What Are The Best Massage Chair Brands? Your Ultimate Buyers’ Guide
Do you love getting a massage, but don’t have time to go to the spa every week? Perhaps you’ve tried self-massage, but it just isn’t cutting it? It might be time to take your massage treatments to the next level by investing in a massage chair.
What types of massage chair are available?
To help narrow your search, decide on your preferred type of chair. The main categories are as follows:
Shiatsu is a style of clothed massage that incorporates tapping, pressure, and kneading. Shiatsu literally translates as “finger pressure.” Practitioners manipulate acupressure points throughout the body to facilitate a flow of life energy.
Massage chairs with Shiatsu settings are designed to mimic the touch of a Shiatsu practitioner. Most chairs allow you to decide which part of your body you want to massage. Shiatsu massage chairs provide an effective remedy for joint pain, backache, and poor circulation. Chairs usually come with “regular massage” options, which is great for general relaxation.
2. Zero gravity
Zero gravity chairs are designed to replicate the sensation of floating in space. You simply recline and allow the chair to support your back in its natural position. It gently encourages the spine to stretch and relax. Zero gravity chairs are therefore a wonderful option for people with chronic back pain.
As the name implies, these chairs contain massaging points that stimulate your entire body. Your feet, calves, back, shoulders, arms, neck and sometimes even hands will all be massaged evenly. This is the most popular type of chair because it offers the most comprehensive treatment.
4. Air massage chairs
Instead of using electric-powered massaging modules, an air massage chair uses airbags to massage your body. This is a good choice for users with, particularly sensitive muscles. Depending on the model, they might massage your whole body or just arms and legs.
5. Massaging seat toppers
These are not complete pieces of furniture, but devices you strap or place on to a chair. They are easy to install and take up little space, so are a good choice if you don’t have room for a full-size massage chair. They are also considerably cheaper.
When you start researching chairs, you’ll realize that many models incorporate multiple features. For example, zero-gravity chairs often massage your body using small airbags and also offer Shiatsu massage.
Massage Chairs With Special Features
1. Heated massage chairs
Some chairs also feature heat alongside massage. Heat helps your muscles relax and allows for a deeper massage. A warm massage chair is particularly wonderful in the winter months.
2. Neck and hand massage chairs
Until relatively recently, most massage chairs did not offer hand massage. However, some chairs now come with designated hand rests and will massage your wrists, palms, and fingers.
The majority of mid to high-end massage chairs now come with Bluetooth technology. This allows you to play your favorite music while enjoying a massage.
4. Child safety locks
Young children might think massage chairs look fun and want to try them out – but they can be dangerous. Some chairs some with child locks for your peace of mind.
5. Memory settings
It can be difficult to remember configuration you use during a massage session. Some chairs allow you to store your favorite settings for future use, saving you time and effort. There are even chairs that allow you to save settings for multiple users.
6. Body scanning technology
Everyone has a different physique and therefore benefits from different applications of pressure. Some chairs automatically scan your body when you first sit down. The chair’s computer then shifts the massage rollers to suit your physiology.
7. Space saving designs
Full-body massage chairs are generally large and bulky. In order to take advantage of their zero-gravity features, you have to recline them. Most chairs require around 20” clearance. However, you can buy models that need considerably fewer space thanks to their special designs.
S-Rail versus L-Rail systems
When reading through chair specifications, you’ll notice that manufacturers will describe a chair as having an “S-Rail” or “L-Rail” design. Sometimes they are referred to as “L-Track” or “S-Track” roller systems.
These terms describe the shape of the chair’s roller track. Inside every massage chair is a “spine” of massage rollers. Depending on the model, the roller track may reach as far down as the thighs or stop at the lower back.
Neither is “better” than the other – it comes down to personal preference. In short, if you are looking primarily for a back massage, a conventional S-Track is fine. If you are interested in an intense glute and hamstring massage, you might like to find a chair built with an L-Track.
The Best Massage Chair Brands On The Market
Osaki OS4000TB Zero Gravity Massage Chair
The Osaki OS4000TB Zero Gravity Massage Chair is a piece of high-end technology that offers zero-gravity air massage. You can choose from six massage styles and massage all areas of your body. The chair also incorporates heat therapy which helps relax your lower back. The massage rollers use an S-Track system.
However, it is large and difficult to move. As a high-end product, it’s also expensive.
Osaki OS-1000 Deluxe Massage Chair
If you love the Osaki brand but have a smaller budget, try the Osaki OS-1000 Deluxe Massage Chair. It offers a Shiatsu-style experience in a relatively compact design. The chair has 20 airbags that offer leg and foot massage. It reclines to 170 degrees but does not offer a zero-gravity experience.
It’s important to note that the calf massage is very strong, so may not be suitable if your calves are particularly sensitive. The maximum massage length is 15 minutes, so if you like long massages this isn’t the best product for you.
Brookstone S8 Shiatsu Massaging Seat Topper
If you don’t have the space for a massage chair or only want to spend a few hundred dollars, try a chair topper. The Brookstone S8 Shiatsu Massaging Seat Topper can be placed on virtually any chair. It offers a back and shoulder Shiatsu-style massage with three levels of intensity.
