In a Nutshell:
The Hugchair is a little on the pricey side, but here, you’re paying for the branding and aesthetic—as much as anything else. It’s a decent chair but not one of the company’s best. Still, if you know a diehard Marvel fan, this might be a perfect gift. We don’t recommend it generally but do recommend it for Marvel fans.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Value for the Money
Are you a diehard fan of the Marvel Universe superhero movies? Do you know someone who is? If so, and if you’re in the market for a massage chair, have you considered the possibility of combining the two?
If you’re like many (and perhaps most) people, you may not have even realized that such a thing was possible, but it is!
Bodyfriend, a well-respected company in the industry, has created the world’s first “Superhero Massage Chair” in the form of the Bodyfriend Hugchair. It comes in two variants, so if you decide you want one, you can join “Team Captain America” or “Team Iron Man” and have a guaranteed conversation piece in whatever room you place the chair in.
There is, of course, a catch.
Bodyfriend has to pay a hefty fee to license the names and aesthetics. And naturally, that gets reflected in the final price of the chair, which is to say that on technical merits, you’ll pay a hefty premium for what amounts to a massage chair with basic functionality.
On the other hand, how many people do you know who have their very own Iron Man (or Captain America) massage chair?! Probably not many, and that alone might be reason enough to get one for the right user.
Are you the right user?
Are you the person this chair was built for?
In the sections that follow, we’ll step you through everything this model has to offer so you’ll be able to decide for yourself. If your interest is piqued, read on, and let’s take a closer look at what this one offers.
An Overview Of The Bodyfriend Hug Chair Marvel
In most reviews of this type, we’ll say a few words about the design of the chair in question, the upholstery color options available (if any), and things like that.
Here, aesthetically speaking, there’s really only one thing to say: these chairs were designed in the image of either Captain America or Iron Man, depending on which one you get. The color schemes of both variants will be reflective of that.
If you’re a huge fan of Marvel superhero movies, this fact might be absolutely thrilling to you. If you’re buying for a child or teenager, then this might be pretty close to the perfect massage chair.
On the other hand, if you’re not a fan, then you’ll probably absolutely despise the thought of having one of these models in your living room. That’s also true if you have therapeutic needs. In that case, you’ll be much more interested in the features the chair you buy brings to the table and relatively less concerned about what it looks like.
If you’re buying in response to a therapeutic need, this chair won’t impress you. And you’ll almost certainly not be interested in paying extra for the Marvel branding, but everyone is different.
In terms of footprint, the Bodyfriend Hugchair isn’t particularly large, measuring 40.5″ D x 25.2″ W x 35.4″ H and weighing just 99 pounds. Even better, it’s built with wall-hugging technology, so you’ll only need 12 cm (4.7″) of space between the seatback and whatever wall you plan on placing the chair near in order to recline fully.
That’s outstanding and will make it pretty easy to find a permanent home for the chair. Best of all, if you decide to move it later, it’s light enough that you won’t have any real issue with that either.
Unfortunately, the simple truth is that not everybody is going to want a superhero-themed chair sitting in their living room, which defines this as a niche product right off the bat.
The Bodyfriend Hug Chair 2.0 Has (Mostly) Good Bones
Most of Bodyfriend’s chairs come sporting state-of-the-art technology, and this one is no exception.
The chair has a long “SL Track,” which starts at the user’s neck and shoulders, travels down the seatback, then turns and continues under the seat.
This is excellent.
While there is no shortage of S-track massage chairs on the market today, the L-track is generally regarded as being superior simply because it can render a massage that covers a greater percentage of the user’s body.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news on this front. The massage track is only 2D, which means that the rollers can only travel along the X- and Y-axis. Since there is no Z-axis movement, the massage isn’t as deep as it could be.
It’s still quite good, courtesy of the chair’s industry-standard quad rollers, but if you’re looking for a deep tissue massage, this isn’t the chair you want.
The only other thing to mention before we leave this section is the fact that this model doesn’t offer any type of body scanning technology, which means that when you want a massage, you’ll need to spend a minute or two fiddling with the controls to manually adjust the position of the rollers to make sure they’re hitting all the right spots.
If you live alone or are the only person using the chair, this is (or can be) set and forget. But if you’re sharing the massage goodness, then it’s something you’ll need to do every time you want a massage.
It’s by no means a crippling weakness in the design, but it is something to be mindful of.
The Bodyfriend Hug Chair Doesn’t Offer Many Massage Techniques
Unfortunately, this isn’t a particularly strong segment of our Hug Chair 2.0 review. This is where we start running into the issue we mentioned earlier, where you’re paying a hefty premium for the branding, but functionality begins to suffer in order to keep the price of the machine reasonable.
It shows. Here are the techniques available on this model:
Although Acupressure is somewhat similar to Shiatsu, the two techniques are different, which means that this chair doesn’t have an advanced massage technique. Given the price, that’s a genuine disappointment.
Fortunately, the chair does offer a few different customization options. You’ll find three levels of speed/intensity available for the roller-based massage and four different pre-programmed massage routines, which are:
These are all pretty good, but again, given the limited number of techniques available, there’s only so much you can do with them in terms of a pre-programmed massage.
