Best Back Massage Chair Reviews and Ratings

TL;DR Summary

Find out what we think is the best massage chair for back pain that the market has on offer right now.  Let's start by looking at our finalists and their remarkable features.

Looking for the best of the best, regardless of price or category? Don't miss our review on the world's best massage chair of 2020

Best Back Massage Chair Comparison Table

Best Back Massage Chair

Human Touch Novo XT2

Kahuna SM7300

Best Back Massage Chair Luraco i7 - Chair Institute

Luraco i7

Best Back Massage Chair Inada Dreamwave - Chair Institute

Inada DreamWave

Best Back Massage Chair Fujita SMK82 - Chair Institute

Fujita SMK82

Price

$$$$

$$$

$$$$$

$$$$$

$$$$

Track Design

Hybrid L/S Track

Hybrid L/S Track

S-Track

S-Track

S-Track

Massage Rollers

Quad Rollers

Six-Roller Array

Quad Rollers

Quad Rollers

Quad Rollers

Heat Therapy

Lumbar

Lumbar

Lumbar, seat, foot wells

Back and seat

Whole Back

Spot & Partial Modes

Advanced Techniques

Shiatsu, Swedish, Thai

Shiatsu

Swedish and Shiatsu

Shiatsu

Swedish, Shiatsu

Zero-G Seating

2

1

2

1

2

4D Roller Tech

Body Stretching

(Thai)

No. of Airbags

36

18

80

101

48

Pros

Three advanced techniques! Long massage track.

Long massage track and six rollers for an exquisite basic massage. Exceptionally well-priced.

Great air massage. Two advanced techniques.

One of the best air massages on the market. One of the best general massage chairs made.

Well-priced, two advanced techniques, very powerful body stretch.

Cons

Hefty price tag.

Only one advanced technique, limited air massage.

Pricey. No spot massage function.

Pricey. Only one advanced massage technique.

No spot massage function.

Our Verdict

Better for hobbyists than those with therapeutic needs (Check feature set closely to see if it’s a good fit).

Great, provided you don’t want or need air massage.

Exceptionally well-balanced chair. Better for hobbyists than those with therapeutic needs though.

Price was the only thing keeping this from being our top pick. Recommended for anyone who can afford it.

Best overall value in this category. Highly recommended.

Baseline Rating*

4.75

4.55

4.53

4.42

4.33

(*) The Baseline Rating is our starting point for overall rankings, by itself doesn’t tell the whole story. See the details of each model below to get the complete picture!

Our Top Pick

Best Back Massage Chair Human Touch Novo - Chair Institute

Human Touch Novo

RATING

PRICE

$$$$

OUR VERDICT

Better for hobbyists than those with therapeutic needs (Check feature set closely to see if it’s a good fit).

PROS

Three advanced techniques! Long massage track.

CONS

No deep tissue massage.

More Specifications...

Runner Up

Kahuna SM7300

RATING

PRICE

$$$

OUR VERDICT

Great, provided you don’t want or need air massage.

PROS

Long massage track and six rollers for an exquisite basic massage. Exceptionally well-priced.

CONS

Only one advanced technique, limited air massage.

More Specifications...

Second Runner Up

Best Back Massage Chair Luraco i7 - Chair Institute

Luraco i7

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$

OUR VERDICT

Exceptionally well-balanced chair. Better for hobbyists than those with therapeutic needs though.

PROS

Great air massage. Two advanced techniques.

CONS

Pricey. No spot massage function.

More Specifications...

Also Good

Best Back Massage Chair Inada Dreamwave - Chair Institute

Inada DreamWave

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$

OUR VERDICT

Price was the only thing keeping this from being our top pick. Recommended for anyone who can afford it.

PROS

One of the best air massages on the market. One of the best general massage chairs made.

CONS

Pricey. Only one advanced massage technique.

More Specifications...

Honorable Mention

Best Back Massage Chair Fujita SMK82 - Chair Institute

Fujita SMK82

RATING

PRICE

$$$$

OUR VERDICT

Best overall value in this category. Highly recommended.

PROS

Well-priced, two advanced techniques, very powerful body stretch.

CONS

No spot massage function.

More Specifications...

There are some things massage chairs just aren’t very good at... For instance, none of them are very good at making breakfast.

Most struggle with shoulder, neck, and head massage. Although some do an admirable job on that front, there’s one thing they excel at across the board, and that is the back massage.

Even low-end chairs do a surprisingly good job, and the best of the best can rival, or even surpass what a human masseuse can do in some cases, but how do you know? How do you identify what constitutes a truly epic back massage?

