work themselves out later on. Buyers that notice their control panel or remote acting up should look into it immediately.
This will let you know whether it is a small problem that can be fixed at home, or a big problem that requires calling in the warranty. With all of the moving parts inside of a massage chair, having rips in the fabric renders a deep tissue massage ineffective. It may even begin to hurt if you put the intensity settings too high. Consumers should consider surge protectors of any kind a must. Plugging your massage chair directly into the wall should be a last resort only, especially if you want to protect a new investment. Despite the dangers of the common home, the chairs are highly resilient to damage when they are kept up with.
What Breaks The Most Often With Massage Chairs?
When there are kids or pets in the home, the top thing to break is the cord that plugs into the outlet. Leaving the cord in an open area for people to trip or step on is a bad idea. Based on the force applied when someone pulls on it, the damage can be to the chair itself or to the wall outlet. Both are potential risks that can be avoided by being smart with cord placement. Consumers can also purchase protective casings for their card that are either flexible or hard, with both offering a great level of protection. The aesthetics of these extras will also go a long way in guaranteeing that your massage chair doesn’t get damaged by children or pets messing with the cord.
The second part that is susceptible to damage comes down to either the remote control or control panel. Control panels are the biggest problem, with their large screens being an attractive visual component for kids to play with. While a cracked screen can certainly be worked around, a screen that gets so damaged it isn’t responsive will require calling in the warranty. There is no wiggle room with repairing a broken control panel screen, and often it is more frustrating than replacing the screen of a television set. Thankfully most massage chairs that are equipped with a control panel also come with a wireless remote control. At the very least it will give you access to all of the important functions of the massage chair, even if the main screen has significant damage.
How Long Do Massage Chairs Last?
Like any household appliance or piece of valuable furniture, massage chairs have a shelf life that is dependent on their care. Treat the product bad and it will slowly degrade over time and not provide the best massage experience. This is especially true for chairs that rely on modern mechanics to give full body massages. The rollers built into the chair become less effective at applying pressure to key areas. And when a chair is in really bad shape, special modes that emit heat will drop in temperature even at their highest setting.
It doesn’t take much to care for a massage chair, so regular upkeep is a top priority for all levels of users. Little things like vacuuming crumbs out of the chair and dealing with spills when they happen are the key to getting the chair to last as long as possible. No matter the tier of the product, massage chairs can easily last up to a decade with regular use. There will be variations in that stat based on the model that is used, but for the most part they are highly resilient to damage when in a clean, smoke free environment. Extra care instructions are available within the manual for customers interested in learning new techniques.
The most used material for massage chairs is leather, although it isn’t the only material. Others used are proprietary leather blends, vinyl and various fabric upholstery. Due to the rarity of fabric upholstery, let’s start with that. It blends in great with a non-leather furniture setup and holds up surprisingly well compared to leather. The difference is that it holds in smells a lot longer, so bad smells tend to stick around longer if they aren’t taken care of immediately. Fabric upholstery is a material that is easy to clean, and has a much more familiar process for upkeep than any of the other materials. Vinyl is not as rare, and has been used for many different massage chair setups.
It is similar in function to leather and is found on lower priced models. As a great alternative to leather, buyers will find it does the job perfectly when you don’t want a fabric material, but also find yourself against leather. Vinyl is the middleman between the two other materials that offers benefits of both without any of the cons. Even in high end leather models some vinyl touches can be found throughout the entire design. Last but not least is the industry leading leather, which is available as real or in its faux versions. There is hardly any difference between the two, and a lot of brands have even perfected their proprietary leather blends. Leather has the best look, ages better than any of the other material and is the most durable of all the materials.
What Is The Best Material?
Leather, without a doubt. There are some downfalls to using it for furniture, but the pros outweigh the cons in multiple areas. These are the main pros and cons of leather;
- Comfort in the form of firmness. Leather provides a much better support system when weight is put on it, and you never feel like the chair is sagging. This carries over when you think about how it doesn’t lose form even when different people use it daily.
- Leather is the best looking fabric you can purchase, providing a unique look that is hard to duplicate. The style is high grade even when the design is awful, and is useful for both traditional and modern living areas.
- Buyers that suffer from allergies will be happy to know that leather is hypoallergenic. Leather doesn’t house pet dander, dust mites and allergens like regular fabric does.
- Believe it or not, leather is much easier to keep clean. Most of this has to do with its high durability, but there is also the benefit of it aging gracefully.
