LAST UPDATED: April 13, 2019
Best Car Neck Pillows: Comfort Options for a Relaxing Drive
Car neck pillows are perfect for an improved driving or riding experience
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON April 13, 2019
Whether it’s a long road trip or just getting stuck in traffic, being in the car may not be the most comfortable place to find yourself. It can be especially rough on your neck, which can get strained or feel sore after watching the road for so long. Luckily, you can improve your riding experience by purchasing a neck pillow to relieve the strain. Here are our top picks for great neck pillows to use in the car.
Removable cover is machine-washable. It includes a phone pouch and comes in a range of styles.
Not all styles include a compressing carry bag, so it may prove difficult to transport and keep clean.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of a Car Neck Pillow
- Pain relief. Sitting upright for hours on end is going to be a pain for anybody—literally. Neck pain and the discomfort that comes with it can be eliminated by getting a neck pillow that is both soft and supportive.
- Posture. As if the temporary improvement over your comfort isn’t enough, using a good neck pillow can even have positive long-term effects. Cushions with the best-designed neck support can improve your overall posture.
- Portable comfort. Regardless of whether or not the pillow comes with a strap designed for your car seat, every car neck rest pillow can be used in a multitude of settings—like planes, buses, and even the office.
- Ease-of-use. If you’re thinking that added comfort sounds good but having another thing to clean and take care of doesn't, then you’re in luck. Neck pillows are made with removable cases that are machine-washable.
- Universal fit. Most accessories you buy for your vehicle have specific limitations like only fitting certain manufacturers or requiring different sizes for different types. Neck cushions, though, are completely universal—designed to fit absolutely any car interior.
Types of Car Neck Pillows
Essentially a log-shaped pillow, roll pillows are designed to support the arch of your neck. These are typical in office and bedroom settings, as well as in the car. Because of this, they usually do not come with a strap to fasten to the back of the seat. Instead, they are held in place by leaning against it.
Often seen on planes as a sleeping aid, these pillows have great neck support, making them great for comfort. The pillow's round shape is similar to the roll pillow; however, the sides curve in, creating either a U- or O-shape around the neck. Since these pillows are made for travel, they do not attach to the seat in any way.
The most common type of car headrest pillow, these cushions are shaped to conform to your head, neck, and upper shoulder areas. It is typical to see these car neck support pillows with headrest straps so that they stay in place even when you leave the vehicle. The ergonomic design relieves the stress from your shoulders and up, plus it doesn't use the car's headrest (a benefit if you find the factory headrest uncomfortable).
A newer type of "pillow" that's become popular is the neck wrap pillow. These almost look more like a scarf with foam padding. They connect to the driver or passenger, wrapping around the neck so it doesn't move around.
A former professional basketball player, David Sternlight sought to make a comfortable pillow for traveling after years of playing on the road. After months of research and development, he created the popular Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow in 2009. Since then, the company has expanded to make a whole line of travel products.
The travel and luggage giant has a reputation for making reliable products. Samsonite has been producing on-the-go lifestyle products for over 100 years. It has a very successful Car Headrest Pillow as well as a Lumbar Support Pillow.
Most well known for its Trtl Pillow, the company has grown and expanded since its first product was released. Mechanical engineering students Michael and David founded the company in 2013 after developing the neck wrap pillow. The company is headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland.
Car Neck Pillow Pricing
- Under $20: The less expensive neck pillows share similar designs to the more premium competitors. The most significant difference is in materials; most neck pillows for cars often use polyester and foam.
- $20 to $40: The best car neck pillows are typically at this price point. You'll find premium memory-foam filling with plush or genuine leather covering. Added features can include straps to hold the cushions in place and matching lumbar support pieces.
- Over $40: Once you get to this pricing, these neck cushions for cars will either have incredible premium features or sets of multiple pillows. The premium features could include full back support, heating, or massaging capabilities.
When it comes to your comfort and improving your riding experience, the overall design of the neck pillow you need is a huge factor. While most are made with support in mind, it's good to know whether you need a cushion with firmer support or with softer features. Also, pillow size (more specifically, what areas of the body they support) can help make the best decision for you.
One of the best features you'll find on headrest pillows is a strap to hold it in place. Typically, they'll either adjust or stretch in order to fit over any car seat. This makes getting comfy easy on every drive since you won't need to move the cushion each time you get in your vehicle.
