Each day, we move a lot when walking, working out, driving our vehicles or riding our bicycles and motorcycles. During the many activities, we are likely to get involved in major or minor accidents. Rehabilitation of our muscles and bones may take a long time and the pain can be excruciating. So, that is where the powerful TENS units come into play.
TENS is an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. The units are proven to stimulate muscles by offering heat across the user’s skin to reach the affected regions and facilitate healing. They are small and anyone can carry them around. They are also available over the counter. If you are pregnant or suffering from any heart condition, you will need to consult your doctor before buying one. Here are the top TENS Units of 2020 along with a detailed buying guide. Here are the best TENS units of 2020.
Best Overall: Easy@Home Rechargeable TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager
Among the things people love about massage is how it makes them feel relaxed after each session. With massage pushing lactic acid out of your muscles, you will feel good, especially if you have been experiencing pains and aches. Instead of going to a salon or massage parlor for a massage, you can opt for the Easy@Home Rechargeable TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager and enjoy massages in the comfort of your home. The electronic pulse massage offers a full massage through several modes, which include kneading actions that feel like squeezing of real hands-on your body muscles.
Even though the device is available for all home users, the experts rate it as a professional-grade electronic pulse massager. For that reason, it is a good choice for athletes and people suffering from chronic pain because of the electronic stimulants that allow it to improve muscle elasticity. Use it before every workout to reduce the chances of injuries because your muscles will be relaxed and looser. You will also enjoy the experience of physical stretching. If you are among the many people who need professional-grade massagers, this kit might become your favorite massage therapist.
- Comes with a rechargeable battery
- 20 intensity levels ranging from very mild to very powerful
- 5 automated massage program options
- 3 traditional massage modes
- Portable and compact user design
- Brand: Easy@Home
- Product weight: 127 g
- 12 months money-back guarantee
- OTC and FDA approval
- Very easy to use
- Very large LCD screen to allow easier reading
- The pads will lose their stickiness with time
Best Value: iReliev TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager
iReliev TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager offers 14 programs with 6 of them for EMS and the other 8 for TENS. Each of the TENS program, labeled by numbers (P1, P2, P3…), are diverse and they will offer something different from what other units offer. The developer created it specifically for individuals suffering from arthritis. Use the set button and the + and – keys on your remote to cycle between the offered programs. The machine is easy to operate as it features four buttons that do everything.
Unlike the wired units, the iReliev TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager requires only one pad per every channel. One channel will do the work of two. That is among the things you will love because you will only need to place one pad on your body when treating an area, including the lower back. This machine will make the experience of each massage simple, quick and nice. For example, the use of two wireless pads and pods on the machine is similar to using four pads and pods on the dual-channel devices. You can set your treatment time at any point between 5 minutes and 60 minutes and adjust the intensity levels and programs independently.
- Produces low voltage pulses which stimulate nerve fibers to block any pain signals to your brain
- Dual-channel functionality, which allows the use of two modes per every channel for small body parts and 4 for the large body parts
- Is portable
- Auto-lock setting to avoid accidental change
- Uses non-rechargeable 3 AAA batteries
- Brand: iReliev
- Product dimension: 10 x 4 x 7 inches
- Offers many massage modes
- Offers a lock function
- Comes with an adjustable timer
- Features a portable design
- It has no backlight to allow usage in the dark
- Comes with very small plugin pads that do not last for many days
Best Budget: NueMedics Tens Unit Machine Pulse Massager with 6 Large Pads
The NueMedics Tens Unit Machine Pulse Massager with 6 Large Pads is among the best 2020 electronic pulse massagers you should try. If you buy it, expect to enjoy great relaxing massages during each session. It features a very large backlit screen along with an intuitive interface to allow users to master every feature. The 24 modes allow you to customize each treatment session to match your needs, so if you are precise about massage methods, you will have many to try. The dual-channel unit offers 4 pads that you can use to treat different body parts at the same time. They also ensure that the massage triggers on the targeted place alone.
