The 6 Best Neck Massagers of 2021

Relive tension with these at-home devices

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First Look

Best Overall: InvoSpa Back Neck and Shoulder Massager at Amazon

"Wraps right around your neck and shoulders, with loops you can thread your hands through to add pressure."

Best for Headaches: LuxFit Trigger Point Manual Muscle Massage at Amazon

"Simply glide the balls over your neck, and they knead out the knots and kinks with a feeling much like that of real hands."

Best with Cold Therapy Option: Wahl Hot-Cold Therapy Massager at meijer.com

"There are seven different attachments you can swap out to vary your massages."

Best Shiatsu Massager: HoMedics Shiatsu Deluxe Neck & Shoulder Massager at Bed Bath & Beyond

"It has hand straps you can thread your hands through, while still keeping them free to work."

Best Neck Massage Ball: Massage Roller Ball by Vive at Amazon

"They do a great job working out knots and are easy to use on yourself or on someone else."

For Travel: Papillon Back Massager with Heat at Amazon

"Has a car adapter, so you can use it during long drives or cold winter mornings."

Many of the things we do on a day-to-day basis put a strain on our neck and shoulders. From looking down to read text messages to sleeping in an uncomfortable position, there’s so much built-up tension in these body parts. 

Since opting for back-to-back neck massages nowadays is impractical, purchasing an at-home neck massager is hands down the best way to get the relief you need, whenever you need it. Neck massagers come in various shapes and sizes with an array of different features, so do your research to find one that best suits your needs. To make the process as stress-free as possible, we already compiled a list of the best neck massagers below.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: InvoSpa Back Neck and Shoulder Massager

For a little less than $50, the InvoSpa Back Neck and Shoulder Massager is here for all your needs. It’s 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.

Best for Headaches: LuxFit Trigger Point Manual Muscle Massage

Are you trying to get rid of a massive headache? The LuxFit Trigger Point Manual Muscle Massage is a manual massager that provides targeted pain relief. It has two knobs made to apply direct pressure to the back of your neck or other pressure points to promote healing for tension headaches and migraines. 

Users say that it mimics the hands of a masseuse making, so compared to an expensive spa treatment, this $13 massager is an absolute steal. Plus, the ergonomic handles allow you to easily control all aspects of the massage such as pace, direction, and intensity.

Best with Cold Therapy Option: Wahl Hot-Cold Therapy Massager

Wahl

Brace yourself for the Wahl Hot-Cold Therapy Massager. It’s truly the best of both worlds as it uses hot-cold therapy to relieve your pain. You can opt for a cold massage to help with swelling and inflammation or a hot massage to loosen up any stiff muscles. 

Moreover, it includes seven external attachments that can create personalized treatments and it does this all via a compact, handheld, and affordable design priced at just $31. It’s so small that it can easily fit inside a backpack with no batteries required. Just plug it in when you’re ready to use it.

Best Shiatsu Massager: HoMedics Shiatsu Deluxe Neck & Shoulder Massager

Homedics

Wrap the HoMedics Shiatsu Deluxe Neck & Shoulder Massager around you for the ultimate relaxation. Gone are the days of neck and shoulder cramps, this portable, lightweight massager can be used anywhere. It features an ergonomic, U shape design that can be adjusted to fit snugly on your neck with loops for your arms to slip through. 

The massager has two small and large nodes you can customize to rotate in any direction you’d like. They can be controlled to rotate in or out and of course, there’s a heated massage option. You’ll be able to regularly get a deep-kneading Shiatsu-style massage every time you use this machine.

Best Neck Massage Ball: Massage Roller Ball by Vive

Who knew this simple Massage Roller Ball by Vive can be the comfort you need? Two come with each purchase and the handheld balls can be used together or kept in separate spots for rapid, on-the-go relief. 

This latex-free, hypoallergenic product won’t irritate your skin and is durable as it’s made from high-quality resin that won’t crack no matter how much pressure you put on it. You won’t have to worry about any friction either. The roller balls glide smoothly on bare skin or clothing leaving you with an effective and soothing massage.

Best for Travel: Papillon Back Massager with Heat

Stay on the go with Papillon Back Massager with Heat that delivers a heated massage wherever life takes you. This device has a car adapter, so you can use it during long drives or cold winter mornings.  

