After months of scouring Amazon for the best massage chairs and writing meticulous reviews of the most popular choices, the Human Touch Novo XT has finally emerged as the overall winner, giving fierce competition to the more popular and already established brands like Inada and Panasonic.
Compared to Inada massage chair, Human Touch Novo XT is slightly cheaper because some of its components are manufactured in China.
Nevertheless, Novo XT beats Inada with its incredible features like mechanical foot rollers, zero gravity, 34 auto-massage programs, and 3D L-track that enables the rollers to massage your back from the neck all the way down to the buttocks.
Human Touch Novo XT also comes with a 5-year limited product warranty–more than any massage chairs–which cover in-home service, parts, and structural. Other features you’ll surely love include the full body stretch program, three deep tissue programs, 6 manual massage modes, and unique space-saving design that allows the chair to move forward when activated so it can easily recline with minimal wall clearance.
By combining complete features with a unique unibody design that significantly increases massage coverage, the Human Touch Novo XT has taken the lead and become the benchmark in designing world-class massage chairs.
Equally impressive is the Brookstone Recover 3D zero gravity massage chair which garnered almost the same rating as Human Touch Novo XT. Like the latter, this Brookstone massage chair boasts of an incredible list of features which include zero gravity, multiple airbags, L-track rollers, a backlit remote control, and deep-kneading massage nodes/rollers that work on the entire body from the neck to the calves and hips.
In terms of design, we’ve rated Novo XT’s as slightly better than Brookstone’s. While the latter reminds us of a spaceship, the unibody design of Novo XT not only makes it look more attractive but also increases its massage coverage or the percentage of the user’s body that can be massaged by the chair.
Meanwhile, if you’re short on budget or looking for something that is relatively more lightweight and easier to assemble, there are cheap massage chairs available for you. For the under-$500 category, we’ve found that the iJoy Active 2.0 Perfect Fit Massage Chair to be the most sophisticated among the budget-friendly massage chairs we’ve reviewed.
Since it’s one of the most affordable massage chairs, its features are understandably limited. It doesn’t have an adjustable intensity, heat function, or mechanical foot rollers. Still, the fact and it went above and beyond to offer more features than most massage chairs in the same category makes it a winner.
If you’re looking for more features but with the same budget-friendly price, we recommend cheap massage chairs that cost under $1,000. In this category, the iJoy 2580 massage chair stands out for its recline feature that can be easily activated with a touch of a button; simple, well-polished design; 3 auto-massage programs; and a soft pad to dampen massage should it become too intense.
Finally, for cheap massage chairs with under-$3,000 price tag, the Human Touch HT 7120 massage chair has outperformed its competition with its adjustable massage intensity, heat feature for the lower back, and foot and calf massager that uses a patented figure-eight technology.
- 1 Best Massage Chair Reviews for 2017 – Our Top Picks.
- 1.1 Human Touch Novo XT Massage Chair.
- 1.2 Brookstone Recover 3D Zero Gravity Massage Chair.
- 1.3 Ogawa Smart 3D Massage Chair.
- 1.4 Inada DreamWave Massage Chair.
- 1.5 Luraco Technologies iRobotics 7 Medical Massage Chair.
- 1.6 Inada Sogno DreamWave Massage Chair.
- 1.7 Panasonic MA70 Massage Chair.
- 1.8 Infinity Iyashi Massage Chair.
- 1.9 Titan Pro Executive Massage Chair.
- 1.10 Osaki OS 3D Pro Cyber Massage Chair.
- 1.11 Human Touch HT 7120 Massage Chair.
- 1.12 Infinity IT 8500 Massage Chair.
- 1.13 Brookstone Renew Zero Gravity Massage Chair.
- 1.14 Cozzia 16028 Massage Chair.
- 1.15 Osaki OS 4000T Massage Chair.
- 1.16 Human Touch HT-5040 Massage Chair.
- 1.17 iJoy 2580 Massage Chair.
- 1.18 Osaki OS-4000 Massage Chair.
- 1.19 Cozzia 16027 Massage Chair.
- 1.20 iJoy 2310 Massage Chair.
- 2 Best Cheap Massage Chairs Under $500 – Our Top Picks.
- 3 How To Choose The Best Massage Chairs – 8 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Buying
- 3.1 Do I have my doctor’s approval?
- 3.2 What is my budget?
- 3.3 What features am I looking for?
- 3.4 What is the warranty on the massage chair?
- 3.5 What are the best and most trusted brands of massage chair?
- 3.6 Where was it made?
- 3.7 Who will use the massage chair?
- 3.8 Do I have an available space in my home or office for the massage chair?
- 4 Amazing Health Benefits of Using Massage Chairs
- 4.1 Relieves back pain.
- 4.2 Improves sleep.
- 4.3 Loosens stiff, tight muscles.
- 4.4 Stimulates blood circulation.
- 4.5 Increases “feel good” chemicals.
- 4.6 Better concentration and mental performance.
- 4.7 Promotes good posture and flexibility.
- 4.8 Prevents degenerative arthritis.
- 4.9 Easier breathing.
- 4.10 Sense of well-being.
- 5 Massage Chair versus Human Massage: An Honest Assessment
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
- 6.1 Where to buy a massage chair?
- 6.2 How do massage chairs work?
- 6.3 Is it safe to use massage chairs during pregnancy?
- 6.4 What are the contraindications for massage chair therapy?
- 6.5 How much is a massage chair?
