We Tested the Best Heating Pads—These 9 Actually Work

Our testers agreed, Pure Enrichment's XL heating pad is best for muscle relief

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

If you're dealing with muscle stiffness, soreness, or cramps, a heating pad may be able to help. Designed to heat up when activated, heating pads can take the form of small pillows, large blankets, wearable wraps, and more. By placing a heating pad on your body, you can warm your muscles, which may provide relief from pain and soreness.

Tested & Approved

The Pure Enrichment’s PureRelief XL Heating Pad is our top pick, thanks to its large surface area that makes it versatile to use on a variety of body parts, along with its varied heat settings. For a wearable heated back wrap, our testers gave Sunbeam's Heated Back Wrap rave reviews in all categories.

“Stiff muscles, overworked muscles, and fatigued muscles typically benefit from local heat application,” Rahul Shah, MD, board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon, says. “If one has any discomfort in the back, local heat can be a reasonable choice for initial management of discomfort, tightness, pain, soreness, pins and needles, and more.” 

To select the best heating pads, we purchased 17 heating pads and tested them in The Verywell Testing Lab. Two testers used the heating pads and assessed their comfort, functionality, and heating capacity. We evaluated each pad on five key attributes: setup, design, features, heating quality, and value.

According to our test, these are the best heating pads on the market.

Best Overall: Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL Electric Heating Pad

4.8
Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL Electric Heating Pad

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Heating Quality
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.8/5
Pros
  • Large, flexible design

  • Very soft and comfortable

  • Heats up fast

Cons
  • Only one self-timer option

Who else recommends it? Wirecutter and Good Housekeeping both picked the Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL Electric Heating Pad.

What do buyers say? 87% of 59,500+ Amazon reviewers rated it 4 stars or above.

After extensive testing in our Lab, the Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL Heating Pad was our clear pick for our best overall spot because of its large and versatile size and range of heat settings. 

Overall, our testers found the pad to be comfortable and effective—giving it a 5 out of 5 for setup, design, and features. At 12 x 24 inches, the heating pad is big enough to cover virtually any part of your body, including large areas like your back and legs. Testers also found the pad to be extremely soft and plush, and they were impressed with its six heat settings, which allow for a wide range of preferred temperatures.

The pad is straightforward to set up and operate, and our testers liked the clear LCD screen and easy-to-use buttons. During testing, the pad heated up quickly, taking only a minute to reach full temperature. Our testers also appreciated the pad’s two-hour automatic shut-off, although they would have preferred more than one option for the interval.

The pad boasts a user-friendly design, and the well-placed 9-foot cord makes it easy to adjust positions and target different muscle groups. Plus, it comes with a convenient storage bag and a microplush cover that can be removed for machine washing. 

Weight: 1.25 pounds | Dimensions: 12 x 24 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Temperature range: 105-140° F | Number of heat settings: 6 | Machine washable cover: Yes

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

“This heating pad is the best overall. It's easy to use, has multiple features, and is extremely comfortable and warm,” —Kayla Hui, MPH, health and wellness commerce writer at Verywell.

Best Overall Runner-Up: Geniani Extra Large Heating Pad for Back Pain Relief

4.5
Geniani Extra Large Heating Pad for Back Pain Relief

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Features
    4.5/5
  • Heating Quality
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Great for large areas

  • Soft, plush material

  • Extra-long cord

Cons
  • Heat doesn’t reach edges of pad

  • Easy to turn off by accident

Another stand-out in our testing, the GENIANI Extra Large Electric Heating Pad earned high marks in all our categories. Our testers found the long, soft pad to be ideal for lying on your back or stomach while using it. “It's also long enough to wrap around your shoulders or leg if needed, but not overwhelmingly large,” Christina Oehler, RYT, Commerce Editor, and product tester says.

During testing, the pad reached the highest heat in about one to two minutes and was hot enough to be effective, but not uncomfortable. The three heat settings make it easy to manage heat as you need it. You can turn it off whenever you like, or just use the automatic shut-off for two hours of warmth. Our testers noted that the pad was slightly less hot around the edges, but the pad’s excellent heating quality earned it a 5 out of 5 in that category.

