I’ve been testing back massagers my whole life. I went through hundreds of models, and not so that I can enjoy a relaxing massage experience.
I’m in the eternal pursuit of that perfect back massager, continually trying to compare and evaluate different massagers.
I’m not just relying on my expertise in the field. I always discuss things with physical therapists and chiropractors, trying to find more about massagers from their clients’ experiences.
I even organized a few focus groups, having my team test these products.
So, without further ado, here are my top 7 best back massagers for this year.
All of them are tried and tested, with stellar users and customer reviews:
7 Best Back Massagers In 2021 (Review)
What is the top back massager to buy?
What is the best shiatsu back massager?
1. Naipo Shiatsu Back And Best Neck Massager
This model is the best neck massager that is also a back massager is Naipo Shiatsu. Plenty of positive users and customers' feedback and reviews make it one of the top choices on my list!
I liked it too because of its functionality, versatility, and ease of use.
I found the three adjustable speeds customer-friendly, and I could easily adjust my massage intensity.
The lowest speed is terrific for relaxation, the medium for sore muscles, and the high speed for chronic pain and painful knots.
Courtesy of eight Shiatsu nodes, the Naipo can deliver a quality deep massage that feels great on tired muscles.
You can use it post-workout or after a hard day at work, but this back massager has therapeutic benefits too, considering its advanced heating.
Therapeutic heat can improve blood flow and helps alleviate pain.
Your blood starts circulating faster, so your muscles unwind, and the massage becomes more effective.
The Naipo massager has an arm-pressure design, meaning you have to use the weight of your arms to pull it down.
This design has its positives, like the fact that the back massager is easy to move around on your body.
Another advantage is that you can set your intensity, depending on how hard you press your arms into the arm loops.
However, this design also requires a bit of strength and flexibility.
The 20-minute shut-down and overheat protection are other user-friendly features, in case you fall asleep with the massager still running.
And you might easily fall into a deep state of relaxation because the 3D-rotation rollers feel comfortable, and the Naipo has an ergonomic design.
There are some useful extras included in the package too, like the UL-approved power adapter, car adapter, and a dust-proof bag.
This massager is quality made, with easy to clean and stylish PU leather, with a breathable mesh cover.
However, some online reviewers claim the massager can’t withstand rugged use, as the machine can stop working all of a sudden after a few months.
Summary: The Naipo Back Massager is a versatile device for relieving pain, muscle tightness, and relaxing you, but it’s not for rugged use.
2. PUREWAVE CM-07 Dual Motor Percussion - Best Handheld Back Massager
Pure Wave CM7 is the best handheld massager.
Even if I prefer U-shaped massagers or pillow massagers in terms of deep massages, the CM7 is on par with the best of them.
The company itself advertises the CM7 as a product supported by various chiropractors and physical therapists for recovery massages.
This FDA-registered model is safe and has some therapeutic purposes.
Thanks to its dual-motor design, the CM7 is an effective model because it combines percussion and vibration movements to massage painful knots.
As you massage all your pressure points, you can relieve muscle spasms and pain.
There are five different heads you can use with the CM7 so that you won’t receive just deep-tissue massages.
There’s a head for face massages, and one for removing scar tissue.
However, I prefer this handheld massager for relaxation and post-workout muscle soreness.
I don’t think it can do much against chronic pain, even if it can offer good deep massages.
That’s because, although the CM7 is small and light, you still need a bit of strength and flexibility to massage difficult-to-reach painful knots, for instance between your shoulder blades.
Another advantage is that the CM7 is cordless, meaning you can easily carry it anywhere and use it wherever you like.
The 90-day free return policy is users and customer-friendly because you can try it out and simply send it back if you hate it.
Summary: The CM7 is the best handheld massagers thanks to a dual-motor that can offer versatile massages, from deep to relaxed ones.
3. Zyllion Shiatsu ZMA13BK - Best Pillow Massager
The Zyllion ZMA13BK has a pillow design and is the best one I could find in this category.
Although it’s a cheaper back massager, it boasts quality features that make it value for money.
