Ultimate Guide To The Best Tens Units Of 2016

TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units are a relatively new type of device that can be effective for treating chronic pain or muscle stiffness. Since these devices have recently been approved for consumer use, many manufacturers have begun to release them onto the market. Additionally, there are many variations of this device with many different features.

So I decided to do a little research and compile a list of the 10 best tens units available for purchase today. I found many inferior products in my research, but these 10 have really stood out to me. Feel free to read about them below.

I have also included a short buying guide that goes over some of the features TENS units offer.

TENS unit guide

Electrode size

Many units come with the option to choose different size sensor pads. Some can be circular, square, or rectangular. This category is important because different sized pads will be better suited to certain areas of the body. Obviously this is entirely dependent upon which area you are trying to stimulate.

Electrode count

TENS units come with many different numbers of electrode pads, however for some most common amount you will see on handheld units. Some devices come with 6 or even more. If you have a small area to stimulate you usually get by with just 2.

It’s always better to air on the side of caution and get more than you need.

Electrode wear and tear

Although the electrodes that come with your unit will at first be very sticky, after continuous use they will begin to lose a lot of their adhesiveness. You will eventually have to buy new pads, and you should factor this into your purchase decision.


Many tens units also contain an EMS mode. EMS stands for electrical muscle stimulation, and it is receiving a lot of interest from athletes who are looking to complement their strength training regimens.

Many people utilize EMS while they are training or lifting heavy weights to cause their muscles to contract, thus promoting neural and muscular adaptations that complement resistance training.

Pulse rate/pulse with

Pulse width is a measurement of how long the current is on for. Typically this is measured in microseconds. 170 to 195 is a good starting point and you should see results immediately. It’s best to increase the pulse width slowly, to allow your body to adapt to the increased electrical stimulation.

The pulse rate is the number of pulses you receive in one second. This is usually measured in hertz. A general rule of thumb is that 80 to 120 Hz is ideal for acute pain relief.

You can also go very low, to around 2 to 10 Hz, if you need chronic pain relief.

Conductive gel

Although tens units are functional out-of-the-box, consider investing in some conductive gel if you’re not getting the amount of intensity that you want. Conductive gel will help transfer the electric charge from the pads into your muscles.

FDA Approved

Most tens units are FDA approved, however some of the earlier ones are not. It is wise to shoot for one that is FDA approved since this means a device follows regulations and is less likely to malfunction or provide poor treatment.

Note: you should avoid applying electrodes to your neck or heart area is the electrical signals generated by the unit can interfere with electrical signals generated by your heart muscle.

Best Tens Units

There are quite a few different tens units to choose from these days, but I feel these 10 will stand the test of time.

Balego 7000

This TENS unit is competitively priced and comes with a dual channel 5 mode timer. It also features four different therapy modes. You’ll get a burst mode, which will give you up to 5 Hz electricity and three second intervals, a modulation mode, which allows you to combine a pulse rate and pulse width with a variable treatment pattern, and to strike duration modes. The strike duration modes allow you to set a 10 second cycle that decreases in intensity gradually.

This unit seems more geared towards doctors, as it features a patient compliance meter, which helps doctors keep track of treatment time. It also has around eight or nine different styles of electrode pads you can choose from, which makes for a lot of variation in the areas of the body that you can target with this unit.

TruMedic TENS

The best thing about the Trumedic is its ease-of-use. The unit comes with an automatic simulation program for each major part of the body, such as the waste, hands/feet, shoulders, joints, and even the sole of the foot.

I especially like the devices massage setting, which is supposed to simulate a hand massager. You can set it to general massage, needing, or beating which is a nice touch.

Lastly, the Trumedic is easily among the lightest of the tens units on this list: it clocks in at around 5 ounces and is about the size of a small TV remote.

PurePulse Duo

The Purepulse Duo bears the unique distinction of being the first FDA approved device on the market. I’m not sure how this relates to usability, but I especially like this devices features.

This unit has quite a few prebuilt programs: you’ll get access to eight specialized TENS programs and six EMS programs. The unit also contains an adjustable timer and independent intensity controls.

As a bonus, the PurePulse comes with a seven part video series that gives you a detailed walk-through on how to use the device and some extra tips on pain management therapies.


The Irelieve is a decent all-around unit and is competitively priced. This device is more of an EMS/TENS combo unit, and features around seven different TENS modes along with six different EMS modes.

What stands out most about the Irelieve however, is its incredibly small size. The device resembles an iPod Nano and is quite svelte. It has dimensions similar in size to a credit card and is about a half inch thick. If you’re looking for a highly portable TENS unit, this one will probably be your best bet.

The device also has a preset arthritis treatment mode, so this may be a good unit for those looking to treat their arthritis non-invasively.

Healthmate Forever

The Healthmate Forever is a uniquely designed TENS unit. This is definitely a device for someone who needs to hit a lot of different areas of their body at the same time. The device features a single output 4 pad set up, which basically allows you to use up to eight different electrode pads at once.

The unit also has quite a few different massage modes, such as acupuncture, tapping, bodybuilding, guasha, and to tuina to name a few. All of these modes also have around 20 different levels of intensity, which is quite extensive.

AccuRelief ACRL-5500

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The ParMedoc is another combination EMS/TENS unit. The unit features an extra-large LCD, which is great for someone like me who has difficulty seeing the small screens that these units are typically equipped with.

The PharMeDoc has three different massage modes and five automatic stimulation programs. But it is more of a set it and forget it device. This is a device best suited for those who do not want to fiddle around with complicated setup options.

Unfortunately the device is a little on the large side, and may not be quite small enough to fit into your pocket.

Zewa Spabuddy

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the spa body is its name. I suppose that means this is a unit that is meant for use in spas? Joking aside, the device seems to come with a highly variable intensity adjustment – around 30 - which makes this a good unit for people who like to really fine tune their pain therapy sessions.

This is also a FDA approved device, which means you won’t have to worry about malfunctions or poor quality treatment.


The Omron definitely has a lot going for it, but what I like most about its electrode pads. This unit comes with figure 8 style pads that fit to the contours of the body much better than a simple square or circle pad would.

As for modes, the Omron is fairly standard. You’ll get 15 levels of intensity and three massage modes: rubbing, tapping, and needing.

This TENS unit also features especially long cords, which clock in at around 6 feet. This is handy for people who like to wear their units on their belts or in their pocket.

Roscoe DT6070

For a complete pain relief system you’d be hard-pressed to find better than the Roscoe DT6070. This is a device that is best suited for people who need lower back relief.

The unit comes with a back belt that has built-in electrodes to stimulate the lower back. Additionally, you also get a handheld TENS unit and some conductive spray to ensure maximum therapeutic benefit.

The TENS unit allows for five preset fit therapy mode switch is pretty standard. However, it is not 100ma, which is somewhat of a letdown.


Thanks to new advances in technology, it is now easier than ever to seek less invasive options for pain relief. Electrical stimulators are still in their infancy, but they are rapidly improving every day. Hopefully in the future they will become standardized and negate the need for dangerous treatments like pharmaceuticals or surgery.

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