The Best Neck Massagers to Relieve Tight Neck Muscles

the best neck massagers
By Kian
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This is our review of 12 of the best neck massagers in 2023.

The more you hunch over your phone and stare at your computer screen the more stressed out your neck becomes.

As a result, your neck muscles become tight, achy, and sore.

You then try to rub your own neck but nothing seems to get any better.

The best neck massagers can often do much more than your own hand and can effectively loosen up your neck and leave it feeling great again.

I myself suffer from neck tightness so it didn’t take much prompting for me to start researching the best neck massagers.

During my testing, I’ve found that the best overall neck massager is the Snailax Cordless Neck and Back Massager.

That being said, this is an overall best recommendation and it may not be suited to the particular neck relief you are looking for.

Are you looking to remove knots? Do you want some heat therapy to remove tension? Or are you looking for pure relaxation only?

Because there are so many different needs, I’ve done my best to come up with a selection of the 12 best neck massagers I could find that cater to a broad spectrum of needs and budgets.

Let’s take a look at them now!

Our Top Picks
Best Overall Neck Massager:
Best Manual Neck Massager:
Best Percussion Neck Massager:
Best High-End Neck Massager:
Best Value for Money Neck Massager:
Best for Short-Term Pain Relief:
Best Cold Therapy Neck Massager:
Best Acupressure Neck Massager:

The 12 Best Neck Massagers in 2023

Let’s now take a closer look at the 12 best neck massagers.

I’ve considered customer feedback, price and quality to bring you the best assortments on the market today.

Snailax Cordless Neck Back Massager

These kinds of shiatsu neck massagers are one of my favourite kinds of massagers for hitting the neck area.

You simply press a button and put your hands through the straps to hold the massager on your neck. After that they do all the work providing a relaxing shiatsu massage with heat.

The great thing about these massagers is that they are versatile.

Not only can you use them on your neck but you can also use them on your back by putting them behind you while seated.

The Snailax model is one of the better shiatsu neck massagers out there.

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With 2 alternating speeds and 8 shiatsu massage nodes, the Snailax neck massager also has speed options range from high to low, and the flexible straps allow you to access hard-to-reach places on the body.

Furthermore, the 3D-Rotation kneading rollers has a built-in, advanced heat function that helps to relieve tight muscles and alleviate fatigue.

You can use the neck and back massager at home or even in your vehicle since it comes with a car adapter and a regular adapter.

One of the best features of the Snailax neck massager is that its cordless meaning you don’t have to have wires draped over you as you use it.

If you’re feeling particularly tight at the back of your neck and want something that feels good as you sit back and relax, then this is a great massager to go with.

It’s also fairly priced and can be used on other parts of the body so with the Snailax you get value for money too.

Related: The Best Neck & Shoulder Massagers

Positives
Relaxing and simple to use
Can also be used on other parts of the body such as on your back
Comes with heat option
Cordless
Rechargeable
Negatives
Only really suitable for the back of the neck (not the sides and front)
Needs to fit perfectly to your neck width to get the most benefit

RENPHO Handheld Deep Tissue Massager

This handheld deep tissue massager from RENPHO is suitable for percussion therapy and works on many parts of the body.

From your neck and shoulders to your legs and calf, this is one of the most multi-functional options on this list.

This FCC-certified device can deliver up to 3600 pulses per minute and is designed to be used in 20-minute intervals.

It auto shuts-off after this time to prevent overheating, plus gives you 140 minutes of battery life.

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The RENPHO massager comes with 5 interchangeable massage heads including a curved head, 3-point, 1-point, and round head so you can vary up the massage type to find the type that you feel you need the most.

This kind of massager is suitable for someone who doesn’t want their muscles to be kneaded out by shiatsu rollers but instead prefers a light ‘thumping’ massage.

If your muscles are extremely sensitive or sore this massager may be a good one to start out with.

In addition, this handheld massager is very versatile meaning you can use it all over your body wherever you feel tightness and tension.

If you experience chronic pain, or muscle aches in different parts of the body, and are looking for a bargain, look no further than this one.

Related: The Best Handheld Massagers

Positives
Can be used all over the body
Offers percussion therapy
4 percussion modes plus a comfortable silicone handle
Can be used all over the body
Portable and light
Affordable
Negatives
Not as relaxing as shiatsu massagers
No heat function

Zyllion Massage Pillow

This electric massage pillow allows you to customize your massage experience, offering 8 shiatsu kneading nodes.

