Tiger Balm vs Deep Heat – comparing these 2 popular warming products to see which is best

Deep Heat and Tiger Balm are probably the 2 biggest names in the heat relief space - most sports teams will have either a Deep Heat or a Tiger Balm in their First Aid kit, or maybe even one of the excellent alternatives to these 2 products.

Tiger Balm is often thought of as being stronger and better than Deep Heat, but is this actually the case? We wanted to take a close look at these 2 brands to see which is better. We'll be comparing the ingredients, the price, and more. Let's get into it:

Firstly, what Tiger Balm are we comparing to Deep Heat?

To start with, we'll clarify that we're comparing Tiger Balm Red to Deep Heat rather than Tiger Balm White. Tiger Balm Red is typically used for muscle pain relief in the same way that Deep Heat is, whereas Tiger Balm White is more commonly used for things like tension headaches.

Tiger Balm Red

What are Tiger Balm and Deep Heat made from?

Let's start our comparison by looking at the ingredients of Tiger Balm and Deep Heat. Tiger Balm Red contains Camphor, Levomenthol, Cajuput Oil, and Clove Oil, and the main active ingredients of Deep Heat are Menthol, Eucalyptus Oil, Methyl Salicylate, and Turpentine Oil. People are often surprised to see that Deep Heat and Tiger Balm don't have any of the same active ingredients considering that both products feel quite similar on the skin.
Deep Heat

The one ingredient that both products have in common is Peppermint, which is what provides a tingly feeling on the skin. What's interesting though is that tiger Balm contains Dementholised Mint Oil, but doesn't list it as an active ingredient, whereas Deep Heat contains Menthol and does list it as an active ingredient. From this, we can pretty confidently say that Deep Heat will provide more of a tingly feeling on the skin compared to Tiger Balm Red.

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On the other hand, there are some active ingredients contained in Tiger Balm Red which we were quite surprised to not see in Deep Heat, and which probably explains why Tiger Balm feels more "hot" than Deep Heat.

Another major advantage of Tiger Balm over Deep Heat is that there are more natural ingredients listed within Tiger Balm, and most of the active ingredients in Tiger Balm are derived from natural sources. For example, Camphor is the main ingredient in Tiger Balm, and it comes from the bark of the Camphor Tree. Camphor helps to increase local blood flow and also acts as a counterirritant. The Levomenthol in Tiger Balm comes from menthol, and Tiger Balm also contains other essential oils such as Cassia Oil, Cajuput Oil, and Clove Oil.

Tiger Balm ingredients

You'll find some essential oils in Deep Heat too such as Eucalyptus Oil and Turpentine Oil, and we're also impressed to see that Menthol is the first active ingredient listed in Deep Heat. But Deep Heat also contains 6 artificial ingredients, including Cetostearyl Alcohol and Propylene Glycol, 3 times more than you'll find in Tiger Balm.

Deep Heat ingredients


Generally speaking, Deep Heat can be bought for quite a bit less than Tiger Balm - at the moment, you can pick up a 100g tube of Deep Heat for £4.99 from Boots, whereas a 19g tub of Tiger Balm Red will cost you £6.20 from Boots. That's a really significant difference and means that Tiger Balm works out to a whopping £32.63 per 100G, more than 5 times the price of Deep Heat.

Third-party reviews

We love to refer to third-party reviews when working on these comparison guides as we find it really useful to see what other people think of the products or services that we're looking at. Unfortunately, neither Deep Heat nor Tiger Balm has Trustpilot profiles, but there are reviews on Amazon UK for both products. Currently, Deep Heat is sitting with a rating of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 5700 reviews, and Tiger Balm Red is sitting with the same rating of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 21000 reviews. So although both products have the same rating and have a very high rating, it's extra impressive to see that Tiger Balm has managed to maintain such a high rating from so many reviewers.

Final thoughts - which is better, Tiger Balm or Deep Heat?

Deep Heat might be 5 times cheaper than Tiger Balm, but overall we'd have to say that Tiger Balm is the better product. It seems to work for longer and provide more instant relief, plus it's made from more natural ingredients.

What do you think of our comparison of these 2 warming balms? Let us know if you prefer Tiger Balm or Deep Heat, or if you have any other thoughts. If you want to read something similar, we have a guide about Deep Heat alternatives that you can check out.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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