The Best TENS Units for Pain Relief

best TENS unit
By Kian
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If you’re suffering from chronic pain, a TENS unit can provide a non-invasive, drug-free alternative to alleviate your symptoms.

But with so many options available, finding the right one for you can be challenging.

As someone who has gone through their fair share of TENS units, I know firsthand that finding the right one can be a game-changer.

Not only do you want something that effectively relieves your pain, but you also want it to be lightweight and easy to use.

Let’s face it, dealing with pain is hard enough, and the last thing you want is to struggle with a cumbersome device.

That’s why we’ve scoured the market and tested out various TENS units to bring you the best of the best.

So whether you’re a seasoned user or new to TENS therapy, our review has got you covered.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our top ten picks for the best TENS units on the market.

My Top Picks

The Top 10 Best TENS Units in 2023

This section will examine the best TENS units available for home use.

iReliev TENS EMS Combination Unit

Looking for a versatile wired TENS device that combines the benefits of two therapies in one package?

Look no further than the iReliev TENS and EMS unit.

As an avid user of TENS units, I’ve found that this device ticks almost all the boxes of what a top-tier TENS unit should be.

The iReliev TENS and EMS unit features dual-channel versatility, an adjustable timer, and 80 MA intensity.

It has 14 preset therapy modes, including an Arthritis TENS mode, 7 TENS pain relief modes, and 6 EMS muscle strength and recovery modes.

The large 2.20-inch backlit screen also makes the unit easy to read and be used during the day or at night.

The iReliev TENS Unit is also compact and portable, fitting easily into your pocket or attaching to your clothes via a clip.

Best of all, it doesn’t require batteries – once fully charged, I was able to get many sessions out of the TENS unit before needing to charge it again.

The pad quality is also top-notch, and replacement pads are readily available for purchase, either on Amazon or directly through iReliev.

iReliev review5

This TENS unit has helped me deal with muscle strains in the past, proving its effectiveness time and time again.

The only downside is that, like many other TENS units, it is wired, which can sometimes make it uncomfortable.

Overall, the iReliev TENS and EMS unit is ideal for those searching for a high-quality TENS unit that won’t break the bank.

It is portable, lightweight, and well-designed, perfect for home, work, or on the go.

And if you’re not satisfied with your purchase, the manufacturer offers a full refund within 14 days.

Give iReliev a try – it’s one of the most highly revered selections on the market.

EMS and TENS combination
Small and lightweight
Can be charged via USB or mains
Good battery life
2-year warranty
Difficult to find replacement pads outside of the United States
Not as convenient and comfortable to wear as a wireless TENS unit.

HealthmateForever TENS Unit

Looking for an affordable TENS device that doesn’t skimp on functionality?

The HealthmateForever TENS unit may be just what you need.

While it’s not the most high-end unit on the market, it has much to offer at a lower price point.

One standout feature of this device is that it’s not just a TENS unit but also an EMS unit. This means you can use it for both pain relief and muscle stimulation.

With 15 modes to choose from, including nine designed for specific body parts and five massage modes (kneading, acupuncture, tapping, cupping, and scraping), plus a random mode, you’re sure to find a setting that works for you.

Of course, as with any product, there are a few downsides.

For one, the build quality may not be as sturdy as some other models on the market.

Additionally, the instructions can be a bit vague, making it more difficult to figure out how to use the device.

And while the device does offer a lot of flexibility in terms of intensity, some users may find even the lowest setting too strong.

Another potential drawback is the size of the unit. It’s much larger than other TENS devices, so it may not be as portable as you’d like.

Overall, though, the HealthmateForever TENS unit is an excellent value for the price.

Its dual-channel system, backlit LCD display, and range of modes make it a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile, affordable TENS device.

Both a TENS and EMS unit
Backlit LCD display
Value for money
Requires batteries (3 AAA batteries)
Not as simple and easy to understand as other units (vague instructions)
The lowest intensity may be too high for some
Bigger than other units

Omron Max Power Relief TENS Electrotherapy Device

Omron’s latest TENS unit, the Max Power Relief, has arrived with a bang.

