Are you looking for the best neck pillows for travel?
After Lance finished flipping his box cutter on an Amazon package, which you can see him do in the video below (please don't attempt this at home!), we tested several popular options to provide you with the ultimate guide to travel neck pillows.
To determine our scores, we relied on good old-fashioned factors like comfort, support, and ease of use, as well as more subjective things like value for money and overall design.
First up: Chris tests an Amazon Choice pillow with over 30K reviews and four stars.
1. MLVOC Travel Pillow | 6.4/10 (reviewed by Chris)
The box is pretty sturdy. Mega points for me for having a really tough case! It looks like it wouldn't get dirty if it fell under your seat. Even better? You can buy this pillow on Amazon for less than $20. And it comes with a free eye mask that's super soft. Heads up: The pillow is really packed in its case, so I immediately thought it might be hard to re-pack. Once you undo the pillow, you'll see that it's made of memory foam. Now, there are good and bad types of memory foam, but this one seems to be a high-quality one, and it looks really comfy.
I think it's a decent neck pillow for travel, but I'm not sure it's snug enough to provide the ultimate neck support. At under $20, however, it's an affordable option for those looking for a comfortable option without breaking the bank. But it could be better. The good news is that it folds up nicely and fits back into the small carrying case it comes with, so it wasn't a pain to re-pack as I had initially thought.
2. FOXSEON Butterfly Elastic Neck Pillow | 1.5/10 (reviewed by Lance)
This patented "butterfly" design came in a fancy silk case. When I opened it and unwrapped the soft fabric, I was a bit confused. The design looked like a scarf and had a hard plastic plate, like a neck brace, on one end. Katelyn had to instruct me off-screen how to wear it! I wrapped it around my neck with the butterfly plate nestled between my jawline and shoulder. It felt kind of ... choke-y? Lol.
The thing is, I like the concept a lot. But the scarf/pillow/plate contraption felt like it was digging into my neck. I couldn't relax in it. Mind you, I can sleep pretty much anywhere. And as someone who can do this, I wasn't confident in the product. I just couldn't get comfy in it. Maybe if it had more padding around the butterfly plate … but as it stands, I don't think I'll be using it again.
3. Inflatable Travel Pillow | 6/10 (reviewed by Katelyn)
Once I got over a big typo on the box that read "this travel pillow relieve fatigue," I opened the package and was happy to find a free eye mask and earplugs. Then I looked at the travel pillow itself, deflated on the table, and thought, "Oh wait, I have to inflate this. I'm gonna pass out!" We started a timer to see how long it would take. Because the nozzle was one of those advanced ones that trapped air inside between breaths, it only took about 30 seconds to inflate, which wasn't too bad. When fully expanded, the pillow looked like a plump vest with holes. It's hard to explain how to use this product, so I recommend checking out our video above and seeing for yourself!
I know someone who uses this pillow on 16-hour flights and loves it. I feel pretty good about it, too. I gave it a 6 out of 10 mostly because it's too big for me to carry. But once you deflate it, it packs down okay. It's just a long and tedious process to deflate it completely. Overall, it's a decent pillow if you don't mind the size.
4. BCOZZY Neck Pillow | 8.5/10 (reviewed by Chris)
This neck pillow for travel is an Amazon bestseller. It comes with a soft, fleece-lined case, which is concerning because the material could get dirty quickly. The pillow itself is made of dense foam that feels a bit lumpy in parts. It also has a velcro part that sticks the ends together.
It looks crazy silly wrapped around my neck, but I can actually see myself sleeping with this thing in any plane seat: window, center, or aisle. And though I like to wear my neck pillows pretty snug, this one isn't choking me out, lol. Plus, at $40, it's a good value, and I feel good about giving it an 8.5 out of 10.
5. Tube Neck Pillow | 3.5/10 (reviewed by Lance)
The tube's design is a long, cylindrical shape that you're meant to pack three days' worth of travel essentials into, making a pillow out of the fabric. I stuffed a few Gravel T-shirts into the tube, but I have to say, it only took about four tees to fill up the tube. After making the pillow, you can fasten the ends together and wear it around your neck. I liked that the tube packed into itself when it wasn’t full, so that was a plus. But I was skeptical of how comfortable it would be to wear around my neck for an extended period during travel.
I had my doubts about the tube neck pillow, as it doesn't use memory foam to provide support like other pillows do. It instead relies on the traveler's clothes. And I was proven right! When I put it on, it didn't feel as snug as I expected and felt kind of awkward. However, I found it convenient that it could be folded into itself when not in use, which was a plus for the product.
6. Huzi Infinity Pillow | 8/10 (reviewed by Katelyn)
My first impression of the Huzi infinity pillow was that it was GINORMOUS. It also came in a bare-bones package that's basically a sleeve, like what you put around a hot coffee cup. Then I wondered, "I'm supposed to carry this on the plane just by holding on to a strap around the pillow? Okaaay." But then I touched it and it was very soft. Like, really really soft. Amazon showed it to be worn like an early-2000s infinity scarf, so I did. And it was comfortable, but lacked support on my first try.
Then I discovered the perfect way to wear it. You need to cross your arms and weigh the fabric down with your hands. By pulling it down, you provide a ton of support to your neck. That's what sold it for me. You can also wear it around your head for a "noise muffling" experience, which seems to more or less work, but I prefer the other way. I stand by my 8 out of 10 rating.
7. Ostrich Pillow | 7/10 (reviewed by the Gravel Team)
We know someone who owns this odd-looking head pillow, and they love it! The idea is that its unique shape provides optimal support for your head and neck, leading to a more comfortable sleep experience. But as we said, the design is a bit odd, with a hole in the front for your nose and mouth and two more on each side for your ears.
The pillow has these soft micro beads inside and still manages to be lightweight. The top had a lot of fluff and there was some more fluff on the sides. Wearing it felt a bit weird at first. It didn't quite feel like a neck pillow. But then some of us eased into it and found it to be quite comfortable and supportive. The pillow costs $100, and that ain't cheap. But if you travel a lot, it might work for you, as long as you don't mind calling attention to yourself!
Our Top Picks
We each grabbed our favorites: the Bcozzy for Chris, the Ostrich Pillow for Lance, and the Huzi Infinity Pillow for Katelyn.
We also ended up throwing our Layover Blanket in the mix, which packs down into a travel neck pillow. While not specifically designed for neck support, it can be a great alternative to bulky and choke-y travel pillows. Plus, the fact that it doubles as a blanket makes it even more convenient for long flights or bus rides.
Want Us To Review More Travel Products?
Feel free to leave a comment on what you would like us to review next.
By doing so, you'll be notified of any ongoing sales, prizes, and other exciting goodies. You can also check out our Gravel Travels blog to discover more travel tips and information.