In a Nutshell:
The Kahuna SM 9300 is an amazing chair, with a chock full of bleeding-edge features. Recommended for anyone ranging in height from 5’1” to 6’3”, weighing 350 pounds or less, who can afford a high-end massage chair.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Value for the Money
Do you have a standing appointment with your local chiropractor, availing yourself of adjustments and massages on a regular basis to help alleviate any aches and pains you have?
Have you begun thinking that maybe there’s a better way, and has that thought led you to begin looking at different massage chair options?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you’re going to like what you read in this—our Kahuna SM 9300 review.
Kahuna is one of the giants in the massage chair industry, and they’ve got a reputation for building quality products. While it’s true that every company occasionally misses the mark when they introduce a new model, Kahuna is one of those rare companies that seem to do so less often than most, and this chair—the SM 9300—is an excellent example of their work.
We’ll be quick to say, however, that this model isn’t going to appeal to everyone. While it hits all the right notes and is packed with features you’re sure to love, it’s also a top-end model with a top-end price tag.
Although just about everybody is going to love it, it’s going to be more expensive than many people’s budgets will allow. That’s unfortunate, but it’s something you should know upfront.
That said, if you’re eager to see what this model has to offer, read on and let’s take a closer look!
An Overview Of The Kahuna Massage Chair SM 9300
There are a handful of companies in the industry that make massage chairs that vanish into whatever room you place them in, appearing at first and even second glance to be “just a typical recliner” when not in use.
Kahuna is not one of those companies. They don’t put any effort into disguising the true nature of the chairs they sell. All their models are unmistakably massage chairs.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, most people who are looking for a massage chair are interested in acquiring something that will make them feel better, offering top-quality massages on demand. Aesthetics tend to take a backseat.
That’s not to say that the SM 9300 massage chair is ugly, but massage chairs do have a distinctive, vaguely futuristic appearance, and this one is no exception. Depending on how you’ve decorated whatever room you decide to put this chair in, that fact could make it stand out a bit.
In any case, for most people, its appearance won’t be a deal breaker, but it’s something you’ll want to keep in mind.
Another thing you’ll want to keep very much in mind as you’re evaluating this model is the fact that while it’s not the largest massage chair on the market, it’s a sizeable, heavy piece of furniture. You’re either going to want to spring for “White Glove” service, which sees someone else come set it up for you, or have a friend with a strong back standing by on the day the chair hits your doorstep.
We say that because when fully assembled, the 9300 measures 50” L x 32” W x 60” H and weighs an impressive 338.5 pounds. Even though it has rolling casters, this probably isn’t a piece of furniture you’ll want to try moving by yourself.
On the plus side, this chair is a wall hugger. Many recliners and massage chairs have to be placed with a foot or more of clearance between the seatback and whatever wall you decide to place the chair near. That’s not necessary in this case. Because the chair pivots on its base, it only requires about 3” of clearance, and that’s fantastic!
Assuming you’ve got space in your home for one of these when you place your order, you’ll be able to get yours in either grey or black, as you prefer.
A great massage chair isn’t defined by simple aesthetics, however, so in the next section, we’ll take a look at the core technologies to see how the SM9300 fares.
Kahuna SM 9300 Massage Chair Boasts The Latest In Massage Chair Technology
We’d rate this as an incredibly strong component of our SM 9300 massage chair review. Kahuna has packed this chair with bleeding-edge massage chair technology.
The first thing to talk about is the auto-scan feature. When you first sit in the chair, it will take a quick scan of your back and make subtle adjustments to the massage rollers. Lots of massage chairs do this, but few auto-scan routines are as accurate as Kahuna’s.
That matters because if the rollers aren’t positioned such that they hit your back’s pressure points precisely, the overall quality of your massage will suffer.
It very rarely suffers when you’re getting a massage from this chair, but even if the unthinkable happens and the 9300’s auto-scan somehow misses the mark, you’ll find manual adjustment options on the control pad. This provides an unbeatable one-two punch that will guarantee that you never get anything but the best massage the 9300 can give.
Next, let’s talk about the massage rollers themselves. Most of the massage chairs on the market today use quad rollers. While there’s no established industry standard where rollers go, that’s what most manufacturers have gravitated toward. They do a good job of replicating the feel of human hands.
Occasionally, you’ll find a massage chair with a six-roller array rather than quad rollers. Six rollers do an even better job than four at replicating the feeling of a human masseuse.
The 9300 utilizes an eight-roller array, and if you thought quad rollers felt spectacular, you’re in for a real treat. The rollers here will make you think you’ve somehow entered heaven. They will relax you completely. We’re not saying that they’re superior to an experienced human massage therapist, but they’re the next best thing, and that’s awesome.
The final thing to talk about in this section is the massage track. After all, that fantastic eight-roller array isn’t going to do you much good if it can’t reach a significant percentage of your body.
