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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
193 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best electronic pulse massagers

Electronic pulse massagers are becoming more and more common as athletes and others use them to relieve muscle aches and pains. These devices work by sending an electrical pulse through electrode pads that you attach to the surface of your skin. The pulses stimulate the muscles and offer relief from aches, tension, and pain, as well as massage the affected area. Many people claim that electronic muscle stimulation has improved their performance and energy in athletic endeavors.

The electronic pulse massager has been approved by the FDA for the purpose of muscle pain relief. If used properly and often enough, it can also have regenerative effects on sore muscles. Whether you are a world class athlete or simply looking for some pain relief due to an active job or lifestyle, an electronic pulse massager may be able to offer the help you seek.

Check out our favorites and read our guide to find the electronic pulse massager that’s right for you.

If you feel like you’re not getting enough out of an electronic pulse program, change the electrode positions for a different experience.

Key considerations

How does it work?

If you’ve never used an electronic pulse massager before, you might be skeptical. Essentially, the device uses electrical impulses to activate the tissues in your muscles for the purpose of relieving pain. Some suggest that electronic pulse machines work because the electrical impulses block the pain signal between the nerves and the spine. Another theory is that the pulses release endorphins, which help to reduce pain in the muscles. Although there is some debate as to why these machines work, there is little argument about their effectiveness. Millions of people use them every day to relieve chronic pain and muscle aches. If you’ve been looking for pain relief without success, an electronic pulse massager could be the answer.

Ease of use and effectiveness are the two primary factors to keep in mind as you look. You want a machine that isn’t too complicated to use and that gives you the results you need. Look for this balance as you shop.

Assess your pain

You also need to determine if an electronic pulse massager can give you the relief you seek. Some injuries are so severe that only the care of a doctor, surgery, or medication can help. Determine the severity of your pain and whether you think an electronic pulse massager can give you the relief you need.

Consider your time

The use of an electronic pulse massager requires that you stop moving and sit still during the treatment. If you can’t carve out some time during the day to focus on your rehab needs, an electronic pulse massager won’t be able to help you. Make the time to take care of your health.

CAUTION

Don’t allow any two electrodes of your electronic pulse massager to touch. It can damage the machine.

Features

Design

Electronic pulse massagers come in different configurations and electrode sizes, so think about the area you want to treat. When shopping for a massager, take into account how each unit is designed in relation to the intended treatment area.

Multi-channel

Some electronic pulse massagers can run two stimulation programs simultaneously. This means that half the electrodes can be performing a function on one part of your body while the remaining ones can be running a different stimulation program at the same time. This makes a more personalized treatment possible during the course of a shorter time period.

Batteries

Most of the electronic pulse massagers currently available are powered by disposable batteries, but some are powered by rechargeable batteries. This means that rather than constantly changing dead batteries, you can simply plug your device into the wall to keep it charged and ready to use.

Auto shutoff

If you get interrupted while using your electronic pulse massager, the device will continue to run and drain the battery unless it shuts off automatically. Some electronic pulse massagers automatically shut off if they detect that you’ve stopped using them.

Electronic pulse massager prices

Inexpensive: These electronic pulse massagers cost between $15 and $25. They offer the same basic functions as most of the mid-range and expensive models, but they have fewer channels and program modes.

Mid-range: Massagers that cost $25 to $50 have more special features than most of the cheaper units. Most have two channels for programming.

Expensive: The majority of expensive models cost between $50 and $100 for the highest-quality electronic pulse massagers. Many of these are rechargeable and likely offer more feedback information about the muscle group you’re treating.

Premium: Additionally, there are a few premium models that cost around $300. These machines have as many as 20 electrodes and up to 40 different program modes and tend to be models used by healthcare professionals.

EXPERT TIP

Make sure to turn off your electronic pulse massager after each use. Failure to do so could drain the battery.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Put your electronic pulse massager back in its carrying case when you’re done. The delicate electrodes will last longer if they’re protected.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Make sure the pads are securely stuck to your skin. Then start your electronic pulse massage program.

  • Change the pad position. If you want to change the flow of electrical pulses through your muscle, change the position and distance between the pads.

  • Don’t place a pad directly over a joint. It may not stay attached. If you want to treat a joint, place pads on either side of it.

  • Place the pads at least one inch apart. Not doing so can cause them to short out or not have the desired effect on your muscles.

Other products we considered

Electronic pulse massagers are becoming so popular with athletes and the general public that it’s difficult to choose just five of the best without leaving out some great options. We’ve added a few more for you to consider. On the inexpensive end of the spectrum, take a look at the Santamedical PM-510 Electronic Pulse Massager. The adjustable massage strength option and the gradual increase/decrease feature make this a great choice for the price. In the mid-range category, the AUVON Dual Channel TENS Unit is an impressive choice because of its 20 preset modes that help with any number of aches and pains.

Do not attempt to use one electronic pulse massager on two people at the same time. These devices are intended for single use only.

FAQ

Q. Is an electronic pulse massager a good replacement for visiting the doctor if I have muscle pain?
A
. Not necessarily. First determine the severity of the pain you have. If you think there is a muscle tear, severe sprain, or any other major tissue damage, you should visit your doctor before using an electronic pulse massager.

Q. Do I have to change the electrode pads after every use?
A
. No. Electrode pads for electronic pulse massagers are intended for multiple uses. They’re sticky on the contact side, which helps them stay attached to the skin. After some time they’ll lose their adhesive quality, which means you’ll need to replace them eventually, but not after each use.

Q. How immediate is the pain relief?
A.
Most people feel pain relief in the same moment that they use the electronic pulse massager. This is because the electrodes are sending electrical impulses straight into the nerves of the muscle. You shouldn’t have to wait at all to feel the healing effects of the device.

Q. Can an electronic pulse massager help me lose weight or make me stronger?
A.
No. These devices are strictly intended to help with muscle and joint aches and pains. They don’t burn fat or help you burn calories. And while one can help to rehabilitate a muscle through stimulation, it doesn’t build muscle the way that exercise does.

The team that worked on this review
  • Adam
    Adam
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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