Shopping for a massage chair can be daunting, especially in today’s internet-focused world. Whether you’re Googling, browsing on Amazon, or comparing against your local furniture store, you’ll have a lot of factors to consider. As such, our massage chair experts have compiled a list of 10 factors that should be at the top of your list when shopping.
1). Massage Rollers & Intensity
The strength of your massage is a dynamic feature that can be easily controlled and manipulated for maximum comfort. The massage industry classifies chairs into four primary categories: Stationary, Two-Dimensional, Three-Dimensional, and Four-Dimensional.
The crown jewel of any brand, 4D chairs intelligently adjust their depth and width to provide even pressure across the entirety of your back. 4D chairs are routinely called “the most human-like” massage available
As the industry standard, 3D massages allow for more customizability than the aforementioned categories. Rather than simply going up and down the massage track, 3D rollers allow for control over the depth of the rollers as well.
Known as the earliest stage of luxury, 2D massages rely on the previously mentioned massage tracks to guide a set of rollers up and down the spine. This system, however simple, is incredibly effective and affordable.
These rollers do just as the name implies: they remain stationary. Typically making use of 8 fixed rollers that rotate in opposite directions. This is what you would normally find for $999 or less.
2). Unique Features
Both low end massage chairs and high end chairs share a number of calming features; however, the price is generally indicative of the quality. For example, a compression massage on a high end chair will be much more thorough and precise than one on a $500 chair. Some of the common features to look for include:
- Touch Screen Controls
- 2D/3D/4D Rollers
- Lumbar Heat Therapy
- Calf Kneading
- Foot and Palm Reflexology
- Shiatsu Methods
- Bluetooth Speakers
- Space-Saving Reclining
- Selectable Massage Techniques
- Vibrating Seat Cushion
- Zero Gravity Reclining
Naturally, each chair will contain a unique combination of these features, and there are countless others not represented by this list.
When you begin your search for the perfect massage chair, you may be surprised by the initial pricing. Quality massage chairs from reputable dealers generally cost between $1,000 and $9,999. This being said, most chairs often fall between $3,000 and $7,000.
The best thing to remember when shopping around is to avoid anything that seems too good to be true, or that’s below $999. These chairs typically don’t come with trusted warranties, don’t provide quality massages, and/or charge exorbitant shipping costs. When you invest in your massage chair, make sure the dealer provides detailed information on their warranty and shipping costs.
What most people don’t realize is that shopping for a massage chair is much like shopping for a car. Don’t be afraid to call your dealer and ask about competitive pricing and extended warranties.
Lastly, the long term health benefits associated with your purchase typically outweigh the cost of not buying one. Regular trips to the masseuse and chiropractor can quickly become expensive.
4). Massage Rollers & Track
One of the biggest distinguishing factors are the massage tracks that guide the chairs’ rollers. Lower end chairs generally have basic tracks while the higher end chairs almost always utilize SL-Tracks.
This track has the benefit of extending from your shoulders, down your spine, and ending along your glutes. The drawback of an L-Track is its rigidity and straight nature. (47”–52”)
The S-Track is the answer to the downsides of the L-Track, as it conforms to the natural shape of the human spine. While it suits the human body better than the L-Track, it is only able to massage between the neck and lower lumbar. (30”–32”)
Often referred to as the pinnacle of massage tracks, the SL-Track combines all of the benefits of the S and L-Tracks with none of the cons. (Length Varies)
This fairly new addition to the massage track family is the only one with a pivoting joint at the base. This allows the backrest to recline separately from the seat, opening the doors for incredibly unique massage experiences. (47”–52”)
5). Massage Airbags
Compression massages work by filling a number of air pockets located throughout the chair with pressurized air. These “Air Cells” work in tandem with rollers and reflexology points to release tension in hard to reach areas.
If you’re unsure whether compression massages are right for you, make sure to get a chair that allows you to control the pressure intensity of your compression massage. This will allow you to explore both powerful sessions and gentle relaxation with a single chair!
6). Massage Locations
While nearly every massage chair targets the back, some are enabled to relax secondary locations like the arms and legs as well. These massages are almost always handled through the use of air compression, but higher end chairs will utilize tertiary rollers along the calves and feet, knead your calves, or enact reflexology therapy on your palms and soles.
7). Massage Chair Sizes
Massage chairs are designed to comfortably fit people of all heights, generally you’ll see chairs that accommodate people up to 6’6”, but some chairs are specially designed for taller individuals. Likewise, all reputable massage chair dealers list the maximum weight capacity of the user on their sales page.
Furthermore, you should consider the physical size of the chair itself; imagine the space you’d allocate in your living room if you had a massage chair and take measurements. Again, all reputable dealers will have the dimensions of their chairs listed on their websites.
8). Intuitive Controls
Something that people often overlook when shopping for their chair is the controls associated with it. Chairs these days typically utilize a standard remote control for everything; however, you can also find less common controls as well, such as: touchscreen tablets, armrest-mounted controls, wireless remotes, app-based mobile control, and even voice activated commands.
It isn’t uncommon to find multiple options available for any given chair either. So if simplicity is important to you, make sure you ask about what control options are available for the models you’re interested in.
>Explore a Chair With a Facial Recognition Tablet
9). Heated Massage
If you’re looking for a truly effective massage, then you’ll want to ensure your chair is equipped with heat therapy as well. The most common instance of heat therapy will take the form of lumbar heating. Higher end chairs will also include calf heating, heated massage rollers, and even foot heaters to boot.
The benefits of heat therapy are immeasurable, but people who suffer from lower back pain, stiff joints, and poor blood circulation generally see an improvement in their condition when making routine use of these features.
10). Massage Programs
On nearly every massage chair you try, you’ll find a set of “auto programs” to choose from. These programs act as quick-select options to immediately begin a professionally crafted massage. Some common programs you’ll find include Sports Recovery, Stretching, Gentle, Afternoon Rest, Morning Refresh, and Demo.
In addition to the auto programs, your chair will also come with manual modes in order to customize your experience further. The manual modes let you pick and choose different massage styles, locations, features, and intensities so that you may craft your own personalized relaxation.
Still not sure what you’re looking for? Check out our guide on Choosing The Perfect Massage Chair to find the right style for yourself!
Please don’t hesitate to speak with one of our massage chair specialists at 1-888-848-2630. All of our consultants are based in Texas and available from 9:30am to 6:30pm CST.