The best pillow 2024: Comfort for all sleeping positions

The best pillow: The Coop Home Goods Adjustable Pillow for sleeping, placed on a yellow background
(Image credit: Coop Home Goods)

The best pillow is more than just a comfortable place to rest your head after a busy day; it should also provide neck, back, and shoulder support as you sleep. Like shopping for the best mattress, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the best pillow. A good pillow suits your body type and sleep position, as well as your sleep needs, such as providing cooling if you suffer from night sweats, or having an adjustable fill to help with aches and pains. 

To help you sleep comfortably, we’ve found the best pillows for every kind of sleeper, based on extensive research into verified online reviews and consumer reports – as well as the testing and review experience of our expert sleep team.

Our top pick for best pillow right now is the Coop Home Goods Original Adjustable Pillow, which allows you to change the feel to suit your needs and comes at a reasonable price. We’ve rounded up pillow picks to suit every budget, from bargain to luxury, and as the Memorial Day mattress sales are getting started, this is a good time to get a pillow deal. Read on to discover the best pillow for every sleep position, need, and budget you can buy right now.

The best pillows you can buy today

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Best pillow: the Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Pillow

(Image credit: Coop Home Goods)
The best pillow overall - fully adjustable and reasonably priced


Best for: All sleepers
Fill: Memory foam and microfiber blend
Firmness: Medium
Dimensions: 30x20 inches or 30x26 inches
Care: Machine wash (without fill)
Warranty: 5 years
Trial: 100 nights
RRP: $59.99 - $64.99

Reasons to buy

Easy to adjust height and density 
5-year warranty and 100-night trial
Hypoallergenic and cruelty-free

Reasons to avoid

Off-gassing smell can be potent

The Coop Home Goods Original Adjustable Pillow is the best choice for anyone who wants to create a custom pillow without spending much money. It's packed with CertiPUR-US certified, non-toxic memory foam and microfiber, and you can add as much or as little fill as you need to achieve the perfect loft for your sleeping position (an extra half-pound bag of fill is included). 

The pillow also has a removable cover made from a naturally cooling, bamboo-derived viscose rayon material called Lulltra. Coop Home Goods recommends this pillow as the best choice for side sleepers because it can be made deep and plump, but because it's adjustable you can tailor it to suit any sleep position. You can also buy it in queen size (20x30") or king size (20x36") to better suit your bed.

In terms of reviews, The Original Coop Home Goods Adjustable Pillow is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, generated from over 48,000 Amazon customer user reviews, and 4.6 out of 5 stars on the brand's own website. Customer praise its ability to hold shape well, though some said the washable cover bobbles after a while.

For added peace of mind, the Coop Home Goods Original Adjustable Pillow comes with a five-year warranty, plus a 100-night trial, so you'll have plenty of time to make sure that this really is the best choice for you. 

Read our full Coop Home Goods Original Pillow review

Coop Home Goods The Original Adjustable Pillow: $75 at Coop Home Goods

Coop Home Goods The Original Adjustable Pillow: from $75 at Coop Home Goods
While you can't save on a single pillow, Coop Home Goods is offering 10% off if you buy two pillows, and 15% off if you buy four pillows. That's two pillows for $135, and four pillows for $255. Great news for bed sharers who don't want their partner to be a pain in the neck – sorry, that's meant to be who don't want them to have a pain in the neck.

Best pillow: The Casper Original Pillow on a light blue background

(Image credit: Casper)

2. Casper Original Sleep Pillow

The best pillow for sleeping in any position


Best for : All sleeping positions
Fill: Microfiber
Firmness: Medium
Dimensions: 18x26 inches or 18x34 inches with 2-inch gusset
Care: Machine wash (without fill)
Warranty: 1 year
Trial: 30 days
MSRP: $65 - $85

Reasons to buy

Balance of softness and support
Adapts to all sleep styles 

Reasons to avoid

Frequent fluffing may be required
Only comes with a 30-day trial

If you want to enjoy the plushness of a down pillow but without the allergies and animal-sourced fill, try the Casper Original Sleep Down Alternative Pillow. It's filled with hypoallergenic microfibers that make it as soft as authentic down pillows, but with synthetic materials instead.

