The best massagers offer an easy way to relax tense muscles and soothe aches and pains, wherever you may be. And there's a huge variety of devices to choose from.
To soothe your tension at home, you could use everything from massage mats and cushions through to full massage chairs that'll knead pain and discomfort away. Or, if you need something more portable to take to the gym, smaller massagers range from handheld devices to balls and sticks.
Below, you'll find the best options available right now, from simple handheld devices through to mats and chairs and even high-end sports massagers, at a range of price points. All of them are great for soothing painful knots, boosting your circulation and relieving exercise-induced strains. Alternatively, check out our guides to the best massage chairs, the best massage guns, the best foot massagers and the best foam rollers.
The best massager 2022
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The best home massager for most uses
+ Suitable for a range of areas
+ Effective massage
+ Heat function
- There are more stylish looking massagers
Our pick for the best massager is the Beurer MG 149 Shiatzu Massage Cushion. A versatile all-rounder, this is compact enough, not to annoying to store, but will deliver a satisfying massage when you need it. There's an elasticated strap that you use to attach the pillow securely to chair back, and you can place it as high up or low down as you need – from your shoulders to your lumbar region.
The Shiatzu style massage heads are firm but effective, and you can switch between clockwise and anticlockwise rotation. It'll also gently heat up if you want it to. While there are cooler looking and more techy options in our ranking, so a no-fuss, effective home massager, this won't let you down. Head to our Beurer MG 149 Shiatzu Massage Cushion review (opens in new tab) to find out more.
Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The best powerful sports massager
+ Extremely powerful percussive massager
+ Brushless motor is quiet
+ Works with a dedicated app
- Overkill for many
If you need a sports massager, you wouldn't find many as powerful as the Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Massager (4th gen). One of the best massage guns (opens in new tab) around, it delivers strong bursts of pressure to blast away knots and tension while improving blood flow.
Ultra-fast pulses of around 40 a second penetrate muscles on a much deeper level than rival devices, and 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 relax fully without being bothered by the noise.
The best sports massager for non-athletes
+ Small and portable
+ 150-minute battery life
+ Good for neck massages
- Not pocket-sized
If you don't need an expensive, athlete-level massage gun, the Theragun Mini may be a better bet than the Theragun Pro. Smaller, lighter, gentler and much cheaper than its more serious sibling, it's still a good way to ease up a stiff neck or sore calves whenever you get a twinge.
It's not quite 'pocket sized', as its makers claim, but it's certainly very portable, and nice and light at just 1.43 lbs (650g). It's easy to operate, with just one button, and even the lowest setting will provide a strong enough massage experience for you to feel the difference. Read our Theragun Mini review (opens in new tab) to learn more.
Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The best cheap travel massager
+ Travel friendly
- Limited device
Whether you're in a 5-star hotel or a tent on a camping trip, sleeping in an unfamiliar bed can mess up your neck, back and shoulders. But sometimes the simplest solution can be the most effective.
This small and light (141g) massage ball will fit nicely into your travel bag, and it's super-cheap too. The 360 degree spin design can be used anywhere on the body, and rolling it over tight muscles boosts blood circulation and creates relief almost instantly.
The best versatile cordless massager
+ Four modes and five speed settings
+ Five interchangeable heads
+ Infrared light therapy
- Weird looking design
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 5 speed settings so you can find the right level of intensity for you. It also has 5 interchangeable head attachments, including a one-point head for massaging acupressure points and round ball head that simulates tapping for relieving deep tissue pain.
The Renpho Cordless Handheld Massager uses infrared light to help improve blood flow and its rechargeable battery will last for 140 minutes on a full charge, but to prevent you overdoing things, it'll automatically shut off after 20 minutes.
The best home massager for stretching you out
+ 4 programmes and variable intensity
+ Supported stretches you can relax into
+ Packs down neatly
- A bit noisy in use
- No heat function
The Homedics Stretch XS is a stylish, innovative and effective home massage solution. Rather than pummelling your muscles, this massage mat has air chambers that inflate and deflate to guide your back, shoulders and hips through a series of supported stretches that you can relax right into. There are four sequences to choose from, each of which can be bumped up in intensity depending on your personal needs.
