The 6 Best Massage Pillows for the Neck & Back (2023 Reviews)
Using a massage pillow for neck and back pain is one of the easiest, low-cost, and portable ways to relieve sore back and neck muscles, and prevent tension headaches – anywhere.
There are dozens of massage pillows on the market – vibrating, kneading (Shiatsu), massagers with heat, without heat – and some that have it all.
In this post, you’ll find how to choose a massage pillow and the 7 best ones (for the money) – in 2023.
Anyone who suffers from knots, tight/stiff muscles, muscle spasms, and neck tension headaches will find these relatively low-cost pillows to be their new best friend and will save them a lot of money on chiropractor/masseuse visits.
👉 In a Hurry?
Here’s a quick comparison between the top electric massage pillows, followed by the pros and cons of each device – to help you make a quick and smart choice.
|Massage Pillow||Our Rating||Features||Price|
|Snailax Massage Pillow||🥇Best Value||Portable|
|✅ $40 with code summer30 at Snailax |
|HoMedics SP-100H||Shiatsu & Vibration||Shiatsu+vibration|
|✅ $38 with code LABORDAY25 at Homedics|
|VIKTOR JURGEN||With neck support pillow and flap|
4 massage nodes
|✅ $25 on Amazon|
|Nekteck Shiatsu Massage Pillow||Best Wrap Around||8 massage nodes|
Speed & direction
|✅ $45 on Amazon|
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- Massage Pillow Pros and Cons
- How to Choose a Massage Pillow
- The 6 Best Neck & Back Massage Pillows
- 1. Snailax Massage Pillow with Heat Best Value
- 2. Homedics Massage Pillow – Vibration & Shiatsu
- 3. Naipo Neck & Back Massage Pillow Ergonomic Design
- 4. Nekteck Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager Best Wrap Around
- 5. VIKTOR JURGEN Neck Massage Pillow With Neck Pillow
- 6. Zyllion Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager Best Seller on Amazon
- Shiatsu Massage Pillow Alternatives
- How to Use a Massage Pillow (Safely)
Massage Pillow Pros and Cons
A massage pillow is a low-cost pain and stress relief tool for muscle tension and stiffness that you can use at home, at the office, or on travel.
They are lightweight and easy to carry and they are much more affordable than professional massage treatments for back, neck, and shoulder pain.
The best ones offer adjustable speed and intensity settings, but obviously, they will not be as versatile and effective as a human massage done by the hands of a professional.
Just like massage guns, they are limited in their reach and you’ll have to switch their placement to massage different areas of your body.
They are not powerful enough to be used as a medical tool for complete healing and solving of medical conditions, and some users may find Shiatsu massage pillows too rough.
However, they make a low-cost and effective tool for muscle stiffness, stress, and anxiety.
How to Choose a Massage Pillow
When you choose the best massage pillow, make sure you consider the number of massage nodes (the more the better), whether the nodes get heated (for boosted blood circulation), the number of massage types, the intensity and speed control, and the safety features (overheat turn off).
Finally, check the price and warranty.
Massage Pillow Types
There are 4 types of neck and shoulder massager pillows – all of them can bring immediate neck pain and stress relief – at home, work, or your car.
Neck massage pillows are versatile, and can be used anywhere on your body, including your legs, arms, feet, calves, back, and shoulders!
Here are the 4 common types of neck massage pillows:
1. Vibrating massage pillows – gentle to powerful vibrating neck massage to loosen tight muscles.
2. Shiatsu neck massager pillows – kneading massage along with motion both outwards and inwards
3. Combined – vibrating & Shiatsu neck massage pillows
4. Neck massage pillows with heat – infrared heat is offered along with the massage – for even more blood circulation benefits and deeper penetrating heat. All the devices you’ll find here are heated massage pillows.
The 6 Best Neck & Back Massage Pillows
Let’s start with our top choice:
1. Snailax Massage Pillow with Heat Best Value
This versatile neck/back/leg massager pillow is our #1 pick for 2023 and through our research is the most versatile, high-quality shiatsu massage pillow – for the money.
The Snailax shiatsu massage cushion (4 rotation shiatsu nodes) is lightweight and compact, can be used anywhere including your car (comes with a home & car adapter), is covered with a comfy soft plush cover, and has an adjustable flap for protection.
The heat feature is optional, and the straps are adjustable.
An automatic timer is set to shut off after 15 minutes and it has an overheat protection system to keep you safe.
- Versatile deep tissue massage (automatically changes direction)
- Soothing infrared heat for sore muscles and blood circulation, heats up quickly
- Can be used on the back, neck, calves, stomach, and shoulders
- Comes with a car adapter
- Comes with a protective flap to soften massage intensity
- The softest and most comfortable cover
- 2-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee
- Excellent customer service (I recommend buying from the official site
- Some people may find shiatsu massage pillows to be too intense or uncomfortable
✅ Available at Snailax ($40 with coupon code labor30)
👉 We also recommend other massage products by Snailax, see why in our Snaliax Massage Mats Reviews
2. Homedics Massage Pillow – Vibration & Shiatsu
The Homedics shiatsu neck massage cushion has it all: vibrating massage, Shiatsu massage, and heat.
But, if you’d like, you can use the shiatsu option without heat or vibration.
The nodules move in a circular motion rolling up and down with each rotation.
The pillow can be placed on different areas of your neck and shoulders to release muscle tension causing neck aches and pains, and headaches.
It is lightweight and easy to carry around, and you can use it on any part of your body other than your neck.
- Lightweight (leaning back into your chair is enough to hold the massager in place)
- Versatile – choose vibration/Shiatsu massage with/without heat
- The Shiatsu massage option can be used separately
- Quiet – can be used in the office
- Shuts off automatically after 15 minutes.
