I’ve been testing massagers for a few years & spent countless hours trying to find the best neck massager. By the way, it sounds easier than it is. I’ve also read numerous reviews and even had a few focus groups to figure out which the winner is.
What's the real story?
Brookstone Shiatsu neck massager is the Top massager that I think is worth taking a look at. This good quality device with an intuitive interface may relieve chronic conditions, is versatile and ergonomic.
However, I’ll discuss some of its top devices...
Neck and Shoulder Massagers Summary
7 Best Neck Massager Models (Reviews for 2022)
The top neck and shoulder massager is from the Brookstone brand!
#1 Brookstone Shiatsu Neck Massager & Shoulder With Heat
I like the Brookstone because it’s easy to control and adjust its intensity.
I could easily place it anywhere around my neck and back, without straining, so I appreciate how precisely I could target specific pressure points.
The Brookstone allows you to unwind tough knots, but it’s also a stylish-looking device. The material is sturdy, and flexible, and makes this neck and back massager look professional. Besides, it doesn’t slip, and it can withstand constant rugged use.
Brookstone is simple to control; there are only three buttons to choose from: on/ off, heat and Shiatsu. I could feel the heat working, unwinding my sore neck muscles, and improving my circulation of blood.
I find heat therapy incredibly relaxing.
The 8 Shiatsu nodes are excellent for stubborn nodes and massaging sore spots between your shoulder blades. There are three auto programs to choose from auto-reversing, single direction, and timed interval. The auto-reversing option is best for massaging pressure points and relieving chronic neck pain, while the unique direction spin for the Shiatsu nodes is best for relaxation.
The 20-minute auto shutoff shows user-friendliness because it focuses on safety. The 10-foot cord is long enough to make this device simple to use no matter where you are in your home. But Brookstone is not perfect. Firstly, it’s a bit difficult to use by mobility-challenged people.
So, if you can’t put on a sweater by yourself, this model might not be for you. Another issue is its portability: even if the cord has a decent length, you still need an outlet to use it. However, there’s a wireless version of this massager you can easily find on Amazon.
- Healing heat therapy
- Pain relief
- 8 Shiatsu nodes
- Deep kneading massage
- Easy to use
- Requires moderate arm mobility
- Requires wall socket
Summary: The Brookstone is a premium, versatile, and easy to use a product, which makes it highly functional.
#2 Naipo Shiatsu With Heat - 2nd best
The Naipo Shiatsu Massager features 8 Shiatsu nodes, just like the Brookstone However, half of them are small, and half of them are big, which makes this device excellent.
Besides, you can massage your whole body with it. The arm-pressure design demands moderate arm strength and mobility, but this is a good device for stress relief and tight muscles.
The infrared heating option works well with the Shiatsu nodes to improve circulation and relieve pain. I like that the Naipo Shiatsu Massager allows you to adjust the Shiatsu node speed. Choose low intensity for relaxation and stress relief, the average intensity for cramped muscles, and high intensity for tight knots and acupuncture points.
Some people might find even the lowest speed a bit too intense, but luckily there’s a 30-day full refund! With a PU leather and breathable mesh cover, this model looks good, but it’s not as sturdy as Brookstone.
While the power cord might be a little short, the Naipo comes with a car adapter, but only use it if you’re sitting on the passengers’ seats.
- 8 Shiatsu nodes
- Total body massage
- Soothing heat
- Adjustable speed
- 30-day refund
- PU leather
- Car adapter
- Massage can be a little intense
- Not for rugged use
Summary: Even if I wouldn’t recommend this neck & shoulder massager with heat for rugged use, I find that it’s a comfortable, ergonomic device that allows you to massage your whole body and relax.
#3 Zyllion - Good Massager Pillow on a Budget / portable / quality /
The Zyllion massager pillow is a value-for-money product if you’re on a budget because it boasts quality features.
For instance, the 3D Shiatsu nodes offer a powerful, deep tissue massage to unwind sore muscles. While the Zyllion doesn’t feature a Reverse Direction option like the Brookstone, its massage nodes change direction every minute.
However, the Zyllion features just four massaging nodes, which means it can touch fewer pressure points. The bodyweight-pressure design means you can use it in your car or while you’re working, especially since it has included straps.
But I found it a bit difficult to readjust, and it was disturbing to see the best position on an excellent shoulder-blade massage, especially since it can slip without the straps.
