Best Heating Pads for Injury Recovery Reviewed
When you’re training, injuries are bound to happen. Whether you’re training for a triathlon, practicing for an MMA tournament, or just trying to lose weight at the gym, we all reach our limits sooner or later. The problem is what we decide to do once we’ve hit those limits. Injuries happen to the best of us, and whether or not they set us back weeks in our training, or bounce back quickly all depends on the steps we take when they happen.
- Sunbeam King-Size
- UltraHeat Technology
- Washable cover
- TheraPAQ Neck & Shoulder
- Heating and Cooling Options
- My Heating Pad
- Double-sided fleece and coton
Heating pads are some of the best tools to help you get back on your feet after an injury has knocked you down. These products are designed to send soothing heat directly into the muscle, to open the blood vessels and reduce inflammation. So, you need a heating pad. The only problem is, which one to pick? Do you want a model that you can plop in the microwave, or do you want one that needs to be plugged in? Is it better to apply moist or dry heat? All of these questions can seem overwhelming. However, the answers have all been assembled below.
10 Best Heating Pads
1. Sunbeam King-Size
The Sunbeam King-Size Electric Heating Pad has a unique feature designed to help heat your sore and tired muscles. Its patented UltraHeat technology penetrates deep into your body to help increase the flow of blood to sore areas to promote both muscle relaxation and faster healing. This increased blood flow will help you heal faster so that you can get back on your feet, and get back to your training.
It's a fact of life that when you're using a heating pad, you're going to be heating up your body. And when the human body heats up, it tends to sweat. This moisture will, of course, translate directly onto your heating pad. Luckily, this product has a washable cover that can be removed and cleaned. You won't have to worry about how much gunk your heating pad has accumulated over its successive uses.
Cost and Value
This is one of the least expensive items on our list. It is also the most highly rated. It has an excellent basic set of features, including its moist and dry heat options and an auto-shutoff. Additionally, few heating pads come with a washable cover. All of these facts combined equal one great value for one extremely reasonable price.
Moist or dry heat
3 heat settings
Wears out after consistant use
2. TheraPAQ Neck & Shoulder
This heating pad is designed to sit around your shoulders, to deliver pain relief directly to your neck and upper back. This is an area commonly impacted by sports injuries, that is also extremely difficult to hold a heating pad or ice pack too. Now you don't have to exert any effort; the heating pad will stay in place without any effort on your part.
Heating and Cooling
Oftentimes if you need an ice pack or a heating pad, you have to purchase two separate products. This not only costs you more money but also takes up more room in your house. This two-in-one product is as versatile as it is dependable. Now, regardless of whether your sports injury requires icing or heating, you have one handy product that can handle both scenarios.
Cost and Value
This product is in the low-to-mid range of price when compared to other items on our list. However, it does have some things that other products like it don't. Its contoured shape lets it stay in place without any effort, and it also has the dual function of both heating and cooling. After taking all these factors into account, it is worth its price.
12in by 17in
Heating and cooling
100% money back guarantee
3. My Heating Pad
A downside of some heating pads is that they are specialized to be used on a specific area of the body, such as the neck and shoulders, or the lower back. The Hot Therapy Pack doesn't suffer from any of these constraints, and can be applied to any area of the body. Strain your calves while running? Pull a muscle in your bicep while weight training? No matter the scenario, this product has got you covered.
Instead of having to plug in a product and waiting for it to reach the desired temperature, this product offers a much more convenient option. All you have to do is pop it in the microwave to get it up to the desired level of heat. Once it's out of the microwave, it is fully heated and ready to go.
Cost and Value
This product is the least expensive item on our list. Though it doesn't have some of the frills that other products on this list come with, it is nevertheless versatile and well-regarded. It is soft, lightweight, and pet safe, which makes it well worth its low price.
Two-sided fleece and cotton
4. Thermophore MaxHeat
When you're in pain, one of the worst parts is waiting for your product to heat up so that you can get some relief. The longer you're in pain, the more discomfort you're in. To minimize your pain and to get you the relief you need, the Thermophore MaxHeat Deep-Heat Therapy is designed to heat up quickly, delivering healing temperatures to you in record time. It heats up and stays hot to improve blood flow and promote healing.
