After a long, hard day on the job most of us could benefit greatly from a massage. On the other hand, we also usually don’t have the time and money to go make an appointment with the friendly neighborhood masseuse. If that’s the case, then you may want to look for the best neck and shoulder massager around.
There are a lot of these on the market, and we’ve focused on the electric models so you won’t have to spend a ton of time learning technique. In our opinion, the Brookstone Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Heat stands out as the best, but there’s definitely more than one on the market for those who want to pick just the right one for them. With a wise choice, you can move forward free of aches and pains, so let’s hop right in and we’ll help you find the perfect choice to get rid of all of that annoying tension and pain.
If you’re only going to settle for the best of the best, then snap up the Brookstone Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager today. It’s relaxing, high-quality, and warming, leading to one of the best experiences you’ll get without paying a real masseuse.
Table of Contents
Top 5 Neck and Shoulder Massagers
|Brookstone Shiatsu Massager||Band Neck and Shoulder Massager||Overall||Check Price|
|Naipo Shiatsu||Band Neck and Shoulder Massager||Shoulders||Check Price|
|Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu||Pillow Neck and Shoulder Massager||Neck||Check Price|
|Zyllion ZMA26 Convertible Shiatsu||
Pillow Styled Neck &
|VIKTOR JURGEN Shiatsu||Band Neck and Shoulder Massager||Tight Budgets||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Neck and Shoulder Massager
Brookstone Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Heat
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
Of all of the massagers we took a look at, the Brookstone Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager was undoubtedly the best. And it better be, since its price runs into a serious premium over the other models we looked at.
Other than that, you’ll be able to receive a heated, Shiatsu style massage which our reviewers alternately described as “amazing” and “heavenly.” With the handy arm bands it can be raised or lowered to precisely the right spot as well, although it may be a bit much for those with injuries to use since it requires considerable pressure.
There are a few different heat settings available for you, depending on your own personal tastes, as well. Add in two massage modes and you’ll be able to get something great going on.
- Warming with different settings
- Two different massage settings
- Arm bands to vary pressure easily
- Durable construction
- Rather expensive
- No particularly suitable for those with injuries
2. Best Massager for Shoulders
Naipo Shiatsu With Heat Deep Kneading Massage
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
If you tend to carry your stress in your shoulders, then you’ll love this massager from Naipo. It’ll work for your neck as well, but we found that its treatment of the shoulders was pretty much second to none.
It has eight different massage settings, each of which is differentiated enough to be recognizable within seconds of activation. On top of that it provides you with warmth so that the rollers can get deep inside your muscles.
And, just in case you fall asleep with it on there’s an automatic shut off so it doesn’t keep draining power. This is apparently a very real problem according to a couple of the people who tried them out, just adding to the relaxation mythos surrounding this massager.
It’s not quite as good for those who carry all of their tension in the neck, and it’s a bit hard to use for someone with serious shoulder injuries like blown rotator cuffs, but if you’re looking for something to straighten you out after a long day at work then you’ll be in good hands.
This was our favorite for those who tend to carry their tension in the shoulders, and it’s a fraction of the Brookstone’s cost. If you’re experiencing sore shoulder joints on a regular basis, pick it up for some good ol’ fashioned quality of life improvement.
- Absolutely amazing for shoulder tension
- Eight different massage settings
- Warming action to improve blood circulation
- Auto-shut off in 20 minutes
- Needs to be plugged in
- Not suitable for those with serious shoulder injuries
3. Best Massager for Neck
Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
On the flip side of the spectrum, the Zyllion massage pillow allows you to get all the kinks out of your neck with a minimum effort. It’s not quite as useful for the shoulders, however, due to it’s smaller size and the fact that you’ll have to lay on it.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its uses, for those with past injuries they’re trying to help it’s probably one of the best currently on the market since you don’t need to apply any downward pressure through arm straps.
Unfortunately, it may not be as mobile as many of the options on the market, since you can’t use it very well sitting.
On the other hand, the neck is one of the most common places for people to carry excess tension and that means there’s a definite need for this kind of massager.
If you’re injured or looking for something easy to use on the floor in your home, then you’ll be able to get the job done with this fantastic massage pillow from Zyllion.
- Pillow style massager takes no extra shoulder effort
- Utterly fantastic for neck massages
- Warming to increase the effects of the massage
- Overheat protection
- Pillow-style needs space to utilize
- Build-quality isn’t great
4. Best Dual-Use Neck and Shoulder Massager
Zyllion ZMA26 Convertible Shiatsu
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
Of course, if the solo pillow option doesn’t appeal to you then you’ll love this massager from Zyllion. By combining detachable arm straps with a pillow-style massager, you’ll be able to use it however you please.
