If you struggle with back pain, stiff joints, muscle spasms or other types of aches and pain, heat therapy or thermotherapy is an effective solution to employ.
This is a safe and effective pain relief method that involves applying heat to an area of the body for an extended period.
Heat therapy can be employed in a number of ways such as soaking in a hot tub or taking a shower.
But these days, thanks to technology it’s hard to beat the convenience and effectiveness of infrared heating pads.
In this article, I’ll discuss infrared heating pads and the various types available, then help you choose the best infrared heating pad to meet your needs.
What is an Infrared Heating Pad?
These pads use infrared technology to produce waves that heat the device.
They are available in a variety of colours, sizes and prices.
Infrared heating pads are more expensive than regular heating pads because they are touted as a better option due to their ability to penetrate deep into the muscles.
They are also travel-friendly since they can be rolled up and packed away fairly easily.
How does an Infrared Heating Pad Work?
Depending on the type of pad being used, you can either lay flat on the device for a specified period or wrap it around the problem area.
The pad then heats up and penetrates deep into the muscles promoting blood circulation and relieving tension and pain.
Special Properties of Infrared Mats
Some infrared mats contain natural gemstones which help to facilitate healing.
The practice of using crystals and gemstones dates back 6000 years to the time of the ancient Sumerians.
Ancient Egyptians were also known to adorn their bodies with crystals due to their natural healing powers. 
The type of crystals used in these mats may vary, but some of the most popular selections are tourmaline, jade, amethyst and obsidian.
Tourmaline can be crushed into ceramic or used in its natural black state to detoxify and revitalize the body.
It can also produce a higher number of negative ions than other gemstones.
Jade stones help to balance energy and mood and helps the body to function more efficiently.
It also promotes meditation and relaxation since it emits heat at a lower level.
Amethyst promotes faster healing and a deeper level of sleep by emitting a steady flow of negative ions and far infrared.
While obsidian is known to amplify the effects of surrounding stones.
Benefits of Infrared Pads
Infrared heating pads can be used to address a number of issues related to muscle aches and pain.
Let’s take a look at some great benefits of using an infrared heating pad.
Improve Circulation and Promotes Healing
Your muscles can become injured due to playing sports, exercising or just overexerting yourself.
But infrared heat therapy is known for increasing blood flow to joints and muscles thus promoting faster healing and relieving pain and soreness.
Eliminate Stress and Tension
Many of these heating pads contain natural stones that have therapeutic benefit for tension and stress relief.
Once the pad starts to heat up it penetrates sore, stiff muscles and eases tension in the body.
Unlike pain medications and prescription drugs which contain addictive properties, you won’t have to worry about this with a heating pad.
Since heat therapy is a drug-free mode of treatment there’s no worry about overdose, dependency, or addiction.
What to Look for When Buying an Infrared Heating Pad
If you’ve never bought an infrared mat before, the options can be overwhelming.
Let’s delve into some vital features to look for when buying an infrared mat.
For your own protection, it’s important to ensure that these mats have passed the safety standards.
So look out for things such as FDA registration and if it’s not clearly stated ask the manufacturer about this before purchase.
Some infrared mats contain therapeutic stones such as amethyst crystals, jade or tourmaline and each has its own unique benefits that promote healing.
However, some infrared mats are not equipped with any special stones or crystals and simply contain an infrared heating function.
Area of Use
These mats range in size and are designed for use on different parts of the body.
If you want a full-body mat then a large mat that fits a bed will be ideal.
Smaller mats can target specific smaller areas of the body while some pads are specifically designed for use on the legs, arms or stomach.
Some infrared pads can heat up in a matter of seconds while others will take some time to do so.
The time in which they stay heated during use is also of importance so pay attention to these things in the product description.
If this is your first time buying this type of product then it’s important to find one that has a warranty for your protection.
This warranty can range from a few months to even a few years in some cases, so ensure that this is an option in case you get a broken or defective product.
Another important feature to note is whether the device offers EMF protection.
These electronic devices can expose you to high levels of unnatural electromagnetic radiation which can affect your sleep pattern, psychological functioning and overall health.
EMF protection works by altering, reducing or blocking the nature of the electromagnetic field so that it is tolerable to the human body.
The prices will range from cheap to very expensive, but this is often based on size and features.
