In a Nutshell:
The Kahuna Hubot HM-078 is an outstanding massage chair with tons of therapeutic features and one sometimes frustrating limitation. Recommended for anyone with therapeutic needs from 5’ tall to 6’2”, and weighing up to 350 pounds, who is specifically looking for a chair that can deliver a deep tissue massage. If you can afford it.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Are you in the market for a massage chair capable of rendering a true deep tissue massage with lots of other powerful therapeutic features besides?
Are you hoping to find a chair that can reduce and possibly eliminate trips to your local chiropractor’s office?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’re going to like what you read in this, our Kahuna Hubot massage chair review.
Kahuna is a legendary company in the massage chair industry. It’s one of the most respected brands being sold today. That said, we have to stress that this chair certainly isn’t for everyone. While it does offer a few finishing touches and convenience features common in chairs offered to hobbyists and casual users, this model is really geared toward those with therapeutic needs.
In the sections that follow, we’ll step you through everything this model is capable of and how it can help you manage your chronic pain. We also won’t pull any punches when it comes to describing the chair’s shortcomings, and it does have a few (including one that can be off-putting to some users).
That way, you’ll have all the information you need, right at your fingertips, in order to make an informed purchase decision. If that sounds good to you, let’s jump right in and take a closer look!
An Overview Of The Kahuna Hubot HM-078
Some massage chairs take great pains to hide what they are. Companies like Human Touch, for instance, are known for building chairs with hide-away leg massage ports so that the chair looks like a standard recliner when you’re not using it.
The Hubot isn’t one of those. The design team made no effort at all to hide this chair’s true function. That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean that unless your living room has a sci-fi theme, this massage chair is going to stick out like a sore thumb. It’s going to be tough to get it to blend seamlessly into most home décor schemes.
Most people who suffer from chronic pain aren’t going to care about this, but it is one of the very first things you’ll notice about this chair. For that reason alone, it’s worth at least mentioning.
This is also a big, burly piece of furniture, measuring 52.3” W x 35.4” H x 49.6” L and weighing 305 pounds.
This definitely isn’t a piece of furniture you’ll want to try and move around without help, and you’ll almost certainly want to have a firm idea of where you want it when you initially set it up.
One thing to note, however, is that this model is designed with “wall-hugging” technology.
When you recline back in it, the chair pivots on its base, with the result being that you don’t need a ton of space between the seatback and whatever wall you set it near. About 5” from the wall is all the space you’ll need, so even if you live in a smaller home or apartment, you may be able to find a permanent home for it.
As with most of the massage chairs on the market today, this one is upholstered in PU, which isn’t a bad option because it’s low maintenance and easy to clean. However, it’s also not terribly durable and will start showing its age by peeling and cracking after about 18 months, even if you’re careful with it.
Again, this is the informal standard that just about everybody in the industry has settled around, so it’s not something we can fault Kahuna for, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a chair that’s not upholstered in PU. Just be mindful of its limitations!
LS Track Paired With Quad Rollers
Beneath the sci-fi exterior, the Hubot massage chair has excellent bones, sporting a very long (51.2”!) massage track and industry-standard quad rollers. The two combine to give you an outstanding massage that starts from your head and neck and extends under the seat to massage your glutes and the backs of your thighs, with the rollers doing an admirable job of mimicking the feel of human hands.
Also, note that this is a 3D massage chair, meaning that the rollers can move along the track in all three dimensions (the X-, Y-, and Z-Axis). So they can really dig deep into your muscle tissue and relieve pain, which gives you a true deep tissue massage.
In fact, some users have complained that it’s a bit too intense, and this is one of the shortcomings we want to point out about the design. While you can control the position of the rollers and their speed, there’s no way to control the massage intensity.
If it winds up being a little too intense for you, your best bet is to put a thick towel or thin blanket down such that it covers the seatback, putting an extra layer between you and the rollers.