The massage balls on the neck and shoulder areas protrude quite a long way. Some users have reported that this makes the chair uncomfortable. The maximum massage length is 20 minutes, which might be a drawback depending on your needs and preferences.
ReAct Shiatsu Massage Chair
Brookstone also produces full-size massage chairs. If you want good functionality at a low price, consider their ReAct Shiatsu Massage Chair. It features an “L-Track” that delivers a deep massage along the back and thighs. The chair comes with two preset programs and heating options. It’s sleek, minimalist design will fit in most homes.
If you want a back massage, this chair is a good buy, but it doesn’t cover the arms, legs, or feet. It does not recline, so you can only receive a massage while in a sitting position.
Human Touch iJoy Active 2.0 Perfect Fit
For those who want to invest in a full massage chair but don’t have much space, the iJoy Active 2.0 Perfect Fit Massage Chair is an elegant solution. The recline handle allows you to position the chair up to 180 degrees. It massages the back, neck, and shoulders.
Because the chair is designed to take up as little space as possible, it does not massage the hands or feet. However, Human Touch also sells a foot massager that is available as an add-on.
Human Touch “Novo” Full Body Coverage Zero-Gravity L-Track Massage Chair
Do you want to invest in a premium massage chair with stunning looks? Consider the Human Touch “Novo” Full Body Coverage Zero-Gravity L-Track Massage Chair. Recline in the chair for a zero-gravity sensation while the chair directs a continual flow of warm air over your back. The chair comes with 30 preset programs and offers gentle spinal stretching.
Inada Dreamwave Massage Chair
The Inada Dreamwave Massage Chair provides a total full-body massage with a 180-degree incline. It delivers massage strokes in a figure-of-eight motion designed to imitate a real massage. The chair comes with eight programs including massages for morning and evening.
Compared with other chairs in this price bracket, some users find that the massage is relatively weak. The chair is likely to suit those who prefer a gentle massage. It has a relaxing rather than therapeutic effect.
Infinity IT-8500X3 Massage Chair
The Infinity IT-8500X3 Massage Chair uses airbags to provide an all-over massage. It heats your muscles first, making the massage more comfortable and effective. You can also recline the chair for a zero-gravity experience.
Because the rollers are adjustable, the chair works well for those who prefer both deep and gentle massage. This chair also massages the feet using six rolling sole massagers.
Tall people and those with long arms might not find it a comfortable fit. The chair does not come with a childproof lock, so may not be suitable if you have young children.
Kahuna S-Track Zero-Gravity Full-Body Recliner LM6800
Kahuna is a market leader in the massage chair industry. Their S-Track Zero-Gravity Full-Body Recliner LM6800 offers mechanical rollers and air cells to give an all-over massage. It has three zero-gravity options, five manual massage techniques, and six automated programs. You can also enjoy heat therapy on your legs and lower back.
Massage chairs can be bulky, and this model is no exception. However, Kahuna has designed this chair so that it requires only three inches from the wall during all three zero-gravity position transitions. The chair simulates Shiatsu massage, chiropractic adjustment, and yogic stretching.
However, some people find the massage too intense in some areas, particularly the shoulders and neck. If you are over six foot tall, you may also find the chair to be too small. The arm wells are quite shallow, so if you are well-built the arm massage probably won’t work as the manufacturer intended.
L-Track Kahuna Massage Chair LM-7000
If you have a larger budget, opt for the L-Track Kahuna Massage Chair LM-7000. It has detachable, washable dual foot rollers that stimulate the soles of the foot. Its Bluetooth speakers mean you can enjoy music during your massage, which lasts up to 30 minutes. The chair uses special computer body scan technology to customize your massage.
Some users report that the instruction manual is confusing and that the chair takes a long time to put together. The manufacturer supplies padding for the foot massager, but unzipping the pad pockets can be difficult.
Sharper Image SMG1405 Shiatsu Back Massager
If your back is in need of attention, try the Sharper Image SMG1405 Shiatsu Back Massager with Heat. All you have to do is place it on any chair and switch it on. Two rows of massage nodes deliver a soothing massage. You can also add heat, and the vibrating seat cushion helps relax your core muscles.
It’s light and portable, so is suitable for taking to work. However, keep in mind that it only massages your back, not your neck, shoulders, or any other region. The massage is also a generic pushing motion – if you want a Shiatsu-style effect, you need to look elsewhere.
Daiwa L-Track Daiwa Legacy Massage Chair DWA-9100
The L-Track Daiwa Legacy Massage Chair DWA-9100 lives up to its name – it’s a standout product. It’s one of the most expensive chairs on the market, but offers a memorable massage. The chair incorporates 49 inches of massage track from the shoulders to glutes – most chairs offer 29 inches of rollers.
Aside from the cost, the chair requires a lot of space. It needs a minimum of 20 inches clearance when moving into its zero-gravity position. It syncs with most iOS and Android phones to play music but some users report that setting it up can be a challenge.
