Best TENS Units – Tens units are perfect to improve your muscles’ flexibility and elasticity.
Did you know that using a TENS unit can reduce the amount of pain you’ll feel ?
In this article, we present you the best TENS unit for home use. After reading our TENS unit reviews and the detailed buying guide that we have made for you, you will be clear about what these units can do and how they can help you.
TENS therapy will not only reduce the pain in your muscles and joints but it can also provide you a pleasurable experience. This makes getting a massage easier after a tiring workday.
So, let’s take a look at the top 10 TENS machines of 2020.
Best TENS Unit Reviews (Updated List)
The iReliev TENS + EMS unit is a great device that features 14 different massage nodes which helps to stimulate your muscles and relieve the pain. The device is medical grade strength and it has 25 adjustable intensity settings that will help you to customize your massage experience.
One of the great things about this device is you can get a personalized massage session every time you want.
The 14 massage nodes and adjustable intensity settings and their speed has an ability to create unique experiences every time you use the device.
This TENS machine has a large, backlit display screen which makes it very easy to read and operate. Also, this device has a rechargeable battery which previous iReliev TENS models.
Product Special Features
- 8 TENS Programs For Pain Relief :
These 8 TENS programs are made to relieve acute and chronic pain and achieve pain relief. The TENS unit Electronic pulse massager also comes with a program specific for arthritis pain relief.
- 25 Intensity Levels:
iReliev unit Electronic pulse massager has 25 different intensity levels which provides enough variation from level to level to pinpoint just the right intensity for acute as well as chronic pain.
- Prescription Strength TENS Unit :
iReliev TENS electronic pulse massager is a prescription level TENS unit at an affordable price. The unit is designed such a way that everyone can be pain free without spending too much money.
- Portable, Affordable & Effective :
The reason why iReliev is better as it is portable, affordable and effective. It has 8 pre-set modes which makes it easier to use and navigate through features you want to use. It is perfect for therapy on the go with a belt clip and holster.
- Special Features :
You can auto lock your settings to avoid accidental change. The unit includes 3 non-rechargeable AAA batteries which give you 30 hours of battery life. Also, the large digital LCD display shows Program mode from P1-P8, power level battery life, 5-60 adjustable timer, intensity output by channel and auto lock settings feature.
Don’t get fooled by this small sized TENS unit. You can use this massager to stimulate your muscles and relieve pain in the back, ankles, joints, knees and many other areas where you need pain relief.
It has a personalization function which is very impressive as it lets you decide what mode you want to use. The different options are mentioned below
- Shiatsu Kneading
Additionally this unit has 16 intensity levels and you can choose the duration from 5, 10 or 15 minutes of massage sessions.
One thing you should know about is this unit has no screen lighting. Also, you won’t be able to save your settings in the unit but it shouldn’t be a big problem.
With this unit you will have four pads at disposal that you can distribute wherever you wish on your body. The unit fully compliant with all the FDA regulations and standards.
Product Special Features
- Pain Relief :
This advanced tens unit muscle stimulator sends out multiple preset electrical therapeutic waves through the electrodes. You can use it for the back, knee, shoulder, ankles, waist, etc. This unit proves to be very beneficial for people with back pain, arthritic or inflamed joints/muscles, shoulders and injuries of different body parts. It provides a great amount of relaxation and pain relief.
- Multi Function :
This muscle stimulator machine has 5 pre-programmed massage modes which includes Knocking, Acupuncture, Cupping, Tapping, Shiatsu-Kneading. It has a total 16 levels of strength which can be adjusted from increasing or decreasing steadily. Also, the adjustable timer helps the user to customize the length of the massage session.
- High Quality Pads :
This pulse massager consiste of pads which are made out of high quality gel and they can be reusable for 60-80 times if they are used properly. These 4 adhesive gel pads are easy to place around joints like knees, ankles, and wrists. You will also get a premium pad holder for easy and scientific storage.
- Portable & Versatile :
This TENS machine is 50% smaller and lighter than the traditional electric pulse massagers available in the market. It has a included belt clip that you can attach to your belt for relaxed and comfortable walking. The comprehensive LCD display shares helpful information about therapy sessions like treatment time, pulse speed and massage settings.
- Certified TENS Machine :
This massager comes with a safety certificate, so stop worrying. You don’t need to worry about taking medicines and having any side effects.
The Nursal Tens unit is a popular unit which has an aesthetically pleasing design that anyone will love. Apart from its attractive design, this model provides 16 massage nodes with 4 pairs of electrode pads.