The four 3D Shiatsu massage nodes are powerful enough to offer deep-tissue massage that unwinds tight muscles.
These nodes change their direction every minute so that you can benefit from a comprehensive massage with therapeutic benefits.
Other more expensive back and neck massagers feature more massage nodes, though.
This means that the four Shiatsu nodes can’t touch all your pressure points.
And that’s why I think the Zyllion is the perfect pillow massager for lower back pain.
It can be difficult to adjust it to touch all your pressure points on your neck or between your shoulder blades, but it can release tight knots on your lower back.
Besides, the massage pillow design makes it difficult to adjust and fix on difficult-to-reach places on your upper back.
But you can easily lean on it for quality lower-back massages or sit on it to relieve sciatica pain.
However, if you’re not used to deep massages, you can get bruised up at first.
The straps can easily hold it in place, so you can use this pillow massager even while you’re driving or working.
I also appreciated the heating function because it improves blood flow and alleviates sore muscle pain.
You can use this function for arthritis, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, and joint pain.
Besides, the slim and lightweight design makes it look stylish, not to mention highly portable.
The Zyllion is ergonomic and sturdy – it can resist for years.
With a 1-year replacement warranty, car adapter, 20-minute shutoff, and overheat protection, the Zyllion is truly user friendly.
It is a great massager machine for back pain issues!
Summary: The Zyllion is a value-for-money massager for deep tissue lower back massages, although it’s not flexible enough for difficult-to-reach places.
4. Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion With heat - For Chair
The Snailax is a shiatsu back massager with seat design, so it’s a versatile product.
I liked that I could use it anywhere: on my sofa, on my desk chair while writing and I could even sit on it reclining thanks to the secure strapping system.
Four massage nodes travel on your entire back, delivering a massage.
When you recline a bit, the weight of your body is supported by the seat, so the massage intensity increases.
There are three massage zones you can choose, either the upper back, lower back, or your whole back.
There’s even a detachable flap to control the massage intensity.
But if you still feel like the body massage is too rough, you can just cover the seat with a pillow.
The massage nodes are flexible, and you can adjust them to 3 mm maximum height.
So although this seat features just four massage nodes, it can still massage hard-to-reach places and fit all your curves.
Besides, the spot massage function focuses on a specific painful knot so that you can release tension there.
The seat includes a vibration massage for your hip and thighs, which alleviates sciatica and joint pains.
I liked that I could adjust the intensity here too, although there’s no seat heat.
Heat therapy is featured just for the back area, improving blood flow and making it easier to soothe pain and tightness.
This chair is comfortable, ergonomic, and stylish. The quality leather design is complemented with a smooth, breathable mesh.
There are some things I dislike about this massager, though.
Firstly, you can’t use it for more than 20 minutes at a time because the massages can feel too rough.
Even though it’s advertised as excellent for car use, I tried using it while driving, and it was a big no for me – way too uncomfortable.
Besides, I couldn’t use it as a furniture chair – it’s only cozy when you’re getting a massage.
Summary: The Snailax is a versatile, therapeutic device you can attach to all your furniture for deep massages, but it’s too intense for prolonged use.
5. Homedics - With Heat
Another seat-type back massager, Homedics features a five motor massage that delivers a comprehensive massage from your shoulders to your seat.
It is a versatile device that fits most chairs, and the included straps keep it in place while you’re driving or relaxing on the sofa.
The massage is easy to adjust in terms of intensity and zone because the remote control is intuitive.
Besides, the remote is also ergonomic, so you can hold it comfortably while you’re sitting. You can choose to massage your upper back, lower back, or seat, and there are two intensities; high and low. I would have liked to see more options for a more customized massage, though, especially in terms of intensity.
Another advantage is that you get an auto and a home adapter. At an affordable price, this model is also quiet so you can relax listening to music, reading or watching your favorite show. The back and seat vibration is another plus. The back heating function alleviates soreness and improves blood flow, but unfortunately, there’s no seat heat.
You also can’t use the chair while it’s not massaging; it gets too hot and uncomfortable after a while.
