If you’re looking for a shoulder brace to help recover an injured shoulder or to provide pain relief for a weakened shoulder, then this is the guide for you. This post will look at the four best shoulder braces on the market and include their pros and cons to provide a fully comprehensive look at each product.
As well as our shoulder brace recommendations, I will also explain the various things you can do to promote the healing of the shoulder joint and some preventative measures you can take to avoid a repeat shoulder injury.
But first, let’s look at the products I am recommending.
At a Glance: 4 Best Shoulder Braces
- Copper Compression Shoulder Brace– Our #1 Top Pick
- FIGHTECH Shoulder Brace– Our #1 Budget Pick
- NatraCure Hot or Cold and Compression Shoulder Support
- ZENKEYZ Shoulder Brace
What is a Shoulder Brace?
A shoulder brace is primarily used to help with the recovery of an injured shoulder. It provides stability and support to the joint in the form of a compression wrap which also relieves pain.
Shoulder braces restrict the mobility of the joint, which helps the injury heal more quickly; while allowing the wearer to conduct their daily activities relatively free from pain.
The shoulder is the most movable joint in the body, and often we don’t realize how much we need this joint to conduct almost every activity. From cooking and laundry to swimming and playing sports, the shoulder has an incredible range of motion that we rely on for nearly everything. When it is compromised, life can be pretty challenging.
Is a Shoulder Brace Necessary?
Shoulder braces enable the wearer to do the typical things they would throughout the day without experiencing sharp pains or dull aches from an injured shoulder. Although the joint’s mobility is restricted with a brace, the injury will heal much faster when one is worn, and the associated pain is considerably less as the joint is well supported.
According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in 2006, 7.5 million US citizens saw their doctor for a shoulder-related issue that year. People can injure their shoulders in many different ways, and it is a very common complaint.
Doctors will most likely advise using a shoulder brace, alongside medication and a light exercise regime as the best course of action, following an injury.
Exercises that strengthen the shoulder, such as press-ups and wall push-ups, are highly effective for common shoulder problems. However, you should seek the advice of your physiotherapist or doctor to ensure your exercise regime is suitable for your shoulder recovery.
Post recovery, it would be advisable to stick to a routine that works on the shoulders to prevent an injury from recurring.
How Shoulder Braces Work
To understand how a shoulder brace works, it helps to know how the shoulder itself works first.
The shoulder comprises three bones; the collarbone, the shoulder blade, and the humerus. The higher end of the humerus fits into the shoulder blades’ rounded socket.
The socket, anatomically known as the glenoid, is protected by muscles and tendons, known as the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff secures the top of the upper arm bones in the middle of the shoulder socket.
Shoulder braces create compression in the rotator cuff to provide adequate support and secure its position, resulting in a much lower risk of any damage or injury to the area. Shoulder braces prevent dislocation and maintain proper air and blood circulation.
You can use shoulder braces as a preventative measure during sports and training. However, they’re primarily used after surgery on the shoulder to help with the recovery process.
Things to Look For When Buying a Shoulder Brace
The type of shoulder brace you need will be entirely dependant on the level of need you have. Suppose you’re experiencing pain with the shoulder joint due to a condition such as Arthritis.
In that case, a shoulder brace can help subdue this pain and doesn’t need to be as restricting as for those recovering from a broken shoulder joint or shoulder injury.
If you are recovering from a shoulder injury, you will generally benefit from a high level of support; a tight-fitting, compression sleeve.
It is vital to seek advice from your doctor or physiotherapist before buying a shoulder brace, as they are the experts in your injury and recovery and will know what the best brace is for you. This guide is purely a general buying guide of the best braces around.
Here are some of the things to look for when buying a shoulder brace.
Some materials are simply better than others when it comes to shoulder braces. It is essential to look for one that has the following features:
- Durability: It needs to withstand long-time use and general wear and tear.
- Breathability: You don’t want to feel uncomfortable or itchy when also in pain and with possible low mood.
- Washability: How easy is it to keep the product sanitary? This is a big issue that needs to be looked at.
The above three factors are the critical things to look for in the material of a shoulder brace. If it isn’t durable, breathable, or easy to keep sanitary, then it isn’t going to be a beneficial product.
There are shoulder braces that are copper-infused to help with injury recovery, although this has recently been disputed. Others use temperature to provide extra comfort.
These features are considered beneficial but may come with a higher price over more basic shoulder braces. It is up to you whether you deem the additional features worthy of a larger price point.
