TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is essentially the use of electrical currents to stimulate nerves. Said currents are usually provided by something known as a TENS unit, though the term can relate to various other devices as well.

The aim of the best tens units is to help people treat their pain by stimulating the nerves and they require the user to connect the device to their skin using two or more electrodes. Clinical studies have shown them to be effective in a number of ways.

PreviewNameRatingPriceMore Details
truMedic TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager
truMedic TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager
4.4 / 5$More details!
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TruMedic PRO Deluxe TENS UnitTruMedic PRO Deluxe TENS Unit4.5 / 5$$$More details!
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HealthmateForever Pro-8AB 8HealthmateForever Pro-8AB 84.5 / 5$$$More details!
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HealthmateForever TENS unit HM10ABHealthmateForever TENS unit HM10AB4.5 / 5$$$More details!
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HealthmateForever TENS Unit Pro12ABHealthmateForever TENS Unit Pro12AB4.8 / 5$$$More details!
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HealthmateForever Touch Screen TENS UnitHealthmateForever Touch Screen TENS Unit4.7 / 5$$$$More details!
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Therapeutix TENS Unit Electronic MassagerTherapeutix TENS Unit Electronic Massager4.3/ 5$More details!
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How To Use Them

Though the concept may sound a little intimidating at first, it is actually remarkably easy to use a TENS unit. All you need to do is attach the electrodes to your skin in the way that the device describes and then set it to the correct level for your type of pain.

The unit can then be attached to a belt or placed in your pocket, where it will continue to provide stimulation throughout the course of the day or until its battery runs out.

The BenefitsBest Tens Unit

One of the major benefits offered by a TENS unit is that they are non-invasive ways to help treat pain, which makes them ideal for those who don’t want to enter surgery or are struggling to find the root cause of the pain. They are primarily used in the treatment of back pain, which makes them an alternative to chiropractic care or surgery.

However, the devices have also been used to treat a variety of other types of pain, including that caused by arthritis and pain related to cancer.

What You Should Expect

It is always a good idea to speak to your physician before you start to use a TENS unit. Once you have the okay, you will essentially feel a mild tingling sensation whenever the unit is in use. It can take a little bit of getting used to, but you will soon adjust and start reaping the benefits.

There are now a number of manufacturers creating TENS units since they started building in popularity, so here we will take a look at some of the best on the market to help you make a decision.

Best TENS Unit Reviews for 2017

1. truMedic TENS Unit

TruMedic TENS Pulse Massager Best Tens Unit

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truMedic has designed their TENS unit with the idea that it will last you a long time, so they have placed durability as a high priority in its creation. They also maintain high standards when it comes to quality, which has allowed the unit to receive FDA approval. This should make it a safe bet for anybody who wants to try them out but is unsure of where to start.

Better yet, the unit comes with a set of instructional videos that can be downloaded from the company’s website, that instruct you on how to use the device and how it will be able to help you. They may also be worth checking out if you are uncertain as to whether or not the device is right for you.

  • A lightweight unit that will not distract you through having to carry it around.
  • The speed and intensity of your pulses can be customized as needed.
  • Features 5 pre-set auto stimulation programs.
  • Features a user-friendly design that has buttons to tell you which settings are best for which areas of your body.
  • Comes with a 90 day parts and labor warranty.
What’s To Like About the truMedic TENS Unit

A number of reviewers have pointed to the device’s ease of use, marking it out as an excellent choice for those who are new to the idea of a TENS unit. Many users have also praised its durability in addition to pointing out that it is very effective when it comes to relieving pain.

What’s Not To Like

Some people who suffer from intense chronic pain have claimed that the device is not powerful enough to suit their needs. A few have also taken issue with the pads, claiming that they are not sticky enough, but this doesn’t seem to be a problem that is shared by the majority.

Final Word

With a 4.4 out of 5 rating from thousands of  reviews, this device is the best TENS unit for people who are new to the concept and are looking for something that is both easy to use and effective for most types of pain.

2. truMedic TM-1000PRO Tens Unit

TruMedic PRO Deluxe Best TENS Unit

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truMedic are back again with another TENS unit. This one is considered to be the deluxe solution offered by the company, which would suggest that it is superior to the standard TENS unit that we looked at previously.

