The Best Personal Back Massagers to Relieve Tension and Sore Muscles

Say goodbye to tension with these at-home back and neck massagers.

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Heat Massage Back Tout 2370x1244
Photo: Amazon

From hunching over desks 40 hours a week to putting in work at the gym, backs put up with a lot of strain. It only makes sense, then, that back pain becomes a nagging issue for many adults. While any major pain should be addressed with a doctor, the aches and soreness from daily activities can usually be treated with a good massage.

In an ideal world, you would be able to visit a professional for a deep-tissue massage every week, but the reality is often not that luxurious. Luckily, there are several personal back massagers that can deliver a spa-worthy treatment without the hefty price tag. Whether for muscle recovery or to relieve stress and tension, a good back massager can be relied upon for immediate comfort after a long day. Below, check out the best back massagers so you can take care of those knots once and for all. (

The Best Back Massagers:

How to Pick the Right Back Massager

But before you can choose the best back massager for your lifestyle, there are a few things to consider. The first thing to think about when picking out a back massager is the style of massage it provides. There are typically two styles of massagers: Shiatsu and vibration. Shiatsu massagers deliver deep, kneading movements that mimic a deep-tissue massage you would receive at the spa. These types of massagers use rotating nodes that are great for treating knots or muscle pain post-gym or due to an injury. Vibration massagers, on the other hand, are less intense and are intended for soothing tired muscles at the end of a long workday. These types of massagers don't have nodes; they usually feature an all-over vibration or pulsing movement.

Next, determine the form of massager you prefer. From handheld back massagers to massager pillows, there is a range to choose from. To figure out which type is best for you, consider how much effort you want to put in on your end. Handheld massagers, for example, give you more control as they require you to do the massaging yourself. With handheld massagers, you may have to do more heavy lifting, but they are helpful when it comes to those hard-to-reach areas. Conversely, pillow or cushion back massagers are meant to stay in place behind you. These types of massagers are great if you're targeting one spot, like your lower back or neck. They're also a convenient way to tend to the muscles while you're working at the office or lounging at home. (

Another thing to consider when picking out the best massager is mobility, 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. But if you prefer to stick to self-massaging at home, then size probably won't be an issue.

No matter what type of massager you prefer, the most important part is that it works. And according to thousands of satisfied customers and positive reviews, these back massagers are proven, effective, and trusted products that truly get the job done.

Best-Rated: Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

More than 34,500 positive reviews from enthusiastic customers should tell you something about the effectiveness and impact of this massager. It 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. One reviewer described this massager as "incredible in working out the pain for me," adding that "it has helped every area of my back." Another admitted this was "easily one of my favorite purchases in a very long time." 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.

Buy It: Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager, $43 was $50,

Best for Lower Back: Papillon Back Massager with Heat

Papillon Back Massager with Heat,Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

This portable back massager has nearly 11,000 five-star ratings and 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. "So amazing," raved one reviewer. "After spending so much money on chiropractic visits with little results I found this product. Let me tell you, after three nights of lower back deep tissue massage for about an hour, my pain is completely gone!" Another wrote that "it really does feel like someone is giving you a thorough deep tissue massage" and noted that they've seen improvement in their sleep when they use the back massager before bed. (

Buy It: Papillon Back Massager with Heat, $40,

Best Handheld: Renpho Rechargeable Handheld Deep Tissue Massager

RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager

Convenience and flexibility are the driving factors behind this cordless and rechargeable massager. Lightweight and comfortable to hold, this massager can quickly move from head to toe. And with five interchangeable head attachments, giving yourself an at-home full-body massage has never been easier. "This little unit is just perfect," said one shopper, who is just one of the 34,500-plus customers to leave this handheld back massager a perfect review. They added that this massager is "light enough that I can control it, [but] powerful enough to work out the pain radiating down my thigh."

