But let's be honest, not everyone has $10k readily at their disposal. Many, in fact, have very simple requirements - one that gives soothing massages, and is affordable.
While we do admit the options of finding a good massage chair at the extreme low-end of the price range can be somewhat limited, there are indeed a few good ones that you can consider.
Our #1 Recommendation
In fact, if you’ve read some of our other massage chair reviews, you’ll see that there are actually quite a substantial number of massage chairs we recommended that are under the $500 mark.
Of course, it won’t be the world’s best massage chair - there will be some functions (or lack thereof) that you will need to compromise.
For instance, foregoing zero gravity function (there's actually a few good ones here if you're willing to pay a little extra - it's still under $1,000!) or leg or calf massages in exchange for better affordability.
But if back is your problem area, leg massages are not quite necessary anymore, aren’t they?
Best Massage Chair under $500 Comparison Chart
Best massage chair under $500
Shiatsu, tapping, knocking, air pressure, kneading
Power lift function, recline
Swivel, lumbar heat, recline
SL track, bluetooth connectivity
Recline, heat, foldable
Swivel, lumbar heat, recline
34.6 x 30.7 x 41 inches
32 x 31 x 33 inches
36 x 36 x 26 inches
26.7 x 25.2 x 32.5 inches
Maximum Weight Capacity
Best Massage Chair Reviews (under $500 category)
In terms of all-roundedness, the MCombo Lift Recliner 7040 is the best massage chair on the market that is under $500.
First off, it is not bulky and only takes up a footprint of say, an armchair, meaning it doesn’t take up too much floor space.
It weighs 110 pounds and is able to support up to 320 pounds of user weight which makes it appealing to a broad spectrum in the market.
In terms of massage capability, the MCombo 7040 utilizes a fixed-frame and stationary massage nodes that vibrate. This is common for massage chairs this size and price range, and while vibration-style massage isn’t bad, it does not compare to roller-based massage.
Unfortunately, that is something only pricier models offer. To date, we haven’t found one yet in this price range.
Nonetheless, MCombo takes the effort to better its vibration system which makes the Recliner 7040 stands out from the rest. In particular, it has 8 nodes installed around the chair so it does a decent job in reaching most of your body parts.
The lumbar heat at the waist area can be worked separately with vibration and combine this with the 5-intensity levels and 9 modes available to choose from, we have to say that the massage quality provided by this massage chair is way better than what we were expecting.
What’s impressive is that it also allows you to adjust the duration of your massage - this is definitely not expected given that many more expensive, full featured massage chairs don’t even offer that. You can set your massage period to 10, 20 or 30 minutes according to preference.
The above is enough to make the MCombo the best value massage chair but wait, there’s actually more. It is also a lift chair.
A power lift mechanism is installed to push the entire chair up so that it assists one to stand up easily without adding stress to the back or knees. This is fantastic for seniors or people with mobility issues so to us, this is the winning point.
It does have its downside though, that is, it is made of faux leather. Albeit in a high-quality one that is easy to clean (just dry/damp lint-free cloth), it will make you sweat if you spend extended periods of time in it or use the heat function because the material is just not that breathable. It also doesn’t stand up well to vigor daily use and may show its age quickly.
However, this can be easily overcome if you’re happy to spend a bit more - the brand offers customization service. Yes, you can choose the material, size or even colour that you want and the brand will bespoke it for you. The standard size now fit 5’1” to 5’9” best.
At a glance
The MCombo Lift Recliner 7040 is the massage chair under 500 that we will highly recommend for anyone with mobility issues. The power lift is definitely a big bonus feature to have and a recent update has now see it capable of reclining up to 140°, which is 10° more than the old version.
It does not recline all the way flat though, and there’s no zero gravity position. Nonetheless, we think its features far outweigh the negatives it has so definitely is one that we’ll recommend with no reservation.
The Relaxzen Deluxe Leisure Recliner Chair is the best massage chair for the money.
Despite both being under the $500 category, the Relaxzen is cheaper than the MCombo by about $100.
