If you’re aching, there’s a good chance that someone, at some point has recommended the use of a hot compress to treat it. However, constantly heating up cloths and towels can be difficult, especially if you’re in a lot of pain and living alone.
Well, heating pads are the next best solution – they can help and get hot without you needing to do much. They are one of the quickest and easiest ways to deal with pain.
Take a look at some of the best heating pads on offer today and see if they’re the thing you need.
- The Basics of Heating Pads
- Finding a Heating Pad Near You
- Comparing the Best Heating Pads of 2020
- Top 16 Heating Pads You Can Get in 2020
- Heating Pads – The Main Benefits
- How to Find the Right Heating Pad – The Most Complete Buying Guide
- Surprising Uses for Heating Pads That You Haven’t Considered
- Heating Pads FAQ
The Basics of Heating Pads
So, at this point, you might be wondering – what are heating pads? How do they work? What are they used for? How to use a heating pad? Well, I’ll give you the answer to those questions and a few extra ones as well. . If I were to explain heating pads as basically as possible – they’re pads of various shapes and sizes that can be heated in one of a few different ways and placed on your body to heat you up.
There are many different processes that they can use to generate heat. Some use electricity; others can employ chemical reactions while others are simply heated up with a microwave or a similar appliance.
Their primary use is for heat therapy (also called thermotherapy or therapeutic heating)
Basically healing with heat, used for reducing pain and treating certain conditions. It’s what you do every time you use a hot compress to help with an injury or use a hot tub to relax yourself.
Heating pads can come in plenty of different shapes and sizes, but most are shaped like a pad, covered in insulated fabric with an outer layer of comfort fabric, like flannel or cotton that can be removed and washed. Some can be made to conform to specific body parts.
The inside of a heating pad can consist of electric wiring with heating elements, a mini-thermostat and more, in the case of electric pads. Microwavable pads will usually have insides filled with a liquid, a gel or a solid that is malleable and good at retaining heat. Chemical-based heating pads will usually have their insides filled with the chemical agents used to produce the heat along with a trigger mechanism.
Using a heating pad is relatively simple. To use an electric heating pad you need to make sure it’s dry and that your skin is dry – don’t use any balms, essential oils or something like that. Then, place them on the area on which you want to use them and turn them on. If you’re using higher heat settings, don’t place them on bare skin.
Moist, microwavable heating pads only need to be placed in the microwave (not an oven or anything else, just a microwave) for somewhere between 30 seconds and 2 and a half minutes, depending on the size. Once you take it out, let it cool until it’s safe to touch, then apply it to the affected area.
For most chemicals warmers you only need to ‘crack’ them in order to activate the trigger mechanism and apply them to the affected area straight afterward. Reusable ones can be boiled in water afterward for a while, then used once again once they cool completely.
And those are the basics of heating pads! But, as you’ll see, there’s much more to them than just that. Read on to find out all the benefits that a heating pad can offer to you.
Finding a Heating Pad Near You
You might be wondering – where to buy a heating pad? Well, these days, that’s easier to find out than ever before.
It’s easy to make a search for ‘where to buy heating pads near me’ or even something like ‘heating pad shops near me’ and get exactly what you want.
To help you, I’ve made an interactive map that will quickly and easily tell you where you can find the best heating pads in your neighborhood. Check it out below.
With just a few clicks you can find all the shops that sell heating pads near you and buy one of the best heating pads today!
Comparing the Best Heating Pads of 2020
If you don’t have the time to read the complete reviews – don’t fret. I’ve made a basic comparison of the best heating pads of 2020 to help you decide on the best one. For more details, read my more detailed opinions below the chart.
