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Updated January 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
TRAVELREST Nest Patented Memory Foam Pillow
TRAVELREST
Nest Patented Memory Foam Pillow
Check Price
Perfect Travel Mate
Bottom Line

This award-winning travel pillow is the best in class offering utmost comfort.

Pros

Memory foam pillow with built-in patented nest shape ensures that shoulders and neck receive maximum support. Compressible pillow comforts chronic pain sufferers. Its angled back with anti-slip back lining keeps it attached to the seat without adding bulk.

Cons

Some people find the removable cover’s zipper a little flimsy.

Best Bang for the Buck
TravelMate Memory Foam
TravelMate
Memory Foam
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Bargain Pick
Bottom Line

If you're a fan of firmer neck pillows, this is a useful choice.

Pros

Molds to the optimal neck size for each user. Great comfort on the go. Extremely versatile and convenient.

Cons

A handful of consumers note that this pillow is very firm, although it may soften up a bit over time.

Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam
Cabeau
Evolution Memory Foam
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Ergonomic Choice
Bottom Line

Despite some quirks, this pillow's ergonomic design is worth your consideration.

Pros

Carefully designed pillow with attachment straps to keep pillow intact, avoiding slouching and bad posture. Plush memory foam ensures support to your neck while traveling, driving, or sitting on a chair for long hours.

Cons

Its zipper isn't very sturdy and the pillow gets hot with continued usage.

Crafty World Airplane Neck Pillow
Crafty World
Airplane Neck Pillow
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Multipurpose Neck Pillow
Bottom Line

Ideal for travel, this cushioned pillow offers sufficient support to your neck and shoulders.

Pros

Memory foam takes the shape of your neck, gives you much-needed comfort, and is durable. It is a value-for-money product that comes with a washable cover and back elastic to attach it to your luggage.

Cons

Some felt it was too soft. Tends to gets hot after a while.

Trtl Neck Travel Pillow
Trtl
Neck Travel Pillow
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Easiest to Use
Bottom Line

This neck support pillow is a suitable alternative to its U-shaped competitors.

Pros

This wraparound pillow ensures your neck stays comfortable and doesn't strain while you sleep in a sitting position. Comes with extra cushioning for ultra support, is machine washable, and lightweight.

Cons

Tends to heat up over time. Doesn't fit well the people with shorter necks.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

32
Models
Considered
60
Consumers
Consulted
12
Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for Best neck pillows

Whether you're traveling by plane, train, or automobile, one problem remains constant: getting a bit of shuteye while traveling can be hugely difficult. Fortunately, a good neck pillow can help eradicate your napping nightmares.

There are a wide range neck pillow types, all made with different fillings and outer materials. Which one is right for you?

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If you prefer to travel light, look for a neck pillow that doesn't weigh too much. The average neck pillow weighs between seven and ten ounces.

Types of neck pillows

The first thing to decide is which type of neck pillow is right for you. Your sleeping style and any issues you normally face when sleeping while traveling will help you determine which type of neck pillow is right for you.

U-shaped neck pillows

The classic U-shaped neck pillow is likely what you picture in your mind when you think of a neck pillow.

  • Pros: You’ll find plenty of affordable options and lots of color and material choices here. U-shaped neck pillows offer good support for the back and the sides of the neck.

  • Cons: These pillows can be bulky, and some people find their neck still drops forward onto their chest when using a U-shaped neck pillow.

  • Price: U-shaped neck pillows tend to cost between $5 and $40.

J-shaped neck pillows

The top part of a J-shaped neck pillow goes around the back and side of your neck while the curved part of the J supports your chin.

  • Pros: J-shaped neck pillows support the your chin and prevent your head from falling forward. The configuration may reduce your chance of suffering neck pain.

  • Cons: These pillows are fairly large and take up a fair amount of luggage space.

  • Price: J-shaped neck pillows tend to cost between $15 and $50.

360° neck pillows

360° neck pillows wrap around your entire neck or fasten at the front to offer extra support.

  • Pros: Wearing a 360° neck pillow lessens your chance of getting a sore neck and prevents your head from flopping forward as you sleep.

  • Cons: Some people find 360° neck pillows to be too restrictive. If you’re interested in a 360° neck pillow, you may prefer a wraparound model rather than one that fastens shut.

  • Price: 360° neck pillows tend to cost between $15 and $40.

