What’s more relaxing than a massage?
Not much, in my opinion.
But it’s almost more of a pain to actually go out and get one than it’s worth (especially if you have a rough drive home, or driving just stresses you out like it does to me), so why not bring one home with you?
That’s what these bad boys are for, something to sit in your living room, plop down into after a long day at work, and let them work their magic. Over the course of this article I’m going over nine of the best models I can find, and detailing a bit of how I choose them.
In A Rush?
My Top Pick: LuracoiRobotics 7 Medical Massage Chair
Our Favorites on the Market
Our Overall Choice
How Do I Pick the Right One?
Deciding what are the “must haves” and what are just NICE to have is hard, but I’ll break them down into three major categories: needs, wants, and pricing.
Things You Need
The first and most important thing a massage chair needs to be is a comfortable CHAIR. Sounds like a no-brainer, I know, but you’d be surprised how many massage chairs (or chairs in general for that matter) are content to just look nice and sit poorly.
This is a special issue for massage chairs though, because if they’re designed poorly the massage rollers and such can dig uncomfortably into your back, leaving it as something that is ONLY to be used when massaging, and taking up valuable space the rest of the time. Make sure it sits well when it’s turned off.
Second, it has to recline. No ifs, ands, or buts (with one minor exception on this list). Big bonus points for a zero gravity reclining position (which takes the stress of your back and lowers blood pressure), but that’s not a hard must have option.
Finally, you need a foot massager (again, with one minor exception on this list). Your feet hold a lot more tension than people realize, even if you’re not on your feet all day. Treat them right.
Things You Want
The primary thing here is a multitude of massage options, the big ones being: shiatsu, kneading, rolling, tapping, and knocking (plus compression for the arms and legs).
The more options the better, but you especially want the shiatsu one if nothing else.
Other extras include the aforementioned zero gravity recline (very nearly a must have option), body shape detection, airbag stretch and twist (or “yoga”) function, and any extras like built in sound systems, cup holders, or just better designed and easy to use remotes.
Short “thing you probably don’t care about”: If it says it’s the “only FDA approved device”, it’s probably lying. There’s at least 5 of those on here, it’s not a real selling point as a UNIQUE feature at least.
The average price for a good model is around $3000, but I’ve pulled a wide variety of good options in chairs as low as $200 and one as high as $9000 (it’s a very luxurious chair). There should be something here for everybody’s budget.
All right, now let’s begin!
Top 9 Excellent Massage Chairs
1. LuracoiRobotics 7 Medical Massage Chair (Black)
I like to call this “the overkill chair”. It has everything we look for in a massage chair and then some.
This sounds good, and it is, but before I get into everything let’s rip the bandage off up front: it’s close to $9000.
If that hasn’t scared you away though, this is a great option.
It boats automatic body shape detection which allows the 3D rollers to work their magic better than most other models; this is especially apparent with the lower back and neck massage areas.
It also has deep, three layer massages for the feet and calves (including advanced foot rollers; the footpad is removable for cleaning) and full body heating, as well as the ability to swivel for a twist stretch to help loosen those stubborn back muscles (think a gentle spinal twist, like the yoga move).
It even has an acupressure massage for the arms, making it a full body experience!
Throw in the built in MP3 system, touch pad controlled settings (9 pre set ones and up to 5 personalized settings), zero gravity adjustments, it being an FSA approved medical device, and the fact that it’s made of genuine leather throughout, and you have the chair of your dreams.
2. Medical Breakthrough 4 Massage Chair Recliner
Jumping down significantly in price (under $3000!) we have our second best option.
Don’t let that moniker fool you: it is a quality product.
Where it skimps on luxury materials (leather furniture is notoriously expensive, and probably where about half the cost of the Luraco comes in) it invests in massage features.
Designed by doctors and pain specialists to target problem areas and adjust itself to any position you’re in, the body scan technology is the centerpiece of this chair; everything else is built around that ability to automatically adjust to whatever position you find comfortable.
From there you can recline however you want (even into a full zero gravity position!) and the massaging starts, with any combination of knocking, flapping, rolling, kneading, and shiatsu massages you like, on every part of your body from the neck down (alas, if you want a face massage you need a different product).
That just scrapes the surface, with foot scraping massages and carbon fiber far infrared heating panels throughout to warm you and relax the muscles even more.
Everything about this is a quality product. I’m a sucker for leather furniture (and I just think the Luraco looks nice), but if you want all the effectiveness with a much lower price point: this one has you covered in spades.
3. RELAXONCHAIR [MK-II PLUS] Zero Gravity Shiatsu Massage Chair
As we get to our third FDA approved chair (see what I meant?) we go down a a bit in effectiveness, but a lot in price (about half that of the Medical Breakthrough model above).
This has a lot of the things we expect, including quality features beyond the basic like the targeted airbags (used to gently twist your body to help loosen the spine), and includes all the usual targeted and adjustable massage features we expect the drop in function comes less in the areas targeted (thankfully).
But, the type of massage offered: only kneading or tapping (plus a combo of both) here, no shiatsu or anything like that.
Still, with it being a zero gravity chair, having a “spinal decompression” function and compression massage for hip realignment, it has more than its fair share of nifty massages to keep you feeling relaxed day by day.
If it were even $500 more expensive I might say give it a pass and go for the Medical Breakthrough instead, but its pricing is absolutely perfect for what it gives you.
If it’s in your budget, you won’t regret buying this one over a more expensive model that might not be.