- 6.6 What are the top massage chair brands do you recommend?
- 6.7 What is a zero gravity massage chair?
- 6.8 What’s the difference between high-end and cheap massage chairs (aside from price)?
- 6.9 Which should I choose between used massage chairs and cheap massage chairs?
- 7 References
Best Massage Chair Reviews for 2017 – Our Top Picks.
Choosing only a few from an overwhelming list of massage chairs in the US market was a pretty daunting task. In selecting the cream of the crop, we used the following criteria:
An ideal massage chair provides full-body relaxation. It comes with a heat feature, airbags for the arms and legs, massage rollers that extend all the way to the buttocks and a zero-gravity recline position. Massage chairs with mid-range budget can still stand out as long as they offer features and benefits not available in other products.
Massage is the life and blood of every massage chair. To pass our quality standards, a massage chair must offer either a variety of professional massage techniques (kneading, percussion, rolling, vibration, etc.) or has a wide area of coverage (arms, neck, legs, feet, back, buttocks). Plus points for those that come with auto massage programs and different intensity levels.
Especially if you’ll use the massage chair on a regular basis, a rock solid product warranty is needed to ensure it will last for as long as possible. Most massage chair manufacturers offer 1- to 2-year limited product warranty while the stand-out brands give 3 years of “in-home” warranty plus money back guarantee.
In order for a massage chair to provide the ultimate relaxation, it should fit the person’s size and weight. It should also offer different features, controls and accessories that meet each user’s individual needs.
Ease of use.
Massage chairs operate through a complex technology, but they shouldn’t necessarily be difficult to use. A great massage chair is intuitive and equipped with control settings that are easy to understand even by the elderly.
Design & Construction.
The smallest of details like the type of leather upholstery or the presence of a space-saving feature speak volumes to how dedicated a manufacturer is in designing a great massage chair.
Human Touch Novo XT Massage Chair.
The Good: Human Touch Novo XT comes with 5-year limited product warranty, one of the best in the industry. It also has an exquisite design with a leather-like upholstery. A massage chair with perhaps the most comprehensive features in the market, Novo XT is complete with L-track rollers, 3D massage, zero gravity and 34 auto-massage programs, among others.
The Bad: Not the most comfortable for users who are over 5’10”. Speakers have poor sound quality. The design also limits the user’s movements; a large side panel prevents you from reaching to the side.
The Bottom Line: One of the most attractive luxury massage chairs to date, Human Touch Novo XT complements its beauty with probably the most comprehensive features you’ll ever find in a massage chair. Its massage and stretch programs are impressive, and so is its space-saving mechanism. Although taller people may find this chair a little bit cramped, the overall quality more than makes up for all its flaws.
Read Full Review: Human Touch Novo XT Massage Chair Review
Brookstone Recover 3D Zero Gravity Massage Chair.
The Good: A well-built product with almost all the features you’re looking for in a high-end massage chair. It boasts of a space-saving design that enables it to recline even if placed within 2 inches of the wall.
It also has a backlit remote control; a built-in heat feature in the back, calves and feet; L-track that massages the back all the way down to the glutes (buttocks); and astounding 14 auto-massage programs to choose from.
The Bad: Creates a little bit of noise and lacks a “Spot” massage feature which focuses the massage on one specific area determined by the user.
The Bottom Line: Although I’m not a fan of its look, the Brookstone Recover 3D Zero Gravity Massage Chair truly stands out because of its comprehensive features, each designed precisely to deliver an invigorating full body massage. Notwithstanding its few imperfections, this massage chair passes all my criteria with flying colors.
Read Full Review: Brookstone Recover 3D Zero Gravity Massage Chair Review
Ogawa Smart 3D Massage Chair.
The Good: It has a 5-year warranty, considered the best in the industry. This Ogawa massage chair is also the only one in the market that comes with a Samsung tablet with a pre-installed Ogawa app that seamlessly controls every feature of the massage chair.
The Bad: Calves/legs are massaged only through airbags. It would have been better if there are rollers that offer deeper massage.
The Bottom Line: If you’re looking for an intelligent massage chair that incorporates Smart technology for a smoother operation, this Ogawa massage chair certainly fits the bill. It’s a bit pricey, but its topnotch list of features–which include a Samsung tablet, 17+ massage programs and unlimited user profiles, among others–justify its higher cost.
Read Full Review: Ogawa Smart 3D Massage Chair Review
Inada DreamWave Massage Chair.
The Good: It has more auto-massage programs (16) than any other massage chairs on the market. It also hugs the user’s whole body, covering as much as 1,200 square inches. Its cervical traction device (or headpiece) is also an excellent innovation that provides effective relief from neck pain.
The Bad: Although it’s one of the most expensive massage chairs on the market, Inada DreamWave lacks zero gravity, foot rollers, memory function and a mounted remote control for easier access.
The Bottom Line: Hailed by its manufacturer as the best massage chair in the world, Inada DreamWave has all the features you can possibly look for in a robotic massage chair. This should be expected from a massage chair in the same price category. It may not be the most perfect due to the crucial features it lack, but its mind-blowing massage more than makes up for all its imperfections.
Read Full Review: Inada Dreamwave Massage Chair Review
Luraco Technologies iRobotics 7 Medical Massage Chair.
The Good: There are so many things to love about Luraco massage chair, the most significant of which is its noise reduction technology. This feature makes it the most quiet massage chair despite having 100 airbags. It also boasts of dual massage rollers, smart touch remote control, and 5-year limited product warranty–considered the best in the industry.