What Our Testers Say

Weight: 1.4 pounds | Dimensions: 12 x 24 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Temperature range: Not listed | Number of heat settings: 3 | Machine washable cover: Yes

heating pads test
Verywell / Leticia Almeida.

“I really loved how comfortable and flexible this heating pad is. It feels like it melts over your lap and is comfortable enough to be used on bare skin,” Christina Oehler, RYT, commerce editor, and product tester.

Best Budget: SuzziPad Microwavable Heating Pads

4.5
SuzziPad Microwavable Heating Pads

Source: SuzziPad

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Features
    4/5
  • Heating Quality
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.3/5
Pros
  • Microwavable

  • Very portable

  • Soft and comfortable 

Cons
  • Too short for some areas

  • Can pick up microwave smells

If you're looking for a good deal, the SuzziPad Microwavable Heating Pad is a nice choice that doesn't sacrifice quality for affordability. Our testers found the pad to be very straightforward and easy to use, earning high marks in setup and design. Just heat it up in the microwave for 60 seconds and it’s ready to go.

With a pleated design, the pad can be folded up and fit in the microwave. During testing, it delivered medium heat that was distributed evenly and lasted for about 10 minutes. The cordless pad doesn’t tether you to one spot, so it’s a good option for those who want some mobility when using a heating pad. Our testers found it to work well for the leg, neck, and stomach areas. The flexible design makes it easy to mold to a body part, while the soft, plush fabric feels comfortable against the skin.

In our tests, the pad did absorb the scent of foods that were microwaved prior to it, so we recommend cleaning the microwave before heating it up.

Weight: Not listed | Dimensions: 12 x 8 inches | Power Source: None (microwaveable) | Temperature range: Varies | Number of heat settings: 0 | Machine washable cover: No

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

“This pad is super easy to use and I like that it's made from quality materials. It's not cheaply made and can stand on its own pretty nicely,” —Kayla Hui, MPH, health and wellness commerce writer at Verywell.

Best for Back: Sunbeam Heated Back Wrap

5
Sunbeam Heated Back Wrap

Source: Sunbeam

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Heating Quality
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
Pros
  • Convenient, wearable design

  • Easy to secure in place

  • Long cord for ample movement

Cons
  • May not work for petite people

  • Not too versatile for other areas

It isn't always easy to use a heating pad on your back, but Sunbeam's Heated Back Wrap makes it convenient and comfortable. Our testers found the pad to be well-made and incredibly effective, giving it a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for all categories. They were particularly impressed with the pad’s wearable design, which contours to the shape of the back. The adjustable elastic waist straps fasten in the front with Velcro, offering a snug, customized fit, and it comes with an additional elastic strap for larger individuals.

During testing, the heating pad heat reached almost every single edge of the pad but was concentrated in the upper and lower areas of the back. It reached the highest heat setting within one to two minutes, and felt powerful without being uncomfortably hot. The small remote allows you to toggle between four heat settings and an auto-shutoff feature provides two hours of continuous heat.

Our testers found that the 9-foot cord allowed for good mobility, as it was easy to walk around the room while wearing the pad. We also like the incredibly plush, soft material that can be easily cleaned by disconnecting the pad from the cord and tossing it in the washing machine.

Weight: Not listed | Dimensions:  6.5 x 3 x 11.7 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Temperature range: Not listed | Number of heat settings: 4 | Machine washable cover: Yes

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

“The best thing about this pad is that it can be used while moving around a room. Its Velcro strap provides stability and comfort. I love that it adds an extra strap for size inclusivity,” —Christina Oehler, RYT, commerce editor, and product tester.

Best with Massager: Comfier Heating Pad with Massager

4.8
Comfier Heating Pad Wrap Belt

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Features
    4.5/5
  • Heating Quality
    5/5
  • Value
    4.8/5
Pros
  • Convenient, wearable design

  • Soft, plush material

  • Multiple heating, massage, and vibration modes

Cons
  • Could use more massage settings

  • More expensive than others

If you want the benefits of heat and massage in one, Comfier's Heating Pad With Massager can help. During testing, it stood out for its ease of setup, design, and heating quality, earning perfect scores in all three categories. Our testers were impressed with the wearable design, which wraps around your abdomen like a belt and allows you to move while enjoying both heat and massage therapy.

