TL;DR Summary

In an effort to find the best massage chair on each category of the market, we’ve analyzed an extensive variety of products and brands. The selection below shows the result of each research: Chair Institute’s Winners.

* Note: To see how we arrived to each of our picks, click on the research link, below each product.



Overall Best Massage Chair

Do you suffer from chronic pain, or are you just looking for a great way to unwind after a long day?

Have you considered a massage chair but are bewildered by the staggering number of choices available?

If so, you’ll love this extensive review. In the sections that follow, we’ll break down this surprisingly complex world and try to answer the question, “What is the best massage chair?”

Comparison Table

Our Pick
 
 
Primary Rating:
4.7
Primary Rating:
4.6
Primary Rating:
4.4
$7,499.00
N/A
N/A
Pros:
  • Offers just about every feature a massage chair can.A stunning, robust collection of features you’ll love.
Pros:
  • Inexpensive. While it doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles, it contains most of the hardest-hitting, most sought after major features.
Pros:
  • Billed as the best massage chair in the world, it gives the finest, most customizable basic massage on the market today.
Cons:
  • Pricey.
Cons:
  • Limited number of finishing touches and convenience features.
Cons:
  • Pricey. S-Track limits massage area. Limited number of convenience features.
Our Verdict:
A tremendously attractive, capable design that meets the needs of the vast majority of the market. Well-deserving of our top honors.
Our Verdict:
Hands-down the best massage chair value on the market today. Nothing else comes close.
Our Verdict:
If all you want is a great massage with virtually endless customization options, and you don’t care much for advanced therapeutic options or convenience features, this is the chair for you.
Our Pick
Primary Rating:
4.7
$7,499.00
Pros:
  • Offers just about every feature a massage chair can.A stunning, robust collection of features you’ll love.
Cons:
  • Pricey.
Our Verdict:
A tremendously attractive, capable design that meets the needs of the vast majority of the market. Well-deserving of our top honors.
Primary Rating:
4.6
N/A
Pros:
  • Inexpensive. While it doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles, it contains most of the hardest-hitting, most sought after major features.
Cons:
  • Limited number of finishing touches and convenience features.
Our Verdict:
Hands-down the best massage chair value on the market today. Nothing else comes close.
Primary Rating:
4.4
N/A
Pros:
  • Billed as the best massage chair in the world, it gives the finest, most customizable basic massage on the market today.
Cons:
  • Pricey. S-Track limits massage area. Limited number of convenience features.
Our Verdict:
If all you want is a great massage with virtually endless customization options, and you don’t care much for advanced therapeutic options or convenience features, this is the chair for you.
07/20/2024 09:17 pm GMT

What Makes the World’s Best Massage Chair?

Before we can answer that, we’ve got to figure out exactly what constitutes “the best.”

  • Is it as simple as finding the most expensive chair made and assuming it’ll be unrivaled in everything? What if you changed that metric to the chair offering the best price per feature?
  • How do you differentiate between a chair designed for hobbyist users and one designed to meet therapeutic needs?
  • Which features are the most important, and how do you know?
  • Is it simply a matter of settling on a ranking system and looking for the chair or chairs that got a perfect five-star rating? What happens if there are more than one of those?

As you can see, this question has many more dimensions than first meets the eye. The more you think about the issue, the more facets you discover. After we reveal our overall first pick, we’ll explore each of those facets more thoroughly.

Ultimately, the answer to the “best of” question was none of the above but an amalgamation of several factors.

Let’s introduce you to our top pick and explain how and why it received top honors. Then, we’ll discuss the other top contenders that didn’t quite make it but could very well be the top pick for a particular user class.

Our Pick: Human Touch Novo XT – Best Full Body Massage Chair

Our Pick
Human Touch Novo XT2 Massage Chair
4.8

Recommended For: ALL as long as you have space for it!

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

So, the first obvious question is why? What was it about this model, out of all the massage chairs on the market today, that it made our top pick?

