Ultimate Massage Chair Buyer's Guide
We understand that buying a massage chair can feel like an overwhelming task—there are so many different chairs available with new features that it can feel a little daunting. We want you to know that we are here to hold your hand through the process as much or as little as you would like. Our end goal is to get you into the best chair possible; at the right price`.
Make sure that you double check the dimensions of the space that you would like to put your chair in. There are many newer “space saver” chairs that are able to be placed within a couple of inches to the wall. You will want to put your chair in a place that you will use it regularly—you don’t want to place it somewhere that is hard to get to, you don’t feel relaxed in or in a place that you’re likely to pile tings (such as clothes and books) on top of. It’s also important to consider the décor of the room you’ll be placing your chair in. Many chairs now come with beautiful color pallets and even leather on body touch points. We now even carry a couple of models with genuine wood and smooth lines along the outside. Some chairs offer retractable ottomans so that the chair will blend into your living room without looking too obtrusive.
Who will be using the chair?
If you have unique height or size requirements, it’s important to take that into account. Not all chairs comfortably accommodate the very tall person (over 6’4”) or the very short person (below 5’); or the very large person. Almost all chairs on the market work well for people between 5’ – 6’ tall, but if you have a very tall person and a very short person in the house, you'll really need to consider which model will work best. We also have chairs that work better for the Big / Tall sector as well as those that have more generous weight requirements. Truth be told, most of our chairs will work for people up to 300 pounds even if it's rated at 250-265 pounds. That being said, we do have a few models that have extra-fortified motors and mechanisms made to withstand a higher weight on a regular basis.
If you have questions, please always feel free to contact us. Many of our premium chairs also offer the ability to save user settings which will eliminate the need to do a body scan before every single use—or the need to remember exactly what you really liked last time!
It’s better to get a strong massage chair that can be toned down easily with the remote control, than to settle for a soft massage chair that can’t be adjusted. Most consumers seek the benefits of deeper tissue massage, so look for a massage chair designed for the best – in this case deepest – range of motion. This type of motion is referred to in the massage chair industry as 3D. The 3D indicates “in and out” along with the standard “up and down” and “left and right.” We now have several 4D massage chairs that have the 3D intensity coupled with a greater control of the roller mechanism with regard to speed and intensity.
Getting a massage in a strong or deeper 3D or 4D motion massage chair is a little like working out. The first day can cause a little soreness, but the body adjusts and acclimates to the routine for ongoing benefits. But strong doesn’t automatically mean good if the massage feels mechanical, so look for a massage chair with well-designed and smooth massage mechanics to mimic the human touch of a massage therapist. While massage chairs that deliver a relaxing “dream inducing” massage is great – the best investment is a massage chair that has it ALL, including smooth, deep tissue massage
This is an important factor and one that is very easy to assess. A massage chair warranty is a key indicator of the overall quality of the chair and the company behind it. Generally, the longer the warranty, the better the chair.
The best warranty in the massage chair industry currently is 5-years (without having to purchase the “extended warranty” package), however the industry standard is a 3 year warranty which is what most companies provide.
Do you recommend a warranty over 5 years?
Beware of massage chair manufacturers with warranties this long, as this can be designed just to get your attention. Warranty coverage lasting more than 5 years almost always refers to the frame only or will also be accompanied by a very heft price tag which in our opinion is not necessary. Massage chair frames should be made of structural steel with the ability to withstand MANY years of use. In other words, we do not think it’s necessary for you to add in this extra expense. Plus, none of our manufacturers even offer warranties over 5 years.
It’s good to have an idea of what price range you are able to afford. As more and more options become standard, the price for all of (or at least many of) the bells and whistles has really come down. It’s possible today to get a very good massage chair for under $3000 and to get a premium chair for your home or office between $5000-$8500. If you have your heart set on a certain chair, we have god relationships with Quick Spark Financial as well as Paypal Financing in order to help you break up your payments and divert the initial out of pocket cost. Check out our online guides for the best chairs in these 3 different price tiers:
- Best Budget Chairs: chairs bellow $3000
- Best Mid-Tier Chairs: $3000 - $5000
- Best Premium Chairs: $5000
Are you someone who enjoys getting a massage every once in a while? If so, you know that the cost of one massage is anywhere from $50 - $120 per hour. This money can start to add up very quickly if you go weekly. Purchasing a massage chair for your home makes great sense over time as it gives you the opportunity to have a high quality massage in your home, whenever you want, as many times a day as you’d like. Over time, this truly is a very smart option.
