Can’t Get to the Spa? These At-Home Back and Shoulder Massagers Deliver Rapid Relief

Kathleen Walsh

a person sitting at a desk

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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. Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

This massager is worn shawl-style over the shoulders, making it convenient to use no matter where you’re sitting — just so long as it’s within range of a power outlet, as it is not battery operated or rechargeable. Simply slip your wrists through the holders to keep the massager in place, and control using the buttons on the side, with settings for on and off, high, medium, and low pressure, heat, and direction.

logo: naipo back massager

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naipo back massager


Buy: Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

2. Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck 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.

a close up of a traffic light: zyllon shiatsu back neck massager

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zyllon shiatsu back neck massager


Buy: Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

3. Snailax Memory Foam Massage Seat Cushion

Those looking for a more full-body experience may prefer this full-sized memory foam seat cushion, which provides a vibration massage to your entire back and legs at once. This massager includes customizable settings for heat and intensity, and that allow you to isolate one area of the body at time. It also includes five different massage modes: automatic, pulsate, topping, rolling, and kneading. Control everything using the easy-to-use remote.

snailax memory foam massage cushion

© Provided by Rolling Stone
snailax memory foam massage cushion


Buy: Snailax Memory Foam Massage Seat Cushion

4. RENPHO Rechargeable Handheld Deep 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.

renpho handheld rechargeable massager

© Provided by Rolling Stone
renpho handheld rechargeable massager


Buy: RENPHO Rechargeable Handheld Deep Massager

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