Nobody likes to live in pain. Whether your lower back is stiff from sitting in an office chair or your legs are tired from being on your feet all day, tension, stiffness and chronic pain can make it harder for you to enjoy your life. Nobody wants that, of course, and there are a lot of different ways people combat this.
Going to a massage parlor is expensive, and massage chairs can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. There are cheaper options, however. Electric Pulse Massagers are specifically made to help you relax by improving your blood circulation and reducing muscle tension.
Pulse Massagers send an electrical signal through a metal electrode cord. This electric signal reduces the tension in your muscles, allowing you to relax and be more comfortable. This is probably all pretty new to you, and you have no idea where to start. That’s why we put this guide together, so you can read about the best electric pulse massagers out there.
We’ve done a lot of extensive research, and are happy to recommend our top ten picks for the best pulse massager.
Things to Consider
Before you jump in, there are some things you should know about and consider before you make the leap, especially considering this is a relatively new technology. In fact, buying a bad massager could even be bad for your health. Before you buy, here are five things you need to know.
1. FDA Approval
Electric pulse massagers are a form of pain therapy and are subject to FDA approval. An FDA-approved device means the massager has been officially tested by the government and its results have been determined and verified. You wouldn’t want to take a pain reliever that wasn’t FDA-approved, after all.
The best handheld massage devices are small and light enough to carry around with you. They should be easy to maneuver and not so heavy to be uncomfortable. They should also be light enough for easy transport. Weight varies, but some pulse massagers weigh as little as six ounces.
A warranty is pretty much self-explanatory, so I won’t belabor the point. It’s still something you want to look for. Nobody buys a new car or an expensive TV without a warranty. Pulse massagers are a lot less expensive, but a warranty is a good way to gauge a product’s quality, especially with longer warranties. If a company is willing to stand by their product for two or three years, chances are it’s pretty good.
4. Easy to Use
The last thing you want to do is spend an hour trying to figure out how to use your new massager. Look for simple buttons and LCD screens. You might even call or e-mail to double check whether the product comes with an instruction manual.
The final factor to consider when deciding which electric pulse massager to choose is a price. There is a range of different devices on the market, and all vary in how much they cost. Some of the most expensive options will offer more functions, and may also have a longer warranty. However a higher price does not necessarily mean it’s of higher quality.
The Best Electric Pulse Massagers
Best Electric Pulse Massager Under $15
ChoiceMed OTC Tens Unit Electronic Pulse Massager
If you’ve never tried using an electronic pulse massager before, you might want to try and start with something inexpensive. Not everyone is going to enjoy the same results from this technology, after all, and you don’t want to be out $50 if it doesn’t work for you.
Since it’s less than $20, the Electric Pulse Massager from ChoiceMed is an affordable entry option, both for those who are new to the technology and those who don’t have a lot of money to spend. Four pads are connected to the device, and electrical pulses are sent to the pads through the wired connection. The pads are easy to remove, but they might be feeling a little unusual at first.
What I do like about the ChoiceMed is how easy it is to adjust. An LCD enables the user to easily and quickly adjust the mode and intensity of the pulses. There are eight modes available, and each mode can be activated with ten different levels of strength.
This means it’s easier for you to get t just the right pulse for your needs. The hard part is figuring out how much of a pulse to use. If you use too much, this can be very painful. This is a good entry-level product, and it should give you a good idea whether the technology will work for you. However, I recommend staying at some of the lower power settings.
Best Electric Pulse Massager Under $25
Santamedical Electronic Tens Unit Handheld Pulse Massager
Although the Santamedical Handheld Pulse Massager doesn’t have as many different settings or strength levels as the EPM (electric pulse massager) from ChoiceMed, I feel like it is a better device for some reasons. Although it doesn’t have quite as many settings as the previous massager, it does work better.
It’s also easier to use, and you’re less likely to hurt yourself by accidentally choosing too high of a power setting. Let’s talk about the specs. The handheld pulse massager has six different simulation programs that imitate different massage techniques, as well as three massage selections specially formulated to target different muscular regions of your body.
