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Which neck massage pillow is best?

If you’re looking for an at-home method of addressing the knots in your neck and back, a neck massage pillow may be an excellent choice. Their small, versatile design lets you easily maneuver them on your body and control the massage pressure with your weight.

The best neck massage pillows include roll rotation control, heat and straps for better handling. A top pick is the Etekcity Cordless Neck Massage Pillow

What to know before you buy a neck massage pillow


The best neck massage pillows boast two sets of up to four nodes, one set for each shoulder, that rotate clockwise and counterclockwise under a fabric lining. This rotation should automatically shift directions to simulate a massage from a therapist. However, you should also be able to control the direction with the push of a button.

The pillow’s settings control the speed of the rotating nodes, but the pressure is determined by how hard you rest your weight on it when lying down or sitting, or how hard you pull the straps toward your body while standing.


Neck massage pillows are available in three main designs.

  • Traditional pillows are intended to be used only while lying down.
  • Pillows with elastic on the back can be used while sitting as well as lying down. 
  • Pillows with handles or straps let you  control their position and pressure whether you’re standing, sitting or lying down.

Plug-in vs. cordless

Neck massage pillows either include a rechargeable battery or a cord that you must plug into the wall. The downside to the plug-in design is that it prevents you from moving away from the power source while using it. Because of that, rechargeable pillows are often best. Keep in mind, though, that you will usually need to recharge it after 80 to 180 minutes of use. 

What to look for in a quality neck massage pillow

Massage options   

Neck massage pillows work through nodes that rotate in a circular motion. While you may see some with two nodes on each side, you’ll get a better massage with a pillow that has two sets of four nodes.

You control the nodes’ pressure with your body weight, but the machine determines the speed, so buying one with multiple speed settings is ideal. 


Well-made neck massage pillows include a heated massage option, and some let you select either high or low heat. This works with the massaging action to further reduce tension and ease sore muscles. 


While traditional designs function well, it’s best to get a neck massage pillow with handles so you have the option to move around without disrupting your massage. 

How much you can expect to spend on a neck massage pillow

You can find the best neck massage pillows between $30-$70. 

Neck massage pillow FAQ

Is it possible to press too firmly on your neck massage pillow?

A. While it might feel like you’re getting rid of knots by bearing down on your neck massage pillow, this could do more harm than good. In addition to putting undue stress on your muscles, ligaments and bones, you could also harm your skin. Apply firm pressure, but ease up when it gets uncomfortable. 

Can you use your neck massage pillow on your legs and calves?

A. Many neck massage pillows can be used on other areas of your body such as your lower back, arms, thighs and feet. Consult the product description to ensure that it can be used where you need it.   

What’s the best neck massage pillow to buy?

Top neck massage pillow

Etekcity Cordless Neck Back Massager

Etekcity Cordless Neck Back Massager

What you need to know: This is the best neck massage pillow if you want a cordless experience and straps so that you can get a great massage and remain mobile. 

What you’ll love: It lasts three hours on a charge, and it massages with eight rotating nodes that change directions every 60 seconds. Pick among three speed settings and two heat settings. It works on your neck, back, arms or legs. 

What you should consider: You shouldn’t use it while driving, even though the website shows a customer using it while driving.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top neck massage pillow for the money

Nekteck Store Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager

Nekteck Store Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager

What you need to know: This is an affordable plug-in neck massage pillow with three settings that let you control the speed of your massage. 

What you’ll love: It comes with eight rotating nodes for deep tissue or shiatsu massage, with optional heat. The nodes automatically switch between clockwise and counterclockwise every 60 seconds. You control the pressure with its built-in straps, and it automatically shuts off after 15 minutes. 

What you should consider: It only works while it is plugged in. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Snailax Cordless Neck Back Massager

Snailax Cordless Neck Back Massager

What you need to know: This gives you a wireless massage for up to 80 minutes on a single charge and comes with straps for more control. 

What you’ll love: It has eight optionally heated nodes to knead your knots away with a shiatsu massage. It gives you two speed settings and automatically shuts off after 15 minutes. You can use it on your neck, back, thighs, legs and feet.

What you should consider: You can get a plug-in neck massage pillow with similar functionality for less money.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Ella Scott writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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