Thinking about a foot massager? We bought 9 of the best foot massagers on the market and tested them side-by-side to help you select the right product for your needs and budget. We spent hours researching the most popular options out there before choosing and purchasing those that exhibited all-star potential for testing. Our testing evaluated performance qualities such as fit, comfort, adjustability, massage type, controls, heating, massage coverage, and more. In the end, we created a comprehensive review for our readers. So, give your feet some much-needed TLC; slide off your shoes, kick back, and relax with a foot rub because we've done all the research and testing for you.
Great air pressure on the sides and tops of your feet
REASONS TO AVOID
Only accommodates up to a men's size 12
The Etekcity is our favorite overall foot massager with the most comfortable overall massage. Some of our hard-core, foot-abusing, outdoor-type testers preferred something with more intensity, but the rest of us mere mortals thought it was perfect. With three different modes and three different intensity levels — plus heat — one can certainly find a massage that suits your tastes. It also has a very clearly lit function diagram showing you exactly what your choices are with buttons for the timer, heat, intensity, mode, and on/off. There are no confusing colors or diagrams to follow; it's all really straight-forward. The time is automatically set to either 15, 20, or 25 minutes, and the digital display is nice and big in the function area across the top of the unit. You can even download an app for your smartphone that will do everything you need so you don't even need to look down at the machine. You can just lean back and enjoy.
But it's not all sunshine with the Etekcity foot massager. It is not as intense a massage as some of the other models we tested, plus the manufacturer states that the foot size limit is up to a men's size 12. However, our size 12 and 13 gentlemen were able to get their entire feet in for a good massage. Of course, people will smaller feet have the luxury of being able to move their feet around a bit, but everyone can experience a very good foot massage at a very good price. If you and your family are the hard-core, foot-abusing, outdoor-types looking for a very deep and intense foot massage that would make other people cringe, you may want to consider the Cloud Massage model, but the Etekcity hits the mark for most people.
The economic Nekteck Shiatsu Machine has the look of a hot rod, which is appropriate since it has plenty of muscle and emits heat while tuning up your feet. It has a digital push-button interface that is streamlined, too, with intuitive massage settings that are easy to operate. This unit is foot-focused, meaning it won't work on ankles or calves like some other models we tested. However, it hits the whole foot with three speeds, three adjustable air pressure settings, three levels of heat, and kneading shiatsu rollers for the sole.
While there is plenty to praise the Nekteck Foot Massager for, it isn't without some downsides. For one, the unit is pretty aggressive, particularly on the heel portion of the foot. This is largely due to the downward pressure that the airbags put on the foot to keep it in contact with the rollers below. We did discover, though, that if you sit further back and do not lean forward on your feet, it is far more comfortable and produces that ahhhhhh feeling. If you have sensitive feet, you may want to look at something else as this might not be the machine for you. Despite these limitations, we think that this massager is a bargain, especially for those who are seeking a robust massage.
Heat: Yes | Massage Speeds: 1, but can change direction
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Only one set of massage rollers
The Snailax 2-in-1 Shiatsu is a versatile Shiatsu kneading machine with a foot garage that cocoons the user's feet in a plush synthetic cloth while being warmed and kneaded. Additionally, you can remove the cover and use the heated kneading balls on almost any part of the body. If you have bigger feet, take note — this machine is roomy and can accommodate up to men's size 14 feet. The massage balls operate in a smooth, circular rotation, delivering a solid massage without overdoing it. Additionally, the grippy underside of the unit helps to secure it in place while you relax into the warmth and comfort of your foot therapy routine.
Conversely, the Snailax 2-in-1 only addresses the soles of the feet. Unlike other models we tested, this machine has no air pressure. Additionally, the balls that perform the kneading action only cover a portion of the foot, requiring one to move their feet around to work the entire sole. Moreover, the speed of the massage is fixed. On the upside, the direction of rotation is adjustable, and the overall compact size of the unit means that it's easy to store.
The Cloud Massage Shiatsu Machine is a versatile and effective foot and lower leg massaging machine. This customizable unit accommodates most feet and can deliver heat and a variety of massage types, including kneading Shiatsu, air pressure, and vibration. The adjustable bar allows you to fit this machine to a chair, bed, or angle it for the calves. This massager also has an oscillating airbag feature that moves one foot and then the other laterally across the rollers. This unique massaging method is great for addressing overstimulation when the user's feet are being kneaded.