With six pre-set pain modes and three massage modes, each with fifteen different power levels, it’s no wonder Omron describes it as their most powerful TENS unit.

For those seeking a compact and powerful unit, the Max Power Relief is sure to appeal.

Boasting an easy-to-use design with only three buttons on the unit, controlling your pain relief has never been simpler.

One possible drawback to the Max Power Relief is its reliance on two AA batteries, which might inconvenience some users looking for a fully rechargeable option.

Additionally, the unit’s screen is not backlit, which might make it less convenient to read than other TENS units on the market.

But where it shines is with its Long Life pads, which can last up to 150 uses.

This feature sets the Max Power Relief apart from its competitors, as most other TENS unit pads must be replaced frequently.

This means you’ll save money in the long run, as you won’t need to replace the pads as often.

Lastly, Omron is a well-respected brand in the health industry (I use their blood pressure and weighing scales, too), so finding replacement pads for the Max Power Relief shouldn’t be a problem.

In summary, the Omron Max Power Relief is a top-rated TENS unit that delivers on power, convenience, and cost savings.

Small, light, and compact
Easy to use
More power than other units
Comes with Omron’s special ‘long-life’ pads
Not USB rechargeable – requires 2 AA batteries
Screen not backlit
15-minute max sessions
Slightly cheaper units can be just as effective

iReliev Wireless TENS EMS Unit

If you’ve ever used a TENS Unit before, I’m sure you know how irritating all the wires can be.

If you’re looking for a solution, look no further than the iReliev Wireless TENS Unit.

This device represents the future of TENS units, offering users the ultimate in convenience and comfort.

The biggest advantage of the iReliev Wireless TENS Unit is its wire-free design. No more tangled wires or uncomfortable experiences.

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Setting up the iReliev Wireless TENS Unit couldn’t be simpler. Just snap the wireless pod onto the pad and sync it to the main unit. From there, controlling each pod is a breeze, thanks to the intuitive interface and lack of wires.

iReliev wireless TENS 7
iReliev wireless tens unit comes with two wireless pods

And with a handy carrying case, everything stays neat and all in one place.

But the iReliev Wireless TENS Unit isn’t just about convenience.

It also features EMS functionality that targets muscular pain and the traditional pain relief offered by TENS units.

With fourteen programs to choose from, including seven TENS programs and six EMS programs, this device is a top-of-the-line choice for anyone seeking pain relief.

iReliev wireless TENS 3
Everything fits into a neat case

While the iReliev Wireless TENS Unit does come with a higher price tag than traditional TENS devices, it’s an investment that’s well worth it.

If you’re looking for a wire-free, hassle-free experience that offers both TENS and EMS functionality, the iReliev Wireless TENS Unit is the way to go.

It’s a game-changer in the world of TENS units and a top choice for anyone seeking the ultimate in pain relief, and personally, I couldn’t be happier with it.

Wireless – no messy wires from unit to pads
Convenient carry case to keep all accessories together
You can buy more pods to connect with the unit (it comes with two)
TENS and EMS unit in one
USB rechargeable
Wireless functionality means it costs more than other TENS devices

Dealing with chronic pain can be a real struggle, but the TENS 7000 by Carex is a powerful solution that can help alleviate your symptoms.

This highly regarded TENS unit is one of the most popular options on the market, thanks to its effectiveness and ease of use.

With five different modes to choose from, including Burst, Normal, Modulation, and Strength-Duration Mode 1 & 2, the TENS 7000 is incredibly versatile.

Plus, the two knobs at the top of the unit make it easy to control the electrical stimulation’s pulse amplitude or intensity levels.

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Another standout feature of the TENS 7000 is its dual-channel capability, allowing you to treat two parts of your body simultaneously. This is a major plus for those dealing with pain in multiple areas.

