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Best heating pad reviews 2021

What Is The Best Heating Pad: For Back / Neck / Shoulder Pain?

Contents

The use of heat therapy as pain relief dates back to 500BC when the ancient Greeks and Egyptians used the sun to help treat illnesses.[1]

Today there are plenty of readily available heat pad products that you can enjoy in your own home.

INNOVATIVE
iRELIEV
iRELIEV
Weighted Heating Pad
Super soft and including light weights, you can mold the heat to your body.
AFFORDABLE
SUNBEAM
SUNBEAM
Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad
Soothing warmth to the whole neck and shoulders. Choose from four heat levels.
LUXURIOUS
HEALTHYLINE
HEALTHYLINE
Rainbow Chakras Heating Pad
21 layers of healing crystals, delivering far infrared rays plus hot stone therapy.

Our Top 15 Heating Pads: The Hot List

To help you choose the one that’s right for you, we’ve shortlisted 15 of the best heating pads on the market right now:

1. iReliev Weighted Heating Pad

Apply heat and a little pressure

Sometimes it can be frustrating to apply the kind of pressure you need with a heating pad.

Too much force and you risk irritating your skin, too little and you don’t experience the full warmth.

iReliev have fixed this problem with their Weighted Heat Pad.

You might know iReliev for creating some of the best TENS units on the market, however they also have a line of heat therapy products.

Their weighted heating pad made with plush microfibers, includes light weights to allow you to mold it effectively to your body.

Heating up in seconds, the pad will automatically switch off after 90 minutes so don’t worry if the warmth soothes you to sleep.

You get an easy to use controller, with three heat therapy settings. We love how the controller can also be detached from the mat, a valuable feature that you don’t typically get with heat pads.

It means you can position the heating pad where you need it, then sit back comfortably and control the settings.

iReliev describe this pad as ‘king-size comfort’ and they’re not wrong!

It’s the same size as the popular Mighty Bliss large heating pad, measuring 24” x 12” giving you great coverage (though not as large as Ambershine’s XXXXL King Size Heating Pad).

Chilly users appreciated the heat of this mat, but it was the weight that was the real game changer.

They found it made the pad extra soothing and enabled them to position it exactly where they needed it with ease.

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2. Sunbeam Renue Contouring Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad

A neck wrap offering great coverage

When you’re struggling with neck pain, you need a pad that applies heat to your whole neck and shoulders.

Sunbeam Renue Contouring Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad does exactly that.

Unlike smaller heat pads that treat an isolated area, this mat contours to your neck with a tall collar delivering warmth from top to bottom.

Weighted around the edges and with a magnetic fastening it fits comfortably and can be adjusted to fit necks of all sizes.

In terms of control you have the option of four different heat levels, controlled with a simple unit on a 9ft cord.

Covered in soft micromink fabric it’s easy to wash, simply pop it in the washing machine and it’s ready for the next day.

Users reported using the wrap every day with wonderful results – one person actually called it the ‘Cadillac’ of heating pads!

One frustration with heat pads in general can be the fact that they don’t evenly distribute the warmth, however it didn’t seem to be a problem with this pad.

Many described how they could feel the warmth throughout the wrap, soothing their discomfort.

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3. Mighty Bliss Large Electric Heating Pad

Choose from moist or dry heat therapy

When you need a pad to cover a large area, then invest in the Mighty Bliss Electric Heating Pad.

Made from microplush fibers, it feels soft and comfortable, and measures in at a huge 12” x 24”.

The size of this large pad makes it extra versatile, you can lay it on your back, use it around your arm or even pop it on your shoulder to provide relief exactly where you need it.

If you love the size of the iReliev weighted pad but want to spend a little less, this is the one for you.

On the Mighty Bliss pad you can choose from low, medium or high heat settings, plus it can be used moist or dry.

Using a heat pad while moist is proven to help reduce pain and muscle soreness quicker than dry heat due to the way it helps the heat penetrate the skin.

Practically the pad can be popped in the washing machine, and Mighty Bliss are so confident you’ll love it, that it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Those who purchased the pad were falling over themselves to tell everyone how fantastic it was, with many describing it as the best heating pad ever.

People loved how evenly it heated and how satisfying it was particularly for back pain.

