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Top 5 Best Neck Massagers: Your Ultimate Guide and Reviews 2018 

Do you start to feel tense after a long day at work? Are you plagued by neck, shoulder, or back pain? That’s precisely why devices like back and neck massagers exist – and for some people they make a world of difference in their lives. And it can quite possibly do the same for you.

Of course, that’s only true if you buy the best neck massager for your needs. With this comprehensive guide, we can help you familiarize yourself with all the criteria you need to look at before deciding on the right model for you. Then, our neck massager reviews can help you narrow down your decision.

Choosing the Right Neck Massager for You

Pinpointing the best neck massager for you is the first important step towards finding relief from the tension and pain in your back, neck, and shoulders. However, it can be more difficult than you might think – it’s not as simple as purchasing the first one you see online or in the store.

A lot of things go into creating the perfect massager for your needs. Not only are not all massagers made equal, but the right one differs from person to person depending on what you are looking for.

To help prevent you from making a purchase you are only going to regret, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know before selecting your ideal neck massager.

Using a Neck Massager to Relax

Neck massagers are often used to help people relax. If you come home after a long day at the office and feel tense and stressed, there’s nothing like closing your eyes and relaxing with one of these handy little massagers curled around your neck. They are also great to use while watching some TV and leaning back in your favorite recliner!

Whatever your definition of relaxing is – be it reading a book, watching TV, sitting around and chatting with friends – if you can comfortably wear a neck massager while you do it, then you will be amazed at how effectively it can enhance your relaxation time!

But believe it or not, enhancing your relaxation time is not all that neck massagers are good for. There are many other benefits that you can enjoy as the owner of one of these helpful devices. Let’s delve into some of the most common benefits users rave about:

The Advantages of a Neck Massager

  • Alleviate Pain Naturally: Whether you’re experiencing aches and pains from overexertion, like playing sports, exercising, or an otherwise active lifestyle, or if your aches and pains are from bad posture or sitting at a desk all day, neck massagers introduce a natural way to alleviate the pain. Many people turn to pain killers, which can have severe or adverse side effects. But a massaging machine can do the job just as well – or better – without any adverse side effects.
  • Increase Circulation: Massages are known to increase blood circulation by how they move and keep your muscles stimulated. This is good to help promote healing, alleviate pain, and keep your muscles in tip-top shape.
  • Relieve Depression and Anxiety: Being tense and stressed can lead a person to feel like they are on edge at all hours of the day. This can easily transform into persistent depression and anxiety, but that can be relieved with a neck massage. A person suffering from depression and anxiety can improve their wellbeing immensely by using these massagers to help them relax and unwind from their troubles in the world.
  • Alleviates Insomnia: Neck and shoulder massage devices have been proven to aid people in falling asleep. Those who suffer from insomnia can fall asleep much faster and enjoy a more restful sleep with the calming and relaxing feel of one of these around their neck.
  • Relieves Hard-to-Reach Areas: Do you find yourself trying to rub at the spot that’s bothering you, but find that it’s too challenging to reach? Or is trying to reach that spot only straining you and causing even more pain? These hard to reach spots can get relief with a neck and shoulder massager.
  • Reduces Stress: There’s nothing like coming home after a long day and putting your feet up with a neck massager on. It helps to relax you, allowing you to forget the stress on your mind and unwind.
  • Portable: Wherever you go, there’s no reason you can’t take your neck massager with you. Use it while in bed or watching TV, pack it when you go on vacation – even bring it into the workplace!
  • Loosen Stiff Muscles: The motion of the neck massager can help to keep your muscles loose and nimble. Stiff muscles are brought on by a buildup of lactic acid. Regular massages can help to eradicate this toxin and increase blood circulation – keeping you feeling good and ready to move.
  • Save Time and Money: Without a home massaging machine, you have two choices: walk around in pain and not live your life to the fullest, or hire a massage therapist. The latter is not a cheap ordeal, and it’s time consuming, between driving to the appointment and getting your actual massage. You can’t multitask during an appointment with a massage therapist like you can with a neck massager, so it takes precious time out of your schedule – and drains your wallet!
  • Suitable for Anyone and Everyone: Any type of person can use a neck and shoulder massager. Office workers, athletes, homemakers, elderly people, and those with muscle fatigue alike can use them and enjoy the benefits!