One of the great things about this model is it comes with 8 electrode pads. Each of the electrode pad pairs come with different size and design where each one of them is suited for different tasks.
The large pair can massage a group of muscles in a short span of time. On the other hand, a small pair can target the muscles which are hard to reach.
Overall this is a good model with appealing design and comfortable massage experience.
Product Special Features
- Safe, Non-invasive and Non-medical Pain Relief :
The Nursal TENS unit muscle stimulator uses electronic pulses to stimulate muscles with the help of pre-programmed massage modes that provide pain relief and soothes tensed muscles.
People with pain in back, shoulders or injuries and disabilities can benefit from this TENS device.
- Built-in Rechargeable Lithium Battery :
The built-in battery of this unit provides 20 hours of continuous use. With this rechargeable battery you don’t have to worry about those dead AA batteries.
In case your battery level is critical its indicator will remind you when to stop or start charging.
- Pocket-sized and Dust-proof Pouch :
The TENS unit comes with a dust-proof pouch which is portable and convenient to take with you so you can enjoy the massage anytime, anywhere you want.
It is small enough to fit in your pocket but powerful enough to bring total body relaxation.
- 8 Strong Self-adhesive and Thicker Reusable Electrode Pass :
The Nursal electrode massager comes with 8 self-adhesive reusable conductive pads. The comprehensive adhesive layer on the pads make them easy to stick firmly onto the skin.
These different sized electrodes are perfect to be helpful for various body parts. Also, this EMS stimulator has a simultaneous dual output design which allows 6 pads to be applied to two different target areas at the same time.
- Limited Lifetime Warranty :
The Nursal TENS unit comes with a limited lifetime warranty and 1 year money-back or replacement guarantee.
The TENS 7000 unit is a small sized and compact model which has great portability. This unit comes with a plastic carrying case which makes it easy to transport, and it still manages to have a decent price.
This tens unit produces a very powerful massage session for users which is a great thing about this product. It has a dual output feature which allows you to use 4 electrode pads at the same time.
All of these electrodes use the same amount of power to stimulate your muscles.
Another cool thing about this massage unit is its lead wires which are very good.
The length of these wires will allow you to place the electrode pads on any part of your body while you are holding the device at your waist level.
Product Special Features
- Prescription Strength Pain Relief :
This TENS 7000 unit is a muscle stimulator and electric massager which provides pain relief and acts as shoulder or massage massager. It also provides carpal tunnel relief and helps in muscle recovery by acting as a muscle relaxer.
- Over 1M TENS 7000 Units Sold :
This is the favourite back pain relief device which is a leader in physical therapy equipment that provides long lasting, immediate and a drug-free muscle pain relief. It has helped 1 million people in treating their different body parts like neck pain, carpal tunnel relief, arthritis, shoulder, knee, elbow and bursitis.
- Immediate Pain Relief :
TENS device features multiple TENS therapy modes which provides instant pain relief. It is an electrotherapy machine with everything that is needed for TENS therapy. It is a class leader in electric massager for muscles. This device has knobs at the top to control the pulse amplitude or intensity level from 0-100mA in 10mA increments.
- Dual Channel TENS Unit :
The TENS 7000 unit is a muscle stimulator, nerve stimulator and an electric massager which has independent dual channels that controls 4 TENS unit pads for targeted pain relief.
The HealthmateForever is one of the most popular TENS units available in the market right now. And the reason is it has 4 outputs which will allow you to use up to 8 electrodes at once.
One of the best things about this TENS unit is that you can adjust the intensity for every pair of electrode pads separately.
And this will allow you to personalize your massage experience and shorten the amount of time you spent with this device.
This model provides a good mix of massage programs just as you need. Each of the programs are specifically designed for a certain part of your body. And they are very effective.
Product Special Features
- Most Powerful TENS & Muscle Stimulator :
YK15AB TENS unit is an All-time best seller TENs & muscle stimulator in the market.
It features specifically designed mode buttons which makes pain management quick and easy. It is simple to use, safe, non-invasive, all-natural and a drug free device for pain relief.
- Powerful Value :
This is one of the most powerful TENS & Muscle stimulators with 20 levels of adjustable intensity.
It allows users to have a personalized massage session just like they prefer. And the device provides long lasting pain relief.
- Mode Buttons :
HealthmateForever TENS unit device comes with easy to read and operate mode buttons. These are targeted for each body part to reduce all the muscle pain and tension.
