The best massage chairs provide exceptional value. However, this purchase is an investment, so you want to be sure you give each of the candidates a thorough evaluation before you make your decision. In order to do that, you must know what you are looking for as you compare massage chairs, and that is increasingly challenging for a few reasons. First, new manufacturers are bringing products to market every day, giving you more massage chair variations to consider. Second, existing models are updated with new features on a regular basis, and those capabilities must be factored into the purchase equation along with many other variables.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to get a general sense of what to look for in a massage chair. In fact, it takes about as long as you need to read this blog post! In it, we point out some desirable product features and characteristics as well as some undesirable features and characteristics. The goal is to give you a solid foundation for doing your research, and also to ensure you are confident that you know how to buy a massage chair.
Evaluating Massage Chairs: A Full Assessment is the Only Valid Assessment
While the price points are different, in some ways, evaluating a massage chair is like evaluating an automobile. You would never hop into a luxury sedan, sit for a minute or two and then get out and sign the paperwork. You want to take it for a test drive… play with all its high-tech features… look at it from every angle, etc.
The same should be true when you buy a massage chair. If you don’t check out every feature and function, the ones you failed to explore may cause you significant buyer’s remorse. We feel you should spend at least 30 minutes using, viewing and talking about a massage chair before you come to any decision — positive or negative — about it. And that is after you have read the massage chair reviews about all the contenders.
Your Experience is Key When Buying a Massage Chair
Two important factors (both addressed below) when purchasing a massage chair are functionality and quality. If a product doesn’t meet your standards in either of those areas, you should not purchase it. That said, another area for consideration, and one that is frequently overlooked, is the actual massage experience. How do you feel while you’re in the chair? How do you feel after using the chair? A massage chair can have features and reliability that are off the charts, but if your answer to those two questions isn’t, “Great!” you should keep looking.
Massage Chair Selection: Functionality
As you try to determine what is the best massage chair for your needs, here are some questions you should ask about a chair’s features:
- Does it offer multiple massage styles (Swedish, shiatsu, deep tissue, etc.)? The best massage chairs give you multiple options.
- Have the chair’s massage routines been developed by massage experts? If the only input has come from engineers, that is a red flag.
- Does the chair provide full head-to-toe coverage? Most high-quality massage chairs do, but you should never assume.
- Does the chair offer both pre-programmed patterns and fully customized massages? You will likely need both. Sometimes you simply want to sit down and start a standard massage. In other instances, you know where you need work and want to use manual massage combinations to address the right areas.
- What is the height range that the chair can accommodate? This, of course, is especially important if you are at the lower or upper ranges of height.
Massage Chair Selection: Quality
Inferior quality massage chairs, or those backed by inferior warranties and service, can quickly go from stress relievers to stress inducers! Here are some questions to ask about quality when you compare massage chairs:
- What is the chair’s failure rate? Massage chairs are complex machines, and like any complex machine, they do fail at times. Even the most reliable brands fail in the 1 percent to 3 percent range. As the rate goes up from there, your concern should increase as well.
- What is the company’s reputation in the industry? Any organization can claim to provide “superior quality” products, but what do others in the business say about them?
- What are the details of the warranty? For example, how many years does it cover? And does it cover parts and labor?
- How is the warranty supported based on where the chair will be used? What happens if you live hundreds (or thousands) of miles from the provider? Can they still guarantee prompt and effective service?
General Cautions as You Compare Massage Chairs
In addition to a product’s feature set and quality, there are some general considerations to keep in mind as you shop for a massage chair. For example, while there may not be a direct correlation between higher price and greater satisfaction with your purchase, it is true that you get what you pay for. If a massage chair is priced significantly lower than comparable competitive models, there is surely a reason, and it likely has to do with the chair’s reliability.
You should also be skeptical of claims that seem too good to be true. If your reaction to some stated feature of a chair is, “It does WHAT?” you should probably probe a little more deeply. For example, you may hear of chairs that “sense tension in certain areas of your body and automatically adjust the massage.” Massage chairs use very sophisticated technology, but they don’t possess the sensitivity of the human hand or the experience of veteran masseuse.
Finally, any reputable company will offer you an ironclad money back guarantee. No matter how long you spend in a massage chair in a store or at an event, you cannot know what it is like to use the chair in your home until you use the chair in your home! You should have ample time to evaluate a product at your place, and if it doesn’t deliver the desired results, the company should pick it up free of charge and refund your money. Offering a “happiness guarantee” is a sign that a provider has great confidence in their products.