It also seemed to be the purrfect place for feline friends!

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4. Revix Microwavable Heating Pad for Neck & Shoulders

A versatile and flexible pad you can use hot or cold

This microwavable heat wrap from Revix is seriously versatile.

Made from a soft fleecy material and with two handles, you can drape it around your neck, your knee or anywhere else on your body that would benefit from a little warmth.

Filled with organic flaxseeds, millets and clay beads, place it in the microwave for just a few minutes and it’s ready to go.

Unlike some heat pads that require a wall socket, this can be carried with you for whenever you need some relief.

Amazingly Remix’s pad can be used for heat or cold therapy.

Cold therapy might not sound soothing. Yet it has been shown to be effective for treating pain, particularly as a tool for back pain.

So the tricky decision might be whether to place it in the microwave or in the freezer!

Users of the pad raved about how long it kept its warmth, and appreciated the control the handles provided.

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5. Electric Foot Warmer Heating Pad

Heat just for your feet!

Why should your back and neck get all the attention? Save a little bit of love for your feet.

Bluestone have created this snuggly little foot warmer that you can just slip your feet inside.

It’s a great tool to ease any foot pain you’re experiencing, and the perfect way to unwind after a busy day.

Sure one of the larger heating pads like the Mighty Bliss can wrap around your feet. But this is specially designed for your feet, with a plush exterior and soft, fuzzy interior.

Plug in the electric foot warmer and choose from three different heating settings, low, medium and high.

Keep it clean by simply detaching the extra lord cord and placing it in the washing machine.

Don’t worry about falling asleep either, it has an auto shut-off function so it switches itself off after two hours.

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6. Healthyline Far Infrared Amethyst Therapy Mat

Healing at its most luxurious

If you’re suffering from pain throughout your whole body then you might want to consider the Healthyline Far Infrared Amethyst Therapy Mat.

Compared to the other heat pads on the list, this one is pricey, but just look at it!

It’s absolutely beautiful, infused with natural gemstones including amethyst, tourmaline and jade.

Made up of 21 layers, you can enjoy both hot stone and negative ion therapy, as well as photon light therapy (that’s great for your skin!) and deep penetrating far infrared rays.

Research has shown how infrared therapy, which penetrates the body to gently raise your temperature, can be amazing for back pain.

Shipping with a free waterproof cotton padded cover, you can protect the pad when you store it away.

If you like the idea of a far infrared mat but have a smaller budget, then take a look further down at the iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad.

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7. Hyperice Venom Back

Wearable heat that hugs your back

Our busy way of life means you don’t always have time to sit back and relax with a heating pad, sometimes you need heat that moves with you.

If so you might want to take a look at the Hyperice Venom Back.

This wearable neoprene device straps around your waist and delivers heat directly to your lower back.

Move through three accelerating levels to reach the warmth that works for you. It heats up fast, reaching 160°F within 90 seconds.

Not just that, but the device also has four vibration pods that, combined with the heat, can help to loosen up and relax sore muscles.

It’s worth mentioning that though the wrap is snug and comfortable, it does have a large dial on the front so you can easily control the settings. This does mean however, that it wouldn’t really be possible to wear it discreetly.

So if you’re looking for something to wear under your clothes then you might prefer the Sunbeam GoHeat Portable Heated Patches.

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8. Sunbeam Heated Mattress Pad

Heat your whole body as you sleep

If you want true full body coverage then why not add a heated mattress pad to your bed?

This pad from Sunbeam is super soft and available in twin, full, queen or king size.

Unlike most heat pads that have a choice of three or four heat settings, this mattress cover has 10 different heat options.

Use the handy controller to select the one you want then lay back and relax.

Sunbeam’s Heated Mattress Pad also includes ThermoFine technology that provides consistent heat, adjusting automatically throughout the night to ensure you don’t get too hot.

Imagine sinking into a heated bed at night and feeling all your aches and pains just melt away.

On a practical note, it’s machine-washable, so you can keep everything hygienic.

Some did report being able to feel the wiring underneath the mattress pad when lying down.

However primarily people felt they got real bang for the buck and most importantly a great night’s sleep!