|Tech Love XL Extra Large Electric Heating Pad||Electric heating pad||Neck, shoulders, upper and lower back||Dry or Moist||24’’ x 25’’|
|Pure Enrichment PureRelief Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad||Electric heating pad||Neck and shoulders||Dry or Moist||14’’ x 22’’|
|Pure Enrichment PureRelief XXL Ultra-Wide Microplush Heating Pad||Electric heating pad||Back, stomach, chest, legs, arms||Dry or Moist||20’’ x 24’’|
|XXX-Large Heating Pad by Sable (The Best Large Heating Pad)||Electric heating pad||Full body||Dry||33’’ x 17’’|
|Sunbeam Heating Pad for Pain Relief | King Size UltraHeat (The Best Heating Pad for Arthritis)||Electric heating pad||Back, stomach, chest, legs, arms||Dry or Moist||12’’ x 24’’|
|Electric Heating Pad by Inside the Blue||Electric heating pad||Back, stomach, chest, legs, arms||Dry or Moist||12’’ x 24’’|
|Large XXL Heating Pad by Netsco (The Best Foot Heating Pad)||Electric heating pad||Back, stomach, chest, legs, arms, feet||Dry or Moist||20’’ x 24’’|
|Sunbeam Heating Pad for Fast Pain Relief | X-Large XpressHeat (The Best Foot Heating Pad)||Electric heating pad||Back, stomach, chest, legs, arms||Dry||12’’ x 24’’|
|Beady Heat Microwavable Heating Pad (The Best Microwavable Heating Pad)||Moist, microwaveable heating pad||Joints||Moist||10’’ x 5|
|Sunbeam Heating Pad for Pain Relief | Standard Size Hot & Cold Therapy (The Best Infrared Heating Pad)||Electric heating pad||Lower back||Dry or moist||11’’ x 21’’|
|UTK Far Infrared Tourmaline Heating Pad||Infrared heating pad||Full back||Dry||38’’ x 21’’|
|HL HEALTHYLINE - Heating Pad||Infrared heating pad||Full back||Dry||32’’ x 20’’|
|YTS Infrared Heating Pad (Editor’s Choice)||Infrared heating pad||Full back||Dry||20’’ x 25’’|
|Pure Enrichment PureRelief Lumbar & Abdominal Heating Pad||Electric heating pad||Lower back||Dry or Moist||44.5’’ x 9.5’’|
|My Heating Pad- Neck & Shoulder Wrap(The Best Rice Heating Pad)||Moist, microwaveable heating pad||Neck and shoulders||Moist||19.7’’ x 11’’|
|Thermotech Automatic Digital Moist Heating Pad||Electric heating pad||Back, stomach, chest, legs, arms||Moist||27’’ x 14’’|
Top 16 Heating Pads You Can Get in 2020
There’s a lot to be inspected and examined in a single heating pad. That’s why, if the comparison table isn’t enough for you, the section that follows brings all the answers. Enter the detailed reviews!
Tech Love XL Extra Large Electric Heating Pad The Best Upper Back and Neck Heating Pad
You need to wake up and smell the air – large heating pads are in vogue, and this is one of the best ones available right now. When it comes to heating pads for both your neck and back, this is one of the largest out there, and it can easily cover your neck, shoulders and your back down to the waist.
Well, that is if you’re short enough. For average-sized people, it might come down only to the middle of your back or so; it depends on how you’re built.
However, that doesn’t mean the pad is bad by any means. It’s still larger than most other neck heating pads, and it comes with a ton of great options. There are 6 different heating levels, and you can switch between dry heat and moist heat at will.
The heating isn’t even no matter which option you choose though, and the neck part will definitely feel hotter than the rest of it, which can be an issue.
Fitting it on should be easy due to the adjustable strap and the material it’s made out of can feel incredibly soft and comfortable on your skin. The cover is machine-washable too. It also heats up rather quickly, and it has a long cord, allowing you to use it almost anywhere in the house or even outside of it.
- You can heat up your entire back, neck, and shoulders with it
- It fit comfortably on your body with a magnetic strap for easy adjustment
- Highly adjustable with 6 heating levels and dry or moist heating options
- It has an incredibly comfy cover that can be washed in the washing machine
- The cord is quite long, and it heats up rather quickly for its size
- It doesn’t heat evenly over its entire surface
- Won’t cover your entire back if you’re not a short person
Uneven heating can be a huge problem with larger heating pads, which is why smaller, more focused pads are sometimes the better way to go. Bigger isn’t always better.
Pure Enrichment PureRelief Neck and Shoulder Heating PadGreat for Your Neck and Shoulders
This is a great heating pad which is made to comfort to your neck and shoulders and give you the ultimate heat therapy. You can use it for both dry and moist heat therapy, and it comes with 4 different heat options available.
The fabric used for the covering is soft and feels great on your skin. It’s also machine washable, making it easy to maintain, especially after using it for moist heat therapy.
You can strap it to your shoulders with ease due to the magnetic straps which are easy to clasp together. However, you can’t know if it will fit properly since it’s a bit small, especially for people with wider shoulders. Women will definitely have an easier time using it.
Overall, it’s a good product for the price, though it might be a little underwhelming to some. Make sure the size fits before you order it, though.
- You can use it for both moist and dry heat therapy
- The fabric can be washed in the washing machine and feels comfy
- The heat is distributed evenly across the entire surface
- Easy to strap on with the magnetic clasps in it
- Small overall and not fit for people with wider shoulders at all
- Even the maximum heat setting is relatively mild
One-size-fits-all is a marketing term more than anything else, and it’s blatantly untrue in almost every case. Always check the size before you order and make sure it fits you well.
Pure Enrichment PureRelief XXL Ultra-Wide Microplush Heating PadVersatile and Easy to Use
The size of this heating pad is great – it’s 20 by 24 inches, allowing it to be used for almost any body part without a problem. You can easily put it on your back, wrap it around your thighs or calves, put it on your chest, your arms and so on.
