12 Things to Look for When Buying A Massage Chair (2022)

There’s a lot to consider when you’re shopping for a massage chair — What do you want your massage chair to do for you? What’s your budget? Where will it live? A high quality massage chair is an important investment, and one that shouldn’t be made without some important considerations. Here are 12 key things to look for when buying a massage chair.

1.) Massage Functions

Low-end massage chairs usually offer little more than simple vibration and rolling massage. On the other hand, high-end massage chairs offer a wide variety of features to help put you at ease. These features often include, but certainly are not limited to:

  • All-inclusive menu of pre-programmed functions
  • 2D (basic), 3D (adjustable) & 4D (variable) roller intensity
  • Heat therapy
  • Kneading
  • Reflexology
  • Rolling
  • Shiatsu
  • Sound therapy
  • Space-saving design
  • Tapping
  • Vibration
  • Zero gravity & inversion therapy

Of course, the number and quality of these functions will affect the cost of the massage chair — but prioritizing your long-term health is worth the investment!

2.) Price

First-time massage chair shoppers might be taken aback when they see the prices of quality massage chairs. It helps to have some context so you don’t abandon the search altogether. A premium massage chair, even with the most standard of functions, can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $12,000, with most models sitting somewhere between $3,000 and $7,000. Lots of factors will determine cost, including number of functions, technology, customizability and upholstery, but a good rule of thumb is to pass by chairs that cost less than $1,000 full-price.

>Related reading: How Much Should You Spend on a Massage Chair? The Truth Behind the Price

The most important thing to remember regarding cost is that a massage chair is much more economical than regular visits to a masseuse, not to mention it’s more convenient. Regular massage chair use, if enjoyed properly, can also result in long term health benefits that are tough to put a price tag on.

3.) Massage Areas

In addition to offering various massage styles, all luxury massage chairs can target areas besides your back. Many full body massage chairs offer a leg and foot massage function, and some chairs can even target the arms and hands. These targeted massage options are usually delivered by air bags, massage heads or rollers spread throughout the chair. Advanced massage chairs can also feature a thumb-like massage head to mimic the therapeutic benefits of a trip to a masseuse.

(Video) How To Choose The Perfect Massage Chair

4.) Massage Rollers & Track

When you decide to take the plunge and buy the massage chair of your dreams, be sure to consider the range of the rollers. This is indicated by the type of track the massage chair comes with.

L-track: A roller track that extends from the neck to the gluteus muscles and conforms to the spine’s natural “S” shape. L-tracks are typically 47”–52” long.

S-track: A roller track that extends from the neck through the lower lumbar region and conforms to the spine’s natural “S” shape. As such, S-tracks are slightly shorter than L-tracks (about 30”–32”), but allow for spinal stretching and twisting flexibility.

J-track: Also called a Flex Track, the J-track combines the range of the L-track with the stretching capabilities of the S-track.

Some massage chairs can be adjusted to accommodate a range of heights, and some feature adjustable roller widths.

5.) Massage Airbags

Massage airbags offer powerful relief from tension and stiffness by pumping pressurized air into small pouches located in the back, legs or sides of your massage chair. The airbags, when inflated, compress your muscles, which helps stimulate blood flow and provides soreness relief. This delivers a different sensation and style of massage from the roller system.

If you are wondering whether the airbag function is right for you, look for a massage chair that delivers both airbag and rolling massages simultaneously. Combined, the two can create the most advanced full body massage available in a chair.

(Video) 5 Best Massage Chairs of 2022

6.) Massage Chair Size

Most massage chairs are designed to accommodate heights between 5’–7’ and up to 280 lbs. However, if you’re searching for a massage chair with a specific height or weight capacity, be sure to target your search accordingly. Certain brands make chairs that can comfortably sit larger frames, while others offer chairs that can adjust to shorter heights.

>Related reading: What’s the Best Massage Chair for a Tall Person?, What’s the Best Massage Chair for a Short Person?

