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If you don’t have the time, money, or energy to get to a spa to pay someone to rub all of the knots out of your shoulders the next best thing is an electric back massager. Speaking as a person whose stiff shoulder muscles regularly draw legitimate gasps from professional massage therapists, I use my own back massager regularly.
You don’t need to buy a whole massage chair or spend a fortune on a fancy model with a ton of bells and whistles. There are only a few things I consider essential, not least of which is finding a massager that requires little to no physical effort on the user’s part.
What Are the Best Back Massagers?
You can cover pretty much all of your bases with a small, versatile massager that is easy to use with just a few helpful settings. Here is what we look for.
Heating: Heat helps relax the muscles, which will help to relieve tension, pain, and stiffness. A good massager will include a heating function automatically.
Versatility: A good massager isn’t one-use-only, but can be adjusted as needed to attend to different areas of the body. An over-the-shoulder version, for example, can be worn on the neck, shawl-like over the shoulders, or at the tailbone to massage your lower back.
Settings: In most cases, settings for low, medium, and high pressure are enough to get the job done. If you have more specific needs, you can find massagers with various attachments or pre-set settings to tailor your massage session to your specific needs.
1. MagicMakers Back Massager
This over-the-shoulder neck and back massager offers a relaxing deep tissue massage for your tired, sore muscles.
There are three intensities, depending on how much pressure you need and a heating function in case you’re looking for more stimulation. There’s a 15-minute auto shut-off feature as well to prevent this massager from overheating — though you can turn it on and off manually as well.
The breathable mesh outer coating of this massager will keep you from feeling hot or stuffy, even during your heated massage sessions.
2. Zyllion Shiatsu Back Massager
If you’d prefer a massager that keeps your hands free, we’d recommend this pillow-style back massager, which can be used on your neck, shoulders, mid and lower back, legs, feet, arms… you get the idea. It also includes a plug-in attachment for the car, so you can get a massage on your morning commute, and features a heating function and 20-minute auto shutoff sessions that change direction every minute.
The kneading action on this massager is particularly effective, helping to grind out knots in your back after a long day.
3. Papillon Back Massage
With three speed settings and infrared heat, this pillow-shaped massager can provide relief to your back, neck, shoulders and even your calves or feet.
The brand says the deep tissue shiatsu style massage this device offers should alleviate pain and discomfort in your muscles as well as soothe knots and ease tension in your body.
Similar to other massagers on this list, you’ve got auto shut-off features, overheating protection and a mesh design for added comfort.
4. RENPHO Rechargeable Handheld Massager
If you’d like a little more isolated control over your massage, as well as the convenience of cordless operation, you may prefer a handheld massager like this model. We like this version because it has five different intensity modes but also five different massage head attachments for more targeted attention: round, one-point, three-point, intensive three-point, and curved.
Use it on your neck, shoulders, back, quads, legs and feet for great post-work or post-workout relief.