Massage Chair Under $500 Review

TL;DR Summary

While it’s true that your options for a good massage chair are somewhat limited at the extreme low-end of the price range, we’ve rounded up the top five value-priced chairs here for your consideration.

Before we get into our detailed review, let’s take a top-level view of all five contenders and get a sense of what they offer.

Best Massage Chair Under $500 Comparison Table

Best Massage Chair Under $500

OS-802E Comfort Leather Recliner Chair with Roller Massage

Osaki OS 802E

Small Image of Magic Union Wall Hugger for Best Massage Chair Under $500

Magic Union Wall Hugger

Small Image of Relaxzen Deluxe for Best Massage Chair Under $500

Relaxzen Deluxe

Small Image of Windaze Recliner for Best Massage Chair Under $500

Windaze Recliner

Small Image of T&D (Flash Furniture) for Best Massage Chair Under $500

T&D (Flash Furniture)

Rating

4.08

3.63

3.5

3.29

3.25

Price

$$$$

$$

$$

$$$

$$

Style

Recliner

Recliner

Office

Recliner

Office

Track Design

Very short S Track – just 18.5” long

Fixed-Frame, Stationary Massage Heads

Fixed-Frame, Stationary Massage Heads

Fixed-Frame, Stationary Massage Heads

Fixed-Frame, Stationary Massage Heads

Massage Techniques

Vibration and Kneading

Vibration

Vibration

Vibration

Vibration

Extras

45-degree max recline angle, 360-degree swivel

Well-implemented lift function

Lumbar heat, swivel seating and recline

Lift function (works poorly – see notes in review)

Lumbar Heat, swivel seating, and recline

Pros

Offered by a respected company. Impressive 3-year warranty

An excellent power lift recliner, in addition to offering a basic massage. This is a great option for people with mobility issues.

Attractively priced and modeled after popular Nordic recliners. Offers a swivel seat.

Lumbar heat. The company really went the extra mile to extend and expand the capabilities of their stationary massage heads. This chair gives a surprisingly good massage.

Attractively priced.
Lightweight and mobile.

Cons

No heat or lift function on offer.

Fixed frame and stationary massage heads limit the overall quality of your massage.

Fixed frame and stationary massage heads limit the overall quality of your massage.

Tries to do too much and some feature implementations suffer for it.

Fixed frame and stationary massage heads limit the overall quality of your massage.

Our Verdict

Recommended. For the money, this is actually an impressive little chair.

Highly recommended for people suffering with mobility issues who want a massage chair and a power lift all in one. Recommended for everyone else.

Recommended for those looking for a low-priced, office style, basic massage chair, if the pressure points align with your back.

Try before you buy.

Provisionally recommended. Try before you buy. This chair’s main strengths are the fact that it’s American made, attractive, and really does a great job of extending the capabilities of its stationary massage heads.

Recommended for those looking for a low-priced, office style, basic massage chair, if the pressure points align with your back.

Try before you buy.

Best Massage Chair Under $500 - Top Pick

OS-802E Comfort Leather Recliner Chair with Roller Massage

Osaki OS 802E

RATING

PRICE

$$$$

OUR VERDICT

Recommended. For the money, this is actually an impressive little chair.

PROS

Offered by a respected company. Impressive 3-year warranty

CONS

No heat or lift function on offer.

More Specifications...

Runner Up

Small Image of Magic Union Wall Hugger for Best Massage Chair Under $500

Magic Union Wall Hugger

RATING

PRICE

$$

OUR VERDICT

Highly recommended for people suffering with mobility issues who want a massage chair and a power lift all in one. Recommended for everyone else.

PROS

An excellent power lift recliner, in addition to offering a basic massage. This is a great option for people with mobility issues.

CONS

Fixed frame and stationary massage heads limit the overall quality of your massage.

More Specifications...

Affordable

Small Image of Relaxzen Deluxe for Best Massage Chair Under $500

Relaxzen Deluxe

RATING

PRICE

$$

OUR VERDICT

Recommended for those looking for a low-priced, office style, basic massage chair, if the pressure points align with your back. Try before you buy.

PROS

Attractively priced and modeled after popular Nordic recliners. Offers a swivel seat.

CONS

Fixed frame and stationary massage heads limit the overall quality of your massage.

More Specifications...

