How Much Should I Spend on a Massage Table?
Massage tables can cost between $300 to over $3000 depending on your budget. Portable massage tables are cheaper and electric massage tables are more expensive.
Portable massage tables ($300-$650) are build to be light and portable but they lack features and can be less sturdy. They are perfect for travelling massage therapists or anyone looking for a table that is easy to store. The price goes up if you're looking for higher quality (like foam, covering, or base), or if it has extra features like a built-in heating surface.
Electric massage tables ($999-$3000+) are made for massage therapists who want a more permanent fixed solution for their practice. They provide a more comfortable and luxurious experience for clients but are more expensive and cannot be easily transported. The price goes up with the design of the base and the quality of the surface. Some also come with a heated surface.
Choosing the right massage table can be a daunting task, especially when you begin looking at possible options and see that some cost several thousand dollars each. If you're reading this, you're probably wondering what the difference between a $300 and a $3000 dollar massage table is, and if it's really worth shelling out the extra cash.
It's worth noting that the type of table you need is always going to depend on your specific needs. Some estheticians work on the go and will need a portable table. Others may have a space of their own to work with clients. Whatever your needs are, this article will help you decide what kind of bed is right for you.
The Cheaper End:
If you're just starting out, or just don't care about the premium features of the higher-end tables, you likely find that a portable massage table is for you. These are obviously not designed specifically for estheticians, but they’re good enough to get the job done. Many portable massage tables are adjustable and can take many positions.
As an esthetician, you'll want to specifically get one of these because if a client is complaining about "how uncomfortable they are", you'll look like a hero when you reveal your table's "hidden reclining feature" while saving your own back in the process. Also, they’re easy to transport, hence the name “portable.” This could be extremely useful if you’re more of a mobile massage therapist and have a business model that involves traveling to your clients. And the best part of a portable table? They're generally only around three to five hundred dollars.
If your clients aren’t too picky about the bed they’re on during their treatment, going the portable massage table route is perfectly fine. You can even get a table that has extra thick foam to make sure they still have a maximally comfortable experience. Earthlite brand tables are known for being extra cushy, and their materials are especially high-end too for portable massage tables. And as a bonus, they’re super easy to clean with just a mild solution of warm water and a microfiber cloth.
The downside of using a portable massage table is, of course, that it is generally seen as far less professional. There is a stigma in the massage community that portable massage tables are for therapists who don’t have great business, need to make ends meet, and frankly, don’t care enough about putting their best efforts in supplies. However, the type of bed you use isn’t the only thing that determines how professional you seem, but it definitely can make a difference. For example, would you rather get a massage on a thinner, seemingly ricketier table or one that has some truly solid, thick, and sturdy legs with a huge pad on the top? Which one screams more luxury? Be sure to evaluate your target client base when making your decision. Do they expect everything to be perfect and “high-end”, or will they be fine with whatever gets the job done? A good way to determine if a portable massage table is more cost-effective and better for your business in the long run without having to sacrifice customer satisfaction is maybe putting up surveys for your current clientele and seeing what they think. Having good communication with what your customers want doesn’t have to be cheesy but is oftentimes seen as honorable as a business.
Dermascope Magazine states that client comfort is one of the most important things you can work on as an esthetician: “The client’s comfort level may be the determining factor in whether or not they return to your spa to receive another treatment.” It's important to try and get every competitive edge you can get, and a comfortable massage table could be the deciding factor in a five-star review or a valuable referral. Another downside is the lower build quality which makes the table have a lower weight capacity and last a shorter amount of time. Portable massage tables generally have to be replaced every few years.
The Luxury End
If you are gunning for the more expensive end of the massage table spectrum, there are massage tables these days that can wow your current clients even if they have had plenty of massages in their lifetime. These types of massage tables
often have add-ons that you just can’t get to the same degree with the portable massage tables such as shelves and drawers. In general, the main draw of these “higher-end” beds are that they are sturdier, usually more comfortable, and look nicer than their portable counterparts. In-office massage therapists operate on these stationary massage tables most of the time.
Additionally, there are some stationary tables that specialize in certain massage techniques or practices and some that are built with more innovative pieces. These can include:
- Chiropractic tables. This type of specialized table is a Chiropractor’s best friend. They have multiple adjustable parts. Although there are also portable chiropractic tables, the stationary ones are more heavy duty.
