Lately, I’ve been feeling some body aches, pains and stiffness in my neck and upper back. My doctor recommended regular therapeutic back massages and to get a personal home back massager for times that a real massage wasn’t a practical option. Ideally, I wanted something I could use late at night which was when I noticed my back was the most inflamed and something portable and quiet so I could bring it with me to the office.
Budget was also going to be a major factor for me and thankfully there’s been some real advances in technology that have made personal back massages more affordable, accessible and pretty close to a real-life massage, well, as close as you can get without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Many of the best back massagers in the market today are not only affordable they’re also effective, especially if you pick one that addresses your specific needs. For me, the hardest part was deciding which massager for the back was right for me. There are a lot of things to consider and there’s so many options and features to choose from, it was a bit daunting.
After researching the different types of back massagers in the marketplace at the moment and analysing all their features, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of some of the best back massagers out there, The lists consist of a range of prices and functions in a quick and easy to read guide. To help compare and assist in making the best choice in purchasing the best back massager for you.
Why a back massager is a must-have tool for back pain relief and relaxation
Back pain is a common condition in adults and from what my health care professional has advised me, it can occur for many reasons, such as improper lifting, inactivity, working too long at a computer, sitting in an office chair, improper posture and stress.
Research shows that massage therapy has several potential health benefits for back pain sufferers, including:
- Increased blood flow and circulation, which brings much needed nutrition to muscles and tissues. This aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or soft tissue injury (such as muscle strain).
- Decreased tension in the muscles. This muscle relaxation can improve flexibility, reduce pain caused by tight muscles and even improve sleep.
- Increased endorphin levels–the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. This mood enhancer can ease depression and anxiety, which can help reduce pain and speed recovery–particularly important for those suffering from chronic back or neck problems.
Massage has been a treatment for back pain for many years and with the recent enhancements in technology they’re making back massagers more affordable, easily accessible and better quality. Back massagers really are the must-have tool to help relieve back pain from the comfort of your own home.
Choosing the best back massager for you, what you should consider
When you’re on the hunt for a back massager, you need to take your specific needs into account. Ask yourself “Will your back massager be for pain management or purely a relaxation device?” For example, you might have a specific medical condition such as muscle pain in your shoulders and back from sitting in an office chair for too long – in which case you’ll benefit more from a chair back massager which focuses on giving an intense back massage by slipping over your office chair so you can use the device while working. Or, you might just be looking for something to help you relax, in which case you’ll be looking for a machine which offers heat and vibration treatment. We will feature and discuss in depth all the different types in our review to help you choose the best back massager for you.
There are four main types of back massagers available in the marketplace these days; handheld massages, massage guns, pillow massagers and chair pads. All four have their specific pros and cons, so you’ll need to choose which one is right for you depending on your needs and circumstances. For instance, handheld massagers are lightweight and can hit a specific pain point whereas chair pads can hit a wider area of your body so are ideal if your pain is widespread. Another element to consider is that handheld massagers are designed to be held by the user so that may cause arm strain and fatigue, whereas the chair pad and massage pillow are designed to be secured to a chair so you don’t need to hold them. We have reviewed Massage guns separately as they have different and unique offerings. View our Massage gun review here.
There are three broad types of back massagers with three different types of power supply; manual, electric or battery charged. Each with its pros and cons, so you’ll need to choose which one suits your needs best. For instance, manual massagers are portable, lightweight and cheap, but lack a lot of the features and range that the electric ones offer. Electric and battery operated ones are often packed with technology, but are bigger and more expensive plus you either need to recharge them or keep close to a powerpoint. For instance if you want to use your massager in the office, you’ll need to be near a power point for an electric version otherwise a battery version might be better for you but it can be an added expense to purchase batteries on a regular basis and recharging can be annoying.
Budget is going to be a major consideration here, how much are you willing to spend? There’s a huge range of back massagers on the market at the moment and with that comes a varying range in price tags. With the cheapest back massager we reviewed being the Beurer Handheld Mini Body Massager at $10 and the most expensive back massager being the Naipo Shiatsu Neck Back Massager at $299 but there are back massagers that go all the way up to $3,000, if you’re lucky to have that much to spend. In general the average price range is around $10-20 for a budget, battery operated, one function model whereas mid level products with three functions and some features like heat will cost around the $100 mark. The premium models are priced upwards of $300-$800 depending on how many features it boasts! Just like everything, the amount you’re willing to spend will influence your choice and the budget brands will be different from the premium brands. What I have found is that the premium brands will generally offer more features like heat and more settings such as vibration and be of a better quality but that does come with a greater price tag.
Functionality is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make here, how many settings do you need? Some of these massaging machines will have up to 12 settings like the Naipo Shiatsu Neck Back Massager features 12 setting such as heat and airbags and on the flip side some are super simple, like the Beurer Handheld Mini Body Massager .just has an off/on feature. The choice is up to you, do you just want something simple that just massages muscles in one spot or are you after a more complicated and advanced machine?