While the unit’s simplicity may put some off, others will appreciate its no-frills design.

It lacks some extra bells and whistles that come with other TENS units on the market, such as USB charging and a backlit screen.

However, its affordability, power, and effectiveness make it an excellent choice for managing chronic pain.

Simple to use
Low price
Not chargeable via USB
Not as aesthetically pleasing as other newer models
Not feature-rich

TENS Unit and EMS Combination Muscle Stimulator

If you’re searching for a muscle stimulator perfect for physical and occupational therapy, this TENS Unit & EMS Combination Muscle Stimulator might be the device for you.

It’s equipped with both TENS and EMS functions, making it ideal for muscle pain and soreness and for athletes looking to improve muscle performance and speed up recovery.

This device comes with four electrode pads and two channels, allowing you to control each channel’s intensity level separately.

Plus, with 12 modes and 20 intensity levels to choose from, you can customize your treatment session to your liking.

The unit also has adjustable timers for treatment sessions of up to 60 minutes.

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In terms of design, the TENS Unit & EMS Combination Muscle Stimulator features a large display unit and an auto-shutoff function for prolonged battery life.

The product also has an acupuncture chart, six latex-free electrode pads, a pad holder, and four lead wires.

There are some negatives; however, it’s worth noting that some users have reported issues with the device. The screen may crack easily, the pads fall apart, and some find the instructions complicated.

Despite these negatives, one of the biggest pluses of the TENS Unit & EMS Combination Muscle Stimulator is its large and easy-to-read screen.

If you prefer larger and easily viewable options on a screen, this device has a significant advantage over other TENS units.

This feature makes it a great choice for those with difficulty reading small print or selecting options on a smaller screen.

So, if you’re looking for an effective and user-friendly device, this muscle stimulator is worth considering.

TENS and EMS functions
Large Screen for easy viewing
Automatic shutoff function to extend battery life
Low-quality pads
Screen cracks easily

AUVON Dual Channel TENS Unit

This pain relief machine boasts 20 pre-programmed modes, including shiatsu, kneading, tapping and hammering to massage your muscles— to help with pain and muscle fatigue.

The rechargeable unit can facilitate 10 hours of usage and offers fully isolated dual-channel options.

This allows you to massage two different areas of the body at different modes at the same time.

Along with your TENS machine, you’ll receive a USB cable and charger, a pad holder and punch, 4 square electrode pads, 4 x large rectangle pads, and two lead wires.

The company also offers a 12-month warranty on the product.

Users have complained that the TENS device has to be reset each time it is used, and the pads lose their stickiness relatively quickly.

However, this is one of the cheaper units on our list, and there is a 12-month warranty, so it’s a good option if you’re on a tight budget.

Plenty of modes – 20 pre-programmed modes
10 hours of usage
Low price
12-month warranty
Pads lose their stickiness quickly
The machine has to be reset each time
Difficult to use

Compex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle Stimulator with TENS Bundle Kit

The Compex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle Stimulator is a top-tier TENS unit that is worth the investment for any athlete or fitness enthusiast.

While it may be pricier than other models, it offers exceptional muscle stimulation for pain relief, injury prevention, muscle warm-up, and recovery.

With five different progression levels and ten essential programs, including a TENS unit, two warm-up programs, four strength programs, and three recovery programs, this device is versatile and offers a variety of options to suit your needs.

Whether you want to build endurance or recover from sore muscles, the Compex Sport Elite 2.0 has you covered.

Athletes can easily incorporate this muscle stimulator into their routine to enhance their endurance during high-intensity activities such as sprinting and jumping.

Additionally, the device helps increase muscle size and density, ultimately improving athletic performance over time.

While some customers have complained about the bulkiness of the item and the higher price tag, the Compex Sport Elite 2.0 is an ideal selection for anyone who regularly experiences fatigued muscles.

Overall, this muscle stimulator is a must-have addition to your workout regimen for optimal results.