It’s truly versatile and highly adjustable with 6 different heat settings available. It also heats up incredibly quickly for a pad of this size, which is impressive. However, the heating is not always consistent across the entire surface, and you will definitely feel some hot and cold points.
It also might be a bit difficult to change the settings, since the cord from the controller to the pad is short. If you’re using it on your legs, for example, it could pose an issue. The material used for the cover is great, soft and comfortable and It can be easily washed in the machine. Overall, it’s a great heating pad for a price this affordable, and you can get a lot of use out of it.
- Extra large and flexible which means it can be used for most body parts
- Can be used for both moist and dry heat depending on what you need
- Highly adjustable with 6 different heat settings
- Made out of soft plush that’s highly comfortable
- Heats up incredibly fast for a pad of this size
- The heat is not consistent across the entire pad
- The cord that connects the controller to the pad is extremely short
If you remove the cover from your pad for washing, don’t use it without a cover or with a different cover while that one dries – that can be extremely dangerous.
XXX-Large Heating Pad by SableHands-free Massage for Your Neck
There are many large heating pads on the market but this is definitely one of the most affordable ones available, and it doesn’t skimp on the quality at all. It’s highly adjustable, with 10 different heat options available and a timer that can be set between 10 and 90 minutes, allowing you to get exactly the type of therapy you want.
The flexibility is great too, and you can use it on almost any body part with ease – you can even cover your entire body with it if you want. It’ll feel great too since the microplush fiber cover is soft – it’s machine washable, too.
However, not the entire surface of the pad is heated – the coils end a few inches from the edges, so the heat can be a bit inconsistent because of that. The parts where you can see the cheapness are the cord and the controller though. They do look and feel flimsy overall, and you have to take good care of them.
- Has a timer that can be set between 10 and 90 minutes
- Comes with 10 heat settings that you can easily switch between
- The incredibly large size and flexibility allow it to be used on most body parts
- The cord is long, and it’s easy to use the pad anywhere
- The effective heating space is smaller than the pad since the coils don’t go all the way to the edge
- The cord and the controller are flimsy and cheaply made
Buying a cheaper heating pad is not unsafe as long as you buy a good one – yes, good and inexpensive heating pads do exist.
Sunbeam Heating Pad for Pain Relief | King Size UltraHeat The Best Budget Heating Pad for Arthritis
If you’re looking to get a heating pad that’s a bit larger than the smaller ones but don’t want to spend a lot more money – you’re in luck. This heating pad has a decent size, allowing you to use it for your legs, your lower back or your neck and shoulders, while still remaining highly affordable.
It has three different heat setting and can be used for both moist and dry heat – it even comes with a sponge to moisten it. However, it doesn’t get as hot as most other pads do, only warm.
The cover is removable and washable in the machine. It’s decently comfortable too, but it does tend to fall off which can be a bit of a safety hazard during use. I also recommend that you don’t try folding or rolling-up this pad for storage – it wrinkles easily, and it can be extremely difficult to straighten it out. Overall, it’s quite a good heating pad for the price, and it will definitely do a decent job for whatever you need.
- The cover it has is soft and washable in the washing machine
- Comes with a sponge and can be used for moist heat as well
- It heats up rather quickly, and the heat is consistent across the entire pad
- The price is incredibly affordable for what you get
- The pad can’t get as hot as others might be able to get
- Wrinkles extremely easily and it’s difficult to straighten it afterward
- The cover tends to fall off since it isn’t held in place properly
Some heating pads are more rigid than others, but you should always exercise caution when rolling-up and folding any heating pad that has internal wiring.
Electric Heating Pad by Inside the BlueGreat Pad With Awesome Accessories
This is a pad that’s made to be highly adjustable and comes with a bunch of great accessories to help you use it the right way.
First off, it comes with not one, but two great, comfy covers that can be machine washed. This is awesome because it means you don’t have to wait for the cover to wash and dry before you can use your pad again – you just use one cover while the other is in the wash.
It also comes with a set of adjustable straps which you can use to strap the heating pad to your body however you like – you don’t need to improvise with bands and tape anymore. You also get a carry bag with it, which is just a neat bonus.
However, it is a bit stiff and difficult to bend so you might have trouble using it on certain body parts. It also doesn’t heat up quickly – it takes its time, and you might find it to be a bit too slow.
- Highly adjustable with 9 different heat settings and 4 different auto shut-off settings available
- Made with a soft plush cover and comes with two covers, which are both machine washable
- Comes with a set of adjustable straps for easier use
- You can use it for moist therapy as well as dry therapy
- The pad is a bit too stiff which might have made it difficult to use
- It takes a long time to heat up properly
If a pad is stiff and difficult to bend, don’t force it – you might break something. In the best case scenario, it will just stop working – in the worst case, it might catch fire.
