If you want the benefits of a massage chair, but don’t want to spend a ton of money, then a massage cushion is what you need. Massage chairs are great, but they aren’t practical choices for everyone. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t limit the relief and benefits you can get from a massage. Massage cushions are smart investments that are easy to install, easy to use, and easy to store. Moreover, you won’t be worried about any up-keep, and your financial commitment will be non-existent.
Regardless of how much money you are willing to spend, you still want a product that does the job right. Through our guide, you will find the best massage cushions and pads of 2018. These products have been tested and approved to make our top ten massage cushions list. Aside from personally testing each cushion our list, we looked at ratings, price quality ratios and sustainability. These three factors played a big role in determining which pads made the cut, and which ones did not.
Top 8 Massage Cushions
|Shiatsu 3D Massage Cushion||Nursal||4 Nodes||4.4/5|
|Vibrating Massage Cushion||Sable||4 Nodes||4.3/5|
|Back Massage Cushion||Snailax||4 Nodes||4.5/5|
|Back Massager Cushion||Naipo||8 Nodes||4.4/5|
|Vibrating Back Seat Cushion||Gideon||8 Massage Motors||4.7/5|
|MCS-750HA Quad Pro Cushion||HoMedics||4 Nodes||4.2/5|
|ZMA14 Neck and Back Massage Cushion||Zyllion||8 Nodes (4 Neck & 4 Back)||4.0/5|
|FS8812 Massage Seat Cushion||Five S||10 Massage Motors||3.9/5|
Massage Cushion Reviews
1. Nursal Shiatsu 3D Massage Cushion
The Nursal was a polarizing massage cushion, some people loved it, and others found it to be too much. The reason being that the shiatsu massage it provides is very strong and pressing. Although it relieves tension and muscle fatigue, it is a particularly tough pad.
It works through 4 massage nodes that move up and down your back. You can choose whether to let them run free or target a specific area of your back (upper, lower, and full back). When you use it to focus in on one particular area, the massage is strong enough to help reduce pain and bring relief to those extremely tight and tense muscles.
You can adjust everything you want through its remote control and it elastic straps. The seat cushion is made from PU leather that is both durable and aesthetically appealing; it also has 3 vibration intensity levels: low, medium, and high. The design of the chair was based on 3D rotating balls which focus on penetrating the muscles and kneading, similar to a massage therapist.
The pad is uncomfortable to sit on if you aren’t using the massage features. We found ourselves putting it on and taking it off quite often. Lastly, we do not recommend this for thinner folks as it will dig into your body.
2. Sable Vibrating Massage Cushion
The Sable heating cushion is an FDA approved product that focuses on three areas, your buttocks, neck, and back. It uses multiple features such as heating for your back and neck to mimic spa-like treatments and has several safety precautions to protect you.
In comparison to most cushions and pads, the material for the Sable cushion is one of the softest and relaxing. It can withstand consistent usage without any signs of wear and tear. Furthermore, we found that it was super easy to clean and maintain.
The remote control features two “massage zones” that provide independent targeting of your neck and back. You can move the 4 nodes to target any area of your back, and the neck massage is vertically adjustable to accommodate people of different heights. Lastly, the seat targets your buttocks with three unique types of vibrations.
It is important to note that Sable does not recommend sessions running longer than 30 minutes.*
This cushion does not work for anyone over 5’11. We tried adjusting and moving the pad around, but the nodes constantly kept hitting the pelvic area and shoulder blades which was incredibly uncomfortable.
3. Snailax Back Massage Cushion
Our next cushion is one of the sturdiest ones on our list, and it packs a strong punch like a shiatsu chair. For this reason, we wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is frail and has trouble with deep massaging techniques. However, if you need something that really digs into you, then this is a perfect choice.
Aside from the strong massage, Snailax was able to produce a cushion that is enormously stable and versatile with its range. You can choose to massage different parts of your back, as the knuckle design of the nodes covers the entire surface.
Moving onto the timer, Snailax uses a 5 minute interval timer which helps regulate quicker sessions. The chair also has vibrations and heating which are on the lighter side compared to the actual massaging. To be honest, if they could take some of the power from the massage, and add it to the heating and vibrations, it might even be better.
Overall, we found that the biggest beneficiaries of the cushion are people that have shoulder and neck pain from sitting forward too long. The range of the nodes and power of the shiatsu massage is a life saver for these folks.
Again, you can look at this positively or negatively. Regardless, the padding on the back of the cushion needs to be thicker. We know some folks love a strong massage, but it makes it difficult for those that want something moderate to adjust since there isn’t an adjustment feature.
4. Naipo Back Massager Cushion
The Naipo cushion is different from many of the pads on our list. Instead of sticking with the traditional 4 nodes, Naipo included 8 massaging nodes that are adjustable, making the cushion great for people between 5’1 and 6’0.
The unit includes rotating massage rollers that extend from your lower back to your neck. It also comes with heat and massaging that target your thighs and hips. The targeting of the thighs and hips was particularly impactful as it was able to help reduce pain. Usually the strength of a hip massage is weak, but in this case, it might have even been too strong.
What we found to be the most useful was the customization aspect of the cushion. We were able to use pinpointing kneading and shiatsu massaging along with 3 massage zones to position the rollers in the exact spot we wanted to target. This is becoming standard in almost all massage chairs, but you don’t see it done this well in massage cushions.
Naipo lists that a lot of folks with medical conditions contact their doctors before using the device. We also noticed that the pad itself is somewhat bulky and sticks out quite far.
