Let’s face it: we all need a good massage once in a while, but who can afford a weekly masseuse? Okay, maybe some of you can, but there are more affordable and convenient options out there.
Massage chair pads are great for when you work all day and need to release that pain and tension built up from a long day. They’re portable and relatively lightweight and can be used almost anywhere you are.
With so many out there, though, how do you know what to choose? We’re going to take a look at some of the best massage chair pads for your money. These have all been evaluated based on the following criteria: massage types, portability, features, and massage intensity.
If you have a key feature in mind, you can click below to jump ahead to that section. Otherwise, let’s dive into the deep [tissue] end. That was a reach, I know.
- What to Consider When Buying a Massage Chair Pad
- The Best Chair Massagers for Your Money
- #1.) HoMedics Serenity Shiatsu Massage Cushion With Heat (Best Overall)
- #2.) Zyllion ZMA-33-BK Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager (Tallest Back)
- #3.) HoMedics Portable Shiatsu Back Massager (Most Massage Nodes)
- #4.) Comfier 2D/3D Shiatsu Heated Massage Chair Pad (Best Value for the Money)
- #5.) Snailax Gel Shiatsu Heated Massage Chair Pad (Most Comfortable)
- #6.) Comfier Shiatsu Heated Massage Chair Pad (Best Budget)
- #7.) Zyllion ZMA-13-BK Shiatsu Massage Pillow with Heat (Most Portable)
- The Best Vibration Massage Chair Pads
- Types of Massage Chair Pads
- Important Tips When Using a Massage Chair Pad
- Final Results: What Is the Best Chair Massager?
What to Consider When Buying a Massage Chair Pad
Type of Massage
Maybe you want a full-body intense Shiatsu massage, or maybe you just need a light vibration to work sore muscles. It’s important to know before buying one what you want to get out of it. Do you need heat, and do you need it independently of a massage?
Some offer 3D rollers, and some offer additional air compression. Some have vibration seats, while others offer only back massage and heat. You don’t need to pay more for features you think you’ll never use.
Intensity of Massage
Do you want a soft massage or a really deep tissue kneading massage? There is usually an option on the unit remote to control how intensely the massage is delivered. Removable back padding is sometimes included to help ease the massage, and this is a nice feature if you want to take it off and experience a deeper massage.
You can usually control the speed of the massage, too, specifically if it’s a vibration massage. What you want to get out of a massage chair pad can vary greatly from someone else, so it’s important to take these things into consideration when considering them.
Number of Massage Nodes
If you like a lot of rollers working your back at the same time, you may want a massage chair pad with a lot of massage nodes. Some people won’t want that feeling all over their back, though, and would prefer just a few. You can get chair massagers with four rollers, and you can find them with twelve or more rollers.
The location matters, too. If you need to target your lower back, make sure there are enough rollers that reach the lower back. If you have twelve rollers, but eight of them are targeted to the upper back, and you want to reach the lower back, the twelve won’t mean much to you.
Pay attention to how the massage nodes move. Do they distribute all over the back, or only move up and down? Can you change the width and angle of them to hit the right spots? These are important questions if you do want to target certain areas.
Portability is important, depending on where you’ll be using this massage chair pad. If you’re using it for your home office, it may not matter how bulky or heavy the item is. But if you need to transport it from office to home or room to room, weight can matter.
Massage chair pads can be incredibly lightweight, coming in under five pounds, but they can also weigh over twenty pounds. That may not seem like much when you’re using it at home, but this is a lot of extra weight to be moving around. It’s much easier to carry around if it folds up nicely and compactly.
The Best Chair Massagers for Your Money
We evaluated these picks based on the factors above, as well as on price.
#1.) HoMedics Serenity Shiatsu Massage Cushion With Heat (Best Overall)
Founded in 1987, HoMedics is one of the leading innovators in massage technology. They’re a trusted brand, recognized in over 60 countries. Careful thought goes into each of their products, whether or not they all work for you.
They also provide a 2-year limited warranty on their massage chair pads.
4 Massage Styles
- Deep Kneading Shiatsu: This is good for a deep, intense massage, concentrating on pressure points.
- Gentle Rolling: The roller balls roll up and down to help relieve aches and pains, not as intense as the deep kneading.
- Invigorating Percussion: The percussion massage sends deep pulses into your soft tissues, which heavily increases blood flow and relieves pain and soreness. This feature is especially nice, since it’s not usually found in massage chair pads, but rather in the more expensive massage chairs.
- Shiatsu and Percussion Combination: This style combines the deep tissue massage with the Shiatsu style that targets pressure points, giving you the ultimate intense massage.