Large XXL Heating Pad by NetscoThe Best Heating Pad for Your Feet
If you have cold feet, don’t fret – this is a great heating pad that’s bound to be the perfect tool to help with that! It’s a versatile pad and can be used like any other, regular pad, but it has a great pouch on the top just tailor-made for putting your feet into it and warming them up, top to bottom.
Getting to the ideal warmth takes time though, and it can take up to 15 minutes for this pad to heat up properly, which is a bit of a bummer. It has three different heat settings though, and it can reach temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
The button for changing the temperature is located on the pad itself, which can be convenient at times, but it can also lead to you pressing the button by accident. Be careful when using this pad because of that. Luckily, it does have an auto shut-off feature if something goes a bit wrong.
- It’s got a great and versatile design
- The cover is incredibly soft and can be easily taken off for machine washing
- Extremely large and flexible so it can be used on most body parts
- Has three different heat settings and can reach high heat
- The button for changing the temperature is on the pad itself, and it’s easy to press it by accident
- Heating up takes more time than you would expect, up to 10 minutes
Always be careful with the controls of a heating pad – you don’t want to turn the heat up on accident or turn off the auto shut-off when you meant to leave it on.
Sunbeam Heating Pad for Fast Pain Relief | X-Large XpressHeatThe Fastest Heating Pad Out There
If you want a heating pad that can heat up in seconds, this is the right one for you, for sure! It can reach maximum heat in less than 30 seconds in some cases, and you’ll get instant relief with it.
The heat can’t get too high, but you do have 6 different settings to choose from so you can adjust it to your liking. However, be careful with the controller since it’s made out of cheap plastic that can be melted by the heat of the pad.
The cover on the pad is removable and machine washable, so it’s easy to clean it. The power is supplied by a long cord which allows you to use the pad almost anywhere you like. Overall, it’s a great pad for a price this affordable, and it’s probably the quickest pad on the market right now, for sure.
- It’s able to heat up incredibly quickly, sometimes in less than 30 seconds
- Long power cord allows it to be used almost anywhere in the house
- The price is highly affordable for the quality you get
- Comes with 6 different heat settings
- Comfortable with a cover that’s removable and washable
- The controller is made out of cheap plastic, and the heat of the pad can melt it
- The pad is a bit smaller than indicated in the product info
- It can’t reach extremely high heat
While heating pads aren’t as dangerous as they might be made out to be, make sure you keep easily meltable and burnable stuff away from them at all times. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Beady Heat Microwavable Heating PadThe Best Heating Pad for Kids
Here we have a great microwavable pad that’s great for your joints and amazing if you have kids that need to use a heating pad. It’s the perfect size for them with a colorful cover, and it’s safe as it can be.
The price is just right for something like this, and it’s great and comfy. The insides are filled with a material that heats up quickly, takes a long time to cool off completely and gives off no nasty odors.
Heating it up doesn’t take a long time, you can do it with a minute or two in the microwave, and it will stay warm for up to 20 minutes. The only major problem with it is that the beads tend to bunch up, so it’s not as flexible as it should be for certain areas. It can also feel a bit bumpy and uncomfortable if the beads shift too much.
- The size is perfect for targeting specific joints or using it for your kids or pets
- The price is great for a product like this
- It’s got a great, comfy cover that gives off no odors
- Filled with beads which won’t rot or produce bad smells
- It bunches up a lot, and it’s not as flexible as you would expect
- You can feel uncomfortable because of it if the beads inside it shift to an awkward position
Microwavable heating pads are much safer for your kids than electric ones – they’re less likely to burn their sensitive skins and less dangerous since there’s no electricity involved.
Sunbeam Heating Pad for Pain Relief | Standard Size Hot & Cold TherapyThe Best Lumbar Heating Pad
This heating pad is simply an idea for your lower back area, and it’s made to fit it perfectly. It’s shaped like a wide belt with a Velcro band that is easy to adjust, and it is suited for almost anyone. It’s quite adjustable with 5 different heat settings available, though it has no timer settings, only an auto shut-off which is set to two hours by default.
It has a pouch on the back that’s made for a gel pack which can be heated by the pad, thus providing you with moist heat therapy. You can also cool it and place it in the pad for cold therapy. You can even wear it outside, under your clothes since the cord is detachable.
The cover is washable, and you can put it in the washing machine without a problem. While it does heat up fairly quickly it never quite reaches the heat that some other products do, but it’s still warm enough. Overall, it’s a great product for the price and ideal for your lower back.
