So, who doesn’t like to be able to sink into their armchair at the end of a long day and just relax the cares of the day away?
Add in a wonderful back rub to ease away the tension, and you are all set for an evening of relaxation.
That is to say if you can convince your partner to give you that back rub. But what if you cannot? What if you don't have a partner at all? That doesn't matter; you don't need them.
Today’s massage chairs do a much better job than some half-hearted rub by your spouse anyway. The only argument will be about who gets first dibs on one of those top-rated massage chairs.
But now you have a different problem altogether. How do you choose the best massage chair? With every company claiming that they have the best, it can be hard to decide.
And that is why we have done exhaustive research to come up with the most up to date, and most accurate massage chair review guide.
We have looked at every option out there to give you the options that best mimic human touch and give a relaxing massage. We have gone through the options with the lowest prices and some that are more expensive.
We've read all massage chair reviews available, and we have sorted the best from the rest.
In this review, we will highlight the ones that came out on top. Those that made the cut are the best chairs on the market.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Best Massage Chairs of 2018
- Best Massage Chairs of 2018
- Also Worth Mentioning
- Inada DreamWave (formerly Inada Sogno DreamWave)
- Osaki OS-4D JP Pro
- Infinity Iyashi
- The Top Rated Pick If You Are a Little Shorter
- A Few More Brands And Models to Consider
- Do I Need a Massage Chair?
- It’s a Lot of Money to Spend
- What Do I Need to Consider When Buying?
- What Added Features Are Important to You?
- Stay in Control with Remote Control
- Where is it Going in Your House or Office?
- Who Is Going to Set it Up?
- Do Your Research
- Your Budget
- Get As Much Information as Possible
Luraco Technologies iRobotics 7
The Best of the Best [Updated in March]
In this buyer’s guide, the Luraco Technologies iRobotics 7 comes out on top.
This is the most luxurious massage chair and offers a range of different intensity levels and shiatsu massage settings.
This is an excellent choice all-round, but particularly useful for someone who is stuck in one position all day.
The foot rollers can soothe feet tired from standing all day, and the heat therapy setting is ideal for loosening up muscles stiff from being hunched over your desk.
Climb onto the chair, and it performs a body scan so that its roller track can match your body more precisely.
Once the scan is complete, you can either choose a preprogrammed massage or make up your own using the different massage modes.
The chair has the largest number of airbags out of all reviewed to give you the maximum amount of stretch and massage techniques.
Runner Up [Updated March 2018]
While the Human Touch Novo XT does not have all the features that the iRobotics chair does, it scores points because it takes up less space.
It measures seven inches less than our first choice in width and ten inches less in length.
This human touch massage chair model offers zero gravity massage, heating of the lumbar region and an excellent full body stretch.
Budget Friendly Option
If you really like the idea of a zero-gravity shiatsu massage chair, but there is no way that your budget can accommodate one of the options listed above, you can get a comparable machine in the Infinity range.
This pick uses a lot of the technology that the Infinity Iyashi does but at a much better price.
It is like having access to a group of massage therapists in your own home. It doesn’t offer all the features of the top massage chairs, but it does pretty well.
Best Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair Under $2000
How many of us can really afford to drop $5000 or $6000 for something that really is more of a nice to have?
Now, granted, you are not going to have as many of the snazzy features that the other machines do, but it is still a good option for a robotic massager.
This kahuna massage chair is ideal if your back is your main problem area.
To be fair, to get a full body zero gravity shiatsu massage chair at less than $2000 is a big ask. The company saves costs by limiting the type of massage and by focusing on only the back.
Runner Up Best Shiatsu Chair Under $2000:
Osaki OS4000 zero gravity model is a full body shiatsu massage chair, so it will work for you if you have general body aches and pains. It does not have rollers for the feet so will not massage the feet.
Naturally, at this price, you cannot expect everything, but if you were to write up a comparison chart of features with the higher-end leisure massage models, you would be surprised how many they have in common.
Also Worth Mentioning
Fujiiryoki EC-3800 (Dr. Fuji Cyber-Relax)
This chair comes in one of the most expensive of those that we have reviewed. This may come as a surprise to you because it is not a zero gravity massage system.
