Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about sofa start-ups, couches for a grand or less, the best office chairs on Amazon, and even an office chair that makes you look like a frog, we’ve yet to cover massage chairs. Here, the best massage chairs and recliners, as praised by Amazon’s most enthusiastic reviewers.
Best-rated massage chair
In addition to being “quiet,” “easy to move once assembled,” equipped with “a heat feature that is cozy to use during winter months,” and “a yoga setting that stretches you in different directions as it massages your back,” the highly rated Kahuna massage chair is also devilishly compact. “After setting the Kahuna LM6800 up,” writes one reviewer, “the first thing you see is how little space it uses, especially when not in use.” Others agree, with one person describing its “compactness for the house” as “excellent,” and another adding that the chair’s “small footprint means it can be placed close to my wall area.” Yet reviewers also write that this compact massage chair doesn’t sacrifice comfort: “I am 6’3 but it still does the job comfortably.” Another adds: “I had polio as a child, I have three vertebrates fused, and I’m in a constant state of ‘hurt.’ I detest painkillers so I look wherever I can for relief. This massage chair does that in spades! I limit myself to 15 minutes in the morning, and 15 in the late afternoon, and it is simply blissful for me.”
Best-rated (less expensive) massage chair
Though not a true recliner, the Snailax shiatsu back massage pad “is compact and fits on pretty much any chair with a tall straight back,” and, as one reviewer writes, “has pretty much most of the functions that I could find on a thousand dollars massage chair, including back shiatsu, spot and heating functions.” It’s also earned heaps of praise from reviewers for several of its features: “I really enjoy the neck massage that this massage pad has, which most massage chair pads do not have,” writes one person. Another adds: “You can change the direction of the neck massager so it can get the base of your skull in one direction and you can change it to where it gets the top of your shoulders where they meet your neck. Love it!!” The Snailax is so effective one person — who has “for the last 50 years, had many chiropractic and acupuncture treatments for my lower back and shoulder areas” — wrote “this massager has taken the place of those treatments!”
And now for some micro-picks for every type of massage chair you might be looking for.
Best massage chair with fancy settings
“The 6 rollers, air bags, and foot rollers all working in tandem is almost a sensory overload!” one reviewer raves. This person, noting that they’ve “tried most of the Kahuna’s programs,” says of this massage chair’s auto settings, “Yoga stretching is awesome. Office Worker takes care of the neck and shoulders really well, and Athlete really gets into the muscles. If you haven’t had an L-Track butt massage yet – go find one! It is amazing. It gets just past the glutes and to the back of your thighs. At medium intensity, I find the rollers and air bags perfect.” Another reviewer, whose “favorite feature is the foot massage,” writes, “I had no idea how much my feet were aching for a good massage until this chair got a hold of them. Sweet bliss! My husband loves the hand and forearm massage.” Other reviewers enjoyed the Kahuna’s manual features, too. As one person notes, “My spouse and I are finding that we can get the kind of massage we want by combining a pre-programmed setting with the specific massage components it offers for a really satisfying massage.”
Best massage chair with intense foot roller
Reviewers liked the Relaxonchair’s foot massager, which many described as “intense” but “refreshing.” As one person writes, “Yes the foot massager is intense, I had to wear flip flops for a few weeks, but after my feet acclimated, they feel great.” Another adds: “After 3 sessions in this chair, I can walk without pain!! My feet had so much tension in them, that the muscles were all contracted together making my gait off!! Now, I walk pain free, in a steady, upright position!!” And while some reviewers thought that foot massager was “too intense,” one person makes an important point: “The good news? You can turn the foot massage part off while the rest of the body gets treatment. That’s what I do.”
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