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Best Massage Chair Buying Guide 2020 Edition

Best Massage Chair Buying Guide 2020 Edition

Buying a massage chair can be very confusing, which can be frustrating as a massage chair is designed to alleviate stress and help you relax. With all of the massage chair options in the market place, finding the right solution can be incredibly difficult.  We have put together this comprehensive guide to help you sort through the different features in a massage chair, and learn about some of our favorite models.  That said, before we get into the different features of a modern massage chair, it's important you first understand what a massage chair is and why investing into one can have a significant impact on your life.

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 Choose a Massage Chair over a Traditional Massage?

 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.      

Massage Chair Benefits

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

Comprehensive Features Overview

 Massage Styles 

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    

Massage Chair Rollers and Software

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.  

  • 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 vary the speed of the massage throughout an auto program or manual massage.  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   


Massage Chair Track

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  
  • S + L Track Roller:  An S + 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   

Other Technology Features

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. 
    • Controller
      • 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.

    • Budgeting
      • 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
        • Promotional:  Promotional prices range from $699 to $1999
        • Premium:  Premium solutions range from $1999 to $4999
        • Luxury:  If you are looking for the ultimate in comfort and luxury top quality massage chairs range from $4999 and up

    Top 6 Massage Chair Models

    At Sleep Galleria, we did a great deal of research in determining what massage chair brands we really felt were elevated above the rest.  In the end, only a few brands met our stringent standards for quality and durability.      

    Here are our top 6 recommended massage chair models:

    1. Best Luxury Chair:  The Cozzia Qi SE is in our opinion the best massage chair currently on the market.  This chair combines intuitive tablet controls, one of a kind 4D Vario Motion massage, and advanced algorithms to provide an impressive combination of human like massage along with an exceptional 3 year parts and labor warranty.  Retail Price $5,999.  Shop Now 
    2. Most Therapeutic Massage Chair: Osaki OS Pro Maestro.  The Maestro has all of the features you'd expect from a top of the line chair, but where it really exceeds is in the strength of its massage.  With a 4D design, and 8 levels of adjustability to increase or decrease the intensity, this chair is ideal for those that want the ability to deliver a truly a therapeutic massage experience.  This chair is a step below the Cozzia QI SE due to it's hefty price of $8,999.   Shop Now  
    3. Most Popular Chair: Osaki OS Pro Omni.  This chair is an exceptional value and our most popular chair overall at Sleep Galleria.  It combines features found in much higher end chairs at a price that is hard to beat.  Retail Price $3,499. Shop Now  
    4. Best Overall Chair:  The newest Osaki OS Pro Chair the Admiral combines sleek lines with state of the art technology.  We have found our consumers love the 16 auto programs, true therapeutic kneading massage, and 3D functions to control the intensity that come with the chair as well.  We consider this to be our best chair in the showroom factoring price, durability and quality.  Retail Price $4,399  Shop Now
    5. Best Value Pick: Ootori RL900 L-Track Asuka 3D Massage Chair. This chair is a modern design with a wide range of capabilities and settings.  This chair is part of our value brand made by Ootori.  This chair provides you advanced features such as an L-Track massage, 3D intensity controls and a space saving design at an incredible price.  Retail Price $1,599 Shop Now 


    We hope you enjoyed our 2020 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.

    Need directions to try them out?  Directions to Massage Chair Showroom

    We started Sleep Galleria to make it easy for anyone to experience exceptional sleep.  All of our relaxation and sleep related products are designed to help you be your best self.  Learn more at SLEEPGALLERIA.COM

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    Chip - September 5, 2019

    If I came to show room from Augusta to Atlanta area could I buy one to take home ? Also like for it to be put together .

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