Also Good

Small Image of Windaze Recliner for Best Massage Chair Under $500

Windaze Recliner

RATING

PRICE

$$$

OUR VERDICT

Provisionally recommended. Try before you buy. This chair’s main strengths are the fact that it’s American made, attractive, and really does a great job of extending the capabilities of its stationary massage heads.

PROS

Lumbar heat. The company really went the extra mile to extend and expand the capabilities of their stationary massage heads. This chair gives a surprisingly good massage.

CONS

Tries to do too much and some feature implementations suffer for it.

More Specifications...

Honorable Mention

Small Image of T&D (Flash Furniture) for Best Massage Chair Under $500

T&D (Flash Furniture)

RATING

PRICE

$$

OUR VERDICT

Recommended for those looking for a low-priced, office style, basic massage chair, if the pressure points align with your back. Try before you buy.

PROS

Attractively priced. Lightweight and highly mobile

CONS

Fixed frame and stationary massage heads limit the overall quality of your massage

More Specifications...

Top 5 Massage Chairs Under $500 In More Detail

We’ll dig deeper into these five in the sections that follow. 

​As you can see, chairs at this price range are defined primarily by their limited feature set. Many of them not even having some of the fundamental ingredients of a “true” massage chair (such as an S- or Hybrid L/S-Track and moving rollers).

Depending on your needs, any of these chairs can actually serve you well. However, having evaluated all of them, we’ve determined a clear winner in the “Best Massage Chair Under $500” category. 

Let’s start by taking an in-depth look at our winner, the Osaki OS-802E Massage Chair!


Osaki OS 802E Massage Chair

Osaki OS 802E Massage Chair

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

4.08

Summary

A simply designed, bare-bones massage chair offered for a song. A great choice for anyone weighing 265 pounds or less who’s on a tight budget and looking for a very basic massage chair from a company with a solid reputation in the industry.

* Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

You probably noticed in the summary table that most of the chairs on offer are from brands you’ve either never heard of before or are ones you’re only dimly aware of, at best. There’s a reason for that. The big brands tend to shy away from the low end of the market. There’s just not enough profit in it for them, which leaves the field open for lots of little off brands to set up shop and import goods from China for resale here.

Our top pick is the exception to that rule. Osaki is a great brand, and we’ve reviewed a number of their more expensive products. We were thrilled to see that they had jumped into this segment of the market, and the 802E is a surprisingly capable little chair for the money.

Aesthetics & Design

At first, and even at second glance, the 802E doesn’t look like a massage chair at all. It merely looks like a casual living room recliner. That’s a good thing because, in general, massage chairs don’t win high marks for aesthetics.

This one, however, will blend seamlessly into just about any room you decide to place it in, a thing made even easier, given that you can choose from either black, brown or beige when you place your order.

In addition to that, it’s reasonably well-padded, swivels 360-degrees, and comes with a matching ottoman, too. Unfortunately, the ottoman has no massage capabilities built into it, but it does enhance the overall comfort of the chair and is an excellent addition.

Okay, So It Looks Nice, But What About Its Massage Capabilities?

In addition to being an attractive little chair, it solidly outperforms fixed frame massage chairs with stationary heads because it sports dual rollers on an actual massage track

Granted, dual rollers aren’t as good and don’t deliver quite as good a massage experience as you get from quad rollers, which are the current industry standard, and the massage track is a bit on the short side, being only 18.5” long but, this is a bargain-priced chair after all. There are going to be limitations.

Even so, the rollers are capable of delivering both a kneading and a vibration-style massage. In practice, the kneading massage feels far better than the vibration-style does, but there are three different vibration variants on offer, and you can select from three different massage intensities. Taken together, this gives you a surprising number of options available, even if the various vibration selections are minor variations.

No Extras

Notably absent from this chair, though, are any extras. There’s no heat, no USB charging port, Bluetooth speakers, Zero-G options, or any of the other niceties you find on more expensive massage chairs. It is defined entirely by its short massage track and the action of those dual rollers.