It's surprisingly effective and soothing – it's not designed for medical use, but reviewers have commented that it's great for relieving back pain, and even our relatively flexible and able-bodied tester found it delivered a satisfying stretch (head to our Homedics Stretch XS review (opens in new tab) for more).
Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The best versatile massage mat with heat function
+ Four programmes
+ Three intensity levels
+ Optional heat and vibration
- Fairly bulky to store
As an alternative to the Homedics Stretch XS massage mat, the Beurer MG 280 yoga and stretch mat has a lot going for it. Like the Homedics option it's designed to imitate yoga and stretching exercises, and it has seven air chambers that inflate in order to give your shoulders, back and neck the attention they need.
There are four preset programmes with three intensity levels, so you can find just the right mix of stretching and massage for you, and if you want to turn things up a bit there's also a heat function and the option to have a gentle vibration massage. The Beurer MG 280's also foldable for putting away tidily, and has its own carrying handle for easy transportation.
The best full-back massager
+ Strong pressure
+ Different massage settings
+ Whole back massage
- Bulky when not in use
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, so you don’t have to be at home to use it and instead you can get relief from aching muscles throughout the day. Read our Homedics ShiatsuMAX 2.0 Massage Chair review (opens in new tab) to find out more.
Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The best portable option for targeted massage
+ Small and versatile
+ Two intensity levels
+ Easy to clean
- Smells a bit rubbery
- Requires 3xAAA batteries
For targeted relief of tense muscles wherever you are, the Beurer MG 10 massage ball is just the thing. It's a small (7.5cm diameter) vibrating ball that's designed to activate and regenerate tense muscle groups through trigger point massage, and it's versatile enough to be used anywhere, whether you're standing, lying down or sitting.
The MG 10 uses three AAA batteries and has two speed settings, and it can relieve fasciae agglutinations and hardness as well as loosening up muscles wherever you care to place it. Its soft-touch surface is easy to clean (however it smells a little rubbery for a while after you unpack it), and it's perfect for slinging in your sports bag.
The best foot massager
+ Massaging nodes
+ Bubble features
+ Luxurious experience
- Not suitable for larger feet
If you know that your feet need the most attention, then focus on a device specially built to give them a little TLC. The Beurer FM90 Foot Massager is a shiny black half-dome you stick your feet into, and it then blasts them with compressed air to massage them.
It's a little bit like one of the best foot spas (opens in new tab), then, only without having to get your feet wet or fill the machine with water. It offers a choice of programmes – shiatsu, shiatsu with air, air only – and optional heat. While it's a little noisy, and quite expensive, overall we think it's the best foot massager you can buy today. For more information, read our Beurer FM90 Foot Massager review (opens in new tab).
Our rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The best portable massage pillow
+ Works wirelessly
+ Soft gel massage nodes
+ Stylish design
- Difficult to get positioning / pressure right
If you want a massage pillow that doesn't require you to sit next to a power outlet, try this gel Shiatsu Portable pillow from Homedics. The massage nodes are made from squidgy gel rather than being solid, to give a more 'natural feeling' massage, and as usual, you can change the direction of rotation if you want to mix things up a bit, and there's a gentle heating function for added relaxation.
This cordless massager is also one of the best-looking we've come across, with simple and effective controls. However, in our Homedics Gel Shiatsu portable pillow review (opens in new tab), our tester found it hard to get (and keep) in place for a satisfying massage – other reviewers haven't had this issue, so it might be a personal thing.
Our rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The best face massager
+ 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 3 is the latest version of its cleansing device and face massager rolled into one.
This 100% waterproof device promises to effectively cleanse your skin, and you can hook it up to a companion app for a firming massage. 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 this. Head to our Foreo Luna 3 review (opens in new tab) for more info.
Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The best handheld Shiatsu massager
+ 3 interchangeable heads
+ Use it anywhere
+ Different massage modes
- Some find it heavy
If you’re looking for an affordable massage option and don’t mind putting a bit of effort in, try the Homedics Handheld Shiatsu 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.
The best massager for your neck and body
+ Use it all over your body
+ Heat function
+ Deep kneading motion
- Looks ugly
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. This one 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.
The best cheap option for relieving tension on the go
+ Portable and compact
+ 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.
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.