The 10 Best Back Massagers for Your Aches and Pains |

The 10 Best Back Massagers for Your Aches and Pains

Whether you sit slouched in your office chair or have a habit of flopping on the couch in a contorted position, chances are you probably deal with back pain on the regular. And you’re not alone: 80 percent of people experience back pain at some point in their lives, according to Medical Clinics of North America.

Of course, you should see your doctor ASAP for any chronic or sharp back pain — but if you’re looking for at-home, DIY back pain remedies, a back massager might help you in the interim. As fitness enthusiasts who also work desk jobs, we know what back massagers are most effective for relieving sore muscles. These are the best back massagers for every kind of ache and pain, according to experts and our own testing.

The TL;DR on the Best Back Massagers

Our Top Picks


Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager at Amazon ($58)

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Hyperice Venom Go at Target ($130)

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RENPHO Extend at Amazon ($50)

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Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager at Walmart ($31)

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Papillon Back Massager with Heat at Amazon ($40)

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Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat at Amazon (See Price)

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Snailax Shiatsu Massage Pillow at Walmart ($60)

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Body Back Buddy Classic Trigger Point Massage Tool at Amazon ($30)

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VIKTOR JURGEN Back Massager, Neck Massager with Heat at Walmart ($24)

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Real Relax Massage Chair at Amazon ($850)

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Best Back Massager Overall

Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager with Heat


View On Amazon$58View On Walmart$60

Why We Like It: This back massager offers a customized fit to the area you want massaged.

It’s Worth Noting: It needs to be plugged in.

Power source: Corded electric | Heat: Yes

This back massager forms to the contours of your body, whether you’re targeting your lower back or neck, and uses deep tissue-style movements to apply just the right amount of pressure to tense muscles. “I’m a nurse, so my back and neck are always sore,” wrote one Amazon reviewer. “This massager gives much needed relief.” The heat is a major bonus, since it helps relax your muscles as they’re getting worked on. Although this massager needs to be plugged in, it can easily be used at home, in the car, or at the office, thanks to its compact design.

Best Targeted Back Massager

Hyperice Venom Go

Amazon Hyperice Venom Go


View On Target$130View On Hyperice.comView On Best Buy$129

Why We Like It: The small patch is easy to apply and the adhesive actually sticks.

It’s Worth Noting: The battery dies quickly, especially when the heat is cranked up.

Power source: Rechargeable | Heat: Yesway.

Shape senior commerce editor Kristen Geil swears by this portable back massager. “It’s only about the size of my hand, but it delivers instant relief to my low back after a tough tennis match,” she explains. She notes that the adhesive is “the perfect level of sticky — it stays put, but it doesn’t rip my skin when I take it off.” Heads up, you do need to replace the pads occasionally; the back massager comes with three reusable pads that work for up to 20 uses each, although Geil notes she hasn’t had to replace hers yet after several uses. Our only con is that the battery dies pretty quickly, especially when you’re using the heat and vibration at the highest intensity levels. However, since it’s rechargeable and so easy to use, we’re willing to overlook that.

Best Handheld Back Massager


Amazon RENPHO Extend Massage Gun


View On Amazon$50

Why We Like It: The extended handle lets you reach tricky spots with ease.

It’s Worth Noting: The extension is detachable for easier portability.

Power source: Rechargeable | Heat: No

We can’t believe it took us this long to find a handheld massage gun that actually reaches those random spots in the middle of the back. The Renpho Extend has a clever handle extension that makes it easier than ever to treat your own muscle pain. The handle is detachable, so you can use the massage gun with or without (and trust us, it’s much easier to transport this massage gun in two separate pieces vs. with the extension attached). It is still a bit awkward and can get heavy depending on the angle you’re using, but for under $50, we think this is a great buy for people who want a hands-on way to address back pain.

Best Electric Back Massager

Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager


View On Walmart$31View On

Why We Like It: The U-shaped design feels comfortable on different parts of your body.

It’s Worth Noting: You’re limited in what you can do while using this in the over-the-shoulder position.

Power source: Corded electric | Heat: Yes

The ergonomic U-shaped design of this Shiatsu massager comfortably forms to your body whether you’re using it for the lower back, your neck, or legs. Simply grab hold of the arm straps and wrap the massager around the area you want to target. With three adjustable speed settings, it’s easy to control the depth and intensity of the massage. This convenient tool also comes equipped with a heat function — with an auto shut-off — that applies warmth to tense muscles while massaging them. It’s easily able to knead deep, boost circulation, and relieve muscle tension and tightness. While the over-the-shoulder position is one of the best for actually relieving tension, your hands will be somewhat limited in what they can do while harnessed in the wrap’s slings. You’ll be able to play on a phone, but you won’t be able to type or multitask in many other ways.

Best Budget Back Massager

Papillon Back Massager with Heat

Papillon Back Massager with Heat


View On Amazon$40

Why We Like It: It has three adjustable speeds.

It’s Worth Noting: The fabric tends to tear after regular use.

Power source: Corded electric | Heat: Yes

This portable back massager features four 3D massage nodes and infrared heating that targets muscles through deep-tissue movements. It also automatically shuts off after 15 minutes to prevent overheating, so you can safely use this massager anywhere with peace of mind. However, since this back massager is on the cheaper end, it’s not as durable as other premium models. The fabric tends to show wear after time.

Best Back Massager for Chairs

Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat

Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat


View On AmazonView On Walmart$100

Why We Like It: It’s easy to sit back and let this back massager do all the work for you.

It’s Worth Noting: Only the back heats up, not the seat.

