In a Nutshell:
A less expensive version of the Dreamwave. Well designed and feature-rich. The Inada Flex 3S Massage Chair is recommended for anyone, as long as you’re no taller than 6’2”.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Are you hooked on the idea of owning a Dreamwave but just can’t afford it?
Do you want a feature-rich, preset driven chair that provides solid therapeutic benefits, that still gives you plenty of room to customize a unique massage experience?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’re going to love our Inada Flex3S review. While this chair doesn’t quite match the Dreamwave in terms of total features offered, it comes close, and costs significantly less money.
We’ll take a deep look into everything this chair can do, and tell you about a few of the things it can’t do to help you decide if this is the right model for your home. Let’s get started!
An Overview of the Inada Flex3S
It’s a rare and amazing feat to design a chair that’s pre-set driven, and still provides the user with more than 500 manual massage combinations. Honestly, that represents the best of both worlds, which is why the Flex3S came close to getting a perfect score from us.
If you’re a fan of automation, you will be thrilled by the fact that you can enjoy the full range of benefits this model has to offer with the simple touch of a few buttons. If you’re a dedicated Do-It-Yourselfer, then the multitude of manual massage combinations will blow you away.
Either way, you’re getting an amazing chair, designed by a company that’s legendary in the business, and even better, since it was modeled after its more expensive cousin, the Dreamwave, you’re getting a chair that doesn’t cut corners or skimp on quality.
Inada Flex 3S Massage Chair Features
Starting with the basics, like the Dreamwave, the Inada Flex 3S massage chair is built around an S-Track, which allows its quad rollers to follow the natural curve of your body’s spine. This is the first pivotal ingredient necessary to deliver a world-class roller-based massage.
3D Body Scan
Working in tandem with the S-Track, the 3D Body Scanning Technology takes a scan of your body and makes subtle adjustments to the rollers to ensure that they hit your body’s pressure points just right.
Most of the time, the technology gets it right, but on those rare occasions when it doesn’t, Inada takes a comprehensive approach, providing the user with buttons on the remote to make manual adjustments to both the roller position and the width of the massage field.
This fine-grained control guarantees you an optimal massage every time you use the chair.
4D Massage Heads
Some people think that the 4D concept is a marketing gimmick, but there’s something to it.
If a chair is designed around an S-Track, the rollers already move in three dimensions. They can move Up/Down (Y-Axis), Left/Right (X-Axis) and In/Out (following the curve of your spine, Z-Axis). The 4D concept is an extension of the arms that hold the rollers, enabling them to move away from the track by up to two additional inches.
This capability allows the rollers to even more closely mimic the feel of human hands, and provides a deeper, more satisfying massage overall.
Loaded With Options
No Inada Flex 3S review would be complete without drawing special attention to the sheer number of massage options the model provides. As we’ve said, more than five hundred possible combinations, which is far more than any comparably priced chair offers, making this one of its stand-out features.
Even better, many of the options you’re most likely to use take the form of automated routines you can access with the touch of a single button. For starters, the Flex3S offers what the company describes as “Healthcare Sessions.” These are:
Also available at the touch of a button are two exercise-oriented “Conditioning Sessions:”
Where the manual settings are concerned, the following massage techniques are available:
Across all these options, both speed and intensity can be adjusted via the remote through three settings.
Air Massage Mode
Most of the Inada Flex 3S massage chair reviews you find on the internet claim this as the chair’s #1 feature, and it’s certainly true that nobody does Air Massage Mode quite like Inada.
The Flex 3S uses a staggering 50 Second Generation airbags strategically located throughout the chair to render its full body air massage, and it is a sublime experience. (Note: as impressive as that sounds, bear in mind that the Dreamwave, which this model is based on, has 101 airbags!)
Although this model does not feature Zero-G seating, once the air massage begins, you’ll feel utterly weightless.
Even better, you can enjoy the air massage in “full-body” mode, or you can selectively activate the airbags by body region. These are:
While we admire and appreciate the implementation of this feature, there is one change we’d like to see.
Currently, heat is only offered in the foot wells and armrests.
While hand heat is glorious, especially for those who suffer from arthritis, and foot heat is always appreciated by people who are on their feet for several hours a day, lumbar heat is a glaring omission in our view.
