When your muscles are in agony, you need instant relief. Having a TENS machine at your fingertips will provide you with an immediate way to reduce your pain, increase your range of motion and allow you to get on with your day.
We’ve reviewed some of the best TENS machines in the UK. Below we list our top seven, with an in-depth write up of what you can expect from each.
TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It is a completely portable muscle and nerve simulator designed to alleviate your pain without having to resort to drugs, injections or surgery.
Buyer’s Guide – UK TENS Machines
In order to get the best use, and therefore the quickest relief from your TENS machine, you need to be a discerning shopper. Here are five key features to look out for:
- Variable intensity – look for a machine that allows you to adjust the intensity level. This puts you in charge of the amount of nerve stimulation that is being directed to your muscles at any time. Having a multiple intensity unit also means that other members of the family can use the device. You will find some machines that have preset intensity levels, while others allow you to dial the level that you require.
- Channels – each electrode pad on your TENS machine requires a channel for the electric pulse to pass through. The more channels, the more electric pads the machine is capable of using. Multiple pads allow you to provide relief to different muscle groups at the same time.
- Timer – having an accurate timer on your TENS machine will allow you to pre-program your session. This ensures that you are getting stimulation for the right amount of time; too little time and it will have no effect, too much time and you may cause irritation to your skin while also exhausting the batteries and electrodes.
- Usability – you should expect a machine that is user-friendly. This will usually include a number of preset modes so that all you have to do is press a button to start getting relief. The screen on the console should be big enough and bright enough to be easily seen and ideally should be backlit. Also look for a unit that has a long enough lead for you to easily work on different parts of your body.
- Compactness – look for a TENS machine that is compact and portable. It should come with a carry case or bag so that you can keep everything together.
- Pad size – your TENS machine should vary in electrode pad size so that you can work on large areas when needed but also target specific areas of pain with small electrodes.
prorelax EMS & TENS machine DUO Comfort
The prorelax EMS & TENS machine DUO Comfort is a 2 in 1 TENS and EMS machine to deliver double the relief. This machine was designed to bring fast relief for people who are suffering from muscular pain points with the TENS function and people who are intent on building their muscle mass through the EMS function. Each function provides you with 8 pre-set programs along with 25 levels of variable intensity.
The TENS unit in this dual machine will provide side effect free relief for muscular spasms, intense pain points and oedema. It will also help to speed the healing process after injury and to lessen the effect of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness after exercise. The EMS unit increases blood flow to your muscles after a workout. This fast tracks oxygen and nutrients to the muscle cell to allow it to recover and rebuild more effectively.
The prorelax EMS & TENS machine DUO is manufactured in Germany under the highest medical conditions. Your purchase includes the prorelax EMS & TENS machine DUO unit, along with two lead wires, 4 reusable electrode pads, a clip holder, storage box, USB charger, a quick start guide and instruction manual.
- Combinatiion TENS and EMS Machine
- Economy Battery
- Precision German product
- 8 pre-set programs per function
- Storage box and clip holder
Beurer EM49 PainFree Digital TENS and EMS Machine
The Beurer EM 49 Digital TENS/EMS unit provides you with a 3 in 1 massage, pain therapy and muscle stimulation device. It provides you with two separately adjustable channels that are able to be adjusted to 50 different intensity levels. You get TENS machine functionality to provide quick relief to your aches and pains.
The EMS function provides direct muscle stimulation to help with hypertrophy and strength increase. There is also a Doctor’s function on this versatile machine that allows you to customize your personal therapy program.
This device comes with four self-adhesive electrodes, each one measuring 45mm x 45mm. The machine also has a timer function, allowing you to set your session for between 5 and 100 minutes. A safety shutdown feature keeps you safe at all times and a provided belt clip adds to the functionality.
The TENS function provides you with 12 pre-set and three individually adjusted programs. The EMS function delivers a whopping 32 pre-set and 3 individually adjustable programs. There are also 20 pre-set massage programs on this device.
- 3 in 1 Device
- 50 Intensity levels
- 32 inbuilt EMS programs
- 12 inbuilt TENS programs
- 20 inbuilt massage programs
Premier TENS Machine by Med-Fit
The PREMIER TENS Machine by Med-Fit is a feature packed device that provides you with a huge array of muscle stimulation options. There are 30 clinically approved programmes built into this machine and it comes with 16 electrodes. The large LCD screen makes it easy to monitor your progress. The push buttons on the remote control also feature a pause function to allow you to reposition the electrodes as needed. Another call function on the remote is the key lock which helps to prevent accidental adjustments.
