There’s no such thing as the perfect massage table–there’s only the best table for you and your clients’ needs. Spending the time to understand all your options and find the best fit for your situation can save you from ending up with a table that only serves its purpose instead of helping you advance your career.
Because frankly, it’s a lot of money. Your massage table will likely be the biggest investment of your career outside of your education. Usually when you’re looking to purchase one it’s because you’re just starting out in the business or maybe even still in classes and may not have a lot of earnings to throw around yet so making a careful and educated decision can save you money in the long run.
A quality table should last your entire career. It may look like a lot of money right now, but when you think about that spread over the years and hundreds of sessions, it seems much more reasonable.
And other than your hands, your treatment table is what your clients are going to remember most about you. If your table is unsteady, uncomfortable, and unprofessional looking, it could do serious damage to your career, not to mention your clients’ bodies and your own.
How to choose a massage table.
There are several factors that you need to consider when shopping. Let me break down the most important of them here for you.
Purpose of the table.
The first question has to be, what will you be using your table for? Massage therapy? Physical or Occupational Therapy? Reiki or other energy working? Facials or other spa services? All these different services have different needs that certain tables will meet and others won’t. Will you be using your table as your full-time business or is massage something you’re doing on the side or only at events? When you’re just starting out, you may not know the answers to all these, but try to keep the question in mind as we continue.
Another sort of obvious one, but do you need to travel with your table? If you’re just starting out and you’re not sure where you’ll be or if you’ll need to travel, my advice is get a portable one anyway. It keeps your options open down the line and as long as you get a quality table, a portable one won’t be out of place in a permanent office setting.
However, if you know you won’t need to travel, upgrading to a stationary treatment table may be a luxury you can finally give yourself. Stationary tables are sturdier, can hold more weight, and are often more aesthetically appealing and professional looking.
Since you don’t have to lug them around, you don’t have to sacrifice features that add to the weight of table like tilt-tops. While it does seem like a luxury, once they have one, many therapist say they wish they had gotten one sooner.
Stationary tables also give you the options of getting an electric table which allow you to adjust the height of your table with a foot pedal, instead of have messing around with knobs under the table.
These are perfect for clients who are injured, disabled, or aging and would have difficulty getting up onto your table at the height needed for you to treat them safely and correctly.
Electric tables do come with a big jump in price, but ADA compliant electric tables are eligible a 50 percent ADA Tax Credit which can offset the price in the long run, as well as opening up your client base to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to work with you.
You can find tables out there for $60 or so, but at that quality level, it’s going to perform like a $30 table. Remember, that for companies to make a profit, they have to charge more than just what the table cost to make.
As a thought exercise, cut the cost of a table in half and consider the quality of labor and materials (the wood, the cables, the padding, the hinges, the upholstery) that that amount of money can afford. If you think building a table for $30 is going to get you a shoddy table, you’re right–and that’s what a $60 is going to be.
Your table has to reliably hold hundreds of pounds of weight and pressure while being comfortable enough for your client to feel relaxed and safe. If you have to skimp on everything else, okay–but skimping on your treatment table can sabotage your career.
It stands to reason that tables with more cushion will be more comfortable to clients, but there is a sweet spot of too little padding feeling like laying face down on plywood and having so much padding it interferes with your massage. Generally you want something around two to three inches of foam. To a point it’s personal preference and how intense you need your pressure to be.
Tables come in widths ranging from 28 to 35 inches wide. This is a matter of both personal preference and what will make your clients most comfortable and secure. Narrower tables are good for short practitioners who have a smaller range and wider tables tend to work better for taller folks. It’s important to keep in mind that larger clients are going to be more comfortable on wider tables so a narrow table could limit your client base.
There are three weight numbers you’ll see when shopping. One is the weight of the actual table which is particularly important for portable unit because you want to be able to carry this thing from place to place without injuring yourself. Expect your table to weigh between 30 and 40 pounds.
Static weight is the amount of weight that can be dropped on your table without breaking it. Think of this as a Saturday morning cartoons test–what size piano can you drop on your table before the cables break. This is normally a very high number which is nice but has very little relevance on a day to day basis.
Working weight is the number you really need to pay attention to. This refers to the amount of weight your table is built to hold on a regular basis. This number includes your client’s weight, the weight of any bolsters you may be using, and the weight that you’ll be adding during your massage. So if the working weight of a table tops out right around some of your client’s body weight, it won’t be enough since you’ll be adding a fair number of pounds of pressure during your massage.
