What to Look For in a Massage Chair

Don’t waste your money!

Be sure that you know what your needs are and what to look for when you are buying a good massage chair for yourself.

The technology in these chairs vary a lot, and after you have read this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what they are, so you can make an informed decision when buying a massage chair and know what you should look for.

What to Consider When Buying a Massage Recliner

  • Features – Look at what type of components, function, and details it has and compare it to your needs or other chairs
  • Quality – Consider which country it is made in and what materials are used in the structural frame and upholstery. Also, consider the warranty.
  • Specifications – Whether it fits your body type, weight, and height, and if the dimensions of the chair will fit in your room.
  • Versatility and Usage – If it is a multi-purpose product or if it can be adjusted and customized to fit your wants and needs or if it has multiple types of massagers, programs, and techniques.


There are a bunch of different features you can look for in a massage machine, and especially in a recliner as it is the most advanced and multi-purpose product category. We will explain some of the most important features that these midrange and high-end products usually have, and you can consider whether that is something you need or not.

Zero Gravity

Zero Gravity is a term in the industry which refers to a fully reclined position where your spine is relieved of most of the pressure that is put on it during the day, and the chair fully supports your body and it may also lift your legs and knees to further ease the weight off of your tailbone and gently stretch your spine. Some manufacturers include several Zero Gravity positions which usually means different angles of recline. Since you are laying flat on your back in this position, your body’s weight pushes the muscles vertically downward onto the massage rollers, which makes it more intense than when you are merely leaning towards horizontally.


S-Track is a type of back roller technology that makes the rollers follow the curvature of your spine. Today, most mid-range and many low-end chairs will have some sort of S-Track motion which makes them more ergonomic for your back area. Some might not even list S-Track as a feature as it has become a standard feature in the industry.


L-Track is a type of back roller technology where the rollers are designed to follow the L-shape of your body when you are seated, by starting at your head, following down your spine, around your buttocks and reach all the way down to your thighs. The maximum reach of the rollers is sometimes listed as track length and it can vary among the different products. The track is also usually made up of several different rollers and may also be designed to follow the curvature of your spine like an S-Track but also reaches all the way around your buttocks. An L-Track system usually covers even more of your back than what an S-Track does.


Airbags are often used for compression massaging the muscles and for gentle stretching of your body parts. The number of airbags a product has is not as important as its overall intensity and effect. The machine in your chair will inflate and deflate the bags in different areas and often in combination with other types of techniques.

Space Saving Recline

A cleverly designed product can enable a full recline with minimal space behind it. This is often listed as space-saving technology or design and is often listed with the number of inches needed. The lower the length, the closer you can place it to a wall behind it. If a product has listed this as a feature, the length is often between 1 and 6 inches, whereas a normal recliner would maybe require 20 or 30 inches. However, the space that is minimized behind it is usually added to the front of the chair, so it will slide forward when reclining and therefore requires more space in the front for a full recline.

Massage techniques

  • Kneading
  • Compression
  • Tapping/percussion
  • Stretching
  • Grasping/gripping
  • Rolling
  • Shiatsu/Acupressure
  • Junetsu
  • and more…

These are just some of the different techniques that a massager may list as its features. Some are imitating other types of techniques such as Swedish, Thai, Ti Chi, and Zen Master, and may list them as features also.


Some things to look into when determining the quality of the product is to look at where the product is designed, assembled or manufactured. There are very few products in this industry that are being Made in the USA today. However, those that usually have higher quality than those made in South-East Asian countries. Also look at what the frame material and the upholstery is made of. While some may think that real leather is ideal for a high-quality massage chair, you have to consider its longevity when exposed to heat and moisture. Leather can easily crack and become stained. When used in this setting, a strong leather-like synthetic material that is stain-resistant and comfortable is better. Another thing to look for is the time of the warranty as it can often tell you about how much confidence the manufacturer has in the quality of the product, and a long warranty is usually a good sign. However, you should also note that most warranties are limited by personal use and do not cover commercial use in health facilities or spas unless it is specifically mentioned in the warranty as commercial.


The specifications often tell you about what colors are available, what the product weight and height is, and what the shipping weight is. Its dimensions are often listed, both its upright dimensions and when it’s reclined. Other important specifications are the recommended user height and recommended user weight. Many of these products are manufactured in Asia, and while many are designed for the European and American demographics, you should definitely keep these in mind if you are tall or large. Other specifications may be of interest such as power consumption, the number of motors the product has, the number of rollers it has and so on. But the most important ones are those that tell you whether or not the product will fit your body and your needs.

Versatility and Usage

When looking at different products, some may be more versatile than others. That could be in a wide range of areas. Some may be designed to be used for more purposes than simply to be massaged. Some chairs have built-in speakers or entertainment systems. Some may support Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Some will have high-tech remote controllers that can give you full control over the different settings such as intensity control, speed control, individual adjustments, and special customization. Some chairs will have foot rollers and calf massagers. These are some things to consider when comparing products, but the most important thing is what your personal preferences and needs are and finding a product that fits you.