Our testers noted that the pad, which features two heat settings, got hot in about 40 seconds and reached its maximum heat level in about 90 seconds. For massage, we like that you can choose from three different massage modes and two intensity levels. The vibration is soothing and effective, although our testers would have liked to see another option for a higher intensity.

Overall, we like the pads’ two-in-one functionality, comfort, and versatility. It’s ideal for lower back pain, but can also be used on your upper back, abdomen, shoulders, or thighs. It comes with an extension strap, so it can extend up to 62 inches to fit all sizes.

Compared to other options, you’ll pay a bit more for this pad, but it’s worth the investment if you’re looking for a quality heating pad that can serve double-duty.

Weight: Not listed | Dimensions:  17.72 x 14.17 x 18.11 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Temperature range: Not listed | Number of heat settings: 2 | Machine washable cover: No

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

“The best thing about this belt was that it fit like a weight lifting belt but was padded, making for a comfortable and soothing fit. The massager helps relieve back tension,” —Kayla Hui, MPH, health and wellness commerce writer at Verywell.

Best for Neck and Shoulders: Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL Extra-Long Back & Neck Heating Pad

4.8
Pure Relief XL Extra-Long Back & Neck Heating Pad

Source: Pure Relief 

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Features
    4.5/5
  • Heating Quality
    5/5
  • Value
    4.8/5
Pros
  • Convenient, wearable design

  • Heats up fast

  • Machine-washable

Cons
  • Heavier than other option

  • No self-timer option

If your neck and shoulders need some relief from pain and fatigue, the Pure Relief XL Extra-Long Back & Neck Heating Pad is a good choice to target that area. Designed with a fitted, shawl-like construction, it wraps around your shoulders and features a high collar that will reach your neck.

Our testers were impressed with how well the pad stayed in place, thanks to a magnetic closure that allows for a snug fit around the shoulders and neck. A Velcro strap around the waist also keeps the pad close to the lower back. Our testers appreciated the soft, plush fabric that feels comfortable against bare skin.

During testing, it was easy to choose from four heat settings using the one-button, user-friendly control. Our testers noted that it took 90 seconds to feel heat on the medium heat setting and it got hotter than other pads, earning it a 5 out of 5 for the heating quality category. It doesn’t have a self-timing feature, although it does shut off automatically after two hours.

Like many other pads, this one comes attached to a cord—meaning you can't venture far away from it. However, we like that the cord is removable and the outside of the pad can be taken off and cleaned in the washing machine.

Weight: Not listed | Dimensions:  29 x 24 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Temperature range: 110-140° F | Number of heat settings: 4 | Machine washable cover: Yes

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

“This pad can be used on different parts of the body including the neck, back, and legs. What I loved most is the adjustable strap and how form-fitting the pad was," —Kayla Hui, MPH, health and wellness commerce writer at Verywell.

Best for Feet: Gintao Electric Heated Foot Pad

4.2
Gintao Electric Heated Foot Pad

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Features
    3.5/5
  • Heating Quality
    3.5/5
  • Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Easy to use and setup

  • Large surface area

  • Very soft and comfortable cover

Cons
  • Not a snug fit

  • Takes a long time to heat up

Gintao’s Electric Heated Foot Warmer looks a bit like a pillowcase, but it’s actually a heating pad designed to warm your feet. Our testers found it easy to set up and use – just plug it in, choose from three heat settings, and place your feet inside. The cover is made of a super soft, plush material that’s comfortable to use on bare skin.

During testing, the pad took about 8 to 10 minutes to reach full heat, which was longer than other pads we tested. Additionally, the heat gets warm enough for feet to feel comfortable, but it’s very concentrated in the center and top of the pad. For those reasons, our testers gave it a score of 3.5 out of 5 for heating quality.

While the pad’s design is good for heating feet and ankles, our testers noted that the fit was not very snug, so it takes some adjusting to get the full warmth. At 22 × 20 inches, this pad has a very large surface area, with enough room for two pairs of feet. Since the pocket lies flat when your feet aren't inside, you can also use it for other areas by draping it over your body.

