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Published Oct. 15, 2021

One of the best forms of self-care is tending to your aches and pains with the help of massage. Besides muscle relief, studies show that massage has widespread benefits for the body and mind, such as managing skin conditions, pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia, hypertension, and enhancing overall mental well-being. But paying for frequent trips to the massage parlor can get costly. With the help of at-home massage tools, like massage guns and rollers, you can get the benefits of soothing muscles without having to shell out tons of money and time every week. Whether you’re an athlete looking to tend to sore muscles and joints, suffering from painful body parts due to age or illness, or simply looking to up your self-care game, here are the best massagers to keep you feeling relaxed and pain-free.

How we picked the best massagers

Because there are a wide variety of massagers on the market, we broke our search down to five key types: foot, neck, chair (full body), hand, and scalp. Each type of massager requires different features and components, but there are definitely some throughlines in our methodology. 

We analyzed each massager’s value for its price point: are you getting the most for your money? For neck and back massagers, we also wanted to ensure you’d be getting enough motorized power, without causing further pain and discomfort to your joints and muscles.

For handheld massagers, we only recommend those that aren’t too heavy or bulky, so that you can easily soothe yourself without having to feel like you’re working out. After all, wouldn’t that defeat the purpose? 

Things to consider before buying

Target

Because massage tools are a very broad genre, you’ll want to be specific about what your problem areas are and your intended use. Do you suffer from carpal tunnel and need hand relief? A hand massager is probably for you. Are you an athlete that requires deep tissue, full-body relief often? A massage gun is your best bet.

Price

You should also figure out what you’re looking to spend. Massage chairs, for example, can cost you well over $1000 (some are even $10,000!), while massage guns can be around $100. 

Consult your doctor

It’s also very much worth talking to your doctor before starting to shop for one of these massagers. That’s especially true if you’re suffering from any injuries or medical conditions. While most of these tools are simple to use, they may not play nice with underlying issues. Rubbing or applying pressure to the wrong area can increase pain or even cause permanent damage if you’re not careful. Err on the side of caution. 

Best massagers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Foot Massager: Cloud Massage Shiatsu Foot Massager Machine

Foot first

A burly massager that applies plenty of pressure.

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Why it made the cut: Between heat activation and incredibly powerful massage kneading, this is the best foot massager you’ll find. It works wonders to relieve pain from various conditions.

Specs:

  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Supports: Plantar Fasciitis, Diabetic Neuropathy, Bone Spurs
  • Weight: 22 Pounds

Pros:

  • Excellent for Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Extremely powerful/firm massage
  • Heated
  • Works feet and calves
  • Works like a deep tissue massage

Cons:

  • No remote control
  • Only 1 timer setting
  • Heavy

Specially designed to help those suffering from Diabetic Neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, and bone spurs, this foot massager is one of the most powerful on the market. It’s heat-activated for added muscle and joint relief and works all the way up through the ankles and calves for even more relief.

The movable bar allows you to adjust the positioning to your comfort and has three levels of intensity with five different modes: rolling massage, compression therapy, a sway function, heat therapy, or the quiet mode for a simple relaxing effect.

Drawbacks include the lack of remote control and only one timer setting (15 minutes). However, the overwhelming consensus was an appreciation for how intense this machine can get: “It hurts so good!”

Best Neck Massager: TOLOCO Massage Gun

Stiffness eliminator

It works on your whole body, but it shines around the neck.

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Why it made the cut: The forked attachment is wonderful for working on your neck, but it’s versatile enough to handle your whole body if other parts get sore.

Specs:

  • Power Source: Battery
  • Material: Silicone
  • Weight: 4.74 Pounds

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Can be used on full body
  • 10 replaceable massage heads 
  • Quiet
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Auto shut off after 10 min
  • Can be hard to reach some areas of your body

While we chose this for the best neck massager, this massage gun works the entire body. It has 10 replaceable massage heads to work all the nooks and crannies, providing the most accurate muscle relief, blood circulation, and lactic acid removal. Use the fork head for your neck and spine, and the crescent head for your shoulders. 

