Not everyone likes having to travel to get a professional massage every time they want to loosen up their tight neck and shoulders.
Not only that but having to pay over and over again can become very costly over time.
Wouldn’t it be great to pay once and be able to experience it from the comfort of your own home?
Electric neck and shoulder massagers are a great option for anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of a spa-type massage in their own home, office, or even when on the couch watching TV.
In this post, I’ll briefly discuss the benefits of such devices and what features you should be looking for in a neck and shoulder massager.
After that, I’ll take you through the best neck and shoulder massagers on the market and then reveal which one I finally chose for my own personal use.
What to Look for in Neck and Shoulder Massager
Neck and shoulder massagers come in many different designs and offer a variety of features.
Below are a few things to look for in the best neck and shoulder massagers.
Ease of use
When you’re in need of pain relief, the last thing you want to do is waste time fiddling with complicated massage settings.
When shopping for a neck and shoulder massager, look for a model that has simple, straightforward controls.
Often times the fewer buttons the better.
Neck and shoulder massagers are covered with a variety of materials, including neoprene, synthetic rubber, and PU leather.
Look for a massager made from a material that feels comfortable and won’t irritate your skin.
If you perspire a lot, look for a massager covered in a breathable material like mesh.
If you want to take your massage experience up a notch, be sure to look for a massager with heat options.
Then during your massage you can select how much heat you wish to apply.
Cordless vs Wired
A cordless massager is more convenient than one which requires it to be plugged in before it works.
There’s nothing worse than having to untangle yourself from all the wires that run across your body every time you use your massager.
With a cordless massager this isn’t an issue.
Most cordless massagers have the option to either be used with a cord or without.
Although a cordless massager is more convenient they are more costly than a wired one.
The design of the electric massager is important, especially if you plan to use the device to massage other areas of your body, such as the legs, abdomen, or feet.
A wraparound design with handles that allow you to adjust the pressure on different parts of the body will provide the most versatility.
Some neck and shoulder massagers also include velcro straps on the handles which allows you to wrap the massager around your body without having to hold on to them.
Electric neck and shoulder massagers vary widely in price.
Those on the lower end of the price scale are generally not as effective or durable than more expensive models.
Before purchasing a massager, it’s a good idea to consider your budget and needs.
If you only plan to use the massager for a short period of time, a cheaper model may be sufficient for your needs.
If you’re looking for a powerful massager that will last you for many years, you’re better off investing in a more expensive unit.
The Best Neck and Shoulder Massagers in 2023
For someone who is unfamiliar with all of the different types of neck and shoulder massagers currently on the market, choosing the right unit can be an overwhelming task.
To help you choose the right massager for your needs, I’ve rounded up the best neck and shoulder massagers available today.
I’ve based these selections on ease of use, design, quality, price, and overall customer satisfaction.
oCuddle Neck and Shoulder Massager
The oCuddle is definitely one of the more comfortable neck and shoulder massagers that you can buy.
The leather is soft to the touch and the most important part is that the mesh around the massage nodes feels great on the skin.
I’ve tried many neck and shoulder massagers that have itchy fabric that scratches against the back of your neck, but with the oCuddle there’s a silky and stretchy fabric instead.
The arm straps on the oCuddle are adjustable so you can tighten them up so you don’t have to use too much effort on pressing the massager down once it’s around your neck.
It’s also pretty simple to use.
There are four buttons. One turns it on and off. The other controls the heat. Another button the speed level and the final one rotates the nodes either clockwise or anti-clockwise.
It also comes with a neat case to keep it in when not in use.
Overall, the oCuddle is a simple yet comfortable neck and shoulder to use. What stands out most about it is it’s premium build and feel when using it.
This is the kind of massager that would make a great gift.
On the downside, when using the massager it must be plugged into the mains to have it work, unlike some other cordless neck and shoulder massagers.
FIVE S Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager
The FIVE S Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager features a wraparound design that allows you to use the massager around your back, neck, shoulders, arms, torso, legs, and feet.
It has 8 massaging nodules that rotate in two directions and at 3 different speeds.
It also has a heated massage setting, which is great for soothing sore muscles.
A convenient car adapter is included in the box, making the FIVE S Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager a great option for anyone who’s always on the go.
What we love most about the FIVE S Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager is its ease of use.
