Updated: August 2018
While highly popular in the medical field, TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) units are something of a mystery to the average person. These devices can be purchased at some drug and fitness stores, although the hospital-grade units are often harder to obtain for personal use. Small, portable wireless TENS units remove the biggest annoyance with the traditional units… wires.
The best wireless TENS unit for one individual can be completely different for another depending on the features that are important to them. Intensity levels, size, battery usage, and of course price are just a few of the things to consider. The following wireless TENS units are ideal for people who want the ability to do treatments at home, work, or even the gym.
Our 4 Favorite Wireless TENS Devices
|HealthmateForever||8||20 levels||10-60 min||Yes|
|Easy@Home||5||15 levels||20 min||Yes|
|Icy Hot||1||63 levels||30 min||No|
Wireless TENS Unit Reviews
The following units all have their own advantages, making them all excellent choices for a wireless home unit. All have multiple power settings to make them more effective against different pain tolerances, and can be used on multiple parts of the body.
Cleared by the FDA and perhaps the best wireless TENS unit for back pain, the HM8ML is a multi-function TENS unit that supports both wired and wireless use. The independent dual output allows for our pads to be used simultaneously, while the lithium battery is capable of providing up to 10 hours of continuous use between charging. An adjustable timer ensures your session will last 10-60 minutes, even if you fall asleep.
This model uses HealthmateForever’s WI-9 wireless kit, which includes a wireless receiver, transmitter, and two sets of pads. Also compatible with other TENS/PMS units by this company, the transmitter can recognize up to 40 modes and the receiver has two channels. These devices are fully rechargeable, making them great for use in high-traffic areas and when traveling.
Meanwhile, the unit is capable of 20 different intensity/strength levels and features a pause button and eight different modes:
- Tuina (push and pull)
This small TENS unit has been used to treat a wide variety of muscle ailments by consumers who report excellent results. The pads are small enough for most areas of the body, and users have found the included placement point chart to be very helpful.
While this portable TENS unit has worked flawlessly for most users, it should be noted that a handful of users have had problems getting this unit to charge after the first few times.
The EHE016 is FDA approved for home use and is compact enough to use while on the go. Consisting of a main unit and two gel electrode pads that may be worn discreetly under your clothing, this device includes five automated massage program options, 15 power levels, easy to use two-button controls, 20 minute cycle with automatic turn-off, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Best of all, Easy@Home provides a one-year hassle free warranty that covers both refunding and product replacement.
Those who have purchased this product love the USB charging cable, as it allows them to charge from any wall, device, or powerbank. They also enjoy the compact size, which allows them to use this wireless TENS machine discreetly. Owners who use the device regularly have reported highly effective pain relief without the need for any additional medications or treatment.
Due to the way this device is held onto the body, it doesn’t always stick as well as similar models depending on where it is used. A few users have also found it difficult to adjust when using on certain areas of the back. Finally, the automatic shutoff time is shorter than most other TENS units, which makes this a poor choice for those who need prolonged sessions.
With a reputation as one of the top names in home pain relief, Icy Hot’s Smart Relief TENS unit is a welcome solution to arthritis and muscle pain sufferers. This FDA-approved unit comes with a control unit, reusable electro pad, and is powered by a 3V battery.
This mini TENS device is smaller than a credit card and only half an inch thick. The unit snaps onto an adhesive patch for easy application. Finally, the two small electrodes are capable of delivering 63 different levels of intensity for the perfect intensity every time.
Consumer who have purchased this product have found it to be useful in treating a wide variety of muscle pain issues. They have noted that the device is easy to use on the go. Users have also commented on the 63 power levels, which might make this one of the most powerful portable TENS units available for home use.
The single biggest complaint about this product is the battery. 3V batteries are expensive and do not have rechargeable options. At the highest intensity setting, the battery will last just over one hour. As the pads also need to be replaced occasionally, many consumers have found this model to be far more expensive than other models with more modes.
Weighing only 1.6 ounces, this portable TENS device easily fits under your clothes for when you’re on the go. The electrode pads snap directly onto the unit, which is powered by a single CR123A battery. While the unit is very small, it’s designed to be used for arthritis, sprains, muscle tears, strains, and general joint or muscle pain in the shoulder, arm, and leg. 8 intensity levels is a bonus for such a tiny TENs unit.
One unexpected quality reported by consumers is how durable this tiny unit is. Owners have dropped it, lain on it – one even accidentally exposed her’s to water – all without the device breaking. Another frequent observation is that the unit is highly effective for its size, allowing for fast relief. The single unit patch is small enough to be easily concealed, allowing owners to use it at work, home, or on a stroll without others noticing.
While generally inexpensive, the relatively short battery life can increase operational costs over time. The pads also have a shorter life than many other brands, making this device better for occasional use than for regular therapy. A few users have noted that the area covered by the pads is too small to provide adequate relief in larger areas of the body.
How does a TENS device work?
Nobody wants to live with pain, and a portable TENS machine is one of the most affordable and effective alternatives to clinical therapy available. TENS units deliver tiny electric shocks to muscle tissues through special pads that may be wired or wireless in nature.
These shocks are used to help relax muscles and reduce muscle pain. You may find them being prescribed for certain forms of muscle injury, used in massage therapy, and kept as part of a bodybuilder’s post-workout kit to help relieve DOMS (Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness).
Why go wireless?
Owning a TENS unit can become very costly when you use a wired model. The wires are prone to damage in the same way as cheap headphones, and can be very expensive to replace. Wireless models tend to be among the best rated, as they are less likely to develop shorts and can save a large amount of money over wired models when used long-term.
What type of pain is a TENS device most effective on?
Because these units do not cure the source of the pain, they are most effective for acute pain that’s been around for less than three months. You can expect temporary relief or a reduction in pain while an acute injury heals but the device won’t stop chronic pain from returning.
Often times, it’s a great substitute for over the counter pain meds which can have their own side effects. If a TENs device doesn’t help your type of pain, I’d recommend trying a a good infrared heating pad as the next step.
Is a TENS unit safe?
While a TENS unit is generally safe, it CAN be dangerous to use one if you have a heart condition or suffer from epilepsy. Another TENS unit side effect is that it can disrupt a pacemaker and should not be used if you have metal implants or devices, as these can be affected by the electrical output of the unit.
A few other side effects exist but are very rare. While highly effective for a lot of people, it should also be noted that the device is not a replacement for medical treatment unless approved as an alternative by your doctor.