A long, relaxing foot bath can be a luxurious indulgence. But for the millions who suffer with chronic foot pain or those who spend hours on their feet every day, foot spas are much more – they’re a necessity to maintain a functional, active and healthy life. They also keep feet healthy and looking good.
These machines do much more than ease pain, however, and it’s not only feet that benefit from a long soak. Regular use of foot spas has been shown to improve blood circulation throughout the body, relieve stress, and even promote healthy sleep thanks to the systemic relaxation provided by an effective foot bath.
Heated foot spas with all the bells and whistles aren’t overly expensive, but there are a lot to choose from. The Groom+Style review team was happy to kick back and relax while doing in-depth “research” to pick out the top 5 best foot spas on the market. First, of course, we had to do some real research, which we’re happy to share.
What to Look For When Buying a Foot Spa
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The best foot spas contain some combination of water jets and waterfalls to create streams of bubbling water, rollers or wheels to massage the feet, vibrators to encourage blood flow, and a heating element to keep the water toasty. Not all machines will have all of those elements, so you’ll need to pick and choose the features of a foot bath machine to suit your preferences and your budget.
Let’s start with the most important factor: heat. You want warm or hot water in your foot spa because it is best for soothing your aching muscles while softening your feet and removing loose, dead skin. Be sure to consider the quality of the machine’s heater since cheap ones won’t hold temperature well, and an adjustable temperature control is naturally a big plus. Also be aware that not all foot baths have a heater built in; less-expensive models may require you to put warm water into the unit, and replace it if you want some extra relaxation time.
Ideally, you’ll be looking for a selectable mix of bubble and waterfall functions (for relaxation and a soft massage) and massaging jets (for more powerful water flow that imitates the feeling of getting a strong foot massage). Being able to control the velocity of the bubbles and water flow is a major advantage, with the best machines also letting you adjust the angle of the jets and even how many are active at any one time. A vibrate function stimulates blood flow and adds to the effectiveness of the massage.
You physically massage and exfoliate your feet in a high-quality foot spa with the help of rollers, wheels and/or pumice stones. In some models, the rollers or wheels are powered and vibrate (sometimes at selectable speeds), while other units have fixed rollers and you have to rub your feet against them to feel the benefit. Exfoliating pumice stones offered with many foot baths are usually removable; some machines come with a selection of stones with different grits. The more of these features your foot spa has, the closer your experience will come to a real foot massage and pedicure.
Making the Most of Your Foot Spa
Our Groom+Style research went further than just looking at the key features of foot bath machines. We also wanted to know how to get the most out of them.
The first thing we learned was that not all foot spas are created equal – in terms of size. Some will only let you submerge your feet up to your ankles while others have enough room to let the water cover your calves, particularly useful for those who regularly suffer from high-ankle or calf strain. And if you’re one of the people who has trouble finding shoes in your size, be aware that some foot baths can’t accommodate those size 13s, either.
To get the full benefit of a foot spa – particularly if you’re into aromatherapy – you may want to add therapeutic bath salts or essential oils. You can’t use salts and oils with all machines, though, so be sure to check before buying a spa because you love its cool waterfalls and jets.
One other feature you may not think about until it’s too late: how easy it is to drain water from your foot spa. A built-in draining system is crucial unless you want to lug the machine to your bathtub after each use just so you can empty it.
There’s one final “extra” offered by some foot baths: ozonated water. The ozone added to the water circulating through the machine theoretically reduces inflammation, detoxifies the body and supposedly suppresses the growth of bacteria in the spa. There’s no firm proof of the benefits of ozonated water, but ozone therapy has become increasingly popular and you may want to add the feature to your foot bath.
That’s it for the Groom+Style research that wasn’t overly enjoyable to do. Now, for even more useful research – determine the 5 best foot spas you can use while relaxing in your living room.
1. Carepeutic Ozone Waterfall Foot and Leg Spa Bath Massager
Yes, our number one choice does supposedly ozonate the water, but that’s not why the review team ranked it as our #1 foot spa. Its combination of size and features make the Carepeutic an outstanding foot spa, even though it’s the most expensive choice on our list.
The container is large enough for the water to reach up to mid-calf, and the length will accommodate even the largest feet (unless you’re an NBA player, perhaps). As for features, we’ll start with well-positioned, motorized massage rollers, two strong, adjustable jets, and a bubbling waterfall, all of which provide a great experience whether you’re after a relaxing soak or a powerful massage.
Just as important, though, is the heating system on the Carepeutic. It’s adjustable from warm (95°) to hot (117°), with an “advanced water temperature balancing system” – which we’d call a thermostat, keeping the water at the heat level you’ve chosen. Heating to temperature takes only about ten minutes. There’s a one-button drainage system (which admittedly can be a bit touchy at times), there are four pre-set massage programs if you don’t want to experiment, you can add any oils or salts you’d like, and there are even caster wheels for portability.
