We researched 10 different back massagers for a total of 40 hours to determine which are easiest to travel with and provide the most relaxing massages. We tested for versatility, durability, comfort and battery life. Some are manual and others are powered by electricity or batteries and they kind of massager that will work best for you depends on your own needs. Back and neck massagers are very relaxing and help you release stress. Chair massagers and handheld massagers can also help you calm down after a long day. Massage Envy outlines eight benefits of getting regular massages. These include both physical and emotional advantages like easing the symptoms of illness and improving flexibility and mood.
Comfort Products 10-Motor Massager - Best Coverage
This massage pad works your entire back, bottom and thighs with both vibration and heat. The 10 motors inside the pad cause the mechanism inside to vibrate and slowly erase tension built up in muscles. It can be used while you’re seated or lying down, making it extremely versatile. This device doesn’t give you a deep tissue massage, making it ideal for overall relaxation but not pointed muscle tension. The 10-Motor Massage Seat Cushion with Heat from Comfort Products is powered by house AC or its included DC adapter, so you can use it in your car. The cushion is covered in a faux suede material which is both soft and less likely to slide out from under you. There are pillows built into it at various spots to support your back, neck and head. You can program the massage cushion to run for certain lengths of time or a certain intensity in any given spot, so it's customizable for your body's needs. The control panel also lights up, so you can use it in the dark while you're trying to go to sleep.
Read the full review here: Comfort Products 10-Motor Massager
- Pro: It massages your back and thighs simultaneously.
- Con: It doesn’t offer deep tissue massage.
King Authentic Foam Roller - Best for Athletes
Available in two colors, the King Authentic Foam Roller is a manual massage tool perfect for runners and other athletes. You can lay the roller on the ground and use your own body weight to put pressure on your legs or back. You can also use it in your hand and roll is across sore legs and arms after intense workouts. It's very sturdy and can take a lot of weight, so you don't have to worry about putting all of your weight on it. The bumps on the surface stimulate muscles and increase blood flow. The fact that you can use this roller on essentially any part of your body simply by using gravity is what makes it practical and versatile. There are a million ways to use it and you’re definitely going to be able to figure out what works best for your body. Even if you aren't a workout enthusiast, this roller can be used to relieve back pain if you roll back and forth on top of it on the ground. It comes with a strap for easy portability but is a little more than 1 foot long, so it's generally inconvenient to travel with. It does comes with a lifetime guarantee though, so if something on the roller breaks, you'll get it replaced at no charge.
Read the full review here: King Authentic Foam Roller
- Pro: It’s portable.
- Con: It’s a solely manual massager.
PADO Pure Wave CM7 - Most Versatile
The PADO Pure Wave CM7's interchangeable massage heads make it a versatile back massager. It incorporates vibration into each massage for an extremely relaxing experience. Most of the pressure comes from your own arm though, so you can customize each massage to be exactly what you need. It comes with six different rubber heads, each of different firmness to use on different parts of your body. The point stick head, for example, is smaller than others and provides more targeted pressure on any given muscle. The scalp massage stick is rounded and smooth and works well on your scalp and neck. The massage head is located on the end of the massager's long body, giving you the range to massage almost the entirety of your back. You can easily reach your shoulders and neck or even use it on parts of your legs if you so desire. Even though this massager vibrates for an even more intense massage, it's cordless, so your movements aren't restricted. The battery is rechargeable and lasts for 180 minutes. Even though this device is rather large, it weighs less than 2 pounds so your arm won't get tired while using it.
Read the full review here: PADO Pure Wave CM7
- Pro: It offers deep tissue massage.
- Con: It’s expensive.
Nayoya Roller Balls - Most Portable
These roller balls are a small massage tool you can take anywhere. They come in a two-piece set of rollers you can use to apply as much or as little pressure as you want to tight muscles. They're marketed predominately as back massagers but could be used on any part of the body. The curved handle makes it easy to hold, and it doesn't use any electricity so you aren't restricted by cords. The balls work well on whatever area of the body you use them on. They're also great for travel because they fit easily inside of carry-ons or purses. There also aren't any batteries to worry about. The downside to any manual massager is that they require more work from the user, but each one weighs only 5 ounces, so using them doesn't require any heavy lifting. They're also one of the most affordable massagers we reviewed. It would be difficult to reach most of your back on your own, but it's easy to use the Nayoya Massage Ball Roller on your own shoulders, neck, arms and legs. You can even set the balls down on the floor and roll the bottoms of your feet on them.
Read the full review here: Nayoya Roller Balls
- Pro: They’re small and affordable.
- Con: There’s no heat or vibration.
Body Back Buddy - Best for Self-Massage
This back massager is ideal for using on yourself. Whether you live alone or your significant other is out of town, you can use the Body Back Buddy massager to relieve tension in your back. It's shaped like an "S" to reach all of your back muscles with round therapy balls. Reaching every spot on your back is possible by rotating the massager so that a different side of the “S” points toward your back. The therapy balls are smooth and glide over clothing easily. You don't have to apply much pressure to manipulate your muscles and increase circulation. It doesn't use electricity, so there's no need to worry about a charger or batteries. This also means it's fairly portable, despite being rather large. It's easily stored hanging on the back of a door, or you can slide it under a dresser or bed. Because this massager is purely manual, it’s very affordable compared to some other devices that use heat or vibration. It’s affordability and ease of use make it a good option for someone living on their own and in need of a relaxing massage.
Read the full review here: Body Back Buddy
- Pro: There aren’t any batteries required.
- Con: Manual massage can be tiring over time.
Along with simply feeling good, using a back massager can have comprehensive health benefits. According to the American Psychological Association's 2018 Stress in America survey, those born in the 1990s and early 2000s are significantly stressed about numerous topics including mass shootings, money, work. Regardless of age, the average reported stress level was 4.9 on a scale of 1 to 10. On top of that, one in five people said they're unable to manage their stress. Mayo Clinic says stress can cause headaches, chest pain, an upset stomach, sleep problems and numerous other health problems.
One way to reduce stress is with massage. Your back has pressure points, which are made up of numerous nerves all in one location. You can manipulate these pressure points in a variety of ways including acupuncture and acupressure with a professional, but one more affordable option is a back massager. If you have a back massager, try applying pressure where your spine meets your shoulders. This spot is a commonly stressed pressure point. Another pressure point to stimulate is located on either side of the spine in line with your elbows. This spot can be easily reached with massagers that reach down the back. If your massager doesn't have much reach, try the pressure point below the armpits at the side of the back.
It’s important to listen to your body while performing a massage on yourself. If you feel something is too painful, stop what you’re doing and talk to a doctor or licensed massage therapist. The same goes for giving massages to your family and friends; it’s important to communicate about the appropriate levels of pressure and whether something is painful.
Neck and back massagers let you soothe tight muscles, which increases the overall quality of your life. They're available any time of day to help you cope with some of your greatest sources of stress.
Why Buy a Back Massager?
We researched 10 different back massagers for a total of 40 hours to determine which are easiest to travel with and provide the most relaxing massages. We tested for versatility, durability, comfort and battery life. Some are manual and others are powered by electricity or batteries, and the kind of massager that will work best for you depends on your own needs. Back and neck massagers are relaxing and help you release stress. Chair massagers and handheld massagers can also help you calm down after a long day, but here are our rankings for back massagers.
Related Product Reviews
- Body Back
- Comfort Products
- Hammacher Schlemmer
- King Authentic
- Thera Cane
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