How to Buy a Portable Massage Table

Next to your hands, a massage table is your most important tool. Massage tables are padded for the comfort of the recipient and they also provide a stable, ergonomic surface for you to work. Massage tables fall under two categories: stationary tables for dedicated massage spaces, and portable tables for those who wish to travel or have limited space for a permanent table. Portable massage tables are less expensive than permanent tables and there are several things to consider when buying one.


  1. 1
    Buy the table from a store whenever possible.
    • Going "in-store" is the best way to determine how to buy a portable massage table.
    • Search online for stores in your area that carry massage tables or go to a manufacturer's website and search for retailers in your area.
    • Even if a store does not carry the style you want, you can check out similar products by the same manufacturer to get an idea of their quality before you order online.
    • If you are unable to purchase in-store, purchase directly from the manufacturer or from a reputable online vendor.
  2. 2
    Select a working weight that matches your massage style.
    • The working weight is the combined weight of the person on the table and the person giving the massage.
    • Working weights vary and each table will be labeled underneath with the static and working weights.
    • If you or the people you work on weigh more than 200 lbs. (91 kg), or if you use massage techniques, such as a shiatsu, where you stand on the table, select a table with a working weight of 800 lbs. (363 kg) or more.
    • The higher the working weight, the heavier the table will be.
  3. 3
    Check the softness and thickness of the padding, or pad density.
    • Padding thickness can range from 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) to 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) or more.
    • Firmer padding is more durable, but soft padding is more comfortable.
    • Thicker, softer padding works well for "soft" techniques such as Swedish massage.
    • Thicker, denser padding works well for "hard" techniques such as sports massage.
    • For your client's comfort, use padding that is at least 2.5 inches (6.35 centimeters).
    • Tables with more padding are more expensive.
  4. 4
    Test the weight of the table.
    • The weight of the table is how heavy the table is, not how much weight it can support.
    • While important, the weight of the table should be your last consideration after padding and working weight.
    • A lightweight table could weigh as little as 20 lbs. (9 kg.) whereas a heavy-duty table could weigh 50 lbs. (23 kg) or more.
    • If you are planning to transport the table to multiple locations, select the lightest table that meets your needs.
  5. 5
    Feel the upholstery.
    • Manufacturers upholster tables in leather, vinyl or other synthetic materials.
    • If you use the table indoors with sheets, the upholstery is not a big issue, save for your personal preference.
    • If you use the table outdoors or without sheets, select an upholstery that is durable and easy to clean, such as vinyl.
  6. 6
    Go with a package.
    • A massage table package often includes accessories such as a padded head rest and a carrying case for less than you would spend on those items individually.
    • A head rest extends the length of the table and allows the person you are working on to lie face-down without having to press their face into the table.
    • A carrying case is a large canvas bag that you can use to store and transport your table along with supplies, such as oils and sheets.

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Categories: Spa Treatments & Massages