The 7 Best Neck Massagers of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

The Viktor Jurgen neck massager provides soothing relief to relax sore muscles

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Neck Massagers Test

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

When neck and shoulder pain strikes—whether from straining over a computer or sleeping in an uncomfortable position—a quality neck massager can help relieve the tension. According to Eeric Truumees, MD, board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Texas Spine and Scoliosis in Austin, Texas, and president of the North American Spine Society (NASS), stimulating blood flow to muscles can help them relax, and a massager does just that.

Tested & Approved

Our testers named the Viktor Jurgen heated Shiatsu massager our best overall because it worked so well they didn’t want the test to be over. If you prefer a massage gun that targets different body parts, we recommend the Fusion Black Pro Muscle Massage Gun.

When looking for a neck massager, consider the type of massage you prefer. The most basic, manual massagers, can cost as little as $10, while models with lots of features and settings can run you $250. Some electric massagers use a kneading movement to relieve muscle tension, while others use vibration and heat. If you like a highly personalized massage, you may want one with several pressure settings, and an automatic safety shutoff feature is also a big plus. 

We tested 29 neck massagers—from manual canes and roller balls to heated Shiatsu pillows—in the Verywell Testing Lab and found seven that met our rigorous standards. Testers used each massager for up to 15 minutes evaluating how effectively it relieved muscle tension, how easy it was to use, its functionality and features, and its overall value.

Here are the best neck massagers on the market today.

Best Overall: VIKTOR JURGEN Back Massager, Neck Massager with Heat

4.9
Back Massagers

Amazon

Pros
  • Can be used on multiple body areas

  • Uses a bi-directional kneading movement

  • Has a heat setting

Cons
  • Only two massage speeds

What do buyers say? 82% of 7,500+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

The Viktor Jurgen massager, our top pick, uses nodes and heat therapy to break up muscle tension so well that our tester didn't want to stop using it. "The pressure was amazing on my neck and the back of my head," she said. "I also used it on my calf, which felt exceptionally amazing." 

Designed to be placed under your neck when lying down, the pillow-shaped massager can also be used on other body parts. It has an elastic strap to secure it to a chair for a lower back massage and a carrying handle for portability.

Beyond being an effective massager, it was easy to use: "You just set it down, hit the power button, and lay down on it," our tester said, noting that its small shape made it easy to adjust and position to target specific areas.

We consider the Viktor Jurgen a basic massager since it only has two adjustable speeds and one heat setting. For safety, we like that it will automatically shut off after 15 minutes of use and overheat protection so it won't get too hot. For the price, you can't do much better. However, more advanced massagers are on our list should you want an even more personalized experience.

Price at time of publication: $43

Type of massage: Kneading | Added features: heat setting | Included accessories: AC adapter

Viktor Jurgen Back Massager, Neck Massager with Heat

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

Best Massage Gun: Fusion Black Pro Muscle Massage Gun

4.9
Fusion Black Pro Muscle Massage

Amazon

Pros
  • Can be used on multiple areas of the body

  • Has 20 settings

  • Touch screen makes changing settings very simple

Cons
  • Can be awkward to massage neck and shoulders for some

If you like percussive massage, a massage gun may be your best neck massager. We included eight massage guns in this test, and the Fusion Black Pro Muscle Massage was the clear favorite for loosening up knots and relieving stiffness. Our tester noted that the strength goes up to level 20 (describing the highest setting as "very strong vibrations") to suit every stiffness level. 

This massage gun includes six attachment heads, making it a versatile instrument for most muscle groups. Our tester loved that you "can take it to go" since it has a travel case organized with a spot for every accessory, including a space for the charging cord and a pocket for the user manual. Regarding ease of use, our tester liked that the rubber handle was easy to grip and appreciated that the control panel had an intuitive touch screen. "I like that it shows speed levels and battery life left," she remarked.

The neck and shoulders are one of the more difficult areas on the body to target with a massage gun, so if you have a hard time reaching your back, neck, and shoulders, another kind of massager may be a better choice.

Price at time of publication: $200

Type of massage: Percussion therapy | Added features: 20 intensities | Accessories: Travel case, 6 head attachments

Fusion Black Pro Muscle Massage Gun

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

Best Massage Chair Experience: Comfier Neck and Back Massager

4.8
Comfier Neck and Back Massager

Amazon

Pros
  • Provides a near full-body massage

  • Has four settings, including heat

  • Can be used on most types of chairs

Cons
  • Massage pressure may be too intense for some on the neck

It's not an actual massage chair, but this neck and back massager is the next best thing—place it on a chair, and you can target your neck, back, shoulders, hips, buttocks, and thighs at the same time (for a fraction of the price of an actual massage chair). "The features were surprisingly powerful in a good way," our tester said. "I could feel it working my muscles."

