Neck and shoulder heating pads may help loosen stiff joints and ease muscle aches and pains. Most of these devices warm up quickly, helping alleviate soreness within minutes.

A quick look at the best neck and shoulder heating pads

Best neck and shoulder heating pads

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Comparison table

The table below provides a snapshot of how the best neck and shoulder heating pads compare to each other.

PriceHeating methodTemperature rangeTypeCord length
Pure Enrichmentaround $40electric• four temperature settings
• 110–140°F (43.3–60°C)
full length of back, neck, and shouldersover 7 ft
Hugarooaround $35microwaveno informational availableneck and shouldersuncorded
Sunbeamaround $50electricfour temperature settingsneck and shoulders9 ft
Comfytemparound $50electricnine temperature settingsupper back, neck, and shoulders9.5 ft
REVIXaround $37microwaveno information availableneck and shouldersuncorded

How we chose

Medical News Today’s methodology

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: MNT will choose products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Features: MNT selectsproducts with useful features, such as an auto-shutoff, overheating protection mechanism, or adjustable straps.
  • Suitability: MNTselectsproducts to suit a range of needs, such as portability and extra temperature functions.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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How to choose a neck and shoulder heating pad

In addition to safety features, a person may wish to consider the following before purchasing a heating pad:

  • Heat type: Electronic neck and shoulder heating pads provide dry heat, while microwaveable heating pads produce moist heat.
  • Cord length: People using electronic neck and shoulder heating pads should consider the product’s cord length. Those using pads with short cables may need to sit near a power outlet or purchase an extension cord.
  • Size: A person may wish to review the product’s measurements and decide which product will best suit their body size.
  • Temperature range: People may benefit from a product that has a wide range of adjustable heat settings. This is because people will have different needs at varying times. Additionally, some people may be able to withstand and benefit from a hotter temperature than others.
  • Heating element type: There are two main types of heating elements: microwavable or electric. An electric heating pad may be more expensive and require the device to be plugged in while in use. They may have adjustable heat settings and some other smart features which can benefit an individual. However, a microwavable heat pad will be best for travel and movement but may not retain heat for as long. These microwavable pads can also usually double up as cold pads.
  • Warranty: Before purchasing, a person should check to see if the company offers a warranty period. This would mean a person can receive a refund, replacement, or repair if the product has any defects or breaks within this warranty period.


Neck and shoulder heating pads are relatively safe products. However, they do pose some risks and require users to take precautions.

People should consider a product’s safety features, including:

  • Temperature control: Most electric heating pads come with a temperature control function. People who use microwavable heating pads should take care when removing the product from the microwave to avoid burns.
  • Automatic shut-off: People may consider purchasing an electronic neck and shoulder heating pad with an automated shut-off feature, which shuts off the device after a set time to minimize the risk of fire.
  • Heat-resistant cover: Neck and shoulder heating pads include a material cover that serves as a buffer between the pad and the user’s skin to prevent scalding.

Anyone experiencing chronic neck and shoulder pain should consider seeing a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


People may consider other products for relieving neck and shoulder pain, including:

  • neck or shoulder massagers
  • cervical neck pillows
  • topical analgesic creams
  • cooling gels and sprays
  • herbal pain relief patches

A person may also wish to try a massage with a professional massage therapist.

Learn more about the best neck and shoulder massagers.

Can heating pads help with pain?

Heat therapy helps to boost circulation, which increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues. According to the Arthritis Foundation, this can help to loosen stiff joints and alleviate sore muscles.

A 2021 meta-analysis into heat and cold therapy for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) found that applying heat therapy within 1 hour of exercise could promote recovery. Both heat and cold therapy were effective in reducing DOMS pain. The researchers concluded that higher-quality research is necessary to determine whether heat or cold therapy is more effective.

Research from 2018 states that using heat or cold therapy alongside ibuprofen was mildly and immediately effective in reducing neck and back pain. However, this pain relief may be attributable to ibuprofen.

Importantly, people should not use heat therapy to replace more conventional forms of treatment. A person should talk with a doctor about any long-term aches or pains and whether heat or cold therapy will be more suitable.

Learn more about heat and cold therapy.

Frequently asked questions about neck and shoulder heating pads

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about heating pads.

Does a heating pad help neck and shoulder pain?

Heating pads boost circulation. This, in turn, increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues, easing pain and discomfort.

Most neck and shoulder heating pads warm up quickly and may help alleviate soreness within minutes.

Which is better for neck pain, heat or ice?

Both heat and ice can help to alleviate neck pain. Applying heat boosts circulation, helping to alleviate stiffness and soothe aching muscles. In contrast, applying cold reduces blood flow, helping to reduce swelling and associated pain following an injury.

A person can ask their doctor or pharmacist for further advice on which type of treatment is right for them.

Are neck heating pads safe?

Heating pads are generally safe. Many electric pads have an automatic switch-off feature for safety reasons, and they do not heat up to dangerous temperatures.

People should not use heating pads with damaged wiring or on damaged skin. Pregnant people should speak with a doctor before using a heating pad.

For microwavable products, particularly, a person may be at risk of injury if the heat pad bursts or if the stitching comes undone. It is also more difficult to control the temperature with microwaveable products.

How long should a person leave a heating pad on the shoulder?

Advice varies on how long a person should leave a heating pad on their shoulders. However, leaving it on for around 20 minutes can help the muscles in the shoulder warm up and benefit from the heat. People should not use heat pads for longer than 20 minutes.

Do heated neck wraps work?

Heated neck wraps may boost circulation and help ease stiff, sore muscles and pain, but there is limited research on this topic. If a person’s neck pain does not improve with home remedies like heated neck wraps, they should contact a doctor.


Neck and shoulder heating pads can help to loosen stiff joints in the upper body and alleviate sore muscles. People can choose between microwaveable heating pads offering moist heat or electric heating pads offering dry heat.

When choosing a heating pad, people may wish to consider various factors, including product size and adjustability, temperature control, and product cost.

A person should speak with their doctor if they are experiencing ongoing pain in their neck or shoulders. They may also wish to ask them if heat therapy or cold therapy would be more suitable as a treatment.