Best TENS Unit for Quick and Effective Pain Relief 

 April 29, 2021

By  Pham

Pain can be the worst thing, especially when you've tried everything to get pain relief. We understand how devastating it can be, and that's why today we're looking at the best TENS unit. A TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit can provide you with pain relief in record time and cannot compare to most painkillers.

Point to Note

Before we dive in, we'd like to inform you that there are certain situations where you should not use a TENS unit. Some of these include if you have a pacemaker or any other implanted device. Also, if you are pregnant, consult with your doctor first before using one of our best TENS units below.

Nonetheless, you can use a TENS unit as part of your daily routine or in between physical therapy visits. The best time to use one of these TENS units is when you are active. For example, walking, shopping, or even gardening. This is because these times are when the pain hits harder. Let's look at some of the best TENS units to give you the best pain relief.

Best TENS Unit 

1. TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital TENS Unit

TENS 7000 Digital TENS Unit with Accessories - TENS Unit Muscle...
  • OVER 1M TENS 7000 DEVICES SOLD: A consumer over the counter favorite...
  • A LEADER SINCE 2008: A 10+ year favorite TENS device among medical...
  • GET IMMEDIATE PAIN RELIEF: TENS machine comes with multiple TENS...
  • DUAL CHANNEL TENS UNIT: The TENS 7000 TENS unit provides TENS therapy...

Our first TENS unit option is trusted by millions of users worldwide and has been on the market for over ten years. Although it has a retro look, don't let that dissuade you from buying this TENS unit because you are sure to get great value for your money. This affordable unit is great for dealing with chronic pain and is dual-channel. This means that it allows you to treat two painful areas of your body at the same time.

Thanks to its four electrode pads, you can treat two areas of the body at once. You can choose from five modes and eight levels of intensity on this TENS unit. You can also enjoy an adjustable pulse rate. If you enjoy tweaking the settings on your TENS unit to enhance your treatment, you'll love using this traditional unit.

Another big thing about this TENS 7000 is that it allows you to select your own treatment time and does not have a time limit. This is a big advantage over other TENS units that automatically shut off after some time. This TENS 7000 is also lightweight, so you can easily carry it in your bag. Therefore, if you are looking for a drug-free pain relief option for ailments like carpal tunnel relief, arthritis, neck pain, elbow, shoulder, knee, leg, and foot pain, this is the best TENS option for you.

  • Pros
  • AffordableLightweight.
  • Pulse amplitude/Intensity level is adjustable from 0-100mA.
  • Comes with multiple TENS therapy modes.
  • Has dual-channel mode.
  • Acts as a muscle stimulator, nerve stimulator, and electric massager.
  • Cons
  • Battery-powered.

2. TechCare TENS Unit Plus 24

Tens Unit Plus 24 Rechargeable Electronic Pulse Massager Machine Multi...
  • Intended Use of TechCare Massager: To be used for temporary relief of...
  • Features: FEATURES: 24 massage modes, includes stimulation of Tapping,...
  • Pain Relief: Stimulates the muscles in order to improve and facilitate...
  • Large Screen LCD: Large screen lcd and easy user interface makes it...

This TENS device is cost-effective and is a great option if you start your TENS journey for the first time. This is because you get to enjoy a budget-friendly TENS unit without compromising on the important features. As the name suggests, this TENS unit has 24 stimulation modes. These fantastic modes are categorized into six groups, and each of the groups has four modes. Although some of these modes may be similar, none of them are the same.

Some of the modes are named cupping, kneading, and reflexology. The dual-channel feature allows you to treat two areas of the body simultaneously and treat chronic pain. The 20 intensity levels on this TENS device allow you to control the level of current. You can use the round A/B button on the controls to toggle between the device's two channels. The battery also gives you 20 hours of battery life to enjoy the electrical stimulation and not worry about batteries.

