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September 17, 2019

Best Heating Pad to Use for Sore Muscles

Pure Enrichment Heating Pad

Image via Amazon

Heat therapy has been used since ancient times for pain relief. With the increase of health conditions and injuries today, many people turn to heat therapy for relief. Heating pads are one of the easiest yet most effective heat therapy methods to use for pain relief, especially for sore muscles. It's difficult to know which is the best heating pad for you. So in this article, we have compiled a list of the ten best heating pads to use for sore muscles this year, and have also answered some common questions about heating pads to make your research easier.

Heating Pads | Commonly Asked Questions

1. What Is a Heating Pad?

A heating pad is a pad that is used for warming parts of the body for pain management. They typically consist of a heating element covered by a soft material such as flannel or fleece. When applied to a certain body part, the heat causes blood vessels in that area to dilate, allowing more blood to flow into the targeted tissue.

2. What Are the Benefits of Heating Pads?

By allowing you to apply heat to specific areas, heating pads can be used to alleviate and soothe pain, such as muscle soreness, back pain, joint pain, spasms and cramps, and health-related pains such as fibromyalgia pain. They provide a holistic approach to such pain relief and can also help injuries heal faster. Finally, heating pads can also be used for comfort and relaxation.

3. What Are the Types of Heating Pads?

Heating pads can be electrical, microwaveable, or chemical. Each has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Electrical heating pads are the most preferred type, best for chronic conditions that need regular heat relief. It can provide moist heat, dry heat, or both and allows you to adjust the heat level to suit your personal needs. However, they need a wall socket to operate, making them less portable than microwaveable and chemical versions.

Microwaveable heating pads are filled with natural materials like flax seeds and wheat grain or with thermal microbeads that heat in the microwave and stay warm for several hours. These pads are very affordable and are best for occasional pain relief and relaxation. They are not the best option if you need regular heat relief for health conditions.

Chemical heating pads warm up through a chemical reaction caused by either exposing them to air, shaking them, or breaking them. They typically take about 20 minutes to heat all the way and can be applied directly to the skin or the outside of the first layer of clothing. They can be used under clothes for pain relief on the go. However, they can get expensive if you use them often, and you can't control their temperature.

4. What Features Should I Look for?

Some features to keep in mind include temperature control, auto shut-off, the cover material, flexibility, and size. If you're using an electrical heating pad, you also want to look at the cord length to make sure you can use it comfortably.

5. Are Heating Pads Safe?

Heatings pads are safe, but you need to make sure you read the instruction manual before using them and follow it strictly. Also, you may need to speak to your physician before use if you have health conditions that could be affected by using a heating pad. Always remove heating pads if they feel too hot to avoid scalding.

Best Heating Pad to Use for Sore Muscles

Image via Amazon

How We Reviewed

We compiled this list of best heating pads only after conducting extensive research on heat therapy and the types of heating pads available on the market. We also read countless user reviews to provide a balanced review of each heating device. After conducting this research, we reviewed each heating pad based on their features, price, availability, and cord length (where applicable). By comparing across these four specifications, we can provide the most accurate list of the best heating pads.

Overall Price Range

The normal price range for heating pads is from $10 to around $80. Higher-priced pads may include automatic shut-off, temperature adjustment options, high-quality cover materials, moist and dry heat settings, larger sizing, and more. Each pad on this list is the best heating pad for its price, so you can find the best heating pad for your personal budget and heating needs.

We should note there is a handful of infrared heating pads out there that use gemstones; these pads fall well outside of the normal price range and typically cost several hundred dollars. To provide a versatile list, we have included two such heating pads.

