Travel Neck Pillow Comparison: Which Is Right for You? (2018)

travel neck pillow

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A travel neck pillow is an essential if you travel often, especially on long haul flights. In 2015, there were 24,142,000 hours of flight time in America. We don’t know how many hours of those millions of hours passengers spent sleeping, but we can guess it’s quite a few. If you’ve ever flown internationally or cross-country on a red eye flight, you know the importance of trying to get a bit of shut eye, and you also probably know how impossible it can seem to do so without being able to fully recline or rest your head.

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all u-shaped travel pillows. Now there are options for seemingly every type of sleeper and budget. So many, that shopping for the perfect pillow could become overwhelming. We’ve done the work for you, combing through ratings and customer reviews to find the best travel pillow for multiple types of travelers. There were three criteria we kept in mind while searching: transportability, comfort, and support. No one likes carrying a pillow the size of their luggage, comfort is obviously key, and support is important so you don’t drift off happily, then wake up with a stiff neck.

Each of these can be ordered online, which you should do so you don’t end up buying a pillow at the last minute before boarding your flight. The pillows sold in airport stores are rarely the best option, and always overpriced. Buying ahead will also save you from falling asleep on your tray table–did you know they have the most germs of anywhere on an airplane, including the bathroom? Yikes. Go with a travel pillow instead. These are our favorite options, from something discreet, to one that molds to your neck, to one with extra features to really block out the world.

Best Travel Neck Pillows

travelrest pillow Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Plenty of support and cushion
  • Memory foam forms to your neck
  • 100% money back guarantee
Price: $39.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
neck pillow Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable
  • Compact
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
bcozzy travel pillow Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent chin support
  • Adjustable
  • Good for children
Price: $29.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
aeris travel pillow Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Pillow, eye mask, earplugs in one
  • Memory foam contours to your neck
  • Machine washable case
Price: $22.90 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
trtl travel pillow Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Discreet
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and easily portable
Price: $29.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. Best Classic Option: Travelrest Memory Foam

    Pros:
    • Plenty of support and cushion
    • Non-slip backing
    • Memory foam forms to your neck
    • 100% money back guarantee
    Cons:
    • Not as compact as others
    • Too big for some
    • Not everyone likes memory foam

    The Wirecutter sent 10 panelists on four cross-country red-eye flights with eight different pillows, and sat them in window, aisle, and middle seats to determine their top-rated pillow. They found this one’s “high memory-foam walls do the best job of supporting and cushioning your head and neck.”

    The pillow is shaped like a U, but has shoulder cut outs, making it more comfortable than most. It’s made from a thermo sensitive memory foam, so it contours to your body and provides support. Memory foam was originally designed by NASA to keep pilots cushioned during flights, so you know there’s a lot of science behind it. In travel pillows, it helps the pillow form perfectly to your neck.

    There’s non-slip backing, so you don’t have to worry about sliding around in your seat once you drift off. When you’re ready to disembark, the pillow is very light and folds up to a quarter of its size and attaches to your luggage. Plus, it comes with memory foam ear plugs.

    The downside is that even at a quarter of its size, it’s not the smallest pillow you’ll ever use. If you don’t want any extra bulk or to have something attached to your bag, the next option on thist list might be a better fit.

    One Amazon reviewer said “while it’s not perfect, it is better than anything else I have tried,” but went on to note that there could be more chin support. Another was equally positive, but wished the back was a bit flatter. If you try the pillow and it doesn’t work for you, you can return it for a 100% money back guarantee.

  2. Best Compact: Inflatable Travel Neck Pillow

    Pros:
    • Affordable
    • Adjustable
    • Compact
    Cons:
    • Not as supportive as others
    • Not as durable as others
    • Not as high-quality as others

    The Lewis N. Clark adjustable neck pillow inflates in just two breaths, and deflates to be easily stuffed into any bag. It weighs only 5.5 ounces, so it’s great for light packers. The pillow can be adjusted by adding or removing air, but the U-shaped pillow isn’t tailored in any way, so it’s best for short naps or those who sleep easily. A soft, removable jersey cover hides the inflatable plastic, and is more comfortable than it looks. Amazon reviewers were impressed with how well the pillow held air, and thought it was a good buy for the affordable price of $14.99.

    The pillows cons come with its simplicity. It’s not as supportive as memory foam, and not as easily adjustable as larger pillows. It also isn’t as durable. Still, for price and the fact that it folds into small spaces, it works well for shorter trips.

