An elbow heating pad is one of the best natural ways to relieve pain and tenderness of the elbow and arm, caused by a Tennis Elbow, a Golfer’s elbow, arthritis, and sports injuries.
Its special design allows it to wrap around the elbow and arm, delivering the soothing and healing heat exactly where you need it and stays put even when you move around with it.
How do you choose a heated elbow and arm wrap that will fit your needs and won’t fail you?
This is what we’re here for.
In this post, you’ll find how infrared heat helps elbow pain, how to choose the best elbow heating pads for your needs, and our top picks for 2023.
👉 In a Hurry? see our top picks compared below, or jump to our elbow heating pads reviews.
|Elbow Heating Pad||Review||Type/Heat Retention||Price|
|Sunbeam FlexTemp||Best Electric||Electric, corded|
|✅ $34 on Amazon|
|Bed Buddy Joint Wrap||Best Microwaveable|
|✅ $13-$23 on Amazon
|Comfier Wireless Elbow Brace||Best with Massage|
2 massage motors
|✅ $52 with coupon code DAD30 at Comfier|
|ActiveWrap||Best Dual Gel Packs||Microwaveable|
|✅ $37 on Amazon|
|dpl Joint Wrap||Best LED Light Therapy Wrap||Electric, battery-operated|
LED light therapy
|✅ $159 at dpl Light Therapy
This post may contain affiliate links, at no extra cost to you.
- How Does Heat Help Tennis Elbow, Arthritis, and Injuries?
- The 3 Types of Elbow and Arm Heated Wraps
- The 5 Best Elbow Heating Pads & Wraps
- How to Use an Elbow Heating Pad
How Does Heat Help Tennis Elbow, Arthritis, and Injuries?
Tennis elbow, Golfer’s elbow, and sports injuries are mostly caused by repetitive motions and overuse of the elbow, arm, and wrist, which cause damage to the tendons and inflammation.
They usually cause the same symptoms of tenderness and mild to severe pain, that start gradually and tend to get worse over time.
Heat therapy increases blood circulation to the problem areas, which brings oxygen, healing blood components, and pain-relieving blood components, that simultaneously relieve pain and speed up healing and recovery.
Elbow heating pads are better for chronic conditions, while cold therapy is more suited to the first 72 hours after an acute injury.
Thermal therapy, used every other day, was proven to reduce pain and disability and can help whether the pain is mild, or severe (that is felt even when the elbow is resting), especially for chronic conditions.
The 3 Types of Elbow and Arm Heated Wraps
The 3 types of heated elbow wrap you can find are:
3. LED light therapy
Electric and microwaveable heated elbow wraps are both designed to provide heat therapy to the elbow area, while LED light therapy elbow wraps focus on stimulating tissue repair through light energy.
Electric wraps use built-in heating elements and are the only type that allows for adjustable temperature settings, but they require a power source.
Microwaveable wraps use heat-retaining materials and can be heated in a microwave, making them 100% portable. However, they won’t keep the heat for longer than 15-20 minutes on average.
LED light therapy wraps deliver specific wavelengths of light to promote healing without generating much heat, and most of them are battery-operated and portable. They are usually more expensive.
The 5 Best Elbow Heating Pads & Wraps
Here are the 5 best elbow heating pads, according to our personal experience, and through hundreds of customer reviews and testimonials:
1. Best Electric – Sunbeam FlexTemp Heating Pad
- Type – Electric, corded
- Heat retention – 2 hours
The Sunbeam flexible joint wrap is a comfortable heated elbow (or knee wrap), which includes fastening straps that wrap around the pad for a custom fit.
The compact controller allows you to choose from 3 heat settings, and you can safely spray the wrap with water for moist heat therapy.
Inside the wrap, you’ll find a gel pack, that can be used frozen for cold therapy, but you have to remove it if you use the heat option.
The 2-hour automated shut-off is long enough to get a full treatment, and the cord is long (9 feet).
It’s simple, easy to use, starts to heat up in 10-15 seconds, and does what it says – for a reasonable price. However, we wish it could be wireless, and some buyers claim that it doesn’t get hot enough.
✅ Available on Amazon ($35) same price at Walmart
2. Best Microwaveable – Bed Buddy Joint Wrap
- Type – microwaveable wrap
- Heat retention – up to 15 minutes
The Bed Buddy elbow wrap is made from a form-fitting material (100% natural grains that can be heated/chilled and a soft nylon cover). All you have to do is microwave it and wrap it around your elbow.
It is long enough to fit any elbow and can also be used as an arm heating pad (15.5″ long and 6″ wide), and is super simple to use and easy to clean (only with a damp cloth).
It is nonelectric so no cords can limit your movement, it heats up quickly in the microwave (in less than one minute), keeps the heat for 15 minutes, and you get 2 wraps for a reasonable price.