The neck and shoulder massage balls adjust to your height so you can hit the right spots. This is more ideal for taller people since the neck massage sits up high. If you’re too short to reach, you can add a pillow or cushioning to the seat to prop you up higher.
The seat cushion massage reverses direction, so the massage can either move around or target a specific area. You can’t adjust the width of the back massage, only the height.
A spot massage feature allows you to pinpoint the exact problem area, so the massage focuses there. This is great if you have a particularly sore spot and want to spend extra time working on it.
3 Massage Zones
- Neck and Shoulder: Four massage nodes target aches in the neck and shoulder area.
- Upper and Lower Back: Four massage nodes in the back roll up and down to try to alleviate stubborn back pain.
- Vibrating Seat: Because of the intensity of the roller balls, putting all of your weight on a Shiatsu massage would be quite uncomfortable. However, this massage chair pad features a vibration massage so your thighs and butt won’t be left out.
Heated Back and Seat
There is an optional heat function, so you can help relieve pain faster by using a massage combined with heat to help sore muscles. The heat warms up every part of the chair – from the head to the back and all the way to the seat – as the massage nodes roll along. This is one of the best chair massagers with heat.
This massage chair pad comes with a retractable cord, so you can easily store it away and keep it neat. The pad weighs about 28 pounds, so it’s not the lightest on the market, but it does store away quite nicely.
The seat back also has a Velcro material, which you can pull away if you want a warmer, more intense massage experience. The material adds extra padding, though, if you don’t want too much of a massage. If that’s not enough for you, consider adding a blanket for even more protection from the roller balls.
The chair pad comes with integrated straps, which are designed to secure around your chair for a nice, tight fit. They should adjust to any seat, whether it’s an office chair or a standard chair, but it’s best used on a hard-backed chair. If you are using it on an office chair, make sure you are locked in the upright position, or else the rollers will be more intense and potentially painful when used while reclining.
Remote and Smart Phone App
Control your massages with the easy-to-use controller, which allows you to choose which massage type you want, the intensity of the massage, heating, or pinpointing which zone you want to target.
There is also a smartphone app you can download so you can control the chair pad directly from your phone. I don’t know why you would need to do this since there is an attached remote, but it’s a nice option since many of us are already have our phones so easily accessible.
Good For Sciatica Pain
Because there are so many options for massage types and intensities, this is one of the best massage cushions for sciatica pain. It can target those painful areas and, when combined with the warm heat from the back and seat, help relieve some of that awful pain.
Expensive: This chair pad is the most expensive option on the list, although it’s the only one that comes with a percussion massage.
Noisy: It can be noisy in massage mode, so if you’re using it in a room with someone else, it may be annoying.
Not for Shorter People: Because of where the neck and shoulder massage hits, this isn’t ideal for shorter people. Although, many have used it and just added pillows or cushions to raise them up higher.
#2.) Zyllion ZMA-33-BK Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager (Tallest Back)
8 Massage Nodes
There are four neck massage nodes that rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise, and they also go up and down to provide a full neck massage. 4 Shiatsu massages nodes also travel up and down the back to hit the upper and lower back regions.
Choose from a deep-kneading massage, which rotates the nodes around as it travels up and down, or a rolling massage, which simply travels up and down constantly.
With adjustable positions, you can focus on specific areas or alter the height and width of the rollers.
3 Massage Modes
- Shiatsu Neck: You can focus on just the neck and shoulder areas with a deep-kneading massage, that rotate in and out as they travel up and down the neck pillow.
- Shiatsu Back: You can set the mode to deep-kneading Shiatsu, which rotates the massage balls in and out as it travels the length of the back, for a deeper tissue massage.
- Heated Massage: You can choose to add heat or change the intensity of the massages.
This Zyllion massager offers optional heating on the roller balls. The heat automatically shuts off after 15 minutes to prevent overheating. You can only use the heat in massage mode, not independently from the massage, since the source of the heat is from the rollers.
Zyllion offers lifetime support for their customers, along with a one-year warranty, which can be extendable up to two years. If anything happens within the first year of your purchase, they will send a replacement at no cost to you.
You also have a 90-day return window if you don’t like the product for any reason, and that includes free shipping.
Seat Vibration and Spot Mode
This chair massage also has a seat vibration massage, which you can adjust to three levels of intensity (low, medium, or high). There is no heat option in the seat, however.
The spot mode feature allows you to target a particular area on your back. The nodes will automatically change rotation after 5 seconds to work the area. This is really great if you just need extra time on one tight spot on your back, which is usually the case for people.
Weight and Height
There is no weight limit for this Zyllion massager, but if you recline with it, you may find the nodes dig in too much to your back. It’s ideal for people between the heights of 5’2 and 6 feet.
