The 10 Best Heating Pads

Updated April 12, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Heating Pads
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We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you prefer to ease sore muscles and aching joints without the use of pain medication, check out our selection of heating pads, ranked by comfort, ease of use, durability, and price. They can give you the relief you need with no negative side effects. We've included both electric self-heating models as well as some that rely on an external heat source, such as a microwave. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best heating pad on Amazon.

10. SoftHeat Mind & Body

The SoftHeat Mind & Body has one smooth side and one plush side, which not only offer different types of comfort, but also affect the amount of warmth that transfers to your body. Both sides are made with organic materials that won't collect bacteria.
  • cover is removable for washing
  • can be microwaved or frozen
  • does not retain heat for very long
Brand SoftHeat
Model HC1450
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Preferred Plus Therapy

The Preferred Plus Therapy produces nearly instant heat that quickly increases blood flow to the sorest parts of your body, promoting fast healing and relaxation to concentrated areas. Its made of a machine-washable material and will easily conform to your shape.
  • both dry and moist modes
  • corded remote is detachable
  • not hot enough for some users
Model HP980-12-3P-S
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. UTK Jade

Designed with safety, healing, and comfort in mind, the UTK Jade has 126 built-in discs of natural jade, which provide deep, penetrating heat to your body, much like a hot stone massage. It comes with a travel bag, so you can stay pain-free on the road.
  • programmable timer and thermostat
  • helps with pain and stress relief
  • considerably expensive
Brand UTK
Model UTK-H10020
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Thrive Natural Clay

The Thrive Natural Clay is a simple, low-cost option that is highly effective. While it doesn't have electronic controls, it does heat up very quickly in the microwave and can easily be wrapped around your neck, shoulders, back, or extremities.
  • helpful in relieving cramps
  • can also be frozen for cold therapy
  • cover material feels synthetic
Brand Thrive
Model No Model
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

6. Sunny Bay Body Wrap

Large enough to cover much of your back when draped over your shoulder, the Sunny Bay Body Wrap relieves pain with evenly distributed heat across the entire surface. It can also be used for cold treatments, and is available in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • stuffing doesn't bunch up
  • filled with natural whole grains
  • seams can fall apart over time
Brand Sunny Bay
Model heatpad-10x24-navy
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

5. BodyMed Digital Electric

The BodyMed Digital Electric is ideal for relieving muscle and joint pain caused by inflammation, sprains, or overexertion. Its controls monitor treatment temperature and time, allowing you to preset the best balance of both for your needs and adjust as you go.
  • available in three sizes
  • plug has ground prong for safety
  • quietly beeps as shutoff approaches
Brand BodyMed
Model ZZHP1427
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Nature Creation Body Set

The Nature Creation Body Set comes with both a shoulder and back or chest wrap. Each one is filled with natural herbs and grains that maintain heat from a microwave and also provide a soothing aroma for added therapeutic benefits.
  • made with eco-friendly materials
  • velcro straps secure wraps
  • manufactured in the usa
Brand Nature Creation
Model pending
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Proaller BLV-HP2048

Designed with your neck and shoulders in mind, the Proaller BLV-HP2048 has a unique shape that resembles the letter "E." Its cord detaches so that the entire flannel cushion can be tossed in the washing machine for cleaning, and it boasts high, medium, and low settings.
  • also good on other areas of the body
  • shuts off after 2 hours for safety
  • cord snaps firmly into place
Model pending
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Sunbeam XpressHeat

Available in a variety of regal hues, the ultra plush Sunbeam XpressHeat has an hourglass shape that measures around 15 by 20 inches in size. It gets hot in just half a minute and automatically shuts off after two hours to ensure it never overheats.
  • uses ambient humidity for moist heat
  • shaped to match the back's contours
  • 5-year warranty
Brand Sunbeam
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. PureRelief XL

The PureRelief XL is available in two colors, either blue or grey. Unlike some other models, which have scratchy or thin covers, this one has a very thick microplush layer that's soft to the touch and provides an added degree of comfort.
  • six temperature settings
  • great value for the price
  • warms up quickly and evenly
Brand Pure Enrichment
Model No Model
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

How Does a Heating Pad Work?

Most of today's household heating pads are what have become known as "electrical pads" (as opposed to chemical heating pads, or the now-antiquated hot water bottle). In the case of an electrical pad, the power is provided via an outlet. Once you turn it on, you can choose a heat setting (most blankets have somewhere between 5 and 10 settings). The electricity generates heat that is distributed by way of nichrome coils that lie beneath at least one layer of plastic or fabric safely separating those coils from the skin. Still, you should strictly regulate your electrical heating pad to ensure it doesn't get too hot. Most pads also come with some type of automatic shutoff function to prevent them from becoming fire hazards.

The primary purpose of a heating pad is to relieve tension. Muscle tension constricts blood flow, resulting in pain. Applying heat causes a person's blood vessels to dilate, creating increased circulation and stimulating the affected area. Repetitive use of heat therapy will more than likely result in decreased inflammation, temporary pain relief, increased range of motion, and long-term wellness (among other benefits).

Assuming you're on the go, there are several non-electrical heating pads that you can warm up by placing in a microwave, before either wrapping them around the affected muscle, or strapping them across the back with the use of some kind of harness.

What Do I Need to Know About a Heating Pad Before I Buy?

Most people purchase a heating pad for one of two reasons - either they need something that can provide them with relief from muscle pain, or they want something that can keep them warm. Knowing which of these camps you fall into makes it a lot easier to determine which type of heating pad might make the most sense.

Let's assume you're in the market for a pad that can help you with your muscle pain. You'll want something that has several different heat settings and doesn't take up too much space. You'll also want to research whether the pad is ideal for wrapping around the leg and arm muscles (as opposed to just providing relief to the back). Certain pads come with Velcro straps so they can be used like a harness. Your doctor may recommend alternating between hot and cold therapy, which means you'll probably want a non-electrical pad. A lot of these pads can be either heated up (by placing them in a microwave), or made ice-cold (by leaving them in a freezer).

If, on the other hand, you're looking for a pad that can keep you warm, you'll want the dimensions to be wide so you can absorb heat across a broad swath of your body, and you'll also want to ensure that the pad doesn't come with a lot of wires, or thick coils. There are a ton of pads like this on the market, and some of them are even designed to lie flat beneath a fitted sheet, so you can warm the entire bed with the flip of a button. Assuming you may want to place the pad on a reclining chair or couch, it may be worth considering whether a certain pad is available in a matching color.

A Brief History of The Heating Pad

In their earliest inception heating pads came in the form of a metal (or rubber) water bottle, which was heated, and then placed upon a strained or injured muscle to provide relief. The "hot water bottle," as it came to be known, has been in existence since the early 16th century. In its earliest incarnation, a hot water bottle was sometimes filled with burning coals, which were, in turn, used to warm a bed.

The primary difference between these antiquated water bottles and the electrical heating pads of today resides in the versatility, convenience, and impact that today's models offer. The number of settings on an electrical heating pad has gone from zero to infinity. In addition, there are built-in features that keep today's models from overheating. There are also automatic timers that tell the pad when to turn off. Certain non-electrical pads lock in their warmth from a microwave, and these pads are often designed to function as cooling pads, as well.

The electrical heating pad has been around since the early 1900s. It was originally introduced as a bed warmer that would sit beneath the fitted sheet, providing warmth and comfort throughout the night. While there are still electrical heating pads that are used for this purpose, most pads are designed for providing relief to injured muscles or aching joints. The concept remains very similar to that of a heated water bottle, sure, but the technology has become such that people can expect a much more concentrated result.

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Last updated on April 12, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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