Infrared mats with natural stones will cost more than a mat that doesn’t contain these natural healing properties.
The Best Infrared Heating Pads in 2023
Now that I’ve mentioned the features to look for when buying a heating pad. I’ll cover the best infrared heating pads on the market today.
UTK® Far Infrared Natural Jade and Tourmaline Heating Pad
This infrared heating pad from UTK is designed for full body versatility to treat sore muscles in your legs, arms, back, shoulder, abdomen, etc.
The pad features soft PU leather on both sides and also includes non-toxic PP cotton. It has 52 natural Jade stones and 20 tourmaline stones.
The inclusion of tourmaline and natural Jade allows the pad to retain heat for a much longer period while emitting negative ions and low EMF.
It is equipped with a smart controller which allows you to adjust the timer, memory function, and temperature.
Plus, there is a 240-minute auto-shutoff function for your safety.
UTK has a 10-foot cord and comes with a premium travel bag to keep the device protected between use.
It has passed the FDA audit for GMP quality and is FDA registered as a Class II medical device.
Buyers noted that the mat was heavy, stiff and cumbersome, while some shared that their device took a long time to warm up.
But keep in mind that this device provides full-body versatility and is made with non-toxic PP cotton.
Far Infrared Heating Pad by iReliev
This heating pad by iReliev utilizes carbon fibre heating elements, and has Far Infrared heating to penetrate deep into the muscle tissues.
Unlike the previously mentioned UTK heating pad, this one is lightweight and flexible so it’s easy to bend to any area of the body, and perfect for travel.
It features 112 Jade and tourmaline stones offering you therapeutic benefits for deep relaxation.
The stones emit negative ions and helps to retain heat for a longer time.
iReliev comes with an easy-to-use smart controller with 10-inch cord and a backlit display, allowing for easy use in any setting.
The temperature and time can also be easily adjusted with the push of a button.
What I liked about this device is that it’s small, light and compact.
This makes it easy to store and fold away when you’re not using it. It also comes with a carrying bag to keep all the components together.
The only slight downfall of this infrared heating pad is that it’s slightly uncomfortable to lie on at first and takes some time to get used to.
But it is light and flexible so if you suffer from arthritis, cramps or back pain and need a product you can travel with, this one is a good pick.
Thermotex Far Infrared Heating Pad
This heating pad from Thermotex is their platinum model and is designed with three heat inserts.
It can be used anywhere on the body–whether in the flat position to treat back pain and menstrual cramps, wrapped around your arm or leg or draped over your shoulders to help treat sports injuries, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, arthritis or bursitis.
The device features infrared technology which uniquely penetrates 2.5 inches deep into the muscles to target the source of your pain and inflammation.
Thermotex can help to reduce and remove lactic acid buildup, offers deep muscular relaxation and is great for pre and post activity recovery.
Your purchase comes with a long and short strap for ease of use, and there is a one-year warranty on parts and labour.
It is FDA registered and meets ISO standards and certification.
Buyers complained that the heat is not adjustable and there is no auto shut off function.
Nonetheless, this pad penetrates deeper into the muscles than other options at 2.5 inches and can be used anymore on the body.
UTK® Jade Back Far Infrared Heating Pad
This heating pad from UTK is one of the more cost-effective options on our list.
It features carbon fibre and emits far infrared rays that penetrate the inner regions of your muscles and tissues to provide relief from sore muscles, joint strains, lower back pain, sprains and muscle pain.
It has 20 natural Jade stones that emit more negative ions when heating up.
These natural jade stones absorb the natural infrared heat of the device then gently passes it along to the body.
The ions also soothe the mind and body, promoting oxygenation to the brain.
The device is EMF free and features an auto-shutoff option, along with time and temperature setting– that allows it to heat to 159 degrees Fahrenheit.
It also features a memory function and is made from soft PU leather and non-toxic PP cotton.
UTK is lightweight and designed to wrap around all body parts.
Buyers complained that the product looks much smaller in real life than it does in the photos, and some said their device stopped working after a few months, and that it was hard to adjust the temperature.
Keep in mind that this is cheaper than some of the others on our list, emits negative ions and the small size makes it an ideal pick for more petite users.
