Key Takeaways: When choosing a massage table, you will encounter two primary categories—portable massage tables and stationary massage tables. Both offer distinct advantages and disadvantages and choosing the one that best fits your business is key.

As a massage therapist, building a clientele is key to crafting a career doing what you love. Not only do you get to help people, but you also get to put to use the education you’ve worked hard to obtain and skills you’ve perfected.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to enhance your client’s experience, investing in must-have, high-quality equipment (especially something like a massage table) is a vital decision.
You will use it every day, and if it is not conducive to your work and your client’s comfort, it will negatively affect their experience and the success of your massage therapist venture.

Choosing a Portable or Stationary Massage Table

Portable Massage Tables – For Massage Therapists on the go

The main advantage of a portable massage table is right there in the name—you can easily pack it up and transport it to different locations. If you are a massage therapist who does house calls, visits multiple locations (such as salons and chiropractic offices), or regularly travels, the decision should be pretty straightforward—a portable massage table is perfect for your needs.

Even if you work predominantly out of a permanent business location, you can reap the benefits of a portable massage table. For example, you can garner brand recognition and reach your community (full of potential clients) by taking your massage table to local fairs, festivals, and events. It can be a valuable marketing tool that can boost your professional exposure tremendously.

Most portable massage tables worth the investment will check in at around 30 pounds in weight. With frames constructed of either metal or wood, they are durable and sturdy yet designed to easily fold up compactly and move securely. If you are in the market for a portable table, don’t settle for a table that sacrifices stability for portability. Doing so may introduce discomfort in your clients, or worse, create an opportunity for injury to occur. Look for the static and working weight of the table. If the manufacturer calls that out then the table was tested accordingly.

The best portable massage tables should also be comfortable for you to use, your clients to lie on and easy to clean. Materials to look for include soft polyurethane vinyl with a minimum cushioning of 2.5”. This will ensure that your customers can relax while you work your magic.

With many options priced in the $250 to $400 range, you can invest in a portable massage table without breaking the bank. If you want more features, more cushioning, etc. you can pay up to $800. Remember that it is better to invest in a quality model from the start than risk experiencing the downsides of cheaper tables.

Stationary Massage Tables – Immovable Luxury

For massage therapists who work predominantly in one place, a stationary massage table makes sense and provides compelling advantages over portable alternatives. This is particularly true for massage therapists who prefer clients to come to them and do not plan to make house calls or travel with their table.

Because they do not need to be foldable, compact, or cleverly designed for transport, stationary massage tables also have thicker cushions, giving clients a superior level of comfort during a session.
Features like tilting tops make your job easier and less stressful on your body. The ability to adjust the table to the proper height and angle for the client and task at hand is a luxury that makes your experience better and may protect your health long term.

While they may not move like their portable counterparts, the additional features of stationary massage tables make them more expensive on average. Basic models tend to fall in the $800 range, while those that are electronically adjustable can go up to $3000.

Electric vs. Non-Electric Stationary Massage Tables

Further, stationary massage tables come in two separate categories: electric stationary and non-electric stationary.

Electric lift tables offer convenience and comfort for both you and your clients. They lower for patients so they can safely and easily get on the table, then lift to bring the patient to the height that works best for you. This height can be electronically adjusted throughout the appointment to ensure comfort for you and your client.

Alternatively, non-electric massage tables do offer adjustability–but they require manual changes to be made. They’re sturdy, durable, and resilient but will require you to physically alter the table’s height for any necessary adjustments. Massage therapists who prefer traditional, sturdy, and classic tables that won’t require much adjustment might prefer a non-electric stationary table.

Finding Your Perfect-Fit Massage Table: The Choice is Yours

Stationary massage tables can sometimes offer a more luxurious experience (among other valuable features), while some view portable massage tables as a more streamlined, versatile option.

Ultimately, the type of massage therapist you are and how you intend to use your table will be the determining factors in your purchase. There’s a perfect-fit massage table out there for every massage therapist. The most important factors for your consideration should be what keeps your own body healthy, what supports your clients best, and what works for you.

If you’re looking for sustainably sourced materials, top-quality, a variety of choices, a lifelong warranty and the peace of mind knowing a great table is available, look no further than EarthLite.

Buying a massage table is among the most important decisions you will make as a massage therapist, and investing your resources wisely is essential. Be sure to research thoroughly, be honest about how you intend to use the table, consider your clientele, and make an informed, confident choice.