Aqua Skin and Nail Care, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Evelyn Pamer, Polish Me Pretty Nail Salon, Iron River, Wis.
Rosalina Alves, Sacred Rose Beauty Spa & Laser Clinic, Boksburg, South Africa
Pedicure spa chairs come with a wide variety of features and designs, and which one is best for your salon will depend on your salon’s style, your clientele, and your priorities. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing which pedicure chair works for you.
It’s crucial to thoroughly clean your pedicure spa for client safety and to comply with state board regulations. Pipeless spas in which water does not circulate outside of the tub can be easier to keep disinfected, says nail tech Melissa Finch of Des Moines, Iowa. “It’s also a good idea to have a removable jet or water agitator, something that can come completely apart to be cleaned,” she says. “My salon recently installed jets that are held in place magnetically. All components can be removed and scrubbed.” Some manufacturers have features that make the spa easier to clean, such as disposable pedicure liners.
It’s important to consider what clientele you expect to be using the chairs before making a choice. “We considered our core clients’ age and mobility challenges as they aged, foot size, and leg length comfort,” explains Claudia Papa, owner of Aqua Skin and Nail Care in Santa Barbara, Calif. “We also considered how we could seat our clients comfortably to do dual services.” Helpful features can include a seat and back that can be adjusted and chair arms that can be lifted to make it easier to get in the chair. The chair’s weight limit is another consideration.
The pedicure setup affects nail techs’ comfort too. Are they able to perform services without bending uncomfortably? If you plan to have dual services, is the setup comfortable for both techs? Many salons choose spa chairs with removable tubs, but it’s important to make sure that nail techs can carry the tubs easily. “If it is completely plumbing free, it would need to be filled and emptied,” explains CJ Murray of Centre for Beauty. “Taking the weight of this into consideration is very important.”
Features such as a built-in massager and heated back and seat can add to the relaxing experience at your salon. Finch specifically looked for a high-quality massager that was “built into the back rest of the chair, not just vibration, with a controller to change settings.” However, Murray cautions buyers to consider how these features can be fixed if necessary. “More moving parts mean more trouble,” she explains.
It’s important to confirm that your new chair will fit with your salon’s existing design or setup before ordering it. Murray suggests nail techs draw their salon design on paper when considering new equipment, so they can select a chair size that will work with their space. The water and drainage situation is also an important consideration. “When we ordered our chairs, the supplier did not visit the existing pedicure area,” says Papa. “When the chairs arrived, they were built for floor drains and required costly repairs and modifications to the chairs. The supplier did not take responsibility for the costs.”
“It’s virtually impossible to even begin looking for a setup unless you know what you can spend,” says Murray. Although it may be tempting to pick the cheapest option, it’s important to factor in how long the chair will last and how often it will require repairs. Cheaper surfaces and components won’t last as long. “The cheaper the chair, the cheaper the leather,” says Murray.
Murray recommends getting references and making sure you can contact the company in case of repairs. You may be able to personally deal with some problems, but it’s ideal if the company will come fix it if necessary. What services you plan to perform can affect your chair’s maintenance as well. Papa made sure to consider future plumbing maintenance issues because she knows her salon uses a sugar scrub in all pedicure services.
The surface of the chair is also an important consideration. You’ll want something durable and easy to clean. “My biggest mistake was that my pedicure couches were white,” says Rosalina Alves of Sacred Rose Beauty Spa & Laser Clinic in Boksburg, South Africa. “White stains easily and it’s hard to keep it looking vibrant and clean.” She chose black leather when she purchased new pedicure chairs.
You’ll want to check your state’s individual requirements before making a purchase. “The number-one thing I was concerned about was meeting the Wisconsin state code of a back-flow preventer valve,” explains Evelyn Pamer of Polish Me Pretty Nail Salon in Iron River, Wis. “After being inspected by a state water inspector I learned the chair I was using wasn’t up to the new code and I was told that putting the correct part on the old chair would cost more money than I was willing to spend on an outdated chair.”
Seeing potential spa chair models in person will help you evaluate whether it’s comfortable, whether its features work as you expect, and whether it’s sturdy. “I would never spend that many thousands of dollars without trying it out in person,” says Pamer.