Car Seat Back Massager

Best Car Seat Back Massager (2021): 4 Top Massagers for Car Seats

By jwilder

Massagers are excellent pieces of technology: they help you relax, and can relieve stress and pain, particularly that common ailment among seniors: back pain!  

There are perhaps fewer places more constraining and hard on the back than the car. Over time, you feel cramped, sore, and exhausted. That’s why car seat back massagers are such a great purchase- they can make driving a much better experience, and save your back hours of pain in the process.

Read our guide to the best car seat back massagers to learn more and see the top models!

What is a Car Seat Back Massager?

Massage devices use electric motors connected to round rollers to gently apply pressure and work out kinks and knots in your muscles.

Many massagers also include vibration or heat elements that further aid in relieving pain and helping people relax. They’re a great way to relax, reduce stress levels, and treat aches and pains without drugs. Most massagers, except for massage chairs, are also very affordable - typically, they can be purchased for less than $200.

Many people who experience back pain feel it while they drive. If you drive long distances or are planning an upcoming road trip, you may be worried about having to deal with back pain the entire time. Luckily, there are many massagers that will fit in your car’s seat and run on battery power/plug into the car outlet.

These products are very convenient and don’t take up too much space so you can drive and get a massage without becoming distracted or sitting at an awkward angle.

Best Car Seat Back Massagers: 2021

1. Best Car Seat Back Massager (Overall): Sharper Image Go Anywhere Back Massage Cushion

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)

With 12 different Shiatsu Massage nodes and a slim design that covers the entire back, there is no beating the Go Anywhere from Sharper Image when it comes to back massage. It fits nicely into any car seat without feeling bulky or as if you’re leaning against a phone book. The massage nodes gently and firmly work out all the knots and kinks in your back as soothing heat keeps you loose and comfortable. It’s powered by a car adapter, plugging right into your car’s outlet.

The two best things about the Go Anywhere are the number of massage nodes that reach the entire back and neck and the slim, portable design. With this massager, you don’t have to worry about it sitting awkwardly in your car and not flush against the back of your car seat. It’s designed for a snug fit, in every car seat, every time. If you want or need a luxurious full back massage while driving, there is no better option than the Sharper Image Go Anywhere!

2. Best Car Back Massager With Heat: Snailax Vibration Massage Seat Cushion with Heat

SNAILAX Vibration Massage Seat Cushion with Heat 6 Vibrating Motors and 2 Heat Levels, Back Massager, Massage Chair Pad for Home Office use

This vibrating back massager has six different vibration motors and two separate heating elements. It’s thin and easy to attach to your car’s driver or passenger seat, hardly taking up any noticeable space. The massage it delivers is relaxing, gentle, and warm thanks to the heating elements.

12V Car Adapter Compatible for All Snailax Back Massage Cushion Cigarette Lighter Car Charger Adapter

The only thing that is a bit of a letdown about the Snailax Vibration Massage Seat is that you have to purchase the car adapter separately. It costs about $10, and the two together will still cost less than many other back massagers, but it would be much better if they were included in the same purchase.

Outside of that, though, this is the ideal vibration/heat massager for use in the car, at home, or at the office. It’s effective, simple, and makes your day just that much better. If you regularly feel back pain in the car but don’t enjoy the feeling of kneading massage rollers, the Snailax Vibration Massage Seat is exactly what you need!

3. Back Massager for Car and Home: Sharper Image Car Cushion With Massage and Heat

One of the more affordable products at Sharper Image, this thin cushion provides four different massage modes (kneading, tapping, rolling, and pulsing) to your upper back, lumbar area, and thighs. It also has a heating element that makes a great massager and a great deal. You can plug it into your car’s outlet or use a standard wall outlet. It’s lightweight, thin, and easy to move, so it’s simple to take your massager from one room to another, to the car, and back!

If you’re looking for a simple way to relieve back pain while you drive, watch TV, or read, this is it. It costs just under $60, has a remote that is easy to read and use, and delivers an effective massage/heat therapy session in just 15 minutes. When you’re not using it? It’s easy to fold and store away for next time. It’s an all-around great massage cushion that should satisfy just about any senior!

4. Best Lower Back Massager for Car: Mynt Cordless Neck and Back Massager

Mynt Cordless Neck Back Massager, Shiatsu Rechargeable Massage Pillow with Heat-3D Deep Kneading, Use Unplugged, iF Design Award Winner

This cordless massager avoids the biggest downfalls of battery-powered back massagers: short life and low power. The battery lasts for two hours, and it’s strong enough to provide a full 3D shiatsu massage for your lower back. It’s such a good design that it won the iF Design Award in 2018, an accolade no other massager holds.

The Mynt Cordless Massager uses a unique flattened massage node that makes for a more gentle and effective Shiatsu experience compared to traditional round nodes. It feels more like human hands and lessens the occasional discomfort that people feel from Shiatsu-style massages. Like most other massagers, it also has a heating pad function that completes the experience. If you need a lower back massager for the car, this is the ideal product for you!