Apart from the 4 quality pads, this pulse massager offers 2 spares, which will come in handy when using the device on many body parts, such as your face, feet and shoulders with your back. In other words, they are important for hygiene reasons. The feature makes the unit more useful for people sharing it with their spouse or family members. Speaking of the powering, the machine comes with a lithium-ion battery, charger and USB cable to allow easier recharging.
- Modes are labeled as Elbow, Back, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, Hands/Foot, Neck, Joint, Knead, Acu, Tap and Random
- A large LCD display with bright backlight to show what you need for each body part
- 1x NueMedics Tens 24 controller
- Accessories include 6 large electrodes (pads), 2 electrode cables, USB, user ‘s manual, wall charger, 1x pad and wire holder, 1 treatment points chart
- 24 months warranty
- Brand: NueMedics
- Comes with a rechargeable battery
- Compact and stylish design
- Usable in any place
- Come with a protective cover case
- The replacement tens pads are hard to get
Best Design: Omron Pocket Pain Pro Tens Unit
Omron has been a leading brand in the world of tens for many years. One of the popular TENS devices they have created is the Omron Pocket Pain Pro Tens Unit. The device promises more power than other similar products in the market. You will have the chance of selecting one of the three pre-set pain programs, including lower back, leg/foot and arm/shoulder. The three programs plus the 2 massages like modes (steady and knead) and the 10 adjustable intensity levels are controllable with the large buttons. Moreover, you will see them clearly on the simple screen, something that makes the setup process easy.
Better still, it is portable, comfortable, and easy to use. You can use it discretely in your workplace, in a camping site, when traveling or when watching your favorite television shows at home. Even more, the self-adhesive pads are long-lasting and comfortable. You can use them for over 150 times. So, if you need a professional grade product, the Omron Pocket Pain Pro Tens Unit is a good choice.
- 3 pre-set pain programs for the leg/foot, lower back and arm/shoulder
- 2 massage-like modes (steady and knead)
- 10 adjustable intensity levels to relieve pain
- Small portable and easier to use design
- Self-adhesive long life pads (reusable up to 150 times)
- Brand: Omron
- Product dimension: 7.1 x 2.5 x 3.5 inches
- – Powerful drug-free relief from chronic, arthritis and acute pain
- Easy to use
- Comes with long life pads
- The build quality could be better
HealthmateForever TENS unit with 4 outputs
HealthmateForever is among the leading brands of electronic pulse massages in the market today and it offers products with top-notch features. The HealthmateForever TENS Unit With 4 Outputs is among the highly-rated devices with good reviews online. Some of the features you will love are the clearly labeled buttons for the hip, neck, knee, ankle, and elbow. To choose the body part you need to target, you just need to press the well-labeled button.
HealthmateForever TENS Unit With 4 Outputs features 15 massage modes along with four outputs that offer 20 intensity levels. Overall, it has 9 auto-stimulated programs that will match your body needs. You can choose one of the six intensity settings or adjustable speeds for your body to relax completely. The whole package comes with all the accessories you need to start your treatment sessions.
- The specially made buttons make the management of pain fast and easy
- – Offers 20 different intensity levels for strong longer-lasting pain relief
- Easy to read and operate buttons for everybody pain relief and massage-like mode
- Additional adjustable speed to allow comfortable pain relief experience
- Brand: HealthmateForever
- Product weight: 13 ounces
- Highly portable for easier use in any place
- Adjustable intensity and speed settings to match your various body parts
- – Easier to use with clear button labeling
- Safe to use
- The intensity increase is not gradual
NURSAL EMS TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator
If you are looking for a highly programmable TENS unit that comes with many modes, the NURSAL EMS TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator is a perfect choice. Apart from being inexpensive, the product is very easy to operate and comes with a large LCD screen. It has 16 pre-set massage modes and 20 intensity levels. You can increase the intensity or decrease it gradually without disrupting the treatment program. All the modes are ideal for inflamed discs or joints, arthritis, back pain and shoulder tension.
