In this Guide
Whether you have chronic foot problems like plantar fasciitis, or work long hours outside where your feet get cold, there’s nothing like a foot spa machine to get your feet back to relaxation.
With a combination of heated bath water and rolling massage features, these nifty devices give your feet the spa experience from anywhere in your home.
However, a lot of foot spa machines aren’t very good. Instead of helping you relax, they can become a source of frustration and anger. Many models have subpar heaters, which leave your feet lukewarm. Others have shoddy motors, which can’t properly massage your feet. Worse still, some models have a tendency to leak all over your floors, which means you’ll soon be back on your poor feet mopping things up.
We’ve taken a comprehensive look at all the options on the market right now. We’ve compared features, specs, and all the important details to find the best of the best. We looked carefully at all the reviews we could find from previous buyers, to make sure we chose models which lived up to the claims on the package.
In this guide, you’ll find our own in-depth reviews of three great options for foot spa machines. After our reviews, we’ve also included a handy guide to choosing the best model for you!
Best on a Budget
- Our Rating: 3.7
- Popularity: Medium
- Our Rating: 3.9
- Popularity: Medium
- Our Rating: 3.9
- Popularity: Low
Best Foot Spa Reviews 2018
If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly solution for pampering your feet, this is it! This HoMedics set has lots to offer for the price. It has therapeutic nodes all around the bath surface, and vibration motors built in to gently rub out aches. Unlike anything else at this price, it also has a design that keeps water warm. It provides a lot of value, and it’s a great first machine for folks who haven’t used one of these before, and want to try the experience without dropping lots of money.
It’s a lot better than a bucket of hot water, even though it hardly costs much more. This is an extremely inexpensive foot spa bath! We think it’s the cheapest that’s worth your money, and it’s less expensive than a lot of models that don’t work as well.
It’s very therapeutic, even though it’s simple. There are nodes inside the basin, under your feet, and there’s a vibration motor in the base. It’s relaxing, and you can shift your feet on the nodes to sooth different areas.
This is the only collapsible foot spa bath we’ve found that isn’t a total disaster. Most of them collapse at random or leak like crazy, but this one’s great. It’s anti-collapsible and spillproof when set up, thanks to a simple metal frame which holds up the rim and keeps it from falling down before you want it to.
It also collapses for storage, so you don’t need to devote lots of space to it. The HoMedics has a solid rim and base, plus a rubberized midsection. When you remove the metal support, the rim and base fit neatly together. It’s ideal for folks who are tight on space or want something to bring traveling.
Since it’s all self-contained, you can safely use it with epsom salts. Most of the foot spa baths with rollers and things like that can’t be used with epsom salts or additives, since they gunk up the workings. This one’s like a miniature bathtub, so you can use whatever you like.
It’s roomy, so it easily fits bigger feet (14’s). You shouldn’t have any issues with size in this one. Nobody on our staff has feet quite that large, but we’ve heard no complaints from other reviewers in that department.
One benefit of the fact that it’s so simple is that it doesn’t have many parts to break down. The HoMedics has a much better reliability record than other inexpensive options. It might not do as many things, but it’ll do the things it does do for longer!
The heating and vibration features are controlled by the same button. You can’t have one without the other, so know that up front. Everything turns on and off simultaneously.
The heater isn’t amazing. It does keep hot water hotter for longer, but it definitely doesn’t make things hotter by itself. Just temper your expectations, and be sure to fill up with nice, hot water when you set up.
The vibrating massage and nodes are the only “spa” features. There aren’t any bubbles or rollers, like you see on some other offerings. If you want more variety, we’d suggest spending more for one of our pricier picks.
Like most foot spa baths, it has a mixed track record for reliability. It’s much better than anything else at this price, but far from perfect.
Some people might find the nubs on the base a bit aggressive.
Our favorite midrange option for a foot spa machine comes from Brookstone. It offers a few major upgrades over the Dr. Scholl’s. There’s an active heater onboard, and this one is big enough to suit even the largest foot sizes: men’s or women’s. We love the powerful jets on this one, as well as all the customizable features. It’s a great choice for folks who don’t want to waste their time with a wimpy budget unit.