Don't be put off by that, though. This is the top-selling brand in Japan and made entirely in that country.
What it does offer that no one else does is a 4D system of rollers.
This leisure massage reclining chair is the one that most closely replicates a deep tissue massage as a result of this feature.
This is an excellent option if you need to have more intense massage sessions.
Inada dreamwave massage chair is the grand-daddy of massage chairs and is one that must be considered when choosing the best massage chair. It includes 3D roller technology and more than 100 air cells to give a full body massage that provides over 1,200 square inches of total coverage.
It will be good for you if you are looking for something that is reliable, but does be prepared for sticker shock – this is the most expensive model we looked at.
This is made under license by Fujiiryoki and takes advantage of the same technology. The primary difference here, though, is that this model does allow you to heat your lumbar region and feet.
This infinity massage chair model may turns some heads. It has a 49-inch L-track which makes it suitable for those taller people among us as well and doesn’t take up too much space.
The Top Rated Pick If You Are a Little Shorter
If you are on the shorter side, and you prefer an option that is better for your budget, this Panasonic chair rates highly.
A Few More Brands And Models to Consider
The Ogawa Active model from Ogawa brand and panasonic massage chair mode ( Panasonic EP1285KL ) are mid-range robotic chairs that can offer a good value. The Ijoy Active, also by Human Touch, is the excellent entry-level option for those on a limited budget. Relaxzen 60-425111 recliner or Flash Furniture BT-7600P are an entry level ottoman style equipment you can use in your office.
Aslo take a look at WholeBody 7, BestMassage 06C (EC-06C), WholeBody 5, Zerog 5, AcuTouch, InstaShiatsu. Some models are good but we decided to to induce in our review for one reason or another (some a bad quality some from top brands but lack in features)
So, there you have it. That is a rundown of each top massaging recliner on the market today.
Still not sure exactly what to look for?
Want to know more about what features that this massage chair comparison has brought to your attention?
Is it worth spending a couple of thousands of dollars on a chair that, mostly, you will be using for around half an hour at a time?
In the second part of our buyers guide, we will answer all those questions and more.
Do I Need a Massage Chair?
Our modern life is stressful. We sit hunched over our desks all day, and this unnatural position takes its toll on our health. Our blood flow begins to stagnate and, while the blood circulation never actually stops, we start feeling the effects.
Wastes in the bodies are not as efficiently removed, and our muscles and skin do not get the optimal amount of nutrients.We are left feeling tired and achy and, as if that were not enough, the unnatural positions that we have forced upon our bodies start to strain the muscles as well.
Add in the stress and tension most of us go through, and it doesn't become hard to figure out why your body feels so sore and tired. You know that you should exercise but, when it comes down to it, you just cannot be bothered to do so.
All you want to do is to flop onto the couch and veg out in front of the TV. It’s understandable, but it won’t be doing your body any good or get the circulation moving. One of the primary health benefits of massage is that it gets the blood pumping and stimulates the lymphatic system.
It is also extremely beneficial in the fight against depression and anxiety because of its soothing effect on the mind. Deep tissue massage can help to unravel tense trouble areas that are triggered as a result of too much stress and pressure.
Massage can help you fall asleep and to have a more restful night’s sleep too.
A weekly full body massage is one of the best preventative measures against diseases caused by stress and tension that you can take.
It improves blood flow and helps clear out toxins in the bloodstream.
If you have a spouse that is willing to give you a full body massage at least once a week or can afford the time and cost of a regular weekly massage session, you don’t need a massage chair.
It’s a Lot of Money to Spend
Sure, it is a lot of money to shell out. But think of the potential benefits. All you need to do is to flop into your chair at the end of a long day and hit a few buttons.
You don’t have to beg and plead with your spouse or take time out of your busy schedule to see a therapist.
Basically, you are doing what you normally would; it just got a whole lot more relaxing for you.
Think about costs of not getting one of these chairs:
- Booking time with a therapist that is convenient for them is not always when you actually need the appointment.