It didn’t get a perfect rating. It’s not the most expensive chair on the planet and doesn’t have the best price-to-feature ratio. What then? It’s a fair question, and ultimately it comes down to this:

The Human Touch Novo XT has enough therapeutic features to make it valuable to those suffering from chronic pain while offering enough convenience features to make it a superb choice for hobbyist users. Its design accommodates users ranging from 5’ to 6’9”, which again encompasses the vast majority of the market.

Is it a perfect chair? Sadly, no. The perfect model has yet to be introduced, even though a couple of models have earned a perfect five-star rating from us.

Those chairs didn’t earn their marks on the basis of absolute perfection, however, but rather because the features they offered were in perfect symmetry. That’s a small but important distinction, and although we don’t regard this model as perfect, it consistently gets among the best massage chair ratings in other reviews.

Despite “only” getting a 4.71-star rating (out of a possible five), here’s a more detailed look at why we feel the Human Touch Novo XT is the best massage chair to buy:

Core Technologies

  • Hybrid L/S Track
  • Quad rollers
  • 3D Tech
  • Lumbar Heat & Body Stretching
  • Excellent Connectivity Support
  • Zero-G Seating

Let’s look at each item in the order we presented them above. Starting with the massage track.

Massage Track

The Human Touch Novo XT utilizes a hybrid L/S track that extends for 50”, starting at your neck and extending under the seat to massage your glutes and the backs of your thighs. The track length is insane—it was one of the longest in the industry when this review was written.

Quad Rollers + 3D Tech

Quad rollers are the current industry standard. While they don’t precisely mimic the feeling of human hands, they come surprisingly close and render an exceptional roller-based massage.

In addition, the Novo XT incorporates 3D roller technology (sometimes referred to as “4D technology”), which further enhances your massage experience. It accomplishes this by allowing the rollers to move away from the massage track by up to three inches, resulting in a deeper, more penetrating massage experience.

Lumbar Heat + Body Stretch

A great massage, though, is about more than just the rollers, and on this front, too, the Novo XT delivers. It offers lumbar heat and body stretching, two powerful therapeutic features capable of providing immediate relief to chronic pain sufferers.

Connectivity Support

On the convenience side, the Novo XT offers Bluetooth compatibility, which enables you to connect your smartphone to the chair’s eight built-in Altec Lansing speakers. This allows you to enjoy your favorite music while enjoying a relaxing massage. You’ll also find a USB port that allows you to recharge your phone while you’re sitting in the chair.

Zero Gravity Seating

When you factor in Zero-G seating (which the XT also offers in two different seating positions), you get an unparalleled-quality massage.

Massage Options

Most good massage chairs offer two basic kinds of massage – roller-based and airbag-based. The Novo XT is no exception, but within both types of massages is a whole range of options, and some chairs do a better job than others on this front.

The XT’s roller-based massage offers all the basics (kneading, tapping, touch, percussion, kneading, percussion) plus not one but three different advanced techniques: Thai, Swedish, and Shiatsu. Then, it goes even further, offering a music sync feature.

Music Sync

The music sync massage isn’t a proper technique, but it is interesting. It ties the action of the rollers to the music system built into the chair, with the motion of the rollers being determined by the beat of whatever music you’re listening to.

Listen to Chopin, and you’ll get one type of massage. Listen to the Beastie Boys, and you’ll get a different experience.

Massage Programs

It gets even better because if you’re not especially tech-savvy, the XT offers 34 different one-touch pre-programmed massage techniques that allow you to sit down and start enjoying your first massage in a matter of minutes, without having to spend a lot of time trying to figure the ins and outs of the chair’s operation out.

Air Massage

The XT isn’t the absolute best for air massage, but it is exceptional. It utilizes 32 Second Generation airbags to excellent effect. 

That’s a modest number, but here’s where Human Touch really shines. The design of their chair is superb, and the airbags are so expertly woven into it that the action of that relatively modest number of airbags renders an airbag-based massage equal to, and in some cases, even better than chairs that use significantly more airbags.