HealthyLine Far Infrared Heating Pad
This heating mat takes the top spot as the most expensive heating pad on our list and it boasts some enviable features.
Healthyline claims that this soft mat emits an unrivalled amount of negative ions and far infrared rays — which penetrate 4-6 inches into the body’s tissues.
It is also filled with Amethyst, Tourmaline and Obsidian crystals.
Amethyst is known for its stress-reducing effects, tourmaline reduces toxin-related ailments and obsidian amplifies the effects of surrounding stones.
This heating pad is available in multiple sizes so you can find the right size to snugly fit your mattress, allowing you to enjoy the therapeutic benefits throughout the night.
The device comes in other sizes and variations including small, king-size, hand wrap and a soft pillow version as well.
Your purchase comes with a padded, waterproof mat cover and a 5-year warranty.
This mat is pricey and buyers shared that the product takes a long time to heat up and some noted a strong plastic smell.
Nevertheless, it’s one of the few that can accommodate two users at once and there are other sizes and variations to choose from.
Venture Heat Far Infrared Heating Pad
This heating pad is made with soft fleece and there are no bulky wires or chunky electric coils to contend with.
It boasts a digital heat control button that allows you to configure the device between three heat options: high, low, and medium.
The infrared heat technology used in this pad produces a sun-like heat that gradually builds up in the body to target discomfort and pain.
Other features include comfortable tab controls, L-shaped connecter to prevent against breakage, and a travel-friendly plug.
It has a 60-minute therapy timer and a digital on/off controller.
This flexible and lightweight heating pad from Venture Heat is designed for the upper and lower body to include your shoulders, arms, torso, thighs, calves and even your feet.
The device is also FDA registered.
Some buyers complained about their product overheating, while others said theirs didn’t get warm enough.
People also had issues with the auto-shutoff option.
Nevertheless, this mat works the upper and lower body and is travel friendly making it a good pick for athletes or persons who suffer from constant muscle aches and pains.
HealthyLine 3-in-1 Mesh Infrared Heating Pad
This FDA registered device is a 3-in-1 heating pad where all the stones are held in a flexible mesh lining.
The HealthyLine mat is made entirely out of 154 round pieces of tourmaline and jade gemstones.
The product gives you ample exposure to negative ions and far infrared rays.
This full-body mat comes in 72 by 24 inches, but it’s also available in a few other sizes to include a compact size, and two larger versions — which is more expensive and can cover a queen and king size mattress.
It has an LED display with time and temperature setting along with an auto-shutoff timer.
Plus, the device boasts extra EMF-blocking layers and an advanced filtration system.
Buyers shared issues with the quality of the device as some broke after a year.
Nonetheless, a lot of users have reported that the mat is effective and works well in relieving pain.
Plus, you’re covered by a 5-year warranty should you receive a defective unit.
ARRIS Lower Back Heating Pad
This heating pad is made with breathable neoprene material and boasts a two-dimensional pain relief system consisting of vibration and heat technology.
The heating pad has far infrared light waves, which the company purports will help the heat transfer to the deepest areas of the waist.
The pad comes in the form of a wrap and is designed to provide infrared heat therapy to your back.
The ARRIS heating pad has 5 heat settings ranging from 104 F to 176 F, and has 5 vibration settings.
It also has a safety feature plus an auto-shutoff option to prevent overheating.
One of the best features of this heating pad is that it is powered by a rechargeable battery which means you can move around freely while using the belt.
However, users complained that the battery didn’t last as long as they’d hope and it was nowhere near the advertised 10 hours of use on a single charge.
That being said, most were happy with the battery life and could get a few hours of use on a single charge.
Many were happy with the ARRIS heating pad and found great pain relief when using it for a short period of time.
If you have stiff joints, back pain and muscle aches and you’re on a budget, you’ll want to consider this option.
MediCrystal Far Infrared Amethyst Mat
This infrared mat contains 6 pounds of amethyst crystals and has a power switch, LED temperature display and a timer control toggle button.
It is made up of 18 layers each with unique materials.
The aluminium foil EMI layer blocks EMFs, compressed non-woven cotton for thermal protection, and non-woven glass fibre for heating and protection.
The device boasts three functions to include negative ion, hot stone and far infrared.
This device from MediCrystal has a 3D air mesh pad to provide cushioning and body support.
