Best Back Massager

Best Back Massager (2021): 9 Top Back Massagers for Every Need

By jwilder

Best Back Massager

Millions of people, especially older people, experience chronic back pain. Outside of taking painkillers or visiting a chiropractor, most people think they have little choice but to bear the pain and manage as best they can.

Massage technology, however, is something that you should consider, especially if you don’t like the thought of visiting a spa to get treatment from a massage therapist. Check out the best back massagers in our complete guide, and learn more about how a massager can help you, now!

What is a Back Massager?

Massagers for home use are very popular among people of all ages. Whether you’re a distance runner who needs to work out some calf pain or an elderly person dealing with the aches and pains of a lifetime of labor, massage can help.

There are many different types of massagers, designed to target a specific part of the body. Back massagers have designs that make it easy for users to self-massage their backs, even in hard-to-reach places. Some back massagers also include heating elements, which help to relieve tension in muscles and ligaments while also boosting circulation to those areas.

Types of Back Massagers

Massage Shawls

These items look a bit strange, but once you start to use them the silly-looking design makes complete sense. Massage shawls, such as the Naipo Back Massager, have two long cloth straps, on either side of the massage device. This lets you hold the massager against your back, the same way you’d hold a bath towel against your back when drying off after a shower.

Naipo Back Massager with Adjustable Heat and Straps, Shiatsu Neck Massagers for Neck and Back, Shoulder, Foot and Legs, oCuddle™ Series Electric Massager, Gift for Women, Friends, Birthday

You can control the amount of pressure, as well as the location of the massage, yourself without relying on an expensive massage chair or another person. Massage shawls are not always listed as “shawls”; rather, the word “shawl” is just a good term to describe the way they look.

Massage Mats

These mats are very easy to unroll and lay over a chair, couch, or bed. They’re filled with tiny massage motors and often multiple heating elements. Massage mats are very convenient, offering an almost full-body massage experience. If you have back pain in more than one place or are looking for a luxurious way to unwind, consider getting a massage mat. You’ll love how easy it is to unroll it, massage almost your entire body, and roll it back up when you’re done!

Pillows

A good massage pillow is a common-sense purchase for any person who has chronic lower back pain. They look and feel like lumbar pillows, meaning they’re beneficial for your back even when they’re turned off. When turned on, they provide soothing, deep tissue massage and heat to your lumbar, helping you feel loose and comfortable when you’re sitting, standing, and bending!

Seat Cushions

These products are a fantastic alternative to expensive massage chairs. They provide massage to your lumbar, buttocks, upper back, and shoulders, helping you feel comfortable and relieving pain in multiple areas all at once.

Massage cushions are typically very affordable and can be placed over a chair or couch, making them nearly as convenient as massage mats. The only downside to having a massage seat cushion is that they can be pretty bulky and hard to store.

TENS Units

TENS is an acronym that stands for “transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation”. These devices use electrodes and electric pulses to stimulate, relax, and soothe muscles. They’re usually very inexpensive and portable, making them among the most convenient types of massage for the home.

Top 9 Best Back Massagers: 2021

1. Best Back Massager (Overall): HoMedics Perfect Touch Masseuse Massage Seat

Perfect Touch Masseuse Heated Massage Cushion | App Controlled, Adjustable Height, 4 Massage Styles | Relief for Back, Shoulder & Neck | Shiatsu, Rolling, Percussion, or Combination Massage | HoMedics

This massage seat has 4 different massage modes that work out the kinks and knots in your back, neck, shoulders, and buttocks. The massaging is very effective and comfortable. The best thing about the perfect touch Masseuse, though, is how easy it is to customize each part of it to your needs.

It has a remote with individual controls for each massage area, letting you customize your massage experience to your exact desires and needs. The heating elements, 4 in total, are also individually controllable. The back and neck rollers are also height-adjustable with the touch of a button, meaning tall and short people alike can use it comfortably. It even has a retractable cord and straps that let you safely attach it to any chair- even a swiveling office chair!

If you have a bad back, this massage seat is absolutely the way to go. It will help you relieve pain across your entire back and get the pains of the day off, all while you watch tv or read! It’s extremely effective, versatile, and much more affordable than a full-sized massage chair.

