What to Look For in the Best Massage Chair

Massage chairs come in all shapes and sizes, and each have different features. However, what makes a massage chair the best is how it fits and suits your needs the most.

This blog will go over what aspects of a massage chair make it “the best”, and how it can help you make a better decision for what you need! To make this easier, I’ll give you three criteria, which I like to call my three C’s to explain what things to look for in a massage chair.

These three C’s are:

  1. Cushioning
  2. Coverage
  3. Control

Without further ado, let’s break down these three C’s of a massage chair!

TDLR: The best massage chair is one that matches the firmness you want, massages you in the places you need, and has the ability to be controlled should you want to change things up.

Best Massage Chair Component #1: Cushioning

What do I mean by cushioning?

Well, massage chairs can either come with built-in cushions, or come with many air bags. These all provide a sense of cushioning, which helps make the massage experience much more comfortable, and way more relaxing.

Here’s one way to think about it, imagine a masseuse’s palm pressing against your back. Now compare that to a masseuse’s knuckle pressing against a specific muscle point.

That’s the difference that cushioning makes. If you’re looking for a softer massage which focuses on rubbing, then the best kind of massage chair for you is one that has more cushioning. If you’re looking for a massage chair that digs in deep and unwinds your muscles like a deep tissue massage would, then you want to look for one that has less cushioning or has activatable and deactivatable air bags.

This is one of the biggest things that customers often ask us about, and it’s also why some people prefer different kinds of massages.

A Swedish massage is often known as the beginner’s massage because, like a cushioned massage, it applies pressure over a larger surface area to make it feel softer, and less direct on your muscles.

However, massage chairs which have less cushioning, or which have de-activatable air bags, will allow the massage rollers to target your muscles, and press deeper, as there’s less cushion between you and the massage chair.

Here’s an example of our GM450 massage chair and the shoulder and forearm pads it has. In comparison to some models, this massage chair has wider, bigger shoulder pads which, when inflated, act as a cushion, making your massage experience softer.

Because the air intensity of this massage chair is adjustable, you can control how much pressure you want in these airbags, which can allow them to either be soft, or firm.

In conclusion, if you’re someone that prefers softer massages, or has a relatively sensitive body, then one good thing to consider is how cushiony a massage chair is. Being a soft massage lover myself, I like to look at how much padding there is, as well as how soft the airbag intensity is.

If you prefer firmer massages, then you would want to consider massage chair models that don’t have as much extra cushioning, or look for massage chairs which offer airbags that can hold a lot of air pressure for that firm fit.

Best Massage Chair Component #2: Coverage

When I describe the coverage of a massage chair, I’m referring to how much of your body is being massaged. This can be measured in two ways, where the massage chair’s airbags are, and how long the massage chair track is.

All full body massage chairs have airbags, however some of them lack in comparison to others. Higher end massage chairs tend to have airbags in places that lower end massage chairs don’t.

An example of this is how our GM450 massage chair also has hip airbags, which press against your sides to help ease the pain there.

This means, as part of your full body massage chair experience, you’re getting a massage not only along your back and legs, but on your hips as well.

If you’re also looking to have your hips massaged, or anywhere else on your body massaged, then it’s important to look where the airbags are actually massaging.

Tying into our next point of massage chair tracks, the airbags on the hips of the massage chair help support the massage roller as it works down towards your hips.

To reference the GM450 again, because it features an incredibly long 1.35m SL massage chair track, it can easily massage people up to 195cm tall!

A good reference for this which I personally use is to see if a massage chair is suitable for someone’s height is a small equation.

Simply take your height, and take 60cm off of it! This will be the minimum length massage chair track you will need to support your height!

In conclusion, as long as you look at where the airbags are going to massage you, and know the massage chair track length will suit you, you’ll easily know if its right or not.

Best Massage Chair Component #3: Control

You’ve got to enjoy having a massage chair for it to be worth it, right?

So why would you buy a massage chair that doesn’t allow you to control where you reach?

For many people, letting a masseuse do what they think is fine if you’re going for a one off massage, but could you have that everyday?

It’s so important to know what you want, and get exactly that. This is why the 4D massage rollers are so popular!

But what is a 4D massage chair anyways? In this industry, we have some lingo around what these chairs mean, so I’ve broken them down here to simply explain what a 2d, 3d and 4d massage chair are:

1D: The massage rollers move up and down

2D: The massage rollers move left and right

3D: The massage rollers move inwards and outwards

4D: The massage rollers now have the control over every aspect of the previous dimensions.

With each increase in dimension for massage rollers comes a greater sense of massage coverage. The 4th dimension allows you to get more control and reach more places than before. Therefore the 4D massage rollers are most commonly found in our higher end massage chair models.

We’ve actually written a blog about this already, which helps break down the difference. If you want to know what’s the difference between a 2D, 3D or 4D massage chair, then this blog is perfect for you.

For this criterion, we’d like to say that 4D massages are the best to have when it comes to control, however in terms of performance, anything above 3D is more than enough!

Conclusion – What is the Best Massage Chair?

While I’d love to give you an answer, that decision is entirely up to you! Everyone has different needs, so it’s your choice as to which massage chair suits you best.

What I can do for you is recommend some of the other blogs I’ve written which can help you research more about massage chairs!

If you’re pretty keen on buying a massage chair, but worried about how long your massage chair will last, then I’d really recommend reading this blog. I’m sure it will help you get a better understanding of how long they last!

Best massage chair selections is available for Australia customers at irelax Australia.

Ever wondered how good are massage chairs? At Good Massage, we reckon we’ve found the answer. When it comes to picking the best massage chair NZ has to offer, we’ve done the hard yards so you don’t have to. Our range is packed with the top massage chair options that Kiwi backs will absolutely love. Dive into our collection and discover the perfect blend of Aotearoa craftsmanship and world-class relaxation technology. Don’t just take our word for it – come and give one a go. You’ll soon understand why we’re so chuffed about our chairs!

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  1. Pingback: How Long Does a Full Body Massage Chair Last | 2023 UPDATE

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