- Easily adjustable with a long Velcro strap at the front
- Has a pouch for a gel pack that can be heated up or cooled
- The fabric covering is completely removable and machine washable
- It has 5 different heat settings which are quite easy to use
- Heats up fairly quickly
- There are not timer settings available
- Doesn’t get quite as hot as other heating pads do
Heating pads that use Velcro straps can easily be fitted with longer Velcro straps that you can buy in almost any larger store. This will allow you to use them on other areas of your body that might need a longer strap.
UTK Far Infrared Tourmaline Heating PadHighly Adjustable Infrared Heating Pad
We finally come to the first (but not last) infrared heating pad – let’s see how it stacks up against the others. For a start, it’s huge compared to most other heating pads – 38 by 21 inches in total. However, that’s a bit closer to standard for a heating pad like this, that you’re meant to lie on.
The adjustability is great, and you can adjust your heat to a T with a temperature range from 103°F up to 159°F, in one-degree increments. You can also set the timer from 0 to 240 minutes in increments of 15 minutes. You can also memorize your favorite settings and bring them up whenever you want.
However, due to its size and weight, it’s a bit difficult to use at times. Using it on a specific body part or covering yourself with it is uncomfortable – it’s clearly meant to be used for lying on it.
You can still use it on some body parts since it’s rather flexible and you can use it as an insert for a chair or on the couch with ease. Overall, it’s good – it’s just a question of is it good enough for you to be worth the high price.
- You can adjust both the heat and the timer perfectly and memorize your favorite settings for later
- Incredibly large and you can even lie on it
- Rather flexible so you can make it conform to a chair, a couch or any body part
- The cord is extremely long, so it’s easy to use it anywhere
- The price is quite high
- It’s exceptionally heavy so covering yourself with it is a no-go, and it’s not comfortable
Infrared heating pads often offer more functionality than regular electric heating pads, but they can also be limiting due to their size and weight.
HL HEALTHYLINE – Heating PadGreat Infrared Heating on a Tighter Budget
Here’s another heating pad, but this one is even more adjustable while costing less at the same time! Yes, it is possible. You even get a 30-day trial to try it out before you decide if you want to keep it for good.
The temperature range you can set is from 95°F to 158°F, which is great, especially if you’re sensitive to heat and can feel those small changes. However, the timer here is less adjustable, and you can only set it to 3, 6 and 12 hours. You can buy an external timer to plug into it and adjust it better, but that costs extra.
It heats up rather quickly for its size, and the heat is consistent through the entire thing, which is a nice surprise. It can be slightly uncomfortable to lie on it due to the stones used for heating, and they can poke you in the back.
Luckily, it’s quite flexible so you don’t have to lie on it and you can use it in other ways. Due to the relatively low weight for its size, it’s also not uncomfortable if you use it this way. Too bad it doesn’t come with straps included.
- Extremely affordable price for a heating pad of this type and quality
- Heats up quite quickly and the heat is evenly distributed
- Large and flexible while not being too heavy
- You get a 30-day free trial with it, and the warranty lasts for one year
- It is a bit uncomfortable to lie on due to the stones
- The timer settings are quite underwhelming
Be careful when buying custom straps for your heating pads. Make sure to buy straps that won’t melt or burn when exposed to the heat that your heating pad can produce.
YTS Infrared Heating PadA Compact and Affordable Infrared Heating Pad
This is a smaller infrared heating pad than most, but it’s still quite effective and worth buying. For a start, the price is highly affordable, and it’s probably the best budget infrared heating pad that you can get.
It doesn’t skimp on the features though, and the temperature range and adjustment here is great. You can set it to any temperature between 10 and 60 degrees Celsius – that’s 50°F to 140°F. It also has a decent timer that you can set from 1 to 12 hours in 1-hour increments.
Since it’s lightweight, smaller in size and flexible, you can use it on most body parts, and you can strap it to yourself without feeling overburdened. Overall, it’s a great small infrared pad with quite a few things going for it, and it’s cheap. However, be careful with it since the cover is a bit low-quality, and it might tear, which is dangerous.
- Due to its size it’s quite compact and lightweight for an infrared heating pad
- The price is definitely great for the type of product that you’re getting here
- Has a great temperature range that you can easily control
- It loses heat rather quickly
- The covering is low-quality, and it might start to tear after a while
Since infrared heating pads used stones and minerals, they are often heavier than other types of heating pads, be aware of that when buying and check the weight.
Pure Enrichment PureRelief Lumbar & Abdominal Heating PadA Versatile Lumbar Heating Pad
If you’re looking for a heating pad that’s great for both your stomach and your lower back, this is a good pick. It’s large, and it’s able to fit almost anyone, even larger people.
However, while it is meant for use in the lumbar area, due to the adjustable Velcro strap, this pad can easily be fitted over your chest, your shoulder and other body parts. It’s more versatile than it might seem at first.