Likewise, be sure you have the physical space to comfortably fit a massage chair. Size specifications are listed by most online massage chair retailers, so come armed with your own space measurements so you can make the most informed choice.

7.) Heated Massage

Most advanced massage chairs come with the option of a heated massage seat and/or back. Through applying infrared heat, your massage becomes significantly more effective by relaxing your muscles, improving circulation and releasing toxins. Massage chair users with arthritis, inflammation, joint or muscle stiffness or deep tissue pain find that heat therapy eases pain and discomfort and relaxes their muscles enough so that the rollers can penetrate through tension.

Heat therapy is often concentrated in the seat or lower back, but some massage chairs come with full body heat, starting at the soles of the feet and reaching all the way to the headrest.

>Related reading: The 10 Best Heated Massage Chairs for 2022

8.) Recline Function

Most high-end massage chairs feature a variety of recline options, the most popular of which is zero gravity. Zero gravity recline mimics the weightlessness of space as it places your body in a gravity-neutral position, taking pressure off your spine. This can lower your heart rate, reduce tension and improve circulation. Some massage chair reclining options include a single-touch feature, giving you ultimate control with the press of a button. Studies have shown that adding a degree of recline to your massage not only provides a deeper massage experience, but also significantly boosts relaxation.

(Video) What Features Are Important to Consider When Buying a Massage Chair?

>Related reading: The Best Zero Gravity Massage Chairs for 2022

9.) Massage Intensity

The strength of the massage is one of the most important aspects of any massage chair. This strength is dependent on the number of motors within the chair; a higher number of motors indicates a greater degree of power. Over time, your body will become accustomed to your massage chair’s intensity, so the more strength options available to you, the more use you’ll get out of your massage chair in the long run.

You can also choose a massage chair based on the abilities of its roller system:

2D Massage: Found in the earliest (and most basic) massage chairs, 2D technology means that the rollers work on X and Y axes: they can move either up, down, left or right.

3D Massage: A 3D massage allows you to adjust the intensity of the rollers, so that you can get a more personalized massage. These work on X, Y and Z (diagonal) axes.

4D Massage: The comprehensive range of 3D massage technology is enhanced with variable roller intensity, which offers a deeper reach that can be especially beneficial for people with back and shoulder issues.

Many massage chairs come with removable padding, which allows you to further customize the strength of your massage.

(Video) You need to watch this video before buying a massage chair

10.) Massage Programs

Most massage chairs have between three and 30 pre-programmed massage options. These provide a unique, timed massage that targets specific areas of the body, and are excellent at the end of a long day when the last thing you want to do is mess around with buttons. The more advanced massage chairs usually have body scanning technology, which tests the reactions of various areas of your body and customizes a massage accordingly.

The more automatic programs a massage chair has, the less repetitive your massage experience will be, especially if the programs can be combined or customized. A wealth of options ensures no two massages are the same!

11.) Massage Chair Upholstery

Genuine leather is traditionally the fabric of choice for massage chair furnishings, but you’ll notice that a lot of high-end and technologically advanced chairs are synthetic. This is because, due to the amount of movement and heat it will generate, your massage chair needs to hold up under daily, long term use. Synthetic fabrics are usually engineered to withstand heat, wear and tear, extending the life of — and your satisfaction with — your massage chair.

12.) Ease-of-Use

Nothing takes the enjoyment out of a relaxing experience like frustrating or confusing directions. Operating a massage chair isn’t meant to make you more tense! Fortunately, today’s massage chairs come with easy-to-operate, intuitive controls, many of which are operated via touchscreen or one-touch remotes. Some massage chairs even come with voice-activated commands — simply speak your preferences aloud and the chair’s operating system will comply. If simplicity is important to you, be sure to pay attention to the controls when shopping for your massage chair.

For more helpful tips to guide your massage chair search, please see our eBook Massage Chairs 101: 15 Tips to Relieve Purchase Pressure. This resource provides important massage chair shopping advice and a list of questions to ask during the buying process. Don’t start your massage chair shopping journey without it!