Equipped with reverse and counter-clockwise rotation, the ‘real hand’ massage experience is sure to relieve pain and discomfort in your shoulders, upper and lower back, neck, and even your thighs, since the device is multi-functional.

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I don’t find these massage pillows as effective on the neck muscles as the neck and shoulder massagers we’ve already seen (such as the Snailax) since the nodes don’t protrude out enough for my liking.

However, for some people, the flatter nodes may be less intense and perfect for more sensitive people.

The Zyllion neck and back massager also comes with an adjustable strap allowing you to attach the pillow to your chair or car seat to use as a massager so you don’t have to hold onto it like the Snailax mode.

This massager is an ideal solution if you are looking for something light and portable, and can shift to other areas of the body, particularly the back.

Related: The Best Massage Pillows

Positives
Versatile
Can be used as a back massager and on other parts of the body
Provides deep kneading massage
Negatives
If you want to only target your neck then a neck and shoulder shiatsu massager like the Snailax model may be more effective

VOYOR Neck Massager

This manual shiatsu massager is quite different from the others on this list in terms of design, and you’ll have to do some work to control the direction, pace and intensity of the massage.  

It has soft knobs that mimic the hands of a masseuse and allows you to deeply penetrate tight muscles for a deep tissue massage.

neck massager

It can be used on the shoulder, legs or neck and is designed for targeted pain relief thanks to the ergonomic handles and the soft, yet strong silicone balls.

Personally, I find having this neck massager pretty useful for hitting isolated areas that you can’t reach using a shiatsu massager.

Quite often I use a massage ball to roll against my neck so this is a great alternative to that as my arms don’t have to get as tired from holding the ball in place.

That being said, it does take some effort to use this massager and your arms may get a little tired from it. It’s definitely not as relaxing as the electric massagers.

Don’t get this neck massager if you’re looking for a luxurious and comfortbale experience.

Some users complained that the device was too small to comfortably fit around the neck, while others noted that they were surprised to find that the ball in the massager does not roll. 

However, if you want to target knots around the back of your neck this is a good option.

Plus it’s extremely cheap so it could be worth a punt.

If you suffer from migraine or tension headaches you may want to give this one a try.

Positives
Extremely low cost
Light and portable
Can target isolated knots
Negatives
Not as relaxing as the electric neck massagers as you have to do most of the work
Balls do not roll
Can be quite hit and miss

MagicHands truShiatsu

With over 1 million happy customers Including Oprah – who featured it among her ‘ favourite things’ in 2019– MagicHands must be living up to their name.

This patent-pending device is a full body massager, which works on your calves, shoulders, neck, back and other areas, and has adjustable arm straps as well.

MagicHands reconstructs the feeling of human hands with virtual thumbs to give you an authentic feeling of a shiatsu massage.

It features FAR infrared heat control and 4-kneading massage nodes, plus wrist support and a tri-glide buckle for easy modification.

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Just turn on the power button and choose your mode of treatment, then place the unit around your neck, insert your hands into the attached wrist support and enjoy your massage.

It is available in bright pops of orange and green and is made with neoprene fabric and mesh.

This massager is very similar to the Snailax model and has the same features but costs nearly double the price.

It does, however, have a better build quality than the Snailax.

While some users found the device heavy and painful it might be the best fit for persons who need a deep tissue massage for sore muscles.

Positives
Versatile – can be used all over the body including the neck and back
Has heat function
Rechargeable
Negatives
Provides a deep tissue massage which some may find too intense to begin with
Expensive

Breo iNeck3 Pro Electric Neck Massager

The Breo iNeck 3 focuses on acupoints in the neck muscle as it was devised off the concept of Meridian Acupoint massage theory. 

It is somewhat similar in design to MagicHands, and imitates a real masseuse, by kneading, pressing and massaging pressure points on your neck to loosen sore muscles and relieve pain.

The device offers an infrared heat option and comes with a pair of three-prong kneading nodes that rotates both clockwise and anti-clockwise.

These nodes are exclusively positioned to focus on both the cervical muscle and the main acupoints in your neck, thus aiding with proper oxygen supply to the brain.

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This gadget boasts ergonomic handles which allow you to apply more pressure if you’d like a slightly firmer massager, or you have the option of using the massager hands-free.

There are 3 massage modes to choose from which can be controlled on the neck massager itself or via Breo’s smartphone app.

The unique feature about the Breo neck massager is that the design completely wraps around your whole neck meaning the nodes are able to hit the side of your neck.

Most other shiatsu neck massagers only massage the back of your neck.

In addition, while the massager is well built and has a luxurious feel to it, it is on the expensive side.