You can also use it without heating at all. The gel pack that comes with it and fits into the pouch on it can be used for producing moist heat, but you can also cool it and use it with this pad as a cold compress.
Don’t worry – the fabric on it is machine-washable, so you can use it even with creams and other similar things as a cold compress, then wash it afterward. However, the fabric cover is a bit low-quality, so don’t wash it too often since that might ruin it. The heating is also quite uneven, and there are sometimes cold patches on the pad.
- Comes with a gel bag that fits into a pouch and can be used for moist heat or cooling
- The adjustable Velcro strap allows you to use it on other parts of your body
- The fabric cover on it is machine-washable
- It’s quite large, so it will fit well even on those with a larger waistline
- The price is quite affordable for the quality you get
- The fabric covering is quite poorly made
- The heating is a bit uneven
If your pad is not heating up evenly, don’t try to open it up and move the heating elements in order to ‘fix it’ – that might lead to disaster.
Heat and Cold for Your Neck and Shoulders A Compact and Affordable Infrared Heating Pad
This is a good microwavable heating pad shaped to fit your neck and shoulders perfectly, and it’s easy to use. You can just heat it up in your microwave for a minute or two, and it’s ready for use.
It can hold intense heat for around 20 minutes or so at most, but it’s still decently hot after around 40 minutes or so. It’s two-sides as well, and one side gets hotter than the other, thus allowing you to sort of choose the heat intensity.
You can also cool it in the freezer instead of heating it up and use it as a cold pack, which is also good but it doesn’t hold cold as good as it holds heat.
When you heat it up, it produces a strong lavender smell which feels great. However, after a while, you stop smelling it, and you start smelling the rice, which can and will get spoiled and moldy over time, limiting the lifespan of this heating pad greatly.
It’s good while it lasts through but consider whether it’s worth the price for you.
- It’s able to hold heat for a decently long time
- Has two different sides – one feels more comfortable while the other one feels hotter
- It produces a great smell when it’s heated up
- You can cool it instead of heating it for a cold compress
- It’s filled with rice which can get spoiled and moldy over time
- Doesn’t fit people with slightly wider shoulders at all
Rice is a cheap material for use in microwavable heating pads, and it works well, but it can pose certain dangers and even risks of infection, so be careful when buying a pad filled with it.
Thermotech Automatic Digital Moist Heating PadQuick Heating and High Temperatures
This is quite a unique heating pad – an electric pad dedicated to providing moist heat therapy. It’s also far large than most other electric pad and extremely flexible at the same time.
It’s supposed to work by pulling in moisture from the air and using it to provide you with moist heat therapy. Does it work? Well, somewhat. It gets a bit moist sometimes but it doesn’t always work well, it’s inconsistent.
What’s consistent is the heat part – it can get quite hot, more so than other pads, even on the lowest of the 4 settings it has. It also heats up incredibly quickly. There’s some Velcro on the back of it, allowing you to easily strap it to yourself but if you don’t like it, you can easily remove it as well.
Overall, it’s good, but the price is a bit too steep for a product like this, especially since it doesn’t deliver on the moist heat as well as it claims it does.
- Large enough to cover any body part and extremely flexible
- Heats up fast and quite well – maybe even too much for some
- Fairly adjustable with 4 different heat levels and 4 different timer settings
- The outer cover is made out of flannel and completely washable
- Has Velcro on the back so you can easily strap it to your body
- It doesn’t always get moist; it’s quite inconsistent
- The price is quite high for what you get from it
Products that make extraordinary claims usually can’t back them up. Be careful and look at what the other customers say before you buy them based purely on the hype.
Heating Pads – The Main Benefits
While heating pads might seem simple and relatively limited, they can be incredibly beneficial if you use them in the right way. Here are a few of the major benefits that they offer.
If you’ve ever had an injury in your life, you’ve probably used a hot compress to help with the pain at some point, and you’re familiar with the beneficial effects it has. If you’re really old-school, you probably used a roof tile heated on your stove and wrapped in a cloth for that purpose.
Well, heating pads are the modern equivalent of that, and they can help with all different sorts of painful problems. General neck and upper back, middle back or lower back pain are the most common ones, but there’s more that they can be used for — arthritis, neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, menstrual cramps, headaches, earaches, and so on.
But how does it help reduce pain? Well, it’s a combination of a few different effects, and it works differently depending on the type of pain you’re feeling.
For most types of pain, like back pain, heat therapy works by stimulating the heat receptors in your skin, thus lowering the transmission of signals from the pain receptors located there, thus reducing the pain your feeling.
If you’re feeling pain because you’re tense, it helps relax your muscles – even the deeper tissues – much like a massage does, which reduces the amount of pain and tension that you feel. Long-term use can even help reduce the occurrence of muscle cramps which appear due to constant muscle tension.