While the Cloud Massager will likely have you feeling like you're on cloud nine once it's up and running, we found that the user interface leaves something to be desired. First off, the only indicators for the settings are different colored flashing lights, meaning you'll need to have a good memory or keep the user's manual handy for reference. Moreover, it was too aggressive for many of our testers, even at the lowest settings, and some couldn't even leave their feet in to complete the massage time. There are no speed settings to dial in the experience, and at 24 pounds and 20 inches long, it is heavy and large, especially for a small apartment. Still, this machine offers an all-around high-quality massage, especially for those looking to up the intensity.
Heat: No | Massage Speeds: 1 Speed with adjustable air pressure
REASONS TO BUY
Massages entire lower leg
Easy to set
REASONS TO AVOID
Can't adjust speed
The Fit King Leg Air Massager are a pair of wrap-up boots that massage the calf and foot with air bladders. Whereas other models require the user to be in a seated position or lying down, this product allows users to sit in any position, allowing you to enjoy a full lower-leg kneading sensation delivered wherever you are the most comfortable. Additionally, the unit is remote-controlled with two massage types (rolling and uniform pressure).
Unfortunately, this unit favors smaller to mid-sized feet — our men's size 11 tester found his feet protruded slightly out of the wrap. Additionally, the speed of the rolling massage is not adjustable, so you're stuck playing with pressure instead. Potential purchasers of this product should also be advised that this machine delivers a fairly slow and somewhat subtle messaging action. That said, it proved to be quite nice, although it took us a while to warm up to it. Nonetheless, for those on a budget, this unique option won't disappoint.
The TheraFlow Dual Roller is a compact wood roller with two knob types (low and high profile) that stimulate the soles of the feet. This unit lacks remote controls, power cords, and dials. As such, the unit is simple and easy to operate, virtually maintenance-free, and easy to store. Cleaning the TheraFlow is a breeze, too. Just wipe it down with a gentle cleaning agent.
The main knock against the TheraFlow is that it requires input from the user — feet are massaged by pushing them back and forth across the knobby roller bars. There are ten independently rotating roller bars, five for each foot. Four on each side of the unit are uniform low-profile knobs, while the remaining roller offers raised, offset knobs that provide a bit more of an intense experience when your feet are in need of some stronger stimulation. This level of simplicity may not be what everyone is looking for in a foot massager. However, this basic unit will always be ready to roll. And, in comparison to the price of other models in the class, the TheraFlow provides some low-cost retail therapy as well.
Why You Should Trust Us
Using their personal experiences and appreciation for a quality foot rub, our testing team devised a set of assessments and evaluations that allowed them to make direct comparisons between the different classes of massager models. Each product was thoroughly tested by several users of different ages, sizes, foot types, and massage preferences, and no detail went unscrutinized. Despite the somewhat subjective nature of evaluating a massage, this team labored to be objective in their descriptions of the type — and range — of massages that each unit delivers to the user.
Our foot massager testing and ranking is divided into four rating metrics:
-Comfort (35% of overall score weighting)
-Ease of Use and Adjustability (30% weighting)
-Foot Coverage (20% weighting)
-Sizing (15% weighting)
Senior research analyst Austin Palmer is a seasoned electronics tester who is always on his feet — both at home with his toddlers and in the lab running tests. When his dogs are barking, he knows what they need. Likewise, Senior Review Editor Nick Miley is no stranger to sore feet as his plantar fasciitis flares up on long bike rides, ski days, and hikes. Over the years, he has experimented with several different treatments and massage styles. Finally, tester and author Ruth Bruckbauer is a mother of five adult children, four grandchildren, and four "grand-doggers." Plagued with lifelong foot problems, Ruth has had a complete foot reconstruction done and still consistently hits 8,000-10,000 steps on her FitBit each day. Plus the stairs. She was thrilled to be given this assignment and knows a thing or two about foot comfort.
Analysis and Test Results
The following is a deep dive into the metrics (or categories of analysis) used to evaluate each foot massage model in our review. Specifically, we looked at comfort, sizing, adjustability, and coverage/massage area of each machine. Below are the the specifics of each metric and an outline of which models performed well in the individual metrics and why.