The Carepeutic Ozone Foot and Leg Spa may be too much machine for those looking for a simple and inexpensive foot spa, but it’s a terrific foot bath and definitely worth its price.
Facts and figures on the Carepeutic Ozone Waterfall Foot and Leg Spa Bath Massager:
2. Brookstone Heated Aqua-Jet Foot Spa
Another foot bath that can handle large feet easily (up to size 14), this Brookstone model isn’t quite as tall as the Carepeutic but is still able to give your lower leg a relaxing massage. It doesn’t have all of the features as Groom+Style’s #1 choice but at half the price, it’s an excellent choice for those willing to make a few compromises.
What compromises are necessary? The water only heats to one temperature, 115°. The rollers aren’t motorized, so you have to rub your feet against them in order to massage them. There’s no waterfall or ozone function, you can’t use salts or oils, and you have to empty the tub when you’re done manually.
Then why does the review team like the Aqua-Jet? The two adjustable, rotating jets are powerful, with two selectable speeds, and do their job well. There’s a removable pumice stone that lets you exfoliate your feet as you soak. There are two pre-programmed settings. And the real positive to this foot spa: it does a very good job at a reasonable price.
The Brookstone Aqua-Jet scores high on size and right in the middle on features, but it has most of the necessary functions to deliver a satisfying massage for a lower cost.
More info on the Brookstone Heated Aqua-Jet Foot Spa:
3. HoMedics FB-600 Foot Salon Pro Pedicure Spa
If you’re looking for a good home foot spa at an even lower price, Groom+Style likes the FB-600 which only runs about half the cost of the Brookstone. It will definitely leave your feet (and the rest of you) feeling relaxed as long as you don’t require a very hot foot bath; the maximum temperature for this model is 98° – definitely warm and comfortable, but if you want the water hotter you’ll have to heat it yourself and dump it into the tub (where it will eventually cool down to the standard 98°).
As with the Brookstone, you’ll have to use your own power to work the four removable, non-powered plastic massaging rollers (which are rather “pointy”) but the unit creates good bubbles and vibrates quite effectively and somewhat noisily to relax your feet and eliminate soreness. This HoMedics model also comes with four attachments: two different pumice stones, a brush, and an extra roller.
Size 14s will fit into the FB-600 although this foot spa is not tall enough to work on your calves, just your feet and the bottom of your ankles. You must drain this foot bath manually, but since it’s made primarily from plastic it’s light enough to carry to the bathroom. One other note: in order to use the bubble or vibrating feature, the heater must be turned on.
This is not the best product in the Groom+Style rankings and it won’t blow you away with its power, but it gives you a relaxing foot massage without having to pay $100-200 for it.
Details for the HoMedics FB-600:
4. Kendal FBD2535 Deep Foot And Leg SpaNo products found.
The Kendal is priced midway between our #1 and #2 choices. But if you’re looking for a machine that can effectively massage your calves, this is the deepest model on the Groom+Style list and a no-brainer. It’s also able to handle size 14 feet.
The FBD2535 has many of the functions found on the Carepeutic with motorized foot rollers, two massaging jets, bubbles, a waterfall plus a water wave selection. It also comes with a remote control for all of those functions, a feature not found on most competitors. The temperature can be adjusted from 68° to 118° (and there’s a digital thermometer to monitor how hot the water is), and a holder for salts or oils is included. Drainage is handled by an attached hose.
The reason this Kendal isn’t ranked higher is that the jets aren’t as powerful as we’d like, and the floor of the tub is rather scratchy. The massage itself, though, is a great way to relax your feet.
There are better foot spas on the Groom+Style rankings, but this is a good choice if your calves regularly get sore and you need the deepest foot bath machine you can find.
Digging deeper on the Kendal FBD2535 Deep Foot And Leg Spa:
We close with our budget selection, which gives a good massage but does require you to fill the tub with hot water because it has a heating element that isn’t very powerful and is only able to keep the temperature at around 85° for twenty minutes or so. There are manually-powered rollers, a two-speed waterfall to create bubbles and a vibrating function – and if you need entertainment (of a sort) there are blue LED lights that operate when the spa does. A pumice stone, a scrub brush, and a soft-touch massager are all detachable and included.
This Conair foot spa won’t give you anything close to the powerful experience of our top-rated models, but it provides a very comfortable, gentle foot massage at a bargain price.
Stats for the Conair Foot/Pedicure Spa:
While you are thinking about spoiling yourself, or someone you love, why not consider the opposite end of your body and invest in a modern shower head that has the ability to massage you? Alternatively, you could buy a neck massager to relieve the days tension. Yet why not just buy both!