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The Best Massage Tools

Massages can be both a luxury and a necessity for relieving stress and chronic pain. But regular sessions with a professional massage therapist aren鈥檛 always possible financially or physically. Thankfully, there are many self-massage tools that can help. We鈥檝e tested dozens of devices for massaging virtually every part of the body, and the following list is our recommendations for the best massage tools.

Our Top Choices

Best Handheld Massager


PureWave

CM7

Best Neck & Shoulder Massager


RESTECK

Best Portable Massager


Mynt

Shiatsu Pillow

Massages can be both a luxury and a necessity for relieving stress and chronic pain. But regular sessions with a professional massage therapist aren鈥檛 always possible financially or physically. Thankfully, there are many self-massage tools that can help. We鈥檝e tested dozens of devices for massaging virtually every part of the body, and the following list is our recommendations for the best massage tools.

1

Best Handheld Massager: PureWave - CM7

See Price at PadoUSA

The Pado – PureWave – CM7 has a unique dual-function motor that can be switched from a powerful percussive massage to a gentle vibration for facial massages. Its sleek, lightweight design allows you to dangle the PureWave over your shoulder and reach your lower back muscles. It has six attachments, including a small chrome disk for facial massages and a soft mushroom-shaped disc for massaging bony areas. The facial massage is especially soothing, particularly if you apply a moisturizer to your forehead and around your eyes before using it.

The PureWave is cordless and charges in about an hour, and the charge lasts for longer than two hours. We love the PureWave鈥檚 ergonomically designed stand that holds the massager and attachments: The head balances in the top of the stand 鈥 seemingly defying gravity 鈥 and the handle is arched towards you, so it鈥檚 ready to be picked up at any time. The PureWave is, however, more expensive than the other handheld massagers we tested. But it鈥檚 a quality product that鈥檚 definitely better than the rest.


2

Best Neck and Shoulder Massager: RESTECK

See Price at Amazon

The RESTECK neck and shoulder massager can be placed anywhere along the neck, shoulder or back. Its four, simple control buttons allow you to massage specific muscles at different intensity levels. The RESTECK鈥檚 heating element warms up quickly and penetrates deeper than other neck massagers. The direction of its Shiatsu-style kneading nodules can be changed at any time to pinpoint a particularly knotty muscle. The RESTECK can also be used to massage your mid- or lower-back muscles, but it performs best on neck and shoulder muscles.

The RESTECK is not cordless, and its power cord is a bit too short to use without an extension cord. That said, it does come with a car adapter and carrying case for travel.


3

Best Portable Back Massager: Mynt - Shiatsu Pillow

See Price at Amazon

The Mynt massage pillow is one of the most convenient back massagers on the market today. It鈥檚 similar in shape to other lozenge-shaped massage pillows, and it has the same rotating heated nodules as its competitors, but that鈥檚 where the similarity ends. What makes the Mynt unique is that it鈥檚 made of memory foam and not hard plastic, which makes the pillow pliable on bony areas like the spine or shoulder blades. Its nodules are flattened, so they don鈥檛 poke into your back uncomfortably.

The biggest difference between the Mynt and its rival Zyllion is that it鈥檚 cordless. It charges in an hour and holds its charge for two, which means you can take it anywhere without needing an electrical outlet. The Mynt is only a few dollars more than other massage pillows, but it鈥檚 a far superior product for relieving back pain and other muscle aches.


4

Best Chair Back Massager: NURSAL

See Price at Amazon

The NURSAL massage seat cushion has three powerful massage styles that can be programmed to work up and down your entire back or adjusted to massage one particular part. It has four heated nodules in the main section for the upper and lower back and the same nodules for the neck section. The nodules can be programmed to revolve clockwise and counterclockwise or move up and down vertically.

The NURSAL鈥檚 鈥渨ave鈥 program revolves the nodules in alternating circles, creating a soothing and relaxing wavy sensation. Unlike other chair massagers, the NURSAL鈥檚 kneading program is very strong and feels the most like a massage therapist鈥檚 hands. The NURSAL鈥檚 third massage component is its heated, vibrating seat cushion, which can be adjusted to give a gentle or invigorating massage to your thighs.


5

Best Electric Foot Massager: RENPHO

See Price at Amazon

The RENPHO electric foot massager was the winner in our real-world testing against six other foot massagers. It has adjustable settings for air compression, Shiatsu-style kneading intensity and heating that allows you to program a soothing foot massage or a vigorous one or something in between. The RENPHO is very user-friendly, thanks to its convenient remote control so you don鈥檛 have to bend over to change settings manually. The rollers are situated on the underside of both sides of the foot and heel, which we found to be more effective than other massagers in relieving tired and aching feet.

The RENPHO is attractive enough so you don鈥檛 have to hide it from sight when guests drop by, and it’s lightweight so it can be moved from room to room with ease. The RENPHO can accommodate wide feet, but even though it鈥檚 rated to fit men鈥檚 size 12, it鈥檚 still a bit snug for larger feet, even when wearing thin socks.


6

Best Foot Massage Ball: Physix Gear Sport

See Price at Amazon

The Physix Gear Sport spiky balls can be used to massage almost any part of your body, but they鈥檙e specifically marketed as a reflexology foot massager. They鈥檙e made of tough rubber that can withstand up to 300 pounds of pressure, but their spikes are less pointed and slightly rounded, so they鈥檙e not as painful as other massage balls can be. The Physix ball is about 4 inches in diameter 鈥 one of the larger massage balls 鈥 so you can easily massage your entire foot by rolling it from toes to heel without having to roll it side to side.