In some cases, heat therapy can even be more efficient at reducing pain than medication is. Yes, even when it comes to intense pain like menstrual cramps. In general, heat also has a calming and analgesic effect, which helps reduce the intensity of the pain you’re feeling. But I’ll talk a bit more about that in the next section.
2It Helps Relax You
Heat has a calming effect on the human body. Due to evolutionary reasons, our bodies instinctively associate heat and warmth with a feeling of safety and comfort – this is why you feel so comfy under a warm blanket.
That feeling makes our body produce ‘feel good’ chemicals, like endorphins, dopamine and so on, while reducing the amount of stress chemicals that our body is producing, like cortisol.
This means that heat therapy and heating pads can help make you feel less anxious, less depressed and overall less stressed after a long, rough day. Heating pads also relax your muscles and ease tension, thus providing another form of deep relaxation.
3Improves Your Blood Flow
As you probably learned in high school, heat makes most materials expand. This is true for your body as well and especially your blood vessels.
When your blood vessels expand, it improves your blood flow, allowing your muscles to get more nutrients and oxygen and so on. This can help you recover faster from soreness after a workout or speed up the healing process of certain injuries.
This can also help you if you suffer from hypertension since it will lower your blood pressure, thus temporarily helping with your symptoms.
However, if you have low blood pressure, beware – using heat therapy will lower it further, by improving the rate at which your blood flows. That’s why you need to be careful when using them.
How to Find the Right Heating Pad – The Most Complete Buying Guide
I know what it’s like waddling into a store, thinking it will be easy to buy something a new appliance you’ve never used before if you just apply common sense. I mean, how hard could it be? I’m also familiar with the feeling of regret that you get afterward. So, to help you avoid all that, I’ve come up with a list of a few important things to think about when going heating pad shopping. I hope it helps.
1Find Your Type
The first thing you need to know is that there are many different types of heating pads out there, not just the most common ones you’ve probably seen. They are incredibly different, and you need to know all their ins and outs to find the right one for you.
Here are some of the most common types and how they work.
Electric heating pads
This is the most common type of heating pad and works in a similar way to electric blankets. You plug them into an electric socket, and the heating circuits within them heat up the entire pad. They produce a dry type of heat which can dry out your skin and cause irritation.
They can produce incredibly high heat, higher than most other types and they often offer the most control, but they’re also the type that’s most likely to burn you if you’re not careful. Never fall asleep with them on and only used them for short periods of time.
Some of these heating pads don’t plug into a socket and use batteries, while others can also be plugged into a USB port. There are also electric heating pads that can offer moist heating therapy by being sprayed with a light watery mist before being turned on, though this isn’t true moist heat therapy.
Infrared heating pads
Technically speaking, this is just a special type of electric heating pads, but they’re different enough to be considered their own type. They use far infrared light to generate heat and penetrate deeper into your tissues.
They are more expensive since they often use materials like tourmaline stones and amethyst crystals in their wiring. However, they do offer the same type of adjustability as regular heating pads without being as dry as them, and they are less likely to burn you.
They also give off negative ions which produce chemical reactions in your body similar to the ones that it produces while you’re exercising, which leads to the release of endorphins. You’ll also find them to be more flexible and they can be lied on or used as an insert for your office chair to help with your back pain while you work.
Moist heating pads
These heating pads are usually a bag filled with a liquid or gel that conducts heat easily and can be heated up in a microwave for use. As you might have guessed from the name, they produce moist heat which won’t dry out and irritate your skin. Moist air also penetrates deeper into the skin, thus providing deeper relief.
However, they don’t get as hot as electric heating pads do and they lose heat much faster. They also won’t last as long, since the liquid or gel inside of them will start to evaporate after some time.
If you’re a survivalist or mountaineer or know someone who is, you’ve probably come across this type of heating pad more than once. They usually look like small tablets or disks, and they can be ‘snapped’ in half to activate them. This produces a chemical reaction which generates heat and fizzles out after a short while – usually 10 minutes to 30 at most.
Some of these packs are disposable, while others can be boiled in water and then re-used up to a certain number of times. They don’t get as hot as other types, and they are always rather small, but they are highly portable and easy to use on a whim, requiring no preparation or power source at all.
2The Shape and Size Should be Just Right
As with most things, heating pads can come in many different sizes and shapes, depending on what they’re made for. Size does indeed matter here, and I’ll give you a few pointers on what size and shape of heating pads you want for specific uses.
Neck heating pads
These heating pads are usually designed to drape over your neck and shoulders and relieve the pain and tension you might feel there. Most are rather small, but a few of them also stretch to cover the upper back as well.
Back heating pads
Among the largest heating pads available and designed to be used on your back. However, you can also use them on other areas of your body like your legs or your chest and stomach.