That’s because the device isn’t flexible, meaning you can’t reach certain sore spots.
The heating function is a nice addition too, as it can improve blood circulation and relieve chronic pain, especially arthritis, joint pain, and plantar fasciitis pain.
I love the slim, compact design as well, especially since it’s ergonomic and portable. Albeit small, this is a strong, sturdy device that can last for years. Even heavier people can sit on it if they have sciatica pain, but some online reviewers say the deep tissue best massage made their skin bruise after the first use.
The 20-minute auto shutoff and heat protection make it a safe device. You even get a 1-year replacement warranty and car adapter!
- Value for money
- Resistant, sturdy
- 4 Shiatsu nodes for deep tissue work
- Soothing heat
- Relieves pain
- Compact, portable
- Inflexible shape
- Deep kneading massage pillow design
- Intense first massage
Summary: The Zyllion is an affordable, compact, and resistant shiatsu massager for muscle pain relief, though it’s not flexible.
#4 Pure-Wave CM7 - Best Handheld Whole Body Massager
Pure Wave CM7 is the best option not only for your neck but for your back and whole body. This handheld massager, compact device is advertised as recommended by physical therapists, trainers, and chiropractors. I don’t know how true that is, but this is an FDA-registered product, which makes it safe for home use.
I think its best feature is its patented dual-motor design, which employs both percussion and vibration to massage different pressure points. The dual-motor can help release muscle tension & muscle spasms and massage difficult knots. The CM7 comes with five different heads that offer different massage experiences.
I would recommend this device for post-workout massages and relaxation, though, not chronic pain relief. Another thing I’m ambivalent about is CM7’s design. Though it’s small, compact, and easy to use, you still have to hold it in your hand, which requires at least moderate flexibility to operate.
However, I think this is the most versatile model in this review. You can use it even on your face, and it can easily break down scar tissue. Besides, it’s a cordless shiatsu neck back massager gun (with a rechargeable battery), which makes it portable and easy to use anywhere.
Did I mention the 90-day free returns? Because if you’re not happy with the CM7, you can change your mind anytime.
- Total body massages, including face massages
- Five different heads
- Small, compact
- 90-day free returns
- No heat therapy
- Requires moderate flexibility
- Not for chronic neck pain
Summary: With a patented, dual-motor technology, PureWave CM7 is a reliable, compact total body massager for post-workout recovery.
#5 VIKTOR JURGEN Neck Massage Pillow - Good
The number one reason I like the Viktor Jürgen neck massage pillow is its versatility. You can use it on your neck, belly, calves, or soles to get a deep-kneading massage.
The four 3D Shiatsu nodes mimic the motions of a real massage therapist’s hands so that you can unwind your sore muscles. Combine that with the soothing heat option, and you get a massage pillow that can relax you and improve your circulation of blood.
However, you can’t make any adjustments in regard to speed or massage intensity. You can opt to turn the heat on/ off, and the massage nodes change directions on their own. This device is useful to relax tight muscles, especially if you’ve slept poorly or if you have tense shoulders/ neck because of poor posture at the office.
However, it’s not a device I would recommend for chronic pain. In terms of materials, the cover cloth seems durable and can protect your skin from heat and friction. Besides, this is an FDA-approved product, with overheat protection.
Don’t forget the 90-day money-back guarantee and the 3-year warranty for repairs.
- Good warranties
- Relaxing and soothing
- Life-like experience
- Four deep-kneading Shiatsu nodes
- Inflexible, shiatsu pillow design
- Not for chronic pain
- Not a lot of adjustments
Summary: The Viktor Jurgen neck massage pillow is compact and versatile for relaxation and tight muscle relief, but it doesn’t allow any modifications.
#6 Shiatsu by InvoSpa
This Shiatsu neck massager from InvoSpa has some of the same functions as the Brookstone massager. But it looks much better, with a leather exterior that’s light blue on the arm loops and black on the part that goes behind your head.
That said, the InvoSpa massager features eight massage roller nodes. Four of them are big, and four are small, which is perfect for a whole body, deep tissue massage.
Again, the arm-pressure design requires moderate force. Another thing I liked is the adjustable intensity with three-speed levels and the two massage directions that feels very lifelike. Unfortunately, you can’t adjust the massage direction yourself; the nodes will automatically reverse every minute.