Weight: 1.84 Pounds | Dimensions: 22 x 20 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Temperature range: Not listed | Number of heat settings: 3 | Machine washable cover: Yes

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

“This heating pad has such a great plush cover that is so comfortable to use on bare skin. It isn't super fitted though, so you kind of need to hold it close to your feet to really feel the effects of the heat," —Christina Oehler, RYT, commerce editor, and product tester.

Best for Knees: Comfier Heated Knee Brace

4.5
Comfier Heated Knee Brace

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4.5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Heating Quality
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Wraparound design

  • Offers heat and massage therapy

  • Easy to secure in place

Cons
  • May not accommodate larger legs

  • Only two heat settings

It can be tough to use a classic rectangular heating pad on your knee, but the Comfier's Heated Knee Brace Wrap makes it easy to get both heat and massage therapy in that area. Designed to wrap around the entire knee for 360-degree warmth, the pads look like a traditional knee brace and come as a set of two, connected by a thin cord.

Setting up these pads requires a bit more work than others we tested, since you have to put both pads on, adjust them using the Velcro strap, and plug them in. Once you’re ready to go, you can choose from two heat settings. During testing, the pads warmed up quickly and evenly, earning them a 5 out of 5 for heating quality.

This pad comes with two massage motors and five vibration modes, as well as a 30-minute auto-shutoff, helping it to receive our highest score in the features category. During testing, the vibration felt powerful but not overwhelming, and our testers liked that you could use the heat and massage features independently.

Our testers found the design to be very comfortable, and appreciated the soft material and open holes in the back that allow for flexibility. However, they expressed concern that the pads might not work for people with mobility issues or very large legs.

Weight: Not listed | Dimensions: 26 x 14 inches | Power Source: Corded electric | Temperature range: Not listed | Number of heat settings: 2 | Machine washable cover: No

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

“I really liked how many vibration settings these pads had. I think that anyone with a condition like arthritis would really benefit from the dual heat-and-vibration feature on these pads. However, their straps don't have a ton of give, so it may not fit all leg sizes,” —Christina Oehler, RYT, commerce editor, and product tester.

Best Portable: Yeamon Portable Cordless Heating Pad

4.5
Yeamon Portable Cordless Heating Pad

Source: Yeamon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Heating Quality
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Offers heat and massage therapy

  • Cordless

  • Discreet enough to wear under clothes

Cons
  • Plastic exterior may not be comfortable for lying down

  • Only really works for back and abdomen

Many heating pads require you to be close to a power source, but that’s not the case with this Yeamon Portable Cordless Heating Pad. Once you charge it, you can put it around your waist, adjust the strap for a snug fit, and walk around freely while wearing it.

Our testers appreciated the portable, lightweight design and found it easy to adjust and wear discreetly underneath clothing. During testing, it took less than a minute to get to its highest heat and the heat was distributed evenly across the entire pad. Our testers found the pad to be warm enough to feel very soothing and rated it a 5 out of 5 for heating quality.

In addition to cord-free heat therapy, the pad also has three vibration settings to choose from. Our testers appreciated the soft, comfortable interior material, but thought the plastic exterior was too hard to lay down while wearing the pad.

With a snug fit around the waist and both heat and massage options, this pad makes a nice choice for targeting your back or abdomen on-the-go. The adjustable waistband can accommodate waists up to 50 inches. However, the pad’s size and shape don’t make it a feasible option for other body parts.

Weight: Not listed | Dimensions: Not listed | Power Source: Cord plus battery | Temperature range: Not listed | Number of heat settings: 113-149° F | Machine washable cover: No

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

“The pad's adjustable belt accommodates a variety of sizes, which is really great for finding a fit that is snug and comfortable. I would love to wear this around all day, because it’s so snug and discreet that you could keep it with you for whenever you might need it.” —Christina Oehler, RYT, commerce editor, and product tester.

