Massage Chair Buyer's Guide

Narrow Down Your Options Massage Chair Buyer's Guide

Shopping for a massage chair you may have not thoroughly tested, let alone sat in, can be difficult. There are dozens of brands to choose from, features you may have never heard of, and a wide variation of prices. We aim to make it easier to shop online by breaking down the things you should be on the look out for as you begin the massage chair shopping process. Learn more by reading our Massage Chair Buyer's Guide below.

Why a Massage Chair?

A massage chair can often pay for itself in under a year if you make it a regular habit of visiting your local spa or chiropractor's office. When you consider that the national average for a massage is approximately $60 per hour, it's easy to see how the price of massage therapy can quickly add up over the span of just one year.

With a massage chair, you have the benefit of having an in-home masseuse from the comfort of your home — any time of the day. No more appointments. No more driving to your masseuse. No blackout dates. While a massage chair may seem expensive at first, it's a great investment in the long-run, not only for your health but your wallet, too.

Continue reading our Massage Chair Buyer's Guide below for key features to consider.

What Massage Chair is Right for My Body?

Most of our massage chairs have extendable footrests that accommodate users of most heights. However, some chairs are narrower than others that restrict broader shouldered and petite individuals. We encourage you to look at the chair's specification in our “Specs” tab on all of our product pages to get a better idea of what height and weight limits are suggested. We also recommend giving us a call at 844-862-4391 or via live chat and one of our specialists will offer you their expert opinion as to whether that chair is best for you, and if not, what similar models to consider instead.

What's the Difference Between S-Track and SL-Track?

Massage chairs have one of two tracks: an S-Track or SL-Track. Most massage chairs are designed with S-Track technology, which means the backrest rollers massage from your neck and shoulders to your lower back. The "S" nomenclature is due to the massage rollers following the S-shaped curvature of your spine. Depending on the massage chair model, air compression technology massages the remainder of your body (which can include your hips/waist, shoulders, arms, buttocks, calves, feet, and even your head). S-Track chairs have a massage track length of between 27-33 inches.

SL-Track, also known as an extended roller track, is a newer technology and more manufacturers are introducing them every year. SL-Tracks incorporate S-Track technology down your spine but the rollers also go underneath the seat to reach your buttocks and upper hamstrings, creating a rough "SL" shape. While many S-Track chairs massage your glutes and upper thighs with air compression technology, SL-Track chairs instead use mechanical rollers to target that area. Rollers are far more effective than airbags. If you're interested in a firmer massage inside the seat or suffer from gluteal pain or sciatica, an SL-Track can be incredibly beneficial. SL-Track chairs have a massage track of between 40-53 inches.

While an SL-Track is a spectacular new feature, keep in mind that the rollers naturally focus less on the back since they extend into the seat, whereas an S-Track chair focuses primarily on the back.

What's the Difference Between 2D, 3D and 4D Rollers?

A big chunk of massage chairs have 2D-style backrest rollers. With a 2D chair, you cannot adjust the intensity or depth of the rollers. You can adjust the airbag strength throughout the rest of the chair, but not the roller intensity. Having said that, not all 2D massage chairs are equal, both in performance and intensity. Some 2D chairs deliver a firmer roller massage experience than others. For example, the popular Infinity IT-8500 Plus has a 2D roller system but the rollers deliver a mid-strong to deep tissue massage. However, the Osaki OS-4000T also has a 2D roller system but the rollers have a more mild application.

3D and 4D massage chairs have an adjustable roller intensity and depth feature that allows you to personalize how deeply the rollers press into your back. This way, you can enjoy a wider range of massage intensities to suit your unique needs and sensitivities. Most 3D and 4D models typically have three to eight levels of roller intensity to choose from.

Since the backrest rollers are the main function of a massage chair, we strongly believe that being able to control the intensity is important. This is why we generally recommend going with, at minimum, a 3D massage chair.

What's the Difference Between 3D and 4D Rollers?

We know that both 3D and 4D massage chairs have adjustable roller intensities, but what sets them apart? It's the style of the massage itself. 4D rollers provide a more realistic and human-like massage experience, adjusting its speed during the massage to focus on key pressure points. If you're looking for the most natural and sophisticated massage possible, look no further.

