Buying guide for best neck massagers

A neck massager can bring the relaxing and therapeutic effect of a massage into your home. Models vary in their technique and usage, so you should consider how you intend to use your neck massager and what sort of relief you are looking for.

A Shiatsu neck massager uses heat and rollers to target deep tissue. Pillow neck massagers are cordless and allow you to relax while the massager does the work for you. Handheld neck massagers are easy to use and can massage parts of the body beside the neck. Each type of massager varies greatly in its use and effects, so you might even want to consult with a doctor or professional masseuse to see what kind would be best for you. Different models may also vary in their settings and overall size.

If you know what you are looking for in a neck massager, consider our top recommendations. Or, continue reading to learn more about the factors that should go into this decision.

Why buy a neck massager?

If you’re still deciding whether or not to buy a neck massager, here are some benefits to consider.

  • A neck massager can help to relieve pain in the neck and shoulders.
  • A neck massager costs less money in the long run than a series of professional massages.
  • Recent studies suggest massage may help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help with a range of medical conditions, including Crohn’s disease and arthritis.
  • If you’re stressed or just need to unwind, you may find a neck massager helps you to relax.

Types of neck massagers

Shiatsu neck massagers

Shiatsu neck massagers are designed to replicate traditional Japanese massage using balls that knead pressure points.


  • Shiatsu neck massagers use rollers that massage deep into the tissue.
  • Many Shiatsu neck massagers utilize heat, which is a pleasant sensation and helps relax muscles.
  • You can find a wide range of Shiatsu neck massagers on the market, so you have plenty to choose from.


  • Home neck massagers can’t fully recreate the effects of Shiatsu massage, which is traditionally only performed with fingers, thumbs, and palms.
  • Some Shiatsu massagers can be quite heavy and bulky.

Price: Basic Shiatsu neck massagers start around $20. High-end Shiatsu neck massagers can cost as much as $200 or $250.

Pillow neck massagers

Pillow neck massagers are pillow-shaped with some padding. They can be used like a pillow and placed behind your neck while you recline.


  • Many pillow neck massagers are cordless, giving you the ability to use them anywhere you please – even on the go.
  • Pillow neck massagers tend to be fairly easy to use.
  • Since you sit back and let the pillow massager do all the work, they’re comfortable to use for longer periods of time.


  • Some cordless pillow neck massagers don’t have a very long battery life.
  • It can be tough to target specific problem areas with pillow neck massagers, as they aren’t highly maneuverable.

Price: Basic pillow massagers cost as little as $15 to $25. High-end models can cost hundreds, but you can find some very good mid-range options around the $50 mark.

Handheld neck massagers

Handheld neck massagers are held by a handle. You can reach back and position the massaging head wherever you need it.


  • You have greater control over a handheld neck massager; it’s easier to target areas that are giving you trouble.
  • Many handheld neck massagers are fairly small and lightweight.
  • Handheld neck massagers can be used to massage other parts of the body.


  • A handheld neck massager is less relaxing and comfortable to use for long periods of time, since you have to reach your arm back and hold it in place.
  • Many handheld neck massagers are corded, which restricts the locations in which you can use them.

Price: Basic handheld neck massagers start at around $10, but we don’t recommend paying less than $20 if you want a reliable model. High-end options can cost as much as $150.

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