Perhaps you were expecting the typical Top 10 list that are so pervasive on the Internet today, and wonder what’s up with this “Top 4 Best Massage Chairs of 2018” list. The problem is that once you browse of few of these so-called Top 10 lists, you’ll quickly (and smartly) realize they are typically nothing more than sites trying to maximize pay-per-click advertising revenue. They aren’t really interested in providing you an objective list of the best massage chairs.
On the contrary, our Best Massage Chairs of 2018 list is different. These truly are in our opinion the 4 best massage chairs on the market; each one distinctive and designed for extraordinary massage performance, superior workmanship and durable quality, and unique innovations not found in other massage chairs. This is the comprehensive review you’ve been waiting for.
With those criteria in mind, here is the Elite list of the Top 4 Massage Chairs of 2018. These are not ranked in order of “best to worst”‘; rather each is quite distinctive, and offers something different. We hope this list allows you to start with the best, and make your selection.
Alphasonic massage chair from Casada
Brio Massage Chair from Positive Posture
EP-MA73 massage chair from Panasonic
DreamWave massage chair from Inada
Each of these Top 4 Best Massage Chairs of 2018 comes from among the most reputable and proven manufactures in the world – which is crucial to the massage chair buyer. You are about to spend good money on a great massage chair. You want a chair that is time-tested, proven among the most discriminating buyers, extensively tested by massage chair experts, and with a warranty that you can trust – and not leave you high-and-dry should something unfortunately break in your massage chair.
The Alphasonic by Casada
The Alphasonic is among the newest entries in the massage chair market, and boasts the L-track design that so many shoppers make part of their “must have” lists these days. The reason is that an L-track design ensures a much longer rolling stroke than chairs with an internal S-track.
Made by Casada of Germany, a company with a long history in the massage chair business, along with a lineup of the best-selling portable massage products in Europe. Casada is known for their attention to detail in design, and introducing innovations across their products keeping them among the most sought-after massage chairs in the world.
Alphasonic massage chair details
While the S-track is attractive due to its ability typically to provide a deeper massage, most often via an internal 3D mechanism that extends the massage hands towards the body, the extended reach of the L-track allows for massage into the lowest reaches of the lumbar region, including the sciatica which can be sore and a cause for lower back pain. And the L-track in the Alphasonic goes even further, reaching all the way to the upper hamstrings and gluteus maxiumus muscles of the buttocks.
The Alphasonic also incorporates a unique feature in its adjustable shoulder units. This allows for the shoulder units to “ratchet” down towards the front deltoids. In addition to providing wonderful Acupressure massage to the deltoids, this adjustability ensure two other benefits: Deeper upper back massage, and an ideal fit for a variety of body sizes and types. The reason the shoulder units enable deeper upper back and shoulder massage is because they apply pressure downwards, 6” of vertical pressure reach, this pushes the torso deeper into the massage mechanisms.
Perhaps the Alphasonic’s most distinguishable feature is the incorporation of Braintronics programming. This innovative feature is a supplement to the conventional automatic and manual massage programs, and is activated by simply pressing the Braintronics button on the remote control, and putting on headphones that are connected to the chair. You can learn more about Braintronics by clicking here, but suffice to say it alleviates stress and anxiety, and enables better sleep, beyond any other massage chair we’ve ever tested.
The Alphasonic is a 4-roller massage hand design, and the overall feel is one of deep therapeutic muscle manipulation. In terms of perceived strength of massage, we rate the Alphasonic as an 8 out of 10 – quite an accomplishment given the 2D design, and the Acupressure rating (the amount of pressure generated by the full-body airbags) is a remarkable 9 out of 10 – the strongest Acupressure of any of the Elite massage chair options.
The Alphasonic incorporates Kneading, Tapping, Rolling, Shiatsu, and Swedish massage, and 3-part Foot Reflexology roller design for a deep, penetrating foot massage to the soles of the feet which are enhanced by airbags that apply pressure to the feet for circulation enhancement and relaxation of the muscles and tendons, and heating is delivered via infrared coils that are located in the lumbar region of the spine.
Another key benefit of the Alphasonic is the Zero Space design feature. Also referred to by some in the industry as “wall hugger” design, this enables the chair to go into full recline, while still being positioned only 2 inches from the back wall – a nice space-saving feature when considering where to place your massage chair inside the home.
The Alphasonic is backed by one of the best warranties in the industry – a 5-year parts and labor protection plan, with available in-home service. Since the warranty is already so long, there is no extended warranty purchase option.
So who is the typical buyer of the Alphasonic massage chair?
