8 Best Heating Pads for Effective Pain Relief

How to choose the right heating pad?

by Emma Shaw

Back pain and muscle soreness are very common in life. Most can be relieved or treated with simple home treatment within a few weeks. Heat therapy is one of the most effective home treatments to relieve back pain, joint pain, and muscle aches. Because it increases circulation, allows nutrients and oxygen to flow to the joints and muscles. This circulation improves back stiffness, inflammation, and repair of damaged muscles.

Heating pads are a type of electric mats that deliver heat therapy or thermotherapy and are used to relieve pain in the neck, back, muscles, and symptoms of arthritis. If you keep feeling cold in the back, legs, a heating pad will be more efficient than a blanket and can get you warm and cozy faster. You can combine both heating pads for maximum warmth.

Heating pads come in many sizes and most are electric. You can save money by looking at other options, such as microwavable or chemical heating pads. These are great for pain relief and simple maintenance.

Consider your specific needs before you decide which type of heating pad to buy. Are you looking for a simple boost in heat or fine control of the temperature? Our heating pad guide will help you find the right heating pad. This guide includes information about important features, as well as a listing of some of the best heating pads.

Best Heating Pads

1. Mighty Bliss Electric Heating Pad Extra Large

$29.99
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2022 8:49 am

Pros:
Soft plush heating pad with extra large heating surface
Beautiful turquoise color
Convenient and safe auto-shutoff function
Adjustable heating level for different needs
Easy to use with long cord
Size: 12"x24"

Cons:
A few reports of weak heat.

2. Sunbeam Heating Pad

$14.76
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2022 8:49 am

Pros:
Serve heating well
Very easy to control with controller
3 heat adjustment
Come in a sponge for moist or dy heat
Washable cover
Cord length: 108 inch
Size: 12"x15", extra large 12"x24"

Cons:
A few complaints of rolling up after several use.
A bit small to some people. It's better to choose the large version.

3. Sunbeam Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulder

$49.99
$42.99
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2022 8:49 am

Pros:
Perfect neck pain soothing pad
Soft and machine-washable micromink fabric
Adjustable tall collar design for best fit around neck
Magnetic closure
4 heat settings

Cord length: 9-feet
Size: 22"x19"

Cons:
Not hot enough for some people.

4. Pure Enrichment PureRelief Electric Heating Pad

$34.99
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2022 8:49 am

Pros:
The 2-hour auto- off function allows heat therapy at any time with no worry
Machine-washable soft microplush
6 adjustable temperature settings
Easy quality warranty
Cord length: 9-feet
Size: 12"x24"

Cons:
Not warm enough to some people.

5. Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL Heating Pad for Back & Neck

$59.99
$39.99
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2022 8:49 am

Pros:
Full coverage design from high neck, shoulder, to lower back
Adjustable temperature between 110-140°F
Machine-washable micromink
Elastic belf for better fit
2-hour auto-shutoff
Easy moving with the long cord
Useful magnetic neck closure
Cord length: 7-feet
Size: 29"x24"

Cons:
A bit short for taller people.
Magnetic neck closure is somewhat weak.

6. Comfier Heating Pad Vibration Massage

$42.96
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2022 8:49 am

Pros:
Provide both heating and vibration
Relieve lower back pain and stomach discomfort
Lumbar support belt is made of velvet
Adjustable vibration intensity and heat levels
Belt with extension
30-minute auto-shutoff
Cord length: 5.9-feet
Size: 45.3"x8.7"+17"

Cons:
Vibration is not strong enough to some people.
It's not washable.

7. Huggaroo Original Microwavable Heating Pad

$35.99
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2022 8:49 am

Pros:
Convenient and portable
Neck and shoulder hug design
Weighted beads remain warm longer after microwaved
Soft plush Minky fabric with scented inserts offers more calmness.
Heating time: 10-15 minutes

Cons:
Not everyone can accept the scent.
Some complaints about the flimsy outer cover.

