We updated this article in July 2022 to add more information about each featured product, based on extensive research done by our team.
Neck pain is no joke—whether you slept on your neck wrong or are sore from bad form during yesterday’s sit-ups, it can wreak havoc on your body and peace of mind. Thankfully, the best neck massagers, when used safely, offer some over-the-counter relief for superficial ailments.
Before we delve into the best neck massagers to buy, it’s important to note that any trauma done to the neck can become serious, fast—and sometimes massage guns in particular can make matters worse. “Someone really needs to be sure to be careful when using a massage gun over a bony prominence or someplace that is not well cushioned with fat or muscle,” warns Theresa Marko, P.T., D.P.T., M.S., O.C.S., board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist in physical therapy and owner of Marko Physical Therapy, PLLC. “Because at these areas things like nerves are more superficial and you might bang on a nerve too hard or too long and damage it. Also, you need to be careful around your upper neck and base of your skull as you do not want to give yourself any kind of brain trauma due to being banged on or vibrated at your brain.”
While neck massagers might offer some interim relief, consulting a doctor or physical therapist before use can only help. After all, a product can’t assess the severity of an injury. Karen Litzy, D.P.T. and owner of Kaen Litzy Physical Therapy in NYC, says “before buying a neck massager you will want to consult with your physical therapist or physician to rule out any contraindications…on who shouldn’t use neck massagers.”
Marko also warns against using a neck massager on a high setting. “Honestly, I don’t think that you need something extremely intense,” she says. “I usually use my gun on the lowest setting. It is possible to hurt yourself with a massage gun if you use it on high in an area that is not well cushioned on the body or over a nerve. So the fact that some of the machines talk about the extra super-duper speed and intensity, I don’t think that’s very necessary.”
When used correctly, Marko says neck massagers are “great for tight muscles around the neck. In general, I advise people to use it lower on their neck where their neck meets their shoulders.”
Ahead, explore some of the best neck massagers on the market, according to Marko and reviewers.
How we chose the best neck massagers
We consulted Marko and Litzy, conducted our own research, and sifted through hundreds of online reviews to find the best folding treadmills available.