4.4
4.4
4.1
4.3
4.1
4.1
4.2
4.0
4.2
4.2
4.8
4.8
4.7
4.7
A versatile design filled with a mix of therapeutic and convenience features.
Very similar to the Sofia S5 but slanted to a different segment of the market. Robust design with the right mix of features.
Anyone up to 6’3” in height and weighing 330 pounds or less, provided you don’t have a specific therapeutic need not met by the chair.
One of the most ruggedized of Ootori’s chairs, capable of supporting up to 440 pounds of user weight. Recommended for heavier folk.
4.4
4.1
4.1
4.2
4.2
4.8
4.7
A versatile design filled with a mix of therapeutic and convenience features.
Anyone up to 6’3” in height and weighing 330 pounds or less, provided you don’t have a specific therapeutic need not met by the chair.
4.4
4.3
4.1
4.0
4.2
4.8
4.7
Very similar to the Sofia S5 but slanted to a different segment of the market. Robust design with the right mix of features.
One of the most ruggedized of Ootori’s chairs, capable of supporting up to 440 pounds of user weight. Recommended for heavier folk.

*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.

Are you on a bit of a budget?  Looking for a solution to your chronic aches and pains that won’t break the bank, preferably offered by a company that stands by its products and has a good reputation for support?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then this review is going to be of interest. 

About Ootori 

Ootori isn’t the biggest or best-known brand in the industry; they’ve only been around for a handful of years, after all.  In that time, though, they’ve made a name for themselves, both for the quality of the products they sell and their attention to customer service and support.

The company’s design team is based in Japan, and they outsource the manufacture of their chairs to  China.  They also sell directly from the factory in a bid to keep their prices low – no middle-man markup and the savings are passed on directly to you.  Those are good things. The chairs Ootori sells are expertly designed, and their feature implementations are, with few exceptions, uniformly good.

If you’re curious to know more, read on!  In the sections that follow, we’ll do a deep dive into the capabilities of both the Ootori Sofia S5 massage chair and S8 model, tell you what they get right and let you know where they come up a bit short.  By the time you reach the end of this review, even if you decide to go in some other direction, we think you’ll agree; these are good chairs and well-deserving a spot on your shortlist of options to consider.

Let’s take a closer look, starting now.

An Overview of the Ootori Sofia S5 and Ootori Sofia S8 Massage Chair

Before we start talking about the specific features offered by both of these models, let’s begin with a side-by-side comparison of the two models and their basic stats:

 
 
4.3
4.3
29.92” x 55.12” x 45.28”
29.92” x 57.09” x 47.24”
213.85 pounds
213.85 pounds
330 pounds
440 pounds
59” L-Track
55.11” L-Track
38
34
Up to 170 degrees
Up to 170 degrees
21.65”
21.65”
Users who are 5’1” to 6’3” tall
Users who are 5’1” to 6’3” tall
4.3
29.92” x 55.12” x 45.28”
213.85 pounds
330 pounds
59” L-Track
38
Up to 170 degrees
21.65”
Users who are 5’1” to 6’3” tall
4.3
29.92” x 57.09” x 47.24”
213.85 pounds
440 pounds
55.11” L-Track
34
Up to 170 degrees
21.65”
Users who are 5’1” to 6’3” tall

A few things jump out at us when looking at these numbers. First and foremost, these are relatively sizeable chairs, with the S8 being slightly larger than its cousin, the Ootori Sofia S5 massage chair. They’re big enough that if you’re cramped for space in your home or apartment, it may be somewhat challenging to find a permanent home for either chair.

Dimensions Stats, Ootori Sofia S5 Massage Chair, Side View
Ootori Sofia S5 Massage Chair Dimensions

The silver lining, though, is that both models are designed with space-saving technology and only require about 2” of clearance between the back of the chair and whatever wall you decide to place it near.

