Anyone who’s ever treated herself to a massage can vouch for the fact, it’s a self-indulgent decadent experience. It’s at the same time both physically and mentally relaxing.
Modern science has shown that massage is beneficial for both our physical and psychological health.
See our reviews of personal and hand-held massagers below for more detail about what they offer and which one might be the best for you.
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Personal & Hand Held Massagers
- Kemier ET-01 Physio Deep Tissue Massager
- Pure-Wave CM5 Cordless Percussion Massager
- Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow
- RENPHO Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager
- Beautural Handheld Electric Percussion Massager
- Lyork Waterproof Cordless Personal Massager
- Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat
Best Personal & Hand Held Massagers
Personal Massager Reviews
- Handheld sand-style
- Infared Heat function
The Kemier ET-01 Physio Deep Tissue Massager is our Editors Choice for the best personal massager and is a surprisingly powerful, yet quiet massager.
Its size may and weight may fool you because it can still give a good deep-tissue massage. When we added a moderate amount of pressure to it, the Kemier was effective at reaching deep into the muscle.
Its angled head allowed for getting to many hard-to-reach areas, especially the neck and upper back which is where we tend to store tension.
It included a wrist strap and non-slip handle which were handy to make ensure a good grip.
The massage heads were made from a material that glided easily across the skin, making for a soothing, gentler massage. We didn’t find the need to use oils or lotions in conjunction with this massager, but they certainly could be used if you’d like.
- Handheld wand-style
- Interchangeable heads
- Heat function
- Adjustable speed
We weren’t sure what to expect with The Pure-Wave CM5 Cordless Percussion Massager because it’s so compact.
We doubted it could really pack a punch, but this little massager is quite powerful for its size and the best hand massager for a reasonable price.
Its lightweight and portable, thanks to it being rechargeable. We liked its portability. You don’t have to be tied down to the nearest electrical outlet. As advertised by the manufacturer, it held the charge for a good while.
This massager came with three changeable heads. The five-headed, attachment is a unique design compared to other handhelds on the market.
This was good for overall relaxation.
The second attachment, a cylindrical head, was great for focusing on a specific area. We imagine it would be good for use on knotted muscles. A third attachment was a dome-shaped head which was good for more generalized use.
Like most hand-held massagers, the Pure-Wave allowed us to choose the vibration strength. Rather than a simple option between high and low, this massager had a dial that allowed us choose exactly the right intensity.
- Shiatsu-style motion
- Variable speed
- Direction control
The Nektek Shiatsu pillow sat comfortably around our neck and required no extra effort on our part, other than putting it on our favorite setting. It worked out the muscle tension that can accumulates around the shoulders, upper back, and neck.
This massager came with a heat function that could be turned on and off manually. There was an auto shut off feature to ensure the unit didn’t overheat.
The Nekteck is unlike the common stick-like design of most personal massagers. It’s designed to sit atop the shoulders and wrap loosely around the neck.
It came with handy “pockets” where we could rest our hands. This naturally reduced the heaviness of the arms and seemed to encourage relaxation in the shoulders.
We liked that it required no effort on our part- no need to reach around to awkward areas. This seems like it would be ideal for someone who’s dealing with soreness in the arms or doesn’t have a lot of strength to manage a standard-design hand-held.
The Nektek had a series of massage heads which could be adjusted to mimic the sensation of having an personal massage. These massage heads automatically alternated directions.
In spite of its intended use for the neck and shoulders, we were just as able to wrap it around the lower back, legs and waist. The unit was lightweight, easy to pack away and say it’s the best neck massager!
- Handheld wand-style
- Interchangeable heads
- Adjustable speed
The RENPHO Deep Tissue Massager was another cordless model we tried. Again, the cordless models are great for taking along with you, not having to be dependent on a nearby electrical outlet.
The unit seemed to run for a good while on one charge and it didn’t take too long to get it fully charged. The RENPHO is a traditional wand-style massager that we were able be used on all areas of the body.
It had a powerful, intense massage action which was fabulous for working on particularly tense muscles, but the intensity could be changed to a lower setting if too strong for you.
This hand-held came with 5 interchangeable massage heads which allowed for more versatility in massage sensations and is probably the best handheld massager, especially considering it’s less than $50!
These included: ball-shaped, three-pronged (a large and small), curved, and single-point heads.
