Best TENS Unit Reviews

Tyler Winship
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Have you ever heard of a TENS unit? It’s a small battery-run or battery-powered electronic device that gives off an incredibly mild electrical current. For some people, it can provide pain relief or help to reduce general aches and pains. TENS units are most commonly used for chronic pain, but are effective in easing muscle soreness as well, and with much less hassle and expense than taking painkillers.

Now that might all sound a little far-fetched to you, but millions of people swear by them, and tens of thousands of doctors worldwide prescribe them.

This article describes the best TENS units, reviews of the best models you can buy and it also provides you a guide for your first time using it.

NameCategoryProduct
Compex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle StimulatorBest OverallCompex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle Stimulator
HiDow XP-Micro 8 Modes TENS EMS Combo Dual Channel Muscle Stimulator Pulse MassagerBudget PickHiDow XP-Micro 8 Modes TENS EMS Combo Dual Channel Muscle Stimulator Pulse Massager

1. Compex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle Stimulator

Our rating: 9 / 10

Compex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle Stimulator

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Pros:

  • Simple to use
  • Lightweight and portable
  • LCD screen
  • Comes with plenty of stimulation programs
  • Stimulation intensity can easily be adjusted

Cons:

  • The settings are not regulated by weight.

The Compex Sport Elite is one of the best and most popular tens units on the market. The number one selling point of this TENS unit is its versatility: it can be used for both TENS and EMS stimulation.

The TENS mode controls the current frequency, pulse width and pulse rate, while the EMS mode has a separate power level. In the TENS mode, you can choose from seven different modes and five power levels. In the EMS mode, you can adjust the amplitude of the signal. The Compex Sport Elite comes with 12 snap electrodes of various sizes to fit any part of your body. You can also choose from four strength settings and three recovery settings for a customized experience.

The Compex Sport Elite will warn you if you’re putting too much pressure on your body. You can adjust the intensity level of the stimulation signal using the control knob. The tachometer display on the LCD screen shows the progress of your session.

2. HiDow XP-Micro 8 Modes TENS EMS Combo Dual Channel Muscle Stimulator Pulse Massager

Our rating: 8 / 10

HiDow XP-Micro 8 Modes TENS EMS Combo Dual Channel Muscle Stimulator Pulse Massager

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Pros:

  • Great for pain relief
  • Can be used on multiple spots on your body
  • Can be used to stimulate the body
  • Comes with a remote
  • Best for people with joint pains
  • Great for sports injuries
  • User-friendly
  • Affordable
  • Can be used in the shower
  • Can be used both at home and outdoors

This super lightweight and portable TENS and EMS unit from HiDow is perfect for clinical use and for home therapy. It’s inexpensive and you can use it for both pain relief and muscle reshaping. This high quality, FDA-registered and CE approved unit comes with an AC adapter that can be plugged with USB or the AC adaptor. It requires a minimum battery voltage of 3.5V.

What’s excellent about this TENS unit from HiDow is that you can easily store it in your tiny handbag. This dual channel unit has six modes including a combination of TENS and EMS. These are the traditional pleasure pulse, acupuncture, rolling, kneading, the tight feeling in the muscles, and the heartbeat.

3. Tenstim Wireless Tens Unit

Our rating: 7 / 10

Tenstim Wireless Tens Unit

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Once you start searching for TENs units, you will see that there are many options out on the market. What separates the Tenstim line from its competition is the fact that it is FDA cleared. That means you can buy it as a medical device for the body.

The Tenstim is a wireless TENS/EMS device with fully adjustable intensity, dual independent channels, two motors and a long battery life. With this massage tool, you can experience powerful TENS and EMS muscle stimulation. This will help in minimizing chronic pain, injuries, and increases your energy.

The straps that are easy to apply help you stay comfortable. The included control box connects to your device with a standard 3.5 mm audio cable. It uses an external power adapter to power its 3 AAA batteries.

