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Let’s start our detailed review with a table that offers a side by side comparison of the Kahuna LM8800 vs LM8800S:
Kahuna LM8800 vs Kahuna LM8800S
|Zippered Leg Port Cover
|Full Body Stretch
|Peacock Blue, Lilac, Red, Ivory, Orange, and Mountain Brown
|Black, Brown, and Red
Are you looking for a great mid-range massage chair that can deliver a world-class massage without breaking the bank?
Do you want top-tier features in a space-saving package that won’t take up the entire room you put the chair in?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then our extended review of the Kahuna LM8800 & Kahuna LM8800S massage chairs will give you plenty of reasons to smile.
These are fantastic designs from a great company that offers some of the finest massage chairs on the market today.
We’ll go into detail about both chairs just below, outlining how they’re similar, and cover their differences.
The two chairs don’t differ in many ways, but the ones they have are compelling and could impact your purchasing decision.
So as you can see – there are lots of similarities. Note that there are a few differences not covered by the chart, and we’ll explain why toward the end of the review. For the moment, let’s continue by doing a deep dive into the features that define the 8800.
An Overview of the Kahuna LM8800 Massage Chair
Kahuna LM8800 Massage Chair Features
The Kahuna LM8800 is built around an S-Track, which allows its quad rollers to follow the natural curve of the user’s spine, resulting in a massage of exceptional quality.
By itself, this technically allows for a “3D Massage” because it allows the rollers to move on the z-axis (“in and out” as it were). However, the 8800 goes a step further.
Its rollers can move an additional 5cm beyond the confines of the track, resulting in an even better massage that is, many times, indistinguishable from the feeling of human hands.
3D Body Scan
If you want a massage chair to deliver a truly excellent massage, you’ve got to make sure the rollers hit your pressure points.
There are two primary ways a massage chair can accomplish that. One of those is via manual roller adjustment. This method is typically accessed via buttons on the remote which will allow the user manually and precisely position them.
The other method is automated, revolving around 3D Body Scanning Technology, in which the chair’s onboard computer scans the user’s body, and makes on-the-fly adjustments, positioning them as needed.
The LM8800 uses this latter method, automating the process, so it’s one less thing you have to think about.
That’s a defining feature of both the Kahuna LM8800 and the 8800S. Automation. Almost everything is done for you. All you have to do is sit down, lean back, close your eyes, and enjoy.
The 8800 offers not one, but two different Zero-G seating options, accessible by the touch of a button.
Zero-G is an especially nice addition to this model because it provides such incredible synergy with the other features we’ve talked about already.
By positioning you such that your knees are elevated above your heart, most of your body’s weight is pressing down against the cushions of the chair, which means that the rollers can give you a deeper, more robust, ultimately higher quality massage.
It is unfortunate that not all massage chairs are built with Space-Saving Technology. If that were the case, the 8800 and 8800S wouldn’t shine quite as brightly.
As it is, the chair only requires four inches of space between the chair back and the wall you set it near because when you engage the recline function, it pivots on its base. A remarkable feat of engineering.
This section of the review is going to be a bit of a departure from what we normally do because the Kahuna LM8800 massage chair only offers a single massage technique. Yes, you read that correctly.
Normally, this is where you’d see us rattle off nearly half a dozen different techniques, but here, the only thing there is to talk about is Shiatsu. That’s what this chair and its sister, the 8800S specialize in.
There are seven pre-programmed massage routines (eight in all, counting Air Massage Mode, which is described separately), all accessed via the remote by the touch of a button. They are:
This is another example of how this series of massage chairs attempt to automate as much as possible. With only one technique on offer and a variety of pre-programmed choices, the biggest decision you have to make is which type of massage you’re in the mood for.
You do get to select from an unprecedented eight different intensity levels, which gives you enormous flexibility while keeping the choices simple.
Air Massage Mode
Our Kahuna LM8800 Review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t give a special shout-out to the Air Massage Mode offered by this chair.
It features a staggering 50 Second Generation Airbags strategically placed throughout the chair. Some might call this number excessive, but the results are out of this world. You’ll be hard-pressed to get a better air massage, even on chairs that cost twice as much.
If we had to identify a single feature as the real stand-out for the model, this would probably be it. It’s the best air massage you’ll ever get. It’s an actual, whole-body experience not to be missed.
All the massages featured by the chair have a default fifteen-minute duration. You can adjust the time up or down in five-minute increments, to a maximum of thirty minutes.
This is a point of confusion about the model. One of the buttons on the remote is labeled “Stretch,” but this chair doesn’t have a stretch mode.
The reason for this is simply that the features are nearly identical between the 8800 and the 8800S, and they utilize the same remote. Where the 8800S offers a full body stretch, this model substitutes a hip twist.
The feature is rendered via the airbags in the thigh and seat sections of the chair by inflating first one side, and then the other.
