What Is A Handheld Massager?
A handheld massager is a device which can perform massage therapy, like that of a professional massage therapist, on virtually part of the body. With the proper attachments, a handheld massager can perform a scalp massage, facial, neck, and shoulder massage, upper and lower back massage, buttock massage, hip massage, legs massage, and foot massage.
Most handheld massagers have enough power and intensity to work knotted muscles and relieve tension, and conversely, can be adjusted to lower levels to provide a full relaxation massage. Handheld massagers come in manual and electric models, with the electric models being corded, cordless, or both.
In addition, most include a heat element which can be used in conjunction with percussion action, which provides a deeper massage, vibration action which mimics a relaxation massage, or kneading action which imitates a Shiatsu massage.
What are the benefits of handheld massage therapy?
The overall benefits of massage therapy have now entered the main stream medical system and have for the most part become accepted as a means of assisting in both physical and mental health. Some of the benefits include:
A handheld massager can be used on any part of the body, providing the relaxation of muscle groups from the top of the head to the toes. This can have a positive effect not only on the physical aspects, but also the mental and psychological aspects.
Muscle Pain Alleviation
By increasing blood flow and circulation, a handheld massager can alleviate muscle pain and speed up the recovery process in the event of an injury.
As a direct result of the stress relief associated with massage therapy, many individuals report that they have much better sleep, and in some cases have rid themselves of insomnia.
Better Looking Skin
Many, but not all handheld massagers have attachments that are specifically designed to be used on the face. These generally provide a gentle massage which increases blood circulation to the face, and in turn, improves complexion. Some handheld massager models recommend certain oils and creams to be used in conjunction with their devices.
Featured Product: Pure-Wave CM7 Cordless Body Massager
Although this article is entitled the 7 Best Handheld Massagers In 2018, there are really 8. In fact, our featured product, Pure-Wave CM7 Cordless Body Massager, manufactured by PADO Products, is our #1 choice. It is such a great product that we felt it necessary to present it in a section by itself.
PADO Products, based out of Santa Clara, California, has been manufacturing leading-edge massage products for a number of years. Their culture is all about living well, and although they design massage products for professional massage therapists and clinics, they have a goal of making those massage products available to everyone.
PADO market their massage products under the name Pure-Wave, and the product we will be featuring is the, Pure-Wave CM7 Cordless Body Massager.
The PADO Pure-Wave CM7 handheld massager is ideal for the entire body. It is extremely powerful, however, it also has the ability to provide a softer, gentler massage for those areas of the body which may be a little more sensitive, such as the face and certain areas of the legs.
The Pure-Wave CM7 features both vibration and percussion action, allowing it to deliver both a Shiatsu massage, which simulates the use of fingers, thumbs, and palms to pinpoint deep muscle aches, pains, and knots; and a Swedish massage, a relaxation type therapy which simulates long gliding strokes generating blood flow to the tissues and organs of the body.
The Pure-Wave comes with 6 interchangeable heads, each performing a different massage function, and a variable speed motor that allows you to easily change the intensity of the massage. In addition, the vibration control can be adjusted to a lower level for use on delicate areas such as the scalp and face, or tougher areas such as the back and legs.
The curved, elongated handle makes it easy to reach the area in the mid to lower back regions, and weighing only 3.2 pounds makes it very transportable and easy to use.
Finally, the unit is cordless and comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, making it ideal to use anywhere. The battery takes approximately 1 hour to charge and will hold its charge for up to 3 hours.
Lowest Available Price: $124.94 USD
How to choose the right handheld massager
Choosing a handheld massager is a very personal thing. In fact, over time, you will get to know your handheld massager like your best friend. You will understand the preferable speed, heat, and vibration settings that work best for your body and specific ailments. Therefore, it is important that you do your research and due diligence in choosing the right handheld massager for your unique needs.
The following information is meant to help you through that process:
What Are You Using It For
Not all handheld massagers are capable of effectively achieving results in all areas of the body. Therefore, it is important to know what exactly your handheld massager is being used for.
If you have a particular problem area that will require continual massage, you must ensure that your choice can reach and penetrate that area and satisfactorily relieve the pain or tension. On the other hand, if you are simply looking general relaxation massage there will be a device that will accommodate that.
Related to the above, you should closely scrutinize the attachments, if any, which are included with the massager. Attachments, or heads which they are frequently called, each perform a specific function. Some are meant to create a deep tissue Shiatsu style massage while others are meant to deliver a Swedish style relaxation massage. Some are meant for the face and scalp, while others are designed for the back and legs.
Intensity refers to the speed of the percussion action as well as the rate of vibration. Since even the largest muscle groups can feel beaten up after intense massage, it is essential that the chosen handheld massager has a variable speed and intensity control. This allows you to ease off when the massage feels too aggressive.
Source of Power
Again, this is a personal preference. Handheld massagers come with an AC electrical cord, meaning you must be near an electrical outlet to operate the massager, a rechargeable battery, or both. Based on where you intend to use the massager will determine which option is best for you.