What We Reviewed

man with hurt knee

Image via Pexels

  • Sunbeam Heating Pad
  • Thermophore MaxHeat Deep-Heat Therapy
  • Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL King Size Heating Pad
  • Thermalon Microwave Activated Moist Heat Pad
  • SoftHeat MaxHeat Ultra Back Wrap
  • Sunny Bay Extra Long Neck Heating Wrap
  • Far Infrared Amethyst Mat Mini
  • Sunbeam Heating Pad for Neck & Shoulder Pain Relief
  • Pure Enrichment PureRelief Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad
  • HealthyLine PEMF Infrared Crystal Rainbow Chakra Mat

Sunbeam Heating Pad

[amazon box=”B005NZ66KU”]

Features

The Sunbeam King Size XpressHeat Heating Pad is one of the best heating pads out there if you need a large heating pad for covering an entire area of your body, such as your torso. It measures 12" by 24" and has an integrated micro-plush cover, making it soft and easy to wash. The pad heats in 30 seconds for fast pain relief and has 180 watts of power.

It features an adjustable auto-shutoff function that allows you to customize the length of each session from 2 hours to continuous heat. It is easily operated by the digital LED controller, which allows you to switch between six personalized heat settings. It features a 9-foot power cord and comes with a five-year limited warranty.

Price $$

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This pad has a 9-foot cord length.

Thermophore MaxHeat Deep-Heat Therapy

[amazon box=”B000ZHJS0G”]

Features

The Thermophore MaxHeat Deep-Heat Therapy Heating Pad is another impressively large heating pad, measuring 14 " by  27", allowing it to cover the entire torso. It features an auto-switch that allows you to pre-set the temperature in three different settings and let it heat on its own for easy, hands-free heating. It generates moist heat, which is easily delivered through the fleece cover. This cover is non-shedding and washable. It also has a four-stage therapy switch that provides 20-minute treatments with automatic shutoff.

Price $$

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This pad has a 10-foot cord length.

Pure Enrichment PureRelief Heating Pad

Image via Amazon

Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL King Size Heating Pad

[amazon box=”B01KVYTV86″]

Features

The Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL is another of the best heating pads in the large category. It measures 12" by 24" and is covered by a soft micro-plush fabric to provide maximum comfort. This fabric also allows you to dampen it to provide moist heating therapy instead of dry if you prefer. It reaches its peak temperature of 112ºF in a little over two minutes, which is on the lower end of the price range when compared to other pads on this list.

It is operated by a digital LCD controller, which allows you to choose from six heat settings. You also can choose automatic shutoff after two hours or continuous heat. It comes with a storage pad to keep it safe and clean when not in use.

Price $$

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This pad has a 9-foot cord length.

Thermalon Microwave Activated Moist Heat Pad

[amazon box=”B000E59GTW”]

Features

The Thermalon Heating Pad is one of the best heatings pads if you have a stricter budget. This affordable pad is microwaveable and made of polyester and spandex. It measures 9" by 12" and it is recommended that you heat it in the microwave for one to two minutes.

It delivers moist heat via Hydro Pearl technology, which features beads that continuously absorb water molecules from the air and release then release them once the pad is microwaved. It provides 20 to 30 minutes of treatment per session and includes a pocket for warming the feet or hands. Some customers have noted that the pad may tear and beads may drop out after regular use.

Price $

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This pad is cordless.

Thermalon Microwave

Image via Amazon

SoftHeat MaxHeat Ultra Back Wrap

[amazon box=”B000FFSD1S”]

Features

The SoftHeat MaxHeat Heating Pad is one of the best heating pads to choose if you're having back pain, as they specifically designed it to wrap around the lower back. It secures with velcro, which allows it to be worn easily and sets it apart from other pads. It is made of 100% polyester, allowing it to be machine-washed and dried, and has an auto-shutoff feature.

It uses SmartHeat technology, which provides constant heat without changes in wattage. It provides four heat settings with this technology; however, this heat doesn't last more than a few minutes, so it is not ideal for those who need continuous heat relief.

Price $$

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This pad has a 9-foot cord length.

