Driving for longs periods of time can be exhausting, not only on our minds but on our bodies too. It’s our backs and necks that tend to suffer the most, holding up your head for hours on end can start to take its toll. Shockingly, on average, UK drivers spend a whopping 31 hours a week in their cars, and it’s estimated by the British Chiropractic Association that more than 5.5 million drivers are likely to suffer from potential back and neck problems due to spending such extortionate amounts of time behind the wheel.
However, never fear, both of these painful issues can be quite easily solved by one simple solution – a good quality neck pillow! So, what is a neck pillow? It’s simply a cushion that attaches to your car seat, often to the headrest, and offers your neck padding.
The Best Car Neck Pillow
First on our list is the TravelMate car Neck Pillow, ideal for travel any time, anywhere! It is super compact, so you needn’t keep it confined to just the car – why not use your new travel cushion on the train, bus or even a plane? No matter where you travel, you can keep your back and neck in the most comfortable position possible with this trusty little pillow.
Crafted in the softest, plushest velour, the cover is completely removable and machine washable for your convenience. The real magic, however, is in the memory foam core. It moulds to your body’s unique shape, giving you tailored support. Better yet, the foam retains your body heat which in turn aids in soothe aching and tense muscles.
Dimensions: 5.5 inches x 4 inches
Memory core that moulds to body shape
Ideal for use anywhere
Machine washable velour cover
- ModelMP 12
- Weight8 oz
Designed using a comfortable, breathable fabric, the CAMTOA 2PCS travel pillow was created to make driving a safer and more enjoyable experience. Thanks to the durable foam within, the pillow won’t deform even after prolonged use and is completely shrink-proof. Perfect for giving support to both neck and back, it will help to keep your posture in check and make for a more comfortable car ride, whether you’re driving for one or three hours.
Breathable, hard-working fabric
Shrink-proof and will not deform due to sturdy foam core
- Weight1.6 oz
We all love a car gizmo that is easy to install, and this travel cushion from EXCEL LIFE couldn’t be simpler! All you need to do is use the Velcro straps to attach it either horizontally or vertically to your headrest, the choice is yours. It’s also adjustable, so you can alter it to fit your ultimate driving position and offer the perfect amount of support and protection.
With an incredibly soft microfibre that feels as soft as suede, it will provide you with the most comfortable support to your neck whilst driving, or if you choose to use it as a passenger, the most sweetest of sleeps. Trust us, you’ll have no trouble falling to sleep on this baby! The cover is removable and can be machine washed, so you can keep it as fresh as the day you bought it.
Super soft microfibre machine washable cover
Velcro Straps can be attached vertically or horizontally to car seat
Compatible with virtually any model of car
- BrandEXCEL LIFE
- Weight8.8 oz
Here’s a first for our list – two great items for the price of one! Perfect for both driver and passenger, these cushions are rendered in perforated PU leather, making them soft and supple, breathable and easy to clean. This strong material used for both of these is also very hard-wearing and firm, so they will last for years to come, even when used for prolonged periods of time, they will retain their original shapes.
The firm but comfy design with allow your muscles to relax, ensuring that your mind stays firmly on the road. The second travel pillow will keep your passenger happy as they drift into a cosy, natural sleep.
Dimensions: 10.24inches x 7.28inches. Weight: 240G
Crafted in breathable and durable PU leather
Pack of two pillows
- Weight8 oz
This is an option that gives the users even support than some of the previous pillows on the list and would be especially useful for those who need to be in front of the wheel for hours at a time for a living such as a taxi or a lorry driver. This is because it has a larger surface area with an ergonomic core that uniquely moulds to your neck and back, giving your tailor-made support. Fully adjustable, you can perfectly alter it to your ideal driving position for maximum comfort.
The secret is the firm yet soft memory foam innards, which offer you alleviation from painful muscle tension and unrivalled support. Every A&A Creations car pillow comes pre-cleaned and, unlike their competitors’ cushions, are completely odourless. A common complete with ergonomic travel pillows is that they came with an unpleasant chemical-like scent which lingers for weeks – this pillow is guaranteed to be odour-free straight out of the box!
Large surface area to support both neck and back – perfect for commercial drivers
Unlike rival therapeutic pillow is completely odour free
Memory foam core moulds to body shape
- BrandA&A Creations
- Weight12 oz
This headrest pillow from Aukee is just the thing to keep you comfortable in the car, and it’s great for other modes of travel too. You could take it to nap on a plane, bus, read on a train, you could even take it camping! It also is a perfect study aid for students. Anywhere you need to sit down, you’ll need this handy cushion. The possibilities are literally endless.
With a memory foam inner core to release tension and pressure from the cervical vertebrae and an outer cover crafted in Grade A cow’s leather, you can be sure only the highest quality materials have been used to create this premium product.