- Then you need to get to the appointment itself.
- The significant disadvantage, though, with going to a therapist, is that you have to get up and leave after a nice, relaxing massage. That’s a big plus with any type of massage chair – you can fall asleep in it if you like.
- Add up all the costs of seeing the therapist – the time taken out from work, the cost of the appointment, getting to the appointment.
- Now also consider the cost of reduced circulation in terms of your health. The lower immunity rates, higher chance of developing chronic pain and the increased costs of dealing with stress and tension.
All in all, the expense of the chair at first seems like a lot. If you consider the amount of money you can save in future on related expenses, the time it will save you and the improved health and pain relief aspects, it is not that much more than a standard chair recliner and ottoman.
What Do I Need to Consider When Buying?
It is still a substantial investment, and so you need to understand what the essential features mean. Every brand is going to try and dazzle you with jargon.
In this section, we cut through the jargon, so you know exactly what they are talking about.
This is not a decision that you can base solely on price – you need to figure out which features are most important to you when it comes to the different types of massage chairs.
Here we will look at what the most important features are.
The Zero Gravity Feature
Having grown up watching tales of space adventure, this was one feature that I was keen to try out for myself.
Don’t laugh but I really thought that somehow I would levitate above the seat.
Maybe someday technology will make this true, but for now, you have to keep your butt firmly on the massage cushion.
What zero gravity means in this context is that your body weight is distributed as evenly as possible.
It is the natural position when you are floating weightlessly in space.
The benefit for the body is that it relieves pressure points and helps your muscles relax more. This is especially important for your lower back.
Any reclining massage chair is going to help you achieve a similar position but if you truly want a real relax massage chair, look for one with this setting.
To come as close to it as possible your body should be tilted at a degree of 30 degrees and the angle between your butt and your back should be 120 degrees.
Should you hold out for zero-gravity?
If you have significant back pain, zero-gravity is the better option for you. It is the most relaxing option for your back in general.
You do need to take care of the type of rail that the chair has, though.
If it has a standard s-track with this feature, it might not be long enough to massage your butt as well as properly.
See the difference for yourself by trying to get your body in as close to the body zero gravity position as possible.
Does it make a huge difference for you? Then look for a real relax massager that offers this feature.
How Many Air Cells Does the Chair Have?
A reclining massage chair has two massage systems – rollers and air cells. This might also be referred to as an airbag (air bag).
The rollers physically rub or use vibration massage for the flesh, and we will talk more about them later.
However, what about the areas of the chair that you cannot use rollers in, like the legs, for example.
The air cells inflate to apply pressure to the muscles and tissues of your body.
You will usually find a few different pressure settings on your remote control depending on the type of massage chair that you choose. This is a type of air massage.
It is like when you get your blood pressure measured – the cell inflates and deflates and that increases the pressure on your body.
While this is not technically massaging, it has the same effect.
What Rollers Does the Chair Use and How Many Are There?
You need to pay attention to the types of rollers used and how many rollers there are in total. Remember how we said above that the air cells inflating gave similar effects to massage?
Where they are not effective is at working on knots – pressure works to some extent, but you need rollers to get the proper full body effect.
Dual Rollers and Quad Rollers
Check whether the rollers have two heads or four heads.
Two-headed rollers increase the amount of pressure on the site, and this improves the blood flow quite a bit.
With four heads, the pressure is reduced because the force is spread over more heads.
For my money, two-headed rollers are the better choice. After all, most body shiatsu massage chairs allow you to decrease the pressure of the massage.
You do not want to be in a situation where you feel that you need more pressure but cannot get it.
A One Tracked Mind
The massage rollers need to be attached to a rail in the back. That’s where S-track and L-track come into play.
This is something that boggled my mind a bit. If you think about your spine, which sounds better, S-tracks or L-tracks?
You would think that the curve of the S would be preferable to a straight up and down L, wouldn’t you?
The joke is that they are both the same shape, it is just the length that varies. The L-track is actually preferable in most cases because it is a longer track.
