The 3 Best Small Wireless TENS Units for Back Pain (2019 Reviews)
TENS units are one of the most popular drug-free, non-invasive and non-addictive ways to continuously relieve back pain on the go.
With so many wireless TENS units available (and so many technical terms) it can get pretty difficult finding the best wireless TENS units for back pain.
In a hurry?
To make your life easier and reduce your research to a minimum, we’re created this easy guide to help you make the right choice, no matter if you’re looking for your first Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit, or wanting to upgrade your current one.
- 1 The Top 3 Wireless TENS Units (for Back Pain )
- 2 The 3 Smallest TENS Units – Best for Travel
- 3 What is a TENS Unit and How Does it Relieve Back Pain?
- 4 Wireless TENS Therapy Machines (vs. Corded)
- 5 How to Use a TENS Unit for Back Pain Relief
- 6 How Long Does the Pain Relief Last?
- 7 Wireless TENS Machines Safety
- 8 🥇 Best Wireless TENS Unit
The Top 3 Wireless TENS Units (for Back Pain )
Through our research, below are 3 best small, wireless TENS therapy units for back pain:
1. AccuRelief Wireless TENS Electrotherapy Pain Relief System
The AccuRelief small (2.4 x 2.1 x 0.7 inches), portable and wireless TENS unit has two electrode controllers, which allows you to treat your back pain in more than just one area.
Plus, you can change the intensity of each electrode separately by using the digital remote or pressing the buttons on the pads directly.
All you have to do is power up and connect it, place the electrodes on your skin and operate easily with a remote control.
The Technical Stuff:
- Waveform: Bi-phase square pulse wave
- Frequency: 5~125Hz
- Pulse width: 130/250 μS
- Output voltage: 0~70mA
- Programmed with 3 phases of alternate therapy
- Comes with 2 reusable electrode gel pads with snap connectors
- Comes with 6 AAA batteries
- 20 levels of intensity to choose from
- Lightweight (1.6 ounces) and flexible
- Comes with a drawstring carry bag
- Easy to use – comes with an electrode placement guide and a clear quick-start guide
- Lightweight and small – half an inch thick and smaller than a credit card
- You won’t need replacement pads
- 30 minute shutoff – you’ll need to re-start again if you’d like to continue treatment
- You’ll have to change the batteries every 2-3 weeks, depending on usage
2. Icy Hot Smart Relief Back and Hip Starter Kit
The Icy Hot TENS FDA approved unit is a prescription-strength single-pad electrotherapy unit, with 63 intensity levels.
You simply snap the electrical unit onto the electrode pad, peel the pad and place on your painful area. Then, you press the on/off button.
The single pad that comes with it lasts for 12-30 uses. The pad contains two electrodes.
Size: 6.6 x 2.4 x 6.4 inches
Weight: 4.8 ounces.
Channels: single channel, 1 mode/program
Icy Hot unit Pros
- Powerful, high-intensity level option.
- Simple and easy to use
- It comes with a pre-installed simple 3-volt watch battery.
- Comes with a silver zip-lock style storage bag
- Fits the hip area well
- The pad lasts for a limited time, replacement is needed. (You can order replacement pads on Amazon here).
- Auto shut off after 30 minutes. If you want to continue treatment, you’ll have to wait 5-10 minutes for the battery to recharge.
- Doesn’t come with a remote, a bit difficult to adjust intensity when placed on your back, but the + and – buttons are raised you can find them when you feel your way around.
3. Hollywog WiTouch Wireless TENS Unit
The WiTouch portable TENS machine covers a relatively large treatment area and comes with a wireless hand-held remote control and 10 reusable replacement pads.
The energy-saving battery in this low back pain TENS unit will last at least 40 30-minute treatment sessions.
It has 5 intensity levels (you’ll probably stop at level 2…)
Size: 9 x 5.5 x 1.8 inches
Weight: 4.8 ounces
The Technical Stuff:
- Channels: Single channel
- Waveform: Asymmetric biphasic square pulse.
- Pulse Amplitude: 0 ~110 mA = 0 ~ 55 volts, adjustable (at 500 ohm load)
- Pulse Frequency: (Hz) 5-120
- Pulse Width: (μs) 120 – 240
Hollywog TENS unit Pros
- Automatically starts at a low-intensity level when turned on
- The pads that this unit uses are very strong, and the device stays on for hours, if not all day
- Larger treatment area than the other 2 TENS on this page
- Made in the USA
- Signals when you need to better place the UNIT with a yellow light turning on in the remote
- Comfortable for all situations – sitting, moving around, etc.
- Pads are reusable and can be used at least times each one
- Uses a long-lasting flat type battery #2032 (lasts for about 40 treatments)
- Auto shut off after 30 minutes (but can be re-started without waiting)
- You’ll have to change the pad when they lose their “stickiness”.