Our Verdict

Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Given the extremely modest price of the 802E, limitations like these are entirely expected. Just be mindful of what it is you’re buying. The key things this model has going for it are these:

  • It’s incredibly well-priced
  • Offered by a great company
  • It has an impressive 3-year warranty
  • And it delivers a better massage experience than any fixed-frame massage chair with stationary heads could ever hope to

So, yes. It’s short on extras (as in, it doesn’t have any at all), but even without extras, it’s still well-deserving of top honors here, given that every other chair on our list of finalists relies on stationary heads to render their massages, and this is the only model that offers something other than a simple, vibration-style massage. We recommend it.


Magic Union Wall Hugger

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

3.6

Summary

An incredibly capable and well-rounded chair for the money. This one impressed us. Recommended for anyone.

* Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Magic Union’s Wall Hugger is one of the most remarkable, versatile pieces of furniture offered for sale today in the value segment of the market. It’s a decent massage chair, but it’s also more than that and it has the distinction of being able to do things that no other chair on our list of finalists can do.

Recliner Position View of Magic Union Wall Hugger

It’s a bigger, more robust piece of furniture than our top pick, with overall dimensions of 32” x 34” x 42” and weighing in at a respectable 110 pounds. It’s also capable of supporting up to 330 pounds of user weight, which makes it appealing to a broader swath of the market.

In terms of its massage capability, the Wall Hugger, like so many massage chairs offered in this price band, utilizes a fixed-frame and stationary massage heads that vibrate. Vibration-style massage isn’t bad, but it doesn’t compare to a roller-based massage.

Even so, the company has made some effort to set the chair apart from the rest, offering a variety of techniques to choose from. These include:

  • Pulse
  • Press
  • Wave
  • Auto
  • Normal

While it’s true that you’ll notice a slight difference when switching between one mode to the next, these are mostly slight variations on a theme and none can truly be called massage “techniques,” even though the company markets them as such.

Front View of Magic Union Wall Hugger

The chair features a total of eight massage heads that do an admirable job of massaging most of your body. You’ll find four heads in the seat back, two in the seat itself, and two more in the leg rest, so even though the chair doesn’t have leg massage ports, it will give you a decent calf massage.

Remote Storage of Magic Union Wall Hugger

Even better, the remote allows you to selectively activate the massage heads, so if you only want a lower back massage, you can do that. The zones you can activate are:

  • Legs
  • Lower Back
  • Whole Back

Of special interest is the fact that this is one of the few chairs offered in this price range that allows you to adjust the duration of your massage. That’s impressive, because it’s a feature you don’t often find, even on more expensive and full-featured massage chairs. Kudos to Magic Union for that! You can set your massage duration to fifteen, thirty, or sixty minutes, as you prefer.

It gets better though, because this chair also offers lumbar heat! While it’s true that vibration massage isn’t world-class, and the stationary heads limit your massage quality, when you combine the options we described above with heat, then factor in that you can also choose between high and low intensity, we have to admit, this chair renders a higher quality massage than we were expecting.

On the strength of those features alone, the chair offers solid value for the money, but the Wall Hugger has another surprise. It’s also a lift chair.

This is fantastic for people who suffer with mobility issues and have trouble getting into and out of their favorite chair, and this, more than anything, is why the model won its first place ranking handily. It’s simply an amazingly versatile piece of furniture. It even offers a battery backup system so that if the power fails, you can still use the lift function to get out of the chair. We love that.

In addition to that, it comes with two generously sized storage pockets, one on each side, and it even has cup holders.

Cup Holder of Magic Union Wall Hugger

We admit, we’re not convinced that cup holders are an ideal feature addition on a lift chair, because if you forget that you have a drink in one of the holders and use the lift function, you’ll wind up spilling it. Even so, unexpected extras are always appreciated, and as long as you don’t forget to move your drink first, you’ll find the feature a handy one.

Bonded Leather of Magic Union Wall Hugger

There is, however, a downside to this model. It’s an off-brand and it’s made in China. While Chinese manufacturing techniques have been improving in recent years, Chinese made equipment still isn’t on par with furniture made in the US or Europe. As such, this one doesn’t have the product quality or longevity of some of the other models on our list.

It’s also upholstered with bonded leather, which tends to start showing its age quickly and doesn’t stand up well to the rigors of heavy daily use. In addition to that, if you plan on spending extended periods of time in the chair, or use the offered heat function, this chair will make you sweat because the bonded leather just isn’t all that breathable.