The company are quick to talk about the versatility of the product, claiming that it is able to target pain wherever it may be and provide almost instantaneous relief. It features a wide range of power levels, four electrode pads and the same user-friendly design that has made truMedic such a top name in this particular field.

  • Can be operated for as long as two hours, allowing for long sessions.
  • Features 20 power levels that can be adjusted from mild to powerful.
  • At 4.5 ounces it is one of the most lightweight options available.
  • Extremely user-friendly, with clearly labeled buttons for new users.
  • Has a number of fully automatic programs that target specific areas of the body.
What’s To Like About the truMedic PRO Deluxe Tens Unit

A number of reviewers pointed towards the wide range of settings that are offered by the device, claiming that they are ideal for people who suffer from pain in various areas of the body. Others focus on the practicality of the device, praising the light weight and the long term effects of its use.

What’s Not To Like

Some people have had issues with contacting the company’s customer service representatives, which may suggest that you could struggle if your device malfunctions. A minority have also spoken about uneven power distribution between the left and right channels, though this doesn’t appear to affect most people.

Final Word

While this device is something of a step up when it comes to power levels and functionality when compared to truMedic’s other TENS unit, it should be recommended more for people who experience pain in multiple areas. It currently has a 4.2 out of 5 rating, which suggests the issues that some have had with customer service have skewed the actual results in terms of product quality.

3. HealthmateForever TENS UnitPro8AB

Healthmate Forever Portable Handheld Best Tens Unit

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Following feedback from previous customers, HealthmateForever has set out to create a device that not only offers all of the features of a TENS unit, but will also allow for EMS massages. What they have created is a TENS unit that will look familiar to anybody who has ever used a smartphone before, but one that is also extremely effective.

Featuring a large screen that makes it completely clear what type of treatment you are receiving, the device is at the more expensive end of the spectrum but is FDA cleared to class 2 and is a handy option for those who are looking for a range of features from one of the first companies to create a dual TENS and EMS unit.

  • Comes with 2 pairs of electrode pads that are easy to snap on.
  • Can be charged using a USB cable or standard AC adapter.
  • Comes with a range of instructional material telling you how to place pads and use the unit.
  • Offers dual TENS and EMS massage functionality.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty card.
What’s To Like About the HealthmateForever Pro8AB unit

A lot of people are happy about the quality of the electrode pads, which have been praised as being really sticky and able to withstand multiple uses. The quality of the battery was also praised, with many people pointing out that it charges very quickly and can be used for a long time after each charge.

What’s Not To Like

A minority have uses have claimed that their unit shipped with loose wired or contacts, compromising its effectiveness when it comes to pain relief. Some have also stated that the instructions do not make use of the device particularly easy for novices.

Final Word

With a rating of 4.6 out of 5, it appears that the HealthmateForever TENS unit justifies its price tag and makes a case for being the best TENS unit. Its effectiveness when it comes to treatment, coupled with the fact that the battery lasts a lot longer than most other units, makes it a great choice for those who want to enjoy extensive treatment.

4. HealthmateForever TENS unit HM10AB

HealthmateForever Best TENS unit HM10ABClick here for current price and more details

HealthmateForever are back with another TENS unit that looks to take advantage of our predilection for all things Apple related. The unit itself uses a design that will be familiar to anybody who has ever used an iPod, making it perfect for the more technically-adept, while also going some way to justify the fairly high price tag.

Of course, it’s functionality that will be most people’s main concern and the HM10AB doesn’t disappoint. Featuring 10 modes that vary from light massage simulation through to intense acupuncture sessions, you can be sure that you will get what you need here, regardless of your pain levels.

  • The product is FDA cleared to a class 2 level.
  • Comes with 10 separate modes to offer plenty of variety in the way you use the device.
  • Attractive design makes it great for people who want a unit that will match up with their other devices.
  • Independent channel design allows you to assign different power levels to the left and right pads.
  • Extremely quick shipping is advertised.
What’s To Like About the HealthmateForever HM10AB

The unit has been remarked upon as being an excellent alternative to a visit to the chiropractor, with many people claiming that the multiple power levels off plenty of leeway in terms of the pain it can treat. The delivery speed was also praised, with most units arriving within two days of the order being placed.