Your physical therapist may recommend this device to relieve pain because it is easy to use without working with many controls. After your pain relief session is complete, this TENS unit automatically switches off to preserve its battery. Thanks to its backlight, you can use this unit in the dark. Although it doesn't come with a dedicated carrying case, it comes in a box that's perfectly sized that you can store it in.

  • Pros
  • Comes at an affordable price.
  • Adjustable 10 to 60 minutes timer.
  • Has large screen LCD and easy user interface.
  • Produces endorphins.
  • Comes with a rechargeable battery.
  • Cons
  • Doesn't include a carrying case.
  • The instruction manual lacks pad placement diagrams.

3. AUVON Dual Channel TENS Unit

AUVON Dual Channel TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator Machine with 20 Modes,...
  • Pain Relief Machine. The rechargeable electric muscle massager can...
  • Up to 20 Modes. Pre-set modes offer you hammering, kneading, shiatsu...
  • Independent Mode Control. You can set separate modes and intensities...
  • Industry-Leading TENS Pads. The included electrode pads can provide...
  • What You Receive: 1 x Dual Channel TENS Machine, 4 x 2" Square...

This machine is a versatile option and comes at a very affordable price. This TENS machine has fully isolated channels that allow you to use individual styles of treatment on various parts of your body. Although its size is smaller than most other TENS machines, you will be surprised by the power it wields.

Thanks to its rechargeable battery, you don't have to worry about carrying around batteries. You also get to enjoy up to 10 hours of pain-free bliss on any part of the body. The one thing that this Auvon device has over the other devices is its pads. You can use these treatment pads over 30 times without experiencing any glitches.

  • Pros
  • Affordable.
  • Comes with high-quality pads.
  • Features independent mode control.
  • 20 pre-programmed modes.
  • 20 intensity levels.
  • Cons
  • Not great for pain neck.

4. TechCare Touch X TENS Unit

Tens Unit Muscle Stimulator 24 Massage Mode Tens EMS Machine Device...
  • WHAT IS TECHCARE MASSAGER : It is a combination of TENS and PMS...
  • FEATURES : Multiple preprogramed massage modes with Touch Screen....
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED ? : 1x 2020 Newest Model Touch Screen Controller, 8...
  • PAIN RELIEF: Techcare Massager contracts and releases the muscles....
  • WARRANTY: Techcare Massager backed up with Limited LIFETIME Warranty...

If you want a TENS unit that works like your smartphone, this is the one for you. This transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit is miles away from our first pick, which has traditional features. This new TENS unit has a rechargeable battery that gives you up to 20 hours of battery life. You can enjoy 24 massage modes, dual channels, and 20 levels of intensity. The dual-channel allows you to treat more than one part of your body at once.

The touchscreen allows you to switch between modes without any hassle of scrolling through various settings. The intensity buttons that you can find on the side allow you to increase or decrease the power as you see fit. This affordable TENS unit has TENS and PMS (Powered Muscle Simulator) qualities. The large touchscreen LCD and 2 A-B outputs make this TENS unit a sight to behold.

Other features you'll enjoy include the battery life indicator, adjustable timer, and built-in lithium battery.

  • Pros
  • Comes with 24 massage modes.
  • Has a high-level intensity of 20 bars.
  • Has multi modes that stimulate most popular massages .
  • A rechargeable battery provides extra strength.
  • No need to purchase accessories.
  • Has a user-friendly ergonomic design.
  • Cons
  • Slightly expensive than the rest.

5. iReliev Wireless TENS + EMS

iReliev Wireless TENS + EMS Therapeutic Wearable System Wireless TENS...
  • 2 in 1 Wireless System: iReliev Therapeutic Wearable System Combines...
  • WHAT IS TENS?: Stands for "Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve...
  • WHAT IS EMS?: Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) also known as...
  • The convenience of wireless makes this system extremely easy to use...
  • Includes: (1) Hand Control, (2) Wireless Pods, (2) 3″ x 5″...

