The J-Pillow vs. Trtl Pillow: both popular pillows have rave reviews online, but they have dramatically different designs. So I got one of each and brought them on a 13-hour flight (pre-pandemic) to determine: Which one actually let me sleep comfortably in coach?
J-Pillow vs. Trtl Pillow: Support
Winner: The J-Pillow. The J-Pillow nestled under my chin and rested on my shoulder, so I could lean my head to the side and rest on the pillow without letting my head nod forward or fall to the side. The design of the pillow curves around your neck, but as it’s worn on the side, so it doesn’t push your head forward. I found that the J-Pillow was the most effective at keeping my head upright while I slept. It was especially comfortable while used in a window seat (and leaning against the wall).
The Trtl Pillow mimics a neck brace, wrapping around your neck and using a plastic frame on the side (between your chin and your shoulder) to allow you to rest your head. However, no matter how I positioned the Trtl Pillow, I couldn’t get the right amount of support I needed to relax into sleep.
J-Pillow vs. Trtl Pillow: Comfort
Winner: The J-Pillow.Made from a soft, squishy fiber filling and covered with an ultra-plush microfleece fabric, the J-Pillow was significantly more comfortable to lean on than the Trtl Pillow. Despite the Trtl Pillow’s soft fleece cover, I could still feel the hard plastic internal spine inside, which wasn’t comfortable to lean on.
J-Pillow vs. Trtl Pillow: Portability
Winner: The Trtl Pillow. It’s about half the size of a standard U-shaped pillow, and wraps up for easy and compact storage. The Trtl Pillow won’t take up much space in your carry-on, unlike the J-Pillow.
The J-Pillow can be compressed into its (included) carrying bag, but it will still take up a decent amount of real estate in your carry-on or personal item.
The Trtl Pillow is also slightly more lightweight, weighing in at around 5.2 ounces vs. the J Pillow’s 7.5 ounces.
J-Pillow vs. Trtl Pillow: Cost
J-Pillow vs. Trtl Pillow: Cleanliness
Winner: The J-Pillow. The entire J-Pillow can be machine washed in warm water, and then dried on low heat, making it easy to clean after each trip.
You can remove the Trtl Pillow’s fleece covering and wash it separately in the washing machine, however you’ll need to hang dry it and then reinsert the internal support (which can’t be washed), making it a more complicated cleaning process.
J-Pillow vs. Trtl Pillow: Overall Winner
Winner: The J-Pillow won in almost every category, earning high marks for comfort, support, and cleanliness, making it our overall winner.
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Caroline Morse Teel is a Principal Editor for SmarterTravel. Follow her on Instagram @travelwithcaroline for travel photos and advice.
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