Much like its best-selling mattresses, Casper's down alternative pillow is designed for people who shift positions in their sleep (combi sleepers). The soft outer layer and adaptive inner layer work together to keep you comfortable and supported no matter the sleep position you move into. Oh, and both layers can be machine washed and dried, so you can easily keep them in good shape.

Meanwhile, the two-inch gusset on the Casper Original Sleep Down Alternative Pillow simultaneously provides stable neck alignment and keeps the fill evenly distributed. We also like its 100% cotton outer cover, created with a breathable percale weave to help you sleep cool, even in warm weather.

The Casper pillow is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 6,600 Amazon reviews, and a 4 out of 5 star rating on the brand's own website. Satisfied sleepers find it comfortable, and several customers credited it for relieving their neck pain.

Before you buy, check our Casper promo codes page for the latest discounts and offers. 

Original Casper Pillow$65 $58.50 at Casper

Original Casper Pillow: from $65 $58.50 at Casper
There's currently 10% off the Casper Original Pillow, reducing a standard single pack to $58.50 and a king single pack to $76.50. The same discount applies on the double pack, making two standard pillows just $117, and you can pick up a pillowcase set for just $35.10, to complete your purchase.

Best pillows: Purple Harmony Pillow shown with a purple logo

(Image credit: Purple)
The best pillow for side sleepers


Best for: Hot sleepers; side sleepers
Fill: Talalay latex and hyper-elastic polymer
Firmness: Medium-soft
Dimensions: 26x17 inches, with either 6.5-inch or 7.5-inch loft
Care: Spot-clean only
Warranty: 1 year
Trial : 100 nights
MSRP: $159

Reasons to buy

Extremely soft and supportive
Breeze mesh cover great for cooling
Customer service is excellent

Reasons to avoid

Spot-clean only

Purple's top-of-the-line Harmony Pillow may not fit the conventional description of the best luxury pillow, but we say it's deserving of the distinction. Like the company's top-rated Purple Mattress, the Purple Harmony pillow features the company's signature Purple Grid to provide tailored support for your head and neck. 

At the core of the pillow is ventilated Talalay latex to enhance airflow, and all of that is encased by a moisture-wicking breeze mesh cover. You can choose between three different heights too: low, medium and tall. From our testing, the low is suitable for back and stomach, the medium for side sleepers with smaller frames, and the tall for average to large-framed side sleepers.

Purple customers rate the Harmony pillow at 4.4 out of 5 stars, with more than 8,600 of the 12,200 reviews boasting 5 stars. Customers say it’s cooling and offers an equal amount of plushness and support. If that doesn't sound luxurious, we don't know what does.

Read our full Purple Harmony Pillow review and look at our Purple promo codes

Purple Harmony Pillow: $199$179 at Purple

Purple Harmony Pillow: from $199 $179 at Purple
There's 10% off all sizes and heights of the Purple Harmony Pillow in the Memorial Day sale, taking a standard size down to $179 and a king size to $215. This is still an expensive pillow but the discount is pretty decent, especially from Purple, which isn't known for being generous with sales.

Casper Foam Pillow with Snow Technology on bed

Casper Foam Pillow with Snow Technology on bed  (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best cooling pillow


Best for : 'Hot' sleepers that need to keep cool
Fill : Foam
Firmness: Firm
Dimensions: 16x24 and 16x32 inches

Reasons to buy

Integrated technologies keep your head cool
Foam interior provides strong support
Eliminates need for fluffing

Reasons to avoid

Relatively short warranty
Only one loft size

The Casper Foam Pillow with Snow Technology easily achieves its one goal of keeping your head cool while you sleep.