Buy It: Renpho Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager, $40,

Best Personal: Vivreal Handheld Back Massager

Handheld Back Massager, 6 Interchangeable Nodes, 6 Speeds

With six speed settings, six different modes, and six interchangeable heads, this well-rounded massager can pinpoint a wide range of pain areas throughout the body, allowing for a truly customizable massage. The sleek, cordless design allows for easy maneuvering, especially to hard-to-reach areas like the lower back. "I truly feel like this massager changed my life," raved one reviewer. Another satisfied reviewer noted that the rechargeable massager "holds a charge for an incredibly long time." (

Buy It: Vivreal Handheld Back Massager, $40 was $60,

Best Electric: Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

best back massagers

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. Walmart shoppers have given the Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager an impressive 4.9-star rating for its ability to knead deep, boost circulation, and relieve muscle tension and tightness.

Buy It: Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager, $40 was $51,

Best Budget-Friendly: Viktor Jurgen Handheld Back Massager

VIKTOR JURGEN Handheld Back Massager Double Head Electric Full Body Massager

Don't let the low price tag persuade you into thinking this massager doesn't live up to its pricier counterparts. Pulsing at 3,350 times per minute, it's safe to say it can deliver a powerful massage for all types of muscle relief. The handheld massager provides full coverage — thanks to its wide double head — and is even designed with a sliding speed setting that makes it easy to adjust it to the exact intensity you want. The massager includes three sets of heads: one for deep tissue massage, one for an acupuncture-style massage, and another for a gentler Swedish-style massage. According to one customer, it has "plenty of power" and "really works for deeper tissue massage." Reviewers say that it can also be used to relieve pain in the shoulders, neck, hips, and more. (

Buy It: Viktor Jurgen Handheld Back Massager, $30 was $36,

Best for Chairs: Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion

Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat Massage Chair Pad Kneading Back Massager

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. Reviewers love the ease and comfort this massage chair cushion provides, especially at work. One customer shared, "I haven't gotten a massage this good from a professional masseuse. Within the first five minutes of using it, I felt like a new man." Another wrote, "It's like a real human hand massage from neck to the waist." Combined with the heating element, many agreed that the massage cushion helped relieve pain in their lower back and shoulders. (

Buy It: Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion, $93,

Best Pillow: Snailax Shiatsu Massage Pillow

MaxKare Back Massager Neck Massager Massage Pillow with Heat

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. Reviewers note that the model's cord is long and doesn't hinder their massage or prevent them from using it on hard-to-reach knots. "I use mine primarily for [my] lower back," an Amazon shopper shared. "I have had problems for years and am determined to try and get relief without starting up on the pain pills again. My first day was a success. I used it before bed and got through the night without waking in pain, which is my usual problem." (

Buy It: Snailax Shiatsu Massage Pillow, $30 was $36,

Best Manual: Body Back Buddy

Body Back Buddy Trigger Point Back Massager

As funky as it may look, this inventive tool has been trusted since its inception back in the '90s — and it's garnered thousands of highly-rated reviews to prove it. 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. "I've had two knots on each side of my back for months that have made it hard to sit or stand for long periods of time," explained one reviewer. "After using it religiously for three days, my back is probably 90 percent less tight, my knots have almost totally been loosened, and I can walk further, longer and sit or stand for a longer period of time without the fear of having to find a chair to rest due to pain." No wonder why the manual massager has more than 10,200 five-star ratings.

Buy It: Body Back Buddy, $30 was $35,

Best Full-Body Massage Mat: Snailax Massage Mat

Massage Mat with 10 Vibrating Motors and 4 Therapy Heating pad

If you're looking for a gentler full-body massage that requires minimal effort, then consider this massage mat. A vibration-only massager, the body-length mat is made with soft and flexible plush fabric, making it almost pillow-like. The pad also heats up, adding to the overall relaxing experience. Simply lay it down on the floor, the couch, or the bed and you'll unwind in no time. "This item is absolutely worth every penny," a customer said in their five-star review. "I broke my hip in my teen years and now that I'm a bit 'older,' I have continuous issues [and] pain with my back. Some days I cannot even bend over. Between the heat and the vibration/relaxation, after only about 15 to 20 minutes, I feel a considerable difference."

Buy It: Snailax Massage Mat, $80,

Updated by Emily Belfiore
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