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9. Nature's Approach Home Spa 4-Piece Heating Pad Set with Herbal Aromatherapy Fill

A 4-piece set for relaxation and pain relief

In this set from Nature’s Approach you get a microwavable shoulder wrap, belted lumbar wrap, lavender eye pillow and peppermint sinus pack.

Each piece in the set (apart from the sinus pack) can be heated in the microwave then either strapped to you or placed where you need it.

It makes the set super practical for relaxation and pain relief whether you need it on your back, neck or shoulder.

With Nature’s Approach, the focus is on all-natural, organic materials.

Inside the packs are organic grains, a mixture of rice and flaxseed, with peppermint and lavender.

People struggling with cramps appreciated the warmth of the different pads, and commented on the amazing smell!

You also get to choose from a range of different fun prints, including the Angel design (pictured above).

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10. iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad

A simpler way to experience far infrared heat

You’ll notice that we’ve listed two other far infrared heating pads in this article, both of which offer the treatment plus a range of other therapies.

However if you want a simpler (and more affordable) way to enjoy deep penetrating heat then this mat from iReliev is a great alternative.

Combining all-natural jade and tourmaline, the pad uses far infrared wavelengths to go deeper into your back, hamstrings, arms and shoulders.

iReliev explain that it can boost your immune system, improve your energy levels and even absorb stress and anxiety.

They’ve recently updated the remote to create a sleeker design, while retaining the simple to use controls to help you get the most from the mat.

Users frequently refer to it as the best heating pad they’ve ever purchased, explaining how perfect it is for joint pain and muscle recovery.

They love the way it can be used while lying down, but also tucked into your back while seated in your favorite chair.

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11. Sunbeam GoHeat Portable Heated Patches

Portable (and rechargeable) pain relief

The problem with investing in either an electric or microwavable heat pad is that you’re required to be somewhere to either plug it in or heat it up!

Introducing Sunbeam GoHeat Portable Patches.

Place the patches where you need on your body, then switch on the control unit (that you can clip on the back of your pants).

Choose from three different heat settings, or opt for the 20 minute high / medium cycle when you need penetrating pain relief.

You can enjoy up to eight hours of heat – what could be better on those days when your back is really suffering?

Then simply recharge the control unit and you’re all ready to go for the next day.

Shoppers described how by using the patches permanently on high power they didn’t get the promised eight hours of heat, but could get a solid four hours.

They also described how intense the heat was, incredibly satisfying for those recovering from surgery and trying to avoid taking pain relief medication.

You’re of course only able to treat small areas at any one time, however you have the portable soothing heat to keep moving on those tough days.

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12. Sunbeam Heating Pad Back Wrap

Wrap your back in super soft heat

Another great product from Sunbeam is their Heating Pad Back Wrap.

The supersoft micromink fabric wraps around your back and secures in place with a waist strap.

With an attached remote control it has four different heat settings ranging from warm to high.

You can even spray the wrap with water so you can enjoy the benefits of moist heat.

Plus it has a two hour auto shut-off so you can be sure it won’t overheat.

People couldn’t believe the relief they could enjoy, particularly because the wrap is so affordable compared to other heat pads on the market.

Compare it to the Hyperice Venom Back and you won’t get the same level of heat or the vibration functions.

However you will still get a soothing product great for your mid and lower back.

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13. MediCrystal Far Infrared Amethyst Mini Mat

Discover the healing power of amethyst

This mini heat pad uses the healing power of natural purple amethyst crystals.

The stones absorb the heat releasing negative ions, which have been shown to help with stress and depression.

Amethyst stones are also able to deliver deep penetrating heat, as much as 8 inches below the skin for a more satisfying heat experience.

In terms of safety it has an overheat function and controller so you can get comfortable and relax without worrying about settings and timings.

We love the fact that the mat ships with a waterproof cover and carry bag, allowing you to use it at home as well as at a yoga studio or even in the workplace.

It really does look great too, with a soft suede covering and exposed centre so you can see the beautiful crystals beneath.

Compare this to the Healthyline Far Infrared Amethyst Therapy Mat and you can see that you get many of the same features.

The biggest difference is the size – Healthyline’s mat is double the width and nearly 50 inches longer.

It also offers the benefits of many more gemstones, which is worth considering when making your decision.