Also, and this isn’t reflected in the stats, be aware that the designers didn’t make any effort to disguise the function or purpose of these chairs. Some companies do, building their products with hideaway ottomans so that they appear to be conventional recliners rather than massage chairs. It’s undeniable that these are massage chairs, which means that they’re going to stand out in whatever room you decide to place them in. That’s certainly not a deal-breaker but something to bear in mind.

Dimensions Stats, Ootori Sofia S8 Massage Chair, Side View
Ootori Sofia S8 Massage Chair Dimensions

Although identical in weight and fairly close in overall size, the frame of the S8 has been ruggedized and can support significantly more user weight than its smaller cousin, the S5. There are also some differences in track length and the number of airbags, but we’ll have more to say about those points in later sections.

One final note here is that although the S8 can support a generous amount of user weight, the seat width is identical to the seat width on the S5. Given that the S8 was designed with stockier, heavier people in mind, we feel that the seat should have been made wider. Before you buy, be sure to take careful measurements so you can confirm the chair will be a good fit!

Massage Tracks & Rollers

3D Rollerrs, Ootori Sofia S5 Massage Chair, Quad Roller

Both of these models employ 3D quad rollers on an L-Track, with the track of the S5 being about 4” longer than the one on the Ootori Sofia S8 massage chair. This is a curious design decision in our minds. The S8 supports more user weight, so we would have expected a longer track on that model.

As it stands, the S5 is a better fit for people near the top end of the user height range, but you’ll need to be of a somewhat lighter build to use the chair optimally.

While the S8 is geared more toward shorter, stockier folks. Ideally, we’d love to see the longer track incorporated into the S8 in future model upgrades.

Quad rollers are the current industry standard. Both models deliver a world-class roller-based massage, made even better by the fact that the rollers are “3D”. These rollers have the ability to move slightly away from the massage track, which gives you a deeper and more intense massage experience.

Those are good things, but in terms of the number of massage techniques on offer, we were a little underwhelmed. Both models offer the following basic massage techniques:

  • Kneading
  • Rolling
  • Tapping
  • Knocking
  • Kneading and Tapping

Massage Options

Both chairs also come equipped with one advanced massage technique: Shiatsu. It’s a good technique, and these chairs certainly have the basics well-covered, but it’s not difficult to find comparably priced massage chairs that offer more on this front, including multiple advanced techniques.

Features, Ootori Sofia S5 Massage Chair, Front

Whichever technique you settle on, you can modify the basic experience by varying the speed of the rollers (three different speed settings) and choosing between three different intensity settings. Given the 3D capabilities of the rollers, on the highest intensity setting, both chairs are capable of delivering something quite close to a deep tissue massage.

In addition to that, both models offer a few pre-programmed massage options available with the touch of a button on the remote. These are:

  • Full-Body Massage
  • Neck-Focused (upper body) Massage
  • Stretch
  • Sleeping
  • Recovery
  • And a special, gentler massage for the elderly

All of the techniques and pre-programmed massage options on offer are expertly rendered and feel amazing; we just find ourselves wishing there were more of them.

3D Body Scan

Zero Gravity, Ootori Sofia S5 Massage Chair, Features

Both chairs employ advanced body scanning technology that dynamically adjusts the positions of the rollers to ensure that they hit your body’s pressure points. This function works more than 95% of the time, but in the rare instances where something goes wrong, you’ll find buttons on the remote that allow you to manually tweak the positions of the rollers so you can ensure the best possible massage from the chair, whichever model you select.

Zero-Gravity Seating

Some people think that Zero-G seating is mostly a marketing gimmick. It isn’t. Inspired by NASA, it’s a seating position that sees the chair recline to a point where your knees are elevated slightly above your heart. Not only is this incredibly relaxing, but it really does leave you with a feeling of weightlessness.

There’s more to it than just that, though; Zero-G seating has also been demonstrated to help lower blood pressure and increase blood flow, which makes it excellent for people who are recovering from surgery; it facilitates faster healing.

A lot of chairs on the market today offer some type of Zero-G seating, but unfortunately, most companies only pay lip service to it, offering a single seating position. Ootori takes things to the next level, offering not one, but three different Zero-G seating options.

