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Maybe you slept funny, maybe you’ve spent too much time hunched over your computer, or maybe you’re just getting kinda old (sorry, sorry), but whatever the reason — your neck hurts. In addition to a good pillow, you could probably use a neck massage, and you can actually purchase some pretty effective electronic neck massagers on the internet.
The best neck massager simulate the rolling and kneading motion of a pair of hands, helping to relax sore muscles and joints. A good neck massager will add just enough pressure to ease knots in your neck and shoulders, without pressing too hard. We prefer a neck massager that leaves your hands more or less free, with adjustable settings that are gentle enough for daily use.
Top 10 the Best Neck Massager 2021
Massage products vary hugely in style and features, so to save you time we’ve put together a list of the best neck massagers out there right now:
1. Resteck Massager for Neck and Back
With nearly 16,000 reviews, this neck massager from Resteck is an Amazon favorite. The device is designed to be worn around your neck, but it can also be used on your back, legs, arms, or abdomen. To relieve a stiff neck, simply place the device on your sore point, loop the straps around your hands, and allow the eight massage nodes to do their work.
The massager also has a heat therapy function, an easy-to-use control pad, and an automatic shut-off function, so you never have to worry about leaving it on. “This product is truly amazing,” raved one shopper. “I have had chronic neck and back pain, and knots for so long and nothing seemed to help, until I used this! After just one use I already felt a difference. I now use it often and have had significant relief. ”
2. InvoSpa Back Neck and Shoulder Massager
InvoSpa Back Neck and Shoulder Massager is equipped with eight massage roller balls that provide deep tissue relief for your entire body. Additionally, three separate speed strength levels are offered with two hand loops, so you’re able to push towards the ground to optimize pressure.
It even includes an infrared heat function that easily soothes sore muscles and also comes with a carrying bag allowing you to take it anywhere with you. In case your neck begins to ache during a future road trip, the massager has wall and car adapters you can use on-the-go.
3. Naipo Shiatsu Massager for Neck and Back
In addition to adjustable straps, this neck massager has three speed options, eight deep-kneading shiatsu massage nodes, and two heat settings. It’s covered in a soft, breathable fabric, making it incredibly comfortable to use.
Plus, it boasts more than 2,500 five-star ratings on Amazon, with shoppers saying it’s easy to use and makes for a great gift, and one Shape editor even says it’s the best thing she’s ever purchased on Amazon.
4. Intelligent Wireless Portable 4D Neck Massager
While the shawl-style massagers don’t require you to actively hold the device in place, they do limit arm movement somewhat (it’s not like you can really cook dinner while your arms are slung in the massager). That’s why we’ve also included this wearable, cordless neck massager on our list.
The massager is worn like a collar around the neck, and is operated with a remote control, which has buttons to adjust the strength and temperature of the massage, keeping the rest of your body totally free. The downside, of course, is that this is neck-specific, meaning that unlike our other picks, you can’t really also use it to massage your back or feet.
5. Zyllion Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager
A favorite of both Amazon reviewers and Strategist readers (it’s been one of our best-selling products after appearing in several gift guides), this shiatsu massager relieves back pain with heat and kneading.
Lots of reviewers like how it’s cheaper and more convenient than getting regular massages. First let me say, I wasn’t expecting much, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. It works so well that it has become my nightly ritual to sit with this massager on my back and shoulders for 30 mins as I settle down before bed.
I feel like a noodle when I get done, often so relaxed I sometimes catch myself dozing off while this thing is on.” And this reviewer adds, “this product has been amazing in helping me with my sleep and general quality of life — not to mention the money I would pay for a professional massage therapist.”
6. Naipo Shiatsu Neck Massager
The Naipo ranked the second highest in pain relief by our focus group, which is most likely the main consideration when choosing a massager. Its four-button operation is laid out nearly identical to our top pick, the RESTECK; the only difference is the order of the buttons. It also marks the heat button with red, which makes it very clear to turn the heat on and off.
While this model closely resembles our top choice, it doesn’t sit as well on the shoulders as the RESTECK due to the placement of the nodes. This means you have to spend a few minutes adjusting the massager after turning it on to get the right position.
The Naipo earned good marks in all the categories, but when it came down to the question of using it again, it only received a 7.3. Once you get the Naipo into a comfortable position, it delivers an effective massage, but it left our users feeling lukewarm about purchasing one themselves.