- Frequency Adjustment :
It features adjustable speed which will allow you to decide the most comfortable pain relief massage session. This helps you to set the frequency as per your preference.
Belt Clip Equipped : With this unit you will get a built-in belt clip which ensures non-stop pain relief wherever you are.
If you want to know more about this unit, read FDA Cleared HealthmateForever YK15AB Review here.
The [email protected] TENS unit is a professional model that features a double output design. This double output feature will allow you to connect and use up to 4 electrode pads at the same time.
With help of this feature you can massage different muscle groups at the same time.
This TENS model offers total 8 massage modes out of which 5 are predefined and 3 will allow you to personalize your massage session.
Another thing about this device which we love is that the TENS machine allows you to extend every massage session for up to 120 minutes, and not for 60 minutes like most models.
This proves to be a great advantage for people who love long massage sessions.
Product Special Features
- Benefits From This TENS + EMS Unit :
This device is perfect for those who are suffering from muscle, chronic, nerve and even some acute pain in the muscles.
The TENS unit is a great drug-free and all natural device for pain and tension relief. The EMS modes are useful for those who want muscle toning and firmness. These modes help to stimulate muscles and improve muscle performance.
- Easy To Use :
The [email protected] is an easy to use TENS device with 20 intensity levels in each channel. The dual channels controlling 2 pads separately allows simultaneous use of 4 electrode pads application use.
You can select from 8 massage types and 16 TENS or EMS auto modes. It includes 4 pcs of High-quality electrode pads and the replacement pads are sold separately.
This is a 2 in 1 device which is fully automatic, you just need to choose one of the 16 modes and preferred intensity, and get a massage.
- Built-in Timer :
The device has a built in timer from 10 to 60 minutes and a default timer of 20 minutes. When the time is due, the device will shut off automatically. This saves a lot of effort and time for the users.
- Easy To Read :
The large Black-light LCD screen of this TENS + EMS device makes it easy to adjust massage mode, intensity and time control. The screen also has an auto-off function.
The Hidow TENS unit is one of the best models available in the market right now.
This unit offers a complex variety of bio-electrical signals that stimulates your muscles and provides a relaxing massage session.
One of the great things about this device is it has a double output design.
This unique design will allow you to use up to four electrode pads at the same time and this way you can massage different parts of the body at the same time.
Another advantage of this unit is that it uses 12 predefined massage combinations to stimulate different parts of your body.
Overall, Hidow is a good model with multiple benefits and features.
Product Special Features
- 12 Preprogrammed Massage Modes :
This Hidow TENS unit comes with 12 preprogrammed massage modes, 20 levels of strength which can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing steadily.
It is effective for back pain, arthritic or inflamed discs/joints, shoulder tension neck pain, and also helps to recover from injuries or disabilities.
- Dual Output Design :
The model has a dual output design, 4 pcs of self adhesive conductive reusable pads, replaceable self-adhesive conductive gel pads.
- AcuXP-D Unit :
This is one of the best-selling units by Hidow. It helps to ease sore muscles and relieve pain using Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology.
- Relieves Pain & Aches :
This is a pocket sized fighter which features two adjustable output channels and eight modes. It has a total 8 different massage modes that can soothe your tense muscles within a few minutes.
If you want to know more about this, read FDA Cleared Hidow Massager Review here.
The Hi-Dow AcuXP is the perfect TENS model for muscle recovery and pain relief. This model features a total 8 massage modes from which you can choose the one you desire.
Every mode has different benefits than others.
This unit is backed by a very good battery.
It is so good that it can last up to 50 hours of use or even more. The battery life also depends on the features you use.
Such a long lasting battery makes sure that you can use the device for weeks without having to charge it.
A very good thing about this device is it is very lightweight and compact in structure. Due to this you can easily take this unit anywhere you want.
Product Special Features
- Pain Relief & Muscle Performance Device :
Hi-Dow TENS / EMS unit is a pain relief and muscle performance device. It blocks pain signals from nerves, also helps in toning, firming and improving the strength of the gluteal muscles.
- Pocket Sized Fighter :
This device relieves pain and aches using pocket sized fighters which feature two adjustable output channels and eight modes. Also, its eight different massage modes will soothe your tense muscles.
- Deep Tissue Pain Relief Techniques :
The Hi-dow Tens device sends multiple preset electrical pulses waves through the electrodes. These waves stimulate the combination of deep tissue pain relief techniques and various muscle movements, relieving muscle tensions.