L-Track The Titan TPRO8400D Massage Chair
L-Track The Titan TPRO8400D Massage Chair is engineered for people who enjoy moderate to strong massage. It offers a full-body massage, including the hands and outer shoulders. You can adjust the leg width for a more customized experience, making it a good choice for people with unusual body shapes.
The chair uses airbags to deliver compression massage to the calves and feet. It has two zero-gravity stages and reflexology rollers to give a targeted sole massage. You can adjust not just the intensity of the main rollers, but also the airbags. There are five levels of air pressure so you can enjoy a tailored foot massage.
The TPRO8400D’s remote has been designed to be easy to use. Its large buttons make it a good choice for older people and those with visual impairment. You can choose a Shiatsu massage or select rolling, punching, kneading, tapping, or combination movements.
It is one of the heavier chairs on the market, and not the most compact. However, it offers a fantastic range of features, especially for the price. If you would like a particularly strong massage, try the L-Track Titan TI-7700 Massage Chair instead.
Chair Toppers and Cushions
Homedics Shiatsu Elite Pro Massage Cushion
Homedics specialize in massage chair toppers and cushions. Their Shiatsu Elite Pro Massage Cushion With Heat provides gentle or firm massage up and down the user’s back. You can also customize the cushion to suit your height, and change the direction of the massage. It can be used to massage the entire back or just a single area.
In addition, the cushion can be easily heated up with the click of a button. This is great if you want to relax your muscles and work out knots. It’s a quick way to enhance circulatory function. The cushion is lightweight, so you can take it to work or use it anywhere in the house.
However, some users find the massage a little too hard and even report bruising. Depending on your body shape, the massage rollers might not cover your entire back. It’s also quite noisy, so may not be suitable to use at work if you share an office.
Homedics’ MCS-750HA Quad Shiatsu Pro Massage Cushion
Homedics’ MCS-750HA Quad Shiatsu Pro Massage Cushion offers three massage styles – percussion, deep, and rolling. The seat is covered in a breathable mesh, making it a good choice for warm climates. It’s lighter than the Elite Cushion, making it more portable.
The massage is relatively weak on the upper back, consider another product if you want to target this area. You can adjust the range of the massage to suit the length of your back. However, it needs to be recalibrated every time the appliance is turned back on.
Medical Massage Chair
Luraco iRobotics 7 Medical Massage Chair
If you are buying a chair for several people to use, consider the Luraco iRobotics 7 Medical Massage Chair. It can store five unique settings – one for each member of the family. The chair can accommodate people up to 6’ 7” and is listed with both the FDA and UL as a medical device.
Although the Luraco can give a firm massage, there are stronger chairs on the market. It is one of the most expensive massage chairs available, but in the long run it may be cheaper than getting regular massages.
Medical Breakthrough (MB) L-Track The MB 4 Massage Chair
L-Track The MB 4 Massage Chair Recliner is an FDA-approved medical device designed with input from over 25 medical professionals. Its standout feature is its flexibility. You can adjust the incline to almost any angle of your choosing. When you sit in the chair, its body scanning technology automatically adjusts the rollers to suit you.
It uses airbags to lightly squeeze your hips and spine for a gentle but effective chiropractic adjustment. The chair massages every area of your body but is relatively weak on the shoulders and neck. It is easy to use but it may take some trial and error at first because the instructions are not particularly clear.
RELAXONCHAIR L-Track MK-II
RELAXONCHAIR aims to provide high-end features at an affordable price. The L-Track MK-II Plus includes features you would expect from expensive chairs but for hundreds of dollars less. It comes with three levels of zero-gravity tilt, computerized body scanning, and four massage programs. You can also include heat in your massage.
Unfortunately, the mechanical components can be noisy during use. The remote also beeps every time any button is pressed, which may prove annoying. It is a fairly bulky chair and requires 19” of clearance from the wall. The foot massage is strong and may be uncomfortable for some users.
RELAXONCHAIR S-Track MK-IV
If you have a larger budget, check out the company’s S-Track MK-IV model. It comes with five auto programs and three manual massage settings. It has zero-gravity settings but is cleverly designed so that it only requires 3” clearance from the wall. When you’ve found massage settings that suit you best, you can program the chair to remember them for next time.
However, if you are looking for a good leg and foot massage, this chair might not meet your needs. It uses airbags rather than rollers for lower body massage, so the main sensation is that of squeezing rather than kneading. You can use the chair to warm your lower back but the seat and lower body regions cannot be heated.
What’s the ‘best’ massage chair brand?
Every chair in this guide has received rave reviews and a few criticisms from buyers. Ultimately, the right brand for you will be dictated by your needs and preferences. For example, you might want a chair that offers an invigorating massage. The same chair that leaves someone else feeling bruised and sore might be exactly what you are after.
If you live with other people, they might want to use the chair. You may want to take their opinions into account. Research the most popular models as a family or couple. Consider buying a chair that can store multiple massage preferences.
How to use your massage chair safely
Massage chair manufacturers recommend that you do not use their products if you have a chronic illness or injury. If this applies to you, it’s best to ask your doctor before investing in an expensive piece of equipment. However, they are perfectly safe for most people. As long as you choose the right chair, it will give you many years of use.