Value is always a subjective matter since what one person thinks constitutes a good value, another may not. Still, a few units stand out for their solid performance at a reasonable price. One of those is the Etekcity Foot Massager, which is our overall top-ranked model. It comes with three modes of massage, three intensities, heat (who doesn't want warm feet?), and three speeds. Plus it's small and light enough to carry around if wanted, and comes at a reasonable price. Coming in just behind the Etekcity in overall scoring, but costing just a bit less is the Nekteck Shiatsu Machine. The Nekteck gives you a solid massage with the ability to select your heat level, intensity level, and speed. Finally, the Snailax 2-in-1 Shiatsu has a removable cover that allows the unit to convert to a back massager. The added versatility and low price make this a great bargain.
While comfort is admittedly another subjective analysis of how one's feet feel when in one massager or another, we made concerted efforts to take a broad view of how diverse users would feel when using one of the models under our review.
Models like the Etekcity, the Snailax 2-in-1, and the Fit King stand out because they do not bind the foot, nor do they significantly restrict the position or posture of the person using these units. We assume that when one is receiving a foot massage, they do not want to sit at attention but would rather like to slump into a cozy position. Additionally, these models will accommodate both small and large feet (more on that in the sizing metric discussion).
Aside from foot size and position, another factor that we consider when assessing for comfort is how the foot is held in position. Many models compress the top of the foot and heel with airbags, which can be uncomfortable or even painful. Those models that are the most comfortable either wrap the lower leg and foot like the Fit King or leave the foot unencumbered like the Cloud, the TheraFlow, and Snailax 2-n-1. These last two models are unique in that they allow the user to control the pressure of the massage by the pressure the user places on the massage surface.
Ease of Use and Adjustability
In this metric, we took stock of the user's ability to see the selections, and adjust both the speed and pressure of the kneading, as well as the length of the massage. We also looked at massage type and heat options, and the size and bulk of the unit.
Surprisingly, few models allow for both speed and air pressure to be adjusted independently. The models that do are the Etekcity, the Nekteck, and the Renpho. All of these models offer three settings for massage speeds and three settings for downward pressure, while the Nekteck also offer three settings for heat.
As part of this metric, the testers also looked at the size and weight of the machines themselves, and took into consideration how they could be carried and stored. While the Etekcity and the Nekteck are both smaller and weigh under 15 pounds, the Best Products and Cloud are both much larger and heavier. The Best Products measures a whopping 22 inches long, while the Cloud is simlarly sized and weighs nearly 22 pounds. That might not seem like such a big deal, but if you live in a small house or apartment without much storage space, the sizes and weights become much more important.
The coverage metric assesses the areas of the lower leg that each machine massages. This assessment assumes that one's foot fits properly into the model (see the sizing metric for details). The Fit King offers the most comprehensive coverage by hitting the entire foot — top, bottom, and sides — as well as the ankle and calf. Next up in coverage are the Etekcity and the Cloud, which hits the tops, sides, and some of the ankle area. The Nekteck and Renpho offer top, side, partial heel coverage.
The Miko is a bit more limited than the previously discussed models. This machine works the whole sole plus the tops and the sides but ends the massage about midsole on a size 11 foot. The Best Choice Products machine doesn't get the entire top of the foot or the heel but gets most of the sides. The TheraFlow and Snailax contenders are the most limited in their coverage, addressing the muscles in the sole of the foot exclusively.
Sizing and comfort have a lot in common, especially if you have large feet. We looked at the fitting of each model under our review. There are several models that can accommodate feet as large as 14+. These are the Best Choice Products, the Cloud, the Fit King, the Snailax 2-in-1, and theTheraFlow. These models will also accommodate a wide variety of ankle and calves. However, it should be noted that the Fit King, the Cloud, and the Best Choice Products will limit the massage coverage for larger feet as the toe or heel will extend beyond the massage surface. However, feet are narrower than calves, so keep that in mind if you are looking for a machine that will massage both feet and calves.
Users with feet size 12 or smaller will find the Etekcity, the Miko, the Nekteck, and the Renpho to be plenty big. These models are what we dubbed "foot garages" and will massage the whole bottom of the foot so long as the foot fits into the unit.
Our foot massager review intends to provide our readers with a comprehensive look at what makes a quality product and delivers a satisfying massage experience. Specifically, we addressed four categories that collectively cover all aspects of these machines. These are comfort, sizing, adjustability of the massage, and massage coverage or massage area. If you are in the market for a little slice of foot massage heaven, the above article will provide you with direct apples-to-apples comparisons of the market's leading products. Enjoy.
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.