Want to know more about this massager ? Read Hi-Dow AcuXP Micro Physical Therapy Review here.
The AccuMed AP212 is a portable TENS unit featuring total 16 massage modes. Each of these modes have an ability to stimulate your muscles in a different way. Altering them is always beneficial to the users.
This model is capable of creating a very powerful massage session. Despite its slim appearance, this TENS unit is capable of producing quite a punch.
So, it is best if you could start using it with lowest intensity settings and increase them later as your body adjusts.
A very good TENS device which offers a nice value.
Product Special Features
- Versatile :
Tens unit features 16 auto-routines which are carefully designed for muscle stimulation and various therapeutic techniques like :
1) Massage : Soft squeeze and release,
2) Acupuncture : Short strong pulse with gradual fade,
3) Beat : Quick strong rhythmic pulse,
4) Combo : Includes scraping/guasha,
5) Sole : Short gradual increasing pulse,
6) Ear : Subtle sensitive pulse. This unit’s dual channel design allows for customizing intensity level up to 20.
- Easy To Use :
This is an easy to use device, just plug the electrode lines into the unit at one end and adhesive pads at other end then place the pads on the treatment area (Like shoulder, back, abs, knee) and power on the unit to select from available routine. The large display shows settings and time remaining which can be specified from 10 to 60 minutes.
- Natural :
The TENS unit is gentle, continuous that can be operated at your preferred intensity. The electrical pulse stimulation triggers the natural endorphin response to block and relieve pain while stimulating the tissue to regenerate without use of any drug.
- Portable :
AccuMed device is a compactly sized and lightweight which weighs less than a tenth of a pound. This portable tens unit includes both USB cable and AC adapter and it can be operated virtually anywhere.
- 1 Year USA Warranty :
Amcrest Direct is the authorized US distributor of AccuMed products. Every Tens unit is guaranteed by Amcrest direct 1 year USA warranty.
If you are looking for a TENS unit for pain relief as well as bodybuilding, muscle toning and firming then you must check out Healthmateforever.
This unit features 15 pre programmed operation modes which are displayed on the animated large backlit LCD display.
The modes are designed in a way to provide you massage-like sensations which will block the pain receptor and deliver a relaxing experience.
Also, this device comes with 20 levels of adjustable intensity so that users can adjust it by their preference. This allows us to use more than one electrode at the same time to stimulate nerves and muscles.
Both channels have the same power and you can adjust the intensity level separately.
Healthmateforever has an internal lithium battery which is rechargeable and can last up to 200 minutes before you need to recharge it again. PRO15AB is compatible with W19 but it does not come with this unit.
Product Special Features
- FDA Cleared TENS Unit :
This is a FDA cleared TENS unit and Two outputs PMS machine which has wireless access. It has a 3.75” LCD with backlit screen and pause button to stop this unit at any point. The TENS unit stimulates sensory nerves and muscles, activates specific natural pain gate mechanisms and relaxes your body to relieve the pain.
- 15 Modes & 20 Intensity Levels :
This healthmateforever has 15 pre programmed modes which includes Tuina, Acupuncture, Tapping, Guasha, Cupping, Shiatus, Pressure, back pain 1, Deep tissue massage, Body building, Body building 2, Foot modes, Joint modes, Back pain 2 and combinations. It has a T button to set the adjustable timer from 10-80 minutes which makes it ideal for treating any muscle groups effectively.
- FDA 510K Cleared Leading Tens Pads & Independent A/B Channels :
The TENS unit includes various sizes of medical-grade reusable electrodes. These pads are non-irritating, self-stick, pre-gelled and latex free which provides perfect self-stick performance.
Two individual outputs of this unit allows you to massage multiple body parts or two different individuals simultaneously while using different modes with different intensities.
- Easy To Carry :
The device is compact sized which is easy to carry with enough battery that can last up to 20 hours of continuous use with a 10-80 minutes timer.
Comes with a pocket sized and dust-proof storage pouch that allows you to use the TENS unit anywhere you want.
- Kit Includes & Warranty :
The Healthmateforever kit includes 1 x Dual channel TENS machine, 4 x 3”*1.75” Hands Electrode Pads, 2 x 2 in 1 Lead Wire Cables, 1 x USB cable, 1 x USB charger, 1 x User Manual, 1 x Pad Holder. It comes with a 3-month warranty with local U.S. based customer service is guaranteed.