The Physix balls come in different colors and firmness; for example, the purple ball is medium-firm and has a bit more give than the pink ball. These are one of the least expensive massage balls, and a downloadable ebook of self-massage techniques is included, making the Physix massage ball a great buy.


7

Best Leg Massager: RENPHO - RF-ALM070

See Price at Amazon

Released in 2019, the RENPHO – RF-ALM070 has received rave reviews from athletes, weightlifters, seniors with edema and high-heel wearers as the most effective in giving a strong, air-compression massage. Other leg massagers can be a challenge to put on, because they鈥檙e all one piece that gets twisted and bunched. The RENPHO is different; it has separate wraps for thighs and calves, which make getting into and out of it a cinch.

The RENPHO鈥檚 remote has six massage modes that can be programmed for different parts of your leg at varying intensity levels. For example, you could begin with a full leg massage, and then switch it over to just program your calves and feet. Each wrap inflates and deflates separately, which actually feels like hands kneading. The intensity levels can be too intense, and the RENPHO鈥檚 loud buzz can be annoying, but overall, it鈥檚 still the best leg massager we tested.


8

Best Percussive Massage Gun: Exerscribe - VYBE

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If you鈥檙e looking for a less-pricey alternative to the Theragun, the Exerscribe – VYBE has the same technology and costs two-thirds less. The VYBE is our all-around favorite massage tool because you can use it on virtually every muscle in your body. Its versatility is in large part due to its adjustable head that easily snaps up into a 45-degree or 90-degree angle, which allows you to maneuver the gun to hard-to-reach muscle groups, like mid-back, and hold it for longer periods without fatiguing your hand.

The VYBE comes with three attachments 鈥 large and small foam balls and a pointed tip 鈥 a sturdy yet lightweight carrying case and, best of all, two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (shipped fully charged) and their charging dock, so the VYBE is always ready when you want a massage. The only drawback is the VYBE鈥檚 beehive-buzzing noise, which isn鈥檛 conducive to a relaxing massage. That aside, the VYBE is ideal for pre- and post-workout warm-ups and for massaging out stubborn muscle knots in a few minutes.


9

Best Foam Roller: SPRI

See Price at Amazon

The SPRI – High Density Roller is made of expanded polypropylene 鈥 a long-lasting, high-density foam 鈥 which strikes the right balance between being too firm and being too soft. At 6 inches in diameter and 18 inches in length, the SPRI lifts your body at a comfortable height and is long enough to cover any area that needs rolling. Although the SPRI doesn鈥檛 have specific grids for targeting particular muscles, its smooth surface lets you roll with ease. At about $20, the SPRI is also one of the most affordable foam rollers.


10

Best Massage Ball Roller: Body Back

See Price at Amazon

One of the best massage tools for either self-massage or massaging someone else is the Body Back massage ball roller. It鈥檚 similar to other ball rollers, but we love that the Body Back can be chilled in the freezer for an hour before massage, and the smooth, cold ball rolled over aching joints. Cold application may not seem to be beneficial, but for anyone who鈥檚 had a sports injury, you know it鈥檚 preferred over warm application for healing.

Other ball rollers have a rigid casing, which can scrape skin if too much pressure is applied. But the Body Back ball roller has a flexible, rounded-edge casing that鈥檚 smooth against skin. The Body Back can also be used with massage oils and washes clean easily. It鈥檚 only 2.5 inches in diameter so it fits into the palm of your hand, and if you鈥檙e giving someone a back or shoulder massage, your hand won鈥檛 fatigue. The Body Back ball rollers are reasonably priced and available in three colors in single and double packs.


11

Best Hand Massager: Lunix - LX3

See Price at Amazon

The Lunix – LX3 cordless hand massager is on the pricey side, but if you have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, it could help relieve your chronic pain. It鈥檚 an air-compression device (like the leg massager we recommend) that squeezes and releases at six different intensity levels with heating. The heat function does take 10 minutes to heat, so it鈥檚 best to start it up before beginning your massage.

The Lunix is well-made, easy to use, and because it charges with a USB cable, it鈥檚 portable for travel and work. A nice bonus is the free finger massager that鈥檚 included. One drawback is that the Lunix may not fit your hand size, and the manufacturer recommends contacting them before purchasing it.


12

Best Scalp Massager: USAGA

See Price at Amazon

There are plenty of expensive electric scalp massagers out there, all promising to relieve stress and promote hair growth. But sometimes simple is best, and the USAGA 20-finger head massager couldn鈥檛 be simpler and more effective 鈥 and at less than $10, it鈥檚 also a great bargain.

The USAGA is made of 20 lightweight metal prongs 鈥 10 short and 10 long 鈥 attached to a handle that resembles a whisk. The varying lengths allow for a wider area of massage in different hair lengths. Rotating the USAGA in a circular motion will simulate fingers gently scratching your scalp. Yes, your hair may look like a proverbial rat鈥檚 nest afterwards, but you鈥檒l feel a pleasant tingling sensation.


Gene Gerrard, Writer

Gene has written about a wide variety of topics for too many years to count. He's been a professional chef, cooking-appliance demonstrator, playwright, director, editor of accountancy and bank-rating books, Houdini expert and dog lover (still is). When he's not writing for Your Best Digs, he's performing as a magician at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

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