Even better, you can choose to activate the airbags according to the following body regions selectively:

  • Arm
  • Calf
  • Foot
  • Hand
  • Hip
  • Thigh
  • Upper Arm
  • Shoulder

Further, both the airbag-based and roller-based massage can be adjusted through three different intensity settings, and the rollers can also be adjusted for speed (three settings there as well).

This means that no matter which massage you choose, roller- or airbag-based, you get your massage your way every time you use the chair, and that’s simply tremendous.

Therapeutic Features 

Earlier, we mentioned two of the XT’s therapeutic features: lumbar heat and body stretching.

In our view, the body stretching is a bit on the weak side. We would have preferred to see Thai stretching, which is more aggressive, but if you suffer from severe chronic pain, a gentler stretch might be preferable to you.

Partial Massage Modes

In any case, in addition to those things, the XT also offers spot and partial massage modes, allowing you to interrupt any massage program to have the rollers spend more time on the areas that hurt the most. Combined with the 3D roller tech and the two Zero-G seating positions, you can get a truly deep, penetrating massage that will loosen those sore muscles.

Foot and Calf Massage 

Then there’s the foot and calf massage, rendered via airbags and dual foot rollers in the bottom of the foot wells.

By the way, the foot rollers can be adjusted for speed and intensity independently of the rollers on the massage track.

Convenience and Hobbyist Features

Even if you’re a casual or hobbyist user, you will find these features very much to your liking. Nothing is better than coming home after a hard day’s work and relaxing in your new favorite chair for a soothing, heated back or foot massage.

The two key features that hobbyists will love most are the space-saving technology, which only requires two inches of wall clearance to recline fully, and the exceptional MP3 support.

Bluetooth Speakers and USB Port

The chair has eight Altec Lansing speakers built into it. These speakers are Bluetooth-compatible, allowing you to easily connect your smartphone and enjoy your favorite music.

You’ll also find a handy USB port, which will allow you to ensure that your favorite device doesn’t die in the middle of a massage.

Massage Timer

Another feature that hobbyists (and all users, really) will appreciate is the massage timer, allowing you to customize the length of your massage in a band that ranges from ten to thirty minutes, giving you the freedom and flexibility to enjoy your massage your way!

Final Thoughts on the Novo XT

In short, this chair has got something for everyone. Having said that, we admitted at the start that the perfect massage chair doesn’t exist, and there are some segments of the market that this model doesn’t reach, and a (very) few things it could do better. The two biggest limitations where the Novo XT is concerned are these:

First, the maximum supported user weight is only up to 300 pounds. It’s great that it accommodates a wide range of user heights, but it doesn’t fare as well in weight.

Second, it’s an expensive massage chair. As good as it is, its hefty price tag will put it out of reach for some users. Even so, this chair is good enough to recommend saving for it and buying it later rather than settling for a markedly inferior chair.

Even given those two limitations, the Novo XT appeals to such a broad spectrum of users that it deserves top honors.

Alternatives

We understand that people have different tastes and needs, and the term “best” is highly subjective. So, for the rest of this review, we’ll examine some viable alternatives.

While it would be impossible to capture every individual taste and needs, we’ll broadly map out some of the primary ways people commonly think about and define the finest chairs in the industry.

This is an important measure because, let’s face it, in an ideal world, you could get any chair you wanted. But in reality, who has unlimited money? 

If you’re on a budget, looking for the ideal chair with the greatest number of features at a comfortable price range makes perfect sense. In other words, shop for the optimal value on the market. If that’s how you define best, then there’s a clear winner, not the Novo XT.

Inada Dreamwave – Best Customizable Massage Chair

Inada Dreamwave Massage Chair
4.4

Recommended For: Anyone who can afford it. A legendary masterpiece in the world of massage chairs.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

(*) 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.

Another common way of defining the best massage chair is by taking a look at the total number of options and massage combinations available. If this is what matters most to you, then there’s only one choice to make. The chair you want is the Inada Dreamwave.

Massage Quality

With a staggering 101 Second Generation Airbags, it offers the highest quality air massage on the market today, and with more than a thousand total massage combinations on offer, you’ll have a mind-boggling number of choices at your fingertips.

