What is a TENS machine?
TENS stands for “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and is claimed to be a non-invasive and drug-free method for pain relief. In the early days of TENS machines, they were used by doctors and Physical Therapists to a very restricted extent.
Nowadays, due to the advancement in technology and research, TENS machines can be both used and bought by pretty much everyone.
A TENS machine produces low-voltage pulses that, when the electrode pads are applied to your skin, stimulates the nerve fibers to help block pain signals to your brain. On another more controversial note, some say that, due to the blocking of nerve signals, a TENS machine also causes one to increase natural endorphins also known as “The feel-good-chemical”.
The thing to look for in the best TENS machine for you will vary from person to person, that’s why investing time in reading this TENS Machine review is a great way in order to figure what will work for you!
Identify Your Priority!
What Kind of Problem do you want a TENS machine to Solve?
Are You a Physically Active Person?
If you are someone who is in a constant move, mobility should be one of the essential features to consider when it comes to choosing an appropriate device. A freedom of movement is the best thing about these machines.
Unlike most of the other massaging products that keep you stuck in one position, TENS machines give a complete freedom of movement.
The only potential issue could be mounting the device. Fortunately, pretty much all of modern TENS machines 2021 feature compact dimensions. Moreover, most of them are not bigger than your MP4 player or something like that. Some are small, while some are even smaller.
In any case, count on fitting every pocket. If you want an absolute freedom of movement, check MeasuPro Rechargeable Wireless Electrical TENS. The are no things such wires in this wireless TENS Machine.
Of course, size isn’t the only important thing. You will need a highly-portable TENS Machine that can work several hours on a single charge. Most of these devices are small and don’t consume too much energy, usually the best TENS Machines with great battery longevity can hold up to 10 hours.
If you choose some upscale and high-end TENS Machines, count on even more. For example, TechCare Massager 24-Modes TENS Unit has a battery life of 20 hours and also features a fast-charging option.
Do You Need a TENS Machine for Injury Rehabilitation?
The main function of these devices is general pain management, primarily in an early stadium. When it comes to rehabilitation, you shouldn’t believe everything they write in declarations. Considering base principles of its work, I’m not sure how TENS could help.
Still, if you want to try, keep in mind that you must not use it:
- In pregnancy (except in early labour stages)
- If you have a pacemaker
- If you have an epilepsy
- If there is a certain type of heart disease
- Until you diagnose the cause of the pain
Do You Need a TENS Machine for General Pain Management?
Pain relief and treatment is the main function of TENS machine. Everyone who has pain issues, both acute and chronic, should try this device. It works in a very simple principle, by sending pulses across the skin to nerve strands.
Today’s TENS units evolved from classic electric nerve stimulators to real multi-functional machines, with numerous pre-programmed modes. You can choose different types of common massage styles and adjust intensity level etc.
With such variety of options, you can cover pretty much every area of your body. Benefits of this machine are numerous. Also, it can be a great option for many kinds of chronic pain, as the list shows.
TENS helps in many situations:
- Arm, leg, and wrist pain
- Shin splints
- Inflammation ailments
- Regular headaches
- Nerve disorder
- Muscle pain
- Restless leg syndrome
Do You Need to Find the Best TENS Machine for Bodybuilding?
A big number of these devices aren’t just TENS, but also EMS machines. EMS is short of electrical muscle stimulation. When the muscle is electrically stimulated, it grows. So, this unit could be a good contributor to your muscle build up.
Today’s market offers numerous products that include this function. One of the most popular models is Guisee T101. This multifunctional TENS Machine for bodybuilders offers 24 modes in total and few of them are for muscle build ups, designed especially for gluteus area.
But if you’re looking for the best budget TENS Machine, this wont be it!
However, it is important to consider that this stimulation gives results similar to other passive exercises. You may get a bigger muscle, but don’t count on better athletic performances.
Do You Need to Treat multiple or just one specific area?
Compared to most of the other massaging products, TENS machines are pretty flexible. Considering that there are long wires with electrode pads that usually can reach pretty much every area of the body, these units are great if you need to treat several spots simultaneously.
