It’s the end of the year and it’s time to talk about some of the best travel pillows I’ve seen so far.
2017 – The quest for the top 5 best travel pillow
Let’s get straight to it. I saw a lot of great products in 2017. Some of them didn’t make it onto the site. This was due to the fact that at the end of the day, they were too similar to what you could find at your local dollar store.
2017 was the year of crazy designs and ideas. Innovative inflatable neck travel pillows ruled the roost and a lot of manufacturers tried out new features. We had the super-cooled and futuristic Cabeau Evolution Cool and the pretzel-like BCOZZY to shake things up.
At the end of the day, we look at our four categories:
This is a list not only of travel pillows for airplanes but travel pillows that encompass all realms of travel. So, in no particular order, we have our top 5 travel pillow reviews of 2017.
#1 Best Travel Pillow 2017
Kmall Inflatable Travel Pillow
9.1/10 – Full review here
There’s a lot to love about the Kmall Inflatable Travel Pillow. I absolutely hate bad inflatable pillows. Sometimes there is a seam that digs into your skin and sometimes the shape is just wrong.
The biggest issue I’ve found is probably the lack of firmness and support.
Luckily the Kmall inflatable travel pillow addresses most of these concerns, and then some. The unique shape angles softly around up the closer it gets to the back of your neck. This provides support where it counts and doesn’t constrict or suffocate.
The reason I like this neck pillow the most however, is it’s outer material. One of the biggest complaints with softer fabrics; velvet and plush style, is heat. It’s too damn hot! The Kmall uses Coolmax material – a synthetic cotton blend which is primarily used in clothing for athletes. Not only is it soft enough, it’s also the best fabric I’ve found to keep you sweating when your snuggled.
The Kmall features a nifty little pump for you to easily inflate and generally has pretty good support for your neck and shoulder. It would be even better if it had a better answer to forward head tilt.
#2 Best Travel Pillow 2017
Travelrest Ultimate Inflatable Travel Pillow
9.1/10 – Full review here
Yet again, we see another inflatable travel pillow reach the top 5! The Travelrest Ultimate Inflatable Travel Pillow holds a special place in my heart. Not only because it’s versatility but because it was the first alternative travel pillow I used on my travels. Don’t be fooled by the boomerang shape, it’s really quite a joy to use.
Like many inflatable pillows, the Travelrest Inflatable Travel Pillow is really portable. Like really, really portable. You can roll it up and attach it to your suitcase or bag with ease. The key to the Travelrest, is to experiment with it until you get your desired position. The pillow comes with a guide to show you the different styles you can rest with.
I will say that this is not a “head back, locked in place” pillow. It’s very much a side sleeper which I think is more natural anyway. It’s relatively easy to inflate and most comfortable when slightly deflated.
The biggest plus for this inflatable travel pillow is undoubtedly it’s lateral support. The biggest reason I find it hard to sleep while sitting upright is the alien environment. It’s a chair you’re not used to, in a position you’re not used to. The Travelrest allows your to “hug” your pillow somewhat. This gives more support and simulates what many would do when lying horizontally.
Not for everyone and perhaps not for every situation, I’m a huge fan and still use mine occasionally.
#3 Best Travel Pillow 2017
Aeris Travel Pillow
9.1/10 – Full review here
It’s not often you see such a traditional looking neck pillow rated so highly on my site. I tend to prefer more original designs. However, there is a reason why this is the most popular shape and style of neck pillow.
Firstly, it’s cheap to make. The fabric and stitching is deceptively simple. With only a bit of practice you can even make your own. The main reason though, is that the U shaped pillows tend to give decent neck support while providing a soft cushion for comfort.
Where the Aeris travel pillow differs from the standard, is not in the shape, but in the other features of the pillow. The Aeris has a great answer to overheating when trying to rest. This neck pillow has multiple holes or perforations punched into the memory foam. This allows for more ventilation. The velour cover is super soft and also has these perforations.
The drawstrings at the ends of the pillow allow you to tighten and adjust your pillow. Not only does this allow for different size necks but it also helps to prevent forward head movement – albeit only slightly.
It comes with a few extras like a face mask and earplugs and compresses down to half its size. The memory foam itself is incredibly comfortable and has a really nice firm/soft balance.
Looking for an old school U shaped neck pillow? The Aeris is an upgraded near perfect version you should seriously consider.
#4 Best Travel Pillow 2017
AirComfy Inflatable Multi-Purpose Travel Pillow
9.1/10 – Full review here
I talked about 2017 being the year of non-standard and innovative travel pillows. Well here’s an inflatable travel pillow that not only offers a different shape but also multiple uses. The AirComfy Inflatable Travel Pillow is not only a fantastic neck pillow, it’s also great for lumbar support.
Daring to be different, the The AirComfy Inflatable Travel Pillow has a “bow” like design. This makes it closer to traditional lumbar support pillows. With the curved shape however, it also doubles as a really decent neck pillow.
Because this is travelpillowreview.com and not just neckpillowreview.com, I think it’s only fair to include the Aircomfy. Even though it’s not a specialist neck pillow, the inspired decision to use a combination of air and foam for support make it super comfortable to use. There is a valve so you can easily adjust the foam to air ratio.
Like all inflatable pillows, it packs away easily and comes with a carry case. There is a strap on the back that helps you fasten the pillow to prevent it slipping. It’s also self inflating and super easy to use.
Is this the best inflatable neck pillow? Well, it doesn’t do the best job of keeping your head from moving side to side. There is a noticeable dip in the middle of the pillow to help prevent movement but let’s be honest, it doesn’t hold your head in place like the BCOZZY or TRTL. The material is a little rougher than competitors too.
Is it the best multi-purpose travel pillow this year? Probably. It works excellently as a lumbar support pillow and pretty darn good as a neck pillow too. Hell, why not buy 2 and use one for each part of your body? Great product.
#5 Best Travel Pillow 2017
J Pillow Travel Airplane Pillow
9/10 – Full review here
I’ve left it til last but by no means is the J Pillow a loser, in any sense of the word. If you’ve done your research, you know that the J Pillow is loved and used by many. At first glance, you might be a bit confused by the odd shape. Just how do I get comfortable in this J shaped oddity?
The J pillow is what I call a side sleeper. In other words, it provides support for your head to lean either to the left or the right. Much like the Travelrest Inflatable Travel Pillow above. Unlike the Travelrest however, the J Pillow is much like a regular pillow it terms of it’s stuffing an outer material. It is for all effects and purposes, a regular pillow made into a J shape.
The real innovation here in design is the “J” hook of the pillow. It provides exceptional chin support. Chin support is one of the most elusive and seemingly difficult types of support to provide for. When you are lying down horizontally, there is no downward pull on your head. All the pressure is coming from sideways movement. This movement is then negated by your pillow. The problem with many travel pillows is that it’s hard to find a comfortable way to replicate these conditions. This is where the J pillow really shines.
By providing that extra support, the J Pillow is a master of upright head placement and position. The popularity, customer support and critical acclaim for the J Pillow is almost second to none in the travel pillow game.
So why isn’t the J Pillow number 1 in all categories? It’s simple, portability. There’s not much you can do about it either. Due to the shape and materials, there is just no way to fold this up, squash it down or deflate it. For this reason, it’s a slight nuisance to carry around.
But hey, if you don’t mind lugging it around in exchange for the comfort it provides, it should be your obvious choice.