Sunny Bay Extra Long Neck Heating Wrap

[amazon box=”B00NOW8T1I”]

Features

The Sunny Bay Extra Long Neck Heating Wrap is a microwaveable heating pad that is ergonomically designed specifically for the shoulders and neck. It can also be used on the legs, arms, and other areas. This wrap is filled with rice and covered in thick fleece for heat retention; it weighs in at 2.5 pounds. When filled, it measures 4.5" by 25", making it comfortable to conform around the neck easily and provide hands-free heating. It can also be frozen to provide cold therapy.

Price $$

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This heating pad is cordless.

laser pointer measuring heating pad

Image via Flickr

Far Infrared Amethyst Mat Mini

[amazon box=”B018Q7SZZ0″]

Features

If you're looking for a high-end product, then the Far Infrared Amethyst Mini Mat is definitely the best heating pad for you. This 32" by 20" mat comes with a high price tag to match the high-quality materials and functions it provides. It features an 18-layer system that is filled with almost 7 pounds of 2 to 7mm, 100% natural Amethyst crystals from Brazil. These crystals absorb negative ions that release heat and can deliver penetrating heat as deep as 8 inches below the skin for a satisfying experience.

It is equipped with the EMF FREE heating system with three time settings and comes with an overheat function for safety. A digital controller allows you to set and maintain your heating time and temperature at a range of 86° to 158°F. It is covered in luxurious artificial suede with wavy tubes that are infused with the crystals from edge to edge and has a heat-resistant triangular PU film window in the center to view the crystals. It comes with a waterproof protective cover and a handbag for carrying and storing it.

Price $$$

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This heating pad is cordless.

Sunbeam Heating Pad for Neck & Shoulder Pain Relief

[amazon box=”B0753PSVY7″]

Features

The Sunbeam Renue Heating Pad is another heating pad designed specifically for the neck. It has a round contour and magnetic fastening for wrapping it around the neck; the tall collar gives added comfort. It is lightweight and covered in micro-mink fabric, which is machine-washable. It features four heat settings controlled by a simple controller and an auto shut-off feature. Some users report a bad smell from the wrap, but it is usually gone once washed. This pad comes with a five-year limited warranty.

Price $$

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This heating pad is cordless.

Pure Enrichment PureRelief

Image via Amazon

Pure Enrichment PureRelief Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad

[amazon box=”B01KVYJJBK”]

Features

Pure Enrichment PureRelief has another great heating pad. The neck and shoulder heating padis contoured to relieve tension in the shoulder and neck area. The 14" by 22" pad has built-in magnetic closures to help it stay in place for your entire session, which is recommended to be only 20 minutes a day unless otherwise recommended by your doctor. It is covered with micro-mink material and is machine-washable. This pad provides a moist heat therapy option and also has a 2-hour auto-shutoff feature. It comes with a convenient storage bag that will protect the pad.

Price $$

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This heating pad has a 9-foot length cord.

HealthyLine PEMF Infrared Crystal Rainbow Chakra Mat

[amazon box=”B0758FZVL9″]

Features

The HealthyLine PEMF Infrared Crystal Rainbow Chakra Mat is last on our list of best heating pads, but certainly not the least. This 50" by 24" high-quality infrared mat is encrusted with 7 gemstones such as red jasper, carnelian, amethyst, and more. It is designed for cleansing chakra points and features a PEMF therapy system that sends repeated electromagnetic pulses to cells that may have been damaged or injured.

It also uses negative ions to help with muscle pain and offers hot stone therapy. The controller with the digital LED display allows you to adjust time and temperature settings.

Price $$$

Where to Buy

Cord Length

This heating pad is cordless.

The Verdict: The Best Heating Pad for Sore Muscles

After comparing these top ten models, we chose the Sunbeam King Size XpressHeat Heating Pad as the best heating pad on the list. Not only is it affordable, but it is large, has a micro-plush cover, and has the fastest heat-up time of all the models. It also provides an adjustable auto-shutoff feature, six personalized heat settings, has a long cord, and comes with a long warranty to boot. For such an affordable price, this heating pad truly provides all the features that make a great heating pad.

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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