2. Best Handheld Back Massager: Naipo Back Massager

Naipo Back Massager with Adjustable Heat and Straps, Shiatsu Neck Massagers for Neck and Back, Shoulder, Foot and Legs, oCuddle™ Series Electric Massager, Gift for Women, Friends, Birthday

This back massager uses a “shawl”-esque design that makes it incredibly easy to treat all the hard-to-reach places on your back. With 3 different massage intensities and 8 massaging modes, each individual can choose the setting and intensity that fits them best. This simple massager can be used to effectively release tension in every part of your back, perfect for those days when you just feel sore all over.

The Naipo Back Massager weighs just three pounds and has adjustable arm straps, making it easy for people of any body type to treat their aches and pains. The massager also has two different levels of heating, further loosening your muscles and helping you relax. If you’ve struggled to reach parts of your back with other massagers, this is the best back massager for you. It’s effective, intuitive, and costs less than $60!

3. Best Massager for Lower Back Pain: Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager - Kneading Massage Pillow with Heat for Shoulders, Calf, Legs, Feet, Hands, Home, Office, Chair and Car - Black (ZMA-13-BK)

This massage pillow delivers a soothing 3D shiatsu massage, gently but firmly kneading your body and releasing all the built-up tension in your back. If you’re one of the millions of people suffering from chronic lower back pain, this massage pillow was made for you. It’s extremely simple to use; in fact, it only has one button that toggles the pillow between off/on/heat/massage.

If you’re looking for a cheap, effective way to treat lower back pain that doesn’t involve yet another handful of ibuprofen, this is it. You can also use it on other parts of your back, as well as your neck and shoulders. It’s a simple and versatile massage pillow that’ll help you feel more relaxed, pain-free, and moving about your day with ease.

4. Best Back Massager for Chair: Comfier Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager

Comfier Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager

This massage chair is completely stacked with different massage and relaxation functions. It includes both 2D and 3D rollers that give you a nearly unmatched massage on your lower and mid-back. There are air compression chambers that gently massage your hips and sides. There is a heat function that warms and soothes most of your back. There is even a vibrating massager under the seat for your buttocks and thighs!

You can massage your shoulders, neck, back, and thighs to perfection with the Comfier Shiatsu chair massager. There is virtually no inch of your back, neck, or shoulders that you cannot treat with this chair! So, what’s stopping it from becoming the best back massager on our list? After all, if it has so much to offer, why isn’t it in the number one position?

The only things that this back massager is missing are more heating elements and massage controls. It only has one heating zone, and the controls for different parts of the body aren’t as easy to customize as they should be. Don’t let that deter you, though, it’s still one of the best back massagers on the market, and very affordable!

5. Best Neck and Back Massager: Snailax Cordless Handheld Back Massager

Snailax Cordless Handheld Back Massager with Heat,Deep Tissue Percussion Massager, 3 Sets of Dual Pivoting Heads,Rechargeable Hand Held Massager for Neck,Back Shoulder,Calf,Legs

If you want to self-massage your back, shoulders, and neck with the same device, this cordless back massager is exactly what you need. It’s very powerful and comes with three different massage head attachments that will meet anyone’s preferences. It also has an ergonomic design that makes it very easy to reach all the different parts of your back.

Two things that cordless massagers tend to struggle with are battery life and power. This rechargeable back massager can be used for up to 80 minutes on a single charge and is still strong enough to work out even the most stubborn knots in your back. If you like the idea of a cordless back massager but are worried about power, stick with this model from Snailax and you won’t be disappointed!

6. Best Back Massager for Car: Papillon Shiatsu Massage Pillow

Papillon Back Massager with Heat,Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager with Deep Tissue Kneading,Electric Back Massage Pillow for Back,Neck,Shoulders,Legs, Foot,Body Muscle Pain Relief,Use at Home,Car,Office

There are some massage pillows that operate on battery power; they seem convenient at first, but they require a lot of battery changing and aren’t as powerful as corded units. They also tend to be much more expensive than massagers with cords. So, what are you to do if you want a good deal on a back massager that you can also take in the car?

