Are you a professional massage therapist looking for a massage table for your business? Or are you a student just starting out in the industry and are on the hunt for a table that does not break the bank?
Either case, you have came to the right place.
Here, we have all the information you need that will help you make an informed decision on how to choose the best massage table for yourself.
Types of Massage Tables
It can be quite overwhelming when there are so many different massage table brands and models available in the market.
How do you know which one is good and how do you choose? Especially when each table also claims itself to be the “best massage table” ever?
Before we delve into that question, it is worthy to understand just how many types of massage table there are available in the industry.
Yep, contrary to what you may believe (and we don’t blame you, considering they all look pretty much the same at a glance), there are actually different types of massage tables and they can be divided into a few categories:
Stationary Massage Table
First and foremost, we have the stationary massage tables.
As you can tell, these are massage tables that are meant to be fixed permanently at one spot without much moving around.
They are the sturdiest out of all, with an average working weight capacity that is higher than any other type of massage tables. We’re talking something between 400 lbs to 4,000lbs, depending on which type you go for.
Yes, within the stationary massage table category itself, there are again two types – manual and electric massage table.
By that, we mean the method or mechanism used to control or adjust the table’s height – you can adjust it either manually/pneumatically, or electrically.
The former generally has a higher working weight capacity, for instance, this one here can support up to 4,000lbs, which is higher than some automobiles already.
On the other hand, an electric massage table provides a lot more conveniences, with most offering at least a foot-controlled mechanism for you to adjust the height hands-freely.
This type is not just popular for the massages but for other industries such as chiropractice, beauty therapy, tattoo and the likes. This is because most have a tilt design so that a client can be seated up when need be, for example, the DIR here can be customized into a chair-like design.
Portable Massage Table
The second and probably most popular massage table type, however, is the lightweight portable massage table.
As one would guess, they weigh much more lighter than the above so that they can become a travel massage table for mobile therapists on the go.
Most, if not all portable massage tables can be folded compactly with accessories packed underneath it to fit into a massage table bag or massage table carrying case that usually comes with it, thereby achieving full portability. Like such:
Likewise, you can divide portable massage tables into two categories as well - wooden and aluminium.
A wooden massage table is more common and therefore has more options available in the market but the latter is gaining traction in recent years due to it being the best lightweight massage table type.
Seriously, an aluminium massage table can weigh about 10 pounds lesser than a standard wooden massage table, and nothing speaks more than being lightweight in the mobile massage table category.
You may want to read more between the two here (with a selection of some of the best portable massage table in the market included).
Prenatal Massage Table
Next, we have massage tables that are specifically designed for pregnant clients – the prenatal massage table.
This is the type where a recessed section is designed at the chest/belly area so that pregnant clients can lie down comfortably on their stomach while receiving a prenatal massage.
However, with the introduction of prenatal massage tables, more and more therapists are switching over because it means they do not need to carry a separate piece of accessory with them anymore.
For their non-pregnant clients, they can still use the table like any regular massage table once they put in the filler at the recessed compartment.
Although primarily for masseuses who specialise in prenatal massages, a pregnancy massage table is suitable for clients who have trouble laying flat on the stomach as well i.e. those with bigger bellies or those who had just underwent chest surgery etc.
Compared to other massage table types, there are considerably less options available. Nevertheless, here are two models you can consider: Master Massage Eva Pregnancy Massage Table (detailed review here) and the Earthlite Spirit Pregnancy Portable Massage Table.
Luxury Massage Table
Now, this may not necessarily be a category of its own, but for those looking for a luxury massage table for their salon (or just a home massage table for the house),we have two excellent options for you:
Let’ start from the Master Massage Cabrillo.
Made of high quality European beech hardwood that is formaldehyde and carcinogen free, it has an interlock leg extension system to further enhance its stability and durability.
Besides equipped with all the specifications a Master Massage table is well-known for, it also has a sturdy closed storage cabinet underneath as you can see to store all the massage equipment and accessories.
