Insider Secrets To Choosing The Right Massage Chair

April 5, 2024
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
April 5, 2024
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Insider Secrets To Choosing The Right Massage Chair

Insider Secrets To Choosing The Right Massage Chair

Key Takeaways: Tips to choosing the right chair for you
Before investing your hard-earned money in a massage chair, make sure you avoid heartache and hassle by minimizing the unknowns that can make your decision costly and frustrating. 

  • Make sure the chair you are buying fits. Hard to do that when you purchase sight-unseen on the internet. The only way to do this is by trying out the chair before committing. 
  • Make sure you understand the return policy of the chair you are buying in case it doesn’t fit you properly. It could cost you a lot of money. 
  • How good and accessible is the customer support of the company from which you are buying your chair.
  • Misleading information about a massage chair can result in the hassles of a return.

Learn other tips that will save you time and money by downloading Dr. Weidner’s booklet, “Buyer Beware


Choosing a massage chair seems like a simple thing, especially when you see an ad on social media for a particular model that looks perfect for you…the deeply discounted price, the slick marketing that makes the chair look awesome, and convincing testimonials of folks using the chair. I’m not discounting the reviews (even though there are plenty of fake/paid ones out there), but know that buying a massage chair are not like a buying a toaster. One toaster can work in any pretty much any home, but getting the right massage chair can be a challenge.

In this article, I’m going to reveal some tips, that years of being in this industry and having dealt with thousands of customers have taught me, about getting the right massage chair for YOU.

Does It Fit Your Body?

fitting in a massage chairOne of the biggest problems, when choosing for a chair, is getting one with the right fit for your body. Do you have long legs, short legs, are you tall or short, do you have a larger body width, do you have a longer torso, what’s the size of your feet, etc.?

Now, how can you know if a chair is going to fit you without having the opportunity to sit in it before buying it? That is the biggest problem with the online ads for massage chairs. They look great, and may very well be great, but will it fit your body comfortably? One size DOES NOT fit all.

You will never know unless you either:

1.) buy a chair online, without trying it out, and then deal with the hassle and cost of returning it if it doesn’t fit, or

2.) go to a store that has them on display for you to try out before you make a purchase.

By trying out a massage chair, you will know almost immediately if it is a comfortable fit for you. Do the rollers reach the top of your neck, can you fully extend your legs out or does it feel like your knees are up way too high, do the soles of your feet reach the bottom of the foot massager, do you feel like you’re “packed” into the chair like a sardine, do your feet fit in the foot massager? I’ll discuss some of these “fit” topics in greater detail further on in this article.

Massage Intensity – Can You Handle It?

split track rollers

Roller mechanism

The two components of a chair’s massage is the aircells and the roller mechanism. In most chairs, especially those with 3D/4D rollers, the intensity of both aircells and rollers can be adjusted for a lighter or stronger massage experience. Aircells typically compress, while the rollers provide the various modes of massage, i.e. kneading, compressions, percussion, and shiatsu. Intensity can be adjusted so that the aircell compression is stronger whereas the roller intensity can be adjusted for a deeper, more intense massage or a lighter, less intense massage.

Now that I’ve explained the basics of the massage intensity, some chairs can have the highest intensity still not be enough! If the chair your are interested in cannot go any more intense than it’s highest setting…and you want more intensity, you will be forever be left wanting. It will be frustrating to you over time. You will need a different chair.

On the flip side, if the lightest intensity of a massage chair you want, is still too strong, you may come to adapt to the stronger massage over time, but you will probably always feel a bit overwhelmed from discomfort if it is still too strong. You don’t necessarily need a new chair in this case. You can take a throw blanket and fold in length-wise in quarters and drape it over the back of the chair. This will provide some padding that will mitigate the chair’s intensity for you, this making it more comfortable.

Remember this principle: You can always make a strong roller massage less intense with some sort of padding, but you can NEVER make a weaker roller massage stronger.

