If you suffer from chronic pain, a TENS unit can be a safe and non-invasive way to provide relief, without medication or harmful side effects. We have reviewed the best TENS units on the market and here we provide you with our top picks. Our reviews are based on flexibility, durability, and ease of operation. If you still feel like you’re over your head, please check the buying guide after the TENS unit reviews for a fuller description of how to choose the best TENS unit for your needs.
- 1 Top 10 TENS Units
- 1.1 #1 Omron electroTHERAPY Pain Relief Device PM3030
- 1.2 #2 TENS 7000 2nd Edition TENS Machine
- 1.3 #3 truMedic PL009 TENS Electronic Pulse Massager
- 1.4 #4 HealthmateForever TENS Unit & Muscle Stimulator HM8ML
- 1.5 #5 Zewa Spabuddy Sport TENS Pain Therapy
- 1.6 #6 Pure Enrichment PurePulse Pro TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator
- 1.7 #7 ET-7070 iReliev TENS + EMS Pain Relief & Muscle Stimulator
- 1.8 #8 HealthmateForever TENS Unit & Muscle Stimulator Pro12AB
- 1.9 #9 HealthmateForever Touch Screen TENS Unit and Muscle Stimulator T12AB
- 1.10 #10 HealthmateForever Touch Screen TENS Unit and Muscle Stimulator T24AB2
- 2 TENS Units – Buyers Guide
Top 10 TENS Units
|Tens Machine for Pain Management||4.6||$||3118|
|HealthmateForever TouchScreen T12AB||4.5||$$$||36|
|Pure Enrichment PurePulse Pro||4.5||$$||688|
|Zewa Spabuddy Sport Tens||4.4||$$||319|
|ET-7070 iReliev TENS Unit||4.5||$$||163|
|truMedic TENS Unit||4.4||$||4127|
|HealthmateForever TENS Unit HM8ML||4.4||$||1210|
|HealthmateForever TENS unit Pro12AB||4.3||$$$||143|
|Omron electroTHERAPY Device PM3030||4.2||$||1069|
#1 Omron electroTHERAPY Pain Relief Device PM3030
The Omron Electrotherapy PM3030 TENS Device provides safe and effective pain relief without drugs. Get the same treatment you might get from a chiropractor or physical therapist, in the comfort of your own home. If you are unsure about TENS units, the low cost means that you don’t have to invest very much money to try out this pain-relieving therapy.
The Omron PM3030 has no display to worry about. It has large buttons and high-contrast text for easy operation. A light-up indicator confirms that the device has power and tells you what mode you are on.
The Omron PM3030 has only limited options, but they will deliver satisfactory relief in as little as 15 minutes. It is designed for three pain modes for treatment of arms, lower back, or legs/feet. 5 different intensity levels treat discomfort whether it is mild or severe.
The Omron Electrotherapy PM3030 device is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Slide it into your pocket to take it out and about discreetly. It runs off of 2 AAA batteries.
The Omron PM3030 comes with electrode cords, a pad holder, 2 AAA batteries, and instruction manuals. It also comes with two self-adhesive Long Life pads, reusable for up to 150 treatments.
#2 TENS 7000 2nd Edition TENS Machine
The TENS 7000 2nd Edition is a popular model that has been around for years. Even after being eclipsed by more current models, consumers keep turning to the TENS 7000 for effective pain relief at a reasonable price. You will be highly satisfied with its performance, durability, and ease of use.
The TENS 7000 2nd edition has clearly understandable control buttons. They are well spaced apart so operation is very easy. Protective covers for the buttons and the intensity dial will ensure that settings aren’t changed by accidentally bumping or brushing against the unit. The unit is equipped with a patient compliance meter. Easily time and record your treatment sessions, and then review the record with your doctor to optimize your treatment plan. Also many reviewers and consumers praise the instruction manual for being complete, thorough, and easy to follow.
The TENS 7000 2nd Edition has 5 modes of operation: burst, normal, modulation, and two strength settings. Dual channel enables you to treat different parts of the body at the same time. An upgraded 100mA output delivers strong and powerful stimulation.
The TENS 7000 2nd Edition is lightweight and compact for easy carrying. Rubber side grips resist slipping. It also comes with a hard carrying case to protect it against mishaps. This is the only TENS unit we have found that is packaged with a hard carrying case. The TENS 7000 2nd Edition is powered by a 9V battery. Most users report the battery lasts for about 10-12 hours of treatment.
The TENS 7000 2nd Edition ships with four electrodes and lead wires, a 9V battery, a carrying case, sturdy metal belt clip, and an instruction manual.
