I was 27 when I first realized my previously indestructible body had suffered a muscle injury. Lifting a television and carrying it up and down three flights of stairs while moving did something to my lower back that set off warning bells in my pain center as loud as the ones at Notre Dame Cathedral.
Too stubborn to admit weakness and seek out a doctor, I took the advice of a friend and went with some Tylenol and a heating pad. The first time I put the pad against my lower back and activated heating agent, I felt something bordering on bliss as the waves of pain melted away.
That experience was nearly two decades ago and I’ve had my fair share of bumps, strains and sprains. I’ve eventually accepted the fact that doctors are actually there to help me, not just sigh heavily when taking my weight and cholesterol levels. Regardless, nothing has given me more relief from those aches and pains of the year than a properly used heating pad.
Best Heating Pads Reviewed
Heating pad technology has come a long way in the last two decades, with units dedicated to specific injuries, specific parts of the body and so much more. No matter what ailment you might be suffering from, it’s likely there’s heating pad just for you, as we’ll find out on this deep dive into the best heating pads on the market.
For Large Muscle Pain: Pure Relief XL
There’s nothing worse than hurting one of your big muscles, other than having a heating pad that doesn’t cover the whole affected surface. When you wrench your back or suffer a muscle strain or pull in your upper leg or arm, applied heat is the perfect solution for pain relief. But if the heating pad doesn’t match the size of the affected area, you’re left with one of two solutions:
- Sacrificing the pain in one area for the good of the rest of the muscle group.
- Moving the heating pad around and around, which can give you the feeling of being an unevenly cooked meal, or cause you more muscle pain as you twist and turn awkwardly to maneuver the heating pad around.
Neither of these is a problem when you use the Relief XL King Size Heating Pad. It measures 12” x 24” meaning you’re getting a full 2 square feet of heat for big pain areas like your shoulders, neck, back, arms and legs. It has microplush fibers which will help keep it from wearing out, even if you use it every day and a five-year warranty.
For Moist/Dry Relief: Sunbeam King Size Moist/Dry Heating Pad
As comforting as dry heat can be on sore muscles, strains and tears, there’s nothing better for that deep penetrating pain relief than the moist heat made possible by the Sunbeam King Size. Moist heat has the ability to change the temperature of your tissue more rapidly than dry heat. This can bring a lot more relief of your symptoms because the moist heat increases blood flow more quickly to the area in pain. Better blood flow means more fresh blood in and waste materials out, which can increase the speed at which the injury heals. The Sunbeam King has three heat settings as well as a two-hour automatic shut-off feature to keep you safe if you fall asleep while using it. A sponge insert lets you move quickly from dry heat to moist heat and a nine-foot-long power cord is the real bonus, letting you relax pretty much anywhere or in any position to maximize comfort. The Sunbeam King is made of SoftTouch polyester and has a vinyl pad with a washable cover. It measures 12” x 24”.
For Fast Relief: Sunbeam Xpressheat Heating Pad
You know the old saying about a watched pot never boiling? If your muscles have ever been craving instant relief, it seems like most heating pads can take forever to warm up. How many times have you checked, then re-checked, then checked again to see if your heating pad is actually plugged into the wall and switched on before the heat finally arrives? Those days are behind you with the Sunbeam Xpressheat Heating Pad. The XpressHeat technology heats up the pad in just 30 seconds, meaning by the time you’re sitting down on the couch with a cold drink and the remote in your hands, the soothing heat sensations will already be permeating your sore muscles. The Sunbeam Xpressheat has a digital LED controller that lets you program up to six personalized heat settings. The controller also has a digital heat meter which glows brighter as the pad heats up.The heat pad measures 12” x 24” which lets you use it on your neck, spine, legs or even across your shoulders.Weighing 1.4 pounds, the Sunbeam Xpressheat is easy to transport and is outstanding for muscle cramps and for back and spine pain.
For Neck and Shoulder Therapy: Sunbeam Renue Heat Therapy Wrap
If you get nine of your friends or family members in a room with you, statistics say one of them suffers from chronic neck pain. And as we grow older, the number of people suffering neck pain grows exponentially. Osteoarthritis of the neck is present in as many as 50% of people older than 50. Disc problems are present for 40% of men and 28% of women ages 55-64.