The PREMIER TENS machine provides you with 19 preset TENS programs, along with 11 preset muscle stimulation programs. You get an amazing 99 variable intensity levels, allowing you to minutely control the amount of stimulation going to your nerves and your muscles. You will get 12 hours of life from the rechargeable lithium iron battery that is provided with this unit.
Your PREMIER TENS unit comes with its own hard protective case. You also get a complete guide to the use of TENS technology for pain relief. Med-Fit provide this premier unit to a large number of hospitals and pain clinics throughout the UK.
- 19 presest TENS programs
- 11 preset muscle stimulation programs
- 99 Intensity levels
- 12 hour battery life
- Hard protective case
Med-Fit 1 Dual Channel TENS Machine
Med-Fit is an established and popular supplier of muscle stimulation equipment for the home. The Med-Fit 1 Dual Channel TENS Machine is their most popular TENS machine. It is highly regarded because of its user-friendly interface and because it works fast. You get three modes with this dual channel device and a number of variable settings.
The Med-Fit 1 provides you with two independent channels to allow you to control the intensity, duration, frequency, and modulation output of the device. This is a lightweight, portable device that you can use on any part of the body with ease. It is very effective for the treatment of such conditions as arthritis, tennis elbow, muscle and joint pain and lower back pain. You can choose between constant and burst modes.
The Med-Fit 1 is consistently rated as the most recomended device by the British National Health Service (NHS). You can choose between constant and burst modes. Your purchase comes with a convenient belt clip and a five year extended warranty.
- Dual channel
- Simple operation
- 5 year warranty
Omron E3 Intense Portable Pain Reliever
The Omron E3 Intense Portable Pain Reliever is an extremely impressive device that gives you six preset programs to work on dedicated body zones. You also get three massage modes, they being, knead, and rub. This device provides you with a wide range of intensity levels from 1 all the way up to 15. The pads that come with the system are washable and can be used up to 150 times.
The Omron E3 Intense Portable Pain Reliever provides you with large, intuitive and easy to operate remote interface. You can very quickly choose your body’s zone and will see an ongoing readout of the time remaining in your session. The body zones are divided into back, shoulders, joints, arms, legs, and feet. This is a battery operated unit that is extremely lightweight and portable, so that you can use it anywhere, including at the gym.
- 6 Body Zones
- Lightweight and portable
- Large Remote Unit
- 15 intensity levels
- Displays time remaining
Babycare TENS Elle Pain Relief
The BabyCare Elle Tens Pain Reliever is specifically to be used for pregnant women, and is recommended by midwives throughout the UK. Most TENS machines are not recommended for use when you are pregnant, so this device fills a gap in the market. This is a very user-friendly unit, with preset modes so that you can find instant relief.
The BabyCare Elle Tens Pain Reliever is powered by Optimax technology to provide the staying power that you need while experiencing labour pain. This is a complete unit that comes with full instructions, electrodes and batteries. Mothers to be can use this device with complete safety, knowing that there are no side-effects to them or their precious unborn child.
Your purchase of the BabyCare Elle Tens Pain Reliever provides you with four large maternity electrode pads, two lead wires, two AA batteries, neck cord and carrying pouch and full instructions. You also get a handy women’s guide to drug-free pain relief.
- Designed for pregnant women
- Preset modes
- Optimax technology
- Four large maternity pads
- Neck cord and carrying pouch
Classic TENS Machine
The Classic TENS Machine is produced by Body Clock and is a dual channel muscle and nerve simulator that allows you to treat two areas of pain at the same time. There are three modes on this device – continuous, burst and modulation. Your purchase comes with a belt pouch and four extra electrodes, for a total of eight electrodes. The pulse rate is adjustable between one and 150 Hz with the pulse width also being adjustable to between 50 and 250 microseconds.
The Classic TENS machine provides you with pulse width adjustment. This gives you complete control over the depth of the pulse in accordance with the pain that you are feeling. This is an extremely effective compact muscle stimulation device that is portable and very user-friendly. The large pads make it very good for those who are suffering from ongoing back pain. A number of users also mentioned its effectiveness in treating their sciatica pain.
The Classic TENS from Body Clock is priced to sell and comes with a lifetime warranty.
OBI TENS Plus with Booster Button
The OBI TENS Plus is a dual channel maternity TENS machine that doubles as a contraction timer. You can also use the machine to relieve post labour pain. The control unit on this device is simple to use. It provides you with a booster button to provide extra surge during contractions. The display window lets you know what mode you are in a while also counting down the time remaining in your session.
