In a Nutshell:
At first glance, the Osaki OS Champ looks like a strong, entry-level massage chair, but it’s got some shortcomings we regard as deal-breakers. We cannot, in good conscience, recommend this model.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Are you on a budget but hoping to find an entry-level, value-priced massage chair that can help relieve your aches and pains and maybe take the place of regular chiropractic visits?
If so, and if you’re considering the Osaki Champ, we urge you to read this Osaki OS Champ review before spending your hard-earned money.
Osaki is a great company and one of the bright stars in the industry. Most of the products they offer are exceptional, and we recommend nearly all of the products they make, either wholeheartedly or provisionally.
In this case, however, we just can’t do that. And in the sections that follow, we’ll outline exactly why that is. On paper, it looks like it would be a solid design. But as you’ll see, the Champ has some shortcomings and limitations that wind up crippling it – at least in our view.
If you’re curious to know more, let’s take a closer look.
Osaki Champ Massage Chair Overview
The first thing to note about the Champ is that the design team behind the chair made no effort to hide its function. That’s not a huge surprise because not many chairs do that, and most people who suffer from chronic pain are a lot more interested in results than aesthetics.
Still, if you’re looking for a model that will blend seamlessly into your living room’s existing décor scheme, this one probably isn’t the chair you’re looking for. However, it is available in a modest selection of colors (black and grey, brown and beige, cream and taupe, and black and brown), so you can at least do some color matching.
As massage chairs go, it’s not a huge piece of furniture – measuring 29.5” W x 57.1” L x 44.1” H and weighing in at 203 pounds. Note that at the time we wrote this review, the Amazon sales page incorrectly listed the weight of this chair as 190 pounds. This information is incorrect.
In addition to that, the Osaki OS-Champ is designed with space-saving technology, which helps make it easier to find a permanent home for the chair – even if space is somewhat limited at your house.
Here’s the thing about that, though. Many of Osaki’s other models feature space-saving technology. And we know they’re good at it because most of their chairs only require 4” or so of clearance between the back of the chair and whatever wall you place it near.
That’s not the case with this model. It requires 9” of clearance even with the space-saving design, so it’s just not implemented as well here as the company has done with other models. By itself, that’s certainly not a dealbreaker, but it is the first weak point in the armor of the design.
Another point of weakness is the fact that because this chair has a relatively small footprint and is relatively lightweight compared to many other chairs on the market, it’s not capable of supporting a lot of user weight.
While there’s no formal industry standard, if you were to take the average of the weight that massage chairs support across the industry, you’d get something around or perhaps slightly higher than 300 pounds. This one doesn’t quite meet that bar.
That’s fine if you’ve got a light to average build. But if you’re a bigger, taller, or heavier user, then the modest supported weight limit is almost certain to make this chair a nonstarter.
L-Track & Quad Rollers
Although we don’t recommend this chair, we’ll be quick to admit that this is a strong component of our Osaki OS-Champ zero gravity massage chair review because the chair has good bones. It was built with technology in line with the current industry standard – specifically L-Track and quad rollers. Both are excellent.
The quad rollers are superb because they do such a great job of mimicking the feel of human hands.
The massage this chair is capable of rendering really does feel a lot like the massage you get when you pay a visit to your local chiropractor.
The L-Track is similarly outstanding because it allows the rollers to start at your neck, travel down the length of your back, then turn, moving under the seat so they can massage your glutes and the backs of your thighs.
About the only shortcoming to be aware of where the bones of the chair are concerned is the fact that the Champ does not feature a 3D track, which means that the rollers only move in two dimensions (x- and y-, up and down, left and right).
That’s not at all uncommon in entry-level chairs, but 3D models will give you a massage that’s slightly higher in quality and much closer to a deep tissue massage.
Body Scanning Tech Included
Most of the massage chairs sold today offer body scanning tech, so it’s no great surprise to see it included here.
The technology works by taking a quick scan of your body before your massage begins then quietly repositioning the rollers so that they hit your pressure points precisely, ensuring you get an exceptional massage every time you use the chair.
Even better, Osaki’s body scanning tech is excellent, and in practice, you’ll find that it gets the rollers exactly where you want them about 98% of the time. On the rare occasions when the rollers aren’t positioned exactly where you want them, you’ll find manual controls on the remote that allow you to tweak the position of the rollers, so they hit exactly where you want.