Shoulder pain is also prevalent in older people, as many as 1 in every 4 above the age of 50 suffer from it long-term. The two are intricately related because of cervical spine dysfunction and osteoarthritis of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. When your neck and your shoulders are ravaged by pain, even the simplest of activities become nearly impossible. As we age, our ability to heal from nagging injuries decreases and years of healthy life can be affected in a few weeks as conditions trend towards becoming perfect. The Sunbeam Renue Neck and Shoulder Wrap combines comfort with technology to give long-lasting relief for sufferers of neck and shoulder pain. The heating pad is fully washable and has a soft microplush tailored design to provide the best relief possible to the neck and shoulders. It has a magnetic clasp and weighted edges that keep it in place even as you are moving around and it can alter back and forth between dry and moist heat.
Its modern LED controller has four heat settings and a two-hour auto-off switch to ensure your safety while giving you maximum muscle relief. And to top it all off, the extension cord stretches out nine feet, letting you take the heating pad almost anywhere in your home to be comfortable.
For In-Place Long-Term Treatment:
PureRelief Neck & Shoulder Heating Pad
Here’s the problem with an overwhelming number of heatings pads on the market. When you move, it moves, but usually not in the same direction. When you stretch, it goes with the stretch but usually doesn’t come back. When you try to get comfortable on the couch or in bed, it resolutely resists this idea. When you fall asleep with it on and move even a little bit, it doesn’t hold position and before too long, another part of your body, the mattress itself, or perhaps your dog is the one suddenly getting the benefits of the dry or moist heat emanating from your heating pad.
Short of wearing a jacket over your heating pad, it can be tough to keep the heating pad in just the right spot once you’re relaxed. That’s where the PureRelief Neck & Shoulder Heating Pad comes in. It has a impressive magnetic closure feature that makes it one of the most highly-rated heating pads on Amazon.
The PureRelief Heating Pad is contoured to drape around your neck and shoulders rather than latched on with velcro. It has smooth micromink fibers that give lots of comfort even if you use it every single day. The heating element is safe but efficient, allowing the pain relief to start within 30 seconds of the unit being turned on. It can used for moist or dry heat therapy depending on your preference. It has a nine-foot cord and an impressive five-year warranty, one of the best in the entire industry. The PureRelief Heating Pad measures 14” x 22” and has a 2-hour auto-shut off feature to keep you safe and conserve energy. It has four heat settings that are easily changed thanks to the LED controller. The heat settings are represented by lights and temperatures. Green means the temperature is around 110 degrees; yellow is 120 degrees; orange is 130 degrees and red is 140 degrees.
But the real winner here is the magnetic closure. It links together the heating pad without stretching it or compromising the comfort level. It’s an essential element if you suffer from shoulder or neck pain and want to ensure the right parts of your pain centers are getting the maximum amount of relief.
Massaging: Sunbeam Massaging Heating Pad
Massage and heat treatment are the 1-2 punch that we’d all love to get at the spa after a long day if we could afford the time and the cost. The Sunbeam MNV730-000-000 Massaging Heating Pad is an innocuous looking option that packs a huge punch, combining massaging vibrations with gentle warmth to soothe and relax your painful muscle aches and pains. Ths heating pad is for very specific areas as it measures just 12” x 12” but it can give you heat treatment, massage therapy or a combination of the two. The cover is machine washable and the pad is made of a non-vinyl Flexi-soft material. Its controller offers two settings for heat, two settings for massage and will automatically turn off after one hour of use to ensure energy efficiency and user safety. Weighing in at just 1.4 pounds, this heating pad is perfect if you’re on the go. Because of the massaging agent, a moist heat massage is not possible. It’s ideal for small areas of concentrated pain, but is far less effective on larger areas or if you try to wrap it around your leg. Unless you are a very slender person, it won’t stay in one place for too long.
Infrared Heating Pad: Graphene Far Infrared Heating Pad
If you haven’t heard about graphene, pull up a chair. Graphene is the latest in heating pad technology. It’s an incredible combination of strong, thin material that does a marvelous job of conducting heat. The heat it generates is known as “far-infrared” which is close to the heat that our actual bodies give off. This allows the body to react more naturally to it which means it works better for physical therapy. The human body has heat output measure in microns, with the normal range between 3-50 microns and the most output at 9.4. Graphene’s far-infrared rays span a wavelength betweten 6-19 microns. The Graphene Heating Pad has three temperature settings and comes with a one-hour shut-off switch to conserve energy and promote safety for the user. As impressive as its thinness is, it doesn’t lack for size either. The extra-large pad clocks in at 12” x 24” meaning you can easily wrap it around an arm or leg or even spread it across your shoulders without having to twist and turn to make it fit. It has straps that help it fit on any part of your body, and customers sing the praises of its soft cover. Think the technology is too good to be true? Think again. The Graphene heating Pad has accrued 86% 5-star ratings out of more than 100 customers on Amazon to date.