4. DR-HO'S Pain Relief System TENS Unit and EMS

Our rating: 7 / 10

DR-HO'S Pain Relief System TENS Unit and EMS

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The professional FDA-approved Electronic Pain Relief Device that medically blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. It uses Reusable Pads you prepare at home for non-invasive pain relief and muscle stimulation up to five times longer than similar acupuncture TENS units. The DR-HO's Pain Relief System has five different techniques that make it virtually impossible to get the wrong treatment. It's small and lightweight enough to fit in your pocket when you are out thanks to built-in memory to save all of your settings. It's also approved by elite athletes such as Barry Sanders, Brandon Marshall, Brett Favre, Dan Wheldon, and many other top athletes. This is an excellent device that's budget friendly and well worth its price.

Users have noted that the battery life tends to be shorter than other products in the same price range. You may need to replace it sooner than you would a similar product.

This is a high-quality, professional pain management device that's also very affordable. It's FDA-approved with seven medical pain treatments that range from back pain to muscle pain. It provides a comfortable, hypoallergenic sponge to use with it and five different therapies to help you find the best fit for you. It even has a wallet-sized remote that's easy to use. This is a phenomenal device that has thousands of users that are happy they found it.

5. 2nd Edition 15 Modes Best Muscle Simulator TENS Unit Machines Electric Electronic Pulse Massagers

Our rating: 6 / 10

2nd Edition 15 Modes Best Muscle Simulator TENS Unit Machines Electric Electronic Pulse Massagers

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which is the best TENS unit to buy?

The tens machines that you see today are relatively new inventions. The concept of a tens machine was only born in the 1970s with the first electrodes that were designed to apply painlessly adjusted electrical currents. Tens Units have since evolved greatly, and even though they’ve been around for a while, they have proved to be effective in the treatment of pain.

Some of the tens machine types available are actually massagers that are designed to relieve pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. The most commonly used type, however, is the iontophoresis unit that is used for the relief of muscle and joint pains. The intense pain that accompanies arthritis can be relieved with a tens unit and the relief is often so quick that it is a surprise to patients.

Do TENS machines really work?

Some debate exists regarding whether or not TENS machines work. We believe they definitely do, especially when used in accordance with the machines’ instructions.

For those who are not familiar with TENS machines, they are units that stimulate nerves via electrical impulses. In effect, they trick your body into thinking you are being touched, which in turn causes your muscles to contract.

This works because the body has a natural defense mechanism where it releases enzymes to assist with healing when injured. For those who suffer from chronic pain, these tissues become inflamed and the nerves of the body become hyper-sensitive.

If it gets bad enough, the body will even shut down the affected area in order to protect itself. That is why many people with chronic pain don’t feel it anymore; their nerves have become so sensitive that they can’t feel anything!

Is tens better than EMS?

There is a very good reason why tens are more popular than EMS and it’s because they are basically the same thing but cheaper. TENS stands for Transcutaneal Electrical Nerve Stimulator. EMS stands for Electrical Muscle Stimulator. The equipment is the same. The only difference is in the name and the cost.

For this reason, we only review tens unit. You can get almost all the models that we feature in our tens review on our EMS review page.

What is a good TENS unit?

TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It has been used in highly effective pain relief treatments used around the world for decades. A TENS unit can be likened to an electric muscle stimulation device.

Like other muscle stimulation tools, TENS delivers a low-level electrical stimulation to your muscles. It however targets your nerves instead of your muscles. A TENS unit is placed on the outside of your body and its electrical signal stimulates the sensory and motor nerves in the muscles. This stimulation of the nerves tricks your brain into thinking that the muscles are not receiving any stimulation, so your muscles in turn do not contract whatsoever.

Because pain signals are then prevented from reaching your brain, pain signals, you get relief. Some people actually use TENS units solely for muscle soreness relief.

Conclusion

We wanted to find the best TENS unit you can buy, so we tested and analyzed 10 of the most popular units on the market. Each and every one of these units was compared with the other, and we are now confident that the Mi-Pulse Ultra is the best choice if you want a high-quality unit on a budget.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Compex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle StimulatorBest OverallCompex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle Stimulator
HiDow XP-Micro 8 Modes TENS EMS Combo Dual Channel Muscle Stimulator Pulse MassagerBudget PickHiDow XP-Micro 8 Modes TENS EMS Combo Dual Channel Muscle Stimulator Pulse Massager