The neck and shoulders carry a lot of weight, both literally and figuratively. When we’re stressed or anxious, we often tense our neck muscles and raise our shoulders. Working out with poor form can lead to strained neck muscles and sore shoulders, but so can carrying a heavy briefcase or backpack all day, lifting small children into bed at night and even lugging groceries up a flight of stairs.
The neck and shoulders go through a lot every day and that’s why it’s important to take care of them. There are many ways to do this — you can hit them with one of the best massage guns money can buy, use a posture corrector or even sleep on a neck pain-relieving pillow each night. You can also try to relieve acute neck pain using a neck massager.
Neck and shoulder massagers can relieve tension and knots that may be causing recurring headaches. As we spend extended portions of our days with our heads stretch forward while looking at screens, massagers can provide relief on strained muscles and relax users into a more comfortable, natural position. Tight or pulled muscles can be treated thanks to the heat and pressure from a massager.
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Treating yourself to a massage at a spa with a registered massage therapist is a great way to relieve sore and tired muscles, but when time and money make that difficult, a high-quality neck and shoulder massager can provide some much-needed reprieve.
What to Consider Before Buying a Neck and Shoulder Massager
A neck and shoulder massager is a super convenient device to have around the house for relief after a long day of work, physically demanding workout or travel day. Here are a few things to consider before purchasing one:
- What does your budget look like? Neck and shoulder massagers can range in price from $30-$200+, so it’s important to narrow down how much you’re willing to spend to make your selection easier.
- What sorts of features are you looking for? Neck massagers come with heat, shiatsu modes and other fancy add-ons. Narrow down which ones you care about, and it’ll make finding the right massager for you that much easier.
- Do you want an electric or manual neck massager? There are many electric options out there, but if you want to control your massage there’s no better option than a manual one. We’ve included both in our list.
How We Chose the Best Neck and Shoulder Massagers
When choosing the best neck and shoulder massagers we looked at how many features they pack in for the price point, as well as how easy they are to use. We consulted reviews and pinpointed which machines deliver on their promises and make it easy for consumers to get the relief they need. We didn’t include any that have too many bells and whistles, nor did we include ones where the design still has kinks that need to be worked out.
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1. Neckteck Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager
Bring the heat with the Neckteck Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager. Designed specifically for the neck and shoulders, the Naipo also provides an intense, heated massage to the lower back, legs and feet. Users can set the massager to their desired temperature up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, helping to warm up and relax muscles. Three levels of speed can be selected for the eight powerful 3-D kneading massage nodes. The Neckteck comes with a UL-approved power adapter and car adapter. The ergonomic massager contours around different body parts and the flexible straps provide a convenient place for users to place their hands or pull for added pressure when necessary.
Pros: The Neckteck works for 15 minutes before going into the automatic shut off mode, giving users an extended massage time and an important safety feature in one.
Cons: The control panel is positioned high on the massager and can be challenging to reach. Smaller users may find that the nodes deliver too much pressure.
2. Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager
For a massager that can be used on just about any part of your body, we recommend the Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager. The powerful massager delivers a 3D kneading Shiatsu massage using powerful nodes that automatically change direction every minute. Even better, the Zyllion provides a heated massage that adds an extra level of relief (with an automatic 15-minute shut-off for safety). The pillow-shaped massager can be used on the neck and shoulders, as well as lower back and legs. The Zyllion must be plugged into a wall outlet to work and does not require recharging.
Pros: The Zyllion comes with a strap to attach to a headrest and an AC adapter, making this a great option for users who wanted a heated massage while driving.
Cons: The inflexible design of the Zyllion makes it difficult to target all the muscles in the neck and shoulders at once. Different heat settings and massage intensity levels aren’t included.
3. RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager
Target trigger points, sore muscles, knots and any areas that need a little TLC using the RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager. The handheld massager features a powerful 3,600 pulses per minute for a deep tissue massage. Depending on the targeted area and desired level of intensity, users can choose from five interchangeable massage heads. Four power or ‘percussion’ levels are available and the massager is designed with a comfortable silicone handle. The Renpho comes with a charging base and indicator light that tells users when it is in charging mode and when it is fully charged.
Pros: The Renpho has an impressive 140-minute battery life after a single recharge (the massager will shut off automatically after 20 minutes as a safety feature).