What to Look for in a Neck Massager

The above benefits are something you can enjoy from essentially any high-quality neck massager. However, to ensure the highest satisfaction and to enhance your relaxation, you shouldn’t just buy the first one that crosses your path. Compare the features and capabilities of different products to make the best choice. Here are some of the things you should consider before purchasing:

Ready When You Are

You need a neck massager that is ready when you are – and where you are. Make sure your neck massage device is portable, so you can take it with you where you will need it most. If your massaging device is at home, it doesn’t do you a lot of good when you’re in the office, trying in vain to rub the kinks out of your neck. Consider whether your neck massager will be easily transportable before you settle on one.

This may not be an important factor if you only want your neck massager for when you are at home watching TV or lounging in bed. However, it becomes much more of an issue if you are someone who lives their life on the go and travels a lot, or if you want to use your massaging device all the time.

Speed and Intensity Settings

Many higher end massagers allow you to alter the intensity and speed of your massage. Adjusting these settings allows you to get a deeper, more thorough massage on particularly rough days. Or you can keep things light and relaxing when you’re just looking to unwind and watch television. For that reason, we love massagers that allow you to adjust the speed and intensity of your massage – check out how many setting options your home massaging device has before purchasing it.

Heat

Heat can help alleviate pain and swelling and promote better blood circulation. Some massagers, for these reasons, come with a heat setting that can be turned on and off. This helps reduce tension in your tight muscles, improve circulation, and more. If you’re just looking for a device to help you unwind and relax when you are stressed, then heat may not be a very important factor to you. However, if you have frequent or chronic pain, then a heat setting may be something you want to prioritize.

Overheating Protection

There are two reasons that your massager might overheat. While it is unlikely, your device might overheat simply because machines can naturally become hot if they are operating for long periods of time. The more likely reason your massager might overheat is if it has a heating element installed that you are using for an extended period of time. For these reasons, some neck massagers offer protection against overheating. In the event that the massager reaches a certain temperature, the device would automatically shut off if it has this feature implemented. This will help prevent damage to your muscles as a result of excessive heat being applied.

While this is not a feature that tends to be at the top of people’s proprieties in their hunt for the ideal neck massager, it’s a bonus to have, especially if you are purchasing a neck massager with a heating element and you plan on using it frequently and for extended periods of time.

Versatility

The most important thing that you want your neck massager to be able to accomplish is likely, well, to massage your neck. However, some devices offer more versatility. While they can easily sit behind your neck and help you to relax, they can also be used on various other parts of the body. If you suffer a leg injury, you can strap it to your leg and help facilitate and speed up the healing process. The same goes for your arms, back, etc.

While a neck massage may be all you’re looking for at the present moment, you never know when you might experience stiffness or pain somewhere else in the body, or sustain an injury. If that does happen, you’ll be glad to already have a versatile neck massager in the home, ready to help your entire body to feel better quickly and effectively.

Construction

You’ll be wearing your neck massager around your neck, so it should be comfortable! If the material encasing the massaging mechanisms is itchy or otherwise uncomfortable, you’re not going to want to use it. And even when you do end up using it, you won’t get the full benefits out of it because you won’t feel completely comfortable and relaxed! See what the outside material is made out of and if that will be comfortable for you to have on your neck for prolonged periods of time. Typically, a soft and high quality material gets the job done well, such as leather.

You’ll also want to look into other aspects of the device’s construction. How many rollers and motors does it have? Do they appear to be made out of durable materials and well-constructed? This helps to determine not only how well the machine will perform, but how long it will last you.

User-Friendly

You don’t want to use a neck massager that’s only going to make you more frustrated and stressed because you can’t figure out how to use it. Especially if you’re purchasing a neck massager that comes with a lot of advanced features and settings, those settings need to be easy to use.

Timer and Auto Shut Off

Some massagers come with timed options. This allows the user to select the duration they prefer with their massage and enjoy it for the specified amount of time. After this, the machine should automatically turn off on its own. This is a perfect feature if you want to drift off to sleep while wearing your massager without worrying about it being left turned on and left running all night long. It’s also a good way to allow you to get a complete massage, ensuring the massage goes on as long as you need it to.

Vibration vs. Percussion vs. Kneading

Various neck massagers use different techniques to help ensure your ultimate relaxation. Some devices are even designed and programmed to deliver more than one type of massage technique. You’ll want to check how your neck massager is actually able to give you a massage before you buy one, and understand the difference between these various massage techniques.

