TENS Units are designed to give pain relief from aching muscles all around the body. The popularity of the medical apparatus has boomed, leading to the creation of personal TENS units that you can carry with you. But how sure are you that the device you’re planning to buy is the one that you’re looking for? Here’s an informative guide and our top 4 picks of the best TENS units for pain relief.

What is a TENS Unit? What does it do?

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TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation which is used for pain related to the nerves in our body. In machine form, a TENS unit is designed to stimulate nerve strands along the skin surface. They are often used for halting pain signals before they travel to the brain. Another purpose of the device is to stimulate the body in creating more endorphins, which are our body’s natural pain killers.

In depth, the TENS unit sends low-voltage electrical currents that stimulate the nerves in which pain signals originate from. The TENS unit is usually small and pocket-sized and is battery-powered. From the unit, electrodes are applied to the skin where the pain is present. This is where the current that helps signal nerve fibers enter the body.

People who use TENS units are often relieved of pain since the electric signals sent from the electrodes scramble the pain signals sent to the brain. These electric signals not only blocks pain but also, as mentioned before, stimulates our brain into producing more endorphins. Before, it is only available at medical facilities, but due to increasing popularity, they have been made available to the public

What should I consider before buying?

A number of TENS products are already available in the market today but how does one choose effectively when getting a TENS unit of their very own? There are numerous factors you should consider before making that purchase and here’s a list of what you should look out for in a TENS unit.

  • Device Body/Frame
    • Check if the controls are easily understood and if there are any risks of pressing the wrong options. There are some devices which have controls that are too cramped up. Remember that TENS units send electric currents to your body and accidentally increasing the power could lead to more harm than good. In addition, labels should also be very clear and easily readable.
    • The battery compartment should also be very accessible and batteries should not be hard to replace.
  • Display Size
    • The screen should be completely visible and not written with too much technicality. Not being able to read which setting your TENS unit on can be quite a hassle when using the device.
    • Touch screens are a plus but are not completely necessary. You should be seeing relevant information such as a timer (if any), mode or intensity, and other useful info.
  • Warranty
    • Some brands with long warranties show that they have confidence in the products they’ve released. Always check how long a device’s warranty is so you’ll get the most out of your purchase.
    • A good warranty will also show how good of a company the manufacturer is. It creates a better “trust” factor before you even try out their product.
  • Cost
    • Remember that you’re paying for a medical tool and not some cheap gadget. Do not be so hasty as to buy “affordable” products since that’s the only unit your budget can afford. These products are a little pricey for a reason; the medical tests each product had to pass is not something that’s easily achieved.
    • While there are some products that fall around 50-100 USD, the ones that are tested effective are the ones a little above the 100 USD mark.

These are the few factors you should consider when making a purchase for a TENS unit. If you think this is too much work, we’ve already created a list of our Top 4 Best TENS Units for effective pain relief.

1

Aurawave by Endurance Therapeutics

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The Endurance Therapeutics Aurawave is a handy tool for catering to your lower back pains. It’s a FDA-cleared medical device that you can get even without a prescription. The unit comes with a sleek, handheld design which is easy to handle. It has a LED display that shows you the current mode you’re on with a countdown timer of how long you should treat the area for.

The controls are also very easy to understand. It has 5 buttons on the body: Manual mode, Automatic Mode, Time, Repeat, and Intensity. It also includes a Back Relief Belt that helps keep the electrodes secure on your lower back. A thing to note, however is that the device only has 2 pads, which means you can only concentrate the electrotherapy on very limited areas and the timer only runs for 5-30mins per session.

2

Pro12AB by HealthmateForever

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This TENS unit can easily be mistaken for a phone due to its modern design. One of the best TENS unit in the market, It comes with a large display which is around 60% of the entire unit. The controls are also simple to understand and the device comes with 12 preprogrammed modes: Acupuncture, Back Pain, Body Building, Cupping, Deep Tissue Massage, Guasha, Pressure, Shiatsu, Tapping, Tuina, Weight Loss, and Combination.

It also comes with 4 electrode pads, which means you’re able to target different areas simultaneously. The devices strong point is its rechargeable and can last up to 10 hours on a single charge and unlike other devices, the timer runs from 10-80 minutes per session.

3

TM-1000PRO Deluxe by truMedic

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This highly customizable yet simple to use device made it on our list due to numerous features. It has 20 different power levels from Mild to Extremely Powerful and works on dual channels. The controls are also very detailed and are specifically laid out in such a way that anyone can pick it up and use it. The labels have been simplified for the average user and does not contain any tech jargon. It has a back lit LCD which shows all the information you need to know in each and every session.

A selling factor would be that it also has built-in rechargeable Li-ion batteries so you’ll never have to look around or buy new ones in case the juice gets used up. It has 4 pads that can work independently to provide precise stimulation on specific regions and can operate for a maximum of 2 hours per session. All these features could cost you a very high amount but the TM-1000PRO Deluxe earned its way in our list since it’s also very affordable.

4

TS10AB by HealthmateForever

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Another TENS unit from HealthmateForever, the TS10AB is the only touch screen device on our Top 4. The screen allows quick mode transfers with a tap of a screen. Switch between 10 preprogrammed modes: Tuina, Acupuncture, Weight Loss, Body Building, Cupping, Guasha, Tapping, Shiatsu, Pressure, and Combination. It features 2 output channels that work independently and are isolated so each output can get 100% power without intensity reduction. Among the other TENS units out there, the device also features a PAUSE mode in case you need to stop the session momentarily.

The unit can handle a maximum of 4 pads (2 in each output) which means you get pinpoint accuracy when it comes to your pain therapy. You can adjust the intensity by pressing the A/B button to select the channel, then press the + or – button to adjust the levels, or you can go ahead and fiddle with the onscreen controls. It also comes with a built-in lithium battery that can carry a 10-hour charge. The only thing worth mentioning is that it’s a little pricier as compared to the others but with these features, you can’t go wrong with spending a little more.

Conclusion

Each product is our best pick when it comes to the best TENS unit for pain relief. The selection criteria that was used as a basis for this list is what we think you, the consumer, should have in a TENS unit. If you’re dead set about getting a TENS unit, try checking out the products that we mentioned. They all include the easiest controls, informative displays, good warranty, and reasonable prices that you should consider when buying a device.

All these products are in the 100-200 USD price range, which is very understandable considering the quality and functionality of each and every one. Again, it’s safer to buy a trusted device than to get one that’s cheap but breaks easy. Pain relief is a very important and that’s why your choice for a TENS unit should be too. If you’re a little skeptic about our choices, you can research them online to see the reviews for yourself. Before you go ahead and purchase a TENS unit, always make sure to seek medical attention first as you may not need it. Even if the products do not require a prescription to purchase, you can never go wrong with professional advice beforehand.

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