Best Car Neck Pillows: Comfort Options for a Relaxing Drive
Car neck pillows are perfect for an improved driving or riding experience
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BY Bryan Long / LAST UPDATED 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 2021
- 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.