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Best Massage Chairs

Updated July 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
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.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 87 Models Considered
  • 12 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 135 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

    Why trust BestReviews?
    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.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    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.

    Shopping guide for best massage chairs

    Last Updated July 2018

    There’s nothing quite like a massage. Whether you’re recovering from an injury, experiencing chronic back pain, or suffering from a bit of work-induced stress, a massage can turn your frown upside down and make your body feel terrific.

    It’s not just about short-term pleasure, either. Regular massages offer plenty of physical and emotional benefits, too. So while a massage may be viewed as “pampering,” it can also be viewed as legitimate prevention.

    Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t have the time or cash to go for a massage whenever we feel a bit sore or stressed. For this reason, a massage chair can be an incredibly smart investment. If you own a massage chair, you can enjoy the benefits of massage whenever you need them in the comfort of your own home. And the rest of the time, you have a cozy chair for reading, watching TV, and other activities.

    Massage chairs can be fairly costly, so it’s important to choose the right one. You need information about what type of massage the chair offers, the intensity, and any other features the chair offers that would suit you.

    At BestReviews, we delved into the massage chair space to learn all we could about the product. After hours of research, we’re ready to pass our wisdom to you so you can find a fabulous massage chair for your own use. Check out the matrix above for our top recommendations. For general tips on how to choose a massage chair, keep reading this shopping guide.

    A professional 60-minute massage can cost anywhere from $60 to $200. Therefore, you can save considerable money over time by owning your own massage chair.

    Why buy a massage chair?

    If you’ve ever received a great massage, chances are you already understand the inherent benefits of this therapeutic act. If you’re wondering if a massage chair would be a good investment for you, consider these benefits.

    • Reduced pressure: A massage chair can help reduce pressure on the nerves along your spine, which may help relieve chronic and acute back pain.

    • Spinal alignment: The massage function of the chair can help align your spine by relaxing the muscles along it, so the spine lengthens and returns to proper alignment.

    • Muscle relaxation: A massage chair can relax tight muscles all over your body to treat injuries or chronic pain issues.

    • Better posture: By relieving pain and tight muscles in your back, a massage chair may help improve your posture by allowing you to sit or stand taller.

    • Improved circulation: A massage chair boosts circulation throughout your body to help stimulate muscle healing and distribute nutrients and oxygen.  

    • Endorphin release: Using the massage function in the chair can help stimulate the release of endorphins in your body to improve your mood and alleviate stress.

    • Long-term savings: While a massage chair is a fairly costly investment, it can actually save money in the long run by replacing professional massages.

    EXPERT TIP

    Before your new massage chair arrives, make sure your doorway and any hallways are wide enough to accommodate it. Bear in mind, too, that massage chairs can weigh several hundred pounds. You’ll likely need one or two extra people to help set it up.


    Who needs a massage chair?

    Nearly anyone can benefit from regular massages in a massage chair, but there are certain individuals who may have a greater need for a massage chair than others.

    If you have an existing back condition, joint issues, or chronic pain, a massage chair can be a very smart purchase. Athletes, manual laborers, and other individuals who regularly engage in physical activity can also benefit from a massage chair.

    Important massage chair features

    Before you invest in a massage chair, take the following features into consideration.

    Massage chair size

    Massage chairs tend to be fairly large and bulky. Make sure you have enough space for any chair you’re considering. First, measure the area where you plan to place the chair. Then, check the manufacturer's specifications for the dimensions to determine if it will fit.

    It’s also important to consider the size of the people who will be using the chair. Most massage chairs can accommodate a variety of body types, but check to see if there are height or weight limitations for the products you’re looking at.

    If you’re particularly tall or short, it may help to test the massage chair before you buy it. If that’s not possible, be sure to select a chair with a height-adjustment feature. You want to make sure that the rollers hit you in the right places.

    Massage chair upholstery

    Massage chairs typically feature leather or faux-leather upholstery. While leather usually offers the most attractive appearance, faux-leather holds up to heat better, making it an ideal option for a heated massage chair. Faux-leather is also easier to clean than genuine leather.

    Massage chair recline function

    Most massage chairs are recliners, so you can easily recline the chair to put your feet up. However, some massage chairs are actually office-style chairs that don’t allow for reclining.

    If you choose a recliner, look for one that’s able to recline to at least 170 degrees and provides multiple recline settings so you can customize each massage.

    While most shoppers prefer the recliner style, which often allows for leg and foot massage as well, a smaller office-style massage chair might be the better choice if your space is limited.

    Who can benefit from a massage chair? Almost anyone with an existing back condition, arthritis, tendinitis, or other pain issues. If you have any doubts about the safety of using a massage chair, however, consult your physician first.

    Massage styles/techniques

    Less-expensive massage chairs typically feature vibration massage only. This isn’t quite as effective on sore, tired muscles as high-end massage chairs that offer multiple massage styles.

    Here’s a list of the different massage styles a chair may include.

    • Rolling massage: This massage type applies even pressure to the muscles for warming and loosening.

    • Kneading massage: This massage type helps relieve sore and tense muscles by stretching them.

    • Shiatsu massage: This massage type applies fingerlike pressure to specific areas of the body.

    • Swedish massage: This massage type helps relax the muscles with gentle rubbing and deep pressure.

    • Deep tissue massage: This massage type applies deep, methodical pressure and is ideal for chronic tension or injuries.
       