While the massage heads are specific and strong, many users noted that one of the best elements of this massage gun is that it won’t hurt if you accidentally press over a bone. (Many guns have plastic attachments that can cause sharp pain over sensitive bones). 

It has an ergonomic handheld design that’s easy to use and won’t slip, and LCD touch screen to adjust the modes and intensity. All this comes at a very fair price point, especially when compared to other massage guns on the market. Get the best massage gun before it sells out.

Best Massage Chair: OWAYS Zero Gravity SL Track Massage Chair

Sit and squish

You won’t want to get out of this full-featured chair.

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Why it made the cut: With a zero-gravity design, heated function, and a full body massage capability, this is a must for anyone who needs consistent muscle and joint relief.

Specs:

  • Product Dimensions: 64.56 x 31.49 x 48.81 inches
  • Weight: 256 pounds
  • Material: PU Leather

Pros:

  • Zero gravity
  • Full body massage
  • Heating
  • Built-in bluetooth speaker for music

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Manual setting can be difficult to use
  • Phone compatibility is spotty

This 3D, zero-gravity massage chair makes you feel like you’re floating in space. If you’re unfamiliar with zero gravity versus traditional massage chairs, zero gravity means you can recline all the way back. In this neutral position, you feel like you’re floating in “zero gravity,” because your weight is evenly distributed and your heart is lower than your legs. This helps to reduce pressure along your back, sciatic, and pelvis. This weight distribution is also beneficial if you sit for long periods of time.

The deep V-wrapped design and heating features are meant to help relax your emotional state, as well. The robot hands work the entire body in a rhythmic motion, and the chair can automatically adjust to a person’s height and body shape for the most accurate massage. 

You can even play music from the chair using the built-in Bluetooth speaker. While this chair is very expensive, it is a competitive price point for similar quality massage chairs. Manually programming the chair can be annoying, so it’s best for those who prefer automatic mode.

Best Scalp Massager: LATME Electric Scalp Massager

Hair Jordan

Pamper a part of your body that’s often neglected.

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Why it made the cut: With four waterproof, replaceable heads and 28 individual nodes, this scalp massager can be used for dry massage use and in-shower massaging and cleaning.

Specs:

  • Power Source: Battery
  • Material: Plastic, Silicone
  • Weight: 1.43 Pounds

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • 4 replaceable massage heads
  • 28 individual nodes
  • Waterproof; can be used in shower
  • Rechargable 

Cons:

  • Pricier than basic models

While the design is simple and straightforward, this scalp massager is doing the most. It comes with four replaceable massage heads that rotate both clockwise and counter-clockwise with high and low speeds for optimal goosebump-worthy head massage. 

We love that this is a waterproof design, meaning you can use the scalp massager in the shower to get a deep clean, stimulate your scalp, and relax you. In fact, studies show that head massage can increase hair growth and thickness. Don’t worry, it’s not going to tangle or pull your hair. If you’re concerned about tangling your hair, though, you can put a scarf over your head and still get the tingling and stimulation benefits. 

Ready in less than an hour on an easy charging base, it holds the charge for a long time. We also love that you can even use this device on pets.

Best Hand Massager: Lunix LX3 Cordless Electric Hand Massager

Finger spa

Hands take a beating, but this massager helps with heat and pressure.

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Why it made the cut: Relieve carpal tunnel, arthritis, and over-worked hands with this cordless electric, heated, and intense hand massager.

