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Massage Chair Buyer's Guide

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Shopping for a massage chair that you haven't sat in or tested can be difficult. With dozens of models to choose from, features you may have never heard of, and a wide range of prices, the process can feel overwhelming. Our goal is to simplify this process by providing insights into the key factors to consider as you begin your shopping journey. Learn more by reading our Massage Chair Buyer's Guide below.
Massage Chair Buyer's Guide

Why a Massage Chair?

A massage chair pays for itself 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.

With a massage chair, you have the benefit of having an in-home masseuse from the comfort of 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 well-being but your wallet, too.

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

Go with a Trusted Name Brand

We strongly recommend choosing a reputable name brand for your massage chair. While you may come across cheaper options, the adage "you get what you pay for" often holds true. Many buyers learn the hard way that non-name brand chairs can leave them without service or access to parts when those manufacturers go out of business.

Without manufacturer support, obtaining replacement parts becomes exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. Massage chair components are typically model-specific and non-interchangeable.

In the massage chair industry, it's not uncommon for smaller brands to fold, making it crucial to opt for trusted name brands like Osaki, Infinity, Titan, Kyota, Ador, Sharper Image, Human Touch, and Luraco. While these brands are not immune to service issues, they are well-established companies backed by solid warranty policies. You can always count on them for USA-based tech support. Additionally, you can rely on our 10 years of experience to provide an extra layer of assistance.

What Massage Chair is Right for My Body?

Most massage chairs include adjustable footrests to accommodate users of varying heights. Typically, these chairs provide a safe and comfortable experience for individuals within the height range of 5'0" to 6'2", with fewer options available for those shorter or taller.

Most chairs have a weight capacity of up to 300 lbs. Shoulder and seat clearances differ from one model to another, but the majority fall within the 19-21 inch range.

We recommend reviewing the specifications of each chair in the "Specs" tab on all of our product pages to better understand the suggested height and weight limits. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us at 844-862-4391 or through live chat.

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, airbags massage the remainder of your body, i.e., your hips and waist, shoulders, arms, buttocks, calves, feet, and even your head. S-Track chairs have a roller track length of between 27-33 inches.

SL-Track, also known as an extended roller track or L-Track, is newer technology. SL-Track chairs massage from your neck and shoulders down to your lower back, just like S-Track chairs. What sets SL-Track models apart is that the rollers in these chairs sit on a longer track so they can massage your buttocks and upper hamstrings, creating an "SL" shape. Unlike many S-Track chairs that employ airbags to squeeze the buttocks and upper thighs, SL-Track chairs utilize rollers instead, which are more effective than airbags. For individuals dealing with gluteal or sciatica pain, an SL-Track chair is the superior choice. SL-Track chairs have a roller track length 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.
S-Track vs SL-Track

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

Most 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.
2D vs 3D vs 4D

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 than a 4D chair.

What are Foot Rollers?

Reflexology foot rollers simulate the sensation of firm thumbs massaging the bottoms of your feet, directly targeting specific acupoints. Some advanced foot rollers can also massage your toes, heels, and arches. In many massage chairs featuring foot rollers, airbags are included along the sides of your feet. When these airbags inflate, they gently press your feet downward, bringing them closer to the foot rollers. While most modern massage chairs come equipped with integrated foot rollers, a few utilize just airbags.

What is Heat Therapy?

Most massage chairs include heat therapy to enhance the massage experience. Heat serves a dual purpose in massage chairs: it helps relax your muscles and aids the massage rollers in relieving tension in your back. The warmth not only feels great but also encourages your muscles to release tension, making the massage more effective.

In most massage chairs, you'll often find two heating pads placed along your lower back. The Osaki OS-4000T and Kyota Genki M380 serve as excellent examples of chairs with this set-up.

Some premium models, such as the popular Osaki Emperor 4D, have a sophisticated heated roller system that both massages and applies a mild heat application at the same time. Other models, like the Osaki OS-Highpointe 4D, have a heated shawl that drapes over the front of your body along with calf heating.

