The 5 Best Back Massagers in 2019
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of getting a professional massage then you know that it does the body all kinds of good. Massages help relieve pain and stress from the craziness of daily life. Unfortunately, massages are a luxury and most simply don’t have the time to do them regularly. Instead, invest your money in a back massager that brings the masseuse to you. The best back massager will hit all of your spots, affordable and will go with you where you need it (office, home, car, etc).
We’ve picked out some of our favorite back massagers on the market and came up with five of the best. Do you need to relieve lower back pain, a portable one to travel with or do you want a full blown massage you can take with you to the office?
Here are the five best back massager units to help relieve stress and pull out your knots.
#3 Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat
The most portable high-powered pillow massager to help relieve tension in your neck and back.
- Compact size
- Shiatsu massage patterns
- Nodes alternate direction
Editors’ Choice: Snailax Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager
Want the same masseuse-like feeling from the comfort of your own home? The Snailax massage chair does just that. Bring the professional massage feel with you pretty much anywhere. This massage chair is a portable pad that can be placed just about anywhere. Need to use it at the office, in your car, or on your favorite couch cushion at home?
The Snailax may look like any other massage chair at first glance, but the gel nodes set this completely apart from the rest. This particular model is made with gel nodes that are much softer to the touch. Gel covered nodes mimic the feeling of real hands working on your neck, back and shoulders, waist and thighs. This chair delivers ultimate relaxation with its heating therapy on both the head and back pads.
Snailax Shiatsu Massager Pros
- Palm-like massage feel: The gel Nodes in the back mimic the feeling of real hands.
- Versatile chair: Take this chair with you everywhere, simply set it in the chair and turn it on.
- Adjustable height: Tall people can enjoy a nice massage in the Shiatsu chair by adjusting the neck height to their liking.
Snailax Shiatsu Massager Cons
- On the pricier side: This back massager is one of the most expensive on our list of top choices.
Best Value: Naipo Handheld Percussion Massager
Give your entire body the treat of a shiatsu-style deep tissue massage right from wherever you are. The Naipo Handheld Percussion Massager is a top contender for the best wand massagers because of its great price and quality. Naipo has several back massagers on the market, but you won’t get the ease and convenience that you’ll get with this handheld massager.
Choose from the six interchangeable nodes and massage settings made of various materials to reach all of the spots. You can customize the speeds and settings to your liking from the intensity to the percussion speed. From there, you can choose the option to use the heating feature or focusing on a specific part of the body. The best part about this back massager is it’s completely portable. You can enjoy a deep massage in the office, at home, or wherever you’d like.
Naipo Percussion Massager Pros
- Portable: The handheld design is small and can be transported just about anywhere.
- Heating technology: Enjoy relaxation and pain-relief with heating technology.
- Six nodes: You can choose between 6 different nodes depending on what you like.
Naipo Shiatsu Massage Cons
- Not wireless: You can’t use the Naipo without it being plugged in.
Best for Neck and Back: Resteck Neck and Back Massager
Most adults carry their weight in their neck and back. The shoulder and upper back region of the body is where your stress, bad posture, and general pain manifests. Sometimes you just need a good massager that focuses primarily on the neck and back. The Resteck is a highly rated portable neck and back massager that will get the job done.
The Resteck massager comes in a U shape that can be draped around your shoulders or wherever you’d like. It’s a versatile option because it can be placed anywhere on the body, but we highly recommend it for your shoulders. Choose between the four vibrations, heating and shiatsu massage settings to get your desired effect. The Resteck is simple, but effective and worth the money.
Resteck Neck and Back Massager Pros
- Lifetime warranty: The product is very well-received by users and the manufacturers trust their product so much you get a lifetime warranty with the purchase.
- Versatile placement: While we recommend this for the neck and back, you can easily adjust the placement to your liking.
- Carry case: To make things easier, there is a carry case that you can easily put your Resteck in and take with you on the go.
Resteck Neck and Back Massager Cons
- Not wireless: We love that the Resteck is portable and can be taken anywhere. But we wish it had the option to be wireless.
