Back massagers are self-massage tools for at-home use designed to release trigger points and rub out tension in your back.
With so many types of back massagers on the market, it helps to weigh the pros and cons of different tools that offer different features and have varying price points.
In this post, we’ll look at the benefits of owning a back massager and the features you’ll find when you shop around.
Plus, we’ve curated over a dozen top-rated back massagers to give you a broad look at what’s available.
Why a Back Massager is a Must-Have Today
In the past, professional massages were given by masseuses alone, but advancements in technology have now made it possible to get the same relief at home.
Here are the major benefits of having your own personal back massage tool:
Puts You Ahead of the Pain
Ever caught yourself thinking it would take a daily visit to a masseuse to fix your back?
Having a back massager at home allows you to stay ahead of back pain by massaging your muscles every day.
This prevents tension from building up to pain so that you’re never desperate for relief.
Convenient and Affordable
Without visits to massage parlours to be worked on by masseuse’s hands, you can save a lot of money by paying one time for the right technology.
You also save the time it takes to go to a spa.
If you never had time to go to a spa in the past, now you can squeeze in as little as 15 minutes a day to work on your back at home.
Improves Mental Health
By boosting circulation, back massagers help blood get to your brain.
Science shows massage promotes hormone balance by releasing feel-good hormones like endorphins and oxytocin and reducing the circulation of stress hormones . Hence, the relaxing feeling you get from a massage.
Protects Your Spine
Back massagers promote spinal health by increasing the flow of blood between spinal discs. This can prevent back pain that’s caused by spinal nerves being cut from adequate circulation, and prevent problems like slipped discs from arising.
16 Top Back Massagers for Self-Massage at Home
Here’s a well-rounded line up of popular back massagers delivering people relief today:
1. Pure-Wave CM-07
The PUREWAVE CM-07 is an electric hand-held percussion massager with 6 interchangeable massage head attachments for use on your back as well as soft tissue throughout your body.
The large pad-like head can pulse your larger muscle groups to boost circulation.
The point stick massage head can get into small crevices around your shoulder joints, hip joints and at the base of your skull to expel the tension that builds up.
The versatility of this product is what makes it ideal, since you can adjust the massage node and intensity for different muscles you target.
The PUREWAVE CM-07 is quality-made by PADO, a company that’s been making patented technology since 2003.
However, the tool requires you to reach over your shoulder or around your side to get to your back. If you want something you’ll use daily to release tension and stay ahead of back pain without the help of another person, you may find it too labour-intensive.
On the other hand, if you have specifically tight muscle knots, this packs the intensity you need and gives you precision.
2. Naipo Cordless Back Neck Shoulder Massager
The design of the Naipo massager makes it ideal for a relaxing upper back and neck massage.
It’s an electric shiatsu massager that rests on the backs of your shoulders, with arm straps that drape down the front of your torso.
These arm straps have hooks at the ends you can use to rest your forearms or to pull down on the device with your hands to add intensity.
The Naipo offers deep kneading with rollers at 3 speeds for different intensity levels. It also has a heat feature, so if you deal with upper back tension or neck stiffness, this could help.
This massager can give you a powerful massage that keeps pain at bay after a long day at work no matter where the tension hits you.
It can be worn in 4 ways to target different muscle groups in your back.
Plus, it can be worn in any other way to massage muscle groups in other parts of your body. Plus, it’s cordless, which makes it easy to use anywhere.
Related: The best neck and shoulder massagers
3. Zyllion Shiatsu Kneading Massage Pillow
Compared to a neck and shoulder shiatsu massager like the Naipo, this device is a lot smaller and easier to travel with, and a little easier to manipulate.
Where versatility is concerned, this massager can target your whole body.
The great thing about the Zillion pillow is that you can use it as a lumbar pillow at your desk that doubles as a massager, to keep back pain at bay.
It comes with a strap you can use to strap the massager to your chair and massage your back at any height for targeting different muscle groups, such as the upper traps, which quickly fatigue at a computer desk.
