Massage therapy is becoming a coveted self-care essential that many people are incorporating into their daily lives. But visiting a masseuse takes time and quite a bit of moola.

That’s why tools like ergonomic recliners and massage guns are making it easier to get relief at home.

But which one is right for you? We’ve compiled an in-depth massage gun vs massage chair comparison to help you make the best decision for your needs.

What Is a Massage Chair?

OSAKI OS-4000LS Massage Chair for Our Massage Chair vs Massage Gun
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A massage chair is a high-tech recliner designed to administer a full body massage for pain relief and relaxation.

Massage chairs range in price from $1000 to $10,000 and include numerous features, auto programs, and manual settings to customize your massage.

How Does a Massage Chair Work?

Massage chairs are composed of motors, gears, and rollers that work automatically. The exterior of the chair is typically made out of synthetic leather.

A massage track runs from the neck to the base of the recliner (this is called an S-track), or it can run underneath the seat to massage the glutes and thighs (this is called an L-track).

iRest SL Track Massage Chair for Our Massage Chair vs Massage Gun
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Rollers move along the track, mimicking the hand movements of a professional masseuse to administer various techniques, including kneading, rolling, percussion, and vibrating. They also perform advanced techniques such as Shiatsu or Thai Stretch.

Some models also come with reflexology rollers in the footwells to deliver a foot/calf massage. Special features vary depending on the chair, but typically you can add heat or air compression massage to your routine.

Massage chairs allow the user to adjust the roller’s speed, intensity, and depth for personal comfort. They also offer numerous auto programs and manual settings to build your massage routines.

The Pros of a Massage Chair

Massage chairs provide numerous benefits for both casual users and those looking for therapeutic benefits. Therefore, the number one advantage of massage chairs is the versatility they offer.

You get it all, including a diverse selection of models across the price spectrum that cater to different needs with a variety of feature sets.

iRest SL Track Massage Chair Zero Gravity for Our Massage Chair vs Massage Gun
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From auto to manual programs and luxury accessories like Bluetooth speakers, Air Ionizers, and Chromotherapy, it’s like having your own full-fledged zen center in your living room.

You also can’t beat the massage technology. It isn’t your run-of-the-mill vibrating gadget. Massage chairs incorporate the latest cutting-edge mechanics and computer processors that make up a highly sophisticated robotic system.

Some of these chairs are geared towards helping people who suffer from chronic back or leg pain get the relief they need without going to an expensive chiropractor regularly.

It’s also handy for those who have trouble sleeping, providing specialized calming techniques that help a person relax.

One highlight feature of massage chairs is Zero Gravity Seating. It is a weightless concept inspired by NASA where the chair reclines until the legs are slightly elevated above the heart.

This position releases all of the pressurefrom the joints and spine, soothing away pain and making the user feel totally relaxed.

Most massage chairs come with footwells that specificallytarget the legs and feet. This is a joy for people who stand for long hours each day.

You even get an air massage that utilizesinflated airbags to compress muscles and melt away pain around the calves and all over the body.

Massage Chair Benefits

  • Numerous features to choose from
  • Advanced massage technology that feels life-like
  • A comfortable chair that you can relax in
  • Offers therapeutic value for back, foot, and calf pain
  • Attractive, futuristic design
  • Numerous massage techniques, programs, and the option to customize
  • Full body massage capability
  • Can save money on chiropractor visits in the long run

The Cons of a Massage Chair

Of course, massage chairs also have their fair share of drawbacks. After all, it may not be for everyone.

First off, this is a HUGE piece of furniture that weighs around 200 pounds or more. You’re going to have to plan how to get it into your home, and you need a spacious area to install it.

Kahuna SM 7300 Front View for Our Massage Chair vs Massage Gun
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That makes it complicated for apartment owners who have limited space.

The majority of recliners on the market aren’t designed to accommodate larger/taller body types.

The average max weight is around 265 pounds, which is considered average at best. That’s an entire demographic of people left out who may benefit greatly from using a massage chair but can’t because of their size.

As well, there’s the expensive price tag. A massage chair is an investment, and as mentioned, you can expect to pay at least $1000 for a low-range model with a basic setup.

The more features a chair has, the pricier it is, so you want to make sure you have an idea of the types of features you want to avoid overpaying.

Finally, there’s a steep learning curve with massage chairs. From installing the chair to learning how all of those high-tech features work, it may take a good bit of stress before you can actually relax in your chair.

Massage Chair Drawbacks

  • Expensive
  • Large and heavy furniture
  • Steep learning curve
  • Does not accommodate tall/large body types

Who Should Use a Massage Chair?

Massage chairs are impressive and offer a ton of options, but it’s an expensive piece of furniture that may not be suitable for everyone.

Massage Chairs Are Ideal for…

  • Massage hobbyists who want to relax at home
  • People who suffer from chronic back pain
  • People who suffer from chronic foot/leg pain
  • Large houses with plenty of space

Don’t Get a Massage Chair if You…

  • Are on a tight budget
  • Move around or travel frequently
  • Live in a small apartment with lots of stairs and limited space
  • Don’t indulge in massage therapy regularly

What is a Massage Gun?

