The best back scratcher

Adam Reeder

Have you suffered a seemingly unscratchable itch? When you have an itch that you can't reach, it can feel like a cruel joke. Thankfully, the elegant simplicity of a back scratcher can help to resolve this predicament.

If you want to get yourself the best back scratcher on the market, follow our helpful buying guide. We have included reviews of a few favorites, like our pick for Best of the Best, the Cactus Scratcher Metal Retractable Back Scratcher with 2 Sides. The Cactus Scratcher has spikes of two different levels: "moderate" and "aggressive" -- and it looks a lot like a cactus, too.

Considerations when choosing back scratchers

Cause of itching

Back scratchers are perfect for the everyday itch that you just can't reach. However, if you have eczema, chicken pox, or any other medical cause of your discomfort and itching, you may not want to go straight to a back scratcher as your first option for relief. Any medically caused itching or discomfort should be assessed by a medical professional before you use a self-prescribed remedy, and that includes back scratchers.


Back scratchers can be made from a number of materials. Some of the most popular are plastic, wood, and metal. Plastic tends to be the most affordable and the least durable. Wood is a step up in price and a step up in durability. Metal is generally the most durable and most expensive material. Many telescopic or otherwise adjustable back scratchers are of the metal sort.


Most standard back scratchers are approximately a foot long. While a handful may be slightly longer, you would likely need a metal telescopic back scratcher if you wanted anything longer than about a foot.


The "head" of a back scratcher is the tip with which you scratch your back. The "fingers" are the spokes on that same end. There are back scratchers with varying head widths and finger lengths. Wider is better for more people, so look for a wide-head scratcher with as many fingers as possible to offer the best itch relief.


The handle of any back scratcher impacts its effectiveness. If you have a handle that feels solid, you'll be more likely to scratch that unreachable itch in a shorter time -- and with more control. Rubberized grips generally give the best results and offer the best downward pressure during use.


The seam between the arm and head of any back scratcher is usually its weakest point. Due to the pressure that is routinely placed on the head, this seam tends to be the part that breaks more often than anything else. Try to find either a single-piece back scratcher or one with a firmly fused head.


A back scratcher that folds down, or collapses, is your best option in terms of portability. Some people like to keep a back scratcher in their car or purse for easy use at any time. If this is something that's important to you, you'll need to find a back scratcher that can be easily reduced and stowed.


Most back scratchers cost between $1 and $20. Single scratchers and multipacks that sell for less than $10 may be flimsier and more breakable; plastic scratchers are common here. Wood and metal back scratchers, including those with sophisticated telescoping handles, are likely to cost between $10 and $20. These products also tend to be more durable.


Q. What makes a back scratcher versatile?

A. Telescopic models offer a range of lengths for you to use. There are a few models available that are also bendable -- some people find this helpful for accessing itchy spots that are hard to reach.

Q. How long should my back scratcher last?

A. The answer to that question depends on the back scratcher you choose and how you use it. In general, a back scratcher should last a few years with proper care.

Back scratchers we recommend

Best of the best: Cactus Scratcher Metal Retractable Back Scratcher with 2 Sides

Our take: A two-for-one gem of a back scratcher with dual intensity levels.

What we like: Two-sided head offers extra convenience. Reaches an astounding 26 inches.

What we dislike: The sharp side of the scratcher may be painful for those with sensitive skin.

Best bang for your buck: Cerrxian LEMENG Portable Extendable Telescopic Bear Claws Metal Back Scratcher

Our take: Four back scratchers are included in this pack, which some find to be a steal.

What we like: Rubber-coated handle and telescopic hands make for a good grip and a good feel.

What we dislike: Handles broke for some users.

Choice 3: Kinsman Enterprises Reach N Scratch Bendable Back Scratcher

Our take: Curved design is a genius solution to a common problem.

What we like: Bendable design can reach any part of the back.

What we dislike: Expensive and sometimes hard to bend to the right shape.

Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.