4. Kahuna Massage Chair
On the flip side, if you prefer the different massage types over things like the spinal decompression the Relaxon offers, this one’s for you.
It boasts every massage type the top two models do: kneading, tapping, shiatsu, rolling, and a combo of kneading and tapping (leaving flapping the only missing link) with a 30 minute timer and multiple auto programs.
Everything of the “basics” (for ones this high end) like the foot massager, zero gravity reclining, and acupressure massages are all there as well, leaving this as a great alternate option to the Relaxon.
My only issue: it costs about $200 more than the Relaxon, which I don’t think is warranted.
I think it’s on par with it (focusing on different benefits the Relaxon eschewed), not worth any more, hence why it sits lower on the list.
5. FOREVER REST FR-5Ks PREMIER
This one is a great value option that sort of splits the difference between the Relaxon and the Kahuna.
It has a lot of massage options to start us off: rolling, tapping, kneading, knocking, shiatsu, tapping and knocking, and a vibration setting… though I personally do not think vibration is a selling point; I find them unhelpful and uncomfortable compared to the others.
Likewise it has a zero gravity recline option, and like the Relaxon has a “yoga stretch” function to help decompress the spine; it’s actually the focus of this chair, touted as a “back saver”. Finally, it has a rolling foot massager instead of just acupressure.
While it lacks some of the features of both or either of the above, it sits as a great mix, at a great price as well: under $1200.
This makes it a great budget option, especially for those with primary problem areas in their back and legs that they want to work over the most anyway.
The biggest loss I feel is the lack of an infrared heating option (the heat helps a lot for loosening muscles, and amplifies the effectiveness of any massage or chiropractic visit), but that can potentially be made up for with a heating pad or something bought separately, if not necessarily as effective. A fair loss for the massive price decrease, I feel.
6. Real Relax Massage Chair Recliner
Here we have our first severe decrease in effectiveness, for the little over $800 price range.
This one is a purely shiatsu chair; no kneading or tapping or any of that.
It does still have some of the better basic functions, including the excellent zero gravity recline function, and full body heating.
Additionally it is still a full body massager, with acupressure on the arms and legs, and shiatsu everywhere else.
Unfortunately, the massage rollers are fixed and do not move, and he zero gravity reclining is non-optional like the others; whenever you turn the massage on it will recline to the zero gravity position.
Still, for the price, the number of options should be expected to be low, and the options there are end up being pretty high quality.
If you can’t justify spending more than $1000 on a massage chair, that’s understandable, and this is a good cheap option.
7. BestMassage EC-06 Massage Chair
This was kind of a hard call between the Real Relax and this one for this spot.
This one eventually went down because the construction of the chair itself is a little flimsier and the controller is kind of huge and cumbersome (I’m not sure why; there aren’t THAT many options on it).
Plus there’s no zero-gravity recline.
Still, this has a plethora of nice options available, being a shiatsu chair that auto adjusts its rollers to your proper height when you use the test mode.
It also has a number of nice options (I like the sleep mode; it keeps the recliner reclined after the massage is done in case you fall asleep and don’t want to be woken) and has a compression massage with 30 airbags across the body, something the Real Relax lacked.
This one overall is a bit better for the lower back, but unfortunately not as good for everything else.
It’s still pretty good though, and fair performance for the price range.
8. Mr Direct Electric Full Body Shiatsu
A little lower still we have this very cheap (almost $200 cheaper than the above) rolling massage chair.
That alone is the main reason it sits lower: it’s rolling only instead of shiatsu (which has more coverage and better effectiveness).
Other than that, it’s practically the twin of the one above, with full body heating, compression massaging on the whole body (not just the legs and arms), and even a specific foot massage (air and rollers) that looks quite nice.
It even has a zero gravity recline option, which is a leg up over the above.
I docked this one a few extra points for its controller, which is a bit archaic and annoying to use.
EVERYTHING has to be controlled individually; there are no presets or buttons that control multiple things and it’s difficult to tell when something is on or off (light indicators are nonexistent, you just have to hope you feel it working, especially for the less noticeable bits like the heating, which is low when just starting up).
While not a bad chair by any means, there are better options out there; if you can afford this you can probably go up a bit for the two just above it.
9. Best Choice Products Faux Leather
Here we have our cheapest, lowest performance option…but I still kind of like it.
It has controllable intensity (9 levels) and 5 pre-programmed massage settings, which is more than I can say for the Mr. Direct at least.
In addition it does its best to provide a lower back, thigh, and calf massage (though obviously not as well as others), and comes with an ottoman.
It won’t blow your socks off, but it’s incredibly cheap (a little over $200) and compact.
It also has use as something none of the rest of these do: a desk chair.
It is the perfect size to sit at your computer and work (I had a chair just like it, sans the massage features for years and loved it).
Basically, while it’s not the world’s best massage chair, it’s a good and comfortable chair that has a bit more of a versatile use (and is way, way easier to move around, especially up stairs and back) than other models and can still be used to provide a nice massage when you need it.
I recommend this one as just a good chair to buy that happens to have a massage function.
Ranking this was difficult, due to the extreme variance in prices making it hard to determine what was the best cost for value. In the end, I decided to rank them in order of strictly how well they performed and pull the best examples I could of each broad price bracket.
With that in mind, I can recommend any of these in good conscience depending on your budget, especially the top 4 to 5 products. The rest are, clearly, not as good, but they also won’t make your wallet cry as much as those top products, so it’s hard for me not to recommend them; they’re great for their price even if they aren’t as good as ones that cost 3-4 times as much.