Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Simulation – TENS – is an electronic therapy technique that uses controlled voltage, current and pulse width of an electrical signal in relieving pain. The TENS machine produces a signal and transmits it to your skin. It does this using the self-adhering electrodes. Users can control the intensity and duration of sessions which is advantageous over drug usage where there are unpleasant side effects.
In this article, we will be reviewing the best TENS unit, discussing their features, pros, and cons. We also tried to classify these machines based on who they best suit. We will start by listing them out, thereafter, we will discuss each one in details.
Best Tens Units For 2019
1. FDA cleared OTC Healthmate Forever YK15AB TENS unit- Overall Best
2. TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital TENS Unit- Best For Shoulder Pain
3. TENS Electronic Pulse Unit & 4 Electrode Pads, Model # PL-009 by TruMedic- Best For A Low Budget
4. NURSAL TENS Unit Rechargeable Electronic Pain Relief Massager – Most Portable
5. Santamedical Electronic Tens Unit Handheld Pain Relief Pulse Massager- Best For Back Pain
Now that we have listed these best 5, let’s go on to specific information about each one.
This product also has EMB option. It has a clearly labeled button thus switching between TENS and EMS options is easy with the YK15AB. All you have to do is press the button that corresponds to the area you want to treat and then do the work. Its Buttons are well labeled with words like Neck, Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist, Back, Hip, Knee, Ankle and Foot/Hand.
For other TENS and EMS systems, you must determine the correct settings based on power and waveforms. This can be confusing for many users, even those who have experience with these machines. Fortunately, the YK15AB makes the entire process foolproof and makes your life easier without pain.
It is recommended for Sufferers of Tennis Elbow, Sciatica, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Arthritis, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Shin Splints, Plantar Fasciitis, Back Pain, Fibromyalgia, Neuropathy, and other inflammation ailments.
It has a Short instruction with CD. If you are starting treatment with TENS or EMS, you want to make sure that you are using the system properly. Although these devices are not designed to be harmful, if you accidentally choose a high setting, it may result in more pain and discomfort. Therefore, you want to use the Quick Start Guide included with this machine.
It contains not only a manual that you can read but also a CD that allows you to easily manage your system from your computer. Luckily, getting into the YK15AB is a lot easier than you might think. In a few minutes, you should be able to put it into operation. After a few applications, you no longer have to rely on the manual, and you get the results you deserve whenever you want. It also has 15 programming modes.
As mentioned earlier, the YK15AB should help with both TENS and EMS treatment. There are nine different options for pain relief and six for muscle recovery and stimulation. So, you get the best of both worlds and not a machine that delivers half the scale in both cases.
The keys are well written, so you always know what kind of treatment you receive. Whether you are trying to massage your muscles or relieve pain, changing programs is much easier with this system.
This device is remote-controlled. When using the YK15AB, convenience and simplicity are assured. For this purpose, this system also has its own remote control where you will find all the buttons listed above as well as your programming options. This allows you to attach and control the machine to your belt without having to look at the machine.
With the remote option, you can use this system on the go. So, you can always take the YK15AB for pain relief or recovery after exercise. You can also manage your treatment options from a more convenient position because you do not need to review or adjust the settings.
It also has a Large backlit LED display. Different treatment options will not really help you if you cannot see what you are doing. For other TENS systems, you must use a magnifying glass to determine the degree and treatment option that you will use at a given time. However, the YK15AB has a large backlit screen. So, when you switch from one program to another, you never have to guess if you’re in the right mode before turning it on
- Pads are flexible and durable
- Provides both TENS and EMS programs
- Large display with backlight
- 15 comfort modes
- Remote control option
- Quick guide provided
- Uses three AAA batteries (included)
- Durable construction
- FDA approved for pain relief
- Easy to read instructions
- Easy menu navigation
- Eight electrodes available
- Clearly labeled buttons
- In some cases, skin irritation may occur through the electrodes
- In a few cases, the device may be too intense for some users
Most users this product gave positive feedback as it melts their pain away. It is also appreciated for the great price. However, very few complained of an electric shock when used.
TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital Unit delivers drug-free back pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel, knee, elbow, arthritis, shoulder, leg and foot pain relief. It has a 5 Program Modes which includes; Normal, Burst, Modulation Pulse Massager, Strength Duration 1, and Strength Duration 2. The user-friendly menu screen and navigation buttons make switching between different modes easy. The large LED display is easy to read and allows you to see at any time which levels you have. When it comes to pain therapy, it simplifies your life.
It also comes with a Quick Start Guide. If you have never used a TENS system, you may be wondering how to start it. Fortunately, the manufacturer has created a comprehensive and easy to understand guide that will help you get started. Even if you have already used TENS, it is helpful to have this resource available to help you find the best treatment for your pain. The guide will show you how to connect everything and place the electrodes for maximum effectiveness. Fortunately, you do not need a gel or glue to put on your body. This system is all-inclusive. This guide also describes the various treatment options that can help you find the right one for your needs.