Most massagers just focus on one area, the back for example, but there are plenty of options that extend to the neck and shoulders. This will ultimately come down to where you’re feeling your aches and pains the most. If it’s isolated in one spot or it’s spread throughout multiple areas. Although we focus on back massagers in this particular review, we have included a few chair massages such as the Mynt Shiatsu Seat Massager which tend to have neck and shoulder massage options and some handheld massage devices that can be used on various parts of the body. If you’re feeling pain in your lower back these chair options are best as they concentrate on the whole back, not only on one area with massage nodes that provide pain relief to the entire neck and back region through deep tissue massage and increased blood circulation.
For me this was a big factor as I wanted something I could bring with me when I travelled and when I went into the office and gym. One thing to consider though is generally, the more advanced the back massager is, the larger it’s likely to be and therefore not as easily portable. If you’re looking for something portable the Beurer Handheld Mini Body Massager with LED light is a great choice as it’s the smallest of the back massagers we reviewed and the most lightweight weighing only 8 ounces. Another thing to consider is that the massagers that tend to be the easiest to carry around generally are the smallest massagers so will only massage one small area at a time, best for if you have a small area injury or if space is a major consideration.
Ease of use
You’re going to want a machine that’s easy to use and needs little to no instructions especially if you’re looking for a relaxing massage, you’re going to want a machine that’s easy to operate. All the massagers we reviewed in our guide are fairly easy to operate and come with instruction manuals but we’ve purposely picked options that are generally push button on/off models as they’re the best for easy operation.
Some of the massagers that are electric will be noisy, especially after a few months of use. So if you want one that’s super quiet choose a product like the Body Back Buddy that’s 100% manual and requires no power as it’s the best noise reduced model.
Some of the back massagers we review in this list will have added extra features such as airbags, heat, different settings and modes. For example the The Naipo chair massager comes with 13 air bags around the hips and waist areas to make you feel more relaxed, lighter and more agile. These features are not a must-have but they’re nice-to-have especially if you’re feeling like giving yourself an extra pamper or you have pain in that specific spot.
Questions to ask before purchasing
Before buying a massager, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself to ensure you are purchasing the right model for your needs and make sure that you’re buying the best back massager for your personal situation. Some questions to ask yourself include:
- How comfortable is the device after extended use?
- Do you require an electric back massager or manual massager?
- Do you require a neck massager, back and neck massager or is back only sufficient?
- Do you require a back massager with heat as well as massage functions?
- Will multiple features be required?
- Is there a timer or auto shut off feature? This can prevent you from falling asleep during your massage.
- How long is the power cord? Will a battery-powered model provide more flexibility?
- Is the product easily transported?
- Are the controls intuitive and easy to use?
- Is my pain in the lower back or upper back region?
After answering all these questions look at our easy to use reference table to see which massage device is right for you.
Before getting into the details of our recommendations, below is a handy table that provides a quick overview of all the back massagers reviewed. This table was designed for a quick and easy to understand guide, so you can just view the details and differences of each machine at a glance.
We have tried to review a wide range of the best back massagers with as many features and budgets as possible to cover the range of different possibilities in the marketplace and increase the likelihood of finding the right back massager that will suit your specific needs.
|Name||Price||Power||Heat||Timer||Customisable||Levels of vibration||Portable||Neck, Back or Shoulder Massage?||One Line review||Score out of 10||Image|
|✔️||3||yes||All three||Premium quality and premium price tag.||8/10|
|Zyllion||$59.95 (USD)||Rechargeable electric||✔️||✔️|
|❌||1||yes||All three||Mid-level, good quality, quiet option.||7/10|
|Viktor Jurgen||$29.95 (USD)||Electric||❌||❌||✔️||Fast – slow sliding scale||yes||All three||Affordable entry-level, good quality, basic features.||7/10|
|✔️||2||yes||All three||Best function to price ratio. Our top pick||9.5/10|
|Snailax||$35.96(USD)||Electric||✔️||❌||❌||4||yes||All three||Affordable, rechargeable, the ideal travellers massage.||9/10|
|Body Back Buddy||$29.95|
|Manual||❌||❌||❌||N/A||yes||Neck and Back||The basic option for people who like basic design over technology||2/10|
|3 AAA Batterieses||❌||❌||❌||❌||yes||All three||The pocket back massager, tiny light weight and budget friendly||5/10|
|✔️||10||yes||All three||Our runner up: Hi-tech and packed with options||8/10|
|HoMedics||$32.39 (USD)||Electric.||✔️||❌||✔️||4||yes||All three||Some good features for the price tag.||4/10|
|MIGHTY BLISS™||$108.17(USD)||Battery||❌||❌||✔️||6||yes||All three||A great choice for a handheld model, hassle free charging and long life battery.||8/10|
Our top pick – The reliable or ole faithful
Our top pick is the Mynt Shiatsu Seat Massager with Heat, this versatile and portable seat massager offers the average person everything they need. It’s customisable and flexible with the ability to use both Shiatsu therapy or kneading massage styles simultaneously or individually.
