Best massager 2021: Soothe aches and pains with ease

Banish painful knots and give overworked muscles a treat with one of the best personal massagers

Best massagers 2020
(Image credit: Stock image)

If you're feeing the stress in these tense times, having one of the best massagers to hand can be a brilliant way to help you feel better. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (not to mention price points) and are perfect for soothing painful knots, boosting your circulation and relieving exercise-induced strains.

We've picked out a wide range of the best massagers right now for all types of home therapy. Make sure you take some time to pick the right one – different massagers have different jobs, and using the wrong tool for the job can make your aches, pains and injuries even worse, rather than providing the relief you're looking for. 

If you're just looking for something to help you relax and unwind at home, you might also want to check out our guides to the best foot spas and the best essential oil diffusers, to set the scene. For something more specific and targeted, head to our roundup of the best percussion massagers.

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 Choosing the best massager for you

This might sound reckless, but don’t pay too much attention to the price tag. Take roller sticks, for example: this type of massage tool often comes with the lowest price tag, but these lightweight plastic sticks are still incredibly effective when used correctly. That said, there are certainly plenty of blow-the-budget options which still offer fantastic value for money. Percussive massagers that use infrared, heated or interchangeable heads are a little more pricey, but the upside is that this type of massager can be a godsend when it comes to soothing muscle pain, reducing post-exercise recovery time and minimising the risk of injury.

 The best massagers to buy now 

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best massager: Theragun PRO (4th Gen)

(Image credit: Theragun )
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best massager: Theragun PRO (4th Gen)

(Image credit: Theragun )
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best massager: Theragun PRO (4th Gen)

(Image credit: Theragun )

1. Theragun PRO (4th Gen)

This no-nonsense massager will make light work of aches, strains and knots

Reasons to buy
+Powerful brushless motor means extra oomph without extra noise +The most powerful percussive massager available for at-home use+Works with a dedicated app

The Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Massager (4th gen) utilises percussive therapy – the use of strong bursts of pressure to blast away knots and tension while improving blood flow. It might look somewhat intimidating, but it’s the most powerful massager available for at-home use, relying on ultra-fast pulses (around 40 a second) to penetrate muscles on a much deeper level. 

Those keen to get the most out of their massager will love its Bluetooth capability, allowing it to be synced with the Therabody app to create synchronised wellness routines. We also love the ultra-quiet brushless motor. It's quieter than the average electric toothbrush, so you can also relax fully without being bothered by the noise.

Best massager: Renpho Cordless Handheld Massager

(Image credit: Renpho)

2. Renpho Cordless Handheld Massager

A versatile and great value cordless massager

Reasons to buy
+Four modes and five speed settings+Five interchangeable heads+Infrared light therapy

This cordless massager from Renpho is great value, and offers plenty of ways to give yourself an invigorating deep tissue massage. It has a powerful motor delivering up to 3,600 pulses per minute, with five speed settings so you can find the right level of intensity for you, as well as five interchangeable head attachments, including a one-point head for massaging acupressure points and round ball head that simulates tapping for relieving deep tissue pain. It also uses infrared light to help improve blood flow.

Its rechargeable battery will last for 140 minutes on a full charge, but to prevent you overdoing things (and to stop it overheating) it'll automatically shut off after 20 minutes, which should be more than long enough for a rewarding massage.

Best massager: Murlien Massage Roller Ball

(Image credit: Murlien)

3. Murlien Massage Roller Ball

A simple but effective device for localised muscle massage

Reasons to buy
+Easy-grip design+Multidirectional roller ball action+Compact and lightweight

With massagers you tend to pay for what you get, and some of the prices are pretty eye-watering. Here, though, is a cheap and cheerful massager that'll do the job. With the Murlien massage ball you, rather than an electric motor, supply the pressure, so you can give yourself a light massage or press harder for some deep tissue therapy.

It's compact and lightweight and couldn't be easier to use; simply locate the area that needs attention, press it on and start rolling back and forth, increasing the pressure as needed. And while it's nowhere near as versatile as most of the other massagers listed here, it'll do the job on those little muscle stress points without you having to invest in a more expensive powered device.

Best massager: HoMedics ShiatsuMax 2.0

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. HoMedics ShiatsuMax 2.0

The best massager for easing back pain

Reasons to buy
+ Strong pressure + Different massage settings + Whole back massage 

Those with serious back pain need to find a massager built to apply strong pressure to the whole back and this one from HoMedics is one of the best you can buy. Designed like a chair, this home massager offers up 14 different massage programmes of varying style and strength. A remote control also allows you to add heat and customise your massage with adjustable height and width settings. The best thing about this massager is it can be secured to any car seat or office chair, which means you don’t have to be at home to use it and instead you can get relief from aching muscles throughout the day.

Best massager: Elite Massage Muscle Roller Stick for Runners

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Elite Massage Muscle Roller Stick for Runners

A cheap option for relieving tension on the go

Reasons to buy
+ Cheap + Portable + Perfect for runners 

If you work out regularly, it makes sense to relieve tension in your muscles after exercising. You can use a massaging device or foam roller, but we also like these roller sticks, which many believe are actually a lot more effective than a foam roller. The super portable sticks can be rolled over sore muscles, relieving soreness and stiffness in seconds. They're perfect for taking to the gym for a post-session cooldown or keeping in your work bag if you have a lot of soreness at the office during the day.