- Price is relatively higher (but the pads last longer and so does the battery, so everything evens out in long-term use)
The 3 Smallest TENS Units – Best for Travel
If the above TENS units are not small enough for you, I’ve found the 3 smallest TENS devices – so small you may forget you ever turned them on.
1. AccuRelief Mini TENS Electrotherapy Pain Relief System
The AccuRelief mini TENS unit (which weighs only 0.3 ounces!) is pre-programmed with 2 phases of alternating therapy and has 15 levels of intensity.
Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 0.4 inches; 0.3 ounces
✅See more details, reviews, and ratings HERE.
2. Homedics Rapid Relief Electronic Pain Relief Pad
This lightweight and small device has 15 intensity levels and comes with a carrying case and a lithium battery.
✅See more info HERE.
What is a TENS Unit and How Does it Relieve Back Pain?
Did you know?
The physician to the Roman Emperor Claudius in AD46 was the first to document that standing on an electric fish could relieve some symptoms of pain (Walsh, 1997).
Luckily, these days you don’t need to go fishing.
Thanks to technological advances, we’ve been zapping ourselves in some form for decades.
These pulses control pain signals in the body, creating temporary (from 5 minutes to 18 hours) relief from pain.
They can control abnormally excited nerves and release endorphins – natural pain-relieving hormones.
What’s the Difference in Frequency and Intensity?
Through my research, I’ve found that low-frequency TENS may take longer to relieve pain, but the relief will last longer than using high-frequency TENS machines.
The frequency of the currents coming from a TENS unit can be turned up or down, ranging from about 10 Hz to 50 Hz. Most TENS sessions last from 15 to 30 minutes and can be administered as often as needed.
Why go for wireless units?
Wireless TENS Therapy Machines (vs. Corded)
Wireless and portable TENS units are a great fit for people with an active lifestyle, who need this drug-free on the go pain relief tool to not interfere with their day.
- With a wireless TENS machine, which runs on batteries, you won’t need to attach cables to electrodes and plug them into the machine.
- You don’t need to find a wall receptacle to plug it into
- You can conveniently and discreetly wear them underneath clothing – without anyone else seeing them (or the wires hanging outside your pocket) – for a quick back pain relief.
All you have to do is switch your TENS device on with the remote – whenever you need it.
Note: make sure to check with your physician to make sure TENS treatments are right and safe for you.
How to Use a TENS Unit for Back Pain Relief
Generally, you should apply the TENS unit directly on the pain area. See the short video below for instructions:
How Long Does the Pain Relief Last?
Pain relief from a TENS unit duration can be different for each person. Some people report that their pain returns as soon as they switch off the device. Others continue to feel pain-free for up to 24 hours.
A 2012 study suggests that the duration of pain relief increases after repeated TENS treatments. However, this can also increase the chances of a person building up a tolerance to the treatment.
📢 We recommend combining TENS therapy with heat therapy for a complete back pain relief natural treatment. See the BEST portable heating pads you can wear and use on the go – in 2019!
Wireless TENS Machines Safety
Wireless TENS machines are available without a prescription and are generally safe to use if the device is not faulty.
Consumer TENS units are too weak to be dangerous and the risk of a mild shock is extremely low.
There are a few things you should know before you start electrotherapy:
- Overdoing it can cause some skin irritation around the electrodes.
- Pregnant women and people with heart conditions should avoid using it.
- People with infusion pumps, pacemakers, defibrillators or similar devices should not use a TENS unit for back pain.
- People with implanted medical devices containing metal should also avoid TENS therapy.
TENS has been a therapeutic alternative pain management staple in physical therapy and chronic pain clinics for dozens of years and has a huge following of believers.
We’ve researched and found the 3 best wireless, portable, small TENS units in the market, all of them are reasonably priced and high quality.
🥇 Best Wireless TENS Unit
Our #1 choice would be the Hollywog WiTouch Wireless TENS Unit, which covers the largest pain area out of the three reviewed here, and will last the longest.
What’s your experience with home electrotherapy? share with us in the comments below.
To your health and happiness,
The Back-Pain-Relief-Products team
Vance, C. G., Dailey, D. L., Rakel, B. A., & Sluka, K. A. (2014). Using TENS for pain control: the state of the evidence. Pain management, 4(3), 197–209. doi:10.2217/pmt.14.13
DeSantana, J. M., Walsh, D. M., Vance, C., Rakel, B. A., & Sluka, K. A. (2008). Effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for treatment of hyperalgesia and pain. Current rheumatology reports, 10(6), 492–499. doi:10.1007/s11926-008-0080-z