I created this guide to include everything you need to know about TENS UNIT devices, including best models but...
Tell me if this is you.
You have a pain that is bothering you and your friend or someone else recommends you a device and it seems to be just the right fit to solve all of your pains.
At this moment, you get so excited and can't wait to have it, only to be greatly frustrated later.
I can relate to this, because once I receive this highly graded but atrocious product here and I thought that it will solve my back pain issue.
In fact, I start having even more pain (it was not able to provide promised results - no manual, build quality, lack of support, etc.) .
That is why it is so vital to get good TENS device and that is why I am here to guide you.
So, read this manual if you want to bypass unneeded frustration and to avoid getting product that you do not want and that many online reviews recommends. In fact many products can make your pain even worth.
There are many units available for home use, and a portable TENS unit is a great tool to have at the ready for quick relief from acute pain.
Here are the best units available and a quick guide to help you navigate through and pick the one that's best for you.
|iReliev PlayMakar TENS EMS|
#1 Editor's Choice
|MEDVIVE Muscle Stimulator|
#1 Budget Device
#1 Budget Device
|Dual||1 x 9V|
Best Tens Unit Reviews - Machines for Pain Management
So, which tens machine is the best? Let's find out.
- #1 iReliev TENS and EMS Combination - PlayMakar
- #2 MEDVIVE Rechargeable FDA Cleared Tens Unit
- #3 TENS 7000 Second Edition TENS Unit
- #4 HealthmateForever Tens Unit - YK15AB
- $5 Omron Electrotherapy Pain Relief Device PM3030 TENS UNIT
- #6 FDA Cleared HealthmateForever Pro15AB TENS UNIT
- #7 Omega Tens Machine
- #8 HealthmateForever 15 Modes
- #9 Empi (Top Rated TENS Unit in Its Class)
- Not addictive
- Easy to operate
- Good pain management
- Decreased swelling
- You’re in complete control
- You can use it for the long-term
- You don’t need a prescription
- Is TENS Safe While Pregnant?
- Can a TENS unit help build muscle?
- Do TENS units work?
- Are TENS units effective?
- What does a TENS unit feel like?
- How much is a TENS unit?
#1 iReliev TENS and EMS Combination - PlayMakar
#1 RATED PRODUCT [as of December 2019]
Combining both the electrical impulses of a TENS device, targeting your nerves and blocking the pain signal to your brain, with that of an EMS device, which serves to contract muscles to relieve pain and stimulate rehabilitation, this one is a two-in-one pain relieving machine.
It's also packed with impressive features and designed to deliver low voltage but high-intensity electrical stimulation.
It's got 14 different modes to choose from, six of which are EMS-specific, for strengthening muscles and recovery.
These TENS modes, designed to relieve discomfort.
And one is a TENS setting that is specifically for arthritis pain. It has a range of 25 levels for intensity, a timer that you can set for anywhere from five minutes to an hour, 4 channels, and a lock.
#2 MEDVIVE Rechargeable FDA Cleared Tens Unit
#1 Budget Pick / BUDGET CHOICE [Update: December 2019]
Our #1 Choice in budget category is the MEDVIVE Rechargeable electric Pulse Impulse Mini Massager Muscle Stimulator.
It is highly rated by many users and for a few good reasons.
It’s easy to navigate and set up - Clear user manual and easy to use LCD display will get you up and running in minutes.
Preprogrammed Modes - 16 pre-programmed, 20 strength levels - and 2 outputs settings makes it easy and simple to use;
Cost Effective - budget friendly way top get muscle stimulation compared going to the doctor or therapist;
Great Battery Life - Lithium rechargeable battery provides you with up to 6 hours of pain relief and relaxation. Also battery is rechargeable. Battery indicator will tell you when the device needs to be recharged.
Stimulation - many users reported that even using lower settings can get you enough stimulation to feel great and be effective. But, if you need really powerful stimulation , you may wan to look at some other device with more power.
Customer Support - It is common to have issues or questions with this type of devices. If you have any problem with the device, send an email and company will make sure that you will receive the support that you need.