This one has a lot of the same features as the Dr. Scholl’s: there are two foot-wells, each with a massaging roller and ducts for massage jets. It has a central pumice stone between the foot-wells, and convenient controls. Think of it as an improved version of the same format.
It’s a lot roomier than the Dr. Scholl’s. While we found that users with feet larger than size 12 struggled to use the Dr. Scholl’s comfortably, the Brookstone can easily accommodate all feet sizes, up to 14+! Both male and female reviewers found it spacious and relaxing.
The massage jets offer a huge upgrade over the Dr. Scholl’s machine. The Brookstone’s massage jets are powerful, and they really work into your feet. Previous buyers were especially impressed with the powerful massage jets on the Brookstone. They said it was a huge difference from the tingly bubbles on cheaper units, like the Dr. Scholl’s.
We also love that the Brookstone’s jets are adjustable. You can adjust the water pressure, the air mix, and the direction of the jets themselves. That makes it easy to suit the Brookstone to a variety of foot conditions and ailments.
It has a real, active onboard heater. Unlike the Dr. Scholl’s tub, which will only keep your water warm (and only for 30 minutes), the Brookstone has an active heating element that can both heat your water from room temperature and maintain the heat level as you soak. It’s much better for long soaks than the Dr. Scholl’s, especially if you like a bath on the warmer side.
Previous buyers said it took about 10 minutes or so for room temperature water to heat to temp. We’d recommend using at least warm tap water to accelerate the process, but we’re still impressed with how effective the heating element is on this. Buyers said it only takes 5 minutes to get ready if you fill it with moderately warm water!
We like that Brookstone have added a thoughtful protective feature, in case you get too relaxed: the heating element shuts off every 30 minutes, to keep the water from scalding your feet. You can always switch it back on if your bathwater starts to lose its steam.
It has a remote control, which allows you to sit back and adjust the settings while you read or watch TV.
It’s not as loud as the Dr. Scholl’s. Previous buyers said that while the Brookstone still makes some noise, it’s much more pleasant to use while watching television.
The whole design is neat and tidy. It has a drain valve on the bottom of the tub, so you don’t have to awkwardly dump out the water. The power cord wraps into the unit when you’re finished, which makes the machine easy to store.
It’s covered by a 1-year warranty.
It’s 2-3X the price of the Dr. Scholl’s. This isn’t a casual purchase, so we recommend it mainly to people who have more serious or chronic foot concerns, such as factory or warehouse workers who spend all day afoot.
Even though it’s much more expensive, it still has a very mixed reliability record. This Brookstone has had a few common problems, including leaks, broken drain plugs, and dead jet motors/heating elements. Most buyers didn’t have any of these issues, but a small percentage were disappointed to receive units which either worked badly out of the box, or stopped working within a few uses.
Manufacturer’s customer service wasn’t good at all. With all that said, it’s comparable to other products like this, especially at this price. If you have an opportunity to purchase extended warranty coverage at checkout, we highly recommend it for this model.
It doesn’t have an automatic heater function. You’ll have to turn the heating element on and off to keep your desired temperature.
The rollers aren’t motorized. Some reviewers weren’t impressed with the rollers’ overall function, saying they didn’t quite match the Brookstone’s premium pricetag. They’re pretty simply, but most users found that they got the job done. It’s also one less part to go wrong, which is always an advantage on an unreliable product like these.
It’s not designed to be used with epsom salts or other bath additives. However, many buyers said that they used additives without any problems, provided they took care to clean the jets thoroughly to prevent any buildup.
Our top quality recommendation for a foot spa machine comes from Kendal. It’s similar to the Brookstone, with a powerful onboard heater and remote control adjustments. We like this one because it works as well as the Brookstone, while adding a few extra features and even more room. It’s a good choice for folks who want the ultimate foot spa experience.