Glossary of Terms
Within the last five years, the massage chair industry as a whole has changed a lot with the introduction of new technology which has really heightened the overall experience for the end user. Some of the most important trends include the introduction of the Zero Gravity position, 3D rollers, L-Track and the SuperTrac chairs. But, what exactly does all of this mean?! We’ve put together a very comprehensive guide to help you get a better idea of what it all means and what the “really reallies” are when you’re ready to buy your very own massage chair.
According to several chiropractors, the Zero Gravity position is the most important advancement in the industry. Originally developed by NASA in order to help astronauts reduce the compression of the spine during take-offs of the shuttle, the zero gravity position allows the body to assume a position of weightlessness thus dramatically reducing tension in the spine and back creating a feeling of weightlessness. The knees are typically raised to at least heart level with a 30 degree angle at the spine. Some newer chairs now offer two or three different stages of Zero Gravity position creating a bigger recline in the back.
S-Track Chair | L-Track | SL-Track | MaxTrack
Which type of “Track” is best suited for you? This can be a very confusing question for some of our customers. L-Track chairs have been around since 2011 when uKnead first introduced the L-track to the market. The best way to think of this is—how far do you want the massage rollers to go? S-track chairs follow the curvature of the spine and typically end at the bottom of the spine while L-track rollers will continue down below the back and curve in an L-shape massaging into your gluteal muscles and hamstrings.
S-Track Massage Chairs follow the curvature of the spine starting from neck all the way down to the bottom of the spine in an S-shaped pattern. S-Track Rollers range in length from 26 inches all the way up to 32” long. The longer rollers will actually be able to massage from your neck all the way down to the top of your glutes. An S-Track is actually what is seen in the majority of high quality chairs currently available.
Don’t let an S-track roller deter you from certain massage chairs—some of our very best massage chairs (award winning massage chairs) are S-Tracks.
As you can see from this diagram, the rollers of an L-Track chair typically begin just below the neck, follow the curvature of the spine and around the gluteal muscles and hamstrings. The rollers of L-Track chairs range in length from 42 inches all the way up to 53 inches in length. The most common L-Track roller length is 50 inches.
Roller length is really only a small part of the equation when trying to determine the quality of the massage a chair will deliver.
Some of our manufacturers claim to have an SL track roller, which means that htey believe the rollers to be as effective as an S-track at completely covering the back and spine area while also covering the glutes and lower hamstrings. We tend to think of these chairs as simply L-tracks to be honest.
The OHCO line of Massage Chairs features a 49" MaxTrack (similar, but much better, to an L-Track). Your chairs seamlessly move from the upright position to zero gravity, bed-position (lying flat) and even inversion. While still allowing the seat, back, and legs to adjust independently, the MaxTrack design ensures a precise massage throughout every point of contact. As a result of the flexibility of the Maxtrack design, the Ohco massage chair can seamlessly execute massage in the zero gravity position and the lie-flat posture, and also offer exceptional range during back extension movements for a superior stretch function. This is the most versatile track function that we have seen to date.
2D | 3D | 4D Roller Technology
Perhaps one of the most important advancements to the industry is the 3D roller. 2D rollers move back and forth along the X-Y plane (back and forth + up and down) while the 3D roller actually protrudes into the body from 2.2 inches to 5 inches closely mimicking the feel of human hands.
Until recently, almost all massage chairs were 2D. With this type of roller, you cannot adjust the intensity of the massage very well as the rollers are just able to move back and forth + up and down because the rollers remain on a flat plane in two dimensions.
3D rollers allow you to access the Z-plane and 3rd dimension of a massage creating the most realistic experience possible. The depth of the rollers can be adjusted forward or backward to increase/decrease the intensity of the massage. This flexibility allows each user of the chair to create and customize the intensity to their liking. if you prefer a very deep massage and your significant other wants gentle, you have the flexibility in this chair to cater to both of you! The 3D Roller Technology found in premium massage chairs provide outstanding deep tissue massage to the lower back and neck area.
4D massage chairs are not really different from 3D massage chairs except the user more control over the depth and rhythm of the massage. There are often more strength adjustments with 4D chairs as well as the ability to adjust roller speed. Speed can’t really even be considered a dimension. THAT’S IT! If you thought a 4D chair was some type of technological wonder propelling you into the 4th dimension, you’ve been sold some very good lines. In all honesty, 4D is more of a marketing play than anything
If you've ever wanted to "remember" your favorite massage, you're in for a treat with our Memory Function Collection. You'll be able to save up to five different user profiles within the smart system bringing you into your favorite relaxed massage that much quicker for the entire family. This is a very advanced feature only available in the best massage chairs today. The nice thing about the memory function is that it sidesteps the body scan and allows you to quickly get into your favorite massage in seconds.