Buyers of the Alphasonic typically believe mental and physical health are connected. Buyers tend to seek a stronger massage for pain and stress relief, and the desire the advanced features such as deep massage that reaches into the lower back, buttocks and hamstrings, adjustable shoulders for those households with variable body sizes, Zero-Gravity recline, and Zero Space. They are also drawn to Braintronics™ for stress relief and improved mental performance.
Why Elite believes in the Alphasonic
For us, the combination of careful engineering to create remarkable depth in a 2D chair, the adjustable shoulders for a custom fit and feel, sleek external design, and above all the Braintronics brainwave frequency programs make the Alphasonic one of the best four massage chairs on the market in 2018.
MSRP on the Alphasonic is $4,599. Click here to learn more about the Alphasonic to see if this is the right massage chair for you.
The Brio by Positive Posture
The Brio is an exciting and relatively new entrant to the massage chair category, and we love this chair in that it delivers something quite unique – the combination of the an L-track internal design for optimal rolling stroke, and 3D depth.
While this seems an obvious combination, it is quite difficult to achieve properly and requires a leap in engineering. We’ve tested one other massage chair on the market that combines the two, and hands-down the Brio delivers the perfect combination. The other option we assessed, while providing the long rolling stroke, was noted as a very mechanical, almost uncomfortable feel. This highlights the accomplishment of Positive Posture in “cracking the code” of combination L-track reach and 3D depth.
About Positive Posture
Positive Posture is a relatively new brand, but was formed by a group of industry veterans who came from one of the oldest and most respected manufacturers of massage chairs, and their first product entry is a signal that they will be a clear leader in providing chairs with ground-breaking innovatons.
Brio Massage Chair Details
The Brio is a beautiful chair, and we noted the supple texture of its PU leather upholstery, and the way it embraces the body due to super comfortable ergonomics. The 10 automatic massage programs were designed, or choreographed, by the Positive Posture engineers in the USA, and we love their sequences for a variety of needs, from muscle ache relief to relaxing pre-bedtime massage sequences.
The L-track provides massage hand reach into the lowest reaches of the lumbar region, including the sciatica which can be sore and a cause for lower back pain, and further, reaching all the way to the upper hamstrings and gluteus maxiumus muscles of the buttocks.
The 3D design and performance is outstanding – not too strong as to be painful, but deep enough to feel remarkably therapeutic. Soft rubber construction of the massage hands makes for a life-like and deeply relaxing feel overall. The combination of L-track and 3D that is capable of reaching 4” into the muscle tissue throughout the rolling stroke is what really sets the Brio massage chair apart.
The Brio is a 4-roller massage hand design, and the overall feel is one of deep therapeutic muscle manipulation thanks to a smooth kneading motion. In terms of perceived strength of massage, we rate the Brio as an 9 out of 10, and the Acupressure rating (the amount of pressure generated by the full-body airbags) is rated at 8 out of 10 – driven by whisper silent air compressors located in the base of the chair.
The Brio incorporates Kneading, Tapping, Rolling, Shiatsu, and Swedish massage, and Foot Reflexology rollers for a deep, penetrating foot massage to the undersoles of the feet which are enhanced by airbags that apply pressure to the feet for circulation enhancement and relaxation of the muscles and tendons. Heating in the Brio is delivered via infrared coils that are located in the lumbar region of the spine, where most users prefer it, but the Brio also heats the legs – and if you tend to experience leg fatigue or circulation issues, this is a great feature.
Another key benefit of the Brio is the Zero Space design feature. Also referred to by some in the industry as “wall hugger” design, this enables the chair to go into full recline, while still being positioned only 2 inches from the back wall – a nice space-saving feature when considering where to place your Brio massage chair inside the home.
The Brio is backed by a 3-year parts and labor protection plan, with available in-home service, and an extended warranty is available for additional costs that extends the coverage to a full 5 years.
So who is the typical buyer of the Brio massage chair?
Above all, those who gravitate to the Brio are those seeking the combination of two key massage chair design elements: 3-D massage depth and L-track reach. Buyers are also typically looking for a solid massage chair value, as the price point on the Brio is surprisingly reasonable given it matches feature-for-feature with other massage chairs that cost hundreds and even thousands more, and this is due to the desire for Positive Posture to capture market share behind their newest offering. The Brio is a comprehensive full-body massage chair, with relaxing and smooth mechanics, movement and feel, and we love the luxurious in fit and finish, designed as a chair that cradles you in supple materials to accentuate the relaxing infrared heating elements in the lower back and calves.
