Best Electric Muscle Stimulation Machine Reviews (EMS Vs TENS)

Do you ever feel after a difficult exercise routine that you need to relax your sore muscle and get rid of the ache? Well, you can do that with a muscle stimulator machine and can also be a regular part of your training.

What is electrical muscle stimulation?

Electrical muscle stimulation is an advanced form of muscle therapy that traditional exercise can’t offer. Many fitness enthusiasts and athletes use the stimulator in their workout and training routine. So, this device sends electric pulses to the motor nerves in your body and creates muscle contractions. It helps a number of muscle fibers to engage in a workout, which in turn increases muscle strength.

The stimulation influences two muscles – Type 2 fast twitch muscle fibers that impact power and explosiveness and Type 1 slow twitch muscle fibers that have an impact on endurance.

What does it do?

A machine sends the electrical impulse through the patches to the muscle tissues below it, which causes a motor or sensory response. It has two most basic purposes, which are muscle re-education and pain relief.

  1. Pain relief – the electrical impulse blocks nerves that are responsible for pain stimulation. It also helps the brain to release natural painkillers, including enkephalins and endorphins. Many studies have mentioned an increase in these two natural killers after use of low-frequency electrical stimulation.
  2. Muscle re-education – electrical stimulation helps in re-training muscles, which find difficulty in contracting. It is used as a therapy for those who’ve suffered from a brain stroke or orthopedic surgery. Under conducive settings, the stimulation contracts the muscles. It can also sometimes make the brain to re-wire itself and start contracting muscles.

Does it have any side effects?

Everything has its pros and cons and electric muscle stimulation is no different. Israeli health ministry announced in January 2018 that there have been undocumented cases of people suffering from the use of this exercise technique. It will only happen if the level of muscle stimulation is too high, which makes it very important for the trainer to be highly-trained in its use.

Sessions shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes as it will cause lifelong damages. Under unmonitored circumstances, use of electrical muscle stimulation can lead to rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle fiber causing excessive pain and loss of structure.

Many benefits of the technique

Other than muscle pain relief, the electrical muscle stimulation technique has many other benefits. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  1. Prevents muscle atrophy

Muscle atrophy has reduced the functioning of muscle fibers due to injury. It is suggested to use this technique after rigorous training as it prevents muscle atrophy. In some cases, the technique has also successfully reversed the muscle disorder.

  1. Muscle recovery from various injuries

The technique is used for fastening tissue healing, so that the muscle mass, functioning, and tone move easily. It is used in several rehabilitation centers for this very purpose.

  1. Improving blood flow

When a muscle is paining, it is under great pressure leading to restricted blood flow. The technique can help improve blood flow so that the inflammation goes away and tissue healing speeds up.

  1. Production of energy

The technique can be used to generate energy for growth, movement, and tissue healing as it stimulates the mitochondria, which is the powerhouse of energy. It can also help in cosmetic muscle toning and curing multiple sclerosis.

How to use an electrical muscle stimulator?

Here are a few tips to help you use an electric muscle stimulator the right way to get the best results.

  1. Put the belt around your waist and place the large middle pad on your belly button and put other pads on small soft parts of your body. If you are targeting your abdominal muscles, you can put them there. Likewise, if you are targeting thigh or calf muscles, you put them in soft muscle area.
  2. Many stimulators come with a hook-and-loop fastener that keeps the pads in place. So if you have them in your kit, you can attach them in this step.
  3. Switch on the muscle stimulator, which is on the front panel of the device.
  4. Set the toning level that you want, such that you aren’t uncomfortable. You can adjust the intensity by scrolling it up or down using the front panel. Make sure that the intensity isn’t too high as it might damage your muscles and even cause a breakdown.
  5. If you are using the muscle stimulator on your abs, use them for 25 minutes each for five days. Begin with four days a week so that you get used to it. Once you are experienced, you can take the sessions for up to 40 minutes each for five days but don’t go above it.
  6. Once your session is done, turn off the device and remove the stimulator belt.
  7. Don’t forget to record your daily session in a notebook or on your phone.

The Top Tips to Keep in Mind

Here are some tips that you need to keep in mind while using an electric muscle stimulator.

  1. There should be at least six hours of difference between two muscle stimulation sessions.
  2. The stimulator should fit snugly and not tightly.
  3. Always read instructions that come with the brand you buy since there are some differences between two brands.
  4. In case you feel pain or discomfort, turn off the stimulator immediately.
  5. If you have diabetes, cancer, or epilepsy, or have electric implants don’t use the stimulator as it can be life-threatening.

What are the different types of Electric Muscle Stimulation?

  1. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – it helps to reduce chronic and acute muscle pain. It alters the painful impulses that travel from the injured muscles to the brain. The electrodes or pads are placed over the most painful part of the muscle.
  2. Russian stimulation – helps the muscles to contract better, which doesn’t happen after a rigorous exercise or training. Its primary focus isn’t reducing pain.
  3. Interferential current electrical stimulation – is often used by physical therapists to reduce pain and improve blood circulation in the affected tissues, which in turn reduces inflammation.
  4. High voltage electrical stimulation – is used occasionally to speed up wound healing. The high voltage replaces damaged cells with new ones so that the healing is quick.
  5. Iontophoresis – is used to administer medicines and drugs to the affected area. Dexamethasone is mostly used to reduce inflammation, swelling, and muscle spasm. It also helps to reduce scar tissues and excessive calcium deposits.

Difference between EMS and TENS

Wondering how you can go distinguish between the two? Here is a look.

  1. Way of working

EMS – it stimulates the muscles by copying the nerve signal sent by the brain during muscle contraction.

