Although massage chairs are more and more frequently found in people’s private homes, few people know where they are manufactured and what this means. Back in the day, the place of production usually determined what kind of product you ultimately received. And so – Japanese products were marked by perfect workmanship, Chinese products by the worst quality, while Polish ones seemed to be the safest choice. Maybe it’s for this reason that one of the questions we are repeatedly asked is about the country of origin of the chair. In this week’s episode, Paweł explains the issues around the manufacturing location and tells us where the biggest factories in the world are found. He also reveals whether massage chairs are manufactured in Poland.
Countries where massage chairs are being manufactured
In fact, the majority of the world’s supply of massage chairs is concentrated in a handful of countries around the world. The largest production facilities are located in China, Taiwan and Korea. A few factories also operate in Japan. Such a concentration of manufacturers in this particular continent is hardly surprising, especially if we bear in mind that Asia is the birthplace of massage, and massage chairs are a common household appliance there. In addition to Asian countries, massage chairs are also manufactured in the United States (although production is increasingly shifting to China) and in one European country. Unfortunately, this country is not Poland.
Japanese massage chairs
The Japanese are renowned for their accuracy, reliability and precision when it comes to many of the goods they produce. It’s where the most famous massage chair brand – Fujiiryoki – has its headquarters. They were the first in the world to produce the massage chair and put it into mass production. Japanese models are characterised by the most advanced technology, using a wealth of knowledge and years of experience. These are products of extraordinary effectiveness, offering a downright medical massage, all topped off with perfect, sturdy construction. In summary: perfection in every detail, but at a cost.
Massage chairs made in China
China is still the country where the vast majority of massage chairs are being manufactured. Indeed, it’s there that the largest factories are located, where the world’s best-known brands outsource the manufacture of their products. And this is where new massage chair models are developed and innovative functionalities are implemented.
Until a dozen or so years ago, Chinese products weren’t associated with the best quality, but nowadays a lot has changed in this respect. China used to have the advantage of cheap workforce and therefore the lowest prices. Nowadays, it’s one of the largest economies in the world. China offers high-quality production – for the right money… With a huge and modern industrial infrastructure, and with proper control of the production process, Chinese factories can offer a product of the highest quality, and still at an attractive price. Since Apple or Mercedes can extract the highest quality from Chinese manufacturing, this can also be true for massage chairs. However, we must admit that there are still manufacturers in this market who disregard quality and sell “disposable” massage chairs. Here, therefore, we need to proceed with caution. On the other hand, there is still the question of where you outsource production and for how much.
It’s safe to say of chairs professionally manufactured in China that they frequently surpass their counterparts in other countries in terms of innovation and functionality. It was there that the most innovative features available on the market, such as Zero Gravity or L-shape, were used for the first time. The same goes for heating and foot massage rollers. Thanks to so much work towards innovations in China and the eventual application of these in successive chair models, we can enjoy a much more precise and, above all, more enjoyable and relaxing massage.
At this point it’s worth noting that our Massaggio brand has been relying on a Chinese factory since 2009 and we can’t imagine outsourcing production elsewhere. We take pride in our massage quality, workmanship and negligible malfunction rate.
Massage chairs made in the United States
Outside Asia, massage chairs are or have been manufactured in the United States. This is because American brands are increasingly outsourcing production to Asia. In turn, their chairs are characterised by being larger in size, more bulky and so more suited to the customer there.
Massage chairs made in Europe
In Europe, massage chairs are being manufactured in just one location, the town of Alicante in Spain. Keyton brand designs are a combination of the highest quality natural leather and walnut or oak wood. They are the only models available on the market that are completely customisable, allowing a choice of materials and colours. The massage in the Keyton brand chairs is completely different, entirely original, European and therefore the most focused on relaxation and pleasure.
A great deal is also said about the production of massage chairs in Germany or Poland, but we’ve never come across any documentation to confirm this. Meanwhile, it’s becoming increasingly common to hear that a massage chair has been manufactured in Poland or that it comes from a “Polish manufacturer”. All these psychological endeavours are designed to divert attention from the actual country of origin. Why? It’s hard to say… Perhaps the sellers are afraid of this information, are unsure of their product or are hoping for a quick sale?
Check where the massage chair was manufactured
In the whole discussion about the production of massage chairs, the most important thing is for the customer to be aware of where the chair they are interested in was actually produced.
Therefore, if in doubt, it’s worth asking the retailer about CE certificates when buying a massage chair. These are documents issued for each massage chair. They are proof that the equipment is safe, complies with European standards and, on top of that, they specify the country of origin.
Ultimately, the massage remains the most important aspect anyway. In most cases, it doesn’t matter whether the chair is made in China or Spain, it’s how you feel in it, how you find the massage and the overall design and, of course, the quality of the workmanship. You can read about the actual place of manufacture of our massage chairs in the specifications of each product. And if you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.
Paul, where are massage chairs produced?
Production is concentrated in only a few countries in the world. Let me go into detail.
Massage chairs were invented in Japan 70 years ago. Only a few factories remain in business. They are well known because of their experience, advanced manufacturing technology and premium quality. Although they do not have the largest share of the market, they have a good reputation for using parts which are sourced and assembled only in Japan.
So, who produces the most chairs? China?
The majority of the World’s supply of massage chairs are produced in factories in China, Taiwan and Korea. Massage chairs are a common household appliance in Asian countries, and therefore local demand is higher than international export needs.
Some people question the quality of products from some of these countries. What are your thoughts?
I wouldn’t be concerned about the quality of massage chairs which originate from China, for example. If Apple uses products from China, why shouldn’t massage chairs? The quality will depend on the brand and the price, so I would advise that you research these first.
There is a well-developed market in Korea, which promotes the high standard of their own technology, which is called K-tech. It is well known for its innovativeness and focus on superior quality.
What about production in Europe?
It is our understanding that Spain is the only country in Europe that manufactures massage chairs. The factory in Alicante produces a stylish furniture design. The founder first saw them in Las Vegas in the 1970’s and although he was a fan of the technology, he was not inspired by either their design or colour. So he decided to focus on a specific style, along with a choice of personalised colours and materials.
We have heard of massage chairs being produced in Germany and Poland, but we have never seen any documentation to support this. Primarily, the majority of European companies buy OEM models from Chinese factories. For example, the brand could be from Switzerland, but the actual product could be manufactured anywhere. If you care about the country of origin, it is important to ask about certification before you purchase. A CE certificate is required and should show the original manufacturing country.
What about the USA?
The USA have their own brands, but are currently not very popular in Europe and we are aware that they outsource production to Asia.
Massage chairs are available globally, but the production of them is limited to just a few countries. What is important to note is that each manufacturing country has a specific focus. With Japan it is an advanced type of technology; the European producer concentrates on design and personalisation and the USA was known for making wider chairs for watching TV, like the one Joey uses in the sit-com ‘Friends’.