What to know before buying a massage chair

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If you’ve been considering purchasing a massage chair to help soothe your muscles and help you relax after a long day at work, the first thing you should know before ordering one is that all massage chairs are not created equal.

First things first: it’s important to note that a massage chair will likely not replace hands-on massage therapy if you are looking to target a specific area or have an injury you’re working on. If you simply enjoy getting massages for the relaxation benefit, however, a massage chair will likely save you money in the long run, as trips to the spa can be expensive and add up quickly.

When choosing a chair, you’ll first need to take your budget into account, followed by the features you’re looking for. Also, consider where you’ll be putting the chair to make sure you have room in your home.

Massage chairs vary widely in price from a few hundred dollars for a full-length pad you place on your seat to more than $1,000 for a full piece of furniture. They are definitely an investment you will want to think about. Also keep in mind that while all massage chairs will offer certain basics, they all have different features.

Which chair is right for you depends on your personal needs. While some simply offer massages through rotating nodes, others have heat functions, zero-gravity features (which create a “weightless” sensation), USB plugs so you can charge your electronics and even speakers so you can listen to music while you relax.

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The Massage Chair Store recommends also making sure the chair you’re buying uses the massage style you want and targets the areas of most concern. For example, while all chairs offer rollers for back massage, some also offer a leg or foot function, while others target arms and hands.

You’ll also want to check out the rollers, which vary depending on the chair. L-track rollers, for example, extend from the neck to the gluteus muscles, while massage chairs with an s-track conform to the spine’s natural shape.

Reading reviews of a handful of chairs you’re looking at can also be a big help, as everyone will have a different experience with the chairs simply because everyone has different aches and pains and body shapes. It’s also important to make sure the chair is the correct size for your body.

Butch Phelps, licensed massage therapist at The Muscle Repair Shop, told Reviewed.com that one way to know if a chair is right for your size is to make sure the seat comes behind your knees as you’re sitting upright and when you recline back. Your hips should meet the back of the chair.

“If you’re a shorter person and the seat is larger, you’re not getting the affected areas, which will cause disappointment,” he said. “If you’re using a smaller recliner, and you’re a taller person, you will not have any support on your head.”

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Now that you know what to look for, take a look at our experts’ take on the best massage chairs, which compares prices, reviews and features to find the best choices for everyone’s budget and personal needs.

One of our top picks is this iRest SL track massage chair recliner, which offers a full-body massage with Thai stretch, zero gravity, a Bluetooth speaker, airbags to create pressure around the legs and even a foot massager.

Priced at $1,799, the chair has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with customers saying it’s easy to assemble, offers a deep tissue massage and is worth the money.

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Not looking to invest in a full massage chair? You’ll find a variety of smaller and lower-priced massage items on Amazon, like this Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager for $65 or this one from MoCuishie with heat and electric deep tissue massage that’s currently 50%, priced at $50.

For a massager that can target any area, this Hypervolt Bluetooth Handheld Percussion Massage Gun costs a bit more but has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating on Amazon after over 2,200 people have weighed in. Priced at $229, it has three speeds and five interchangeable heads. It’s also quiet, cordless and TSA-approved for travel.

Customers say it has good battery life, is easy to use, helps with sore muscles and can be used every day. One reviewer who gave it 5 stars says it’s a must-have for athletes.

“This product is excellent. It has so many capabilities and options,” they wrote. “These different mechanisms for massaging different damaged/recovering tissue and muscles work wonders for my body. I love using this thing after sports and before yoga.”

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About the Author

Kaitlin Gates

Kaitlin is a freelance multimedia journalist with a background in newspaper and broadcasting. She has a degree in journalism and psychology, enjoys writing, editing, animals, music and movies/TV. When she's not writing, you can usually find her on her yoga mat, whipping up a new vegetarian dish or at a wine tasting with friends. You can email her at kaitlingateswrites@gmail.com or find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/KaitlinGatesWrites. Learn More.