However, it will obviously cool down in about 15 minutes, and you’ll have to reheat it for a longer treatment, and some buyers don’t like the smell of the grains when they are heated (they smell like peas or broccoli).
✅ Available on Amazon ($13-$23 for 2 wraps – according to size)
3. Best Dual Gel Packs – Activewrap Elbow Wrap
- Type – microwaveable gel packs
- Heat retention – up to 15 minutes
The Activewrap heating pad sleeve provides heat or cold therapy for the whole elbow and surrounding area (arm) through two durable gel packs that can be microwaved for soothing heat or frozen for acute inflammation reduction.
The size can be adjusted by the Velcro strap, but you still can choose from two different sizes – Small/Medium (10 to 16 inches) and X-Large (16 inches and up). The XL size is recommended if you have swollen arms.
The flexible gel packs do not get stiff when frozen and the two pockets that hold them prevent direct contact with your skin.
The wrap itself is made from plush fabric which is flexible, comfortable, durable (seems quite sturdy to prevent tears or leaks), and washable.
This means that If you close it tight enough, it can also be used for compression treatment.
All in all, the Activewrap is great for Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, arthritis, sports injuries, surgery recovery, and the occasional aches and pains.
However, it may be a bit challenging to put on one-handed, and since it is not electric, the heat won’t keep for more than 15 minutes, and you’ll have to reheat it, strap it on again, and so on.
✅ Available on Amazon ($38)
4. Best Led Light Therapy Wrap – dpl Joint Wrap
- Type – electric, rechargeable, LED light therapy
- Treatment time – 20-30 minutes
The dpl joint wrap (FDA-cleared) is a red light therapy wrap that uses powerful LED lights using IR (infrared) and red wavelengths for pain relief and healing.
The red and infrared wavelengths are proven to reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and repair damaged cells – for decades.
Although this USB joint wrap does not feel as hot as conventional electric heating pads, the LED light is deep penetrating and reaches all the way to your muscles and tendons. It energizes the cells and boosts blood circulation – without getting too hot.
Plus, red light therapy wraps are lightweight, thin, 100% portable (rechargeable), and can be wrapped around any joint. The dpl joint wrap is large enough to wrap over your shoulders and elbows but is capable of tightening (through the Velcro strap) around your wrist as well.
The battery lasts for almost 3.5 hours per full charge.
However, this technology, which is safe, natural, and side-effect-free, is more expensive than regular heating pads.
✅ Available at dpl Light Therapy ($159 with free shipping), and on Amazon. (same price)
🥇5. Best with Massage – Comfier Wireless Heated Elbow Brace
- Type – battery operated, heat and massage
- Heat retention – 30 minutes
The Comfier electric heated elbow brace is the only one on this list that features vibration massage to the elbow and arm and is 100% portable (comes with a built-in 5000MA rechargeable battery).
When you use the Comfier joint wraps, you can choose from 3 heat levels (113°F, 122°F, 140°F), and 3 intensity levels of vibration massage, delivered through two powerful motors.
You can use the heat and the massage separately.
The battery lasts for more than 2 hours per single charge, so you can move around with the elbow heating massaging wrap freely at home or outside.
The pads are not bulky or heavy, charging is easy, and the pads fold up neatly for storage.
The Comfier brace shuts off automatically after 30 minutes, but you can use it 2-3 times a day as needed. The smart touch control is easy to use and has a locking feature that keeps the setting steady in case something accidentally touches the controls.
✅Available at Comfier ($52 with coupon code DAD30 for 2 pads!), and on Amazon
How to Use an Elbow Heating Pad
Electric or microwaveable elbow heating pads are easy to use and operate. Electric braces and sleeves only require that you slide them up to the elbow and surrounding arm, choose a heat setting, and start your treatment.
They shut off automatically and can be set through a controller or a built-in touch controller. Nonelectric elbow heating pads only require about one minute of microwave heating. It’s best to follow every heating pad’s instructions in the manual.
How Long and How Often Should You Heat Your Elbow?
An average heat treatment time for Tennis elbow, arthritis, and sports injuries ranges from 15 to 30 minutes, up to 2-3 times a day. Depending on the heating pad’s type and strength, most people use an elbow heating pad at least 3 times a week.
Just like any other heating pad, it is generally safe to use it until you feel pain relief, as long as the device works properly and doesn’t get overheated.
To your health and happiness,
Bjordal JM, Lopes-Martins RA, Joensen J, Couppe C, Ljunggren AE, Stergioulas A, Johnson MI. A systematic review with procedural assessments and meta-analysis of low level laser therapy in lateral elbow tendinopathy (tennis elbow). BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2008 May 29;9:75. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-9-75. PMID: 18510742; PMCID: PMC2442599.
Chandler A et al (2002) Using heat therapy for pain management. Nursing Standard. 17, 9, 40-42. Date of acceptance: August 29 2002.