Concussion: Under $40 investment worth every penny and it paid off in hundreds of dollars at the physical therapy office.
#3 TENS 7000 Second Edition TENS Unit
#2 Budget Pick
Our 2nd pick for the best home TENS unit (budget friendly solution), the TENS 7000 SE is full featured, incredibly powerful, and the choice of many users.
It has two channels so that you can use either two or all four included electrodes.
The burst rate and pulse are both adjustable. You can use the built-in timer to change the configurations every five minutes for up to an hour or choose to have the same setting continuously.
There are five modes to choose from, so you can find the best electrical impulse delivery pattern to suit your particular needs. The digital display is easy to read so you can view the mode, hertz rate, and timer at a glance.
It also comes with a built-in clip for easy belt attachment. It's small and light and has rubber bumpers on the sides to help protect it from being dropped or bumped.
The included user manual has detailed instructions on how to use it and change the settings, mode, and display. You can select to have between 0 and 50 volts of electrical impulses delivered, making this the most powerful TENS unit machine you can buy.
#4 HealthmateForever Tens Unit - YK15AB
Somewhat OLD but still a good device
This is a great TENS Unit for back pain for those who aren't keen on going one hundred percent digital.
It utilizes a combination of the digital display via an LCD screen, and manual buttons, clearly marked for the different areas you want to target, such as neck, back, knee, etc.
Many home users prefer this labeling to having to select the pulse or wave level or form, as it's quicker and easier to get the impulse strength and type that directly corresponds to where you need the relief.
This full feature automation also includes not only the strength of the magnetic pulse but what type of massage it delivers.It may help to treat symptoms such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, arthritis, etc.
This way you don't have to think about whether you need or want kneading, tapping, scraping, random, or another type of massage.
This smart unit does all the thinking for you. The LCD screen has backlighting, so it's easy to read in the dark. It has four outputs, 20 levels of intensity, and 15 different modes to choose from.
You get the same level of strength whether you use one or all four outputs, and it has the same level of power and intensity as most doctors' and therapists' units.
It comes with eight electrodes. You can choose between various manual and automatic programs, and it has an automatic shut off for safety. Unit have independent dual channels to save time!
$5 Omron Electrotherapy Pain Relief Device PM3030 TENS UNIT
Best COMPACT And EASE of USE
If you're going for something compact and fairly basic but still very effective, this is an excellent pick. Small, easy to use, and ergonomically designed to fit snugly into your palm, the Omron PM 3030 is an excellent portable TENS device.
It has built-in programs designed to target three different pain modes: feet and legs, arms, or lower back. And within each program, you can choose from five intensity levels.
It's small enough to carry around in your pocket, and has an automatic shutoff feature for safety. It comes with two self-adhering pads that are large enough to fit most pain spots on your body areas, which you can use up to 150 times before they need to be replaced.
#6 FDA Cleared HealthmateForever Pro15AB TENS UNIT
Great Unit With Lots of Options + BEST Warranty!
If you're looking for a wireless unit, this one will fit the bill when you combine it with the wireless kit WI-9. In addition to relieving pain, the Pro15AB has a body building mode, which can be used to tone, firm and build strength.
It has two separate channels so you can use one or both and get the same level of power. You can adjust the intensity settings physical therapy 20 levels, and it has 15 programmed modes built in.
It delivers a wide range of impulses that utilize Shiatsu, deep tissue, cupping, tapping, acupuncture, back pain, joint and feet, bodybuilding, and various combinations. It has a large LCD display screen with a backlight, so it's easy to see the body part being targeted, the program being used, and the intensity level, to name a few.
It also comes with a lifetime warranty. And of course, as the name suggests, it's been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.
This is an excellent unit that's a good choice if you have severe pain and like lots of options.
#7 Omega Tens Machine
If you have found that a combination of best TENS and EMS muscle simulator is better for relieving your pain, the Omega is a great option.
It combines both technologies in one portable unit, to deliver ultimate pain relief.
It comes with four adhesive electrodes that you can reuse. You can choose from two different modes and three programs within which you can select the length and frequency of the pulses.
It has six buttons that correspond to the different body parts you can target, feet, hands, knees, neck, back, and shoulders.
