The Best Cheap Heating Pads of 2019
Heat therapy is an effective way to reduce muscle pain, particularly lower back pain.
That's one takeaway from this 2014 review published in Postgraduate Medicine. The article is careful to distinguish that heat therapy provides short-term pain relief, but does not aid in recovery from injury.
Additionally, heat therapy is more effective than cold therapy at reducing lower back pain, according to a clinical study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. (All patients used naproxen.)
One way to administer heat therapy at home is with an electric heating pad. However, even the best heating pads are a fire hazard if used improperly. (Heating pads and electric blankets cause almost 500 fires each year, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International.) This fire risk can be minimized by using products with UL/ETL-listed power supplies and automatic shut-off timers.
Heating pads should never be used for more than 30 minutes in a session, nor should they be placed underneath a body part, according to safe-practice guidelines. A heating pad can cause burns over time, even on a low setting. On top of that, prolonged- or incorrect-use of a heating pad may cause erythema ab igne. This unsightly skin condition (also known as "hot water bottle rash") can harbor cancerous cells.
My two cents: Ask your doctor if he or she recommends an electric heating pad for pain management. If so, here are the best-reviewed heating pads that have sold for $30 or less in the last 12 months:
Good Price: $28 | Great Deal: $23
Asani's XL heating-pad is plush, comfortable and easy to control, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers wish that the pad was heavier; others say that it doesn't get hot enough.
Note: This heating pad is also available in grey.
Good Price: $34 | Great Deal: $26
Sunbeam's weighted heating pad is great for neck and shoulder pain, according to several Amazon customers. Reviewers have mixed feelings about the neck contour: Some say that it doesn't stay in place. Most customers agree that this pad gets to temperature quickly, but some say it doesn't get hot enough.
Good Price: $25 | Great Deal: $23
This affordable heating pad is soft, comfortable and effective, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers appreciated the automatic shutoff timer, long cord and included storage bag. Some wish the heating pad was hotter on its highest setting.
Good Price: $25 | Great Deal: $22
Asani's jumbo heating pad is soft, flexible and large, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers didn't find the instructions helpful, but many appreciate that this pad is machine washable.
Good Price: $28 | Great Deal: $15
This Sunbeam heating pad is extremely hot, even on the lowest setting, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers wish this pad was soft on both sides; others complained of a chemical odor.
Good Price: $35 | Great Deal: $28
This oversized heating pad is big, soft and hot, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers were disappointed for various reasons (e.g. temperature, durability, etc.) and received a refund.
Good Price: $26 | Great Deal: $23
This inexpensive heating pad is large, soft and easy to wash, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers wish this heating pad was hotter; others say that it warms up too slowly.
Good Price: $21 | Great Deal: $15
Milliard's heating pad is large and heats quickly, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers say the pad doesn't get hot enough; others say that it gets too hot. Customers agree that the pad's cover slips off too easily and that having to unplug the pad to turn it off is annoying.
Good Price: $20 | Great Deal: $15
Fitfirst's heating pad is soft, large and it has a long cord, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers say it's easy to press the on/off switch by accident; some say the pad takes a while to warm up.
Good Price: $28 | Great Deal: $25
This plush heating pad is soft and comfortable, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers (even happy ones) say the pad gets warm, but not hot. Some customers like that the pad automatically shuts itself off after two hours of use, but other customers begrudge this safety feature.