To put that into perspective, and to give you a sense of scale, as good as our top pick is, the Novo XT “only” offers a bit more than a hundred different massage combinations. So in that particular category, the Dreamwave offers literally an order of magnitude more choice.

Best Massage Chair Inada Dreamwave Recline - Chair Institute

Having said that, the designers of the Dreamwave put so much time and effort into maximizing choice that it forced them to make concessions in other areas.

This is not to say that the Dreamwave is in any way a bad design. It isn’t! By any reckoning, it is a magnificent chair, but it is also a highly focused one, and if the guiding design principle (maximizing the number of options available) is at odds with what you’re looking for, then you’ll probably be happier with a different model.

Core Technologies

The Dreamwave uses a slightly different set of core technologies than the other models we’ve looked at so far. It has a substantially shorter massage track (S-track) that only goes to the small of the back; there’s no Space-Saving Technology, and only a single Zero-G seating position.

Having said that, it retains quad rollers, so the massage quality is every bit as good, and given its massive number of airbags, the air massage is even better, and the Dreamwave offers extensive heat that covers the back and the seat. This is absolutely superior to the Novo XT’s lumbar-only heat.

Best Massage Chair Inada Dreamwave Air Massage - Chair Institute

Convenience Features

Like the Kahuna LM 6800, the Dreamwave doesn’t put a lot of effort into convenience features, although it does provide an adjustable massage timer, which is something the models we’ve talked about so far don’t offer.

Of course, if you want maximum customizability, you’re probably not going to care much about the smaller details and again, there’s no other chair on the market that even comes close to this one. In terms of total options, it’s in a class by itself.

Bodyfriend Rex-L – Best Innovative Massage Chair

BodyFriend Rex-L Massage Chair
4.3

Recommended For: Anyone who wants a futuristic, well-designed, top-end massage chair. Packed with innovative features and surprises that both hobbyist and therapeutic users will love.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

(*) 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.

About the BodyFriend Rex-L

For some people, the best massage chair on the market is defined as being the one that offers the most cutting-edge innovations. If that’s what you’re most interested in, then BodyFriend’s Rex-L is, without a doubt, the chair you’ve been looking for.

Core Features

Often described as the perfect chair for tech-savvy Hipsters, the Rex-L comes to us from South Korea, and shares many core features with the other top models we’ve talked about thus far, including:

  • Use of a Hybrid L/S Massage Track
  • Quad Rollers
  • Zero-G Seating (one position offered)
  • Space-Saving Technology
  • Air Massage

Air Massage

It utilizes an impressive 98 Second Generation Airbags to render its excellent air massage that can be enjoyed either in full-body mode, or by selectively activating airbags by the following body regions:

  • Shoulder
  • Waist
  • Arm & Hand
  • Pelvis
  • Calf
  • Foot
Best Massage Chair BodyFriend Rex-L Zero G -Chair Institute

Calf and Foot Massage

The calf and foot massage is superb, being rendered by a combination of airbags and tri-rollers for the soles of the feet.

Therapeutic Features and Add-Ons

Where therapeutic options are concerned, the two biggest are the back and hip heat, and the excellent body stretch feature. On top of that, the Rex-L also includes attractive convenience features like MP3 support and numerous pre-programmed massage options.

Innovations

The two innovations that will most impress you, though, are these:

First, the chair utilizes multiple sets of massage rollers, broken out by the following body regions:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Hips
Best Massage Chair BodyFriend Rex-L Right View - Chair Institute

Second, the air massage is like nothing we’ve ever seen. Every other chair on the market uses the same basic “squeeze and release” method of air massage, but BodyFriend has a patented process that closely replicates a Shiatsu-style massage, performed entirely with airbags.

Both of these innovations enhance the overall quality of the massage experience in ways that no other model on the market today can match, and will leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and utterly satisfied.

The chair isn’t cheap, although it’s not the most expensive model we’ve covered thus far, and it’s got a fairly steep learning curve, so if you’re not tech-savvy, you may struggle to master everything it can do. For the right person, though, it’s hard not to see this model as one of, if not the very best that the industry has to offer.