ATHPHY Massage Gun for Our Massage Gun vs Massage Chair
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A massage gun is a lightweight tool that you can hold in your hand to manually apply deep-tissue vibrations to any area of the body.

Massage guns range in price from $70 to $700 and offer convenience, portability, and fast relief for physically active, on-the-go individuals.

How Does a Massage Gun Work?

A massage gun is pretty self-explanatory. You push the button to turn it on and hold the head against the muscle you want to massage.

Generally, there are 5-6 speeds, various intensities, and different attachable heads that correspond with a particular body part.

TOLOCO Massage Gun for Our Massage Gun vs Massage Chair
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Massage guns only offer one type of massage technique: percussion therapy. When activated, the gun’s head will administer quick, powerful blows to the muscle tissue that feels like a targeted deep tissue massage.

This stimulates the skin and nervous system, boosting blood flow, promoting muscle recovery, and melting pain away.

The Pros of a Massage Gun

Like massage chairs, this hand-held massager may be perfect for some, but not with others– it all depends on the user’s needs.

Massage guns are lightweight and compact, making them convenient for those who frequently travel, especially if you’re an athlete or a gym rat.

MKHS Massage Gun for Our Massage Gun vs Massage Chair
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It can be used before and after workouts. Before a workout, the oscillating movements warm up the muscles, so they’re prepped for a high-intensity session. The more warmed up your muscles are, the lower the risk of developing a sports-related injury.

After a workout, using a massage gun can lessen your chance of developing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), where you feel pain 1-2 days after exercising.

Even if you aren’t training, the percussive technique is very relaxing for those who want to de-stress after a long day in the office.

It can also be a nice way to spend quality time with a significant other, especially for those hard-to-reach areas such as the back or shoulders.

Are you hopping off a long red-eye flight? Pull out a massage gun and work out the tension. The benefit here is that you can get a targeted deep tissue massage whenever, wherever.

The ability to target any muscle you like is a standout feature that most massage chairs don’t offer. Just be careful not to use the massage gun for too long- 2 minutes max is the recommendation.

Massage Gun Benefits

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight & portable
  • Point massage that targets the muscle of choice
  • Can use it on any part of the body
  • User friendly
  • Relieves soreness from sports or exercise
  • Relaxing

The Cons of a Massage Gun

Massage guns are incredibly convenient, but they do have their drawbacks as well. While massage chairs have timed durations, there’s no auto-control with a massage gun.

Many people don’t realize that if they target a muscle for longer than 1-2 minutes, they risk muscle stiffness and pain caused by the percussive technique.

FENTASY Massage Gun for Our Massage Gun vs Massage Chair
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That’s why people with pre-existing injuries should consult a doctor before using a massage gun on their muscles.

Another drawback is the massage ambiance. The key to supreme relaxation is in a serene, comfortable environmentwhile receiving the massage. This is something massage chairs offer that massage guns don’t.

You also have to manually hold the massage gun against your muscles, working around each body part a minute at a time. That may feel a bit tedious when you just want to lay back and not think about anything.

And obviously, the massage gun only has one type of technique to offer compared to the smorgasbord of fancy massage options that an ergonomic recliner has on hand.

It’s limited in what it can do and who it can help. For example, it may not be the therapeutic gem you’re looking for if you suffer from chronic back pain. But if you’re in the gym five days a week, it might become your closest ally.

Massage Gun Drawbacks

  • Manual massage means you can’t lay back and relax
  • It’s difficult to reach the back and shoulders without help
  • Overuse can lead to pain and stiffness
  • Limited features, only one massage technique

Who Should Use a Massage Gun?

Massage guns are compact and convenient when you want a speedy massage, no matter where you are.

Massage Guns Are Ideal for…

  • People who travel frequently
  • Athletes and people who work out frequently
  • Casual hobbyists who want to relax
  • Those on a budget who can’t afford a massage chair

Don’t Get a Massage Gun if You…

  • Suffer from chronic back or leg pain and want therapeutic benefits
  • If you want to relax and de-stress without any manual work
  • If you want a variety of massage techniques and programs

Massage Chair vs Massage Gun Comparison Table

Real Relax 2021 Massage Chair for Our Massage Chair vs Massage Gun
Massage Chair
MINXING Massage Gun for Our Massage Gun vs Massage Chair
Massage Gun
Cost$1000- $10,000$70- $700
Massage TechniquesKneading, rolling, percussion, and vibratingPercussion therapy
Duration5- 30 minute sessions1- 2 minutes max
Adjustable SpeedYesYes
Adjustable StrengthYesYes
Weight200+ lbs2-2.5 lbs
Ease of UseModerate to difficultEasy
Muscle TargetFull bodySpot Massage

Final Thoughts: Massage Gun vs Massage Chair

When deciding between a massage gun vs massage chair, both excel at helping people relax and get pain relief. The important thing is to determine what you want to get out of your massage experience, how much you want to spend, and how often you’ll use it.

While massage chairs are expensive, cumbersome, and take time to master, they offer a robust variety of techniques and programs. It’s also nice to be able to just sink into the chair, close your eyes, and let the technology take care of the rest.

A massage gun is better suited for those on a budget who are constantly on the move or for those who work out regularly. The oscillating movements are perfect for combating soreness and facilitating blood flow, so your body feels in optimal condition.

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