Massage Chair Buying Guide

A massage buying chair guide with the latest information to help you find a chair that fits your need!

If you’re shopping around for a good massage chair, this is a helpful guide to assist you.

It goes without saying, having a massage chair in your home can allow receiving massages at your convenience and can help save money long term.

To find the right massage chair for you, there are a few questions you first must ask yourself. 

Read More: Top Massage Chair Brands in 2020

FREE Massage Chair Buying Checklist

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What's your budget?

Massage chairs can become a very expensive investment and become overwhelming as there are many different types of massage chairs in the market today.

Up to $1,000 – Budget Massage Chairs

These are usually massage chairs that has older technology and limited features. You might find the rollers and mechanisms aren’t as smooth and doesn’t do nearly as well as the pricier massage chairs. This is suitable for those looking for just a quick fix and are content with having something to work out the kinks.

There are some good massage chairs that are worth mentioning and have received solid ratings. You might be able to find good massage chairs that perform well but might not be as durable.

Read MoreTop 10 Massage Chairs Under $1,000

$1,500 to $5,000 – Mid-Range Massage Chairs

Chairs in the mid-range category is vast and can be difficult to narrow down the best option for you. A good massage chair in the mid-range may be a combination of old-new technology; or has a superior feature, but lack in another area. The goal is to focus on what is more important to you, and read the fine print and past customer reviews.  The guide below can help you narrow down your search. Though chairs in the $3,000 to $5,000 range will offer many of the main features that the higher end chairs will.

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$5,000 + - High-End Massage Chairs

If you are shopping for a high-end massage chair, the sky is the limit. There are plenty of options and you can find yourself a very great chair. The challenge is which one will give you the best for the amount your willing to pay.

Read More: Top 10 Massage Chairs $5,000 to $10,000

What's important to you?

Massage chairs come in many variation and offers different features. It’s just as important to understand the different features that are offered massage chairs today. This not only will maximize your investment, but also ensures you are getting what is best for you. 

Using the massage guide below, it will help you when you’re shopping around for a new massage chair.

Read More: Are Massage Chairs Worth It?

The Massage Guide

Normally, price and technology go together. The massage track, which is the mechanism on how the massage chairs perform. As discussed earlier, budget chairs might leverage older technology such as Massage balls or Dual Rollers. Whereas, higher priced chairs may be able to offer Sixer Roller Arrays and Hybrid L/S Track.

When look at massage chairs, the labels on the features are very important.  To help you easily understand what you’re paying for, we’ve broken the key components for selecting a massage chair.

This is the guideline that can be used when shopping for massage chairs.

  • Budget Chairs (Up to $1,000) – pick 4 features
  • Mid-Range Chairs ($1,000 to $6,000) – pick up to 8 features
  • High-End Chairs ($6,000) – 8+ features

Massage Rollers

1 - Roller Massage Track

Massage tracks are the direction in which the rollers will move.  There are three different kinds of massage track to consider: 

  • Fixed frame are likely used are lower-end massage chairs. Typically the Fixed frame massage heads are stationary which results in lesser quality massages.
  • S-Track is the current industry standard, which will trace along your spine. This will provide a much better massage experience.
  • L-Track is the newer massage track available. Some companies may label this as L-Track or Hybrid L/S Track. It combines the S-Track technology, and extends the roller from next to glutes and back of your thighs.

2 - Rollers and Massage Balls

To keep things simple, the more rollers the better. The current industry standard is quad-rollers (4), with six-rollers being a rare commodity. This is an area, where some manufacturers may want to cut corners to make up for hyping up a lower-end chair. They use a dual or tri-roller or even substitute the rollers with massage balls. Massage balls are generally great for substituting against rollers since it does not have a drastic affect on the massage experience. Though the feel will be the same across the board. You will not have the option to mimic say a deep tissue massage or kneading.

This is an example, where you have to read the fine print carefully. Just keep in mind, the more rollers the better overall massage experience. 

3 - 2D vs 3D vs 4D Rollers

2-D rollers move up and down on the massage track, however, with 3-D rollers, it will have an extra motor giving it more versatility and can protrude the rollers a few inches. This makes the massage chair rollers adjustable. This will give a deeper tissue massage effect and will be pricier. 

4-D is the latest technology, similiar to 3-D with roller protrusion, it also allows for speed control. These new rollers will be the closest to real-human feel.

4 - Roller Features

The ability to adjust the rollers will enhance your overall massage experience. When looking at massage chairs, consider the following options.