This mini mat is 32 by 20 inches and weighs 11 pounds.
Your purchase comes with a carrying case and a two-year warranty with free shipping and replacement.
Some buyers had issues with their controller, while some complained about their mat malfunctioning after a few months.
Despite this, the mat does contain amethyst crystals, making it ideal for people who want to relax and destress.
Ereada Far Infrared Amethyst Mat
This infrared mat from Ereada boasts 15 different layers covered by soft yet heat-resistant and durable suede.
It features a charcoal fabric layer, EMI layer, and a high compressed, non-woven cotton padding for heat insulation.
It also has a layer of Brazilian crushed, grade A+ amethyst crystals with 20 pounds of gemstones.
The hot gemstones emit negative ions and far-infrared while the crystals have an absorbable wavelength of 4-16 microns.
This mid-sized mat measures 24″x59″ but comes in a variety of sizes to include mini, midsize, pro, single and queen.
It can also be used on your bed or on the floor.
This FDA registered device has 7 heat levels between 86 to 158F which is set with a digital controller.
You can utilize the auto-shutoff option, heat, power, and negative ion with the controller as well.
Your purchase comes with a two-year warranty with the option to purchase 5 years extension.
Buyers complained that the mat is bulky and does not fold, takes a while to heat up and many were displeased with the low level of heat it produces.
The Best Infrared Heating Pad: Recommendations
This FDA registered heating pad from UTK takes my top pick from the list.
It is designed for full-body versatility and made with soft PU leather on both sides.
It also includes, non-toxic PP cotton and features 52 natural Jade stones and 20 tourmaline stones.
The inclusion of tourmaline and natural Jade allows the pad to retain heat for a much longer period while emitting negative ions and low EMF.
UTK has a smart controller to adjust the timer, memory function, and temperature.
Plus, there is a 240-minute auto-shutoff function. It has a 10-foot extra-long cord and comes with a premium travel bag.
If you want a cost-friendly option you can’t beat the price of the ARRIS Infrared Electric Heating Pad.
This pad heats up in seconds and has 3 heat settings, plus auto-shutoff option to prevent overheating.
This extra-large pad allows for a full-body experience and is made with PP cotton.
It boasts a two-dimensional graphene heating material on the inside, and releases far infrared life light wave, which is more compatible with the human body.
If you want a mid-priced alternative, the MediCrystal Far Infrared Amethyst mat contains 6 pounds of amethyst crystals.
It has 18 layers of unique material and has a power switch, LED temperature display and a timer control toggle button.
MediCrystal boasts three functions including negative ion, hot stone and far infrared, and the device has a 3D air mesh pad to provide cushioning and body support.
Other Similar Product Types
If an infrared heating pad is not the best fit for your needs, there are other options you can consider. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Standard Heating Pads
A standard heating pad shares many benefits with the infrared option such as tension and pain relief, increasing blood flow and alleviating sore muscles.
These pads do not feature infrared technology but they come in electrical, moist and dry, and microwaveable options.
Standard pads are more cost-friendly than infrared pads.
Related: The Best Heating Pads
TENS, means transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and is a form of treatment that can ease pain in different areas of the body.
These small, battery-operated, machines have adjustable settings with electrodes attached– which look like tiny cords with adhesive pads at the end of each one.
The pads are stuck on the part of the body experiencing pain and the unit sends small electrical currents to stimulate the nerve endings in the area.
Related: The Best TENS Unit
Red Light Therapy Products
Red light therapy is also called phototherapy, and it uses red light produced by LEDs to heal the body.
Your cells benefit from a supply of energy once the red light touches your body.
There are many benefits to red light therapy.
It promotes relaxation, increases collagen synthesis, speeds up muscle recovery and helps with healing from chemotherapy.
They are available in pads and panels and also range in size.
Related: The Best Red Light Therapy Products
Before we end this post it’s important to point out some important tips and warnings.
Make sure that you read the product description carefully for the suggested period of use.
You should never go the sleep while using your infrared mat unless it has an auto-shutoff option.
If you’ve never used one of these before make sure to start on the lowest setting and gradually increase it as time goes by.
Also, do not use on areas of sensitive skin and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your doctor beforehand.
Research the best options to suit your needs and with consistent use, you’ll be on your way to a pain-free life.