Choosing A Company To Buy A Tens Machine From
Companies selling tens units all claim their product to be the best value for the money but fail to establish the reasons why. Having been in the business for more than 30 years, since the commercial side began, we feel we can offer some reasons why one unit is better than another.
1. Lifetime Warranties
The biggest problem with a lifetime warranty is most tens units outlast the manufacturer's or distributor's existence. There is no value in a lifetime warranty if the company that warrantied it is out of business. Look for units from companies that have been around and are likely to remain so.
2. Best Technologies
Technologies change constantly and that is one of the reason that " lifetime warranties" are really only viable until an advance technology replaces the older standards. In the tens business the technologies change about every 3- 5 years. Medicare will replace units with newer models every 5 years knowing it's not an issue of the unit is old, but the prevailing technology has changed so much a new unit is warranted.
3. Short Warranty On Cables, Rechargers and Other Accessory Items.
If a company is unwilling to warranty something like the cables, which conduct the electricity from the tens unit to the electrodes, then be wary. Some companies have offered tens units very cheap but only a 30 day warranty on the cables. The cost of replacing the cables exceeds the cost of the original unit and that is the pricing model the companies used to make a profit. That is a deceptive way to do business.
4. How To Use The Tens Unit
Generally speaking in almost all situations tens units will reduce or eliminate the pain. The problem is no one takes the time, or spends the money, to make sure the patient is educated on how to use a unit and why. Most unsuccessful tens trials are not failures because the unit did not work but fail because no one took the time to help the patient understand how to use the unit for their specific problem. Education is the most costly marketing cost to any company in the business but if they fail to do it they do not survive.
5. Customer Service
Warranties, accessories, insurance processing without charging, and ability to deal with the specifics of the patient's pain issues should be handled promptly by the company selling the tens unit. Pain patients need help immediately and not at the convenience of the company. If the company does not have "customer real service" people you can talk to directly then they provide "customer no service" as Clark Howard points out on his popular program.
In the internet age it is not unreasonable to expect videos on demand, podcasts, live web chats, and phone support to help patients understand. In the long run it may be costly up front for the company but overall it pays off many times over if done properly for the patients and clinicians.
6. Tens Unit Features
Are the control knobs easy to use? Does the patient want buttons or knobs and decide which is best. Sometimes patients lack dexterity so the unit should be easy for them to use.
Is the unit simple to operate? If there are lots of bells and whistles on the unit that may make for a good sales pitch but is it really helping the patient in pain. Keep it simple.
Does the unit have a width control? I'm going to spend some time here to say this is the most important aspect of any tens unit. Width is nothing but how long the machine is on before it turns off. This is measured in millionths of a second with a tens unit but the simple ability to adjust the width control is very important as it determines the degree of pain relief the patient receives. As a general rule if there is no width control then do not buy it unless you've tried the unit and are sure it will help you.
Does the unit come with a rechargerable system or is one available? In most situations all units will have one and in long run probably less costly for the patient to use a rechargeable system rather than disposable batteries.
7. FREE Trial
Any company worth it's salt should be willing to provide a free trial of their unit(s) to ascertain which unit works best for you. There are differences in the output and wave characterisitics of different units. The patient should be allowed a chance to try the unit to make sure it works without any cost or obligation. If the company believes in their product, and also is out to help pain patients, then there should be no hesitation is allowing a patient to try before buying.