The combination of those two things provides a powerful one-two punch that virtually guarantees that you’ll get the best massage this chair is capable of delivering.
Surprising Massage Options On Offer
This isn’t the strongest component of our Osaki OS Champ review, but it’s not awful either. As an entry-level chair, we weren’t expecting too much on this front. And sure enough, the Champ delivers what we’d consider to be the lowest common denominator.
You’ll find the following massage techniques available here:
The first thing to make a note of is that this chair offers two different advanced techniques. That’s almost unheard-of in an entry-level chair. And if you’re specifically looking for a chair that offers Swedish massage, this is about the least expensive option you’ll find on the market – by a wide margin. That’s huge.
Unfortunately, it comes at a high cost. The Champ doesn’t even offer the full suite of basic massage techniques and is pretty limited in terms of pre-programmed options too. These include:
All of these default to a 15-minute duration except for Demo, which defaults to a five-minute duration. But this chair does feature a massage timer that allows you to add or subtract time from any massage you select – from a minimum of 5 minutes and an absolute maximum of 30 minutes, which is a nice touch on an entry-level machine.
Demo, by the way, is a full-body massage. And unless you want to focus on a specific part of your body, it’s a good general-purpose option. A pity that the default duration is so short, but that’s fixable by taking advantage of the massage timer.
The upper and lower massage options feel a bit out of place because this chair also allows you to order spot and partial massages, which makes those two programs feel like a duplication of function.
We’d like to have seen some other pre-programmed massage options take the place of these two. And overall, the pre-programmed massage options available wind up feeling a bit underwhelming to us.
There is one important exception, however. The Stretch option is amazing and is probably the single best feature this chair brings to the table.
Osaki’s stretch routine isn’t the best in the industry (you want a Kahuna chair for that), but it’s pretty good. And this option delivers real therapeutic value, which we love.
It closely mimics the feel of a chiropractic adjustment. And if you find yourself heading to your local chiropractor’s office to have that done, then this feature will almost certainly save you time and money in the long run.
The final thing to mention before we leave this section is the fact that you can modify your massage experience via the remote through three different speed and four intensity settings.
That’s about average for an entry-level massage chair, so no big surprise there.
Unfortunately, other than the “upper and lower back” pre-programmed options, there’s no one-touch means of ordering a massage defined by body regions.
The only way to do something like that would be to wait until the rollers hit the part of your body you’re most interested in working, then ordering a “partial” massage, which will keep the rollers in that general area. The rollers will travel in a roughly 3” radius from that point.
Overall then, a couple of very good elements here (Swedish massage and body stretching) combined with a few underwhelming elements, which makes this section of our Osaki OS Champ massage chair review a bit of a mixed bag.
Zero-G Seating Options Available
This is another surprisingly strong component of our Osaki OS Champ review. Only about one massage chair in three on the market today offers Zero-G seating, and most of the ones that do only offer a single Zero-G seating position.
The Champ offers two, and both of them help to facilitate faster post-operative healing and foster improved blood flow – in addition to generally improving massage quality.
We were genuinely surprised to find a pair of Zero-G seating options on offer here, but note that it’s not unheard of. In fact, you can find comparably priced chairs that offer three such seating positions.
Ultimately, how much you like this feature implementation will be a function of how much you value multiple Zero-G options.
Most of the massage chairs on the market today are capable of delivering a massage that feels pretty good.
Any time you add heat to a decent massage, it elevates it to an amazing massage. And that is indeed the case here, which makes this yet another surprisingly strong component of our Osaki OS Champ review.
Only a minority of chairs on the market today offer heat, and most of those that do limit the heat to the lumbar region of the chair. Sure enough, that’s precisely what the OS Champ massage chair does. But given that this is an entry-level model, that’s all we were expecting.
The elements heat quickly and evenly, and it really does enhance the overall massage experience, especially if you use it in conjunction with one of the Zero-G seating options.
Do that and apply the maximum intensity setting, and you’ll get something reasonably close to a deep tissue massage, which is awesome.
An Underwhelming Airbag Massage
Unfortunately, the Champ doesn’t fare as well when it comes to the offered airbag massage. So this winds up being a relatively weak segment of our Osaki OS Champ review.
The good news is that the Champ does indeed offer an airbag-based massage, and you can modify it via the remote through four different intensity settings.