Cons: The Renpho is not hands-free and users have to hold it when in use. It also does not have a heating feature.
4. MagicMakers Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager
This electric neck and back massager costs less than $30, making it a great value buy in the space and perfect if you’re on a budget. It’s built with eight different 3-dimensional kneading Shiatsu nodes and an ergonomic pillow design that fits perfectly underneath your neck and shoulders. It’s got two different massage directions you can choose from, and it has a portable design with a Velcro strap you can easily attach to a car seat or desk chair.
Pros: Eight different massage nodes to choose from, portable design, affordable price.
Cons: Users have less control over the heat with this massager than with other options.
5. Sportneer Deep Tissue Muscle Massager
BEST MASSAGE GUN
We’ve tested a lot of massage guns, and for the money, it’s hard to beat the Sportneer Percussion Massage Gun. This massager has a range of speed settings and can deliver targeted relief to sore muscles and hidden knots. This massage gun has an impressive battery life and isn’t too noisy, which is a problem with most budget massagers. You can choose from a variety of massage gun attachments and experiment until you find the right fit for your pain. A list of the best shoulder and neck massagers wouldn’t be complete without at least one massage gun, and this is a great option for anyone with mild to moderate pain.
Pros: This percussive massager delivers intense massage that penetrates deep into your body. Long-lasting battery life. Convenient carrying case.
Cons: Will be difficult to reach the back and neck without assistance from a partner. Can be difficult to hold for long periods of time at higher speed settings.
6. Voyor Neck Massager
Save your hands and apply pressure to trigger points using the Voyor Neck Massager. Rather than pushing your fingers and thumbs awkwardly into your neck and upper back to help relieve tension and massage sore muscles, the Voyor puts pressure on these points using two firm silicone balls. Users can massage or knead sore or tender areas by applying a small amount of pressure, which is comfortable to do thanks to the ergonomic design of the plastic massager handles. The Voyor can help alleviate tension that can cause headaches and it can improve blood flow and circulation. We also like that it is lightweight, making it easy for users who have mobility issues or weakness in their hands and arms.
Pros: The Voyor is an affordable massager that doesn’t require batteries or cords to use, making it a great option for using at the gym or while traveling.
Cons: The balls don’t roll, which would help create a smoother massage. It can be difficult to target other areas, including shoulders and triceps.
7. Snailax Full Back and Shoulder Massager
BEST FULL BACK AND NECK
This neck and back massager can turn any chair at home or the office into a massage chair with three different massage zones built in that cover your neck, shoulders, upper and lower back. The massage nodes are made of flexible silica gel that’s designed to feel like a professional’s hands, and there’s a heating pad to help enhance the massage as well. The rolling massage has two adjustable levels of intensity, and there’s a strapping system that secures it in place.
Pros: Easily converts a regular chair into a massage chair instantly, two different intensity levels, soft and flexible silica.
Cons: Not as portable as other designs.
8. Lila Back and Neck Massager
BEST MANUAL MASSAGER
Target trigger points throughout the body with the LiBa Back and Neck Massager. The LiBa is made with hard plastic and has a double hook design with hard balls on various points to give users a wide range of options for reaching sore muscles. The LiBa’s function is to enable users to give themselves a massage and target multiple areas, including the neck, upper and lower back, hips, legs and feet. By using the therapy nodes (small balls) on the hook, users can address pressure points and improve blood flow and circulation.
Pros: Users can give themselves a neck, back, leg and foot massage all while in the sitting position, making this an ideal option for users with mobility issues.
Cons: The LiBa may be too heavy for some users to comfortably maneuver. The massager comes in two pieces and they may loosen over time.
9. RESTECK Massagers for Neck and Back with Heat
RESTECK makes an excellent deep tissue massager that’s designed to relieve acute pain through shiatsu massage. This massager has a portable design that can be worn or packed up, and it’s multipurpose so you can use it on your neck, shoulders, or lower back if need be. It’s got 3D kneading nodes designed to mimic a professional’s hands, and it’s made with durable materials that are built to last. It’s got a heated function and an auto-shutdown to save battery as well.
Pros: Durable design, multipurpose, 3D kneading nodes that mimic a professional.
Cons: This massager does not have the temperature range of other neck massagers.