Like the Brookstone, it’s extremely roomy. Buyers with feet up to a men’s size 14 said they fit comfortably, and the manufacturer has designed this one to be good for folks with feet as large as size 16!
It has an onboard heater unit. Like the Brookstone, it can heat your water from room temperature, and keep heat levels topped up as you soak. You can adjust temperatures through a range of between 20-48 degrees celsius.
Unlike the Brookstone, it has motorized rollers. You can switch them on or off depending on your preferences, and they have textured nubs to work into the bottoms of your feet and loosen sore or stiff muscles.
You can use the herbal diffuser feature to give yourself some relaxing aromatherapy while you soak.
As with our other recommendations, it features bubbling massage jet function. The Kendal also adds a few other relaxing water effects to provide a more varied spa experience. There are several massage settings onboard, including wave and waterfall patterns. You can run your feet under the waterfall, or enjoy steady bubbling from the bottom of the bath.
It also dries your feet when you’re done! The Kendal has an onboard hot air blower. When you’re done soaking, you just move your feet up to the platform under the top cover, and the drier will get to work. That saves making a mess, or using an extra towel.
It’s convenient and user-friendly. It comes with a remote control, just like the Brookstone. You can use it to control all the features, so there’s no need to lean forward and adjust. The LED display makes it easy to check the settings as you soak. It also has a temperature indicator which changes color as the water temperature changes.
As with the Brookstone, it’s a neat and tidy package. There are wheels built into the base, so you can easily roll the full bath tub back to the drain when you’re done soaking. There are two layers to the cover, one for keeping water from splashing out while you’re using the machine, and one for keeping dust out while you’ve got it packed away.
It’s deeper than the Dr. Scholl’s or Brookstone. This one allows you to get your ankles and lower calves submerged. It also includes calf-massage rollers, so you can start to work through leg tension at the same time you’re soaking your feet.
The bubbles are lackluster. Sadly, the floor jets aren’t quite as powerful as the Brookstone’s, which is a disappointment given that the Kendal has a higher price tag. I
It’s heavy and bulky, especially when it’s full of water. This one probably isn’t a great choice for older users, or folks with back problems, unless you’ve got a floor drain handy. Some users found that they had to empty the tub partially with a container before they could lift it. While the drainage hose is a thoughtful addition, the fact that it’s on the bottom of the unit means you’ll still have to lift up the tub to empty it.
A few reviewers found the foot rollers a bit aggressive. The nubs certainly have a bit more texture than other models we’ve seen, but we consider that extra traction a bonus when you’re trying to really massage your arches. If you find them too intense, simply relax your feet slightly. One real downside of this model is that the rollers aren’t actually removable.
The wheels on the base are made pretty flimsily. We’d recommend being extra careful with them, since some reviewers found that their wheels broke off. While they’re convenient for perfectly flat floors, if you have something with grooves like rough hardwoods or tiles, you may not want to use the casters.
Even the most expensive and well-made of our recommendations doesn’t have a great track record for reliability. As with the Brookstone, some buyers of the Kendal machine said their heaters stopped working. Others said their machines developed issues with the roller motors or other electronics, which rendered their machines essentially expensive buckets.
Overall, some buyers simply felt they weren’t getting their money’s worth with the Kendal. They expected much better performance than the cheaper units they’d used previously, and weren’t impressed by the Kendal’s build quality or functionality.
Which is the Best Home Foot Bath for You?
The Homedics is the clear choice for folks who are strapped for cash, and for people who are curious about foot spa machines and want to try one out without spending lots of money. It’ll give you a good sense of the experience, and it provides a lot of bang for your buck. On the downside, it doesn’t have many features or extras.
The Brookstone is a great midrange choice for people who want a unit that can heat its own water, and maintain warm water for longer soaks. It has the best massage jets of the three, and it’s a nice compromise between the budget options and premium models. You’ll have lots more room for larger feet, and all the features of the Dr. Scholl’s, too. However, it doesn’t have motorized rollers, and it has iffy reliability. You’ll definitely want to opt for the longer warranty option on this unit.
