5 Things to Look for When Buying The Best Portable TENS Unit
In today’s world, most people are now familiar withTENS therapy and how it can help one manage their pain better. Even though the technology has been around for decades, until recently, one could only obtain a TENS machine through a prescription. Many people have tried a larger machine in physical therapy to rehab an injury or have had electrotherapy done at a chiropractor’s office at one time or another. The same technology is now available in an over the counter, hand-held device that is half the size of a cell phone . These extraordinary devices produce highly effective pain relief without causing the myriad of side effects associated with pain medications, Because of the convenience and effectiveness, its not wonder that TENS therapy has exploded in popularity in the last two years. If you are not familiar with TENS technology and how it can help you, please refer to the previously published blog post, " What is TENS".
The five most important issues when looking to purchase a portable TENS unit are the machine’s power, the battery life, the modes, the life of the electrode pads (TENS pads), and the company’s customer service.
1. THE POWER POTENTIAL OF THE TENS UNIT
When selecting a machine, you must be sure that the power level is acceptable to your needs. Typically on lower end priced machines, the maximum power potential is very weak. You want the power intensity to be comfortable. It should feel intense, but should not hurt. This may vary from individual to individual. With lower priced TENS units on the market, often times the highest level is much too low to provide any benefit. This is a waste of money; many times, the customer will eventually upgrade to a better unit, or they may simply lose faith in TENS technology and turn to other methods to find relief. A wide range of power is recommended as every body part is different in regards to sensitivity. Ideally you should be able to set your unit to your desired intensity with some room to spare.
2. BATTERY LIFE
Many lower cost devices still run on a 9-volt battery or even 3 AAA batteries. For the daily user, this will make the annual cost skyrocket, and typically those won't translate to a powerful unit. The highest quality TENS units on the market today have a lithium ion battery. With a high quality lithium battery you can get weeks or even a month of usage before having to recharge the device. This can not only save money, but will eliminate the hassle of storing and changing constantly dead batteries.
Having the options for different types of electronic pulses, or modes, is essential for a high quality TENS unit. Some modern low-end models that can be purchased in drug stores or online have a very limited amount of modes. Sometimes only one or two. Users may find that certain modes work well for certain types of pain - with only one or two modes, finding the perfect mode may not be an option. Having multiple options available to the user, makes the experience much more enjoyable.
4. THE LIFE OF THE TENS ELECTRODE PADS
Some companies will sell quality electrode pads to get you in the door but sell "bargain" replacement electrode pads that wear out so quickly you will constantly be purchasing new ones. The cost of this can become extraordinary in a short amount of time for the daily user. For example, there is currently a commercial on TV where a well known over-the-counter pain relief company is now selling a TENS unit. The price of the unit is significantly lower than a good quality TENS machine, however, the pads only last up to five applications and are $15 to replace. This means that the daily user would spend nearly $1100 on replacement pads in one year! Suddenly that affordable TENS unit isn't so affordable after all. This is why it's so important to ask about the life of the TENS pads. A good quality electrode pad should last for months of daily use before needing to be replaced.
5. CUSTOMER SERVICE
Last, but certainly not least, is customer service. This might be one of the most important features associated with your TENS unit. Since TENS units have become available over-the-counter, this has become a very popular product to sell. Unfortunately, when a popular product comes along, deceitful salespeople and retailers begin to pop up everywhere. Many of these companies will not be around in 6 months and, simply put, are nothing but a “fly by night company”.
A good TENS unit is an investment in your health. With such an investment, you deserve to speak to a human being in the event that you ever have a question or problem with your unit. You also deserve to speak to a person who has the ability to make any situation right and stands by their product. A reputable company will offer a straight forward, no-nonsense warranty -- not one with lots of fine print in hopes to get out of ever honoring it, or charging a fee just to use it. Many companies will charge customers $10-$20 to diagnose the problem with the unit.
Well, there you have it; the 5 most important features when looking to buy a TENS unit. If you follow these steps you’ll definitely make a wise decision. At Utopia Gear, we feel feel that our TENS unit reviews speak for themselves and we feel that we have the best TENS unit on the market today. If you have any questions about our units, please reach out to us at 888-237-4997 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always available to help you make a decision that you will most certainly be happy with for years to come.