7. MaxKare Shiatsu Neck Massager
As far as neck and shoulder massagers go, this MaxKare device is up there with the best of them. The model’s breathable mesh fabric features evenly-spread holes that do an excellent job promoting heat penetration and cushion massage intensity, all without inhibiting flexible movements of the nodes. The PU leather here isn’t just soft and nice to the touch but also pretty easy to clean with a simple wipe.
More importantly, the model comes equipped with 8 massage heads. Add to it the device’s ergonomic design and you have yourself a truly versatile massager that you can use for your neck just as well as for your back, shoulders, abdomen, waist, thighs, and legs in general.
Other than that, it is the usual functionality, including but not limited to the 15-minute auto switch-off, 3 different speed settings, and adjustable straps for individual massage intensity.
All in all, this MaxKare has excellent functionality and solid ergonomics. The model is as versatile as they come and the massage quality here is nothing to complain about. Considering the price, this is easily one of the more attractive options on the market today.
8. Hangsun Handheld Back and Neck Massager
From the popular manufacturer, we have a slightly different designed massager next, in the form of this handheld model. It has been designed to provide a deep tissue massage and features a dual-head design to make sure no part is missed out.
We particularly love the versatility you get with this product. Not only is there a variable speed control, but it also comes with changeable heads for different massage experiences. Although it is a relatively compact and small design, it is very lightweight, making it easy to manoeuvre to all the parts of your body you need.
Its powerful motor can produce an impressive 3,500 pules every minute and the fact it features a 98-inch power cord means you can still comfortably sit or stand while using it, despite the fact it’s not wireless.
9. Donnerberg Shiatsu
The machine comes with 8 massage heads, 2 levels of infrared heat to choose from for better muscle tension relief, and 2 separate rotating directions. You can also choose between 3 speed settings for more control over your massage.
The Donnerberg massager also comes with a gentle vibration function, which stimulates the nerves to get rid of knots and muscle stiffness. What’s more, unlike many of the other models on the market today, this unit is recommended by physiotherapists and more importantly, approved by the German Olympic Association.
This relaxing massage kit is even portable, which means that you can take the ideal tool for relaxation with you wherever you go. There are also two changeable covers to choose from. Unfortunately, the item does need to be connected to a plug to work, as there’s no battery. Consequently, you will need to be seated next to a plug socket at all times.
10. VOYOR Neck Massager
This product may look slightly strange with two golf ball attached to an arc shape but it works well to relieve tight and stiff neck and shoulder muscles. You control the strength, applying the right amount of pressure to your trigger points as needed.
How to look for In a Neck Massager
Nothing beats on-the-go pain relief. Whether you’re working from home or need a pick-me-up after the gym, make sure you know exactly how your massager works. It may be battery operated, which is easier to carry around, or if you’re staying mostly at home, a plug-in option may be best for longer use.
Heating and Cooling Therapy
Using heating or cooling remedies is always a common debate around alleviating pain. Eeric Truumees, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Texas Spine and Scoliosis in Austin, Texas, and the president of the North American Spine Society (NASS) says for issues just below the surface, icing can be the remedy, but for deeper tissue issues like neck pain, heat is often the best way to go.
For me, though, heating seems to be more helpful overall. The major structures of the cervical spine cannot be iced, they are too deep; the muscles will benefit from heat.”
However, Dr. Truumees cautions against jumping straight into using heat if your neck pain is due to something like a sports-related injury. “I would avoid [heating] for a few days if you’ve had a significant strain with any bruising or swelling. The soft, foam cervical collar is another way to keep the neck muscles warm, but I try to avoid braces, when possible, so as to avoid any increased stiffness.”
An important factor in purchasing a neck massager is how easy it is to use. As Dr. Truumees says, if you suffer from pain that radiates to the skull causing headaches, you may want to avoid percussive massagers that could only add to discomfort. If you suffer from arthritis and cannot have things draped over your shoulders, wrap-around Shiatsu massagers are not the right tool for you.
TENS units are very gentle and should not cause strain for people with more sensitive neck and shoulder areas. According to Dr. Truumees, “Many people’s neck pain will radiate well into the upper back. I would recommend taking that into account when choosing machines you want to try.”
So it’s easy to see that you are in a lucky position because there are several high-quality massagers and most aren’t just limited to massaging your neck and back but also other body parts. Massage chairs and cushions aren’t just great for relieving existing pain but also preventing it. So know you know the best massagers on the market, there’s no reason to put up with pain that can be treated.