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Which heated massager is best?

If that knot in your neck, back or shoulders just won’t go away, and since it’s not always feasible to book a massage appointment on the fly, consider a heated massager.

Heated massagers are designed to soothe aches and pains with the press of a button. Not only can you adjust heat and massage settings, but you’re also able to change their intensity, set timers, and even initiate special massage cycles. Perhaps best of all, you’re able to enjoy a much-needed massage anywhere, anytime of the day.

To help get the knots out, the top choice is the Snailax Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager With Heat. Its spot-massage function lets you target areas requiring the most TLC.

What to know before you buy a heated massager

There are different kinds of heated massagers. The type usually depends on the part of the body they focus on.

Neck and shoulders

Heated massagers geared toward the neck and shoulders are either pillow- or U-shaped. These have powerful kneading mechanisms. Since they require you to apply pressure for full contact, it’s easy to control how deep the massage is.


There are a wide variety of heated massagers for the back, including various kinds of pillow or full-length massagers. Pillow styles target one area at a time, such as the lower or upper back. Full-length massagers often cover your neck down to your knees, since they’re designed for use while sitting. These tend to be flexible and can be extended to 180 degrees for full reclining.

Lower body

This catchall category includes heated massagers for feet, knees and calves. Those designed for feet typically resemble pillows, although premium models completely encase feet in giant boots. Knee and calf massagers are usually medical devices and are intended for supervised use as part of a therapy program.


Handheld heated massagers look like showerheads. They massage otherwise hard-to-reach areas, such as the lower legs or mid-back. Some handheld models are designed for therapeutic use and target muscles with powerful vibration and heat functions.

What to look for in a quality heated massager

Heat settings

Basic heated massagers have two or three heat settings, while advanced models can have as many as a dozen. Heat can also be localized to a specific area or set to a timer to gradually increase during the program. With most models, you also have the option to select a massage without heat.

Massage settings

Massage settings are where heated massagers vary most. The kneading is typically performed by nodes that twist, turn, rotate or vibrate. Entry-level units are fairly limited and may only have two or three massage settings. Premium heated massagers, on the other hand, allow for full customization. With these, you can combine types of node movements to create a unique massage program.

Auto shutoff

Most heated massagers come with auto-shutoff timers, meaning there’s a maximum time the massager operates before turning off, usually an hour. If you’d like to continue to use it, you need to manually reset it.

How much you can expect to spend on a heated massager

You can find budget-friendly heated massagers for $50 and less, but their settings are limited. For more features and functions, expect to spend closer to $100. Top-quality massagers, including those intended for therapeutic use, cost $130-$300.

Heated massagers FAQ

How are heated massagers powered?

A. Most heated massagers are plugged into AC outlets, since they would burn through batteries too quickly to be economical. Some also come with car or USB adapters, making them usable while traveling or in the office.

Should you disrobe before using a heated massager?

A. You can, but most people use heated massagers fully clothed. If you’d like to remain clothed but want as much contact with the massager as possible, wear thin garments such as pajamas, sleeveless tops or lightweight bottoms.

What’s the best heated massager to buy?

Top heated massager

Snailax’s Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Heat

Snailax Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager With Heat

What you need to know: This tri-zone massager has a wide variety of heat and massage settings.

What you’ll love: The flexible design fits in most seats and folds up for storage. It has a popular rolling massage setting.

What you should consider: It’s pricey.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top heated massager for the money

NekTeck Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Soothing Heat

NekTeck Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager With Soothing Heat

What you need to know: This affordable compact massager has kneading action for superior tension relief in the neck and shoulders.

What you’ll love: It features eight kneading nodes, which lets it reach and work on more areas. The material is very comfortable.

What you should consider: It’s not essential to its functioning, but the zip on the massager’s back breaks easily.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Zyllion’s Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

What you need to know: This provides a deep massage for the neck and back, and is popular to treat lower back pain.

What you’ll love: It has a ontoured design. UL-approved and with overheating protection, it has advanced heating functions.

What you should consider: You must press your body against the massager for the best experience and maximum relief.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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