What makes this model really stand out is that it is easy to use, just set the massage area, rotation and heat to your specific liking with the press of a button. My personal added favorite feature is the optional warming sensations of the heated rollers. This was the extra touch that finalised the fate of this model being our top pick! Bringing the Mynt Shiatsu Seat Massager the model that is as close to a professional massage as possible.
Let’s take a little closer at the features:
- Toggle on and off warm massage heads to help boost circulation, and relax muscles.
- Choose between kneading or Shiatsu back massage style, or select both at the same time for added bliss.
- Select from a custom, or automatic massage.
- Extra consideration to the lower back with deep tissue massage option and a focus on the entire back and neck.
- Electric massage with heat options means it can run without needing to be charged and the added heat option gives it an extra level of comfort to your entire back.
- Back and neck massager that soothes the entire neck and back region.
- Auto shut feature to prevent overuse.
What we think
The middle of the road (Our runner-up)
Our runner up is another massage chair from Comfier, it’s great because it has a whole heap of customisable features such as innovative Finger Pressure Shiatsu, Rolling Mode, Air Compression, Vibration and Heat functions to provide you a comfortable massage to soothe back pain and ease muscle tension just like a spa back massage.
- A cool unique feature of this chair massager is its optional 2D or 3D finger pressure Shitasu massage mode that moves inwards and outwards creating some really relaxing pressure along your back, neck and shoulders.
- Optional toggling heat to soothe stiff muscles and relax them before, during or after the treatment.
- Features 4 rotating nodes to provide a really deep kneading massages for your back, neck and shoulder.
- Adjustable Air Massage that massages your lower back and neck.
What we think
The Deluxe Model
If you’re lucky enough to not have to consider the price tag then the Naipo Shiatsu Neck Back Massager with Heat is the back massager for you. It comes with some really extensive features such as 3 levels of seat vibration, 8 rolling massage nodes that are customisable, heat and 13 air bags around the hips and waist. The Naipo Back Massager has it all!
After you slide the Naipo Back massager over an office chair or any chair you have at home, you’ll get to enjoy the sensations of customisable heat, kneading, vibration and air bag pressure to your neck, back or seat – all of which you can customise to your liking via a touchpad remote control. It’s foldable for easy storage and transport, plus you can adjust the height and width of neck massage nodes to target the exact muscles you want.
Let’s take a quick look at the features:
- Versatile Neck Pillow – The neck cushion on this acupressure massage chair is not only soft, but adjustable as well. It allows almost anyone to have a completely personalized massage experience.
- Relief Back Pain – The Shiatsu back massager chair offers four 3D massage nodes to massage your entire back. The moving Shiatsu massage nodes can be set to pinpoint a specific spot on your back. Press the arrows up to move it higher up your back, or press the arrow down to move the massage lower down on your back.
- Waist Shaping – This Shiatsu chair massager comes with multiple air bags around the waist area to apply a compression massage,which can assist in slimming your waist.
- Buttock Firming – The seat massager cushion comes with a vibration function. Also available in three different intensities, the vibrations add to the total relaxation effect the massager provides.
What we think
The Perfect Travel companion
The Snailax Cordless Back cushion massager is the perfect massager for the traveller or the perfect gift for someone on the move, as the rechargeable battery fully recharges in under 2.5 hours and can last for 70 minutes or more before it needs to be charged again. It’s great to keep circulation moving on long haul flights, long car drives or to bring into the office. It makes a great gift for someone who wants to take their massager with them to soothe fatigued muscles, aches and pains wherever they are.
- Cordless with a fast rechargeable battery.
- Optional heat therapy on the Shiatsu rotating and kneading balls providing added relaxation benefits such as increased blood circulation which relaxes sore, tense muscles.
- Lightweight, foldable and portable, it has been designed to be transportable so you can take it with you to work, use it on the airplane or long drives and enjoy comfortable back and neck massages on-the-go.
What we think
The Pillow Massager
The Zyllion Shiatsu Massager is a massaging pillow, designed to massage the shoulders, lower back, feet, and legs. It relieves sore muscles with its powerful 3-dimension deep-kneading Shiatsu Massage with nodes that are designed to relax overused and tight muscles.
- Versatile, ergonomic and compact pillow massager that fits perfectly behind the neck and body.
- Automatically changing massage nodules that change direction every minute.
- Advanced heating function soothes aching muscles.
- The convenient strap helps you mount your massager to your favorite chair so that you can target your sore spots.