What is Zero Gravity?

Zero Gravity is a standard feature in most massage chairs. In this NASA-inspired recline, your legs rise to or above your upper body, creating a sensation of weightlessness. By transferring most of your body weight onto the backrest, it enables the rollers to more effectively massage your back. Zero Gravity is also associated with various other benefits, including reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, and increased lung capacity.
Zero Gravity Recline

What are Massage Chair Airbags?

Airbags are an essential component of any massage chair. They work seamlessly with the backrest rollers to provide a holistic, full-body massage experience. Airbags rhythmically inflate and deflate, replicating the feeling of human hands applying pressure to your entire body. Airbags employ squeezing and gripping motions. In some models, they can even sway your body from side to side. Most massage chair models offer up to six levels of airbag intensity, allowing you to adjust the pressure to your preference.

Massage chairs can have anywhere from a dozen to 100 airbags. Depending on the model, airbags massage your shoulders, arms & hands, waist, thighs, back, calves, feet, and even your head & neck area.

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 overlooking any critical regions. This also results in a more efficient, durable product.
Massage Chair Airbags

How Much Space Does a Massage Chair Take?

When fully reclined, most massage chairs require 70 to 80 inches of floor space. Most chairs are 30 to 36 inches wide when fully assembled.

All massage chairs fit through a standard 36" door frame, but other obstacles, such as stairwells, tight corners, or smaller door frames (e.g., bedrooms, offices, etc.), could be too narrow. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, be sure to measure the space where you plan to place your chair before purchasing.

Massage Chair Warranties

Massage chair warranties vary based on the brand and even the specific model. Warranty coverage generally includes both labor (i.e., in-home technician repairs) and replacement parts. Well-established brand names — including all the models available on our website — include at least a year of labor and 2-3 years of parts coverage. Extended warranties are usually available for an additional cost or may even be included at no extra charge for select models.

We always recommend thoroughly reviewing the warranty terms. Non-name brands frequently entice consumers with appealing prices, but they often have a significant drawback: restrictive warranty policies. While these chairs might advertise warranties ranging from 1-3 years, they often only provide coverage for replacement parts. This means that if an issue arises with your chair, you would be responsible for hiring a technician for any necessary servicing. If the warranty doesn't include labor coverage, we strongly recommend exploring other choices.

Furthermore, non-name brands come and go, which could potentially create a service nightmare if the manufacturer goes out of business. To circumvent this potential problem, we strongly recommend opting for a well-established brand, particularly one that offers an extended warranty. Extended warranties often pay for themselves. Avoid getting caught in a situation where you discover restrictive warranty terms or, worse, the company has gone out of business when your chair faces problems.

Massage Chair Delivery & Assembly Options

All our massage chairs are eligible for free curbside delivery. The freight carrier will utilize liftgate service to place your chair near your entryway, but they will not bring it inside. Most models are shipped in 1-3 boxes stacked on a pallet. In instances where there are multiple boxes, you'll find the main chair body in the largest box, while the smaller boxes usually house the arm panels and footrest. Since massage chairs are heavy, weighing between 200 to 400 pounds when fully assembled, you'll need some help to bring the boxes inside.

Massage chairs come in different assembly categories. Some are pre-assembled, while others may require minimal assembly or a more extensive setup. If you're a hands-on person, the included user manual and our step-by-step instructional videos will guide you through the installation. For a hassle-free experience, consider our In-Home Delivery & Set Up service, where a two-person team will carry in and assemble your chair. View our Shipping Information page for more details.

Where We Come In

Our specialists are thoroughly acquainted with the intricacies of every massage chair we carry. If you have any questions, give us a call at 844-862-4391 or through live chat and we'd be happy to assist with whatever inquiry you may have. We recognize that buying a massage chair is a significant investment, and we're committed to ensuring your shopping experience is as seamless as possible.

As a reminder, all of our orders qualify for free curbside delivery.
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