10 Best Massage Chairs of 2018: Shiatsu, Full Body, Zero Gravity, and More Massage Chairs Reviewed

When it comes to the best massage chairs there are many factors to consider, including important features such as material, color and size, not to mention the functionality of the controller. Some of these factors also affect the cost, and when it comes to massage chairs there is quite a wide range of prices. You can find some great massage chairs for under $200, although the price can stretch much higher with the high end models.

Whether you are looking for advanced features such as those found in the popular zero gravity massage chairs or for less complicated features such as seat vibrating massage chairs we have you covered in our massage chair reviews.

The highest quality massage chairs in the industry all 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 past and present favorites of millions of consumers worldwide.

Top 10 massage chairs

Contents

BestMassage Electric Full Body Shiatsu Massage Chair

At the top of the list is this high-priced chair from BestMassage, 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 bulkier than the usual massage chair, but it is well worth taking up 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, extending all the way down to the feet. The chair reclines like a dream, and maintains a great comfort level even when not in operation. The level of 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.

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OS-4000 Zero Gravity Heated Reclining Massage Chair

For a high price, consumers can have one of the best massage chairs offered by the industry. This futuristic looking chair has everything you 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 who wants a full body massage. We all have differently shaped spines, so this is an important feature to have in an up to the minute massage chair.

Also prominent in 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 has done 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.

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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 chair to match 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. Depending on who is sitting in the chair, they will get an entirely different experience based on their body type.

Even in full operation the chair is quiet,producing a four-wheel drive 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 relax quickly. Heating functions add to the comfort when paired with the other features, and for navigating narrow doors the chair has two removable panels so it will easily fit through them. The last thing to mention is the inclusion of a stand-up visual remote control for advanced features such as zero gravity. With its professional look, high degree of customization and overall customer friendliness, this Ideal Massage chair is one of the best available from the industry.

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RELAXONCHAIR MK-II PLUS Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair

Remaining in the high price sector 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 chairs, it is the upgraded RC-MKII, the flagship product in their line-up. The L track massage system uses rollers to conform to the back curves of the person sitting 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 are included in the package, and surprisingly they decided to go with a full-size remote controller rather than a standard stationary one. It has worked out well for this model, and was the correct choice for maintaining the aesthetics of the chair. Considered one of the sneaky great picks in massage chairs, Relaxon chair scores high again.

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iJoy-2580 Premium Robotic Massage Chair

For something a little different, the iJoy-2580 fits the bill quite nicely. It comes in black or expresso, with both colors lending a professional look. The price hovers somewhere in the midrange, so there are plenty of customers who will get good value with this purchase. In full operation the chair can massage the neck, back, shoulders and lower back areas with ease. Body targets can be set manually or through the pre-set 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 of up to 6 ft. 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.

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BestMassage 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 usual zones, and sometimes up to 60% in all areas. The chair does a really good job of simulating human hand movement, being both soft and firm in terms of 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 with 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. The expansive user guide included in the price is a big plus to purchasing this massage chair over the others. 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 who wants a top tier experience at an affordable price.

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Kahuna Superior Massage Chair  SM-7300

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 updating 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 weights of up to 320 pounds and heights of up to 6 ft.5 in. It is in a special category that offersa 21-inch wide seat and 24-inch shoulder support. The Sm-7300 is the chair to own for larger individuals who don’t want to feel 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 makes it an easy top three choice for massage chairs.

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Real Relax Full Body Massage Chair Recliner

Real Relax has introduced another zero-gravity chair into their line-up, and it is beautiful in either black or brown. Both colors look great, giving a clean, professional finish to round out the design. Available at an average price for this current tier, this model has become a favorite of many customers. It comes with a remote controller that makes it easy to control the chair’s most advanced features. Buyers won’t be intimidated by the design:a lot of the important buttons have been spaced out so there is no confusion with the pre-set and manual options. Setting up the strength of the massage can be done with just a click of a button, with options to add it to a currently running setting or a pre-set 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. This is a big help to buyersif they are the only ones who will be moving the chair. With a video and instruction manual included, assembling it from start to finish takes just under half an hour. Even if this is your first time putting together a massage chair, there should be no problems at all getting through the trickier 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 choice, and really drives home the value of this product.

