Are all TENS unit electrode pads made equal? Yes and No

To the untrained eye, all TENS unit electrode pads are pretty much exactly the same – as interchangeable as the Olsen twins. And to the trained eye, too. But they say that no two snowflakes are alike, and similarly, no two electrode pads are alike either –though they kinda are. It’s just like when they substituted Katie Holmes with Maggie Gyllenhaal in those Batman movies and no one noticed the difference – except maybe Tom Cruise. So, after reading this review and learning about the differences between electrodes, you will be just like Tom Cruise – able to tell apart two things that are for all intents and purposes untellable-apart.

Examples of TENS unit electrode pads


2" Square Blue Cloth Electrodes Aggressive Gel

2" Square Electrodes Aggressive Gel

Blue Cloth Electrodes, 2" x 3.5"


·         Reusable.

·         Self-adhesive.     

·         Non-invasive.     

·         Blue cloth.     

·         User-friendly.     

·         Size: 2 x 2 inches.

·         Carbon electrodes.     

·         Flexible.

·         Reusable.     

·         Available with pure silver conductor to provide uniform current dispersion.     

·         Aggressive adhesive options available.      

·         Latex-free.

·         Flexible.

·         comfortable,

·         Dependable connection to lead wires.     

·         Latex-free.

·         Covers an area of 2.0" x 3.5".


As we can see, TENS unit electrode pads are like Mortal Kombat palette swaps. Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Reptile are, at first sight, the same character. But on closer inspection, their clothes are different colors and, more importantly, they have different moves. If they were all the same, you could have played with each one indistinctly, but everybody had their favorite – I personally favor Scorpion. And the same goes for electrodes. Every user of TENS devices goes through a period of searching for the perfect type of electrode pads – unless they are lucky enough to hit it off right away. And once they find them, users would almost rather endure the pain than employ a different type. So the difference is probably more in the person’s mind than in the pads, but that actually makes it all the more marked.


One thing that all TENS unit electrode pads have in common. They should be used and cared for safely and appropriately in order to get the best possible results.

Use of TENS electrodes


·         Clean and dry skin at the prescribed area thoroughly with soap and water before application.

·         Insert lead wire into pin connector on the pre-wired el ectrodes.

·         Remove electrodes from protective liner and apply firmly to the treatment area.


·         Lift at the edge of electrodes and peel. Do not pull on the lead wires because it may damage the electrodes.

·         Place electrodes on the liner and remove the lead wire by twisting and pulling at the same time.


·         Between uses, store in the resealed bag in a cool dry place.

·         It may improve repeated application to spread a few  drops of cold water  over the adhesive and turn the surface up to air dry (oversaturation with water will reduce the adhering properties).

·         Discard and replace the electrodes as soon as they start to lose adhesiveness.


Sometimes it seems that all that can be said about TENS unit electrode pads has been said ad nauseam. Nevertheless, there are a few points that bear repeating, for instance:

·         Placement is one of the most important aspects when it comes to successful therapy. Patients and their doctor must work together to find and maintain the most effective electrode configuration for pain relief.

·         If at first there are no satisfactory results, the fault may lie not in the electrodes but in how they are placed. It can actually be a process of trial and error. Do not hesitate to try different patterns until you find that sweet spot.

·         Do not apply electrodes on skin that is broken, irritated, or in any way damaged.

·         Do not place electrode pads over eyes, throat, head, internally, or over open wounds or cancerous lesions.

·         The skin may be burned after prolonged irritation or irritated as an allergic reaction to adhesive gel. Discontinue use and talk to your doctor if either of those – or any other – adverse affects occur.

·         Use under the guidance of and as instructed by your physician.

Related: The best electrode pads for TENS machines