The heated massage chair pad measures 13 inches wide at the top and 17 inches wide at the back and seat with a 15 inch seat depth. The back sits fairly high at 33 inches, and the nodes protrude out 3 inches. The unit weighs about 10 pounds, which isn’t too heavy for a Shiatsu massage pad.
It’s made of a breathable mesh covering for the massage nodes and wrapped in a durable, sleek PU leather. The adjustable straps attach easily to any chair, fitting securely wherever you need to use it.
The remote controls the massage modes, types, and heat, and it can be stored away in an attached pocket when not in use.
Noisy: The massagers are a little loud, so this can be annoying if others are in the room with you. The seat has a vibration massage but does not offer any heat if that’s something that’s important to you.
No Back Cover: Because there is no back cover to protect you from the rollers, this chair massage could be uncomfortable or too intense for some without adding a blanket for padding.
Not for the Short: If you’re too short, you may have trouble reaching the neck massage without a pillow.
#3.) HoMedics Portable Shiatsu Back Massager (Most Massage Nodes)
As noted above, the HoMedics brand is recognized throughout the world, so you know you’re getting quality and a two-year warranty.
12 Adjustable Massage Nodes
A step up from the HoMedics Quad Shiatsu massage cushion with heat, this portable massager has 12 roller balls. The top 6 nodes knead up and down in a circular motion, focusing on your upper back and shoulders. The 2 rollers in the middle focus on your mid back. There are also 4 nodes at the bottom to work on the lower back.
The 12 nodes also offer a 3D massage, so in addition to moving up, down, and side to side, they will move in and out to provide a deeper massage and mimic human finger pressure.
3 Massage Zones
- Full Back: This works your entire back, and you can choose your intensity level or massage movements.
- Upper Back: This will work your upper back and shoulder area, whether you want it to move together as one unit or have the rollers balls move separately from each other.
- Lower Back: This will work your lumbar region, where you can use the 3D roller balls to provide an extra deep tissue massage by working in and out.
There is an optional heat mode, which only works in massage mode, since the heat comes from the Shiatsu roller balls. Because there are 12 massage nodes, it does offer good heat throughout the back and features an auto shutoff if the unit becomes overheated.
This neutral beige massager fits in well with home décor, a nice break from the more common black massagers. It is made of a breathable fabric, which is nice when the heat mode is not on.
This comes with a built-in carrying handle for easy transportation. It’s only 8 pounds, so it can be carried wherever you go or simply put away when not in use.
The massage pad is about 19 inches high by 16 inches wide and 6 inches deep, which makes it convenient to stow away.
Small: Since this is portable, there is no seat to offer a vibration massage or extra heat. You can work the neck by adjusting the massager, but you won’t be able to get your neck and lower back at once.
No Back Padding: The massage pad offers no removable back padding, so you will experience a much deeper, more intense massage. If that’s too much for you, you may need to use a blanket for additional padding.
Hard to Clean: It’s not as easy to clean since there are no detachable covers. If you do need to clean it, make sure it’s turned off and use only a damp cloth or sponge to spot clean it, so you don’t damage the mechanical rollers.
#4.) Comfier 2D/3D Shiatsu Heated Massage Chair Pad (Best Value for the Money)
Eight Adjustable Massage Nodes
This massage chair pad has eight total massage nodes. There are four massage nodes in the upper back and neck area, as well as four in the lower back area.
The rollers move up and down and rotate in and out to hit the different areas of your back. The angle of the rollers adjusts with rotation, so you can try to target your problem areas more effectively.
Three Massage Zones
- Upper Back: Specifically targets your upper back, neck, and shoulder areas with four massage nodes that move up, down, from side to side, and in or out.
- Lower Back: Allows four massage nodes to move in 3D to target your lower back and lumbar region.
- Full Back: Targets your entire back, rather than just focusing on the upper or lower back.
The seat also has a vibration massage setting, which can be used on three different intensity levels to control how much of a massage you would like.
2D/3D Finger Pressure Massage
Most massage chair pads offer a 2D massage, which means the rollers can move both up and down, as well as from side to side. This massage pad does offer that, but you can also use it in 3D mode, as well.
A 3D massage means the roller balls also protrude out, which is meant to mimic a human finger pressure massage. This gives you an even deeper massage, as if someone were pushing down on your back.
The Comfier massage chair pad also offers a spot massage, so you can target problem areas and concentrate the massage nodes on this problem area. You may need to slightly adjust your position if the problem area falls just beyond the reach of the massage nodes, however.
The massage function is rather quiet, although the air compression does make a bit more noise. It isn’t too bad, but it’s a noticeably different noise than the massagers.