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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. Buyers will get a full body massagefrom head to toe with advanced air bags. Some of the customization options include a focus on specific parts of the body like the shoulders, with easy to use programs targeting zones of the body. Built in heaters in the chair and arm rests keep you warm and help to maintain blood circulation when needed.

Consumers who want something a little more in-depth can use the hybrid massage function. By combining air massage with roller massage this model offers a pre-set program that is unlike anything else on the market. There are four pre-programmed massages, but an incredible amount of customization available to create your own massage. This is one chair where the manual should be read all the way through, even if you only plan to use the basics on the remote control. With all of its advanced modes, buyers will realize that paying a premium for this chair is well worth it. To own one of the most advanced chairs available from the industry, make it a priority to get this model or a chair with similar features.

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Real Relax Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair

The number of product features 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 pre-set 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 have placed 8 massage points on the backrest portion of the chair to help de-stress that particular area.

Taller users can extend the footrest, and a good quality heater is built into the seat to help blood flow circulate. The zero gravity is not at the same level of higher tier chairs but is still useful for positioning purposes. A good addition that doesn’t get enough credit is the informative VFD display screen, which in some ways completes the entire package. Even the leather finish offers a pleasant experience and shows that high quality is available at a lower price- with the right company. Considering that 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 and professional reviews, this is still one of the better massage chair ottoman combos produced by 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 from a lot of companies. That doesn’t mean that this product is all looks, since underneath the beautiful exterior are 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 pre-programmed 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 swivelling, 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 part of 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 sore muscles without taking up a ton of space in your home or office.

Heights supported range from 4’10 to 6’0, but there is a little leeway with the minimum and maximum, which are just the optimal heights for taking advantage of the chair’s programming. This is one of the many Human Touch Chairs endorsed by the WFC, and is essential for patients who suffer with back pain. With its small size it is also the best massage chair for apartments or condos, fitting in perfectly in smaller rooms. Weight is under 100 pounds, yet the mechanics are strong enough to handle multiple sized bodies.Included is a remote control that 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 range for a chair of its size.

Massage Chair Buying Guide

Brands

Massage Chair Buying Guide

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 each 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 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 on. Although great strides have been made by younger companies, there is a downside for other companies that make a more traditional setup; they may tend to go unnoticed. Brands that would normally have stood out will sometimes get left out 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 are absolutely tied to shopping by brand, try to look for companies that have a model with several variations like the iJoy, or ones that have long running flagship models. Either approach will produce desirable results for buyers who 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 would begin 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 majority 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 connoisseurs customization is king, leading to the best experience possible since they can get the massage they’ve always wanted. Everyone has different expectations of what a full massage chair experience will amount to, but companies that have done a better job than most in meeting customers’ expectations are Human Touch and Relaxonchair. Human Touch has been mentioned before due to their progression with the iJoy series which concentrates on combining the most features into one setup.

Things like unique sizing, auxiliary power outlets and easy to reach control panels all make 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, its usefulness has been streamlined by making sure that there are pre-programed one touch massage programs. This has become a standard on a lot of mainstream massage chairs, and it is designed to benefit users who 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, the more attractive it is to a potential buyer.

What Makes A Good Massage Chair

Why should I purchase a massage chair

There are five key components that make a good massage chair and separate it from the rest of the field: price, features, size, comfort and durability. If you can put a check mark by these five categories then there is a good chance that you’ll get the best product for your money. Here is a breakdown of why these five elements lead to a great massage chair.

Price

With price there are tiers that mean certain features are unavailable based ona certain price. Things like 3D mapping technology is something that you won’t find on a lower priced massage chair. Often you can get a good deal and find higher tier features in lower priced massage chairs, but it’s rare.

Features

An important thing to look at is not only the number 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 purchasing. Make sure that features are the best in their class, or at the very least match the price they are being offered at.

Size

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 the available space and make sure there is enough space for what they want to do with whatever massage chair they buy.

Comfort

Comfort isn’t directly tied to just the materials, but also to the design of the chair and its massage functions. There are plenty of models on the market that are made of top grade leather material but are uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time. There are also models with comfortable material that just don’t cut it with their limited massage features, with some even giving the sensation of metal rollers going up and down your back. Massage chairs need to prove they are comfortable not only to sit in, but also during the massage.

Durability

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 involve any of over 100 moving parts. If there aren’t a lot of bad reviews referring to breakage, then consumers have nothing to worry about concerning a chair’s durability.