Best for Lower Back: Brookstone Shiatsu Lumbar Massager
Lower back pain or discomfort is some of the worst you can have. The hardest part about it is also getting rid of it. Things like walking, bending down and sitting down for extended periods of time become too painful. A good lower back massager can help relieve some of the pain and loosen up problem areas around the region.
Brookstone, the manufacturers of many great home tech products, didn’t disappoint when they made this lumbar massager. The back massager gives you a professional-level massage with four sets of nodes in a Shiatsu style. Simply place it behind your lower back in a chair and enjoy your massage experience. The size gives you the option to take it with you to work, or if you’re riding in a car. We love it for a lower back massager, but the massage pad is big enough to reach all of your back.
Brookstone Lumbar Massager Pros
- Deep tissue massage: This is probably the closest you’ll get to a full on deep tissue massage without the masseuse. Most users report it getting out their knots and tight muscles.
- Heating feature: Use the heating feature if you want to add soothing pain relief.
Brookstone Lumbar Massager Cons
- Wall outlet only, corded: There is no wireless option which many find annoying, especially for its size. You need a wall adapter to use it. To use it in a car, you must buy it separately.
Best for Portability: Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat
For a deep massage on the go, the Zyllion Shiatsu pillow massager takes the cake. The size is perfect for taking it with you in the car. Simply hook it to the back of your car seat and you’re ready to go. The four nodes work in various massage patterns to loosen up knots in the neck and shoulder area. You can also enjoy the heating function that will soothe achy muscles in an instant.
Just how does this compact back massager get those knots out? By alternating its direction every 60 minutes, it reaches areas of the muscles that you otherwise couldn’t. If you’re headed on a long trip it could even be small enough to fit in your big suitcase. Other places you can enjoy this pillow massager? The office, your couch, the car, pretty much wherever!
Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pros
- Compact size: The compact size makes this back massager extremely portable. It’s a great option for road trips, use in the home office or anywhere else.
- Powerful massage patterns: The Shiatsu-style massage patterns are designed to loosen knots and relieve muscle pain, delivering ultimate relaxation.
Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Cons
- Not able to adjust the speed: Some people with back spinal injuries complained about not being able to adjust the vibration or massage speed.
Types of Back Massagers
As you can see from the list, the term back massager doesn’t exactly have one just one meaning. There are many types of back massagers that you can choose from and they all range in the difference of target areas, to price to portability.
The chair massagers are the ones that you usually see in a Brookstone store in the middle of the shopping mall. These are heavy duty, fully loaded massage chairs that have various nodes and settings to get you the best massage you can get from your own home. Because these types back massagers are large, they aren’t portable at all.
Chair back massagers also tend to be on the pricey side, upwards of about $1500. Despite all of this, they are some of the most comforting massagers out there with high tech massage patterns and techniques to get you to the ultimate state of relaxation.
If a large chair massager is too much of a commitment for you then the next best thing may be a chair pad. A chair pad hooks on to any type of chair, so it is much more convenient to use. Many chair pads consist of a neck, back, and thigh pad with up to four nodes. Shiatsu massagers work to deliver the best kind of neck and back therapy you can get. Chair pads also get major points in the portability department, because you can take it with you anywhere.
Handheld massagers are the best to use when you want to target a specific area on your body. You can simply direct the massager to the source of pain. Handheld massagers may be small, but they are usually powerful and can even deliver some deep tissue treatment.
The thing to remember about handheld massagers is that it is a broad term. They range in size and quality. You can find a cheap back massager with simple 3-setting vibrations or you can find a premium handheld with multiple settings, heat, and other features. They also tend to vary in size and price. Overall, if you want a convenient option to target your problem areas directly, these are a great option to consider.
A belt massager, like the Resteck on our list, is the kind of massager that goes around your shoulders or lower back. These back massagers are usually electric or batter powered and are great options for people who experience back or lower back pain. The belt massagers are a great option for targeting a specific area of the body, but could possibly give a much deeper massage than a handheld massager can.