A great option for athletes
EMS functionality
Focuses on pain relief as well as increasing motion and function
2-year warranty
If you want to focus only on TENS you’re better off with something else
Complicated setup

TechCare Plus Massager

The TechCare Massager is a top-performing TENS unit that’s perfect for home use and won’t break the bank.

While there are many reasons why this device stands out from the rest, one of the most impressive features is its whopping 24 pre-programmed massage modes.

That’s significantly more than what most competitors offer, and each mode is designed to mimic various massage techniques, including tapping, acupuncture, deep tissue, cupping, and more.

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But that’s not all. The TechCare Massager also boasts a large backlit screen that makes it easy to see what you’re doing, even in low-light conditions.

And with a battery life of up to 20 hours, you won’t have to worry about constantly recharging or replacing the batteries.

Plus, the device is rechargeable via USB, so you’ll save money and reduce waste in the long run.

Overall, the TechCare TENS unit is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality massage device that won’t break the bank.

With its wide range of massage modes and convenient features, this unit is sure to help you relax and unwind after a long day.

24 Massage modes and plenty of intensity levels
Backlit screen
20-hour Rechargeable battery
Better instructions needed

Easy at Home Professional Grade TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager

The Easy Home Professional Grade TENS Unit is a high-quality device that offers a range of intensity options from mild to powerful, with 20 power levels to choose from.

Its five automated massage program options and three traditional massage modes provide a variety of massage experiences.

It also comes with four electrode pads and a leather storage bag, making it a portable and convenient option.

This TENS unit is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which can be charged through USB or DC.

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Its user-friendly design includes a large backlit LCD screen for easy channel and mode adjustments. Plus, it has a 1-year product quality guarantee for added peace of mind.

Previous customers have reported issues with the intensity buttons malfunctioning after some time and have mentioned a short battery life. Additionally, this TENS unit is one of the more expensive options available.

Despite these hiccups, the Easy Home Professional Grade TENS Unit is an excellent choice for those looking for a high-quality TENS machine.

With its user-friendly design and 1-year warranty, this device is a solid investment for those willing to pay a premium price.

1-year product guarantee
Battery life is short
Intensity buttons may malfunction after a while

The Best TENS Unit Recommendations:

In the end, I’ve chosen two recommendations based on budget.

iReliev WIRED TENS Unit

After extensive testing, I can confidently say that the iReliev TENS + EMS Combination Unit is the best overall WIRED TENS unit.

When I experienced a bit of neck soreness, I decided to put the iReliev TENS unit to the test.

I was pleasantly surprised that it worked perfectly to alleviate my discomfort.

Moreover, I could go about my day with the unit attached since it is small, light, and compact.

iReliev TENS EMS 8
iReliev TENS Unit

The iReliev TENS unit’s design makes it ideal for home, work, or travel and boasts an easy-to-use interface.

I was also impressed with the unit’s battery life; it lasted for an extended period on one charge and charged up quickly via USB.

One major advantage of the iReliev TENS Unit is that the company has been in the market for a long time, so finding replacement pads will never be an issue.

While the iReliev TENS Unit is not the most affordable option, its effectiveness and durability make it worth the investment.

In my opinion, this TENS unit is a worthwhile purchase for anyone looking for a reliable, long-lasting option.

To learn more about my experience with the iReliev TENS Unit, check out my in-depth iReliev TENS unit review.

iReliev TENS EMS 6
iReliev TENS Unit Package

iReliev WIRELESS Tens Unit

On the other hand, if you’re ok with stretching your budget a little further, I highly recommend the iReliev Wireless TENS Unit.

iReliev wireless TENS 8
The wireless TENS Unit pads

It offers the same features as the iReliev wired TENS Unit mentioned above, except that it is wireless.

This means no longer having to untangle wires or having wires hanging off your body whilst using your TENS unit.

I’ve taken it for a test, and the power and response are the same as the Wired version.