It is a Medical technology made of the same materials and components that you find in the doctor’s office. At first, you might think that such a cheap and easy-to-use system may not be as good as the clinic, but you that idea is wrong. it delivers the same results at home. The wires and electrodes are of high quality and the machine itself is designed for longevity. Although it is powered by a standard 9-volt battery, it can work just as well as anything else to provide reliable pain relief. You do not need a master’s degree to get you started, and the material will work for years to give you the relief you deserve without having to worry about a broken or low performing machine.
It has customization options such that you have a system that adapts to your body type and level of pain. Although the five program modes help you get the results you want, there are other ways to tailor the settings to your individual needs. Firstly, TENS 7000 is a two-channel system. This means you can use either two or four knots, depending on the number of affected areas and the number of pains. Secondly, you can adjust the current for each mode, allowing you to further customize the pain relief. For example, if you notice worse back pain and mild pain in your arms, you can set each knot to gain more strength where you most need it.
It also comes with a Built-in timer such that you can set and forget it. With a built-in timer that lasts up to 60 minutes, you can ensure that you get the results you want for as long as you want. Whether ten minutes three times a day or 30 minutes twice a day, you can set the timer in advance and use it without having to worry about the clock.
- Durable construction
- 5 programming modes
- Automatic shutdown
- Heavy duty case
- Battery is included
- Easy to use
- High-quality electrotherapy
- Dual-channel options
- Adjustable current settings
- Records tasks for faster retrieval
- Quick guide included
- User-friendly menu navigation
- Low battery indicator
- Adjustable timer
- In a few cases, the device may turn off unexpectedly
- The LED is not backlit and can, therefore, be difficult to read at times
Most users gave a positive review as it worth the price and offer a great stimulation power in relieving the pain. However, if the guide is not read before use, you might get some electric shock.
TruMedic PL-009 is a dual channel TENS device with 5 auto-stimulation programs, 3 massage modes, 10 intensity levels, use up to 4 pads. It is effective in relieving the pain of muscle stiffness, soreness and aches. It is great for tight muscles and nerves relaxation. This device has 5 auto-pacing programs to choose from, each designed for a different body region: waist, shoulder, joint, sole and hand/foot.
The manufacturer has pre-programmed the selection so that it is best suited for the treatment of this particular area. The auto-stimulation programs are one of the reasons why this device is suitable for beginners or novices. In addition to the auto-stimulation programs, there are three settings for different modes: massage, beating, and kneading. Each session lasts 15 minutes.
TruMedic PL-009 is a dual-channel machine. It has independent intensity controls for each of the two channels. You can use a maximum of four electrodes (pads) at a time and at least two electrodes. If you use all four, you can treat two areas at the same time. With 10 intensity levels, the device offers good control over the treatment strength.
To operate the device, there are a number of buttons on the front and two dials on the side. Each auto-stimulation program has its own button, each massage (mode) has a button. The selected settings are displayed on the LCD screen
The intensity control of the dial type is extremely sensitive and can be easily tapped. The TruMedic PL-009 is an easy-to-use machine. It’s so easy to turn on the device, choose one of the automatic pacing programs, choose a massage mode, and then you can adjust the speed and intensity to your needs.
TruMedic PL-009 is powered by 4 x AAA batteries: The size of the PL-009 is (approximately): 7.8 inches x 2.2 inches x 0.9 inches, no larger than a remote control. It’s small and light, but it’s not one of the smallest devices compared to other TENS devices on the market. If portability is at the top of your list of priorities, you can look elsewhere, such as at HealthmateForever.
- It’s a dual channel
- Independent intensity control for each channel
- Various massage types
- Easy to use
- The LCD screen displays your settings and the remaining time
- Additional batteries and pads
- The treatment lasts 15 minutes and cannot be stopped. You must then reset it if you want to continue your session
- The intensity controls on the side are very sensitive and can be easily tapped
- Relatively large unit
Most users gave it a good rating for its durability and easy to use. Some complained about the size as it not too easy to carry about.
NURSAL TENS device has 16 massage modes and 20 intensity settings. it comes with no less than 8 electrode pads. Each of the 4 pad pairs has a different design and can be used for different applications. The large pair is better suited to cover large parts of your body, so it is very effective to massage your chest or back muscles. You can also use them with good results for your leg muscles and hips.
The medium-sized electrodes work very effectively for specific muscle groups. These pads provide very intense massage for the back and limb muscles and provide a very relaxing massage experience. With its 16 massage modes, you can use each massage mode to stimulates your muscles in different ways. Hence, allowing you to switch between them for a thorough massage session.
Another great feature is that the device is equipped with an adjustable massage intensity function. In this way, you can adjust the strength of the massage according to the placement of the pads, your needs, and your mood. You can either enjoy a relaxing, low-intensity massage or a refreshing, higher intensity massage.