What’s Not To Like

Negative feedback has been very light on the ground, but one user claimed that the attachments that came with the device didn’t work. However, considering that it comes with a lifetime warranty this is a fairly fixable issue if it does occur.

Final Word

The HealthmateForever TENS Unit HM10AB is one of the more expensive options available, but it also makes a solid case for being the best TENS unit. With plenty of different modes and a high quality design, it is no surprise that it currently enjoys a 4.6 out of 5 rating from more than 40 reviews.

5. HealthmateForever TENS Unit Pro12AB

HealthmateForever Best TENS Unit Pro12AB

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As you may have gathered by the fact that they are so prominently featured on this list, HealthmateForever has established something of a reputation when it comes to the creation of quality TENS units.

This version offers much the same as the Pro8AB only it now comes with 12 power settings instead of 8. This makes it a handy middle option for those who want something that packs a little more of a punch, without having to splurge out on the HM10AB when it is at full price.

  • Like all HealthmateForever products, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
  • Features 12 power levels that can be adjusted based on the user’s requirements.
  • Comes with a set of instructions that show you how it should be used.
  • Has a lifetime guarantee, so it can be replaced if something goes wrong.
  • Comes in silver, rather than the standard black.
What’s To Like About the HealthmateForever TENS Unit Pro12AB

The unit has received extremely positive reviews so far, with a lot of people praising the quality of its design and its lightweight nature, in addition to the many power settings that the device has to offer. Some have even claimed that it works better than any other form of treatment that they have tried.

What’s Not To Like

Negative feedback has again been fairly light on the ground for this TENS unit, though one user has questioned whether the large price tag is really required, claiming that you can pick up a unit that offers most of what this one does for far less money.

Final Word

Once again, HealthmateForever deliver with a unit that will cost a fair bit but justifies the price tag in every way. It currently boasts a 4.8 out of 5 rating, suggesting that almost everybody who has used it so far has been very satisfied with the experience.

6. HealthmateForever Touch Screen TENS Unit

HealthmateForever Touch Screen Best TENS Unit

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HealthmateForever try to make their devices as accessible to the technologically-adept as possible, which is why they have also introduced a touchscreen variant of their devices that is even easier to use than their others.

You can expect the same high quality in terms of operation and design that you would from their other products that have been featured on this list, plus the touchscreen interfaces makes it easier to use than ever before. Simply find the setting you want, give it a tap with the included pen and you’re ready to go.

  • Comes with both large and small pads so you can change your settings accordingly.
  • 12 pre-set modes that cover a wide range of treatment options.
  • Comes packed in a gift box for easy storage when not in use.
  • Features a comprehensive set of instructions.
  • The company claims there have been no manufacturer’s defects reported since it was launched.
What’s To Like About the HealthmateForeverTouch Screen TENS

Many users have commented on how the device makes you feel like you have just enjoyed a visit to a physiotherapist when it is used on the highest levels. The size of the product has also been praised, with many people feeling that its lightweight design really helps when it comes to applying treatment.

What’s Not To Like

Much like with the other HealthmateForever products, negative feedback has been fairly light on the ground. One user expressed dissatisfaction at the power levels it offers, claiming that it zaps the user rather than offering a massage. However, it is not confirmed if the user had the device on their intended setting at the time.

Final Word

This is another excellent device from HealthmateForever and is the best TENS unit for those who prefer a touchscreen interface to a regular one. You will need to be prepared to spend a little more than you would on other units, but the 4.7 out of 5 rating that it currently has suggests that you will be getting value for money.

7. Therapeutix TENS Unit Electronic Massager

Therapeutix Best TENS Unit Electronic Massager

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We move away from HealthmateForever to look at this offering from Therapeutix as our final product. With a design that is reminiscent of an iPod, including a tracker wheel for navigation, you can immediately see that this is a product that is worth checking out when it comes to the visual aspect.

Happily, performance levels seem to match the aesthetics, with the unit being FDA approved in addition to coming with a lifetime guarantee. Couple that with a long battery life and you should be able to get some long and intense sessions out of it without too much hassle.