Customer Service Improves User Experience

When your massage chair needs to be serviced, the warranty isn’t the only aspect of 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 worst 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

BestMassage, 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 judged 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 ad that pushed these brands and their products.

The good news is that it is not only a matter of marketing, because word of mouth based on how much buyers are enjoying the product makes a big impact. 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 different from each other. The high sales of each model show just how likely it is that a new version or continuation of the main model will emerge. If you end up finding an outstanding massage chair from one company, then there is a good chance that they will also have other massage products you’d be interested in. That includes standalone foot massagers, back pads, massage table, massage rollers, massage table warmers, massage pillow, massage ball, handheld massager, scalp head massager and more.

Advanced Features

The advanced features that come with massage chairs are one of the main selling points for all levels of buyers. It is so important that most consumers won’t even consider a purchase unless a brand includes them in their model. Advanced features need to deliver not only by being sophisticated, but by being accessible to all levels of users.

Programming

Being able to press a single button and get the massage you want is a benefit of a pre-set program. Massage chairs can come equipped with as many as deemed necessary, but there is no average number. The main thing a customer should look for with pre-set programs is their ability to concentrate on specific types of massages. Pre-set programs that go through all of the massages available are an advantage, but only work well as demos of the product’s 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 massage chairs that concentrate on multiple areas, and this may be true of the majority of them. The most common types are full body and Shiatsu, with many others 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.

Body Scanning

The 3D scanning that has become such a big deal in other electronic applications 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.

Rollers

Whenever rollers are mentioned in connection to a massage chair, they are referring to the part of the chair that feels like the action of 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 are 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

Air bags area feature of massage chairs that are often one of the most misunderstood. 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 greater number of air bags is more likely to equal a better buy.

Heated Elements

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 who 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.

Reclining Angle

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 pre-set 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 pre-set feature.

How massage chairs can improve your health

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 pre-sets puts users into a completely different world where they have to understand massage zones, intensities and other advanced functions. There are many users who go through 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, 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 are the few customers who may get a little motion sickness from the experience. Since no two people 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 give you an idea of whether it will be a problem. Any type of inner ear balance issues or dizziness problems can be found out by using this proven method.

Size

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. Information on sizes is available online that goes into deep detail of the important parts of the chair, but they often neglect to look at the dimensions involved with 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 chairs, 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 can be as varied as possible. Just looking at size alone, most massage chairs are no bigger than regular lazy boy recliners, even when fully extended. With proper measurements and a good room setup, it won’t be a problem to put multiple chairs in a single room.

Weight

The weight of a massage chair is often overlooked when going over the specifications of the product. Weight is a big deal if the product is going to be placed on anything other than the first floor. Moving a 300+ lb. massage chair, as with any high-end piece of furniture, up a flight of stairs is no fun. 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 the chair in the room, then it will need to be moved multiple times before you’re comfortable with the placement.

Too great 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 can 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 these 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 for 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. Omissions like the massage motors in the armrest will be one of the many features you lose out on when going to a smaller option. However, with smaller chairs, buyers will get much better flexibility in where they want to place them.

Massage chairs which include an ottoman are popular for reading rooms and sun rooms. And with the positioning of smaller recliners, buyers get much more varied options than with 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 who 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 up 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 usual dangers of the common home, these chairs are highly resilient to damage when they are kept up properly.

What Breaks Most Often with Massage Chairs?

warranty on a massage chair

When there are kids or pets in the home, the top part to break is the cord that plugs into the outlet. Leaving the cord in an open area for people to trip over or step on is a bad idea. Depending 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 cord 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 to 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 Osaki 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 that 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 badly and it will slowly deteriorate 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 statistic based on the model that is used, but for the most part they are highly resilient to damage when kept in a clean, smoke free environment. Extra care instructions are available in the manual for customers interested in learning new techniques.

Materials

The material most often used for massage chairs is leather, although it isn’t the only one. Others include proprietary leather blends, vinyl and various types of fabric upholstery. Due to the rarity of fabric upholstery, let’s start with that. It blends in well with a non-leather furniture setup and holds up surprisingly well compared to leather. The difference is that it holds in odours a lot longer, so unpleasant 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 recognized 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 middle choice 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 often be found throughout the entire design. Last but not least is the industry leading leather, which is available in real or faux versions. There is hardly any difference between the two, and a lot of brands have perfected their proprietary leather blends. Leather has the best look, ages better than any of the other materials and is the most durable.