Power source: Corded electric | Heat: Yes

Treat your entire back to a relaxing deep tissue massage by propping up this massage chair cushion on the couch, at the office, or even in the car. Its versatile massage nodes effortlessly move up and down as you sit back, relax, and let them do all the work. The cushion also provides a heating element (the seat itself doesn’t heat up, but it does vibrate), and the controls allow you to focus on one area and adjust the intensity level. If you do want to use this back massager in the car, note that you’ll need to purchase a car adapter to plug it in.

Best Pillow Back Massager

Snailax Shiatsu Massage Pillow

Snailax Shiatsu Massage Pillow


View On Walmart$60View On

Why We Like It: The smaller size is perfect for your neck muscles.

It’s Worth Noting: The heating device doesn’t get as warm as you might wish.

Power source: Corded electric | Heat: Yes

Four deep-kneading massage nodes and a heating function combine in this massager to give your tense muscles the relaxation they so desperately need. The compact massage pillow easily fits behind your back and neck or underneath your legs. An adjustable comfort flap acts as a plush buffer between your skin and the pillow’s nodes for a softer massage. The model’s cord is long enough to be easy to use on hard-to-reach knots. On the downside, the heating device was lukewarm and doesn’t provide as much relief as expected, so if you may want to look elsewhere if you’re looking for a better recovery tool.

Best Manual Back Massager

Body Back Buddy Classic Trigger Point Massage Tool

Body Back Buddy Classic Trigger Point Massage Tool


View On Amazon$30View On Walmart$31View On

Why We Like It: You have complete control over where and how you apply pressure.

It’s Worth Noting: There’s a learning curve.

Power source: Manual | Heat: No

As funky as it may look, this inventive tool has been trusted since its inception back in the ’90s. Body Back Buddy is designed to directly target pain points and relieve tense muscles and knots using 11 strategically placed knobs in three specific and varying shapes. The curved two-hook design allows you to comfortably reach from the shoulders to the lower back and even down to your feet. Plus, the manual device makes it easy to control the amount of pressure you apply to your sore or knotted muscles. It does take some time to practice using this back massager, so don’t give up if you don’t immediately find the perfect spot to apply pressure.

Best Back Massager for Shoulders

VIKTOR JURGEN Back Massager, Neck Massager with Heat

Viktor Jurgen Back and Neck Massager with Heat


View On Walmart$24

Why We Like It: The pressure is amazing.

It’s Worth Noting: We’ve also been able to use this on other body parts (like our calves).

Power source: Corded electric | Heat: Yes

We were low-key obsessed with this neck massager, especially considering the affordable price tag. This back massager is pillow-shaped and straightforward to use, and the pressure of the four massage nodes felt absolutely amazing on our neck and shoulders. An auto-shutoff feature kicks in after 15 minutes, and it comes with elastic straps to secure it to a chair if you want. This back massager isn’t fancy (there’s only one heat setting and one speed), but it was incredibly effective. “This was so comfortable to use and my neck feels amazing now,” praised one editor testing the tool. “I didn’t want the test to be over.”

Best Massage Chair

Real Relax Massage Chair

Amazon Real Relax Zero Gravity Massage Chair


View On Amazon$850View On Walmart$935View On Wayfair$775

Why We Like It: This massage chair is easy to operate and totally comfortable, with several appealing features.

It’s Worth Noting: It’s really large and definitely a statement piece — so it might not be a fit for small spaces.

Power source: Corded electric | Heat: Yes

If you really want to go all-in on a back massager, try a massage chair. With six automatic programs and a lower back heating function, we felt instantly at ease when we sat down in the Real Relax Massage Chair. We could easily control the settings and pressure (Shiatsu, kneading, or knocking) using the LED screen, and we were delighted to discover the foot massager, which rolled the knots out of our feet. We could even hook our phone up to the chair’s speakers via Bluetooth to play some relaxing music. Seriously, it’s like being at the spa. On the whole, this massage chair was pretty gentle, so if you prefer a really deep massage, it might not be the best fit for you. Also, this is a large and in-charge chair, not something you can tuck away in a corner. The leather material and giant curvature of the chair’s back make this best suited for an office or a basement, unless you have furniture that matches.

What to Know About Back Massagers

Before you can choose the best back massager for your lifestyle, there are a few things to consider.

  • Massage style: The first thing to think about when picking out a back massager is the style of massage it provides. Shiatsu massages are deep, kneading movements similar to a real-life massage. Vibration, meanwhile, refers to all-over pulsing that’s more surface-level in its treatment.
  • Portability: Another thing to consider when picking out the best massager is portability, depending on where you’re going to be using it. If you plan on bringing your massager with you to the office or while traveling, you’ll likely want one that’s more compact and can operate without being near an outlet. But if you prefer to stick to self-massaging at home, then size probably won’t be an issue.
  • Heat: Some back massagers offer a heating option to further soothe your aching muscles. “Heat brings blood flow to the area by opening up the blood vessels,” explains Dr. Wu. “Blood brings nutrients and oxygen to try to help heal injured areas. The increased blood flow also helps to warm the area and make it feel looser and more relaxed which can temporarily help reduce the pain felt in the low back.” For those who want a portable massager, a device such as a rechargeable wrap-around belt-like heating pad for back pain with built-in vibration massage motors could be a good option.

Why Trust Shape

Kristen Geil is the senior commerce editor of Shape, where she oversees workout equipment, recovery tools, sneakers, and more. Kristen has her personal training certification and understands how back pain can impact your movement and overall quality of life, and she’s tried everything from the chiropractor to handheld percussion tools to ease her back pain when it flares up.

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