Helps to better your posture which helps to promote better blood circulation, prevent numbness and reduce sore muscles
Memory foam core to aid in releasing tension
Grade A Cow Leather
- Weight2.2 lbs
The first of our countdown in the classic U shape, this humble travel pillow boasts many benefits. First of all, the traditional U design is the perfect shape to cradle the neck and prevent it from falling forward during slumber. This particular car neck pillow is made from memory foam for a truly comfortable experience and has a soft microfibre case which can be easily removed and washed.
Unlike the previous options on the list, this pillow is mobile, you can use anywhere – on a plane, on a bus and on the morning commute on the train. But it doesn’t stop there – as it doesn’t require a headrest for installation, the uses are limitless! Take it to the beach, use it to read on the couch, take it camping … take it pretty much anywhere you want! And, because it’s so lightweight, packing it is no trouble at all. In fact, it comes equipped with a snap strap so you can simply attach it to your carry on case, so there’s no need to use up any valuable space.
Classic U shape supports neck perfectly
Can be used in multiple situations
Memory foam for ultimate comfort
Built-in strap for easy travel
- Weight11.4 oz
Driving in a comfortable position is paramount, particularly if you are going to be in the car for a long period of time. This ergonomically designed car neck pillow has been specially contoured to mimic the best shape for your neck and shoulders to promote the ideal posture. Easily installed onto any headrest, the height can be adjusted simply by altering the straps, so can be customised to any passenger.
Memory foam core
Ergonomic design for maximum comfort
Height can be adjusted to suit the passenger or driver
- ModelCar Neck Pillow 2018
- Weight13.6 oz
Want something truly luxurious? We’ve found the product for you! It’s all the name with this one – this car neck pillow from VIP is made using soft memory foam and is designed in such a way that it cradles your head, neck, and shoulders. Its unique shape is perfect for passengers to take a nap in and will almost feel like they are receiving a five-star massage!
The quilted cotton cover is sumptuously soft and sports the VIP emblem for a deluxe touch.
Memory foam core
VIP logo embroidery
Quilted cotton cover
Unique, comfortable shape, ideal for napping on long journeys
- ModelBLACK DIA
- Weight14.9 oz
The last item on our list of favourites is this plush offering from ALIBO. Crafted in a super soft microfibre for ultimate comfort, its round shape conforms to the natural curve of the spine and neck, providing the body with firm but comforting support. An adjustable elastic strap means it can be used anywhere, from the family car to a business class aeroplane – wherever your journey takes you, you’ll be prepared with this handy neck pillow!
Adjustable elastic strap for installation anywhere
Curved shape conform to the spine’s natural curvature
Soft microfibre cover
- Weight9.6 oz
Best Car Neck Pillow Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Consider When Buying a Car Neck Pillow
When choosing the best neck pillow for you, there are many factors to take into consideration. For instance, the typical car headrest, unfortunately, leaves an unnatural space between the neck, shoulders, and head, which can cause discomfort during driving for long periods of time. On top of these issues, the gap also leaves us in danger of serious damage in the event of emergency stops or collisions. We need to select good quality neck rest that will effectively fill up this gap and offer our spine suitable alignment, giving us a natural driving position. In fact, they are so successful at making riding in the car a much more comfortable experience, that chiropractors have even started recommended them.
It's important to think about how you will fasten your travel pillow to your seat. What kind would best suit your car seat? They are all fairly similar to install, but some are larger than others, so you need to consider how much space is available to you.
Almost every car seat neck pillow is fastened through the use of the head restraint or headrest. They might have elastic straps that wrap around it or Velcro patches that stick to the headrest. Perhaps the pillow instead has straps that clip on to the headrest. However it attaches, most of them will require a headrest in order to be installed. This means that they will need to be attached to separate seat, and will not work on a bench style seat.
Some neck supports, however, do not require any installation at all. U shaped neck pillows are cushions that the user can simply place around their neck and are able to use wherever they please, without having to attach it to anything. These kinds of travel support pillows are really useful, as they can be taken on a daily commute on the train, bus or even on holiday on an airplane. They are lightweight and will not take up much space in your carry on luggage either.
- Support Required
You also need to think about how much support you need. For people who drive for a living, it might be worth investing in a more supportive and sturdy design, with a stronger and hard-wearing core. Some of the options on this list offer more support than others, so if your back gets painful while driving as well as your neck, you may want to opt for a travel pillow that is larger and You might want to consider combining your neck pillow with a lumbar support wedge. These will not support your neck but will force you into a better, healthier posture whilst driving. Consider whether you would prefer a softer pillow for your back and neck or a firm supportive cushion.
- Structure and Material
Another thing that is is crucial when selecting the right travel neck pillow is choosing the right kind of material. You might want something firm that supports your posture, such a sturdy memory foam. On the contrary, a soft, supple bean option might be the right choice for you. You also must decide how hard and wide you would like travel pillow to be, as it will determine your driving position, and therefore, could potentially affect your driving.
Something else to consider is whether you would like to be able to remove the cover for cleaning. As our necks sweat quite a significant amount, it is a good idea to select a neck pillow that at the very least, is crafted in a wipe clean material.
