The best foot massager

Ana Sanchez

Who doesn't like a foot rub at the end of a long day? Not all of us have a personal masseuse or a willing loved one to provide that service regularly, but fortunately you can now purchase massagers designed specifically for your tired feet. These gadgets can involve water for a spa-like experience, heat and infrared lights to relax muscles, or moving heads to knead feet. Manual foot massagers are also available and offer acupressure relief.

Not sure where to start? Read our brief shopping guide on what to look for in a foot massager, including the types and features currently offered on the market. We've also done extensive market research to come up with our top recommendations, like our favorite Shiatsu foot massager.

Considerations when choosing foot massagers

Types of foot massagers

Electric: Electric foot massagers require an electrical outlet to power their massage heads, which knead and/or vibrate, as well as air pressure and heat features. These range in price from $50 to $300.

Manual: Manual foot massagers are made from wood, foam, rubber, or plastic and require you to rub your feet on their pointed rollers. They are highly portable and inexpensive at $5 to $25.

Foot Spa: Foot spas involve water that's heated and has "hydrotherapy" features, such as bubbles and jets, to massage your feet. These also require an electrical outlet. They're priced between $30 and $100.

Massage methods to consider

Foot massagers offer a variety of methods to remove tension from your feet. Here's a list of the common methods, which may be combined in higher-priced massagers.

Shiatsu: This traditional Japanese massage technique is replicated with vibrating, kneading heads that target pressure points.
Heat: Heat helps relax foot muscles and can relieve pain. It's a nice feature that enhances the effects of foot spas and electric massagers.
Infrared light: Infrared light emits low heat and is believed to increase circulation and lower inflammation.
Kneading: Moving heads are an important component of foot massagers that provide the massage experience to feet.
Compression: Some electric foot massagers that surround the foot have a compression option that use air to apply pressure to the foot.
Vibration: Vibrating components are common in electric massagers and foot spas. They offer a different massage sensation from kneading.
Hydrotherapy: In foot spas, water is used to massage the feet in jet streams or bubbles. Vibration and heat is also generally part of the hydrotherapy experience offered by foot spas.

Other considerations

360° vs. sole: Some foot massagers only target the sole of your foot, like manual and basic electric ones. Foot spas and more advanced electric massagers totally encompass the foot for a "360°" experience.

Size and weight: Some foot massagers can be rather heavy and bulky. Consider how much space you have for storage as well as arm strength for dragging it out to use. Manual foot massagers are the most lightweight and easiest to move.

Adjustability: Some feet are more sensitive than others and require more calibrated settings for heat, kneading, and vibration. Carefully consider whether you want the option to control speed, pressure, and other settings; not all foot massagers are adjustable. 


Q. What are the benefits of a foot massager?

A. Aside from general relaxation, foot massagers can offer pain relief for a wide range of concerns. Athletes, people who work all day on their feet, arthritis sufferers, and people with plantar fasciitis and heel spurs can all experience pain relief from a good foot massager. Foot massagers can also increase blood flow to and reduce fluid retention in your lower extremities.

Q. Is there any reason not to use a foot massager?

A. If you're pregnant or diabetic, foot massagers can carry some risk. Check with your doctor first before use if this applies to you.

Foot massagers we recommend

Best of the best: Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager

Our take: A high-end foot massager that offers multiple settings and massage methods.

What we like: Comprehensive functions: Shiatsu, heat, and compression for a total massage experience. Offers five strength levels.

What we dislike: Kneading function can't be shut off while in use.

Best bang for your buck: Conair Active Life Waterfall Foot Spa

Our take: A foot spa with impressive durability and features for such a low price.

What we like: Stands apart for its lights and waterfall features. Comes with attachments, including pumice stone and manual foot roller. Bubbles and vibrates.

What we dislike: Doesn't heat up water. Users must pour in already heated water.

Choice 3: Homedics Deep Kneading Shiatsu

Our take: From a trusted home appliance brand, this kneading massager excels in quality.

What we like: Multiple rotating heads provide deep Shiatsu massage. Quite effective for reducing foot soreness. Heat feature enhances experience.

What we dislike: Angle of unit isn't adjustable.

Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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