It features an excellent digital display so you can easily see the mode, body part, pulse setting, and program in use. It's small and light, making it easy to carry and take with you. It also has a clip so you can attach it to a belt when you're on the go.
#8 HealthmateForever 15 Modes
An updated version of the YK15AB, this device has four outputs on two separate channels, enabling you to use either or both channels without losing power.
It's got the same great features of the YK15AB, and upgrades based on what customers said they most wanted. The software and hardware have been updated, and most of the settings, like the intensity, timer, and speed, are easier to use and adjust.
It's got the same great display and intuitively labeled buttons.
It has 15 preset program modes that deliver massage and nine that are customized to target hips, back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, neck, knees, feet and hands, and ankles.
The customized modes utilize cupping, kneading, tapping, random, acupuncture, and scraping techniques.
You can adjust the timer from between 10 and 80 minutes, and you get about ten hours of use on each rechargeable battery charge rechargeable TENS unit)
This is an excellent choice if you have severe pain and like an easy-to-use device that doesn't require any jargon knowledge.
#9 Empi (Top Rated TENS Unit in Its Class)
When it comes to treating pain with TENS , Empi is best in class. The Empi Select Pain Management System delivers unparalleled pain relief. It comes with two leads and four electrodes.
The Empi is most often prescribed by sports medicine physicians and physical therapists and is best suited for people who have acute pain that they haven't been able to address with any other course of treatment.
Whether you have severe pain, sore or tight muscles, joint pain or tendon pain, the Empi will provide quick and effective relief.
It's in the higher price bracket than other models, but its loyal fan base, physician's choice, and consistent success ratings suggest it's worth the extra cost.
Other good models not included in this review: FDA Cleared Hidow TENS Unit Massager (can use four electrode pads, may use 12 predefined massage combinations), Prospera Electronic Pulse Massager Unit, Pure enrichment purepulse TENS Electronic Stimulator for pain relief,[email protected] Professional Grade TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager
What Is A TENS Unit?
TENS is short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. These TENS pain units are devices you can use to treat pain because their electrical impulses will pass through your skin and send your nerves a message to alleviate pain.
TENS are battery-operated, and they feature electrodes you can patch to your skin. Electrodes are the ones who send the electrical impulses I told you about above, which block your nerve’s ability to let your brain know you’re feeling pain.
These electrical impulses have another purpose. They increase the production of endorphins. These so-called happiness hormones can alleviate pain and stabilize your mood.
What Is An EMS Device?
An EMS device is an Electrical Muscle Stimulator. This machine will send an electrical current to your muscles to make them contract. As a result, your muscles can become stronger and, if you are bed-ridden or cannot do strenuous exercise, these contractions will help you get better faster.
As you can see, EMS are different from TENS machines because they send messages to different recipients. TENS models talk to your nerve cells, while EMS devices communicate with your muscles.
Although their electrical impulses can also address your pain, EMS are primarily created for maintaining your muscle mass.
EMS machines work better for very weak or atrophied muscles. When you contract your muscles on your own, without using these devices, you can only contract about a third of them, which doesn’t have great effects on their conditioning.
EMS devices can activate the remaining two-thirds of your muscles, which helps improve your strength.
Why do EMS machines work?
EMS machines work because they help your brain build pathways between your neurons. The more your muscles are activated, the more your brain will help find a faster way to get them to work.
The result is that your muscles can be reconditioned faster and more effectively, but it’s wise to consult with your physiotherapist before trying an EMS machine for your therapy, even if you have just a mild foot pain.
Benefits of TENS Units
TENS machines have plenty of benefits, but still some people are wary of buying them. If you need further convincing, read along. I’ve used TENS units before, and they worked for me, but I also liked the sense of freedom I had. Read on to find out why a TENS unit would do you good too.
One of the best things about a TENS unit is that they’re non-invasive. You don’t have to use needles to prod your skin with, and you don’t have to take analgesics for your pain management.
It’s not a question of being weak or squeamish. Finding a non-invasive method of treating your pain can have a good impact on your psyche because you’re no longer feeling like a lab rat.