Choose from two sizes: Standard, measuring 16x24 inches, and King, measuring 16x32 inches; the 1.25-inch gusset is the same on each. You don’t have the option of selecting different loft sizes; this truly is a one-size-fits-all purchase. This new pillow from mattress-by-mail pioneer Casper is almost identical to the company’s previous Foam Pillow in shape and general design: A zippered cover conceals three layers of memory foam (both low and high density, regular and viscoelastic polyurethane), which have been dotted with hundreds of perforations to help wick away heat while you sleep. The foam ensures that the pillow both supports your head and neck in any sleep position and that the pillow maintains its shape, all with no fluffing required.

The big difference between the first Foam Pillow and this Snow Technology version is the Snow Technology. This consists of a “cool-touch outer layer,” where the fabric is infused with phase-change material and HeatDelete Bands — or graphite strips positioned between the layers of foam to dial back their natural insulative properties. 

If you can overlook the steep $139 price tag, the Casper Foam Pillow offers a generally better cooling than the equivalently priced Purple Harmony Pillow and a firmer, and a more consistent experience than the far less expensive Coop Home Goods Original Pillow.

Read our full Casper Foam Pillow with Snow Technology review.

Foam Pillow with Snow Technology™$139$125.10 at Casper

Foam Pillow with Snow Technology™: from $139 $125.10 at Casper
Casper is offering 10% off its popular cooling pillow, with a standard single pack down to $125.10 (was $139) and a king single pack reduced from $169 to $152.10. You'll also get free shipping and a 30-day returns period to see if the pillow is right for you.

Best pillows: the Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillows duo in white with a thick blue band around the middle of the pillow

(Image credit: Utopia Bedding)

5. Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow Duo

The best pillows to buy for under $30


Best for: Small budgets
Fill: Polyester
Firmness: Plush
Dimensions: 18x26 inches or 18x36 inches with 2-inch gusset
Care: Spot clean or hand-wash
Warranty: 1 year
Trial : n/a
MSRP: $29.99

Reasons to buy

Great-value quality and comfort
Available in different colors
Versatile for combo sleepers

Reasons to avoid

Can't buy pillows individually 
Need time to rise after unpacking

The Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillows prove that you don't have to sacrifice quality when buying on a budget. For less than $30 you can bring home a pair of these plush, down alternative pillows stuffed with 950 to 1,250 grams of poly fiber fill. They feature a poly-cotton outer fabric and a two-inch quilted gusset edge in your choice of six different colors.

The Gusseted Pillow duo comes vacuum-sealed and take up to 72 hours to fully expand, which is much longer than other pillows we have tested. However once they fully puff up, they're a far cry from the flattened shape they initially arrive in and hold their shape well night after night.

Utopia Bedding's pillows are best sellers on Amazon, with a 4.5 out of 5 star rating generated from over 42,000 user reviews. Sleepers of all styles praise the support, comfort and longevity they offer. Between the stellar reviews and the affordable price tag, if you want the best pillows for less, the Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow Duo should be top of your list. 

Best pillows: Tempur-Pedic Tempur Cloud Pillow on a white background

(Image credit: Tempur-Pedic)

6. Tempur-Pedic Tempur Cloud Pillow

A cooling Tempur-Pedic pillow for back and stomach sleepers


Best for: Stomach and back sleepers
Fill: Tempur
Firmness: Soft
Dimensions: 24x15.3x5”
Care: Machine washable cover
Warranty: 5-year limited
Trial: None
RRP: $89

Reasons to buy

Contours to your head
Supportive yet soft
Hyopallergenic pillow

Reasons to avoid

No trial period or returns

Tempur-Pedic pillows are just as supportive as the brand’s popular mattresses and that’s down to the use of its NASA-developed Tempur material. The Tempur Cloud Pillow is contouring and cushioning, so your head will be perfectly cradled.