This iReliev TENS unit can be used for both TENS and EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) capabilities. Where most other TENS units on this list are only for pain relief, our fifth option will serve you with both TENS and EMS massage programs for recovery, exercise preparation, and muscle conditioning. iReliev’s Wireless TENS EMS machines have 14 programs in total. One program is specifically for arthritis, seven are for pain relief, and six are EMS modes.

This iReliev TENS EMS unit is very simple to use and is designed with only four buttons despite its vast functionalities. This iReliev TENS EMS device is also perfect for back pain. Not only is it a great muscle stimulator, but its TENS programs are also top-notch. Using a TENS unit can be complicated to understand, but this iReliev TENS EMS unit is simple enough to have only one electrode pad that does the job of two electrode pads.

The wireless receiver pods only work with the iReliev's pads because of their proprietary fitting that sees the wireless receiver pods pushing into the electrode pads through a snap-fit.

  • Pros
  • AffordableEasy to use.
  • Completely wireless TENS unit.
  • Great for back pain and lower back.
  • Has back-lit display for easier visibility.
  • Rechargeable TENS EMS muscle stimulator.
  • Cons
  • The screen isn't very big.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best TENS Unit

1. Intensity Controls

As we've seen with the fantastic options above, most TENS and EMS units feature a range of strengths that allow you to determine the intensity of electrical stimulation. This allows you to determine which level is best for your level of pain.

The range of strengths varies from machine to machine, and you must choose the unit that features the settings and strengths you want. You can consult your physician if you are not sure which machine is best for you.

2. Treatment Time

Most TENS units come with predefined treatment times, after which they automatically shut off after offering you relief from your chronic pain. For example, some of our TENS machines above have a 30-minute run time treatment timer.

Therefore, depending on your level of pain and advice from your physical therapist, choose the machine that has the timer set to the period you want.

3. Rechargeable or Battery Powered

The way your machine gets its power is another major factor to consider. An advantage that battery-powered machines have is that they are generally cheaper than rechargeable TENS devices, and you don't have to account for charging time.

On the other hand, rechargeable TENS devices cost a bit more but save you the hassle of replacing the batteries now and then. Nonetheless, the power source option boils down to your personal preference as both TENS types do a great job.

4. Channels and Connections

Channels are the number of available outlets where you can connect your lead wires. Usually, one wire that extends from your machine will include two connections for the electrodes. Therefore, a single channel TENS device means that you can use two electrodes at a time.

Most of the options above have a dual channel. This means that each unit offers a chance to use four electrodes at a time. The choice of machine depends on the number of areas you'd like to treat at a time. If you treat a wide area like your back, a device with more leads is the best option.

5. Weight and Size

Factors such as battery size and design affect the size and weight of your TENS unit. If you want a device that you can easily carry around, going for a rechargeable option would be best. Nonetheless, some great battery-powered TENS devices are also easily portable, like our first option above.

6. Combo Units

Choosing to go for a unit that combines both TENS and EMS functionalities depends on your preference. Our fifth option above is an example of a great device that combines these two modalities. However, you don't have to with a combo unit if you don't need it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How often should you use a TENS unit?

There's no specific timeframe because many factors influence how often you can or should use your device. Nonetheless, each device comes with an instruction manual that details the recommended length of use. Always read through your manual before use to ensure that you are not exceeding the recommended time frame.

You can also consult your doctor to advise you on how often you can use your unit.

2. Are TENS units safe?

Yes. The consensus is that TENS machines are safe to use to relieve you of your pain. However, always consult with your doctor before using any of these units. Some patients have reported experiencing skin burns and irritations after using these devices.

Therefore, consulting with a medical professional will enable you to go into this form of therapy will the right information and necessary instructions.

3. Can you use a TENS unit while pregnant?

Speak to your doctor for guidance if you are pregnant. We advise against it, although there are opinions that it is safe to use these devices while you're expectant. TENS devices are often used as a natural pain relief option for women in labor. Nonetheless, it's best to consult a medical professional before using it. 

Michael Rodriguez

I'm a registered massage therapist out of Vancouver BC. I absolutely hate the information I find on Google about this industry and I started this blog to debunk these myths.

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