Investing in one of the best massagers is a great way to deal with tense muscles and soothe aches and pains, wherever you may be. For tension relief at home you're almost spoiled for choice, with everything from massage mats and cushions through to full massage chairs that'll knead pain and discomfort away. However if you need something more portable that you can take to the gym, you'll also find plenty of smaller massagers, from handheld devices to balls and sticks for relieving tension on the go.
As everyone's needs from the best massagers are going to be slightly different, we've rounded up a wide selection of 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.
These devices are perfect for soothing painful knots, boosting your circulation and relieving exercise-induced strains. (We also have separate guides to the best massage chairs, the best massage guns, the best foot massagers and the best foam rollers, if you're wanting those things specifically.)
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The best massager 2022 ranking
Our pick for the best massager right now 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 to find out more.
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.
If you're looking for the best sports massager, the Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Massager (4th gen) is it. This home massage gun delivers strong bursts of pressure to blast away knots and tension while improving blood flow. 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. You'll find alternatives in our roundup of the best massage guns.
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 for more). This is also one of the most stylish massage mat options we've seen, and it rolls up into a neat and portable package when not in use.
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.
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. Head to our Homedics ShiatsuMAX 2.0 Massage Chair review to find out more.
For targeted relief of tense muscles wherever you are, the Beurer MG 10 massage ball is just the thing to have with you. 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.
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 a few options designed to soothe tired toes – including this Homedics Luxury Foot Spa (which comes with a nail kit). 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. If you have a bit more cash to splash, there's also a heated version. you'll find more options in our best foot spa guide.
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, 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.
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 decide 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 the Foreo Luna 3.
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.
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.
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.