Pain medicine can get addictive and feature all sorts of other short or long-term side effects. TENS machines, on the other hand, don’t pose any dangers. They do not get you hooked on the pain relief they offer, and they are not toxic.
TENS models are small and light. You can stick them in your purse or bag to carry them anywhere you want easily.
You can also use TENS machines on the go because most people won’t notice what you’re doing. You can attach the electrodes at home and put the device in your pocket. If you need quick pain relief while you’re in a meeting or running your errands, all you have to do is click on the device.
Easy to operate
TENS are easy to use. The patches are easy to attach to your body, and the main “console” has limited buttons, plus it’s very intuitive. You will learn fast how to turn it on and off, as well as how to adjust the intensity according to the level of pain you’re experiencing.
Good pain management
TENS machines offer good pain management for a variety of acute or chronic conditions, such as:
- Menstrual cramps. Taking ibuprofen in the long-term has been linked to renal issues. If you frequently take ibuprofen during your period, plus another few times per month for headaches or back pain, you are at risk for renal problems.
- Labor pain. Unlike an epidural which numbs your belly and vagina, preventing you from pushing when the time has come, TENS allow you to feel and push with the contractions. TENS devices are better than an epidural because you can adjust their intensity and because they are less risky than an injection to your spine.
- Postoperative pain. When you’re out of operation, the last thing you want to do is add more pills on top of the anesthesia, which leaves you with a fuzzy head and general feeling of weakness. Certain pills can increase urination frequency, add cramps, diarrhea, or sleep issues, while TENS units have none of these side effects.
- Joint pain. There aren’t many things that can effectively treat joint pains. Sure, long-term physiotherapy and drinking broth can help, but these don’t offer instant results. You can try some analgesic creams and pills, but these only reduce your pain by 30-60%, while a TENS unit is more effective.
- Back pains and aches. Most back pain is treated in the long-term with physiotherapy and massage. If you suffer from sciatica or compressed discs, it might take days until you get to your pain-free self. TENS machines help you resume your daily activities as fast as possible, and they also help you get much-needed rest.
These items might also alleviate pain from:
- Arthritis, although research is limited
- Diabetic neuropathy, although you are likely to see skin irritation as a side effect
- Endometriosis, if you also take your hormone substitutes
- Fibromyalgia, but only used as a short-term complementary technique
- Muscle spasm, both for less pain and improved range of motion
- Neuropathy, to avoid antidepressants
- Pelvic pain, but more research is needed to prove this
- Sciatica because TENS work faster than regular massages
- Spinal accidents
- Sports accidents, but TENS is only slightly better than a placebo
There is not a lot of research in this area, but some articles indicate that TENS might have a role in decreasing inflammation.
Scientists can’t concur on how or why this happens, but using TENS has been linked to decreased swelling in certain conditions, which is important for pain management and increased comfort.
You’re in complete control
People with chronic pain usually visit their doctors, who give them prescriptions they have to renew each month. The follow-up consultations are also a few weeks apart.
Because you’re not in a day-to-day or hour-to-hour contact with your doctor, he or she can adjust the medication only after weeks of waiting.
TENS are easy to adjust on the spot, so you can get instant relief when you need it. Apart from that, you also get a mood booster because your pain is no longer in control.
And getting control back has a lot of benefits on anxiety, depression, and how you experience your pain according to multiple user feedback.
TENS won’t break your budget. This treatment option is more affordable than regular physiotherapy sessions or buying fancy equipment like a state of the art massage chair or inversion table.
You can use it for the long-term
Injections with morphine or even over-the-counter analgesics cannot be used in the long-term because it’s easy to become addicted to them or experience side effects.
On the other hand, you can use TENS as much as you need throughout the day or until your pain gets better without any important side effects.
You don’t need a prescription
If you’ve made up your mind, you can get a TENS unit right now without having to wait for a prescription. TENS machines are available on Amazon, plus on various other websites and offline retailers.
Do your research first because TENS machines have limited recommendations. People with epilepsy, idiopathic pain (pain from unknown causes), or who have implanted pacemakers should not purchase TENS devices unless carefully monitored by their GPs.
