Complete Guide To The Best TENS Machine: TENS Unit Reviews

tens unit reviews

If you’ve been experiencing pain, you might have been told to pick up a TENS machine to alleviate your symptoms.

Back pain is one of the most common health complaints of all and affects millions of people worldwide. Neck pain isn't far behind. 

A lot of this has to do with our modern lifestyle, sitting at computers and sitting cars but it can be caused from a variety of sources.

The pain ranges from mild, temporary pain to severe and chronic pain that can literally keep you suffering and bed-ridden for weeks, even months.

There are a number of options in dealing such debilitating pain and many people turn to medication and painkillers in order to cope.

One of the problems with this is that you have to keep taking progressively more or stronger medication in order to feel some relief.

A very effective and non-pharmaceutical alternative is available and it has been helping thousands of people for many years now. They've been around since the 1960s. 

You can relieve your pain easily and quickly by searching out the best TENS machine possible.

While there are many on the market currently, you want to be careful that you pick only the best.

There's no reason to live with that pain any more, simply follow my TENS unit reviews to start feeling relief.

Top 10 Best TENS Machine Reviewed

What Is a TENS Machine?

A TENS Machine stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. These are recommended to treat nerve related pain conditions. 

Simply put, it'll send a pulse through the surface of your skin to create a massaging and tingling sensation that reduces your perception of pain.

This is a noninvasive and safe, drug-free method of dealing with pain.

It's a small and portable machine, battery operated that can be easily worn on the body. You then attach the machine to your body through wires and sticky pads.

You'll have the sensation of small pulses of electricity similar to electric shocks. It is painless and can often be relaxing.

They are good for more than just nerve pain. Many people also find relief from muscular pains, illnesses like fibromyalgia, and even for things like tendinitis.

This is the perfect alternative for anyone looking to reduce their pain without taking painkilling medications, which can be addictive.

What Are the Benefits of a TENS Machine?

A TENS unit will produce natural pain-killing chemicals that we call endorphins. These are created by the impulses sent through the wires that are connected to the pain points on your body.

You can control the intensity and location of these impulses and the brain will receive a decrease in pain signals.

Many people find relief after surgeries, during recovery from traumatic injuries, even dental treatments.

TENS units have also been found to reduce the inflammation of fibers in the muscle to store nerve pain that's a result of pinched nerves, sciatica, and disc degeneration.

You’ll find that TENS therapy is also perfect for those that suffer from osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, low back pain, neck pain, bursitis, tendinitis, chronic pain and even pain associated with cancer.

Others find that it's a great addition to physical therapy treatments and rehabilitation.

TENS machines can be purchased over the counter with no prescription from a doctor.

You should always consult with a healthcare professional first and sometimes they can even be covered by health insurance.

There are many benefits to a TENS machine. It's controllable, has no side effects like you could have with some medications, and is also usually fairly-priced.

The effect is often immediate, unlike medications where you have to wait for it to get into your system.

Good candidates for a TENS machine would generally be those suffering from chronic back pain, joint pain such as the knee, and other musculoskeletal issues.

It’s also a good alternative to pain medication for women in labour.

musculoskeletal issues

Why Do I Need One?

Some who are suffering from sports injuries, migraines, carpal tunnel, and menstrual pains may also benefit from a TENS machine.

However, not all TENS devices are created equal, and you’ll want to make sure you get one that's suitable for your needs.

It’s always best to assess this before jumping in to buy the most intense version.

Although these devices are harmless, you won't get the correct pain relief without the right intensity.

When it comes to looking at the TENS 3000 vs TENS 7000, there are a few very obvious differences.

How Do TENS Machines Relieve Pain?

A TENS machine is a compact, portable electrical device that you can carry with you and works by means of sets of electrodes that are positioned around or near the affected area.

It sends electrical pulses to the body through the electrodes. The effect of this is that these pulses disrupt the pain signals from affected area to the brain thereby reducing the pain sensation that you feel.