#3 truMedic PL009 TENS Electronic Pulse Massager
The truMedic PL009 TENS Unit a state-of-the-art electrotherapy unit that delivers everything you expect in performance and safety, at a very affordable cost.
The truMedic PL009 has a clear and easy to read display. The one drawback is that it is not backlit. The buttons are clearly labeled in plain English for simple and intuitive operation. Some users have noted that the intensity dials are very sensitive and easy to bump by accident. It is recommended to keep the unit at a short distance from your body during treatment, to prevent the likelihood of bumping up the intensity. With your purchase you will also receive access to a series of pain-management videos.
The truMedic PL009 offers five auto stimulation programs and three selectable massage settings. Speed and intensity are fully adjustable so you can select the optimal settings for your endurance level. The session time is fixed at 15 minutes. This is good for novice users as it greatly reduces the risk of overdoing it. However some people don’t appreciate this lack of flexibility.
The truMedic PL009 is about the size of a remote control or cordless phone, and just as easy to carry. It is powered by 4 AAA batteries for long-lasting operation.
The truMedic PL009 ships with four electrode pads and lead wires, and batteries are included as well. truMedic recommends using TENS TAC gel to extend the life of the pads, but the gel is not included.
#4 HealthmateForever TENS Unit & Muscle Stimulator HM8ML
HealthmateForever is a #1 manufacturer of TENS units at all price points. This is the cheapest model that they offer while still having all of the great features that HealthmateForever is known for.
This tiny device fits in the palm of your hand, so some people might find it difficult to operate just because of the tiny size. Nevertheless the buttons are easy to press, and the display is a backlit LCD screen with animations for maximum visibility. Activate the pause button to stop all activity in less than a second.
The HealthmateForever HM8ML has 8 programmed massage modes, in a flower configuration for easy scrolling and selection. The well-engineered design allows for simultaneous dual outputs, targeting two different areas of the body with a total of six pads. Set the timer between 10-60 minutes to choose the optimal duration of the treatment session. The HealthmateForever HM8ML incorporates 20 adjustable levels of intensity.
As mentioned, the HM8ML is very small and will fit in just about any size pocket, purse, or other hideaway. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery. Use it for up to 10 hours of continuous use without the need to recharge.
The HealthmateForever HM8ML comes with 6 gel pads, 1 pad holder, a USB charger/wall unit, and educational reference materials to get the most out of your TENS unit.
#5 Zewa Spabuddy Sport TENS Pain Therapy
The Zewa Spabuddy Sport TENS Pain Therapy Unit is a basic but functional device at a very low price point. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but you will find that it is reliable and affordable.
Consumers and reviewers praise the simple operation of the Zewa Spabuddy. The screen takes up about 50% of the total size of the unit, so it is nice and big for visibility. The buttons are large and clearly labeled. The only drawback is that the LCD screen is not backlit, so you need a good light source to see the display.
The Zewa Spabuddy comes with 8 pre-set modes to deliver targeted treatment, optimized for your particular needs. It also has 30 intensity levels, with ample power going all the way up to 100mA. You are sure to find the most effective intensity for you. It is equipped with dual channel mode, so you can treat two areas of the body simultaneously with two pads each.
The Spabuddy is very lightweight and easy to take to the gym. It is only a bit larger than a credit card. It runs on 3 AAA batteries, with a projected battery life of 10 hours.
The Spabuddy Sport includes 4 pre-gelled conductive pads and batteries, so you have everything you need to use the device right out of the box.
#6 Pure Enrichment PurePulse Pro TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator
The PurePulse Pro TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator is a basic and portable TENS unit from Pure Enrichment. You will find it to be a functional and practical option for pain relief and management.
The device is fairly easy to operate with a LCD display and intuitive interface. However some reviewers felt that the instructions for operation were not adequate, and that the offer of tutorial videos did not deliver a good value.
The PurePulse Pro is equipped with 8 pre-set therapy programs. Set the duration of your treatment session anywhere between 5 and 60 minutes. Explore 25 therapeutic intensity levels so that you can select the right intensity level based on your symptoms and discomfort.
The PurePulse Pro is extremely light and compact for easy carrying and storage. The device is powered by 3 non-rechargeable AAA batteries. The device is shipped with a carrying bag for convenience and storage.
The PurePulse Pro kit includes four electrode pads, 3 AAA batteries, and a storage bag for convenience.
