There’s no denying the fact that many households are facing tight budgets. Some workers haven’t seen a raise in nearly a decade, but expenses continue to rise. There’s a lot of stress in this world too and that can cause your back, neck, and shoulders to gather all the tension and turn it into screaming, painful muscle knots and spasms.
If cost is your #1 consideration and you need to experience relief, then the best handheld back massager is the value investment you need. You’ll be able to pinpoint sore muscles, work out the tension, and do it for less than the price of a copayment if you were to visit the chiropractor for some help.
Which Handheld Back Massager Is the Best?
The issue with a handheld back massager is its weight. The design is meant for self-massage, but the weight of the tool can be enough that using the massager causes more muscle tension and pain. When looking for the best handheld back massager, you’ll want to find a tool that can provide the right level of massage, heat, and vibration in a lightweight design for best results.
Or you could have someone run the massager over your back for you. Maybe with some candles, soft music, and a little massage oil.
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Alternative Head Options||Price|
|Ohuhu Percussion Electric Massager||4.3||4||$|
|Wahl 4290-300 Deep Tissue Percussion Massager||4.1||3||$|
|Body Sport 2-Speed Professional Equipment Massager||4.4||0||$$$|
|Viktor Jurgen Double Head Electric Handheld Back Massager||4.3||3||$|
|Homedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Massager||4.0||3||$|
|PureWave CM7 Dual-Action Handheld Back Massager||4.5||6||$$$|
|Renpho Electronic Handheld Cordless Deep Tissue Massager||4.3||2||$|
|Paloqueth Cordless Wand Massager||4.3||0||$|
|Naipo Cordless Handheld Percussion Massager||4.9||3||$|
|Gideon Handheld Vibrating Percussion Massager||4.5||3||$|
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Alternative Head Options||Price|
Electric vs Manual Back Massagers: There Is No Real Debate
The price difference between a manual back massager and an electric back massager is minimal. At best, you might save $20.
Invest into the electric back massager. Although they are a little heavier, the percussion mechanisms in the massager can provide a better overall massage. If mobility is an issue, try positioning yourself in a chair or next to your bed, place the massager between you and the back of the chair or mattress, and then let the massage tool do all the work for you.
Manual back massagers usually offer just one massage head and force you to work out the muscle tension by moving the muscles that don’t feel good. That can really limit the benefits of the massage. In comparison, electric back massagers typically offer multiple massage heads so that you can somewhat customize the massage that you’re giving yourself.
There is also the added advantage of heat with most electric back massagers in contrast to the manual versions. Press a button, give the massage tool about 1-2 minutes, and you can encourage muscle tension to release. Press another button and you can increase the speed or intensity of the massage. It really is a simple, straightforward product.
If you struggle to support the weight of an electric back massager and the movements required for a manual back massager are difficult to perform, then consider using one of the best massage chair pads as an alternative tool to find the relief you want.
How to Find the Best Handheld Back Massager for Me
Handheld back massagers come with a number of possible features. One of the most common features is a replaceable or interchangeable massage head. With different shapes and styles available, you can receive the right type of targeted massage for your back, neck, and shoulder pain. Most models offer 3 different heads, but some offer 6+ options that can be used.
You’ll also have the option of choosing a single massage head design or a dual massage head design. If you prefer the percussion-type of massage, the dual design is the best option because it will alternate between the two heads for a wonderfully relaxing massage. If you struggle with muscle knots in specific areas or have been diagnosed with a condition like fibromyalgia, then the single-head design is a better option.
Once you’ve settled on the design that will best meet your needs, then it is time to think about the features that you’d like to have on your new massage tool. There are several different features available in this category in varying combination and each provides a specific benefit.
- Tapping. This feature is like the percussion feature of most handheld back massagers, but is much lighter on the impact. It is suitable for use in self-healing techniques, such as EFT.
- Vibration. Even percussion-style massages tend to offer vibration as part of the massage package. The vibrations from the massager help to loosen muscles that have tightened up, allowing the other features to dig in and help provide some relief.