Summary: The Homedics Back massager is perfect for your car, it’s affordable and offers a functional massage for sore back muscles, though it can’t relieve chronic pain.
6. VIKTOR JURGEN Handheld
This double head electric massager by Viktor Jürgen is a handheld device, so you need a bit of strength and flexibility to use it.
Otherwise, you can ask someone to help you, while you’re lying down and enjoying a lifelike massage experience.
I liked the dog head design that covers a wide area.
The ergonomic design with a rubber grip makes it comfortable to use, if, as I said, you have the moderate arm strength.
However, the handle might be too wide, at least for people with smaller hands.
There are three massage heads you can attach to this device so that you can customize your massage experience depending on your needs and areas you plan to massage.
I also liked the 71-inch cord that’s long enough to make this model portable.
Advertised as a professional-strength massager, the Viktor Jürgen features a powerful motor.
Its 3,350 pulses per minute can relieve painful knots and sore muscles, delivering a deep massage.
I also liked the customizable speed settings – there are plenty of options to adjust the massage intensity and the roller movements.
My biggest dislike regarding this product is that it’s advertised as a percussion device, but it only features vibrations.
Summary: This device can increase blood flow and relieve muscle tension, with a powerful motor and various massage options, but you need some strength and flexibility to use it.
7. SNAILAX Massage Mat - Best Full Body Massager With Heat
The Snailax Massage Mat is a vibration massager to relax you and relieve muscle tightness.
It’s not a Shiatsu massager, so you can’t use it for deep massages or to relieve chronic pain.
That said, I loved the PU memory foam padding which makes this mat soft and cozy.
Besides, the quality memory foam contributes to the massage effectiveness so that you can relieve muscle soreness.
You can easily fold it to store it, and you can also place it anywhere in your home, from your chair to your sofa or even on the floor.
I loved the ten massage motors on the mat, with vibrations that can cover your entire body.
This helps relieve stress, fatigue, minor aches, and tension.
There are five different massage modes, four areas to choose from, and three intensities, so it’s a highly customizable mat.
The added heat function is optional but very soothing. Six heating pads target your whole body, from the neck down, which is amazing for joint pain and relaxation.
Besides, the overheat protection and auto-shutoff feature make this mat safe.
With a 30-day money-back guarantee, what more could you ask for?
Well, I could ask for more intense vibration and head heat, along with some deep rollers!
Summary: The Snailax massage mat features vibrations and heat to relax you and improve blood circulation, but it’s not a good choice for therapeutic purposes.
8. Wahl Percussion (Bonus Model for 2021)
This is our favorite, hands down, at-home massager. At its lowest setting, it's designed to stimulate the lymphatic system, which helps reduce swelling and support the immune system. And at the highest setting, it's great for massage therapy, which is powerful for reducing muscle tension. It also has LED light therapy on the machine, which helps to boost circulation.
The Wahl shiatsu back and neck massager is almost as large as a set of tweezers but with infinitely more articulation than the good old massage ball. A matte black sphere with a heated tip, its cylinder shape makes it more comfortable than the smooth, hard cylindrical massagers that can slip from one's fingers, although if that's the sort of thing that stresses you out, we won't judge.
Wahl offers lots of adjustable massage settings, from gentle, to power, to the crazy hardcore mode, and it's all controlled by the push button at the top. The motor is quite strong and it doesn't tend to wobble around when you have it on maximum vibration.
But it is a tad on the expensive side of the spectrum, even for something with such cool looks, and we weren't entirely bowled over by the performance. In fact, it could have done with some better battery life, as we often found that we needed to recharge it after only half an hour.
That's not to say that it's a total let-down, though, as it is a very nice, well-designed gadget with a very quiet, gentle motor. The other key thing is that Wahl hasn't messed with the shape too much: its 3D-tracking allows you to get a massage of pretty much any shape.
9. Body Back Buddy Self Massage Tool - Best Self Back Massager & For Tight Knots
If you would rather purchase a manual massager, the Body Back Buddy can become your best buddy.
With its S-design, you can massage all the hard-to-reach areas on your entire body.
However, that requires a bit of strength and flexibility, especially if you want to focus on painful pressure points.