- Waxing Beds. These are generally the same as spa beds and treatment tables but it's usually worth getting a clear cover since these types of treatments are usually harder on the surface.
- Rolling Massage tables. Also used by chiropractors and relieves stress at the spinal cord that contain motorized roller bars. Many clients are excited to experience a massage on this type of table, giving your business a more specialized niche.
- Tables with storage. Storage adds extra usable space in the office and can be useful to the massage therapist with easy access to tools, ointment, oils, and supplies. It helps both to consolidate space and add innovation to the office.
- Tables with changing angles of elevation. Some tables like Earthlite tables have features that enable dynamic angles to change the position of the client. This helps compensate for the wide range of flexibility that portable massage tables have.
- Hydraulic massage tables also known as Electric Massage tables. Have a good ratio of sturdiness and durability to adjustability.
The elegance of these stationary massage tables come at a price, however. A good quality table can range from “$500 for the most basic design to $2000 for one with electric lifts” in Earthlite’s product line. Best Reviews for Health and Wellness Massage say you’ll usually pay between $450 - $1000.
So here’s another question:
How can I pick between a Portable massage table or one that is Stationary? Let’s give a summary of the good and bad qualities of each that we discussed previously, and you can decide which best works for you.
Pros of Portable Massage table:
- Greater flexibility
- Can elevate parts of the table with more motion and to a greater degree
- Easier to transport
- Much lighter than a stationary
- Great if you’re a mobile esthetician (if you have out-of-office services)
- Can still be really comfortable depending on the brand
- Are still considered sturdy and safe to practice on
- Extremely cost-effective (the average price of the portable massage table is more than $300 the price of a stationary table)
Cons of a Portable Massage Table:
- Have to replace more often
- May seem “less professional”
- Doesn’t give you the atmosphere of a luxury spa
- Not as useful for in-office appointments
- May sacrifice client’s comfort for a cheaper price
- Not as durable as a stationary massage table
- Not as stylish as a stationary massage table
- Can’t hold as much weight - bad for deep tissue massages
Pros of a Stationary Massage Table
- Sturdier than a portable massage table
- More seen as professional, increases your credibility geared towards your reputation as a massage therapist
- Generally more stylish
- Better structure than a portable one
- Gives more to the luxury spa atmosphere
- Lasts longer than a portable massage table
- Great for in-office appointments
- Great for offices needing to fill space
- Able to hold more weight - great for deep tissue massages
- More comfortable, better cushions, face crescents, and a larger feel
- Gives more opportunity for add-ons and specializations (storage and more)
Cons of a Stationary Massage Table
- Not as flexible
- Not as convenient
- Lower degree of mobility
- More expensive than a portable massage table
- Not a viable choice for mobile estheticians
- Heavier, and therefore more cumbersome
- Takes up more space than its portable counterpart
Hopefully this more definitive list gives you a better picture of what you might want to invest in. However, massage equipment isn’t just black-and-white. It’s not just about deciding to get a portable or stationary massage table. There’s lots of gray area in there too. It’s a spectrum of price ranges, and if you want to get a surprisingly great deal on some massage equipment and really answer the question “How much should I spend on a massage table,” then you need to look at more factors.
For example, look at the brand you are ordering from and their range of prices, if there are certain aspects of a massage table that you like personally, and what type of specialized add-ons or massage tables you specifically need. Take for instance Earthlite sells different types of products than DIR, Master Massage, and every other supplier. They also sell their tables at different price ranges too, so you have to take that into account as well.
Next you need to think about what type of material you want, what color is most suitable, if you need chiropractic tables, and etc. A really great way of deciding how much you need to spend is detailing a list of your ideal massage table based on the factors we discussed and comparing prices on the market. It would also be good to look at the warranty of the massage table products, any diagrams or videos of use attached to the product description, the background of the brand themselves, and a list of reviews to gauge how you will like the product based on others’ experience and feedback of it.
Here at Sunlight Spa Supply, we offer a multitude of different brands, materials, and range of prices. Our site is your massage table playground, and there is bound to be a perfect match suited to you. So now that we have enabled you with a foundation of knowledge about your massage table choices and prices, go ahead and make some decisions!