The Bad: Due to its large size, this massage chair is not ideal for houses/apartments with very limited space. And although it provides excellent back massage, the rollers don’t go down to the buttocks.
The Bottom Line: The only massage chair made and assembled in the US, Luraco iRobotics 7 stands out and easily beats the competition because of its comprehensive features, warranty and massage quality.
Read Full Review: Luraco Technologies iRobotics 7 Medical Massage Chair Review
Inada Sogno DreamWave Massage Chair.
The Good: This older Inada massage chair has a relatively shorter roller track that allows its massage rollers to go deeper into the buttocks. It’s also one of the most durable: It can fit users who weigh over 300 lbs. and still remain in excellent condition after repeated use.
The Bad: Like the new Inada DreamWave, this classic Inada massage chair also lacks mechanical foot rollers and zero gravity. It also doesn’t have a backlit remote which is essential when you’re using the chair in a dimly lit room.
The Bottom Line: Despite lacking in some important features, Inada Sogno DreamWave remains the yard stick by which new massage chairs are based upon. I fact, no massage chair has successfully replicated its excellent cervical traction device and over 1,200 massage coverage. If you want quality that lasts and don’t bother about the price, Inada Sogno is the chair you’re looking for.
Read Full Review: Inada Sogno DreamWave Massage Chair Review
Panasonic MA70 Massage Chair.
The Good: With built-in heated massage rollers that will remind you either of the warm therapist hands or the deeply relaxing hot stone massage. It also has the longest roller track that goes from the base of the skull and extends all the way down to the top of the buttocks. The reversible ottoman, meanwhile, makes it a dual-purpose furniture that can function both as a massage chair and recliner/regular chair.
The Bad: It doesn’t massage the neck as effectively as Inada Sogno which has its innovative Cervical Traction Device. The roller track may also be long, but it doesn’t directly massage the buttocks. Auto-massage programs basically more intense (even at the lowest setting) than in other chairs.
The Bottom Line: Undoubtedly one of the best massage chairs in terms of ground-breaking features, the Panasonic MA70 goes head to head with the equally impressive Inada Sogno. Between the two, however, the MA70 is the clear winner if versatility and design are important considerations.
Infinity Iyashi Massage Chair.
The Good: Infinity Iyashi has a modern, stylish look that makes it stand out from the competition. It also boasts of two features previously unheard of in the massage chair market: a 49″ roller track, the longest in the industry and extends from the neck all the way to the butt and thighs; and the forward sliding base, a space-saving feature that allows the chair to recline even if put only 1 inch from the wall.
The Bad: Although its longer roller track is quite impressive, it fails to deliver the same quality of massage in ALL areas of the back. It focuses more on the lower back, but the massage is relatively weaker on the neck and shoulders. Just like the Infinity IT 8500, Iyashi also doesn’t have 3D roller design, meaning the back massage intensity can’t be adjusted.
The Bottom Line: Infinity Iyashi wins in terms of design innovation. In fact, it offers features you won’t see even in more popular and expensive massage chairs. However, if the neck is a problematic area you want to massage on a regular basis, Infinity Iyashi isn’t exactly the massage chair you’re looking for.
Read Full Review: Infinity Iyashi Massage Chair Review
Titan Pro Executive Massage Chair.
The Good: A mid-priced massage chair that has almost all the features found in high-end brands. It can fit taller users due to its adjustable foot rest and shoulder airbags. It also boasts a fantastic memory function similar to Luraco’s, enabling users to save their favorite massage settings and use them over and over again.
The Bad: Instruction manual fails to explain the features of the massage chair coherently and in a language that an average English speaker can understand. It looks haphazardly done and requires some serious rewriting/editing by a more experienced technical writer.
The Bottom Line: One of the best massage chairs in the under-$3,000 category, the Titan Pro Executive offers features like memory function you would normally find only in more expensive massage chairs. Save for its instruction manual that needs major revision, this massage chair proves you can own a durable and fantastic product without breaking the bank.
Read Full Review: Titan Pro Executive Massage Chair Review
Osaki OS 3D Pro Cyber Massage Chair.
The Good: The only massage chair in the market whose 3D rollers can protrude to as much as 3.15 inches, giving users an intense deep tissue massage like no other. Its shoulder airbags are also notable because they can inflate from all angles–from sides to the front and even to the top of the shoulders, providing a great traction unsurpassed by other massage chairs.
The Bad: It seems to have a faulty or inaccurate body scan technology because the massage intensity isn’t equally distributed throughout the back, with more intense massage focused on the lower back–often bordering on the painful. The remote control also has an annoying light that always stays on unless you turn the main switch off at the back of the massage chair.
The Bottom Line: Great features, but the massage quality isn’t up to par. However, it’s the best massage chair if you love Osaki as a brand and you’re looking for deep massage that is guaranteed to loosen all the knots on your back in no time.
Read Full Review: Osaki OS 3D Pro Cyber Massage Chair Review
Human Touch HT 7120 Massage Chair.
The Good: A very affordable massage chair with adjustable intensity, heat function and a sophisticated design reminiscent of a luxurious executive chair. It has a rotating ottoman that can hide the calf massage wells to make it look more like an ordinary recliner.
The Bad: Features are quite basic. It doesn’t have mechanical foot rollers nor a body scanning technology called “Acupoint Detection System” found in most Human Touch massage chairs.
