Neck pain is one of the most common types of pain experienced by the world’s population, second only to back pain.
So it’s no surprise that the market is bursting with lots of different tools for you to choose from.
Our Best Buys
Best for Deep Tissue:
Best for Power & Performance:
Best for Office Chair:
Comfier Shiatsu Seat Pad with Neck Massage
Best for Laying Down:
HighBaller Twin-Ball Massager for Neck Pain
Best for Wearability:
Mighty Rock Neck Massager with Heat
In this article:
Neck Massager Reviews
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:
When you invest in a Theragun device you get access to the dedicated app which includes a number of massage programs specially created to treat neck pain, including Tech Neck.
If the PRO is out of your budget there are a number of more affordable alternatives, including iReliev’s Percussion Massager featured a little further down this article.
How We Review & Rate
Here at The Good Body we’ve spent years rating and reviewing health products, including neck massagers.
In this article we’ve shortlisted 12 of the best products on the market, highlighting key functions and features so you can make the right decision for you.
To come up with a rating we consider a number of different factors, including power, battery life, intensity control, massage styles and affordability. We also take into account consumer feedback collected from various websites.
Taking all this information, plus our industry knowledge, allows us to come up with a rating that gives you the best overall view of the product and how it can help to ease your neck pain.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the products out there, then we’ve put together a Neck Massagers buying guide below.
We’ve explained each of the features you can consider, to help you choose the right product to start easing your pain.
Types of Neck Massagers
There are a number of different types of neck massagers available, whether you’re looking for something handy for a recent ache or you want to make a big investment to deal with chronic daily pain.
Styles of Electric Neck Massagers
A wrap-around massager drapes around your neck and shoulders to truly target the pain. They’re available with arm straps so you can apply the pressure you need or velcro straps for a hands free option.
A chair massager is a piece of furniture that you add to your home to sit in each day. It’s a big investment but it’s probably the closest you can get to a hands-on massage.
The next best thing to a chair massager is a massage pad (also known as a seat topper) that you can attach to your favorite chair. It normally hooks over the back and reaches up to the neck for a deep massage.
A handheld massager is normally a wand or pad that you operate and maneuver around your neck to get to the source of the pain.
A belt massager can be draped around your shoulders so you can get a deep massage in key areas.
Cushion / Pillow
A cushion or pillow massager is handy for use on the neck so you can tuck it exactly where you need the relief.
More commonly known as a TENS unit it sends low voltage electrical impulses across the skin that stimulate the nerves.
Styles of Non-Electric Neck Massagers
A cane massager is a simple device which can be maneuvered to the right part of the body to provide relief.
Wooden Ball Massager
A wooden ball massager has wooden balls that are run up and down the skin to release tension.
S Shaped Massager
An S shaped massager is a stick which normally has carefully placed nodes so it can be maneuvered to the exact right position.
3 Prong Mini Massager
A 3 prong mini massager is a simple handheld device that can be used to work out knots and tension.
A foam roller has a hard or soft exterior depending on the relief needed. It is rolled up and down the affected area to release tension in the muscles.
Features of Neck Massagers – What to Consider
The shape of the massager is important as you need to make sure it can really target the source of your pain. Whether it’s an S shaped stick or a chair pad, you need to make sure it can reach where it needs to go.
You also need to consider the size, will it give you good coverage? Is it too large to be portable? All should be considerations to make the right choice.
As well as size, weight might be a consideration as you may be draping the device around your neck, or trying to maneuver it into place.
Certain neck massagers come with arm straps, allowing you to control the pressure.
Velcro straps are another feature offered with wrap-around massagers, that help you position it in the right spot without having to hold it in place.
Electric / Non-Electric
Consider which option is right for you, whether you want to use your massager on the go, or just ensure you can use it in your favorite chair!
The number of massage nodes that the device offers may be important to you if you’re looking for a deep and intense massage.
Percussion is a massage technique that users have described as “thundering on your back”, so perfect if you want a deep tissue massage perhaps not ideal if you’re looking for something a little less intense.
Look for this feature, a Japanese massage technique, if you want to replicate the hands of a masseuse as closely as possible! Some neck massagers include an optional direction mode so the nodes can change direction for a more satisfying massage.
Magnetic Field Therapy
Massagers which offer magnetic field therapy as a function essentially include magnets which, when placed on the body, are believed to improve the natural magnetic energy within us.
If you have knots and want a massage that is really going to work them out then you might want to look out for the kneading function.
If you want hand-held control then you may opt for a wand massager or a unit that includes a wand.
Some units offer an additional vibration function which might be something you want to consider for that added extra relief.
Heat can offer comforting relief from pain as it heats the skin which stimulates the sensors and blocks the pain signals being sent to the brain. Many different massagers include this option so it’s worth looking out for. Infrared heat is also a feature offered by some devices.
A timer can be handy if it takes you a while to get to the source of your pain, so you can set a period of time and then just sit back and enjoy the relief.
Auto Shut Down
Auto Shut Down protects you and the unit from overheating, however if it takes you a while to get to the source of your pain, a short auto shut down could be frustrating.
Intensity / Speed Settings
If you have good days and bad days and want a massage that can flex with you then you want to look for a massager with a selection of intensity settings (also referred to as speed settings). Some devices only come with one setting so make sure you choose what is right for you.
Some massagers are rechargeable making them handy to be used in the office or on the go, look closely at the length of time advertised when the product is fully charged.
Speed of Charge
You may also want to consider the speed at which the product goes from flat to fully charged, as that may be something that’s important to you.