We’ll endeavor to answer that question in this round up review.

Our Criteria

There are lots of different ways to go about delivering a great back massage. In order of importance, we rate them thus:

  • Rollers & Track Design – An obvious metric. The more rollers the chair employs, and the longer the track, in general, the better the overall experience.
  • Therapeutic Heat – Heat + Massage renders an experience superior to massage alone.
  • Spot and Partial Massage Modes – This feature is quite important, but its absence can be overlooked if there are plenty of other supporting features present.
  • Advanced Techniques – Again, more’s better here.
  • Zero-G Seating Positions – While not crucial in terms of massage, it certainly enhances the overall experience.
  • 4D Roller Tech – This allows for a deeper, more penetrating massage experience. While not critical, it’s certainly a bonus for chairs that offer it.
  • Body Stretching/Twisting – Tangentially related to back massage, it provides almost immediate relief to chronic pain sufferers, and as such, cannot be ignored in the equation.
  • Number of Airbags – For the most part, airbags tend to be focused on the extremities. Legs, arms, neck, and shoulders, but they do play a supporting role in the back-massage experience.

Armed with these criteria, we can begin assessing which chairs offer the best combination of these crucial features.

Top 5 Best Back Massage Chairs In More Detail

Best Back Massage Chair

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

4.75

Summary

Packed with features and beautifully designed, the Human Touch Novo XT2  has just about everything you could ever want or ask for in a massage chair. Recommended for anyone (provided you have space for it!)

(*) A note about Brand Reliability: This metric is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Our overall winner is the Human Touch Novo XT2, which is the second update that Human Touch has made to the basic Novo design. It’s expensive and enormous, but it offers the best combination of features that contribute to a stellar back massage.

Not only is the Novo XT2 a beautiful design but it hits almost all the markers that constitute a great back massage. The only thing it’s missing is the 4D roller tech, which isn’t essential for a great massage but is especially welcome by anyone who suffers from chronic pain.

The only potential drawback is that this is a chair heavy on design aesthetic, and while it’s striking, it also may not have a “look” that’s compatible with your home’s décor.

Feature Highlights

The chair has a lot more to offer than just a great back massage, though. Among its other notable features, you’ll like:

  • A pivoting base – it swivels like an office chair. Not quite as far, it must be said, but the fact that it does so at all is a nice perk, and unexpectedly handy.
  • Cloud Touch Massage – While Human Touch doesn’t utilize as many airbags as some other manufacturers, their “Cloud Touch” massage is out of this world, and an experience like none other. Totally relaxing, it will soothe you to sleep. The perfect ending to a hectic day.
  • Super easy to use with more than thirty-five pre-programmed massage options designed by Chiropractic professionals.
  • Bluetooth MP3 support
  • Dual foot rollers for a combination airbag/roller-based calf and foot massage

In addition to that, the Novo XT2 is the only chair on our list to offer three advanced massage techniques.

Human Touch is known for its excellence in design and gets universally high marks in other back massage chair reviews with good reason. It is utterly fantastic and well deserving of our top spot.


Kahuna SM7300

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

4.55

Summary

One of the most feature-rich massage chairs at its price point. The Kahuna SM7300 punches well above its weight class!

(*) A note about Brand Reliability: This metric is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

It’s shocking how inexpensive this design is. Kahuna is another company with a reputation for excellence, and the SM7300 is a great example of this.

Far and away the least expensive chair on our list, it narrowly missed first place, and may yet be your first choice if the aesthetic of the Novo XT2 doesn’t mesh well with your home’s décor. The stand-out feature here, and the thing that makes it a top contender for the title of the best back massage chair is the presence of the six-roller system.

Quad rollers are the current industry standard, and this is the only model we’ve seen with six rollers. It’s extremely unusual to find a real innovation like this in such a low-priced chair, which is another reason it ranked so highly.

Kahuna SM7300 does have a few limitations. Only one advanced massage technique, only a single Zero-G seating position, but the bottom line is, this is an incredibly powerful design.

Feature Highlights

Here are some of the other significant aspects of the SM7300:

  • Built with Space-Saving Technology – An important point, because for most people, space is at a premium.
  • An excellent array of pre-programmed options, making it easy to use.
  • A unique calf and foot massage that combines airbags, scraping, rolling and kneading. One of the best in the industry.
  • An adjustable timer. 
  • LED (Chromotherapy) lighting.

That’s a tremendous amount of value, packed into a surprisingly low-priced offering.

Best Massage Chair for Lower Back Pain - Kahuna SM7300

Chiropractors see patients complaining of lower back pain more than just about any other condition, so we wanted to give it its own small section here.