The massager uses vibration, heat, rolling motion, air compression, and pressure intensities to tackle your pain areas. "I was pleasantly surprised by everything it could do, and it was fun to use," our tester said. However, she noted that the neck massage might be too firm for some. If you prefer a softer touch, check out one of the other top picks on our list.  

The covers on the neckpiece and back flap are detachable and washable, plus you can remove them for a more intense massage. While it's not the most compact or portable option, it provides a nice near full-body.

Price at time of publication: $240

Type of massage: Vibration, rolling, air compression | Added features: 3 intensities, heat | Accessories: Home adapter

Comfier Chair Massager

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

Best for Pressure Points: LiBa Back and Neck Massager

4.8
LiBa Back and Neck Massager

Amazon

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Can target pressure points all over the body

Cons
  • Requires manual operation

The manual hook-and-node design of this massage cane is low-tech, but it's a great tool if you enjoy a pressure point massage. It's effective at breaking up knots, and our tester found it easy to grip and maneuver around her body. And while it might look intimidating, it's easy to get the hang of and effective at targeting and controlling pressure. 

One thing that was quickly apparent in our test is that you'll have to put some effort in if you need substantial pressure, and there will be some trial and error to get the technique down. Still, "it's not a steep learning curve," our tester noted.

For such a simple tool, it's well designed. The ergonomic curves and bumps are in the right places, so you get an effective massage. It's lightweight, easy to grip, and versatile.

Price at time of publication: $36

Type of massage: Nodes | Added features: None | Accessories: None

LiBa Back and Neck Massager

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

Best for Neck and Shoulders: HoMedics Shiatsu Deluxe Neck and Shoulder Massager

4.9
Homedics

Amazon

Pros
  • Kneading and heat massage

  • Comfortable to wear

  • Easy to use

Cons
  • Can't be used on other areas of the body

Sling-style neck and shoulder massagers are incredibly popular and great for targeting the neck, shoulders, lower back, and other body parts. We included nine sling styles in our test, and this HoMedics Shiatsu collar was the best of its kind. 

Our tester was “pleasantly surprised at this neck massager’s power.” It uses kneading and heat to reduce knots and provide relief. The massager has three speed settings. “I used it on the highest setting, and I loved that I could intensify the pressure by pulling down on the arm holes,” she said. Our testers also found it easy to operate the way down their backs: “It seemed to target all of the right areas.”

Overall the HoMedics sling is easy to use—press the power button once for high intensity, twice for medium, and three times for low. The heated massage is a nice add-on; however, our tester noted that it took a few minutes to heat up. “Once it did,” she said, “that was a nice added feature.”

Price at time of publication: $120

Type of massage: Kneading | Added features: Heat | Accessories: None 

Homedics neck massager

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

Best Portable: Body Back Manual Massage Roller Ball

4.8
Body Back Massage Roller

Amazon

Pros
  • Least expensive massager on our list

  • Fits comfortably in your hand

  • Portable

Cons
  • No additional features

  • Requires manual pressure

Manual roller balls don't have any fancy functions, but they're great for travel—whether you toss them in your gym bag or keep them in your carry-on. We like this one from Body Back because it fits easily in the palm of your hand and has a flat bottom so that it won't roll away. 

Our tester noted that as a manual massager, you have to move it around and apply the pressure yourself, but "it does what it needs to do and is very simple." Since it needs to be gripped by your entire hand, it can be awkward to use on hard-to-reach parts of your body for longer than a couple of minutes. Our tester said that he could see it too tiring to use on your back for extended periods. 

The Body Back ball is a great massager if you want something inexpensive and simple to use. But if you want something that does the work for you, look to one of our electric massager picks.

Price at time of publication: $7

Type of massage: Rollerball | Added features: None | Accessories: None 

Body Back Massager

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

Best With Heat: Papillon Back Massager with Heat

Back Massager With Heat

Amazon

Pros
  • Effective Shiatsu massage

  • 15-minute heat timer

  • Can change roller motion

Cons
  • Flimsy strap

Beyond the deep tissue massage, the Papillion Back Massager uses infrared heat therapy to help relieve sore, tense muscles. Our tester raved that the Shiatsu massage and the heat setting make it an all-star product. 

The pillow-shaped device has three speeds and a bi-directional rotation setting, which takes a little getting used to, but mimics the feeling of being massaged by human hands. "It felt like a whole new massage," our tester remarked. 

An included strap secures the device to a chair, but our tester noted that it felt flimsy. "It connects with velcro tabs, which slipped off the chair twice while I was using it." This model is excellent if you need a massager that provides effective relief with an optional heat setting.

Price at time of publication: $60

Type of massage: Bi-directional massage nodes | Added features: Heat | Accessories: Car adapter, AC adapter

Papillion Back Massager

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

Final Verdict

After testing more than two dozen massagers, the Viktor Jurgen neck massager is our top choice. It uses massaging nodes and heat therapy to provide relief to aching muscles. If you're looking for a massage chair experience that can simultaneously target your neck, shoulders, back, hips, buttocks, and thighs, our testers recommend the Comfier Neck and Back Massager Comfier Neck and Back Massager.