If you’re wanting to take your massager on vacation or use it at work then look for one that is an appropriate size and weight. You can also choose a massager for in the car, however this can only be used when stationary or as a passenger.
Using your device in your car, between meetings for example, might be important to you, so look for a device that comes complete with an in car charger.
Power Cord Length
It may seem an unimportant feature but if you want to enjoy your treatment in your favorite chair then the length of the power cord is certainly worth checking out.
Some massagers come with attachments to target different areas, such as the face, or with oil stick attachments to allow you to apply creams or essential oils which may be an important feature for you.
Memory / Recall
If your pain is hard to reach and you get the intensity just right it can be frustrating to have to go through the various settings each time. Memory / recall functions remember the intensity and style of massage you enjoy which can be helpful day to day.
Another extra that may be offered is an instructional video. It may sound like just a nice-to-have but if you want to get the most from your product then it can be a handy extra.
Of course those who suffer from neck pain will benefit from a massage. Massage tools mimic the hands of a masseuse stimulating the muscles and nerve endings.
Research has shown that massage therapy is an effective treatment for chronic neck pain, and the devices on this list are essentially simulating this technique.
Women are more likely to experience neck pain than men.
As well as providing relief from neck pain, a massage tool can also work well for shoulder pain. Shoulder pain is one of the most common pain complaints reported in the U.S., and by stimulating the muscles with a massager it is believed that this provides relief.
Whether you get a stiff neck occasionally or you suffer from chronic daily pain you’ll understand how uncomfortable it can be. It is believed that around 10% of the adult population are suffering from a stiff neck at any one time, with massagers being suggested as a natural way to treat the pain.
Tension in the muscles can also be relieved by a massage whether in your neck, shoulders or back.
Migraine / Headache
Massage as a therapy is used both as a treatment and a preventative method. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache in the world, and often cause both neck and shoulder pain along with pain in the head.
Massage therapy as a concept is believed to be an effective treatment, however as the neck is incredibly sensitive when you suffer from this condition it’s important that you speak to your doctor before beginning treatment.
Massage therapy can be an effective treatment for arthritis, yet for certain forms of severe arthritis it can have a negative effective so it’s important to consult with your doctor.
What is a neck massager?
A neck massager is a device that comes in many different forms, it could be a wrap-around massager that can be draped around your shoulders or a chair pad that you fit in your home. Essentially it mimics the hands of a masseuse to provide you with daily relief from pain.
What does a neck massager do?
A neck massager replicates the hands of a masseuse on your neck, stimulating your circulation and relaxing stiff muscles to give you relief from pain. Different styles use different massage techniques and intensities.
How do I choose a neck massager?
Choosing the best neck massager can be tricky as there are so many different ones to choose from and various features that you need to consider. Firstly think about what you’re hoping to achieve then use our handy information above to find the exact one that’s right for you.
How long can you use a neck massager for?
Most massagers come with guidance that states you shouldn’t use them for longer than a 20 minute period. However this can vary from product to product, so it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s advice before you start using your massage tool.
Can I use a neck massager while pregnant?
It is always best to check with your doctor before using a neck massager when pregnant as advice is mixed. Overall the consensus appears to be that a hand-held, non-electric massager is best, avoiding functions such as vibration, deep tissue massage and heat treatment. It goes without saying that you should always read the instructions before using any massage product for any other warnings or precautions.
Do you have to be a certain height to use a neck massager?
Certain massagers, like chair massagers and chair pads only reach a certain point on your neck so normally come with advice about the ideal height of the user and any limitations it might have. Other wand and wrap-around massagers aren’t limited by the user’s height.
Can you use a neck massager on other areas of your body?
Yes, depending on the type of massager you choose. Certain neck massagers come with different attachments for your shoulders and face, others can be draped around the shoulders as well as around the waist for lower back pain.
Can you drive while using a neck massager?
Advice from product manuals indicates that it’s not advisable to use a massager while driving. You can buy massage cushions for your car seat that you can use when stationary or as a passenger.
How much does a neck massager cost?
Neck massagers vary widely in cost, so think about how much money have to spend before you make your investment. Simple massagers can cost as little as $10 as opposed to massage chairs which tend to cost over $1,000.
Where can I buy a neck massager?
We tend to recommend Amazon when shopping for a neck massager, however Walmart has an equally strong range.
You’re likely to find a tool to fit your needs and budget on both sites.
CVS is another good option. Smaller selections are available at Target and Walgreens, however it’s still worth taking a look to compare prices as all retailers regularly run offers, including free shipping.
We hope our handy guide has made your buying decision a little easier, but more importantly, that you find that perfect product to give you relief from your pain. Good luck!
- Physio Works (2021). Heat Packs [Online]. Available from: https://physioworks.com.au/faq/heat-packs-why-does-heat-feel-so-good/ [Accessed 4 Nov 2021]. ↩
- ScienceDaily (2016). Women suffer more neck pain than men [Online]. Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160308133051.htm [Accessed 4 Nov 2021]. ↩
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Reporting Joint Pain or Stiffness, National Health Interview Survey,§ United States, 2006 [Online]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5717a9.htm [Accessed 4 Nov 2021]. ↩
- HealthEngine (2005). Neck pain [Online]. Available from: https://healthengine.com.au/info/neck-pain [Accessed 4 Nov 2021]. ↩
- The Migraine Trust (2021). Tension-type headache [Online]. Available from: https://migrainetrust.org/understand-migraine/types-of-migraine/other-headache-disorders/tension-type-headache/ [Accessed 4 Nov 2021]. ↩