Best Heating Pads

What are the best heating pads?

There are various types of heating pads. There are two main categories: those which use electricity and those which do not. The first category includes electric heaters such as space heaters, wood stoves, electric blankets and other appliances that require electricity to operate. These devices can provide warmth at temperatures ranging from -20°F (-30°C) to 140°F (60°C). They can also provide comfort at temperatures between 40°F and 120°F (4°C to 50°C).

The second category includes all other types of heating pads. These include heat mats, electric blankets, microwave ovens, electric kettles and many others. Some of these devices may provide warmth up to temperatures around 150°F (66°C), but they cannot provide comfort above that temperature. For example, electric blankets can provide warmth up to 100°F (38°C), but they cannot provide comfort above that temperature.

In general, the higher the wattage of a device, the warmer it will be when used in conjunction with your body heat. A lower wattage heater will produce less warmth than one with a high wattage rating. Higher-wattage devices tend to produce more heat than low-wattage ones.

Warm air will always feel warmer than warm water, since the heat has a direct route to the body’s core. A higher-wattage heater will produce more air than a lower-wattage one. A device that outputs 500 watts of heat will make you feel hotter than a heater that puts out 300 watts, even if they are at the same temperature.

Which are the best heating pads?

A heat pad or hot water bottle can be very comforting. Adding extra layers of blankets to your bed is another way to stay warm while you sleep. If you have a room or house with a fireplace, you can also sit in a comfortable chair in front of it and bask in the warmth of the fire. If all else fails, you can always turn up the heat in your home.

Heating pads come in many varieties. You can find them in drug stores, discount warehouses and department stores. They can range in price from less than ten dollars to more than a hundred dollars.

Many doctors recommend heating pads for pain. For headaches, low-back pain and menstrual cramps, heat can relax tense muscles and provide temporary relief. It can also relax cold hands and feet and keep you warm on a chilly night.

The best heating pads work well at home or while you are traveling making them a versatile choice. Some can be microwaved and used several times before disposal. Others can be heated in the oven and still others can be tossed in the washing machine when they become dirty.

The best heating pads are:

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~ The Sunbeam® Heat Therapy Wrap (HTRWW). It comes with an auto shut-off feature that turns off the heating element if it gets too hot. It can easily be warmed in the microwave for a few seconds to meet your comfort needs.

~ The Icy-Hot® Pain Relief Wrap. It can be heated in a microwave or chilled in the freezer, whichever is more soothing. The wrap stays warm for up to twelve hours and can be reused.

~ The Back Buddy®. It provides soothing relief for aching muscles and sore joints. It also comes with an insulated thermal pouch that can keep it warm for up to twenty minutes.

~ The Fleece Neck Wrap. It can be microwaved for a few seconds or popped in the dryer to provide warmth. It stays warm for up to twenty minutes and can be used many times before disposal.

~ The Snug Vest. It is popular with people who like to watch TV or read because it can be heated in the microwave for a few seconds at a time as needed. It stays warm for up to twenty minutes and can be reused.

~ The Heating Body Wrap. It can be warmed in a microwave for quick heat. It is made of washable flannel so it stays warm for up to twenty minutes and can be reused many times before disposal.

There are many other heating pads on the market that might work just as well for you as the ones listed above. The best way to find out is to go to your local drug store and try a few out.

How to use a heating pad safely

A heating pad can provide warm comfort when you have aches and pains, but only when used properly. Here are some tips on how to do that:

Wash the pad before first-time use. Fill the bathtub with a comfortably warm amount of water. Add the bath oil or bubble bath of your choice. Place the pad in the water and let it soak for at least an hour.

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Remove the pad from the water and place it in a well-ventilated area to dry.

Before using the heating pad, test it by placing it on the back of your arm to see if it is uncomfortably hot. If so, do not use.

Do not use directly on broken skin. If you experience discomfort, itchiness, tingling or swelling while using the pad, discontinue use immediately and consult a physician.

Do not use a heating pad on a child.

It is not recommended to heat the pad in the microwave oven, but if you must: place a thin, damp towel between the microwave wall and the pad; heat the pad on the lowest power setting for the shortest amount of time possible; do not leave heating pad unattended.

Do not dry the pad in a clothes dryer. Do not iron the pad.

Allow the pad to cool before storing it.