If you have trouble with tight glutes or are taller, it is worth looking for L-track body massage chairs.
If, however, it is your neck and shoulder muscles that cause more issues for you, you might not need the extra length at all.
2D or 3D or 4D?
Your standard roller can either move up or down, to the left or the right. This is what as known as a 2D roller, and it was the first type invented.
More popular now are 3D rollers because they can also move forward and backward. So, in addition to rolling up and down the length of your back, they can also pummel it.
So, how is 4D even possible? It is the way the motion of the roller is controlled that makes it 4D.
Which type should you pay extra for? The simple fact is that a 3D roller is all that you will need in most cases.
You may be able to save a bit by choosing a model with 2D rollers, but if you want the full benefit of massage, you really should stick to 3D at least.
Heat can be a very useful benefit of massage chairs. Now, it does not have to be a deal breaker – you could always use a heating pad in conjunction with the chair.
However, this can be something of a clumsy solution. I feel that if you have a problem with tense muscles that are really tough to relax, you need to look for a chair that has a heating option.
Does it need to be all overheating? Now that is where you can probably save a bit of money.
Most of the chairs featured here offer to heat only in the lumbar region. For the most part, this is more than sufficient.
What Programs Do You Get?
Check to see what the massage programs are. You do not need anything too complex here, but it is nice to have an affordable massage chair that has a few different moves.
These will primarily be:
- Kneading: This is where the rollers spin in a circular motion.
- Rolling: This is just the straight up and down movement.
- Shiatsu: This is where the rollers apply pressure to specific points to relieve the pressure.
- Tapping: You will need 3D rollers for this. This is where the machine taps your back – kind of like the chopping motion that therapists use.
For any chair on the market to truly be considered a shiatsu chair, it must have a body scanning program. If your chair design does not include a scan, how will it find the right points to work on?
Stretching is another good program to look out for, as is vibration. Outside of these basic programs, and the chair massage techniques listed above, there really are not a lot more techniques that you need.
Body Scanning (body scan technology)
Just how effective your massage will be is not as dependent on the chair features as you might think.
More important is how and where the techniques are applied. So, even if a chair comes with few other features, body scanning is important.
The chair should be able to adjust to your body and the positioning of a tender spot. What works for a petite woman would not be as effective on a tall man. You need a machine that can adjust for those differences, especially if more than one person is using the chair.
Check the measurements of each of the chairs featured to make sure that your body will be comfortably accommodated.
Check what height range the machine can accommodate, and also the maximum weight.
What Added Features Are Important to You?
The added features may be an extra expense, but this may be worthwhile if they are important to you.
Let’s say, for example, that the chair comes with built-in speakers.
Someone who enjoys listening to music while they relax would find this very soothing.
It also pays to see what kind of manual settings you can use.
While it is nice to be able to access programs by pressing a button on the remote, some customization can help to improve your experience.
Do you want your massage chair recliner to focus more attention on your neck and shoulders?
Can you opt out of the body zero gravity shiatsu massage to focus on this if you are short on time?
How customizable is the routine in general?
Stay in Control with Remote Control
The remote is something that you will need to have a look at as well.
Do you need to be a rocket scientist to work it? (That’s great if you want to pretend to be an astronaut with your new zero gravity chair, but not so great when you need to operate it.)
And, how good is the interface? Do you need a university degree to switch it on?
The more comfortable the interface is, the less stressful it will be to use the chair overall. If you are into tech, this is not such an issue.
Generally speaking, though, the simpler, the better. I am just going to give you a stupid example here – a good few years ago, I got a BlackBerry.
(Yes, it was a while back.) It was a great phone, except for one thing – I couldn't figure out how to change the time.
So, there I was with what was at the time one of the most advanced phones and I couldn’t even use it to see what time it was.
I ended up using my old beat up a phone for three months after getting the new one for that reason.
Where is it Going in Your House or Office?
These chairs are much bulkier than your usual chairs. If you have limited space, consider getting a smaller model.
What you want to look for in a small space are the wall hanger models.
These do not literally hang on a wall, but they can be pushed up closer to them.