The first, and most basic, method is vibration. These machines with vibration work by vibrating across the surface of the neck massager. With this, they superficially knead the surface of your muscles. This is an ideal technique for soothing the body and helping you to enter into a state of relaxation. It loosens your sore, tired muscles quickly. The ideal time to use vibration on your body is for a quick 5 to 10 minute, simple massage.

If you are looking for a deeper massage, vibration is likely not enough to deliver the intensity you are hoping for. This is where kneading comes in. With kneading, the components of your machine apply pressure to different points of your body. This helps to stimulate your muscles and relieve pain.

Finally, percussion neck massagers are, in essence, machines that use hammers. They are able to give you a massage by sending vibrations into your muscles. This helps to stimulate your muscles and loosen them up, alleviating any pain you might be experiencing.

Power Cord

Some people prefer to purchase a corded massager, while others feel more comfortable using a cordless device. This has a lot to do with the user’s preferences. Using a corded device is a good option because you never need to worry about the power source running out. For ultimate comfort, you might prefer one with a longer cord. The shorter cords won’t allow you to sit in as comfortable of a position or to sit in your favorite chair, which is the last thing that you want when trying to enjoy a comforting and relaxing massage.

On the other hand, if you opt for a cordless massager, you can use it wherever you like! They are ideal for travel and portability. However, you’ll want to make sure it has a long battery life and stores a lot of power. Otherwise, it is not suitable for long uses or long periods of travel without pausing to replenish its power source.

Power

The power of your device can vary greatly from model to model. Percussion massagers require increased amounts of power to operate properly. For this reason, they can range from 25w to 45w in power. Vibration massagers will inherently have less power because they don’t need as much to get the job done. Check how much power your device wields before purchasing it – the more power it has, the more intense of a massage it will deliver.

Size

Your options in neck massagers will range in size. There will be small ones available to fit just on the base of your neck, while larger products will cover more muscle space and offer a more thorough and widespread massage.

When considering size, you should ask yourself if you prefer to have a larger massager that can cover more muscle mass, or if you are more inclined to have a smaller one that is easier to fit into a suitcase. This is going to have a lot to do with your lifestyle. Do you travel a lot? Is the pain you experience more spread out, requiring a device that can cover more ground? Are you hoping to take your massager with you on the go to a lot of places? The answers to these questions will help you to decide the size you are looking for in a neck massager. The answer to this one won’t be the same for everyone – there are advantages to each option.

Style

While the appearance of your neck massager might not be the first and foremost consideration, it is something you can still take into account during your decision-making process. If you think it looks tacky, then chances are, it will end up untouched in the back of your closet for months. However, if your massager features a pleasant design, then it will be more inviting and likely to be displayed in your living room and bedroom. This means you will see it more often and feel more inclined to put it on and use it. 

Prioritizing Your Preferred Features

It can be difficult to find a single neck massager that accomplishes absolutely everything you want it to, while staying within your budget – especially if you are looking for one with all of the most advanced features. To find the massager that is the best fit for you, it’s good to know what you are looking for in a massager – especially in terms of the features and characteristics we just went over when discussing what to look for in a neck massager.

Make a list of the characteristics and features that are the most important for you and your massaging needs. This way, you’ll know what to look for first and foremost. If you think the most important thing is to have a neck massager that allows you to adjust the settings and comes with a heating element, those are features you need to prioritize. However, at the same time, if you think it would be nice for the device to be cordless but it’s not exactly a non-negotiable factor, then that is a feature that you should only look at after you’ve ensured a device has adjustable settings and a heating element.

The Best Way to Use a Neck Massager

There is not only one “right” way to use a neck massager. However, some ways are certainly better than others! Here are a few tips that you may want to implement to make sure you get the most  out of your massager and its features. 

Less Is More

A general misconception exists among the pubic that only a massage that “hurts so good” will allow the user to get any benefits out of it. That is a complete myth! While a deep massage will sometimes make you feel twinges of pain, it’s not necessary to experience pain to get all the kinks and knots out of your muscles. In addition, chances are that if the device you use hurts too much, you won’t use it at all.

Another common myth is that an hour-long session is enough time to get all of the knots out of your body, but again, this is just a myth. Think about it: You wouldn’t work out only once a week, do nothing else to change your routine, and expect to see instantaneous fitness results. In the same way, eliminating all of the tension in your muscles in a single hour-long session is not a feasible goal or expectation.

