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Best neck massager 2023: Soothe away your aches and pains at home from just £23

Get to grips with your muscles with our pick of the best neck massagers

If you’ve ever woken up on the wrong side of the pillow and been unable to turn your neck for the next three days, you’ll know how important a regular massage can be. From bad posture to pinched nerves, many of us hold excess tension in our neck muscles – and spending much of our time at a desk only exacerbates the issue.

Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate this: by mimicking the movements of a masseuse from the comfort of your sofa. Used a few times each week, at-home neck massagers will do more than just soothe tight muscles: they can also help to improve blood circulation, reduce stress, alleviate headaches and promote a good night’s sleep. Best of all, you’re investing in regular at-home treatment for the price of a single professional massage.

We’ve put together a list of the best neck massagers on the market, with options ranging from shiatsu kneading techniques to pillows and manual canes – everything you need to choose your new home office essential. Your muscles will thank you!

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Best neck massager: At a glance

  • Best multipurpose neck massager: Renpho Neck Massager | Buy now
  • Best hands-free neck massager: Breo iNeck3 Pro | Buy now
  • Best manual neck massager: Supportiback Massage Cane | Buy now
  • Best acupressure pillow: Bed of Nails | Buy now

How to choose the best neck massager for you

What kind of neck massager should I get?

There are plenty of different neck massager designs, and we’ve touched on the most popular styles here. Increasing in popularity are wraparound massagers with long looped straps (which can be used on other parts of the body), but you’ll also find some that resemble a neck pillow or in a C-shape that fit neatly around the neck and are typically more hands-free.

Neck massagers generally fall into two camps: electric or battery-powered devices, and manual ones. The former use a combination of rotating balls or nodes and various intensities or heat settings to loosen muscles, while the latter require a bit more effort on your part – either by moving your body or the tool itself to find the best pressure and intensity for your massage. Manual massagers are designed to imitate a masseuse’s thumbs, though, both in terms of the nodes’ shape and placement, so it isn’t difficult to achieve a thoroughly satisfying massage.

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Are there other features I should be looking for?

Cheaper and simpler massagers will only have one mode of operation. For higher priced and more intensive massagers, look out for the following:

  • Heat: Using a heat setting will help to further relax tight muscles by increasing blood flow to the target area.
  • Multiple speeds and/or intensities: Being able to play with speed, intensity and rotation direction means every massage will feel different – and you can more specifically target the muscles that need attention.
  • Style of massage offered: This can range from light and gentle to deep, shiatsu-style kneading. If you love a deep massage, you’ll probably be inclined to lean into the machine – but that can leave red marks and isn’t the best idea. Excess pressure can also slow the mechanism down, making it less effective.
  • Rechargeable or mains-powered: Do you want to use the device while travelling, or are you happy to only ever use it at home? For instance, the Renpho neck massager requires you to be close to a power source while using it, whereas the iNeck3 has a rechargeable battery.
  • Hands-free or handheld: A hands-free massager makes it easier to totally relax, but it doesn’t give you the same level of control.
  • Noise: Using an at-home massager is somewhat less relaxing if the device’s motors are too loud. Reading our reviews can be particularly helpful here.
  • Weight and size: This can vary significantly. Obviously, a large, heavy massager is going to be unwieldly and unsuitable for certain users, so check before you buy.

Is it safe to use a neck massager?

When used correctly, neck massagers are safe to use. It’s important to read their instructions as each device will have different guidelines, but most suggest using for a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes in a single session, and only once per day. The majority of electronic massagers have an auto-off setting to ensure you don’t use them for too long.

The best neck massager to buy in 2023

1. Renpho Neck Massager: Best multipurpose neck massager

Price: £33 | Buy now from Amazon

This neck massager from Renpho has a lot to offer for its low price. Designed to wrap comfortably around the neck, the massager can also be used just as effectively on your back, waist, thighs and calves, making it a perfect addition to your work-from-home setup.

A thin layer of lycra covers eight medium-sized shiatsu nodes that rotate in two directions and are surprisingly powerful, giving a satisfyingly deep massage even on the lowest of the three intensity levels. It can take a little experimentation to find the right angle and pressure, but once you’ve adjusted the foam-filled leather straps to a suitable length, it’s pretty intuitive to manoeuvre it into knotted muscles. An added bonus is how quiet this massager is – we almost forgot it was there.

Renpho’s neck massager isn’t a portable option as it’s quite bulky and needs to be plugged into the mains during use, but the power it delivers is more than adequate while sitting on the sofa or at your desk. We actually recommend the latter as it’s easiest to find a good intensity when there’s a hard surface at your back. We also found that intentionally leaning back into the massager causes the mechanism to slow somewhat.

There’s no storage pouch provided so we recommend keeping the box it comes in, but for the price, it’s a solid choice for a versatile home massager that can be used practically anywhere on the body.