The RENPHO Deep Tissue Massager had an auto-stop feature that kicked in after about 20 minutes of use. Presumably is built-in to keep it from overheating.
- Handheld wand-style
- Two-intensity settings
The Beautural Electric Percussion Massager is a wand-style hand-held massager that had a nice, curved shape which made it easily to access areas that are normally a challenge to reach, such as the upper back and shoulders; but its not limited to those areas.
We found it useable all over the body.
With its bulky head, we expected this massager to be more unwieldy than the others, but it was quite manageable and was lighter weight than we expected.
There were no interchangeable heads with this hand-held. The head was a smooth rectangular shape. We liked its vigorous tapping (percussion) motions, with two intensity settings.
It was very effective while not so strong that you feel as though you’re getting a beating. We noticed the Beautural had a longer power cord than most on the market.
- Handheld mini-wand style
- Variable speed/Variable pulse pattern
This compact handheld massager demonstrated great performance. In spite of its relatively small size, the vibrations were powerful. In some ways its smaller size made it easier to reach most parts of the body, though it was a bit challenging to reach the upper back area.
Amongst all the personal massagers we reviewed, this is the only one that’s waterproof; and withstood being totally immersed underwater.
Having said that, the product insert claimed the product is “water resistant” so we wouldn’t recommend leaving it underwater for a long period of time.
This would be handy for a nice hot bath or taking along with you in the shower.
The material is soft. With its flexible head, this massager it glided effortlessly against the skin. It was easy to clean and doesn’t take much space to store away.
This waterproof personal massager by Lyork offered 10 variable settings for intensity and vibration/pulsing patterns. It was a little noisy, which may be a disadvantage for some.
This model is cordless and rechargeable. The charge held for about an hour of continuous use. We were impressed by its quality at a reasonable price and felt it was the best wand massager.
- Adjustable direction
- Securing strap
- Heat function & Shiatsu-style motion
Unlike the handhelds, the Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager took no effort to use. We just placed it against a flat surface, laid back, and let the massager do all the work.
This personal massager was well-suited for all areas of the back. It stayed in place when we propped it up on the couch and leaned against it. While it’s not necessarily intended for use on the feet, we found it gave a great foot massage when placed on the floor.
The Zyllion ZMA13BK basically works by providing alternating pressure that’s created by rolling balls beneath soft nylon webbing. It automatically switched direction so that the repetitive movement didn’t get annoying over time.
In addition to the massager’s motion, it also had a heating feature which felt really good on the middle and upper back. The heat function is optional.
This device is definitely worthy of praise for the purpose of relaxation. Its strength seemed sufficient to work out muscle knots and we felt was the best back massager.
The beauty of this portable massager is the ability to carry it along in the car or to your workplace, which is an advantage for those of us who sit in front of a computer all day. It can be secured with a strap (included).
Personal Massager Comparison table
|Kemier ET-01 Physio Deep Tissue Massager||110V||2.5 lbs||Infrared Heat||4.6 / 5.0|
|Pure-Wave CM5 Cordless Percussion Massager||Li-ion battery||1.65 lbs||No||4.6 / 5.0|
|Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow||110V / Car Adapter||3 lbs||Yes||4.6 / 5.0|
|RENPHO Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager||Li-ion battery||1.8 lbs||No||4.4 / 5.0|
|Beautural Handheld Electric Percussion Massager||110V||2.6 lbs||No||4.8 / 5.0|
|Waterproof Cordless Personal Massager by Lyork||USB rechargeable||6.35 oz||No||4.4 / 5.0|
|Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager||110V / Car Adapter||4.5 lbs||Yes||4.5 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Personal Handheld Massager
- Finding the Right Hand Held Massager for You
- Types of Personal Massagers
- Massage Motions
- FAQs For Personal Massagers
Finding the Right Hand Held Massager for You
Independent from feeling good, modern scientific research has established the benefits for mind and body. Just a few of the benefits include anxiety reduction, boosting cardiovascular health, and pain relief.
Nowadays with technology ever improving, we have all kinds of contraptions on the market to help us enjoy the benefits of regular massage.
These include foot massagers, hand held devices that can be used all over the body, and massage chairs to name a few.
Types of Personal Massagers
The wand-style massager is the standard, most common design. It’s well-suited for reaching all parts of the body, from head to toe. Many of them come with interchangeable heads/attachments and offer variable intensity settings.