After all, most people purchase a massage chair because of back pain – it just seems like a natural fit to include lumbar heat, especially if you’re going to offer heat elsewhere. In any case, the fact that heat is present at all is a huge plus, and its locations are sure to please a broad swath of the market, our complaint aside, so we have to count that as an excellent feature addition.
Body Stretch Function
This is another feature that our Inada Flex 3S review would be incomplete without. In terms of naming the model’s most impressive feature, it would be difficult to choose between the air massage and the body stretch, which is outstanding.
From a purely therapeutic point of view, we’d probably have to pick the body stretch, but there is admittedly a lot to like about the air massage.
Regarding the body stretch, again, Inada delivers in style. You can opt for either a full body stretch or you can select a specific region for a more specialized stretch. Those regions are:
The reason that body stretching matters is this: the primary cause of back pain is spinal disc compression. Stretching relieves that pressure, providing almost instant pain relief if you suffer from chronic back pain.
The stretch is quite robust and has the same basic effect as going to your chiropractor to get an adjustment, with the advantage being that you can do it from the comfort of home, any time you like. The fact that you can pick from a total of four variations on the theme is just icing on the cake. We love this feature!
Extendable Ottoman (Sort Of)
We regard the Ottoman as a bit of a stumble for the model. While the product description and the well-written and surprisingly clear Inada Flex 3S manual both indicate the presence of an extension module on the Ottoman, the maximum height the chair is rated for is still 6’2”.
If you’re taller than that, you can still get a great back massage, but you run the risk of getting a subpar calf and foot massage, which we found disappointing.
Adjustable Timer (Sort Of)
All of the massage programs, whether manual or automatic, default to a thirty-minute duration.
While you are unable to reduce the total massage time, you can stop the massage at any point with one button, and you can start a new program, even in the middle of a massage, which will reset the timer, effectively adding time.
This is not as good as being able to control the specific duration of any given massage, but are workarounds that most people will find acceptable.
Calf & Foot Massage
This chair offers both a calf and foot massage, although it has no foot rollers. While it’s true that the air massage is sublime, we regard this as a weakness in the design. Rollers simply provide a more flexible, robust massage in this area.
That’s not to say you won’t enjoy the feature. With the air massage, as one of the Flex 3S’ hallmarks, you’re going to get a quality leg and foot massage. Plus, the addition of heat makes it even better. In fact, if you spend several hours a day on your feet, it’s fair to say this will probably be your favorite feature. We just feel it could be made even better with the inclusion of rollers.
A Well-Written Manual
This is a minor point, and not often mentioned in other reviews, but we felt it was important enough to warrant a nod. Most product manuals are cryptic at best, outright horribly written at worst.
That’s not the case with the Flex 3S. Everything is clear, all the instructions are precise, and it leaves no stone unturned. Even if you’re not technically oriented, you’ll find it quite easy to understand, which is a small but important bonus.
Easier To Use Than You Might Think
While it’s true that the Flex 3S comes with a staggering array of features, this massage chair is much easier to use than you might imagine it to be.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a learning curve. Any chair that offers more than 500 massage combinations is bound to have one, but you can tell that Inada spent a lot of time on the design of the remote, and it paid off.
While it might take a couple of days to master everything this chair can do, thanks to the presets, you can be enjoying your first world-class massage with literally the press of a button.
Inaada Flex3S Massage Chair Variants
Pros & Cons of the Inada Flex 3S Massage Chair
There’s a lot to like about the Inada Flex 3S, but there’s always room for improvement. Here then, is a quick summary of things this chair can’t do, or we wish it could do better:
Inada Flex 3S Review Conclusion
Don’t be fooled into thinking we don’t love the Flex 3S based on the cons we mentioned – we do!
This is a superb design, and given the features it offers, it represents a tremendous value for the money. Having said that, the absence of the things above are why we could not award this chair a perfect five-star rating. It’s a great chair, but it’s not perfect.
Even so, it’s got enough features to make even the most discerning customers happy, and we recommend it without hesitation…to anyone 6’2” or shorter!
References & Resources:
- Inada Massage Chair, Official Brand Website.
- Heat Therapy for Joint Pain, The Joint Chiropractic.
- It’s A Stretch, Massage Envy.
- The Benefits of Foam Rolling, Byward Massage.
- Knead to Relax? The Physical and Emotional Benefits of Massage, Spafinder.