All 3D chairs come equipped with a full body scan which serves to optimize the roller in order to detect acupoints along the neck and back to fully customize and improve the overall massage experience. The best massage chairs available today offer features that allow you to save multiple user profiles so that the body scan can be saved into memory and you can get right to the massage without waiting for the chair to complete a scan before each use. Almost all of our chairs now come with the Body Scan Function.
You will find that most chairs in the market have some type of air compression included in the massage chair. Air compression gently (or tightly) squeezes the body in different areas to provide pressure and relief to many parts of the body. When coupled with the rollers, the airbags really intensify the overall massage experience and also serve to hold the body in place. Next generation airbags require less airbags to handle the same surface area as well as decrease the amount of sound and moving parts in the chair. Now, there are even kneading airbags which closely mimic the feel of rollers in areas such as the calves.
Typically, there are airbags in the:
- Arms (oftentimes including the bicep/tricep area as well as the forearms)
- Hands and wrists
The better the chair, the more air bags and motors within to control the air pressure. Some chairs even include calf rollers and foot rollers to reach those special acupressure and reflexology points. Our chairs have anywhere from 4 airbags for our most basic chairs to 100 for our most advanced chair. Not all air compression systems are created equal! If this is important to you, please give us a call so that we can help you make the best choice possible.
Foot rollers are different from air compression within the calf and foot region. Only the premium massage chairs include foot rollers while very few include calf rollers and/or a calf acupressure ball integrated within the airbag system. We currently carry a couple of models with the calf roller option. If you’ve sat in “newer” massage chairs, you probably noticed that while the squeezing feels quite good, rollers could make the experience even better. Foot rollers coupled with a complete body scan help the massage chair to truly deliver healing reflexology which is an amazing health benefit.
We now have a few different chairs that have actual calf rollers within their mechanism. It's been standard to have calf airbags that will gently knead the calves, but calf rollers can really take things to a whole new level.
The Multi-functional footrest can be used for three purposes which are foot and calf massage, flipped to become an ottoman like a recliner, or stored to save space and look more like a normal chair. We have several different chairs that offer this feature which allows your massage chair to seamlessly fit into virtually any decor.
It’s no secret that heat can help to loosen sore muscles and promote blood-flow which makes it a logical addition to any good chair. As the muscles warm up, the tissue will loosen and allow the massage chair to provide a better, more therapeutic massage. Many massage chairs come with a lumbar heat option and a few premium chairs feature heat in the foot, calves, seat and arm regions. We even have a chair with "blanket heat" that wraps around your chest. In the last year, many new chairs have offered an extended heat option to the lumbar, feet, calves and seat region. We also now have several chairs with heated 3D and 4D rollers.
Many chairs now include and integrate a Bluetooth connection seamlessly into their massage chair design with discreet, crisp speakers and even usb charging stations. This will allow you to listen to your favorite relaxing music, a podcast or even an audible. Many of our premium chairs come equipped with a touch screen remote and matching apps similar to your favorite cell phone—this new option has really made the remote easy to operate and very user friendly.
Chromotherapy, or color light therapy, has become a popular addition to many massage chairs. The thought behind it is that the soft hues serve to further relax the mind and improve the overall ambiance. Common colors typically used are blue, green and red in a soft, illuminating hue. Color therapy helps bring balance to the mind and promotes better health and well-being. We even have a luxury chair with "M-Pool" lighting which senses when you are walking towards the chair in order to welcome you and light your way.
You can now enjoy your favorite aromatherapy with your massage session with some of our more premium massage chairs. Simply add a few drops to the headrest diffuser stone to bring an aromatic dimension to your escape. Your sensory receptors will immediately be stimulated, sending relaxing signals to your subconscious.
Air Ionizer & White Noise Generator
Enjoy each fresh breath you take as the Air Ionizer removes dust, dander, spores, and other irritants. Located in the headrest, a small fan moves ionized air through the vent port, echoing the sound of faint ocean waves. Clear the air and clear your mind.
Space Saver massage chairs have been specifically designed to fit into tighter spaces. These chairs rotate down and out creating a much smaller footprint than traditional chair models. The beauty of the space saver massage chair is that they can be placed within 2 inches of a wall. We carry many different Space Saver options across all of our manufacturers. Click here to check out all of our Space Saver Massage Chairs.
There are even some chairs that carry the Durable Medical Equipment designation that can be helpful with insurance companies if you have been prescribed a massage chair by your physician or specialist. The Luraco iRobotics i7 Massage Chair carries this designation and is one of the only DME chairs available.