Misleading Published Height Limits

Every chair comes with user weight and height recommendations.

Height: Many chairs state a maximum user height of over 6′. Yes, it is true someone over 6′ can fit in the chair, BUT, and this is a big BUT, the roller track may not reach above 6′. What this means is that if you are 6’3″, for example, and your chair has a max user height of 6’4″, you need to sit in the chair to make sure that the rollers reach the top of your neck. You might be surprised at how the chair fits you (or doesn’t fit you!) based on the misleading max height recommendation. The conclusion to this is that you really need to try out a chair before buying it, if you are over 6′ tall.

Most chairs will fit someone who is 5′ tall, but if you are shorter than that, only trying it out first will determine if it is a chair that will work for you. It isn’t the roller reach that matters here….it is the leg length. If it doesn’t fit when you first get into a chair and turn it on, you can probably adjust the height of the ottoman (footrest) upwards until the bottom of the foot massage meets the sole of your feet. Even after doing that, your feet still don’t meet the bottom of the foot massager, the chair will not be a good fit.

For taller folks with longer legs, sometimes the leg extension of the ottoman will not go out far enough for your legs to fit comfortably when you turn on your chair. You have two options to try to make your leg length fit more comfortably: 1.) fully extend the ottoman with the remote control, and 2.) drop the ottoman down so that your legs move down, bringing your knees to a more level position.

Again, trying out a chair before you buy is crucial. Buying online without knowing for sure how the chair will fit your body, is quite risky.

Weight: If a chair has a recommended 285 lb weight limit and you weigh 300 lbs, you can still sit in the chair (if it fits), but the increased weight will wear down the chair’s mechanical components at a faster rate than someone under the weight limit. That is really the only concern about weight limits.

Open vs Closed Toe Foot Massagers

This one is pretty simple. An open-toe foot massager can fit any foot size. A closed-toe foot massager will fit a foot up to size 12-13. Again, testing the chair will confirm the fit for you. Check out the pictures.

open toe foot massager


closed toe foot massagers


Warranty Coverage

A general rule is that the better the quality of the chair, the longer the warranty coverage. Not always true, but a good rule to go by. I would also strongly recommend NOT buying a chair if it doesn’t come with an in-home warranty, which means that a service technician will come to your home to do the repair. Without that type of warranty, you will most likely have to ship your chair back to the massage chair company to get it fixed. Most of the cheaper, off-brand massage chairs do not come with an in-home warranty. I might add that the cheaper chairs may also have more issues with parts availability.

Return Policy

VERY IMPORTANT! Make sure you fully understand the details of the company’s return policy. Some thingsmassage chair return policies to consider include:

How long is the return window? Is it 7, 14, 30, 60, 90, or more days?

Does the company even have a return policy?

Is the return policy clear?

Is the return policy easy to find on the website?

Does it start from the day you get your chair or the day you order the chair?

Will there be restocking fees charged?

Will you have to pay for return shipping?

Will you be back-billed for the original shipping charges?

Will you be charged credit card of financing fees?

Keep the original packaging. Will you be charged an extra amount if you return the chair without the original packaging?

Answering these questions before you pay will save you some heartache down the road.

Customer Support, If Any!

Each chair ad on the internet represents a different company that does things differently from other companies. Some things to consider:

Make sure you can get a hold of someone from that company should you have any unanswered questions before buying.

Is there an easy-to-find contact phone number on the website?

Does the company respond to your inquiry quickly or do you have to wait days to get a response?

Do they have an after-sales support protocol?

Who do you call if something goes wrong with your chair?

What good is a warranty and a cheap price if you can’t get any prompt help (or any help at all!) if something goes wrong after you receive your chair?

Well, that about does it! I hope you learned some things that will help you avoid problems or dissatisfaction down the road. Don’t ever hesitate to ask questions before deciding on a chair. Consider the sayings “one size does not fit all” and “you get what you pay for” when shopping for a chair.

Dr. Alan Weidner

Massage Chair Relief



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