Shopping for a massage chair you may have not thoroughly tested, let alone sat in, can be difficult. There are dozens of brands to choose from, exotic features you may have never heard of, and a wide variation of prices. We at ZebraMassageChairs.com aim to make it easier to shop online by breaking down the things you should be on the lookout for as you begin the massage chair shopping process.
Why A Massage Chair?
A massage chair can often pay for itself in under a year if you make it a regular habit of visiting your local spa or chiropractor’s office. When you consider that the national average for a massage is approximately $60 per hour, it’s easy to see how the price of massage therapy can quickly add up over the span of just one year.
With a massage chair, you have the benefit of having an in-home masseuse from the comfort of your home — any time of the day. No more appointments. No more driving to your masseuse. No blackout dates. While a massage chair may seem expensive at first, it’s a great investment in the long-run, not only for your health but your wallet, too.
What Massage Chair is Right For My Body Frame?
Most of our massage chairs have extendable footrests that accommodate users of most heights. However, some chairs are narrower than others that restrict broader shouldered and petite individuals. We encourage you to look at the specifications of the chair in our “Specs” tab on all of our product pages to get a better idea of what height and weight limits are suggested. We also recommend giving us a call at 1-844-288-4416 or via live chat and one of our specialists will offer you their expert opinion as to whether that chair is best for you, and if not, what similar models to consider instead.
S-Track or L-Track?
Massage chairs have one of two tracks: an S-Track or L-Track. Most massage chairs are designed with S-Track technology, meaning the rollers in the backrest of the chair massage the neck, down to the back, and cut off at the tailbone area. The “S” nomenclature is due to the massage rollers following the S-shaped curvature of the spine. Depending on the massage chair model, air compression technology massages the remainder of the body (including inside the seat, hips, shoulders, arms, calves, and feet). S-Track chairs have a massage track length of between 27-33 inches.
L-Track, also known as an extended roller track, is newer technology and more and more manufacturers are introducing L-Track chairs every year. L-Tracks incorporate S-Track technology down the spine but the rollers extend into the seat of the chair to reach the buttocks and upper hamstrings, creating a rough “L” shape. While S-Track chairs massage the glutes and upper thighs with air compression technology, L-Track chairs instead use mechanical rollers to target that area. Rollers are far more effective than airbags. If you’re interested in a firmer massage inside the seat or suffer from gluteal pain or sciatica, an L-Track can be incredibly beneficial. L-Track chairs have a massage track of between 40-53 inches.
While an L-Track is a spectacular new feature, keep in mind that it focuses less on the back since it extends into the seat, whereas an S-Track chair focuses primarily on the back.
2D, 3D OR 4D?
The vast majority of massage chairs have 2D massage rollers. With a 2D chair, you cannot adjust the intensity of the rollers. You can adjust the airbag strength throughout the rest of the chair, but not the roller heads themselves. Some chairs have additional padding on the backrest that you can remove to make the intensity of the rollers stronger, but the roller strength cannot be customized. With that in mind, some chairs come equipped with a stronger roller massage than others by default. For example, the popular Infinity IT-8500 Plus has a 2D roller system but the rollers provide a deep tissue massage. However, the Osaki OS-4000T also has a 2D roller system but the chair provides more of a mid-strength massage.
With 3D and 4D chairs, however, you can manually extend or retract the roller heads up to several inches to deliver a milder or firmer massage, depending on your tolerance. 3D and 4D chairs permit you to adjust both the roller and airbag strength, giving you far more flexibility than 2D models.
Nonetheless, 2D chairs are still by far the most popular of the two types of chairs. They will exert enough pressure that it will leave most consumers satisfied.
What's The Difference Between 3D and 4D Rollers?
So, what is a 4D chair and what differentiates it from a 3D chair? We’ve established that both will allow you to manually select the intensity of the roller heads. The only difference is the style of the massage itself. A 4D roller system will adjust its speed during the duration of the massage, accelerating or decreasing its speed to integrate a more human-like massage. The speed of a 3D roller system, however, remains steady throughout the massage.