- Cold Therapy. Heat is a very common feature in this category, but a handheld back massage with cold therapy as a feature is something you’ll love. It’s like getting a massage while an ice pack is on your back, helping to numb the pain of accumulated stress in the muscles.
- Magnets. Magnetic therapy has its supports and critics. Some massage tools offer this as an optional feature.
There is no right or wrong answer here. The best handheld back massager is the one that can effectively meet your needs day after day. Match your needs to the available features you see in each product and then select the one which offers the best overall value.
That way, you can experience the relief of a massage without the high cost of visiting a masseuse.
How to Use a Handheld Back Massager Safely
Many of the handheld back massagers are designed to provide a percussion-like experience. This benefits the user because it simulates a deep tissue massage. It also means there are certain safety considerations which must be taken.
For people who have a history of concussions, using a handheld back massager on the neck can be unsafe. The percussion mechanism creates vibration within the skull and this can cause the signs and symptoms of a concussion to reappear.
Everyone should avoid using an electric back massager on the skull. Even on its lowest setting, there is a higher risk of injury with such actions.
If you decide to purchase a handheld back massager with heat, then it is important to use that heat for one cycle only. Many people report an itching sensation on their skin after using a heated back massager, which is an indication of a light burn. Continuing to use the massager for a second cycle may cause this potential injury to be magnified.
Several speed settings are offered on most of the massagers offered in this category and the top speed setting can be quite intense. Some users may need to work their way up to the highest setting with 2-3 weeks of regular massages before attempting to use the highest setting on the equipment.
Can I Use Massage Oils or Creams with a Handheld Back Massager?
For many, the goal of purchasing a handheld back massager is to create a spa-like experience within the comfort of a home environment. Because of that, massage oils and creams are often used with this type of product.
For the most part, these massagers will work with most products. You’ll want to confirm this through the best handheld back massager reviews or product descriptions before purchase to avoid voiding the warranty of the product.
When applied, oils and creams can help the back massager move with greater smoothness and fluidity along the problematic regions of the back, neck, or shoulders. This can improve the overall quality of the massage and enhance the heat or cold therapy benefits that are potentially available.
Many essential oils offer aromatherapy benefits if they are applied to the massage as well. Be sure to read the instructions of your preferred oils or creams and compare that to the instructions of the handheld back massager to ensure the best possible massage can be obtained.
After your massage, it is important to clean the massage heads and the massager of the oil or cream used. Remove the massage head if possible, and soak it in hot, soapy water for about 5 minutes (or follow the manufacturer’s instructions). Take a disinfectant wipe or a rag with a disinfectant cleanser soaked through it and wipe down your massage tool as the heads are soaking.
This will help you be able to maximize the lifespan of your new equipment.
How Much Should I Budget for the Best Handheld Back Massagers?
Handheld back massagers are incredibly affordable. Small, cordless models can be found in this category for less than $20. You’ll find percussion style handheld massagers beginning at $25. Virtually all products in this category are priced for less than $50.
Between $25-$50 is where you’re going to find the best values. These handheld back massagers are rich in features, including percussion, heat, cold therapy, and vibration. They are also lightweight, ergonomically designed, and offer multiple heads for different massages.
If you’re looking for professional-quality equipment in this category, then a chiropractic massager is your best option. Although the cost is higher, the results are impactful and immediate. You’ll likely need someone to administer the massage for you and need to invest about $150 for the product, but the relief you’ll experience is incredible.
Choose the Best Handheld Back Massager for Personal Use
What stands out the most about the design of this particular massager is its non-slip grip. For whatever reason, most models in this category offer a smooth, or perhaps slightly ridged, holding surface that relies heavily on ergonomics to keep it stable in the hand. Viktor Jurgen has provided a non-slip grip over the handle, built from a good rubber core, that keeps your hand comfortable while using the product. Three sets of massage heads are included for further customization and they’re relatively soft, allowing you to focus on the tension instead of the technique while working.
