Which inflatable pillow for travel is best?
Space on airplanes and other forms of transportation is often cramped, making it difficult to relax, and sleeping upright can feel unnatural. Travel fatigue due to poor or disrupted sleep can lead to a variety of health issues, including dehydration, exhaustion, muscle strain, headaches and mood changes. Like other types of pillows, inflatable travel pillows work to support your neck and overall posture to ensure comfortable and restful sleep.
If you are looking for the best inflatable travel pillow, the AirComfy Inflatable Neck Travel Pillow offers neck support and a self-inflating design that saves you from the effort of blowing air inside. Its soft, velvet cover is removable and washable and keeps your pillow fresh for trips.
What to know before buying an inflatable pillow for travel
According to the Mayo Clinic, sleeping in a good position is one of the best ways to combat neck pain and tension. Travel pillows support your neck and help you avoid muscle strain.
Inflatable travel pillows give you much-needed neck support while being lightweight and compact. Other travel pillows, such as memory-foam or microbead pillows, can be bulky. Inflatable travel pillows deflate and shrink down, saving space in your suitcase or backpack for other travel essentials. You can pack inflatable travel pillows in your carry-on while other types of travel pillows may count as a personal item onboard airplanes.
You can control the firmness in an inflatable travel pillow, a feature that is not available in memory-foam or microbead pillows.
Travel pillows keep your neck from being in an unnatural or uncomfortable position while sleeping. Most inflatable travel pillows use open-cell construction or open-cell foam. This helps the inflatable pillow stay comfortable and compact.
Open-cell foam vs. closed-cell foam
Open-cell foam allows pillows to be soft and cushiony as air fills the structure’s space. This also keeps the pillow cool overnight. Closed-cell foam is denser and restricts airflow, making it ideal for insulating homes or buildings. In inflatable travel pillows, the open-cell foam helps keep air from escaping overnight. It also helps the pillow compress easily when deflated and expand completely when unfolded.
What to look for in a quality inflatable pillow for travel
Finding a durable pillow means not having to replace it every time you travel. The quality of inflatable travel pillows with open-cell foam depends on the density of the structure. Find a pillow that can hold its shape and withstand light pressure.
Look for pillows that are machine washable or come with a removable, washable fabric cover. This will keep your pillow hygienic and dependable. Inflatable travel pillows with these options may come at a higher price point, but their durability is worth the investment.
When choosing the fabric for your inflatable travel pillow, keep climate and use in mind. In hotter climates, cotton and smooth plastic are best for keeping cool. In colder climates, fabrics such as fleece are comforting. Many consumers find fleece-like fabrics ideal for airplane travel as it tends to get cold on flights.
Keep skin sensitivity in mind. Plastic inflatable pillows may irritate some consumers.
In choosing the shape of your inflatable travel pillow, consider how you normally sleep while traveling. Neck brace-shaped pillows are best for sleepers who tend to lean forward. U-shaped or flat pillows are best for sleepers who tend to lean backward.
The only way to know if a travel pillow is right for you is to try it. If possible, try an inflatable travel pillow in store or make sure to keep the receipt from an online order. A travel pillow should keep your neck supported and comfortable without any pinching or chafing.
How much you can expect to spend on an inflatable travel pillow
Inflatable travel pillows range in price from $4 to over $300. The price difference comes from quality of material and customizable features.
Inflatable travel pillow FAQ
How does an inflatable travel pillow inflate?
A. Each pillow comes with a different set of instructions, but generally, pillows have a valve that controls inflation. Some inflatable travel pillows inflate on their own while others may require you to pump in air or blow air inside. The valve allows air inside and is closed once the pillow is fully inflated. You can adjust the firmness by laying your head on the pillow and slowly releasing air after inflation. Stop when you feel comfortable, then close the valve.
Are inflatable travel pillows comfortable?
A. Inflatable travel pillows are compact, but some consumers may find they get too hot and are uncomfortable when over-inflated. It’s important to find the right fabric for your travel pillow needs and only inflate the pillow to your desired firmness.
Are inflatable travel pillows allowed on airplanes?
A. Yes, inflatable travel pillows are allowed on airplanes. If it is an inflatable neck pillow, you can use it at any time while on board. Larger inflatable travel pillows, such as footrests or body pillows, need to remain stored and deflated during takeoff and landing.
What’s the best inflatable travel pillow to buy?
Top inflatable pillow for travel
What you need to know: This U-shaped travel pillow inflates with a push of a button and features a raised back for extra neck support.
What you’ll love: It easily inflates in 30-60 seconds and has a soft, velvet washable cover.
What you should consider: The inflation button adds an extra bump to this pillow’s surface, which some consumers may not like.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top inflatable travel pillow for the money
What you need to know: This pillow also features a raised back for extra neck support at a more budget-friendly price. You can adjust the pillow’s firmness by releasing air once inflated.
What you’ll love: It’s soft and comfortable due to its machine-washable velvet cover.
What you should consider: This pillow requires blowing air to inflate, which some consumers may not like.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This pillow is ideal for side sleepers. It attaches to seatrests and headrests, creating comfortable stability and can be worn across your body without attachment.
What you’ll love: This pillow is large but deflates into a compact package that is easy to pack.
What you should consider: This pillow is one-sided and does not offer full neck support.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Lilliana Winkworth writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.