Adjustable Air Compression
There are two airbags on the sides of the seat back for your waist and lower back, as well as two on the sides of the seat to target your hips.
The air compression bags, when activated, gently squeeze and compress your hips and lower back to help provide additional relief and mimic a more complete full-body massage.
There are three adjustable intensity settings for the air, so you can find the “squeeze” that’s right for you. One customer even referred to this feature as receiving a nice hug. And who couldn’t use one of those these days?
Removable Back and Neck Covers
The neck cover can be removed if you want a more intense massage, and it’s easily washable if you just need to remove it to clean it.
The back also has a detachable flap so you can remove it to feel a deeper massage and more intense heat, or you can keep it on to give your back some padding between you and the Shiatsu balls.
The Shiatsu roller balls are heated, so you can choose to use this massage cushion with heat or without it. Since the heat is on the rollers, you can’t use the heat function without the massage turned on. The seat is not able to be heated, however.
Like the other Comfier massage chair pad, this also comes with a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied for any reason, along with a 90-day money back guarantee for quality-related issues. Overall, it has a generous two-year warranty on quality issues.
This massage chair pad does can support up to 250 pounds, but it could support more weight if you don’t apply your full body weight on the back. Just keep this in mind if you plan to use it over 250 pounds, as it could void the warranty.
Although it folds down for easy storage, it can be a little bulky. It also weighs 24 pounds, so it’s not the lightest thing to pull in and out every day.
Expensive: This chair massager with heat comes in just under $200, making it one of the more expensive options, although it does offer a few more features.
Not for Short: If you’re under 5’5, this might not be good for you because of the neck massage features. The backrest from the bottom of the neck massage to the seat is 20 inches and about 30 inches to the top of the unit. Because of this, the top massagers would sit too high to be used, so you may need a pillow to prop yourself up if you do choose to use this.
Tight Seat: With the seat only 16.5 inches wide, and the air compression bags on the side, this might be a tight squeeze if you’re a little wider or like more room in your seat. Although there is a seat vibration, the seat itself does not offer heat, since the heat is only on the roller balls.
No “Home” Feature for Rollers: Since there is a 15-minute auto shutoff, the roller balls will automatically stop wherever they are. This can be annoying, depending on where they stop. If you want to use just the air compression or just the neck massage, you may have to turn on the spot massage function and find a spot the massage balls will sit that won’t be uncomfortable for you.
#5.) Snailax Gel Shiatsu Heated Massage Chair Pad (Most Comfortable)
Soft Gel Back Massage Nodes
The thing that sets this massage chair pad apart from the others is the soft gel padding on top of the four plastic rollers in the back. The gel helps to create the feeling of a human palm giving you a massage. It still works the back, but it’s gentler and doesn’t cause pain from the hard plastic digging into your back. The only drawback is that they didn’t incorporate this into the neck massage.
Eight Massage Nodes
In addition to the four gel-covered massage nodes in the back, there are four standard massage nodes in the neck area for a deep tissue massage. The massage nodes rotate in two directions, clockwise and counterclockwise.
The massage feature on this chair massage pad is very quiet, so it won’t bother others if they’re in the room with you.
Back Heating Pad
Not only are the Shiatsu balls heated, but there is a heating pad that runs the length of the back if you want heat to work alongside your massage. This allows you to feel full heat along your back while the massage runs, not just in the areas where the rollers happen to be, making this one of the best chair massagers with heat.
The heat only works when the massage function is turned on and can’t be used as just a heating pad. There is also no heated seat option.
Adjustable Height and Width
The height can be adjusted up or down on the massage nodes, to try to accommodate various heights. The rollers angle in and out to find the right fit for you.
If you’re between 5 and 6 feet, this might fit you well. However, if you’re shorter, the neck massage will come to your head, and you may need a pillow to prop you up. If you’re taller, you may not be able to really experience the neck massage benefits without slouching down.
Three Massage Zones
- Upper Back: You can choose to target the massage rollers on just your upper back, to work out any problem areas there.
- Lower Back: The lower back section will target the rollers toward your lumbar region to work out lower back kinks.
- Full Back: The full back will send the rollers traveling the length of the back, to target both upper and lower back.
You can’t continuously use the massage for longer than 15 minutes, to prevent injury. You can choose from 5, 10, or 15 minute times on the remote.
Spot Massage and Seat Vibration
The spot massage feature allows you to concentrate the gel-covered massage nodes on specific problem areas. This is great when you have a tight spot that just won’t loosen up.
The seat features a vibration massage with two intensity levels, so you can provide a bit of extra relief to your hips and thighs with the touch of a button. The seat does not have a heating option, however.