Specs:

  • Power Source: Battery
  • Supports: Arthritis, Pain Relief, Carpal Tunnel 
  • Material: Plastic

Pros:

  • Heated
  • Strong pressure
  • Compression
  • Great for palm, back of hand, and wrist pain
  • Comes with separate finger massager

Cons:

  • Pressure may be too strong for some users
  • Some did not like the “poking” ridges on the inside that left marks
  • Actual unit is less effective for finger pain

Our pick for the best hand massager, the Lunix pressure point therapy massager is excellent for palm, back of hand, and wrist pain. It comes with a separate finger massager, as well, which is great because we saw many users complain about the actual unit not providing enough finger relief. 

The unit comes with 6 levels of massage and intensity compression. It heats up to about 107 degrees F, which melts away sore and cramped muscles. It’s designed especially for Arthritis, pain relief, and carpal tunnel. If you want to focus on the wrists, though, you can place your hand halfway into the massager and hit program number four. It’ll massage your whole lower hand and that “meaty” section of your thumb. 

Note that the pressure can be a bit intense for some, so go easy when you’re starting out. It also can leave marks on your hands when you’re done using it, but have no fear. They will disappear after a little while.

Best Budget Massage Gun: Sportneer K1 Massage Gun

On-the-go game changer

It puts pressure everywhere except your wallet. Sportneer

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Why it made the cut: If your muscles and money are tight, this percussion massager adds new meaning to “bang for your buck” with enough speeds and swappable heads to target any muscle group. 

Specs:

  • Power Source: Battery
  • Noise: 35-45 dB
  • Weight: 1.76 Pounds

Pros:

  • Compact and portable
  • 6 replaceable massage heads 
  • Doesn’t sound like a power drill
  • Long-lasting 3350 mAh Lithium-ion battery

Cons

  • Not the most ergonomic

Percussion massagers are a great tool to break up the “crunchies” and loosen tight muscles. But with the most-recognized names in the sector starting at several hundreds of dollars, sticker shock can have you tensing up even more as you research relief.

Enter Sportneer’s affordable but still effective K1 Massage Gun. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do—improving blood circulation and dispersing lactic acid to warm up muscles and/or hasten recovery—and it does it under a C note. With a 220W brushless motor delivering five speeds from 1200 to 3200 RPM (upgrading to the D9 Elite model lets you cycle through six steps with even quieter operation), the K1 aids in prepping and repairing the body.

Avid hikers, long-distance runners, as well as anyone working on their feet all day will particularly appreciate the bullet head, which easily navigates the contours of the foot, digging deep into the fascia (as well as around joints) to relieve tension. Combined with five other swappable options for every knotty muscle group, the K1 lets you work a massage into any routine.

While suggested as best used with oil, the metallic heads are also great for gliding over clothes with minimal twists, so use doesn’t always have to be a private production. And it all comes packed in a convenient carrying case so you can address acute aches from the couch to the commute, from the treadmill to the trail.

FAQs

Everything else you need to know about massagers.

Q: Can I use a massager every day?

It depends. While massage has been shown to help alleviate pain and help with relaxation, every person’s body is different and requires varying amounts of relief. How often you exercise, how intensely you work out, and what conditions you have all affect how often you will need to massage your body.

The best way to tell how often to use your massagers is to go with how you feel. However, it also depends on how you use your massager. If you are using a massage gun, for example, you can use a more gentle setting to warm up your muscles daily and increase blood and lymphatic flow. If you are using an intense setting to work deep tissue, you will probably want to use this less often.

When it comes to massage chairs, though, the recommendation is typically to use them around three to four times per week.

Q: Does vibration help inflammation?

Yes! Studies show that vibration can reduce whole-body inflammation! 

Q: How much should I spend on a massage gun?

Like all products, the market varies widely. Some massage guns are under $100, and some can cost you over $700! This all depends on what features you’re looking for, brand names, etc. We’ve found that you can find a great massage gun that won’t break the bank, but will still get the job done. Those fancy $700 models are not necessary to get pain relief. 

A final word on the best massager

Massage benefits your entire body, as well as offers stress relief and relaxation for your mental health. With the help of the best massagers, you can save money and gain more convenience by having a professional-grade massage at your fingertips. 

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