The endplates on your table affect its overall stability. The larger and lower down the legs your endplates are, the more stable your table will be and less likely to rock back and forth. Endplates that are smaller and near the top of the legs are referred to Reiki endplates since Reiki-only therapies don’t have the same physical impact as massage.
Massage endplates are lower and thicker for enhanced stability. The plus side of Reiki endplates is that they weigh significantly less than massage endplates and they let therapists work from a seated position. Some companies also offer half and half endplates that have a massage endplate on one side and a Reiki endplate on the other for the best of both worlds.
Some tables offer extras like internal heating and tilt tops. All these things add weight, but also add to the experience and flexibility of your table. If you want to offer Shiatsu massage, you’ll want to make sure your table comes with Shiatsu release cables that allow your table to lay flat on the floor. Make a list of your priorities and see which table hits your most important ones.
Let’s take a look at the best massage treatment tables available right now and break down the specs so it’s easy to compare.
1. Earthlite Spirit Premium Portable Package
The Spirit table is the flagship of Earthlite and for good reason. It’s portable, lightweight, attractive, and very strong. Earthlite starts with hardwood maple construction for improved strength compared to lighter woods.
For even more stability, they use aircraft grade steel cables and half and half endplates. This level of construction means it has a static weight capacity of 3,200 pounds and a working load of 800 pounds.
The cushion is spa-grade, triple-wrapped foam for a 3.3 inch layer of padding. The Natursoft upholstery feels as soft as glove leather but is water and oil resistant. The included face cradle with face pillow is set on a moving hinge allowing you to adjust the angle of the cradle for maximum comfort.
The Spirit Table, and Earthlite in general, is ecofriendly which is important to me. Their tables are made in America and their wood is sourced from renewable forests. Earthlite’s foam padding and PU upholstery are biodegradable and ecofriendly. This massage table comes with a carrying case and is available in 30 and 32 inch widths.
Earthlite offers a lifetime limited warranty if you ever have problems the frame and a three year warranty on the cushion and upholstery. You have a choice of upholstery colors from amethyst, burgundy, latte, mystic blue, sterling, and hunter.
Price: From $443.80
- Bestselling choice
- 800 pound working weight and hardwood maple construction
- Choice of colors
- 3.3 inch foam cushion
- Shiatsu cables
- Portable at 35 pounds
- No tilt-top
- Maple hardwood increases weight
2. Master Massage 31 Inch Montclair Therma-Top Portable Table
Another portable table, this one in classic black, has the exciting feature of being heated. If your clients will be wearing fewer clothes laying on your table than they walked in with, this is a great feature because shivering is not relaxing. Even if you’re looking for a table for Reiki, having a body-sized heating pad is something I know I’ve said I’d love to have about a thousand times. The level of heat is adjustable for everyone’s comfort and has a timer option.
The controls plug in with a decently long cord, but that is something you’ll have to step over or avoid while working around the treatment table. The Montclair has a three inch cushion made up of small cell foam covered in a layer of memory foam. The foam and the water and oil resistant PU upholstery have a five year warranty.
The frame is made of beech wood and stained with a deep mahogany finish and uses airplane grade steel cables for stability. At 31 inches wide and a working weight of 650 pounds, the Montclair is a good choice to make all your clients feel supported. This table comes with a four pocket carrying case, padded suspended arm shelf, and adjustable face cradle with padding.
The face cradle isn’t the best design in the business and some people find it uncomfortable, but for the price and for having a heated cushion, this table is worth buying a replacement cradle to swap out. I recommend the Earthlite Deluxe Face Cradle.
- 650 pound working weight and beech construction
- Heated cushioin
- Shiatsu cables
- Table weighs 37 pounds
- Face cradle isn’t the best
3. Earthlite Ellora Electric Lift Massage Treatment Table
If you’re looking for a sturdy electric table, the Ellora table by Earthlite is ADA compliant for wheelchair transfers and has a motor with a 600 pound lift capacity. It lowers to 18 inches off the ground and lifts to 36 inches tall making it handicap accessible for a wide range of clients.
This also eliminates the need for you to be crouched down fiddling with wheels and knobs every time you need to adjust the height of your treatment table. The upgrade in stability from a folding table to a stationary steel table is remarkable. There’s no rocking or wobbling and the steel frame has a lifetime warranty.
Some sticker shock is normal but since it is ADA compliant, the Ellora is eligible for an ADA tax credit for businesses that will cover 50 percent of the cost of an ADA compliant table.