Some wand-style personal massagers offer variable motion options. For example, in addition to intensity settings, some have alternating rhythm patterns.
Wand-style massagers are the best type to reach every part of the body. The ones with a curved shape are better suited to reach places that might normally be awkward to get to.
Cordless personal massagers provide lots of versatility. They can be charged up and taken along just about everywhere; work, the car, and even on vacation.
If you’re someone who’s often on the go or travels a lot, the convenience of a cordless model would fit in well to your lifestyle.
The rechargeable hand-helds we reviewed were just as powerful as the corded models and didn’t poop out quickly, so you don’t have to sacrifice strength for portability.
If you tend to accumulate tension around the shoulders, neck and upper back, the effortless hands-free style massager may be the choice for you. The beauty of the this style massager is that it does all the work and frees up your hands.
It’s the perfect design to use while working or doing other stationary activities. It’s also handy for people who may not have the arm strength to hold a massager in place, or someone who has limited mobility.
Neck Pillow Massagers
If you tend to accumulate tension around the shoulders, neck and upper back, the effortless neck pillow style may be the choice for you. The beauty of the neck pillow is that it does all the work and frees up your hands.
It’s the perfect style to use while working or doing other activities. It’s also handy for people who may not have the arm strength to hold a massager in place, or someone who has limited mobility.
Each personal massager has defined massaging motions, and some offer settings to switch up the the motion based on your preference.
Here are some of the options available with the hand-held massagers on the market today.
Massagers with a vibration setting create the sensation of a jostling or shaking of the muscles. The vibrating motion is good for stimulating blood circulation. It also helps to loosen ligaments.
Vibrating movements create a soothing and rejuvenating massage experience. It should be used on healthy muscles and avoided on bony body parts.
Percussion, technically called “tapotement”, feels like a very rapid tapping motion on the skin. Percussion is often used to loosen muscles before a workout; in particular, it’s popular with athletes. It helps to stimulate blood circulation, and so promotes healing to sore areas.
A kneading massage motion involves compression of soft tissue. It feels like a circular movement where the tissue is rolled and squeezed. It can decrease pain and improve movement. Kneading helps reduce tightness in the muscles.
Some personal massagers incorporate a rolling motion. A rolling motion can relax muscles, reducing tension. It can also help in alleviating pain, improving muscle flexibility and relieve muscle tightness.
FAQs For Personal Massagers
Q: How does Massage work?
A: Massage appears to work on multiple systems within our bodies. These include the central nervous, the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and lymphatic systems. We give more detail about the physical and psychological benefits of massage below.
Apart from licensed massage therapists, there are professionals who incorporate massage for healing people who suffer from pain and other physical ailments. Some of these include physical therapists, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, and sports physiologists.
Q: What are the Physical Benefits of Massage?
A: Pain related to excessive muscle tension or sports injury responds well to massage. For one reason, massage helps the healing process. There are several theories as to why this might happen.
For one, massage promotes blood flow to the affected area. Good blood circulation is needed for healing cells to recover. The release of endorphins would account for the pain relief associated with massage. Endorphins are our bodies’ natural painkillers.
Scientists propose that massage is effectively stimulates the production of endorphins via the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for our bodies’ unconscious actions, such as digestion and salivation.
The action of massage on muscles has been shown to prevent or reduce the formation of scar tissue. In terms of cardiovascular benefits, massage lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
Direct stimulation of specific areas encourage the lymphatic system to improve waste removal and immune function. It also helps reduce swelling.
Q: What are the Psychological Benefits of Massage?
A: Massage may stimulate the release of two kinds of neurotransmitters, endorphins, as noted above, and serotonin. Serotonin regulates mood. This is the reason massage is effective for treating mild depression.
Regular massage has been shown to assist with sleep difficulties, likely due to the effect on the parasympathetic nervous system.
Situation-specific anxiety, say related to a stressful family issue, can be mitigated with regular massage. This is likely due to the release of relaxation- inducing neurotransmitters, in addition to the direct manipulation of muscles, which reduced tension.
In conclusion, whether you simply like to pamper yourself or you need help for tired, sore muscles, a hand-held or personal massager is an investment worth considering. It’s a lot more economical than having an in-person massage, more convenient, and it’s ready at a moment’s notice.
If a personal massager is not something you would consider getting for yourself, you might consider it as a unique gift for that hard-to-shop-for person in your life that already has everything!
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best personal massager to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a massager I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.