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14. Happy Wraps Microwavable Herbal Neck Wrap

An affordable way to manage neck pain

For neck pain and stress relief, we like the Happy Wraps Herbal Neck Wrap due to the low price tag and luxurious material that gives your neck a little hug while you carry on with daily life.

The price also includes a free eye pillow and sleep mask!

Filled with a blend of herbs and organic flax seeds, it can be heated in the microwave or chilled in the freezer if you want cold therapy.

Some users felt the heat doesn’t last long enough, however with just one minute in the microwave it can be reheated quickly and many commented on how amazing it smells.

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15. Ambershine XXXXL King Size Heating Pad

Cover yourself in XXXXL warmth!

This extra, extra, extra, extra large heating pad is perfect if you’re looking for something you can crawl under and create your own cosy paradise!

To put this into context, it’s 9 inches longer than the Mighty Bliss large heating pad and 5 inches wider.

You get more control over your heat too, with six different settings to choose from.

Made from a soft microplush fabric, it heats up in just a few seconds.

Unlike the iReliev Weighted Heating Pad, the control unit is not detachable, though it does have a 9ft cord so you should be able to use it comfortably from any position.

Back pain sufferers appreciated the amount of coverage they could get with this mat and how quickly it heated.

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Types of Heating Pads

There are a number of different types of heat pad available. Below we’ve described the various features to help you choose the one that’s right for you.

For Different Parts of the Body

Neck / Back / Shoulders

Across the marketplace there are a variety of heating pads available targeting neck and shoulder pain. These tend to be contoured to your neck and designed to drape around your shoulders or hug your neck.

Back and Spine

XL Heating Pads are available to help treat back pain when you require full back coverage. Smaller pads can be more effective if you want to target a key area of your spine that is causing you pain.

Knees

Knee support heat pads are also available if you want to delivered targeted heat to your knee.

With Different Heating Methods

Electric

Electric pads heat the surface of the skin and can reach high temperatures. They work when connected to the mains, though rechargeable devices are available.

Infrared

Infrared heat pads deliver deeper and more penetrated heat than traditional electric heating methods, as they don’t just heat the surface of the skin.

Moist

Moist heat pads, like infrared, can penetrate deeper into the skin and increase tissue elasticity.

They are often used when skin dehydration is a concern, for example in patients with dry or aging skin.

Some heating pads can be used moist or dry, so this could be a feature worth considering.

Microwave

Pads that are heated in the microwave, are generally filled with wheat and natural remedies such as lavender. They are often a more affordable option.

Non-Electric Heating Pads

Non-electric options such as Snappy Heat Pads require no charge, you simply snap the metal disc which then generates the heat. They are ideal options for traveling.

For When You’re Out and About

Travel Heating Pad

Normally supplied with a handy storage bag, a travel heat pad can be folded away easily.

USB Heating Pad

Though not considered a strong option due to the temperatures they reach and the poor quality materials they tend to be made from, USB heating pads offer an alternative to carrying a bulky heat pad with power cord when traveling.

Cordless/Rechargable Heating Pad

Not just for out and about, a cordless / rechargeable heating pad can also be great for at home if you want to sit somewhere but don’t have access to a plug.

Features of Heating Pads – What to Consider

Choosing the heat pad that is right for you can be tricky with so many different options available. See below some of the many different features on offer so you can work out exactly what product you’re looking for:

Auto Shut Off

Any product that you use in your home and that heats up is obviously a danger if you forget to turn it off, or if you simply fall asleep using it.

See what auto shut off function the heat pad offers, if any, and the length of time it will stay on before automatically switching off.

Consider as well if a short auto shut off may frustrate you if you’re looking to use a heat pad for a consistent period of time.

Timer

Heat pads offer different timer functions, giving you the ability to easily control how long your heat therapy lasts.

Size of Pad

Depending on the size of the area you want to treat, there are a number of different sizes of pads available. Smaller pads for targeted pain relief and larger pads for treating wider areas such as the spine.

Number of Heat Settings

Each pad offers a number of heat settings. More options will give you greater flexibility over your treatment.

Memory Functions

Memory functions are available on some pads so they can remember the heat settings you use regularly. This is useful if you struggle to get to the source of your pain.