Why Elite believes in the Brio
For us, the combination of 3D and L-track are clear factors – its not just that these two are combined, but that the Brio does it so incredibly well – depth and reach combining artfully in a smooth, luxurious massage. We also love the “fit and finish” – the minute you unbox the Brio you instantly realize the careful and elegant design, and soft supple PU leather material that is wonderful to the touch. For these reasons the Brio is one of the four best massage chairs on the market in 2018.
MSRP on the Alphasonic is $5,999. Click here to learn more about the Brio to see if this is the right massage chair for you.
The EP-MA73 by Panasonic
One look the Panasonic MA73 and you’ll immediately know why so many people are attracted to this chair: It has the most traditional “recliner” look and engineering of any top-of-the-line full-body massage chair on the market. The MA73 is the upgrade from the MA70 model, and those who are familiar with the Panasonic line of massage chairs will find the refinements very desirable.
The MA73 is the latest generation of Panasonic’s RealPro Ultra-3D mechanism, designed for a smoother, deeper and more life-like massage. The MA73 also increases the number of automatic massage and stretching programs, doubles the number of massage movements, adds ceramic feet heaters, and features upgraded dual-zone arm kneading – resulting in the most advanced Panasonic massage chair designed.
When consumers think of Panasonic, they often think of consumer products like televisions, audio/video equipment, and microwave ovens; however, Panasonic is one of the oldest manufacturers of massage chairs too, so many long-time massage buyers are familiar with their offerings, and many people are drawn to their Japanese origins.
EP-MA73 Massage Chair Details
The MA-73 was engineered to function as a recliner while also providing a professional massage experience with its innovative hideaway leg rest, and lift-away arm massage units exposing Acupressure massage. Precision body scanning in the MA73 with pressure detection measures acupoints in the neck, shoulders and back, providing a tailored personalized massage.
The MA-73 also integrates heated rollers, an ultra-kneading program, and full body air coverage the work in concert for a rejuvenating and therapeutic experience.
The chair delivers processor-driven kneading and Shiatsu Heated Rollers simulating the warmth of human hands and muscle tension relief. This is unique in that most massage chairs today utilize infrared heating elements in the lumbar, and in some chairs the lower body region.
Most people immediately notice the unique rotating ottoman footrest. This is a nice feature if you are seeking to blend a robotic massage chair more elegantly into your home decor, and for utilization of a more traditional recliner in between massage sessions (say for example, taking in a Sunday afternoon football game).
The MA73 is a 4-roller massage hand design, and the overall feel is one of deep therapeutic muscle manipulation thanks to a smooth kneading motion. In terms of perceived strength of massage, we rate the MA73 as an 9 out of 10, and the Acupressure rating (the amount of pressure generated by the full-body airbags) is rated at 7 out of 10 – driven by whisper silent air compressors located in the base of the chair.
A brushless motor-driven 3D massage system delivers fine tuning intensity, and our testing has revealed remarkably smooth direct up/down/left/right/front/back movements. An ultra soft headrest and unique lifting armrests to access kneading and Acupressure for the arms and hands round out some of the MA73’s features.
The MA73 features six selectable automatic massage programs, including names like refresh, deep, shiatsu, hip, neck & shoulder, and lower back. In addition manual techniques in include Ultra Kneading, Shiatsu, Kneading, Swedish, Rolling, and Tapping.
The EP-MA73 is backed by a 3-year parts and labor protection plan, with available in-home service, and an extended warranty is available for additional costs that extends the coverage to a full 5 years.
So who is the typical buyer of the MA73 massage chair?
Buyers typically are seeking two things on their list: A 3-D massage chair with the look and feel of a traditional recliner. We often find too that buyers are typically drawn to Panasonic’s long position as a leading massage chair manufacturer and Japanese roots.
Why Elite believes in the MA73
For us it comes down to a chair that delivers a comprehensive full-body massage, and we particularly note its ultra smooth mechanics, movement and feel. The massage rollers generate a remarkably smooth sound as well. If a buyer is concerned about the more typical look of full-body robotic massage chairs, we typically guide them to the EP-MA73. At first glance you may think it is simply a recliner with its elegant PU leather and simulated wood accents, and we particularly appreciate the details in workmanship. For these reasons the Panasonic MA73 is one of the four best massage chairs on the market in 2018.
MSRP on the Alphasonic is $8,999. Click here to learn more about the EP-MA73 to see if this is the right massage chair for you.
The Inada DreamWave Massage Chair
Perhaps you’ve heard of the DreamWave; it has been one of the leading premium massage chairs on the market for years, with many loyal fans. And for good reason. Uncompromising attention to detail and design, and Japanese manufacturing quality, and multi-movement 3-D massage make this the choice for those who believe “you get what you pay for.”