Benefits of Using a Car Neck Pillow
There is very little research into the medical benefits of using neck pillows, however, we know that support on our necks is good for use. In fact, results have shown that opting for a firm, a sturdy pillow is much more effective at preventing morning pain in the neck then a soft, regular one. Furthermore, 128 with chronic neck pain took part in a recent study and found that a combination of an exercise plan managed by a physical therapist alongside the regular use of a supportive neck pillow was more effective than solely exercise at reducing their neck pains.
It turns out that only 30 percent of motorists are actually drivings in the correct position, and only 42 percent of those were able to identify how they ought to be sitting in the car. Claire Henson Bowen, the Principal Physiotherapist at Bespoke Well-being, stated that "Poor driving positions, especially if repetitive or for long journeys, can lead to spinal pain in the neck and lower back. This can create areas of joint stiffness, muscle tightness, and altered posture. We recommend the following top tips to help keep you become pain-free whilst behind the wheel. Keep the seat as close to the wheel as is comfortable so you can easily reach the wheel with your elbows relaxed. Always adjust the backrest recline so it supports your spine without leaning too far back. Ensure all mirrors are adjusted before you start your journey to avoid excessive twisting. Build in rest stops for long journeys to get out and stretch your legs (every 1-2 hours)."
According to Claire and a string of other physiotherapy experts, proper posture when it comes to driving is essential. Using a neck support gently “forces” our necks and backs into a natural position which is better for our bodies and also our concentration. By keeping us in place, it encourages us to keep our eyes on the road and our minds focused fully on the task at hand.
Best Car Neck Pillow FAQ:
Q: Should I use a neck pillow while driving a car?
A: Yes, just as long as you don't fall asleep! The neck pillows on our list are just so snuggly and cosy, your passengers will be tempted to curl up into a deep slumber. However, there is no need to worry about nodding off, the neck supports are designed to keep your neck in the perfect position for driving, keeping you focused and alert.
Maintaining a good posture whilst you are driving in your car is important, particularly when you are on a long trip. Some commercial drivers may be driving for hours and hours on end with no breaks, and that can take its toll on the neck and back. Car seats are designed in such a way that they leave a large gap between your neck and the head restraint, which over time, can become very tiresome and uncomfortable as your body begins to relax into the chair. Your entire body sinks into the seat, yet your neck is left without any support, and therefore, can become incredibly achy. This can lead to poor concentration whilst driving which in turn could possibly cause serious accidents on the road. In terms of your health, this could cause long-term issues with your neck and back alignment, potentially creating irreversible damage.
Q: How long does the pillow last?
A: As long as you take good care of it, your travel neck pillow should last you a good few many years. If it is made using a hard-wearing, durable material such a leather, it will pretty much last a lifetime! Travel pillows that have been and foam cores will still last you a while if you look after them but will need to be replaced over time. Where possible, try to select options with machine washable covers to get the most wear out of them.
Q: How does it attach to my car seat?
A: Most car neck supports will fasten easily to your car's headrest or head restraint. They will either attach using Velcro straps, clips, or elastic straps of some kind. These will wrap around the headrest and sit on top of it, often protruding at the most rigid part. Because travel pillow needs to be attached to their own separate headrests, they will only work on high backed car seats, so, unfortunately, are usually not compatible with bench style seats.
Some travel neck support pillows do not require any attachments and simply hang around the user's neck, these can be used anywhere at any time.
Q: Will it work on a bench seat or a seat without any type of head restraint?
A: Unfortunately, most attachable car neck pillows require some sort of headrest in order to be fitted properly. If your car has a bench seat, we suggest opting for a U style travel pillow instead. These kinds of travel pillows are simply placed around your neck and do not require any kind of installation at all.
Q: How does the car neck pillow prevent whiplash?
A: Using a neck pillow whilst travelling in the car helps to prevent whiplash by absorbing the impact from the collision and filling the gap between your neck and the chair. The cushion assimilates the force and acceleration that your head goes through during the event, helping to reduce the severity of damage you incur. Studies have shown that slowing down the speed of the head and neck during an accident can reduce the amount of the resulting injuries.
Our Top Pick
We love all of the travel pillows we've selected, but the best of the bunch has to be the TravelMate Car Neck Pillow! A seriously compact, lightweight design, it can be used pretty much anywhere and provides you with the ultimate support for your neck.
With a super comfortable memory foam core that moulds perfectly to your neck and back, you'll be driving along in complete luxury! The memory foam also helps to distribute body heat, which aids in relieving muscle tension. It also comes with a machine washable cover for your convenience and cleanliness!
So whether you are a driving who is trying make the daily commute to work more comfortable and healthy on your back or a passenger who just wants to take a nap in the car, you'll find the perfect cushion for you out of our top ten travel support neck pillows. From budget options to high-end splurges there's something for everyone. Stay healthy!