Finding the best massage chair can be a confusing and overwhelming experience.
There are many types to choose from, all of which we cover in this in-depth guide.
A massage chair was once an untouchable luxury purchase – too expensive for most people. The great news it that the price of massage chairs has fallen dramatically over the years and you can get a pretty good one for around £100-£150.
Massage chairs have a wide variety of health benefits and should be considered for these reasons. The main benefits of using a massage chair include:
- Helps overall well-being – helps you to relax, reduces stress and lowers blood pressure.
- Gives you a better night sleep by de-stressing.
- Stimulates blood flow – this can assist with recovery, reducing inflammation.
- Back pain is reduced – if you have back pain (particularly lower back pain), using a massage chair can alleviate that pain.
- Reduces chronic pain associated with arthritis and nerve damage.
Massage chairs are also suitable for all ages!
Whether you are a twenty-something person who has a need to relax after a stressful day at work, or a seventy-something person who suffers with a bad back.
Before committing to purchase a massage chair, it is important to know that if you have certain medical conditions, it may be inadvisable to proceed without first consulting your doctor (more on this below)
Our reviews are split in to two categories, the first will cover more affordable, general use massage chairs. The second part will cover the more premium massage chairs.
Budget Massage Chairs & Seats
This incredibly affordable and clever device is actually a cushion that you add to your existing chair.
The benefit of this option is that you don’t have to invest in a large piece of additional furniture for your home.
When you fancy or need loosening up, simply pull out the cushion and drape it over your chair or sofa and enjoy!
Features of the 10-Vibration Motor Massage Chair Cushion:
- Optional Heat Function – this is independent from the normal functions of the cushion and can be turned on and off, used in conjunction with massage or simply used on its own.
- 4 In-built massage programs
- 4 specific zones that the cushion can cover – Shoulders and Upper back, Lower back, Lumbar and thighs. You can choose each one of these individually or turn selected ones on for simultaneous use.
- Different speed functions for slow and gentle or more invigorating massage.
- Comes supplied with a 12V adaptor and also an in-car adaptor so the chair can be used whilst driving!
This chair/cushion has its benefits as listed above, but the overall quality will probably mean it won’t last as long as some of the more expensive options out there.
This would be ideal for someone who requires massage to aid in recovery but not into the distant future.
Price Range – Budget
Our rating – 7.5/10
This seat/cushion works in a similar way to the one above – it is an extra cushion you can add to an existing chair or sofa.
The features and functions included with the Naipo Back Massager are quite advanced giving you a variety of options to suit your needs.
This is an ideal candidate if you have read about or require a specific form of massage including the popular Shiatsu massage.
Features of the Naipo Back Massage seat:
- Shiatsu deep kneading function – the in-built rotation kneading massage rollers imitate a real human touch massage. A total of 8 different deep kneading options are selectable using the provided control pad.
- Heat function – the optional heat function will help in loosening and stretching stiff tendons. This feature can be turned on or off and used on its own or in conjunction with a massage function.
- Vibration massage – as well as the deep kneading functions, this cushion also provides vibration massage to the upper hip or thighs. Different levels are available to chose from dependant on your needs.
- Can be used in the home on your existing sofa or chair (so no need to buy a whole piece of furniture), can be used in the car or at work.
- Includes a removable leather sheet that can change the intensity of your massage. This is ideal if you are particularly sensitive or require a different feel.
The Naipo Back Massage Seat is excellent if you require more advanced and differing forms of massage. The benefit once again, is that you don’t have to have an additional piece of furniture in your home to take advantage of a massage chair.
The only reason this particular one didn’t score slightly higher with us is that if you are higher than 5ft 10″ you may have trouble with the neck massager actually reaching your neck – it may instead act on your upper back!
Price Range – Budget
Our rating – 8/10
The design of this massage chair makes it ideal for placing in an office room or spare bedroom.
If you have an office set up with a computer or laptop, this chair could be ideal for you!
What better way to use a massage chair than combining it with being on the computer. This way you can multitask and not even be conscious that you are receiving a massage!
Features of the Leather Office Chair with Massage/Heat:
- Looks like a regular office-type chair, so no ugly pads or things on show all of the time.
- Adjustable height from 44 to 52cm, 360 degree swivel and a recline and tilt function.
- 5 pre-set massage functions to massage back, buttocks and legs.
- You can change the intensity of the massage.
- A handy pocket mounted to the side of the chair to keep the remote control in.
This is ideal for those wanting a new office chair to combine with relaxing functionality or massage. But if you don’t need an office chair, this one may not be for you because it simply does just look like an office chair!
If you want a chair to be in your living room or main bedroom, you are probably better off getting something more visually pleasing than an office chair design.
Price Range – Budget
Our rating – 7/10
As massage chair cushions go, this one is absolutely brilliant! It is incredibly high quality and function-rich, giving you an extraordinary amount of features and functions for your money.
