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 wort taking a look at.
This quality device with an intuitive operation can relieve chronic pain, is versatile and ergonomic.
However, I’ll discuss some its top contenders below...
Best Neck and Shoulder Massagers Summary
7 Best Neck Massager Models (Reviews for 2019)
#1 Brookstone Shiatsu Neck Massager & Shoulder With Heat
I like the Brookstone Neck Massager because it’s easy to control and to 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 neck & shoulder massager allows you to unwind tough knots, but it’s also a stylish looking device.
The material is sturdy, flexible and makes the massager look professional. Besides, it doesn’t slip, and it can withstand constant rugged use.
Brookstone is easy 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 blood circulation.
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 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 easy to use no matter where you are in your home.
But Brookstone is not a perfect massager. Firstly, it’s a bit difficult to use by mobility-challenged people.
So, if you can’t put on a sweater by yourself, this massager 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.
Summary: The Brookstone Shiatsu Massager is a premium, versatile and easy to use a product, which makes it highly functional.
#2 Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager Foot Massager 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 massager excellent for deep tissue massage.
Besides, you can massage your whole body with it.
The arm-pressure design demands moderate arm strength and mobility, but this is a good massager 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 allows you to adjust the Shiatsu node speed.
Choose low intensity for relaxation and stress relief, the average intensity for tight 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 massager looks good, but it’s not as sturdy as the Brookstone massager.
While the power cord might be a little short, the Naipo comes with a car adapter, but only use the massager if you’re sitting on the passengers’ seats.
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 Shiatsu Back Neck Massager - Good Massager Pillow on a Budget / portable / quality /
The Zyllion 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 massage 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 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!
Summary: The Zyllion is an affordable, compact and resistant massager for 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, 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 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 neck massager in this review.
You can use it even on your face, and it can easily break down scar tissue. Besides, it’s a cordless device, 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.
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 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 blood circulation.
However, you can’t make any adjustments in regards 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 massager 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.
Summary: The Viktor Jurgen neck massage pillow is compact and versatile for relaxation and tight muscles relief, but it doesn’t allow many modifications.
#6 Shiatsu Back Shoulder and Neck Massager With Heat by InvoSpa
This Shiatsu neck massager from InvoSpa has some of the same functions of 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, 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.
Summary: The InvoSpa massager mimic the Brookstone massager, but it lacks some of its quality features like flexibility or soothing heat.
#7 Thera Cane Massager - 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 massager.
Summary: Thera Cane is an easy to use manual massager that can release painful knots.
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:
Few more models that are not included: Pur-shiatsu, Atmoko, Trumedic Instashiatsu
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 other hundreds of options, which is overwhelming.
So which massagers made my short list?
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 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 neck 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 neck massagers.
Things to Know Before Buying a Massager / Features To Look For
Final Words on Neck and Shoulder Massager Machine
If you’re 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 the best 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 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 perfect product, I still think the Brookstone massager is the best.