Because it’s softer than other pillows in our guide, we’d recommend the Cloud as one of the best choices for back and side sleepers. Although do prepare yourself for this not being quite as soft as Tempur says – user reviews back this up too, saying that it’s more soft-medium than extra-soft.

Still, like any good back and stomach sleeper pillow, the Tempur Cloud offers the right loft to support your head without pushing your neck forwards (and out of alignment). It’s designed with a removable and washable cover too, so you can more easily keep it in good condition. Some users did find the cover tricky to remove during the first wash, but after that they reported how it was easier to take off. 

Tempur-Pedic recommends the Cloud as one of the best pillows for sleeping well when on holiday too, as it can be compressed and rolled for travel use. In terms of size and fit, it will slip inside a standard or queen size pillow case, so it’s pretty versatile. There are over 4,900 user reviews on the Tempur-Pedic site alone for this pillow, with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you're thinking about purchasing this pillow, make sure to check our Tempur Pedic promo codes to see if we can help you save on the price.

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow: $89 at Tempur-Pedic

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow: from $89 at Tempur-Pedic
You'll have to double up to get a saving on the Tempur-Cloud Pillow, but if you're dressing a queen size mattress, this is a good deal. Buy two pillows together and you can save $59, for a total cost of just $119. This is a real bargain for a pillow of this quality.

Best pillow: The Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows in striped white

(Image credit: Beckham Hotel Collection)

7. Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow

The Amazon best-selling pillows for hotel luxury at home


Best for: Hotel plushness at home
Fill: Gel fiber
Firmness: Plush
Dimensions: 18x27 inches or 20x36 inches
Care: Machine-wash
Warranty: N/A
Trial: 30 days
MSRP: $39.99 - $59.99

Reasons to buy

Hypoallergenic down alternative
Over 157,000 Amazon reviews

Reasons to avoid

No warranty included

The best-selling pillow on Amazon right now is the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow. It boasts over 166,000 customer reviews, with over 70,000 of those user reviews rating it a full 5 out of 5 stars. What's so special about the Beckham Hotel Collection pillow? It features a gel fiber fill that feels as plush as genuine down, but at a fraction of the price.

A minor caveat is that you can only buy this pillow in pairs, but you can always reserve the second pillow for a guest room or a replacement down the line if you only sleep on one and it isn't the right pillow for your partner. Another drawback is the lack of a warranty, but a 30-day money-back guarantee still applies. 

Given the thick and plush build of the Beckham Hotel Collection gel pillow, we aren't surprised to see that many of its 5-star Amazon reviews come from side sleepers who find it supportive and comfortable. Considering how affordable it is, it holds its shape well, even with regular use.

Best pillow: the Layla Kapok pillow in white and gray

(Image credit: Layla)

8. Layla Kapok Pillow

The best memory foam pillow for hot sleepers


Best for: Night sweats; odor control; hot sleepers; side and back sleepers
Fill: Kapok fiber and memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Dimensions: 18.5x28.5 inches or 18.5x36 inches
Care: Machine wash (without fill)
Warranty: 5 years
Trial: : 120 nights
MSRP: $99 - $119

Reasons to buy

120-night trial
Adjustable fill for the perfect loft
Cooling and comfortable

Reasons to avoid

Stomach sleepers may not like it

Copper bedding is designed to wick away body heat and stop the growth of bacteria on your skin, among other benefits. If you're keen to try a copper-infused pillow to help keep you comfortable and fresh, then the best pillow for you is the very popular Layla Kapok Pillow.

The outer cover of Layla's pillow features a polyester/viscose blend with copper fibers woven in for cooling and antimicrobial properties. The inner fill is a blend of reactive memory foam and lightweight Kapok fibers. It yields a high loft that's ideal for most side sleepers, but you can remove and adjust the fill to your liking.

The Layla Kapok Pillow comes with a five-year warranty, but that's not all. Layla also includes a longer-than-average 120-night trial with a 100% money-back guarantee. However, with 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 2,000 reviews at Layla, you may not need to worry about making returns. Customers say the Layla Kapok pillow provides excellent neck support. Plus, its copper-woven outer cover is soft to the touch and adept at keeping allergens away and odors under control.