More scientific studies need to be done to explain and understand this process better but the reality is thousands of satisfied customers can attest to the effectiveness of TENS machines.

Hows Does It Work?

tens unit guide

Numerous studies have been done. However, there's still a lot to learn about the functioning of the TENS unit and how it helps relieve pain.

TENS machines are thought to work in two ways:

Electrical pulses produced by the unit (at a normal rate of 90-130 Hz) interfere with the transport of pain messages to the brain, thereby blocking it.

That's putting it very simply, but it effectively blocks the gate mechanism that allows pain messages to get through the central nervous system and brain.

As a result, the user feels less pain due to the messages not getting through.

They're also believed to stimulate specific non-pain-carrying nerves which also cause the gate to close.

This small machine comes with a number of pads that the user connects to the affected parts of the body.

It's controlled by the user quite simply by turning it on, up or off. Generally, one would use it for approximately 20-minutes a few times a day, or as required.

TENS machines are available either through a doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or they can be purchased online or over the counter.

The drawback to the latter option is that many people are somewhat intimidated by them and a bit bewildered as to how they should be used correctly.

While it might be a bit intimidating at first, it's not that complicated.

If you follow a few basic guidelines, which we will share with you, you'll be able to use it effectively. You'll soon start feeling relief from your pain.

Before we get into placement, let’s look at a few words of caution.

A Few TENS Unit Placement Dont's

Don't place pads on the following areas:

  • Heart
  • Eyes
  • Open or healing wounds
  • exclamation-triangle
    Directly on joints 

Another few things to bear in mind are to never use pads when they're wet or when they're worn or damaged.

You also don’t want pads to touch or be on top of each other.

TENS machines are also not recommended (unless advised by a doctor) during pregnancy or for people that suffer from heart conditions or epilepsy as well as patients that have a pacemaker.

Apart from those few pointers, you can’t really do any damage if you get it wrong. It might be an idea to experiment with different positions and angles to see what gives you the most pain relief.

TENS Unit Placement Guidelines

There are a number of options with regards to tens electrode placement.

The first step is to establish exactly where the pain is situated, where it starts, and where it ends.

Depending on the TENS system you have, always use 2 or 4 pads.

According to the size and shape of the area in pain, pads can be placed horizontally, vertically or at an angle.

The electrical flow can be altered by changing the distance or angle of the pads.

For a pain that extends a long distance on your body, place one pad at the top of the pain and the other at the bottom of the pain area.

  • In a smaller area, position the pads parallel on either side of the pain area.
  • For joint pain, place pads parallel on the soft tissue above and below the joint.
  • In wider areas, place pads vertically on either side of the affected area.

Two Main Types Of TENS Unit

The TENS 3000 Model

Generally allows you to choose one of three modes: burst, constant, or modulation (similar to what you would have on a massaging chair!).

You can adjust how long the pulses last and at what rate.

You can adjust a session to last 15-30 minutes. The TENS 7000 is also adjustable with pulse width and rate and comes with two additional modes: SD1 and SD2.

Its output goes to 100mA while the output for the TENS 3000 is up to 80mA.

The TENS 7000 Model

This can be set up to 60 minutes. It can be set at a continuous rate for that time or adjusted for a certain rate/intensity for the first half and something else for the second.

When it comes to the price with the TENS 3000 vs 7000, there really isn't much difference. The 3000 is usually around $20 and up while the TENS 7000 is usually around $30 and up.

TENS 3000 reviews suggest that these machines are still effective, but ideally for those with minor aches and pains that might be persistent or for sensitive areas like for migraines or period pains, rather than a more intense pain.

When it comes to the TENS 3000 vs 7000, the TENS 7000 offers greater flexibility in terms of pain management but is really only needed if you suffer from chronic intense pain.

The TENS 3000 is acceptable for dull aches and pains and handy to have around just in case.

If you’re wanting to try some pain relief techniques that don’t include medication with unwanted side effects, consider one of these!