On top of that, it comes with three different speeds for massage settings and provides a deep Shiatsu style massage. You can control the speed, the direction, and the heat of your massage quickly and easily.
Whether you’re preventing soreness from a heavy workout, relaxing after a long day at work, or just getting a good routine going to keep up circulation in your shoulders and neck it’s a valuable addition to any home.
There are a couple of issues, of course, the largest one is the fact that the build-quality isn’t superb. On the other hand, it’s a lot better than most of the comparable options in this area, which ensures that it’ll last through the warranty. It’s also fairly low priced.
If you’re going to use your massager in a variety of different ways then consider adding the ZMA26 to your home. This heated, dual-use massager stands out from everything in the same price point and it’s versatility of use can’t be matched.
- Can be used as both a massage pillow and a band-style massager
- Controllable massage with three different speeds
- Induces heat therapy with automatic shut off
- Uniquely versatile due to design
- Build-quality is mediocre
- Looks a little bit awkward overall
5. Best Budget Neck and Shoulder Massager
VIKTOR JURGEN Shiatsu
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
If you’re looking for a great massage at a lower price than most of the competition, you’ll find that this Viktor Jurgen neck and shoulder massager is pretty much ideal. The cost is the main draw point, however, so you know it really can’t compete with the others on this list.
If you’re willing to make some sacrifices in build-quality, however, you’ll find this massager is more than functional. The main sacrifice here seems to have been in the massager being less mobile than many of the other options on the market which makes it great for using at home.
The controls are pretty minimal, giving you two different options for speed and having a bare bones heating function as well.
This is a solid massager for the price, while it’s not quite as good as our other favorites we wanted to make sure that we included something for those on a tight budget. Get a big portion of the benefits, at a fraction of the cost.
- Budget priced while maintaining quality
- Bi-directional controls for Shiatsu massage
- Comes with heating functionality
- Great for both neck and shoulders
- A bit clunky to take anywhere but home
- Build-quality can’t compete with more expensive models
Who Needs a Neck and Shoulder Massager?
Truth of the matter is that nearly everyone can benefit from one of these great little devices, but the main people looking into them are generally those who suffer from extreme tension or pain due to posture issues and soft tissue injuries.
The latter group will often have a lack of flexibility and strength which can make it hard to use manual massagers, which is why we put some serious effort into finding the best electric options.
Basically, if you have any of the following problems then you’re likely to receive more benefit than the average bear:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Sore muscles
- Bad circulation
- Sleep issues
- Stiff joints in the upper body
Put simply: these are beneficial for everyone, and if you make the right choice you’ll basically get the benefits of having a masseuse in your own home.
What You Should Look for in a Neck and Shoulder Massager
There really isn’t a leading brand for this sort of thing, which makes it hard to just point at a brand and say “one of those”, although Brookstone comes pretty close at this point.
That said, there are definitely some features you should keep an eye out for to make sure that you’ll be able to get the most out of your massager without any difficulty.
How user friendly things are is going to be your biggest issue. Some of these require you to pull, push, or otherwise maneuver them into place.
That’s fine if your shoulders and neck are perfectly healthy, but if you’re suffering from poor joint mobility then you may want to find something which you can tightly wrap without having to apply constant pressure.
Apart from that, you also want more general user-friendly features, such as easy controls and quick bindings for those which are being held in place.
For those with particularly bad conditions… ensure that you can use the massager which you’re picking up before you commit to making a purchase. We’ve highlighted those which require the least manual effort to use.
Heating functions are extremely important for many people, indeed heat therapy itself is something which is utilized by people the world over for these kinds of issues.
For the most part, any massager worth the price of entry is going to come equipped with this feature, but if you’re on a tight budget it may be worth skipping.
Modern massagers can be separated effectively into two different categories:
Shiatsu massage is more advanced and preferable for most people. These use different “nodes” to produce a kneading action, the more nodes the more complete your massage will be. If you’ve got the money, then we strongly recommend going for this type.
Vibrating massagers… vibrate. They also tend to be a lot cheaper, and combined with heat therapy they can still work wonders. For those without excessive pain or tightness they’re a great investment if they’re mixed with heat, but you may want to skip them if you have the money for a more advanced model.