How Does A TENS Unit Work?
TENS have electrode patches that allow an electric impulse to pass through your skin and reach your nerves. This impulse stimulated your nerves and blocks pain signals.
- Blocked pain. If you use the high pulse rate around 110Hz give or take, the electrical impulses won’t let pain messages get to your brain because TENS bombard your brain with other impulses, and so your brain is too busy to notice pain signals anymore.
- Pain-relief hormones. If you use the low pulse rate (up to 5Hz), your body will produce endorphins to alleviate your pain. This method is good for women in early labor and people experiencing mild pain.
Apart from blocking pain receptors and releasing endorphins, TENS work in another way: they can retrain your nerves.
The more you repeat a connection between two actions, the more you strengthen neural connections. Your brain learns that serious pain needs to be blocked, so the nerves responsible for sending pain signals will eventually stop.
There is not a lot of research to prove this yet, but some chiropractors think that retraining your nerves via TENS devices is a real possibility that explains why pain decreases in the long run.
How To Use A TENS Unit
That said, below, you can read some instructions and pointers to use TENS devices:
- Clean and dry the skin where you will apply the electrodes.
- Ensure your device is off.
- Attach the electrodes to your skin using conductive gel. Make sure there is at least an inch between these electrodes.
- If you plan to use the TENS unit on the go, secure these patches better by using tape.
- Select the desired pulse rate.
- If you have minimal pain, go with about 5Hz. If you are in more pain, start with 100Hz.
- Adjust the intensity as you see fit.
- Turn the device off and disconnect the electrodes.
- Check your skin for irritations and change the pad or gel if you see redness or swelling.
- Clean your skin with soap and water.
- Don’t use the TENS on injured skin.
- Don’t place the electrodes on your eyes, mouth, or your front part of the neck.
- Don’t use TENS devices in the shower.
- Don’t use this device while driving your car or while you’re operating machinery.
What To Expect With TENS Therapy
Here is what you can expect with TENS machines, plus a few advices.
- Ask the advice of your doctor because TENS devices are not good for all types of pains, plus they can be dangerous with other conditions.
- Your doctor might want you to take other allopathic treatments before trying a TENS or while using it to make your treatment more effective.
- TENS machines can be used without painkillers or other forms of therapy in certain cases, which is why you need to consult with your doctor.
- Try all the settings until you settle on what works for you.
- If you’re new to using these devices, don’t overdo it because you could make your pain worse.
- Don’t stop your prescribed medication without discussing matters with your GP first because some drugs have intense side-effects when you stop cold turkey.
Features to Consider When Buying the Best Portable TENS Unit
Not all TENS units are created equal, which is why you should take the factors below into account. You’ll notice I like to focus on people’s needs. That’s why I analyzed each feature in terms of your needs. Read on.
Is TENS Safe While Pregnant?
Some sources claim that TENS is safe for pregnant women if they avoid using this machine in the abdominal or pelvic areas.
Other sources claim that TENS machines should be avoided altogether in pregnancy. The best course of action is to discuss matters with your Ob-Gyn.
If you have a healthy pregnancy and don’t overuse the TENS , chances are it’s safe if you don’t stimulate your uterus area.
Programs And Modes
TENS units feature auto programs, while others add customizable modes. Some TENS models feature a body-part specific program and the only thing you have to do it tell the machine where you place it.
If you don’t know exactly the type of program you need, get a device with multiple modes.
Multiple automatic programs are better for beginners because you have the chance to try various massage modes and settings to figure out what works best for you.
If you’re a fast learner or have already owned a TENS unit and know what it entails, you can do well with some customizable modes. Having more room to personalize your massage is also a good idea if there are different areas on your body that need stimulation, or if you’re sharing the device with other people in your home.
Will a program-packed device cost more?
Not necessarily. Some affordable TENS units feature several useful programs. If you choose a high-quality machine, it will offer you good basic functions, multiple programs included. You will have to sacrifice other extras, which are not necessarily part of the device’s functionality.
Channels send electrical impulses, and the pads require separate dual channels for the job.