Things to Look for When Picking a Unit

best electronic pulse massager

Finding your top TENS unit shouldn’t be difficult, just start by determining your price range. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of batteries and decide if a rechargeable model might be right for you in the long run.

If you experience pain in more than one area of the body, you will need to find a quality, dual-channel model. This will allow you to treat both areas separately or even share this with a loved one while watching television.

Different systems offer a variety of modes of operation. You'll want to pay attention to each option so you can pick the best electronic pulse massager for you. Pay attention to the size of the gel pads.

You'll want to be sure that they are big enough for where you need them. In addition, you can choose how many pads you would like to be available for your use.

If you pick a machine with four or more pads, that will enable you to work easily in multiple areas.

Power Levels

You want to select a machine that has sufficient power to deal with your pain while still having enough adjustability and modes to effectively provide relief for various types of pain.

Some machines have a very low power output making them suitable only for the mildest pain.

You need a good range of power settings as well as a range of operational modes.


Different types of pain will require different modes of electrical transfer.

Some types of pain respond to bursts, for example, while others work better with a constant flow.

Ensure the machine you select has a range of modes for maximum flexibility and pain management.

The Supplier

The reputation and history of the company are all important. You want to select a machine made by a company that specializes in medical equipment.

They'll have the knowledge and expertise to enable them to manufacture one of the best TENS machines for pain relief.

A reputable company also means that you'll be able to expect good customer service and a fair warranty.

These are both important when buying anything electrical.

In order to come up with our recommendation for the best TENS machine for back pain as well as other muscle pain, we looked at the top selling machines on the market. 

We looked at the features and benefits to ensure it's of a high quality and capable of doing an effective job of relieving your pain.

We also studied the feedback from customers that have purchased and used the machines.

These user comments give an honest and unbiased idea of the quality and effectiveness of the TENS machine.

Based on our research we've come up with our choice for the best TENS machine for pain relief.

The Best TENS Machines on the Market

1. HealthmateForever Electronic Pulse Massager

HealthmateForever YK15AB TENS unit Electronic Pulse Massager

It's easy to see that the best TENS unit for home use is this model from HealthmateForever.

This unit has a lifetime warranty and is FDA approved for your safety.

The handheld operations are simple and easy to use with buttons being clearly labeled for each part of the body.

The large, LCD display is great for people who have trouble seeing and you can easily choose what type of massage you're in need of.

There's no prescription needed to buy this machine and you get options for 15 different modes and 20 adjustable intensity levels for amazing customization. With 4 outputs, you can easily target multiple areas at the same time.

When you're dealing with pain, this machine could do the trick.

This top TENS unit features a large LCD display and buttons that are labeled for each body part.

There are a whopping 20 levels of intensity with 15 modes and 4 outputs.

This makes it easy to treat multiple areas at once with different levels of intensity and frequency.

This unit is completely portable and can be taken with you on the go for relief anywhere. Simply use the belt clip and you’ll forget that you even have it on.

The default time is set to 80 minutes and it will automatically power down when the time is up, but, you can adjust the time to your liking.

My pick for the best personal TENS unit uses 3 AAA batteries and goes into a power-saving mode when not in use. 

If you're looking for the best TENS machine for home use, this is your ideal option and the price is right.


  • thumbs-o-up
    The FDA has approved this advice and it's perfect for at-home pain relief.
  • thumbs-o-up
    A large LCD screen is great for baby boomers or anyone else that has trouble seeing.
  • thumbs-o-up
    This machine provides drug-free pain relief that isn't habit forming.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Offering up 15 different modes and 20 adjustable intensity levels, you can customize it to be whatever you need.
  • thumbs-o-up
    You won’t have to spend a lot of money for this device.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Use this TENS unit on multiple parts of the body at the same time.

2. truMedic TENS Unit

truMedic TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager

This unit is made by a trusted name in the healthcare industry, truMedic.

Designed to reduce stress, muscle soreness, stiffness and even chronic pain, this unit is lightweight at just 5.3 ounces.

