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best back massager - woman at office using massager

The 7 Best Back Massagers For Pain & Tight Muscles (2020 Review)

When you’ve been sitting at a desk all day, there’s nothing better than a quality back massager to ease the tension. But there’s a variety of options and they’re not all created equally. There’s different styles, types, and even some with stronger motors for deeper tissue massages. In this post, we review them all to help you find the best back massager for your needs. 

Let’s get right to it...

Our top picks for the top back massagers

#1

Best Overall

Snailex Gel Massager

Our Rating

#2

Top Premium Choice

Comfier Shiatsu Massager

Our Rating

#3

Best Value

RESTECK Neck & Back Massager

Our Rating


Quick Answer: The 7 Best Back Massagers


Best Back Massager Reviews

Below we review all of our favorites from the top down. The top three are our favorites and below those are runners up. Read all the way to the end because we reviewed multiple styles including handheld, pillow, and even a full mat that you can lay on.


Snailax Gel Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager

Our Rating


Why we love it: Gel massage nodes that mimic a human hand and the entire back rest heats up (not just the nodes).

This massage chair features 4 unique massage nodes that penetrate sore and tired muscles on the neck, back, and shoulders. However, what makes this one different is that the massage nodes have a gel over them that feels like a human hand. 

When we decided to try this out, we were concerned that the gel wouldn’t be able to give a firm massage and that it wouldn’t glide as effortlessly as the harder nodes. Fortunately, that wasn’t a problem. The gel nodes are softer than pure plastic but feel more like a dense gel or rubber. So it’s softer than hard plastic but still pretty firm and doesn’t have any issues gliding over your clothes. 

You can also adjust the nodes up and down to fit the height of any family member and it’s built with an optional heat function to enhance blood circulation. Unlike most of the other back massagers, this one has a heating pad that covers the whole back area. Most of the other choices have heat only in the nodes which works great but the whole back heat really adds another level of relief. Overall, if you want a chair style back massager, you can’t go wrong with this one. 

What makes it special?

  • Gel covered massage nodes
  • The entire backrest heats up 
  • Affordably priced at the time of this writing

Specs

  • Shipping Weight: 15.9 lbs
  • 4 Massage Nodes
  • Washable Cover
  • Soft Gel Technology


Comfier Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager

Our Rating


Why we love it: It is an all-in-one back and neck massager.

Reward yourself after spending hours at work with the Comfier Shiatsu neck and back massager. This effectively provides a solution to your aching neck, shoulder, back, waist, thighs, and even gives a relaxing way to ease fatigue, stress, and soreness. 

Like the Snailax, it has the ability to perform a shiatsu or rolling back massage. The shiatsu function also has the option for heat and the width of the massage heads can be adjusted when you’re using the rolling massage function. 

What separates the Comfier from the Snailax is that it has airbags on the sides which inflate to provide a snug fit in the massage chair. It’s almost like sitting in the bucket seat of a sports car and it definitely improves the experience of the massage. There’s also three settings for the airbags so you can inflate them as much or as little as you like depending on your size.

It also has a spot massage setting that lets you focus on one specific area that needs attention. You can choose full back, upper back, or lower back depending on your preference. And finally, it also has a vibrating seat pad to lightly massage your thighs and hips. 

That being said, there were a few flaws that aren’t necessarily a big deal but worth mentioning. First, the button to move the rollers up and down doesn’t move them very much so you have to hit it quite a few times to get it to the right spot.

Second, when the timer runs out, the rollers don’t reset to the starting position. They stop wherever they are. This can be a bit of a pain if they stop in the mid/upper back section because you then have to turn it back on to get the rollers to a comfortable position. Not necessarily a big deal but something to consider. 

That being said, it’s an overall excellent back massager. You can lean into it without the rollers stalling, it has a detachable pad so you can control the intensity, and it's unique airbag functions make it that much more comfortable to sit in.

What makes it special?

  • Unique airbag feature that makes the experience far more comfortable
  • Heated massaging nodes
  • Powerful and quiet 

Specs

  • Shipping Weight: 21.6 lbs
  • 2D/3D Shiatsu Massage
  • Rolling and Spot Massage
  • Air Compression, Heat and Vibration Massage


RESTECK Massager for Neck & Back with Heat

Our Rating


Why we love it: Powerful massage nodes, three speeds, several heat settings, free carrying bag, and a lifetime warranty.

Do you love messages but love the outdoors too? Now you can have both with the RESTECH neck and back massager. Out of the box it comes with a carrying bag and a car adapter so you can use it anywhere. Then when you’re home, you can just plug it into the wall using the wall adapter. 

Regarding features, it has three speeds and even settings to regulate the heat level. That’s not a common feature in less expensive back and neck massagers. And just in case you’re worried that it’s too good to be true, the RESTECH comes with a lifetime warranty. If you have any issues, just send them an email and they’ll mail you a new one. 

When using it, we didn’t have any problems with the motor stalling when we put pressure on it which is ideal if you prefer a deep tissue massage. And if you get sore feet or have plantar fasciitis, you’ll be happy to know that it works really well on your feet. The long handles give you something to hold onto so you can adjust the pressure for a deeper or lighter massage depending on your preference. There’s pretty much no down side to this one. If you like this style of massager and don’t want a chair or pillow version, then this is the best around. 

