The 5 Best Massage Chairs
A great massage chair is the next best thing to seeing a massage therapist — and it wins major convenience points. The best massage chairs offer a variety of pressures, styles, and many work on your legs, neck, and arms in addition to pulsating against your back.
While science has done plenty of studies on the benefits of massage therapy by a trained practitioner, "to my knowledge, there haven't been any large studies on the effects of massage chairs in a home setting," says Brent A. Bauer, M.D., medical director of Rejuvenate Spa, part of the Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Program.
And when some massage chairs tout themselves as being "FDA-approved" or "FDA-registered" — it doesn't mean much. They aren't tested the way prescription drugs are. Rather, massage chairs are classified as Class I medical devices, along with elastic bandages, and 95 percent are "exempt from the regulatory process."
However, Dr. Bauer notes: "I have many patients who use them on a regular basis and find great benefit ... So if it fits your budget, and your doctor clears you, trying an at-home massage chair might be one way to get some of the relaxation benefits without having to make an appointment."
And the relaxation benefits of a massage chair can be had at a variety of price points. Below, the best for almost any budget on Amazon, from most expensive to least:
1. The Best Overall Massage Chair
While saying a nearly $6,000 massage chair is a steal is a stretch, Infinity's IT-8500 X3 outperforms many models twice its price. The body scan technology can locate pressure points and adjust to them. More than 30 airbags compress areas while complementary rollers offer multiple depths so you can choose a gentle knead or a more intense experience. The makers say that the S-shaped rail also better hugs the natural shape of the spine.
Those who are on their feet all day should especially consider this: The well-considered foot massagers feature eight airbags and six rollers for each foot. Other features include heat, six presets, and zero gravity. It's even Bluetooth-enabled so you can choose a playlist while your relax. While the price will definitely be a dealbreaker for some, the features show why, as one reporter wrote, "Infinity is massage chair royalty."
2. The Best Massage Chair For Under $2,000
Kahuna is known for the body stretching ability of its chairs, and this featuring a yoga stretching program is no different. With zero gravity, six programs, a detachable and washable foot area, and body scan, it also has enough of features to meet most consumers' needs. The massages are delivered with a mix of airbags and rollers like the top models. It's certainly not compact but is more space conscious than many full-size chair models and requires only 3 inches from the wall to work.
The enthusiasts at Chairinstitute.com even called this "hands down, the best value on the market today." The reviewers on Amazon seem to agree, giving it a 4.4 overall rating after more than 250 reviews. While it doesn't include some extras like being able to play music and some found the arm slots uncomfortable, if it doesn't work for you, it has a three-year limited warranty.
3. The Best Massage Chair For Under $1,000
This model from Real Relax offers plenty of the features of more expensive options like zero gravity, heat, vibration, full recline, and a mix of airbags and rollers. It also comes with four settings, foot massage, a remote, and a timer.
Customers on Amazon have been pleased after purchasing this. "Both my husband and I work out five to six times a week, which leaves us sore and in need of some muscle relaxation. This is an amazing massage chair for sore or tight muscles and has a great price compared to other similar products," says one review. Some wished the neck rollers were more effective while a few other settings could be a little gentler, but it got a 4.4-star rating after more than 300 reviews.
4. The Best Massage Chair For Under $250
While you won't get a foot massager with this one, this affordable massage chair still offers heat, a remote, preprogrammed massages, multiple intensity levels, and options for the back, thighs, and calves — all for less than $250. It even comes with a 60-day warranty.
Reviewers liked how easy it was to put together and the comfort of the chair itself. It's a great budget option for those not needing a deep tissue model and are more interested in a compact home recliner and foot stool to sit in with the added benefit of a vibrating massage since it offers a much lighter massage than the other chair options.
5. The Best Massage Chair For Under $100
Don't underestimate the relaxing abilities of this massage chair pad that manages to pack heat, shiatsu rollers, and vibration into a portable little package. A strap system allows it to be used on the couch, recliners, or even office chairs. With multiple intensity levels and a pinpoint feature so you can target specific parts of your back, it offers plenty of bang for your buck, but if you're not pleased, the seller offers a 30-day refund policy. The 4.9 overall rating suggests you probably won't need it.
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