The infrared heat improves blood circulation, unwinds sore muscles, and helps relieve stress. You even get an included, stylish carry bag and a car charger!
But there are some things I didn’t like about InvoSpa. For instance, the massage area has an inflexible, masssage pillow design, meaning it will not mold on your neck and shoulders to touch all your pressure points.
It’s also a bit difficult to get to the controller, which is placed on your left shoulder. Lastly, the heat function could be improved. The nodes don’t get as hot as I would like, more like lukewarm.
- 8 Shiatsu nodes
- Adjustable intensity
- Lifelike experience
- Relaxing, soothing
- Requires moderate arm strength
- Inflexible massage area
- Difficult-to-reach controller
- Lukewarm heat
Summary: The InvoSpa mimics the Brookstone massager, but it lacks some of its quality features like flexibility or soothing heat.
#7 Thera Cane - Best Manual Option
Thera Cane is exactly what it sounds like: a cane massager. It is the best manual option on the market if you look at it with unbiased eyes. Although it looks weird, it can easily alleviate all sorts of aches and pains.
It’s easy to handle; you don’t need to be very flexible for it, though you need a moderate amount of strength to massage painful knots. But if you’re a healthy individual with a reasonable strength level, you can apply a sufficient amount of pressure to massage sore spots, turning the cane in any direction you like.
This device is better suited for professional individuals who want to massage sore muscles from a poor posture or for people who want an excellent post-workout massage. Besides, the cane can massage hard-to-reach muscles and comes with a lifetime warranty.
The downsides? You need some strength and flexibility, there’s no soothing heat, no Shiatsu nodes and you’re not getting the same relaxation benefit as you would from an electric device.
- Gets to hard-to-reach muscles
- Great for point massage therapy
- Great for post-workout massages
- Lifetime warranty
- Easy to use
- Requires moderate strength
- No soothing heat
- Not as relaxing as an electric massager
Summary: Thera Cane is easy to use a manual device that can release painful knots.
VOYOR Shiatsu Dual Trigger Point - Bonus
A VOYOR is a soft massager that is placed over the neck and shoulders. This model helps to relax the muscle tension in the upper neck and shoulders. Some of them have a gentle vibrating function. Others have a pulsating function. The number of massagers available in the market today depends on a number of things. Some of the factors that affect the availability of a model include the increasing needs of the users and the desire to have a mobile device at all times.
If a VOYOR is used on a regular basis, it becomes an important part of one's life. People must buy a good model that has numerous benefits. Some of the benefits include soothing pain, relaxation, circulation, and relaxation of the body. The massagers help to improve the general health of the users. They help in getting rid of respiratory problems and some chronic conditions such as headaches and sore throats. It is very important to get a model that has multiple functions.
Some neck massagers come with a timer feature so that the users can use the VOYOR at different times. This feature allows users to change their massage settings. People must also get a good model that does not look cheap. You should also get a good model with massage ball that has a good battery backup. A poor battery backup can cause the device to stop working easily. You should also get a good model that has a timer. A timer feature allows you to change the massage settings at set intervals. The timer also allows you to stop the massager once the time is over.
Some Models We Tested But Not Included In This Review
I tried some other models that I didn’t include in this review.
You might stumble upon them during your online searches, so here’s my opinion on some of them:
PurePulse is remote with pulse stimulators, which makes it easy to reach your pressure points.
Although it has six program modes for targeted areas, and three massage types and you can target two areas at the same time, it doesn’t offer soothing heat or a deep-tissue Shiatsu massage.
Liba is the budget-pick version of the Brookstone.
Although it has similar functions, it tends to get stuck quite often, especially if you use it while you’re sitting.
It means the rollers need to be realigned quite frequently.
Office Neck Massager
This manual device consists of two cervical massage balls in the massage area and a corrugated cane you grab onto so that you can move the balls on your neck.
The downside is that you need a bit of force, there’s no heat, so a minimal relaxation effect, plus you can only use this device on your neck, not on your shoulders or back.
HoMedics – NMS-375
Advertised as a deep kneading neck massager with soothing heat, the HoMedics device has lots of bad reviews, which is why I didn’t include it here.
The cord is short, it’s difficult to reach the controls, the heat is not too warm, and you can only use it on your neck.
Worst of all, it’s not a reliable device, as it can simply just stop working out of the blue.
Advertised as a pain-relieving device for the whole body, InstaShiatsu can be improved.