Most electric handheld massagers include a heating option as the heat enhances the effectiveness of the massage by warming up the affected areas and making them more receptive to massage.
Infra-red heat versus standard heat has the effect of penetrating much deeper and adds to the overall experience.
It is important to have a control that can increase or decrease the amount of heat being delivered to the affected area. In addition, look for an automatic shut of in the event you fall asleep or inadvertently leave the device in the on position.
Some handheld massagers are just noisy. Although this cannot be controlled, it is something which is worth mentioning.
Overall Feel Of the Massager
If the massager is a chore to use, you just won’t use it. Therefore, it is important that you find a unit that has relatively lightweight, has an ergonomically designed handle that can reach those hard-to-get places and feels comfortable to hold.
The 7 Best Handheld Massagers In 2018
- HoMedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Hand Held Massager
After great deliberation, we have chosen the HoMedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Hand Held Massager, as our top choice of the 7 best back massagers in 2018.
The HoMedics HHP-350 uses percussion action to relieve stress, tension, pain, and stiffness, soreness for the entire body. The device is not meant for deep tissue massage, however, with its dual action heads, variable speeds, and heat function, provides a firm, yet gentle full body massage.
In addition, it includes three separate attachments, gentle, firm, and heat, which allows you to customize your massage. Whether you need to relieve tension in the shoulders and neck after a hard day at work or soothe tired and aching feet, the HoMedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Hand Held Massager will do the job.
Although it received a 4 Star rating on Amazon, based on 1,087 customer reviews, it is 5 Star in our books.
- Dual actions heads provide pulsing, percussion action which approaches 3,100 times per minute
- Variable control allows massage intensity to be increased or decreased
- Three interchangeable attachments provide the ability to easily create a gentle, firm, or heated massage experience
- The ergonomically shaped handle makes it easy to reach areas on the lower back which are hard to get to
- A tremendous value for the price
- Not cordless meaning it must be used near an electrical outlet
- Is not adequate for a deep tissue massage
Lowest Available Price: $26.88 USD
- Wahl 4196-1001 Heat Therapy Heated Handheld Therapeutic Massager
The Wahl 4196-1001 Heat Therapy Heated Therapeutic Massager, is truly one of the best full-body massagers on the market today. The Wahl 4196 includes 8 different attachments which are easily interchangeable and allow for a customizable massage for virtually any area of the body.
Whether you require a deep tissue massage in the larger muscle groups in the back and legs, a scalp massage to generate blood flow to the head, a gentle soothing facial massage, a spot massage in the joint and knuckle areas, or an overall full-body relaxation massage, the is an attachment which will satisfy the need.
Its lightweight and ergonomic shape make it easy to handle and maneuver over the entire body. In addition, its two-speed and heat settings enhance the entire handheld massage experience.
It has a 4 Star rating and is one of the best values in the handheld massager marketplace.
- Includes 8 different attachments, each delivering a specific type of massage ranging from deep tissue to relaxation
- Dual speed control allows for a tailored, customized massage
- Two heat settings provide warmth and relaxation, or deep penetrating heat
- Weighing only 1.8 pounds, it is small enough and light enough to carry in a suitcase or travel bag
- Not cordless meaning it must be used near an electrical outlet
- The handle can be a bit large for smaller hands, and some complaints about bulkiness
- Numerous attachments and no carrying case
Lowest Available Price: $83.59 USD
- ACEVIVI Cordless Percussion Deep Tissue Action Handheld Massager
The ACEVIVI Cordless Percussion Deep Tissue Action Handheld Massager, is a lesser-known name in the handheld massager market, but in our research, found it to be a superior, high-quality product. This is truly a full-body handheld massager, which incorporates and simulates techniques from Shiatsu, Swedish, Chinese and Thai massage.
This is achieved by 6 heads that pivot as opposed to rotating and use what ACEVIVI calls red light therapy which differs from infrared light. In addition, the motor boasts 15 different speeds and can reach an intensity of 3,100 rotations per minute.
The ACEVIVI Handheld Massager is cordless and comes with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that lasts up to 2 hours. In addition, there is an AC adapter that allows the unit to be plugged into an electrical outlet.
This “sleeper” has a 4 Star rating based on 36 customer reviews and is well worth the investment.
- Full body handheld massager which has the capability of simulating Shiatsu, Swedish, Chinese and Thai massage
- 6 heads and 15 speeds allow for a customizable massage every time
- Effective on feet, calves, thighs, hips, abdomen, back, neck, knuckles, joints, and shoulders
- Cordless and rechargeable with the option of plugging into an electrical outlet
- Incorporate “red light heat therapy” to penetrate deep tissues and enhance the effect
- There are some concerns about the unit failing to work, however, ACEVIVI respond exceptionally well to customer service issues
- Too many options for someone looking for a basic overall massage
Lowest Available Price: $49.99 USD
- Naipo Handheld Percussion Massager MGPC-5000
The Naipo Handheld Percussion Massager MGPC-5000, is an exceptional full-body handheld massager which has the flexibility of reducing pain, relieving tension, and providing an all-encompassing relaxation massage. It has earned the distinction of being an Amazon Best Seller, a designation that is not easy to achieve.