What makes it special? 

  • Lifetime warranty 
  • Heated massaging nodes
  • Works on all body parts

Specs

  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Bidirectional Kneading Nodes Technology
  • Portable
  • Easy to use


Snailax Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager

Our Rating


Why we love it: Massages your whole back and neck, you can turn the heat on or off, vibrating seat cushion, shiatsu or rolling back massage, powerful motor. 

This massager helps you ease the soreness feeling you have in your shoulders, neck, and back. This also lessens chronic pain, soreness in your lower lumbar, center and upper back, shoulder, and neck. There are 4 unique shiatsu massage nodes and 3 spot zones available in this massager. Like some of the others, it has an optional heat function and a rolling massage option with an adjustable width so you can release tension from the muscles along your spine. 

When it comes to your lower extremities, we doubt you want to sit on massage nodes. The seat cushion instead has two vibration speeds to improve blood flow to your legs and hips. It also includes a detachable pad that goes over the neck portion and another for the back so you can control the intensity of your massage. If you want more intensity, detach the flap and you’ll really feel it. And speaking of feeling it, if you like deep tissue, it can accommodate. The motors that control the massage nodes never stalled on us even with a 220 lb man leaning pretty hard onto the nodes. 

And as far as controlling your massager goes, it has a remote control that let's you select the type of massage, area(s) you want to target, and speeds. The only issue is that the height adjustments are deigned for someone between about 5'3" and 5'11". So if you're taller, the neck portion will be too low. If you're shorter, too high. That being said, if you're between those heights, it'll be juuuust right. 

What makes it special? 

  • Good warranty 
  • Heated massaging nodes
  • Vibrating seat pad 

Specs

  • Suited for 63-70.9 inches height
  • Power: works for both 110-120V and 220-240V electrical outlet
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 lbs
  • 30 days full refund or exchange, 90 days for a quality issue, 2 Years Product Warranty


Naipo Shiatsu Neck Back Massager

Our Rating


Why we love it: Portable, affordably priced, heated massage nodes. 

If you're looking for a handy back and neck massager that you can bring along with you in your car, office, or use at home, the Naipo Shiatsu neck and back massage pillow is a handy option. There are 4 shiatsu massage nodes that mimic the kneading and penetrating motion of a real therapist's hands and it feels amazing if you have tight muscles.

Equally important, it automatically changes the direction of kneading every 1 minute, and the massage nodes can heat up to 112℉ to improve blood circulation and warm up your muscles. The kneading coupled with heat helps to release deeper knots faster than the massage alone. It’s also programmed with a 20-minute auto shut-off function to avoid overheating or soreness, most especially when you fall asleep while using it. 

One thing we really like about the pillow shape is that it’s flat so you can use it when you’re lying in bed. Some of the other massagers, like the chair or the over the shoulder options don’t lie flat so you have to sit up when using them. This one gives you the option of using it both in a chair or when you’re lying down and doesn’t stall out when you’re laying on it. Overall, it’s a very handy back massager and one that’s easy to bring with you wherever you go. 

What makes it special?

  • Lies flat so you can use it in bed
  • Comes with car adapter 
  • Has straps for wrapping it around your seat and massaging your back

Specs

  • Product Weight: 3.31 lbs
  • Portable and Lightweight
  • 4 Deep Kneading Shiatsu Massage
  • Easy control button


RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Massager

Our Rating


Why we love it: Cordless, long battery life, lightweight, powerful. 

This RENPHO Massager uses percussion technology that can help you relax several parts of your body such as the neck, shoulders, back, legs, thighs, and arms. You can customize your massage depending on your preference by choosing among its 5 interchangeable head-attachments. In addition, it has a powerful motor that gives up to 3600 pulses per minute. You also won't have to worry about overheating because it automatically shuts off after 20 minutes of using it. 

You can also bring it anywhere you like since it's a handheld and cordless. Whether you plan to use this while you're traveling, working in your office, or at the comfort of your home, the RENPHO back massager is the perfect companion for relaxation. It comes with a built-in battery that lasts up to 140 minutes when fully charged. 

Overall, it’s a decent handheld back massager. That being said, you’re unable to use it while it’s charging. It’s not a big deal but it’s a bummer to reach for your massager and then realize you have to wait for an hour before you can use it. And lastly, if you're looking for this style of massage gun, we wrote a whole review on the best percussion massagers and there are better options in our opinion. 

What makes it special? 

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • 3,600 pulses per minute
  • Long 140 minute battery life

Specs

  • Product Weight: 1.8 lbs
  • Colors Available: Black, White
  • High Battery Capacity
  • Long-serving Time


Snailax Massage Mat

Our Rating


Why we love it: It’s like a very large heating pad that vibrates. Excellent for back pain and menstrual cramps. 