  • Comes with a rechargeable and long lasting lithium ion battery.
  • Has a lifetime guarantee for those who are unsatisfied or receive a product with a manufacturing defect.
  • Features an acupressure guide for more accurate usage.
  • Lightweight design means it can easily be slipped into your pocket.
  • Fully FDA cleared for over the counter purchases.
What’s To Like About the Therapeutix TENS Electronic Massager

The device has not only received praise when it comes to chronic pain relief, but the massage functionality has been deemed ideal for helping deal with the aches and pains that are associated with exercise. It has also been singled out as being an excellent choice for those suffering from back pain.

What’s Not to Like

Feedback for the product has been almost universally positive, with negative reviews generally focusing on the cosmetic rather than the practical. Some have claimed the instruction manual is a little small, but this is a minor concern for many others.

Final Word

Therapeutix have created a device that is capable of offering everything that more expensive models can, while burning less of a hole in your wallet. This makes it the best TENS unit on the market for those who don’t have the budget to spend a lot on one of HealthmateForever’s products, as backed by its 4.8 out of 5 rating from a couple hundred reviews. 

Choosing from the Best Tens Unit ReviewsBest Tens Unit

It’s tough to choose between the selected products, as they all offer an excellent level of treatment options. However, if we have to select one it has to be the HealthmateForever TENS Unit HM10AB for the simple fact that it offers an unrivaled amount of power settings and pre-set treatment plans.

However, for those who are concerned with the admittedly hefty price tag, both the Therapeutix TENS Unit Electronic Massager and the truMedic TENS Unit will allow you to get a similar experience for less money. Therapeutix offering, in particular, is an excellent alternative that features a beautiful design and lifelong guarantee. However, truMedic’s unit is ideal for novices who want to get their feet wet without committing to a big purchase.


How to Use a TENS Unit

TENS UnitA transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is a device that was created to help people deal with various forms of pain. While it is predominantly used by people suffering from back pain, many units now offer a range of functionalities that allow them to simulate acupuncture and massages. Furthermore,
many now come with pre-set programs that can work with everything from back pain through to general muscle issues and pain related to arthritis.

They work through the use of electrodes, which send pulses of electricity to the affected area, essentially massaging the muscles. Many have compared the treatment to that offered by a chiropractor or physiotherapist, at least in terms of long term effectiveness, making the units a viable option for those suffering from chronic pain who are looking for a cost-effective way to reduce it.

Operating your Tens

Most TENS units will ship with a handy instruction manual that offers guidance in terms of how that particular unit should be operated and where the electrodes need to be placed in order to receive the best treatment for the issues that are affecting you. However, on a general level, many of them can be used by following these steps:

  • Check the unit’s battery to ensure that it is fully charged, as you will not experience the full benefits if you are unable to complete your treatment as a result of the battery dying early.
  • Set the TENS unit to the correct power level and choose your pre-set or customized treatment, depending on the options that your unit provides to you.TENS Unit
  • Before applying the electrodes, apply rubbing alcohol to your skin in the area that the electrodes will be placed. This will ensure you experience less irritation while also helping with the transmission of the electrical signal.
  • Apply a thin coating of gel to the bottom of your electrodes, which will further aid the electrical signal and ensure it gets under your skin.
  • Place the electrodes on your skin in the way that your instruction manual recommends. If you are experiencing trouble getting them to stick, it is a good idea to use medical tape in order to cover them. It is essential that the electrodes are stuck firmly to the skin near the affected area.
  • Connect the relevant wires of your device to the electrodes and then plug them into your TENS unit.
  • If the device is on, you should start to feel a sensation. If you have set the device incorrectly, adjust it using the controls provided until you are comfortable.
  • Strap the device to your belt or place it in your pocket and let it go to work.
Other Advice

As with all devices that have a medical purpose, it is always a good idea to consult a professional before use. While TENS units do not have any demonstrable side effects, a professional may be able to advise you on how to use it and what power settings you will need to achieve the best results.

If you use your TENS unit for long periods of time, be sure to remove the electrodes at least once a day. When you do this, check the skin for signs of tenderness and apply more rubbing alcohol and gel in order to ensure your skin stays in good condition through extended periods of use.

Also See: TENS for back pain

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