The Best TENS Unit

The Best TENS Unit

Our pick

TechCare Pro24

TechCare Pro24

The best TENS unit

This device has a large, brightly lit screen, an easy-to-use interface, a powerful maximum output of 0.4 watts, and a lifetime warranty.

Buying Options

$30* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $26.

The TechCare Pro24 has an intuitive interface, and the manual-control buttons make it hard to crank up the intensity too quickly or by accident. We measured a maximum output of 0.4 watts, making the TechCare Pro24 one of the most powerful models we tested. You can connect up to four sticky pads to the electrode cables, allowing you to treat multiple areas at once. With 20 intensity settings and six modes of current pulse—more than on most units we tested on both counts—the Pro24 gives you a wide range of options to make the current feel subtle or strong. The large, bright screen (which looks sort of like an early iPod’s screen) is easier to read and less crowded than the display on any other device we considered. The Pro24’s timer is easily adjustable, and the built-in battery is rechargeable, using the included cable and charger. Also included with the device: a handy piece of plastic to wrap the cord around and stick the pads to when they’re not in use. This model also comes with a small, velveteen carrying bag, but we think the box it comes in is actually nicer for storing the device and accessories. Best of all, in case you aren’t happy with the Pro24, it has a lifetime warranty—unique among the brands we tested.

Wired or wireless: wired
Intensity settings: 20
Max output: 0.4 watts
Handheld remote? yes, with a backlit screen
Pads included: six

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Also great

Prospera Magic TENS

Prospera Magic TENS

A smaller, no-frills wireless unit

This screenless, wireless unit is super-compact and simple to use, and it offers the highest power output (0.5 watts) of any model we tested.

Buying Options

$25* from Home Depot
$50 from Prospera Magic

*At the time of publishing, the price was $33.

If you need to focus on only a single part of the body, consider the Prospera Magic TENS, which has a much simpler interface than other units we tested. Instead of being a handheld device connected to various electrode wires and sticky pads, this model is an all-in-one gadget with three buttons (on/off, raise intensity, lower intensity) and a battery-status light that connects directly to two electrodes on a sticky pad. The Prospera has five modes—series of short pulses alternated with longer ones—and it is best suited for use on a single area on the front of the body, so you can see which buttons you’re pressing. This device has the highest maximum output (0.5 watts) of any model we tested, but it has only 10 intensity settings, so the incremental jumps in strength are a bit more jarring than with the TechCare Pro24. The Prospera also has the shortest warranty (90 days) of any model we tested. This device is super-compact and easy to move around in, and it comes with a zip-up plastic pouch, a charge cable, and a laminated instruction card that you can stick the pad onto when you pack it away.

Wired or wireless: wireless
Intensity settings: 10
Max output: 0.5 watts
Handheld remote? no
Pads included: one

Upgrade pick

iReliev TENS + EMS Therapeutic Wearable System

iReliev TENS + EMS Therapeutic Wearable System

A larger, more versatile wireless option

This unit has a handheld remote with a backlit screen, two easy-to-use wireless hubs, and a comfortable set of sticky pads. With a maximum output of 0.2 watts, this device also offers more intensity settings and timer options than most models we tested.

Buying Options

$150* from iReliev
$200 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $200.

The iReliev TENS + EMS Therapeutic Wearable System, another wireless unit, is a bulkier but more customizable upgrade option. Its wireless hubs—two are included, but you can connect up to four at a time—make it easier for you to target multiple areas while keeping active; experts told us this yields the best results. The hubs pick up a wireless signal from the handheld remote, which is lightweight and has a bright, backlit screen. The iReliev has a maximum output of 0.2 watts (a little less power than our other two picks, but it gets the job done). And, as with the TechCare Pro24, the manual-control buttons on this model’s remote keep you from accidentally cranking up the power. The iReliev has more timer modes (between 10 and 60 minutes, in five-minute increments) and more intensity settings (25) than any other model we tested. It also has 14 different modes, including six EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) modes (a feature designed to help muscles contract), which some people prefer the feeling of and none of our other picks offer. This device has an ample, two-year warranty, and it comes with a sturdy clamshell carrying case as well as a two-pronged Micro-USB cable, so you can charge two of the wireless hubs at once, and charger. Finally, the iReliev’s sticky pads were among the mushiest and most comfortable of those we tested, and they come in larger sizes than most, so you can treat a bigger area with each pad.

Wired or wireless: wireless
Intensity settings: 25
Max output: 0.2 watts
Handheld remote? yes, with a backlit screen
Pads included: four

Everything we recommend

Our pick

TechCare Pro24

TechCare Pro24

The best TENS unit

This device has a large, brightly lit screen, an easy-to-use interface, a powerful maximum output of 0.4 watts, and a lifetime warranty.

Buying Options

$30* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $26.

Also great

Prospera Magic TENS

Prospera Magic TENS

A smaller, no-frills wireless unit

This screenless, wireless unit is super-compact and simple to use, and it offers the highest power output (0.5 watts) of any model we tested.

Buying Options

$25* from Home Depot
$50 from Prospera Magic

*At the time of publishing, the price was $33.

Upgrade pick

iReliev TENS + EMS Therapeutic Wearable System

iReliev TENS + EMS Therapeutic Wearable System

A larger, more versatile wireless option

This unit has a handheld remote with a backlit screen, two easy-to-use wireless hubs, and a comfortable set of sticky pads. With a maximum output of 0.2 watts, this device also offers more intensity settings and timer options than most models we tested.

Buying Options

$150* from iReliev
$200 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $200.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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