13 Best TENS Units For Pain Relief In 2024, A Per A Massage Therapist

✔ Research-backed

Living with chronic musculoskeletal pain is never easy as it can affect almost every aspect of one’s life, not to mention the expensive treatment methods. Thankfully, the best TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation units can help relieve pain to a certain extent. TENS units are programmed with multiple intensity settings and massage pads to help alleviate pain by relaxing your nerves. Before we explore the wide range of tried-and-tested TENS units available out there, let’s understand how these devices function.

In This Article

How Do TENS Units Work?

TENS is a physical therapy that uses mild electric impulses to relieve pain and relax muscles. A TENS unit works as a non-invasive pain relief machine that sends mild electric currents to the nerves through a network of electrodes attached to the skin. These electric impulses stimulate the nerve endings around the affected area while releasing a healthy dose of endorphins to block the pain signals from sending it to the brain.

Some benefits of TENS therapy include improving blood circulation, relieving stress, strengthening the muscles, and alleviating injury-related pain. It is especially suited to those with musculoskeletal conditions such as sciatica, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis (1) (2) (3).

13 Best TENS Units In 2024

1. Best For Instant Pain Relief:Tens 7000 Digital TENS Unit

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4.5
TENS 7000 Digital TENS Unit With Accessories - TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator For Back Pain, General Pain Relief, Neck Pain, Muscle Pain Image: Tens 7000

This dual-channel device by Tens 7000 might be the most efficient TENS unit you can bring home as it offers instant pain relief. It comes with many cool features, such as four working pads and five custom electrical stimulation modes, and allows you to adjust the intensity level from zero to 100 mA based on your needs and set the pulse rate. Besides, you can carry the electrotherapy unit anywhere you go since it is battery-powered and compact. Explore the tester’s experience in this video to understand how this electrical pulse massager works.

Batteries: 1 AA batteries required | Product Dimensions: 8.75 x 2 x 7.75 inches | Weight: 14.11 Ounces

Also Recommended By: The Good Body has also listed TENS 7000 EMS Unit in their top 10.[1] Best TENS Unit 2024 [Tested, Reviewed & Rated]. The Good Body https://www.thegoodbody.com/what-is-the-best-tens-unit/

Pros

  • TENS unit for neck pain, back pain, and more
  • Includes multiple TENS unit accessories
  • Safe and easy to control
  • Suitable for everyday use

Cons

  • Battery might not last long

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I got this machine after trying a similar version at my friend's home. It is easy to use, and the protective case has kept it safe even when I dropped it a few times. Its wires are slightly short, but that is a minor drawback in front of its versatility and the substantial relief it provides."


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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product is a hit with users, evidenced by the 15,839 fine reviews on Amazon.


protip_icon Caution
This device should not be used while driving, operating machinery, or doing any strenuous activity.

2. Best Pocket-Sized:Belifu TENS EMS Unit

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4.4
Belifu Dual Channel TENS EMF Unit Muscle Stimulator Image: Mastogo

If you’re looking for the best TENS therapy devices for back pain and muscle relaxation, this one is a worthy candidate. It comes with 24 massage treatment modes with 20 intensity levels and dual channels, not to mention a super-convenient timer. The slim and compact design makes it a breeze to carry around anywhere, while the powerful battery gives you a good twenty hours of usage time. Watch the detailed review video of this tried-and-tested product to learn more.

Color: Black | Batteries: 1 Lithium Polymer batteries required

Also Recommended By: Money has also listed Belifu TENS EMS Unit in their top 10.[1] The Best TENS Machines for Your Money. Money https://money.com/best-tens-machine/

Pros

  • Comes with a dust-proof bag
  • Has a charging reminder
  • Provides instant relief
  • Easy to personalize

Cons

  • Might not be as user-friendly as you would want it to be
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Over 9,961 satisfied customers on Amazon have said good things about the product.


protip_icon Do remember
A TENS Unit isn’t highly recommended for people with eczema or any skin conditions as it can irritate the skin.

3. Best Feature-Rich:Auvon 4 Muscle Stimulator For Pain Relief

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4.5
Auvon 4 Muscle Stimulator for Pain Relief Image: Image: Auvon

The Auvon 4 Muscle Stimulator for pain relief is designed for drug-free relief of body muscle pain. It helps stimulate sensory nerves and muscles for natural pain gate mechanism activation. With eight 20M electrodes fit into the pads, it can be used on different body parts, including the neck, waist, shoulder, and knee. If you are interested in a TENS unit for neck pain, this one with positive reviews is suitable for that too.