    Some massage chairs also feature air-compression massage, which uses air bags in the chair seat, back, and beneath the legs to apply pressure to the body. Air-compression massage is quite similar to a hands-on massage.

    Massage positions

    While the back of the chair is obviously the most important massaging area, many chairs offer other massage areas, too. If a full-body massage is your goal, choose a chair that includes leg and foot massage functions. You may also wish to look for a chair that massages the arms and wrists.

    For general warming up and loosening of the muscles, a massage chair with a rolling massage function usually works well.

    Massage rollers

    Nearly all massage chairs have rollers that provide rolling massage action, but not all rollers are created equally.

    • Verify the range of the rollers so you know how far they roll.

    • Consider both the height and width of the rollers to determine how complete the range is. Use your body size to determine what type of range is most effective.
       

    Some advanced massage chairs allow you to customize the height and width of the rollers so you can tailor them to your specific needs.

    Massage intensity

    The power and intensity of a massage chair is determined by the number of motors the chair has. In turn, this impacts how effective your massage will be. We generally recommend that consumers look for a massage chair with five to 12 motors. That said, a chair with fewer high-quality motors would likely be better than a chair with multiple low-quality motors.

    Heat

    Some massage chairs are heated for an even more effective massage. The heat loosens the muscles so they’re pliable and susceptible to therapy. Most heated chairs target the back, but there are some massage chairs with heated seats, too.

    If you deal with foot pain regularly, look for a massage chair with foot rollers for targeted foot treatment.

    Body scan technology

    Some high-end massage chairs feature body scan technology that actually detects the position of the body, the alignment of the spine, and areas with tense muscles. The chair then adjusts its rollers appropriately so the most effective massage is given. You’ll pay more for a chair with this feature, but it could be worth it if you want the most thorough massage possible.

    Zero gravity feature

    If a traditional massage chair recliner isn’t sufficient for your needs, consider purchasing a massage chair with a zero gravity feature. A zero gravity massage chair puts the body in a neutral position that negates the effect of gravity to provide a weightless feeling. This is done by elevating the legs above the heart and removing weight from the spine. As a result, the muscles relax more easily, and the massage is more effective.

    Warranty

    Massage chairs are rather costly, so you want to make sure you get your money’s worth. We advise shoppers to carefully consider the warranty before purchasing a massage chair. Will the company cover repairs and maintenance as needed? If so, for how long? Massage chairs with longer warranties are typically higher in quality, because you can trust that the manufacturer stands behind the product.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Massage therapists have long told clients to drink plenty of water after a therapy session. The same holds true for those who sit in a massage chair. Upping your fluid intake after a massage helps your body flush out internal toxins that may have been released.

    Massage chair prices

    As mentioned above, some massage chairs are pricey. You can find them on today’s market for anywhere from $100 to $6,000. However, the majority of people would probably find a chair between $100 and $1,000 to be sufficient.

    • If you’re looking to spend as little as possible on a massage chair, consider a small, office-style chair that just targets the back. You can get one of these for between $100 and $300.

    • A basic full-body massage chair recliner typically costs between $400 and $700.

    • A high-end, full-body massage chair could cost anywhere between $800 and $2,000. These pricier recliners are more likely to have extra features such as a neck massager, built-in control panel, body-scanning function, or heated seat.

    • If money is no object and you want the very best money can buy, consider a full-body massage chair recliner with all the latest high-tech features. You’ll find these chairs on sale for anywhere between $2,500 and $6,000.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    If you’re pregnant, get your doctor’s go-ahead before sitting in a vibrating massage chair. Although massage could definitely benefit your sore muscles, the pressure and heat could disturb the fetus or even stimulate to premature labor.

    Tips

    • For the best results, aim to spend 20 to 30 minutes in your massage chair at a time.

    • When you sit in a massage chair, make sure that your head is resting comfortably on the headrest and your back is pressed firmly against the chair cushions.

    • Breathe slowly and deeply as receive your massage to help alleviate stress. Deep breathing helps slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.

    • For a spa-like effect, play soothing music or clips of nature sounds while you use your massage chair.

    • To keep your massage chair in good condition, remove dirt and dust periodically by wiping a soft cloth over its surface and all of its parts.

    One benefit a massage chair offers over a human massage therapist is consistency. You know what to expect when you program your massage chair and sit down in it, but you may have a slightly different experience each time you visit a massage therapist.

    FAQ

    Q. How long do massage chairs last?
    A.
    The lifespan of a massage chair depends on the quality of its motor and components. Lower-end chairs may last only a few years, whereas high-end chairs with quality motors can last up to 20 years. The length of a massage chair warranty is a great way to gauge how long you can expect the chair to last.

    Q. How important is the strength and intensity of a massage chair?
    A.
    Chair strength or intensity can be very important if you’re treating an injury or chronic back issue. In these scenarios, it’s usually best to purchase the strongest chair you can afford. Why? Because you can always lessen the intensity of the chair by adding cushions, but you can’t increase its strength.

    If you don’t have chronic issues or injuries and are using the massage chair simply to destress, however, you might not need the strongest chair with the greatest intensity.

    Q. How much energy does a massage chair use?
    A.
    A massage chair typically uses between 150 and 300 watts of power when in operation. That’s about the same amount of energy as a computer. Unplug the chair when you’re not using it to maximize your energy savings.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor