April 8, 2024 | Posted by Meghan Smith

A pedicure chair is a specialized furniture piece made specifically for performing pedicures, focusing on foot care and relaxation. It’s typically equipped with a comfortable chair integrated with a foot spa or basin for soaking and receiving pedicure treatments. These chairs often offer diverse massage and heat settings to elevate the relaxation experience.

Choosing the right pedicure chair for your salon or spa is a decision that involves numerous elements and considerations. From the type of pedicure spa – whether plumbed, no-plumbing, or rolling portable – to factors like space availability, budget, accessibility, and desired features, there’s a multitude of variables at play. Understanding these various factors is crucial because every salon is unique, with its own set of needs, preferences, aesthetics, and limitations. What works perfectly for one salon or spa may not necessarily be the best fit for another.


As you consider the pedicure spas on the market, it is crucial to understand and consider the specific needs of your salon or spa. Pedicure chairs are not one-size-fits-all as they all have different plumbing, space, and feature requirements. It is important to understand the difference between the 3 main types of pedicure chairs to be able to identify the best fit for your business.

Plumbed Pedicure Spas

A plumbed pedicure chair is a type of pedicure spa that is connected directly to a water supply and drainage system. This professionally installed plumbing integration utilizes continuous water flow (similar to a standard sink) for easy filling and draining of the basin, eliminating the need to manually refill and empty the water between clients. This makes plumbed pedicure chairs more convenient and efficient for use in a salon or spa setting. Popular features of traditional plumbed pedicure chairs include built-in magnetic jets for hydrotherapy massaging, auto-fill & drainage systems, LED light anti-inflammation therapy, and a built-in remote wand controller for enhancing the overall pedicure experience for the client.

Pictured: The Continuum Maestro Opus Pedicure Spa

No-Plumbing Pedicure Spas

A plumbless pedicure chair is a type of pedicure chair that does not require a direct connection to a water supply or drainage system. Instead, these chairs typically feature a removable basin or foot tub that can be filled with water manually. Plumbless pedicure chairs are designed to be more compact, portable, and versatile, making them suitable for use in locations where access to plumbing may be limited or impractical. Despite not being directly plumbed, these chairs often include features such as massage functions and adjustable settings to provide a comfortable and relaxing pedicure experience for the client.

Pictured: The Pibbs PS92 Fiberglass Footsie Pedicure Spa

Portable, Rolling Pedicure Spas

A portable, rolling pedicure spa is a compact and lightweight alternative to traditional pedicure chairs. These models feature locking wheels for easy & quick mobility, along with a footbath tub for manual water filling and draining. Their compact and lightweight design ensures adaptability, making them an excellent choice for professionals seeking versatility in their setup. Whether for mobile services or salons with limited space, these portable spas are best for those looking to offer pedicure services in any location.

Pictured: The Pibbs DG105 Fiberglass Portable Footsie Pedicure Spa

Pedicure Chair Components


Consider various elements when selecting a pedicure chair, including armrest design, reclining capabilities, and massage functions. Tailor your choice to your clientele’s needs; for instance, opt for chairs with lift-up armrests and swivel functions for mature clients. Decide between electric or manual reclining features based on client comfort preferences. Additionally, prioritize massage functions such as vibrating, rolling, or shiatsu options to cater to modern salon preferences.


This is the area where the actual pedicure services take place. It typically consists of a basin or tub that is designed to hold water for soaking and treating the client’s feet during the pedicure session. Most commonly, this basin is often equipped with jets that provide hydrotherapy massage to help relax the client’s feet and improve circulation. The foot spa area may also include popular technician-friendly features such as a built-in faucet and auto-fill systems for filling and draining water, LED lighting for anti-inflammation therapy, and disposable liners for easy cleaning and sanitation.

Understanding the various common designs of these foot spa basins is essential when selecting a pedicure chair:

■  Bowl Basins are mostly made in either glass, resin, or stone. Pedicure bowl basins are favored for their compatibility with plastic liners, facilitating hygiene maintenance, easy cleaning, and offering a range of color options to suit diverse aesthetics.

Pictured: The J&A Cleo GX Pedicure Spa

■  Integrated Basins are foot spas built directly into the base of the pedicure chair. This design is popular for its seamless, integrated, and traditional look.

Pictured: The Pibbs PS60 Siena Pedicure Spa

■  Removable Basins are designed to be detachable from the pedicure chair, allowing for convenient cleaning or replacement. They facilitate easy sanitization by being compatible with plastic liners for each surface and offer the utmost flexibility in terms of cleaning and mobility as required.

Pictured: The Mona Lisa Pedicure Chair


This is where the client places their feet during the pedicure. It is designed to provide support and comfort, allowing the client to relax while their feet are being treated. The footrest is typically adjustable to accommodate clients of different heights and leg lengths. Some pedicure chairs have contoured footrests while others have telescoping adjustable footrests that can adjust each leg independently for maximum comfort.


This is the foundation on which the chair is built. It is typically made of sturdy materials such as wood, steel, or fiberglass-reinforced acrylic to provide stability and support for the chair and the client. The base of a pedicure chair may contain various components, including motors for adjusting the chair’s position, plumbing connections for the foot spa, and storage compartments for tools and supplies. Some pedicure chair bases are also equipped with wheels or casters for easy mobility.

Key Factors To Consider When Choosing A Pedicure Chair

Pictured: The Continuum Maestro Opus Pedicure Spa

Install & Plumbing

When purchasing a pedicure chair, the first thing you need to consider is whether you want a plumbed or plumbing-free unit. This decision significantly impacts the installation process and requirements. Plumbing-free chairs like the top-rated Mona Lisa Pedicure Chair offer a simpler installation, and low barrier to startup as they do not require any water hook-ups. If you choose plumbed chairs, ensure compatibility with your salon’s plumbing and electrical specifications before purchasing to avoid costly modifications during installation. Collaborate with your licensed plumber regarding local code requirements to select the appropriate chair for your space and devise a plumbing plan and layout. Their expertise will ensure a seamless integration of the pedicure chairs into your salon’s infrastructure.

Excerpt from the J&A Cleo GX Manual (for reference only).

For plumbed chairs, it’s also vital to determine if a discharge pump is necessary at the time of purchase. A discharge pump aids in draining water away from the pedicure spa, particularly if your salon lacks in-ground drainage plumbing. Considering these factors during the selection process will assist you in determining which pedicure chairs will provide the most seamless installation process for your space.

Client Comfort

When selecting a pedicure chair, it’s crucial to prioritize features that enhance client comfort, constituting a pivotal aspect of the decision-making process. To ensure a satisfying experience, contemplate three fundamental components of the pedicure chair:

■  Massage Features: Assess if the chair offers built-in shiatsu massage with rolling, punching, and kneading like Pibbs PS95 Anzio Shiatsu Pedicure Spa or general vibration-pulse massage like the Pibbs PS94 Anzio Vibrating Pedicure Spa – some clients may prefer the deep kneading motions of shiatsu massage, while others may find comfort in the gentler vibration massage. It’s also important to consider how each massage system impacts the overall chair price, as more sophisticated options like shiatsu massage often come with a higher price point.

■  Recline: The recline feature of a pedicure chair significantly influences client comfort, enabling them to adjust their position for relaxation. Knowing the chair’s recline range ensures clients can attain their desired level of comfort, from an upright position to a 130-degree reclined position. Understanding whether the recline is controlled by a manual lever or a client-operated hand-remote control informs the ease of adjustments during the treatment. Don’t forget to consider what other services a reclining pedicure chair can offer in the same seat like facials, and eyebrow waxing/arching.

■  Footrest: Evaluate which type of footrest configuration your desired pedicure chair has. Pedicure chairs with telescoping adjustable footrests like the J&A Empress GT Pedicure Spa allow each leg to be independently adjusted for height and posture while chairs like the Pibbs PS60 Siena Pedicure Spa come equipped with a more traditional height & tilt adjustable footrest for both feet.

Local Codes & Regulations

When choosing a pedicure chair, it’s essential to consider local coding and regulations regarding plumbing and pedicure chairs to ensure compliance with health and safety standards, especially in relation to:

■  Ventilation Systems: Integrated ventilation systems are increasingly common in modern pedicure chairs like the J&A Petra G5 Pedicure Spa as an optional add-on feature, not only for their ability to extract unwanted fumes but also to comply with local coding and regulations mandating the presence of such systems in salons and spas. Before purchasing your pedicure chair, be sure to check with local coding officials to verify whether your location mandates this specific feature.

■  Vacuum Breakers: Another more common coding requirement to consider before purchasing your desired pedicure chair is the need to incorporate vacuum breakers into the pedicure chair’s plumbing system. This component helps to prevent backflow contamination, ensuring that the water supply remains clean and safe for clients’ use.

■  UL Certifications: It’s important to know if your pedicure chairs are required to have UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certifications, indicating that they have been tested and meet industry safety standards, assuring their electrical safety and reliability. While not mandatory for every locality, this is certainly an important requirement to know before you purchase as not every brand pedicure chair meets UL certification.


Nail salons frequently use strong chemicals and polishes that can harm and stain equipment over time, thus it’s essential to consider & understand the composition of the material used in the manufacturing of the pedicure chair. While wood-based models like the Pibbs PS93 Footsie Pedicure Spa are aesthetically pleasing & elegant, it’s important to understand & evaluate their ability to withstand heavy, long-term use. Consider a pedicure chair base made from fiberglass-reinforced acrylic or standard fiberglass like the Pibbs PS94 Anzio Pedicure Spa that will provide stronger durability and stain resistance compared to a wood-based model. Further, as it relates to moisture resistance, fiberglass spas are inherently more resistant to moisture, minimizing the risk of warping, rotting, or deterioration over time.

Warranty & Brand

When choosing a pedicure chair, warranty coverage and brand reputation are crucial factors to consider, especially for high-value equipment requiring skilled technical expertise. A reputable, known brand often signifies a top-quality, long-lasting product backed by a history of customer satisfaction and reliability. Warranty coverage offers assurance that any potential issues will be promptly addressed, safeguarding your investment. Be sure to consider premium brands like J&A USA Inc, Continuum Pedicure Spas, Collins Manufacturing, and Pibbs Industries that go even further by providing dedicated technical service teams and onsite support. This additional benefit instills trust in the brand, knowing that expert assistance and maintenance are readily available. Purchasing a chair from an unknown or non-reputable brand poses a significant financial risk, as any troubleshooting or repairs may result in enormous plumbing bills from untrained technicians, emphasizing the importance of choosing a trusted brand with reliable support services.

Client Accessibility

Ensuring easy entry and exit from your pedicure chairs is critical to consider for client comfort and safety. Swing-up armrests found on pedicure chairs like the J&A Cleo G5 Pedicure Spa and the Pibbs PS42 Pedicure Spa facilitate effortless side access, eliminating the need for clients to use the pedicure chair basin as the main entry support particularly considering their often-slick surfaces. Additionally, pedicure chairs with 360-degree swivel capabilities, like the Pibbs PS92 Fiberglass Pedicure Spa, also allow for easy client entry and maneuverability, reducing the risk of tripping or strain during entry & exit. Pedicure clients vary in age and size, making it crucial to assess the entry and exit features of chairs before selecting the best fit for your shop’s requirements.

Pictured: The J&A Cleo GX Pedicure Spa

For shops catering to elderly clientele facing accessibility and mobility hurdles, an additional convenient solution is a portable pedicure spa equipped with rolling, locking casters, such as the Pibbs DG105 Fiberglass Footsie Spa. This spa features an integrated Footsie Bath and can be effortlessly rolled up to any chair, enabling pedicures to be conducted with ease regardless of location.

Footprint & Size

Consider the footprint and size specifications of your pedicure chairs to harmonize with the allocated space and plumbing requirements of your shop. Selecting chairs that match your salon’s available plumbing specifications will confirm seamless installation & integration into your space. If opting for plumbed chairs, a thorough understanding of plumbing pipe access and drain placement is essential. Be sure to consult with a licensed plumber to gain a comprehensive understanding of the space available, and where your plumbing will be accessed – each space is different and thus needs to be evaluated to the footprint specifications of the pedicure chair desired. Neglecting this step may result in spacing constraints and improper plumbing specs, risking potential damage and additional plumbing or construction costs.

For businesses facing space constraints, opting for a plumbless pedicure chair like the Pibbs PS9 Lounge Chair or the Mona Lisa Pedicure Chair can be advantageous. These chairs feature pull-out foot basin drawers that can be conveniently stowed away when not in use, effectively reducing the overall footprint. Furthermore, their plumbless nature allows for easy relocation, making them a highly sought-after choice for smaller spaces that require maximum flexibility in layout arrangements.

Pictured: Mona Lisa Pedicure Chair & Pibbs PS9 Loung Pedicure Chair

Return On Investment

When contemplating the cost of pedicure chairs, it’s always crucial to adhere to your budget to ensure the sustained health of your business. While opting for the cheapest chair may appear cost-effective initially, it could lead to quality issues within a short timeframe. Prioritizing your ROI (Return On Investment) in your chair selection is key. Investing a bit more upfront in a well-made, and reputable pedicure chair can result in long-term savings, as you’ll avoid frequent breakdowns, repairs, and expensive plumbing troubleshooting. For instance, with today’s industry-standard rate for a 45-minute pedicure service averaging around $35 – $45, purchasing an industry-average priced $2,500 pedicure chair translates to approximately 56 – 72 pedicure sessions to recoup the initial equipment investment. Thus, when considering the industry average of approximately 25 pedicure sessions per week per chair, you’ll be able to recoup your investment in a quality, brand-name pedicure chair in under 3 weeks!

For further value, consider utilizing short-term equipment financing programs to effectively offset the cost of your pedicure spa investment. Our SNAP Financing Program offers a no-interest quick payback option, allowing you to avoid any interest fees if you repay the financed amount within the initial 100 days. This 100-day payback initiative, coupled with the purchase of a pedicure spa, grants ample time to recuperate your chair investment, as outlined using industry averages.


It’s crucial to understand how different pedicure chair features can enhance the client experience, the technician experience, and the salon’s goals. Chairs like the Pibbs PS10 San Remo Pedicure Chair focus on enhancing convenience for manicuring add-on services with a rolling, slide-over manicure table that seamlessly integrates manicure treatments into the pedicure chair, offering added efficiency and comfort for both technicians and clients. Other pedicure chair models focus on maximizing client relaxation and comfort, offering amenities like advanced shiatsu massage, LED lighting anti-inflammation therapy, integrated USB charging ports, purse hangers, and remote-controlled electric adjustability.

Pictured: The Pibbs PS10 San Remo Footsie Pedicure Spa & the Pibbs NC01 San Remo Manicure Table

Technician-friendly features like an autofill system, side technician remote control, dual-function shower sprayer, and single-handle faucet streamline the pedicure process, allowing technicians to focus more on client care and less on manual adjustments. Available in pedicure chairs like the J&A Cleo SE Pedicure Spa, these features enhance ease of use and efficiency, enabling pedicure technicians to perform their services with precision and convenience.

Hygiene & Cleanliness

In today’s era, where germ awareness is at the forefront, understanding the significance of cleanliness and hygiene when choosing a pedicure chair is essential. Utilizing plastic liners and adopting pipeless jet technology in today’s modern pedicure chairs significantly contributes to maintaining a hygienic environment. The implementation of the pipeless jet systems that removes the need for recirculating water piping, eliminates cross-contamination between client services creating a sanitary environment for every client.

■  Magnetic Jet Motors – pedicure chairs that feature magnetic jet motors such as the Pibbs PX20 NexGen Pedicure Spa, which can be utilized alongside plastic liners, simplifying disposal after use. This not only reduces contamination risks but also enhances cleanliness standards overall. By utilizing these underwater magnetic fans to generate whirlpools instead of traditional water propulsion piping systems, cleaning procedures become significantly more efficient and effective.

■  Footspa Basins Structures – consider your basin structure as it relates to the ability to use disposable liners for your pedicure service offerings. Due to their shape and nature, pedicure chairs made with removable basins like the Collins Cigno Club Pedicure Chair or glass bowl basins are compatible with plastic liners, and thus able to offer a clean, new, sanitary space for every client.

Pedicure Area Essentials

Pictured: The Collins Cielo Triple-Basin Pipeless Pedicure Bench

Pedicure Utility Cart – These are perfect for pedicure technicians because they keep all of their products and tools organized and they can easily travel with them.

Technician Stool – These are loved by pedicure technicians because they are designed to relieve back fatigue during pedicures.

Footbath Liners – These are the perfect solution for keeping your pedicure bowls clean for each client.

Towel Warmer and Sanitizer – This will elevate your client experience by having warm towels on hand for luxurious service add-ons. 

Manicure Table – This will complete your nail salon and give you the capability to offer both manicures and pedicures.


Choosing a pedicure chair is one of the most important decisions because it is a staple in all nail salons. Keep in mind what your salon needs out of a pedicure chair before you decide. Consider comfort, durability, warranty, brand, accessibility, aesthetics, footprint, affordability, installation, plumbing, features, and cleanliness as you browse through options. 

If you still need guidance choosing the right chair for you, we are happy to assist you with a free salon consultation.

Jason Eichholz – Vice President

Jason has been an integral part of Buy-Rite since 2014 when he joined the family business. His passion lies in helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. By working so closely with family, he instills family values in all of his work. He loves to share his expertise while maintaining honesty and dedication to the Buy-Rite brand. He leads the way for our customer service team to make sure each customer feels confident from the purchase to the delivery. Jason’s industry knowledge has propelled thousands of salon owners to open and maintain the salon of their dreams.





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