Batteries: 1 Lithium Ion batteries required

Pros

  • Rechargeable EMS machine with 2x battery life
  • Easy to operate with button design
  • Easy to charge
  • Easy to store in a dust-proof bag

Cons

  • May not have a constant pulse monitoring option
  • May take time to restart

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Incorporating this device into my post-gym routine has been a wise decision. It lowers muscle recovery time and reduces pains when I overdo it in the gym. Its battery life could have been better, but the four-channel design makes it convenient."


Tens 7000 Digital TENS Unit
Best For Instant Pain Relief
Belifu TENS EMS Unit
Best Pocket-Sized
Auvon 4 Muscle Stimulator for Pain Relief
Best Feature-Rich
Batteries 1 AA batteries required 1 Lithium Polymer batteries required 1 Lithium Ion batteries required
Dimensions 8.75 x 2 x 7.75 inches--
Weight 14.11 Ounces--
Color- Black-
Rating
Reviews15,8399,961251
Price$36.49$26.39$23.99

4. Best Customizable:Omron Max Power Relief TENS Unit

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4.5
OMRON Max Power Relief TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator, Simulated Massage Therapy for Lower Back, Arm, Shoulder, Leg, Foot, and Arthritis Pain, Drug-Free Pain Relief (PM500) Image: Omron
Now 42% Off

Relieve muscle pain with Omron’s versatile and extremely powerful TENS unit. It offers 15 levels of intensity, six different pain modes, three massage modes, and an easy-to-read screen for accessibility, making it ideal for those struggling with recurring shoulder, knee, or lower back pain. The highly customizable device works on pain associated with different conditions and is versatile enough to be used at home or while traveling.

Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required | Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1 x 2 inches | Weight: 6.4 Ounces

Pros

  • Soft, comfortable pads
  • Easy operation
  • Compact design
  • Highly adhesive

Cons

  • Belt clip might not be durable

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Its different massage and intensity modes have allowed me to use it on my back, shoulders, legs, and knees. The included sticky pads are also durable, and the discreet design is perfect for on-the-go use. However, I recommend reading the use manual to ensure you place the pads correctly."


5. Best 2-In-1:Auvon Dual Channel TENS EMS Unit

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4.5
AUVON Dual Channel TENS EMS Unit 24 Modes Muscle Stimulator for Pain Relief, Rechargeable TENS Machine Massager with 12 Pads, ABS Pads Holder, USB Cable and Dust-Proof Storage Bag Image: Auvon

Combining two therapies in one power-packed unit, this device provides you with effective pain relief. With independent dual channels, 20 intensity levels, and 24 treatment modes that have been pre-programmed, the unit offers you so many ways to personalize the physical therapy. You can also program it as per the suggestion given by a physiotherapist. Moreover, you can undertake treatment for two different areas of the body simultaneously, and the nerve stimulation device works for ten hours on a single charge.

Batteries: 1 Lithium Ion batteries required

Pros

  • Medical-grade electrodes
  • Highly adhesive and conductive
  • Includes 12 pads
  • Safe and durable

Cons

  • May not be very intuitive
Our Reviewer's Experience

"Thanks to this TENS and EMS combo, I can use it for pain management and muscle strengthening. Besides, its dual-channel mechanism allows me to use it for different body parts simultaneously, and its long battery life is praiseworthy."

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The tried-and-true product has earned over 1,539 good reviews on Amazon.

6. Best Multifunctional:Nursal Muscle Stimulator

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4.4
Nursal Muscle Stimulator Image: Image: Nursalshop

The Nursal Muscle Stimulator is designed with a TENS unit for back pain, muscle relaxation, ease, and pain in other areas to assist with continuous electrical stimulation. It is a rechargeable electrical pulse massager with eight pads and provides extensive stimulation. It uses Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation technology for pain relief, which has proven useful in safe and effective pain relief. The electrode pads are reusable and come with two power outputs for effective relief for a long duration. However, the device is not pregnancy-safe.