Heat up Time

If you’re looking for a heat pad that you can use quickly in a morning then heat up time may be important to you. There are some pads that can heat up in seconds and others that will take a little longer.

Material

Different fabrics are used on the cover of the heat pad to distribute the heat effectively so it’s worth doing a little research before purchasing.

Length of Power Cord

Some heat pads offer a longer power cord which may not seem a major consideration, however if there’s a location you’ll want to use your pad regularly consider if there’s a plug socket available close by.

Temperature Range

Check out the highest temperature the pad can reach to make sure it’s going to satisfy your needs.

Heating Method

The method used to heat, whether it’s electric, infrared, microwave or some other form of non-electric heat. Consider what is right for your condition.

Who Benefits from Heat Therapy?

Heat therapy is used to treat a number of different conditions:

Arthritis

Studies have shown that heat therapy can give arthritis sufferers some relief from their pain.

Particularly with those suffering from arthritis in the hands, heat therapy was found to have short term benefits when used daily.

However for certain forms of arthritis it can have a negative effect so it is worth checking with your doctor before you try any form of heat therapy.

Fibromyalgia

As fibromyalgia pain isn’t caused by inflammation, heat therapy is the perfect option for symptom relief, helping to relax tender muscles within the body and improve flexibility.

Here are a number of different ways you can apply heat to your joints.

Muscle Spasms

Heat therapy or heat pads are useful in the treatment of muscle spasms. However professionals advise waiting at least 72 hours after spasms start to allow inflammation to go down. Moist heat is also recommended over dry heat due to the risks of dehydration.

Cancer

The American Cancer Society suggests heat therapy as a non-medical treatment method to help stimulate the skin and offer relief from day to day pain. However it isn’t recommended for those undergoing radiation treatment.

Lower Back Pain

The American College of Physicians recommend heat therapy as a treatment for lower back pain as in recent studies it has been shown to offer daily relief from pain.

FAQs

How does a heating pad work?

Are infrared heat pads better than electric heat pads?

How hot does a heating pad get?

Is a heating pad good for back pain?

Is a heating pad good for menstrual cramps?

Is a heating pad good for arthritis?

Is a heating pad good for sciatica?

Are heating pads safe to use during pregnancy?

Will a heat pad reduce swelling?

Can you sleep on a heating pad?

Who is a heat pad not suitable for?

How much do heating pads cost?

Where can I buy a heating pad?

So heat looks like a great option for many different conditions, and with such a variety of products to select from, what are you waiting for!

References

  1. Sunbeam (2021). The History of Heat Therapy [Online]. Available from: https://www.sunbeam.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-sunbeam-Site/default/Content-Show?cid=The-History-of-Heat-Therapy [Accessed 08 October 2021].
  2. Ingraham, P. (2020). Heat for Pain and Rehab [Online]. http://PainScience.com. Available from: https://www.painscience.com/articles/heating.php [Accessed 13 October 2021].
  3. Ingraham, P. (see footnote 2)
  4. Landau, M. (2020). 10 Home Remedies to Relieve Menstrual Cramps [Online]. Everyday Health. Available from: https://www.everydayhealth.com/treatment/womens-health/ways-to-relieve-period-cramps/ [Accessed 13 October 2021].
  5. Kambach, B. (2015). Applying Heat vs. Cold to an Arthritic Joint [Online]. Arthritis Health. Available from: https://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/alternative-treatments/applying-heat-vs-cold-arthritic-joint [Accessed 13 October 2021].
  6. Kambach, B. (see footnote 5)
  7. Funiciello, M. (2019). How to Apply Heat Therapy for Your Sciatica Symptoms [Online]. Spine Health. Available from: https://www.spine-health.com/blog/how-apply-heat-therapy-your-sciatica-symptoms [Accessed 13 October 2021].
  8. King, T. (2021). Is it safe to use a heating pad for sore muscles during pregnancy? [Online]. Baby Center. Available from: https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/health-and-safety/is-it-safe-to-use-a-heating-pad-for-sore-muscles-during-preg_1245286 [Accessed 13 October 2021].
  9. Sambrook, J. (2016). Heat and Ice Treatment for Pain [Online]. Patient. Available from: https://patient.info/treatment-medication/painkillers/heat-and-ice-treatment-for-pain [Accessed 13 October 2021].