The 5 Best Elbow Heating Pads (for Tennis Elbow & Arthritis)

An elbow heating pad is one of the best natural ways to relieve pain and tenderness of the elbow and surrounding area, caused by a Tennis Elbow, a Golfer’s elbow, arthritis, and sports injuries.

Heat therapy (especially infrared light therapy) is long proven to treat and relieve joint and muscle pain naturally, by boosting blood circulation – which brings more oxygen and healing blood components and speeds up recovery.

elbow heating pads

This post may contain affiliate links, at no extra cost to you.

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 2022.

👉 In a Hurry? see our top picks compared below, or jump to our elbow heating pads reviews.

Elbow Heating PadReviewType/Heat RetentionPrice
Sunbeam FlexTemp
Best ElectricElectric, corded
2-hour heat
$34 on Amazon
Bed Buddy Joint Wrap
Best MicrowaveableMicrowaveable
15-minute heat
$16 on Amazon
Comfier Wireless Elbow Brace
Best with Massage
(2 pads)
Electric, battery-operated
2 massage motors
30-minute heat
$50 with coupon code CFTKS35 at Comfier
ActiveWrap
Best Dual Gel PacksMicrowaveable
15-minute heat
$37 on Amazon
dpl Joint Wrap
Best LED Light Therapy WrapElectric, battery-operated
LED light therapy
30-minute heat
$159 at dpl Light Therapy
30% discount with code SAVE30

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 tends 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.

How Does an Elbow Heating Pad Work?

An elbow heating pad is specially designed as a wearable elbow wrap, which wraps around the entire elbow and the surrounding tendons and muscles. It usually covers a part of the forearms as well.

You can find a few types of heating pads for the elbow, including electrically heated wraps (with temperature control and timer), battery-operated heating pads, heated gel packs, and microwaveable heating wraps.

Electric elbow heating pads allow for longer treatment times, setting a comfortable temperature, and some are cordless and rechargeable and thus 100% portable so you can use them at work or on the go. Microwaveable elbow wraps are also portable and can be used while moving around.

The 5 Best Elbow Heating Pads and 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 

sunbeam flextemp heating pad for elbow
Sunbeam FlexTemp – view on Amazon
  • 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).

hot and cold gel pack for elbow pain
Includes a freezable gel pack for cold therapy

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.

Price – check the price on Amazon (5-year warranty), same price on Walmart

2. Best Microwaveable – Bed Buddy Joint Wrap  

microwaveable elbow heating pad
Bed Buddy Joint Wrap – view on Amazon
  • 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 arm (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.

moist heat elbow heating pad
Two wraps for the price of one

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 pees or broccoli).

Price – less than $17 on Amazon (for 2 wraps)

3. Best Dual Gel Packs – Activewrap Elbow Wrap  

activewrap heated elbow wrap
Active Wrap Ice/Heat elbow wrap – view on Amazon
  • Type – microwaveable gel packs
  • Heat retention – up to 15 minutes

The Activewrap provides heat or cold therapy for the whole elbow and surrounding area 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.

activewrap hot and cold wrap review

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.

Price – check the price on Amazon

4. Best Led Light Therapy Wrap – dpl Joint Wrap  

led light therapy elbow wrap
dpl Joint Wrap – view at dpl Light Therapy
  • 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, tendons, and bones. It energizes the cells and boosts blood circulation – without getting too hot.

red light therapy wrap for elbow pain
You can see the LED lights inside, though the infrared light is invisible to the human eye

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.

✅ Price – $159 with free shipping at dpl Light Therapy (30% discount with coupon code SAVE30), higher price on Amazon.

🥇5. Best with Massage – Comfier Wireless Heated Elbow Brace  

elbow heating pad with massage
Comfier wireless heated elbow brace with massage – view at Comfier
  • 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.

battery operated elbow heating pad
Adjustable heat and massage settings that can be locked

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.

Price – $50 with coupon code CFTKS35 (for 2 pads!) at Comfier, higher price 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,

Meital

Studies

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.

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