The Bottom Line: Simplicity rules in this massage chair. It comes with the most useful features without the bells and whistles, making it less expensive than other similar chairs. The design also resembles that of an executive chair, a far cry from others that are too unfit for living rooms because of their futuristic look.
Read Full Review: Human Touch HT 7120 Massage Chair Review
Infinity IT 8500 Massage Chair.
The Good: Infinity IT 8500 has arguably one of the best neck massage in the industry. Its headrest pillow gently rocks the head and offers kneading massage to the sore neck muscles. It also has a “sway” feature, similar to Inada’s Dreamwave technology and is capable of pushing the hips from side to side through the airbags. This creates a passive motion that effectively relieves hip and low back pain.
The Bad: Infinity chairs like IT 8500 doesn’t have an L-track design, meaning its massage rollers don’t extend to the buttocks. It doesn’t have a 3D roller technology either, which means the back massage intensity isn’t adjustable. The only way you can dampen the roller massage is through the use of a softening pad which is not even provided by the manufacturer.
The Bottom Line: Infinity IT 8500 has some of the excellent massage features specifically designed for those who are craving for deep, intense and invigorating massage. If you prefer a gentle, soothing massage that puts you to sleep, however, I suggest look for other alternatives. IT 8500 may not be as fancy as Inada Sogno, but it offers almost the same features of the iconic chair at half the price.
Read Full Review: Infinity IT-8500 Massage Chair Review
Brookstone Renew Zero Gravity Massage Chair.
The Good: Amazing L-track massage works on the entire back, from the neck down to the buttocks. In fact, it’s arguably one of the best massage chairs that offer glute massage. Also comes with zero gravity recline and an optional heat feature.
The Bad: Remote control is not backlit, which can be frustrating for people looking froward to use the massage chair in a dimly-lit room. Foot massage rollers a bit too intense. Back and hip massage intensity can only be adjusted by removing/inserting a cushion layer underneath the backrest and the seat, respectively.
The Bottom Line: This Brookstone zero gravity chair deserves merits for its excellent massage features, but somehow fails in terms of overall user experience. On the bright side, the minor design flaws aren’t serious enough to knock it out of the top spot.
Read Full Review: Brookstone Renew Zero Gravity Massage Chair Review
Cozzia 16028 Massage Chair.
The Good: A relatively more affordable zero gravity massage chair that comes with 5 auto-massage programs and 6 manual massage techniques to choose from. In addition to that, the user can also adjust through the remote the manual massage of choice in terms of speed, width, zone and intensity.
The Bad: Design is very basic. It also lacks airbags on the shoulders and arms.
The Bottom Line: A stripped-down version of the high-end zero gravity massage chairs, the Cozzia 16028 is a decent choice if you’re not a fan of arm massage and prefers a precise massage that focuses more on the lower back.
Read Full Review: Cozzia 16028 Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair Review
Osaki OS 4000T Massage Chair.
The Good: With mechanical foot rollers and 46 airbags–more than Osaki OS-4000 or any other China-made massage chair in the same price category. It also boasts of 2-stage zero gravity, medium-intensity back massage and seat airbags that mimic Inada’s proprietary DreamWave technology.
The Bad: Osaki OS 4000T is not for people with big hips and broad shoulders. Also, the shoulder airbags have a metal or plastic case that dig deep into the upper arm when inflated, thus preventing the arms from fully extending into the armrests.
The Bottom Line: A slightly better version of Osaki OS 4000, this massage chair is perfect for those with less than $3,000 budget and who prefer a gentler massage. It’s not perfect, but good enough for its price.
Read Full Review: Osaki OS-4000T Massage Chair Review
Human Touch HT-5040 Massage Chair.
The Good: Human Touch HT 5040 looks like a classic furniture and fits well in any office or living room. No complicated assembly required. Foot and calf massagers use a patented figure-eight technology that effectively improves blood circulation and speeds up muscle healing.
The Bad: A very basic massage chair stripped off of all bells and whistles. The massage rollers neither extend to the buttocks nor to the top of shoulders. Its leg rest is also a bit too short for taller users.
The Bottom Line: This is not the best massage chair if you have longer legs and is particularly looking for something that can massage your calves. Nonetheless, it offers a great massage for its price and has a simple set of features that can please any budget buyer or minimalist.
Read Full Review: Human Touch HT-5040 Massage Chair Review
iJoy 2580 Massage Chair.
The Good: This Human Touch massage chair is the slightly bigger–and better–version of the iJoy 2310. Unlike the latter, this one has wheels for mobility, a cup holder, head pillow and most importantly, an easy-to-click button (instead of a release handle) that puts the chair into a reclined position.
The Bad: Just like the other iJoy massage chair, the 2580 also lacks heat function and also sits low to the ground, making it hard to get out of for overweight people, elderly and people suffering from severe knee arthritis.
The Bottom Line: Although not as impressive as other more expensive robotic massage chairs, the iJoy 2580 deserves its own credit. This is for the personalized massage settings, warranty and all the additional features which are more than what other massage chairs in the same price category can offer.
Read Full Review: iJoy 2580 Massage Chair Review
Osaki OS-4000 Massage Chair.
The Good: Available at less than $3,000, Osaki OS-400 gives people with limited budget a chance to own a quality massage chair at a fraction of the cost of more popular high-end brands. It’s complete with auto-massage programs, zero gravity, air bags and adjustable ottoman length. It can also fit people as tall as 6’4″.
The Bad: It lacks glutes/buttocks massage as well as mechanical foot rollers. It’s also quite heavy and a bit of a hassle to assemble.