The Kendal is our top recommendation for people who want the best overall quality and range in their new foot spa machine. It has the most features of the three, including a drier, motorized rollers, and waterfall flow which make it a more interesting experience for your feet. It’s also the roomiest unit, and it allows your lower calves to take a soak as well. It’s the best choice for people who know what they want in a foot spa machine, and are prepared to pay for all the nice features and conveniences. Sadly, though, it’s not much more reliable than the lower-priced options, and it does cost a pretty penny.
For deep soaks:
The Kendal that made the top of our rankings is quite roomy, but it still won’t let you get the whole of your calves in the water. If you like to soak your whole lower legs, this model is a great alternative. It has a lot of the same features, but adds some extra depth for a slight increase in price. We think it’s a smart choice for people with longer legs, or those who simply like to get more of their calves in the water. We haven’t recommended it in the Top Three, though, since the high rim can be uncomfortable for some smaller folks.
As you’ve read in our review, the Kendal machine is a great option for people who expect a lot out of their foot spa machine. However, it has iffy reliability and relatively cheap build quality. We think it’s the best you can do in the average consumer’s price range, but for those who can spend more money and want the absolute best of the best when it comes to foot spa machines.
While it costs more than most people can afford, the Carepeutic offers an exceptional level of quality and convenience to the dedicated buyer. It has an onboard heater, a motorized drainage system and . Best of all, it has excellent reliability, which is the major weak point of our Top Three recommendations. It can heat water precisely with temperature adjustments, and it has all the massage features on the Kendal.
Overall, users said it was powerful, convenient, and quiet. It’s infinitely better than other brands, but it does come with a pretty steep sticker price. If you have severe or chronic foot ailments that require serious relief, you should take a look at this model. It’s probably overkill for most people, but it’s a great investment for people who will depend on their foot spa machines.
How to Choose the Best Foot Massage Machine
Decide on your budget:
Foot spa machines generally cost between $25 and $250.
From $25-$50, you’ll find machines that provide some massage features like a bubbler or wave pump, but with no onboard heater. Many of these models advertise “smart” heat features, but you shouldn’t take any of those claims too seriously. The best you can do in this price range is a machine with decent massage features and some basic insulation.
However, no machine in this price range can keep water warm for longer than 20-30 minutes, so they’re not great for. They also tend to be less effective for serious foot issues or soreness, and are basically a more elaborate foot bath. We recommend these models for people who are new to foot spa machines, and want to give them a whirl without making a big investment.
In general we recommend that buyers aim to spend between $75 and $150. That’s where you’ll find the widest variety of options, with both heat and massage features onboard. Closer to $150, you’ll see models that are the best you can do without going professional-grade. They’ll have powerful heaters, adjustable massage settings, and other extra features that make them more fun to use.
However, even the best models in this price range have imperfect reliability. You can read more about that below. We recommend that most people aim to spend in this price range.
Above $200, you’ll find a select few premium machines, which are probably overkill for most buyers. They’re aimed primarily at professional caregivers and people with serious ailments. However, their superior reliability and convenience make them appealing choices for people with chronic foot conditions or intense walking jobs, such as postmen.
Consider your foot size:
While foot spa machines aren’t sized quite like shoes, you will find that some are better than others at accommodating larger feet. If you’ve got larger feet (12+), make sure you check your machine before you buy to make sure it’ll fit comfortably, with a few inches to spare. Most manufacturers list size recommendations in their product descriptions. We’ve also tried to give you a more general sense of how roomy each of our recommendations is in our reviews.
Likewise, if you’re a shorter person, you may find that some larger machines have too high a rim for you to sit comfortably with legs at a 90 degree angle. Be sure to look carefully at the measurements of your new spa, so you can be sure it’ll fit you comfortably and allow you to relax.
Know your preferences:
Foot spa machines usually have a few key features: heating, massage rollers, and water massage features like bubbles or jets. Each feature can be quite different on each model, so know what you want from each one as you shop.
