Take a look at this guest post from our friends at Massagers-And-More
Are you interested in buying a massage chair, but confused silly with all the different options out there? Not to worry, I was in your shoes about a year ago. With not enough resources and information, I’d find myself tirelessly scavenging the net comparing one chair to another. Safe to say that all paid off!
Since then my fascination for massage chairs has grown tremendously. I’ve written detailed reviews on 30 odd chairs, and continue to do so as new chairs get released.
The below 6 considerations are what I personally used/followed when I purchased my massage chair. Even though some items on this list may seem subjective, it’s worth paying attention to. Without further ado!
#1 Price $$$$$!
Massage chairs aren’t exactly cheap, and even the cheapest of chairs will run you a solid $400-500 easy. The higher end chairs can go up to the $10K mark!
Which is why it’s so important to get a handle on budget!
You must ask yourself the following questions specifically:
1. How much am I willing to spend in total? Total means everything i.e. shipping, install fees, taxes etc.
2. How do I wish to pay? Typically, you can either finance the chair (most places offer 0% interest) over a period of several months, or you can pay the entire amount in one shot.
It’s important you have a clear understanding of this before even looking at anything else. If you’re having difficulty coming up with a budget, just remember there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s about what you’re most comfortable spending.
If you’re okay spending $3K, fine. If you’re okay spending $6K, awesome. If you’re okay spending $500, swell!
If you have your budget nailed down, that’s it. Many people tend to budge from their set budget. Don’t be one of those people! Set yourself a budget!
#2 Roller System: 2D, 3D, or 4D?
Once you’ve determined your budget, next step is to decide on a roller system. As of present day (2019 April), there are 3 types of roller technologies to choose from:
2D rollers are the oldest technology you can find on a massage chair. They move in 2 dimensions i.e. up and down along the length of the back, and side to side across the width of the back.
Basically, a step up from 2D rollers. In addition to the horizontal and vertical movements, 3D rollers can also protrude in/out. This additional dimension makes 3D rollers capable of performing deep tissue massage.
The most technologically advanced roller system you can find on a massage chair. 4D rollers are the exact same as 3D, but with one major difference: roller speed control is automatic in a 4D system. In a 3D system, roller speed is something you must manually adjust.
So does that mean you should only buy a chair with 4D rollers?
Absolutely not! 4D is the best money can buy, no question, but 3D and 2D chairs are not far behind. What’s more is the incredible industry experience around 2D rollers. Because 2D technology has been around for decades, massage chair manufacturers truly understand how to get the most out of this technology.
What’s the catch?
It’s simple. It all boils down to intensity. If you’re specifically looking for a chair capable of massaging at high intensities, consider a 3D or 4D chair. If intensity isn’t a concern for you, pick a 2D chair!
#3 Roller Track
In #2 we discussed the different roller technologies, that’s only one half of the equation. The other half has to do with roller track. What is roller track anyways?
Roller track talks about the distance a set of rollers will follow.
For example, there are some massage chairs with rollers that can only travel from neck to tailbone (30-32’’), and then there are other chairs whose rollers can travel all the way to the hamstrings (47-52’’).
The longer the track, the better the massage!
If you’re able to afford it, I recommend you always go for a chair with an extended roller track. The extra roller coverage makes a world of difference when it comes to massaging the glutes and hamstrings.
#4 User Flexibility
This is something that often gets overlooked. If people paid more attention to this one thing, they’d end up saving so much time and money!
User flexibility is about how well a massage chair can accommodate users with varying heights and weights.
If you’re buying online, this becomes especially important to consider. If you’re buying offline, it’s still important, but not as much because you would have sat and tried the chair out.
No 2 chairs are the same!
And as such user flexibility can tend to vary from one chair to another. For example, chair X may be designed to fit in small, tight spaces, so as a result, it can only accommodate a height range of 5’0-6’0 ft. Chair Y on the other hand is designed to fit taller folks and has a height range of 5’2-6’4 ft. The same thing applies for weight.
Remember to check the height and weight limits before you buy!
The Novo XT2 is an example of a massage chair that has incredible user flexibility!
#5 Number Of Auto Modes!
Auto modes are preset or preprogrammed massage routines. They’re incredibly important for a few reasons:
1. Auto modes take away the guesswork from the user. In other words, the user doesn’t have to mess around with manual settings trying to figure out the optimum parameters for massage.
2. They keep things fresh. This is especially true for chairs that have 10+ auto modes! Because you have so many choices, massage is never repetitive and boring.
Most massage chairs generally tend to have on average 5 auto modes. Some of the better ones have 7-10, and some of the high-end ones have 30+!
#6 Massage Technology Other Than Rollers
The main roller system is arguably the most critical component to a massage chair, but it doesn't end there. There are several other components that also play a role in determining how good/bad a chair is. These are the airbags, calf rollers, and foot rollers.
Why are each of these components important?
Airbags and calf/foot rollers are important for 2 reasons:
1. They provide a massage technique different from the main roller system. For example, airbags inflate with air to provide a compression style massage.
2. They provide a massage to areas of the body where the main roller system can't reach. For example, the feet is one area where the main back rollers cannot reach.
That being said, one should always consider:
1. The number of airbags in a chair before buying. Look for a good spread across the chair!
2. The presence of calf and foot rollers. Foot rollers are a must have as far as I'm concerned. Calf rollers on the other hand is a feature you won't find in most massage chairs.
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