Even so, it’s a fairly attractive, comfortable chair and it’s delightfully versatile and offered for a song. We feel that it’s positive attributes far outweigh its negatives and we recommend it without reservation. An excellent choice. 


Relaxzen Deluxe Massage Recliner

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

3.5

Summary

The Relaxzen Deluxe Leisure Recliner Chair is a very limited massage recliner, capable of only the basics but still of value to some segments of the market. Recommended for Casual users on a budget.

* Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

The Relaxzen chair that made last year’s list was discontinued. This is the model the company introduced to replace it and it’s better in every way. It’s easily the most stylish and attractive chair in this roundup review, being modeled after popular Nordic recliners.

In the world of value-priced furniture, there are two basic approaches a company can take: They can load their chairs up with as many features as they can think of and hope that enough of them are implemented well enough to make it an attractive purchase option.

Front View of Relaxzen Deluxe Massage Recliner

Or, they can pick one or two key features, implement those as well as possible and forget the rest. The design team behind the Relaxzen Deluxe has opted for the latter approach. 

You won’t find a ton of features on offer here, but the ones this chair has are well-implemented. If you like the features on offer, and you’re looking for a stylish piece of furniture, this one belongs on your short list.

In addition to being a good looking piece of furniture, it’s got a delightfully small footprint, with overall dimensions of just 32” x 31” x 33” and weighing in at a scant 57 pounds. Despite its lightweight construction, it’s well-built and can support up to 300 pounds of user weight.

These factors combine to make it a great choice for people who don’t have a lot of room to work with. Even if you have a smaller home or live in an apartment, finding a permanent home for this little chair should pose no special difficulties.

Like the Wall Hugger we talked about earlier, this model utilizes a fixed-frame with stationary massage heads that provide a basic vibration-style massage. Although there are no massage techniques on offer, the remote does allow you to adjust the intensity of the massage you get through five different levels and you can selectively activate the heads, so you can get a zone massage that focuses only on certain areas of your body. You can choose from:

  • Back (Whole Back)
  • Lumbar
  • Thigh
  • Leg (Calf)

In addition to that, you’ll find an almost shocking number of pre-programmed massage options – nine in total. That’s amazing. Granted, these are all just minor variations on the overarching theme. At the root, they’re all still simple vibration-style massages. Even so, the one-touch convenience and having a number of options to choose from are undeniably good things.

Right Image View of Relaxzen Deluxe Massage Recliner with Remote

It gets better though. The Relaxzen Deluxe also offers lumbar heat! While vibration-style massage on its own isn’t exactly world-class, when you add heat to the equation, it does notably improve the overall experience. Kudos to Relaxzen for taking steps to push the limits of the aging technology that serves as the base for the chair’s design.

If you’re not impressed yet, the Relaxzen also allows you to customize the duration of your massage, which is a feature it has in common with the Wall Hugger. Again, this is notable because there are lots of mainstream massage chairs that cost thousands of dollars that don’t offer this feature, so again, this is a job very well done by the design team.

Office Decoration of Relaxzen Deluxe Massage Recliner

Considering the limitations of the older technology this chair uses, which was a conscious design decision aimed at keeping the price as low as possible, we have to say we’re impressed.

Sure, if the team had built the chair around an L-track and used dual or quad rollers the overall massage experience would have been better but doing that would have also drastically increased its price. We honestly think the company made the right call here, and as the chair stands, the Relaxzen Deluxe offers a tremendous value for the money, wrapped in a very attractive package.

If aesthetics is important to you, this is the one you want, despite the fact that it didn’t win top honors. 


Windaze Massage Recliner

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

3.29

Summary

A comfy, overstuffed lounger that also provides basic massage functionality. Windaze Massage Recliner is recommended for casual users who don’t have a lot of money to spend and don’t need much in the way of therapeutic features from their massage chair.

* Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

The Windaze Massage Recliner is a good chair that shares a number of features in common with the Magic Union Wall Hugger, and has the advantage of being proudly made in the USA.

Dimensions of Windaze Massage Recliner

Unfortunately, while it gets several things right, some of its features aren’t as strongly implemented as the Wall Hugger, which is why it didn’t rank quite as well.