What Is A TENS Unit?
TENS is an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. TENS units are specifically made to alleviate nerve related acute and chronic pain relief.
This treatment is done by the unit by sending electrical impulses through the nerve strands.
This stimulation of nerves helps in two ways.
First, the stimulation stops the pain from reaching your brain. And second, the stimulation will promote your body to produce more number of endorphins which acts as natural painkillers.
What Is An EMS Device?
So, let’s look at the EMS device now. It is an acronym for Electrical Muscle Stimulation. The main aim of EMS devices is to stimulate your muscles to prevent muscle atrophy.
When your muscles remain unused for a long time, they become loose and weak. Especially after injuries or surgeries.
The EMS devices send electrical impulses into your muscles to avoid muscle atrophy. When muscles are stimulated they receive more blood and nutrients than usual.
And as a result this will increase muscle strength, muscle flexibility and reduce the muscle pain.
A Complete Buying Guide For Best Portable TENS Units
Finding the right TENS unit is never an easy job to do. There are a variety of models available in the market, and every product performs differently.
Don’t worry ! We are here to make your job easier than ever. This detailed buying guide will help you pick the right TENS unit for your needs.
After going through this guide you will be able to make the perfect decision on which model suits and fulfils your needs.
Features To Look For When Buying The Best Portable TENS Unit
You must have gone through our TENS unit reviews above, all the devices use different features to customize your massage experience.
In this section, we explain to you how each feature of the massager affects the unit’s performance and eventually how it can improve your massage experience.
1. Programs And Modes
Every TENS unit features different modes and programs that you can choose from and use.
Some of the models only offer predefined massage programs, while others can offer you the ability of creating your own massage program using a combination of existent features of the unit.
Some TENS units have predefined massage modes and programs for every part of your body.
In such products you don’t need to pick a certain type of program, you only have to instruct the device about the part of your body which needs to be massaged.
Then the unit will use a program specially designed to stimulate that part of your body.
We suggest you go for models that offer multiple massage modes and programs. This will ensure that you will end up with a product that will have a program which you will enjoy.
A TENS unit with multiple channels or outputs is the real advantage. This channel or output is used to send electrical impulses through the 2 electrode pads.
Every electrode pads pair needs its own channel, so having multiple channels or outputs will allow you to use more electrode pairs simultaneously.
One of the great advantages about multiple channels is they can target multiple muscle groups at the same time. This will save a lot of time while using the TENS but you will still get all the benefits from massaging different parts of your body.
Another advantage of this unit is that it comes with multiple outputs so that you can use multiple electrodes at the same time.
This will allow you to target specific muscle groups from different angles and this way chances relieving the muscle pain will also increase.
So, having more channels or outputs is always better.
3. Intensity Levels
One of the most helpful features of the TENS unit is that they come with multiple intensity levels. If you are looking for a personalized massage experience then having more intensity levels to pick from is always recommended.
Sometimes when you want to get the benefit from a relaxing massage, you can set the TENS unit on the low intensity level. And when you want to get a reinvigorating massage then you can set the unit at a higher intensity level.
Due to these adjustable intensity levels anyone at your household will be able to use this device. Every person has his or her own sensitivity and preferences, that’s why having multiple intensities to choose from helps a lot.
However, you should not be just looking at the number of intensity levels available in a unit. There are some manufacturers who include multiple intensity levels in their models which are no different than each other.
This can be very frustrating and confusing as you won’t be able to adjust the intensity level as you think.
Most of the TENS unit comes with the Timer feature which is very important. This setting is included by the manufacturers as a safety measure, but it can also be used for the treatment.
This timer function of the TENS unit ensures that you won;t be using the unit for too long if you forget to turn it off after the use. This helps to preserve the unit’s battery life as well as the life of electrode pads.
Using the Timer function will let you know how much time you have spent on the device.
The reason why this is important is because using the TENS unit for too long can be uncomfortable and can result in bruising if you have no prior experience with these.
Also, using the unit for too short can have no impact on your muscles at all. So, the timer helps you to determine if you have spent enough time stimulating your muscles to get the actual benefits from the unit.
Most TENS units also have the EMS feature. These units already produce electrical stimulation of your nerves so the manufacturers have implemented the EMS feature to stimulate nerves in your muscles as well.
Some models come with a specific EMS feature, while others provide EMS massage instead TENS when you increase the unit’s intensity setting.
So, having a TENS unit which can also act as an EMS unit is definitely a big advantage. This will help you to relieve the acute and chronic pain better than a simple TENS unit.
