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Which back scratcher is best?

There’s nothing worse than an itch on your back that you can’t reach. Avoid that annoying itchy feeling with a handy back scratcher. Add a Cactus Scratcher Metal Retractable Back Scratcher to your coffee table setup or the backseat of your car. The Cactus Scratcher has two sides for every itch intensity and a sturdy, retractable handle to hit every spot.

What causes itch?

Dry skin

This is the most common reason for itchiness. The back builds up dead skin cells more easily because of how hard it is to reach to exfoliate and moisturize. The rough and scaly skin this buildup causes is what makes the back so itchy.

Allergies and irritants

The materials in your clothing, bath soap and laundry detergent can irritate your skin, especially if you have an undiagnosed allergy.

Health conditions

Many different skin conditions and other underlying health conditions can cause your back to itch, along with the rest of your skin. Common causes include eczema, psoriasis and thyroid conditions. If your itch persists for a few weeks or is bad enough to affect any of your daily routines, you should check with your doctor immediately.

Back scratcher features


Back scratchers are generally made from either plastic, metal or wood. Deciding which is best depends on your preferences. 

  • Plastic: A plastic back scratcher will typically be the most affordable version. However, it can also be quite flimsy and easy to break or snap if too much pressure is used.
  • Metal: Metal back scratchers are usually made from stainless steel to avoid rust and maximize durability. They are also bendable to reach any spot.
  • Wood: Wooden back scratchers are very durable and one of the most aesthetically pleasing options. The wood of the back scratcher will absorb the oils of your skin overtime, however, leading to slicker and less effective tines—or prongs—and possibly unpleasant smells.

Lengths of parts

There are several parts of varying lengths to consider when purchasing a back scratcher: the overall length, head and tines.

  • Overall: A combination of the handle and head, the overall length of the back scratcher is what determines which areas you can reach. Picking a back scratcher between 18 and 22 inches in length should reach the necessary areas for most people.
  • Head: The size of the head is it important because its size controls the number of tines and thus the amount of skin you can cover at once. Make sure this is wide enough to cover what needs covering!
  • Tines: The tines are what actually scratch your back. If they’re too short you could strain your shoulder and elbow and if they’re too long they could be hard to control.


Material and construction determine the durability of your back scratcher. One-piece constructions last for the longest, while multi-piece back scratchers, especially ones constructed with adhesives, will break the quickest.


For itching on the go, one-piece back scratchers can take up too much space. Pick a telescoping or collapsible back scratcher for your car or bag, but don’t spend too much; you’ll probably need to replace it sooner rather than later.

Back scratcher cost

Back scratchers are very affordable no matter the material. Inexpensive plastic back scratchers can cost a single dollar while the most you’ll pay for a back scratcher will be around $20, depending on the material.

Back scratcher FAQ

What back scratcher material works best through clothing?

If you’ll primarily be scratching on top of your clothing you should find a flat head back scratcher (one without tines). Additionally, wooden scratchers might snag your clothing.

How long does a back scratcher last?

No matter how well you treat your back scratcher, the pressure you apply to scratch will weaken the back scratcher over time until it eventually breaks. Wood and metal scratchers will last longer than plastic versions.

Which back scratcher should I get?

Best of the best back scratcher

Cactus Scratcher Metal Retractable Back Scratcher with 2 Sides

Cactus Scratcher Metal Retractable Back Scratcher with 2 Sides

What you need to know: This model’s special added features make it a top pick.

What you’ll love: The two-sided head can scratch light or deep rooted itches as needed.

What you should consider: Those with more sensitive skin may find this back scratcher uncomfortable.

Where to buy: Amazon

Best bang for your buck back scratcher

Cerrxian LEMENG Portable Extendable Telescopic Bear Claws Metal Back Scratchers, 4 Pack

Cerrxian LEMENG Portable Extendable Telescopic Bear Claws Metal Back Scratchers, 4 Pack

What you need to know: Four for the price of one is an unbeatable deal; leave the extras in the car or at the office.

What you’ll love: Telescopic handles mean no itch is safe from being scratched.

What you should consider: There are some reports of the handles bending or breaking.

Where to buy: Amazon

Honorable mention back scratcher

BambooWorx Four-Piece Traditional Back Scratcher Set

BambooWorx Four-Piece Traditional Back Scratcher Set

What you need to know: Simple and effective, the BambooWorx back scratcher also comes with tools like a travel-sized scratcher and ball massager.

What you’ll love: The bamboo material is very sturdy, organic and eco-friendly.

What you should consider: The wooden material means no retraction or flexibility.

Where to buy: Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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