Batteries: 1 Lithium Ion batteries required

Pros

  • Operates in 24 TENS + EMS modes
  • Useful in back and shoulder pain relief
  • Restarts with memory function
  • 20 adjustable intensity levels
  • Reusable electrode pads
  • Timer-enabled
  • Screen-lock function available
  • Easy to carry and use

Cons

  • Electrode pads may be pretty small
  • Advanced intensity levels may not be designed for all

My Personal Experience

"My father’s age-related body pains have reduced to a great extent after using this machine. The device has also proven user-friendly with an array of features such as the timer, memory function, and modes. Hence, I consider it a worthwhile purchase."


7. Best Lightweight:Omron Total Power + Heat Muscle Stimulator

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4.1
Omron Total Power + Heat Muscle Stimulator Image: Image: Omron

Available in white and weighing 0.49lb, this small and portable TENS unit is easy to use. It provides a well-simulated massage and heat therapy to relieve tense arm, leg, lower back, shoulder, arthritis, and foot pain. It provides effective drug-free relief. As per reviews, its combination therapy works suitably in relieving acute and chronic pains and is safe for use on muscles after working out.

Color: White | Batteries: 1 Lithium Ion batteries required | Product Dimensions: 4.05 x 1.14 x 4.05 inches | Weight: 6.69 Ounces.

Pros

  • Dedicated electrical stimulation buttons for arms, legs, etc.
  • Highly customizable with 20 intensity levels
  • Unique gel pads for warmth on the spot
  • Reusable electrode pads can be used up to 30 times
  • Sleek and compact design with a digital screen

Cons

  • Gel pads can be pretty sticky
  • Settings are unchangeable until complete power down

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Even though its heat and stimulation functions work simultaneously, its different modes have made it a handy tool for managing everyday body aches. Moreover, its sleek design is a boon for storage, and the rechargeable battery keeps the device running for a long time."


8. Best With Backlit Display:iSTIM EV-805 TENS EMS 4-Channel Unit

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4.5
iSTIM EV-805 TENS EMS 4-Channel Unit Image: Istim

Here’s a tried-and-tested TENS device with a backlit display for your absolute convenience, even during nighttime. It helps relieve pain through its five TENS modes, three EMS modes, 24 preset programs, and four channels. The rechargeable unit has a metal belt clip for easy portability and a non-slip bar to keep it safe and sound. Each of the quality electrode pads is designed with a carbon fiber electrode cable and super-soft fabric to make sure you are comfortable throughout the massage.

Pros

  • Adjustable pulse rate and pulse width
  • Customizable intensity
  • Easy to operate at night as well
  • Charges quickly

Cons

  • Battery life might not be impressive

Our Tester's Experience

"I have tried multiple non-invasive treatments for my acute shoulder pain, but nothing worked as well as this machine. The buttons for mode, intensity, and pulse settings also made setup a breeze. Its usage instructions could have been more precise, but I still consider it an excellent find."


9. Best Durable:Neocarbon TENS Muscle Stimulator

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4.2
Neocarbon TENS Muscle Stimulator Image: Neocarbon

Manage your pain as efficiently as possible with this dual-channel device by Neocarbon that allows you to massage different areas at the same time and at different intensities. The unit is designed to relieve menstrual cramps, post-workout stress, and aging-related pain and comes with 24 modes, 16 electrode pads, and an easy-to-read screen. Each reusable electrode pad can be used up to 50 times, and the power source is a battery that lasts up to ten hours after each charge.

Color: Tens Ems Unit | Material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

Pros

  • Independent channel intensity
  • Comes with a premium case
  • Highly durable and portable design
  • Charges in three hours

Cons

  • Adhesive on the pads might not hold for long

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Although I was skeptical about its performance due to its compact size, it has alleviated my back issues in just a couple of uses. The initial setup requires some patience, but the device has worked seamlessly since then. And the reusable pads and rechargeable design is a bonus."


10. Best Portable: Belifu Dual Channel TENS EMF Unit Muscle Stimulator

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4.4
Belifu Dual Channel TENS EMF Unit Muscle Stimulator Image: Mastogo

The Belifu Muscle Stimulator for pain relief therapy has a dual-channel design and works on the TENS technology for effective muscle pain relief. The electrical pulse massager effectively relieves pain like sore muscles, after exercise, from household work, etc. It can easily address multiple body locations for easy relief, like the arms, legs, neck, back, and shoulder. This portable TENS unit can also improve muscle performance through healthy muscle stimulation.