8. Thermalon Microwave Moist Heating Pad

$17.99
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2022 8:49 am

Pros:
Cordless and portable
Effective for small pain areas
Polyester cover with HydroPearls inserts
Washable and reusable
Easy to heat in the microwave
Heating time: stay hot for 15 minutes after 1-2 minutes of microwaving.
Size: 9" x 12"

Cons:
Hot time is not long enough for some people. It's better to wrap it in a pillowcase or towel.

What to Consider When Buying a Heating Pad?

For whom

Kids can use a heating pad to relieve growth pain on their legs. Adults can use it to relieve back pain, back stiffness, neck pain, shoulder soreness, and relax muscles after a long day. Women who often feel cold can use it to warm up in cold weather, soothing sore waist and stomach discomfort during periods. Seniors can use a heating pad to relieve symptoms such as arthritis and shoulder pain. Athletes can use heating pads to reduce muscle soreness after exercise.

Heating pad types

There are many heating pads on the market. Each one has its own pros and cons. Below are the differences between microwavable and electric heating pads.

Electric heating pads

These heating pads are the best option if you are suffering from a chronic condition that needs heat therapy. An electric heating pad may provide either dry heat or moist heat depending on the model. It usually comes in several temperature settings, that allow you to adjust the heat level to suit your needs.

The major drawback of an electric heating pad is that it is not cordless. It requires a wall outlet to work. Some models that have long power cords can provide a bit more convenience.

Microwavable heating pads

These heating pads can be warmed in the microwave, as the name implies. The microwavable heating pads can be filled with natural materials, such as wheat grain, or thermal microbeads. They heat up quickly in the microwave and can retain heat for several hours. These pards are extremely affordable.
This type of heating pad is suitable for those who need to relax or for occasional pain relief (e.g. menstrual cramps)

Chemical heating pads

Chemical heating pads are usually small and are used for the exact pain areas.

They are heated up by chemical reactions, such as shaking, breaking, or exposing the pad to the air. It takes about 20 minutes to fully heat these products. Once it has been heated, the chemical heating pad can be applied to your skin directly or to the outside of the first layer of clothing because it is portable. You can go anywhere when you use a chemical heating pad to relieve pain. These heating pads are easy to find in grocery stores.

However, chemical heating pads are a bit expensive, especially based on daily use, because they are not reusable. This also means that it is not eco-friendly. In addition, you can not adjust the temperature of a chemical heating pad like the electric heating pads.

Massage heating pads

These heating pads usually come in an integrated vibration motor. They can offer both vibration massage and heat to smooth your symptoms. Their temperature and vibration intensity is adjustable depending on the model. Massage heating pads tend to be wrapped around the waist with a belt. The vibration strength is not very powerful.

Heat types

There are two main heat types for heating pads: dry heat, moist heat.

Most heating pads offer dry heat. This basically means that the heating pad heats up, but it isn’t moist or wet. Dry heat provides a greater degree of heat stability over a longer time period. Some people find it more convenient and simpler to use.

Some models can provide both dry and moist heat. Although the “moist heat function” varies from model to model, most products include a sponge that can moisten and be inserted into the pad.

Here are some differences between dry heat and moist heat:

Moist heat penetrates quicker and deeper under the skin than normal dry heat, such as electric heating pads or heat wraps, making it a good choice for muscle pain.

Some people find moist heat more effective than other pain relief methods. Because moisture increases tissue elasticity, there is less chance of skin irritation. Moist heat is less likely than dry heat to dehydrate the skin.

Women who are experiencing the aches and discomforts of pregnancy might want to use a heating pad. However, pregnant women should not raise their body temperature above 102.2°F. Experts agree that a heating pad can be used to temporarily raise the temperature of the body, but not the abdomen.

Size

The purpose of the heating pad will determine how big it is. Heating pads can come in many sizes.