- There are less color options available for leather massage chairs. Those bright, colorful options you are used to with other fabrics are not always available with competing leather furniture.
- Leather is more expensive since it is considered a premium material. That also leads to expensive repair costs when it isn’t taken care of.
- Leather dominates the massage chair market. Customers that don’t want a leather based massage chair will have limited options when looking for alternative materials.
Are Massage Chairs Comfortable?
No matter what material you decide on for a massage chair, the one thing they have in common is comfort! All massage chairs are built from the ground up to be comfortable, even when they aren’t in operation. It all comes down to the way they are designed to relieve stress and what options are available at the time of purchase. Low end massage chairs are the same way, with the point being to destress the user in the most efficient way possible. A lot of consumers have replaced their regular chairs with massage chairs in the form of a complete upgrade. With more designs coming out for mainstream massage chairs, it’s easier than ever to fill up a home with these advanced alternatives.
The only thing that is missing is a full sofa and loveseat that provides the same massage experience as a regular massage chair. Iterations exist, but they are so high in price that it is considered a luxury option rather than an improvement on regular furniture. Comfort levels can also degrade when the chair is not kept up with, the quality of the material adds an extra wrinkle into the buying process. Make sure to add it to your list of things that need to be prioritized when getting a massage chair.
Zero gravity has to do with the reclining positioning of a massage chair. Due to the advanced techniques involved, not all massage chairs have it. Zero gravity also comes at different levels, so one chairs iteration isn’t equal to another’s. In the zero gravity position, massage chairs are better equipped to relieve stress for short and long periods of time. In the absolute zero gravity position users distribute stress in a balanced way across their bodies. This is the most ideal way to give a massage for all modes that were made to destress the user. In the zero gravity position, first time users should turn down the intensity of the massage until they’re used to it.
By being in that configuration, rollers and other chair mechanics are able to give deeper massages that attack problem areas in muscles. This is a lot different than getting a regular chair that does zero gravity. With massage chairs, it is a full experience that fully makes use of being in the zero gravity position. If you’re a user that suffers from diabetes, swelling or migraines, the extra circulation from being in this position is beneficial to long term health. Not all zero gravity chairs are expensive, so it’s accessible to everyone regardless of your price ranges. The only difference is deciding on what quality of zero gravity your body prefers the most.
What Is Inversion?
Manufacturers needed a way to combat the popularity of zero gravity, which is still gaining a lot of steam in today’s industry. Lesser known (and now some brand names) introduced inversion features into their products to offer an alternative to the flood of zero gravity massage chairs being introduced to consumers. So while zero gravity is still the most popular feature, inversion is the most exciting new feature. Inversion differs from zero gravity in that it reclines the chair back below horizontal. Doing this makes the body inverted, and is a necessary part of inversion therapy.
A lot of chiropractors use this technique with specialized equipment, so the inclusion of it in massage chairs is a big plus. With consumer based massage chairs with the inversion feature, they don’t go 100% inverted, but are somewhat inverted. It is just enough to make it different from zero gravity and completely different in how it feels and handles massages. So how does it compare to zero gravity? The results are mixed, and that is the reason zero gravity is still considered a better choice. The therapeutic effects of inversion on a consumer level is hotly debated as a hit or miss feature. In truth, the safer bet for a luxury feature is still zero gravity. But for customers that want to try something a little different than the normal mainstream crowd, inversion is where it’s at.
Zero Gravity vs. Inversion
Zero gravity is the superior technology on the consumer level when competing against inversion- there is no doubt about that. But on a deeper level, what are the pros of each? Is there enough of a difference between the two that a customer would prefer one over the other?
Zero Gravity Benefits
- Relives pressure on the spine and distributes it evenly throughout the body. This is beneficial for users with lower back problems that need constant attention.
- When in the zero gravity position, a deeper massage is possible for the affected areas. There is noticeable improvement when getting deep tissue massages in the neck and back regions while in the zero gravity position.
- Lung capacity can be fully reach while in the zero gravity position. This has to do with the decreased pressure on the diaphragm.
- With the body fully relaxed, circulation and blood flow is improved greatly. You’ll notice swelling go down in certain areas since the heart is able to relax more.
- Improves posture and corrects spinal pain related to years of bad habits. A healed spine will show greater ability to adjust to standing and sitting properly.
- Similar to zero gravity, inversion helps blood flow throughout the entire body, especially the brain. Higher concentration is possible when the body is in an inverted position.