The Snailax Massage Mat has 10 vibrating motors that provide relaxing and vibrating massages for the whole body to reduce stress and fatigue. This mat comes with 5 massage modes, 4 selective massage zones and 3 intensities to customize your experience. Made with 100% ultra-plush polyester, it's very comfortable to lie on and you could easily fall asleep on it if you let yourself. 

Within the mat are four different heating pads running down the center. These heating pads are excellent if you’re dealing with PMS cramps or back pain. They help to loosen up all of your muscles, improve circulation, and relax your body. 

One important thing to note about it is that it’s not a shiatsu or deep tissue massager. Instead, it's built with vibrating motors. These help loosen things up but it’s not designed for penetrating deep tissues. This is more for relaxing, light massaging, and helping circulation. Lastly, it’s lightweight and foldable so you can easily store it in a closet. If you want something to get the blood flowing, loosen up your muscles, and something that's relaxing to rest on, this is very comfortable.

Specs

  • The entire mat heats up 
  • 10 massage motors
  • Lightweight and foldable for easy storage

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 9.1 x 13.8 inches
  • Product Weight: 5.65 pounds
  • Overheating protection System

four back and neck massagers on a white background

How to choose the best back massager

Power

The power of your back massager is super important. The last thing you want is a deep tissue massager that stalls out when you’re getting a massage. Fortunately, none of the massagers on this list had any issues and were able to hit even the deepest knots. 

Speed Settings

Ideally your back massager will have a 3 speed settings. It’s not required but something to consider if you like a slower or faster massage. The one setting massagers tend to go at a slow-medium pace which is fine for most people though. 

Heated Vs Non-heated

Most users prefer a heated massage as it helps loosen muscles and relieve pain more than a non-heated massage. Whether you prefer a heated massage or not, it’s a good idea to get a back massager that has a heat option just in case someone else in the family wants to try it out.

Portability

If you spend a lot of time in the office or car, consider getting a massager that you can bring everywhere. Most of the massagers on this list have a car adapter so portability won’t be a problem. The exception being the handheld RENPHO which is battery powered. 

Versatility 

Most massagers are designed for your neck and back. That being said, if you want something that can hit all areas, you should consider something like the RENPHO or the RESTECK which are capable of working your back and neck as well as all other areas. 

Price

Back massagers are not that expensive and this is especially true when you consider that the average massage is about $60 without the tip. Needless to say they pay for themselves pretty quickly. That being said, it’s always a bad idea to buy something just because it’s cheap. Check the specs and make sure you’re getting what you really need from the massager before buying.

woman using pillow shaped back massager in office chair

Benefits of a Back Massager

Relieves Back Pain

This is just one of the many benefits of a back massager. It breaks up scar tissue, detoxifies muscles, stimulates lymph movement and helps to improve circulation. All of these combined can help with stress, better mobility, and pain relief. 

Improves Circulation

It's proven that massage improves blood circulation which aids in the delivery of oxygen and blood to your muscle cells and speeds up recovery.

Improves Mood

This is one of the best benefits of getting a massage. As you get relaxed, your body releases hormones that lift up your mood and makes you feel better through the day.

Better Sleep

Have you ever had a massage and not slept well after? Exactly. When you’re not tense and stressed out, sleeping better is inevitable. 

rose gold colored neck massager

Back Massager FAQ’s

Can I use a back massager while pregnant? 

We know how bad pregnant moms want a massage to relieve the endless back pain. However, you should check with a doctor before getting one to make sure that it's safe for you and your baby.

How long can I use a back massager for?

Most back massagers come with timers that shut them off after 20-30 minutes. They put these in place as a safety precaution just in case you fall asleep while you’re using it. That being said, if it shuts off while you’re using it, you can just turn it right back on. There’s no health issues that arise from using it longer but use your judgement and don’t overdo it. 

Can I sleep on a back massager?

Most come with an auto-shutdown feature that cuts off after 20-30 minutes just in case you fall asleep. So yes, you can sleep with it but it’s going to shut off. 

Can I use a back massager while driving?

Many of the back massagers on this list are designed with commuters in mind. In fact, they include adapters for your car. That being said, if you’re the type of person to fall asleep while getting a massage, then you should probably avoid using it while driving.

Summary & Our Top Picks For The Best Back Massager

Now that all your questions have been answered, it’s time for our top picks.Here goes: 

  1. Snailex Gel Shiatsu back massager - Best overall
  2. Comfier Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager - Best Premium
  3. RESTECK over the shoulder massager - Best value

We chose the Snailex for our top choice because it’s affordably priced and comes with some great added features. We like the feeling of the gel nodes, it’s powerful, and the entire backrest heats up - most other massagers radiate heat only from the nodes. 

We chose the Comfier as our premium choice because the overall experience of using it was excellent. The airbags on the side of it work to bring you into the massager and provide a more comfortable experience. We also liked the power of the motors, quietness, and how easy it was to set up. 

And the RESTECK is our best value choice because it’s powerful, you can use it on all kind of areas including your feet, and while it doesn’t massage your entire back at the same time like the others, it’s affordable and comes with a lifetime warranty. 

As far as getting the best back massager goes, you can’t go wrong with any of these three. Now go get yourself one and experience the relief for yourself. 


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