A Complete Buying Guide for Massage Chairs

best massage chair buying guideMaybe your body is achy and sore from work and you are realizing that you simply can’t cope much longer. Maybe you are healing from an injury and the regular trips to the massage therapist are costing you a fortune. Or maybe you have chronic pain combined with stress that is affecting the quality of your life. Whatever the reason, if you are thinking of equipping your home with a massage chair, then you’ve come to the right place.

Since their original appearance in the 1980s, massage chairs have been advancing and developing technologically to meet the needs of their users. Today’s massage chairs are well-designed with many features and benefits, but comparing and contrasting them for a purchase might seem a bit overwhelming.

This Consumer’s Guide for the best massage chair purchase will help clear up the confusion and guide you the process of making a confident, educated decision.

Here are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself in order to narrow down your options for purchasing a massage chair.

Where Will Your Massage Chair Go?

When thinking about your new massage chair, you need to consider where you plan to place it in your home. As these chairs are often bulkier than a typical chair, you need to leave space for the chair in your bedroom, living room, office, or other place where you plan to keep it. You may need to discuss this with other members of your family in order to make the best possible use of the chair.

Some massage chairs have a “wall-hugging” feature that allows you to place it close to the wall while other chairs need to be placed far (possibly 12-18”) from the wall in order to leave room for the chair to fully recline. Before making a purchase, find out what the “space footprint” is for the chair and how far it needs to be placed from the wall. Also, if you plan to keep it on an upstairs floor, be sure to verify that it will fit up your stairwell (size and weight).

Because of their bulk and size, massage chairs are not extremely portable. Some of them are fitted with casters or wheels which make moving easier. However, it’s best to plan to move your massage chair as infrequently as possible.

What Size are the People Using Your Massage Chair?

If you and your family members are of average height and weight, then almost any massage chair should fit you. However, if one of the people regularly making use of the chair is very tall, very short, or very large, then you may find some difficulty. For instance, if a massage chair is designed for persons up to 6’0” and you are 6’4”, you will likely find your feet hanging over the end and your neck unsupported at the top of the chair. Those who are in the tall range should choose a massage chair that offers extra leg extenders as well as an adjustable neck rest or pillow to accommodate the height.

While it might seem that people of shorter stature will fit anywhere, this may not be exactly true either. Someone who is just 4’11” tall may find that she cannot sit all the way back in the chair without her feet hitting where the calf massager should be. Also, chairs with fixed back rollers will likely not be ideal for a shorter person as the rollers and nodes will hit in the wrong spot. In this case, choosing a chair that offers Body Scan Technology should be very helpful in allowing the chair to adjust to your body.

What Features are Most Important to You?

The best way to answer this question is to first think about why you originally decided to purchase a massage chair. If you need this massage chair for sciatic nerve pain in your hips, then one of the most important features will probably be that the chair has a massage that extended from the lower back into the hips. If you have foot pain or reflexology needs, then a massage chair with foot rollers (rather than air bags on the feet) may be important to you.

If you’ve been recommended by a medical professional to use heat therapy for your back, then obviously you’ll want to choose a chair with this feature. Those who are experiencing a great deal of pressure on their spines, or who need to improve heart health and circulation, may find that Zero Gravity is one of the deal-breaking features for their massage chair.

Start by making a priority list for yourself and then eliminate chairs that don’t meet your most important needs.

What Type of Massage Do You Need?

Massage chairs have different massage techniques that may be more or less important to you.

Here’s a rundown of available techniques:

  • Shiatsu. Translated literally as “finger pressure” this massage technique is used in traditional eastern medicine, applying pressure to the same points as used in acupuncture.
  • Swedish. Referring to a collection of techniques that are designed to relax muscles by applying deep pressure and gentle rubbing.
  • Rolling. A very common form of massage technique applied to the back of the massage chair, rollers apply even pressure with the intention of warming and loosening the muscles.
  • Percussion. Rapid tapping strokes that alternate and provide for the release of tension in the muscles while stimulating circulation.
  • Kneading. Relieving soreness and tension by stretching and lifting muscles, this technique improves circulation and clears out toxins.

How Much Can You Spend?

Budgets for massage chairs can have a fairly large range, beginning from around $700 and moving up to almost $15,000. But it is important to understand that just because it is more expensive, doesn’t mean that it is the best chair for you. Granted, in most cases a higher price tag will mean better features and more customizability. But unless you have an unlimited budget, then the amount of value you are getting for your money should be a consideration. Some of the cheapest chairs on the market might be tempting, but they are often very basic and missing out of many of the features you can get if you are able to add a few hundred dollars to your budget.

How Important is Customer Service?