It has a strong motor, but it’s a little heavy and loses charge quickly.
That’s why you need to charge it fully two hours before use, so you need to plan your massage sessions.
Few more models that are not included: Pur-shiatsu, Atmoko, Trumedic Instashiatsu
About Invospa Back Neck and Shoulder Massager
Invospa is the best choice for relief and therapy. The device supports the right pressure to the right part of the body. The concentric massager reaches the center of the body without hurting the spine and joints. The best thing about the massage pump is that it comes with a soft noise cancellation mode to create an ideal environment for the victim. It can be used in many types of car accidents. It is easy to use and you can do it in any part of the body. Invospa is the company that provides the best massage pumps for customers. It offers various types of massage pumps to its clients that can be used on various parts of the body. The powerful motors support the treatment without putting any pressure on the spine and joints.
Pumping through 2 feet of tubing, this back massage is certainly very soothing and easy to maneuver around. I had some knots in my back that I wanted to get rid of, so I ordered this pump. But, before I gave it a try, I did some research. What I found was that this pump is advertised for a wide variety of back and shoulder muscles. But as far as I could tell, all the reviews mentioned that it worked well for the back and neck. And since I'm pretty hardcore about massage, I thought I'd give it a shot. Тo installs the pump, you need to fill the tubing with water and add your choice of odor absorption drops or oil. I had both, so I chose odor absorption drops. Then I inserted the tubing into my pump.
Is it Safe to Use Neck Massager?
Essentially, any portable massager uses one or more rotary energy coils inside the device. When this device is activated, it spreads vibrations over the entire body. Such massagers are claimed to have various health benefits, as they are able to stimulate blood flow, which triggers the circulatory system, aiding in the digestion of food and rejuvenating the muscles. However, it is important to note that any massage machine, whether it is portable or otherwise, is not meant to be used by people with neck problems. For those suffering from severe neck or shoulder pain, it is wise to seek the advice of your GP. If you are experiencing neck pain, what should you do?
The most important things to do to avoid neck pain include taking rest and avoiding sleeping on your neck for long periods. You should also be careful with sports, especially high-intensity, as that can aggravate neck pain. In the meantime, you can try wearing an armband around your neck while you sleep, as that will prevent the vibrations from affecting your sleep. Some effective home remedies. If you are suffering from neck pain that won't go away after several weeks.
Are Shiatsu Neck Massagers Good?
If you are someone who constantly suffers from stiff neck or shoulder pain, then you should know that it can be cured by using a Shiatsu massager. Shiatsu massage is a gentle treatment that utilizes regular Shiatsu kneading, presses, and lifts of the muscles, particularly those close to the spine. Doing so gently loosens the tight muscles, alleviates pain, and helps in reducing stiffness in the neck. However, there are a few people who are prone to injuries and it becomes difficult for them to get a good massage. But there are a few steps that can be taken in order to make the process less painful for the patient.
How We Define & Test
The refining process is the most time-consuming part of this job. There are hundreds of massagers on the market if you’re only looking at the market leaders.
Offline stores feature hundreds of options, which is overwhelming.
So which massagers made my shortlist?
Firstly, these massagers need to have good ratings on Amazon and other websites. That’s why I studied various online Consumer Reports.
Initially, I thought to review just electric neck massagers because they’re easier to use, more professional, and more relaxing. However, I ended up adding a couple of manual massagers too for people who are on a budget.
I tested all the products in this review to evaluate their performance. But pain relief and relaxation are highly subjective criteria, so I ended up organizing a few focus groups too.
The people who tested these massagers rated the neck massagers’ functionality, ease of use, portability, quality, and craftsmanship.
That’s how we got to the top 7 neck and shoulder massagers below.
But first, here are some things to consider before buying, which are also the criteria we used for evaluating the massagers.
Things to Know Before Buying a Massager / Features To Look For
Even if my primary criterion for choosing a product is its functionality, I found that its look influences lots of people at a subconscious level. If you think your device looks yucky, you’ll probably stick it in your closet and forget about it.
If it looks good, you’ll place it somewhere where you can see it and therefore use it more often.
Ease Of Use
User-friendliness is a top criterion for me. I want my massagers easy to use and to reach. A painful operation is a big no-no. Here, the Brookstone massager won first place, but just barely above Naipo.