The Zyllion has a heating feature with a 20-minute auto shut off safety feature. It’s FDA-listed and users vouch for its durability in positive reviews.
Unfortunately, this device needs to be plugged in to use, so you have to be seated near a wall outlet. It comes with a car adapter but doesn’t have a USB charging option.
4. Body Back Buddy Trigger Point Back Massager
The Body Back Buddy massage cane is a manual trigger point massage tool with a patented design that makes it effective and versatile for full-body use.
It’s only $30 and packs an incredible value for your money. While many products that came in its wake tried to mimic its design, the Body Back Buddy stands as the best in its class.
It has an S-shape with two hooks and 2 handlebars, and altogether 11 nodes that dig deep into soft tissues anywhere in the body. The intensity is set by the pressure you apply as you leverage the cane.
This tool comes with an instructional booklet and access to online videos so you can learn the exact techniques for releasing specific trigger points that cause pain.
The idea is to hook one end around a part of your body, such as a shoulder or calf muscle, and leverage the other end of the stick to pull into the soft tissue.
If you’re going for an affordable trigger point therapy tool for myofascial release, the Body Back Buddy is a golden choice.
It has a 30-day money-back guarantee and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Keep in mind, it requires manual effort on your part, as the tool acts like an extension of your hands and fingers to do its job.
There’s also a learning curve when you’re first starting out, and you need to be careful not to overdo it.
Related: The best back massage sticks
5. Theragun G3 PRO Percussion Massager
The Theragun G3 Pro percussion massage gun is the best of the best in terms of massage guns because it packs the most force, comes with 6 attachment heads and can be adjusted for you to reach at different angles.
Though you’ll do a little heavy spending and heavy lifting (it weighs 3 pounds), this tool is worth it because of the intensity it packs.
With 60 pounds of force behind each percussive stroke, there’s nothing that can better knock the tension out of a tough muscle knot in your back.
One of the massage heads that comes with the G3 Pro is a flat edge head for getting along crevices of joints and between muscles to work out adhesions.
The other heads are rounded in different sizes, with one being more pointed for hitting small trigger points. You can change the speed to adjust the intensity and penetrate deeper layers of muscle.
While it’s too intense for some, for people with stubborn muscle knots and weightlifters with large, tight muscles, the G3 Pro is a godsend.
Related: The best massage guns
6. Comfier Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager
The shiatsu back and neck massager from Comfier is brilliantly designed to let you relax in any seat you sit in, whether your car or your couch, and get a massage from your neck down to your buttocks.
By covering so many muscle groups at once with kneading shiatsu rollers, it allows you to take a deeply relaxing and restorative break.
This type of massager won’t give you the precision of trigger point therapy tools, but it’s not labour-demanding for you and you’re able to get more muscle groups massaged in much less time.
What makes the Comfier stand out above other models like it is that you get airbag compression from the sides squeezing your torso and hips to release tension while the shiatsu rollers knead down either side of your spine and on your glutes.
Plus, it has an infrared heat feature to provide additional pain relief. According to users who love the product, it provides an intense massage that relieves pain and soreness from daily desk work.
Some find the rollers too hard, but a towel placed over them can reduce the intensity. A common complaint is the weight of the massager, so keep in mind that it’s 21.6 pounds.
7. iReliev Wireless TENS + EMS Therapeutic Wearable System
The iReliev wireless therapy device isn’t necessarily a back massager, but it’s a tool featuring TENS and EMS technology for people with chronic pain.
If you want a daily solution for back pain, this is a great alternative to intense shiatsu massagers and percussion guns, which often cause pain in the process of releasing pain and can add to muscle damage with improper use.
The downside to this tool is that it won’t knead out muscle knots or provide any pressure you can feel.
However, it can relieve pain and increase circulation through the signals it emits. You don’t directly feel them, but these signals trigger a natural response in your tissues to block the signalling of pain to your brain. It stimulates the release of your own natural pain-killing endorphins, too.
Unlike other TENS units that have cords, the iRelieve is wireless, so you can wear the pads anywhere on the go for pain relief.