Shoulder braces range in price from around $20 up to $150. They’re not the most expensive medical aid out there, but the spectrum is pretty large for a product that doesn’t change considerably.
I would always look at what you’re actually getting for your money. Often it can be things like color or design, which for a product that’s rarely going to be seen by others is pretty pointless. It may also be due to a brand name, which can mean quality but can also mean simply a logo.
It will depend on why you need a shoulder brace as to which one is best for you. Some offer an outstanding level of support; others are more flexible. It is essential that you buy the right kind of shoulder brace for your individual requirements.
Most shoulder braces are adjustable or able to be purchased in different sizes, typically from small to large. You should measure your shoulder and chest to ensure that the product you’re considering buying is going to be the right fit, as a poorly fitting shoulder brace is not adequate.
Here are a few factors I considered before recommending the shoulder braces I have done for this article.
I have looked across the price points and found the best shoulder brace in most budgets. Each product listed, I believe, has a fair retail price when features, brand, and durability are taken into account.
I wanted to ensure that other consumers felt the shoulder brace was an excellent buy, so each has been rated highly online – and has accessible, verified reviews.
To ensure that the shoulder braces I reviewed would stand the test of time, they had to be durable. This means high-quality materials, reputable brands, and other consumers have found the braces to have good-to-excellent longevity.
4 Best Shoulder Braces
|Copper Compression Shoulder Brace – Our #1 Top Pick
|Find it Here|
|FIGHTECH Shoulder Brace – Our #1 Budget Pick
|Find it Here|
|NatraCure Hot or Cold and Compression Shoulder Support
|Find it Here|
|ZENKEYZ Shoulder Brace
|Find it Here|
Copper Compression Shoulder Brace – Our #1 Top Pick
The Copper Compression Shoulder Brace has the highest copper content of all shoulder braces I have found. Although the benefits of copper are disputed, many users encountered a marked improvement using this product over others.
This brace is made from 85% copper-infused nylon, which results in a breathable, comfortable, and hygienic product.
This shoulder brace is highly rated online and an Amazon bestseller. It is suitable for all kinds of shoulder issues, from dislocated joints and separation to Tendonitis and Fibromyalgia.
I found the brace extremely comfortable to wear during the day and night; it fits well and can be worn over or under clothes. The fabric is very breathable and doesn’t irritate the skin.
The Copper Compression shoulder brace is a one-size product with an adjustable hook. Some consumers found it too large and would appreciate the option of buying different sizes to fit better. I found the product to be fairly priced, effective, durable and the quick shipment is a huge advantage.
- Effective Support for a Range of Shoulder Problems
- Comfortable Fabric
- Fair Price
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
- One Size Option; Not a Perfect Fit for All
FIGHTECH Shoulder Brace – Our #1 Budget Pick
In addition to the immense value for money, the color choices were what drew me to the FIGHTECH Shoulder Brace. Available in Mint, Black, Pink, or USA flag design, this brace has a visual appeal for everyone.
There are different size options, from small to extra-large, to perfectly fit any consumer who requires the medium to strong shoulder support this brace provides.
The material is comfortable, breathable Neoprene, which gives a soothing pressure to the shoulder and stabilizes the joint, relieving any pain or discomfort. The FIGHTECH shoulder brace is ambidextrous and highly adjustable. It can work with an added shoulder sling (separate purchase) for a greater level of support.
This upgraded model features an internal pocket for ice packs or heat pads, although these are not included with the purchase. If you’re suffering from frozen shoulder, stiff joints, sprains, or Tendonitis, this is an ideal product at an excellent price.
A couple of extra purchases would make the product suitable for post-surgery; however, it would lose its value for money.
- Great Colors and Designs
- Breathable Neoprene
- Adjustable and Different Size Options
- 2-Day delivery
- Excellent Value for Money
- No Ice or Heat Pad Included, Despite the Upgraded Pocket
- For Higher Support, Additional Purchases Necessary
NatraCure Hot or Cold and Compression Shoulder Support
The NatraCure Hot or Cold and Compression Shoulder Support has received some of the best online reviews I have come across.
It is regularly described as a ‘game-changer and cited ‘ahead of its time in terms of long-lasting reliability, function, and affordability – I had to check it out! Luckily in good time as the product is now temporarily out of stock until December 2021!
This brace is suitable for chests up to 50-in, which is a drawback. However, it comes with a compression air pump and a removable gel pack (ideal for heat or ice therapy), which is a significant advantage. In addition, I found it to deliver targeted pain relief immediately and that the majority of shoulder problems have accelerated recovery with the help of this shoulder support.