One of the main flaws of heating pads and heating packs is their inability to be cleaned. Oftentimes, over the many months and years of use, they can get exposed to all sorts of surfaces and materials. Eventually, they all need to get cleaned. Unfortunately, many can't be. Not so with the Thermophore MaxHeat Deep-Heat Therapy. This product is easy to clean so that you won't have to worry about what's on the fabric. Instead, you can focus on the relieving heat getting delivered to your injury.
Cost and Value
Among the mid-range priced items on our list, this product sits on the high end. It has features comparable to many other mid-range models, including moist and dry heat, heating quickly, and is easy to clean. However, there are many comparable models that have all these features for a lesser price. Some people have reported that this product may break down after a few months of use. Keep these things in mind when deciding whether or not to purchase the Thermophore MaxHeat Deep-Heat Therapy.
May break after several months
5. Pure Enrichment XL King
Sometimes heating pads are designed solely to do one thing, deliver heat. While this is arguably the most important aspect, that doesn't mean you need to be uncomfortable while you use the product. You're already laid up with an athletic injury; you don't need an itchy heating adding to your woes. This product combats this problem with its microplush fabric to give you the height of comfort.
5 Year Warranty
Pure Enrichment has some of the best warranties in the industry. This is evidenced by the feature on Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL King Size Heating Pad, with its 5-year warranty. Only a company that's absolutely certain of their product quality would dare offer such an extensive warranty.
Cost and Value
This product has a mid-ranged price when compared to the other items on our list. However, its features far exceed those of a mid-range heating pad. From its exceedingly great warranty to its ultra softness to its dry and moist heat options, this product is a winner. The Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL King Size Heating Pad is worth every penny.
Moist heat option
Defective units are fire hazard
6. Happy Wraps® Herbal
Oftentimes with heating pads, we're never quite certain what these products are made from. Usually, it's a mix of synthetic fibers and plastics. However, you can rest assured that this product is made with 100% cotton. For those whose skin is easily irritated by synthetic fibers, this feature is a huge plus.
Aside from just delivering heat to your sore muscles after an intense day at the gym, this product also includes an aromatherapy aspect. Even though training can get you pumped up, everyone needs to be able to relax at the end of a long day. This lavender-scented product will put you immediately at ease.
Cost and Value
This is one of the least expensive items on our list. Detractors may point to the fact that it doesn't have a plugin, and thus has to be microwaved once it loses its heat. However, this is balanced out by the fact that this product is 100% cotton and has an aromatherapy option. For the right person, this product is well worth its low price.
Free lavender eye pillow
7. Pure Enrichment Neck
This is the only heating pad included on our list that is not only contoured for your neck and shoulders, but that also features a plug-in. The other products on our list that are contoured for the neck and shoulders have to be placed in the microwave in order to get up to the desired temperature. When they cool off, you have to get up and heat them again. This plug-in design ensures you get consistent heat without the hassle.
Mink is one of the softest furs in the animal kingdom. Pure Enrichment took a leaf out of nature's book when they decided to emulate this fur for its softness. The PureRelief Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad has a feel that is as soft as its wild inspiration. This will ensure comfort as you convalesce.
Cost and Value
This product has a mid-range price when compared to the other items on this list. Pure Enrichment products are extremely highly rated, and you can be assured of their quality through their warranty. This is product will ensure you get consistent heat to your neck and shoulders without having to reheat your pack in the microwave. Overall, its quality and convenience make it more than worth its price.
Contoured for neck and shoulders
Dry or moist options
No intense heat
8. PROALLER Heat Therapy
Dry heat is the most common kind of heat applied by heating pads. However, moist heat can penetrate faster and farther, getting right down to the muscle. In a study that compared both dry and moist heat, results showed that moist heat led to more pain reduction with in less time. As an aside, moist heat also has fewer changes for skin irritation.
The ability to throw your heating pad in the wash is both a huge time saver and a headache preventer. Any item that is covered in fabric is prone to getting dirty. That goes double for an item that you use with some degree of regularity, as most athletes do with their heat-therapy products.
Cost and Value
This product is on the higher end of the price range, though it still sits somewhere towards the upper middle. The fact that it has multiple heat options, as well as the fact that it is machine washable, is a huge plus. Overall, it is a decent mid-range product, with features comparable to other products in its price range.