This is a high quality product and therefore its longevity through multiple uses should last a very long time when compared with some cheaper alternatives.
Features of the Sable Back Massage Shiatsu Seat Cushion:
- Unique nodes that really do mimic a human touch very well – they penetrate deep into your muscles for that human feel.
- The seat is made from strong materials including a special breathable mesh meaning that significant use of the device won’t see it wear out easily!
- Heat function included up to 45 degrees centigrade, this is optional and can be used on its own or with the massage features. This will help stimulate and improve blood circulation for a much more effective massage.
- Vertically adjustable neck massage nodes – to suit different heights.
- A 15 minute auto turn off function
As seat cushions go, this massage chair is the best quality and value for money without having to invest in a fully fledged chair.
The quality and features make it truly special. If you are looking for a cushion to add to an existing seat or chair, then this is the one for you!
Price Range – Mid-Range
Our rating – 9/10
This stylish chair and stool combination is available in 4 different colour choices (Brown, Black, Cream or Red).
It is designed in such a way that makes it both affordable as a piece of furniture and it will also blend in well with your existing decor.
The matching stool is really an added bonus and will make your massage experience even more relaxing and comfortable.
Features of the Drive Devilbiss Restwell Napoli Massage Chair:
- The additional stool has an inbuilt vibrating massage function.
- 6 point vibration massagers and 10 point vibration mode.
- Heat functionality to aid in relaxation and blood flow.
- 360 degree swivel and adjustable height.
For us, this chair is not really suitable for those who have an actual medical condition for which they require a massage chair. Although it also looks good on the surface, the quality of the chair is not that great. The price is reflective of this – it is significantly less than £200 and it is very hard to find a quality product of this size, for that price.
Price Range – Mid-Range
Our rating – 6/10
Premium / Luxury Massage Chairs & Seats
This premium massage chair is an incredible piece of equipment. If you are comfortable to pay more for a premium massage chair versus a budget one, you will certainly get your moneys worth with this.
If you suffer with severe, regular back pain, this massage chair is a good choice. It is a permanent piece of furniture that will last a very long time.
Features of the Real Relax Massage Chair Recliner:
- 3 year warranty
- Full body Shiatsu massage – 50 air bags in the chair with 8 massage points in the backrest will provide a fantastic Shiatsu massage.
- In-built heat function to promote circulation and help relieve pain.
- Made from high quality leather.
- Special Zero Gravity design to help you feel more relaxed. This evenly distributes your body weight over the chair to provide a better experience.
- Has a very high weight limit capacity of 200kg.
Overall this chair is ideal as a premium massage chair. With the unique zero gravity design and built in features, this will provide years and years of comfort and relaxation.
The one thing that may be a slight draw back is its design. As you will notice with many massage chairs, it is difficult to find one that blends in with the existing decor!
Price Range – Premium
Our rating – 8/10
This is what you call a premium massage chair! If budget isn’t an option and you are looking for a massage chair that does absolutely everything – this one is for you.
The number of features on the Global Relax massage chair are huge, check out what this can do:
Features of the Global Relax Nirvana Massage Chair:
- A built in compression air bag system consisting of 74 airbags which are positioned throughout the chair and focus on the shoulders, back, arms, hips, legs and feet.
These air bags have 3 levels of intensity which you can select via the remote control.
- 3D Massage system with 4 massage heads that can be moved up and down as well as forwards and backwards. Four in-built locations for the massage train to be positioned and this can also be adjusted manually to give you the perfect massage location.
- 7 specific types of massage in built – 3D, Kneading, Tapping, Knead & Tapping, Knocking, Shiatsu and Stretching.
- Special “Wall Zero” function – the chair only needs to be positioned 5cm away from a wall in order for it to achieve full recline from the upright position – great for not taking up as much space as it could!
- GUASHA Reflexology massage system in built for the soles of the feet.
- Reclining system auto senses the height and curvature of the back to provide a better massage and avoid body stiffness.
- Built in colour therapy consisting of LED lights to help you feel more relaxed.
- Built in digital audio system to connect your audio device via Bluetooth (phone, tablet or MP3 player for example) to personalise the experience.
- Comes with a 2 year manufacturers warranty which can be extended to 5 years through the manufacturer after purchase.
Does everything you could ever want and more. If you have a big budget and are looking for a fantastic massage chair, then this is the one for you.
It is available in a large variety of colours so you can pick one to match your decor.
The variety of massage types the chair performs and additional features make it the ultimate massage chair!
Price Range – Premium
Our rating – 10/10
Further information about Massage Chairs
Is it medically safe?
We advise that if you suffer from a medical condition that could be impacted by using a massage chair, to first consult your doctor.
Many massage chairs come provided with warnings that they should not be used by: pregnant women, those who have reduced pain sensation (particularly in the back), people taking reaction-time-reducing medication, those who suffer from diabetes, heart disease and thrombosis.