Massage rollers usually have textured nubs to work into the bottoms of your feet. Some are motorized, while others need to be worked back and forth manually. If you don’t like rollers, look for a model with removable rollers or rollers that can be switched off while you use the other features. If you really like rollers, you’ll probably want to look at a motorized machine which can do the work for you.
As far as heating is concerned, your first choice is pretty simple. Do you want to spend the extra money for a machine that can heat its own water and keep water warm as you soak, or do you want to save money and get something that simply insulates and lasts for only 20-30 minutes? If you don’t need onboard heat, you can spend $25-$50 for a budget model. If you want onboard heat, you should plan to spend at least $100.
If you’re definitely looking for a model that has its own heating system, you should think about what type of heat you’d like. Do you want an automatic system that holds a temperature, or do you want something you can adjust manually to find the right balance for you?
Do you want the heat to be adjustable by degree, or simply by a gradient from hot to cool? What range of temperatures do you prefer? Answering all those questions up front will help you narrow down your options as you shop.
Look for convenient features:
Since most foot spa machines have the same general shape and format, you’ll want to look for convenient features and design tweaks that make yours even more user friendly and relaxing. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:
Setup, takedown, and storage:
A lot of us don’t think too far beyond the massage and heat experience when we’re shopping for a foot spa machine. Be sure to think about how easy it will be to fill, empty, and store your foot spa machine when you’re not using it. Look for drain valves or hoses on the lower part of the tub, so that you can empty the machine without having to dump the water out.
Look for caster wheels or carrying handles to help you get it to the tub or sink, and see whether your machine comes with a lid to keep dust out while it’s on the shelf. All those features make it easier for you to cut right to the relaxing part of the experience with less hassle.
In the same vein, you should be on the lookout for automatic features which allow you to spend more time relaxing and less time fiddling. Look for automatic heat control, so you can set a temperature and then settle back for some TV time.
Look for automatic massage rollers which switch on and off as you press your feet down, so you don’t have to keep switching them on and off. At the top of the range, you’ll even find a few machines which drain automatically when you open the valve. That’s about as good as it gets where convenience is concerned.
Of course, the most obvious feature you can find in the “convenience” category is a remote control. You should expect these as standard on any machine over $100. When you’re trying to decide between your options, look at which features the remote control can actually adjust, with the most being the best for you.
A remote might seem like overkill for something as close as your feet, but it’s the difference between you being able to sit back and relax, or having to crank your back forward to make constant adjustments on the machine itself.
Finally, you’ll want to look for other extra features on your foot spa machine that help it do more things in one package. For instance, many foot spa machines also include pumice stones, herbal diffusers, or other non-bath-related accessories which replace separate tools in your foot care kit. They allow you to do everything right from your machine, and save you space in the cabinet.
The more features your foot spa machine has, the more other foot care tools it will replace. That’s more convenient than having to have lots of other tools around in your bathroom.
Think about the long term:
Foot spa machines are sadly some of the least reliable appliances you can buy. They’re lightly-built, have lots of small, delicate parts, and motors which are often asked to do more than they’re built to handle.
No matter how much you spend under $200, we’ve found that all foot spa machines have spotty reliability ratings, especially over extended use. While 50% of buyers usually report flawless operation, others aren’t so lucky. These machines are nearly all imported from abroad, with poor quality control and cheap parts.
The heating systems conk out fairly often, and so do the motors that power the massage features. Only the premium/professional-grade machines over $200 have better consistently good reliability.
Given all that, we recommend that you purchase optional/extended warranty coverage for any $100+ foot spa machine which offers add-on plans. They’re always worth it, since these companies don’t have a good reputation for customer service, and they offer very short warranties in the first place. With machines as delicate and temperamental as these, it’s better to spend a few more dollars up front and cover your bases.
We also suggest testing your unit thoroughly out of the box, so you can make sure to get it back before the return window closes if you run into problems. Check all the key features, and be sure to watch out for even the smallest leaks or cracks, since they can cause big problems later on down the road.