Not to worry, the SM9300 is built around what Kahuna calls a “Flex-Track.” It’s a combination of an S-Track and an L-Track, and it runs for 51.2” inside the frame of the chair, starting at about where your neck hits the seatback and extending down the full length of the seatback before turning and continuing under the seat itself.
While this is not the longest massage track in the industry, if you range from 5’1” to about 6’3”, you’ll find that you get a world-class massage from your neck and the tops of your shoulders down to the backs of your thighs, and from there, the rollers and airbags—which we’ll talk about a little later—will take over and attend to your calves and feet!
All that to say that Kahuna gets just about everything right and goes above and beyond where core massage chair technologies are concerned. That said, let’s turn our attention to massage specifics and see what the 9300 has to offer.
Kahuna SM9300 Offers A Reasonable But Not An Extravagant Number of Massage Options
We consider this to be an above-average but not an exceptional component of our Kahuna SM 9300 review.
While this model exceeds expectations in some regards, it underwhelms in others, leaving us feeling net positive about the design decisions made, but with a few gripes to bring to your attention.
Let’s start with the number of massage techniques on offer. At first glance, the list of massage techniques on offer looks impressive.
Unfortunately, there’s only one advanced technique on offer here (Shiatsu), and it’s the most commonly offered advanced technique on the market today. Given the price of this chair, we were hoping to see at least one additional advanced technique, and if we could take our pick, we’d love to see Swedish Massage added to the roster.
The others are variations on the theme of basic massage techniques, with the exception of “Backrub,” which takes advantage of the fact that this model has eight rollers to work with and also features 4D technology, which allows the rollers to vary both speed and intensity, depending on where they’re hitting on your back.
That really is a nice touch, and it does help soothe our somewhat hurt feelings that this model only offers one advanced massage technique.
In terms of pre-programmed massage options, again, we find the SM 9300 to be about average when compared to comparable machines. You’ll find nearly a dozen different options here, including:
And Special, which contains the following sub-routines:
Note that you may see a reference to the fact that this chair has a dozen different pre-programmed massage options. We suspect this is because the “Special” menu option is being counted as a pre-programmed massage. It isn’t.
It simply serves as a container that holds the others in a sub-menu.
These are good, but, in our view, more is almost always better. None of the routines you’ll find here are bad, but depending on your particular needs, you’ll almost certainly enjoy some more than others.
The most highly variable one is the Music Sync option because the action of the rollers very much depends on your taste in music. You’ll get a very different massage listening to ABBA than you will listening to AC/DC!
Of these, the best one, in our view, is the Yoga Stretch. There are few companies that do stretch routines better than Kahuna, and the stretching option you’ll find here is superb. It’s strong enough that it has genuine therapeutic value and is very much like the chiropractic adjustment you probably get when you pay a visit to your local chiropractor.
If you’re a hobbyist user and mostly looking for a chair to relax in at the end of a busy day, you may not use the stretch routine often, but if you suffer from chronic pain, it will almost certainly be one of the major reasons for picking this model over some other. The stretch routine is amazing.
Here’s our gripe: as a top-end chair, we’re expecting more.
If not more pre-programmed massage options, then at least memory slots so you could customize your own perfect massage and save those settings for one-touch recall later. Given the bleeding-edge tech present almost everywhere else in this design, we don’t think that would have been an outrageous addition.
Granted, that’s by no means a dealbreaker. But again, for a chair in this price bracket, we want more.
In terms of customization options, though, the SM9300 really shines. In addition to offering an 8-roller array, which is mind-blowing all by itself, you’ll find five different speed and intensity settings, along with five different “4D” settings.
The company has incorporated its “Air Float 4d technology” into this model, which is designed to put less pressure on your spine, which leads to a better, more relaxing massage.
Normally, we’d give heat its own section, but where most chairs that offer heated massage do so via coils built into the chair, this SM 9300 Model offers heated rollers, which means you get heat everywhere.
On top of that, you’ll find controls on the remote that allow you to adjust the temperature of the rollers to taste, giving you an unbelievable level of control over your massage.
On top of all of that, if you don’t want a pre-defined massage routine, you can opt for a massage that focuses on specific parts of your body, choosing from any of the following options:
If all of the above isn’t enough, this model also comes with spot and partial massage controls, allowing you to interrupt any massage you’ve got running and redirect the rollers such that they focus on a specific problem area. That only serves to enhance the absolutely magical feeling of that eight-roller array!
Kahuna SM 9300 Offers an Exceptional Air Massage
This is another very strong component of our Kahuna SM 9300 review. With more than seventy airbags driven by two different air pumps, the SM 9300’s full-body air massage is hard to top.
In addition to allowing you to adjust your airbag-based massage by five levels of intensity, you can also choose from the following air massage options:
The bottom line is that there’s a lot to like about the SM9300’s air massage mode. It’s a fantastic addition to the chair, and it’s the presence of all of those airbags that makes the outstanding body stretch possible, so kudos to Kahuna all around!
This will be a short section, but Zero-G is an important feature with genuine therapeutic benefits, so it deserves a brief mention.