The OBI TENS Plus provides you with a away to increase or decrease the simulation that your muscles are receiving. The Output Intensity is 0 – 110 mA (max.). This is an effective machine that is very easy to work with. It is great for bringing back relief during pregnancy and will help to make the whole labour process more manageable. Women who have gone through the experience with this machine specifically mention the boost button as being very helpful in managing their pain.
- Designed for pregnant women
- Preset modes
- Boost button
- Variable intensity control
- Dual channel
Easy@Home Wireless TENS Machine
The Easy@Home Wirelss Tens Machine is a totally portable device to provide instant pain relief and muscle stimulation. Because this device is completely wireless, you are able to wear the electro pads under your clothing to provide discrete stimulation when and as needed. That means that you can actually use the machine while you are mobile, whether that be walking the dog or working out at the gym.
The Easy@Home Wirelss Tens Machine operates from a rechargeable lithium iron battery to provide you with long lasting power. This unit provides you with six automated massage program along with 20 Power levels of intensity. That gives you precise control over the amount of simulation being directed towards your muscles.
The remote control unit on this device is extremely user-friendly as it gives you just two buttons; the on / off control and the intensity adjuster. The purchase also comes with a pair of gel electrode pads.
- No wires
- 6 automated massage programs
- 20 power levels
- 2 x gel electrode pads
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
TENS Machine FAQ
Are TENS machines scientifically proven to work?
There have been three recent scientific studies to do with the use of TENS machines. One study, which was cited in the journal Current Rheumatology Reports, found that stimulation of a muscle by a TENS machine activates the same nerve receptors as powerful opioid drugs. The study concluded…
Specifically, we show that low-frequency TENS activates μ-opioid receptors in the spinal cord and the brainstem, whereas high-frequency TENS activates δ-opioid receptors in the spinal cord and the brainstem.
Another study showed that a TENS machine could be a safe and effective option for treatment of chronic lower back pain. A third study, this one out of the Carver College of Medicine, specifically looked at TENS machines for the treatment of fibromyalgia. It concluded that regular use of a TENS machine could significantly improve the quality of life of people who suffer from this condition.
Other studies on the effects of TENS machines on specific conditions are underway, but the general consensus so far from the scientific community appears to be very positive.
How do you use a TENS machine?
The TENS machine has evolved significantly over the past decade, making it user-friendly for everybody. Modern home use machines are not only low-priced, but they are also portable and easy to operate. When you buy a TENS machine you will get a handheld unit along with electrode wires, and electrode pads, although some units are wireless. The electrode pads are replied to the area to be worked and you control the level of stimulation through the control unit. Initially you will have to experiment with intensity settings to find the right one for you.
Can I take my TENS unit on an aeroplane?
Yes, TENS machines are allowed on planes. Here is a quote directly from the website of TWA, one of the largest carriers in the United States…
“TENS units are allowed in both carry-on and checked bags. If your doctor has told you that your specific TENS unit shouldn’t go through an X-ray, you should notify the TSA officer so they can conduct alternate screening. To help you get through security more efficiently, remove your TENS unit from your carry-on bag and put it in the screening bin so the TSA officer can get a clear view of it.”
What is the difference between EMS and PMS?
EMS stands for electrical muscle stimulation. This occurs when a device replicates the body’s natural electrical muscle stimulation to cause muscles to contract. The focus is on causing a direct reaction in the muscle itself.
PMS stands for powered muscle stimulation. The objective here is to impact the nerves rather than the muscle itself. In this way it is able to reduce the pain sensation coming from the muscle.
TENS units use a combination of both of these systems to help alleviate muscular pain. The muscle stimulation that results also increases blood flow so that vital oxygen and nutrients are carried to the affected area while waste products and lactic acid are carried away.
Is this a new technology?
No, the use of TENS stimulation is nothing new. However only in the last few years have portable TENS machines be made available for home use. Prior to that, you would have to go to your medical professional and have him apply TENS stimulation to your affected muscles. The fact that low-priced home use TENS machines are widely available nowadays has made getting instant relief from your muscle pain more affordable and more immediate. They are also great to pair with other home maintenance tools, such as massage guns.
Verdict – Our Final Picks
Our pick for best TENS machine on the UK market right now is the PREMIER TENS Machine by Med-Fit. With 30 inbuilt programs, 99 intesnity levels and 12 hours of battery life, it’s got everything you need and comes at a price that’s reasonable for everyone.
Our runner up was the Beurer EM49. With 32 pre-set programs and a joy to use, over 2,500 positive reviews can’t be wrong!
We also have a good budget option with the Classic TENS Machine. Easily one of the best value TENS machines in the UK right now, and does all the basics extremely well. If you’re looking for something on the lower end of the price range, this is the perfect choice.
Last update on 2020-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API