The bad news is that there are only 18 airbags incorporated into the chair’s design. And generally speaking, more airbags = a better airbag-based massage. There just aren’t enough of them here to do a world-class job. It’s not awful. It feels pretty good, but it’s certainly not the strongest feature of the design.
The Champ Also Offers A Calf and Foot Massage
This is a bit of a misfire on the part of Osaki. Normally, the company does a good job with their calf and foot massage. For some reason though, the feature implementation here isn’t up to the company’s normal standards.
Many users have complained that even on the gentlest setting, the foot rollers are just too rough.
About the only way around that is to wear two or three layers of socks when you order a foot massage, but that’s inconvenient.
The calf massage is rendered by airbags and is better than the foot massage. But if you take the time to insulate the soles of your feet, the foot massage can be good too. You may have to jump through a few hoops to get there, though.
Two Extras and A Regression
Some entry-level massage chairs don’t offer anything in the way of extras, while others do. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. The Champ’s design team opted to include two extras – one rather small and the other more significant.
Then oddly, they decided to introduce a totally outdated technology. And we’re really not sure why.
Let’s start with the good.
You’ll find a set of auxiliary controls on the arm of the massage chair, allowing you to perform a few basic functions without needing to use the remote. It’s not a huge thing, but it is pretty convenient, which makes it a nice touch.
Second, although the chair doesn’t offer a USB port to keep your phone fully charged, it does sport Bluetooth speakers. Sync your phone up to these, and you can kick back and listen to your favorite tunes, watch videos, or listen to a podcast while enjoying a massage. We like that, and we’re pretty sure you will too.
Now for the weirdness.
For reasons unknown, Osaki decided that what would really round out this chair would be to attach a wired remote to it.
Just about everybody stopped using wired remotes back in the 1980s, so the fact that this chair has one is almost jarring. It just feels completely out of place with the rest of the chair.
Granted, the remote has a 59” long cable, so it’s long enough that it will almost never be an issue, but – a wired remote? Really?
It just feels strange. And in fact, it probably cost as much, if not more, to include this retro element as it would have to include a standard wireless remote like almost everything else runs on these days.
We honestly don’t get it.
Pros & Cons OS Champ Massage Chair
As we said at the start, this Osaki OS Champ chair has good bones and a number of things going for it. We love that it offers two advanced massage techniques.
On top of that, it’s got heat, body stretching, and two Zero-G seating options. That’s four different therapeutic features – which, for the money, is amazing.
Unfortunately, it’s not all roses. The chair sacrifices a lot to squeeze in that second advanced technique – dropping some of the basic massage options, skimping on pre-programmed options, and coming up short, or with only average implementations of other key features like its airbag massage and the calf and foot massage implementation.
That makes it very much a mixed bag.
Osaki OS Champ Review Conclusion
Overall, we cannot recommend this chair. The things it gets right, it really gets right. But it has too many shortcomings for us to offer a broad, general recommendation.
What we can say is if you have a light to average build (so you don’t exceed the chair’s modest weight limit), if you’re not a big fan of a calf and foot massage anyway, or if you don’t mind jumping through some hoops to protect the soles of your feet…
If you’re on a budget and looking for a chair that specifically offers Swedish massage, paired with as many other therapeutic features as you can afford – if all of those things are true, then yes, we recommend this model. But that’s an awfully narrow slice of the market, so in general, no…we just can’t recommend this one.
There are better values out there, and they’re not hard to find.
Other Options To Consider
If you like the general concept of the Champ but are looking for something without quite so many limitations, here are a couple of other options to consider:
The Titan is another unusual chair with a few shortcomings, but not as many as the chair we just reviewed. You lose access to the Swedish massage, but you get a lot more in the way of basic functionality.
Though oddly, this one doesn’t have body scanning tech (which is an incredibly common feature), so you will have to fiddle with the rollers a bit before your start your massage.
This chair is absolutely fantastic and the best value in the massage chair world today. Kahuna offers the best body stretching in the business, and this little chair is absolutely brimming with features and finishing touches you’ll love. It is amazing.
References & Resources:
- Osaki Massage Chair, Official Brand Website.
- Osaki OS Champ Massage Chair User Manual
- Low Back Pain (Lumbar Spine Pain), Medicine.net.
- 13 Therapeutic Benefits of Swedish Massage, Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary.
- Chiropractor or Massage: Difference Explained to Know Where to Go, Better Health Chiropractic and Physical Rehab.