It uses a rechargeable lithium battery. You can easily connect the battery to a charger or USB port every time it is empty and recharge it in a matter of hours. You do not have to charge the battery often. One battery charge can take up to 10 hours. Therefore, you may use the device for two weeks without charging once, depending on how often and how long you use the TENS device within that time.T he great thing about this model is that it is very user-friendly.
Despite the fact that the device is small enough to fit in your average pocket, it offers a very large LCD screen. Each setting you use is clearly shown in the display, and you can customize all the features of the device. You can use this product regardless of whether you are at home or at work.
The NURSAL TENS device is covered by a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Good reusable pads
- Nice portable design
- The design is very user-friendly
- The user manual of the device is not very helpful
Customers gave a great review that the pads are very durable and portable
Santamedical Electronic Tens is a user-friendly product that treats your sore muscles. It helps relieve the pain of stiff neck muscles shoulder, arms, waist, back, and joints. It has the size of the remote with six auto modes, four mounting pads, a built-in timer, and an LCD display to meet different needs.
The six different massage modes target six different body parts. This includes the waist, shoulder, joint, hand and foot/ sole. These massages are in automatic simulation mode. They are a form of preset programs that pulsate the intensity and velocity values.
In addition to the six automatic simulation modes, you will find three massage modes for your pain type. These include kneading, beat, and massage types. It is a two-channel device. You can have a massage session of 15 minutes, then the device stops automatically. An integrated timer gives the device the flexibility to reboot if you want to enjoy longer treatment sessions.
It has four AAA batteries with a power consumption of DC 6V. However, the device is not rechargeable, but the performance of the battery is quite high for long treatment sessions
- Comes with a series of auto-simulation programs
- Function keys for various massages
- It is an intuitive device
- The battery is not rechargeable
- Does not have a belt clip
- The wires are a bit weak
Most users gave it a great rating as it relieves their discomfort in time and it has a small size.
How To Use a TENS Unit
Place the TENS unit electrodes on your skin close to the painful areas. The digital TEN unit will generate a gentle, massage-like tingling sensation. The mechanism behind pain reduction includes:
1) The stimulation frequency and voltage cause the pain gateways in the spinal cord to partially or totally closed. This blocks the pain’s path to your brain. This mechanism is called sensory level stimulation.
2) The electrical impulses cause your body to produce endorphins and enkephalins which is body’s own natural pain-killers. This mechanism is known as motor level stimulation.
Following a physiotherapist recommendation will make TENS treatment more effective. However, use the device by putting self-adhesive electrodes on either side of the painful area. First set the TENS unit to a low setting, then put it on. You will feel a gentle tingling sensation. You can then increase the tingling sensation by increase the setting. Whenever you don’t feel comfortable again with the sensation, you can reduce the intensity slightly. If the tingling reduces thereafter, just increase the intensity setting.
Benefits of TENS to Users
Both acute and chronic pain can be treated effectively with TENS. If you use one regularly, you will get a positive result in the reduction of many pain-related conditions. These positive results include;
- Painless physical movement
- Increased concentration
- Reduced irritability
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- It reduces the use of pain-relief drugs
- Improved attitude and social life
- Reduce hospital visit
Contraindications Of TENS Use
If you have of the following conditions, you should avoid the use TENS.
- If you have a heart condition or use of a cardiac pacemaker
- Poor circulation
- Any kind of cancer or neoplasm
However, TENS electrodes should not be placed on the neck near the carotid artery or over broken. Do not place it on irritated skin, on the head or on numb areas. Do not place it on varicose veins too.
Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best TENS Unit
- The nature of pain you want to relieve
- The number of pre-sets and modes available
- The electrode pads number
- The number of channels
- The manufacturer’s reputation
- Your financial budget
Comparing TENS, EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) Devices and Electronic Pulse Massagers
If you are confused about the difference between TENS and EMS, here are the differences;
TENS and EMS devices are quite different even though the two provide electro-stimulation. The difference is in that a TENS unit stimulates nerves while an EMS unit to stimulate muscles. As TENS unit makes use of low and high-frequency current pulses in a small range around 100ma. An EMS unit makes use of cycles that induce muscle relaxation and contraction at different intensities from 1mh to 130Mh. These cycles will improve the muscle blood flow while decreasing inflammation. Whereas TENS units are majorly for pain control and management.
Comparing a TENS unit with an Electronic Pulse Massagers, the difference is usually not much. TENS unit causes only nerve ending stimulation while an EPM causes muscle contraction. However, some TENS units do both.
TENS for Home Use
The devices for home use are usually more powerful and larger with more wires. This size makes them uncomfortable for portable use. Home machines often come with long cables or back belts creating more obstruction.
Portable TENS Devices
There are portable units which are favorite of many on the go. Portable products easily fit into a handbag with its lightweight. They have a wireless system with two small stimulation units.
Over To You
Now that we have reviewed the best 5 TENS units, we will like to hear from you. Have you used any of these products before now? If yes, what was your experience? Also, is there a product you will like us to include in this review? Kindly, let us know by leaving a comment, we will be very excited to update this review as much as we can.
Thanks for taking your time to read this review.