Staying happy and relaxed are the first things; we all strive to achieve. And what better way to do it than buying a massage chair for yourself and your family. However, getting the right one is no less than a roller-coaster ride with no idea about what lies ahead. And if you have ever been to a market full of the massage chair, online or offline, you must have been overwhelmed by the number of options available. And if you have struggled like me, then fret not because this is the one-stop guide that covers every aspect of buying a massage chair.

In a nutshell, this is more than a buying guide – my story of purchasing a massage chair like what factors I considered while buying, understanding the kind of chair that would suit me, and making the perfect choice within the desired budget.

Although I took a significant amount of time in buying the chair, I am pretty sure this guide will save time for you. Let’s get started –

How to Choose a Good Massage Chair?

Massage Chair Buying Guide

I used to ask this question a lot to people. Like every second person I met and in return everyone asked me these two questions before replying –

  1. What is your budget?

  2. What kind of massage chair do you want?

Once I decided on the budget and the reason, many things became clear. However. Getting the answer to these questions isn’t as easy it seems. So, let me help you with that –

Deciding your budget

Start by sorting your expenses and the amount that you can spare to spend. As a general rule, you may choose the following guide to decide –

Chair under $1500

These are the cheapest chairs in the market, but then again, you won’t get much of the features in them.

Chair between $1500 – $6500

These chairs are reasonably priced and offer a lot of options. At a moderate price, you are more likely to get a chair with all the desired features.

Chair starting from $6500 and up

These are the high-end chairs that can cost you as high as $14000 or even more. Considered as the elite class, these chairs come with almost every feature you want.

What kind of massage chair do you want?

Though these questions sound easier, considering all the comfort that you want. But it is still a trick question because you don’t wish to end up getting the wrong kind of hair. Here, let me explain to you with the types of chairs –

Therapeutic Massage Chairs

This is a type of chair that is specifically designed to match your medical and chiropractic needs. In reality, nearly 80% of Americans complain about severe back pain now and then. Also, the problem is not at all different in any other part of the world.

Ergo, getting relief from the back pain is the primary reason people buy therapeutic massage chairs. Further, this kind of chair even helps in treating various other conditions such as leg pain, neck and shoulder pain, stress-related conditions, and high blood pressure.

Hobbyist Massage Chair

Often including a few therapeutic features, hobbyist chairs place more emphasis on different amenities like memory slots to program and save massage settings, MP3 support, LED lights, etc.

So, these chairs are more or less an upgrade. Just because you need massage chairs for therapeutic reasons doesn’t mean that you won’t appreciate a chair with a few more features for your convenience.

Now you can easily decide the budget and the kind of chair you need. Depending on your need and need for convenience, you can easily settle down for the right chair – one that helps you by providing relief from chronic back pain because you have a job where you spend most of your time sitting and the other, where you simply want a chair to sit back and relax your long weekend.

Features add extra fun

Features add extra fun

When you spend hundreds of dollars, getting a little more fun or amenities is always exciting. And that brings me to the features. Before this, let me tell you a quick story about how I realized that functions are essential.

“I used to work a regular shift job where most of the day went sitting on a chair, so I was looking to get a therapeutic kind. During my struggle to find the right chair, I was so much stressed that I didn’t pay any attention to other features of the chair. It is then when I was at my friends place and got a chance to use his massage chair. And oh my god, what remarkable features it had. That’s when I thought that this is the time when I must find a chair with the features that I want.”

Features are broadly divided into the following three categories:

  1. Core Massage Chair Technologies
  2. Therapeutic Features

  3. Convenience Features

Now, the next step involves you to write down all the features you want in your chair and sort them in the order of necessity and importance. Let’s find out more about these categories –

Core Massage Chair Technologies

Massage Chair Buying Guide

Almost every massage chair has these elements and is considered to be the structure upon which any other chair is created. They are –

Massage Track

There are three different types of massage chairs –

Fixed-Frame 

A rectangular frame with stationary massage heads, it is usually found in the cheap massage chairs. This type offers not an excellent massage experience as the heads don’t move but vibrate in one place. If your back aligns with the frame, you may get a decent massage, but if not, then get ready for a nightmare. It is because the structure does not follow your body curve’s spine.