Compare

Overall Rating Setup Design Features Heating Quality Value
Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL Electric Heating Pad
Best Overall:
Pure Enrichment XL Electric Heating Pad
4.8
5 5 5 4.5 4.8
Geniani Extra Large Heating Pad for Back Pain Relief
Best Overall Runner-Up:
Geniani Extra Large Heating Pad for Back Pain Relief
4.5
5 4.5 4.5 5 4.5
SuzziPad Microwavable Heating Pads
Best Budget:
SuzziPad Microwavable Heating Pads
4.5
5 4 4 4.5 4.3
Sunbeam Heated Back Wrap
Best for Back:
Sunbeam Heated Back Wrap
5
5 5 5 5 5
Comfier Heating Pad Wrap Belt
Best with Massager:
Comfier Heating Pad with Massager
4.8
5 5 4.5 5 4.8
Pure Relief XL Extra-Long Back & Neck Heating Pad
Best for Neck and Shoulders:
Pure Enrichment PureRelief Back & Neck Heating Pad
4.8
5 5 4.5 5 4.8
Gintao Electric Heated Foot Pad
Best for Feet:
Gintao Electric Heated Foot Pad
4.2
5 4 3.5 3.5 4
Comfier Heated Knee Brace
Best for Knees:
Comfier Heated Knee Brace
4.5
4.5 4.5 5 5 4.5
Yeamon Portable Cordless Heating Pad
Best Portable:
Yeamon Portable Cordless Heating Pad
4.5
5 4.5 5 5 4.5

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a versatile heating pad, we recommend Pure Enrichment’s PureRelief XL Heating Pad. At 12 x 24 inches, the heating pad is big enough to accommodate many different body parts comfortably. It heats up quickly and boasts six different heat settings, as well as an automatic shutoff feature.

To specifically target your back, the Sunbeam Heated Back Wrap is a wearable pad that earned rave reviews from our testers for its features, design, and heating quality. The contoured design allows for a snug, comfortable fit that delivers evenly distributed heat to your back.

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

How We Rated the Heating Pads

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best heating pads we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These heating pads are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great heating pads, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These heating pads are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend heating pads with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Tested Heating Pads

To determine the best heating pads, we tested 17 pads in The Verywell Testing Lab and evaluated them based on four key attributes—including setup, design, features, and heating quality. We then gave each attribute a score (out of five) for each of those categories. Our testers also gave a “value” score to each heating pad, which compared each pad’s price to its value based on other ratings. Finally, we gave each pad an “overall rating” which took into account scores in all categories and represents our final impression of the heating pad, and weather or not we’d recommend it to a friend or family member.

For our tests, two testers used the heating pads in our Lab and assessed their comfort, functionality, and heating capacity. We first tested the ease of setup by turning it on and noting how long it took to feel the heat. Our testers considered the overall comfort and design of the pad, evaluating whether it stayed in place and determining whether it was a good fit for targeting specific body parts.

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

During the functionality test, our testers also examined the controller and paid attention to the degree of difficulty for operation. They tried the various heat or massage settings and took note of the amount of heat or vibration for each. If the pad had a cord, they considered the placement and length of the cord and whether either interfered with use of the pad. They also tested the automatic shutoff feature to determine whether it worked as advertised.

For the temperature test, our testers used a heat gun to measure the pad’s maximum temperature. They also paid attention to how intense the heat was for each setting and if it was evenly distributed throughout the pad.

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

What to Look For in a Heating Pad

Size and Style

Heating pads come in a range of styles, shapes, and sizes. So when shopping, you’ll want to consider how you plan to use your heating pad. Do you want to use it on a larger body part, like your back or abdomen? Then look for a heating pad that’s large enough to cover that area. Do you want to use it on a smaller, more flexible body part, like your knee, wrist, or elbow? Then you may want a smaller wearable option, like a wrap or brace.

Heat Settings

If you want to be able to control how hot your heating pad is, look for an option that offers a range of heat settings. Some heating pads offer only one heat setting, and others offer as many as 50. Natasha Trentacosta, MD, sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles recommends starting at the lowest setting and adjusting the heat up as needed.

