The 8 Best TENS Units to Buy in 2018

Experience much-needed pain relief

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Chronic pain is hard, and many patients struggle to manage their symptoms. TENS units are small, at-home devices that deliver small electrical currents through electrodes placed on your trouble spots. A recent study found that nervous system excitement, resting pain, and movement pain in patients with lower back pain improved across the board when a TENS unit was added to standard treatments.

TENS units can also be used to ease labor pains, reduce menstrual cramps, and treat carpal tunnel syndrome and plantar fasciitis. You should always consult your doctor before adding a treatment to your pain regimen, but once you’re cleared to give it a shot you can try one of our picks for the top TENS units to buy.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: NURSAL Rechargeable TENS Unit

NURSAL Rechargeable TENS Unit

Courtesy of Amazon

People with chronic pain, acute injuries in multiple body parts, or recovering after a tough workout can benefit from a great overall TENS unit. The NURSAL Rechargeable Unit is an Amazon Best Seller with everything you need for superior pain relief.

This versatile unit has 20 intensity levels to help you navigate everything from post-workout stiffness to lower back pain after a long day of sitting at the office. It has eight reusable premium electrodes that are contoured to fit any body part, and you can target different areas simultaneously with multi-pad application.

More than 400 reviewers said that this TENS unit worked wonders for their sciatic pain, tight muscles, and back problems, and they loved how easy it was to use.

Best Budget: ChoiceMed Tens Unit

If you’re spending your hard-earned cash on doctor’s visits, pain medications, heating pads, and other over-the-counter pain relief options, you probably won’t want to sink a bunch of money into another treatment that you haven’t tried yet. ChoiceMed’s TENS unit lets you try out TENS therapy for a bargain.

This unit has benefits that are similar to more expensive options, like eight pulse modes for massaging, kneading, cupping, and acupuncture, as well as 10 different strength levels that cater to your specific pain. It’s easy to use, lightweight, and everything you need to know is displayed on an easy-to-read LED screen.

Customers on Amazon said that this helped their older relatives with hip and knee problems, and noted that it was inexpensive enough to buy more than one unit to fully treat multiple points on the body.

Best for Back Pain: iReliev TENS Unit Back Pain Relief

Back pain is one of the most common causes of chronic pain, and it’s also notoriously frustrating to treat. Managing symptoms takes a lot of time and trial-and-error to find the treatments that work best for your specific back pain, but if you’re looking for a non-invasive, drug-free therapy with a tech edge, iReliev’s TENS Unit for Back Pain Relief is worth a shot.

This unit has the same variety of preset programs as other TENS units, but it’s even better for back pain because of the system’s conductive back wrap. Integrated silicone electrode pads are built-in to a discreet lower back wrap that can be worn under clothes, and it’s adjustable for waists up to 70” in size.

Back pain sufferers on Amazon loved how convenient this wrap was compared to placing multiple separate pads on their pain points, and said it worked well on their back pain.

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: TechCare Tens Massager + Reflexology Shoes

If you’re unlucky enough to have Plantar Fasciitis, you probably struggle to find workouts that don’t hurt, shoes that support you properly, or just being able to relax during the day without heel pain. A TENS unit can give you the benefits of a foot massage without having to drive to the spa, and TechCare’s massager has a high-quality TENS unit as well as reflexology sandals to help your plantar fasciitis pain throughout the day.

This unit has six preprogrammed massage modes, including tapping, acupuncture, deep tissue, cupping, combo, and foot—perfect for treating plantar fasciitis. There are 20 levels of intensity for each part of your foot, and the included reflexology sandals work together with your TENS unit to help relieve foot and heel pain when you’re not plugged in.

Amazon reviewers said that this unit relieved their foot pain in as little as 20 minutes, and said it worked wonders overall for long-term plantar fasciitis treatment.

Best for Labor: Babycare Obi TENS

Babycare Obi TENS

Courtesy of Amazon

TENS units aren’t just great for treating pain from injuries—they can also be used during labor to help ease an already stressful experience. Babycare’s Obi TENS unit can help reduce pain and discomfort during those important moments before you become a parent.

This award-winning unit contains four large maternity electrode pads to completely cover your back during your contractions. The neck cord makes it easy to grab the unit and change intensities as your labor progresses, and the unit can also be used after labor for residual back pain.

Moms who bought this unit said it was easy to use and was a great alternative to epidurals.

Best for Period Cramps: Livia

Period cramps are never fun, but some women experience such debilitating cramps that it’s hard for them to get out of bed or focus on work. Livia’s Instagram-worthy TENS unit is a discreet option that can stop cramps before they stop you.

This pocket-sized TENS unit weighs in at just 2 ounces, so you can easily slip it into your purse and take it out when you need it. The controller clips onto your pants or skirt and attaches to flower-shaped electrodes on your abdomen—the whole unit is easily concealed by a longer blouse or loose sweater for pain relief on the go.

Livia customers loved how easy it was to use, and said that they noticed a reduction in their period cramps in just a few minutes.

Best for Carpal Tunnel: NeMedics TENS Unit

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a painful condition that affects you at work and at play. Stretches and wrist braces can help, but for many patients, it’s simply not enough. A specially designed TENS unit can deliver targeted relief to your wrist, and NueMedics’ TENS unit has a pre-programmed mode for your hands.

This unit’s user-friendly interface lets you choose from 12 massage modes so you can use different techniques, like cupping or deep tissue, to treat your carpal tunnel pain. You can also select the Joint and Hand options to modify the pulses for greater relief.

Carpal tunnel sufferers on Amazon liked this unit’s multiple channel settings that kept the pulses lower for sensitive areas near wrist bones and joints.

Best for Knee Pain: Icy Hot Smart Relief TENS Therapy

If you’re struggling with knee pain, you know how frustrating it can be when treatments like physical therapy or painkillers don’t completely resolve your symptoms. Adding a TENS unit to your arsenal can help alleviate this commonly injured area, and Icy Hot’s Smart Relief system has specially designed pads that fit perfectly over your knee.

Icy Hot’s unit has an impressive 63 intensity levels and a reusable electrode pad that covers the knee joint. It’s completely wire-free, and the simple yet effective remote is a snap to use.

More than 300 reviewers on Amazon appreciated this TENS unit, saying that it helped them become active again and improved their range of motion.

Our Process 

Our writers spent 6 hours researching the most popular TENS units on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 18 different TENS units overall, screened options from 23 different brands and manufacturers and read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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