The Bottom Line: Osaki OS-400 is a great option for budget buyers who want the best bang for their buck. Just remember that it lacks mechanical foot rollers and buttocks massage–two features that many consider as important when buying a massage chair.
Read Full Review: Osaki OS-4000 Massage Chair Review
Cozzia 16027 Massage Chair.
The Good: A zero gravity massage chair that comes at a very reasonable and affordable price. It’s complete with 5 auto-massage programs, 3 partial massage options, and 7 massage techniques which all come with customizable speed, strength and intensity. There’s also a wireless mini remote control, apart from the larger main controller, which enables you to change the settings even while at a recline position.
The Bad: Has less features than the similar Cozzia 16028 zero gravity massage chair. It doesn’t have a built-in heat, foot massage rollers and airbags for the shoulders and arms.
The Bottom Line: Although it lacks some features that you might not even need in the first place, the Cozzia 16027 offers those with less than $3,000 a chance to own a massage chair that can match, if not outperform, other more expensive massage chairs.
Read Full Review: Cozzia 16027 Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair Review
iJoy 2310 Massage Chair.
The Good: Comes with great massage features at a very reasonable price. You can choose from 3 auto-massage programs or 4 professional massage techniques. There’s also a spot massage function which allows you to provide targeted massage to specific areas of the back.
The Bad: No heat function. Although it’s compact and has a space-saving design, this massage chair isn’t high enough to fit people who are over 6’0″ tall.
The Bottom Line: One of the best choices for busy people living in small spaces. It may be lacking some fancier features, but its impressive massage quality more than makes up for all its design flaws.
Read Full Review: iJoy 2310 Massage Chair Review
Best Cheap Massage Chairs Under $500 – Our Top Picks.
Although they differ in price, cheap massage chairs should have the fundamental qualities to help consumers distinguish between quality products and Chinese knockoffs that only rip them of their hard-earned money. Even the cheapest massage chair can turn out to be a great bargain as long as it satisfies our set of criteria.
iJoy Active 2.0 Perfect Fit Massage Chair.
The Good: Affordable yet has relatively more advanced features than other massage chairs in the same price category. It offers deep roller massage instead of vibration and has a compact design ideal for those living in homes with limited spaces.
The Bad: Although the massage is great overall, the iJoy Active 2.0 lacks essential features that most buyers are looking for in a massage chair. These include heat, zero gravity, adjustable intensity and an auto shut-off timer.
The Bottom Line: Undoubtedly one of the best massage chairs under $500, the iJoy Active 2.0 proves that you can have a fine piece of “wellness” furniture without blowing your budget. However, if you’re imagining a product that closely simulates the touch of a massage therapist through features such as heat and 3D massage, you need to save thousands of bucks and buy yourself a better high-end massage chair.
Read Full Review: iJoy Active 2.0 Perfect Fit Massage Chair Review
Serta Big & Tall Memory Foam Massage Recliner.
The Good: Stand-out features include memory foam on the seat which conforms to the body shape and quickly returns to its original shape even after long use. It’s also very easy to assemble and provides vibrating massage with adjustable rhythm and intensity.
The Bad: Vibrating massage is only limited to the lumbar area while the arm rests are a bit too low and close to the seat. It also lacks a heat function which is now a common feature among vibrating massage recliners.
The Bottom Line: Serta Big & Tall Foam Massage Recliner is a good buy for users who put more weight on design rather than durability and massage features. It looks good in any living room and provides a comfortable seating surface, but the massage it offers is nothing to write home about.
Read Full Review: Serta Big & Tall Memory Foam Massage Recliner Review
Relaxzen 60-425111 Leisure Massage Reclining Chair.
The Good: Intuitive remote, above-average vibrating massage and the right amount of foam padding that is neither too hard nor too soft that it almost feel like sitting in a quicksand.
The Bad: It can recline, but not beyond 3-4 inches from the upright position. The recline feature can’t also be controlled with a remote, but through the use of a manual lever or tension knob. It’s a bit tricky to install too, aggravated by the manual that seems to be providing inaccurate instructions.
The Bottom Line: Relaxzen massage chair may not be perfect, but it’s good enough for users who only prefer a simple vibrating chair that they can rest or watch TV with. It’s an upgrade from ordinary vibrating chairs because it comes with 9 pre-set massage modes that target not only the lower back but also the upper back, thighs, and calves.
Read Full Review: Relaxzen 60-425111 Leisure Massage Reclining Chair Review
HomCom Executive Ergonomic PU Leather Heated Vibrating Massage Office Chair.
The Good: A sophisticated office chair that doubles as a therapy chair. It’s equipped with heat feature plus 6 massage settings that deliver vibration massage to the upper back, lower back as well as legs.
The Bad: Requires some elbow grease to assemble. Its backrest is also slanted permanently, depriving those who prefer sitting up straight of sufficient lumbar support.
The Bottom Line: A good-looking office chair that would have been great were it not for its backrest that doesn’t come with an adjustable angle.
How To Choose The Best Massage Chairs – 8 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Buying
When I was shopping for my first electric massage chair, I scoured Google for reviews and tips on how to buy one.
To say I was disappointed with the results is an understatement; the plethora of cookie-cutter websites who give exactly the same advice left me struggling to decide what to do next.
In the end, I steered clear of these sites that are created solely to earn money and did my own research. If you’re at that stage right now, I highly suggest to ask yourself these essential questions first:
Do I have my doctor’s approval?