On the other side, if you feel pain in some specific areas, check some other products. For example, lower back is probably the most common pain area. So, you could try things like lumbar/back braces. This could be a perfect solution for lumbar area issues.
Sometimes, we just need to heat specific areas to feel better. Considering TENS machine’s way of working, there is no such thing as heating. Still, today’s market is full of heating pads of all kinds.
Research the TENS Machine Different Functions
The Number of Independent Channels
Pretty much all TENS machines today work on two channels. Still, there is a minor number of those one-channel devices. On the other side, most of these units feature two channels that are independent in all aspects.
In this TENS Machine review, we opted to only display two-channel TENS machines, but rest assured that these are the best TENS units on the market!
The main thing about channels is to get two different types of massages. Set up a different programmed massage mode for each channel and adjust the level of intensity. This is the essence of every good massager because it allows you to treat different areas with different massaging modes, with different levels of intensity.
Also, consider that each channel is usually ramified with at least two electrode pads, which expands the possibilities of this product even more. For example, even a cheap product like Vive TENS Unit works with two electrodes on each channel.
The Number of Electrode Pads
Electrode pads are among integral parts of every TENS massager. With more of them, you can cover more areas of your body. Most of the products can work with four pads simultaneously, but there are also TENS machines with six, eight, or even twelve pads.
Still, remember that all these products have two channels, so no matter the number of pads, you can still use just two modes at the same time. Also, a total number of pads don’t mean a lot when it comes to the overall quality.
It is always better if you have four good-working pads, instead of numerous poor-quality electrodes, but in the best quality TENS machines, this is not an issue.
Another thing you should consider is a size of pads. You should prefer a TENS machine that offers replacement electrode pads of different sizes, so you can find the perfect one for some specific area. For example, MiroPure comes with eight pads in total, with four medium and one pair of small and large electrodes.
The Number of Programs
Nowadays, these products are far more than just TENS machines. Most of these units offer numerous different programs that simulate some of the most common massage types. A usual product offers at least 9 pre-programmed modes, which are designed for specific areas of the body.
On the other side, there are products that offer more than 20 programs. Some of the modes that are usually included are:
- Muscle Build-Up
- And many others
Still, a variety of modes often doesn’t means anything if you choose some low-quality product. If you prefer a TENS Machine with many multiple operation modes, go for some hi-grade device, such as Unimed TENS Unit Massager Muscle Stimulator FDA 510k. This one offers six massaging types and all of them are pretty realistic.
Another thing you should consider is the adjustment of intensity level. Still, most of the modern products are highly adjustable and usually offer around 20 levels of intensity. But even the TENS Machine that offers the highest intensity won’t be able to use its full capacity anyway.
The Number of Hours on a Single Charge
TENS Machine with a good battery is the essence of every portable unit. These machines are designed to be used in all kinds of situations, for people that are mobile and who love a freedom of movement. The good thing about TENS units is that they are small devices that don’t waste too much energy.
Even those with larger touchscreens are pretty efficient. A common TENS massager can hold up to 10 hour and this should be enough for most of the people.
Still, if you are someone who is always in a move or just someone who often forget to recharge cell phone and other gadgets, Unimed TENS Unit Massager Muscle Stimulator FDA 510k would be an excellent choice for you, since it can work up to 20 hours continuously on a single charge and this is the TENS Machine with the biggest display, great for the elderly.
The Size of Your TENS Machine
A common thing for all TENS machines is compact size. All these devices are pretty small, usually smaller than an average cell phone. If you want something even smaller, something that could fit pretty much every pocket, there are small-size versions as well.
These units are perfect if you plan to use them during a walk or recreation. Still, consider that these products usually feature fewer options compared to “normal-size” devices. On the other side, these are usually more durable, which is a nice benefit.
Check IQ Mini TENS Massager if you’re looking for some tiny, but also capable device.
Research your Options
Well, this is the most common type of massagers with electrode pads. Modern products usually offer a variety of modes, massaging types, intensity levels etc.
They are easy to use since you usually get pre-programmed modes, which you choose via simple and highly transparent LCD touchscreen. Most of them feature two independent channels, so you can treat different areas with different massage styles.