All you have to do is plug the unit in and choose your desired massage speed and directions.
We also like the handy automatic shut-off feature, which ensures you don’t exceed the recommended treatment time.
In terms of performance, the FIVE S Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager is tough to beat.
It delivers a deep, intense massage that mimics the hand movements of a Shiatsu massage therapist.
Some users, however, have reported that this massager is too rough for their liking.
Another common complaint is that the massager doesn’t get hot enough, even at its highest heat setting.
Overall, though, the FIVE S Shiatsu Massager is a great option for those seeking a lightweight, versatile, and portable neck massager that won’t break the bank.
Etekcity Cordless Neck Back Massager
The Etekcity Cordless Back Neck and Shoulder Massager features a similar wraparound design to the FIVE S Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager, with the addition of velcro straps that hold the massager in place and allow you to leave your hands free.
The Etekcity Cordless Back Neck and Shoulder Massager has a heated massage option with two heat settings.
Its cordless design makes this massager an excellent choice for anyone who wants to be able to continue their daily activities while enjoying the benefits of a deep Shiatsu massage.
The secret to the Etekcity Cordless Back Neck and Shoulder Massager’s effectiveness is its four 8 bi-directional rollers, which are designed to deliver a deep tissue massage that is almost indistinguishable from a professional massage.
Customers love the portability and versatility and hands-free design of this unit, although some have complained that the massager is less powerful when running on battery power alone.
Others have said that the massager doesn’t get hot enough.
Despite these minor complaints, this massager is a great portable device that can be used around the home, while driving, at work, or on vacation.
InvoSpa Deep Tissue 3D Kneading Pillow Massager
Like the Etekcity and Five S neck and shoulder massagers, the InvoSpa features a U-shaped design that drapes over your shoulders.
It also has arm straps that allow you to adjust the intensity of the massage depending on which body part you’re massaging.
Like the FIVE S Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager, the InvoSpa comes with a car charger adapter for use while travelling.
What sets this massager apart from similar models, though, is that it uses infrared technology to produce a more consistent heated massage.
We love the streamlined design of this electric neck and shoulder massager, which allows it to be easily transported.
We also like that the unit comes with a carrying case for added portability.
The built-in straps do take some getting used to, however, and some may find the overall shape of the InvoSpa awkward.
This massager provides a moderately intense massage, which can be effective in relieving mild neck and shoulder pain.
If you’re looking for a unit that can give you a powerful deep-tissue massage, however, the InvoSpa may not be the right massager for you.
SHARPER IMAGE Realtouch Shiatsu Massager
The Realtouch Neck & Back Massager is a heavy-duty massager designed to bring maximum relief from neck, back, and shoulder pain.
It features six deep-kneading nodes that help you target hard-to-reach areas, such as between the shoulder blades, and a heated massage setting for soothing tense, tired muscles.
Two built-in loop handles allow you to easily hold the massager in place while massaging different areas of the upper body.
The Realtouch Neck & Back Massager is equipped with a rechargeable battery that provides up to 3 hours of continuous use on a single charge, making this unit ideal for on-the-go pain relief.
This massager provides an intense neck and shoulder massage that can aid in post-workout recovery and reduce the severity of delayed-onset muscle soreness.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Realtouch Neck & Back Massager is one of the more intense shiatsu massagers on this list.
If you prefer a lighter and gentler massage then you’ll want to look at other massagers.
Another important consideration is that the massager is quite heavy.
Elderly individuals or those who have a limited range of motion in the neck and shoulders may find using this massager difficult.
MagicMakers Shiatsu Neck Shoulder Massager
What sets the MagicMakers Shiatsu Neck Shoulder Massager apart from the other massagers on our list is that it’s available in either blue or brown.
Deep, kneading massage is provided by eight bi-directional nodes that imitate human touch.
The included AC and car charger adapters allow you to enjoy a soothing massage at home, at the office, while driving, or anywhere else in between.
The MagicMakers Shiatsu Neck Shoulder Massager features a contoured design that allows the unit to fit snugly against the contours of the lower back, waist, abdomen, and legs.
That said, some users have complained that this unit can be quite intense and the nodes could do with a bit more padding over them.
This massager does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, though, so you can easily test it out before making the decision to purchase it.