Nothing is more disappointing than getting a luxury massage chair only to find out later on that you’re not in good shape to use it.
There are contraindications to massage therapy, and you’ll give yourself a lot of favor by asking your doctor beforehand. For instance, people with unstable blood pressure, heart conditions, recent surgery and unexplained/undiagnosed pain should consult with their physician first if they’re allowed to use a massage chair.
Take note that in some cases, the doctor may let people with special conditions to use massage chair, albeit with some restrictions.
What is my budget?
Some of the best and highly-recommended massage chairs in the market have price tags ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. However, you don’t have to go bankrupt just to own one. There are chairs out there under $500 that can give you the best bang for your buck. Other alternatives if you’re out of money include massage cushions, foot massagers and massage pillows which cost anywhere between $50 and $200.
What features am I looking for?
The overwhelming list of massage chair features is enough for someone to get stuck and never make a buying decision at all. Been there, done that.
Therefore, you should learn how to distinguish between “basic” and “advanced” features.
“Basic” here means “must-have.” For example, a massage chair should offer basic massage techniques, such as:
- Kneading or circular movements done by the massage rollers.
- “Shiatsu” which targets different points (acupoints) on the back and applies pressure on them to relieve tension.
- Percussion or “karate chopping” that does exactly what its name suggests.
- Rolling which offers vertical strokes on either side of your spine.
- Gripping, commonly done on arms and legs (think hugging and then releasing).
- Full recline which allows the chair to recline up to 180 degrees so you can fully enjoy the massage.
- Stretch program which promotes good posture and improves blood circulation.
Another thing you should look into is the number of “motors” in the massage chair (the more “motors,” the more intense the massage). In terms of chair upholstery, synthetic leather enables high-end massage chairs to withstand the wear and tear of daily use, therefore prolonging the life of the furniture.
Some luxury massage chairs have controls that allow you adjust the intensity of the massage. There are also chairs that enable you to save and “memorize” the massage sequences you prefer. This feature is indispensable especially if you’re sharing the chair with several people.
Advanced features, meanwhile, are nice add-ons that may or may not be beneficial for you. Therefore, you should buy massage chairs with these features only if you need them. Examples include:
- Foot and calf massagers.
- Zero gravity massage chairs which can tilt at 30 degrees and elevate the legs for a total, spine-friendly relaxation.
- Heated massage heads.
- A mapping/scanning system that identifies key pressure points for a more targeted massage.
- 3D massage rollers which apply massage to areas such as neck and shoulders typically neglected by average chairs.
What is the warranty on the massage chair?
Although almost all companies offer product warranty, oftentimes it only looks good on paper. Some even go so far as promising more than 5 years of warranty, only to surprise you with unreliable and ridiculous customer service once it’s time to get your chair repaired.
Based on my experience and research, you should buy a massage chair with modular design so it can be easily repaired at home without the need of having it shipped back to the manufacturer. For this reason, you should look for a highly established brand that offers at least 3 years of “in-home” warranty.
You can also consider as a good investment those chairs that offer optional extended warranty—typically an additional 2 years of parts only warranty—because massage chairs are often at risk for malfunction.
What are the best and most trusted brands of massage chair?
When it comes to choosing the best brand of massage chair, it is recommended by experts such as Dr. Alan Weidner, a chiropractic doctor based in Salt Lake City, to settle for one that is already established and offers great warranties.
Among the list of top performing and most trusted brands in the US are Cozzia, Luraco, Inada, Infinity, Panasonic, Osaki and Human Touch.
However, when you’re shopping online especially on Amazon, you should also take into consideration the customer reviews/feedback for the particular product you’re eyeing for. Does the seller offers “money-back” guarantee? Does it have a reliable customer support?
At the end of the day, the brand name should never be the only deciding factor when buying a product as expensive as a massage chair.
Where was it made?
China has become notorious for churning out low quality knockoffs. The same can be said with some massage chairs manufactured in this country, although the quality has significantly improved in recent years.
Japan, on the other hand, has been known for superior quality massage chairs. Inada and Panasonic, for example, are just two Japanese brands of massage chairs with known failure rate of less than 1%.
Remember this: If you buy the chair from a country like Japan with 50-year tradition of making high-quality massage chairs, you’re definitely off to a great start.
P.S. Massage chairs that are made in the U.S. are known for reliability, too.
Who will use the massage chair?
A massage chair may have all the features you’re looking for, but if it doesn’t fit you, then you might as well go back to square one.
For this reason, it’s crucial to know the height and weight limitations of the massage chair. I suggest you go to a massage chair showroom and test the chairs yourself to see which one suits you best.
Standard massage chairs in the market usually can accommodate folks up to 5’10” to 6’. If you’re too short, the massage chair may just end up a pet peeve because the back rollers and shoulder airbags will be unable to reach the target areas.
When it comes to weight restriction, most massage chairs can only tolerate people who weigh 65-285 lbs. Although there are some chairs that can accommodate people over 300 lbs. or as light as 200 lbs., these are exceptions rather than the rule.
Other factors you should take into account are your body girth and whether or not an ottoman extension is available for those with longer legs. In terms of body girth, those with larger hips and broader shoulders may find it difficult to fit in chairs equipped with hip and shoulder airbags, respectively.
Do I have an available space in my home or office for the massage chair?
Massage chairs are bulky, so it’s imperative that you set aside some space in your home or office before even considering buying one.