The LCD screen of the TENS unit will allow you to monitor all the settings and modes that are activated at any given time, and it also allows you to keep track of every change you make.
The screen of the unit should not be the primary concern while buying a TENS unit, but as you are spending money for it you must get the one which is easy to use.
TENS units with large screens are important for people who want to use them while doing other tasks. This large screen will help you to track the settings easily.
If you are someone who wants to use the unit while you are commuting to your work or when you are actually working, having a large screen proves to be a great feature.
You won’t need to squint your eyes to see all the settings you are using, and you can adjust them with ease.
Also, having a backlit screen is more beneficial than one which doesn’t have a backlight. This will allow you to use the unit even in low light conditions.
The battery type and battery lifespan are very important for every TENS unit. Yes, using a unit with a long lifespan is beneficial but battery type is also important.
Some manufacturers include built-in rechargeable batteries in their TENS units. One of advantages of using a rechargeable battery is it has low operating cost.
In such units when the battery runs out you can connect the TENS machine to a wall outlet or USB compatible device to charge it again.
Other manufacturers use two or three AA or AAA batteries to power their TENS units.
This is an inexpensive solution to not having a rechargeable battery for the unit. Beacuse AA or AAA batteries are easy to find and are cheap too. We suggest you buy them in bulk to save money.
And a small number of manufacturers use the 9V batteries for their TENS units.
The 9V battery lasts longer than AA or AAA batteries, but using a model that comes with such a battery is difficult. These 9V batteries are very hard to find and they are expensive too.
Also, the 9V batteries won’t work with your other gadgets and devices like AA or AAA batteries. So, you shouldn’t buy them in bulk.
The most important accessories of the TENS unit are the electrode pads and lead wires. They influence your massage experience as below.
- Lead Wires :
The lead wires connect the electrode pads to the TENS unit. A lead wire goes into the output and it allows electric current to form the unit to the pair of electrode pads. The design an
d length of the lead wire is important. TENS with long lead wires are beneficial as you can apply the electrode pads anywhere on your body while holding it at your waist level.
The design of the lead wire is equally important as they connect two electrode pads at the same time. A lead wire is said to be a bad design if it is long but it offers a small distance between two electrode pads.
In such a case you’ll have to place the pads closer to each other and that can be very uncomfortable.
If you desire for a good massage experience, the lead wire of your unit should be long and it should allow you to place the electrode pads at a considerable distance from each other.
- Electrode Pads :
The electrode pads are the active components of a TENS unit. These pads use an adhesive surface and stick to your skin and conduct the electricity to the nerve bundles underneath it.
Every pad has a different design and they are suitable for certain tasks.
- Large Pads :
If you are naturally an impatient person you should go for large pads. These pads will help you to massage a large group of muscles such as back, legs or chest muscles in a short time.
A model which comes with large pads is the Best TENS unit for back pain. But these pads are not that good at targeting aching muscles or muscle knots as they cover a large area at once.
- Medium Pads :
The medium pads are the most popular amongst all. These pads give you the possibility of massaging a decent-sized area of your body at once, and they can be used to target the most painful areas successfully.
- Small Pads :
If you suffer from muscle knots or muscle or joint pain then you must go for a TENS unit with small electrode pads.
These pads don’t cover a large area at once, so it takes a long time to massage your whole body using them.
However, with these pads you will be able target specific muscles and parts of your body that are hard to reach using other pad designs.
The electrode pads are reusable but all come with different amounts of lifespan. Some models can be reused for hundreds of applications, while others can only be used for dozens.
The manufacturers mostly create their TENS units in such a way that they’ll be compatible with the electrode pads created by the same manufacturer.
But, there are some generic designs which are compatible with most TENS units. So, if you are not satisfied with the pads your unit comes with, you can check for them online.
9. Size & Portability
Different TENS units come in different sizes and shapes. The shape and size of a TENS unit influences how easily you can use it, so it is important to find the model that will give you a comfortable massage experience.
If you want to use the device while you’re away from your home then you must look for models with good portability.
Some models come with the same size as a smartphone which fits comfortably in your pocket. While other models are quite larger than a mobile phone, so you’ll have to carry them in a purse or a backpack.
To increase the portability of a TENS unit some manufacturers include belt attachments for their models. With this belt you can carry your device at your waist, and it can be more convenient than carrying it in a pocket.