Furthermore, if you like heat, then you may be better off with another massager as the heat given off by the iNeck3 isn’t very strong.

As I’ve noted, the Breo iNeck massager isn’t cheap but it does come with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee so you can try it out and if it isn’t for you, return it for a full refund.

Positives
Has nodes that cover the back and sides of the neck
Easy to use
Can be used hands-free
Premium feel and build
Negatives
Nodes are quite small
Doesn’t give off much heat
On the heavy side
Expensive

Recoup Fitness Cryosphere Cold Massage Roller

Quite different from the other selections on our list, this massager comes in the shape of a ball, which must be first activated by being put in a freezer for 2 hours. 

You’ll need to lie on your back on a flat surface, and place the ball at the nape of the neck to alleviate neck pain.

However, you can also roll the ball on your neck or any part of the body for a deep tissue massage or pain relief. 

This massager from Recoup is ideal for reducing inflammation, and for muscle recovery before and after your workout.

YouTube video

It helps to improve mobility and boasts a patented 2-in-1 design that allows it to be used on different parts of the body, not just the neck.

Recoup Cryosphere can stay cold for up to 6 hours and is easy to clean and sanitize. It is also recommended that the ball be used in 15-minute increments.

One popular complaint is that the ball doesn’t roll properly in the holder, however, if you are an athlete or actively involved in physical activity, this ice therapy and massage device offers unique benefits.

Positives
Great for athletes
Offers the benefits of cold therapy
Suitable for deep tissue massage
Light and portable
Negatives
Not as relaxing as a shiatsu massager

Cordless Intelligent Neck Massage

This 3D neck massager from YOMISOY is both lightweight and hands-free – allowing you to multitask while using the device.

Plus, its contemporary, automated technology mimics human massage and it has intelligent 3D suspension for proper fit and comfort.

This headphone style gadget is made from soft, breathable, silicone material and comes equipped with a built-in sensor for temperature control.

This massager boasts an ergonomic, 4-point design and allows for 20 days of 15 minute daily sessions of use before needing a recharge.

The important thing to note about this neck massager is that it’s not really a massager per se, but more of a TENS unit for the neck.

There is no kneading or rubbing of the neck muscles with this massager.

Instead, it stimulates your muscles and sends electrical pulses to provide the feelings of a massage.

It also comes with a remote control and TENS unit with 6 massage modes, ranging from acupuncture, cupping, scraping, knocking, and finger massage.

The one main complaint is that you can’t specify where it massages on your neck as it depends where the massage points sit on your neck.

Nonetheless, given its multipurpose use, plus convenient remote control you can try this one for neck pain relief and relaxation.

Positives
Uses muscle stimulation without rubbing the muscles which is good for sensitive people
Provides pain relief
Light and portable
Includes remote control
Rechargeable
Negatives
Better as a TENS unit than as a neck massage
Quite limited in the areas it can be used on your neck
Only provides short-term pain relief

Bed of Nails Original Acupressure Pillow for Neck

This holistic acupuncture pillow is unlike any other on our list and is inspired by an ancient Indian healing tradition.

It brings you all the benefits of a massage and an acupuncture treatment in one.

Bed of Nails aims to relieve muscle ache and tension, reduce chronic pain in the neck and back, alleviate headaches and improve sleep.

This ergonomically designed pillow is made from 100% cotton, with PU foam on the inside and covered with non-toxic HIPS, rounded plastic nails.

You also get a polyester carry bag for easy travel.

The pillow can be used on any curved area of the body to include the lumbar, neck and even underneath your feet.

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It is designed to be used for 20 minutes per day, by simply placing the pillow underneath the area that is in discomfort.

It aids in releasing toxins from the body and thanks to the compression from the nails, the body can also release endorphins to help improve your mood.

Some persons found the rounded nails painful and for others, it didn’t hold their shape for very long.

Nonetheless, if you suffer from insomnia or inconsistent sleep, this will certainly be an effective tool for easing tension and reducing chronic pain.

Related: The Best Acupressure Mats

Positives
Alternative option to electric neck massagers
Light and portable
Can use lying down
Negatives
Doesn’t provide a deep tissue massage or shiatsu massage
Positive results are hit-and-miss for some people

Amazon Basics Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager

The neck and shoulder massager from Amazon offers the convenience of being lightweight and compact – which is a big bonus if you do not like the heavier over the shoulder neck massagers.

It has a heating function designed for muscle relaxation and to speed up blood circulation.