The result is to gently twist your torso, which accomplishes much the same thing as a stretch. From a therapeutic standpoint, it takes the pressure off the discs in your spine, which provides almost immediate pain relief if you suffer from chronic back pain.
Because it isn’t as robust as a full-body stretch, it doesn’t provide as much of a benefit, but it is still quite good, and you won’t be disappointed.
Calf & Foot Massage
The 8800’s calf massage is rendered by airbags located in the leg massage ports of the chair, while the foot massage comes courtesy of rollers at the soles of the feet.
The company sells itself a bit short in this area, describing these as “dual foot rollers,” but when you look at the cutaway image on their website, they clearly show two “dual rollers” for each foot, which in most people’s minds is a quad roller, and the foot massage is certainly of quad roller quality.
Thanks to the extension module built into the Ottoman, both the 8800 and the 8800S can accommodate users up to 6’3” tall. If you’re taller than that, you should know that Kahuna makes a special “Big and Tall” chair that can meet your needs.
While not a critical feature, this is always nice to see, and the 8800/8800S handles this feature better than most by offering two Bluetooth speakers on each side of the headrest (so four speakers in all). The sound quality is excellent.
Bluetooth technology means that there are no extra hoops to jump through. Just sync your phone to the speakers and start playing your favorite music as you enjoy your massage.
Easy To Use Remote
Because so many of the 8800’s features are automated and pre-programmed, the remote is surprisingly easy to use. It’s very well laid out and intuitive so that you can be relaxing in the chair and enjoy your first massage within minutes. A job very well done!
What The Kahuna LM8800S Massage Chair Does Differently
As you saw in the chart we displayed earlier, the 8800S has almost the same feature set, but there are a few key differences.
Our Kahuna LM8800S review would not be complete if we would not call attention to the biggest one right off the bat. And that is the fact that this model offers a full body stretch instead of the “Twist” mode provided by its sister chair, the 8800.
This is the company’s patented “Yoga Stretch” and is good, but quite vigorous, having taken more than one user by surprise the first time they tried the feature out.
It’s not unpleasant, just…unexpected.
Still, it adds tremendous therapeutic value to the chair and provides almost instantaneous pain relief if you suffer from chronic back pain.
Also, for some reason, the massage timer works a bit differently on the 8800S. All the offered massages default to a ten-minute duration, which can be increased or decreased in five-minute increments, to a maximum of thirty minutes.
The Kahuna LM8800S massage chair offers one convenience feature that its sister chair lacks, and that is the ability to unzip the outer covering of the leg massage ports and swap it out for a new piece, should that one begin to show signs of wear. It is not known why this was not also included on the 8800, as it is a nice if minor addition.
Per the manufacturer, there are some other differences, but these don’t concern themselves with features. The 8800S is quieter, and its recline action is faster and smoother. The built-in computer is faster on the 8800S than on the 8800.
Taken together, these small improvements make the 8800S feel more polished and refined. Nonetheless, it is for each person to decide if that, plus the body stretch feature is sufficient to justify the rather significant increase in price that the 8800S represents.
Pros & Cons of Kahuna LM8800 & LM8800S Massage Chair
As you can see from having read our reviews of both models, these are solid, well-appointed chairs that offer great value for the money.
Having said that, there are always a few things we feel could be improved.
In this case, the single biggest failing of both models, in our view, is the absence of heat.
Both chairs bring some therapeutic value to the table, in the form of the Body Twist (LM8800) or full body stretch (LM8800S). Heat then would seem a natural pairing, and an easy way to magnify the total therapeutic value of the line. We were somewhat disappointed not to see it included, and hope the company will reconsider when they upgrade the models.
The only other complaint we had revolved around the leg massage ports.
We know, having reviewed other chairs by Kahuna, that they have designed a leg massage that utilizes a combination of airbags and calf rollers. This is, we feel, far superior to airbags alone, and we’d love to see the company include this on every model they make – it’s a superb feature that adds real value to the chair.
Neither of those problems is a deal breaker, in our eyes, although if you suffer from chronic pain, the lack of heat may well be considered so.
Kahuna LM8800 & LM8800S Massage Chair Conclusion
If you’re looking for a mostly automated, “done for you” style chair, either of these models will serve you well. They’re incredibly convenient, feature-rich, and easy to use.
On the other hand, if you value the ability to take fine-grained control over your massage experience, both models will leave you feeling constrained. While they allow you to control a few variables (time and intensity), virtually all the other decisions have been made for you and hardwired into the chair. Some people may find that a bit off-putting.
If you’re not one of those, then you’ll probably love them both. As to which one is “right” for you, that’s going to mostly be a function of how important the body stretch feature is in your mind.
References & Resources
- Kahuna Chair, Official Brand Website.
- Stretching: Focus On Flexibility, Mayo Clinic.
- The Benefits of Shiatsu, Shiatsu Therapy.
- Healing Benefits of Pressure Point Massage, Heal Dove.
- What’s The Big Deal About The Zero Gravity Position?, Reverie.