5. Gideon Vibrating Back Seat Cushion
The Gideon back seat cushion is a piercing pad that uses 8 massage motors and programs to help relieve your aches and pains. You can move it just about anywhere because of the strap that adjusts itself on any surface you put it on.
There were 2 main reasons that this cushion made our list, well actually 3 reasons.
The first reason was that it was easy to use. The remote is intuitive and the cushion itself is foldable. When you want to use it, you just attach it onto the surface you are going to put it on and the firm strap will keep the seat in place. When you are done all you have to do is fold it up, and it is good to go.
Our second reason is that it gives you 8 different massage programs while using 8 motors. A lot of massage chairs don’t even have 8 different programs for their whole operation. To have so many movements in a simple cushion is really impressive.
Now the third reason and probably the most impressive is that you can use the cushion in bed or lying down on your sofa. Although this isn't the same zero g reclining, it is still impressive. It is actually pretty unheard of with cushions because they have massage balls on their backs that don’t let you operate unless you are sitting up. The remote also comes with an LCD screen that works in the dark by illuminating the screen, which makes it great for using in bed before you go to sleep.
If you want to use this cushion in a quiet area, you are going to have to wait until you get somewhere else because this thing is way too loud. We couldn’t find any way to make it quieter either.
6. HoMedics MCS-750HA Quad Pro Massage Cushion
A lot of cushions have different programs and zones but massaging styles, more or less, remain the same. HoMedics included the following 3:
- Percussion – Quick and stimulating
- Rolling – Gentle and calming
- Kneading – Muscle targeting and deep
A part from the 3 massaging styles, we were impressed with the zone control. Massage cushions are increasing the amount of customizable options that users have but a ton still don’t have spot control To be able to hold on one area and have it massaged is a big plus in our books.
The personal control continues with the Quad Pro Cushion through programming. Users can customize and create their own massages to help figure out what works for them. This can be combined with heating that you can turn off and on with a simple button.
The foundation of the cushion is solid as well. It uses a strap system that limits movement, and the breathable material is made from a fabric mesh cover which is soft to touch.
We found that the Quad Pro was a bit too thick. Having a sleeker design would let it fit into more office chairs a lot easier. Furthermore, it made this weird grinding noise at times but stopped after a few times.
7. Zyllion ZMA14 Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager Cushion
Zyllion created the ZMA14 to help solve a few problems. For one, they wanted to allow for more customization and a thinner design. In our opinion, they were able to accomplish both of those things.
The ZMA14 targets your neck and back to deliver a strong and efficient massage. You can adjust the rollers or allow the nodes to massage your entire back freely. The separation of the neck and back massage is the best thing about the ZMA14. Zyllion included extra massage nodes in the neck area that allow for a wider and more controlled massage.
One of our favorite parts was the vibrating motors that help strengthen the body and relax it at the same time. You feel the same techniques being used in the nodes to help strengthen and heal the entire back. Using multiple heads to copy complete kneading techniques is hard, but Zyllion executed the techniques very well.
Overall, the ZMA14 can do a couple of things really well. It helps with shoulder pain, reducing muscle tension, and soothing your tight areas to improve blood flow. Moreover, the cushion is FDA approved and uses a 20 minute automatic shut off technique to protect you and the cushion from damage.
Due to the intensity of the massage, a few of our testers actually put a blanket over the pad to make it more bearable. This is something to be aware of if you have sensitive back and neck muscles.
8. Five S FS8812 10-Motor Vibration Massage Seat Cushion
After seeing the price and using the Five S massage cushion, it becomes apparent as to why it is on our list. You can’t beat this combo. It is too good of a deal with the features that you get. It is important to know why you are getting this cushion; otherwise, you might be disappointed.
It functions with a microprocessor and a 10 motor vibration system that targets your thighs, neck, and back. This is all controlled by a hand held remote which also lets you turn on the heat with or without the massage. We also used the 3 massage speeds and 4 programs that give you different techniques and methods to use the motors.
You can change up the speed, automatically move in and out, and change the massage zones. The zones were actually our favorite part; they targeted the following:
- Upper back, neck, and shoulders
- Middle back
- Lower back/Lumbar region
You can let the massage programs just run one after the other, and the cushion will go through them one by one, or you can focus on a specific one.
The most important thing to know about this cushion is that it doesn’t come with a shiatsu or kneading massage. It doesn’t have any rolling balls either. But that isn’t the point of this cushion! It is created to be an affordable alternative to more expensive cushions, and it provides mild relief.
The biggest downside is that it doesn’t have any shiatsu or kneading massaging. However, the cushion was not designed for this purpose. It is made as a cheap alternative for people that still want control over their vibration zones, heating, speed, and programs.
Final Cushion Thoughts
If you thought you absolutely needed a massage chair to get a great shiatsu, deep tissue, or general massage, hopefully we changed your mind. You don’t need to spend $1000s of dollars to get a massage, but you should also be aware that you won’t be getting the same quality. It isn’t very reasonable to expect a $40 massage cushion to do what a $5000 massage chair does. However, you can expect a massage cushion to help you with your aches and save you a ton of money.
Each of the cushions on our list is tested and approved by an official tester. Each one has been used by different body shapes and structures to come up with the most accurate reviews. We found that the best massage cushions all have something in common with the top massage chairs and that is a great sign. It makes each cushion a perfect gift for yourself or someone you love.