Best EMS and Tens Machines For 2019 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]

Best EMS and Tens Machines

An EMS machine is a great tool and can be used in both a rehabilitation tool and a parallel training device.

TENS and EMS are under-utilised resources in treatment and rehabilitation of common injuries.

Those who suffer from chronic muscle or nerve pain can benefit greatly from EMS and TENS machines. These machines are powerful and risk-free muscle stimulators.

An EMS unit is used to stimulate muscles either as part of a training programme or part of rehabilitation.

An EMS unit has an array of electrical pulse shapes, frequencies and intensities to apply precisely the correct stimulation to the muscle being worked.

We started using Compex EMS units way back in 2004 and we firmly believe in their effectiveness for both performance improvement and rehabilitation following injury and muscle atrophy.

EMS (electric muscle stimulation) and TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) machines are different but effective electrostimulation devices, and the question of how to choose the best EMS and TENS machineslingers.

This write-up reviews some of the best models currently available and includesa Buyer’s Guide to help you make an informed decision.

​EMS and Tens Machines ​Comparison Chart

IMAGEPRODUCT
EDITOR'S CHOICE 1. iReliev TENS + EMS Combination Machine
  • Very large display
  • 30 intensity levels
  • Battery lasts up to 95 minutes
  • Budget-friendly TENS unit
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RUNNER UP 2. Roscoe TENS 7000 2nd Edition
  • Can be adjusted in a variety of ways
  • On-screen battery life indicator
  • Intuitive controls and detailed guide
  • Dual channel pad support
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3. HealthmateForever T12AB
  • Touchscreen display
  • 40 programs for different types of pain
  • Can work two areas simultaneously at different settings
  • Lifetime warranty
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4. Omron Heat Pain Pro PM311
  • 6 pre-configured pain modes
  • 20current intensity levels
  • Built-in rechargeable battery with adapter
  • High-quality electrode pads and gel
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5. Zewa SpaBuddy Sport
  • Very large display
  • 30 intensity levels
  • Battery lasts up to 95 minutes
  • Budget-friendly TENS unit
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6. HealthmateForever HM8ML
  • One of the best displays on the market
  • 20 intensity levels
  • Rechargeable battery and charger included
  • Budget-friendly TENS unit
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7. Easy@Home Rechargeable TENS Unit + EMS
  • 2-in-1 device
  • 2 channels
  • Backlit LED display
  • Rechargeable
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Our EMS and Tens Machine Reviews

1. iReliev TENS + EMS Combination Machine

The iReliev is an excellent 2-in-1 solution that combines the benefits of both therapies. It is one of the best devices to get if one is looking for a drug-free therapy for muscle and joint pain.

This EMS and TENS machine comes with a rather large display. It shows the active channels, current treatment mode, battery life, and treatment duration.

This one doesn’t feature any health-hazard alarms or alerts, but it is FDA approved. There is a high number of treatment modes - 14 presets to cover a wide array of conditions.

This machine also excels in terms of battery life. It is rated at 15 hours of therapy between battery changes,which is more than enough for an effective treatment.

The iReliev EMS and TENS machine is among the most durable. It is made of ABS plastic and comes with its own protective tote bag. The device is also easy to secure.

The package features a belt clip to safely keep the unit by your side while in use. This also allows you to stay active while receiving therapy. And at 5 x 2 x 7 inch, the machine is quite compact.

Since the device is designed to increase blood flow, it may work great for people with low circulation. And the pads are primarily designed to work on joints, upper and lower back, abs, legs, etc.

In addition, the iReliev comes with a 2-year warranty and a 45-day return policy in case you are not happy with the unit.

  • Readability: Yes
  • Alarms/Alerts: No
  • Sensors: No
  • Battery life: 15 hours
  • History lookup: No
  • Durability: Yes
  • Mobility: Yes
  • Accuracy on low circulation and dark skin tones: Yes
  • Finger sizes it works on:All
  • Warranty: 2years
  • Lead-free, RoHS-compliant:Yes
  • Power: 3x AAA batteries
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO
  • 3 AAA batteries (included)
  • 15-hour battery life
  • 25 intensity levels
  • Dual channel technology
  • 14 preset modes
  • 12 different electrode pads

2. Roscoe TENS 7000 2nd Edition

As the name suggests, this is the second edition of the Roscoe Medical TENS 7000 which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018. It is also a clinically-proven TENS machine that is now available over-the-counter.

Compared to some other devices, the TENS 7000 features a somewhat smaller display. However, the size does not impede its readability and the treatment modes are easy to adjust.

