After over three years of development, Luraco Massage Chairs is about ready to release their new i9 model. I flew down to Arlington, TX a few weeks ago to finally see the finished product.
They initially had a prototype available at the Consumer Electronic Show 2 years ago in Las Vegas and it was very rudimentary. But, it gave us an idea of what Luraco was shooting for. It had some pretty cool features that I thought would be very well received by the market.
Well, when I finally sat on the finished product, I was duly impressed with what the engineers at Luraco had come up with. Before I go into the main features of the chair, there are a couple of overriding points about Luraco and their new Luraco massage chair that I want to put across:
- Luraco has always claimed that their chairs were “Made in the USA”. At first, some doubted the legitimacy of that statement and, following a complaint to the FTC by another massage chair executive, a number of government agencies descended upon Luraco’s headquarters to find out if their “Made in the USA” claim was truly merited or just false advertising. After a month-long investigation, it was shown that the claim was legitimate. Although their critical mechanical and electronic components were made in the USA, their non-critical components were actually imported from Taiwan. But, the overall ratio of USA-made components to foreign-made components was sufficient to merit the “Made in the USA” claim.
Well, with the new i9 model, and after the government descended up on the Luraco facilities, even MORE of this i9 chair was going to be made in the USA. The leadership of Luraco was so adamant about having a chair almost purely made in America that they created more of their own components in-house and outsourced the build of other parts to US companies rather than Taiwan. Although not 100% made in America, the percentage of the chair made in the USA is quite a bit higher than that of the iRobotics 7 Plus and Legend Plus.
2. Luraco is the “king” of patents in the massage chair industry. They own 42 patents and have 6 or 7 more patents pending. The new i9 alone has 7 new patents, including the butterfly rollers, the split L-track, and the new body scan technology, to name a few. They are continually innovating and securing patents for their innovations. In the USA, it is rare to find massage chair patents. Most patents related to massage chairs are innovated and owned by Chinese and Japanese massage chair factories.
Enough said about that. Let’s get into the features and observations of this innovative new chair…
- Split L-Track – We are going to see more and more of this type of L-track configuration, one where the track can flatten out horizontally to accommodate a full body extension stretch. This type of stretch used to be the domain of S-track chairs, only. The trade off was that with an L-track you got your butt muscles massaged by the rollers , but with the S-track you got a full body stretch. These things were mutually exclusive until the flat L-tracks came along. This split L-track is the brainchild of the Le brothers at Luraco. As a result, this chair does a good job with that type of stretch. Another competing massage chair has 2 separate roller tracks, one for the seat and one for the back, that are hinged so that they can flatten out as well for the full body extension stretch. The Luraco split L-track has only one roller mechanism that extends from the top of the back rest to the back of the thighs. It literally splits in two at the bottom of the back allowing the chair to flatten out. When the stretch is over, the two sections come together again into the L-shape. This configuration allows the chair to have 3D roller depth adjustment on the back and seat, whereas the competing model only has 3D roller depth adjustment on the back portion. The seat roller track is only 2D.
- Butterfly Rollers – Most massage chair rollers move in and out laterally in a sort of figure-8 motion when kneading. The butterfly rollers do the same but with a longer, more rounded motion at the top and bottom of the kneading arc.
- Arm Rollers – This chair comes with 4 roller mechanisms per arm. The airbag above the arms inflate to push the arms onto the rollers below the hands, wrists, and forearms. If you like an intense arm massage, it will be hard to find something stronger than this set up.
- Sliding Door Arm Rests – You scan slide the arm rests back, much like a glass sliding door in your home. This allows easier access onto the seat of the chair, rather than having to back into the chair from in front of the foot massagers. This is ideal for elderly customers or folks who are in a sufficient pain that side entry would be easier to do.
- Sliding Shoulder Airbag Housing – Similar to how the arm rests can slide back, the shoulder airbag housing can slide up and down 5-6″ to accommodate taller and shorter heights of the user.
- 4’5″ – 6’10” Fit – Incredible, but this chair removes the “roller to frame” distance at the top and bottom of the roller track, thus facilitating a fit for people as tall as 6’10” and allowing for rollers to hit the quads of each leg. When I sat in the chair, the rollers went as high as the crown of my head, which proved to me that the 6’10” height allowance is accurate. I’m not just talking about fitting a 6’10” body, but the rollers will actually hit the top of the neck on someone that tall!
- Full Leather Upholstery – This is the first chair since the Human Touch 9500 to have a standard leather upholstery. It is similar leather to be found in a luxury automobile. And, the stitching is eye-catching. The criss cross stitching design that showed up a couple of years ago in the massage chair industry was a beautiful upgrade to the standard and boring flat synthetic leather upholstery that had dominated the industry for years. But, this new stitching pattern on the Luraco i9 blows that out of the water. It looks very attractive, in my opinion.
- Foot & Calf Rollers – Triple rollers for each foot and calf. The design of the rollers is different from what we typically see in other chairs.
- Processing Speed – Although the i9 has the same remote control configuration as the i7+ and Legend L-track Plus, it has a faster microprocessor which allows for faster response time when selecting an option from the remote. This faster processing also allows for a faster body scan and chair response time than it’s predecessors. It is, in the words of Dr. Kevin Le, “super fast”.
- Easy Assembly – All the Luraco chairs have been fairly easy to assemble, but the i9 is the easiest of them all. It comes delivered with the ottoman attached, so the only thing that needs to be attached are the arm rests. And, all they require is two big, easy to handle bolts on each side. Many chairs on the market have very tedious assembly instructions. The i9 is not one of them.
Some other features of this chair include quad (4) rollers, heat in the low back, hands, and feet, memory function for 5 different users, 7 language voice response, patented noise reduction technology, 3 layered foot rest that can handle long legs of tall bodies, 3 year labor and 5 year parts factory warranty, and much, much more. This should give you a good idea of what makes this model unique. The price point for this new innovative offering is $10,990.
The i9 also comes in a Custom Edition. The additional features of the i9 Custom Edition are:
- Customized Remote Screen with Owner’s name.
- Personalized Leather Name Tag of the owner on the headrest.
- Back-up Emergency Power to restore the chair position if power is interrupted (Patented). This solves the dilemma of what happens if the power goes out and the chair is in the reclined position. Well, the battery pack will turn on, like a generator in a building, and bring the chair upright so that you can get out of it without any trouble.
- Luraco Blood Pressure Monitor: Usually an optional product but it is included free in Custom Edition
- Built-in Wireless Cell Phone Charging: Relax your body and recharge your phone at the same time (the i9 wireless charging is for phones with QI wireless charging technology).
This custom editions is priced at $13,990.
I sat on the chair when I was visiting Luraco, but have already forgotten much about it. We should be getting it in our showrooms within the next 2-3 weeks. I posted a YouTube video about my visit that you can watch below. I show you the process of the chair build, and then discuss the chair at the time of experiencing it. I remember that it has a strong roller massage and strong airbags. I think it will be a very popular model and will accommodate the largest array of body types. It is a little narrower than the i7+, but can handle taller bodies most definitely, with enough space for a bigger girth as well. I hope you found this article helpful.
Dr. Alan Weidner
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