There is an excellent warranty on this product, with a 30-day money back guarantee for any reason. For quality issues, there is 90-day money back guarantee, as well as a two-year general warranty for quality issues.
Because of the massage nodes, this massage chair pad isn’t the most comfortable to sit on when it’s not in use. However, it can fold up and store away quite easily, weighing around 15 pounds, one of the lighter options.
It also comes with a remote that can be stored away in a pouch on the side when not in use.
Made for Average: Although the massage nodes can be adjusted up and down, the ideal fit is for someone between 5 and 6 feet. If you’re on the shorter side, you may need pillows to prop you up to the neck massage level. If you’re taller than the 26” from the seat to the neck massage, that feature won’t be very useful to you.
Low Rollers: The lower back offers a decent massage, but many people complain that the rollers just don’t go high enough to hit the shoulder area.
No Heated Seat: There is no heated seat if that’s something you prefer, though it does have a vibration massage.
#6.) Comfier Shiatsu Heated Massage Chair Pad (Best Budget)
This is one of the more affordable massage chair pads reviewed here, coming in well below the $100 mark.
4 Adjustable Massage Modes
- Upper Back Shiatsu: You can set the massage rollers to focus specifically on the upper back, relieving pressure and tension in your upper back, shoulders, and even neck if you aren’t too tall.
- Lower Back Shiatsu: If your lower back is a problem area, set the massage to cover just this area to help relieve pain in the lumbar region.
- Full Back Shiatsu: If you want the massagers to hit upper and lower back, select the full back massage, and the massage nodes will travel vertically along the length of the backrest.
- Seat Vibration Massage: The seat also features a vibration massage if you want a little extra work on your hips and thighs. Since it only vibrates, it’s a mild massage, although you can adjust the intensity of it with three adjustable intensity levels. There is no heating option in the seat.
4 Rotating Massage Nodes
This back massage chair pad has four rotating nodes that can move up and down along the length of the back. Unlike other massage pads that have separate nodes for the upper and lower back, this one just has four to cover the entire back.
It comes in two intensity levels, so you can choose to experience a light massage or a more intense massage. The massage will shut off automatically after 15 minutes, to avoid overuse or overheating.
The massage function is pretty quiet, which is nice if you’re using it in a room with other people.
Although this is priced lower than other massage chair pads, it does come with a spot massage feature, allowing you to target the exact area you want worked on. Although the massage nodes don’t adjust in width, you can target the area along your upper and lower back you want to focus on. You may need to adjust your position slightly if the massage balls don’t reach wide enough for you.
The four Shiatsu balls are heated, so you can choose to experience the benefits of heat applied to your chair massage. This helps soothe sore muscles and aids in recovery. You can’t use the heat mode without turning on the massage, but you can choose to use the massage without heat.
Detachable Intensity Control Flap
If the massage nodes are too intense for your back, you can use the detachable intensity control flap, which uses Velcro to attach to the back of the chair to soften the massage. It also lessens the heat when you have the heated massage on. If you like a more intense, deep massage, then you can simply remove the Velcro backing.
This massage chair pad comes with a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied for any reason. There is also a 90-day money back guarantee for quality-related issues in addition to the two-year warranty on quality issues. This is very reassuring since you don’t always know how these will work for you until you try them.
This pad is recommended to support up to 250 pounds, although many customers weighing more have used it without a problem.
The integrated straps attached to this chair massager are designed to fit over almost any chair. So whether you use it in your office or elsewhere around the house, it will fit securely and snugly to your chair.
There is also a non-slip rubber bottom, so you can enjoy a chair massage without the pad sliding around in whatever chair you use it on.
Design and Storage
Most massage chair pads come in a standard black, but this one comes in gray, too, so you can match it better to your style. Although, you will only be using it for short periods of time, anyway.
The chair pad folds down so it can be stored away easily when not in use. It only weighs eight pounds, so it’s the lightest of the Shiatsu pads. It also comes with a convenient remote control.
No Massage Width: Unfortunately, you can’t control the width of the massage nodes. They only go up and down, so if you the balls aren’t hitting the right spot, you may need to adjust your body just to find the right massage point.
Too Tall: The back is about two feet high, making it a little too tall for people under 5’5 or so. You can use the spot function to find the right spot, but using the full back massage may just be too high for you.
No Heated Seat: Although the this is a heated massage chair pad, there is no option to warm the seat. You can only use a soft vibration massage on the seat.
#7.) Zyllion ZMA-13-BK Shiatsu Massage Pillow with Heat (Most Portable)
If you want something even cheaper and more portable and versatile, a massage pillow is the way to go. Take a look at why the Zyllion ZMA-13 is one of the best massage pillows for your money.