If you have the extra budget, then the iReliev Wireless TENS Unit is the best TENS unit of them all.

If you’re interested in this TENS unit but want a little more certainty if this is the right device for you, you can read my iReliev Wireless TENS Unit review.

TENS Unit Buying Guide

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If you’ve never used or purchased a TENS device, the process might seem daunting, especially with so many available options.

To make your life easier, I’ve shared some of the best features to look for when choosing the best TENS unit.

Size and Weight

Since most TENS devices are small and portable, many people use them when moving or working.

Some units can be attached to clothing, clipped onto a belt or held in a trouser pocket.

If you don’t want your TENS unit to keep you chained to one place due to how large it is, the smaller and lighter it is, the better.

Battery or USB rechargeable

Typically TENS units are battery-powered or have a rechargeable battery that can be charged via USB.  

If you don’t want the hassle of always having a spare supply of backup batteries, then the USB-charged TENS unit will be a better choice.

Number of Channels

A channel is an outlet on a TENS unit where you plug in a lead wire. A lead wire will usually branch out into two electrodes.

You can only use two electrode pads if you purchase a single-channel TENS unit.

A dual-channel TENS unit will allow you to insert two lead wires into the unit, meaning you can have four electrode pads.

I’ve found that dual-channel TENS units provide the optimal amount of electrode pads. 

Wired or Wireless TENS Unit

Currently, most TENS units are wired, meaning that the TENS unit has wires running from the device down to each pad.

A wireless TENS unit is as it sounds – no wires are running between the unit and the pads.

While wired units are the norm, more wireless models are now appearing on the market.

However, they are more expensive.

That said, I cannot emphasize how much more enjoyable using a wireless model over a wired one is.

A wired TENS unit will always get its wires tangled no matter how organised you try to keep things and having multiple wires running all over your body doesn’t help either.

So if you have the extra budget a wireless TENS unit is the way to go. 

Electrode Pads

TENS unit gel pads

You not only want to pay attention to the quality of the main device, but also the electrode pads that come with the TENS unit.

Pad Quality

Different TENS units will come packaged with their brand of pads.

Some models will give you more supplementary pads in more shapes and sizes than other brands.  

This may be an important factor depending on the part of the body you plan to use them on.

However, what is most important is the quality of the pads.

A quality pad should be able to be reused many times and not lose its stickiness too quickly.

The better the quality of the pad the less deterioration it takes and the less stickiness it loses over time.

Owning a TENS unit with a better quality pad means you save money from having to keep replacing the pads all the time.

Pad Availability 

Another factor to consider is the availability of replacement pads.

How easy is it to buy replacement pads?

The last thing you want is for your TENS unit brand to either go bust or decide not to make their pads available anymore.

Be sure to select a TENS unit made by a reputable brand that plans to stick around for the long haul.

Therapy Modes

Some TENS devices have different therapy modes that mimic different massages and rhythms. 

More does not mean better.

Sometimes I found that too many of the modes felt the same, and I couldn’t tell the difference between them.

So for some people, a high number of therapy modes may not be necessary and may even make the whole process overly complex.

Some of the TENS devices I have come across come with 24 of these modes.

Does this seem like overkill to you?

You will need to decide whether these modes are of benefit to you or not.

If you don’t need that many, you can buy a simpler TENS unit and save some money.

I found that around 10 of these modes are plenty.

Intensity Levels

This is important because different types of pains and certain body areas will require a different intensity level to alleviate the pain.

For example, you will likely require a higher intensity level for back pain than neck pain.

Having a higher number of intensity levels is usually better because you’ll better be able to find the perfect intensity you need for whichever body part you are working on.

That being said, keep in mind that more intensity modes on a TENS unit does not necessarily mean more power.


Since TENS devices are likely to be with you for most of the day, they should be built in a way that they won’t break the first time you drop them.

The material used to make the product is not always displayed in the description, but a money-back guarantee or some kind of warranty is an indicator of a good product.


