The J-Pillow travel pillow is an award-winning pillow that seems to be a great fit for traveling side sleepers. Does it deserve the accolades and how does it compare to a more traditional travel pillow? Stick around because I cover everything (and more) in my in-depth video review below and full written review below.
Who Makes It
The J-pillow was developed by Gemma Jensen, a mother of three and former airline stewardess who drew on her experience in the airline industry to create her design. Her pillow went on to win the British Invention Show’s British Invention of the Year in 2013 and has become one of the best-selling travel pillows on Amazon.
See how the J-Pillow ranks on my best travel pillows list.
Key Features of the J-Pillow Travel Pillow
- Dimensions: 11.8″ x 7.9″ x 13″
- Core: 100% polyester filling
- Head, chin and neck support
- Cover: Plush cover that comes in multiple colors and patterns
- Snap loop button for travel
- Machine washable
- Good for window seats
- Soft and lightweight (7.5 ounces)
- Machine washable
- Clips to a carry-on bag
- Can be flipped into various positions depending on the traveler’s needs (multi-functional)
- Comes in many colors and patterns
- Not as comfortable for those who wear glasses
- Must wash the whole pillow, not just cover
- Not an easy shape to pack neatly into a bag or suitcase
- Not super firm
- Did not stay on my neck/shoulder when sitting normally
Unlike other more traditional U-shaped neck pillows, the unique design of the J-pillow had me instantly intrigued when I unpacked it. True to its name, the pillow is shaped like a puffy letter “J” and, after reviewing the illustrated brochure, I learned precisely how it should be worn for ultimate support.
I placed the longest section of the pillow – the part that acts like the curve of the “J” – under my chin and the shorter sections fell into place by my eye and around a good portion of my neck. As a side sleeper, the feeling of soft velour-like fabric on the side of my face was instinctively familiar and soothing.
As noted, the J-pillow fabric is very soft and plush, and about average firmness with its polyester filling. To get the best take on the pillow, I used it in the passenger seat of my car, in a high-backed seat in the nursery and lying down on my side on my couch.
I also took my glasses on and off during the review and found that the pillow touches the side of the face right by the temples, causing it to interfere with the arms of my glasses and I could not lay on my side and use it comfortably and wear them at the same time.
The J-pillow was very comfortable in the car when I rested my head against the window with my glasses off. My biggest concern is that the pillow doesn’t stay anchored around the neck the way a traditional neck pillow would. The fabric is soft enough to become almost slippery, so every time I adjusted my head the pillow would fall down.
While I was not able to stay comfortable with the pillow in a high-backed chair, I was able to fall asleep on the couch with the pillow – which makes it a great alternative if a hotel pillow is less than satisfactory. I was surprised by how comfortable this pillow was laying down, it really cradled my head.
Another bonus position with this pillow is to place the longer section behind the neck, as opposed to under the chin, as this provides more support if the traveler is using it to sleep laying down. I think this could also be a great position when trying to rest on a tray table when in the middle seat on a plane.
I washed the pillow following the care instructions, which indicate to use warm water, on a gentle cycle and tumble dry. The pillow came out with no noticeable wear or tear after being cleaned and it dried quickly.
A small loop allows the traveler to snap the pillow to any carry-on case and move around airports or train stations with ease. For me, the pillow is too bulky to squeeze into a bag and if a person wants to pack the pillow away, it can take up a lot of room with its strange shape. There are instructions in the brochure on how to fold the pillow to make it more compact, but it didn’t seem to save much room overall.
The J-pillow shape makes it a little tricky to use as a lower back pillow or to use successfully in a lower-backed chair. I wasn’t able to get comfortable using the pillow in either of these positions and struggled to keep the pillow on my head and neck in a lower-backed chair.
What To Consider Before Buying
This pillow is really best suited for people who side sleep, or people who will be using it on a window seat on a plane, train or car in a high-backed seat. It is also not very comfortable if one wishes to keep a pair of glasses on, as one of the sections rests against the temples of the face.
It’s lightweight but firm enough to maintain its shape. This firmness makes it slightly difficult to stuff it into a carry-on bag and is not a space saver in those instances.
While I did like the soft, plush cover but I have two small issues with it. First, the fabric did make my head/face slip a little when I started dozing. When I walked around it didn’t stay on my neck the way a traditional neck pillow would.
I would be more inclined to recommend it if it came in different covers so I could choose something with more grip.
While it helps to be able to wash the pillow, it would be great if it had a removable cover that could be taken off and cleaned separately. This way I could buy multiple covers for one trip and not worry about having a dirty pillow on my trip.
I think because of its versatility the pillow is worth the price for side sleepers. The website sells it for $60 but also lists Amazon as a retailer who sells it for a discounted price (roughly $30).
With this pillow, I know I can take it on a trip and it will keep me comfortable, but if I end up with a subpar hotel pillow I can also rely on it for support.
Another plus is that the website also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if it does not meet expectations.