Here in NY there is a dearth of information about massage chairs, and almost no place to go and see and try out the various chairs, so I rely on your information.
I believe we are about ready to purchase a chair but I need your input on what kind. I know you maintain that Japanese made chairs are the best, so I think we do want a Japanese made chair. However we are not prepared to spend what an Inada costs, so we need something reasonably priced.
Besides price, quality, and reliability, here are things that (we think) are important to us:
massage by rollers as well as airbags
large number of airbags
arms, shoulders, legs, feet (and maybe head?) massaging as well as the trunk
a fair amount of programs and intensity settings
a great warranty & service plan
Here are things that we don’t care about:
music compatibility or lights or any fancy effects
We’ve been interested in a chair for several years so we don’t want to make a mistake when we finally buy one, which is why we need your guidance & service. If you don’t sell what we are looking for, then we would appreciate your recommendation and referral.
If the chair you suggest is due to go on sale for the next holiday, kindly let us know and we’ll wait it out a bit longer.
Thanks very much for your time – Gail
Thanks for much for your email. I apologize for taking so long in getting back to you but answering this email took a lot more work and research than I had initially thought. I hope I can assist you in your buying process. You bring up a lot of good features, in which you are interested. It is difficult to match everything a customer wants; sometimes a person needs to triage the feature-set and figure out which ones are absolutely needed and which ones you can do without. I am saying this, of course, because it is tough to find a chair that has all the things that you are looking for, but let me just go through each feature and list the chairs that have those features. Then, we can maybe arrive at a model that would work best for you and fit most of your needs.
1.) Japanese made – Inada is all there is! Although Panasonic is a Japanese company, and their manufacturing is overseen by Japanese engineers, the chairs are all manufactured in China at the current time. So, the chairs to pick from would be the Inada Sogno or Yume and the Panasonic MA70 or EP30007. All the rest of the chairs are made in China, save the iRobotics 6 from Luraco, which is partly manufactured and fully assembled in the USA. The other 40-50% is made in China and imported to the USA for assembly.
2.) Massage by rollers as well as by airbags – Well, over 90% of the chairs we carry have these two things going for them. They all have rollers, but some have more airbags than others. You can get as many as 100+ airbags and as little as 0 airbags (for example, the IT-9800). The largest number of airbags can be found on the Inada Sogno (100) and the iRobotics 6 (102).
There are others that don’t have that many but still have quite a few, i.e. Osaki OS-7200H (51), OS-7200CR (48), and OS-3D Pro Dreamer (48). A number of models have 30+ airbags, like the Infinity IT-8500 (38), Infinity Iyashi (38), Panasonic MA70 (33), and the Panasonic MA70 (36).
Some chairs have longer roller tracks than others, but most average about 29-30″. The new Infinity Iyashi actually has a 49″ roller track that extends down into the buttocks and behind the thighs.
3.) Zero Gravity – most chairs nowadays have zero gravity. Here is a list of models that have this feature: Omega Montage series, Osaki OS-7200 series, OS-3D Pro Dreamer, Infinity IT-8500, IT-8200, IT-9800, IT-8100, Iyashi, ZeroG 4.0 and 2.0 from Human Touch, Cozzia 16027 and 16028, and the iRobotics 6.
4.) Arms, shoulders, legs, feet (and maybe head?) massaging as well as the trunk – This is a pretty broad subject! If a chair has an ottoman, then it normally has calf and foot massage, although some chairs just come with a calf massager that can double as a foot massager (HT-7120, HT-7450, ZeroG 2.0, Inada i1, Inada Yume to name a few).
The only chair that massages the head is the Osaki OS-7075R, but because of concerns about a high failure rate I would steer you away from this model at this time.
Any chair that has arm airbags will massage the arm. It might be better to list the chairs that do not have arm airbag massage – Inada i1, all the Human Touch chairs, the Cozzia chairs (except the 366), IT-7800, IT-8100, IT-9800, Osaki OS-1000 and OS-3000, all the Omega chairs (except the Montage Pro), and the Panasonic 1285.
Shoulders is a very broad term. I’ve written a few other articles about that, in much more depth. I would refer you to those articles for a more detailed discussion on the subject of the “shoulders”:
The trunk could also be considered a broad topic. If you mean the torso, then all chairs with rollers will work that area. If you mean waist airbags, then there are some chairs that have that feature, namely the Osaki OS-7200 series, Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer, IT-8500, IT08200, Inada Sogno, Inada Yume, Panasonic MA70, Panasonic 30007, Infinity Iyashi, iRobotics 6, Osaki OS-7075R. There are a few others that escape me now. This might be a great category on my comparison chart to include!
5.) A fair amount of programs and intensity settings – you will get plenty of programs on any chair that you buy. But, intensity settings is another story. Most chairs nowadays have airbag intensity settings, but only a few have roller intensity settings. It is becoming more and more available, thanks to Inada pioneering the 3D technology in their iconic Sogno chair, but I’d love to see more chairs with roller intensity adjustment. Here are the chairs that have some sort of roller intensity adjustment: Inada Sogno, Panasonic MA70, 30005, and 30007, Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer, HT-7450, HT-9500, HT-7120, ZeroG 4.0, Omega Montage series, Cozzia chairs, and the iRobotics 6.
6.) Stretch Program – you can find this feature on pretty much every massage chair today. It is a very popular function and is part of the regular auto programs of most chairs.
7.) Great warranty & service plan – Inada and Panasonic have the best warranties in the business, with a 3 years parts and labor, in-home warranty (Panasonic has 2 additional years of parts only beyond that). Luraco offers a 2 year parts and labor, in-home warranty on their iRobotics 6. All the rest of the companies offer 1 year parts and labor, in-home warranty (3 year limited) on their chairs. You can buy extended warranties for all the chairs, if you so desire. I have found that customer support is best with Inada, Infinity, Human Touch, and Luraco. The others are good, but I have found those 4 to be the most responsive and prompt with chair problems of my customers.
8.) Reasonably priced – This is a big one, I know. I will say that the chairs that come to my mind, considering everything I’ve discussed above and considering price, I would suggest the following models to seriously consider: Infinity IT-8500, Infinity Iyashi, Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer, Panasonic 30007.
Well, Gail, now you see why it took me a little longer to get this email written and sent off to you. I hope this helps. As you can see, not one chair has everything you seek.You could look at this list and then take out the chairs that have the least of the features you want, narrowing down your choices to those with more of what you are looking for.
Let me know how else I can assist you in your search. I am always at your disposal.
Dr. Alan Weidner