You should also ask other family members about your decision and discuss with them where the massage chair can be placed. If you wan to save space, then choose a massage chair with a sliding base, a feature that enables it to extend and recline automatically when in use and return to its original position once the massage is over.
For those without a sliding base, make sure to place the chair a few feet away from the wall so that when in use, it can easily assume a full extension position without damaging your wall.
Lastly, the color of the massage chair should blend well with the rest of your furniture. Most massage chairs offer different color options so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Amazing Health Benefits of Using Massage Chairs
A lot of people have reaped the health benefits of massage therapy for many years; massage chairs only took it to a whole new level by making them more accessible, affordable and convenient.
Every time I get stressed out or suffer from lower back pain, I simply slip into the massage chair and I could feel the pain melt away in a few minutes. It has become a favorite furniture in my household, especially by my mother who has long suffered from arthritis.
But enough of me. The benefits of massage and massage chairs have long been proven by medical studies. Here are some of them:
Relieves back pain.
As I’ve already mentioned, massage chairs are heaven-sent for back pain sufferers like me. It is so effective that one study in 2003 proved that it’s better than acupuncture or spinal modification in managing low back pain. This also means that using a massage chair may reduce your need for painkillers by as much as 36%.
Have you ever gone to bed feeling very tired yet your mind is wandering somewhere else? I know we’ve all experienced this, and we all agree that it’s hard to sleep when there is a pile of things bothering us.
Massage is a great way to relax both our body and mind. Not only does it take care of our sore muscles, but also increases the body’s levels of serotonin, a chemical that plays a vital role in sleep.
Loosens stiff, tight muscles.
If this sounds familiar, then you’re probably one of the millions of Americans working in a 9-to-5 office job with stress as your constant companion.
Deadlines, meticulous boss and the pressure to perform well often take its toll on our body, with tense muscles around the back, shoulders and neck as one of the first few warning signs.
Massage chairs help free up this tension and promote blood circulation which then leads to even more health benefits.
Stimulates blood circulation.
Through a combination of massage and heat therapy, massage chairs can improve blood circulation. As a result, oxygen is delivered efficiently to different parts of our body while harmful toxins are flushed from our system.
In other words, the use of massage chairs could indirectly lead to faster healing and reduced swelling. It can lower your blood pressure, too.
Increases “feel good” chemicals.
Endorphins are one of those “happy” chemicals in our brain that reduce pain and trigger positive feelings. They are usually released everytime you exercise or have sex.
But you can also experience increased levels of this “feel good” chemical by simply relaxing while letting your robotic massage chair do the hard work. Studies also show that by lowering the levels of cortisol by up to 50%, massage—whether it’s done by a therapist or a robotic chair—may help relieve anxiety and depression.
Better concentration and mental performance.
Believe it or not, massage chairs not only reduce discomfort but may also sharpen your mind.
In 1996, Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute in Miami found that people who received regular 15-minute massage twice a week “increased cognitive ability, performed better on math tests and completed problems with increased accuracy and speed.”
You can never underestimate the power of massage.
Promotes good posture and flexibility.
Back pain and other kinds of musculo-skeletal discomfort can make it difficult for someone to assume proper posture. And if you’re not standing straight, your muscles and joints will bear the burden.
Massage chairs prevent this domino effect from occurring by applying massage to major pain points. With regular use, pain gradually disappears, which then leads to greater flexibility and better posture.
Prevents degenerative arthritis.
One of the dangers of poor posture is the development of degenerative arthritis, especially if you are over 40 or 50 years old. Massage chairs help correct posture by relieving pain and removing pressure from vulnerable bones.
Spinal joints are also at risk of developing arthritis, but often taken for granted. Therapeutic massage can likewise prevent this from happening.
When you’re stressed out and your muscles are tense, breathing tends to become laborious. Massage chairs help release the tension from the muscles surrounding your ribs, in the same way it relax the stiff muscles on your shoulders during a stressful period.
People who use massage chairs usually experience better breathing right after a session. Try it for yourself.
Sense of well-being.
It may not be as personalized as a therapist’s “human touch” massage, but knowing that you have a reliable massage chair in the house could give you a peace of mind.
Also, improved blood circulation, reduced pain and higher endorphin levels do reflect on how you look, perceive yourself and deal with other people. For that, I can’t recommend massage chairs highly enough.
Massage Chair versus Human Massage: An Honest Assessment
Let’s be honest here: Massage chairs can’t please everyone.
Although it has come a long way since the first massage chair was created by a lowly Japanese sewing machine parts manufacturer in the 1950s, the functions of this luxury furniture remain imperfect.
For one, a satisfying massage session relies on the client’s feedback.
The masseur/masseuse would usually assess the client to determine the pressure points. This is necessary in order to provide the best massage technique that will help address the client’s pain/discomfort.
An electric massage chair is only as good as a robot, and the quality of massage it can provide depends on what it has been programmed to do.
But should these limitations stop you from buying a massage chair? Absolutely not.
In reality, most of us are too busy to spend a session with a massage therapist. We want a therapeutic massage whenever and wherever we need it. A massage chair also doesn’t require you to disrobe or buy additional stuff like oils, lubricants and linens for draping.
Some people even get a massage chair to supplement their chiropractic treatments. By doing so, they can have the best of both worlds and have regular access to massage without breaking the bank.