Some manufacturers also include plastic cases to increase their portability. These cases are made out of hard plastic. The interior of this case is cut out to fit the TENS machine and all its accessories.
But, as the TENS units are usually small in size and lead wires and electrode pads weigh very little, the portability of the unit increases. You can easily put the device in the plastic case and carry it in a pocket.
10. Ease Of Use
The ease of TENS unit is influenced by various factors which includes features and methods mentioned in this article.
So, let’s see how each of these features determine the ease of use for a TENS unit.
- Modes And Programs :
Predefined modes of a TENS unit are always beneficial; it allows you to access the unit’s features with ease when you are in a hurry or while you are busy doing some other task.
Though, having an option for having a personalized massage is always better. Because you will be able to select the modes and programs that you want instead of having the ones that are part of the predefined modes.
- Channels :
TENS machines with more channels are always beneficial than having less. Due to this you can use multiple electrode pads at the same time and it enhances your massage experience.
- Intensity :
TENS units featuring more intensity settings are more pleasant and easy to use. Combination of different programs with different intensity settings will allow you to have a personalized massage experience every time you use this device.
- Timer :
TENS units with highly adjustable timers are always preferred than the ones which don’t. Some of these units allow you to set the timer between 5-240 minutes in 5-minute increments.
- EMS :
As you’re going to spend money on buying a TENS unit, you must get one with the EMS feature. This feature will allow you to stimulate your muscles and increase endurance and flexibility.
- Screen :
TENS units with large screens are very useful. When you use a unit that has a large screen, you can have a clear idea of the programs and intensity settings that are activated while in use. Also, it becomes easier to adjust the settings.
- Battery :
The rechargeable batteries in the TENS units are very easy to use. They can be recharged anytime you want and they come in low operating costs.
The models with AA & AAA batteries are also easy to use, especially if changing the batteries is not complicated. But the models with 9V batteries are more difficult to use.
- Lead Wire :
TENS models that are with long lead wire are easier to use. With these long wires you can place the pads anywhere on your body by keeping the unt at your waist level.
- Electrode Pads :
The electrode pads with different designs should be preferred while buying a TENS unit. And even if your unit has electrode pads with the same design, it is good to have the one with more number of pads.
- Size :
You might assume that smaller TENS units are better than the rest, but it is not always true. In reality, the design of a unit decides how easily it can be used.
Because if you get a device which is small but it comes with a small screen and buttons, it will be difficult to use that device. You should go for the medium sized device which has a large screen and large buttons.
All of the factors mentioned above influence the way you’ll use the TENS unit. You should adapt them to your needs and requirements.
If you want a unit that you can take at work, you should get a highly portable device. If you want a unit that can be used by your family members, then get a one with more electrode pads and programs.
Always buy the TENS unit which comes with a warranty. Because you invest your money so you must be able to use it for a long time, even if it comes at a cheap rate.
A good & long warranty period shows the manufacturer’s trust in the product. Some of the manufacturers are so sure about their TENS units that they offer lifetime warranty.
While some models don’t come with any warranty at all. They only provide a 30-day refund guarantee. Buying such types of products is risky as noticing major defects in a product is impossible within 30 days of use.
These units might stop working after this period.
How Does A TENS Unit Work?
These devices seem small in size but they work in complex ways to relieve your pain. These units produce electrical current that goes through your muscles and stimulates specific nerves in your muscles.
This is said to be a non-invasive safe way to treat the pain, and it can offer many benefits to the users.
To better understand the working of these units you must learn about the Gate Control theory. According to this theory, our spinal cords have a neural mechanism which acts as a gate.
This gate closes and opens when it receives signals from the brain. Some of these signals determine the gate to close, some determine it to open and others determine to close partially.
So, with this theory, the electrical signals produced by the TENS unit interfere with the signals which determines the sensation of pain in your brain.
Here the gate reacts to the signals produced by the TENS unit instead of signals produced by your spinal cord. This way your brain won’t register the pain even when pain signals are being produced.
The Endorphin release theory states that the electrical impulses produced by the TENS unit will stimulate the production of endorphins in your body.
Some of these endorphins act as the natural painkillers so they will block the pain signals from reaching your brain. This theory suggests that the endorphins created by your body are like prescription drugs.
How To Use A TENS Unit
TENS units are medical devices, so you should always ensure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow the guidelines before using a device.
Every device has its own set of instructions, here are few general rules you need follow when using a TENS unit.
- Place the electrode pads on the painful areas of your body.