The Papillon Shiatsu Massage Pillow comes with a spare DC cable that will plug into your car’s outlet. It’s just as effective and comfortable as more expensive battery-powered massage pillows and other corded massage pillows. That means you don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality for portability.

This massage pillow has a heating function and three different levels of massage intensity; it isn’t the most complex pillow in the world but it certainly gets the job done. If you have chronic back pain and spend lots of time in the car, this massaging back pillow is perfect for you!

Massage Mat with 10 Vibrating Motors and 4 Therapy Heating pad Full Body Massager Cushion for Relieving Back Lumbar Leg Snailax

This massage mat lets you lay your entire body across a soothing, vibrating surface that works out all the aches and pains of the day. Studies have shown that a 15-minute massage session before bed can help you sleep better and wake up feeling more rested; the Snailax Massage Mat is the simplest way to do just that!

It has 10 different massage motors that can be set to one of 5 modes. The mat is also divided into 4 different zones which target the massage in a way that’s more beneficial for each part of your body. After all, the type of massage that works best for your calves usually won’t be as effective or comfortable on your neck. You can use all four zones at once or individually in case you want to focus on your back or neck instead of the entire body.

This mat also has four different heating zones, creating a luxurious full-body relaxation experience. If you’re looking for a way to unwind and treat back pain without spending hundreds or taking up tons of space, this is the back massager for you!

8. Best Cheap Back Massager: TENS 7000 Digital TENS Unit Massager

TENS 7000 Digital TENS Unit With Accessories - TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator For Back Pain, General Pain Relief, Neck Pain, Muscle Pain

There are few massagers that cost less than $40, and none are as effective as this TENS unit. Powered by a simple 9V battery, this massager sends gentle electric pulses that deliver immediate pain relief and stimulation to the muscles where you place the nodes.

If you’re not wary of electric massage- and you have no reason to be- this portable unit is the cheapest way to treat back pain and stiffness at home, bar none! For any senior who needs a way to deal with back pain and isn’t comfortable with traditional forms of massage, this unit from TENS 700 is exactly what is needed.

9. Best Massage Pillow for Back Pain: HoMedics 3D Shiatsu Massage Pillow

3D Shiatsu and Vibration Massage Pillow with Heat, Full-Body Relaxation Targets Upper and Lower Back, Neck, and Shoulders, Integrated Controls, Comfortable Padding, Lightweight for Travel, By HoMedics

Massage pillows are great for back pain, but they tend to be a bit too simple. This pillow is simple to use, but the inner mechanics are complex and very, very effective. It uses 3D massage rollers and heat to create a luxurious deep-tissue massage that your back will love.

3D massage- rollers that move in three different directions instead of two- is pretty uncommon in massage pillows. That means this HoMedics pillow is capable of treating more severe back knots and soreness than other lumbar pillows. It’s also great for upper back massage and neck massage. If you need a massage pillow that comes with serious benefits, the HoMedics 3D Shiatsu Massage Pillow is the way to go!

FAQs: Back Massagers

Are Back Massagers Good For You? Answers from Science

Mood and Stress

Massage is an excellent way to treat stress, anxiety, and feelings of tension. When you are feeling stressed, your muscles will tense up throughout the day- particularly your back and shoulders. Back massagers can help relieve stress in ways that few other things can. While you might enjoy having a beer or glass of wine at the end of the day, a back massage might be able to help even more.


Studies have shown that massage decreases your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a substance that is directly related to feelings of stress. Massage also boosts dopamine and serotonin levels, the two chemicals that trigger feelings of happiness and joy. Massage has also been shown to decrease anxiety and agitation in patients who have had recent cardiovascular surgeries, Alzheimer’s, and strokes.

Pain Relief

Few home remedies for back pain are quite as effective as massage. Using a back massager reduces your feelings of pain in the short term and can help reduce pain long-term by helping muscles and ligaments to heal. Research has shown that massage, even on parts of the body that aren’t directly feeling pain, helps people feel less pain across their body as they recover from surgery.


If you experience back pain, massage is a proven way to manage your pain and experience relief from the way that pain tends to decrease your quality of life. Get a back massager and use it daily to feel better as you go about your day!