Joint heating pads
Usually among the smallest heating pads available, they are designed to be used on joints like your knees, elbows or ankles. Some of them have adhesive pads that allow them to stick to your joints.
Foot heating pads
Not quite pads, these things often look more like bags or purses and are meant to completely envelop your feet and heat them completely. Just slide your feet into them, and you’re ready to go. Some of them can also be used for your hands, but I suggest you wash them first.
Lumbar heating pads
These pads are usually shaped like a belt with a wide back, meant to be wrapped around your waist to heat up your lumbar area. They usually have some sort of way to buckle up on the front.
Full-body heating pads
The largest type of heating pad by far, it’s made to cover your entire body. They’re not common but they exist, and you might find them useful if you need to produce a sauna-like effect for your therapy and you don’t exactly have access to a sauna or a hot tub.
3You Need the Features that Fit You
At their core, heating pads are relatively simple, but they can have some surprisingly advanced features that can make all the difference. Take a look at some of the common features that heating pads can have and figure out which ones are right for you.
This is one of the most basic features on heating pads, the ability to choose the level of heat. Some will have rather basic settings of low, mid and high, while more advanced heating pads will allow you to choose one specific temperature from a range.
This is a safety feature that most heating pads should have, though some omit it. It makes the pad shut off automatically after a certain time, which you can sometimes set and change.
A small but important feature which allows a heating pad to stick to your skin and stay in place without you needing to hold it there. It’s particularly useful for smaller heating pads meant to target an extremely specific area.
Some pads also feature the ability to send small electric pulses to your skin and muscles, effectively working like EMS or TENS machines. This can help with recovery from injury and can even strengthen your muscles.
Some of the more advanced heating pads, especially those meant to be used on the go, will have a remote control. Some of them can even interface with your smartphone, while you can use as the remote.
4Corded or Cordless?
When you’re buying an electric heating pad, there is one hugely important thing you need to consider – how the heating pad is powered. It could make a huge difference in how you use it, and I’ll go over the main options here.
These are the most standard electric heating pads which are plugged into a power outlet. They are usually more powerful and have more settings and extra features available. However, they’re not quite portable. There are versions which are more portable though, since they use a USB charger and can also be plugged into a USB port, but they are also less powerful and not as adjustable.
These heating pads use batteries for power. Some are rechargeable while others use disposable batteries instead. Most of them don’t have the same amount of power and the wide range of settings available to corded heating pads. However, they are incredibly portable, and you can use them without needing a power source nearby.
Surprising Uses for Heating Pads That You Haven’t Considered
Now, at this point some of you might be saying ‘sure, heating pads can be useful sometimes, but I won’t use them that often so there’s not much point in getting one’ – but that’s not necessarily true.
Heating pads have a lot more uses than you might think, some of which you probably never considered. Here are just a few of them to make your reconsider how useful heating pads can be.
Making your pet feel warm
Dogs and cats love to curl up in warm places, and a heating pad might be just the right thing to make them feel comfy. Of course, you shouldn’t use an electric pad for this, but a microwavable one.
Keeping your food warm
Don’t have a thermos bag to keep your food warm while you’re out? No problem! Use a small heating pad that you can wrap around it, preferably a microwavable one, and stuff it into a bag! It will keep your food warm, at least for a while.
If you’ve ever made yogurt or any other food that requires fermenting, you might already know that a heating pad can help. Fermenting requires heat, and an electric heating pad can easily provide more than enough low, sustained heat to ferment food. It works for making beer or raising bread dough as well!
Warming up your bed
In case your bed is in the colder part of the house, it can probably take a while until you feel comfortable and hot enough to fall asleep. Placing a heating pad under the covers for around 10 to 15 minutes before you go to sleep can make it feel perfectly comfy.
Heating up food and beverages
Okay, probably not the most common of uses, but if you don’t have a microwave and you have a heating pad, it’s a viable solution. It can be faster than the stove and more even, especially for some types of food.
Cold compress – What?
Yes, you can use some microwavable heating pads as an effective cold compress. Just place them in the freezer and take them out after a while to use as a cold compress. You only need to make sure that freezing the pad is safe before you try it.
Just remember all the basic safety precautions for using heating pads when trying any of the alternative uses for them.
Heating Pads FAQ
Now you know almost everything there is to know about heating pads that there is to know. I hope I managed to help you at least a little bit.
This is probably the point at which you’d want to know which one of these heating pads is the best. While I can only give you my insight and it might not be the best one for you, I think that the YTS Infrared Heating Pad is the best heating pad of 2020.
It’s got a lot of adjustability, it’s comfortable, it can be used in a wide variety of ways and it doesn’t even cost that much. It’s as close to perfect as you can get, at least for me.
What do you think? Tell me in the comments and feel free to disagree with me – I like to hear differing opinions.
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