- Heat goes up to 108 degrees F
- 1-year warranty
- Doesn’t have a car adaptor
- Smaller massage balls are pointless since they are hardly felt
Homedics also offers a great cordless massage pillow, with a rechargeable battery that lasts for one hour of continuous use per charge (which takes 3.5 hours), and has a reverse function so you can reverse the direction of the massage nodes’ movement.
👉 We have reviewed this established brand back seat back massagers, see it in our Homedics back massager reviews
3. Naipo Neck & Back Massage Pillow Ergonomic Design
The simple and user-friendly Naipo neck massage pillow has 4 Deep-Kneading Shiatsu Massage Nodes (3D), which can be heated to about 112 F.
It’s ergonomically designed with a W-shape to fit your neck, and if you allow your neck to lay on it, you’ll feel a slight stretch on your cervical spine discs.
However, you can use it on any other area of your body.
The Naipo neck massager pillow is a high-quality, well-made, and effective massager.
It is easy to adjust how much pressure to apply and to which muscles to target.
- 30-day money-back guarantee, 2-year warranty
- Kneading massage direction changes every minute
- Comes with a car adapter
- Can be used without heat
- 20-minute automatic shut-off
- Firm kneading, strong motor
- It comes with a car adapter but is recommended not to use it while driving. Maybe when stopping for a quick nap? 😉
✅ Available at Walmart ($30)
4. Nekteck Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager Best Wrap Around
The Nekteck self-massage pillow with heat comes with handles to make sure you keep it in the exact place you want it to be.
No need to strap it onto a chair or to keep moving it to adjust its position, and you can also use it as a heated massage belt for lower back pain, waist and hip pain, and pain in your thighs!
The weight of your hands also helps you control the intensity of the massage.
It’s comfortable and lightweight, and it has 8 soft and springy massage heads with a built-in heating function.
It has speed and direction control: you can direct the massager clockwise or counter-clockwise as you prefer, and there are 3-speed levels.
- Nice design, made with genuine leather
- 8 deep-kneading massage nodes
- Speed and direction control – highly adjustable
- Intensity control by using the strap
- Heat can be turned off
- Overheat protection and auto shut off after 15 minutes
- Comes with a car adapter!
- Massage may be too intense for some people, but this can be solved by placing a towel between your body and the massager
- The control panel may emit some EMF radiation near the neck
5. VIKTOR JURGEN Neck Massage Pillow With Neck Pillow
The Viktor Jurgen massager pillow has 4 deep-kneading shiatsu massage rotating balls and an optional eating function, like most massage pillows.
However, this one comes with a cervical support pillow for more neck comfort when you use it.
We also liked that it is equipped with overheat protection (turns off automatically at 80 degrees Celcius), and with a removable flap guard that you can use to keep it clean, and to reduce the intensity of the massage nodes.
This massage pillow’s pressure and durability are good, it turns off automatically when you overuse it, the skin-protecting flap is a great bonus, and the price tag is reasonable.
- Fits most aching body areas – shoulder, lower- & upper back, abdomen, calf, and thigh areas.
- You can choose the direction of the kneading
- Comes with a cloth cover to protect your skin against friction.
- Only has 2 massage speeds
- Some users reported it broke after 3 months
✅ Available on Amazon ($26 with coupon code under the price)
6. Zyllion Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager Best Seller on Amazon
This compact massage pillow can be used anywhere, including your home, your office, or your car.
The Zyllion comes with a quite strong deep-kneading Shiatsu massage (4 nodes that change direction every minute) and comes with a heat function that can be turned on and off.
It also offers vibrating massage, adjustable handle straps, and a car adaptor.
The company is well known for its good customer service and will replace your adaptor or device if it stops working.
- Lightweight and compact
- Durable build, high-quality rollers, and heat function
- 4 powerful massage nodes
- Comes with a car adaptor and can be used anywhere, at any time.
- Two elastic straps that allow users to attach the massager to a chair or car seat
- Safe to use – comes with Overheat Protection
- The textured leatherette cover is soft to the touch and easy to clean
- Can take up to 5 minutes to heat up
- More expensive than other devices on this list
✅ Available on Amazon ($52 with coupon code under the price)
Shiatsu Massage Pillow Alternatives
Massage pillows are generally more affordable compared to other massage devices like massage chairs or massage guns, but some alternatives offer a few benefits that they can not provide.
For example, a massage gun offers a much more powerful massage, versatile massage heads, and more speed and intensity levels.
A vibrating massage mat offers full body coverage and ultimate relaxation – without moving a device around or any other effort.
A cordless heated massage belt allows you to choose from different heat settings and temperatures while keeping the massage action on your lower back – which is perfect for any lower back injury – including bulging discs, pinched nerves, and sciatica.
Many people seem to like the My Massage Pillow, which is a pressure-activated vibrating massage pillow, and we believe it just may be the best massage pillow for travel.
It runs on 2 D-size batteries, has a high/low switch to adjust the speed of the vibrations, and even has an oscillating feature.
And let’s not forget the latest trend – the vibrating foam roller – which is a foam roller on steroids and used by many athletes before and after a workout.
How to Use a Massage Pillow (Safely)
Using a massage pillow for neck and shoulder pain is simple. See the demonstration below:
Please follow these precautions for safety:
- Do not overuse to avoid injury from repeated pressure or vibration in the same area.
- Read the warnings and look for contraindications.
- Don’t use it if you are pregnant – without consulting with your doctor.
- Don’t use it if you have a pacemaker
- Don’t sleep with the massager on, though all of these come with auto shut-off to prevent that, and to prevent overheating.
To your health and happiness,
The Back-Pain-Relief-Products Team