TruMedic InstaShiatsu Massager
The InstaShiatsu neck and shoulder massager from TruMedic is a comfortable, form-fitting massager that comes in two models: the IS-2000 and the IS-3000 Pro.
Both are on the expensive side as they are just over $100, however, it can be used virtually anywhere on your body.
You can use it on your back, thighs, or even your feet.
Because it’s rechargeable, you get to use it anywhere.
The faux leather material makes it not just comfortable and aesthetically appealing, but also easy to clean.
The InstaShiatsu features adjustable velcro to keep the massager in place on your shoulders as you work at your desk or move around your home.
The only downside to the TruMedic InstaShiatsu is that it is a bit temperamental and has the potential to break down.
While TruMedic gives you a 1-year warranty, covering it for you if it breaks, there’s always the chance it will break after the warranty expires.
In addition, the material can also wear down over time.
HoMedics Cordless Voice Controlled Neck & Shoulder Massager
This neck massager from Homedics features straps users love because they’re extremely comfortable and you can adjust them to the perfect fit.
The straps have loops you can place your arms inside, enabling you to pull the neck rollers deeper into your neck.
Or, you can simply use them like a cozy armrest while you relax.
On this device, you can choose the speed and direction of the shiatsu rollers, which feel like thumbs pressing into the back of your neck.
However, the most notable selling point of this massager is that it is voice-controlled, meaning that you can just say your command and the massager will respond.
This neat feature alleviates the hassle of having to remove your hands from the massager loops in order to control the device.
This neck and shoulder massager is also rechargeable meaning that you don’t have to use it plugged into a socket.
The Homedics voice-controlled massager is a little more expensive than most of the other massagers on this list, however, the fact that it is voice-controlled makes it pretty unique over other models.
Snailax Cordless Neck Back Massager
The Snailax neck and shoulder massager has 8 shiatsu rollers, and users report they work wonders on the lower back as well as the neck and shoulders.
You can use it on your thighs, too, and it has a heating option.
Probably the best part about this model from Snailax is that it doesn’t need to be plugged in to work.
One thing to note, however, is that if you are looking for a cordless option, then the Etekcity may be a better choice.
For example, this cordless massager costs around $15 (at the time of writing) more than the Etekcity yet possess quite similar performance to one another.
In addition, the Etekicity massager can offer a 3-hour massage on a single charge, whereas the Snailax can only manage 60-70 minutes.
Furthermore, you get a 90-day money-back guarantee with the Etekcity model and only 30 days with the Snailax.
The only real factor in favor of this model is that it does have a slightly more luxury feel to it.
Nonetheless, the device itself is quite affordable if you want a cordless neck and shoulder massager.
RENPHO Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager
The Renpho neck and shoulder massager is one of the most affordable options, yet it’s a high-quality product.
Although it is not cordless like some of the other models, many users love saving money with the Renpho model because it’s enough to get the job done for them.
Whereas a lot of the massagers only have 4 small massage nodes for the back of your neck, the Renpho has 4 for each side of your upper back and neck.
By covering a larger surface area, it helps relieve more tension in your upper body and better restore blood flow to your head.
However, you may find it hard to find the right massage for as the nodes can feel a little too far apart.
That being said, this is a great choice for those looking for plenty of features at an affordable price.
The Best Neck and Shoulder Massager Recommendation
The best neck and shoulder massager on our list is the Snailax neck and shoulder massage.
What’s great about this model is that it is cordless and has a premium luxury feel to it and only comes in at a little more expensive than most of the corded models.
Another great option is the Etekcity Cordless Massager. It’s very similar to the Snailax and can be argued it’s even better value for money.
Its specs are slightly superior to the Snailax model, however, it doesn’t quite have the same comfortability as the Snailax. Either way, both are great choices.
If you want a simple and comfortable massager that feels great on the skin and don’t mind that it has to be plugged in when using it, then the oCuddle is worth considering.
All Massagers Look Alike But Can Yield Very Different Results
When I first got my massagers I assumed they were all the same since they look almost identical.
However, the difference between these similar-looking products and their effectiveness can be quite different.
Some models nodules seemed a lot wider apart, which didn’t really work for me, while other nodules seemed to be placed at a distance that hit the sweet spot.
This example shows how one massager may work well for one person, and may not work well for another, and also highlights the importance of going for a brand with good customer service and a money-back/satisfaction guarantee.
