You probably already know that an electric muscle stimulator (EMS) machine can be a handy tool for treating a number of issues.
We’ll get into the research and studies a bit later in the article.
But for now all you need to know is that these devices are useful treating pain, repairing and building muscle.
To help you pick out a great EMS, we’ve reviewed and listed our favorite devices.
Best Electric Muscle Stimulator
- 12 snap electrodes
- 10 pre-set programs
- Rechargeable battery + charger
If you are looking for a robust EMS machine packed with features, our recommendation has to be the Compex Edge 2.0.
Choose your mode
Its 10 functions include 4 programs for building muscle strength, 2 warm-up programs, 3 muscle recovery ones, as well as a tens function for relieving pain.
The EMS also comes with a set of 12 high-quality snap electrodes and a rechargeable battery.
What customers are saying?
The vast majority of customers are very satisfied with the product. Some seem to have been confused by the non-descriptive instructions but once people learn how to use it they’re happy with it.
- A great variety of pre-set programs, including a Tens function.
- Very good for muscle recovery.
- Easily portable thanks to the rechargeable lithium battery.
- The instructions are fairly lacking.
Best EMS + Tens Combination
- 36 different modes of operation
- 3-in-1 device with EMS, Tens, and pulse massager
- 2-4 channel output
The Ulaif stimulator is another great choice if you’re looking for a solid combination of EMS, Tens functions, and pulse massage.
It comes with a total of 36 pre-set programs. 18 of them are Tens functions for pain relief, and 15 are EMS programs for muscle strength and recovery. The remaining 3 are pulse massage combinations.
The device also has 2-4 channel outputs which allow you to use it on up 4 different areas of your body at once.
What customers are saying?
Some customers that want to use this device on their feet are unhappy because there’s no belt clip to attach it. Aside from that small inconvenience, everyone seems satisfied with the performance of the device.
- Very versatile: effective as an EMS machine, Tens machine, or a pulse massager.
- The device comes with 36 pre-set modes of operation.
- The up to 4 channel outputs allow you to treat several areas at the same time.
- There is no belt clip, pouch or a carrying bag.
Best EMS For Legs
If you’re looking for a device specifically designed for legs & feet, the Revitive circulation booster is your best option.
This FDA cleared product is very easy to use, has a stylish design, and can be quite discreet when you need it to be.
The 99 intensity levels offer a great deal of customization for your needs. More importantly, even the lower intensity settings can drastically help with your feet’s blood circulation and muscle recovery.
What customers are saying?
Some customers with hip arthritis complain that the position the device needs them to take causes discomfort. Aside from that, almost all other customers have overwhelming praise for the circulation booster.
- Greatly improves both blood circulation and muscle strength.
- Very easy to use, no complicated set up is required.
- Some of the many intensity levels feel a little redundant but the overall variety of choices is a great perk.
- The foot pads are set in place and can’t be distanced. This forces the user in a certain pose that might not be comfortable for everyone.
Other Recommended EMS Devices
- 24 pre-set programs
- 2-in-1 EMS plus Tens
- Carrying case and a USB charger
This EMS device is another good option for those who want the option of a Tens machine together with their EMS. 12 of the 24 functions of the iSTIM are for Tens while the other 12 are EMS programs. The device also comes with a comfortable and durable carrying bag, as well as a USB charger.
This Compex muscle stimulator catches the eye with its wireless PODs. They allow for a much more flexible and comfortable use of the device at all times and in a lot of situations.
The 10 pre-set functions of this Compex machine include 3 strength building programs, 2 warm-up ones, 3 recovery programs, as well as 1 Tens function for pain relief.
- Wireless remote
- Mobile app
- 60 adjustable intensity settings
The AccuRelief is a wireless combination of an EMS and a Tens unit. Its 60 intensity settings allow for a great deal of control over your experience which is further complemented by the wireless remote control and the mobile app. There is also a pulse massager that’s included in the unit.
- 14 pre-set programs
- Detailed video instructions and guide
- Convenient LCD screen
Last but not least, this Pure Enrichment device also offers a combination of EMS and Tens in one unit. 8 of the 14 pre-set programs of this combo device are for Tens pain relief, while the other 6 are EMS functions for muscle recovery and strength.
The device is also very compact and easy to use on foot. What’s more, the detailed instructions include 7 videos guides to further help you maximize the effectiveness of the EMS/Tens unit.
How Do Electric Muscle Stimulators Work?
EMS devices work on a very simple but effective principle – they use electric pulses shot through their pads to forcedly contract your muscles. This can have several purposes:
- To help build your muscle strength.
- To help with muscle recovery after an accident.
- To help with improving your overall exercise regimen.
- To help relieve pain.
Depending on their intensity settings and specific functions, EMS devices can be more or less effective for some of these purposes. Additionally, some EMS devices can also work as Tens machines which are meant to stimulate your nerve endings in order to relieve pain.
Are EMS Devices Useful For Weight Loss?
Electrostimulation can be used to accompany and improve your exercise routine. In this way, an EMS can indirectly help you lose weight.
However, an EMS unit will have no direct impact on your fat mass and will not just lose your excess fat for you, even though that’s how they are often marketed. Simply put, an EMS unit is not a replacement for a healthy lifestyle and intensive exercise routines.
Instead, it’s just a very good and effective addition to an exercise regimen.
For a lot of people, this is their primary use of an EMS Device. Muscle building is very helpful in physiotherapy when the patient has experience muscle loss due to an accident or a medical procedure.
Additionally, a lot of people also use EMS devices just for general muscle building purposes. Since EMS devices don’t include any chemicals and pharmaceuticals and they also have little to no side effects, they make for great additions to any general exercise plan.
Of course, an electric muscle stimulator will only help you build muscle mass but it won’t do it for you.
It’s a common misconception that’s supported by these products’ marketing campaigns that they will build up your muscles on their own. That’s not true at all. You will still need to exercise intensively and go through a quality physical regimen if you expect to see any significant positive effects.
An EMS unit will, however, have a noticeable positive effect on the whole process.
EMS For Back Pain
The muscle contractions and stimulation of an EMS unit aren’t meant to relieve all manners of pain. Nevertheless, by helping you reduce muscle atrophy and gain muscle mass, EMS devices will relieve the pain that comes from muscle atrophy.
Good electric muscle stimulators, however, also often feature Tens programs in their functions.
Such Tens programs help stimulate the nerve endings in your back, knees, or other often problematic areas, and thus – help relieve the pain there.
If you are thinking of buying an EMS unit for back pain, in particular, keep in mind that you should carefully choose a device that has the precise functions and programs for your condition.
General electric muscle stimulation will not help with most back pain conditions so look for Tens, pulse massage, or other functions that will match your needs.
Electric muscle stimulators are not a replacement for intensive physical training and they won’t just “burn your fat away” all on their own. They are, however, a great complementary training tool, either for standard exercise or for building up muscle mass after an accident.