Like the last massager, this also has four pads, and you can even use this massager with two different people simultaneously, and you can select different intensities for the left and right side. This is a great choice for an inexpensive EPM. The buttons are marked, making it easy to use and control, and since it can be used by two people at once, this is a great budget choice for couples as well.
Best Electric Pulse Massager Under $30
PurePulse Electronic Pulse Massager
The PurePulse Electric Pulse Massager shares a lot of similar features with the Santamedical Handheld EPM, down to the same number of simulation programs and healing settings – six and three, respectively. Like the Santamedical model, its many buttons allow you immediate control over your massage experience, but it also enjoys a larger LCD screen that makes it easier to read.
The jumbo-sized LCD screen makes it easier for you to monitor and control your session by providing your valuable feedback on a variety of factors, including the length of time and areas of treatment, your massage settings, pulse speed and more. Another nice feature is dual power settings, which allow you to massage with two different power settings at once.
This gives you greater control over your massage experience and also allows you to use the EPM with a second person at the same time. Like most EPM machines, the PurePulse is powered by four AAA batteries and has four electrode pads, and is also FDA-approved. The PurePulse also comes with a one-year warranty, which covers you in a case of electrical or mechanical defects. While there are better options out there, this is a great choice for an inexpensive model.
United Surgical TENS Unit
Transcutaneous electrical nerve simulation, or TENS, is similar to electrical pulse massagers, but instead of targeting the muscles, TENS units send electrical impulses into the nerves themselves. While TENS is not as effective at treating long-term muscular tension as electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) or electric pulse massagers (EPM), they are better at providing immediate pain relief.
Like the EPM units in the last three reviews, the TENS machine from United Surgical uses four electrode pads to distribute the electrical pulses to your nerves. It offers five different modes of operation, including burst, modulation and strength duration. It has a basic LED display screen and automatically logs your treatment logs into it’s on board computer – up to 900 hours of treatment, in fact.
This particular TENS unit is currently the #1 best-seller for pain relief treatment on Amazon, which is in itself a pretty strong recommendation. If you’re looking for a massager that can simulate the experience of a personal massage, this may not be the unit you’re looking for. But if what you’re after is pain relief, this is an excellent, affordably-priced solution to your problems. That said, I wasn’t able to determine if this unit is approved by the FDA or not.
Measupro Electronic Stimulation Machine
Although it is marketed as a TENS unit, this massager from Measupro is an EPM as it targets the muscles rather than the nerves. It boasts a slick, modern design with an attractive, easy-to-read LCD screen. This unit offers three different massage settings – massage, pulse and knead – along with ten different intensity/speed settings.
Like most EPM units, it offers four electrode pads, with both left and right inputs. I like the LCD screen on this unit, as it offers a display of the human body, indicating which section of the body you’re targeting with your settings. This makes it easy to visually monitor and control your sessions.
Another thing that stands out with this model is its warranty. One-year warranties are pretty standard, but this unit comes with a two-year warranty. I’m not sure whether this unit is approved by the FDA, but it certainly works very well, and its two-year warranty is hard to beat, especially at this price.
Best Electric Pulse Massager Under $35
truMedic TENS Massager
The first thing I noticed about the truMedic TENS Electronic Pulse Massager is how similar the display looked to the MeasuPro unit. The next thing I observed is that this is what is a hybrid TENS/EPM unit, able to target both your nerves and your muscles.
The TENS mode has five built-in automatic settings, and the EPM allows you to choose from three massage settings. The unit also allows you to adjust your speed to your preferences, making it easier to eliminate knots and soreness. This truMedic unit is approved by the FDA for over-the-counter use, but its limited, 90-day warranty leaves much to be desired.
That said, it’s left/right split allows it to be used by two people at once, or to use different intensity settings on different areas of the body. The LCD screen is informative and provides you with all the information you need during your massage. As long as you’re not concerned by its limited warranty, this is a good buy.