Other Types of Neck Massagers
Depending on issues you have concerning posture and symptoms like pain and stiffness, a neck and shoulder massager may not be right for you.
Explore your options before you decide.
Here are some alternatives you might consider:
Some neck massagers combine the pulse technology of a TENS unit with shiatsu massage and sometimes heat therapy to stimulate continual blood circulation in your neck.
This is a more advanced device that gives you more therapy options.
You may prefer a massager that targets the neck only.
Related: The Best Neck Massagers
Trigger Point Massage Sticks
A trigger point massage stick is a versatile, lightweight stick with knobs you can use to help massage trigger points.
The effect is being able to dig like a firm thumb into hard-to-reach muscle tissue.
A massage stick can also be used like a foam roller to roll out large, smooth muscle surfaces and release the fascia.
Related: The Best Back Massage Sticks
Shiatsu Massage Pillows
A shiatsu massage pillow is similar to a neck and shoulder massager.
Without the straps, it’s easier to manoeuvre around to place on various muscle areas throughout your body.
However, some shiatsu massage pillows come with straps, enabling you to put the massager on the back of your chair.
Related: The Best Massage Pillows
Shiatsu Massage Chair Pads
A shiatsu chair pad offers a massage on your entire back, and sometimes even your glutes and thighs.
These pads are simply placed over an existing chair you own.
While it costs more, it typically has over 12 massage nodes, giving you a much better massage.
If full-body relaxation and kneading into your back are important, this type of massager may suit you.
Related: The Best Massage Chair Pads
A percussion massager is an electric handheld massager you can use for a more precise action that you would get with a neck and shoulder massager.
Though you get a massage from one node instead of multiple, most percussion massagers have interchangeable massage heads, so you can adjust the shape and size of the node for the perfect feel.
Related: The Best Handheld Massagers
This section covers some frequently asked questions about neck and shoulder massagers.
What are the Benefits of a Neck and Shoulder Massager?
Numerous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of Shiatsu massage – a Japanese style of massage that involves rubbing, tapping, squeezing, and applying deep pressure to muscles – in treating neck pain.
New research now suggests that proper timing is the key to maximizing the benefits of massage therapy.
In a 2014 study, researchers at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle compared improvements in neck pain between 228 men and women who received either one, two, or three 30- or 60-minute massages per week, and a control group who received no massages at all.
The participants who received three 60-minute massages weekly showed the most improvement after four weeks of treatment.
Neck and shoulder massagers are designed to mimic the deep kneading action of a Shiatsu massage performed by a professional therapist.
While these devices are not intended to completely replace professional treatment, they are an ideal solution for those who are unable to find a massage therapist in their area, can’t afford pricey massage sessions, travel a lot, or are too busy to visit a massage therapist regularly.
Neck and shoulder massagers are also useful for pain relief and maintaining range of motion in the upper trap area.
Safety Tips & Precautions
Neck and shoulder massagers are generally considered to be safe, but you’ll still want to take a few precautions when using one of these devices.
With any kind of neck manipulation comes an increased risk of injury to the spine
Here are a few tips for using electric neck massagers safely.
Focus on massage frequency, not massage length. Shorter, more frequent sessions are recommended over long, intense massages.
Most neck massagers have a recommended treatment time of 15 minutes. To ensure you don’t massage your neck for too long at one time, choose a unit that has an automatic shut-off feature.
Remove anything around your neck before using your massager. Necklaces, scarves, and neckties can get caught in the massager and increase your risk of injury.
Avoid using electric massagers on the front of the neck. Using a massager around the throat may result in carotid artery damage.
Avoid using electric neck and shoulder massagers on children. Most neck massagers are designed solely for adult use and can seriously injure a small child’s neck
Will a Neck and Shoulder Massager Beat Professional Treatment?
Most likely not, however, factoring in price and convenience neck and shoulder massagers are a good alternative.
Many people find these types of massagers very effective whilst some people find it simply isn’t for them.
If you don’t find them effective then sometimes it’s down to not selecting the right electric massager, or you may need a different type of tool altogether.
There are many effective neck and shoulder massagers on the market, but the ones we’ve reviewed in this post provide the best value in terms of price, performance, and versatility.
The information contained in this guide should help you understand all of the different features that are available so you can choose the best unit for your needs.