Buying guide for best handheld massagers

If you have pain after a sports injury or aches from working at a desk all day, a handheld massager can provide the relief you need. These electric or manual massagers give you salon-quality relaxation in the comfort of your own home.

If you’re unsure where to start your search for a handheld massager, look no further. We’ve put together this shopping guide to take you through the basics and beyond.

Once you’ve perused the available features, be sure to check out our top picks for the handheld massagers we think stand out from the rest.

Key considerations

Electric vs. manual

Handheld massager come in two types: manual and electric.

  • Manual: Small, lightweight manual massagers have balls, knobs, and textured surfaces to manipulate muscles. You provide the power to remove aches and knots, and while these are labor intensive to use, they’re also small and inexpensive.
  • Electric: These massagers are a step up from the manual models. These use vibrations, percussive motions, or rollers to reach deep into the muscle tissue. Electric massagers are larger, heavier, and more expensive, but many come with a wide variety of features that may make one worth the extra cost.

Battery powered vs. corded

  • Battery-powered massagers give you freedom of movement and portability. They’re also lightweight and easy to maneuver as you target your problem areas. However, they aren’t as powerful as corded models. Some battery-powered models are rechargeable, but you’ll have to remember to keep the charger on hand.
  • Corded models offer consistent power and vibration control, but these massagers are heavier, and the cord restricts your mobility. You might have to hold the massager in some awkward positions to keep the cord from getting in the way.

Targeting problem areas

Neck, back, joints, and feet are only a few of the places you might want to target with a handheld massager. Some models are better at reaching certain areas than others. Massagers that come with a wide, flat head work better on the lower back, while small single- or dual-node models with low vibration are better at massaging sensitive feet. You can narrow your choices by taking the time to note the areas of your body you’ll want to target most often.

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