Color: Black | Batteries: 1 Lithium Polymer batteries required

Pros

  • Operates in 24 pre-programmed modes
  • Non-invasive, non-drug relief
  • Has dust-proof drawstring storage for easy carry
  • 20 levels of intensity
  • Timer control
  • Long-lasting battery use

Cons

  • Some may find it difficult to use
  • Pad gels may wear out quickly
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The whopping 9,961 positive reviews on Amazon reflect the superior quality of this product.

11. Best Battery-Powered:Easy@Home TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator

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4.2
Easy@Home TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator Image: Healthcare Manager

The Tens muscle stimulator by Easy@Home can help you relieve and manage your back pain, knee pain, muscle soreness, and stiffness. This unit for back pain relief has an LCD display with a user-friendly design and features three modes – massage, beat, or knead – for your convenience. It is an automatic machine with six auto procedure options, ten intensity levels, and an adjustable pulse stimulation option, enabling you to adjust it as per your needs. With its independent dual channels, you can simultaneously use this electrical pulse massager on two body parts.

Item Weight: 137 Grams | Material: Metal | Batteries: 4 AAA batteries required

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Portable TENS unit
  • Easy to use
  • Includes batteries and electrodes

Cons

  • Adhesive on the TENS unit electrodes may not last long
  • Auto-shut off timer may be bothersome

Our Tester's Experience

"I came across this option when looking for an alternative for analgesics. It offers substantial relief for my muscle spasms and is a valuable relaxing tool for post-workout sessions. I would have liked it to come with a storage pouch, but the device, on the whole, works pretty well."


12. Best For Chronic Pain: iReliev TENS + EMS Combination Unit Muscle Stimulator

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4.3
iReliev TENS + EMS Combination Unit Muscle Stimulator Image: Ireliev

The pain relief device from iReliev is designed as a combination unit muscle stimulator with TENS and EMS technology to relieve pain and boost muscle strength. It is said to provide an effective treatment for chronic arthritis pain and relieves tired, sore muscles of the neck, shoulder, arms, legs, abs, and back. Its low voltage pulses stimulate nerve fiber effectively for pain messenger blocking. With many positive reviews, it can be of great assistance as a post-exercise recovery and strength training tool.

Batteries: 3 AAA batteries required

Pros

  • Non-invasive, drug-free, and safe pain relief
  • 14 therapy modes of operation
  • 25 intensity levels of 80mA
  • Adjustable timer between five and 60 minutes
  • Screen lock available
  • Versatile, portable, and effective pain relief device

Cons

  • Might be difficult to control
  • Adhesion may go weak over extended use

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Despite being compact, this machine works as well as those professional devices. It's also straightforward to use, and the lock functions prevent accidental mode changes mid-therapy session. Overall, it is the ideal device for at-home physical therapy."


13. Best Convenient: TEC.Bean Tens Unit For Pain Management And Rehabilitation

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4.4
TEC.Bean Tens Unit For Pain Management And Rehabilitation Image: Tecbeanshop

The TENS Muscle Stimulation unit from TEC.Bean works great for nerve pain management and rehabilitation of the muscles. This portable TENS unit can be used for the whole body and is rechargeable, with a silver outer body. It can help relieve chronic pain, spasms, and other muscle tension. This tested device can be switched between one and two constant steady pulse modes for stable distribution. It is easy to use and comes with simplistic instructions.

Color: Sliver

Pros

  • Drug-free, non-invasive relief
  • 24 pre-programmed massage modes
  • 20 different intensity levels
  • Timer and loc controls
  • Up to 30 hours of use on a single full charge
  • Up to 45 uses of self-stick reusable electrode pads
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Intensity of pads might reduce with extended use
  • Pad gels can be quite sticky

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I depend on this TENS unit for relieving pain in my muscles. It is easier to use than those touch-screen models, and the battery life is impressive too. It's also going strong despite being used daily, and it has proven very beneficial for everyone in my family."


*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

How To Choose The Right TENS Unit?

Consider these important factors before investing in a TENS unit.

1. Function: It’s crucial to ask yourself why you need this device. You might be struggling with specific pain-related issues such as arthritis, sciatica, or menstrual cramps, or you might just be looking for a convenient means of releasing stress at the end of a long day. If you want to focus the electrical stimulation on several areas of the body, opt for a portable, physician-recommended TENS unit that features two or more channels.