Pros & Cons of Using a Car Seat Back Massager

Pros

  • Relaxation: It’s not just in your head. Massage has been scientifically proven to help people relax and unwind. It’s a natural, soothing sensation that reduces tension and stress in your body, improves your mood, and gives you boosts of serotonin and dopamine. What’s not to love?
  • Pain Relief: Massage is also effective at relieving back pain. If you have back pain, one of the causes might be poor posture and muscle tension. Massage works to loosen and relax your muscles, reducing your pain and preventing it from coming back quickly.
  • Decreased Stress: Massage, it was found in a study conducted by the International Journal of Neuroscience, decreases your cortisol levels, effectively and consistently reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Convenience: Most car seat back massagers can also be used in the home and at the office, not just in the car. They’re convenient and versatile devices that can accommodate a busy, “on-the-go” lifestyle.
  • Great for Long Trips: Driving can be a lot of fun, but after 5-7 hours, your back probably won’t be feeling the same anymore. Using a car seat back massager can help you feel more alert and ready for long drives by preventing pain and promoting good posture!

Cons

  • Price: Because car seat back massagers need to be able to run on battery power or through a car outlet, they are often more expensive than simple corded massagers for home use. The good news is that they’re still quite affordable on the whole; you should just expect to pay 20-30% more for a portable back massager.
  • Battery Issues: Batteries just aren’t as reliable as wall outlets. Some back massagers use replaceable batteries, sending you running to the store every time the batteries die. Most car seat back massagers use rechargeable batteries, which come with their own problems. Rechargeable batteries wear down over time; where a corded massager could last a decade without failing, rechargeable massagers may only last 3-5 years.
  • Power: Finally, battery-powered massagers often aren’t quite as strong as models that plug into the wall. If you are interested in a powerful deep-tissue massage, you may want to temper your expectations when it comes to a car seat back massager. You can still get a great, beneficial massage, it just might not be as intense as you’d hoped.

Where to Buy Car Seat Back Massagers (Online and In-Store)

Online Retailers

  • Amazon: With over 12 million products in their catalog, Amazon is a marketplace with unmatched selection. They also provide fast shipping and are generally very lenient with returns. If you’re the type of person who loves convenience and having options, there is no better place to find a car seat back massager than on Amazon!
  • Wayfair: Not quite as large as Amazon, Wayfair’s online marketplace is a bit more curated, meaning that there are fewer bad products on Wayfair. The trade-off is that Wayfair also tends to be slightly more expensive, but it’s still a great place to shop!
  • Sharper Image: They’re one of the most recognizable brands for home electronics, and they have a small but high-quality selection of back massagers that work well in cars. If you’re not enticed by any of the offerings on Amazon or Wayfair, Sharper Image will be able to help.

Physical Stores

When it comes to massage products, physical stores are very hit-or-miss. Most supermarkets and pharmacies (think Walmart, CVS, etc) have a few massage products on hand. However, the items they carry in-store may not be suitable for use in a car. You might get lucky and find that a store has a portable back massager, and you might not. If you want to check out stores in your area, here are some places that might have portable back massagers:

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Meijer
  • CVS
  • Rite Aid
  • Walgreen’s

Again, while each of these stores will certainly carry massagers, they might not be the type of massagers that will work well while in a car. Because car seat back massagers are a specific item, your best bet is to shop online!

Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Car Seat Back Massager

Type of Massage

Generally, you can find three types of massage in a car seat back massager:

  • 2D Shiatsu: These massage rollers move up and down and side to side, gently kneading your back muscles and providing lumbar pain relief. “Shiatsu” is a form of massage that involves strong but gentle motions; that is what these rollers are designed to replicate.
  • 3D Shiatsu: In addition to up/down, left/right motions, 3D massage rollers move in/out, pressing deep into your muscle tissue and then pulling back. If you enjoy a deep-tissue massage or have severe back pain, this is the type of massaging you should look out for.
  • Vibration: This type of massage is exactly what it sounds like. The motors vibrate very quickly, gently loosening your back and helping you relax as you drive. It’s not going to be as effective as Shiatsu massage, but it is still beneficial and is better for people who prefer a lighter touch from their massager.

Battery vs Plug-In

There’s no mistaking the convenience and portability of battery-powered massagers, but do plug-in models have anything to offer? When a massager plugs into the outlet in your car, it usually operates with a bit more strength than a massager that uses batteries. You also don’t have to worry about the batteries dying in the middle of a massage or taking it inside to recharge.


In the end, both battery and plug-in car seat back massagers have their strengths, and neither is obviously better than the other. It’s up to you to decide which type of power works for you!

Battery Life

This one is simple: the longer the battery lasts, the less time you’ll spend taking it inside to recharge the batteries- and the more you’ll likely be paying for it. Because back massagers are generally quite inexpensive, you shouldn’t worry too much about getting a “high-priced” car seat back massager because it will still be more affordable than you’d think. So, if you’re going the battery-powered route, look for the model that fits your needs and has the longest battery life possible!

Wrapping Up: Car Seat Back Massagers

Driving a car for long periods of time can be exhausting. It can also wreak havoc on your back, especially if you already have back issues. If you feel back pain during or after driving/riding in a car, a car seat back massager will help you tremendously. Which car seat back massager is piquing your interest? Leave your comments below!


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