TENS – it stimulates the nerves and blocks pain stimuli reaching the central nervous system.

  1. Purpose

EMS – should be used after the intense workout.

TENS – used to manage pain.

  1. Use of electricity

EMS – it uses electrical pulses.

TENS – uses low voltage, electrical currents.

  1. Function

EMS – it is used for relaxing muscles, cosmetic muscle toning, preventing or reversing muscular atrophy, rehabilitation, improving blood circulation, and strengthening muscles.

TENS – it is used for curing back pain, arthritis, foot pain, labor pain, multiple sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sciatica.

Top 8 TENS and EMS Muscle Stimulators On The Market

Here are the eight muscle stimulators that you can buy online today.

1# MEDVIVE Rechargeable FDA Cleared Tens Unit

review MEDVIVE Rechargeable FDA Cleared Tens Unit

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The MEDVIVE TENS muscle stimulator works great for people who suffer from body pain, including muscular discomfort. The pack comes with a good 8 Pads and offers easy application and comfort.

Easy to use and very portable, it offers you a relaxing and stress-free experience at the comfort of your home. This Tens Unit is perfect for reducing soreness in your muscles and you can tinker around with 16 different pre-programmed modes. Yes, there is an initial learning curve, but not one that is significant – you will get over it in a day.


  1. Helps reduce stress easily
  2. Works great when it comes to reducing body pain
  3. A good many programs for you to choose from
  4. You can feel your muscles being stimulated


  1. Can take a while to get adjusted at first

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Overall, it is a convenient and safer alternative than painkillers and one you will love using.

2# HM8ML HealthmateForever

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It is the best electric muscle stimulator you can find since it comes with six electrode pads, adjustable timer from 10 to 60 minutes, and adjustable intensity of 20 levels.


  1. Comes with eight preprogrammed muscle stimulation sessions.
  2. It has a pause button to stop mid-way if you feel discomfort.


  1. Batteries don’t hold a charge well.
  2. The intensity of the lowest setting is too high.

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We love that the product is small and lightweight, so it can be carried around. Also, you can adjust the intensity easily and works great on lower back muscles, knees, and the feet.

3# AUVON Rechargeable TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator

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AUVON electronic TENS device gives you 16 different stimulation adjustments to choose from. It comes with ten electrode pads that are made with Low impedance Solid Gel, a Japanese technique that prolongs the adhesiveness of the pads.


  1. Lithium battery lasts for up to 10 hours
  2. 12-month warranty and 24 x 7 customer service


  1. The display might not work sometimes
  2. Might face difficulty in attaching the pads to the affected area

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We love that the product is affordable and user-friendly. The rechargeable battery is charged fully in less than an hour. The device shuts down automatically in case you fall asleep during the session.

4# Ohuhu Rechargeable Massager Machine

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It is made using bio-electric technology, the massager machine penetrates deep and provides greater relief. It comes with 16 pre-programmed user-friendly modes including acupuncture, vibrating, and rubbing. The device has an automatic shut off mechanism.


  1. You can take sessions that last for 10 to 60 minutes.
  2. Comes with 20 levels of adjustable stimulation.


  1. The delicate product, might not work for long.
  2. Doesn’t come with a proper guide.

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Once you get the hang of it, you can quickly change the modes. It works really well if you are suffering from elbow or knee pain.

5# iReliev TENS + EMS Combination

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This device provides the best electrical muscle stimulation for weight loss. In the market for over 30 years, this device is a preferred choice of doctors and physiotherapists. It comes with 14 therapy modes, one of which is exclusively for treating arthritis.


  1. It is a combination of TENS and EMS
  2. Boosts production of endorphins in the body


  1. Placed on the costlier side
  2. Buttons don’t work very well

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We love this product since it has better results than other devices available in the market. It reduces stiffness and pain and also cures plantar fasciitis.

6# HealthmateForever YK15AB TENS unit 

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The best electronic muscle stimulator for bodybuilding, HealthMate Forever YK15AB comes with a large LCD display and a backlight, which shows you which area you need to target and what massage you should opt for.


  1. It comes with 15 easy to select modes that help in reducing pain
  2. If you use all pads at the same time, the strength of stimulation isn’t divided


  1. Some people might experience skin irritation or hypersensitivity
  2. If you want to replace parts, you need to buy from the same company

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We love that the device comes with EMS and TENS, so you can use it simply for a pain relief or treating different bone-related disorders.

7# TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital

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One of the cheapest and most efficient TENS device available around, the TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital comes with four electrode pads with an adjustable intensity of 0-100mA in 10mA. Its compact size makes it easy to carry around and best muscle stimulator for athletes.


  1. One year warranty is provided by the manufacturer
  2. It comes with 60 sets of operation records


  1. The machine won’t work for more five months if used excessively
  2. Electrode pads don’t stick quite well to the body

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We love that it is portable but very sturdy. It works well on pinched nerves, lower back pain, and cramps in legs and forearms.

8# TENS Electronic Pulse Unit & 4 Electrode Pads – PL-009

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This portable TENS muscle stimulator comes with four electrode pads and two lead wires. You can use it to manage any type of pain caused by a sports injury or improve the mobility of the joint in any part of the body.


  1. Portable and lightweight
  2. Intensity and speed can be adjusted


  1. Doesn’t have high power
  2. Batteries can leak, need to be replaced

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We love it because it’s very affordable and offers a lot for the price you pay. It works great for those who suffer from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. The adhesive on the pads never wears off.


No matter what is the best muscle stimulator you choose, you are going to get some great benefits. However, taking a look at this list will ensure that you have found the right one for your needs. For instance, some of them can be used to help you deal with back pain, while others cannot be. Knowing what you need will help you get the results you want!

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