Best massager: HoMedics Shiatsu Massage Pillow

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. HoMedics Gel Shiatsu Portable Pillow

A portable, natural-feeling massager

Reasons to buy
+Ideal for travel – comes with its own carry case +A wide range of different functions  +Optional heat function 

Although this massager is designed with travel in mind (it weighs just 1.77kg and comes with its own carrying case) it’s ideal for use at home, too. Ergonomically-designed gel massage nodules effortlessly ease away knots and stubborn aches, and the heated function combined with its pillow-like design makes it especially suitable for use on the back and neck, although it can be used on the arms and legs, too. Powered by a built-in lithium battery, it will last up to 60 minutes when fully charged, and a 15-minute auto shutoff function provides peace of mind for those prone to forgetting to turn off their various gadgets and gizmos. 

Don't need the portability? The original HoMedics Shiatsu Massage Pillow might save you a few pennies.

Best massager: HoMedics Handheld Shiatsu Massager

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. HoMedics Handheld Shiatsu Massager

A great budget option that's easy to use too

Reasons to buy
+ Affordable + Use it anywhere + Different massage modes 

If you’re looking for an affordable massage option and don’t mind putting a bit of effort in, then you can’t go wrong with the HoMedics Handheld Massager. This portable and easy-to-use device gives you a feeling of a shiatsu massage wherever you place it, allowing you to control where you massage, the speed, pressure and even the type of massage you receive from it. Although this won’t be a good option for those with limited mobility or arthritis because you do need to hold it steady yourself. There are three different massage heads that can be used, including one for muscle stiffness, another for an invigorating massage and the final one for a deep tissue massage. 

Best massager: Zyllion ZMA-13-BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager

(Image credit: Amazon)

8. Zyllion ZMA-13-BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager

The best massager for your neck and body

Reasons to buy
+ Use it all over your body + Heat function + Deep kneading motion 

If you can't decide which part of your body you need one of our best massagers to focus on, then this shiatsu pillow massager is your ideal option. That's because you can position it to work on many different parts of your body. However, it does work particularly well on your shoulder and upper back. You can even attach it to a chair or driving seat to work on those areas as you get on with your day. It has three different massage strengths and four massage nodes to knead away tension, as well as a self-heating function to further relieve pain and soreness. 

Best massager: HoMedics Foot Spa

(Image credit: HoMedics)

9. HoMedics Bubblemate Foot Spa

The best massager for tired feet

Reasons to buy
+Massaging nodes +Bubble features+Luxurious experience

If you know that your feet need the most attention, then focus on a device specially built to give them a little TLC. HoMedics, the brand behind many of the best massagers on this list, has launched the Bubblemate Foot Spa and Massager. It’s like a mini-spa for your feet and gives them a relaxing, jacuzzi-like experience thanks to bubble strips on the bottom of the device. Unlike other foot spas, it isn’t just about the bubbles. Massaging nodes built-in to this foot spa are capable of giving you a foot massage to rival your local spa but without having to pay a fortune. We can’t think of a better way to relax before you fall to sleep than giving your feet the full spa experience from the comfort of your own bedroom.

Best massager: Foreo Luna 2 Facial Massager

(Image credit: Foreo)

10. Foreo Luna 2 Facial Massager

The best massager for your face

Reasons to buy
+Adds luxury to your skincare routine+Removes make-up+Anti-ageing benefits

Most of the products you can buy for an at-home massage focus on your back, neck and feet. But face massaging has many benefits, including making skincare work better, reducing signs of wrinkles and keeping skin looking firm. Foreo is a Swedish beauty brand that’s quickly becoming well-known for its skincare tech and the Foreo 2 is a cleansing device and face massager rolled into one. It promises to remove 99.5% of all make-up and build-up from the day and can leave skin looking more radiant in just a few days. If you care about your skin and already have a skincare routine you love, then add a bit of extra care and luxury to the routine with the Foreo Luna 2.

best massager: Zikko Dr Rock Bian-Stone Massager

(Image credit: Zikko)

11. Zikko Dr Rock Bian-Stone Massager

A brilliant coming together of technology and tradition

Reasons to buy
+Inspired by traditional Chinese medicine techniques +Has an infrared heated compress +Ergonomic design

Yes, this looks like an instrument of torture, but don’t let that put you off. Inspired by traditional Chinese medicine, this powerful massager uses a combination of heat and ultrasonic pulses to soothe joint pain, ease muscle soreness and apply pressure to the spots which need it most, in the ways they need it most. For example, it can also be used on the hands and feet as an acupressure tool, and on the legs to ease symptoms of sciatica. Five different massage modes and four interchangeable heads allow for total customisation, and it’s incredibly light, weighing just 980g. A built-in lithium battery provides an impressive 22 hours of use when fully charged.