And while we will say it is a rather limited massage recliner (not jam packed with different features), the functions that it has are really well implemented and this is what the brand focuses on with this model.
First off, it has a small footprint so this is a plus for many especially those who have limited space. However, even if you live in a small apartment, we don’t think you’ll have trouble finding a spot for it.
Secondly, it weighs a mere 51.7 pounds only so it is very easy to move from room to room. Despite being so lightweight, it has sturdy built and has no problem accommodating up to 300lbs of user weight.
It is made with a breathable and easy-to-clean microsuede material so good news for those who does not want fake leather.
Like MCombo, it utilizes a fixed-frame with stationary massage heads that provide vibration-style massages. 8 vibration motors are installed to target 4 massage zones in the upper back, mid back, thighs and calves.
Yes, including calves because the ottoman has a vibration massage feature as well. You get to either use all four zones at once or select zones individually for a specific spot massage.
There are a whopping of 9 pre-programmed massage modes but to be honest, they don’t vary that much. Still, it is a nice option to have and you can choose between 5 intensity levels to achieve the level of massage best suited to your needs.
There is also heat function but this is limited to the lower back only. Also, it only works when the vibration is on so this is yet another place where MCombo prevails (hence taking the top spot).
Nonetheless, it allows you to set the duration of your massage which as mentioned above, is something not every massage chair (even the more expensive ones) comes with and this is rather impressive.
At a glance
If you like the features that the Relaxzen Deluxe Leisure Recliner Chair offers and are looking for a stylish piece of furniture, then this one here will not disappoint. It swivels, reclines and massages.
Of course, it will be good if they give roller-type of deep tissue massage but to do that, they will have to increase the price drastically.
As they say, you get what you pay for. For what it is at such a price, it delivers more than expected and that makes it the best value for money buy to us.
The Best Massage Shiatsu Massage Chair is no world’s best massage chair but in the ‘under $500’ category, we can say it is the closest thing to being the best full body massage chair because this one here comes with a SL Track system.
If you don’t know what that means, just think of it this way - this is no mere vibration massage. Instead, it offers 5 modes of massage: kneading, knocking, tapping, shiatsu and air massage.
So instead of stationary massage heads, it actually has rollers that glide from the upper back all the way down to the seat to give you a full body massage.
This is actually comparable to many of the models mentioned in our full body massage chair reviews here which to be honest, is quite unexpected to us.
They also perform rather well - you can actually feel the difference when you switch between modes, unlike vibration-type massages.
Except for the lower back - the massage feels close to non-existent at this position but mid to upper back, it actually provides a good deep massage.
There are 3 auto massage programs that have different massage methods for you to choose from, but you can also choose manual massage functions to control your own massage.
There are 4 airbags equipped on both sides of the seat that are meant to swing your hips by air inflation and deflation, with the intention of relieving pelvic pressure and improve muscle tension at the waist and hip area.
However, we find that the air pressure can be too strong and uncomfortable for some (they also make considerable noise) but you cannot switch it off separately.
It does come with extra features like a built-in speaker with bluetooth connectivity as well as a convenient phone slot at the armrest. While they are not quite necessary, they do add a pleasant surprise because you’ll never expect them at this price point.
Now, you may be wondering why isn’t Best Massage the top contender in this review, given that it gives one of the best massage? The main reason - its size.
Don’t be fooled by its appearance, the seat area is rather small in this one and this is partly due to the side airbags.
Even though it says to have a weight limit of 200lbs, many find that it becomes uncomfortable starting from 120lbs, which basically excludes a vast majority of the American adult size.
And while it does have great massage techniques, it doesn’t quite hit the right spot all at the same time. If you sit way back up, it gets your upper back and neck but not so much on the lower back/butt/leg area, and vice versa.
Which is quite a pity because it puts the massage modes to waste, we mean, it’s not doing anything if it doesn’t touch your body, isn’t it?