The thing we like best about this model is the fact that, like some of the other models we’ve talked about that use a fixed-frame and stationary massage heads, this chair’s design team has made a real effort to keep the old technology relevant. This includes things like offering a number of massage styles, including:

  • Pulse
  • Press
  • Wave
  • Normal

And the ability to selectively activate the massage heads, which allows you to give yourself a spot or zone massage that focuses on only selected areas of your body. From the remote, you can choose:

  • Whole Back
  • Buttocks
  • Waist (Lumbar)
  • Legs (Calves)

Again, it must be noted that the massage forms fall short of being actual massage techniques, but kudos to the company for offering some ability to customize on this front.

In addition to those things, like some of the other models we’ve mentioned, this one allows you to adjust the duration of your massage and it also offers lumbar heat which improves the overall quality of the massage experience.

On top of that, we have to say that we love the upholstery of the chair. Microfiber is vastly superior to bonded leather, both in terms of its durability and its breathability, which makes it superior to the Wall Hugger in that regard.

If the design team had stopped there, this chair may have ranked more highly. Unfortunately, the company also made the decision to include a lift function (again, like the Wall Hugger), but here, they really came up short.

Right Image View of Windaze Massage Recliner with Footrest

We’ve seen persistent complaints that the lift motor just isn’t up to the job. In addition to being excessively noisy, we’ve seen repeated complaints about it lacking the power to actually assist a user to a standing position, or simply not working at all.

That’s unfortunate, because on the whole, this is a pretty good chair. We do recommend it, but only provisionally. If you don’t absolutely need the lift function and you’re looking for an American-made chair that’s functionally similar to the Wall Hugger, this is a good option.


T&D (Flash Furniture) Massage Recliner

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

3.25

Summary

A very limited vibrating chair, stylish, and useful in some circumstances. The T&D (Flash Furniture) massage chair is recommended for very casual users.

* Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

We’ll be the first to admit it. We love Flash Furniture. This little off-brand makes surprisingly good products that manage to make their way on lists that are dominated by much larger competitors. It’s a great company and it’s clear they know what they’re doing. We don’t feel that this roundup review would be complete without giving this awesome little chair a mention.

Left Image View of T&D (Flash Furniture) Massage Recliner with Remote

It’s functionally similar to the Relaxzen Deluxe, although designed along more conventional lines. Where the Relaxzen Deluxe stands out because of its wonderful aesthetic, this chair more easily blends into the background. It’s simple and unassuming.

On the whole the Relaxzen Deluxe offers a slightly better massage experience. Although the feature set is virtually identical, with both chairs utilizing a fixed-frame and stationary massage heads that can be zone-activated, and both offering lumbar heat, Relaxzen simply did a (slightly) better job implementing it.

On the other hand, this model is more comfortable to sit in, and that’s not nothing.

Ultimately, it depends on which features are more important to you. If your home is decorated in a casual style, then the Relaxzen chair may stand out, looking perhaps a shade too elegant to fit in with the rest of your furniture, while this model will happily blend right in.

Also, if you plan to use the chair at least as much as a conventional recliner as a massager, then this model is well worth considering, given that it offers a more comfortable seating experience, even if you sacrifice a small amount in terms of massage quality.

Recliner Position of T&D (Flash Furniture) Massage Recliner with Ottoman

We recommend the model. Despite being offered by a smaller company, you really can’t go wrong with anything Flash Furniture makes.


Gone, But Not Forgotten

It probably comes as no great surprise that there’s a lot of churn in this segment of the market, with chairs coming and going regularly. We work hard to keep this review up to date, and as older models are discontinued, we replace them with the latest that the market has to offer.

Even so, it is sometimes possible to find some of these older models for sale on eBay and places like that, so when we update the main part of the review above, we’ll move those models that get replaced here, to this section. It’s well worth at least checking to see if you can still find one of these, but understand that the search may be difficult and support might be limited.

With that in mind, here are some of the models that have appeared on our list of finalists in previous versions of this post:

LAGRIMA Massage Recliner

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

3.17

Summary

The LAGRIMA massage chair is a space-saving, budget massage chair with a few basic massage options available. Recommended for anyone on a budget, especially people who don’t have much space, and who don’t mind the gaming chair styling.

This chair was removed from our list when the company selling it raised its price, putting it slightly outside the $500 cap we set for this review.  It’s still offered for sale, but you’ll pay a bit more for it.