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 superior support system. However whatever material you decide on for a massage chair, the one thing they all 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,  the point being to de-stress 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 enhance a home with these advanced alternatives.

The only thing that might be missing is a full sofa or loveseat that provides the same massage experience as a regular massage chair. Versions of these exist, but they are so high in price that they are considered a luxury option rather than an improvement on regular furniture. Comfort levels can also diminish when the chair is not kept up properly, and 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.

massage chair features

Zero Gravity

Zero gravity has to do with the reclining positioning of a massage chair. Due to the advanced techniques involved, not all massage chairs are equipped with it. Zero gravity also comes at different levels, so one chair’s version 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 are intended to de-stress 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 complete 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 resulting 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 their price range. The only difference is deciding on what quality of zero gravity your body prefers the most.

What Is Inversion?

Manufacturers needed a way to compete with the popularity of zero gravity, which is still gaining a lot of steam in today’s industry. Lesser known companies (and now some brand names) have introduced inversion features into their products to offer an alternative to the flood of zero gravity massage chairs being offered 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 its inclusion in massage chairs is a big plus. Consumer-based massage chairs with the inversion feature 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 at 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 who want to try something a little outside the mainstream, inversion is where it’s at.

Zero Gravity vs. Inversion

Zero gravity is the superior technology at 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 optimized 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 are improved greatly. You’ll notice swelling go down in certain areas since the heart is able to relax more.

Inversion Benefits

  • 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. Improved 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 making you feel more relaxed, it helps you 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.

Control Panels

Controls panels have become a lot more visual with their approach thanks to the advances in massage chair technology. In many cases they are the ultimate control tool for a model and are paired with a slimmed down remote for ease of use. Control panels offer access to pre-sets with a small screen that indicates what part of the body will be focused on. And with full customization, you can create your own programs that focus on an individual part of the body or a bunch of them. 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 pre-set 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 parts of the body at the intensities you want. And with the control panel being in afixed position andalways accessible, you can make changes on the fly based on how you feel at any given moment. There really are no downsides to the programmability of a control panel, and it is one massage chair feature 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.

Remotes

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 control panels but without the screen. If you get an advanced model, some remotes come with screens, but they 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, 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. Wired remote controls 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 chair’s 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 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 at a low cost rather than depending on the company to both buy the part and repair the chair. Consumers 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 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 for repairing rips or tears in the massage chair. This is of course assuming that the damage isn’t too great in scope and the repair is performed 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 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 regarding massage chair features that are too much for beginners, the list is quite short. Buyers who 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 who are 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 who just wants a simple massage experience.

How Much Power Does A Massage Chair Use?

Leather massage chair

Despite the different sizes and features of massage chairs, 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.

This 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?

Massage Recliner

  • One piece, all in one chair that reclines into a much better full position when you are getting a full body massage. The angle 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. This will vary according to personal tastes, but recliners are the go-to chair for a living room setting.
  • 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 more likely 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 products out of reach for buyers who want to purchase an ottoman.

Ottoman

  • Two pieces mean a lighter weight, making it easier to transport up and down stairs. There is also a better chance of it fitting into 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 settings, either for reading or casual use. If your space is limited, having the option to disconnect the ottoman is a big plus.
  • For condos, apartments or small spaces an ottoman may work better. Its versatility is a must when a guest comes 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 get the best massage possible. The chair scans the body and adjusts to the person in it, so no two massages are 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 offered by 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 chair’s memory, sessions will have the touch of a professional masseuse.

If the chair takes the 3D feature seriously, then there is also the added benefit of a deep tissue massage that can reach up to 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 has put the resources into getting it right.

Massage Tables

Buyers who don’t want to jump into the high-tech area of massage chairs can always use massage tables, which,contrary to popular belief, are not just used by professionals. Hobbyists who want to practice massage therapy buy them to conduct massages at home. Yes, you lose out on a lot of the benefits of 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, a massage table provides the absolute best massage experience. It also offers the possibility of advanced techniques like aromatherapy, hot rock therapy and many others. 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.

Summary

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 concept. The best massage chair can work in multiple settings, even beyond home and office.