Choose a dual channel TENS unit with multiple outputs because:
- You can use more electrodes simultaneously
- You can signal multiple nerves simultaneously
- You can get rid of the pain faster
- You can target a painful area from multiple angles for improved efficiency
It’s better to have more intensity levels because you can customize your pain relief and because you can share the TENS with other people in your home.
The best TENS units not only feature multiple intensities; they also offer a smooth transition between these intensities, so you can finely tune the machine in search of the optimal pain management intensity.
The timer is a safety stop that makes sure your TENS will stop by itself in case you fall asleep with it. This feature protects both the battery and the electrode pads.
You will also be able to find out how long you’ve been using the TENS unit.
A TENS EMS stimulates your muscle cells to make sure your muscles don’t atrophy if you’re unable to move, which also contributes to reduced pain.
Unit muscle stimulators are essential for bed-ridden patients who cannot walk or otherwise exercise to keep their muscle mass intact. If you have a limited budget and find it easy to move, you don’t need this feature explicitly.
Get a TENS unit with a large screen that allows you to see all the settings easily, especially if you’re using your TENS machine on the go.
Backlit screens are also better than no light because you can use your TENS in bed at night, while your partner is sleeping.
Larger screens are more intuitive and easy to use by beginners because you can see all the icons clearly, and your finger will land on the right button every time.
Here’s what batteries your TENS unit could feature:
- Rechargeable batteries last long, are affordable and convenient.
- AA or AAA batteries are cheap and easy to find but don’t last a lot.
- 9V batteries are less frequently used on TENS units because they’re more expensive and difficult to find, although they last longer than AA and AAA batteries.
Usually, low-grade TENS units or older models have 9V batteries. Affordable models will mostly feature AA or AAA batteries, but it’s not uncommon to find models that use rechargeable lithium batteries. High-grade TENS units will feature mostly rechargeable batteries, to ensure a quality, long-lasting life to your product.
Lead wires connect the electrode pads with the unit. Choose long wires with a long distance between the pads because they’re more versatile.
Long wires allow you to stimulate a specific area from different parts, which allows you a more efficient pain release.
Some expensive models are wireless. This design gives you the most versatility because you can place the electrode pads anywhere on your body to stimulate different areas. People who have smaller pain areas on their bodies that are far apart and don’t require specifically two electrode pads are the ones who benefit the most from this design.
Electrode pads come in different shapes:
- Large pads are better for targeting wide areas at the same time. They’re good for backaches or hamstring pain.
- Medium pads are versatile and easy to customize.
- Small pads are good for muscle aches and joint pain because they target very specific small areas.
Make sure your electrode pads:
- Have a long life. Choose only the best materials provided they don’t trigger your allergies.
- Are compatible with your TENS unit. Many brands that retail TENS units design these devices so that they can work only with electrode pads manufactured by the same company.
Size And Portability
If you want to use your TENS unit on the go while getting on with your daily activities, choose a small, discreet unit. You can choose a larger model if you don’t mind carrying your TENS in your pack.
If you need a portable device, consider a product that offers:
- Belt attachment
- Carry case made from a sturdy material, like hard plastic
Ease Of Use
You need a device that’s easy to use, especially when you’re in pain or are unable to move. Make sure you can change between the modes, programs, and intensities quickly, and that your device features a large screen. A backlight also helps for more visibility.
You don’t need to sacrifice ease of use to save some money. It’s wiser to invest in a more expensive model that helps you and that you actually enjoy using. Conversely, you can research various affordable TENS units on the market from reputable brands, which also place great significance on user-friendliness.
I’m sure you still have plenty of questions about TENS units. How do they work? Are they effective? Will it hurt? Read on to find out.
Can a TENS unit help build muscle?
TENS units can help maintain your muscle mass if you’re unable to move if they have the EMS function that stimulates your muscle cells. Otherwise, TENS units are specifically designed to target your nerve endings to prevent them from sending the pain-signal. The electric current sent by the electrodes will communicate with your nerve endings, not your muscles. In this case, you might need a pulse massager.
Do TENS units work?