It even comes complete with the batteries. The buttons are labeled for easy use.

There are five auto-stimulation programs available.

It offers a fully adjustable speed and intensity as well as 3 selectable massage settings.

This unit also features the capability to be used on more than one person at the same time.

This TENS unit is perfect for healing after accidents, dealing with nerve pains and so much more!

3. United Surgical TENS Machine

United Surgical TENS Machine

The Tens Unit by United Surgical is one of the top selling Tens machines on the market and is extremely favorably rated by customers that have used it for pain relief.

It's ideal for pain management as well as rehabilitation.

The kit comprises of the TENS unit, a full set of four electrodes, lead wires and a 9-volt battery.

This all comes in a handy carry case and you'll also receive a comprehensive instruction guide.

The professional unit is compact and portable with a number of flexible options.

It offers a choice of 5 operational modes:Normal, Modulation, Burst, Strength Duration 1 and Strength Duration 2.

This gives you variety and flexibility depending on the area and extent of the pain. It also records your sessions and saves the time and duration of your usage.

With 4 individual electrodes, you can use this machine to work on multiple areas at once.

There are 5 modes of operation; burst, normal, modulation, strength duration 1 and strength-duration 2.

Used for pain management and rehabilitation, this unit can automatically time and record your sessions for up to 900 hours.

It's completely portable, flexible and adjustable to your needs and comes complete with a carrying case. Use while at work, relaxing at home and more.

Pros & Cons


  • thumbs-o-up
    Compact and portable
  • thumbs-o-up
    Wide choice of modes
  • thumbs-o-up
    Competitively priced
  • thumbs-o-up
    Good strength for pain relief


  • thumbs-o-down
    Works on a 9-volt battery (you can use rechargeable batteries)
  • thumbs-o-down
    Slightly old-fashioned design

4. Smart Electro Pain Relief Machine

Healthmate Smart Electro Pain Relief Machine

With this unit, you’ll have access to 6 pads that can be applied to 2 different target areas at the same time.

Use the 8 pre-programmed massage like modes; Tuina, Acupuncture, Foot, Tapping, Leg, Cupping, Back and Combination to reduce pain quickly.

There's an adjustable 10-60 minute timer and the rechargeable internal lithium battery can be used up to 10 hours continuously.

With 20 levels of intensity to choose from, you're sure to find what you need at the click of a button.

Take this TENS unit on the go with you easily with its lightweight and portable design. They even offer you a lifetime warranty.

5. Pure Enrichment PurePulse Pro TENS Unit

Pure Enrichment PurePulse Pro TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator

My TENS unit reviews wouldn’t be complete without telling you about this great machine.

With a 2-year warranty and FDA approval, this machine can be customized to fit your pain management needs.

There are detailed exercises to target the pain in your neck, shoulders, back, arms, hamstrings, buttocks, knees and even more.

With the easy to read LCD display and 8 preset therapy programs, you're sure to be pain-free soon.

You can easily adjust the timer from 5-60 minutes and get medical grade pain management while relaxing at home.

There are even 25 different therapeutic intensity levels from gentle pulsations to aggressive pulsations.

Everything you need to get started comes with this unit including the batteries and storage bag. In addition, the company will also give you access to an instructional video series hosted by a physical therapist so you can learn how to use it properly.

Learning hands on makes it easy to achieve pain relief faster.

6. TEC.BEAN Rechargeable Tens EMS Unit

TEC.BEAN Rechargeable Tens EMS Unit

This system features 16 preprogrammed massage modes with 20 levels of strength.

It's fully adjustable and perfect for anyone with back pain, arthritis, inflamed joints, shoulder pain and more.

There's a built-in timer for up to 60 minutes and it will automatically shut off when your time is up.

You can apply 6 pads for up to 2 different targeted areas at the same time and it even includes an extra 2 large pads.

You can charge this unit with a wall plug or computer USB port for up to 10 hours of continuous use.

