A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit, otherwise called a TENS unit, is a treatment device that’s used for the management of pain, sensory loss, and motor rehabilitation. Often, you’ll see professional physical or occupational therapists using this device, but there are FDA-approved models that can be purchased commercially and used at home.
So whether you’ve got a chronic case of pain or if you suffer from any musculoskeletal injury, investing in the best TENS unit can help you overcome the struggle. Now, how exactly do you go about choosing one? Find out here.
Top 10 TENS Units Comparison Table
A Buyer’s Guide for Choosing an at Home TENS Machine
A TENS unit won’t only help you manage any pain or functional limitation you might feel, but should also provide you a safe treatment experience. There are lots of different TENS machine models and designs out there, so making the right choice depends on how well you come to understand what you need and what each option brings to the table.
To help you guarantee that you’ve chosen the right TENS unit for home use, keep this guide in mind.
- Variable Settings. Earlier models of TENS units had only two different settings – pulse massage and continuous current massage. At the time, these were the only two programs that manufacturers felt were necessary to address different types of pain. However these days, newer models of TENS machines can have more than 10 different pre-programmed settings to manage pain better, especially because everyone experiences it differently.
Some of the programs you might find include pulse, tapping, acupuncture, deep tissue, and other combinations that combine two or more of these settings to achieve a unique type of massage. If you want to invest in a TENS unit that you can use for different types of pain or injuries that you might experience in the future, choosing one with more preset programs will make it much more versatile.
- Intensity Adjustments. Intensity pertains to the strength of each current delivered by your TENS unit. As a general rule, all TENS units should have intensity adjustment settings to help users achieve a custom treatment that truly answers their needs; however, because everyone experiences relief at different levels, it’s important to consider your limits before choosing a TENS unit.
If you sense that you might need a stronger intensity to help address your problem, a TENS unit that allows the greatest possible intensity will give you greater room to adjust your unit to the right strength.
- Number of Electrodes. A TENS unit delivers the current to your body parts by way of electrodes that are connected to the unit via cables. Each output accommodates one cable, which then branches out into two different electrodes. These electrodes are then attached to the body either via electrode gel or by its own adhesive surface.
For individuals who want to treat larger body parts such as the entire back, a TENS unit that has more than two outputs will allow you to use more electrodes to target the whole area at once. Some TENS units can have as many as 8 or 10 electrodes, but the minimum number is 4.
It also pays to consider the size of the electrodes that come with the unit. Smaller electrode surface areas are ideal for providing precise, targeted currents at smaller body parts. Larger electrodes are ideal for providing more generalized stimulation.
Top 5 Best TENS Unit Reviews
Considered by many as the best TENS unit for home use, the TechCare Mini Massager TENS Unit FDA Approved is a safe, effective, and straightforward device that gets the job done minus the confusion. This TENS unit features a large LCD display that gives users more accurate and convenient control of their treatment.
The unit comes bundled with 3 pairs of electrodes in varying sizes to address different types of pain along different body parts. With 10 different pre-programmed modes, the TechCare Mini Massager TENS Unit FDA Approved is a versatile tool that you can use for a variety of different body aches, pains, and injuries. It also features a range of 20 intensity levels which can be easily adjusted with dedicated buttons on the body of the unit.
At a fairly affordable price point, the TechCare Mini Massager TENS Unit FDA Approved is a safe and simple solution that guarantees to address pain and injury with ease. So if you want something that’s been tried and tested by countless other consumers, this one is your best bet.
Another easy and straightforward TENS unit is the United Surgical TENS Unit Machine for Pain Management. This simple device comes equipped with 5 different pre-programmed modes that can easily be selected with the device’s basic controls. It also features a small closing button shield which prevents accidental mode and intensity adjustment so you can use your unit on the go.
With two outputs, the United Surgical TENS Unit Machine for Pain Management can accommodate a maximum of 4 electrodes only. What’s more, all 4 electrodes come in the same size, which for some users, might limit the functionality they get out of the unit.
Regardless, the United Surgical TENS Unit Machine for Pain Management is an effective and safe tool for pain management that makes it easy to achieve relief with its uncomplicated design and controls.
With 16 different pre-programmed modes and 8 electrodes in varying sizes, the NURSAL Rechargeable TENS Unit is the ideal unit for users who want a versatile tool that can address most types of body pains and injuries. This TENS unit comes equipped with a large LCD display and a slim, compact design that makes it an ideal companion for people who want to be able to use their TENS unit while they’re out and about.
The powerful rechargeable battery can sustain up to 10 hours of continuous use. For many users, this could last for up to a week before charging is required. The unit also boasts an automatic shut-off feature that turns the device off once the set time is completed.
With 20 levels of intensity to choose from, various massage modes, and a variety of different electrode shapes and sizes to use, the NURSAL Rechargeable TENS Unit is the perfect choice for people who want the versatility of their unit.
With 2 outputs, 8 different pre-programmed modes, and 25 levels of intensity, the iReliev TENS Unit with 8 Electrodes for Pain Relief ranks a bit higher on the power scale compared to other options. The 5 extra intensity levels allow users to achieve a more powerful massage, which is particularly ideal for individuals who have higher thresholds.
The unit also features a small screen and comes bundled with 4 electrodes in 2 different sizes. The 2 output channels can be used simultaneously, and can even be set to different intensities and programs so you can enjoy a combined massage experience; this makes it easy to target unique types of pain with a single session.
If you’re working on a budget, the Santamedical Electronic TENS Unit Handheld Pulse Massager is the best TENS unit that comes at an affordable price. This wallet-friendly alternative comes with 3 different pre-programmed settings, 4 bundled electrodes, and a unique selection of auto modes that are specifically calibrated to address pain in certain body parts.
The unit is lightweight, portable, and powered by 4 AAA batteries, which can last for up to 6 hours of continuous use. The only problems that some users have with the unit are that it does have a relatively small display, and the body itself might look obsolete and out of style compared to other options.