How We Rated the Neck Massagers

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best neck massagers we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These neck massagers are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great neck massagers, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These neck massagers are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend neck massagers with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Tested the Neck Massagers

We bought 29 neck massagers in various styles, from pillows, slings, canes, massage guns, roller balls, and massage seats. During testing days in The Lab, our testers used each massager for at least 15 minutes, experiencing each model's different settings, speeds, and temperature options. 

Throughout the test, we evaluated each massager for how effectively it relieved muscle tension and provided muscle relief, how comfortable it was to use, how intuitive and easy it was to operate, the different features and how functional they were, and the massager's value. In attention to ergonomics, we noted any devices—and particular settings—that caused pain or discomfort. 

We are currently conducting long-term testing with all the picks on our list to see how they perform over time, documenting their durability and whether we experience malfunctions or other issues. We will update our recommendations with more insights as we spend more time with these products in the coming weeks.

Neck Massage Tester

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

We Also Tested

We tested 29 different neck massagers in The Lab, but only seven performed well enough to win a spot on our list of favorites. Our testers did have some positive notes about the following models, noting that they fell just short on performance, features, and design.

  • Hyperice Store Hypervolt Handheld Percussion Massage Gun: Hyperice is a big name in the massage gun space. However, our tester found the attachments on the Hypervolt intimidating and said the setup was tricky to figure out. She also noted that it needs to charge for 6 hours before first use, so it’s not ready right out of the box.
  • Medcursor Neck Shoulder Massager with Heat: While this massager has different speed settings, our testers didn’t think they were all that different from one another. 
  • Zyllion Massage Pillow at Amazon: The Zyllion massager is a convenient size, but there is only one button to control all of the settings, which takes some time to figure out. Our tester did note that the straps were a nice feature for keeping it secure on a chair. 
  • LuxFit Neck Massager at Amazon: Our tester thought the design of this massager worked in theory, but in practice, it just wasn’t very effective. She expected the balls to roll and provide more of a massage, but they just stayed in place. 
  • Wahl Hot Cold Therapy Massager: The hot massage feature on the Wahl was nice, but our tester said the cold therapy feature didn’t function and “feels a bit gimmicky.” 
Neck Massagers

Verywell Health / Leticia Almeida

What to Look For in a Neck Massager

Portability

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. “I’ve had patients swear by icing as a means to control their neck pain. For me, though, heating seems to be more helpful overall. The major structures of the cervical spine cannot be iced as 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.”

Usage

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 the 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.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long should you use a neck massager?

    While there are no formal guidelines for how long to use a massager, you shouldn’t use them too long, especially not in one place on your body. “There are reported cases of fascial damage from excessive massager use,” explains Dr. Lev Kalika, owner of New York Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy. “Patients should understand that massagers are not intended as self-treatment but rather as a supplemental tool. It is very easy to create fascial or cutaneous nerve damage if you use excessive pressure or excessive time under pressure.”

    That’s why, he says, he wouldn’t recommend holding the massager over one spot for more than a minute at a time. You should also avoid areas with large blood vessels, avoid the front of your neck, use soft tips, and apply pressure gradually.  

    “I think that massagers are not a bad idea as long as they are not pushed too strong and not overused,” says Dr. Kalika.

    In total, you shouldn’t use a neck massager for more than 20 minutes, explains Dr. Theresa Marko, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedics, even if you are moving it around from spot to spot. That’s why many neck massagers have an auto-shut-off function. 

    In addition, “if you need [a neck massager] more than once or twice a day, you should consult with an expert to get some help,” says Dustin Martinez, chiropractor.

  • Can you get a neck massage while pregnant?

    Yes, neck massages are generally considered safe while pregnant, says Kalika. However, you should always discuss it with your doctor beforehand, just in case. You should stick to your neck area and not use the massager on other places of your body. You should also take care not to overdo it.

    Given your pregnancy, it might be more advisable to get a neck massage from a trained professional. It’s also worth noting that massage is generally not recommended during the first trimester of pregnancy because it can cause dizziness or worsen morning sickness.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Receiving her master’s degree in public health in 2020, Kayla Hui is a seasoned public health practitioner and health journalist. She has interviewed dozens of experts, reviewed numerous research studies, and tested a plethora of products to deliver well-researched product reviews and roundups. Her goal is to help readers make more informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Additional reporting by Simone Scully.

Simone Scully is a New York-based writer and editor with years of experience writing about health, wellness, science, and lifestyle. Her byline has appeared at Healthline, Well+Good, Narratively, Romper, Motherifigure’s magazine, Nautilus, Narratively, AskMen, among other places.