The best EMS units are the ones that have the features the consumer needs, is safe to use, and doesn’t cost a small fortune. Electro Muscle Stimulation is a practice that’s been used by athletes and physical therapists for decades now to strengthen weak muscles, and they are quite effective at their intended task.
Although these units are sometimes confused with TEN units, there is a distinct difference between these two devices. To help our readers distinguish between the two devices, and also to help them buy the best ones available, we’ve decided to not only review EMS units but also write a guide on the subject.
Quick Summary of EMS Units
Belifu Dual-Channel EMS/Tens Muscle Stimulator
Although some devices serve as EMS units and some devices that operate as TENs units, this model is the best of both worlds. It’s a dual-channel muscle stimulator that is equipped with 24 different modes and 20 different intensity levels. It’s a product that can be used to stimulate muscles like an EMS unit but is also a unit that can be used for relieving pain—like a TENs unit. That makes this reasonably priced device useful for many different uses, so let’s examine some of its features more closely.
One of the first things people will notice when they first use this model is that it has a compact size to it that makes it easy to transport. This model is only 5.1×2.6×0.4-inches in size and weighs just under 6-ounces. It’s close to the size of many belt-worn models, except this one can’t be attached to a belt or a pocket because it doesn’t have a belt clip. We feel that this model’s lack of a belt clip is probably its only weakness. Otherwise, we feel it’s a great unit.
Even though this was a smaller EMS unit, it had an LCD touch-screen that was backlit and was easy to use. Using a touch pen, the consumer can easily navigate its options and select the options that they need to select to use the device in the way they need to use it. What’s truly remarkable about this unit, however, is that it has dual channels that allow the consumer to operate like two different units at one time. For each channel, the user can select the intensity and the programs separately, so they can use it in the way that’s the most appropriate for them.
This model is also equipped with a rechargeable Lithium battery that can provide up to 20-hours of use. This means that the user won’t have to worry about buying a stockpile of AA or 9-volt batteries to keep this device running. This unit also comes with several accessories that make it easy and convenient to use. These accessories include two large electrode and size medium electrode pads, two small electrode pads, three electric wires, a touch pen, a USB cable, and a carry case.
- It’s a compact dual-channel unit.
- This product is reasonably priced.
- This product doesn’t have a belt-clip.
Nursal EMS Rechargeble EMS/TENS Unit
This unit might not be the perfect TENS/EMS unit, but it does have a lot of features that we think that consumers are going to appreciate. It’s a model that’s compact and is backed by a limited warranty from the product’s manufacturer. This product is approximately 3.74×2-inches and weighs only a few ounces. It’s a rechargeable unit that uses a Lithium battery and is capable of providing the user with up to 20-hours of use before needing to be recharged.
This pocket-size model also comes with several great accessories that help the user use it more effectively. Some of the accessories this unit comes with include four medium pads, two large and two small pads, one 1/4 lead, two 1/2 leads, a USB cable and AC adapter, a user manual, and a dust-proof pouch. That’s everything the user needs to use this product as an EMS unit or use it as a TENS unit, depending on the needs of the person using it.
What are some of the modes/features that can be found in this unit? Well, there are probably too many to list in this review, but we’ll give it a try so our readers have an idea of what to expect from this unit. Let’s start with some of the EMS features before we head on over and discuss its TENS features.
Some of the EMS modes that this unit can be set to perform include lateral palm kneading, lateral palm kneading, vertical fist kneading, and crosscut fist-kneading. This unit can also perform cupping, fibrillation massage, Shiatsu massage, Thai massage and rubbing reduction cupping.
Some of the TENS modes of this unit include acupuncture kneading, vibrating manipulation, and lifting-punching manipulation. It’s easy to see with all of these modes, all of the accessories that come with this unit, and its compact size, that there’s a good reason why so many people love this model. We think that it’s a great model that will help everyone with their muscle stimulation and/or pain control.
- This product is compact and easy to use.
- This unit has 16 different modes.
- It might not be as powerful as some people need it to be.
iReliev TENS/EMS Combination Muscle Stimulator
This compact unit can be used as both an EMS and a TENS unit, so it provides the consumer with a lot of options when it comes to strengthening muscles or relieving pain. This model is small enough to be taken just about anywhere. and it has an LCD screen with a size of approximately 1.43-inches. This unit also almost a medical-strength electrical output, one of the highest ones available without a prescription. This enables it to provide real therapy and pain relief when the consumer needs it the most.