The beauty of this product is that you can adjust the timer to any time between 10 and 60 minutes. If you want to use the pre-set time, the timer will remain at 20 minutes point. After the time runs out, the TENS unit will shut off automatically. You do not need any conducting cream or gel to use the 8 electrodes. Just apply them to your skin and select your desirable programs. One of the great things about the product is that it comes with two extra-large pads along with a built-in rechargeable battery that you can use for 10 hours.
- Uses electronic pulses to stimulate body muscles through multi-preprogrammed massage modes
- Built-in long-lasting rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- 8 strong self-adhesive and thick reusable electrode pads
- Conveniently pocket-sized and free dust-proof pouch
- Useable for the shoulder, knees, back, wrists, ankles and elbows
- Brand: NURSAL
- It is inexpensive
- Offers 16 massage modes
- Has 20 intensity levels for the best-customized treatments
- Comes with a carry bag
- It is lightweight
- Not good for hypertension patients
- Recommended for relaxation and massage but not for chronic pain
Ohuhu FDA Cleared Muscle Pain Tens Unit
It is advisable to relieve your muscle pain with the Ohuhu FDA Cleared Muscle Pain Tens Unit. Being FDA cleared means that it is certified to offer optimum and safe pain relief. It comes from professionals who use bionic technology, bioelectric technology, intelligent microcomputer control technology and body stimulation technology to run more effectively. Its multi-functional design helps ease tiredness, pain and activate the blood circulation for effective pain relief.
It offers flexible intensity and time for the user to adjust. You can choose a time session between 10 minutes and 60 minutes and the automatic shutoff feature will come into play when the timer hits your selected point. Even more, it offers 16 pre-programmed modes, which include knocking and kneading for the user to select depending on the level of pain and requirements.
- 16 pre-programmed modes including Acupuncture, Knocking, Ear, Abdominal, Brain, Vibration, Shiatsu and rubbing
- Multi-functional TENS device
- Adjustable time and intensity
- Automatic shut off mechanism
- Not good for hypertension patients and pregnant women
- Brand: Ohuhu
- Comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that helps save money
- The portable design allows you to use it in any place
- Offers many relief options that will work instantly
- Not suitable for hypertension patients and pregnant mothers
TENS 7000 TENS Unit
The TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital TENS Unit with Accessories is among the highly portable units. It offers 4 pads, adjustable intensity between 0 and 100mA in addition to dual channel functionality. You can adjust the pulse and timing to match your specific needs. The five treatment programs include the normal mode, burst mode, strength-duration modes and modulation mode. You can have a 60 minutes session, but if you want to have very long sessions, choose the continuous mode or the 5-minute increment.
The patient compliance meter store 60 operation records and 999 hours of operation. Its battery indicator will display when the screen goes low. The dimensions stand at 2.4 inches by 1 inch by 4 inches and the weight is only 1.2 pounds. That means it is very portable. It is essential to know that the FDA has already approved this TENS unit.
- It has 4 electrodes
- It has 5 programs
- The pulse, intensity and timing are adjustable
- Has a low battery indicator
- Has an auto shut-off feature
- Brand: TENS 7000
- Product dimension: 8.8 x 2 x 7.8 inches
- Product weight: 1.2 Pounds
- It is inexpensive
- Easy to use
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- It is small and lightweight
- The wires are very short
HealthmateForever Tens Unit with Wireless Access
The portable HealthmateForever Tens Unit with Wireless Access is among the products that will exceed your personal expectations. It comes in a properly designed box so that you can use it as a gift to someone close to you if a need arises. Due to its small size and lightweight design, you can take it to any place. The cords are long enough to reach your various body parts and it recharges very fast.
The pads allow more flexibility to reach the problematic area. But before using it, remember to read the instructions. You will have 8 pre-programmed massage-like modes to try such as Foot, Acupuncture, Tuina, Leg, Back, Cupping, Tapping and Combination. The intensity levels are 20 and the battery can last for 10 hours.