Key specs – Device type: Wraparound; Massage type: Shiatsu, deep tissue; Power: Mains-powered; Heat option: Yes; Intensity/speed settings: Three speeds

Buy now from Amazon

2. Breo iNeck3 Pro: Best hands-free neck massager

Price: £180 | Buy now from Amazon

Our highest-priced recommendation is the C-shaped Breo iNeck3, which is designed to relax your cervical vertebrae with a combination of shiatsu kneading and pressing techniques. This hands-free massager is superbly comfortable and feels high end from the get-go: made from firm foam with a nylon lining, it’s sturdy yet lightweight, and houses a pair of three node massage heads that cycle between three different patterns and intensities. We found the resulting massage particularly impressive, but be warned that even the lowest setting is quite rigorous.

You can also control the iNeck3 using a smartphone app, which is a good option as the unit’s buttons aren’t visible while in use, and the variety of massage patterns feels a bit haphazard unless you see the settings on a screen.

Like the majority of other massagers, the iNeck3 has a heat function and turns off automatically after ten minutes. It’s beautifully packaged and designed, much like an Apple product, charges via micro-USB (cable included) to provide two-and-a-half hours of cord-free use, and comes with a storage pouch.

We did consider the suitability of the iNeck3 as a travel massager, but as it’s rather loud during use it might not be the best for a red eye flight. That said, the unit itself is pretty comfortable when resting snugly around the neck, and could sub for a firm pillow at a pinch.

Key specs – Device type: Wraparound; Massage type: Shiatsu; Power: Battery-powered; Heat option: Yes; Intensity/speed settings: Three speeds & multiple settings

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3. Supportiback Extra Durable Massage Cane: Best manual neck massager

Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon

Those with fibromyalgia and chronic neck pain issues might be perturbed by the intensity of motorised massagers. Thankfully, there are other options, such as the handheld Supportiback, which works with trigger-point therapy to provide myofascial release but doesn’t need batteries.

A bit like the massage equivalent of a back scratcher, the Supportiback is a simple approach to home massage. Appearance-wise, it’s little more than a curved cane with various nodules, but each thumb-like nodule is accurately placed so it can target trigger points in the neck, shoulder and back. You’re in complete control of the amount of pressure used, and can gently move the cane around your muscles to find the right spot without placing direct strain on your hands or fingers.

The Supportiback is made from a smooth-touch plastic with no rough edges, but has a high tensile strength thanks to the carbon-reinforced design, so there’s no chance of it snapping in two. It’s also the most eco-friendly neck massager we’ve found: the materials are derived from sugar cane that’s sustainably sourced and it has a non-toxic coating.

Key specs – Device type: Cane; Massage type: Pressure point; Heat option: No; Intensity/speed settings: None

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4. Bed of Nails Acupressure Pillow: Best acupressure pillow for neck pain

Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon

A Bed of Nails acupressure pillow works on the same principle as acupuncture: it uses pressure points to stimulate the skin and relieve pain, except with this there are no needles involved. Instead, the narrow pillow is weighted with buckwheat hulls and covered with over 2,000 plastic spikes in circular patterns, the spread of which allows your bodyweight to be evenly distributed.

You can use the pillow on bare skin, but if that feels too intense (as it did for us) it will work through clothing, too. After a 20-minute treatment, you’ll feel a rush of endorphins and hopefully be more relaxed and at ease. Plenty of people report a reduction in pain and stress, better sleep, increased energy levels and lots of other positive outcomes.

Bed of Nails claims that pre-existing pain will significantly reduce after three weeks of daily use, but there’s a 30-day return policy via the official website if you’re not convinced.

Key specs – Device type: Pillow; Massage type: Acupressure; Heat option: No; Intensity/speed settings: None

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5. Anzorhal Better Neck Relax Massager: best for cervical traction support

Price: £24.99 | Buy now from AmazonSometimes you just want to let gravity do all the work. Enter: chiropractic support pillows, like this one from Anzorhal, which help realign your cervical spine, stretch out the vertebrae and correct your neck posture.

Made from hard foam and with six massage nodes, the v-shaped Anzorhal traction pillow can feel a little uncomfortable at first, but just eight to ten minutes of use each day has helped hundreds of people with their long-term neck aches. It’s a particularly good option if you’ve woken with a crick in your neck or feel like a motorised massager will only inflict more harm on your stiff muscles.

The best way to use it is to lay on a yoga mat or soft surface with your knees bent upwards, and slowly place the pillow beneath your neck. Placing your bent elbows in line with your shoulders allows for the requisite pressure – and deep breathing encourages your muscles to relax.

It’s worth noting that applying traction to the neck can cause damage and you should speak with a physiotherapist before using.

Key specs – Device type: support device; Massage type: Traction support; Heat option: No; Intensity/speed settings: No

Buy now from Amazon

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