The Skinact Cloud Electric Massage Table Bed, on the other hand, is an electric massage table perfect for luxury collection resorts and the most high-end day spas and med-spas with its exclusive, modern lift design that imparts an elegance that will turn an otherwise ordinary treatment room into a luxurious heaven.
Besides a never-before-seen 4” padding support, it also has two actuators/motors to allow adjustments of the table separately for a customized experience. If you want to set your spa apart from the rest, this is the one to go for.
So there you have it, the different types of massage table available in the market dissected for your easy and better understanding. You should now be more well-informed to embark on finding that one best massage table for yourself.
How to Choose the Best Massage Table - 6 Tips
Now that you know of the different types of massage table available, here are 6 tips to guide you through the process of choosing the best massage table:
(1) Stationary or Portable?
First and foremost, decide if you want a stationary massage table or a light portable massage table.
This will be the starting point that will determine the next few criteria below. It may not be the hardest decision to make, given as most would already have an idea of what they’re looking for at the first place.
Massage parlour owners or therapy clinics will usually go for a stationary massage table as the requirement to move it around is not much. It also has a bigger working weight capacity comparatively, which is what most massage practitioners will prefer over.
On the other hand, if you are a mobile therapist or student just starting out in the massage industry, a portable massage table will be the better choice because (1) lightweight massage table and (2) cheaper and more affordable.
For those looking for the best home massage table, either type will do although if you are running short on space, we’d advise going for the portable ones because you can fold it up and stow it away when not in use to save space.
(2) Wooden or Aluminium / Manual or Electric?
Once you have decided on the big picture that is stationary or portable, it is time to choose the frame or nature of the table.
Let’s start from portable massage tables first.
As mentioned above, they can be divided into two types – wooden or aluminium. The former is the more common ones with plenty of options to choose from, whereas the latter has more limited choices but are the best lightweight massage table type out of all.
For stationary massage tables, there is a manual or electric massage table to decide between. The latter is obviously more convenient given it is an automatic massage table, however, it is also comparitively more expensive.
If working weight capacity is something you prioritize over anything else, then a manual or standard stationary massage table will be the best choice for you because this type has the biggest working weight – we’re talking about up to 4,000lbs here.
Now that you have chosen the type and nature of your massage table, the next thing to look at will be the features.
By that, we don’t mean just the massage table accessories like armrests, arm slings or massage table headrest. Most massage tables in the market offer at least one kind or the other anyway nowadays, so that’s not something of particular concern.
Rather, there are few aspects that you will need to consider, for example:
Reiki Table vs Massage Table
Are you a Reiki practitioner? Or if you are a student, do you plan to extend your skills into this area?
If you are unsure what Reiki is, it is basically a Japanese technique that involves the “laying on hands” (or “palm healing” as some would call it) administered on patients to achieve stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. That is, putting it simply.
If you do intent to practice Reiki massages, it would be best that you get a Reiki massage table right from the outset instead of the usual massage table. Why so?
You see, Reiki sessions requires you to get in as close as possible to your client and sometimes, where possible, you may need to even place your knees on the table.
And this is where you’ll find the obvious difference between a Reiki table and a straight massage table.
The former will have its panels at the head and feet of the table altered so that there is space to allow a practitioner fit their knees under the table comfortably, as pictured left.
A standard massage table, on the other hand, has regular panels.
The best massage reiki table will have Reiki panels on each side, in general, it means there are no low crossbeams or solid panel at the head or foot of it.
This is the best type and makes it a lot simpler for practitioners to give proper Reiki massage – one good example will be this Master Massage table here.
More often than not, you will find reiki massage table with just one Reiki panel end such as this one here, with the other end using standard panel to provide balance for the table.
At the end of the day, if you are to ask whether a regular massage table will be enough for reiki, the answer is YES.
However, in the long run, it will certainly tire out a Reiki practitioner, that is for sure. And this is why we’d recommend a Reiki portable massage table over a regular massage table any time, if Reiki is what you specialise in.
Heated Massage Table
Another feature to look at is whether or not you intend to provide heated massage to your clients.
