This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which massaging heating pads are best?

Muscle stiffness is the result of stress, postural imbalances, overuse or injuries, and a massaging heating pad is a great tool for relaxing tight muscles.The best massaging heating pads target a variety of muscle groups and are easy to use. 

The top choice for a massaging heating pad that penetrates deep into muscle tissues is the Calming Heat Jade Stone Massaging Weighted Heating Pad by Sharper Image. Here are the key considerations when shopping for a massaging heating pad. 

What to know before you buy a massaging heating pad

Heat therapy 

The goal of heat therapy is improving circulation by increasing blood flow to a particular area of the body. Improving circulation with heat can relax sore muscles and improve flexibility. Heat therapy also has the ability to heal damaged muscle tissue. In a spa setting, hot stone massage is a common form of heat therapy. 

Safety considerations

There are a couple of safety considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a massaging heating pad. It is dangerous to apply heat directly to the skin, because direct heat at high temperatures can result in burns. To avoid burns, look for a heating pad that offers a timer or auto shut-off. It is also a good idea to use a heating pad with a fabric wrap to avoid direct contact with the skin. If a massaging heating pad does not come with a fabric covering, simply wrap it in a towel while using. When using a massaging heating pad for the first time, start on the lowest heat level then slowly increase the intensity to avoid accidentally burning the skin. 

Cleaning massaging heating pads 

To clean a massaging heating pad, ensure the appliance is turned off. Hand wash or wash in cold water on the gentle cycle, then tumble dry on medium heat. Do not plug in the massage heating pad until it is completely dry. Massaging heating pads can also be laid flat to dry or hung on a laundry line. If a massaging heating pad is not machine-washable, it should be sprayed periodically with disinfectant. 

What to look for in a quality massaging heating pad

Weighted massaging heating pads 

Weighted massaging heating pads offer deeper pressure, which penetrates further into achy muscles and joints. This additional pressure is also said to help calm the nervous system and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin. 

Shiatsu massagers 

A shiatsu massager mimics the finger pressure a therapist would apply during a shiatsu massage. This is a popular feature in massage chairs, cushions, pillows and other hand-held massage devices. While a shiatsu massager will not give the same targeted results as a professional massage performed by a therapist, it is a cost-effective and convenient solution for general deep-tissue work.

Vibrating massaging heating pads 

Vibration is linked to a number of health advantages, making it a popular addition to massaging heating pads. Low-level vibrations are known to stimulate a relaxation response in the body, while higher-level vibrations have the ability to increase circulation, stimulate nerves and relieve muscular tension. 

How much you can expect to spend on a massaging heating pad

A massaging heating pad will cost between $15-$100 on average. 

Massaging heating pad FAQ

Can massaging heating pads be used on a flight? 

A. A great way to stay comfortable on a long flight is bringing along a massaging heating pad. Include a massaging heating pad in your carry-on and arrive at your destination relaxed. Note that not all seats will have an electrical outlet, and gel heating pads are not TSA-approved carry-on items. 

Are massaging heating pads good for menstrual cramps?

A. One of the best ways to relieve menstrual cramps naturally is lying down with a massaging heating pad. Applying heat to relieve menstrual cramps can be just as effective as taking a painkiller. 

What’s the best massaging heating pad to buy?

Top massaging heating pad

Calming Heat Jade Stone Massaging Weighted Heating Pad by Sharper Image

Calming Heat Jade Stone Massaging Weighted Heating Pad by Sharper Image

What you need to know: This weighted massaging heating pad features jade stones that are woven into the fabric and a 9-foot power cord. 

What you’ll love: There are three levels of heat and vibration intensity, with a built-in two-hour auto shut-off for safety. 

What you should consider: Some find the motors loud and are irritated by the noise. 

Where to buy: Amazon 

Top massaging heating pad for the money

Rolli-Fit Memory Foam Massage Mat

Rolli-Fit Memory Foam Massage Mat

What you need to know: A large memory foam mat with eight vibrating massage motors and four shiatsu neck massagers for relaxation of the full back and neck. 

What you’ll love: The auto shut-off makes falling asleep on the mat safe. 

What you should consider: This is not a deep-tissue shiatsu massager.  

Where to buy: Amazon 

Worth checking out

Snailax Heating Pads for Neck and Shoulders

Snailax Heating Pads for Neck and Shoulders

What you need to know: Includes five massage modes, heat and vibration for the neck, shoulders and back.

What you’ll love: Heats up quickly and includes an auto shut-off function. 

What you should consider: The vest can feel a bit too heavy while being worn on shoulders.  

Where to buy: Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Elizabeth Foley​​​​​​​ writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.