Last week, I flew out to Dallas, TX to see my suppliers for a quick one-day trip. I was most looking forward to finally getting my hands on the ground-breaking Luraco i9 Massage Chair and it certainly did not disappoint. I've personally been anticipating its arrival since CES in Jan 2020 when I spent over an hour writing down my "wish list" of features for their new flagship chair. When I visited Luraco in June, the i9 wasn't quite ready yet and was still in its final development phase. This chair literally took 3 years in the development phase!
There are many things that stand out regarding the Luraco i9 Massage Chair and make it one of the most advanced, thoughtfully designed massage chairs available today. The i9 was designed, engineered, manufactured and assembled in the United States in Arlington, Texas. You could literally walk into the Luraco headquarters building and meet the engineers, scientists, technicians and team behind every inch of its inception. This is completely different from any other chair available today and is what makes the Luraco i9 Massage Chair one of the best massage chairs available today.
We began my visit in Luraco's patent room which proudly displays the company's many different patents over the past 16 years. The i9 has been issued 7 different patents for the slide Side Entry, SL Track, remote, butterfly roller mechanism, triple layer foot rollers, calf rollers and arm rollers with several others pending. There is no doubt in the Engineering and Design behind this chair -- simply put, it is unmatched and incredibly impressive.
I was able to spend a good amount of time with both co-founders and brothers, Tom and Kevin Le. Tom went through all of the impressive features of the i9 with me and Kevin came in at the end for a short hello. Their pride is evident in the patent room and throughout their headquarters and operation as a whole. Tom and Kevin Le are wonderful examples of people living out their American Dream as they have created a family business and legacy. Being prior military, I completely appreciate the Quality Assurance and "tight ship" that they run.
From the patent room, I was guided to the floor where there are several prominent American Flags on display. Although a tremendous amount of engineering, assembling and technical work goes on, the floors are spotless, workspaces neat and there are several American Flags big and small throughout the different areas and departments of their workspace.
We walked through the military aircraft engine parts being assembled and nail drills to reach the heart of the operation. Luraco invested heavily this past year into their Massage Chair Manufacturing capability. They now have an injection molder, robotic welding machine, plastic vacuum former, metal stamping machine, heavy press and leather sewing stations. Technicians cut meticulously cut out the fine leather hides and sew in all of the channels for each chair on-site. The remotes are completely made on-site as are their proprietary butterfly rollers, foot rollers and the ground-breaking S-L Track. Running my hand along the steel of the S-L track, I could feel the difference in quality, thickness and durability. Plus, the split allows for a fantastic stretch. Literally the only thing that isn't made in the US with this chair are the 64 different screws required to put the chair together.
Each Luraco i9 goes through a very stringent QA check at every step of the process with the finale being passing the sound booth test with a sound engineer. Each chair must be less than 60db in order to be fit for sale--that's less than a whisper in a library. I have seen chairs come out of the sound booth and disassembled until the issue is resolved.
After seeing the entire process from start to finish, I was finally able to "meet" the i9 in person. We'd been having an internet flirtation for long enough and it was time to meet in real life. ;)
I'll create an actual Review of the Luraco i9 shortly, but here are my first impressions from our first "date." Walking up to the sit down, the lever to slide the side arm panel up created a very easy entry point. I believe that this would be suitable for some of our wheelchair customers who would have otherwise had a difficult time getting into a conventional chair.
The leather was very soft to the touch and the remote felt good in my hands. You could tell the high quality in our hands. I settled into the chair and Robin started me out on more of a demo program. Although I usually prefer a pretty intense massage, I started out at a level 3/5 and then was able to see if I could handle level 5. The butterfly roller really impressed me as it got into my trouble areas of the neck, shoulders and upper back / traps really well. You really had the ability to adjust the rollers to suit your desired intensity level. One of the thigns that I noticed was that the roller was incredibly smooth, quiet and packed quite a punch. Plus, the roller mechanism is the longest in the industry at 60" which means that it not only hits the complete glutes, but does really get into the hamstrings a bit too.
One of my favorite parts of the chair was the foot and calf rollers. I think that foot massage is one of the best available today in all massage chairs. The calf rollers also did quite a good job as well as the arm massage. Because I'm shorter (5'4"), I quickly realized that I needed to scoot my forearms forward for the arm massage. I climb regularly and my forearms get pumped -- I was really looking forward to the arm massage. Without scooting forward, it hurt because my hands/fingers were hitting in the wrong spot. Once I made the adjustment, it felt great! I think this would be perfect with no adjustments necessary for taller people.
The other issue that I had was that the headrest felt as if it left my head a little too far back during the massage. One of their lead engineers came in and he added a different pillow which worked perfectly. You can see my head being kind of back in the beginning of my video. They were discussing sending two different pillow options with the chair in order to make the chair more comfortable.
Tom had put some music on from his iphone and it sounded almost as if there was a high quality surround system. I have typically experienced the bluetooth on other massage chairs to almost sound tinny. The i9 feels completely immersive which was a pleasant surprise for me.
Will there be a second date?! ABSOLUTELY! The Luraco i9 is the best new chair of 2021 and was well worth the wait. Luraco is working around the clock right now to ship its first models. They are currently shipping out ground dealer floor models and expect to be able to ship out to the public by the beginning of January (if not sooner).