7. MeasuPro Portable Tens Unit

MeasuPro Portable Electro Massage Handheld Electronic Tens Unit

Use this system to ease pain quickly with its 3 pulse stimulation modes and 4 electrodes.

It comes complete with a 2-year warranty and provides for 10 easily adjustable levels.

This TENS unit also provides a quiet muscle stimulator so you can use it anywhere when you need a little extra relief. 

8. iReliev TOP-BEST TENS Massager Unit

iReliev TOP-BEST TENS Massager Unit

If you’re looking for a bundle package, this set comes with an extra 20 electrodes.

FDA approved and completely safe, this unit 8 pre-programmed therapy modes and 25 levels of intensity.

This is a great option for anyone looking for one of the best TENS units on the market. 

9. Ohuhu FDA 6 Pair TENS Unit

Ohuhu FDA 6 Pair TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Therapy

This FDA, CE, and ROHS approved machine is perfect for fast pain relief.

You can also receive increased blood circulation, a boost to your immunity and even better sleep.

You can choose times between 10 and 60 minutes along with 20 levels of intensity.

It's easy to use with the 16 pre-programmed modes all at the touch of a button. 

10. Balego Tens Machine

Balego Tens Machine

This system was made in the United States and features a stronger, 100ma output.

Use the metal belt clip to take it with you wherever you need relief.

This machine features dual channel, 5 modes and a timer for easy use. The silver finish gives this unit a luxurious look. 

11. Perfect MamaTENS

Perfect MamaTENS

The Perfect MamaTENS is the best TENS machine for labour on the market for many reasons.

This convenient handheld device will help you ride the waves of labour pain without the need of medication.

It was even made in conjunction with midwives to ensure the device works and is safe for mother and baby.

The device requires two AA batteries that are included. Once powered on, you can adjust the setting up to 60 levels.

There are no complicated buttons, just easy-to-use controls to turn off and on and to adjust levels and lock them in place.

The pads are placed on the lower back where they can provide the best support.

Once on, the device will send small electric pulses to the lower back area.

This helps with the pain relief by encouraging the body to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and also by blocking pain signals to the brain.

The feeling is almost like a tingling, or vibration, in the muscle. It’s completely harmless to both mother and baby.

You can control the intensity with the slimline device. This is the best TENS machine labour pains have ever come up against.

Pros & Cons

A huge benefit of using a TENS machine is that it’s controllable pain relief, unlike medication.

However, during labor, you may not feel like having to focus on controlling a TENS machine! Thankfully, the Perfect MamaTENS has three pre-set programs to turn on and then not worry about it.

There's also a neck cord and belt clip to help keep it handy. It's also claimed that the Perfect MamaTENS machine will help women stay upright during childbirth, which can help the delivery.

The batteries also are long-lasting and should see you through labour.

There’s a handy storage bag so you can grab and go when baby decides he or she wants to make their appearance.

One disadvantage to a TENS machine though would be that the pads are placed on the lower back where women may find hard to put on by themselves, so help might be required.

Also, lieing back on the pads and wires may be a bit uncomfortable.

This isn’t just the best TENS machine for labour, but also for easing those post-natal pains, even after a caesarian.

How to Select the Best TENS Unit for Your Needs

Buying a TENS unit can be a bit of a challenge if you don't know what you're looking for.

We've broken it down into a few easy steps for you to take to help you make your decision.


What do you need it to do?

Of course, you need your TENS machine for pain relief, but you need to think about more than just that! Get an idea of the specific features you want before starting to look. 

You might want a machine that can treat lots of areas simultaneously. That would mean you need one with long wires and plenty of pads that can be connected. 

Another thing to think about is whether a battery powered or rechargeable device would suit you best. 

Make a note of these things to refer to later.


What's your budget?

As you should do before you start any search, decide on your budget first, so you don't waste any time looking as products you can't afford.


Draw up a shortlist

Steps 1 and 2 complete, you can start looking at your options. Make a list of up to five machines that you like the look of and fit your criteria and come under your price range!