Foot rollers target the acupoints of the feet and knead the foot soles. Additionally, most chairs with foot rollers have airbags that squeeze the sides of the feet, which function to push the feet in a downwards motion deeper into the foot rollers. Most massage chairs offer foot rollers now, but there are still some chairs available that only rely on airbags to massage the feet.
Like foot rollers, heat therapy comes built-in the majority of massage chairs now. Most chairs have dual heating pads in the lower back area that warm up the lower back to melt away muscle pain and allow the rollers to work the back more effectively. Some chairs, such as the popular Kagra 4D Premium Massage Chair, have heating in both the lumbar and knee region. Other models, like the JP1100 4D Ultra Premium Massage Chair, have a sophisticated roller system that both massages and simulates a hot stone massage at the same time.
There are still some chairs, however, that do not have heat therapy — but it has become a standard feature across the board in most models.
Similar to the above two points, Zero Gravity is now standard in most massage chairs these days. Zero Gravity is a NASA inspired recline position that positions the feet 30 degrees above the heart to promote a “weightless” sensation just like astronauts experience in space. It is one of the most popular features our customers look for.
As described briefly above, airbags are pockets that inflate and deflate with air. They squeeze, compress, knead and swing the body from side to side. They loosen muscle tension and push the muscles deeper into the rollers to generate a firmer massage.
Massage chairs can come with anywhere from a dozen to 100 airbags. Airbags can be placed inside the seat, on the sides of the chair, in the foot ottoman, the backrest, and even in the head/neck area like Ji Zero Wall Heated L-Track model.
A trap some new massage chair buyers fall in is thinking that more airbags is better. That is almost always not the case. Some of the newer massage chairs we carry have fewer airbags than older models because newer technology allows the airbags to cover more surface area without sacrificing the key areas they still massage.
When fully reclined, most massage chairs will require up to 80 inches of floor space. Take a look at the specifications of each massage chair when fully reclined and measure the space where you plan to place the chair prior to purchasing to ensure you have sufficient clearance available. Additionally, please ask us about the measurement of the box(es) the chairs come in to make sure they will fit in your door frame. Most of our chairs are designed to fit within the confines of a standard door frame, but this is something to keep in mind if you’re considering placing your chair in a room with a narrow door frame.
Almost all of our massage chairs come with a standard three year manufacturer warranty that covers one year of in-home labor and 2 or 3 years of parts. We do have extended warranty options available that can cover you up to 5 years for additional peace of mind as well.
Delivery / Assembly
All of our massage chairs come with free curbside delivery. The delivery company will use liftgate service to bring the chair down to the front of your home or business but in most cases they’re not allowed to bring it in for you. Massage chairs are not light and can weigh between 200-400 pounds. Most come in 1-3 boxes, with the main body of the chair in one box and the side panels, foot ottoman and accessories in the other box(es).
Speaking of assembly, some chairs are pre-assembled, some have one or two parts that need assembly, and others require a more thorough set-up. Our chairs are not difficult to assemble if you’re a hands-on person. The manuals with our chairs walk you through the process and we often have step-by-step assembly videos available, too. However, if carrying it in and assembly sounds burdensome or stressful, we recommend choosing our White Glove Delivery option. With White Glove Service, a two-person installation team will carry the chair in for you and assemble it.
Where ZebraMassageChairs.Com Comes In?
Our representatives know the ins and outs of all the massage chairs we carry. If you ever have any inquiries, please feel free to give us a call at 1-844-288-4416 or via live chat and we’d be thrilled to assist with whatever question you may have. We understand that purchasing a massage chair is a big investment and we’re dedicated to making your shopping experience as painless as possible.
As a reminder, all chairs purchased at ZebraMassageChairs.Com are shipped free and tax-free (exc. DC).