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Growing up, my family shared one “vintage” heating pad from the 1970s. I occasionally used it for cramps, but hated the uncomfortably stiff plastic-ish material, and its dire-sounding list of warnings scared me.
I didn’t think about heating pads again until I hit 30 and my menstrual cramps became unbearable. I was also diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder that causes chronic pain.
This led to my status as a heating pad evangelist. Heating pads have come a long way over the years in terms of comfort, safety, and design.
My collection includes two electric pads, one electric blanket, a heated back massager, and a microwavable one. I am so stoked to geek out on heating pads with you.
You probably already know that heat is recommended for muscle soreness or general aches and pain. Multiple studies, including one from
Heat is thought to help pain by relaxing tensed or spasming muscles and by disrupting the transmission of painful impulses from your brain. It may be especially effective for menstrual cramps and lower back pain.
We cross-referenced each brand and parent company with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letters, and customer feedback on sites like Trustpilot. We didn’t include brands with low BBB ratings or a history of lawsuits, FDA warnings, and negative customer reviews.
Since I have used and loved many heating pads, I included my personal favorites that I’ve tested and meet Healthline standards.
Heating pads come in a wide variety of options. Here’s how we broke down the pricing in this article:
- $ = under $21
- $$ = $21–$40
- $$$ = over $40
Best heating pad for neck and shoulders
This heating pad is designed to drape around your neck and shoulders, providing direct heat to a commonly tense area. Its lightly weighted edges and magnetic clasp allow for a cozy fit.
My editor personally recommended this product and told me: “Even though it’s designed to wrap over your shoulders and the back of the neck, I also find it useful and comfortable to use around my abdomen or even my lower back. Its soft fabric and shape make it easy to drape where I need it.”
I should note that I found a few FDA “adverse event reports” for Sunbeam heating pads. They all appear to be associated with how consumers used the product — for example, in one instance, the customer slept on top of the heating pad.
It’s a good reminder to use your heating pad safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions and to regularly check it for wear and tear.
Best back massager with heat
Want to warm up your sore back while also massaging it? InvoSpa’s heated back massager will let you do that. I’ve used this product for about a year, and I love it. You drape it over your shoulders, hooking your arms through the front, then let the Shiatsu massage rollers knead your muscles.
There are three massage intensity levels, and you have the option of massaging in clockwise or counterclockwise circles. The heat can be turned on or off with the touch of a button.
It comes with a car adapter, so you can take this on a road trip — but please only use it as a passenger! This massager boasts an Amazon rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars based on nearly 30,00 customer reviews.
One con is it’s a little bulky, and it can be too much if you have a recent shoulder injury or particularly tender joints.
Best heated blanket
Biddeford Microplush with Sherpa Electric Blanket
I bought this electric blanket to adjust to chilly winter nights in the Pacific Northwest, and I am thrilled with the results. I got the queen size, which has two remotes attached on either side of the blanket. This allows my husband and I to customize our settings.
The blanket is made of soft microplush, and the internal heating coils aren’t heavy or uncomfortable.
Electric blankets aren’t just for the winter. They also double as full-body heating pads. If you want heat all over, you can use this blanket for full-body relief.
The cord comes easily unplugged on my side of the blanket, which can get annoying. However, that rarely happens on my husband’s side. I blame our dog, who is known for sneaking in and out of our bed all night.