- Use the lowest intensity setting when you start the TENS unit.
- Increase the intensity gradually.
- Avoid placing the electrode pads on areas like sinus nerves, temples, throat and mouth.
- You should never place the electrode pads on your heart, also never place them on swollen or inflamed areas.
- If you want to extend electrode pads’ lifespan. Avoid touching gel on their surface.
- Pour a few drops of water on the adhesive side of the pads before attaching them to your skin.
- Always charge your device’s built in battery for 8-10 hours before you start using it.
- Never use the TENS unit when your battery level is very low. Recharge or change when the battery is low.
- Make sure your skin is cleaned before attaching the electrode pads.
- Always put the protective films on the pads’ adhesive surface before placing them back in the pad holders.
- Remove the lead wires of the unit and place them in a box when they are not in use.
- Make sure you store the TENS unit in a cool and dry place.
What To Expect With TENS Therapy
TENS therapy can be used to alleviate and treat pain in different parts of the body. One of the main aims of using a TENS unit is to reduce the amount of pain, it is highly recommended for people with muscle and joint pain.
When this therapy is combined with EMS, it can be beneficial for people who suffer with frequent muscle knots.
TENS massages are not rough and still very effective. The EMS therapy targets the muscle while TENS targets the nerve bundles. You will experience a tingling sensation, but you shouldn’t expect a strong massage experience if the unit doesn’t have the EMS feature.
What Is TENS Beneficial For?
TENS units are beneficial for many medical conditions which includes :
- Sciatica :
Sciatica is a nerve related medical condition. You can use TENS therapy to treat the sciatica pain. This therapy can give surprising results to such patients and dramatically relieves their pain.
- Menstrual Cramps :
Some women suffer from disease like dysmenorrhea or painful menstrual cramps.
The primary dysmenorrhea lasts up to 72 hours, and it is very painful in the first two days of menstruation. Don’t worry, TENS therapy can help you to treat the menstrual cramps. TENS therapy acts as a replacement for the painkillers.
- Plantar Fasciitis :
By attaching the electrode pads to your feet, you can reduce the pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
The electrical signals produced by the unit will determine your muscles to contract and relax. Also they will interrupt the brain signals so your brain won’t register the pain.
- Tendonitis :
People can develop a tendon injury in every tendon of their body, but the one that affects musculotendinous junction is more likely to produce.
The TENS unit can relieve the pain caused by TEndonitis. Electric pulses of the unit will block the pain signals from reaching your brain.
Best TENS Units Comparison Chart:
|FDA Cleared Hidow TENS Unit Massager||$$$$$||9||0.95 lbs||4||Built-in Lithium||TENS, EMS|
|Hi-Dow AcuXP Micro Physical Therapy Tens Unit||$$$$||8||0.62 lbs||4||Built-in Lithium||TENS, EMS|
|iReliev TENS and EMS Combination Unit Muscle Stimulator||$$$||14||0.7 lbs||6||AA, 3 batteries||TENS, EMS|
|[email protected] Professional Grade TENS Unit||$||16||14.4 ounces||4||Rechargeable batteries||TENS, EMS|
|AccuMed AP212 Portable TENS Unit||$$$||16||0.9 lbs||4||Built-in Lithium||TENS, EMS|
|NURSAL Rechargeable Tens Unit||$$||16||0.8 lbs||8||Built-in Lithium||TENS, EMS|
|Balego Tens 7000||$||5||0.9 lbs||4||9V Battery||TENS|
|FDA Cleared HealthmateForever YK15AB TENS Unit||$||15||0.9 lbs||8||AAA, 3 Batteries||TENS, EMS|
Is TENS Safe While Pregnant?
If you are a pregnant woman, you should avoid the TENS unit. Pregnant women are not exposed to any danger with this electrotherapy, but electrical impulses can affect unborn child.
So, if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant then you must consult your medical practitioner before using a TENS unit. You should not place the electrode pads directly over your uterus, and you should also avoid using this device during the first and second trimester of your pregnancy.
We are pretty sure that after reading our detailed guide and the TENS unit reviews by us, you will be able to make the right decision on choosing the perfect model for you.
Please remember that there is a difference between the best TENS unit for home use and the most expensive model. You should always consider your own needs and expectations from the unit you are going to buy and use.
Also, make sure that you always start the unit with the lowest intensity setting and gradually increase it as you feel comfortable. Avoid placing electrode pads on sensitive areas of your body and don’t use it for too long at once.