While some people are happy to purchase an item and never again wish to contact the company again. On the other hand, some people want feel safer by having more direct access to a company. Some companies are either based in the United States or have US customer service numbers and this may be a sticking point to some people who are choosing a massage chair company.

What Kind of Warranty Do You Need?

While a good warranty is important, it is also a personal preference. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t mind tinkering around and fixing various moving parts, then a warranty may not be that important to you. On the other hand, if you have high expectations of using your massage chair every day and you aren’t exactly Mr. Fix-It, then you may need to consider a warranty more important.

Getting clarifying information on warranties is also important as they are not all the same. Some warranties may cover parts and mechanicals only, causing you to have to pay for the laborer to actually do the fixing. Other warranties may be full coverage for a time and then move to limited coverage after that. Make sure that you understand exactly what the warranty offers prior to purchase.

What Kind of Delivery Service/Assembly Option is Offered?

Part of this consideration is what kind of delivery service the massage chair company has. This is especially important if you live in an apartment or you’re planning to put your chair on the second floor of your house. Some companies only contract with curbside delivery which means that you may need help getting the (very heavy) massage chair into your house and to the place where you need it.

In addition, some sort of assembly is usually required when receiving a massage chair. Some companies offer white glove delivery service which means they’ll bring it into the house and install it for you. Other companies may leave you to your own devices with just an instruction manual. While this may not make or break your decisions to purchase a particular massage chair, it is helpful to know these things ahead of time so that you are prepared.

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consumers guide best massage chair

Compare The 3 Best Selling Massage Chairs

Best Selling Massage Chairs

Name/Image Learn MoreRatingPriceMassage ProgramsAirbagsWarrantyColor
Kahuna LM6800 Massage Chair Recliner Full Body Zero Gravity L-Track

Kahuna LM6800 Massage Chair Recliner Full Body Zero Gravity L-Track

Check PriceSee Full Review 4.5 Star Average Rating Mid Range6363 YearsKhaki, Beige
Best Massage EC 06C Shiatsu Massage Chair Recliner Heat Stretched Foot Rest

Best Massage EC 06C Shiatsu Massage Chair Recliner Heat Stretched Foot Rest

Check PriceSee Full Review 4.5 Star Average Rating Low End4301 Year Brown, Black, Burgundy
IDEAL Massage Chair Full Featured Luxury Shiatsu with Built-In Heat by Beauty Health

IDEAL Massage Chair Full Featured Luxury Shiatsu with Built-In Heat by Beauty Health

Check PriceSee Full Review 4.5 Star Average Rating Mid Range 4N/A3 YearsRed, Black, Beige, and Brown

Compare More Top Rated Massage Chairs

Top Rated Massage Chairs

Name/Image Learn MoreRatingPriceMassage ProgramsAirbagsWarrantyColor
iRobotics 7 Medical Massage Chair by Luraco Technologies

iRobotics 7 Medical Massage Chair by Luraco Technologies

Check PriceSee Full Review 5 Star Average Rating High End9 auto w/ limitless customization1005 YearsBlack, Cream, and Chocolate
Relaxonchair MK-IV Massage Chair Full Body Zero Gravity with Heating and Air Massage

Relaxonchair MK-IV Massage Chair Full Body Zero Gravity with Heating and Air Massage

Check PriceSee Full Review 4.5 Star Average Rating Mid Range5285 Years Dark Chocolate and Brown
ZycraPulse Massage Lounge Chair by Schultz

ZycraPulse Massage Lounge Chair by Schultz

Check PriceSee Full Review 4.5 Star Average Rating High End15N/AN/ABlack
Relaxonchair MK-II PLUS Massage Chair Full Body Shiatsu Zero Gravity

Relaxonchair MK-II PLUS Massage Chair Full Body Shiatsu Zero Gravity

Check PriceSee Full Review 4.5 Star Average Rating Mid Range4N/A3 YearsChocolate, Charcoal
Real Relax Massage Chair Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu plus VR Headset

Real Relax Massage Chair Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu plus VR Headset

Check PriceSee Full Review 4.5 Star Average Rating Low End2353 YearsBlack, Burgundy and Khaki
Best Massage EC161 Massage Chair Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu

Best Massage EC161 Massage Chair Full Body Zero Gravity Shiatsu

Check PriceSee Full Review 4 Star Average Rating Low End4N/A1 YearBlack
Human Touch iJoy 2580 Massage Chair Premium Robotic

Human Touch iJoy 2580 Massage Chair Premium Robotic

Check PriceSee Full Review 4 Star Average Rating Low End3N/A2 YearsBlack and Expresso

Conclusion

Buying a massage chair may take a little time and consideration but it doesn’t have to cause you significant amounts of stress! You can certainly take the time needed to investigate, but answering the questions above will help you to look carefully and narrow down the choices to exactly what you want in a massage chair.