Two heating options
90 day return warranty
9. UTK Far Infared
The fact that this product contains infrared technology sets it apart from other heating pads. Infrared heating pads due to the fact that their heat penetrates deeper into your body, reaching up to four inches. This far and deep reaches allow the heat to reach each muscle, blood vessel, and nerve. Whether you've pulled a muscle on the basketball court or tore a tendon in a sparring match, this deep-reaching heat will help you heal faster.
This is the only heating pad on our list that is has been recognized by the FDA as having been proven to treat injuries quickly and effectively. UTK's products are classified as Medical Devices Class IIa. This designation means that they are recognized by the leading governmental authority on health as providing results comparable to those you would receive through taking medication.
Cost and Value
This is by far the most expensive product on our list. Innovation comes with a price. If you want to have the latest and most cutting-edge technology, it will end up costing you. However, in its favor, this product is the only one on our list that is recognized by the FDA. Its results have been clinically tested and shown to bring real and powerful results. If you're willing to shell out the extra money, this cutting-edge medical device can help you back up when a sports injury puts you down.
10. TechLove Extra Large
This is perhaps the largest heating pad offered on this list. It is two feet long by one foot wide, giving you the maximum coverage. Whether you strained your back while doing deadlifts or overtaxed both sets of hamstrings in a race, this product can give you the coverage you need.
Some people worry about the fire danger that comes with a heating pad, especially the variety that is plugged into the wall. To allay your fears, this product has a built-in auto-shutoff. After two hours it will automatically power down, ultimately giving you the peace of mind you need to rest easy and heal up.
Cost and Value
This product is on the upper end of the price range when compared to other items on our list. However, its huge size sets it apart from its compatriots. In addition, it also has far more heat settings (6) than most other products on this list, and has an extremely long cord. Overall, this item is a steal for its price.
6 heat settings
May not stay warm
Getting hurt shouldn’t keep you from achieving your fitness goals. Taking a conscientious and proactive approach to your healing will ensure that you can get back out there. Getting the right heating pad, and taking other steps to consciously heal your body is vital. If you don’t want to stay sidelined, it’s important to know what steps to take to help your body repair itself. Products like these can greatly speed you along on the road to recovery.
Criteria For Evaluating The Best Heating Pads
Many heating pads need to be put into the microwave for a few minutes to get up to the desired heat. Be careful not to over-heat the product, as this can damage it. When it cools off after use, you will need to heat it again for continued relief.
The other most common kind of heating pad is the variety that you plug into the wall. This is superior in some ways to the microwavable variety in that it is able to deliver continuous heat without needing to be put back in the microwave. The downside is that these plug-in models usually cost more.
Kinds of Heat
- Moist Heat:
Moist heat is different from dry heat in that it is able to penetrate further and faster into the damaged area. It can get deep into the muscles that are the source of your ache to relieve. Moist heat also is less irritating on the skin than dry heat.
- Dry Heat:
Dry heat, in layman’s terms, is any heat applied directly to the body that isn’t moist heat. Dry heat is the most common method employed by heating pad producers.
The most common fabrics on heating pads are synthetics. This is perhaps due to the fact that they can be manufactured to be extra-soft and smooth on irritated skin. It is also less expensive and helps keep the product’s cost down.
- Cotton or Natural Fibers:
Some products are made with a more natural and eco-friendly fiber in mind, cotton. Cotton is usually easily washable and is non-irritating to the skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are heating pads a fire hazard?
A: If the heating pad is well cared for and not defective, they should not be a fire hazard. Many have a built-in auto-shut-off feature that turns them off automatically after a certain length of time.
Q: What’s the maximum temperature?
A: This will vary greatly from one heating pad to another. Most generally are not designed to get up to scorching temperatures, which could burn the wearer. When using a microwavable pad, make sure that you do not put it in the microwave for too long, which can result in overheating.
Q: What’s the difference between moist and dry heat?
A: Moist heat generally involves some kind of water. Hot water bottles and hot towels use moist heat. For many heating pads, you have to spray them with a water bottle to get the moist heat effect. Moist heat has been shown to provide better relief to sore muscles by penetrating deeper and more quickly into the body. Dry heat is any heat that doesn’t use any moisture.
Q: How long is the cord?
A: This will vary greatly from product to product, anywhere between five and nine feet. You’ll need to check the individual product specifications.
Q: Is it machine washable?
A: Many are. Check the individual product specs to make sure. Also, make sure it is completely dry before plugging in.