What we think
The Handheld Model
If you’re a firm believer in two heads being better than one than the The VIKTOR JURGEN Handheld Back Massager is for you. The Double-head design of this machine imitates real masseur’s hands and helps you relax your neck, shoulder, upper-back, low-back, arm, legs and feet.
- A Double Head that comes with 3 sets of removable massage heads for a variety of massaging options.
- Professional Strength Massager – A powerful motor that runs up to 3,350 pulses per minute with customizable speed settings so you can manage and adjust the motion and strength of the massage as desired.
- Easy to Use – Non-slip and comfortable grip design for ease of use while massaging.
What we think
The Alternative Handheld choice
This Homedics Handheld Heated Percussion Massager is another handheld percussion massager but the main difference is that this handheld percussion massager uses percussion massage (up and down/hammer style massage) and heat whereas most handheld massagers are vibration style massagers. It also comes with three massage heads; gentle, firm or heated so you can tailor your massage to be more relaxing or therapeutic depending on your desires and pain level.
- A percussion action massage for the entire body.
- The added soothing heat option enhances your massage and deepens your relaxation.
- Dual pivoting heads massage up to 3,100 pulses per minute.
- Variable speed control to customize your massage.
- 3 custom massage heads: gentle, firm, or heated.
What we think
The Speedy model
This is another handheld massager but with the added bonus of being completely rechargeable and cordless. This means you’re not restricted with your movements, restricted by cables or always getting tangled with wires. But being cordless doesn’t mean it’s lacking in power, it’s also a super powerful massager boasting a whopping 3,700 RPM!
- Never ending battery life with super speedy recharge! Built with a mighty Lithium-ion rechargeable battery used in electric cars, the battery will blast away for over 120 minutes on a single charge!
- A huge range of customizable features including 6 different interchangeable heads!
- Hassle-Free lifetime replacement
- Cordless and lightweight so that you can bring it along anywhere.
- Powerful enough for professionals but designed for at home therapy and muscle recovery.
What we think
The no-fuss Choice
The Body Back Buddy is your ultimate no fuss option, it’s designed to achieve fast, simple relief for your whole body without power, buttons, wires, cables and or batteries to worry about and it’s lightweight and versatile (it works on calves, chest, neck and lower back muscles). It’s the perfect product for the low fuss person who prefers old school great design over new fandangled technology.
- An original 2 hook design that reaches every trigger point from head to toe.
- 11 knobs in 3 different shapes designed to soothe painful muscle knots in your back, neck, and shoulders.
- Made of strong long fiber infused material.
- Made in the USA.
What we think
The Cheap and Cheerful
This is definitely a favourite of mine, the mini massager makes feeling good simple! It’s small but don’t be deceived it’s definitely powerful. It’s the perfect companion for taking out and about with you to the gym, office, home, or pop it in your luggage during travel or for an outdoor adventure. We love that it’s easily maneuvered and tailored to your hand so that the massager can feel the pain relief from the sore muscles or kinks. You will soon be taking the handy product with you everywhere and it’s the cheapest of all the products we’ve reviewed, another win!
- Lifetime warranty.
- Cool LED lights give some great added effects.
- 3 AAA Batteries included.
- The easy On and Off function button allows the massager to remain on while you relax.
- Easy grip handle so you’ll be able to work the angles around the neck or back without shifting positions or twisting your hand around.
What we think
Other types of massagers we didn’t cover.
In this review we’ve really tried to show you a good range of back massagers in the hope that you’ll find the perfect one for you. We know there are a lot to choose from and you might be feeling a little overwhelmed from the amount of massagers available. We hope this guide has taken some of the confusion out of which product is best for you. In the end it does come down to personal preference but we feel if you choose one of our top 10 picks you can’t go wrong.
In order to keep this review succinct and on topic we tried to stick to back massagers only. There are neck massagers, scalp massagers and massage mats. These products are for other types of body pain but we’ve linked them here in case they’re of benefit.
Why do I need a back massager?
A good back massager can increase blood flow, decrease tension in the muscles and generally increase endorphin levels. Increased blood flow can bring much needed nutrients to muscles and tissues aiding in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or soft tissue injury. Whereas muscle relaxation can also improve flexibility, reduce pain caused by tight muscles and even improve sleep. The best part is it’s in the comfort of your own home or office and can relax you just before bed leaving you well rested and recharged.
How to use a back massager?
This all will vary greatly according to the type that you get. Electric massagers work differently from manual ones, so you need to research the one you choose to find how to use it properly. However, YouTube clips are generally available for a visual guide on how to use any of the models we have picked to review.
Where to buy a back massager?
You can purchase back massagers from many retail outlets, In our list we have linked all our products to their respective Amazon pages – so that you can read user reviews and have the convenience of quick and safe delivery from a respected distributor.