Users can zero in on the pulse amplitude, rate, and width to ensure optimal therapeutic effects. In addition, the timer is also adjustable for sessions between 5 and 60 minutes.

The Roscoe Medical TENS 7000 2nd edition comes with a 9-volt battery and the battery life is clearly displayed on the screen. It also features a compliance meter that memorizes up to 60 records.

Durability is another thing that goes in favor of this TENS machine. The unit itself is well-made and it comes with a carrying case for some added protection.

Like all TENS devices, it is designed to increase local blood circulation. This 2nd generation TENS 7000 is a Class II FDA-approved medical device so there is no need to worry about its safety.

Lastly, it is worth noting that the manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty on the device.

  • Readability: Yes
  • Alarms/Alerts: No
  • Sensors: No
  • Battery life: N/A
  • History lookup: Yes
  • Durability: Yes
  • Mobility: Yes
  • Accuracy on low circulation and dark skin tones: Yes
  • Finger sizes it works on: All
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lead-free, RoHS-compliant: Yes
  • Power: One 9V battery
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

3. HealthmateForever T12AB

This patent-pending TENS unit is designed from the ground up in the USA by Healthmate International, LLC. The T12AB is the latest version of the device, featuring improved performance and usability.

One of the best features of this excellent TENS machine is the large touchscreen. The user-friendly interface lets you easily program the timer and level of intensity.

In addition, this is an FDA-approved Class II medical device. It does not feature any blood oxygen level or pulse rate sensors, but it comes with a great number of programmable modes.

There are 12 different therapy modes which can be controlled separately for left and right. You can also dial in the exact therapy time using the 10-to-80min timer.

This high-end device has a built-in rechargeable lithium battery. When fully charged, the battery is capable of delivering up to 10 hours of therapy time.

The T12AB features a solid stainless-steel case to ensure years of carefree use. The unit measures 2.5 x 4.75 x 5 inches.

These dimensions make it quite mobile, even pocket-sized. The HealthmateForever T12AB has a special lock that prevents accidental clicks when you use the device on the go.

A nice addition is the special stylus that comes with the device which lets you choose and switch between different therapy modes.

  • Readability: Yes
  • Alarms/Alerts: No
  • Sensors: No
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • History lookup: No
  • Durability: Yes
  • Mobility: Yes
  • Accuracy on low circulation and dark skin tones: Yes
  • Finger sizes it works on: All
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Lead-free, RoHS-compliant: Yes
 Power: Built-in rechargeable lithium battery
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

HealthmateForever’s T12AB delivers really high therapy intensity for an over-the-counter device. The intensity can be easily adjusted for the most optimal therapeutic results.

In addition, the built-in lithium battery recharges quickly and there is a clear battery indicator on the display.

4. Omron Heat Pain Pro PM311

The Omron Heat Pain Pro PM311 is among the most compact and portable TENS machines. In addition, it adds heat functions to deliver professional-like treatment.

If you factor in the compactness, this TENS + heat device features a decent screen size. The screen displays the therapy type and mode, duration, intensity level, and battery life.

The PM311 delivers a soothing combination of TENS and heat in 9 different modes. Six modes are designed to relieve pain and three of them are massage modes.

Like all other TENS machines, this Omron device gives you excellent options to set the intensity level. There are 20 TENS intensity levels and two heat modes to choose from.

This TENS machine comes with an AC adapter and a rechargeable Li-ion battery. You get 4.5 hours of therapy time between charges which should be more than enough for most users.

In addition, it comes with a set of pads that can be used up to 30 times before replacement. But the compact size sets it apart from the competition.

Omron PM311 measures only 1.2 x 2.8 x 6.5 inches which makes it one of the most compact. It also comes with a 1-year limited manufacturer warranty.

  • Readability: Yes
  • Alarms/Alerts: No
  • Sensors: No
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours
  • History lookup: No
  • Durability: Yes
  • Mobility: Yes
  • Accuracy on low circulation and dark skin tones: Yes
  • Finger sizes it works on: All
  • Warranty: 1 year limited
  • Lead-free, RoHS-compliant: Yes
  • Power: AC adapter and rechargeable lithium battery
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

5. Zewa SpaBuddy Sport

This device is an excellent option for those who are looking for a budget-friendly TENS solution to relieve various muscle and joint pains. It also has excellent treatment modes and intensity adjustments.

The Zewa SpaBuddy Sport features a surprisingly large screen for a device of its size. The screen takes up almost ⅔ of the unit and it is really easy to read the programs and intensity levels.

When it comes to therapy modes, this dual-channel TENS machine offers 8 different programs. There are 30 intensity levels and they can be easily adjusted for the left and right channels.