Cross-body neck pillows

Cross-body neck pillows look a bit like giant, elongated apostrophes. The large, rounded part sits between the neck and shoulder (you rest your head there), and the long part sits across the body.

  • Pros: Cross-body neck pillows offer full lateral body support and prevent the user's head from falling forward. An inflatable cross-body neck pillow will pack down small.

  • Cons: These pillows may not be as comfortable as padded neck pillows, and they don’t offer 360° support.

  • Price: Cross-body neck pillows tend to cost between $25 and $50.

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Did you know?
Some U-shaped neck pillows have raised areas at the curved end. These are for providing additional head and neck support.
STAFF
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What to think about when choosing a neck pillow

In addition to deciding which type of neck pillow is right for you, take note of a particular pillow’s filling and outer material. Liking how the pillow looks is important, too.

Filling material

The three most common neck pillow filling materials are microbeads, polyester hollow fiber, and memory foam.

  • Microbeads are made from either polystyrene or plastic. These are the same materials you’d find in a bean bag. Microbead-filled neck pillows are often the least-comfortable but the most affordable.

  • Polyester hollow fiber is the material you'd find in most bed pillows and throw pillows. It tends to be fairly comfortable as a filling for neck pillows, but it isn't the most supportive option and may get flat or lumpy over time.

  • Memory foam molds to the shape of your head and neck. It’s comfortable and supportive, but it can make you feel fairly hot since it's not breathable. It's also one of the most expensive filling options.

Outer material

One of the main benefits you expect from a pillow is comfort. If you'll be using your neck pillow for long journeys, you undoubtedly want it to have a soft, pleasant-feeling outer material.

Velour and polyester are two of the most comfortable outer materials for neck pillows.

Inflatable travel pillows are usually made of some form of plastic, but most have a plush layer that somewhat improves the texture. And some inflatable neck pillows have covers, though these must often be bought separately, increasing your overall cost.

Color

Color might not be the most important aspect of a neck pillow, but most come in a range of colors, so you might as well pick one that appeals to you.

Some neck pillows even feature patterns, such as polka dots or chevron print, which can make you feel a bit more stylish as you travel.

Be careful not to choose a nice design over a quality pillow, however; if you do, you’ll likely regret it when you wake up with a sore neck.

Tips

  • Consider how often you travel when selecting a neck pillow. If you're frequently a passenger on long journeys, it may be worth spending a little more on a top-of-the-range neck pillow. If you only travel long-haul once every year or so, you could probably get by with a cheaper neck pillow.

  • Some neck pillows have a removable cover, which means you can wash and replace it. If you use your neck pillow a lot, this is a nice feature to have.

  • If you suffer from allergies, look for neck pillows made from hypoallergenic materials.

  • You can find neck pillows that come with added extras — such as sleep masks and earplugs —  to help you sleep better on your travels. Of course, you could purchase these items separately, too.

  • If you find yourself getting cold or being bothered by the light, consider a neck pillow with a built-in hood. It’s unusual but fairly practical!

  • While most people use neck pillows for traveling, they also come in handy for an impromptu nap when you don't have access to your bed.

  • Some neck pillows have a handy pocket on the side, allowing you to slide in your phone or MP3 player so you have it there for easy access.

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You can find some neck pillows featuring cute designs that appeal to children.

FAQ

Q. Which type of neck pillow is best for side sleepers?

A. As a general rule, side sleepers prefer to rest slightly tilted and with their head to one side when trying to sleep sitting up. Therefore, cross-body neck pillows generally appeal to side sleepers. A U-shaped pillow would also suffice, as long as the sleeper doesn’t have a tendency to tilt his or her head forward, as this could result in neck pain.

Q. Which neck pillow should I choose if my head tends to drop forward when I sleep sitting up?

A. Many people find their head falls forward onto their chest when they sleep sitting up, especially in seats that don't recline or recline very little. If this is the case for you, opt for a pillow that offers support at the front of your neck to prop up your chin. Look for 360° neck pillows, J-shaped neck pillows, or cross-body neck pillows.

Q. Will a neck pillow really help me sleep better while traveling?

A. Let's be honest here – no neck pillow is going to make you feel as comfortable as you would in your own bed. That said, most users find they can get more rest with a decent neck pillow than without. It can also help you avoid getting a sore neck, which is a common complaint when sleeping in a plane, train, car, or bus without any sort of pillow for neck support.

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