Best Neck and Back Massager

Neck and back massagers have their uses for consumers that have tired or tense muscles. Even if you own a massage chair, the specific shiatsu healing techniques of these products are worth splurging a little extra money. These gadgets pack more punch than you would expect but remain accessible to all ages.

1. Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager

If the low price of the ZMA13BK doesn’t draw you in then the large amount of comfort features will. The heating functions are backed by four kneading nodes that work with shiatsu style in mind. Paired with the heat, the pillow does a fabulous job of getting rid of knots, tensions and other ailments in muscles. Positioning is key, but since the only button you have to worry about is ‘on’, then the majority of the hard work is shifted to the pillow.

There is a one year warranty attached to the product, so no different than the standard contract from most companies. Dissatisfaction with the performance of the product falls under the 90 day money back guarantee. An included cover for the pillow is washable, or you can just use your own. Flexible covers work best so that the nodes can do their work. On the road you can keep it in place with the included adjustable straps. Safety features built in protect from overheating by turning the unit off every 20 minutes. Home and car adapters are part of the package, using long cords to keep you from being cramped.  This is a winner right out of the box, with high durability and great shiatsu techniques.

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2. Etekcity Shiatsu Back Neck Massager

Etekcity’s shiatsu massager has a design similar to the ZMA13BK, but improves on it with higher durability. It is that extra toughness that makes this low cost product a little better than the competition. Even if things break down there is a two year warranty attached to the product with a 90 day return period. It’s the perfect amount of time to test out the advanced functions of the product without being fully committed. A home and away adapter is bundled with the manual, giving you full control over when/where you want to use your massager.

The regular extras like a pillow cover protects the product from dust while giving the user a smooth surface to lay their head on. Since this model comes with different speeds and up to eight massage nodes, it’s safe to use it for your legs, back and other ailing areas. This helps out customers that want an all in one massager but are particularly keen on having one for their back and neck. With the infrared heating mode, this is an all-star among the other models and will be a valuable purchase for relieving stress.

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3. Naipo Neck and Back Massager Massage Pillow

Buyers that are still searching for a low cost neck and back massager can get exactly what they need with this Naipo model. It uses 3d kneading technology to put the four massaging nodes to work. Tender or stressed muscles all around the body can be comforted by placing the pillow in the appropriate areas. The usual goodies are included, so buyers can expect a home and travel charger with respectable cord length. This pillow is a little smaller and lighter than the regular massagers so has a better chance of fitting into tight spaces.

Thanks to the auto shut off feature and the overheat protection, safety is high even when heavily being used. Falling asleep with it on is normal, leaving no worries for consumers after a tired day of work. A single power switch takes care of all the essential functions. The Naipo model is the easiest to use on the list, alternating between kneading with heat or without based on your personal settings. With the smaller size, consumers have felt more comfortable letting their children use it. Overall, this is a great buy for children and adults looking to ease the pain of sore muscles.

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4. Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow

Instead of the usual rectangular pillow that has dominated this category, Nekteck took it a step further with a more versatile design. With a long flexible body, you can wrap it around the most troublesome parts of your body. That means more areas will be massaged together at once without having to constantly move the product around. Heat is provided along with the shiatsu functions, giving users a deeper massage than they would normally get with smaller devices.

The control panel is conveniently located on the side of the massager, with buttons for power, auto, speed and heat. It has enough customizing to make it a little different than the rest of the neck and back massagers. Plenty of power is behind basic functions, with eight massage heads powering the entire product. Safety measures are higher than normal which is why the auto-shut down is set at ten minutes per cycle. Low power draw is an after effect of their extended safety measures, leaving both home and travel power usage at an all-time low.  Mid-tier pricing and reliability are two things that makes this NekTeck model highly recommended.

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5. FIVE S FS8801 Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager

This is the second to last product on the list, and also the second one that goes away from the normal pillow design. The Five S FS8801 is a massager that is built around the idea of comfort. It uses eight kneading rollers that can change rotations with the push of a button. It leads to some really interesting sessions where you control the intensity of the massage. The long design of this model helps it to be used on any part of the body, even the feet.

Fifteen minutes is the default shutoff period each time you press the power button. It’s a good compromise for protection, and is neither too short nor too long. Only three buttons are on the control panel to handle heat, power and massage direction. The color is tan, a very plain color that is different from the black/gray models of competitors. Both home and travel adapters have good cord length, slightly above average for what is usually sold. The FS8801 is good competition to the Nekteck model with a similar design. Buyers that want more control over their massages will really enjoy this purchase.

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6. Naipo Shiatsu Back And Neck Massager

One of the most advanced models on the list meets consumer’s expectations by having a low price. This Naipo model is the third massager on the list to use the modern design that benefits flexibility. Cool design choices led to a sleek black look that makes the product look high tech. When it is on, the illuminated red at the base shows how quickly the nodes are working. There are three different levels of speed for the massage that gives this product an advantage over the competition.

The control panel has four buttons, each with their own varying levels of function. There’s power, massage direction, heat and speed. Each symbol is self-explanatory, but a little light reading is needed the first time you take it out of the box. A combination of PU leather and 3d mesh fabric make up the most important portions of the massager. When not in use, you can protect the entire unit with the included mesh protect cloth. Among the U-shape designed massagers, this model holds up well in a head to head contest. Professional looks with deep features turns this product into the best available on the list.

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Brands

There are a sizable amount of companies in the neck and back massager industry. Now that the U shaped model is starting to become the norm, companies like Naipo, Nekteck and Five S are making their presence known. The older ‘pillow’ styled neck and back massage units are not out of style, but they have been proven to be less efficient than the U shape for full body comfort. The market for the pillow shaped neck and back massagers is still huge, so it isn’t uncommon to see brands like Naipo dominate with both designs. It’s just extra competition from all sides with companies trying to become the next big thing.

Best Features

The features are linked across multiple types of neck and back massagers. You’ll see a lot of the same basics no matter what model you get, but there are still some variations depending on which brand you settle for. These small differences are what separates the good products from the great ones.

Heat – The most basic function of a shiatsu neck and back massager is heat. The heating element should warm up quickly without slowing down any current massaging motions. When devices slow down so that the heat function can speed up, it is a sign that the mechanics are weak.

Control Panel – Referring to U designed massagers only, the control panel is either a three or four button spot on the product that controls important options. To keep it from taking up too much space, they give single buttons multiple functions. More buttons means a lot more customizable massaging features.

Portable – All of the products on the list come with travel chargers for the car. Even with heat and high speed massage, the power usage is barely noticeable. Auto shut off means that the unit won’t run for more than twenty minutes. A few of the stricter brands limit run time to ten minutes per session, saving even more energy.

Comfort – The materials have to be just right so that it doesn’t irritate your skin. Neck and back massagers use comfortable materials that are flexible enough to give deep shiatsu massages. It also needs to hold heat for extended periods of time without making it feel like your skin is on fire. Material quality varies by model but is usually above average, even from generic brands.

Designs

There are two main designs; the pillow shape and the U shape. The former is small and can be strapped to stationary objects. It will fit into any pillowcase, even custom made ones. So there is a bit of an advantage when you want to take it on an airline flight or to a hotel room. The U shape has better coverage, with the added ability to wrap around specific parts of your body. Pillow massagers can only handle one area at once while U shapes are known for taking on three, sometimes four at a time. There are no superior options, but there has been a shift that is in favor of the U shape.

Summary

Either design will grant you the benefits of a superior massage product that works at home or on the road. It is the perfect companion for easing the most stressful of days, and all without putting a large dent in your wallet.