- Having indigestion problems? A great approach to solving it is by being in the inverted position for long periods of time.
- Mental stability has been tied to an imbalance in hormones. Bad circulation can lead to this imbalance, and as mentioned before, inversion improves circulation.
- Insomnia has been fought with inversion, so don’t be surprised if you fall asleep while in the position. Besides being more relaxed, it helps you to decrease tensions so you’re ready to sleep.
When looking at the pros of both, you’ll notice they share similar traits. About the only major difference between the two is that inversion is harder to find in consumer grade level massage chairs. Since they are so closely related, buyers won’t miss out on much by choosing a zero gravity massage chair over an inverted one. Think of it as a win-win scenario for customers until inversion technology is better implemented in massage chairs at the consumer level.
Controls panels have become a lot more visual with their approach thanks to the advancements in massage chair technology. In many cases they are the ultimate control tool for a model and paired with a slimmed down remote for ease of use. Control panels offer access to presets with a small screen that indicates what part of the body will be receiving focus. And with full customization, you can create your own programs that focus on a simple body part of a bunch of parts. With the way it’s set up, anyone can use it without needing a lot of technical background or know how.
For instance, you can create an ‘after work’ massage preset that requires a single push of the button when you get in the chair. So when you come home, pushing that button focuses on specific body parts at the intensities you want. And with the control panel being in an always accessible fixed position, you can make changes on the fly based on how you feel in that moment. There really are no downsides to the programmability of a control panel, and it is one of the massage chair features that continues to get better and better. The inclusion of a control panel is going to be based on the type of massage chair you get. While they are available in most high end chairs, slimmed down models may lack the space to make them appropriate.
Before control panels were a thing, wireless and wired remote controls were considered the best additions to massage chairs. They work the same way as the control panels but without the screen. If you get an advanced model, some of the remotes come with screens- but are a lot less robust than what a control panel can offer. It’s still worth looking into when you want the best experience without a large screen, with the upside being there is no loss in customization when using a remote control. Everything you can do with a large control panel is manageable through a remote.
Because of all the options and the lack of visual cues, it is recommended that users browse the manual to be able to fully customize the chair with the remote control. The only downside of using a wireless remote control is keeping up with batteries. Some come with them, some don’t. They are usually double or triple A batteries, so no proprietary materials need to be purchased. For wired remote controls, they are powered by the chair and can be stored in the handy side pocket that most models come with. Either type will give you deep access to the most important parts of the chairs functions.
How Hard Is It To Repair A Massage Chair?
Massage chairs shouldn’t be tinkered with by normal consumers when they break down. The advanced mechanics of the chair were meant to be repaired by a professional only, and on the flipside messing with the internals will void your warranty. Replacement parts are available everywhere, even for older massage chairs. Things like the control panel can be purchased for a low cost rather than depending on the company to both buy and repair the chair. Buyers do this so they don’t have to pay a premium for a part that they can source themselves for cheap. Some companies will allow you to do this to cut on costs, but it isn’t an industry wide trend.
Only a select few will let you cut out the middleman and use a local repair shop or one of their approved vendors (while they cover the costs). It’s always better to ask before buying the spare part, and is worth the extra effort. An example of repairs that are easy on the consumer level come down to material based options. Whether it is leather or regular fabric, there are plenty of store bought options to repair rips or tears in the massage chair. This is of course assuming that the damage isn’t too great in scope and is done by skilled hands. But if you’ve handled tears in regular furniture, the process is the same for a massage chair. The only time you should avoid repairing the fabric is when it is a deep or complete tear that exposes the mechanics of the product. Since slight rips and tears won’t be covered by all warranties, buyers should familiarize themselves with making these smaller repairs.
What Features Should Beginners Avoid?
With all of the advanced features available from modern massage chairs, beginners are quick to get overwhelmed by the options. Many of these options are redundant depending on which model you end up buying. But for massage chair features that are too much for beginners, the list is quite short. Buyers that are looking for a simple massage chair experience without all the bells and whistles may want to avoid high end chairs with control panels. That isn’t due to controls panels being hard to use or bad, it is more to do with buying into options a normal consumer will never use.
High end massage chairs with control panels are for customers that are window shopping for the best of the best. So if you just want something small that will fit in the corner of the living room to relieve your back muscles, a high end chair with control panel features is not necessary. The only other option that beginners should avoid is 3d imaging technology- but only if they don’t care about full body massages. With 3d image technology, the chair adjusts and offers the perfect full body massage for any user. Consider this another high end feature that won’t get used by someone wanting a beginner’s massage. Down the line it may be useful, but not for a customer that just wants an easy massage experience.