Another great thing about the Zewa is the therapy time. You can choose from 5 to 95-minute therapy and also a continuous mode for non-stop electromassage stimulation.

The Zewa SpaBuddy Sport comes with a set of 4 electrodes that can be used at the same time.

This TENS machine is quite compact - it can easily fit on your palm and you can even put it in your pocket. There is no risk of accidentally switching the modes since it features a lock button.

Needless to say, this Zewa unit is also FDA approved.

  • Readability: Yes
  • Alarms/Alerts: No
  • Sensors: No
  • Battery life: 95 minutes
  • History lookup: No
  • Durability: Yes
  • Mobility: Yes
  • Accuracy on low circulation and dark skin tones: Yes
  • Finger sizes it works on: All
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lead-free, RoHS-compliant: Yes
  • Power: 3x AAA batteries
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview

PROS

  • check
    Affordable TENS unit
  • Large LCD screen
  • 5 to 95-minute therapy

CONS

  • User interface
  • Plastic quality

The HealthmateForever HM8ML is an affordable unit that offers a great number of features for the price point.

This compact unit features an appealing iPod-like design with a sizable LCD screen. The screen features icon-labeled modes and intensity levels that are easy to select via the controls.

The thing that really goes in favor of the HM8ML is the battery life. It comes with a quick-recharge Li-ion battery that works up to 10 hours between charges.

There are 8 different modes which cover a wide variety of chronic muscle and joint pains. You can choose between Leg, Cupping, Foot, and Back modes, to name but a few.

Each mode can be adjusted to your needs since the HM8ML offers 20 different intensity levels. You simply press on the plus or minus button to increase or decrease the therapeutic intensity.

The HealthmateForever HM8ML is also an incredibly compact and transportable TENS machine. Like all other devices from the manufacturer, the HM8ML is completely safe and FDA approved.

It is worth noting that this is a multi-function unit with PMS (powered muscle stimulator) and TENS.

  • Readability: Yes
  • Alarms/Alerts: No
  • Sensors: No
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • History lookup: No
  • Durability: Yes
  • Mobility: Yes
  • Accuracy on low circulation and dark skin tones: Yes
  • Finger sizes it works on: All
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lead-free, RoHS-compliant: Yes
  • Power: Built-in rechargeable lithium battery
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

The Easy@Home combines the EMS and TENS therapy in a compact device that can fit any budget. It also features a remarkable number of therapy modes for a machine of its size.

You won’t have any problems navigating the device’s menus as it features a sizable LCD display. A single button allows you to switch menus, change intensity, and set the timer.

The Easy@Home combo unit comes with a rechargeable battery and you can easily set the timer for 10 to 60-minute therapy. However, the number of modes distinguishes this model from the competition.

You have the option to select one of the 16 TENS and EMS modes. They help increase blood circulation, deal with muscle pain, and relieve tension in the neck, back,or joint area.

This TENS and EMS machine weighs only 1.41 ounces and measures 4 x 2 inches which make it extremely portable.

In addition, the Easy@Home device comes with 4 pads to ensure more versatile therapeutic effects. And each output pair can have a separate intensity level.

  • Readability: Yes
  • Alarms/Alerts: No
  • Sensors: No
  • Battery life: N/A
  • History lookup: No
  • Durability: Yes
  • Mobility: Yes
  • Accuracy on low circulation and dark skin tones: Yes
  • Finger sizes it works on: All
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lead-free, RoHS-compliant: Yes
  • Power: Built-in rechargeable NiMH battery
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO
  • TENS + EMS machine
  • Rechargeable battery
  • 16 different therapy modes
  • FDA-approved

BUYER'S GUIDE

What Is EMS? EMS Technology History

EMS is an abbreviation for Electrical Muscle Stimulation. The uses and benefits of EMS have been known since the 18th century, but the widespread usage and acceptance of this therapy only began in the mid-20th century.

Electrical stimulation basically induces beneficial adaptation of nerves, blood vessels, and muscles.

Does Electrical Muscle Stimulation Work?

The simple answer is yes, it does. EMS improves nerve conductivity and can stimulate dormant muscle tissue. It is very effective at treating very weak muscles, especially after an injury.

EMS and TENS Action

The main difference between the two machines is that TENS stimulates nerves and EMS induces muscle contractions. So, if you want to improve your gym routine, an EMS machine is for you.

TENS machines, on the other hand, should be more effective at helping you cope with chronic pain.

Can EMS Gadget Help Grow Muscle?

There is a widespread belief that EMS gadgets promote muscle growth and recovery since a lot of top athletes use them. However, there is no conclusive study that supports this claim.