For peak performance and results, the best neck pillows you can find are going to be made from memory foam. While soft to the touch, memory foam will conform to the contours of your body to maximize comfort and provide support wherever needed. Memory foam won't flatten out or lose its shape over time, so it will improve your drive for years to come.
- Color: Neck pillows come in a wide range of designs and colors. If you want one that matches the interior of your vehicle, then it's important to pay attention to the available materials and designs that a cushion may come with.
- Materials: Aside from looks, the exterior materials play a functional role in your overall level of comfort. For example, you may want to find a neck pillow that is made from breathable materials so you don't get too hot while using it. Conversely, you may not care about breathability, but instead, want the softest materials possible.
Best Car Neck Pillow Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Cabeau is one of the top brands when it comes to travel pillows, and a lot of this is due to their patented and award-winning products. The Evolution Classic Travel Pillow is backed by sleep science and is ergonomically designed—with high sides and a flattened back—to provide 360 degrees of support.
The high-grade memory foam body is fully adjustable for maximum comfort, although it may not be big enough for above-average sized necks. The pillow is available in a wide range of colors and styles, and the removable machine-washable cover means you can easily keep your car neck pillow clean and fresh. This is particularly important, as some styles do not have a carry bag included.
That said, if you do have a storage sack, the pillow can be compressed down by more than 50 percent. And, unless you want something very firm, it’s a great choice.
The U.S patented, trademarked memory foam neck pillow from Travelmate is our best value pick. It’s designed to provide the exact balance between support and comfort for anybody sleeping on the go, and the thermo-sensitive memory foam should mold to your body for a precise fit.
In order to ensure maximum comfort, the pillow features a removable section so you can adjust the thickness of the pillow and the level of support on the back of your neck. The plush velour cover is zippered and machine-washable for your convenience. An elastic strap allows you to secure the pillow during use and attach it onto hand luggage for guaranteed portability.
The foam is very soft, however, and doesn’t provide a lot of support, while the removable section is prone to move around. You might find the memory foam has an unpleasant chemical odor, too.
Our honorable mention neck support for cars is the Trtl Pillow. A completely unique design, this travel pillow keeps the head in a comfortable position when trying to sleep in a seat. This makes it ideal for passengers who want to nap on a long trip and drivers looking for extra support.
Designed to look like a scarf, this pillow is made of fleece and hides an internal support system and cushioning. The exterior is made to be machine-washable. It is also incredibly lightweight and has none of the bulk that regular neck pillows have. When not in use, the pillow is designed to attach to backpacks or luggage bags, making it ideal for travel.
Since this neck support pillow has such a unique design, it can be too odd for some. People who dislike tight collars or necklaces would find the wrap uncomfortable. The four available colors may not be a wide enough selection to match everyone's style.
This supportive neck pillow wraps completely around your neck to provide support from every angle. There are 18 colors to choose from. Each pillow measures 9.84 x 11.02 x 4.72 inches. The entire pillow is machine-washable. There’s also a strap to make attaching it to your luggage or bag easy for convenient carrying while traveling.
You’ll like using this neck pillow because it stops your head from falling forward. The ergonomic shape of the pillow supports your head, neck, and chin. The backside of the pillow has a thinner and flatter design to reduce the amount of bulk behind your neck.
The downside of this pillow is that it’s quite thin. This makes it not supportive enough for people with longer necks. The size is also quite large and can be too big for those who are smaller in stature. You may also struggle to keep the pillow securely positioned around your neck.
This memory foam pillow can twist and bend to create any shape of support you need. It comes in black, blue, or grey. The pillow is a long tube shape with a memory foam inner and breathable cotton outer cover. At the ends of the pillow is a snap closure. You can use this to attach the ends together and create a “U” shape around your neck. Leave the ends unattached, and you can curl, bend, and flex the pillow any way you need to create the most comfort.
What’s nice about this pillow is that it comes with a removable cover. This makes keeping your pillow clean an easier task. The inner memory foam core conforms to your body’s contours while also providing you with plenty of support.
Unfortunately, the memory foam can split during use. This will cause the metal bar in the middle to poke through the foam and make it uncomfortable. Even if it’s not poking through, you may be able to feel the bar through the memory foam if you apply a lot of pressure to the pillow.
This travel neck support pillow is made of supportive and breathable memory foam. You can compress it down and put it in the included travel bag for easy transport. There are four colors to choose from, including black, pink, grey, and blue. On the front of the pillow is a drawstring cord that you can tighten to secure the pillow snugly around your neck, giving you an increased level of support.