The best model should be quality, ergonomic, and functional. They should be comfortable and fit well around your neck. Guess which one we found the best? The Brookstone, of course.
Results and Health Benefits
People use shoulder massagers for different purposes, so consider why you need to get one. A good massager for pain relief looks entirely different than one for relaxation or post-workout massages. But the top-rated neck massagers on the market are versatile and can work to unwind your muscles, improve your blood circulation, and decrease your ache.
If your health is top-notch, any quality device on the market can help unwind tense muscles and relax you. But if you have medical problems, you need to focus on ease of use and deep tissue massage.
It’s important to figure out which device will be the easiest to operate. Some massagers require arm strength, meaning you’ll pull the model down with your arms to generate pressure.
This design is flexible both in terms of pressure intensity and massage area, but can be difficult to handle by people with little arm strength.
Other massagers require body weight, meaning you press on it with your body. It requires less skill and increases the pressure, but it’s more difficult to place them on problem areas.
Manual vs. electrical operation is another issue to consider. Manual neck massagers are more affordable, but you need some strength and flexibility to operate them. That’s why they’re not great for people with very stiff muscles or severe mobility issues.
It depends on the place where you want to use it. All the products below are great for home use, but not all of them are great for use at the office.
For instance, the Brookstone neck massager, which requires arm pressure to work isn’t the best option for the office unless you’re taking a break.
Pillow neck massagers are a better choice to use when you’re working or when you’re driving.
Do Neck Massagers Work?
Women will laugh at you for saying neck massagers work but they actually do. You won't believe it but they really do. A lot of women get neck pains and not because of poor posture but because of the stress they put on their necks with the wrong posture. Whenever they move, they are always putting a lot of stress on their necks because their arms and hands usually move with their neck.
Which is very cheap, will at least loosen up the muscles around your neck that are causing the pain. It also releases muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. Now, if that is not a good thing for your neck health, then I don't know what is. Especially, if you have long hair, this can be very painful. The best part of it is that the effects are short-lived. After using it for a while, you will actually see your neck getting a little more relaxed.
Are Neck Massages Safe?
Yes, people have been giving neck massages, but the concerns of harm to their necks are unfounded. In a 1979 case, workers at an aviation company near Los Angeles were told to take a neck stretch break. Workers told of neck pain, headaches, and stiffness, and the neck muscles complaining of tingling, numbness, and aching. Eight workers developed carpal tunnel syndrome, usually from improper work posture and workers reported numbness of the face and neck.
But because workers were able to resume work safely, there was no immediate cause for concern. The workers were, however, wearing back braces at the time of the accident. No other information was found about their work positions, the number or exact conditions of their necks, or the nature of the injury sustained. It was thought to be purely due to overuse of the neck muscles and not due to a real problem. Though the sample size of the particular case was not large, if the accident had occurred in a factory, an accumulation of similar incidents could lead to serious risks. Despite the relatively few instances of injuries from neck massages, workplace safety measures are still necessary.
Are Neck Massagers Good for You?
If you have been wondering if the devices you use to relieve neck pain work, it turns out that you may be better off popping a Tylenol and taking a hot bath than popping a pillow in your mouth and getting a neck massage. Gone are the days of an addictive neck massager, which could potentially give you the temporary pain relief you need but lead to addiction and withdrawal if you stopped using it.
According to research, massagers are actually not all that effective, and they can cause more harm than good. The neck massage gun has been made popular by companies selling it as a "brain tonic" to get the brain to relax and prevent depression and headache, especially when it is placed in the ear.
If you make it here, you have probably made up your mind. Even if you didn’t, hopefully, my short buying guide will help you compare and contrast all the products above.
Let me sum it up for you, though.
The Brookstone massager is my top pick because it’s comfortable, ergonomic, stylish, and functional. Naipo is my second choice – although it has some of the same features as Brookstone, it’s not optimal for rugged use and can be a little intense.
Both of these options are versatile and can be used for medical purposes. If you’re an active individual, looking for post-workout muscle massages, the best value for money is Thera Cane, a manual cane-like massager for point massage therapy.
If you’re on a budget, but want a neck massager for increased relaxation, I would opt for the Zyllion. Conversely, the PureWave CM7 is the perfect choice if you want to massage your whole body including your face.
As you can see, all these massagers are excellent for different purposes. While there’s no such thing as the top-rated neck and shoulder massager, I still think the Brookstone massager is one of the best right now.