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Tips for Salon Owners

Pedicure Chairs. What Most Important?

Pedicure chairs are basically any type of seating designed specifically to make the task of performing a pedicure easier. By today’s standards though, this means being much more than just an ordinary chair. It is normally a fully functional pedicure station. Although usually out of the realm for the average home user, now some chairs, priced in the hundreds, are kind of affordable for the home. There are several factors that you need to consider before purchasing though.

Pedicure Sink amenities

Depending on the price paid, these chairs can truly be a one-stop pedicure station. Many chairs come with a pedicure sink or foot basin attached to perform the foot soak stage of the pedicure. Some often have foot rests to place the feet after the soak so the pedicure can continue without the person receiving the pedicure having to move. Some, in addition to the attached foot rest by the pedicure sink, even come with additional foot rests, technician stools and storage compartments included in the deal.

Although not mandatory, the attached pedicure sink can come with the latest in jet streams to give that whirlpool effect and air bubble jets. Jet streams propel water at a good speed to help give a massaging effect. Air bubble jets help keep water circulating and also help produce a relaxing feeling through the movement of air through the water. Moving water can be so soothing!

If the chair you are thinking of purchasing, does not have a pedicure sink attached to it, then you’ll have to use a foot spa with it. Although nowadays, these units generally come with sinks attached.

Plumbed or not plumbed

A few pedicure chairs are non plumbed or require no plumbing installation but most that come with a foot basin or pedicure sink attached will require some sort of plumbing in order to supply hot and cold water to the unit.

Non-plumbed chairs, as you can imagine, are easiest to install and are oftentimes portable. Water would have to be carried to the unit though whereas a plumbed pedicure chair would be filled much like a regular sink or bathtub. Plumbed chairs still are relatively easy to install and would hook up much like a washer or vanity sink in your home.

Plumbed units are drained very similar to conventional sinks and bathtubs as well and are usually installed with either a floor or wall drain. If neither a floor or wall drain would be feasible, a discharge pump would normally be the option provided by the vendorto drain the water.

Discharge pumps are ideal if water must be drained a good distance or uphill. Investigate where you will be installing as you may be able to receive a price break for not needing a discharge pump, thus saving you some money. Let the vendor know if you won’t be requiring one.

With any system you use though, keep in mind, municipal water will most likely always have some level of bacteria in it but once you disinfect regularly the bacteria won’t build to dangerously high levels.

So before purchasing keep in mind that some chairs require plumbing installation as well, this would require floors and maybe walls to be ripped up and plumbing installed. Include this expense into the cost of a plumbed chair as it will be needed.

Piped (Standard jets) or Non-piped (or Pipeless Jets)

Many chairs also come with pipeless jets meaning the jets themselves are not supplied water via an internal piping or hose system. This helps to keep bacteria down as the more inaccessible crevices and passageways there are for water to move through, the more likely bacteria is to build up.

Standard jets are supplied water via a sometimes convoluted matrix of pipes and hoses thus increasing the possibilities of bacteria build up in the inner workings. This in turn increases the risk of infection when using chairs that have standard jets.

Internal piping or hoses, hiding deep within the structure of a pedicure chair will be very difficult to clean. The only way to clean such piping would be to flush disinfectant through the inner workings but then there would be no way of verifying that all traces of bacteria have been removed. Some pipeless or non-piped jets and systems also incorporate the use of open impellers instead of enclosed pumps to circulate water to help limit the number of areas prone to becoming bacterial breeding grounds.

Pipeless jets and their supply systems are therefore easier to clean and disinfect. The jets themselves are easily removable usually with just a twist and the passageways supplying them are open and easily accessible.

Noise factor

Although jet streams and air bubble jets can be very soothing, they can produce a by product as well. These same features can produce undesirable and annoying noise, especially in piped systems which more than likely will use enclosed pumps. Pipeless systems will use most likely, open impellers which produce less noise. Air bubble jets probably produce the most noise though.