What’s nice about this pillow is the super soft pillowcase. It’s a silver fox texture plush velour that won’t pill or fade from use. It’s soft on your skin, so it won’t irritate those with sensitive skin. It also comes with a compact carrying bag to make traveling with it convenient.
The downside of this pillow is that it’s really large. It can feel too tight and confining on those with shorter or smaller necks. The cord on the front isn’t very durable, and it can break off during use.
This adjustable neck pillow comes with a drawstring on the front to let you create the perfect amount of support. The cover has a pillowcase that’s made of ultra-soft fabric that’s gentle on your skin. The pillow measures 11.42 x 11.42 x 4.33 inches. It also comes with a carrying bag that measures 4.72 x 9.06 inches for easy carrying.
What makes this pillow stand out is the flat backside behind your neck. This lets you sit back against the seat and prevent back pain. There’s also a hidden zipper in the pillowcase cover that improves the look of the cover and protects the zipper.
The downside of this pillow is that the memory foam is very stiff, which can make it uncomfortable. The string on the front is only glued into place, which doesn’t make it very durable. You may also find that the pillow pushes your head into an uncomfortable position.
This black, luxury neck pillow comes with everything you need to relax and sleep while traveling. Included are a carrying bag, earplugs, and a contoured face mask. On the front of this black pillow is a quick-release buckle that you can adjust for the perfect fit around your neck. The contoured face mask wraps snugly around your face, cheeks, and nose to eliminate any light exposure. The pillowcase covering the memory foam is made of soft premium velour and has a hidden zipper.
You’ll like using this neck pillow because it provides the perfect balance of support and comfort with memory foam that isn’t too soft or too firm. It’s also shaped to dip down at the back of the neck, slightly higher on either side to support your head, and then provide chin support in the front.
Unfortunately, some people may find the memory foam to be too stiff and not have enough flex or give. There may also be a chemical smell to the pillow.
This supportive neck pillow comes in black, blue, red, navy blue, and gray. The outer pillowcase is made of soft velour and is removable and machine-washable. The front of the pillow has an adjustable cord to secure the pillow snugly around your neck for maximum support. This pillow comes with a carrying bag, earplugs, and a face mask.
What makes this pillow stand out is the cell phone pocket on the outside of it. This keeps your phone conveniently placed and secure. It also has a raised lobe design to provide you with additional neck support when tilting your head to the side.
Unfortunately, the back of this pillow is thick and pushes your head and back away from the seat. The shape of the pillow may be too long and come too far forward under your chin.
The unique shape of this neck pillow gives you more freedom and comfort in how you wear and use this pillow. It has a soft sloping design that rises and falls to allow you to wrap the pillow around your neck and support your head. This pillow allows you to wear earbuds without interference. Supporting your neck is high-density memory foam.
What makes this neck pillow stand out is the Velcro adjuster in the front. This gives you a secure and custom fit around your neck. The pillowcase is incredibly soft and comfy while also easy to care for. It’s made of 95 percent viscose and five percent elastomer and is removable.
Unfortunately, the exposed Velcro on the front can get caught on your clothing and potentially ruin woven or delicate fabrics. The Velcro pieces don’t always line up correctly, which makes adjusting the pillow difficult. The pillow may also have an extremely unpleasant smell.
- After buying a newer neck pillow, always wash the cover before use. Also, consult any directions or product guides so you know which materials are machine-washable and which ones require dry washing.
- Try your neck pillow in a few different positions before securing it. You may find the best spot for long-term comfort isn’t what you expected.
- Don’t be afraid to try out your car pillow in other environments as well. You may find that these can be really helpful in relieving any aches and pains when you're sitting anywhere for extended periods of time.
Q: Will any headrest pillow fit in my car?
A: Most likely, yes. Most driving pillows are universal. Straps can be adjusted for different seat sizes to accommodate any vehicle.
Q: Can I use a car neck pillow if I’m over 6 feet tall?
A: The cushions and back support can all be moved to fit drivers of any size. Neck pillows are made to wrap around the factory headrest, so you can adjust the height of the pillow.
Our overall best option is the ergonomically designed Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Pillow, which comes in a range of styles to suit all tastes.
The adjustable, plush velour Travelmate Memory Foam Neck Pillow is our best value pick.