#7 ET-7070 iReliev TENS + EMS Pain Relief & Muscle Stimulator
The ET-7070 iReliev TENS+EMS device packs a lot of features into an itty-bitty package. With so many flexible options, it delivers great value for money. It proves that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for a low price.
The ET-7070 has nice, clear graphics on its small screen, and the buttons are easy to see. Reviewers have praised the easy operation of this unit. The pads are pre-gelled, so there is less mess and fuss in applying the pads.
iReliev’s ET-7070 is an all-in-one device, providing both TENS therapy and EMS stimulation. Use the 8 TENS modes (including an arthritis mode) to treat chronic pain due to illness or injury. Use the 6 EMS modes to relax, reduce stress and anxiety, condition muscles, and stimulate muscle endurance. 25 intensity levels ensure that you will be able to find the right intensity that will be comfortable. The ET-7070 is a dual channel device; use it with up to four small pads or two large pads (included).
The ET-7070 is only the size of a credit card, so it is very easy to take along wherever you need. It runs for 15 hours on 3 AAA batteries (non-rechargeable). The iReliev ET-7070 kit includes a belt clip and holster for convenient transport.
The ET-7070 comes with four small pads and two large pads, batteries, wires, a belt clip and holster, and a tote bag for storage.
#8 HealthmateForever TENS Unit & Muscle Stimulator Pro12AB
The Pro12AB electrotherapy device is an affordable and professional TENS EMS unit from HealthmateForever. It is an FDA approved Class II medical device.
Consumers find the operation of the Pro12AB very easy and intuitive to use. The LCD display is backlit and provides very readable graphs and diagrams. It is high visibility so it can be used even by the near-sighted.
The Pro12AB offers 12 treatment modes, so you can decide what sort of treatment will work best for your particular needs. A timer from 10-80 minutes allows you to determine the length of your treatment session. Choose from 10 intensity levels so you can find the one that is most comfortable for you. Isolated dual channels allow two different programs to be run, using two pads for each program.
The Pro12AB is small enough to fit in your pocket at only 3.5 inches tall. It runs off of a rechargeable lithium battery. HealthmateForever promises 10 hours of continuous use. Users have been very satisfied with the long battery life, and some have reported even longer times before needing to recharge.
The HealthmateForever Pro12AB comes with a pads holder that helps extend the life of your pads, maintaining them in good condition. It also ships with four pads, a USB charger/wall unit, and helpful reference materials.
#9 HealthmateForever Touch Screen TENS Unit and Muscle Stimulator T12AB
The T12AB TENS Unit and Muscle Stimulator from HealthmateForever is FDA-cleared, and delivers a high-quality experience. Pain relief has never been so effective and stress-free.
The touch screen interface has intuitive operation and controls. You will have no worries about visibility thanks to the backlit animated LCD screen. The lock function is a must-have feature in order to prevent accidental adjustment to the controls.
The T12AB offers 12 pre-set modes, enabling you to customize your treatment session based on your specific symptoms. Adjust the duration of your treatment between 10-80 minutes. Choose from 10 levels of intensity to find a bearable but effective intensity level. In addition, the T12AB incorporates isolated A and B channels. Run two completely different programs on a total of six pads.
The T12AB is no bigger than a cellphone – slide it in your pocket or your purse and you are good to go. It is powered by a rechargeable internal lithium battery, which delivers up to 10 hours of continuous use before you need to recharge.
The T12AB ships with an AC recharging adapter, a stylus pen, educational reference materials, and 6 conductive reusable gel pads. Also included is a convenient pad holder that will allow your pads to last longer by storing them in pristine condition.
#10 HealthmateForever Touch Screen TENS Unit and Muscle Stimulator T24AB2
The T24AB2 model from HealthmateForever is like the Porsche of TENS units. This multi-functional unit delivers unsurpassed quality and is packed with features to meet whatever needs you have. You will definitely get your money’s worth with this fine machine that surpasses the standard for all TENS units.
The interface is very user-friendly with touch screen capability. The backlit animated LCD screen is highly visible. You can lock it with a simple tap to prevent accidental adjustment to the controls.
The T24AB2 offers an incredible 24 pre-set modes, so you can choose exactly the targeted treatment that you need. Focus on different body parts like the hand, foot, or neck, and choose from different treatment styles like acupuncture, cupping, and deep tissue massage. The unit incorporates an adjustable 10-80 minute timer so you can select the duration that is right for you. Choose from 10 levels of intensity for a comfortable and effective treatment session. In addition, the T24AB2 includes isolated A and B channels. Run completely different programs split between up to four pads each.
