Foot massagers aren't something you might have considered spending money on, but to anyone who regularly suffers sore, tired and aching feet, they can be an excellent investment. These surprisingly affordable devices can help you unwind at the end of the day, speed up the recovery of your feet, improve circulation and lower stress, as helping to treat specific medical conditions. (It's important, of course, to check with your doctor before making a purchase for that reason.)
Unlike the best foot spas, which require filling with water and emptying and cleaning afterwards, foot massagers are generally 'plug and play', so are much simpler to use. In this article, we bring you six of the best foot massagers on the market today, each of which has something slightly different to offer.
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How to choose a foot massager
With so many foot massagers on the market, how do you choose between them? There are a number of important factors to take into account.
First are the kind of massage they offer. These may or may not include rollers, vibration, air compression and EMS (electro muscle stimulation). You'll also want to know if there are different settings for each features, or just on/off, and how the device is controlled (eg, can you make changes without shifting position and ruining your relaxation?). Finally, it's useful to check how long the warranty lasts, because if these devices break down, there probably won't be an easy way to get them fixed.
With that in mind, here are our top picks for the best foot spas on the market today. We explain what each has to offer, their pros and cons, and the most important details you need to know to make your decision.
Invio's Shiatsu Foot Massager is our favourite foot massager overall. That's because it offers a wide range of options for reviving your feet, including rolling or kneading from two independent foot massagers, air compression, and infrared therapy. And all for a very reasonable price indeed.
Stick your feet in the two independent chambers, switch the device on and it gives you a massage with its impressive eight massage rollers. You have the choice of rolling, pressing or shiatsu kneading, at three different intensity levels, or just air compression only. Each session lasts 15 minutes and there's a countdown timer: note that this duration is not adjustable.
There's also an infrared therapy function, although we should stress that this is very subtle, and it might take two to three sessions to feel a significant temperature change. So if this is the main thing you're interested in, we wouldn't actually recommend purchasing this model.
Returning to the positives: we love the generous two-metre chord to plug it in with. The control panel touchscreen is easy to use, and the non-skid feet work well. And it's great that the foot cover is easily removable via a zipper, and machine washable. Overall, then, we feel this nicely priced device offers exceptional value for money.
The Arealer Deep Kneading Massager is another device offering a variety of massage modes to relax and invigorate your feet. You can use its large roller and six mini massage heads to massage your feet with kneading, shiatsu, rolling and scraping. There's also a breathable airbag that fills up and compresses your feet. This offers five levels of intensity, allowing it massage different portions of your feet by squeezing them, combined with an adjustable heating function to boost circulation.
The device can be operated via the included remote control or the LCD touchscreen. Whichever program you choose, it switches off by default after 15 minutes, or you can customise it to last between five and 30 minutes. All this plus non-skid feet and a removable and washable cloth cover make this a very good choice indeed.
Want a foot massager but watching the pennies? Then the Belmint Shiatsu Foot Massager is a very smart option. You don't get air compression, but you do get a lovely deep-kneading foot massage experience, with heat, in one affordably priced device. Massage is delivered via 18 deep-kneading nodes that target acupuncture points on your foot to help stimulate blood flow and relieve stress. And it couldn't be easier to use. Just press the centrally-placed button (which is angled towards you, so you can operate it with your toes) and put your feet in. When hot, the button is red; to turn the heat off, press the button again and it will turn blue.
There's a removable and washable cloth cover, and the mesh insert is made of a comfortable, breathable fabric that feels nice on your feet. There aren't any super-clever features here, but given the low price, what's on offer is pretty impressive.
Another cheap and cheerful device, the Snailax Foot Warmer with Massage doesn't come with rollers, but does offer a combination of vibration and heat to revive your feet. There are five vibration massage modes, you can turn the heat on and off, and the device automatically switches off after 15 minutes. Note that the vibration is pretty subtle, so if you're looking to give your feet an intensive workout, you'll be better off looking elsewhere on this list. On the plus side, you can remove the detachable top cover, and use it as a vibration/heat pad for other parts of your body, including your back, neck, and legs. We also like the non-slip rubber bottom, which does a good job of keeping it in place, and the fact it comes with a two-year warranty.
The Revitive Advanced Circulation Booster offers something that none of the other devices on this list include: electro muscle stimulation (EMS). Basically, it emits electrical pulses that contract your muscles and help boost circulation. For this reason, it should not be used by anyone pregnant, anyone being treated for deep vein thrombosis or anyone fitted with an electronic implant, such as a pacemaker.
The manufacturers recommend you use it for at least 30 minutes a day and it couldn't be easier to do so. Simply place your bare feet on the footpads and let it do its work. You can choose between 15 stimulation waveforms, using the included remote control, to get the right intensity for your needs. Plus, the device also comes with Electrode Body Pads that let you target other areas of the body, such as the lower back, shoulders, arms, thighs and knees.
Finally, a reminder that you don't necessarily need an electronic device to massage your feet. This cheap and effective wooden device is purely mechanical, and features 10 independent rollers cleverly designed to hit the pressure points on your feet. Simply run your feet over them, to knead away knots and tension. Lightweight and portable, you can take this device anywhere and never need to worry about plugging it in. There's not really much to it beyond that, which is reflected in the low price, but it is surprisingly effective as long as you're prepared to put the work in.