Be selective about this feature as it can annoy customers if you are purchasing for a salon and it may annoy you if purchasing for your home. Always ask about the noise factor before purchasing. Many vendors suggest that pipeless systems can be twice as quiet as piped systems and up to four times as quiet as air bubble jet systems, but this would ultimately depend upon the vendors’ dedication to quality.


These chairs often attempt to mimic professional human techniques from shiatsu massage, like compression, kneading, percussion (tapping of the muscles) and rolling. Manufacturers do this by including massage elements like rollers and discs, which can feel very human, within the backrests, neck rests and other areas along with vibrators in the seat and back area to give sort of a full body massage while the person receiving the pedicure soaks away.

In addition to this, many units also include foot massage mechanisms within the foot sinks. These can massage the feet while soaking. To aid in the massage, many units also come with heating elements to heat the water. Heated water is preferred for soaking to aid in softening the feet and in soothing the muscles. In some chairs the seats are also heated to add to the comfort.

The massaging aspects can help customers get relief from muscle aches, joint issues, arthritis, swollen ankles and other problems.


Many systems have the ability to be controlled via a remote control unit so the person receiving the pedicure can have full control over the experience without having to bend for controls or the pedicurist can control the action even when not physically there.

On many units the arms either swing up or out or the seat portion can swivel to allow for easy entry. Some patrons may not be as mobile as others such as the injured, overweight persons or the elderly, thus this is a very important factor.

Be conscious also if the chair has a step up to access it. Again, some people are not as mobile as others and if many handicapped, elderly or oversized people will be using the chair this is definitely a factor that must be taken into consideration. Steps over a few inches may prove to be insurmountable for some people!

Some plus sized people may also have trouble fitting into some pedicure chairs so be sure to investigate the dimensions provided by the vendor and ask for them if they are not readily available. Compare these measurements with your own and the measurements of plus sized people that may use the chair. Pedicure chairs where both arms (or both sides) are capable of being swung outward (and upwards totally) are better for plus sized individuals.


Most chairs need not even be bolted down once the floor is level and non-slippery. The owner’s manual will provide more information on these factors. When installing, always seek the services of a licensed plumber if the pedicure chairs needs to be plumbed and a licensed electrician if the chair requires more than just an available outlet for electrical power. Utilizing these two professionals will ensure that you maintain your warranty. These professionals will also know the local plumbing and electrical codes to adhere to. Ask the vendor as well, what other steps you need to take to comply with warranty regulations.

Important factors

Be very sure to ask how easy it is to clean the unit! Pedicure infections can easily be transmitted via units that circulate water. Bacteria that can cause pedicure infections can be introduced naturally through the water supply, but it is when the jets and screens of the unit are not properly drained and cleaned that the bacteria builds to high levels resulting in pedicure infections. Pipeless pedicure chairs will be easier to clean but still ask for proof of the ease of cleaning and disinfection of any unit you may consider purchasing.

Whichever style or make of pedicure chair you choose though, and no matter how clean the vendor claims they run, always be sure to properly disinfect the unit yourself with an EPA registered viricide, bactericide and fungicide! This can not be stressed more as deaths and amputations have occurred from pedicure infections picked up from pedicure chairs and foot spas.

Also, ensure that whatever disinfectant you use, that it is “whirlpool friendly” meaning capable of being used to clean devices with jets and whirlpools. Some products simply are not. Remember to be safe and disinfect before and after usage. Before purchasing, please remember to ask how to clean the unit you want to buy.

Also look around at other salons and see the brand names they use and ask about the durability and functionality of their chairs. Ask people in the know as well, such as salon owners, nail techs and employees of big beauty/salon supply stores that deal with large items such as pedicure chairs. Although if you ask the employees on duty they will most likely only plug the brands they sell!

Pedicure chairs will feature a host of other functions that vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer but the important ones we have included here. The other choices will depend greatly upon your pocket book. From reclining backrests (and full chair reclining mode), to mood lighting, to color inserts, retractable rinsing hand sprays and headrests – you name it and some company will include it on a pedicure chair! Remember to keep the important factors foremost though, safety, health, comfort and durability (quality) and you should be alright in choosing the right model for your business or home!