A muscle requires much more than just EMS to grow but these gadgets can be quite effective at relieving tension after a hard workout.

Weight Loss

A study indicates that interferential electro-stimulation therapy may be effective for weight loss. But it works best in combination with other weight loss treatments.

The bottom line is that few things can replace the good old dieting and exercise, but EMS may get you there faster.

Types of EMS Gadgets

There are a few different types of EMS gadgets. They can mainly be divided into over-the-counter and professional units. The former can be found at drug stores while the latter are designed for athletes and medical use.

Over-the-counter EMS gadgets may include TENS functionsfor the most optimal muscle and nerve stimulation.

How to Use Muscle Stimulators?

Using a muscle stimulator is quite simple. You place the adhesive pads on the desired muscle group, choose a mode, set the intensity and duration, then press start.

It is advisable to start with smaller intervals at first and limit the intensity level to your comfort zone. A 25-minute medium intensity session should be more than enough at first.

Features To Look For When Buying The Best Tens Unit

FDA approved

Virtually all commercial TENS machines are FDA-approved these days. Most are labeled FDA Class II over-the-counter medical device.

The approval ensures you are buying a device that adheres to a set of rigorous standards and won’t cause any harm if used as prescribed.

Programs and Modes

Depending on the model, there can be up to 20 different modes and programs. Having more modes usually means the device has greater versatility.

You should choose a device that has a balance of stimulation, pain relief, and massage modes.

Channels

To get the most optimal treatment results, you should go for a dual-channel TENS unit. Separate left and right channels offer a more precise therapeutic performance.

In addition, the best dual-channel units allow for separate individual and mode adjustment to simulate a professional TENS treatment.

Intensity Levels

Having multiple intensity levels on you TENS unit is crucial, especially if you are just starting with the treatment. This allows you to zero in on your comfort zone.

As you get accustomed to the treatment, you can slowly increase the intensity level. A wider range of intensity also lets you relieve pain for the more serious chronic conditions like arthritis.

Timer

The timer sets the therapy duration which is usually 5 minutes and up. At the beginning, it is advisable to start with shorter therapy sessions.

Usually, between 15 and 25 minutes should be more than enough for the first week.

Screen

Most TENS units come with an LCD screen. Some of the best models feature a touchscreen for added usability.

But the characteristics to look for are readability and nice layout of the modes, intensity levels, and other active functions.

Battery

Rechargeable lithium-ion and AAA are the usual battery options. Li-ion is more convenient since there is no additional cost of purchasing a new set of batteries every so often.

Accessories

There are a few accessories thatmay come with a TENS unit. They include a carrying case or tote bag, extra pads, belt clip, and some touchscreen models even feature a special stylus.

In general, the most useful accessories are extra TENS pads since they are the most susceptible to wear and tear.

Size and Portability

Most commercial TENS machines are designed to be as compact and portable as possible. Bigger models can easily fit in your palm and some units are as small as portable mp3 players.

The choice basically depends on your needs and it is not advisable to pick size over power or the number of modes.

Ease of Use

TENS units are quite easy to use. However, some models come with better user interface more comfortable pads.

You should go for a model with gel pads that’s easy to navigate.

Warranty

TENS units come with a one or two-year limited manufacturer warranty. It is also great to have a money-back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with the device after buying.

EMS Muscle Stimulation

An EMS unit is used to stimulate muscles either as part of a training programme or part of rehabilitation. An EMS unit has an array of electrical pulse shapes, frequencies and intensities to apply precisely the correct stimulation to the muscle being worked. We started using Compex EMS units way back in 2004 and we firmly believe in their effectiveness for both performance improvement and rehabilitation following injury and muscle atrophy.

Does EMS Really Work?

At the time we began selling EMS (in 2004) there was a lot of skepticism about their use and the benefits they claimed to provide. From my own personal experience, I can say without any hesitation that they work.

Why wouldn’t they? The principles behind their operation is simple, instead of your brain sending a trigger to the muscle telling it to contract, the EMS units does that for you.

The electrical signal sent to the muscle doesn’t DO the contraction…. it’s simply a signal telling the muscle to do some work. What you have to remember is that EMS treatment should be used in parallel to regular training. An EMS machine does NOTHING for your cardiovascular system, it will only help to train, tone and improve muscle form and function

Conclusion

There are TENS and EMS units for every budget and need in this write-up. But the iReliev TENS + EMS Combination Machine stands out as the best option.

The iReliev offers an excellent combination of power, modes, and therapeutic effectiveness. On the other hand, the Roscoe Medical TENS 7000 2nd Edition is the affordable choice.

Last Updated on May 2, 2019

Best EMS and Tens Machines For 2019 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
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