We simply love it, and we think you will too. Even better, if you put yourself in one of the offered Zero-G positions before you begin the massage of your choice, it will further enhance the intensity of your massage because your body’s weight will be pressing you more firmly against the rollers.

That, combined with the 3D action of the rollers and the highest of the offered intensity settings, will give you something incredibly close to a deep tissue massage. It’s not quite that, but it certainly has therapeutic benefits, and chronic pain sufferers will find great value in it.

A Better Than Average Air Massage

Full Body Massage, Ootori Sofia S8 Massage Chair, Front

As we mentioned in the stats summary above, the Sofia S5 massage chair comes equipped with a total of 38 airbags, and the S8 comes equipped with 34.

Although one chair has slightly more airbags than the other, they both deliver a better-than-average air massage. And while the S5 is somewhat superior in this regard, the overall experience in both chairs is similar enough to be comparable. Even better, controls on the remote give you the option to increase the intensity of your air massage via three different intensity levels.

Best of all, from the remote, you can choose which airbags to activate by body zones, with the following zones on offer:

  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Legs

This certainly isn’t bad, but we have seen plenty of other massage chairs that break the body into a greater number of zones, giving you even more control. Even so, it’s a useful feature and a decent implementation.

Lumbar Heat Offered

Lumber Heat. Ootori Sofia S5 Massage Chair, Features

In yet another similarity, both of these models offer lumbar heat. Heat plus massage not only tends to feel better, but it also has genuine therapeutic value, and if you suffer from chronic pain, finding a massage chair with heat is a big deal.

Unfortunately, this is an area Ootori struggles with. A few of their chairs offer a robust heating function, but these models aren’t among them. The temperature just isn’t high enough, in our view. You’ll definitely feel it, and it adds value to the chair, but we’d rate this as very mild heat.

On the flip side, though, where many chairs offer lumbar heat only, the heat function of both of these models extends well beyond that, to the hips and even into the mid-back. We love the expansive nature of the offered heat; we just wish the company would have included temperature controls so you could make it a bit hotter.

In any case, it’s an excellent feature addition, even if it’s not as strongly implemented as many of the other features the chair has on offer.

Yoga Body Stretch Offered

Not every chair offers body stretching, and not all body stretching technology is created equally. Depending on who you ask, Yoga Body Stretching is either the best in the industry or second only to Thai stretching, which is the more aggressive of the two options.

Our preference is for the gentler Yoga stretch offered by this chair and a few others in the industry. Ootori implements the feature very well, which gives you yet another powerful therapeutic benefit that’s not unlike the adjustment you get at your local chiropractor’s office.

A Good Calf & Foot Massage, But Not Up to Ootori’s Usual Standards

One thing Ootori is noted for is the strength of their calf and foot massage. This feature is implemented via a combination of foot rollers and airbags. In some models, Ootori really ups the ante where this feature is concerned, and we rate their very best chairs as having among the best calf and foot massage in the industry.

While the calf and foot massage offered by the S5 and Sofia S8 massage chair is quite good, it isn’t as robust as you’ll find on some of the company’s other models. It’s still above average, and you certainly won’t be disappointed, though.

Calf & Foot Massage, Ootori Sofia S5 & S8 Massage Chair, Features

In fact, if you have a job that sees you on your feet for several hours every day, this will probably wind up being one of your favorite aspects of the chair. On the other hand, if you’re specifically looking for a chair with an exceptional calf and foot massage, you might be more interested in the company’s flagship model, the N900.

A Massage Timer, Too!

Both models use the same massage timer, which allows you to customize the duration of whatever massage routine you select, choosing from a duration of 15, 20, 25, or 30 minutes.

A few of Ootori’s models offer slightly more flexibility on this front, allowing you to set your massage duration as low as 5 minutes and increase in five-minute increments, but this timer will be fine for the vast majority of the market. In fact, relatively few people want a shorter massage; most people prefer longer!