In addition to that, new models of massage chairs in the market tend to have more advanced massage controllers. You can now choose either full body or targeted massage, with or without heat, ‘gentle’ or ‘hard,’ as well as other options that are now making massage chairs more customizeable and user-friendly than before.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
If you’re in the US, the good news is you have options to choose from, each of which has its own pros and cons.
At the end of the day, your decision on where to buy a massage chair will depend on your location, budget, how urgent your need is and whether or not you have time to travel and test the massage chair yourself. [Continue Reading]
A massage chair has many parts that work together to make it the incredible invention it always has been. To make it easier to understand, I’d like to put these parts into two categories: the brain and the skeleton.
Just like ours, these parts are essential, both of which highly depend on each other. Let’s explore them further. [Continue Reading]
Massage–whether done traditionally or with a robotic chair–can be heaven-sent for pregnant women, only if it’s applied with utmost care.
There is no evidence that vibrations or electromagnetic waves from massage chairs can lead to complications like preterm labor. Still, every pregnancy should be considered delicate, and consultation with the physician must be done before trying any method of relaxation. [Continue Reading]
There are two types of contraindications for using massage chairs: Complete (or absolute) which means any type of massage is prohibited; and partial (or local) which imposes certain restrictions in terms of how and where the massage can be applied.
Again, these contraindications don’t just apply to the use of massage chairs alone. To ensure you’re on the safe side, discuss with your doctor your interest to get massage. Depending on your health condition, you may be allowed to receive modified massage or nothing at all. [Continue Reading]
There are chairs with under $200 price tag, but the features they offer are extremely limited. They’re simply office chairs that can pamper your back with a heated vibrating massage. No more, no less.
Those that cost higher, with prices ranging from $500 to $2,000, have upgraded features, albeit not as comprehensive as the more expensive ones. [Continue Reading]
Buying a massage chair is like buying your first car. You should get it from a manufacturer with a proven track record, realistic product warranty (standard is 3 years) and a reliable customer support.
Although no massage chair brand is perfect, choosing one that has already established a good reputation in the industry means you’re already one step ahead. Let’s have a rundown of the top massage chair brands in the market and their unique selling propositions (a.k.a. what make them stand out). [Continue Reading]
A zero gravity massage chair is designed to put you into a neutral position, with your legs elevated above the heart.
Zero gravity is different from a usual recline position wherein the seat stays horizontally. In order for it to qualify as a true zero gravity position, the seat should have a 30-degree tilt and there also should be a 120-degree articulation between the seat and chair back. [Continue Reading]
What’s the difference between high-end and cheap massage chairs (aside from price)?
Unlike the more expensive models, cheap massage chairs have limited set of features.
For instance, massage chairs under $500 usually offer only vibration and heat to soothe your back ache. However, there are exceptions, like those with massage rollers that target different parts of your body.
On the bright side, cheap massage chairs under $500 have minimal designs and neutral colors that go well with your home or office furniture. They are also very lightweight and easy to assemble.
You can also buy massage chairs for less than $1,000, like the iJoy massage chairs by Human Touch. These chairs are designed with different massage programs you can choose from as well as pull lever which you can use to easily put them in a recline position. They’re also 95% assembled upon delivery so you can easily use the massage chair right off the bat.
If you want to experience some of the features of high-end massage chairs at a fraction of the cost, cheap massage chairs under $3,000 are the best options for you. Unlike chairs in the two previous price categories, these massage chairs boast of more advanced features like zero gravity, mechanical foot rollers, airbags, body scan technology, calf massager and adjustable massage intensity, just to name a few.
Which should I choose between used massage chairs and cheap massage chairs?
When you have a tight budget, buying a high-end electric massage chair isn’t considered practical.
You have two options: Either buy a cheap massage chair for less than $3,000/$1,000/$500 or search for someone who sells used or refurbished items.
As I’ve detailed in this buying guide, cheap massage chairs that cost less than $500 may not even be considered genuine massage chairs by other people’s standards. This is because most of them only offer vibrating massage and heat, except the iJoy 2.0 Active chair which has massage rollers.
Nevertheless, buying a new product, regardless of its price, also means you’re assured the manufacturer will repair/replace it in case something goes wrong with the chair.
If you want a luxury massage chair, however, you can save a lot of money by buying used or refurbished ones. But it comes with a lot of risks, too.
For instance, used massage chairs do not come with transferred warranty. If you’re going this route, then buy from an authorized dealer and choose either a returned chair or the one displayed as a floor model.
Meanwhile, if the chair comes from a friend or relative, make sure that the manufacturer is an established and trustworthy brand. You would need to call the massage chair company to check the status of the warranty so be ready to give them specific information like the model and the serial number of the chair as well as the name of the person who originally bought it.
As for the refurbished massage chair, ensure that the model or the company who made it still exist. Take note also that refurbished chairs usually come with an extremely limited 90-day warranty, without any options to extend it. Again, buy at your own risk.
Massage Therapy Styles and Health Benefits. (2016). WebMD. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from https://goo.gl/EUldKP
Robinson, M. (2016). I survived a major tech convention by testing every luxury massage chair I found — here was my favorite. Business Insider. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from https://goo.gl/GlTIIf
Salvo, S. (2015). Massage Therapy: Principles and Practice (1st ed., p. 305). Elsevier Health Sciences.
Weidner, A. (2014). The Ultimate Massage Chair Buyer’s Guide: How To Select The Perfect Massage Chair For Your Home Or Business (1st ed.). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Wong, C. (2016). What Should I Look for in a Massage Chair?. VeryWell. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from https://goo.gl/fgBc7e