In addition, its infrared heat and rotating nodes provide a kneading massage and it has padded cushioning and padding for proper fit and comfort.

This massager has a 4-node design and a control panel that allows you to control the massage direction and the heat setting.

It also comes with an AC adapter and must be plugged in to use.

Although this massager is a lot smaller and lighter than the traditional neck and shoulder massagers such as the MagicHands and the Snailax models, it doesn’t cover the same area as the bigger models.

So if you prefer to have your massager cover a larger area, you may find this massager a bit on the small side.

Nonetheless, given its relatively low price, plus its small size, you can try this one out first before moving on to the bigger and more powerful neck and shoulder massagers.

Positives
Light and portable
Easy to use
Heat function
Low priced
Negatives
Not as powerful as the larger models
Must be plugged in to use
Power cable on the short side

iRenew™ Plus TENS + EMS System

This FDA cleared, TENS unit bears some similarities to the YOMISOY Cordless Intelligent neck massager in that it is not a neck massager but rather a muscle stimulator.

I’ve found this TENS unit particularly useful when I suffer the odd neck strain and can’t move my neck freely due to the pain.

It takes the pain away so that I can continue my day as normal. (However, be warned that you must use an extremely low voltage on your neck before upping it to a higher level. I’ve certainly given myself a few shocks this way!)

This TENS unit offers medical-grade output strength of 80MA and includes a total of 14 programs; 1 for arthritis sufferers, 7 for pain relief and 6 modes of muscle conditioning.

iReliev TENS EMS 6
iReliev TENS Unit Package

This TENS uni boasts a sizable digital display, which makes it easy to select and adjust your required modes and pulse settings.

The compact device comes with a clip holder so it can be worn on the hip, along with a tote bag for easy travel. 

You will also get 6 self-adhesive, reusable electrodes that differ in size for use on different parts of the body.

If you’re looking for a solution to neck pain you may want to consider this device. The great thing about it is that it can be used on almost any part of the body too.

Related: The Best Tens Units

Positives
Great for neck pain and dealing with strains
Can be used to deal with pain in most parts of the body
Negatives
More of a pain relief device than a neck massager
You must proceed with caution when using it on your neck and only use low intensities
If you want TENS therapy you may be better off with a dedicated TENS unit for the neck

Comfier Travel Pillow with Massage

The Comfier travel pillow is similar to the YOMISOY device in that it uses electric muscle stimulation to massage your neck, so there’s no actual kneading of your muscles but more of a ‘shock’ type massage.

The electrical pulses are delivered by two metal pads at the back of the massager, while the whole pillow also has a vibration feature.

It has 6 different levels of intensity and 3 massage modes and also 2 levels of heat you can choose from.

The Comfier travel pillow’s design mimics the type of neck pillows you take on long flights to support your neck so it’s comfortable to wear and light to carry.

This neck massager is great if you’re looking for a comfortable neck massager that uses EMS technology to massage your neck.

If there’s one flaw of this particular massager is that if your neck is small you may find the pillow too big for you and may spin around your neck.

It does however come with a 30-day free trial period so you can always try it out and see if it works for you before committing long-term.

Positives
Lightweight and portable
Comfortable to wear
Hands-free
Pain relief through muscle stimulation
30-day guarantee and 2-year warranty
Negatives
May be too large if you have a small neck
If you’re not familiar with EMS you may feel like you’re getting shocked

Best Neck Massager: Recommendations

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The best overall neck massager to target tightness in the neck and shoulders is the Snailax Back and Neck Massager, since it has a built-in heat function and rotating kneading rollers.

However, if you need an all-rounder, the massage pillow by Zillion is relaxing and versatile.

The RENPHO Handheld Deep Tissue Massager is a great choice if you are looking for a massager that offers percussion therapy rather than a shiatsu massage.

Additionally, if you’re on the hunt for a manual device, the Recoup Fitness Cryosphere cold massage roller can be used on your entire body, and as an icepack replacement.

Neck Massager Buying Guide

The best neck massagers come with certain features that set them apart from the rest.

Here are some of the features you should consider before choosing the best neck massager for your own needs.

Relaxation vs TriggerPoint Release

Not all massagers are created equal.

Electric shiatsu massagers are more for relaxation purposes and deep tissue massage.

Therefore, if you need a form of stress relief, or even if you suffer from tension headaches, anxiety or depression this would be the more ideal option.

Some devices also target trigger points and knots which offer a more intense level of massage.

These tools are mostly manual massagers but they can also come in the form of an electric massager.

Those who suffer from chronic pain, or have a sports-related injury can benefit greatly from a trigger point massage.