For this reason, you should make a habit out of short sessions with your massager on a gentler setting – such as for 30 minutes instead of an hour. Then you can use it multiple times throughout the day instead of just once for an hour. With shorter and more frequent sessions, you can expect to see longer-lasting results.

Apply Heat Beforehand

Especially if your neck massager doesn’t come with a heating element, then it’s a good idea to apply heat to your neck before using your neck massager. Heat can help stiffened muscles to relax, which helps for a more thorough massage. You can use your neck massager on a less intense setting and still accomplish the same results in soothing your muscles and alleviating any pain.

In addition, heat helps your blood vessels to open up. This allows more blood (and therefore more oxygen) to reach the affected area. So, how can you apply this useful heat to your neck’s muscles? A heating pad is a great way to do it. You can also use a hot/cold pack by putting it in the microwave for the time listed on the instructions. If you don’t have either of these in your home, then you can make one yourself by filling a sock with rice, tying it off, and microwaving it for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on your heat preference.

However, if your neck massager provides a heat setting, then you’ve got it easy – you can simply turn on the heating element and relax while the massager heats your muscles and works out the kinks in your neck at the same time!

Either way, combining heat with a relaxing massage (whether beforehand or concurrently) provides the ultimate in comfort and self-care!

Who Should Use a Neck Massager?

The great thing about neck massagers is that they are for everybody! Whether you’re an office worker, a professional athlete, a homemaker, a man, a woman, young, old, or any other group – you can benefit from a neck massager.

These devices are great for those who are trying to alleviate pain, or those who are simple trying to relax – or both. They’re a great way to enhance your comfort levels when you’re watching TV, or trying to drift off to sleep – or doing many other activities in and outside of the home.

In short, neck massages are great for just about anyone!

Narrowing Down Your Options

Now that you know the basics about neck massagers and the features that you should look for in your preferred model, it’s time to start narrowing down your options. Without further ado, here are the neck massager reviews of our top 5 favorite neck massager options on the market today!

1. Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Heat

This model offers a deep-kneading Shiatsu massage to sooth your aching muscles, relieve the tightness in your neck and shoulders, and promote recovery in your muscles. The rolling massage nodes move down your shoulders and back, stimulating muscles on both sides of your spine and providing the ultimate deep massage. The vibration settings offer 3 levels of intensity – these can be used alone or in combination with other functions of your massage. It also offers a heating element to introduce a new level of relaxation to your aching neck and back.

The Brookstone corldless Shiatsu device can get to difficult to reach muscles in the back, neck, and shoulder blades. The model doesn’t have any cord to get in the way and force you into uncomfortable positions. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for ultimate portability – it lets you have your ultimate massage wherever you are! The handles can be raised or lowered to target exactly where you need your deep-kneading massage. It helps users to feel more relaxed, limber, and refreshed, ready to tackle the day.

2. Brookstone Neck and Shoulder Sport Massager with Heat

This Brookstone neck and shoulder sport massager is designed specifically for athletic and sporty people – enjoy a deep-kneading Shiatsu massage to relieve tightness and soothe aching muscles, promoting speedy recovery after physical activity. The rolling massage nodes cover the entire length of your back, massaging your shoulders and stimulating your spines on both sides for optimum results. A vibration setting is available, which can be used independently or concurrently with the other massage options and functions. The vibration intensity can be altered to your liking and comes with three different intensity settings.

  • Offers a lot of power for a thorough massage
  • Pulse setting effectively releases tension and knots
  • Sturdy construction to last for years to come
  • Has pre-programmed 8 minute cycles
  • Offers a heating element
  • Specially designed for athletics and sports
  • Control placement makes it easy to accidentally alter the settings
  • Overheats relatively quickly

3. Shiatsu Back, Neck and Shoulder Massager with Heat

This Shiatsu Back, Neck, and Shoulder Massager offers 8 massage roller balls to give you a powerful and thorough massage experience. They massage your shoulders, neck, lower back, upper back, feet, waist, tights, calves, arms, and legs. This versatile device is designed to be used all over your body, featuring 3 speed strength levels for adjustable intensity – giving you precisely the massage you need at that moment.