4 Massage Nodes
This Zyllion Shiatsu massage pillow features 4 deep-kneading shiatsu massage nodes, which change directions every minute. It works in 20-minute sessions and automatically shuts off after that. Because it offers a deep massage, be careful not to put too much pressure on it.
The roller balls are heated, so you can choose to use the massage cushion with heat or without heat. Since the heat only comes from the massage nodes, it doesn’t provide a lot of heat, like a heating pad would. But it does make a nice touch to combine warmth with the massage, just to help relieve pain from tight muscles a little quicker.
As opposed to a massage chair pad, this Zyllion massager is very versatile, making it ideal for people of all heights and weights. Where some massage chair pads don’t always hit the right spots if you’re too short or too tall, this can be adjusted to fit anywhere you need it.
This Zyllion shiatsu back and neck massager can also work your shoulders, your arms, your legs, and even your feet. It comes with straps to secure it into place if you find a spot you want it to work on. If you need it to hit your back, strap it a little lower on your chair.
Note: It is a deep massage, so make sure you don’t apply your full weight to it.
Portable and Lightweight
The small, sleek design of this massage pillow makes it incredibly easy to transport. Weighing only 3.5 pounds, anyone can move it around with ease. It’s 13 inches long by 9.5 inches high and 3.5 inches thick, so it should fit nicely wherever you want to store it.
It also comes with a car adapter, so you can use it in the car. It is NOT recommended to use while driving, but if you’re a passenger, you can take it for a spin!
If you suffer from sciatica pain, you know sitting for long periods of time can be quite uncomfortable. Because you can move this massager wherever you most need it to hit, this is an excellent option to alleviate some of that pain.
If you need it to target the butt and glute area, make sure you don’t apply full pressure on it. Just find the intensity that helps, and work it over the area you most need it to hit.
Warranty and Material
This Zyllion shiatsu pillow massager comes with a one year warranty, in addition to a 90 day money back guarantee. If you don’t like the product or have a problem with it, you have 90 days to return it for a full refund.
The unit is made of 100% vegan leather, meaning it’s cruelty-free, soft, durable, and easy to clean. The front where the rollers are is made of breathable mesh fabric.
No Batteries: This unit does not run on batteries, so it will need to be plugged in wherever you use it. Because it’s so small, it would be convenient to have the option to run off of batteries and not have a power cord dragging behind it.
Not Flexible: The shape isn’t flexible like a chair pad. It can be moved wherever you want to use it, but it can’t flex to fit, but that’s the nature of this type of product.
Automatic Rotation: The roller balls automatically change direction after 60 seconds, and you can’t adjust this manually. If you like the direction it’s moving, you have to wait another 60 seconds to get back there.
Poor Power Placement: The power button is on the top corner of the pillow, making it convenient to turn on and off, but that also makes it easy to accidentally hit while you’re using it. If it were on the side, it wouldn’t be a problem.
The Best Vibration Massage Chair Pads
If you don’t need a Shiatsu massage or find the massage nodes uncomfortable, try these great vibration massage options. The seats are comfortable enough to sit on, even if you just want to use them as a heating pad.
These are also significantly less money than the Shiatsu massage chair pads reviewed above.
10 Vibration Motors
There are 10 conveniently placed vibration motors for the ultimate vibration massage experience. There are 2 at the top for the neck, 2 at the shoulders, 2 for the lower back, and 4 in the seat to target the thighs. This allows a more complete vibration massage for the whole body.
The vibration is noisy enough that you others in the room will know it’s on, but it’s not unbearably loud.
The back massage cushion heats up for added comfort and pain relief, targeting the upper back, mid back, and lower back regions. The heat will help to circulate blood and relieve pain, tension, and stress. There is no heat option for the seat, though.
A built-in overheat protection will automatically shut off after 30 minutes. The heat is independent of the massage, so you can get the benefits of heat therapy with or without the vibration massage.
4 Massage Zones and Programs
There are four massage auto programs to choose from, which vary in speeds, zones, and intensities. You can choose one or let them all cycle automatically.
There are four different massage zones, which are the neck/shoulders/upper back area, the middle back area, the lower back/lumbar area, and the thigh area. You can choose to focus on one particular zone independently, or you can run any combination of them. Choose which area to target, combine a few, or run them all simultaneously.
If you want to control the speed and intensity of your massage, you can choose from three different options – low, medium, or high.
Soft Plush Fabric
The cushion is very well padded, providing a soft, comfortable seat, even when the massage is not on, making it one of the best massage cushions for comfort. Because there are no roller balls protruding out, it’s comfortable to sit on for longer periods. It also comes with straps to hold the massage chair pad into place while on your chair.
