Few sensations can drive one more feral than an itch you can’t scratch. Seriously, it feels like an animal thing. We even see the urge reflected in nature–bears scratching their backs on tree bark, my friend’s cat running its face along my laptop, and the like. While human touch is always preferable, sometimes you’re in a pinch and need a little more assistance than your own two hands and arms can provide. Enter the back scratcher, an endearing invention of human nature that harkens back to our closer roots with the Earth.
However, here in our modern day and age, the back scratcher has evolved into countless forms. Intuitive and simple to design and produce, the models generally look the same, but there’s an overwhelming array of modifications and options that would understandably overwhelm any buyer. To save you the hassle, we’ve sorted through the most helpful tips for buying the best back scratcher for your specific situation, along with an expansive roundup sure to offer an ideal back scratcher for everyone. Goodbye feral itch face–one of the benefits of our modern day and age is that we exist with civilization’s comforts.
Owning a back scratcher is nothing to hide–everyone knows the pain of that inescapable itch.
What to Consider Before Buying
Make sure the length of your back scratcher suits your actual body. If your back scratcher can’t reach the full expanse of your back, then it’s not very useful, even if it’s perfect in every other way. If you’re especially tall, opt for a telescopic back scratcher that can expand to extra lengths.
It matters what your back scratcher is made of. Bamboo dominates the market, sturdy and organic. Wooden back scratches add an elegant edge. Metal is the most resilient–note that most telescopic options will use it somewhere in their construction. Resin and plastic are the lightest weight, extremely inexpensive (but bad for the Earth) yet ideal for portability.
Most back scratchers mimic hands because, well, hands are basically made for giving great scratches. Some models buck the norm. You’ll see.
This doesn’t mean your body shape, it means the shape of your back scratcher’s body. While the standard rod-like arm dominates the market, some come in bowed out arches, others can fold, and more.
You know, we all give so much credit to the contact made between the back scratcher and the back, but maybe it’s time to recognize the forgotten contact between your hand and the back scratcher’s grip. Choosing something ergonomic saves you from simply trading one discomfort for another.
Owning a back scratcher is nothing to hide–everyone knows the pain of that inescapable itch. Embrace your own comfort by opting for something that appeals to your right brain as much as your left. Maybe it can even live around your house as a piece of conversation starter decor!
There’s a medium-sized price range amongst the many back scratchers on the market. Really, this simple contraption should not cost much. You can find many on the market for less than $10. However, investing in something of a higher quality or more complex decoration could push that cost closer to $50.
Reach Pesky Itches with These Awesome Options
The Classic: Bamboo Back Scratcher, 20 in.
Before we get into all the complex options available on the market, let’s kick it off with the true OG. You have definitely seen this ubiquitous back scratcher somewhere in your life. Simple, effective, and built from fan-favorite bamboo, this back scratcher design has been reproduced the world over. If you look on Amazon, the top option from Renook is pretty good, but this back scratcher is three inches longer, and available with the added benefit of not shelling out any more money for billionaire space joyrides.
Bow Scratcher: Itchstix Curved Bamboo Scratcher
Okay, this one I did originally cull from the aforementioned monolith, but it’s out of stock, so back to Etsy. Regardless, Itchstix has crafted one of the flat-out best back scratchers on the market, but the absolute king of bow-shaped scratchers. If a gentle arch in your back scratch suits your situation better, this body-friendly piece comes equipped with two different appendages to suit every itch that might pop up.
For Healthy Skin: THE BULLDOG Back Scratcher
Back to more frequented areas of the internet, feast your eyes upon the BULLDOG back scratcher, which changes the whole back scratcher game with one intuitive modification. Rather than reverting to the standard hand design, this engraved wooden back scratcher has vegan pure nylon bristles that offers itch relief while stimulating and exfoliating skin. Its wide paddle design promises to cover more surface area than its colleagues, as well.
Unexpected Shape: Extendable Cactus Back Scratcher
For other people, bristles might not cut it. Fortunately, there’s plenty of inventive back scratcher shapes on the market. The product description for this piece recounts, “Jedd Olsen, a general contractor itching to get out of construction and into product development and manufacturing, launched the cactus back scratcher in 2014.” Each side has different lengths of plastic spikes that provide varying amounts of relief for even the most sensitive skin. This model also benefits from increased surface area.