  3. Best Chin Support: BCOZZY Travel Neck Pillow

    Pros:
    • Excellent chin support
    • Adjustable
    • Machine washable
    • Good for children
    Cons:
    • Some found it confining
    • Doesn't form like memory foam
    • Not compact

    If you hate that feeling when you nod off and your head slumps down, jerking you back awake, the BCOZZY pillow will help. The neck pillow wraps all the way around, with the ends resting on top of each other and providing chin support. The chin area is adjustable and the sides have extra cushioning to keep them in place. The flat back is unique to neck pillows and prevents your head from being pushed forward. The pillow is also useful for children, as other pillows often don’t fit their small necks.

    The pillow is machine washable and comes with a strap that can snap onto luggage. It also comes in a few different colors, from neutrals to bright green.

    However, the design might not be for everyone. One reviewer (who in the end gave it a positive review), said the design takes some getting used to. “It does take some time getting used to it, and at first, it can feel extremely confining having this thing wrapped around the throat,” he wrote. Others said that the chin area moved out of place.

  4. Best 3-In-1: Aeris Travel Neck Pillow

    Pros:
    • Pillow, eye mask, earplugs in one
    • Memory foam contours to your neck
    • Comes with carrying bag
    • Machine washable case
    • Ventilation holes
    Cons:
    • Some found the back too thick
    • Not compact
    • No chin support

    This u-shaped travel pillow, eye mask, and earplug trio is perfect for those who can’t sleep with any distractions. The memory foam pillow contours to your neck, while the silk mask blocks out light without scratching your face and the foam earplugs fit to your ears. The foam is wrapped in a  soft velour case, which is machine washable, and everything comes in a small carry-on bag.

    Unlike other memory foam pillows, this one has ventilation holes, which prevent it from getting too hot. It’s also aerated for seven days for the memory foam scent to dissipate. It has overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon, though a couple people complained that the back was too thick to sit comfortably on a plane. Others noted that it can be worn with most headphones, which is a plus. One reviewer on a 27-hour flight to India said, “did what my husband needed it to do. It didn’t push on his neck, and wasn’t too bulky, but held it’s shape. he was able to rest, even sleep on the plane when normally he wouldn’t have. It didn’t cause his neck to get hot either. It was great to have the included ear plugs, and eye mask. We had to try and sleep during the “day” on the plane and this was very useful and effective. The earplugs were much better than the ones we received from the airline. I’m glad we purchased this pillow.” Interestingly, she also said the black pillow was more comfortable than other colors.

  5. Most Discreet: Trtl Travel Neck Pillow

    Pros:
    • Discreet
    • Affordable
    • Good for people who sleep to the side
    • Lightweight and easily portable
    • Machine washable
    Cons:
    • Not good for those who don’t sleep on their side
    • Doesn’t lie flat when folded
    • Not as supportive as some

    The Trtl pillow’s tagline is “Sleep when you travel, be awake when you arrive.” That’s a hefty promise, but one that they say is scientifically proven and has gained it thousands of four and five star reviews on Amazon. The pillow was tested by the Institute of Motion Analysis and Research at the University of Dundee, a process that involved simulated aircraft seating. During the trial, nine out of 10 participants chose the Trtl pillow over a memory foam pillow.

    This pillow is great for those who sleep with their head to the side. It uses a ribbed support system covered in fleece and foam that rests on one shoulder. Then, it wraps around your neck like a scarf to hold it in place. The design is meant to fit any neck, jaw, and shoulder shape. An Amazon reviewer who had three neck surgeries said it was “the first travel pillow that helps.” Another called it one of the “great travel inventions of the 21st century.”

    Aside from neck support, the pillow is extremely lightweight and folds up small, which is great for light packers. Some users noted that it’s not embarrassing to wear because it looks like a scarf and comes in muted colors. It’s also machine washable.

    The pillow is best for those who sleep with their head to one side. If you prefer to sleep in another position, it won’t work for you. Some reviewers also complained that while the fleece material is great in cold weather destinations in other places it is much too hot and uncomfortable to use. One complaint is that it folds up, but doesn’t lie flat, which could be an issue if you’re really tight for space. It can attach to the outside of your bag, though.

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

Amara

Bcozzy has always been my personal favorite. The cushioning and support is just top and I also won’t forget the pampering feel that it brings. You just get whisked away and find yourself sleeping comfortably and wake up without feeling tired, like you would with some low quality neck pillows.