Utilizing a proprietary Shiatsu point detection technology and unique airbag-driven 3D mechanism, the DreamWave adapts to individual needs. This is a super-premium massage chair designed to rejuvenate your body’s natural healing processes for extraordinary stress relief and enhanced sense of well-being.
The company was founded in Japan in 1962, and they actually invented the first automatic shiatsu massage chair. Their R&D facility is still located at its Osaka headquarters today. Since introducing the DreamWave Inada has accumulated industry recognition, including the 2009 American Society of Furniture Designers Pinnacle Award Finalist, and over several years has been selected by the CES Design and Engineering Showcase Award at the International Consumer Electronics Show.
DreamWave Massage Chair Details
As the most premium massage chair on the market today in terms of pricepoint, the DreamWave delivers full-body massage to help maximize relief and remove tension and stiffness. Using Shiatsu point detection technology, each massage begins with a body scan to adapt the massage hands to individual needs.
The DreamWave has more automatic pre-programmed massage sessions than other chairs Elite has tested – 16 to be exact – as well as custom options for a deeper massage and heating. The DreamWave’s pressure-driven 3D mechanism is the only one of its kind. While perhaps not as strong as mechanically-driven 3D options, the DreamWave is sure to provide a smooth and soothing massage motion that many people prefer.
One of the most distinguishing features is the chairs namesake “DreamWave” undulating hip & thigh figure-8 motion, in which the seat actually pivots in a circular motion along with pressure applied by the hip airbags. This is designed to provide slow, methodical movements for hypnotic, calming massage. Dare we say “dream inducing?”
Other features of the DreamWave include a one-button Youth Session massage experience developed specifically for children, rhythmic compression for gentle calf, foot and sole massage, and infrared heating in the back and seat, designed for additional relaxation and comfort.
The DreamWave is a 4-roller massage hand design, and the overall feel is one of deep therapeutic muscle manipulation thanks to a smooth kneading motion, combined with the 3D airbag driven intensity that push the rollers deeper into the shoulders and back. In terms of perceived strength of massage, we rate the DreamWave as an 9 out of 10, and the Acupressure rating (the amount of pressure generated by the full-body airbags) is rated at 8 out of 10 – driven by high quality and durable air compressors located in the base of the chair.
The DreamWave also features something unique in the category as well – an integrated Shiatsu neck massager located on the headrest. This complements the full upper body massage, air compression for the arms and hands, and inward hip and thigh massage. The remote control on the DreamWave is hand-held, and we’ve find it a simple and intuitive interface
So who is the typical buyer for the DreamWave massage chair?
We find the typical buyers are those seeking a deeply relaxing, 3-D premium massage chair, and who want a high-end luxury model. Buyers are typically drawn to the Japanese origins in engineering and design, and appreciate that it’s tenure on the market is an indicator that this is a chair that stands the test of time. Also some really appreciate the distinctive undulating seat motion that enhances the distinctive feel of this massage chair and ability to reduce stress.
Those who ultimately decide on the DreamWave tend to be discriminating seekers of truly premium-positioned products in design, feel and overall aesthetics, and luxurious and relaxing massage experience.
Why Elite believes in the DreamWave
For us, this is the premium option on the market, and with this price comes a chair that delivers a truly relaxing, stress-reducing massage. We perceive the attention to details in the chair’s ultra-smooth mechanics, movement and feel. We are also drawn to the unique pressure-driven, or airbag powered 3D movement, which is gentler than other 3D chairs we’ve tested, yet still reaches deeper into the muscles of the shoulders and back. We also appreciate the neck massage unit attached to the chair, and driven by mechanical kneading for a luxurious neck and lower skull massage – particularly effective for those suffering headaches. Add to that the undulating seat which gives the DreamWave credence to its name, and for these reasons the Inada DreamWave is one of the four best massage chairs on the market in 2018.
MSRP on the DreamWave is $9,999. Click here to learn more about the DreamWave to see if this is the right massage chair for you.
Conclusion to the 4 Best Massage Chairs of 2018
Nothing is better than coming home after a long day at work or play, and sinking into a luxurious full-body massage experience that leaves you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and with a whole lot less stress than when you first sat down into your own premium massage chair. You want the best. Elite has been in the business of massage chairs for over 15 years, and our goal is to provide our customers with two important propositions:
- We save you time, by hand-selecting only the best massage chairs we can find in the world. Massage chairs, that if we were in your shoes and looking for the best options.
- We give massage chair buyers peace of mind. You can select from among our elite selection of top massage chairs knowing that each as been extensively tested and analyzed for massage performance, quality, durability, and warranty support.