They are also smaller than chair pads, so they are much easier to move around with you. If you need to take it to the office and back home, simply pop it in its container and take it with you. The only thing to consider when shopping for a belt massager is the power source. Make sure you know whether or not you prefer an electric source to a battery-powered source.
Pillow massagers are small, cushion-shaped massagers that target a specific area on your body. They are also commonly called cushion massagers. The placement is really versatile with these massagers too. You can put it behind your neck or on your lower back. Because of the shape of these, they tend to deliver a great deep tissue shiatsu massage. They are also still small enough to take with you on the go. The last plus to using a pillow massager is the sensational heating feature which can be found in both the Zyllion and Brookstone massagers.
Back Massagers Buyer’s Guide
- Shiatsu– Many of the top back massagers will advertise this on their product description. Shiatsu back massagers are supposed to mimic the technique that professional Shiatsu massagers do. The Shiatsu technique is supposed to aid with anxiety relief, pain relief, and stress management.
- Percussion– A percussion action massager mimics the “chopping” technique you see masseuses using. If you’ve ever gotten a massage, this would be the part where the hands are chopping back and forth in a rhythmic motion. A back massager would pulsate the nodes back and forth to create this effect. This type of massage style is mostly found in chair pads or massage chairs.
- Kneading- Kneading is the function responsible for loosening up those tough knots in your back and shoulders. The nodes will work in the same position as nodes will work in the same style and position as a masseuse’s hand would. If you struggle with knots then look for a back massager with a kneading function.
Number of Nodes
In order to get a deep tissue Shiatsu massage from your electric massager, you’ll need to pay attention to the number of nodes. The nodes are the round objects that move around to make the kneading, vibration and percussion massage styles. They are usually made of firm material and covered in the padding to make it comfortable to feel, yet firm. Some other special types of nodes are gel nodes, which are supposed to be softer to the touch to mimic the feeling of hands.
You’d be hardpressed to find a massager that doesn’t offer a heating setting. Heat during or after a massage is a great way to relieve pain and soothe the muscles. Most chair pads, belts, and pillow massagers have a heat mode. On the other hand, some handheld back massagers won’t, so double check if this is something you want.
Size and Weight
As we mentioned above, back massagers come in plenty of shapes and sizes. The size that is ideal for you depends on what you want it to do and where you plan to use it. If you’re looking for a more portable option, then opt for a smaller pillow massager or even a belt massager.
However, if you want to prioritize the massage quality and programming options, then choose a bigger chair pad or possibly a massage chair. These will get you the most full body massage experience and quality.
- Battery Powered– Battery powered back massagers are great because they do not require a wall attachment or a cord to function. You can use them wherever and whenever you want, as long as the battery doesn’t run out. The catch with choosing a battery powered massager is choosing one that has a good battery life. Whether it’s a rechargeable battery or an alkaline battery device, it’ll eventually run out. Consider how important having a wireless electric massager versus a corded one.
- Corded– The advantage of choosing a corded massager is the constant flow of power. You don’t have to worry about the battery wearing down or the recharge time. Simply plug it in and you’re free to use it. In turn, the downside is that the required proximity to a wall or car adapter.
Your electric massager should always have different levels of intensity. We recommend choosing one with at least three modes. The reason is that the intensity you need one day may not be the same as another day. Similarly, if multiple people use the massager, you want to be able to adjust the levels.
Timers are not only great for being a handsfree feature, but also for timing out how long you should use a massager, for safety reasons. Most health professionals say not to use the massagers in one area for more than 20-25 minutes. Overusing a massager could cause more injury or pain.
Auto Shut Off
Auto shut off comes in handy when your system is overheating, usually from overuse. This goes hand and hand with the timer, cutting it off when it’s been used for too long for safety and manufacturer reasons.
Check to see if the back massager you want has auto shut off and if it does try to check the estimated time it takes to overheat. A shorter time can be frustrating.
Every company is different, and some trust their products a bit more than others, it seems. Back massagers, just like any other electronic, usually come with a warranty period. We recommend looking for a product with a minimum 1-year warranty. On the other hand, other companies will offer up to a lifetime warranty on their massagers if anything goes wrong with it.Read More