The good news is very good.
The 9300 does indeed offer zero-G seating at the touch of a button. In addition to being an incredibly comfortable position to recline in, you’ll find that if you put the chair in its Zero-G position before beginning your massage, you’ll enjoy it more because it allows the rollers to really dig into your muscles, giving you something quite close to a deep tissue massage.
In addition to that, Zero-G seating has been shown to improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and even facilitate healing—if you’ve recently had surgery of some kind.
Our only gripe here is that the chair only has a single Zero-G seating position. That’s by no means the end of the world, but it’s also not hard to find less expensive chairs that offer two or even three Zero-G seating options. So although we’re quite pleased to see the feature included here, the implementation leaves us feeling a little underwhelmed.
Kahuna SM 9300 Has A Calf and Foot Massage That’s Out of This World
This is yet another incredibly strong component of our Kahuna SM 9300 review. The calf massage on this chair is rendered by airbags, and the foot massage is rendered by a combination of scraping rollers plus airbags. These can be adjusted to taste via options on the remote (Quick, Soft, or Stop).
It gets better because the leg massage ports offer heat too, which essentially gives you full body heat every time you sit down to enjoy a massage.
The foot rollers feel fantastic, but the combination of foot rollers and airbags takes it to the next level, and with heat added to the equation too, the SM 9300’s foot massage might wind up being your favorite feature, especially if you’ve got a job that sees you spending hours at a time on your feet every day.
Now, Let’s Talk About Extras
Our review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention the extras that the 9300 offers on top of everything else. Some of these have already been hinted at in earlier sections, but we’ll make sure they all get a mention here.
First, let’s talk about the built-in Bluetooth speakers. These were implied when we discussed the Music Sync massage option, but of course, they do more than just that. Their inclusion in the design allows you to settle back into your chair and enjoy a soothing massage while listening to your favorite podcast or music, with the sound piped through the chair’s high-quality speakers.
Is it necessary? Of course not. You could listen to those things via your phone’s speaker, but you don’t have to, and that’s awesome.
Then, let’s talk about the massage timer. This chair has one, and when you order a massage, you can set its duration to 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60 minutes, depending on your needs and desires.
Only about half the chairs on the market today offer a massage timer, and many of those only allow their massages to run a maximum of thirty minutes. We love that you can enjoy an hour-long massage in this chair, and we think you’ll enjoy it too!
Last but definitely not least, let’s talk about voice activation. While this is still not a common massage chair feature, it is becoming more common in high-end chairs like this one, and we were thrilled when we saw it on offer here.
To activate voice control, when the massage chair is in standby mode, say, “Activate Kahuna.” The chair will reply with, “Ready to massage.” From that point, you’ve got six seconds to issue a massage voice command. At this point, the chair will recognize the following commands:
Do we wish there were more commands? Absolutely, but this is a fantastic start, and we love it. It is a superb finishing touch on an already great chair.
Pros & Cons of Kahuna SM 9300 Massage Chair
The SM9300’s design team got a lot right. In no particular order, here are the things we think you’ll like best about this model:
There are only a few minor negative points to mention. We wish the designers had seen fit to include a second, advanced massage technique, and user profiles would have been superb because they would allow you to save your favorite massage settings for one-touch recall later.
Other than that, the only real downside you’ll find here is the price. This is an expensive chair, so expensive that it’s simply going to be beyond the reach of a fair percentage of people who may want one. That’s unfortunate, but that is often the case with products that use lots of bleeding-edge technology.
Kahuna SM 9300 Review Conclusion
The Kahuna SM 9300 is expensive but, in our view, worth every penny. With a good mix of hard-hitting therapeutic features that will be of interest to anyone who suffers from chronic pain and brimming with convenience features and finishing touches that hobbyists will love, this chair offers something to everyone. We highly recommend it.
Other Options To Consider
If you’ve reached the end of this review and you’ve decided that this isn’t the model for you, here are a couple of other options to consider:
The Luraco i9
For years, the venerable i7 model has been the gold standard where therapeutic massage chairs are concerned. That changed with the introduction of the i9, which is the updated big brother of the i7. It’s packed with hard-hitting therapeutic features, so if you suffer from chronic pain, this one deserves a closer look.
If you love the Kahuna brand but you just can’t afford one of their high-end models, this is a fantastic budget option and, in our view, the best value in the massage chair world today—by a wide margin. This chair is ridiculously good for the money and loaded with features that will make you smile.
Granted, it doesn’t have as much to offer as the 9300, but then, you can buy three or four of these for the price of that chair! This one’s not to be missed.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
- Kahuna, Official Brand Website.
- Kahuna SM 9300 Massage Chair User Manual.
- Physiological Adjustments to Stress Measures Following Massage Therapy: A Review of the Literature, Hindawi.
- Massage Measurably Reduces Stress, Medical News Today.
- Can Massage Relieve Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety and Stress?, Mayo Clinic News Network.