The Where Factor
Where you’re planning on using your massager can have a huge impact on just how useful it’ll end up being for you. Some are much easier to use sitting up, some are fine to be used in a chair, and some will require you to lean against a wall or lie down.
Carefully consider where you’re planning on using your massager when you’re looking at them.
If you just need something for at home, for instance, you may be fine with a massager which requires you to place pressure on it.
If you’re trying to alleviate stiff neck on a car ride, however, you won’t be well served by the same type of massager. Once again, it’s really personal need over the recommendation of others that’ll get you what you need.
Somewhat related to where you’ll be using your massager is how portable it is. Ideally you’d be able to charge it, lay it down wherever you want, and then pick it up without bothering with the cords required.
Real life rarely works out that smoothly, however, unless you’re willing to spend a lot of extra money.
For most people it’s going to boil down to wired vs. wireless since none of the models our reviewers tried out seemed to have any odd battery types.
Something which can be used in different rooms around the house is sure to give you a lot more benefit than something you neglect due to never being near an outlet.
Unfortunately, most of our reviewers didn’t get the chance to test their massagers for years before reporting their results.
On the other hand, the older brands have been around for long enough that we can be pretty sure of which ones will have a premature failure point.
In addition to having to purchase another massager, if you end up in a position where it’s helping you get through the day then the sudden failure of your device can cause some serious problems.
This was one of the primary factors we took into consideration, anything which failed or began to degrade during our relatively short test runs was excluded from the list no matter how great it seemed otherwise.
Making a Routine
Just like massage chairs, you’ll find the best way to use your massager isn’t just when you remember to. Setting up a daily routine is the best way to ensure that you get lasting benefits, especially for chronic issues like pain or pinched nerves.
Even if you’re already healthy, the increase in blood circulation is a fantastic way to keep things that way.
Vibrating massagers are a little bit more iffy in this instance, and it may be best to use them on a case-by-case basis. There are some risks to static usage of them over major arteries, so make sure you read the safety instructions that come with them: our culture is naturally litigious, which means that often people ignore safety warnings. That’d be a big mistake in this case.
For most people, usage in the morning and at night is going to provide the best overall long-term experience.
And really, who doesn’t want to end their day with a massage?
The Proven Health Benefits
Fortunately for those of us without the time or cash to regularly see a masseuse, electric neck and shoulder massages can provide many of the same benefits to the recipients.
The one thing that you’re probably not going to get through the use of a massager instead of a masseuse is oxytocin release, but there really hasn’t been much study into that part of things.
If you’ve never had a massage after working out or a strenuous day… well, you’re missing out. Subjectively it’s fantastic, but on a more clinical note: it also seems to decrease the recovery time required after heavy usage of muscles.
This is of primary benefit for those who are already in shape, but considering the usage of shoulders and back muscles in manual labor it simply makes sense for anyone with an active workplace to pick a massager up.
If you’re in a position where you suffer from chronic pain, then you may want to seek out a massager. They’re clinically shown to with the following:
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Tension headaches
The same conglomerate of studies also shows that there’s some support for it also helping with fibromyalgia pain, although in this case it would need to be localized to the neck and shoudlers.
Anxiety has been shown to be reduced through application of massage, although the effect seems to be relatively mild in the long term and it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for traditional care. As an adjunct, however, it makes a lot of sense, especially since you’ll be receiving the other benefits of massage while you’re using your new device.
The evidence for depression is a bit less, but it can’t hurt, right?
Stress-related insomnia, as opposed to phasic sleep disorders, can often be alleviated through the strategic usage of massage.
If you find yourself awake and worrying on a frequent basis then a neck and shoulder massager might be one of the smartest buys you’ll ever make.
High Blood Pressure
Used as an adjunct to your medication and diet changes, massage has consistently been shown to lower blood pressure in those who have some form of hypertension.
Altogether, a massager can be a great investment in your personal well-being.
For those with chronic pain, careful selection is crucial, but for the rest of us convenience is definitely one of the biggest factors.
While you may not be able to get the exact same benefits as using a masseuse, there’s a lot to be said for these handy little devices. Even if you’re already getting massages somewhere else it never hurts to add a little bit more to your routine.
At the end of the day, you can come home and deal with tension and pain or you can make sure that you have the best neck and shoulder massager around. It seems pretty straightforward to us, and once you’ve added one to your collection of gadgets and gewgaws you’ll start enjoying the benefits immediately.