This model has 6 muscle conditioning modes, 7 pain relief modes and 1 arthritis relief mode, so the unit is very versatile, especially for a device that’s essentially the size of a credit card. Its small size allows it to be easily used at home, work, or while traveling. As great as this unit is, however, there is one thing that might not make it suitable for all consumers.
The one thing that we didn’t like was that this model was a little bit more expensive than some of the other models we’ve reviewed. It’s not as expensive as some of the medical-grade EMS units available, but among the ones that don’t require a prescription, it is one of the more expensive ones.
All things considered, however, we still think that this is a decent unit. It might not be the number one machine that we reviewed, but it’s a model that works well and gives the consumer plenty of options. It’s a machine that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone who needs it.
- It has 14 therapy modes and 7 pain-relief modes.
- It has 6 muscle strength and recovery modes.
- It’s more expensive than comparable units.
A Guide To EMS Units
As we’ve seen, EMS units are quite useful and there are plenty of good models available for consumers to choose from—all they have to do is select the best one for their needs. To help our readers select the best EMS units for their needs, we’ve put together this handy guide. In this guide, every one of our readers will learn what they need to learn to buy a great unit. With that said, let’s get started.
The Difference Between EMS & TENS Units
Before the consumer can buy a unit that works best for them, they first have to distinguish the difference between EMS units and TENS units. Although these two devices superficially seem the same, some distinct differences between them determine how each one is used. Below is a brief explanation of each device that will enable the consumer to decide which one is right for them and which one doesn’t fit their needs.
EMS units are designed for people with muscle associated conditions or for people who want to develop some of the fine muscles that aren’t usually exercised. That makes these devices great for athletes who are trying to prevent muscle spasms or muscle atrophy as the result of an injury. These devices also promote blood flow into the muscle fiber. They work by sending an electrical impulse through the muscle that causes it to contract. This helps relieve swelling and inflammation in the muscle.
TENS units aren’t designed to be used for muscular contraction. They are designed to produce an electrical impulse through the user’s nerves. This makes them good for relieving the pain that results from several different conditions. TENS units are usually used for bursitis, chronic nerve pain, relief from pain after surgery, or tendinitis. They have also been used for controlling pain during labor and delivery—under the guidance of a medical professional, of course.
Of course, there is an ever-increasing number of units that can be used as both EMS and TENS units, depending on the needs of the user. These units can combine the best features of both units into one easy-to-use unit. This approach allows it to be used for both muscular and nerve pain.
Consider The Number Of Connections & Channels
One of the first things that the consumer is going to want to consider is the number of channels and connectors they need the EMS unit to have. Some units only have a single-lead and these models are known as a single channel. This single-channel allows for two electrodes to be used at a time. Dual-channel models, on the other hand, have two channels that allow the consumer to hook up two large pads, four medium pads or six small pads—all depending on how the unit is set up. Single-channel models work well for smaller areas of the body, but dual-channel ones are designed to handle larger areas of the body or different areas of the body at the same time.
Consider The Unit’s Intensity & Modes
Another thing that has to be carefully considered when buying an EMS unit is the strength and the number of modes that the unit has. The intensity of the device will determine how strong the electrical current is and allows the consumer to set the level that is appropriate for their needs. The number of modes an EMS unit has will determine how the unit can be most effectively used. The more modes a model has, the more versatile it can be. The model with the most modes isn’t always the best, however. The consumer should make sure to buy a model that has the modes that are the most beneficial to their physical condition and their needs.
Consider The EMS Unit’s Size
The consumer is also going to want to think about the size of the unit. Ideally, the consumer is going to want to choose a model that’s small enough for it to be taken with them to work or if they’re traveling, but not too small that it’s difficult to use.
Other Features To Consider
The above features are the most basic ones available, but the consumer might want to consider some of the other features that can be found on these devices. The following features not only add to the versatility of a particular EMS model but also makes them easier to use. Although not everyone will need all of the following features, most people will find the majority of them to be quite useful.
- Rechargeable Lithium Batteries Over AA or 9-Volt Batteries
- Large Easy-To-Read LCD Display
- Timed Session Modes
- A Variety Of Reusable Pads
- A Lock Button To Prevent Accidentally Turning The Device Off