You also need to consider how noisy the model you are considering is. It’s no good buying one if you can never use it because your family wants to watch TV, or work in silence.
It seems obvious, but I'm going to mention it anyway.
The chair will need to be plugged in so do plan for this when you are thinking about where to put it.
Who Is Going to Set it Up?
The chairs usually come in pretty much assembled. There is not usually a need to follow complicated set up instructions.
I do advise white glove delivery, though. This is for the very simple reason that someone will drag that chair to where it needs to be and do whatever needs to be done to complete the assembly.
It’s not a good idea to cheap out now. It usually won’t cost a lot more to get this option.
Do Your Research
Treat this like you would any other large investment. Who knows, maybe the chair costs more than your first car did. (I know that is true in my case.)
So, naturally, you want to make the right decision with both the chair and the company that makes it.
Find out first and foremost what kind of warranty is offered. If a company is only offering six month’s warranty on something like this, you have to wonder why.
What happens if something does go wrong with the chair? Are parts and labor covered? Is it an onsite warranty or will you have to get the chair back to the manufacturer?
The type of warranty you get offered will depend on what you intend to use the chair for. Commercial use of the chair will usually shorten the warranty period.
Even if the company is offering a very attractive warranty, you still need to do your research. How well-established is the company?
Are they a reputable brand? What is their after-sales service like? Will they honor the warranty conditions?
As tempting as it is to be able to save a buck or two, this kind of philosophy could cost you a lot if the chair breaks down after a few months and it is just about impossible to get them to honor the warranty.
The longevity of the company is also important when it comes to fixing your chair once the warranty is finished. How easy would it be to get a part replaced when it wears out?
Yes, the dreaded B word. As you have seen in this review, prices can range from five hundred dollars through to several thousand dollars.
As a general guideline, chairs that are made in Japan tend to be more expensive than those made in the USA or China.
What you don't want to do is to rush out and buy any old chair. If your budget is more limited, work out which features are most important for you and focus your search on those features.
A good-quality chair that just has six programs is still a better buy than something that has been thrown together with a bunch of features that you don’t need.
Look at this like as a significant purchase – you might need to save a little and wait to get a better-quality option.
Our top choices do have eye-wateringly high price tags, especially when you look at our best budget options, but you also have to consider the quality.
How effective is the massage function on the really cheap options?
How long will the parts last? Is it really that cheap if you need to replace it completely in a couple of years’ time?
Most companies will have some financing options available to you if you don’t have the cash to put in upfront.
As with any credit facilities, you do need to check how good the terms are, but they can make it easier for you to afford the model that you want.
Get As Much Information as Possible
You have seen the factors that we have looked at in this review.
If you are considering chairs outside of the ones that we have covered, you need to scrutinize what is being offered carefully.
How do they stack up against our choices?
How will they meet your specific needs? Are you paying for features that you do not really need or that you won’t use?
Be wary of gadget envy. I myself am guilty of this quite often. I look at the latest gadget and have to have it no matter how much it costs.
At the end of the day, I use it for a while and then end up adding it to the drawer of other useless purchases that have accumulated over the years.
Now, the chair is not something that you can hide in a drawer, but you get the idea.
Are you buying a really expensive junk collector? Or are you buying something that you will get years of use out of?
Massage therapy is one of the best ways to proactively protect your health.
Because it improves circulation, you can expect your skin to look clearer and younger.
It will also help to smooth out painful knots and detoxify your body. This could make it easier to lose weight.
But, perhaps most importantly of all, regular massage can help you relax and start to get a better handle on the stressful aspects of your life.
You sleep better, feel calmer and are thus able to improve your productivity as well.
Does it make sense to carry on with the day to day rat race if you never get time to tune out and do something for yourself?
A techologivally advanced massage chair can help you to carve out that time – no one can say that they don’t have five minutes in a day to sit down and relax.
A massage chair can be an investment in a healthier and happier you. It’s not going to find you the perfect mate or magically lose ten pounds overnight, but it will make you feel better about not having done so.
It’s simple – all you have to do is to take a step forward and then sit your butt down. No other effort required!