Getting back to the massage track, it is one of the longest we’ve seen in recent models. The chair’s dimensions and 350-pound supported weight means that it will easily accommodate users ranging in height from 5’ tall to 6’1” or 6’2”, depending on the length of your legs.
Zero-G Seating Options Included!
This will be a short segment of our Kahuna Hubot massage chair review. About a third of the chairs on the market today offer Zero-G seating, but most of those only offer one seating position. This one offers three, which is fantastic.
Zero-G seating was inspired by NASA and really does leave you with a feeling of weightlessness, accomplished by placing your body such that your knees are elevated slightly above your heart.
The reason this feature is present isn’t simply because it feels good. Just as deep tissue massage is a therapeutic feature, so too is Zero-G seating. It has been documented to help increase blood flow and facilitate faster healing. In other words, if you’ve recently had surgery of some kind, using this chair will help you recover and feel better more quickly.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you order a massage while sitting in one of the Zero-G positions, it will increase the intensity a bit further because you’ll be pressed more firmly against the rollers, so if you’re interested in really taking deep tissue massage to the next level, give that a try!
Body Scanning Tech Included
Most modern massage chairs offer body scanning technology, so this is no great surprise, but it’s worth mentioning that not all body scanning tech is created equally. Some of the smaller brands really struggle to get it right.
Kahuna doesn’t have that problem. When you sit in the chair, it will do a scan of your body to identify the pressure points, quietly adjusting the positions of the rollers so that when your massage begins, they’ll hit exactly the right spots.
In practice, the technology gets it right about 98% of the time, but in those rare cases where something is a little off, the remote has manual controls that allow you to tweak the position of the rollers. This combination of features virtually guarantees that you’ll get the best massage this chair can deliver every time you use it.
An Interesting Mix of Massage Options
This is probably the single most important component of our Kahuna Hubot massage chair review because the massage options are where the rubber hits the road, so to speak.
There are some chairs that take pains to offer numerous advanced massage techniques. The Kahuna HM-078 isn’t one of those. It offers the basic options you find on chairs that are much less expensive. These include:
In this regard, the Kahuna is essentially unremarkable. If all you want is a decent massage chair capable of rendering the types of massage we just listed, you can get that for significantly less money. The chair you buy probably won’t offer deep tissue massage, but it’s easy enough to find less expensive alternatives with those techniques included.
Things get significantly more interesting, though, when you start looking at the pre-programmed massage options on offer, and here, the Hubot HM-078 shines. You’ll find the following massage routines built into this model:
All of these options feel quite different, and although the chair doesn’t offer many different techniques, the pre-programmed massages make excellent use of the ones that are present.
We love that there are three different stretching massages on offer. That’s significant because Kahuna chairs offer the best body stretch in the industry today, and this chair gives you three different variations on the theme.
If your favorite part of your chiropractic visits are the “chiropractic adjustments” you get, then you’re going to love experimenting with these because they closely replicate a chiropractic adjustment.
In addition to body stretching, you also get access to an excellent body twist routine, which also has powerful therapeutic benefits. A few models offer one or the other, but you don’t find many that offer both.
We were blown away.
Also, note that although you can’t control the intensity of the rollers manual, you can ratchet things up yet another notch by selecting the “Deep Tissue” option, which isn’t for the faint of heart. But if your biggest complaint is that you can’t get a massage that’s strong or deep enough, this option may deliver the results you’ve been searching for!
If all of that wasn’t enough, the Hubot offers you a decent range of options that allow you to focus on specific regions of your body if you don’t want a full body massage. The predefined body regions are:
You can mix and match these as you see fit, which gives you the flexibility to order exactly the massage experience you’re looking for.
Still not enough?
Okay, then you’ll love the fact that the Hubot has a massage timer that allows you to specify the length of each massage you order. You can select from the following options:
An Excellent Airbag Massage Too
Most people will wind up getting this chair on the strength of its roller-based massage, but the airbag massage is no slouch either. This model sports a total of 107 air cells spread throughout the device, capable of rendering a top-notch airbag-based massage you can customize via five different levels of intensity.