The 2 pads it comes with are 3 by 5 inches, which is the ideal design for placement on either side of your spine, whether your pain is in your lumbar back or closer to your shoulders.
You can place them anywhere, so they’re versatile whether you have tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome or Achilles pain.
Related: The best TENS units
8. Core Products Jeanie Rub Variable Speed Massager
The Jeanie Rub variable speed massager is professional equipment you can have in your home to manage chronic back pain.
It provides percussive therapy, with a 4-in by 9-in pad delivering pulses to whatever surface it’s placed on.
Where this device falls short is that it’s not a self-massage device, so you’ll need someone to use it on your back.
You can, however, use it on other muscle areas in your reach, such as your thighs and calves. With the twist of the dial, you can increase or lower the speed, which adds or reduces intensity.
It gives you the benefits of a percussion massage gun by providing a deep tissue percussion to shake up any tension. It does so even more quickly by targeting a larger surface area at once, compared to a percussion gun.
There’s no round tip for trigger point release, but if you want a back massage without the pain of trigger point therapy, the Jeanie Rub massager is a good choice.
Users love that the Jeanie Rub has a 12-foot power cord for easier use, compared to others like it.
Related: The best chiropractic massagers
9. SNAILAX Memory Foam Massage Mat
The Snailax memory foam massage mat is an affordable option for a full-body vibration massage with heat.
It offers a relaxing way to get relief from muscle tension or pain whether you’re sitting or lying down.
It’s made of memory foam for form-fitting comfort and it rolls up for easy portability.
The Snailax mat doesn’t provide shiatsu massage or deep tissue kneading, but the full-body vibration comes from 10 motors, which provide the most stimulation at the largest muscle areas in your back, glutes and legs.
It can be a great accompaniment to a manual trigger point release tool because it gives you a full-body relaxation experience without pain.
Keeping the Snailax mat at your bedside, you can turn it on with the heat function first thing in the morning to relieve stiffness and wake up your body with a circulation boost.
There are 3 vibration speeds and 5 auto massage programs.
Some customers have been disappointed with this product because the vibration motors aren’t covered with enough padding to make the mat comfortable due to the model’s focus on a lightweight, foldable design.
10. Body Back Wood Back Roller
The wood back roller from Body Back looks like an odd-shaped rolling pin, but it’s a manual back massage tool like a foam roller but it provides a more intense massage designed specifically for kneading your back.
It’s at the same price point as the Body Back Buddy massage cane, but it’s less versatile.
While you can’t use it to pinpoint small trigger points like you can with a massage cane, you can knead out more surface area on your back at a time. It penetrates the muscle tissue more deeply than a foam roller, with 2 protruding nodes designed to massage around your spine.
You can use this back roller on other body parts too, such as your legs and arms, and you can gently use it on your neck.
You get a great deal of intensity when you roll on this tool on the floor, since it’s made of solid wood.
It has a rubber grip around either side for gripping the floor, mat or wall so it doesn’t slip away while in use. Multiple users mentioned this rubber grip falls off.
Happy customers have remarked the Body Back roller works better than back rollers like it and that it offers all the intensity required to release tight fascia and muscle knots for a healthy, mobile back.
Some customers noted there’s a learning curve involved with using it correctly, and that the product doesn’t come with instructions.
11. RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager
The RENPHO is a lot like the PUREWAVE massager, but it comes at a much lower price point.
Still, it’s wireless and holds a 140-minute charge.
It comes with 5 different attachment heads. One of them features a unique arch shape with two prongs for massaging around the length of your spine.
Someone would need to help you with this technique on your back, but it’s definitely possible to massage around your shoulder blades and upper trapezius on your own by reaching the device over your shoulder. Hook your arm around your side to reach your serratus anterior and lats.
You can’t go wrong with such a versatile electric percussion massager for this price, as RENPHO is a reputable manufacturer.
However, you do want to register your warranty if you purchase this device, as a number of customers have received defective units.
If you have shoulder or neck pain, this tool is an excellent alternative to the PUREWAVE for trigger point release.