The high-quality pillow kneads the uncomfortable kinks in your neck by rapidly changing direction every minute. It also gives off heat and safely warms your tense muscles. There’s no forgetting the massager’s ergonomic layout as it fits perfectly behind the neck and contours to several parts of your body including the lower and upper back, abdomen, calf, and thigh areas.

Final Verdict

If you have a knot or kink in your neck and shoulders, don’t struggle through it. Beyond heading to the spa for a massage, it’s clear that there are effective remedies you can do at home. InvoSpa Back Neck and Shoulder Massager is one of the best options for at-home relief. Don’t discount these massagers because they’re ready to provide you with the relief you need to transport your body.

What to Look for in a Neck Massager

Manual vs. Automatic: If you have specific needs, a manual option like the Massage Roller Ball by Vive may be best for you. You’ll be able to control where and how firm the massager is on your body. Even though the HoMedics Shiatsu Deluxe Neck & Shoulder Massager is also customizable, it’s a lot more hands-off. It’s for those who truly want to let go and unwind. 

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.

Direct Relief: Do you know exactly where your tension points are? Find an option that features focused relief, like a massager to help eliminate headaches or one specialized with hot and cold therapy techniques.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a seasoned health writer, Isis Briones knows the importance of finding products that work best for you and your conditions. You can count on her to always provide a variety of recommendations from licensed medical professionals because she has tested and reviewed tons of products over the years to know everyone is different.

The Ultimate Neck Massager Buying Guide

By: Janae Price

We don’t have to tell you this, but your neck is important. It supports the head and protects the nerves that carry sensory information from the brain to the rest of your body. Neck pain is common and can be exhausting. Even more exhausting are the many potential causes of neck pain, which can be split into short-term acute pain, and long-lasting chronic pain. Fractures, arthritis, herniated discs, and pinched nerves are all considered chronic pain. Acute or short-term neck pains are strains, whiplash, and myofascial pain which occurs slowly over time where there is a lot of tenderness in the muscle areas around the neck and back.  

More common causes of neck pain are poor posture and stress. Many Americans spend most of their days slouching in front of a computer or hunched over phone screens—these things do not make for good posture. Now more than ever, so many of us have to work from home. We sit in chairs that are not made to support the spine all day, and many are juggling zoom calls, daycare, and roommates, which causes stress that can add to or create neck pain. 

Figuring out the cause of neck pain is essential for relief. Talk to a physician to really nail down an appropriate and effective treatment plan which can differ depending on the type of pain you are having. This article will provide you with the best at-home relief in the form of neck massagers. While going to massage therapist can be relaxing and helpful, having the tools to work out neck kinks and pain at home is unbeatable. We’ll dive into everything to help you figure out exactly what you need. 

Key Considerations

For people experiencing more acute neck pain, neck massagers are the perfect tool to help alleviate some tension and pain. Neck pain comes in so many different varieties, but the discomfort people commonly deal with is acute, and caused by bad posture and stagnant muscles. The bones in our neck are small, but the weight of our head compared to those small bones at the top of our spin is heavy. Imagine constantly having to balance a bowling ball on top of a pencil— that’s no easy feat, yet our bodies do it everyday. This is where your joints and your muscles come into play; they work together to keep us upright. But in order for them to work efficiently, they need to be stretched, and they need appropriate blood flow—personal massagers help to increase blood flow that affects the connective tissues. 

According to Lydell Nunn, a Chiropractor who owns his own practice called Chiropractic Healthcare Center in York, Pennsylvania, humans were made to move, but our nine-to-fives often make it tough for us to prioritize incorporating movement into our everyday schedules. “Every pet—your cat or dog—every morning once they get up stretches. People don’t do that. We get up and start our day. Things like the massagers, stretching, and regularly working out help to improve our posture, overall health, emotional and physical stress we have placed upon us.”

Dr. Eeric Truumees, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Texas Spine and Scoliosis in Austin, Texas, and the president of the North American Spine Society (NASS) also believes that the cause of most neck pain is the result of bad posture and too much rest. “You don’t want to cradle your phone between your head and shoulders, use headphones or speaker mode instead when talking on the phone. Make sure your computers or other screens are at eye level, and consider placing books on music stands when reading. More importantly, people experiencing neck pain should stay active overall. Bed rest is not the answer for most causes of neck or back pain. Muscles do better when the blood is flowing. Walking or other aerobic exercise is a good idea, while massagers and heat are another way to keep the blood flowing.” 