- Offers a pair of snap-on long-lasting pads
- 8 pre-programmed massage like modes
- 20 adjustable intensity levels
- Features buttons to help increase and reduce the intensity
- Easier to read animated backlit LCD screen
- Brand: HealthmateForever
- Rechargeable battery
- The modes and intensities are easy to adjust
- Backlight LED display
- The charger has a very bright LED light
Vive Stim Machine TENS Unit
The Vive Stim Machine TENS Unit offers eight main modes, including cupping, massage, acupuncture, beat, scraping, sole, combo and ear modes for the best therapeutic relief. Each model comes with preprogrammed variations for additional options and customized experience. It is a good choice for people who need to target particular body parts or a portable unit to ease aching and tired muscles. It works effectively to improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
The backlit screen is bright enough for both night and day time use. It is also easy to navigate and read. It will show the mode, session time and the intensity levels for A and B outputs. Moreover, as the user, you will have four self-adhering electrode pads that come as pre-gelled. They will release without leaving any sticky residue. And the offered electrode pad holders provide safe storage for each electrode wire in addition to ensuring that the pads are clean and ready for use each time.
- Comes with 6 reusable electrodes
- Properly backlit and easier to navigate the screen
- Pre-gelled and self-adhering electrode pads
- Eight stimulation modes
- Two electrode pad holders
- Brand: Vive
- It is rechargeable
- Offers enough power for various body parts
- Hard to press buttons that reduce accidental intensity increase
- Auto-shutoff feature
- Easy to operate
- The electrodes last only for a few days
what is a TENS Unit?
The phrase “TENS Unit” might sound to you like one of the things you learned in elementary school maths. Well, it is true you learned about the tens unit but for this case, the “TENS Unit is different. The TENS Unit simply stands for the “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit”. In other words, TENS Units are electrotherapy devices that apply mild electric current to the skin through electrodes. As the user, all you have to do is attach the electrodes in the areas you experience pain, either after injury, arthritis or soreness.
The electric currents will stimulate your muscles and simulate the effects of massage. You can apply the electrodes of the TENS Units to your shoulder, waist, soles of your feet, and even legs. The machine will be useful including when you are not suffering from pain or muscle stiffness because it will help you warm up before you start exercising and condition your muscles. Some units come with special settings to imitate beating and kneading feelings. Most importantly, TENS Units are more portable – their size is similar to that of your smartphone.
The factors to look for when buying a Portable TENS Unit
If you have been suffering from any severe pain, your utmost concern is to find relief from the uncomfortable situation because a pain-free life will boost your life expectancy. Therefore, the need to have a massage after the long day at your workplace will also be there. The Best TENS Units of 2020 use electricity to relieve pain and to offer analgesic effects. The market offers many types of TENS machines and that means selecting the best one can be a big challenge. Our work is to make your TENS Unit selection easier. Here are the key things to consider during your purchase.
The treatment programs
Different TENS devices will offer different massage options. A quick example, some will come with 16 different massage programs such as cupping, knead, stroke, massage, acupuncture, kneading, shiatsu, butterfly, sport, Thai, shiatsu deep, deep tissue, Swedish, reflexology, trigger point and automatic combination massage but others will only offer five or six massage programs. Keep in mind that TENS machines are not massage devices, so the feeling you get will be very different from what real massage devices such as massage chairs and neck and shoulder massagers offer.
However, a TENS unit provides a tingling sensation that most people find pleasant. At first, you will find it strange – more like needles and pins sensation when your limb falls asleep. Selection of the right treatment program for each body part might be hard at first, so TENS comes with preset programs for each part of our body such as the neck and back or depending on the type of pain such as headaches.
Most TENS machines come with an LCD screen to allow selection of the massage intensity and mode. For example, the Nursal TENS Unit features 6 main modes and 2-4 varieties in every mode. As the user, you can change the intensity of your massage sessions to any of the 20 available levels. It has a helpful feature that allows it to revert to the minimum intensity level after each massage session has ended. So, you will have to dial-up again to set another massage intensity level when starting a new session. That helps the users avoid unpleasant feelings whenever they switch on the unit.
A decent TENS unit should allow control of the electrical stimulation intensity so that the user can benefit from a great amount of relief. For some forms of pain or people, only the full power can hit the spot but others will find gentler stimulation more effective. Choose a model that offers at least 10-20 intensity levels that are easier to switch on.