Apex Pro Regent – Best Synergized Massage Chair

Apex AP Pro Regent Massage Chair
4.6

Recommended For: Anyone. An absolute masterpiece of a chair with unmatched feature symmetry.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

(*) 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.

About the Apex Pro Regent

The Apex Pro Regent is in a class by itself, not for absolute perfection, but rather for perfect balance and feature synergy. Sometimes, the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts, and some massage chairs just offer the perfect blend of features.

Core Technologies

Just about every feature the Pro Regent has to offer was put in place with one thought in mind. Giving you an unbeatable massage experience. Everything else is secondary. To deliver that experience, this chair uses a blend of common features and ones that are utterly unique.

Here are the highlights:
  • Relatively short S-Track (neck to tailbone)
  • 4D Massage Technology for a deep, penetrating massage
  • Upper Shoulder Pressure Massage
  • Lower Back and Glute Massage
  • Sideways Kneading Massage
  • Zone and Spot Massage
  • Following Arm Air Massage (31 Second Gen Airbags)
Best Massage Chair Apex AP Pro Regent 4D - Chair Institute

Individually, these technologies only add incremental improvements to the overall experience, but the fact that the chair offers so many of them in tandem creates an experience that other chairs simply can’t match. In the case of the upper shoulder massage, most other chairs aren’t even designed to reach this area, much less massage it!

Heat Function

It gets better, though, because the Pro Regent combines a stellar massage with the most extensive heat we’ve ever seen. In addition to offering back heat, you also get heated calf wells and “Blanket Heat,” which is literally a large heating element you drape across the front of your torso to enjoy what amounts to a heated cocoon while you’re getting your massage (or, if you prefer, you become a human burrito!)

The heating blanket even includes heated pockets for your hands!

Massage Options

Best Massage Chair Apex AP Pro Regent Shoulder - Chair Institute
Upper Shoulder Massage
Best Massage Chair Apex AP Pro Regent Glutes - Chair Institute
Back & Glutes Massage
Best Massage Chair Apex AP Pro Regent Kneading - Chair Institute
Sideways Kneading

On top of that, the Pro Regent offers more than a hundred total combinations, eleven pre-programmed options and three memory slots that allow you to create your own custom experience and save it so you can recall it later at the touch of a button.

Additional Features

It doesn’t skimp on extras either, including finishing touches like:

  • MP3 support.
  • A hideaway ottoman, so that the chair looks like an ordinary piece of living room furniture when it’s not in use.
  • A fun “Rhythm Massage” mode we’ve mentioned before, that syncs the roller action with whatever music you’re listening to.

It’s an amazing piece of engineering that will give you a massage you won’t forget.  In fact, it’s so good that you might find yourself having to wait in line to use it because your friends and family are always in it!

Luraco i7 – Best American-Made Massage Chair

Luraco i7 Massage Chair, Black
4.5

Recommended For: Anyone who can afford it. Exceptional therapeutic chair, made in the USA, packed with high-value features.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

(*) 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.

About the Luraco i7

Rounding out our collection, some people want to buy American, and are looking for the best American-made massage chair they can get their hands on. If that’s you, then the chair you’re looking for is the Luraco i7.

Primarily designed as a therapeutic model, it’s versatile enough that hobbyist and casual users will also get a lot of use and enjoyment out of it.

Core Technologies

  • Relatively short massage track (S-Track, reaching from neck to tailbone)
  • Zero-G Seating (one position offered)
  • Two advanced massage techniques (Shiatsu and Swedish)
  • Nine pre-programmed massage options that can be accessed with one touch

Air Massage 

It’s also no slouch where the air massage is concerned, featuring an impressive 80 Second Generation Airbags, which, as we’ve seen with other models, can either be enjoyed as a full-body experience, or be selectively activated by body region from the remote.

