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Which back massager for knots is best?

Muscle knots always seem to appear in the most difficult locations to reach, with the back being one of the worst. Massaging them away is usually the best solution, but you can’t reach the knots with just your hands. There are a huge variety of tools you can use instead, including guns, chairs and simple balls.

The best back massager for knots is TheraGun Pro Massage Gun. It includes several massage heads for targeting your back and everywhere else, but can be a challenge to use alone.

What to know before you buy a back massager for knots

Back massager types

There are four types of back massagers that can target knots.

  • Manual massagers are good for traveling as they require no power source and are usually small to medium in size. They commonly take the form of balls or tubes but can be nearly any shape. For targeting knots, you need to place the massager on the ground or against a wall and press yourself into it in order to feel the benefits.
  • Handheld massagers also take a few forms. Many look like showerheads or guns. These models usually have the widest range of features, such as heating and variable vibration strength. Some are easy to target knots on your own, though others may require another pair of hands to target the knot for you.
  • Pillow massagers aren’t the best at targeting specific knots — instead, they target a small area of the back and soothe that area. 
  • Seat massagers come in a wide range of qualities. Some cheap models just vibrate the whole back, while better ones use multiple rolling balls to target your back area of choice, including a specific knot. Many also massage your neck while they’re at it.

Power source

Back massagers are either battery-powered or plug into an outlet.

  • Battery-powered massagers are the easiest to operate since they have no cord to deal with. However, the quality of the battery varies greatly. Some can take hours to charge and only operate for 15 minutes, while others chew through disposable batteries. The best use rechargeable batteries that last for at least 30 minutes.
  • Outlet-powered massagers don’t ever die in the middle of a session, but if the cord is short or oddly placed, it can be difficult to wield.

What to look for in a quality back massager for knots


Better back massagers have heat settings to soothe knots away while they’re targeted, with some including variable heat settings.


Over-massaging a knot is just as bad for it as ignoring it, so some back massagers have programmable timers to prevent such a thing from happening.

Variable vibration

Quality back massagers are able to decrease or increase their vibration power to treat knots of varying sizes and intensities.

How much you can expect to spend on a back massager for knots

Back massagers for knots can cost anywhere from $10-$1,000, and sometimes more. Basic manual massagers typically cost $50 or less, while the average powered massager usually costs $50-$150. The best massagers cost $150-plus.

Back massager for knots FAQ

Should I use a back massager on bare skin or over my clothes?

A. Most back massagers can be used on either bare skin or clothing with minimal changes in effect and operation. That said, it’s always best to wear thin clothing or none at all when using a back massager so your muscles can be better targeted. Some consumers have issues with their clothing causing chafing if they use a back massager. Others find skin-to-massager contact uncomfortable. Experiment to see which is most comfortable for you.

Can I use a back massager after back surgery?

A. Yes, but you need to give your doctor precise details of your back massager and how you intend to use it so they can tell you whether it’s safe. Without your doctor’s approval, never use a back massager after surgery.

Which type of back massager is easiest to aim?

A. Most back massagers are more than capable of targeting any stretch of your back. However, manual massagers can be tricky to properly place, and gun massagers can require someone else to aim it to hit certain spots. Seat massagers are the easiest to use solo, but most cover the whole back or a small zone rather than pinpointing one knot.

What’s the best back massager for knots to buy?

Top back massager for knots 

TheraGun Pro Massage Gun

TheraGun Pro Massage Gun

What you need to know: This massager is powerful and treats any knot, not just those in your back.

What you’ll love: It’s among the most powerful massage guns, and it includes six swappable heads designed to target specific areas all over the body. The arm can rotate 90 degrees to more easily target specific areas, and it uses rechargeable batteries that can last for up to five hours.

What you should consider: It’s expensive. Some settings and head combinations are powerful enough to cause damage if used incorrectly. You may need help to treat your back.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Therabody

Top back massager for knots for the money

4Kor Fitness Ultimate Massage Ball

4Kor Fitness Ultimate Massage Ball

What you need to know: This manual massager is good for working out the occasional knot.

What you’ll love: It’s among the largest massage balls, with a 4.75-inch diameter. It’s made of thermoplastic rubber for durability and has a unique tread pattern to better grip your skin and clothing for increased control, and provide increased deep tissue massage performance.

What you should consider: A few consumers thought the ball was too hard and caused more pain rather than relieving it. It takes some effort to press it into your back.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Snailax Shiatsu Neck Back Massager with Heat

Snailax Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager with Heat

What you need to know: This seat covers your entire back and neck at once.

What you’ll love: It can be placed into almost any chair to turn it into a massage chair, and it can also be used on couches. It can be set to target either the upper or lower back, entire back or a specific target area.

What you should consider: It’s a little pricey. Shorter people will need to add cushions in order to be positioned properly for full coverage.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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