What Kind of Massagers are Best for Neck Pain?

With so many different types of neck massagers, figuring out the correct one for you often comes down to personal preference, body type, and pain areas. Nunn suggests looking for percussive massagers. “My patients are big fans of L or P-shaped percussive instruments, they provide good results with the least amount of discomfort. They are also great because you can do it yourself and don’t need someone there to help you so you can apply the right amount of pressure that’s comfortable to you.” The Bodybay Personal Percussion Massage Gun is in Nunn’s personal collection and is a great example of a percussive instrument. Machines like this have powerful percussion vibration which allows massaging that focuses on deep muscles and connective tissue; it improves blood flow, while softening stiff muscles.

For tension and pain radiating into the skull, Dr. Truumees suggest using electrical signal based machines like TENS, “where a percussion massager might be too aggressive,TENS can be helpful to diffuse pain, especially in areas not reached by the wrap-around devices.” The Healthmate Forever is a great and affordable machine. Customer reviews cite it as being “easy to use, having good battery life, and surprisingly effective at relieving neck pain.” Shiatsu massagers are another good and popular choice to tackle neck pain. Made so users can take their massage therapist home with them, Shiatsu massagers get into deep tissue muscles and help improve blood flow. The Zyllion is a popular and reliable choice, and it allows users to use it as a pillow or strap it to the back of an arm chair or car seat. 

Cold or Hot?

Using heating or cooling remedies is always a common debate around alleviating pain. Neck pain, with it’s wide array of causes and treatments is no stranger to this discussion. Dr. Truumees 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, 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.” For those who swear by cooling methods or have a sports injury, the Wahl Hot-Cold Therapy Massager may be the pick for you. It offers cooling treatment perfect for inflammation and swelling but can also use heat as well. The InvoSpa Shiatsu Back Shoulder & Neck Massager With Heat is a great portable massager. It provides heating while wrapping around the neck and shoulders. It also has loops you can thread your hands through to provide as much pressure as you need to help alleviate neck pain. 

Ease of Use

An important factor in purchasing a neck massager is how easy it is to use. As Dr. Truumees told Verywell Health, 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 like the Healthmate Forever 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.”

How Often Should You Use Massagers

Massagers along with working in time to stretch and get active should be activities woven into the daily life of someone who regularly experiences neck pain. Nunn suggests Taking five minutes to stretch every hour of seated work is beneficial. For massagers he suggests two to four times a week for five to 10 minutes of the affected areas. 

Cost

Neck massagers can get expensive. After all this is a tool that you should use frequently for long periods of time, so you should be looking for something durable and easy to use. Here you can check out the best neck massagers of 2020, and all of them can be bought for under $100. When pricing neck massagers you can find some quality products like the LuxFit Neck and Shoulder Shiatsu Deep Tissue Trigger Point Manual Self Muscle Massager for $13—which is great for neck pain that causes headaches—or the aforementioned InvoSpa Shiatsu Back Shoulder & Neck Massager With Heat which can be bought on Amazon for $50. 

Accessories

If you are drawn to percussive massagers more than the Shiatsu massagers you are in luck. Many of the percussive massagers come with a wide array of attachments so you can work out kinks in more areas than just your neck. The Bodybay Personal Percussion Massage Gun for example has attachments for arms, achilles tendon, and the waist and legs. Attachments like these are helpful for everyone from marathon runners, to people working in an office setting. 

Conclusion

When acute neck pain strikes there are so many different directions one can take, and neck massagers are a great avenue to explore when searching for pain remedies. So many of us work at desks, look at phones, and generally have bad posture, massagers are a good tool that’s perfect to get the blood flowing to joints and muscles. Figuring out the root of your neck pain is your best bet for relief. Talk to a physician to really nail down an appropriate and effective treatment plan. Due to the influx of people working from home massagers can be so helpful for those craning their necks downward to look at computer screens or without a proper chair to support the spine. 

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