Bluetooth Speakers, Ootori Sofia S5 and S8 Massage Chair, Front

Bluetooth Speakers

Both the S5 and the S8 come equipped with Bluetooth speakers in the chair, allowing you to connect your smartphone to them and enjoy your favorite music while you’re getting a massage.

Curiously though, Ootori chairs don’t have USB charging ports to help you keep your device of choice fully charged.

This is a minor issue, but it is (or can be) a bit of an annoyance, and it would be a simple fix that would add even more value to the chairs the company sells. We’re not sure why they’ve chosen to leave them off. Again, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker, but it is something to be mindful of.

Fairly Easy to Use and Master

Overall, these chairs have a fair number of features and options on offer. Granted, not as many as we’ve seen on other chairs, but certainly enough to satisfy the vast bulk of the market.

Black Color, Ootori Sofia S8 Massage Chair, Left View

The remote is well-designed and fairly intuitive, but there is a bit of a learning curve here. Expect to spend thirty minutes or so fiddling with the controls before you feel as though you’ve got a firm handle on how to access everything.

Note, though, that thanks to the presence of the pre-programmed massage routines, you don’t have to invest any time learning to use the chair before you can start enjoying your first massage. Just have a seat, select the massage routine of your choice, close your eyes, and relax.

Both Models Come Fully Assembled

Many of the massage chairs on the market today require assembly, and that includes a few of the models Ootori sells.

Both the S5 and the S8, though, come fully assembled. Just put the model of your choice where you want it, plug it in, and have a seat. It’s a small thing, but something all of Ootori’s customers really appreciates. Kudos to the company for that.

A Better Than Average Warranty

Every chair that Ootori sells is backed by the company’s three-year warranty.

While other companies offer longer warranties, 3 years is better than average. As we mentioned at the start, Ootori has built a solid reputation for excellent customer service and support. So, if you have problems with your new chair, help is just a phone call away.

Pros & Cons of Ootori Sofia S5 and S8 Massage Chair

In no particular order, here are the things we think you’ll like best about both of these models:

  • 3D Rollers and a decent number of massage options including one advanced massage technique.
  • An impressive three different Zero-G seating options.
  • At maximum intensity, and especially when paired with one of the Zero-G seating options, the massage you get comes quite close to being a deep tissue massage.
  • Expansive heat that encompasses your lower back, your hips, and part of your mid-back.
  • Bluetooth speakers.
  • A capable massage timer.
  • A better-than-average airbag-based massage.
  • And a better than the average calf and foot massage.

Those are all good things, and the chair has an impressive number of therapeutic features, making it a good choice for chronic pain sufferers.

On the other hand, these two models do have a few weaknesses. Again, in no particular order, those weaknesses include:

  • The heat function isn’t as strong as we’d like to see and doesn’t get very hot.
  • No USB charging port to help keep your favorite device charged while you’re enjoying your massage.
  • An underwhelming number of roller-based massage options.
  • An underwhelming number of body zones, which limits your control where the air massage is concerned.
  • And the calf and foot massage isn’t quite as robust as you’ll find on some of Ootori’s other models.

While none of these are deal-breakers, these are certain things to be mindful of. They may also be sufficient to cause some prospective buyers to seek a different alternative. In our view, the positives far outweigh the negatives, though.

Final Thoughts: Ootori Sofia S5 Massage Chair and S8 Model Review

In our estimation, both the Ootori Sofia S5 massage chair and the S8 models are very good chairs. They fall short of true greatness, but they offer several hard-hitting therapeutic features paired with enough finishing touches and flourishes (massage timer, Bluetooth speakers) to make them attractive to chronic pain sufferers and hobbyist users.

Even better, they’re attractively priced, which means you can get an effective solution to your chronic pain without having to spend an arm and a leg. On that basis, we recommend both models, with the S8 being specifically recommended for shorter, stockier folk based on its higher maximum user weight and slightly shorter massage track.


Official Manufacturer Support

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