Heating pads can be pricey so follow these storage tips to make yours last longer:

Storing the heating pad when it is cool will prolong its life span.

Cover it with a cotton pillowcase and store in a drawer or closet.

Storing the pad in a cool, dry place extends its life span. Do not store in direct sunlight.

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Never store the heating pad in the box it came in. Air flow is important so do not stuff the pad into the box. The pad must “breathe.”

Batteries in heating pads can leak, so if you plan on storing your heating pad for more than three months, remove the batteries.

Keeping your heating pad in good condition will increase its life span and your comfort.

Where to buy heating pads

Heating pads can be found at your local drug store, large discount stores and even some grocery stores. They are not expensive, so if you find a brand that you like, buy two. Keep one in the glove box of your car for those days when you unexpectedly need some quick back pain relief.

Did You Know?

The first heating pads were boiled in water inside a leather pouch. The resulting warm liquid was absorbed into some flax fibers and then the whole thing was tied up inside a piece of cloth. The first electric heating pads were not widely available until after World War II.

See our collection of heating pads for different types of pain.

Related Reading:

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Alternative Treatments for Headaches Natural ways of dealing with headaches. Includes garlic, butterbur and feverfew.

Alternative Treatments for Arthritis Arthritis is a painful inflammation of the joints. Find out how to make the pain go away naturally.

Alternative Treatments for Sinus Congestion Learn about the causes of sinus problems and how to relieve the pressure and pain caused by sinusitis.

Alternative Treatments for Tennis Elbow How to get rid of that pain in your elbow. Includes options such as massage, heating pads and more.

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Alternative Treatments for Back Pain Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor. Here are some tips on relieving that aching pain.

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Back Pain Relief at Home

When it comes to providing instant back pain relief, nothing beats a good heating pad. Neck pain, back pain, muscle cramps and sprains, heating pads can provide quick relief from all these painful conditions.

Soreness after exercising or working is common and a heating pad can accelerate tissue repair. Arthritis, one of the most common causes of joint pain and inflammation also responds well to heat therapy.

Tension headaches are another common ailment. Many over the counter drugs are designed to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by these headaches.

Hot water bottles have been used for centuries to relieve all types of pain. While they may seem old fashioned, the soothing heat provides fast and effective pain relief. Ready to use hot water bottles are available at most discount and department stores.

A hot water bottle or heating pad can be used to relieve aching feet after standing all day or overnight muscle cramps. Simply fill with hot water, plug in and wrap around the foot or muscle that needs some quick pain relief.

Be sure to follow the directions carefully when using these products. The last thing you want is to get burned. If you are suffering from a specific type of pain, check the label for specific instructions.

Always test the heat before using it on a sensitive area such as the back or neck by placing it on the inside of your forearm. If it feels too hot or cold, don’t use it.

Some people are allergic to the types of plastic used in heating pads. If you notice a red itchy rash after using one of these products check the label to see if it mentions being made of vinyl or vinyl chloride.

If you notice any type of skin irritation stop using the product immediately and consult your physician.

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Heating pads can provide instant pain relief, but you shouldn’t rely on them as a long term solution. There may be underlying causes for your pain that need attention such as a injury or illness.

Always talk to your physician about any ongoing health issues. Back pain, muscle spasms and other types of recurring pain should not be ignored and can lead to serious complications if left untreated.

For information on common causes of back pain and other joint, muscle and bone conditions check out The Bodybook.

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Thanks again to our co-creator for this great Pain Management Infographic.

Thanks to you for reading!

Sources & references used in this article:

Control device and safety circuit for heating pads with PTC heater by J Weiss, KY Lin – US Patent 5,422,461, 1995 – Google Patents

Control device and safety circuit for heating pads with PTC heater by J Weiss, KY Lin – US Patent 5,420,397, 1995 – Google Patents

Multi-purpose heating pad by MA Fogel, R Irve – US Patent 3,178,559, 1965 – Google Patents

Collapsible heating pad for travelling by K Lawrence, D Robert – US Patent 3,130,289, 1964 – Google Patents

Development of conductive cotton fabrics for heating devices by NV Bhat, DT Seshadri, MM Nate… – Journal of Applied …, 2006 – Wiley Online Library

Burns due to heating pads by GM Dini, LM Ferreira – Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 2007 –