The Ellora is highly adjustable with width options from 28 to 32 inches and the option of a flat platform or a tilt-top. It’s a very smooth and quiet motor and the lift is operated by a hands-free foot pedal.
The three inch foam cushion provides comfortable padding and the Natursoft upholstery is soft and both water and oil resistant. While it’s definitely not a portable table, the wheels on one side make the Ellora much easier to move around your office as needed.
A new model has just become available that offers a pneumatic tilt option with much greater adjustability of the tilt, allowing for a gently curve and individualized back support. Check out the Earthlite Ellora Vista for more information.
- ADA compliant electric lift
- Hands-free foot pedal
- 600 pound lift capacity motor
- 50 percent tax credit eligible
- Customizable width, tilt-top, and color
- Three inch cushion
- Commercial use lifetime warranty on frame
- Face cradle not included
- Not portable
- Table weighs 180 pounds
4. Best Massage Portable Massage Bed With 4 Inch Pad
If your concern is a table that is long enough for your tallest patients, this 77 inch Best Massage bed is a full six feet, five inches long before adding the face cradle. At 30 inches wide, this is one of the largest portable tables on the market. The downside to that is it’s a heavier table weighing in at around 50 pounds. You definitely would want to pick up a <a href="http://amzn.to/2vNJNmK" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"treatment table trolley if this is the table that best fits your needs. The four inch high density foam makes an incredibly plush cushion which is great for larger clients.
I’ve had treatments on this table and I can tell you that it’s incredibly comfortable. The PU synthetic leather upholstery isn’t as soft and realistic as higher end brands but it’s oil and water resistant and definitely not sticky. This table comes with most of the accessories you can ask for including a face cradle, face pillow, removable armrests, suspended arm shelf, half-round bolster, tilt-top, and carrying case.
- 600 pound working weight and beech construction
- Great for working with tall clients
- Lots of accessories
- Not great for small spaces
- Heavier than most portable tables at 50 pounds
5. Master Massage 30 Inch Galaxy LX Portable Table
This luxe black upholstery brings a professional and stylish look to your treatment room. It’s antimicrobial, scuff resistant, and oil and water proof making it easy to keep clean. The high gloss reminds me of Italian leather and the black stain on the beech wood frame makes this table fit right in whether your services are massage, spa, medical, or tattooing.
With a 30 inches width, 750 pound working weight, and full massage endplates, this is one of the stronger and most stable portable tables on here. The three layers of small cell foam and memory foam make for a deeply comfortable cushion over the double-layer wooden deck.
For a portable table, it’s a little on the heavy side at 38 pounds, but that’s not unreasonable given the durability you’re getting. The Galaxy LX comes with adjustable face cradle, face pillow, suspended arm shelf, and carrying case with four pockets. The expensive look of this table gives an extra luxuriant feel for all your clients.
- 750 pound working weight and beech construction
- Three inch cushion with high shine upholstery
- Full massage endplates for stability
- Includes face cradle and arm shelf
- Heavier at 38 pounds
6. Master Massage 31 Inch Spamaster Series LX Stationary Treatment Bed
This stationary treatment table has a working weight of 1,000 pounds and a static weight of 2,500 pounds. This is what I mean by the huge jump in support and durability when you start looking at stationary tables. The hardwood mahogany frame with a triple-thick plywood base is 31 inches wide making this a great table for working with larger patients.
It has an adjustable height of 25 to 35 inches which isn’t as variable as the electric tables and has to be done by hand. For intense cushion, Master Massage used 3.5 inches of padding with a foundation of small cell foam topped with memory foam. Both the foam and the PU upholster come with a five year warranty. The tilt-top has 11 angles to choose from and opens up your treatment options to spa offerings such as facials.
The Spamaster comes with an adjustable face cradle, memory foam face pillow, neck and leg bolsters, arm shelf, 75 disposable face cradle covers, and even a CD of calming nature sounds. The arm rests are removable as well to customize your table further. For a stationary table, the Spamaster is fairly light coming in at only 84 pounds. I love the built in storage space the below the table that helps keep your treatment room tidy and your tools convenient.
- 1,000 pound working weight and mahogany construction
- 31 inches wide
- Built in storage shelf
- Light for a stationary table
- Comes with many accessories
- Not portable
Find more Master Massage 31 Inch Spamaster Series LX Stationary Treatment Bed information and reviews here.
7. Earthlite Avalon Tilt Massage Therapy Table Package
The Earthlite Avalon XD is a little like the best of both worlds from some of the other tables. It’s durable with a working weight of 750 pounds thanks to hardwood maple framing and aircraft grade steel cables, but it still manages to keep the weight of the table down to a reasonable 44 pounds. The extra weight is from the tilt-top option which gives you a lot of flexibility in treatments.