Also, note that the twist and stretch routines make use of the airbags, which inflate to hold your body in place as the chair reclines strategically.
Full Body Heat
Massage feels great, but heat + massage feels amazing, and heat is yet another powerful therapeutic feature on offer here.
Where most of the chairs that offer heat only offer it in the lumbar region of the seatback, this one goes above and beyond, offering full body heat.
Even better, the remote allows you to selectively activate the heat via the following body regions: upper back, lower back, and calf and feet.
If you’ve always been fond of heated massage but have long wished someone would make a chair that offered full body heat, your wish has been granted, and you’re going to love this chair. We have to admit, this is our favorite aspect of the design.
An Exceptional Calf & Foot Massage
The calf massage is rendered via airbags in the leg massage ports, and the foot massage is rendered via rollers. You can adjust the rollers via three different intensity levels and five different speed levels.
All of that’s pretty standard. What sets the calf and foot massage apart here, though, is the presence of heat in the leg massage ports. If you spend several hours of each day on your feet, or if you suffer from chronic leg and foot pain for some other reason, this is probably going to wind up being your favorite aspect of the Hubot’s design.
Two Minor Finishing Touches and A Minor Omission
The Hubot HM-078 has two small finishing touches that most users will appreciate.
First, it sports Bluetooth speakers built into the seatback. This allows you to sync your phone with the speakers and listen to your favorite music while enjoying a relaxing massage. That’s a fairly common, high-value “extra,” and we’re glad to see the speakers included in this design.
Second, Kahuna has made an app for the chair, allowing you to control its functions from that (on either Android or iOS) if you’d rather not use the remote. That’s a nice touch, and it’s super convenient, especially if you’re already syncing your phone to the speakers.
That said, this is an expensive chair, and we were expecting a little more on this front.
In particular, we’re kind of annoyed by the fact that the chair doesn’t have a memory slot. There’s no way you can set up your ideal massage then save the settings for one-touch recall later. Even worse, this is a pretty easy feature to add, and given the cost of the chair, we simply feel that it should be present.
It’s certainly not the end of the world, but given how easy it would have been to include something like this, we’re mystified as to why it was left off.
Pros & Cons of Kahuna Hubot HM-078
We love this chair. It’s a rock-solid design that’s positively brimming with therapeutic features. Rather than list everything we like about it, let’s just say we like all but these things:
These are minor nits in the grand scheme of things. Even taken together, they’re not enough to prompt most people to give this chair a pass, but all three would improve the strength of the design.
Final Thoughts for Our Kahuna Hubot Massage Chair Review
If you have a therapeutic need and are looking for a massage chair that can take the place of regular visits to your local chiropractor, you’re going to absolutely love this chair. If you’re a hobbyist or casual user, you’ll probably be unimpressed. For the former group, we highly recommend the Hubot. It’s amazing. If you’re in the latter group, we don’t recommend it.
Other Options To Consider
If the Hubot isn’t a good fit for you, whatever the reason, here are a couple of other options you may want to consider:
This is another incredible therapeutic massage chair. The mix of features is slightly different, so if the Hubot doesn’t have the therapeutic features you’re looking for, this one just might!
This is the only bespoke massage chair we’ve ever come across. If you’re looking for a therapeutic chair, you can work with the provider to customize it to meet your specific needs, this is the one you want. These are expensive chairs, but for some users, worth every penny.
References & Resources:
- Kahuna Chair, Official Brand Website.
- Kahuna Hubot HM-078 Massage Chair User Manual.
- Benefits of Stretching, South Dakota State University Extension.
- The Effects of Heat and Massage Application on Autonomic Nervous System, National Center for Biotechnology Information.
- Calf Massage, Physio.co.uk.