There are a wide variety of Ten Pads available – How do you know which ones to buy?
Whilst having a large selection of replacement Tens pads to choose from can be an advantage, it can make it difficult to ensure that you are purchasing a quality product which provides value for money. Undoubtedly the majority of electrode pads offering competitive prices are from online vendors but the quality can vary hugely.
So how do you know which ones you should buy?
We have identified some important indicators to look out for when searching for quality TENS electrode pads which can be helpful when making that buying decision.
REUSABILITY AND DURABILITY
The number of times the Tens pads can be effectively reused is a very good indicator of quality. With appropriate care more than 20 uses is very good although this is also dependent on other factors including condition of the skin, the duration of use and how the pads are stored when not in use. Cheaper quality Tens electrodes do not have the ability to be reused as many times as the higher quality ones. Therefore, although they may seem a bargain you should consider that you may need to buy more often so are not necessarily the most economical. With regards to the stickiness of the gel on the back of the pads you are looking for the Goldilocks effect; that is the pads are adhesive enough to stay in place even whilst walking around, without movement or slippage but are not so sticky as to be difficult to remove from the skin and leave a residue.
Quality Tens electrode pads should be comfortable when in use. The best gels are water based as these tend to be more compatible with the skin and less likely to cause a reaction. Whilst some redness is normal after long term use of electrode pads, this should fade away after a few minutes. A good visual indicator as to the quality is the thickness of the gel and the pad itself. The thicker the gel and the pads indicates a higher quality pad which is less likely to cause an adverse reaction. The pads should not cause any burning sensation and offer effective pain relief when used with your Tens machine. As latex is a known allergen it is important to look for Tens pads which are latex free.
How well the electrode pads conduct is significant when finding the best quality. Good conductivity means that the electrotherapy is delivered efficiently and distributed evenly. If your electrodes conduct more efficiently it allows you to use your Tens machine at a lower setting to achieve the same levels of pain relief, meaning less drain on the batteries. It is important that the electrode wire or stud connection is fitted securely onto the Tens pad as loose connections result in poor conductivity and electric shock like sensations.
The professionally packaged pads not only promote the brand of the electrodes but can be an indicator as to the quality. In particular you should look for Tens pads which are contained in a factory sealed packet, these have a tamper proof perforation across the top so you can be assured you are receiving brand new, uncontaminated pads. Tens electrodes which carry the CE mark on the packaging have met European standards of quality. To ensure longevity of the pads look for a pack which is re-sealable and carries full care instructions to help prevent the pads from drying out. High quality Tens electrodes carry a long expiry date.
The above criteria are some examples of what to look for when considering which replacement Tens pads to buy. There may be other reasons which influence your buying decision which haven’t been mentioned here. If you would like to share what is important to you when choosing Tens electrode pads you can comment on our Facebook page or Twitter account. Additionally, you can complete our survey to be in with a chance to win a TENS machine with pad accessory bundle worth £40 RRP! Our winner will be picked on October 31st 2015.