Best Electric Pulse Massager Under $40
HealthmateForever TENS/EPM Unit
Perhaps my favorite thing about this electric massager from HealthmateForever is its slick, streamlined design. This pocket-sized TENS unit is designed to look like an iPod or mp3 player, presenting all the critical information you need on the LCD.
This is a smart design choice, as it doesn’t burden you with a dozen buttons, but it does take a bit of getting used to. This TENS/EPM dual unit has eight pre-programmed massages designed to target your nerves and muscles in various ways. It also has twenty variable speed/intensity settings, which can be adjusted as easily as turning up the volume on your favorite song.
It also comes with a timer, which can be set anywhere between 10 and 60 minutes, providing relief when you need it for as long as you need it. Its dual-output design lets you target two different areas at once. From its intuitive design to the attractive screen display, dual TENS/EPM function and awesome adjustability regarding speed and intensity, this is an excellent choice for a personal electric massager.
I thing the electrode pads could be better, but this is a minor complaint. It’s also approved by the FDA, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about. This is a great machine, and highly recommended.
Best Electric Pulse Massager Under $50
HealthmateForever TENS/EPM Unit with Extra Connectors
This HealthmateForever TENS/EPM machine is basically just an improved version of the previous version I reviewed. While some of these improvements are minor, one major difference is the presence of two additional electrode pads, allowing you to massage a greater area of your body at a time.
Like the previous model, this unit has eight different modes of use, including modes for your feet and legs. The user interface on the LCD screen has also been redesigned for a more modern experience. In most other respects, this is the same model as the one above – 20 different speed settings, a pause button, a 60 minute timer, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The big difference here are the additional pads. By adding four pads instead of two to one of the left/right inputs, you can enjoy a better massage than ever before.
Best Electric Pulse Massager Under $75
iReliev Electrode Massage Bundle
The iReliev TENS unit follows the same design strategy as the HealthmateForever units, stylizing it like an mp3 player. The buttons and LCD screen are both different, but the aesthetic elements are unmistakable. Unlike the HealthmateForever devices, iReliev is simply a TENS unit, and does not incorporate EPM technology.
Other than this, iReliev is very similar. It also has eight different programs, and offers 25 different intensity levels, all the way up to 80 milliamperes (mA). The electrode pads are pre-gelled for your convenience, and this package includes four additional four-packs of electrodes, so when your pads wear out or the gel is gone, you have a ready replacement already available.
You can set the timer for anything from five to 60 minutes, and the unit comes with a two-year warranty. Like most other TENs units, it has dual inputs so you can massage two part of your body at once, or massage with your partner.
It comes with a two-year warranty and is approved for use by the FDA. It even comes with a belt clipper, so it’s easy to carry with you to work or the gym. This is an excellent machine by itself, but the extra pads included make it an unbeatable value.
Best Electric Pulse Massager Under $100
HealthmateForever Electrotherapy and Physiotherapy Machine
I wrap up the list with one more HealthmateForever, the NK10GL model. It looks and functions in much the same way as the last two HealthmateForever models, with a simple array of buttons and a large LCD screen.
This model offers several subtle improvements over less expensive units in the line. It has ten different pre-programmed massages, 20 levels of intensity, a timer that can be set from 10 to 60 minutes, and a variety of other features. Other than two more massage settings, there’s nothing to help this machine stand apart from other products from the same company.
Even the machine itself has been redesigned, but I prefer the aesthetic style of the other units. There’s nothing wrong with this model, but for the price, it would have been nice to see a few more improvements made.
There are a lot of things to consider before you buy a pulse massager – whether you want TENS or EPM, how much control you want over the types of massage and its intensity, what kind of an interface to work with, whether the device is FDA-approved or not.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you know what to look for in a pulse massager. The products here are all excellent choices. Most of them come with money-back guarantees, so if one doesn’t work out for you, simply return it and buy another. Happy shopping!
*All prices mentioned above were at the time of publishing.