All studies show that TENS units are effective tools for pain management, whether you use them independently or together with other treatments. Limit your sessions to 20 minutes at first, and move up to 60 minutes in day-by-day increments.
Are TENS units effective?
There is much anecdotal evidence that TENS units are effective, although there is no extensive research on their effectiveness. Keep in mind that:
- You can build a tolerance to the TENS unit if you’re using it all the time. Change between a low and a high frequency during different sessions, or start with the lowest possible level so you can move upwards.
- High-frequency levels are more effective than low-frequency settings.
- Increase the effectiveness of your treatment by putting the electrode pads on your acupuncture points because reflexology stimulates endorphin production.
What does a TENS unit feel like?
Start your machine at 100Hz and increase the frequency until it starts to tingle. Make sure this sensation is strong, but not to the point of becoming painful.
A few minutes into the treatment, you will feel the tingling reduce in intensity. This is the moment to up your intensity just a little bit and leave it at that for the rest of the treatment.
How much is a TENS unit?
Most TENS units cost between $20 and $350 on Amazon, though the YUASIA Tens EMS Electrostimulator costs almost $800.
- Low-priced units (under $50) will probably lack a backlight, but you shouldn’t compromise functionality in the shape of multiple programs and ease of use.
- Mid-priced TENS units ($50-$100) are function-packed powerhouses.
- High-priced units (above $100) have a wealth of options, including fully separate channels.
Some factors influence the price range, such as:
- Number of channels
- Number of pads
- Number of programs and modes
- Intensity levels
- Type of battery
High-priced units emphasize versatility as their unique selling proposition, which means they will offer things like:
- Fully separate channels, either dual or quad, which gives you more versatility, range of motion, and allows you to adjust the TENS unit well. In this case, each channel can have a different intensity level and a different program to run.
- At least four pads for more options. However, some expensive products like iReliev Playmakar Wireless TENS and EMS Unit, have infinite pads and no wires to tangle yourself in.
In terms of massage programs and modes, intensity levels, and battery type, most high-quality mid-priced or low-priced units will offer the same features as high-priced units.
For instance, TechCare Plus 24 is a low-priced TENS unit that features 24 programs and modes, 20 intensity levels, and a rechargeable lithium battery.
By comparison, iReliev Playmakar Wireless TENS and EMS Unit features just 14 modes and programs, six of each are for the EMS unit, although it boasts 25 intensity levels.
Healthmate Forever Pro 15 AB, another high-priced unit, also features just 15 modes and programs.
However, you will find some low-priced units like TENS 7000, which have only five modes and programs, and only eight intensity levels, plus a 9V battery.
If there are so few differences between a high-priced unit and a low-priced unit, why not pick the more affordable model?
Here’s a list of things you might need to compromise if you choose a low-priced model:
- The listed features can be just for show. Some affordable models feature lots of intensities in the official specs, but then you find they’re not strong enough.
- They might not be convenient. Affordable models usually don’t allow you to save the settings and create some favorite programs.
- The unit might not have a portable or compact design. Big units are difficult to handle or to hide in your pocket.
- They can make ambiguous claims. For instance, low-cost models can feature various modes or intensities, without too much of a difference between these settings. So instead of getting a versatile, multifunctional TENS unit, you’re getting features that keep repeating themselves.
- They are not versatile, meaning you can use just one intensity setting per session.
- They don’t have a quick operation because they generally need the users to click and press all sorts of buttons to make the settings they need. People with tendonitis will find this especially nagging.
What about mid-priced units?
Mid-priced units are the middle ground between expensive and inexpensive devices in terms of quality. Therefore, some brands can invest in mode diversity and quick operation but might neglect range of motion.
TENS and EMS devices have been used by doctors, chiropractors, and physical and massage therapist doctors for many years, and there's a reason. They're highly effective for relieving pain that's otherwise hard to manage or conquer.
Now that there are so many great portable home devices to choose from, it's a relief knowing you can have access to the same technology the professionals use, for minimal cost, and no prescription.
An EMS Tens unit is accessible and well within reach.
They run the gamut from simple to complex and are available in a range of prices. Even producers of over the counter pain relief medications have best TENS units for home use available.
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