  1. 3D Body Scanning will allow the rollers to adjust to your body’s shape. This will allow the rollers to move to the right spots.
  2. Manual Adjustments are excellent to ensure the rollers are positioned exactly where you want them. 
  3. Dual Capabilities will offer the best of both worlds, of course for a bit more money. You can allow the massage chair to do a body scan or manually adjust the rollers position.

You want to make sure at minimal, there’s at least a 3D Body scan feature to maximum the massage experience. Much lower end chairs are stationary and you’d find yourself having to position your body to the roller’s direction.

5 - Types of Rollers

  • Shiatsu
  • Thai
  • Swedish
  • Kneading
  • Knocking
  • Tapping

For any roller-based massage chairs, there will be different technique options to choose from. The rollers will be capable im mimicking the specific effects. Here are some of the most common ones today. 

Obviously, the more pricier massage chairs will have more options to choose from.

TGR Quick Picks

Massage Chairs with 4 out of 5 ratings or better

TGR Pick for Budget Masssage Chair (Up to $1,000)

Massage Chair Zero Gravity Full Body Electric Shiatsu Massage Chair Recliner with Built-in Heat Therapy Foot Roller Air Massage System SL-Track Stretch Vibrating Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Brown

R Rothania Ospirit New Electric Full Body Shiatsu Massage Chair Recliner Straight I Track

Real Relax 2020 Massage Chair, Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Recliner with Bluetooth and Led Light

TGR Pick for Mid-range Masssage Chair ($1,000 to $6,000)

Human Touch WholeBody 7.1 Massage Chair

Osaki OS-4000 Zero Gravity Executive Fully Body Massage Chair 

RELAXONCHAIR [MK-Classic] Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair with Built-in Heat and Air Massage System 

TGR Pick for High-End Masssage Chair ($6,000+)

Human Touch Super Novo Massage Chair 

Luraco i7 iRobotics 7th Generation 3D Zero Gravity Heating Massage Chair Black

Daiwa Massage Chair Premium Massage Lounger with Bluetooth and Smartphone App Legacy 4  

Air Massage

Any massage chair offering air massage simply means airbags. The more airbags, the better the massage. The latest airbags, are considered 2nd generation. 2nd generation airbags, simply means multi-layer airbags (double usually). This offers firmer massages and durability.

Most massage chair will either offer roller based, air massage or both. The catch is being able to set the level of intensity on the airbags. Lower-end massage chairs may up-sell the chair by listing “air bag” as a premium feature, but is only limited to one setting which may not do anything for you.

Massage Therapy Features

Now that we have gotten a lot of the technicality out of the way, let’s look at some of the therapeutic features offered by massage chairs today.

Deep Tissue Massage is supposed to be more than just your standard roller massages. Often times, manufacturers may list it as is “Deep Tissue Massage” or “3D’ Technology. If you see the term “4D”, make sure you understand what that really means.  3D technology are often likely to mean 3D rollers, and not 2D.

2-D rollers move side to side and up and down, 3-D moves both ways 2-D. The 3-D rollers also protrudes a few inches out giving a more realistic deep-tissue massage feel.

Body Stretching is one of the popular features of a massage chair. Body stretching can alleviate pressure off your spine as well as tight muscles. Having the option for a Hip Swing and/or Waist Twist.

Foot and Calve Massages are included in most massage chairs today. On standard massage chairs, you’re likely to find airbags designed to treat the calves. Airbags will inflate and deflate to simulate squeezes. For feet massages, its commonly treated using rollers. Though lower-end massage chair may use simple vibration technique massages for the soles. Higher-end chairs, will offer tri or quad rollers and even heating capabilities. 

Heating Massage Chairs can help loosen your muscles. You can consider this an added benefit, and its likely you’ll be paying more money for a massage chair offering heating in different bodily regions. 

Zero-Gravity Seats will enhance your massage experience. Your body will be positioned, giving you a feeling that you’re floating. Hence zero-gravity, and this allows more pressure to be applied to your body offering a more deeper massage. There are typically 1-3 seating position, and this includes laying on your back.

Focus Point Massage is a must have for those who have vocal pain areas. It allows the massage rollers to stay at a certain spot for long periods of time. This is helpful if you want to give extra attention to a troubled area.

Nice to Haves

We have spent some time focusing on the core technology and features of the massage chair. Here are other features that can help heighten your massage experience, but not directly impact the massage experience. 

  • MP3 Support for music via SSD card slot, USB port and or Bluetooth capabaility
  • Chromotherapy have allowed some to enjoy a soft LED light glow
  • Space saving designs; some can be folded up and some can be extended for taller people. Make sure you shop around to see what works for you.

 

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