Related: The best handheld back massagers
12. NekTeck Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager
If you like what the Naipo shiatsu neck and shoulder massager can do, then you’ll like NekTeck’s model, which has comparable features for a lower price.
Unlike the Naipo, it isn’t cordless. However, with the adapter it comes with, you can use the device in your car.
The features it does share with Naipo’s high-end model are heating and a versatile design with straps for hooking the massager around different muscle groups.
Customers have complained the massager doesn’t really get hot when the heating feature is on, and others complain the shiatsu rollers fail to provide the intensity they need.
However, the overwhelming reception from buyers has been that the NekTeck gets the job done, relieving any sore or aching muscles in the body and providing a deep sense of relaxation.
Considering the price and that the NekTeck gives you a free 1-year warranty on the product, it’s worth a try as an affordable shiatsu back massager.
Related: The best neck and shoulder massagers
13. uCozy 3D Back and Neck Massage Pillow
The uCozy massager from Osim is an electric massage pillow with a heat feature.
Like the Zyllion shiatsu pillow, it comes with a strap for placing it on the back of your chair, and a heating feature that shuts off after 20 minutes.
The uCozy costs more than the Zyllion pillow, but it’s slightly larger and has 6 massage nodes instead of 4.
The downside is it also requires being plugged in.
Since it weighs 5 pounds, it’s probably not the most portable massager anyway.
If you use it in your home office or at a chair next to a wall, you can get a quality, intense deep kneading massage for your back.
You can also use it on other body parts. Users report it provides effective relief for tight or swollen caves and tired feet.
Besides finding a wall outlet to sit nearby, there’s no effort required on your part, since all you need to do is relax and let the device do all the work.
14. Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun
The Sonic massage gun from LifePro is your best choice for getting big results at a more affordable price. It has a free lifetime warranty included with it.
With an ergonomic handle grip, it’s easy enough to hold, but it lacks the adjustable angle feature the Theragun G3 Pro has.
It comes with 4 attachment heads, including one with two prongs designed to work around your spine.
If you know or suspect that your back pain originates from your spine, which can happen when it’s continually compressed under weight, this massage head could help.
However, you’d need a person to assist you as you lie down on your front.
Due to the limited angles, it’s hard to reach your own back effectively with this device. However, you can use it on your upper back and shoulders by reaching over with the opposite arm.
It’s largely geared toward athletes for heavy-duty deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy, but it’s worth its weight in gold if you have back pain and a person who can assist you.
It can quickly knock out muscle knots and restore circulation with intense pulses at adjustable speeds, and release trigger points with precision.
Related: The best massage guns
15. SNAILAX SL-233 Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager with Heat
This shiatsu massager from Snailax is a massage chair pad with shiatsu rollers and heat, plus vibration for your glutes and thighs. It massages your entire back plus your neck.
It costs less than the Comfier model. While it shares many of the same features, such as heating, it doesn’t have airbags on the side for compression therapy.
However, both the Snailax and Comfier give you the option for plugging the device into your car with an adapter.
Since the Snailax weighs 15.5 pounds, it’s easier to carry around compared to the Comfier massager.
With some massage chair pads, the sizing is a guessing game and you don’t know whether the feel is right until you sit down in it.
Snailax informs customers the chair is suitable for anyone between 1.6 to 1.8 meters tall, a unique feature that makes the Snailax special is that it lets you move the shiatsu nodes up and down according to your height so you can get the perfect fit.
The product has a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 2-year warranty included.
As long as your height is within its sizing, this massager is an excellent choice.
16. Real Relax Favor 03 Plus Massage Chair
If your main goal in buying a back massager is to relax and relieve tension that builds up during the day, the Real Relax massage chair might be what you need.
While it’s more expensive than the other tools on this list, what it offers is a full-body massage from your head to your feet simultaneously while all you have to do is sit and enjoy.
This massage chair doubles as a spinal decompression device because you can adjust it to recline at zero gravity, which removes all pressure from your spine.