Therapeutic Features

In addition to those, the Luraco i7 also offers a raft of powerful therapeutic features which include:

  • 4D Massage Technology for a deep tissue massage (can be selectively activated)
  • Body Stretching
  • Extensive Heat (lumbar, seat and both foot wells)
  • Blood Pressure and Heat Monitoring

This last feature sets the i7 apart and makes it a true healthcare device in ways that other massage chairs simply aren’t.

Some Convenience Features

  • MP3 support
  • An adjustable massage timer
  • A Memory Function with five memory slots

When you put all that together with the chair’s surprisingly easy-to-use remote and its impressive five-year warranty (more than double the industry standard of two years), it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with the model.

The Best Massage Chair for the Money

It makes sense. You want to get supreme value for your money because even low-end massage chairs are expensive. But how do you compare, really? How do you determine which is the best massage chair for the money?

To be more thorough in our quest for the winner we added three extra competitors in our research and comparison: the Apex Aurora, the Infinity Iyashi, and the Infinity Imperial. Together with the Kahuna LM6800 and the Luraco i7, they created the perfect team for finding the ultimate bang for the buck. In the reviews below, we’ll show the details of how we arrived at our conclusions. Our final answer might differ from yours, but this will give you an excellent place to start when analyzing your choices.

Comparison Table

Our Pick
 
 
Primary Rating:
4.6
Primary Rating:
4.5
Primary Rating:
4.3
N/A
N/A
N/A
Massage Technology:
Hybrid L/S Track
Quad Rollers
Massage Technology:
S-Track
4D Roller Tech
Massage Technology:
Hybrid L/S Track
Airbags:
36
Airbags:
80
Airbags:
22
Massage Techniques:
Shiatsu
Massage Techniques:
Shiatsu, Swedish
Massage Techniques:
None
Zero-G Positions:
2
Zero-G Positions:
2
Zero-G Positions:
1
Heat:
Lumbar, leg massage ports
Heat:
Lumbar, seat, and leg massage ports
Heat:
Lumbar
Extras:
Space-saving tech, Body stretch, Quad foot rollers
Extras:
MP3 Support, Body stretching, timer adjustment, five-slot memory function, BP and heart rate monitoring
Extras:
None
Pros:
  • Inexpensive and feature-rich.
Pros:
  • Swedish massage and loaded with powerful therapeutic features.
Pros:
  • A fantastic, basic massage chair, ideal for those on a budget.
Cons:
  • Limited number of extras and finishing touches.
Cons:
  • Pricey. S-Track limits massage area.
Cons:
  • No advanced features.
Our Verdict:
Highly recommended. Hands down, the best value on the market today
Our Verdict:
Highly recommended for most therapeutic users. Hobbyist and casual users will be underwhelmed.
Our Verdict:
Great if you’re on a budget, but if you’re looking for extras, this one will disappoint.
Our Pick
Primary Rating:
4.6
N/A
Massage Technology:
Hybrid L/S Track
Quad Rollers
Airbags:
36
Massage Techniques:
Shiatsu
Zero-G Positions:
2
Heat:
Lumbar, leg massage ports
Extras:
Space-saving tech, Body stretch, Quad foot rollers
Pros:
  • Inexpensive and feature-rich.
Cons:
  • Limited number of extras and finishing touches.
Our Verdict:
Highly recommended. Hands down, the best value on the market today
Primary Rating:
4.5
N/A
Massage Technology:
S-Track
4D Roller Tech
Airbags:
80
Massage Techniques:
Shiatsu, Swedish
Zero-G Positions:
2
Heat:
Lumbar, seat, and leg massage ports
Extras:
MP3 Support, Body stretching, timer adjustment, five-slot memory function, BP and heart rate monitoring
Pros:
  • Swedish massage and loaded with powerful therapeutic features.
Cons:
  • Pricey. S-Track limits massage area.
Our Verdict:
Highly recommended for most therapeutic users. Hobbyist and casual users will be underwhelmed.
Primary Rating:
4.3
N/A
Massage Technology:
Hybrid L/S Track
Airbags:
22
Massage Techniques:
None
Zero-G Positions:
1
Heat:
Lumbar
Extras:
None
Pros:
  • A fantastic, basic massage chair, ideal for those on a budget.
Cons:
  • No advanced features.
Our Verdict:
Great if you’re on a budget, but if you’re looking for extras, this one will disappoint.