What are Foot Rollers?

Foot rollers target the acupoints of the feet and knead the foot soles. Additionally, most chairs with foot rollers have airbags that squeeze the sides of the feet, which function to push the feet in a downwards motion deeper into the foot rollers. Most massage chairs offer foot rollers now, but there are still some chairs available that only rely on airbags to massage the feet.

What is Heat Therapy?

Like foot rollers, heat therapy comes built-in the majority of massage chairs now. Most chairs have dual heating pads in the lower back area that warm up the lower back to melt away muscle pain and allow the rollers to work the back more effectively. Some chairs, such as the popular Osaki OS-Pro Admiral, have heating in both the lumbar and knee region. Other models, like the Osaki OS-Pro Maestro LE, have a sophisticated heated roller system that both massages and applies a mild heat application at the same time.

There are still some chairs, however, that do not have heat therapy — but it has become a standard feature across the board in most models.

What is Zero Gravity?

Zero Gravity is now standard in most massage chairs these days. Zero Gravity is a NASA inspired recline position that positions the feet 30 degrees above the heart to promote a "weightless" sensation just like astronauts experience in space. It is one of the most popular features our customers look for.

What are Massage Chair Airbags?

Massage chair airbags are pockets that inflate and deflate with air. They squeeze, compress, knead and swing the body from side to side. They loosen muscle tension and push the muscles deeper into the rollers to generate a firmer massage.

Massage chairs can have anywhere from a dozen to 100 airbags. Depending on the model, airbags can target the outer shoulders, arms & hands, waist, thighs, back, calves, feet, and even the head/neck area such as found in the Titan Pro Jupiter XL model.

Some massage chair buyers fall into the trap of thinking that more airbags equates to a better massage experience. That is rarely the case. Newer generation massage chairs often have fewer airbags because new technology allows the airbags to cover more surface area without sacrificing key regions. This also results in a more efficient, durable product.

How Much Space Does a Massage Chair Take?

Most massage chairs require up to 80 inches of floor space when fully reclined. Take a look at the specifications of each massage chair when fully reclined, and measure the area where you plan to place the chair to ensure sufficient clearance.

Our massage chairs are designed to fit through a standard 36" door frame, but keep in mind that other obstacles — such as stairwells, tight corners, or smaller door frames (i.e. bedrooms, offices, etc.) — could be too narrow. We want you to be able to enjoy your new massage chair without any stressful surprises, so be sure to measure before purchasing.

Massage Chair Warranties

All of the massage chairs we carry are equipped with a three year limited manufacturer warranty that covers one year of in-home labor and 2 or 3 years of parts. We do have extended warranty options available that can cover you up to five years for additional peace of mind as well.

Massage Chair Delivery & Assembly Options

All of our massage chairs are shipped via free curbside delivery. The delivery company will use liftgate service to bring the chair down to the front of your home or business but they're not allowed to bring it inside for you. Massage chairs are not light and can weigh between 200-400 pounds. Most come in 1-3 boxes, with the main body of the chair in one box and the side panels, foot ottoman and accessories in the other box(es).

Speaking of assembly, some chairs are pre-assembled, some have one or two parts that need assembly, and others require a more thorough set-up. Our chairs are not difficult to assemble if you're a hands-on person. The included user manual will walk you through the process and we often have step-by-step assembly videos available, too. However, if carrying it in and assembly sounds burdensome or stressful, we recommend choosing the In-Home Delivery & Set Up option. With the In-Home Delivery & Set Up Delivery service, a two-person installation team will carry the chair in for you and assemble it. Room of Choice Delivery and Threshold Delivery are also options, depending on the model. Check out our Shipping Information page for more details.

Where MassageChairDeals.com Comes In

Our representatives know the ins and outs of all the massage chairs we carry. If you ever have any inquiries, please feel free to give us a call at 844-862-4391 or via live chat and we'd be thrilled to assist with whatever question you may have. We understand that purchasing a massage chair is a big investment and we're dedicated to making your shopping experience as painless as possible.

As a reminder, all chairs purchased at MassageChairDeals.com are shipped free with curbside delivery and tax-free (exc. IL).

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