Prices range from about 30 bucks on the lower end to over 300 dollars.

Remember that being more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean the product is a good buy, but many of the best TENS devices are indeed on the higher end of the budget.

Compare the low and high-end options and look at the features that account for the price of the item, and then choose something that offers the best features and works within your budget.

TENS AND EMS combined

A lot of the TENS units now come with TENS and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) functionality combined.

If you want to use your device to manage your pain and get the benefits of EMS, look for a machine that combines bother types of stimulation.

The EMS can aid in strength training and even act as a rehab tool while offering post-exercise recovery benefits for athletes. 


In this section, we’ll go over some of the most frequently asked questions about TENS.

What is TENS?

The abbreviation TENS means transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which is a form of treatment that can help ease pain and bring pain relief in areas of the body that ache.

This kind of treatment is achieved via a TENS device.

What is a TENS unit?

It is a small, battery-operated electronic machine with adjustable settings.

Attached to the device are electrodes that look like tiny cords with small adhesive pads at the end of each one.

The pads are stuck onto the body above the aching areas.

Once the pads are stuck on, the TENS unit will send small electrical currents to stimulate the nerve endings to the areas of the body under the pads.

How does a TENS unit work?

To use a TENS unit first, attach the adhesive pads to the area on your body surrounding the painful area.

Once attached, you then turn on the unit and set the appropriate level of intensity that you require.

The machine transmits electrical currents which travel through the electrodes.

These electrical currents or impulses then inundate the nervous system ultimately decreasing its ability to send pain signals to your brain.

Do TENS units work?

A study published by the US National Library of Medicine shows that TENS can indeed prove effective in lowering or blocking pain signals travelling to the brain.

Additionally, depending on the frequency of the unit, the electrodes can cause your body to release endorphins, which act as natural pain relievers providing pain relief.

That being said, some people find that a TENS unit doesn’t seem to help them. Results may vary.

What can TENS help with?

A TENS unit is best used only for short-term pain relief and is not intended to deal as a permanent remedy for chronic pain.

A TENS unit can be used to treat joint, neck and back pain, post-operative pain, period pain, migraines and even labour pain.

Furthermore, if you suffer from pain due to multiple sclerosis, endometriosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia or sport-related injuries, it might also prove helpful.

TENS units are not meant to treat every type of pain.

If you are unsure about anything, consult a professional who can better guide you.

Is using a TENS unit safe?

This pain management treatment is safe and non-invasive, with no major side effects; some devices offer pain relief for up to 24 hours.

You should refrain from using a TENS unit if you suffer from epilepsy, heart problems, or wear a pacemaker or any metal or electrical implant. [1]

Additionally, if you are pregnant, do not use the device on/around the abdomen or pelvic regions.

You may also need to check to see if the pads include any material which may cause irritation or an allergic reaction.

How often can you use a TENS unit?

There’s no hard rule on how many times a day or how long you should use a TENS unit.

Some experts say you can use a TENS unit all day as long as it is safe, i.e. you are not showering or driving etc. [2].

However, guidance can vary, so it’s best to refer to the device’s instruction manual or ask your doctor.

What’s the difference between TENS and EMS?

If you’ve already heard of TENS, you may have come across the similar term EMS (electrical muscle stimulation). The two are often confused.

Both use electrical pulses to target areas of the body, but the difference between the two is in their names.

Whilst the TENS will target nerves, EMS targets muscles.

EMS therapy focuses more on muscle stimulation, often used in sports recovery and increasing performance.

Which is the Top Rated TENS unit?

The iReliev TENS + EMS Combination Unit is the best overall TENS unit due to its effectiveness, portability and quality.

See the article above to determine if it is the best option for your needs.

Photo of author


I'm the main guy who writes for this site. I love writing and researching ways to age gracefully by paying attention to body posture, flexibility and mobility. I also love nothing more than testing and reviewing the best gadgets to make this goal possible.

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