How Do I Choose the Best Heat Pack?

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  • Written By: Megan Shoop
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2019
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Choosing a heat pack may not sound like a complicated process, but there are dozens of different styles, shapes, and scents available from retail shops and online. Those looking for this item may find themselves overwhelmed with options, so narrowing down the choices to search for a specific kind of heat pack usually helps streamline the search. Consumers usually need to decide on the shape, size, heating style, and scent when selecting one. There are often several choices in each of these categories, so understanding one’s needs may help the choice go faster.

How the heat pack will be heated is one of the first things a consumer should choose. Most are electric or can be heated in the microwave. Electric heat packs are generally flat and have a network of wires inside a plastic casing that is covered by soft fabric. These work well for wrapping around calves, arms, or placing against the back. They don’t usually form well against joints or necks, and need to be plugged into an outlet to work, making them relatively immobile.


Microwavable heat packs are usually filled with dried rice, beans, lentils, or flaxseeds, and are heated for several minutes in the microwave. Their malleable contents allow them to be formed against the back of the neck, around wrists, over knees, and across abdomens. They usually come with a washable outer covering and are made in many shapes and sizes. Users may also put them in the freezer to turn them into quick and easy ice packs.

The next step in choosing a heat pack typically includes deciding on its shape and size. An electric heat pack usually only comes in one shape and size, so people who prefer these don’t have any more decisions to make. Those who prefer microwavable heat packs can generally choose among horseshoe shapes, rectangles, long skinny tubes, moon shapes, and tiny packs that fit into socks and gloves. Horseshoes work well for the neck and abdomen, while rectangles and long skinny tubes may be used for the joints and back. Moon shapes fit nicely on the forehead, while tiny packs soothe sore hands and feet.

When selecting a microwavable heat pack, consumers usually need to decide on a scent as well. Some of these packs are scentless, but the majority of them contain herbs. Consumers should rule out scents that cause allergic reactions, and then choose a pack based on personal taste and need. Sore joints usually benefit from ginger and peppermint, while vanilla and chamomile are calming. Shoppers may also want to keep in mind that citrus and cinnamon are said to boost energy.


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Post 3

I think it's possible to find both good quality and bad quality versions of a product. So I can't say that one type of heat pack is best or better than others. Regardless of what type one wants, it's a good idea to read reviews of it online.

I've used just about every type of heat pack out there because I have arthritis. Heat is very beneficial for my joint aches and pains. I've used instant heat packs, gel packs and microwaveable ones. With each type, there were products I liked and products I didn't like. Almost always, the higher the price of a heat pack, the better the quality. The only exception are instant packs which are affordable because they are one time use only.

Post 2

I guess most heat packs don't work too well. I have a microwaveable heat pack with rice and I'm not happy with it at all. It doesn't get very hot and it turns cold in about ten minutes. It's a complete waste of money.

The gel heat packs are better. Those stay warm for an hour, sometimes even longer. They're cheaper too.

Post 1

I had electric heat packs that were inserted inside my knitted home boots, to keep my feet extra warm. They didn't make my heat super hot, but at least they were not freezing. I thought that the heat packs would be durable but they were not. They stopped working after about six months. I think the wires got damaged. I still wear the boots though.

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