S-Track 

Dissimilar to the fixed-outline structures, this one is molded to follow your spine’s curve. The rollers mounted on it can convey a reliably magnificent massage experience as they run from your neck to your tailbone.

L-Track 

This is the latest tech in the massage chairs, the L-Track or Hybrid L/S-Track consolidates the standard S-Track with an augmentation that twists underneath the seat, permitting the rollers to rub from your neck to your glutes along with the backs of your thighs.

Roller Array

The massage is rendered via the rollers. Currently, the quad rollers are used in the industry; however, a few of the chairs have Tri- or Dual-rollers as a cost-saving measure. You may also find some models that have a six-roller array. Here, the thumb rule is that with increased rollers, the massage experience is also enhanced.

Roller Adjustment Technologies

No Adjustment Tech 

Found rarely, but some low-end chairs come with any type of roller adjustment. It’s like that your massage experience depends on the positions of the rollers. If they align with the pressure points of your body, it is good; otherwise, forget about getting a good massage.

3D Body Scanning 

This is the most widely recognized technique for changing the roller position and the width of the back rub field. Each time you utilize the massage chair before your back rub starts, the system present in the chair scans your pressure points to position the rollers accordingly.

However, there are times when this fails, and except if the seat additionally incorporates methods for making manual modifications, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Manual Adjustment 

To offer manual adjustment, there are some chairs in the market that favor buttons. Although getting the right positions of rollers takes time, but it becomes inevitable that you will get them exactly where you want them.

Two-Pronged Approach 

Offering the best, these kinds provides computerized body scan as well as manual adjustment buttons. This enhances the way rollers are positioned because you can tweak them in case the scan fails. For this feature, the price is relatively high.

Massage Options

Massage based on rollers can be provided in many ways. Generally, it depends on your budget, the high it is, the more techniques you will get. Usually, there are two types of methods –

Basic techniques –

These include tapping, kneading, rolling, and other basic ones.

Advanced massage –

These include techniques that are named after the country that invented them. For instance, a Shiatsu massage technique that was developed in Japan.

In most chairs, you will get some capacity to tweak your roller-based back rub using speed and force levels from the remote. However, this isn’t generally the situation. In some low-end models, you’ll see one setting. So to get more parameters, you will have to pay a little more.

Air Massage Mode

As a general rule, you will get better massages with more airbags. There are two types of modes available –

  1. Roller-based

  1. Airbag-based

While looking for the chair, check if the airbags are 1st or 2nd gen because currently, they are in their 2nd generation.

Control Methodologies

For operating a massage chair, there are three general ways. Nearly every one of them includes a touchscreen LCD board on a swing arm. About 90% sold today additionally offer a remote for easy use at the time when massage is in progress. Few of them offer application controls via a smartphone.

Therapeutic Features

Massage Chair Buying Guide

It is these features that make you feel better and solve issues. You can never say that so and so chair is perfect or this chair has all the elements in it. Depending on what you need, some chairs that are o no use to you may perfectly match the demands of others.

Deep Tissue Massage

We always go with the better option, don’t we? Now, the roller-based massage renders therapeutic value but the deep tissue massage is a better option comparatively. This feature is either listed as

“deep tissue massage,” or “3D” or “4D” Technology. Now deep tissue is easy to understand but I think the later one needs some explanation –

This Technology came into existence because of the S- or Hybrid L/S-Track chair. In such chairs, the rollers move in 3D because the track follows your spine’s curve, thereby permitting motion up to some degree along the Z-Axis. This goes to the next level as the rollers of the chairs are mounted on the extension arms, enabling them to move an extra 3″ away from the massage track. This allows a more penetrating massage experience and helps in loosening up your aching muscles faster.