If you’d rather keep the weight down and don’t need a tilt-top, Earthlite offers a flat version, the Avalon Premium Massage Therapy Table, with a weight of only 34 pounds. Like all Earthlite tables, the Avalon has a limited lifetime warranty on the frame and a three year warranty on the padding and upholstery. The cushion is a 2.75 inch layer of dual-density foam covered in Natursoft PU leather which is oil and water resistant.
The tilt-top function is easy to work, with a locking action similar to a beach lounger, if a beach lounger was about a thousand times tougher and more secure. The tilt has a range of zero to 55 degrees with 23 increments in between so you have plenty of options for you clients’ comfort. This table comes with an adjustable face cradle, face pillow, and carrying case. You have six color options including this sterling, black, and mystic blue.
Price: From $409.17 (11 percent off MSRP)
- 750 pound working weight with hardwood maple construction
- 30 inch width
- Choice of colors
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Shiatsu cables
- Reiki endplates only
8. Sierra Comfort All Inclusive Portable Massage Bed
If you’re on a budget and don’t need your table to hold up to a lot of heavy use, the Sierra Comfort All Inclusive Package might be the way to go for you. For under $150 you get a portable table, face cradle, face pillow, carrying case, set of fitted cotton sheets, semicircle bolster, removable armrests, arm shelf, oil pouch, and towel hanger. That’s a lot of stuff. For the money, it’s an amazing deal but as I said in the introduction, when you’re getting that much stuff for such a low price, you shouldn’t expect this table to last you your whole career.
And at 28 inches wide and a working weight of only 450 pounds, this table won’t be able to accommodate the wide range of body types that some practitioners will be seeing. It’s fairly lightweight at under 40 pounds and the 2.5 inch high density padding, while not as long lasting as small cell, is certainly comfortable. So if you need an extra portable table on the cheap, this is a great option. You have five color options including burgundy, cream, and pink.
Price: From $130.52
- 450 working weight with beech construction
- Portable and only 39 pounds
- Lots of extras
- Choice of colors
- 28 inch width not wide enough for everyone
- Significantly lower working weight
- Reiki endplates only
9. Healthline 3 Section Professional Stationary Massage Therapy Table
I want to lay down on this one. I love all the options for position that work perfectly for all types of services. It also addresses the comfort and health restrictions of clients by offering solutions for those who need their legs elevated due to circulation or other problems without the need for cumbersome bolsters.
The top-tilt has a range of zero to 40 degrees and the leg portion has seven increments of adjustment. This treatment table has a working weight of 500 which is good, but not especially sturdy given that it’s a stationary table. The 28 inch width could also preclude larger clients from using the treatment table.
The 2.5 inch thick high density foam is covered in a soft PU leather that is oil and water resistant. The clean lines of this one look very professional and the bottom section serves as a built in storage area. It comes with an adjustable face cradle, face pillow, and the removable arm rests have two placement options on the table so you can adjust the position to suit your client’s height.
- 500 pound working weight with beech construction
- Adjustable three sections for optimal comfort
- Built in storage
- Includes face cradle, pillow, and adjustable armrests
- 28 inch width not wide enough for everyone
- Lower working weight
- Not portable
Find more Healthline 3 Section Professional Stationary Massage Therapy Table information and reviews here.
10. Earthlite Harmony DX Portable Massage Package
The Harmony DX from Earthlite is an affordable option for people who want a lightweight portable table but don’t want to sacrifice strength. This treatment table has a working weight of 600 pounds and a width of 30 inches which is a comfortable size for most clients.
The maple wood frame is backed by a limited lifetime warranty so you can feel confident it will last you. A cushion of 2.5 inch dual-density foam is wrapped in oil and water resistant Natursoft PU leather and is backed by a three year warranty from Earthlite. The Harmony comes with an adjustable face cradle, face pillow, and carrying case.
As far as portability, the Harmony is one of the lighter tables at only 34 pounds. Full massage endplates create extra stability and prevent any wobbling. The only downside is that they make it difficult do treatments in a seated position. It’s also available in black, teal, and mystic blue.
Price: From $262.65 (15 percent off MSRP)
- 600 pound working weight with hardwood maple construction
- Portable and only 34 pounds
- Choice of colors
- Full massage endplates for increased stability
- Massage endplates make it hard for seated work
- No tilt-top