Warranty and Durability
There is a 30-day money back guarantee on this product, so if you really don’t like it, you have the option of returning it. It is also backed by an impressive three-year warranty.
Although it doesn’t mention a weight limit, one 300-pound user claimed he had no problems with durability. The back is 27 inches tall and a roomy 18 inches wide. The head and neck massage area is 10 inches wide, and the seat is 16 inches deep.
Lightweight and Portable
Weighing less than five pounds, this is the ultimate lightweight, portable massage chair pad. It comes with a car adapter if you want to use it in the car, and it’s easy enough to move from car to office.
Be advised, however, that it may not be the safest thing to experience a massage while driving. You could use it as a heat pad in the winter, though. The thick seat padding will also raise you higher in the car, making it potentially difficult for shorter people to reach the pedals or for taller people to have enough headroom.
Fixed Positions: The massages are in fixed positions and don’t move around to target specific areas like a shiatsu massage chair pad will do. Because there are no roller balls to dig into your back, though, you can lie down on this and adjust your body to find the right spot.
Sits Higher: The nearly 2 inch thick padding provides great extra cushion, but it means you’ll sit higher than you would normally. This could be a problem for people using it in a car. It could also cause problems if you’re using this as an office chair massage pad because it could raise you too high to fit comfortably under the desk.
No Heated Seat: Although the back features nice heat, there is no option to heat the seat.
6 Vibration Massagers
This massage chair pad features 6 vibration motors to target your trouble spots. There are 2 on the seat for a thigh massage, 1 in the lower back, 2 in the upper back/shoulder area, and 1 on the neck.
5 Vibration Modes
- Pulsate: In this mode, the vibration “pulsates” or increases and decreases in intensity at various levels.
- Tapping: The tapping mode consists of short bursts of vibration to mimic someone tapping on your pressure points.
- Rolling: The rolling feature moves throughout each area, from the neck and upper back all the way down to the thighs, and then it repeats.
- Auto: The auto mode will cycle through all of the various styles, mixing up the vibration massages.
- Kneading: The kneading function consists of a constant vibration, so you experience the most “intense” massage available to this pad.
Heated Back and Seat
This offers seat heating, something many of these massage chair pads lack. It also heats up rather quickly, which makes it one of the best vibration chair massagers with heat. You can use it as a heating pad, too, since you can use heat with or without the massage.
The heat automatically shuts off to prevent overheating, and you can control the time it shuts off via the remote.
Memory Foam Cushion
The seat is padded with a memory foam cushion on top of high-density foam for ultimate support. It’s covered in a polyester fabric. The cushion is designed for comfort, with or without the massage running. This is also nice if you just want to use it as a heating pad.
The pad also has a non-slip bottom with secure straps for seat, so this won’t be sliding off whatever chair you decide to use it on.
4 Intensity Levels
There are four intensity levels, which can be controlled via the remote, ensuring you get the right massage for your needs. The remote also controls the vibration modes, heat, regions, and timer. There are 3 timed intervals you can set for massage or heat at 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 60 minutes.
This chair massager comes with a 90 day return window (but be aware of potential shipping costs for return), plus a two year warranty.
Lightweight and Portable
This massage chair pad only weighs about 4 pounds, making it ultra lightweight and portable, heavier only than the pillow massager. It folds up easily for storage or transporting. It holds 300 pounds comfortably, and since there are no roller balls to damage, it’s a great fit for all weights.
It does come with a car adapter, as well, so you can easily take it with you on a car ride. Massages aren’t recommended while driving, but you can use it as a seat warmer. And if you’re just a passenger, why not experience a car massage?
Fixed Positions: Because this just offers a vibration massage, there are no movable rollers to target different spots on your back. However, you could move it around or lie on it to find the right spot to target. This isn’t as convenient if you want to use it on an office chair while working, though.
Noisy: The vibration can be noisy, which could be a problem if you work with others, or if you just don’t like the constant humming in your ear.
Not for Tall: This is not ideal for tall people, since it won’t reach every area on the upper back and neck. It will hit the thighs and mid to lower back, though. It does offer heat, so it could work, but it’s not ideal.
Types of Massage Chair Pads
The term “Shiatsu” means “finger pressure” in Japanese. Shiatsu massage chair pads use their massage nodes to mimic the finger pressure you would receive from a masseuse. The 3D massage pads take this a step further, sending the massage nodes in and out to actually imitate a finger pressing into your body.
A kneading massage is when you use fingers, hands, or knuckles to compress the soft tissue in your body. Think of it like kneading dough – where you use your hands and knuckles to work the dough into shape. In massage pads, the kneading massage sends the rollers around in circular motions, much like human hands would do, working around in areas with their knuckles.