There isn’t a better massager in this category when it comes to releasing muscle tension. Some may argue that for the price, that should be a guarantee. It is. This massager is built for professional use, which means it is intended to be run frequently throughout the day, every day. It is rated for clinical and professional massage therapy settings. The dual-speed design helps you target sore spots that may be aggravated by the heavier percussion action as well, which means you really can get a full body massage on a regular basis. Compared to the cost of a professional masseuse, this massager would pay for itself in just 3 trips.
The massage nodes that are included with this massager provide the right levels of therapy when there are sore muscles that need some help. The flat disc node is lovely because it provides a general deep tissue massage. The deep muscle node provides percussion action, while the four-finger flex node provides more of a touch massage. Add in the Accupoint node to target a concentrated area and the tension you’ve got will fade away quickly for a surprisingly fair price.
This is one of the few massage tools that does a reasonably good job of mimicking what a human massage is like. In 15 minutes, you can work on a specific part of the body, release tension, and then switch out heads to repeat the process. There are 4 modes available for use, rated from R1-R4. For R1, there is no gap time for the vibration feature. On the other end of the spectrum, R4 offers the shortest gap time while vibrating. There is also a timing function which will shut the massager off before the 15-minute work cycle if that is preferred.
From a sheer strength perspective, this percussion-action massager is one of the best in the industry. You’ve got four different speeds of massage that range from mild vibration to strong percussion. You can use the head attachments to customize the massage or leave the nodes exposed to receive a strong heat experience. Most muscle knots can be worked out in a single cycle. On the second cycle, the heat can be quite strong on this massager, so take care in using it around sensitive skin.
If you’re looking for a customized massage you can do yourself, then this is the best option in the category. Not only is this massager cordless, but it offers double the attachments of most other massagers. It operates at up to 10k RPM and offers options that include trigger-point therapy and Swedish massage. It’s one of the few percussion massagers that’s even rated to be used on the face. It includes a storage stand, is very durable, and is one of the best-constructed massagers available in any category.
If you’re looking for an affordable deep tissue massage, this model is a solid option to consider. It offers three different speeds, providing up to 3,600 pulses per minute. There is an issue with the massager overheating, so we recommend using it only one cycle at a time. It is cordless, so if you use the high setting for your massage, that’s about what you’ll get from a full charge anyway. On the low setting, you can give yourself a massage for about an hour. All in all, the design is simple, but effective, and we enjoyed using this balanced massager.
This is the massager to use if you’re looking to find relief in specific spots. It is a traditional vibrator in style and design, but highly portable. That makes it highly affordable. Despite is entry-level pricing, there are 20 different vibration modes from which to choose and 8 different speed settings. That makes it a highly versatile tool, especially since there is a water-resistance built into the design as well. If you’re looking for something that is portable and sleek, this is going to be the right massager for you.
This cordless option offers three unique massage heads that work with 5 different speeds and 5 vibration options so you can create the perfect massage at home. On the lowest speed setting, the massager is rated for up to 90 minutes of use. Deep tissue, acupoint, and acupressure massage are all possible with this equipment. For a rechargeable model, the amount of strength it provides is quite remarkable. We were quite pleased with what it could do and, assuming the battery can last multiple recharges, is a nice long-term investment to consider.
This handheld massager is a good option for those who don’t like the oversized handles and ergonomics provided by other manufacturers. The grip is right near the massage head, which offers three interchangeable options from which to choose. What really stands out about this particular design is that the size of the massage head is larger than other models. It provides 7 different massaging speeds and even includes an automatic speed feature. If you’re looking for a massager that’s effective and easy to use while sticking to a tight budget, it’s difficult to find a better value purchase today than this one.
The best handheld back massagers can help you take care of daily stress, get rid of muscle knots over time, and help you feel better every day. It’s time to take care of yourself. By purchasing one of these massagers today, you’ll be taking a step in the right direction.