Whether you hold your stress in your lower back, upper back, neck, hamstrings, feet, or all of the above, the only thing more effective than a quality massage at the end of a long day is a massage chair.
If you’re in the market for a massage chair, you have to be willing to shell out some money, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop smart. When looking at massage chairs, decide on the massage you like best and make sure the chair offers that option. Shiatsu means pressure will be applied to points on your body; Swedish massage is all about rubbing your sore muscles; rolling, meanwhile, is the most common and involves rollers that loosen your muscles. Kneading feels like a deep stretch. And if your chair has heat, it helps relax your muscles quicker.
When it comes to price, the basic question comes down to what your comfort is worth when you’re dealing with an aching back. If it is taking longer and longer to get loose once you sit down, the worth of the chair goes up. If you’re not sure you’ll ever use it, skip the purchase. We’ve gathered our favorites to poke, rub, vibrate, and heat you into moving again.
For many, space and price will discourage the purchase of a full-length massage chair. Never fear, the incredibly portable Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow packs away in a closet or spare bedroom when not in use. At an affordable price, it’s an easy compromise.
Pros: The beauty of an external massage chair is that it can use whatever chair you’re currently sitting in, turning it into a shiatsu-tenderizing machine. Eight massage balls rotate clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on preference, and a heat function adds to the relaxation. If the massage lulls you into a stupor, its 10-minute auto-off timer will turn off the power around the same time your consciousness does.
Cons: The lack of adjustability makes this a one-size-fits-all product, which admittedly may not fit every body. Its lack of programmable functions also leaves much to be desired, especially when problem areas seem to need special attention that can’t be granted.
While other add-on solutions on this list focus on the upper back, if your body is trending the same direction as ours, work is also needed in other spots. The full-length Gideon Shiatsu Back Massager hits all the high notes on the body and yet is just a touch more expensive than partial units.
Pros: Once you slip it onto your chair of choice, four shiatsu nodes travel the length and breadth of your back, while heat radiates out to relax tight muscles. A three-setting vibrating base helps break tension in glutes and hamstrings. In case you fall asleep, it also has three auto-off modes at five, 10, and 15 minutes.
Cons: While providing a remarkably effective product at an affordable price, you’re still at the mercy of by-and-large fixed settings without customization. This unit also suffers from lack of adjustability. Still, pound for pound, this machine is a killer value and a strong performer.
You get 3D finger pressure when you sink into this chair, plus rolling, vibration, and heat functions to make you melt like ice cream.
Pros: Instead of just an up-and-down rolling motion, this massage chair has massaging nodes that more inward and outward to really pound out those knots. Plus, it has an optional warming function to further chill out your muscles. You can choose between three intensity settings.
Cons: Some report that the heat stops working, in a few cases.
While the Snailax Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager appears like other full-length add-on massagers on this list, its strength comes from specificity. With an increased cost comes the ability to control neck and back settings individually, including height and width.
Pros: If your body is a snowflake, then this massage chair is the cloud upon which your body is reformed. Customizable height and width settings for your back ensure all the right spots are targeted. The same is true for the independently controlled neck settings, which add nodes to target tight necks. Additionally, multiple patterns are available with the click of a button. As you might expect, heat and seat vibration options are also present.
Cons: Ultimately, some found fault with its greatest strength, the adjustability. We think this is obvious, but it nevertheless should be stated. If you’re on the extreme sides of height, you will likely have difficulty achieving full coverage from even the priciest massagers.
OK, so you’ve decided to purchase a stand-alone massage chair. Your first consideration should be the Belmint Folding Massage Chair, which, while offering an affordable product, also upgrades the performance, creating a seat that feels like it’s worth the extra money you spent.
Pros: Besides the fact that this is a stand-alone massage chair that nevertheless folds up for easy storage or travel, the performance is what sold us. Eight independent massaging balls gave an amazing amount of coverage, while favorites like heat, adjustable intensity and pattern settings, muscle isolation, and vibration sealed the deal.
Cons: You have to accept the fact that it is a souped-up folding chair. And while its portability is nice, it’s only useful if you intend on portaging it. Are you the type that takes his massage on the road? If not, go with another option.
The first consideration for any massage chair is its performance—does it feel great and get the job done? But if it’s going in the living room, the next consideration is how it looks. The OWAYS massage chair looks as good as it performs, adding to the argument for a dedicated massage tool that’s also furniture.
Pros: Multiple kneading and tapping patterns from eight rollers, along with heat, vibration, and pinpoint precision, make this an ultimately amazing massage chair. But its modern design, multiple wood finishes (either a blonde wood or a darker, maple-like hue), and a rocker design also make this a piece you don’t have to hide under a throw. While the chair is upholstered in textured linen for breathability, from a distance, it has the appearance of a handsome suede.
Cons: Tastes change, and should your significant other hire an interior designer, this chair, once favored, might end up on the chopping block. A few hundred bucks, while certainly not the most you could spend on an armchair, is nevertheless a lot for piece that could end up a victim of aesthetics. If you’re on the cusp of redecorating, ensure its style fits with the planned décor.
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