At a glance
Having said that, the Best Massage Shiatsu Massage Chair is still one of the best cheap massage chair given the massage techniques it is equipped with. If you’re on the small side, it could very well be a dream fit for you.
It is also much less smaller than full body massage chairs of similar functions so it doesn’t take up much floor space.
If you’ve read our other best massage chairs reviews, you will see that we have featured Best Massage in a few other categories so you can be assured that this is a product coming from a reliable brand.
Another shiatsu-type of massage chair under the $500 category that we will recommend is the uKnead Portable Full Body Shiatsu Massage Chair.
As you can see, it looks different from the rest - at one glance, you may not even know that it is a massage chair.
This is thanks to the additional head cushion and back cover that the chair has to conceal both the neck and back rollers (unlike others in the portability category), and in a dark mocha leatherette finish with diamond quilted stitching, it looks like a stylish armchair from afar.
Massage functions wise, it employs kneading rollers with massage nodes that rub in a synchronized motion to perform shiatsu-type of massage.
Although it is advertised as a full body shiatsu massage chair, there isn’t any massage from the waist downwards actually - it’s from the shoulders down to just the lumbar only.
There is a built-in vibration motor at the seat and although there are 3 intensity levels, we feel there isn’t much difference. It does provide some soothe and relax the hip muscles a bit, but nothing like the more expensive versions.
The neck and back is where this massage chair excels though. Four dual-nodes are placed strategically at the right place and they glide smoothly down to canvas the entire back from shoulder to lumbar.
You can select manual mode to position the rollers at problematic areas - the vertical micro-adjustment of roller location will pinpoint painful trigger points or tight knots.
There are 2 other extended neck massage modules at the neck and these provide one of the best deep tissue massage amongst all in this review.
Its height can be adjusted higher or lower, clockwise or counter-clockwise, for a unique pinching motion mimicking the grabbing and kneading hands of a skilled masseuse.
Combine it with the adjustable heat function, it penetrates to facilitate blood circulation which in turn relieves muscle pain and tension.
At a glance
The uKnead Portable Full Body Shiatsu Massage Chair is one of the best massage chair for home use if you’re getting a massage chair for the first time because it has functions that cater to most of the body parts that people usually need for.
It is small and portable so you can bring it anywhere you want. If you specifically want back and neck massages at an affordable price, this is the one we will highly recommend without breaking your bank account.
The JC Home Drammen Massaging Recliner is functionally similar to the Relaxzen Deluxe, the difference being mainly the former having a more understated, easy-to-blend-in outlook compared to the latter’s more aesthetic appearance.
It also utilizes a fixed-frame with stationary massage heads and offers 9 massage modes with 5 intensity levels for the back, lumbar area, thighs and legs.
Likewise, it offers full swivel and comes with a matching stationary ottoman with vibrating nodes to elevate tired feet. There is also heat function and you get to choose either auto program or custom massage using the user-friendly control panel.
One thing that you will not expect at all (we certainly didn’t) is that it is made of real leather.
Even the bases are completely leather-wrapped so it gives a luxurious look to any setting. Both the seat and back are double padded so it may get a little hot if you turn on the heat function, but it is quite comfortable to sit in overall.
At a glance
With its small round footprint, the JC Home Drammen Massaging Recliner takes up minimal space which makes it a great choice for a living room, bedroom, meditation room, or office.
It does resemble the Relaxzen in many ways, with the latter having better implementation at some of the functions we feel but the JC Home is almost half of its price.
Ultimately it depends on your preference and budget - if you want something that stands out more (the Relaxzen) or if you want something that is unassuming and blends right in (the JC).
Massage Chair under 500 Roundup Review
So what is the best massage chair under $500?
Our top favourite is undoubtedly the MCombo Power Lift Recliner - it is the most well-rounded massage chair under 500 that gives rather high quality massages. It is most versatile and has most of the features other massage chairs in this review have with each performing decently.
Ultimately, the best massage chair for you will depend on the features you need most. The models reviewed above cater to different requirements so there should be one that is able to fit you best.