As a subset of back pain in general, all the same, features that give a design the ability to render a world-class massage are important here, but the way they are implemented matters more because the most compelling of those features need to be focused squarely on the lower portion of the user’s back.

Best Back Massage Chair Kahuna SM7300 Yoga - Chair Institute

Here, our clear winner is the Kahuna SM7300. The combination of lumbar heat, the six-roller system, and the spot and partial massage modes make this the superior choice for dealing with lower back pain.

On top of that, it features Kahuna’s Yoga Body Stretching, which is one of the best stretches in the industry. Its modest price is just the icing on the cake.


Luraco i7

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

4.53

Summary

The Luraco i7 is an exceptional therapeutic chair, made in the USA and filled with high-value features.

(*) A note about Brand Reliability: This metric is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

The Luraco’s i7 is featured in many of our round up reviews, and with good reason. It’s a tremendously robust design that offers immense therapeutic value, and many of its features enhance the quality of its back massage.

In addition to extensive heat, two advanced massage techniques, and the second highest number of airbags on our list, the Luraco i7 offers the following stand-outs:​

  • A wide variety of pre-programmed massage options that make it easy to use.
  • A great calf and foot massage made even better thanks to the high number of airbags.
  • An adjustable timer.
  • MP3 support.
  • A five-slot memory function.
  • Blood pressure and heat monitoring

If you suffer from chronic pain, whether centered in your back or elsewhere, this one should be high on your radar. It’s expensive, but this is definitely a case that you get what you pay for.


Inada Dreamwave

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

4.42

Summary

The Dreamwave  is a masterpiece of engineering and design by a legendary company in the industry.

(*) A note about Brand Reliability: This metric is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Best Back Massage Chair Inada DreamWave - Chair Institute

The Dreamwave is the standard which most other chairs are judged by.

There are two things in particular that make this a strong contender.

First, although the Dreamwave provides only a single advanced massage technique, it offers more than a thousand different massage combinations. That’s more than an order of magnitude more than almost every other chair on the market today.

While number of combinations by themselves don’t equate to a superior back massage, the fact that the Dreamwave offers so many means it gives you unparalleled customization.

Second, although we’ve said that the number of airbags is only a relatively minor feature where back massage, in particular, is concerned, again, the fact that the Dreamwave offers so much more than its competitors puts it in a class by itself.

It’s true, there are a few things the Dreamwave lacks, which hurts the quality of its back massage, most notably the lack of a body stretch feature and 4D roller tech, and their absence is the reason that it didn’t rank higher than it did.

Nonetheless, if you’re a committed Do-It-Yourselfer, and you love the ability to control virtually every aspect of the massage you get, there’s no finer chair on the market today.


Fujita SMK82

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

4.33

Summary

The Fujita SMK82 is an extremely well-designed, feature-rich chair that both hobbyists and chronic pain sufferers will enjoy.

(*) A note about Brand Reliability: This metric is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Fujita’s SMK82 gets a lot right, and is, by all accounts, an excellent massage chair. Even as the weakest of the five models we’ve considered, it’s still a robust model.

Where back massage, in particular, is concerned, the two stand-out features are its whole back heat and the two advanced massage techniques it brings to the table. The Thai Body Stretch is another thing that should be high on your radar, as it is arguably the second-best body stretch in the business (second only to Kahuna’s Yoga Stretch).

Best Back Massage Chair Fujita SMK82 - Chair Institute

Although Fujita SMK82 only rated an honorable mention on our list of five contenders, it’s an incredibly powerful design offering a broad range features, heavily slanted toward meeting therapeutic needs.


Best Back Massage Chair Reviews Conclusion

So what’s the best massage chair back pain on the market today?

If money’s no object, the model you want is the Human Touch Novo XT2. No other chair does a better job, but you’ll pay a premium for it, and its design aesthetic isn’t for everyone.

An incredibly close second, and the best for dealing with lower back pain, in particular, is the Kahuna SM7300. It combines a powerful set of features with a modest price tag that makes it hard to resist.

All five of the models we’ve featured here do a superb job at alleviating back pain, and any of them will serve you well, but those are our top picks. They are the best of the best.

Recommended Reading

We found and reviewed what are, in our opinion, the best massage chairs to aid with sciatic nerve discomfort. 

A thorough analysis and comparison of the massage chairs with the best massage features for your shoulders and neck.

References & Resources

HomeMassage ChairsBestBest Back Massage Chair Reviews and Ratings

  • Chair Institute
  • January 8, 2020
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