A large percent of TENS units in the market today are battery operated. That means you can use them at any place. Some of the units come with standard single-use batteries such as AAA and AA but most manufacturers are now opting for rechargeable batteries due to their convenience. With a rechargeable battery, you will never worry about the replacement costs. Your work will be to recharge your unit after the battery runs out. On the downside, you will not be able to use it immediately after the battery dies.
Most TENS units come with an LCD display screen to allow the user to scroll through and choose the best intensity level and treatment mode. The backlit screens are beneficial when using the unit in a dark room. So, if you are planning to use your device when camping or traveling, the display screen should be an important consideration.
The other important feature to look for when buying a TENS unit is the timer. Most units in the market come with default time for each massage session such as 20 minutes. However, you can reduce the time or increase it for more customized feeling – some allow time increment to around 60 minutes. They also come with a rechargeable battery that can last for over 10 hours. As the user, you can apply the electrodes to different body parts for effective pain relief.
Another thing that will affect your choice of TENS machines is your budget. The money you are willing to spend will determine the shape, size and capabilities of the machine you choose. Fundamentally, the machines send very low electrical impulses to your body to stimulate your nerves. But the highly-priced machines come with better specifications.
The benefits of TENS units offer
As we have stated above, TENS units offer many benefits. Here are some of those benefits.
- Decrease pain: Your TENS unit will reduce pain or at least its perception, which should sound like a big benefit. However, you should know that the devices work by blocking the pain signals your body sends to the brain.
- Drug-free: If you are unable to use prescription medication for any reason, you will love the convenience TENS units offer. They offer effective pain relief options without a need for drugs.
- Use at home: Of course, you can use the unit at the comfort of your home. There is no need to travel to any place for treatment or to hire someone to come into your home for the massage.
- Affordable: The price of TENS units varies widely. However, you will get affordable and strong options. If you would want to buy one of the affordable units offering the best features, the best thing to do is start with the list above.
- Easy to use: TENS units are easy to use. They come with several pre-programmed functions. So the work of the user is to switch on and select a program.
- Good for daily use: The TENS unit will be with you everywhere. So, you can use it at any time, particularly if you are suffering from any pain. You do not have to travel to any specific place for treatments or hire expensive people to come to your home.
- Reduces inflammation: TENS are also proved to reduce inflammation when the user selects the right settings. However, before you use one to treat inflammation, consult your doctor.
Here are five tips for getting started:
- Consult your pain management therapist or doctor before you start using a TENS machineNever buy a TENS unit before consulting your pain management therapists, such as a physical therapist, or doctor. Even though TENS units are safe for most individuals, they might have bad effects on some. You cannot use the device if you are pregnant, epileptic or you have a pacemaker. Moreover, you should not use it if your doctor has not figured out the origin of your pain. Bad usage will lead to skin irritation and burns.
- Have the pain management therapist or doctor treat you with the TENS machineBefore you buy a device, you should find out whether it works for your type of pain. That will also help you learn how it will cure your pain. TENS are not complicated to use but you should know where to place the electrode pads. You will also need to know the amount of power you need for the best results. The best person to guide you through the process is your doctor or therapist.
- You will need more time to know whether the TENS unit offers any good resultsKeep in mind that you might need several sessions for your pain therapist or doctor to know whether the TENS unit will ease your pain. The healthcare provider might need to use various TENS machines or even settings to know which works effectively. If that is the case, they will recommend the effective unit along with the best intensity settings.
- If the treatments your treatments are medically necessary insurance might cover the deviceYou do not need a prescription to buy a TENS unit but you will need a prescription for your insurance company to cover it. The price of a TENS unit can be as low as $100 or as high as $500 – depending on the features. More recently, the market started offering more affordable units, most of which go for less than $50.
- Consult your insurance company on the coverage specificsDifferent insurance companies have different rules when it comes to covering the TENS units. For example, Medicare requires people who have suffered the pain for more than three months to try other treatment options first. Your insurer might need a doctor’s prescription to offer the coverage. Others will require you to rent the unit for a one-month trial period before you buy it. Some private insurance companies might not cover TENS for some forms of pain such as low back pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What type of pain can you treat with a TENS unit?A: You can use a TENS unit to manage various forms of pain, including acute and chronic pain. People use the units to manage sciatica, neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, menstrual cramps, labor pain, tendonitis, arthritis, migraines and frozen shoulders.