Narrow it down, and delve deeper

From the five on your short list, narrow it down to the two that you think would suit you best.

Think about their features and value for money, and always go for the ones with the best customer reviews and ratings. 

Once you've got your two, go even deeper. Some good questions to ask are:

  • Are there any bad reviews? What do they say and are they consistent?
  • Has anyone mentioned using the TENS machine for the same purpose as you? Did it work?
  • Does the product come with a warranty/guarantee?


Make a Decision

After all that, your choice should become clear! If there's nothing else separating them, then better value for money might be what swings it in favour of a particular product.

Using a TENS Unit

Using the best electrotherapy machine is easy and can be done by most anyone as I discussed above, but there are some general things you should know.

  • You can easily take your machine on the go as they're designed to work even while you're moving. You may want to use some medical tape to hold the pads in place if you plan on being active. You’ll also want to avoid placing the pad directly on a joint as it can come off more easily with movement.
  • Don’t place the pads on your skin while the machine is on; always being sure the power is off and then you can apply to your troubled areas. You’ll also want to clean the skin before placing the pads on. Obviously, you don’t want to put the pads on over a cut or skin irritation.
  • If your pain covers a large area such as between your shoulders, you’ll want to place your pads to the left and right of the area in a vertical direction.
  • check-square-o
    Your pads should be applied on either side of your pain for maximum benefit and not within 2-3 cm of one another. Always start your machine on a low setting and move up gradually as you need it. It’s very likely that you'll need to increase intensity during your therapy as your body gets used to the sensations. That's normal and shouldn’t cause alarm.
  • check-square-o
    If you’re planning to use your machine again, there's no need to remove the pads. Simply unhook the wires and reattach them when you're ready again.
  • check-square-o
    When you’ve finished using your unit, simply remove the pads and clean your skin with soap and water.

Who Can Use a TENS Machine?

TENS therapy is basically for everyone because it doesn’t rely on the use of drugs to reduce pain. There are several groups of people that shouldn’t use it without first speaking with a physician.

If you're pregnant, you’ll need to avoid using a TENS unit unless specifically directed by a healthcare professional.

Some women will use them during labor, but again, this isn’t generally recommended.

In addition, if you suffer from epilepsy, heart conditions or have pain coming from an unknown source, your best bet is to talk with the doctor before use.

Make sure you also follow all recommendations given in the owner’s manual to keep yourself safe and pain-free.

Who Shouldn’t Use a TENS Machine?

TENS machines are a great alternative to normal pain killing drugs and offer relief to many for their joints, nerves, and muscles.

They're generally considered safe as long as they're used according to the operating instructions that come with your unit.

While it's great for most people, there are, however, people who are not a good fit for TENS therapy.

If you have pain with no diagnosis or if you're pregnant, these machines aren't a good choice for you.

There have been studies of people using them for relief during labor, but this isn’t something you would want to do without guidance from a professional.

In addition, those with pacemakers, epilepsy or heart disease should avoid usage without consulting a physician.

Other Ideas to Reduce Pain

Pain can be tough to deal with, especially when it seems to be never-ending.

Here are some things you can incorporate into your best TENS unit for home use to receive the maximum amount of pain relief.

  • Relaxation is key to reducing pain. Find ways to relax like getting massages, using essential oils and practising meditation.
  • Soak in some warm water, but not with the unit on your body. This is especially helpful with joint conditions or arthritis.
  • Try to use a heat pack on the affected area.
  • lightbulb-o
    Laugh more. Laughter naturally reduces pain and it’s fun to do.


Stop suffering from ongoing body pains or taking excessive medicines when there are effective and convenient alternatives available.

Whatever your pains might be, the TENS unit reviews I’ve provided should shed light into some of the best TENS machines for your needs.

Once you pick the proper machine for you, find quick relief with a variety of modes that will be available to you.

You’ll no longer need to rely on pain medication to get through your day; take the natural route instead.

Try a TENS machine for instant and ongoing relief of back, neck, joint, and muscular pain.