The Naipo Handheld Massager includes 3 sets of interchangeable nodes made of silicone and hard plastic. The intensive nodes are used to massage larger areas such as the back, waist, hips, and legs. The rounded massage node is designed to perform a gentler massage experience and can be used on any part of the body. And finally, the pinpoint massage node is used to target problem areas and simulates the Shiatsu massage experience.
The Naipo Handheld Percussion Massager MGPC-5000 has a 4.5 Star rating based on 518 customer reviews and is a real gem in the handheld massager arena.
- 6 massage heads made from silicone and plastic can deliver a custom message ranging from gentle to Shiatsu
- Wide variable speed range allowing for a simple relaxation massage to a deep tissue massage
- One of the most intense motors in the industry, capable of reaching 3,800 rotations per minute
- Deep, penetrating heat function which can reach 40 degrees Celsius, thus reducing muscle soreness and stiffness.
- Ideal for soothing all parts of the body including neck and shoulders, hips and waist, upper and lower back, and thighs and calves
- Not cordless, meaning that an electrical outlet must be available to operate the device
- The heat switch operates separately from the power switch, creating safety concerns in leaving the heat I the on position
- Somewhat heavy and awkward for smaller individuals
Lowest Available Price: $29.99 USD
- Panasonic EV2510K Easy Reach Rolling Massager
The Panasonic EV2510K Easy Reach Rolling Massager, is unique in its design as it has a roller on one side of the head and a vibrating pad on the other. It is very easy to alternate by simply turning the handheld massager around. This feature eliminates the need to stop the device to change attachments.
The Panasonic Handheld Massager has 3 massage settings, including the point massage, the massage roller massage, and wavy surface massage, each delivering a unique experience. Vibration rates are 5,000 times per minute on the gentle end, and 6,300 times per minute on the aggressive end.
Weighing only 1.6 pounds, it is easy to transport and use anywhere there is access to an electrical outlet.
It has a 4 Star rating based on 526 customer reviews, and it is a great handheld massager for everyday use.
- Easy to switch from a vibration massage to a roller massage, with a simple twist to the head of the massager
- Three roller function makes for a great full-body, soothing, relaxing massage
- Above-average vibration rates penetrate deeper muscles and tissues to enhance the experience
- The curved design allows the middle and lowers back to be easily accessed
- Relative small and lightweight making it transportable and great for travel
- Require an electrical outlet to operate thus limiting locations of use
- The power cord is short and may require an extension
- The device has a tendency to twist in the hand when pressure is applied
Lowest Available Price: $126.99 USD
- TheraRub Massager Percussion Double Head Electric Massager
The TheraRub Massager Percussion Double Head Electric Massager, is a professional grade handheld massager and is often seen in the hands of licensed massage therapists. It sports double head percussion technology, with a variable speed slider to control the intensity of the massage.
The TheraRub, weighing 3.6 pounds is heavier than most of its competitors, is extremely durable, and packs a punch. It is not cordless, however, it does come with a 14’ power cord which provides more flexibility that its shorter cord competitors.
The TheraRub Massager Percussion Double Head Electric Massager has a 4.5 Star rating based on 835 customer reviews and is ideal if you are looking for more power and a clinical-grade massager.
- High quality, full size, professional-grade handheld massager capable of simulating a massage performed by a massage therapist
- Includes 3 massage heads, each designed to achieve a specific massage function
- 14’ extra long cord reducing the need for an extension cord
- Includes two deep percussion heads and three attachments
- Large, heavy, and cumbersome for one person to use
- May have too much power and intensity for personal use
- Not cordless
Lowest Available Price: $29.99 USD
- Brookstone 672469 Sport Handheld Massager
The Brookstone 672469 Sport Handheld Massager, truly stands up to the quality, reliability, and functionality exhibited by the Brookstone name for many years. Staying ahead of the curve, the design of the Brookstone Handheld massager is not only appealing to the eye but extremely functional as well.
Its slim design makes it easy to hold and control and includes 3 different massage heads, each providing unique massage experiences. In addition, it has several variable speed options and comes with an easy hold the handle to reach that difficult get to areas.
The Brookstone is well built and ideal to relieve stress, aches, pains, tension, and fatigue for the entire body.
It is 4 Star rated based on 103 reviews, and although we have listed it as #7, it could easily have been rated higher on our list.
- Can be used on all parts of the body, and has enough power to deliver a deep massage or a simple relaxation massage
- Variable speed control in conjunction with the 3 massage heads provides enough flexibility to customize you massage
- Small, lightweight, portable, and comes with a zippered carrying case
- Well built and backed by the Brookstone name
- Somewhat loud, detracting from the relaxation idea of massage
- Not cordless
Lowest Available Price: $90.77 USD