Have more questions? You can always fill out our form for a free consultation or call us at 877-633-9055 to speak to a certified Massage Chair Specialist.

FAQs

What makes a great massage chair? ›

Voice Control: Control your massage by telling your chair which program option you want. Some of the best massage chairs also have Alexa capabilities. Zero Gravity: This technique extends your knees and elevates them above your heart, creating a sense of weightlessness that also helps the spine decompress.

What is the difference between 3D and 4D massage chair? ›

4D massage chairs do everything that 3D massage chairs do in terms of motion. The rollers will also go up and down, side to side and back and forth. 4D takes this a step further, by adding a 4th dimension to its massage movement technology which is that it also adjusts speed.

Is Osaki a good brand? ›

Most Osaki models include popular features like body scanning technology, zero gravity recline, full-body massage tracks and wireless device compatibility. Osaki massage chairs receive generally favorable reviews, with most customers awarding them 4+ stars out of 5 in their Amazon store.

How do I choose a zero gravity massage chair? ›

How to Select the Best Zero Gravity Massage Recliner
  1. Think of what you'll mainly be using it for.
  2. Look for the right type of massage rollers.
  3. Invest in the right type of massage track.
  4. Check if it includes your favorite massage styles.
  5. Consider additional massage and pain relief features.
Sep 14, 2020

Is massage chair worth buying? ›

A massage chair gives you access to massage therapy anytime and from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Massage chairs are worth the cost, all things considered. The convenience and health benefits of regular massages far outweigh the upfront cost of purchasing a chair.

How many airbags should a massage chair have? ›

Massage chairs can come with anywhere from a dozen to 100 airbags. Airbags can be placed inside the seat, on the sides of the chair, in the foot ottoman, the backrest, and even in the head/neck area like Titan Pro Jupiter XL model.

How long do massage chairs last? ›

Massage Chairs can last 15 to 20 years. While it would be great if that tenure was without repairs, the reality is that every chair will need parts upgraded over time. When buying a massage chair, the ease of which parts can be replaced should be a major factor.

Are mall massage chairs good? ›

They're designed to be a complement to the real service – nails. In our travels we've heard from hundreds of (mostly) women who have sat in these chairs and it's almost unanimous – they aren't very good. In fact, many tell us they ask the salon to turn the chair off – it's uncomfortable or just not relaxing.

Can you use massage chair everyday? ›

You can use your massage chair about three to four times per week for maximum effectiveness for lower back, neck, or shoulder pain. If you are using the chair for stress relief or relaxation, one to three times per week should be just fine.

What is 8d massage chair? ›

Electric Massage Chairs, 8D Zero Gravity Full Body Shiatsu Recliner ...

What is the difference between S track and L track massage chairs? ›

L Track massage chairs work the same way as S Tracks, but can extend further down the body. An S Track massage chair would only go as far down as your lower back, but an L Track can travel down to your glutes or hamstrings.

What is J track massage chair? ›

L-Track vs J-Track - The Massage Chair Dictionary - YouTube

How many airbags should a massage chair have? ›

Massage chairs can come with anywhere from a dozen to 100 airbags. Airbags can be placed inside the seat, on the sides of the chair, in the foot ottoman, the backrest, and even in the head/neck area like Titan Pro Jupiter XL model.

Are massage chairs worth it? ›

A massage chair gives you access to massage therapy anytime and from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Massage chairs are worth the cost, all things considered. The convenience and health benefits of regular massages far outweigh the upfront cost of purchasing a chair.

Are massage chairs actually good for you? ›

One of the main benefits of a massage chair is that it can help to improve your circulation. This is especially beneficial for those who spend long periods of time sitting down as it can help to reduce the risk of developing blood clots.

Are all massage chairs the same? ›

Broadly speaking, there are two different kinds of massage chairs: Professional and Consumerist.

Videos

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