The LAGRIMA Massage Recliner is an interesting design that offers tremendous value for the money. It’s also the only massage chair on our list of finalists that offers an actual massage track and rollers, as opposed to stationary massage heads. By itself, that means this chair gives a better basic massage that any of the others.

Unfortunately, the LAGRIMA has some limitations and other aspects of its design to be mindful of, and these things may prompt you to gravitate to one of the other models, which also explains why this chair didn’t rank more highly on our list, despite possessing better and more up to date massage chair technology.

Let’s start with the things this chair gets right, however.

Massage Track

The first thing is the massage track, which is delightfully long, beginning at the top of the seat back, heading all the way down the seat back, then turning to go under the seat itself. A true L-Track chair, which is amazing, given its modest price.

Dual Rollers

Unfortunately, the chair only employs dual rollers on this track, rather than the industry standard quad rollers, but again, dual rollers on an L-track give you a vastly better basic massage experience than any grouping of stationary massage heads ever could, so kudos to LAGRIMA for really delivering on that front!

Decent Dimensions

As to the chair itself, it’s a decently sized piece of furniture, measuring 22.8” x 35” x 34.2” and capable of supporting an impressive 440 pounds. The LAGRIMA also comes equipped with a detachable support pillow for your head and neck.

Detachable Pillow

The pillow itself is quite comfortable, but you’ll probably want to remove it when you need a massage. It’s position on the seatback is such that it’s in the way of the uppermost part of the massage track so if you want to get the most out of the neck massage aspect of the chair, the pillow will need to go unless you’re simply casually lounging.

Upholstery

Moving to the upholstery, as is common with a significant percentage of furniture offered in the value segment of the market, this one is upholstered in PU. It’s attractive enough, but not known for its durability. What makes the LAGRIMA interesting though, is the designers cleverly kept PU away from the areas your body touches when you sit in the chair.

In those areas, the design team outfitted the chair with a much more durable mesh-like fabric that can easily withstand the rigors of moderate daily use, which is about as often as most people can realistically use a chair like this anyway.
In our mind, this is proof positive that although LAGRIMA is a bit of an unknown quantity, they have some solid experience in the furniture market. It’s a small detail, but boy does it have an impact!

Those are the best points of the chair. Now, let’s talk about limitations.

Massage Technique

First, the LAGRIMA only has one massage technique on offer: Shiatsu. It’s a good technique and again, far better from what you can get from stationary massage heads, even ones that claim to replicate the Shiatsu technique.

Massage Programs

Second, although there’s one pre-programmed massage technique, in practice, it’s not notably different from just turning on the full-back massage option on the chair’s control panel. Note that we said “Control Panel.” The LAGRIMA doesn’t actually come with a remote. Instead, you’ll find four buttons located on the right-hand side of the chair. These buttons, labelled “full body,” “back,” “auto,” and “spot.”

With those four buttons, you can control everything the chair can do:

  • Full body - allows the rollers to run the entire length of the track.
  • Back - confines the rollers to the section of massage track in the seat back only. The rollers do not venture under the seat.
  • Auto - activates the chair’s single pre-programmed massage routine, which is functionally quite similar to pressing the full body button.
  • Spot - allows you to incrementally adjust the position of the rollers, confining their operation to a small area which allows you to focus the rollers on a specific part of your back if you suffer from chronic or acute localized pain.

While we love the fact that there’s no learning curve to speak of, it’s important to bear in mind the things this chair can’t do so prospective purchasers know exactly what they’re getting. Among other things it doesn’t offer:

  • Any sort of airbag massage
  • Calf or foot massage
  • Heat
  • Zero-G seating
  • A massage timer
  • Multiple massage techniques
  • Or any means of adjusting the massage speed or intensity

At first glance, it looks like a depressingly long list, but remember, this chair is literally the only one on our list of finalists to offer a proper massage track and rollers at all. That alone makes it noteworthy, and if the company had included many of the features we just listed, it would have quickly sent the price of the model spiraling up and out of our under $500 category.

Leaving these items off then, was a conscious design decision by the company to keep their costs down.

Verdict

Overall, we’re impressed with this chair. If offers a surprisingly good basic massage that is easily the equal of, and often superior to the massage that any of our other finalists are capable of rendering. Unfortunately, that’s literally all it does. 