This massage cane is sturdy and rigid, considering it’s made with fiberglass and plastic.
This mix of materials also renders it light and therefore easy to handle.
When I unpacked my Body Back Buddy, I could see some swirls of color on it. Initially, I thought it was scratched, but the marks come from bonding fibers.
This massage cane is advertised as recommended by medical professionals.
The company claims many chiropractors and physical therapists back it up.
So, if you’re a massage therapist yourself, this tool can help improve your massages.
I loved how versatile the Body Back Buddy is.
You can use it as a foot massager, for foot reflexology, deep massages, acupressure, and even myofascial release.
If you have fibromyalgia or chronic pain, this cane massager can alleviate it. It’s waterproof, so you can even use it in the shower.
In terms of materials, the Body Back Buddy uses domestically sourced glass-filled polypropylene.
This model is made in the US, with no toxic BPA, PBDE, or TBBPA, following all the US Health and Safety standards in place.
With a lifetime warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee, this massage cane could only be made better if it were more relaxing to use it.
Some Tested Models that I decided not to include are: Mynt Shiatsu Seat Massager with Heat, Resteck Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager, Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck Model, Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow, HoMedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Massager
Types of Back Massagers
Back massagers can look very different. But it’s not only their looks that matter.
You need to choose the best type of back massager for your purpose.
First, you need to think about whether you want an electric or non-electric back massager.
Best Back Massager FAQs
Now that you’re here, you know a lot about back massagers, the best products on the market, and which type of massager to choose according to your purpose.
But you might still have some unanswered questions:
Are Back Massagers Worth It?
If you've ever experienced back pain, you've probably thought of massaging your back as a potential cure. And you're not alone. Back pain is a top reason people visit their doctor. In fact, up to 1 in 5 people who see a chiropractor for lower back pain end up with an injury. What you may not know, however, is that many of the best ways. Other than their ability to massage a sore back, it's been said that they're good for relieving tension, preparing for exercise, or help those with breathing issues. But, they're really only good for general tension and muscle soreness when used properly, not for the specific movements that would be used in physical therapy. In other words, they're great for putting a little bit of oil on your back, not for a massage.
As for back massagers that claim to work for back pain specifically, you should exercise caution. Pain patches and foam rollers typically don't provide all the muscles in your back with a relaxation like massage chair, which is why I say be very cautious with any device that says it can help treat your back pain. Beauty sleep. While most of these popular beauty sleep products are made with natural and organic ingredients, they're not quite as safe as many people think. Worryingly, some mattresses and pillows claim to be filled with essential oils that "restore energy, decrease tension, release anxiety.
Are Massage Guns Good for Back Pain?
Does the wave of news about people getting murdered while receiving massage therapy stop you from giving yourself a well-deserved massage? Perhaps it's the ongoing report of massage techs getting into bad situations that make you hesitate to enter your favorite massage parlor. But a Massage USA study states that massage is actually the third most effective treatment for lower back pain. And a 2008 British study suggests that massage is a good alternative to physical therapy.
In the 1970s, back pain was considered a modern affliction that no one really understood. This lack of a definition led to a lot of uncertainty about the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of this common complaint. Initially, people were taught to treat low back pain the same way as they did headache: forgo painkillers, run to the local drugstore.
Features of Back Massagers and How to Choose
Still not sure how to choose the best back massager? Take into account these features below:
Above you have plenty of advice on how to choose the right massager for your needs, plus seven different quality units that suit different purposes.
So which product provides the best pain relief and in which situation?
That’s a tough nut to crack. It depends on who you are and what you want.
The Body Back Buddy is perfect for tight knots, while the Zyllion Pillow is amazing for sciatica pain.
But both these products lack the versatility I experienced with the Naipo.
Apart from its soothing heat and Shiatsu massage nodes, the Naipo has a flexible design, and it can easily be used by people who don’t have a lot of strength.
So that’s my verdict: Naipo win (the company makes good Naipo lower back massager)
But there are other equally worthy products on the market.
So who’s the winner for you? Let’s talk in the comments below.