2. Wired or wireless: Determine whether you want a wired or wireless unit. The advantage of picking the best wireless TENS unit is that you can take the unit anywhere and continue with the treatment seamlessly. This means you will also have to think about the size of the unit and ensure it is portable and discreet.

3. Features: You should look out for specific features to manage the nerve pain. TENS units for neck pain and back pain, long-lasting and high-performance power source, numerous electric pads, multiple intensity levels, and more are some important features to check. Some units have touchscreen displays as well as body trackers to monitor the level of pain, so you can personalize the settings and create an ideal flow of electrical impulses.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often can I use a TENS unit?

The best part about a TENS unit is that you can use the device frequently and independently without the need of a masseuse. It’s safe to give yourself a massage as often as four times a day.

2. How long can I use a TENS unit at a time?

You can use a TENS unit for at least 30-60 minutes at a time, or even longer if necessary.

3. Where or when is it not okay to use a TENS unit?

Avoid using a TENS unit on the abdomen, lower back, and pelvic areas. Also keep it away from your face, hands, knees, and ankles. You should not use the device if you have an open wound or inflammation around the stressed area. Also, speak to a medical professional before using a TENS unit if you have cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, or are pregnant (3).

4. Where on my body can I use TENS?

TENS is primarily used to manage pain in the back, neck, and spine. However, you can also use it for relieving any type of musculoskeletal pain.

5. What are the side effects of using a TENS unit?

If the electric current is high or the device is placed on the wrong part of the body, it may burn the skin. It is not pregnancy-safe and should not be used by people with pacemakers and implanted devices (4).

6. What’s the difference between TENS and EMS?

While EMS or electrical muscle stimulation is used to strengthen the muscles, typically as a form of rehabilitation, TENS units are all about relieving pain. You should ideally choose a physician-recommended TENS unit that also features EMS modes.

7. Can a TENS unit damage the nerves?

No, a TENS unit can be safely used for chronic pain management and to relieve acute pain. It also helps minimize the pain associated with diabetes-related Neurotherapy (5).

Why Trust MomJunction?

Vibha Navarathna is a seasoned writer and researcher who enjoys writing product reviews for a variety of segments. The TENS units for neck pain, back pain, and other muscle aches highlighted in this article have been carefully chosen by her after doing hours of extensive research into a range of options based on their performance and considering reviewers’ experiences on various e-commerce sites. Vibha has added a brief description of each product and highlighted its pros and cons to let you make an informed choice. Further. She has also added a handy buying guide and answered some commonly asked questions.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know all about the best TENS units out there, you can choose the right one to manage chronic muscle pain and feel more relaxed all day. These devices come with various functions and settings to help you personalize the therapy. These TENS units for neck pain, sciatica, arthritis, joint pain can be super helpful. The options listed here are a way to start your TENS treatment journey and enjoy a truly therapeutic massage. It includes the Tens 7000 Digital TENS Unit, which offers custom stimulation modes, and the compact and portable Belifu TENS EMS Unit. The list also features the Auvon Dual Channel TENS EMS Unit with 24 pre-programmed modes. However, consult a certified physician before using a TENS unit.

Infographic: Safety Measures To Follow While Using A TENS Unit For Pain Relief

TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units provide pain relief by delivering low-voltage electrical current through electrodes placed on the skin. Although TENS units are generally safe, there are a few precautions you should take when using one. Please refer to the following infographic for a list of safety measures and share it with others.

Points To Remember While Using A TENS Unit (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation: Mechanisms Clinical Application and Evidence; National Library of Medicine
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4589923/
  2. TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation); NHS
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/transcutaneous-electrical-nerve-stimulation-tens/
  3. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS); The University of Iowa.
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/transcutaneous-electrical-nerve-stimulation-tens/
  4. TENS Therapy
    https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=134&ContentID=127
  5. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/15840-transcutaneous-electrical-nerve-stimulation-tens

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MomJunction’s articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

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Dr. Allen Conrad

Dr. Allen ConradBS, DC, CSCS

Dr. Allen Conrad is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He runs his private practice, Montgomery County Chiropractic Center, in North Wales, Pa.
Read full bio of Dr. Allen Conrad