The T24AB2 is only 5 inches high, about the size of a small tablet, so you can easily carry it with you on the go. It runs on a rechargeable internal lithium battery. Get up to 10 hours of continuous use on a single charge.
The T24AB2 ships with an AC recharging adapter, a stylus pen, educational reference materials, and 12 conductive reusable gel pads (that’s 4 extra!). Also included is a holder for the pads to store them safely and in good condition. This prolongs the life of your pads. The holder serves double-duty because you can wrap the cords around it to keep them from getting tangled.
TENS Units – Buyers Guide
TENS units represent a non-invasive way to treat pain without medication or harmful side effects. The acronym “TENS” stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. The product operates by way of electrodes or pads that you put on your skin at the painful area. These electrodes send low-voltage, mild electrical impulses to block pain signals. The electrical stimulation may also raise endorphin levels, which are a natural pain-fighting chemical.
The treatment protocol is typically 20-60 minute sessions, up to 2-3 times a day. TENS therapy has been proven in studies to be beneficial in the treatment of chronic and acute pain. Pain relief can last up to several hours, or it may reduce the amount of pain medication needed. The TENS unit may be beneficial for a variety of conditions including muscle, joint, and bone problems, lower back pain, tendinitis, or bursitis. Your chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, or acupuncturist might use a TENS unit as part of their treatment plan.
TENS versus EMS units
Here is the difference between a TENS unit and an Electrical Muscle Stimulator (also known as EMS or PMS). A TENS unit is designed to treat pain. The purpose of an EMS is to stimulate healthy muscles to improve muscle performance. An EMS may be used for muscle conditioning, prevention of disuse atrophy, increasing local blood circulation, or relaxation of muscle spasms. An EMS may be used for passive exercise for people who are sedentary and not able to exercise normally.
No Prescription Needed
TENS units are typically available over the counter, and can be purchased or rented. Nevertheless, it is wise to use them under a doctor’s supervision, especially when you are learning how to operate it. You will need to be able to safely position the electrodes and use the right settings, including duration and intensity of the treatment. Some trial and error might be needed to determine the settings that provide the most pain relief. Some insurance providers may reimburse for the cost of the unit, but only with a doctor’s prescription. You should check with your provider to see if that is an option for you.
What Features to Look For
- Number of pads: This will influence how many parts of the body you can treat at once. Some units will even offer multi-channel controls, so that you can set different intensity of operation for different pads.
- Pre-set Modes: First-time users will probably prefer a unit that has pre-set modes or programs, so there is less guesswork involved.
- Portability: This will be impacted by battery life as well as weight and size. If you plan to leave home with your TENS unit, look for a lightweight model with a long-lasting battery.
- Rechargeable batteries: Some TENS units are rechargeable, which may be a higher upfront cost, but it will save you from having to buy lots of replacement batteries.
- Usability: Consider how easily you can read the display, and how easy the controls are to use. The controls should be visibly labeled and the display should be easy to understand, in order to operate the unit correctly.
- Extra accessories: Some units are packaged with extras like gel, extra pads, and spare batteries.
Operating your TENS Unit
Prepare the pads for use by wetting them with water or using gel, per the manufacturer instructions. Clean your skin well and apply the pads, using tape to secure them. The pads should be in full contact with the skin over the areas that are causing pain. If you don’t feel any sensation, you should check that the unit has power and that the wire connections are secure.
You should feel a mild tingling. Using the TENS unit should not cause strong discomfort. If you experience stinging, make sure the pads are moist. If your muscles start twitching or spasming, reduce the intensity or turn off the unit, and consult with your doctor.
After the treatment, clean the electrodes with soap and water. Do not use alcohol because it might weaken the rubber. Worn-out pads should be replaced about once a month, depending on how often you do the treatments.
TENS units should not be used to treat varicose veins, cancerous lesions, or pain in the mouth or throat. The electrodes should not be attached trans-cerebrally, or over the heart, or on the carotid sinus nerves. TENS units are not recommended in the following circumstances:
- Pacemaker or heart condition
Check your skin for redness or tenderness where the electrodes were applied. Clean your skin and apply lotion to the affected area after treatment. Do not sleep while the TENS unit is in operation. Do get near water with the electrodes attached.
Look for a unit that is classified as an OTC class II medical device by the FDA. Sellers are not legally allowed to market their product as a medical device unless they have FDA clearance. This guide is only meant to discuss the attributes of TENS units. It is not meant to replace medical advice or expertise. You should always consult with your doctor before beginning any alternative pain treatment.
Now you are ready to select your TENS unit. Pain and stress relief are close at hand!