Automatic Shutoff

Heating pads can cause burns when left on for too long, so it’s best to get one with an automatic shutoff feature or a preset timer feature, according to Dr. Trentacosta. An automatic shutoff feature will turn off after a certain period of time (typically, after a few hours). On the other hand, heating pads with a preset timer feature allow you to control how long they stay warm before automatically shutting off.

heating pads test

Verywell / Leticia Almeida

Corded vs. Cordless

Most electric heating pads come attached to a cord, which you have to plug into an outlet to turn it on. Naturally, this limits how mobile you can be while using your heating pad. If you want a heating pad that’s fully portable, consider finding one with a cordless design. If corded is your only option, look for a pad with a long cord that will allow you to move around comfortably.

Mechanism of Action

There are a few different ways that heating pads get hot. Some use electricity, while others are microwave-friendly. Each of these options comes with its own pros and cons. Electric options usually mean limited mobility because of the cord, while microwaveable pads don’t stay hot for as long.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you use a heating pad while pregnant?

    According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you can safely use a heating pad while pregnant. However, there are some steps you should take to prevent burns and minimize your risk of harm. “Heating pads should be set at the lowest possible temperature setting,” ACOG says. “Wrap your heating pad or warm water bottle in a towel to help prevent burns.” The organization also recommends limiting the amount of time you use a heating pad (or other forms of heat therapy).

  • How to make a homemade heating pad

    If you’re in need of a heating pad and don’t currently have one on hand, you may be able to DIY a heating pad using items in your house. Try filling a tube sock with rice (avoid instant rice). Then, tie the tube sock shut and place it in your microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful removing the sock from the microwave, as it may be incredibly hot. But once you can comfortably touch it, wrap it in a towel (or some other piece of cloth), and use it as a heating pad.

  • Do heating pads help with cramps?

    When your muscles get sore, your blood vessels may constrict—and the same thing happens when you experience menstrual cramps, says Dr. Trentacosta. Since heating pads work to dilate those blood vessels and increase blood flow, using a heating pad may be an effective way to relieve menstrual cramps.

  • How to use a heating pad

    To use a heating pad safely, Dr. Trentacosta recommends turning your heating pad to its lowest setting and gradually increasing the heat as needed. Be sure to wrap the heating pad in a cover, a towel, or some piece of fabric.

    According to Dr. Trentacosta, applying the pad directly to your skin may increase your risk of burns. Consider using your heating pad for only 10 to 30 minutes at a time, which should be long enough to safely get relief, according to Dr. Trentacosta. Also, be sure to read the directions for your specific heating pad.

  • Can you sleep with a heating pad on?

    You should not sleep with a heating pad on. “Definitely avoid sleeping with heating pads,” Dr. Trentacosta says. “There is no need to fall asleep with heat—or ice, for that matter—on one’s skin, as either of those substances can cause severe and disfiguring burns.”

  • How long to use heating pad

    According to Dr. Trentacosta, there’s no hard-and-fast rule about how long to use a heating pad. “If on for too short a time, the muscle or joint may not have an opportunity to warm up and experience the aforementioned benefits,” she says.

    “Leaving a heating pad on too long can result in injury from burns, and potentially can create a scenario of extreme inflammation in the body.” She recommends using a heating pad for about 10 to 30 minutes at a time. This should be long enough for the heating pad to work its magic, but not so long that you’re at risk of serious harm.

heating pads test

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Why Trust Verywell Fit

An avid runner, certified running coach, and fitness writer, Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, loves researching and testing the latest and greatest fitness gear and gadgets. Her decades of running experience and training athletes have helped her understand the value of using the best gear and products to improve comfort and performance.

Additional reporting by Lindsey Lanquist

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. For this shopping guide, she started by speaking to two experts to learn what features might make a heating pad safer, more comfortable, and more effective.

5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Petrofsky. Moist heat or dry heat for delayed onset muscle sorenessJ Clin Med Res. doi:10.4021/jocmr1521w

  2. The Best Heating Pad. Wirecutter. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-heating-pad/

  3. The Best Heating Pads to Soothe Aches and Pains. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health-products/g40301538/best-heating-pads/

  4. Saccomanni B. Low back pain associated with pregnancy: a review of literature. Eur Orthop Traumatol. 2011;1(5):169-174.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12570-010-0030-x

  5. Jo J, Lee SH. Heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis of its effects on pain relief and quality of life. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):16252.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-34303-z