How Much Power Does A Massage Chair Use?
Despite the different sizes and features of a massage chair, they all consume about the same power as a regular desktop computer. For comparison’s sake, a modern prebuilt computer comes with less than a 500 watt power supply. Even with a massage chair running all essential functions at once, it will not exceed the power usage of an OEM computer. So all massage chairs are very efficient when it comes to their power draw, even the high end ones. Unless your home has weak wiring, you’ll hardly notice a difference when the massage chair is on or off.
It is one of the main pros of buying and owning a massage chair, since the electricity bill won’t change by including one in your home. And if you consider that desktop computers are on longer periods of time than massage chairs, then the energy consumption is even less than previously described. Such low power usage is something to consider when purchasing a massage chair and factoring in long term costs. With no hit at all against your utility bill, any model will be worth looking at- this is a common argument when deciding for massage chairs against massage tables for a home or office setting.
Ottoman vs. Recliner
This hotly debated topic has spilled over into the massage chair industry for both beginner and experienced buyers. Which is better? Massage recliner, or a massage ottoman?
- One piece, all in one furniture that recliners into a much better full position when getting a full body massage. The rate of recline is also easier on the spine than an ottoman based on this one piece design.
- Although it is subjective, a larger number of people consider recliners more comfortable than ottoman setups for sleeping in. Your mileage may vary depending on personal tastes, but recliners are the go to chair for a living room setup.
- Recliners are less likely to break down since they lack the wire that connects the ottoman to the massage chair. This is a big deal since it makes it easier for pets or kids to trip over the wire when extended.
- Massage chair recliners have more advanced features than ottomans, which are considered beginner friendly. This leaves a lot of the high end market out of reach for buyers that want to purchase an ottoman.
- Two pieces mean a lighter weight that makes it easier to transport up and down stairs. There is also a better chance of it fitting in a smaller car with limited space.
- Ottoman massage chairs have better design, or rather a more innovative take on their designs. More experimental colors and features are included when you purchase one of these models.
- Ottomans are preferred for day rooms or lounge setups, either for reading or casual use. If your space is limited, having the option to disconnect the ottoman is a big plus.
- For condo, apartment or small setups an ottoman may work better. Its versatility is a must when guest come over for a short stay.
What Is 3D In A Massage Chair?
When 3d features were introduced to massage chairs, they were not a gimmick. With 3d technology, buyers of all shapes and sizes will get the best massage possible. The chair scans the body and adjusts to the person in it, so no massage is ever the same. In full motion a 3d massage chair can go up, down, left, right and even in and out. It has the most range of movement of any chair in the industry and is a premium feature that usually comes with a visual control panel. With such a precise image of your body in the chairs memory, sessions will feel like a professional masseuse is touching you.
If the chair takes the 3d feature seriously, then there is also the added benefit of a deep tissue massage that can reach up 4.7 inches. That is professional grade level and one of the many reasons why 3d in a massage chair is such a high tier feature. There are plenty of choices available that optimize the experience, so customers should go after the brands that really make the most out of 3d technology. It’s an exciting feature to use when a company puts the resources into getting it right.
Buyers that don’t want to jump into the high tech area of massage chairs can always use massage tables. Despite popular belief, they are not just used by professionals. Hobbyists that want to practice massage therapy buy them to conduct massages at home. Yes you lose out on a lot of the benefits with an automated massage, but there is no replacement that will completely do away with skilled human hands. On the plus side no power outlet is needed, and more parts of the body are available for a full massage.
If the person giving the massage has even a beginner’s grasp on what they’re doing, massage tables provide the absolute best massage experience. It also introduces advanced techniques like aroma therapy, hot rock therapy and many other relaxing techniques. The options are unlimited, with only imagination holding you back. Massage tables are foldable and can fit in any car or truck, making them a perfect portable option. Automated massage chairs don’t have this option unless you have plenty of space, and of course a power outlet to plug them into. Even if you have an automated massage chair, a massage table can really pay off as a cheap investment for your future.
Buyers have a lot of choices to go with, yet all of them are great options. Useful massage chair features are available in all tiers, so the ultimate choice of model comes down to user preferences. Brands are getting more innovative with their models, so don’t be surprised when you find something that fits your theme. The best massage chair can work in multiple settings, even beyond home and office.