How We Picked: Our Methodology

To arrive at our scores, we considered two variables: number of features and price.

There are essentially two ways to look at value. The first and simplest is to divide the price by the number of features to arrive at a “Price Per Feature” measure.

This has certain limitations because some people will place more value on some features while not caring as much about others, but it serves as a general guide.

The second is the notion that “quantity is its own form of quality,” which gives a nod to the fact that in general, more features are better than less, and there’s an understanding that you’ll pay a bit of a premium to get your hands on a massage chair that can simply do more stuff.

About the Chart

In creating this chart, we awarded each model one point for every feature it offers. Chairs featuring a Hybrid L/S-Track over the industry standard S-Track received an additional point.

We also awarded one point for each airbag and for each advanced massage technique.

Note, however, that we did not award points for the total number of massage combinations or pre-programmed massages, as we do not rate these as distinct features in the same way that the massage techniques themselves are.

We’ll examine our finalists using both metrics and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each model presented here.

Kahuna LM6800 – Best Cost-per-Feature Massage Chair

Kahuna LM6800 Massage Chair
4.6

Recommended For: Hobbyist/casual users, chronic pain sufferers, and taller users, almost anybody, will love this chair!

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

This is an amazing chair, offered at an equally amazing price. In fact, the cost per feature was so low; we had to recheck our math to be sure we hadn’t made a mistake. It is far and away the best massage chair in existence, using cost per feature as a metric.

Core Technologies

There’s a lot to like about the 6800. It’s built around the same core technologies as the Novo XT, utilizing a Hybrid L/S Track, quad rollers, Space-Saving Technology, and Zero-G seating.

In fact, where Zero-G seating is concerned, it beats the Novo XT by offering three different seating options and is consistently given top billing as one of the best Zero Gravity massage chairs on the market.

Massage Options

Where options are concerned, it’s true that you don’t get as many as you do on the Novo XT, but it’s got all the basics covered, offering:

  • Kneading
  • Tapping
  • Kneading & Tapping
  • Rolling
  • Shiatsu

The air massage is acceptable, but of course, not as good as you get with the vastly more expensive chair, rendered by 36 First Generation Airbags, so more than the Novo XT has, but not as advanced.

Therapeutic Options

Again, you’ll find many of the same options on the LM 6800 that the Novo XT offers, and you’ll get them at a fraction of the cost, including:

  • Body Stretching (utilizing Kahuna’s patented “Yoga Stretch,” which is widely considered to be the best in the industry)
  • Back heat (not limited to the lumbar area, so the LM 6800 is better in this regard, plus this model also offers calf heat!)
  • Zone massage
Best Massage Chair Kahuna LM6800 Full Body Stretching - Chair Institute

In fact, although this model’s calf and foot massage isn’t quite as good as the Novo XT’s, it does utilize quad rollers in the footwells, giving you a superior experience.

This model falls short in one area: it offers little in the way of finishing features.

On the other hand, the chair’s ottoman has an extension module that allows it to accommodate users up to 6’5” in height and has a very modest price tag. You could (almost) buy four of these for the price you’ll pay for our top pick, making it a powerful contender.

Apex Aurora

Apex AP Aurora Zero Gravity Massage Chair
4.3

Recommended For: ALL. One of the best general-purpose massage chairs in its price range today

Check Latest Price Our Review

Given how feature-rich our top two picks are, this one might surprise you.

The Apex Aurora is about as basic as it gets. It’s a simple, stripped-down design that focuses on just the basics. You don’t get a lot of extras, but it delivers a powerful basic massage at an unbeatable price.

The price-per-feature here is the second lowest in the set, coming in at just $61.62. The downside is that it offers nothing but a basic massage. That’s fine for hobbyists and casual users (and the Aurora wins top honors in that sub-category), but if you suffer from chronic pain, this chair has nothing to offer. It’s a great design for the right user, though.