Q: What will a TENS unit do?A: In simple terms, the work of TENS units is to send low-voltage electricity to various body parts directly. The electricity blocks any pain signals traveling to the brain, therefore minimizing or stopping pain effects.
Q: What is the difference between a TENS unit and an EMS?A: Some individuals think that TENS units and EMS are the same things. That is very far from the truth. In fact, therapists will use them together and compare the results. A TENS unit will stimulate your body nerves to reduce chronic and acute pain. That makes them an ideal choice for all people. On the other hand, EMS will make your body muscles contract. That means they are ideal for recovering, rehabilitation, training, enhancing cosmetic experiences.
Q: How do TENS units work?A: TENS units work through low voltage electrical currents that suppress pain signals your body sends to the brain. The devices deliver the electric therapy through electrodes or pads that the user has to attach to the key body parts. In addition, they feature a touchscreen or controller to allow the setting of the intensity level.
Q: How often should you use your TENS unit?A: You can start with a single 15 minutes therapy session and repeat if necessary. Stick to three sessions at a maximum per day. During the therapy, rate the pain before and after the session and record it on a chart (for example on a scale of 1 to 10). That way, you will gauge the pain reduction.
Q: Are TENS units safe for all people?A: No, not everyone can use a TENS unit safely. Apart from when labor pain, pregnant mothers should avoid the use of TENS units. The units are not safe for people with conditions that reduce skin sensitivity or those with a pacemaker fitted. If you have high blood pressure or any heart condition, consult your doctor first. Do not use the unit when operating your vehicle or machinery and when inside water.
Q: Are TENS units safe for pregnant mothers?A: No, avoid using your unit while pregnant. Even though the device will not expose you to any risk, the electrical impulses might affect the unborn baby. So, if you must use it, consult your medical practitioner. Also, avoid placing the electrodes above your uterus or using it during the first or second trimester of your pregnancy.
Q: Why do people use TENS units?A: People use TENS units to manage both acute and chronic pain, whether it is on a daily basis for nerve pain sufferers or a drug-free alternative for women during labor.
Q: Can you use a TENS unit when charging?A: No, you should use it only when the charging is complete. That is because it will take a longer time to recharge fully and the behavior will affect the battery life.
Q: Will the unit help with menstrual pain?A: Yes, you just need to set the device on Abdominal Massage mode to relieve the menstrual cramps effectively.
Q: Can a TENS unit cure chronic pain?A: No, TENS units are not for curative purposes. They are designed to help reduce the pain your feeling and minimize it in the long term with regular use. However, they will not cure chronic pain.
Q: When should I replace the sticky pads?A: That will highly depend on the model of the TENS unit you choose. After you have realized that they are not sticking or they are very dirty, you should dump them and buy new ones. That might be after 10 or even 2 uses. But if you are good at cleaning and revitalizing the sticky pads, you can use them for many days.
Q: How loud are TENS machines?A: TENS devices produce minimal noise but some have annoying information beeps and caution information.
Q: Are TENS units good for people with cancer?A: Yes, and they are an accepted way of dealing with cancer pain. However, you should be careful when using the unit and start with the lowest setting. Chemotherapy and cancer can make the nerve endings very sensitive, meaning that a high TENS setting will cause more pain instead of helping reduce or end it.
Q: Are the units heavy or light?A: TENS units are extremely light devices. Actually, their weight is comparable to that of your smartphone. However, a whole kit will consist of a charger and some other accessories that might increase the weight.
The above discussed are the top TENS Units of 2020 and the guidelines to help you select the best unit to match your needs. Because TENS units are electronic devices, read the manual that comes with them. That way, you will use them safely. In addition, remember to get your doctor’s permission before you use any TENS machine. We would recommend that you buy any of the above units. They are functional and individuals from all parts of the world use them. However, keep all the factors to consider in mind when making a purchase.