Most-Loved Metal: WOVTE Bear Claw Back Scratcher
This telescopic back scratcher might look a little miniature at first, but it expands all the way up to 23 inches. Built from 100% stainless steel, this super strong material pairs with its design to offer an increased intensity of back scratches. We know that most back scratchers mimic hands for their superior ability to give scratches, but imagine having a bear scratch your back! Trade your fantasies for a close encounter with the real thing, and get into these claws. One more thing–this piece is a real steal for the way it looks, falling into that coveted less than $10 category. Presented in this smart box, it makes an ideal gift!
Coolest Novelty: Steampunk Skeleton Hand Back Scratcher
Now if you think back scratches from a bear claw would prove especially satisfying, imagine the sensation of this steampunk skeleton hand. Yes, the market abounds with all kind of novelty knockoff like “the redneck rake,” but this hyper-detailed work of back scratcher magic is an actually beautiful object that will enhance the right surroundings. You can probably tell if this is for you, and if you’re teetering over the edge, we say go for it!
Heavy Duty: Knuckles Back Scratcher
One might feel inclined to wonder just how heavy duty a back scratcher can get, but the customer reviews don’t lie. Hand-crafted from stainless steel in Carbondale, CO, this apparatus of pure metal promises to rake every itch into submission. While it’s a little more expensive than other options on our roundup, the rate’s unbeaten for something this beautiful and effective, built by an actual person living in an actual community. According to the reviews, that means this seller even has the capacity to make particular lengths for those with extenuating circumstances. “Boyfriend approved,” writes another rave review. “He even loves that it combs his beard as he scratches his face.”
Most Beautiful: Authentic Horn Back Scratcher by Uno Alla Volta
According to their ‘About Us’ page, this company’s name means “one at a time,” a testament to their business model which collects goods from an expanse of artisans to make the pleasure of handmade quality goods accessible to everyone. Horn is a luxury material used in other accessories like eyeglasses. If you’re looking for a back scratcher that can function as a statement piece of its own accord, then the iridescent shine of this coveted material fits the bill while still over the sweet relief of serious back scratches.
Buffalo on a Budget: Buffalo Horn Back Scratcher
While the above mentioned horn back back scratcher will cost you a comparatively pretty penny, this “Feels Like Fingernails” take on the material barely tops $10. That’s probably due in part to differing business models, but also to a different proportion of materials–this back scratcher uses significantly less buffalo horn, focusing it on the actual scratcher portion and crafting the rest from wood. That’s because buffalo horn makes an incredible back scratching material that really does feel like fingernails. This piece even comes with a file so you can sharpen or dull the horn to your liking. Just remember that unlike your nails, it won’t grow back!
Most Portable: 3-Pack Portable Telescopic Metal Back Scratchers
Looking to take relief with you everywhere you go? This bulk package of three compact, lightweight, durable back scratchers will become your new favorite travel companion. While we recommend excusing yourself to private before using, these discrete little guys are small for transit but large upon extension, reaching up to 20 inches. Stainless steel promises to last you a while, but there’s backups in case you leave on somewhere (or are generous enough to share with your friends!)
For the Truly Adventurous: Kangaroo Paw Back Scratcher
Let’s end this list with a challenge. While the bear claws and skeleton hands we’ve featured are obviously imitation, this one’s real. For 20 years now, Sydney-based Souvenirs Australia has supplied the world with completely unique trinkets celebrating their homeland’s distinct culture. “Over the last few years there has been a significant upsurge in popularity of the more quirky souvenirs such as kangaroo scrotum products, kangaroo paw products and cane toad souvenirs,” their website reads. According to the product description, this authentic kangaroo paw back scratcher “was harvested and processed in accordance with National Parks & Wildlife Service rules and regulations.” Ever wondered what it might feel like to have a kangaroo scratch your back? No? Well today you can skip the wondering and go straight to the experiencing. Enjoy the modern era!