As rotating massage nodes knead your back and neck, the zero gravity position allows blood to circulate in between your spine’s vertebrae, nourishing your spinal discs so that your spine can maintain better flexibility and posture.
In the leg rest there are airbags that inflate to compress your muscles, similar to an air leg compression massager.
The footrest extends and retracts in length so that you can adjust the chair to your height. While the chair is adjustable for height, it’s not adjustable for width.
Users with thicker legs have complained the intensity of the airbags makes it too painful.
Unhappy customers said the rollers were too hard and stopped using the chair to prevent muscle damage. However, the overwhelming reception has been positive, with users saying the relaxing experience and pain relief make this pricey chair worth every penny.
Some of the other features of the Real Relax include Bluetooth for music pairing, 3 different speed levels for the massage nodes and 6 auto massage programs.
It comes in 3 colour options and has an LED light.
Related: The best massage chairs
Best Back Massager Recommendations
Our top recommendation from this list is the Zyllion shiatsu massage pillow. It packs a ton of value for an affordable price, as it can be comfortably used on any muscle group or area that needs relief.
If you have back pain because of hours spent at a desk job, we recommend using the Zyllion pillow on your chair behind your lower back. It’s easy to take with you to work, and it’s much smaller than a neck and shoulder massager or a massage chair pad.
Still, it puts in all the therapy you need in one small device, including shiatsu kneading and heat for pain relief, circulation and a boost of energy.
If you have tough muscle knots or strands of connective tissue balled up together, you could best benefit from a manual trigger point release tool.
Our top recommendation is the Body Back Buddy, since it’s inexpensive, comes with a lifetime warranty and it’s the best at getting the job done without an extra pair of hands.
On the other hand, if you need the intensity a percussion massager provides, we recommend the PUREWAVE CM-07 for the best results. Or, if you have strong-built, tough muscles or prefer an intense massage most people find painful, the Theragun G3 Pro has the power you need.
How to Buy a Good Back Massager
Here are the important factors to consider:
If you travel frequently or want a tool you can use both at home and at work every day, you’ll need to look for a tool that’s portable.
Some massagers are designed with portability in mind, while others focus just on the therapeutic aspect and require use at home.
Relaxation vs. Trigger Point Release
Do you want a device you can warm your body up with in the morning? Do you want a back massager you can come home to after a long day and use effortlessly while you relax? Or are you willing to do whatever it takes to fix an acute source of back pain?
The type of back massager that’s right for you depends on the therapy you need most, whether a kneading back massage or controlled release of tight “trigger points,” or sites where small muscle or connective tissue fibres have contracted and become cut from proper blood flow.
Consider finding a back massager that can be used on any muscle group in your body.
Full- body tools, such as trigger point release massagers and shiatsu massage pillows, can pack more value in one.
If you ever need relief for your legs or if you develop tendonitis anywhere, your versatile back massager will come in handy.
Type of Massage
If you want a back massager that can work out rock-hard muscle knots, consider a trigger point release tool or electric device that delivers percussion massage or shiatsu-style kneading.
If you have back pain that isn’t necessarily caused by knotted muscles, a less intensive device like a vibrating massage mat or TENS unit would be better.
If you want an electric massager like a shiatsu massager or a massage gun to help you get the intensity your back muscles need, be sure to check how much power a device delivers before buying it.
Some percussion guns that are less expensive have a lot less force than you get from one that specializes in delivering maximum force.
Many back massagers have a heat feature, which allows you to get faster relief from pain. The heat stimulates blood flow in your tissues and loosens your muscles for a better massage.
Trigger point release tools don’t typically offer heat therapy, but many massage chair pads and pillows have a heat function.
In today’s world, back pain is an epidemic. Investing in a back massager allows you to release tension as soon as it builds up, before it becomes pain.
If you wake up to back pain, having the right massage tool by your side in the morning makes a world of a difference.
The right tool for you depends on the intensity you need and whether you want a tool you can use without assistance.
Hopefully, this post has left you with a better sense for the back massage tools that are out there and which ones best meet your needs.