Also, note that you’ll find controls on the remote that allow you to specify “upper” or “lower” body massage if you want to direct the rollers in one direction or the other.
Every massage you can get from the chair has a fifteen-minute runtime, and there is no massage timer. If you want a longer massage, you’ll have to “stack” them by ordering another once the first massage ends.
Two Zero-G Seating Options Available
The one therapeutic feature this chair brings to the table is Zero-G. You’ll find two different options here, and that’s great news for anyone who has poor circulation or has recently had surgery of some kind, as Zero-G will help facilitate faster healing.
It can also be used to gain a slight increase in overall massage intensity since your own body weight is pressing you more firmly against the rollers.
The result still doesn’t quite rise to the level of a deep tissue massage, but it gets closer, and it feels amazing.
This was another genuine disappointment for us. The Bodyfriend Hugchair does not offer heat, and it’s a feature that would definitely have enhanced the design.
Less than half of the chairs on the market offer heat. But given the price of this one, we certainly would have expected it. And honestly, it would have been nice to see a second therapeutic feature incorporated into the design.
In any case, there’s no heat, so if you’re looking for a chair that offers it, this one isn’t going to be a good fit.
A Minimalist Air Massage
We’re starting to see more of this in new designs that are being introduced into the market, and we can’t say we’re fans.
The Bodyfriend Hugchair sports two airbags. That’s not a typo. There are just two, one on each side of the seat, just under the armrests.
When you activate air massage mode, it will give you a hip/waist massage, which you can customize via three different levels of intensity.
It feels good, but it’s incredibly limited, especially given the price of the chair. We were underwhelmed, and we’re pretty sure most potential buyers will be too.
No Calf and Foot Massage Either
Unfortunately, this model doesn’t offer a calf and foot massage either. Since there are no leg massage ports, there’s just no way to build that functionality into the design.
This is another genuine disappointment, and as you can see, while the chair does well with its feature implementations, the simple truth is that there are a lot of gaps in the design.
Two High-Value Extras On Offer
Given the number of blank spots on the design map, the fact that the Hugchair sports two high-value extras was a pleasant surprise indeed. Here, you’ll find a USB charging port to keep your phone charged and Bluetooth speakers, so you can listen to your favorite music, audiobook, or podcast while enjoying a massage.
Sure, we would like to have seen more on this front, including a massage timer which would definitely have added value, but the two “extras” on offer in this design are quite good, and we’ll certainly take them!
Pros & Cons of Bodyfriend Hug Chair 2.0
The biggest pro this chair brings to the table is also its biggest con. It’s a Marvel-themed chair, offered in the style of your choice of Captain America or Iron Man.
Unfortunately, as we mentioned early on in this review, Bodyfriend had to pay a hefty fee to license the Marvel brand, which inevitably meant either offering a full-featured chair at a sky-high price or offering a minimalist massage chair at a higher than average price.
The company opted for the latter approach and left the Hugchair punching well below its weight class.
It’s not at all difficult to find a comparably priced (or even slightly less expensive) chair that offers more in terms of raw functionality. Of course, those alternatives won’t remind you of either Captain America or Iron Man, so at the end of the day, it comes down to what’s more important to you.
Bodyfriend Hugchair Conclusion
The Hugchair is very much a niche product. On the whole, we don’t recommend it, but if you’re a huge fan of the Marvel universe and the movies that stemmed from it, and you also happen to be in the market for a massage chair, then this is absolutely the one you want because as far as we know, it’s the only option available.
Unfortunately, there are so many “missing” features in the design (no heat, no calf and foot massage, no massage timer, no advanced massage techniques, etc.) that if you’re buying for functionality, this one is going to disappoint you.
The massage functions that are present in this design are well implemented, which is very much to Bodyfriend’s credit; it’s just that there aren’t enough of them to make this a good option unless you’re also a diehard Marvel fan, and we cannot—in good conscience—recommend it for the broader market.
Other Options To Consider
If, after reading this review, you’ve decided that you’re just not a big enough Marvel fan to buy a chair like this, here are some other options you may want to consider:
This chair is offered by a company you may have never heard of, but if you’re not especially brand conscious, this is an excellent option to consider. It won’t cost you a ton of money, but it has lots of features you’re sure to love and, in fact, fills in many of the “feature gaps” found in the chair we just talked about.
Kahuna is one of the biggest and most respected companies in the massage chair industry. They’ve got a stellar reputation, and their chairs are categorically good. The SM 7300 is an excellent example of their work.
It’s brimming with features—including the company’s exceptional body stretch—and features a staggering six-roller array, which renders an even better massage than the industry standard quad rollers. It’s an amazing chair that will serve you well, even if it doesn’t look like either Captain America or Iron Man.
References & Resources:
- Bodyfriend, Official Brand Website.
- Bodyfriend Hugchair 2.0 Marvel User Manual
- Marvel’s Superhero Licensing, World Intellectual Property Organization.
- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Acupressure, Shape.
- Kneading Massage Technique, Physio.co.uk.