This model also massages in two directions – it switches every minute, offering better distribution of the massage’s effects. The heat function also kicks in to help loosen your muscles further, enhancing the device’s capability to relieve tension and undo knots. The device can be used with the heat function either on or off. It also comes equipped with a power adapter and car charger, allowing you to enjoy an electric massage in your office, car, home, and more. It also comes with a bag to carry it in, making transportation even easier.

  • Versatile enough to be used all over your body
  • Offers heating feature
  • 3 speed strength settings
  • Easily portable – comes with carry bag
  • Massages in two directions
  • Car charger included
  • Heating element doesn’t get very hot
  • Not as powerful as other models

4. Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager with Heat

This is a great back and neck massager for those looking for adjustable intensity. This Naipo shiatsu back and neck massager offers 3 different speeds with 8 deep-kneading Shiatsu massage nodes to soothe your tired, aching muscles and relieve muscle tightness. It comes with a built-in heat function to transfer warmth to your ligaments and muscles, improving blood circulation and enhancing overall relaxation.

The 3D rotation of the kneading massage rollers features an ergonomic U-shaped design. It’s perfect for the home, vehicle, travel, and office. A UL approved power adapter and vehicle adapter come included. The removable dust-proof bag is easy to clean, ensuring your device stays in tip-top shape for years to come. The flexible straps make it easier for users to apply pressure. You can adjust the massager to best target the hardest to reach areas. This model also features a 20-minute auto-off function, as well as an overheat protection system to automatically shut off if the machine begins to reach too high of temperatures.

Made from PU leather, 3D mesh fabric and mesh protect cloth, this massager is built to last. Designed to relieve tension in the upper back, lower back, and provide complete relaxation, it’s a sturdy model that works wherever you are.

  • Included heat feature with 3 levels
  • Provides the power needed on sore muscles
  • Adjustable power settings
  • Works where you are
  • Durable construction
  • 3 intensity settings
  • Doesn’t produce much heat
  • Difficult to tell what heat setting is on
  • Cord is too short
  • Device can be heavy and awkward to use

5. Hueplus CORDZERO-5500 Cordless Premium Shiatsu Back, Neck, and Shoulder Massager 

The Hueplus CORDZERO-5500 can be charged up and used conveniently while you’re on the go! Constructed with a premium leather cover for ultimate comfort, it also allows you to switch the direction of rotation. With 3D double-tension massaging technology, it achieves an effect like a real massage with its 8 improved massage nodes. You can easily adjust the intensity of the massage.

When using, the timer will automatically be set for 15 minutes. The heating element can easily be turned on and off, while the speed control and rotation direction buttons are also easy to access. The warmth helps to loosen your muscles and enhance the value of your massage. It’s just warm enough to loosen your muscles, but not as hot as other models. It’s also a very quiet model compared to other devices – making it easier to use wherever you desire. It comes with a car adapter as well, so it can truly be used on-the-go.

It’s another versatile model that can be used on areas of the body other than your neck and shoulders. It’s designed to provide a massage to all parts of your body, including legs, arms, waist, and your core. It’s comfortable and relaxing for anybody to wear and enjoy!

  • Intensity can be adjusted
  • Comfortable external material
  • Automatic shut off
  • Works on various parts of the body
  • Doesn’t heat up as much as other models

The Verdict

Clearly, there are a lot of options and factors to consider when it comes to finding the neck massager that’s going to bring you the relaxation you crave and deserve. With the models we have reviewed above, you should be able to narrow down your search considerably.

While you can’t go wrong with any of the models we’ve reviewed, we find that most people find the most satisfaction and success from the Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Heat. It has nearly everything that users are looking for – the convenience and portability of a cordless model, paired with the ability to adjust the vibration settings, and a great heating element. The result is a powerful and customizable massage that covers a lot of ground and really works out the kinks in your neck and back. It has just the right amount of power behind it, unlike other models that either hurt too much or don’t allow you to feel the rollers enough.

This neck massager is able to dig in deep and really get the job done, paired with relaxing heat and 3 different vibration settings. Unlike some other models we reviewed, this heats up nicely, and you can really tell the difference it makes in soothing your muscles.

Of course, one neck massager can’t do it all – although this one comes close. If you don’t think it has all of the features that you’re looking for, then the other four massagers on the top 5 list are also great options.

We hope this guide has helped make your search for the right neck massager a little easier. All that’s left to do now is order the one that’s best for you, and start enjoying comfortable and relaxing massages that alleviate your muscle aches and pains!

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