A rolling massage is pretty straightforward, as it just sends the massage rollers up and down the back for a consistent, even massage experience. They don’t work their way around or focus on particular areas. They simply roll up and down your back, hitting the lower back, mid back, and upper back areas in one motion.
A vibration massage features motors that shake to stimulate your blood flow and muscle aches. These don’t have massage nodes or roller balls that dig into your body, so they don’t offer as intense an experience, which some people prefer.
There are usually intensity levels you can set, so the “shaking” motion can be light or a bit more aggressive. This is similar to the experience of someone using their palms to give you a massage.
Compression massage uses pressure to work on an area. In an actual massage, someone would apply pressure by pushing down on a muscle with their hands, repeating this until the area is worked well. They “compress” your muscles to provide relief.
Some massage chair pads offer compression massage by using air pressure to push down on your muscles. This is similar to the feeling of having your blood pressure taken, when the wrap slowly squeezes your arm.
Percussion massage provides short, quick pulses to go deep into your body. They are meant to rapidly repair tissue damage and increase your blood flow. The other massage types send the rollers slowly massaging your body and working out stubborn knots. This type fires quick pressure into your body.
Percussion massage is not typically found in massage chair pads, although the HoMedics Perfect Touch massage chair pad does feature this type of massage, which is what raises the price.
Heated massages are just that – a massage incorporating heat. In an actual massage, they may use heated stones on your back. Most massage chair pads offer a heated option, although you can typically run the massage with or without heat. Most of the heat comes from the roller balls, so the heat will work its way through your body, as the roller balls move.
Some, however, use a heating pad along the back, so your entire back gets the benefit of a heated massage, regardless of where the rollers are. Heat helps to relax your muscles, improve blood flow, decrease stiffness, and increase flexibility.
Important Tips When Using a Massage Chair Pad
Position Them Properly
Some massage chair pads allow you to recline while you use them, which is good if you need a more intense massage. However, this applies more weight onto the mechanisms, which can cause it to shut down or break.
It’s important to check the weight limits and take precautions when using a massage chair pad in any position other than upright. This is how the pads are designed to operate most effectively, and you can also add a blanket or lean forward slightly if the massage is too intense.
Massage chair pads all feature built-in timers for automatic shutoff. This is to prevent the units from overheating or breaking down, as well as to prevent you from overusing it. It can be easy to get caught up in a massage and forget the time.
You can always turn the unit back on if you want a longer massage after it shuts off. However, there are some downsides to overdoing it. The constant pressure, when used for long periods of time, can cause more muscle pain, bruising, or headaches.
How to Clean
Some massage chair pads come with removable, washable backs. This makes it very easy to detach them and follow the instructions to wash them. Then you only need a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe down the back of them.
However, if you don’t use the back pad or have a chair pad without one, you can still clean them, although you need to do so more carefully. Use a damp cloth to work out any spots. You can add a bit of soap for stubborn areas, but a little goes a long way.
Always turn off and unplug the massage pad before you clean it. You can dry it with a towel, but make sure it’s fully dry before plugging it in again. You don’t want to damage or short out the electrical components.
Not all of the massage chair pads come with a car adapter, even though you can buy it separately if you really want one. These should never be used while driving, though. Massages are designed to relax you and ease tension, but you need to be alert and focused when driving a vehicle.
Vibration massagers are probably more comfortable to sit on while driving, since they don’t have massage nodes protruding out. However, even those are not recommended if you’re driving. They can be used for heat if you just want a seat warmer, but they are otherwise not ideal for the road… unless you’re simply a passenger.
Final Results: What Is the Best Chair Massager?
If you’re looking for the best chair massager overall, the HoMedics Serenity Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat offers a percussion massage, a heated seat, and plenty of customizable features. It is a little pricey, but it’s a value when compared with the more expensive massage chairs.
the Comfier 2D/3D Shiatsu Heated Massage Chair Pad is one of the best chair massagers for the money. With the 3D finger pressure massage option and the air compression massage feature, this is one of the best massage cushions you can find without spending more than $200.
If you want a comfortable shiatsu style massage, you can’t go wrong with the soft, gel-coated massage rollers on the Snailax Gel Shiatsu Heated Massage Chair Pad. The Zyllion ZMA-33-BK Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager or the HoMedics Portable Shiatsu Back Massager are also good options.
If you’re looking for something incredibly versatile, lightweight, and portable, the Zyllion ZMA-13-BK Shiatsu Massage Pillow With Heat is the best option.
If you’re looking for a good office chair with massage, check out our best here.