If your doctor or medical profession helper has advised you that a massage chair will benefit your health condition, then there is probably no need to seek further advice.
Massage Chair vs Massage
Massage is frequently practised for rehabilitation of an injury or to help people relax.
The difference between a massage chair and conventional massage is that over time, the cost of conventional massage really adds up!
Massage can be expensive and you can invest in a massage chair that will do the work for you, when you want it to, for as little as the cost of 5 massage sessions.
Obviously the high cost of a luxury massage chair is the cost of a LOT of regular massages! But the convenience of owning one to use at your leisure can outweigh conventional massage as long as your budget allows for it. Massage chairs also represent a long-term investment that can be enjoyed as you see fit at your leisure.
How often can you use a Massage Chair?
Manufacturers of massage chairs have built in a function into almost all of those available on the market. This makes them auto cut out after either 30 minutes or 15 minutes dependant on the massage chair.
Guidelines from manufacturers stipulate that you should use a massage chair for a maximum of 30 minutes per day. Chairs with more advanced features and that provide a more extensive massage, will recommend 2 x 15 minute sessions (hence the 15 minute cut off time)
What is Shiatsu Massage?
Shiatsu Massage is a form of Japanese massage that was developed from traditional Chinese medicine ideas. The word “Shiatsu” literally translates to “finger pressure.”
The technique involves applying pressure to various parts of the body with your fingers, thumbs, elbows, knees or feet.
The benefits of Shiatsu Massage (which can be replicated using a Shiatsu Massage Chair) are increased circulation, relief of pain in muscles, being more relaxed, reduction in stress and tension and back/neck ache.
What are the Benefits of using a Massage Chair?
Helps you to relax – receiving a massage can help you relax. This is very good for getting a good nights sleep or to feel generally calmer in everyday life.
Lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow – increasing blood flow has a number of benefits.
It can increase the production of red blood cells which in turn help you to heal faster.
If you have an injury, increasing red blood cells can help that injury heal faster or relieve pain. If you suffer from arthritis, increasing the blood flow will help to make your symptoms and pain more manageable.
If you have bad circulation (and suffer with cold hands or feet) then increasing your circulation through massage can help you get warmer.
Increasing the blood flow through use of a massage chair can also promote a reduction in inflammation.
Reduces stress levels – individuals in highly stressful jobs can often be seen heading towards their massage therapist after a hard days work!
If you are retired, but still get stressed at anything whether it be whats going on in the news or worries about family members, using a massage chair can help reduce your stress levels and calm you.
Helps with back pain – almost all massage chairs will help reduce or alleviate back pain. The mechanisms inside the massage chair are designed to work on painful and stiff joints, this helps increase the flexibility of your back reducing tension and strain.
Which Massage Chair is the right one for me?
There are many factors to consider before making your decision on which massage chair to purchase.
How long do you plan on using it for?
If you have an injury that will heal over time and you simply want to speed along the process of recovery, buying an incredibly expensive massage chair is probably not the best idea. After time, you won’t need to use it any more. If you purchased an entry-level massage chair, it is something that could benefit you in the short term. However, you may wish to buy a premium massage chair anyway and continue to use it in the future to help relax and unwind.
But, say you have chronic back pain, and it is going to be with you for the rest of your life – investing in a premium massage chair for long-term use is probably the best option. It will mean you have something that has extremely good functionality, can help with a multitude of problems and is going to last a very long time. If you opted for a cheaper entry level cushion, for example, it will not provide the large range of premium functions you may require.
What is your budget?
If you have a budget in mind for purchasing a massage chair, this will help a great deal in making a decision.
If money is no object, then fantastic – go for the all singing all dancing massage chairs you can buy! But if money is tight, you may be restricted in what you can afford.
I personally would recommend that if your budget is small and you are suffering with severe pain or injury – buying the cheapest chair available may not be the best idea. It simply won’t be able to provide range of functions and speciality functionality that a premium massage chair can provide.
Think of your needs
If you have a specific need for a massage chair, it is important to take that into consideration when reading each of the above reviews.
Some massage chairs are particularly good at helping with back pain, for example. Whilst others may just be a bit of a fad or accessory that you use to help relaxation.
The deep kneading technique in the more premium massage chairs is going to help with severe pain much more versus an entry-level massage cushion.
Where are you going to keep it?
Buying a massage chair “cushion” is an easy decision to make – it can fold away and be stored and then pulled out and added to an existing chair when you want to use it.
If you are considering buying a luxury massage chair, you will need to identify somewhere for it to go in your home!
It may replace your existing single chair or can be slotted in to the decor without much problem, or perhaps the removal of that corner table.
How did you find our guide?
Did you find all the information you needed? If you enjoyed our guide or have any further questions, we’d love to hear from you!