Traditionally, a massage table warmer (or massage table heating pad) are used to provide heat massages. Massage stones are also one of the popular massage table accessories utilised as well to achieve the same purposes and to be honest, all these methods are still widely used nowadays.
However, with modern technology, there is now a thing called heated massage table and this is where an inbuilt heating system is incorporated into the table itself to provide heat to the user.
There isn’t many options though, in fact, the Master Massage Santana Therma Top Portable Massage Table may be the only choice available in the market that offers this feature to date.
If you’re interested in elevating your massage services or enhancing your client’s massage experience to another level, this is a good choice to consider.
Prenatal Massage Table
And then we have those that specialise in prenatal massages. If this is you or your clientele leans towards this market, then it is worthy to consider getting yourself a pregnancy massage table.
As mentioned above, a prenatal massage table is one where there is a recessed compartment built within the table itself, so you no longer need to purchase a separate pregnancy massage cushion for your pregnant clients.
Don’t worry, you will still be able to use it as per a normal massage table once you put the filler back in.
Besides pregnant clients, a prenatal massage table is also a good alternative if you have clients that have trouble lying on their front i.e. big bellies, underwent chest surgery etc.
Flat or Tilt
Will you require your client to sit up during a massage session? If yes, then you have to look for a massage table that can be tilted.
Most of these can be tilted one section only to make shift for a backrest but there are those that can be tilted 3 ways including the middle and legrest area as well (the Health Line massage table is one good example).
For the former, here are some good examples:
(4) Size and Dimension
While the size of a massage table is pretty standard across all types - 73"(l) x 28-30"(w), there are a certain few that are designed to be particularly wider or narrower than usual.
For example, you have massage tables like this that reaches up to 34” wide (or this with 32” width) that inadvertently makes it a wide massage table, and then you have those that are just 24” wide such as the Giantex Professional Portable Massage Table that are more compact.
Contrary to what you believe, a narrow massage table like such is actually quite popular. This is because it packs up more compactly, which is always a good thing for a mobile massage table and it is comparably a light massage table.
If you’re going for this type though, remember to check if it comes with at least a pair of extendable armrests. This is because it widens up the massage table for when you have bigger clients, so that you can have more flexibility with it.
Also, you may want to pay attention to the height adjustment of a table.
Again, most massage tables are height adjustable regardless if they are stationary or portable, wooden or aluminium but do note that there are some that cannot be adjusted at all. This Best Massage massage table, for example, is a massage table that cannot be height adjusted.
As with anything, budget is one deciding factor when it comes to choosing a product.
What is my budget? – is a question you have to ask yourself.
There are different price range in different types of massage table categories so that shouldn’t be a limit to which type you choose for although yes, a stationary massage table is generally more expensive than a portable massage table.
Likewise, there are pricier and cheaper models for travel massage table types so choose according to what you can afford.
Having said that, one general consensus is that an electric massage table (or automatic massage table as some would call it) will be the most expensive option out of all – that’s something to keep in mind.
Last but not least and if all else fails i.e. you cannot decide between one or the other, perhaps the brand itself may be of a deciding factor.
Choose from a well-known, reputable massage table brand. It will save you at least half the effort of filtering out the inferior ones from the very beginning so that you know you are off to a good start.
The quality of a massage table is also guaranteed to a certain extent if you choose from good massage table brands as they have a reputation to upkeep. As a result, the chances of ending up with a poor quality product is much lower.
To find out what are some of the best massage table brand in the industry, click here – we have done the hard job for you.
Compared to other massage equipments, buying a massage table is considerably an easier job given there aren't as many criteria to look out for as say, a massage chair.
Having said that, you do have to conduct a bit of research to ensure you know what you're doing - this piece here should be of immense help as we have covered everything that you should be aware of.
Go through the tips one by one - that should be the thought process that goes on in your mind. When you reach the end of it, you would know which model you want to go for.
Most importantly, know your own requirements - what you are looking for, what are your priorities and of course, how much budget you can allocate. Happy shopping!