Massager Versatility

Some massagers target specific areas such as the neck, while others are multifunctional and can offer pain relief for the shoulders, back, arms and legs.

If you want a massager that can be used on various body parts other than the neck, you’ll need a more versatile device.

Massage Type: Shiatsu, Trigger Point Relief, Deep Tissue

Since there are so many assortments on the market today, the specific type of massager you select will depend on the issues you are experiencing.

Consider whether you want a manual device, which means you’ll have to physically manipulate the device in order to massage the area and control the intensity of the device.

You can opt for a percussion massager which delivers rapid movement to an area during short intervals.

These are good for muscle recovery since they target trigger points that might be hard to target with a manual device or human hands.

Another selection to consider is a shiatsu massager, which is best for relaxation since it works out tension in the muscles.

It is also an efficient selection if you suffer from sleep disturbances, headaches, anxiety and stress.

Heating feature

Heat therapy has been known to help with muscle spasms, stress and tension, muscle stiffness and even stimulates blood flow.

So, if you are experiencing these symptoms you can benefit from a massager that comes with a heating function.  

Benefits of Getting a Neck Massager

Neck massages are not just for relaxation purposes, they have psychological and physical benefits as well.

Relieves a Stiff Neck

A stiff neck is not only painful and uncomfortable, but can also lead to other health issues if left untreated.

It may cause malfunctioning of the immune system since a stiff neck can reduce blood flow.  You can also experience dizziness and fatigue as a result.

However, a neck massage can help ease muscle tension and improve neck flexibility.

Helps with Acute Pain

If you suffer from acute pain, which can be caused by muscular tension, muscle overuse or surgery, a neck massager can prove beneficial.

Another common issue, tight muscles can be remedied through massage.

Its other benefits include alleviating inflammation and boosting blood circulation.

During a neck massage, your body temperature increases, and so does the temperature of your connective and muscular tissues, helping to reduce stiffness in the joints and relax the muscles. [2]

Improves your Mood

There are also psychological benefits to be gained.

During a neck massage, the body becomes relaxed; it releases endorphins which improves your mood and helps with relieving depression and anxiety. [3]

A massage also helps to discharge toxins from the body.

Furthermore, those who play sports or engage in physical activities and need recovery assistance can also benefit greatly from a neck massage, since it alleviates temporary and chronic pain.

It Encourages Relaxation

High-stress environments can cause tension to build in your muscles, causing pain and discomfort.

However, one of the most basic benefits of a neck massage is that it reduces tension in the muscles and promotes relaxation.

If you have trouble sleeping, it can be due to high levels of stress so a relaxing massage offers numerous benefits for your well-being.

FAQs

This section covers some frequently asked questions regarding neck massagers.

Which is the best neck massager to buy?

The best overall neck massager is the Snailax Cordless Neck and Back Massager.

Keep in mind that selecting the best neck massager for your needs requires a simple understanding of the particular issues you are experiencing and the best devices that can target or remedy those issues.  

To help find the best neck massager for your needs refer back to the article above.

Is a neck massager good for you?

Neck massagers can help eliminate neck pain caused by several different factors such as stress, improper sleep patterns, incorrect posture and strained muscles.

They work similar to that of a traditional massage, not only aiding in relaxation but also stimulating muscles and nerve endings in the neck.

Neck massagers help to release muscle tension and stiffness, promote blood circulation and reduce chronic aches and pain.

Furthermore, these devices promote relaxation so if you work in a stressful environment, or suffer from anxiety or depression you can benefit greatly from a neck massager.

Do neck massagers work?

If you find the right neck massager for your needs then neck massagers definitely do work.

Are you looking to relieve tightness in your neck or are you looking to remove knots?

Whether a neck massager is effective or not will depend on which neck massager you use.

Are shiatsu neck massagers safe?

Shiatsu neck massagers are generally safe to use.

However, if you suffer from any neck-related issues or have a particularly sore neck you must consult a doctor before using any type of neck massage equipment.

You might also want to be aware that shiatsu massagers press against your skin so you want to make sure you have no allergies to the materials used in these massagers.

Another important note is that you read the instructions for your device carefully, for your own safety and so that you get the best use out of your massager.

Details such as particular areas of use for the device as well as the length of time in which the massager should be used, must be adhered to so read these details carefully.

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Author

I'm the main guy who writes for this site. I love writing and researching ways to age gracefully by paying attention to body posture, flexibility and mobility. I also love nothing more than testing and reviewing the best gadgets to make this goal possible.

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