Zero-Gravity Seating

This is a significant component that upgrades the back massage experience by putting you in a position with the end goal that your knees are raised somewhat over your heart, which gives you a feeling similar to weightlessness and permits your body’s weight to squeeze against the chair’s back, which thus, allows the rollers to render a more profound back massage.

About 33% of the chairs available today offer Zero-G seating and include between 1-3 diverse seating positions.

Therapeutic Heat

No one says no to a massage, but a heat + massage is even better, Nearly 50+ of the chairs offer

some heat, majority in the lumbar region only. Some of the chairs do offer to hear in the leg massage ports, and some provide back heat. As a rule in general, the price of the chair grows with the growing heat rendered by the chair.

Wondering if you could control the temperature? Luckily, I tried a few chairs that had temperature control.

Body Stretch

Regarded as the most powerful therapeutic feature, body stretch is one of the best things provided by massage chairs. From instant pain relief to overall relaxation, this is the best thing.

Two different highlights offer this equivalent advantage in a less forceful structure: Waist Twist and Hip Swing. There are a couple of chairs that provide them along with Body Stretching, which from the outset, appears to be repetitive. At the point when you consider it, however, that is an excellent thing from the viewpoint of a user.

Understand it this way – The level of your pain varies wildly. Some day when it isn’t perfect, body stretch is not useful, then you will need another option.

Point and Zone Massage Modes

Another unique remedial element, this one permits you to intrude on any running back massage program and points the rollers precisely where you need them. You can invest as much as required time to working the wrinkles out of your back before proceeding with the back massage program you’ve chosen.

Calf and Foot Massage

Around 66% of the seats available today highlight leg knead ports. Most generally, the calf massage is rendered via airbags, while the foot knead is provided through double rollers. Some less expensive seats utilize a straightforward vibration-style massage for the bottoms of the feet.

Convenience Features

Massage Chair Buying Guide

Now that I have discussed a lot about the features which help in enhancing the massage experience let’s talk about those that attract a large section of people, including me.

Space-Saving Design

In general, a massage chair needs at least 18-24″ of clearance between the wall and the chair’s back. Now, to overcome this drawback, chairs were built in a way that only needed 4″ wall clearance. This helped users in saving a lot of space that was occupied earlier completely.

Extendable Ottoman

Most back massage chairs are intended for individuals who extend from somewhere in the range of 5′ and 6’1″ in tallness. A large portion of the seats available today include an ottoman with an augmentation module, permitting them to offer massage to users up to 6’5″ in height.

Hideaway Ottoman

Have you been to a hair salon, you must have seen those leg ports coming out of the chair. In the massage chairs, these leg ports turn out to be s sore thumb when you are not using the chair. For this problem, Hideaway Ottoman has a solution. This means that when you are not using the chair, these ports get folded and make it look like any other chair in your home. Though this feature adds more price, then you get a premium solution as well.

Music Support

This is my favorite feature because who doesn’t want to listen to his or her beats while relaxing on a chair. It is offered in 3 ways –

  1. SSD card slot – naaah, not that good!

  2. A USB port – Okayish!

  3. Bluetooth compatible – The best option where you can connect your phone with speakers in the chair.

Chromotherapy

A few people locate the delicate gleam of the LED lights mounted in seats that offer chromotherapy to be exceptionally unwinding, particularly when joined with music. About 20% of the massage chairs available today offer chromotherapy.

Pheww…. I must say, this is quite an article, but then I didn’t want to miss any detail!

Making the right call

Now that you are familiar with all the features, it is time to learn how to choose the right massage chair for yourself. To get started, here’s the rule to follow –

Pick –

  1. Five crucial and needed features for a low-end chair

  2. Nine for a mid-range chair

  3. With a high-end chair, there is no limit to features

Now that you have decided what features you want, you may begin your search. It is sporadic that you will get an exact match, but I am pretty sure that this information will help you get the best possible match.