Manufacturer Support

Infinity Iyashi

Infinity Iyashi Massage Chair
4.2

Recommended For: Anyone from chronic pain sufferers to hobbyist users, including taller people up to 6’5”.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

Infinity Iyashi is the only company to have two chairs featured in the best value review, which says a lot about the company and its products.

Unfortunately, both entries are at the lower end of the spectrum. While the company didn’t manage to get top honors, the Iyashi is especially worth a look at.

This is the chair that came within a hair’s breadth of beating the mighty Inada Dreamwave in a head-to-head competition.

The reason it came so close was simply that it offered a tremendous number of features at a price that was significantly less than what the Dreamwave sells for.

Its price per feature is $109.17, which is a bit on the high side, but as you will see, The Infinity Iyashi can do a simply amazing number of things.

Best Massage Chair for the Money Infinity Iyashi White - Chair Institute

Feature Summary

  • Hybrid L/S Track
  • Space-saving technology
  • Two zero-gravity seating positions
  • One advanced massage technique (Shiatsu)
  • 38 airbags
  • Body Stretching + Waist Twist – This is important because the body stretch can be too intense for some chronic pain sufferers. Having both gives users options. 
  • Lumbar heat
  • Zone and partial massage modes
  • Roller-based foot massage
  • Chromotherapy
  • MP3 support
  • Adjustable timer

It’s hard to look at that list of features and not fall in love with this chair!

Honorable Mention – Infinity Imperial

Infinity Imperial Massage Chair
4.1

Recommended For: Anyone who can afford it, as long as you’re not taller than 6’3”.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

The Infinity Imperial is an expensive massage chair with a price per feature of $115.79. That’s high, but it offers a tremendous number of features, and if you can catch this one on sale, it quickly becomes an incredible value for the money.

Best Massage Chair for the Money Infinity Imperial Black - Chair Institute

It offers the same basic features as the Iyashi but doubles the number of airbags and adds:

  • 4D technology
  • Full body heat
  • An amazing customizable foot massage
  • Robust music support (both USB and Bluetooth compatible)
  • Air ionization
  • Three different methods of control (remote, app, and touchscreen)

This chair has it all.

So… What Is The Best Massage Chair On The Market? (Our Conclusion)

As you have seen, trying to figure out which is the best massage chair to buy is a more complex question than first meets the eye, and there’s no one way to answer that question.

To summarize, here are the highlights of our research:

  • Human Touch Novo XT – Overall Best. It’s what we consider the preeminent “general purpose” massage chair. If you don’t have a very specific use in mind, or if you want a product that will cover most of your needs, at any time, you won’t go wrong with this one.
  • Kahuna LM6800 – Best bang for your buck. If you’re looking for the chair with the greatest price-per-feature ratio, then this is the chair you want (also true if you’re a taller user).
  • Inada Dreamwave – Most Customizable Massage. For the ultimate customization options, this is the leader in the industry.
  • Apex Pro Regent – Offers the greatest overall feature synergy.
  • Luraco i7 – The leading American-made therapeutic massage chair with one of the best value/cost ratios.
  • BodyFriend Rex-L – The chair with the most cutting-edge innovations on the market today.
  • Apex Aurora – Matchless value for hobbyist users.

We’ll update this piece as new models are introduced and as the technology driving the industry evolves. Our hope is that our site, in general, and this piece will help guide you to the perfect moment when you’re not standing.

Savings Tip

It’s worth mentioning that the more expensive a massage chair is, the more you gain when those models go on sale. So it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for special promotions. Even a 10-15% discount can radically reshape the cost per feature numbers.

Changelog

December 2018 – We updated this article as the market has changed. The Infinity Imperial was removed from the top spot to be replaced by the impressive Human Touch Novo XT. It’s every bit as capable a chair as the Imperial, with a feature set that will dazzle you, and, as a bonus, it’s even better looking. Since it ranked just as highly as the Imperial, it seemed natural to put it in the overall top spot in the Imperial’s place.


REFERENCES & RESOURCES