TENS and EMS Machines
These devices work on the same principle as classic TENS units. Moreover, its design is usually pretty much the same. The only difference is that these devices feature an additional electrical muscle stimulation mode (EMS), commonly known as Bodybuilding program.
This is a nice but not essential addition. Do not consider lack of these programs as a big disadvantage.
Mini TENS Machines
Mini TENS machine offers a more compact design, which could be a great benefit to all those who want a device that fits every pocket. Compared to “normal-size” it has both pros and cons. A small size is a good benefit, but these units usually have fewer options compared to larger massagers.
Wireless TENS Machines
If you don’t want to bother yourself with cables, this could be a perfect choice. Lack of wires gives a complete freedom of movement, which means a lot to some. Still, consider that classic TENS machines usually feature pretty long wires that can reach every spot on the body and give more than enough convenience.
Additionally, a lifespan of wireless devices is usually shorter, while the battery holds fewer hours.
Scale your Decision Down to 2 or 3 Products
It is time to single out some of the best choices. Still, consider that this is just my opinion. Check other products, compare them and read customer reviews. Then you’ll be sure which one is the best choice for you.
The Best TENS Machines on the Market
AUVON Dual Channel TENS Unit (FDA 510K Cleared)
This is a versatile and pretty durable massager with all necessary modes.
TENS Unit by Vive – Portable Electric Stimulation Machine
The best budget TENS Machine, but still a pretty reliable product, which comes not only with numerous modes, but with plenty of accessories as well.
The Best TENS and EMS Machines You Can Find
HealthmateForever Handheld Body Machine
This manufacturer offers various massaging products, including this TENS machine. With such reputation, we expect nothing less but a great quality.
Unimed TENS Unit Massager Muscle Stimulator FDA 510k
If you want to spend some more money, go for this one. It will give you everything you’ll ever need from a TENS machine.
The BestMini TENS Machines
2 Pack Deal TechCare Mini Pink and Blue
You will actually get a pair of pretty capable devices that offer not just numerous massaging programs, but also a durable, 20-hour battery.
HealthmateForever Mini Handheld Body Machine
Compact and durable, this product will give you various kinds of realistic massage modes, but the amazing easiness of use as well.
IQ Mini TENS Massager
This unit has everything that one small TENS needs. It is pretty capable and durable. Battery holds up to 20 hours.
The Best Wireless TENS Machines 2021
MeasuPro Rechargeable Wireless Electrical TENS Electrode Machine
Besides complete freedom of movement, this device also offers 6 modes, 2-year warranty and much more.
Questions and Answers
How much does a TENS machine cost?
TENS machines go in a pretty wide range, from 20 to hundreds of dollars. A decent one would cost around 30 dollars. On the other side, hi-quality multi-functional units start around $150.
For how long can you use a TENS machine?
You can use TENS as long as you desire, it won’t harm. Still, usual time goes between 30 minutes and two hours.
How loud is a TENS machine?
The noise of these devices is minimal. Still, some products could have pretty annoying caution and information beeps.
Can a TENS machine be used on the whole body?
Of course, that’s the whole point with wires and electrode pads. You can reach pretty much every area of the body and treat them in various massaging modes and levels of intensity.
Do I need to use gel for electrode pads?
It is highly recommended because your skin won’t suffer, while pads will last much longer.
Are electrode pads replaceable?
Yes, indeed. You can buy replaceable pads for specific TENS units, but there are also those universal ones, which will fit most of the massagers and also have a pretty decent quality
How much does a TENS machine weight?
These are extremely light devices. A whole kit with a charger and other accessories almost never goes over a pound.
What is the best budget TENS machine 2021?
Although this is not a budget TENS machine review, some of these products come with bot a lower price tag at the expense of some extra features, while still keeping the quality.
Concluding this TENS Machine Review 2021
If you’ve made it this far, I’m amazed, and I truly hope that you have found the best TENS machine for you! This TENS Machine review was done over a couple of weeks, so my knowledge of this product has been expanded vastly.
So with this in mind, feel free to shoot me an email or comment down below if you have any questions and I’d be happy to answer any of them! A TENS Machine with the best overall quality is something that is very personal from person to person, and the decisionmaking can surely be a hassle!