Some consumers felt a slight irritation if worn for long periods; others found it the most comfortable shoulder support they’d ever used. I guess it is a personal thing, or possibly dependent on how and when you use it.
I found for regular daily activities, no discomfort was experienced, yet for more vigorous exercise, it could rub slightly.
- Very Highly Rated Product
- Includes Reusable Gel Pad
- Good Level of Support
- Suitable for Left or Right Shoulder
- Not in Stock Until December 2021
- Only Suitable for Chests up to 50-in
- Slight Discomfort/Rubbing During Vigorous Exercise
ZENKEYZ Shoulder Brace
There are many buying options with the ZENKEYZ Shoulder Brace, from extra small to extra large. I found this extremely simple to put on, and due to the strong velcro fastening, it is easily adjustable. Almost 6,000 consumers have rated this brace highly on Amazon, with an average of 4 stars overall.
There are various color options, and this brace is slim-fitting, so comfortable to wear under clothes all day long, and the Nude color ZENKEYZ shoulder brace is barely detectable under a white work shirt. It can support and stabilize the shoulder joint or prevent re-injury during sports and activities, making it multipurpose.
This shoulder brace comes with a 6-in x 6-in internal pocket for ice or heat packs (not included), and it can be worn over or under clothes. I found the price to be reasonable when all aspects were taken into account, and the product was effective and comfortable for long-term use. Next-day delivery is also available to most States.
- Next Day Delivery Available
- Comfortable to Wear
- Great Color Choices
- Different Size Options
- Left or Right Shoulder
- Over or Under Clothes
- Included Gel Pocket
- Gel Pack Not Included
- Some Consumers Feel it Can be Loose Fitting
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: For maximum effect, it is recommended to wear a shoulder brace at all times during rehabilitation or injury recovery, apart from when showering. Most people will sleep with a shoulder brace on to ensure the joint is protected when they’re unaware. This is why the comfort of the material is especially important.
Answer: Whether you stick to an exercise regime is dependant on the severity of your shoulder injury and your doctor’s advice. There is no reason to stop exercising altogether, but it may be that you need to adapt your workout to ensure the shoulder can remain protected.
Answer: Of all alternatives to shoulder braces, the best option is straightforward: prevention.
Degeneration of the shoulder joint as we age is inevitable, and it can cause injury during many daily activities and exercises regardless of age. However, you can help to prevent the need for a shoulder brace in many ways, such as:
Rest: Take a break from repetitive activities that rely on the shoulder
Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can help restore safe shoulder movement through guided stretching, massage, and strengthening. Check out our guide to the Best Massage Chairs if you’re’ advised that massage could help your injury.
Medication: Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications can prevent swelling and associated pain.
Injections: Your doctor may recommend steroid-based injections if medications have little-to-no effect.
Surgery: In very severe cases, surgery could be an option to repair or transfer tendons or replace the shoulder entirely. This will be only after every other avenue has been exhausted.
The Best Shoulder Brace – My Verdict
If you need a shoulder brace in a hurry, then the ZENKEYZ Shoulder Brace has a one-day delivery to most States. This brace is suitable for most people due to the several size options and adjustable velcro fastening.
There are various color options, and I found the brace to be comfortable and effective; however, some people found it a little loose.
Although not currently in stock, the NatraCure Hot or Cold and Compression Shoulder Support has received some of the best online reviews I have come across. It comes with a removable gel pack and a compression air pump.
It is a highly comfortable brace that offers a good level of support for a shoulder injury and an effective preventative measure.
I loved the color options of the FIGHTECH Shoulder Brace, particularly the USA flag design. This brace has several size options and offers medium to strong support. The FIGHTECH brace is suitable for left or right shoulders, is highly adjustable, and features an internal pocket for ice or heat pads – however, the pads are not included.
The FIGHTECH shoulder brace is excellent value for money, is made from breathable Neoprene, and can be shipped within 2-days. For those who need a higher level of support, additional purchases will be necessary.
I was most impressed with the Copper Compression Shoulder Brace due to its highly comfortable, breathable, and hygienic fabric combination. This brace is suitable for most shoulder complaints and is rated as very effective by many consumers. The price is fair, the product works, and there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Yet, some consumers felt it was a little loose fitting and not as supportive as they’d hoped. As with all of the shoulder braces featured, we recommend taking proper measurements (twice) of your chest, upper arm, and back to ensure a correct fitting.
If you are interested in finding out about how else you can support your body, take a look at these articles below:
How to Find the Best Elbow Brace
The Best Zero Gravity Massage Chairs: Buying Guide