If that’s all you’re looking for, or if you’re willing to get a bit creative to find other ways of enhancing your massage (like using a heating pad to simulate lumbar heat while enjoying your massage), this is a good option. If you’re looking for any extras at all, however, this isn’t the chair you want.

Having said that, it’s offered by an unknown company with limited capacity for post-sales support. Something you’ll want to consider carefully before committing to a purchase.


HoMedics HMC-100 Massage Chair

Bang for Buck

Therapeutic Value

Overall Massage Quality

Customization Options

Ease of Use

Brand Reliability*

4.04

Summary

A real hidden gem of a massage chair, offered by a respected company in the industry and offering more features than you might think. Recommended for anyone on a budget, although its therapeutic value is somewhat limited.

This chair was removed from our list of finalists when the company raised its price significantly, putting it well outside the maximum price we set for this roundup review. It is an undeniably excellent model, but it carries a hefty price tag that may put it out of reach for people on extremely limited budgets.

HoMedics is a medium-sized, well-respected company in the home health market. This chair was designed and built for them by Cozzia, which occupies more or less the same space in the massage chair market, making them a good, natural fit for strategic partnerships like this.

At this price range, most massage chairs are lacking even in some of the more basic features people tend to look for, which is one of the main reasons this model was so richly deserving of top honors here.

Granted, it’s a very basic chair and doesn’t sport a robust feature set that can compare with more expensive, mainstream massage chairs, but it does have the basics incredibly well covered and is more than capable of delivering a massage experience that you’ll love.

Aesthetics & Design

One thing to mention before we get into the massage particulars, though, is that this is a smallish model, with overall dimensions of 37.25” x 24.5” x 38.75” and weighing in at just over fifty pounds. Those details matter because they impact the chair’s maximum supported weight, which is just 200 pounds, making it the model with the lowest weight limit on our list of finalists.

All that to say that although this is a remarkable little chair, little is the operative word here. It simply may not be big enough to meet your needs. If it is, you’re going to love what it has to offer, and we’ll look at that next.

L-Track + Dual Rollers

In terms of massage capabilities, this model is built around an L-Track and dual rollers. The L-Track allows your massage to begin at your shoulders and extends down under the seat to massage your glutes and thighs.

Homedics HMC-100 Massage Chair L-Track - Chair Institute

Although the 100-AB doesn’t boast leg massage ports, which means you don’t get a calf or foot massage, the track is long enough to give you a surprisingly good and quite extensive massage.

The current massage chair industry standard is to use quad rollers, and as we mentioned, this chair utilizes dual, so there is some loss in massage quality. That’s unfortunate, but also not much of a surprise given the modest price this chair is offered for.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that most of the chairs offered at this price point don’t use rollers at all, but rather, rely on stationary, vibrating massage heads. Dual rollers may not be as good as their quad counterparts, but they’re heads and shoulders better than fixed-position massage heads!

Massage Programs

In addition to having good bones, the 100-AB also offers a surprising level of massage customization and convenience. There are four pre-programmed routines built into the remote, giving you one-touch massage functionality on a chair we weren’t expecting to have any pre-programmed routines at all.

You can also select from between the two offered massage techniques (Tapping and Shiatsu, which is a wonderful surprise!), and further modify your massage experience by adjusting the intensity level. Sadly, even in the most intense setting, the massage you get falls short of being a deep tissue experience, but it still feels amazing.

Homedics HMC-100 Massage Chair Heated Rollers - Chair Institute

Heated Massage

Hands down, though, the best feature of this chair is the fact that it comes with heated massage rollers!

As good as a massage feels, heat always manages to make it better and offers genuine therapeutic value to boot.

We were impressed to see the Shiatsu massage technique offered here, but to combine it with heated rollers for such a modest price is simply unbelievable. It’s an amazing combination of features that sets this model apart from the competition.

In our opinion, this model gives the best overall massage experience of any chair on the market today, under $500. There are a few limitations to bear in mind:

  • The modest weight limit
  • This chair does not recline at all
  • While the chair offers body scanning technology which adjusts the position of the rollers to align with the pressure points on your back, if the body scan doesn’t get it right, there’s no way to manually tweak the roller position, which can sometimes lead to a suboptimal experience

Even given those limitations, we love this little chair. It is well-deserving of top honors, and we recommend it without reservation.