Best Massage Chair Reviews and Buying Guide 2023 Edition
Explore Our Massage Chair Models
What is a Massage Chair?
A massage chair is an electronic chair with various features designed to provide the benefits of a massage typically found only in massage parlors. Massage chairs have done this to a varying degree of effectiveness for many years, but over the last few years the technology has begun to mature in a few very important ways. The best massage chairs today can vary the speed of the massage within the same stroke, have sophisticated algorithms to respond to your body type, and provide a variety of advanced customization features to deliver a truly therapeutic massage.
Why Buy a Massage Chair?
A traditional massage can be very alluring. Images of a neatly cleaned room with beautiful fragrance and relaxing music fill the mind of many that consider going to massage parlors. While a traditional massage can be incredible, it does have downsides that can be overcome by owning a modern massage chair.
First, the effort of scheduling and visiting a massage parlor is time consuming. A massage chair provides you the comfort and relaxation you want on a whim day or night, and is significantly more convenient than a traditional massage. Also, while the investment into a massage chair can be significant you avoid the recurring charges of going to a massage parlor. Lastly, as you will find in this buying guide the technology in the newest massage chair designs can provide a massage that exceeds even the best traditional style massages we know and enjoy.
Are Massage Chairs Good for Your Health?
A massage chair can have a variety of potential benefits.
Unwind: Decrease your stress hormone cortisol by up to 50%
- Live Longer: Strengthen your immune system to fight against disease
- Improve Circulation: Stimulate your muscles to increase blood flow
- Be Flexible: Relax and loosen your muscles and joints
What Does a Massage Chair Do?
Numerous types of massage chairs exist providing different styles of massage.
Shiatsu: Targeted massage in specific pressure points to alleviate pain and tension. Shop Now
- Kneading: This is a style of massage in the category of petrissage. Petrissage movements involve compressing soft tissues against each other or against the underlying bone. Shop Now
- Tapping: A light percussion massage designed to alleviate tension and relax tight muscles. Shop Now
- Clapping: This massage is similar to a tapping massage but spreads the massage over a larger surface area. Shop Now
- Swedish: Simulation of hands, forearms and elbows to relax muscle tissue and increase circulation. Shop Now
- Vibration: Some older chair models still incorporate vibration into the massage, but this has been largely phased out in the newer chair models. Shop Now
How Much Does a Massage Chair Cost?
- A massage chair can have huge swings in price dependent on the brand name and product quality. Keep in mind this is a piece of technology, and incremental increases in price will dramatically change the quality of the massage you receive. It's important you do your due diligence when selecting the brand and design of your chair. There are many massage chair "manufacturers" that are in fact simply white labeling the actual manufacturer's products, and do not deliver a great value for your money.
- Here are a few general price guidelines in today's marketplace
What are the Types of Massage Chairs?
Massage chair rollers are one of the most important features in a new chair. The technology and capability to control the height, width, depth and speed of the chair can dramatically impact the experience of your massage. In addition, the newest and highest quality chairs now incorporate advanced algorithms into the chair that increase the complexity of your massage to make it more human like.
- Stationary Massage Rollers: The most basic massage chairs (under $1,500) offer stationary massage rollers that do not move on a track. While we offer a few of these models on our website to provide selection, we highly encourage our customers to step up to a track massage as it is a much better massage experience. Caution many websites present these as full functioning massage chairs but in fact are very limited in their function. We generally speaking DO NOT recommend this type of massage chair.
2D Massage Rollers: These massage chair rollers go up, down, left and right. This is the most common type of massage chair roller, and provides limited functionality to control the width of your massage. As you might guess, these rollers serve as the introductory rollers used in most massage chair brands. Shop Now
- 3D Massage Rollers: In addition to the features of a 2D massage, 3D rollers allow the user the ability to control the depth of the massage. This dramatically impacts the degree of therapy provided as it relates to muscle tension, blood flow and other markers of a good massage experience. Shop Now
- 4D Massage Rollers: In addition to the 2D and 3D roller technology, 4D technology allows the rollers to vary the speed of the massage within each stroke throughout an auto program or manual massage. 4D technology is not the same as manual speed adjustments on more basic models. This technology significantly heightens the massage experience and provides a more life like human feel. Shop Now
- Auto Programs: Almost all massage chair models now incorporate auto programs with dedicated programs such as relaxation, stretch, and sleep as a few examples. Most automated programs last 15 minutes in length and provide a one touch solution for those looking to melt away stress. Shop Now
- Advanced Algorithms: In addition to the evolution of massage chair rollers and their capability to control the depth and speed of the massage, some massage chair brands have incorporated advanced algorithms to further elevate the complexity and nuance to the massage chair programs. Shop Now
What Types of Track Massage Chairs are Available?
The centerpiece to any massage chair is the rolling massage track behind the chair back itself. These tracks attach to the rollers and determine the areas of the body you can massage. Two main types of rollers exist in the market place today.
- S Track Roller: An S track massage chair has a sinusoidal shape and provides a massage from the top of your neck down to your lower back. Older massage chair models did not contour to the shape of the spine, which limited the therapeutic benefits of the massage. All modern chairs use at minimum an S track design. Shop Now
L Track Roller: An L track roller contours along your back in the same areas as an S track roller, but also extends beneath your body to provide massage for your glutes and upper hamstrings. These extended massage zones have proven to be very popular and have provided a whole new dimension to the massage chair experience. Shop Now
5 year parts and labor warranty included on select models
What Technology Features Should I Look for?
Beyond the style and quality of the massage there are a variety of other features that help determine the overall quality of the chair.
- Foot Massage: Most massage chairs incorporate some type of foot massage that come in varying quality levels. The best chairs incorporate best practices from the reflexology field to provide therapeutic relief for your feet.
- Airbag Massage: Varying numbers of airbags in a variety of locations are used to provide therapy in hard to reach places. Make sure to review air bag locations to ensure you are receiving therapy in all your desired areas.
- Heat Therapy
- Heated Back: Generalized back heat provides therapeutic relief
- Heated Rollers: Some massage chair models heat the rollers to provide more localized heat comparable to hot stone therapy
- Heated Calf Therapy: Heated air bags on select models further elevate the heat options by providing a gentle heat for your calf and knee areas
- Space Requirements: Newer chair designs have added a space saving design to allow the chair to sit closer to the wall. Look for chairs that allow you to sit the back of the chair less than 7" from the wall.
- Hand Held Controller: The standard type of controller used in most massage chairs
- Tablet Display: A tablet display provides the most intuitive user experience navigating your massage options
- Bluetooth Speakers: Most new chair models now add Bluetooth speakers. The quality of the speakers can vary significantly between models so make sure to test the sound quality before buying your chair.
- Warranty: The warranty is often over looked with a purchase, but is essential with a massage chair which has numerous moving parts. Make sure to review full warranty info before proceeding with a purchase
We hope you enjoyed our 2023 massage chair buying guide. Finding your perfect chair is a difficult task, but once you find your fit and get your first massage in the chair you will see what a difference it can make in your life.
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