Where to Buy a Back Massager

Physical Stores

  • Supermarkets: Stores such as Walmart, Target, and Meijer have thousands of locations across the country. Each of them has a small selection of massagers that you can choose from. If you’re already heading out to shop for groceries, stop by your store’s pharmacy section and see what they have in stock!
  • Costco: With hundreds of locations in the United States and several massagers available for purchase, Costco is a great place to grab a massager. Just make sure you’ve got a membership first!

Online Stores

  • Amazon: Fast shipping, easy returns, and a seemingly limitless selection of back massagers, what’s not to like? Amazon is a convenient and comprehensive marketplace, full of great products (and quite a few not-so-great products, too). If you prefer to shop from the couch, there is no better place than Amazon!
  • Overstock: A marketplace with nearly as much selection as Amazon, Overstock is known for being a place to find great deals. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Amazon, chances are you can find it here.
  • Wayfair: this site is like an online bazaar- thousands of vendors and merchants all sell their products through Wayfair, meaning you’ve got a lot of choices. Shipping and returns aren’t quite as simple as with Amazon, but you can still find great back massagers on Wayfair.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Back Massager

Use it Daily

The best way to convince yourself that your back massager isn’t working is to only try it once. It takes a few sessions for the benefits of massage to really become apparent. This is especially true if your back and shoulders are extremely tense; the first time you use a massager may be uncomfortable because of how tense you are. Stick to it, and you’ll start to see the benefits pretty soon!

Embrace Discomfort

Massage is very relaxing, but it isn’t always the most comfortable feeling in the world. If you’re not used to massagers, you might be surprised that you feel a bit of discomfort and even slight pain when you first use one. Unless the pain is severe, though, it’s normal- and it will soon be replaced by a deep sense of relaxation and release. So, embrace the discomfort!

Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Back Massager

Before you buy a back massager, here are some things you should understand about massagers and consider:

2D vs 3D Massage: What’s the Difference?

  • 2D Massage: uses rollers that move up and down your back, gently kneading your muscles as they move. They also move side to side, covering more surface area and helping relieve tension.
  • 3D Massage: the rollers move in and out, pressing deeper into your muscle. This means you can get a deep-tissue massage that is more effective, but also more intense, than a 2D massage. If you are a frailer person or you are worried about discomfort, you should probably get a 2D massage. Outside of that, though, 3D massage is much better, even though it’s more expensive.

Different Types of Massage: Shiatsu, Swedish, Vibration

  • Shiatsu: This type of massage involves strong yet gentle kneading of the muscles. It stimulates your muscles and relieves tension; it’s generally thought to be more comfortable than Swedish massage and equally effective.
  • Swedish: this is a massage type that involves strong and deep pressure, working deep into the muscle tissue. It’s a type of massage favored by people who exercise frequently because it does a great job of relieving muscle tension and soreness.
  • Vibration: Massagers with vibration are generally the least expensive and most beginner-friendly. Gentle and continuous vibrations aren’t as effective as Shiatsu or Swedish massage, but they are still beneficial and very comfortable. If you dislike the kneading or pressure of other types of massage, vibration is right for you.

Back Massager vs Massage Chair: Which is Better?

Large massage chairs that cover the entire body are very beneficial, no doubt about it. They can also be expensive; some massage chairs cost more than $5,000! (Although there are some cheap massage chairs that are worth looking at).


That’s a bit much for many people, especially if they aren’t looking for a full-body treatment. If you have back pain and don’t care to focus on every body part, back massagers (whether a mat, pillow, gun, or TENS unit) will be everything you need and cost 1/20 of what a massage chair does.


(If, of course, you have a taste for luxury or more serious needs, you should consider getting a massage chair!)

Conclusion

Back pain affects many people, slowing down their days and making things as simple as tidying up the house a difficult and painful endeavor. Back massagers are a cost-effective and drug-free way to treat back pain, ideal for anyone who wants to get relief and unwind at the end of the day. Which back massager from our list is the most intriguing to you? Do you have any questions about back massagers? Let us hear your thoughts below!


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