A small model(12″x14″) is sufficient if you need to treat a tiny problem area, such as wrist, knee, or neck, or you are only using it for relaxation or warming up.

If you wish to wrap your entire neck and back, you will need an extra-large size(24″x29″). This is also suitable for taller people.

A single-use chemical heating pad can be a great option for pain relief while on the move, such as at work.

When you are buying a heating pad for the family, it’s better to choose a larger one, which suits everyone.

Automatic shutoff

Many electric heating pads are chosen because of their built-in auto-shutoff feature. This feature allows users to use the pad safely with no worry of overheating and catching fire. The heating pads can automatically shut off after a certain time, varying from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Though auto shut-off can be frustrating for some users. You can turn the pad back on if necessary. This feature significantly reduces the risk that you will catch fire, especially if your heating pad is used while you sleep.

Temperature settings

Different people prefer different heat levels. 120°F maybe just warm to some people, but others may think it’s too hot.
There is no way to control the temperature of chemical and microwavable heating pads. But most electric heating pads have 3 to 6 temperature heat settings. Some high-end models even have more precise temperature controls.

Cover

To avoid burning, you will need a layer of material between your skin and the heating pad. It should be soft and comfortable if it is to be applied directly to your skin, such as fleece or flannel.

Some electric heating pads have a removable cover, so you can clean the cover in the washing machine regularly. If the cover is not removable, you can only spot clean the stains with a wet cloth. Put it in a cloth bag or t-shirt, use it over a towel, keep it clean for as long as possible.

Cord length

If you are looking for an electric heating pad, the length of your cord is very important. A short cord means that you will either need to be very close to the power socket or use an extension cord. A longer cord allows you to relax in any posture.
You don’t even need a cord if you use a microwavable, chemical heating pad. This would allow you to be more flexible during therapeutic sessions.

How Much Do Heating Pads Cost?

The price of a heating pad depends on its quality, size, features, and other factors.

A decent microwave heating pad will cost you between $15 to $40. The more luxurious models are made with ultra-plush fabric and filled with weighted and natural ingredients, such as grain, clay beads, lavender, peppermint, lemongrass.

An electric heating pad can be purchased between $20 to $60. Some models only have dry heat, while others may have both dry and moist heat modes. The more expensive models may come in extra large size, automatic shutoff, multiple temperature controls, machine-washable covers. Some models have a high collar to lower back design for better treatment on the neck, shoulders, and lower back.

Is Heating Pad Machine Washable?

Regardless of the heating pad types, only the removable outer cover can be machine-washed or hand-washed. You can only put the heating pad or grain bag in a complete dry outer cover. The inner grain bag and electric pad should avoid water.
Chemical heating pads are not washable and reusable.

How to Use a Heating Pad Safely?

These tips will help you stay safe while using your heating pad.

If your heating pad doesn’t have an automatic shut-off feature, don’t fall asleep with your heating pad on.

Even your heating pad has an auto-shutoff function, don’t use it over time.

Turn off the heating pad when it is too hot.

If you find frayed wires, charred areas, or burnt odor, stop using and replace the product.

Keep an eye on while your kids or the seniors are using the heating pad.

Do not heat a microwavable heating pad for more than the prescribed time or at a higher temperature than recommended.

Heating pads should be kept away from highly combustible materials, especially when they are in the highest setting.

What Pains Should You Not Use A Heating Pad?

You should not heat treat some types of pain. This includes burns, new wounds, infections, or any other type of pain that causes inflammation. Cold may be helpful in relieving inflammation.

Can Pregnant Women Use A Heating Pad to Relieve Pain?

Yes. Pregnant women can use a heating pad to relieve pregnancy-related pains and aches in the back, hips, and joints. But should avoid using it around the abdomen, and should start with the lowest temperature and no more than 15 minutes. To avoid continuous overtime heating, it’s best to choose a microwavable heat pad or a hot water container. Don’t use a heating pad when you are sleepy.

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