What is the Difference between a 3D and 4D Massage Chair?

There needs to be a definitive answer, and so today, I’m going to deliver just that!

The main difference between a 3D and a 4D massage chair is that a 3D massage chair can move horizontally, vertically, and can push inwards slightly, while a 4D massage chair can lift off its massage track, and push much further into your body, which feels like an entirely different experience.

To better illustrate this, I’m going to show you how we control the strength on 3D massage chair functions, and compare it to 4D massage chair functions instead.

TLDR: A 4D massage chair just pushes much deeper, and can be controlled easier. The reason this is labelled as a “new dimension” is because it feels much better, and more tailored to your body.

While this briefly describes the difference, why not see it in action?

Comparing Strength Adjustment in a 3D Massage Chair vs a 4D Massage Chair

Before 4D massage chairs were common on the market, most people were familiar with the notion of 3D massage chairs.

What these massage chairs did to increase their strength was to increase the speed at which they massaged at, which they dubbed “intensity”.

An example of this can be summarized by the following.

If I give my shoulders a massage using the kneading mode, and these rollers can either do one of the following:

  1. Dig deeper, but maintain the same speed, or;
  2. Increase the speed of massage

As such, the 3D massage chair increases the speed to get more kneading action in the same time, while also maintaining the same depth of your massage.

Master Drive Plus Massage Chair Kneading Speed Comparison

In this example above, the setting on the massage chair that is being increased is the “kneading strength”.

However, what we see in practice is the kneading motion being done faster.

What gives?

Does this mean that the massage chairs have been lying this entire time!

Not really.

In the past, there was a lot of research supporting light massages that did not dig too deep, however sometimes we really want to feel like we’re getting a massage and need that deep tissue massage we all love.

That’s where the 4D massage chair comes into play.

Master Drive Plus Massage Chair 4D Strength Setting Comparison

In this example, I have tapped on the 4D strength setting on the OGAWA Master Drive Plus massage chair, and in response, we see the massager becoming more prominent.

On a closer level, we see the same kneading motion being done as before, however this time, it pushes out on the neck area of the massager, as if its digging deeper into the body.

That’s exactly the difference 4D makes.

When you increase the strength you want on a 4D massage chair, you increase how deep the massager pushes into your body!

Which is better, a 3D Massage Chair or a 4D Massage Chair?

There’s no point in denying that having something press in deeper is ultimately the better choice!

The main reason people love 4D massage chairs is because of how it can push itself in to your body, no matter how much you need.

Having this control is important because it means different people who might prefer different depths of massages can get that chance to control it.

However, this is not to say that 3D massage chairs need to be ignored from the picture, so here’s my advice:

I’ve got a little framework to help you understand whether or not you might require a 4D massage chair, or if a 3D massage chair will work for you.

  1. Do you and your partner have similar pain tolerances?
  2. Do you and your partner have a similar body build?
  3. Do you and your partner have similar postures?

If you answered ‘yes’ to two or more of these questions, chances are that a 3D massage chair would be perfect for you.

The reason a 3D massage chair might be more preferrable to a 4D massage chair is because you don’t have to worry about changing the depth, you just need to choose your massage style.

However, if you and your partner (and anyone else who might need to use the massage chair) are quite different in body build, or have different pain tolerances or postures, then a 3D massage chair might leave one of you unsatisfied.

It’s because a 4D massage chair is so much more versatile, and customizable than a 3D massage chair that it is much more popular amongst people, and is the massage chair that is recommended for most people who want to consider buying a massage chair.

Conclusion: A 4D Massage Chair is Better, But Not Always Necessary

A 4D massage chair is the best way to make sure you get a massage chair that everyone will be happy with. However, if you are just buying a massage chair for yourself, or have a partner with a similar body build or pain tolerance, than a 3D massage chair is an equally good choice.

The only difference is that one can adapt to your body better, as it changes the depth.

Personally, the depth I need honestly depends on the day, meaning I could not see myself only using a 3D massage chair, I would need the depth control of the 4D massage chair.

However, that is not the only thing I would consider in a massage chair.

In fact, I’ve written a blog that explains what you need to look for when choosing a massage chair. If you’re interested, please do check it out!

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