Save on the usual price of this pillow with our Layla Sleep coupon codes.

Layla Kapok Pillow: $109 at Layla Sleep

Layla Kapok Pillow: from $109 at Layla Sleep
Buy one Kapok pillow at Layla Sleep and you can get the second for half price, saving you up to $65.50. A single queen Layla Kapok Pillow will cost you $109, but two together is just $163.50, which is a big price cut.

Best pillows: the Boll and Branch Down Pillow on a white background

(Image credit: Boll & Branch)

9. Boll & Branch Down Pillow

A luxury down pillow with ethically sourced filling


Best for: Luxury sleep; those who love a full pillow
Fill: Ethically sourced down
Firmness: Soft, medium, firm
Dimensions: 20 x 28 (standard), 20 x 36 (king)
Care: Machine wash or spot clean
Warranty: None
Trial: 30 nights
RRP: $158 to $228

Reasons to buy

Full and plump shape
Very supportive
Choice of sizes and firmness

Reasons to avoid

No warranty

Billed by Boll & Branch as “the internet’s best down pillow”, the firm version is strictly for those of you who can only sleep comfortably on a very plump and firm bed pillow. If not, pick the soft or medium versions, or move further up this product guide to the fully adjustable Coop Home Goods Adjustable Pillow (No 1), or the fluffy Casper Original Sleep Pillow (No 2). 

The Boll & Branch Down Pillow is stuffed with sustainably and ethically sourced goose down from US farms. The down is triple washed for maximum hygienic, then placed inside a ‘down-proof’ organic cotton shell. That means you shouldn’t feel anything poking through the cover when you’re resting your head and face on this sumptuous pillow. 

The design includes a three-chamber construction, which helps the pillow to keep its shape throughout the time you use it (on average, most bed pillows need to be changed every two years to ensure you remain properly supported). The Boll & Branch Down Pillow is machine washable too, but you’ll need to quickly re-fluff it after drying so that it maintains its shape and firm feel. 

Choose from standard size or king size to suit the size of your bed, and take your pick from either soft, medium or firm feel.

Best pillow: the EPABO Contoured Memory Foam Pillow in all white

(Image credit: EPABO)

10. EPABO Contoured Memory Foam Pillow

The best pillow for neck pain


Best for: Neck pain; good head and neck support
Fill: Memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Dimensions: 21x13x3.9 inches, 24x15x4.6 inches, 24x15x4.8 inches
Care: Machine wash (without fill)
Warranty: 30 days
Trial: N/A
RRP: $39.99 - $49.99

Reasons to buy

Proper alignment for all sleep styles
Adjustable loft
Cheaper than similar pillows

Reasons to avoid

Takes times to adjust to it
Warranty is only 30 days

If you suffer from sleep-related neck pain, then the ideal pillow for you is an orthopedic style. The EPABO Contoured Memory Foam Pillow is an Amazon best-seller among cervical pillows, with thousands of positive user reviews.

Unlike traditional shapes, this contoured pillow features a dip in the center to better cradle your head and to keep your neck, shoulders and back aligned. While the EPABO Contoured Memory Foam Pillow is densely-packed with memory foam, it also includes a removable foam insert should the loft be too high for you. This bed pillow is also ensconced in a hypoallergenic rayon and polyester case.

The standard pillow measures 21 inches with a 3.9-inch loft. You can also choose from two queen-size pillows with either a 4.6 or 4.8-inch height. The EPABO pillow has a 4.1 out of 5 rating generated from over 25,000 Amazon user reviews. Happy sleepers say that after a brief adjustment period this pillow has helped reduce neck pain. Best of all, it won't put a dent in your wallet like most orthopedic pillows do.

Best pillow: the Brooklinen Down Pillows in white

(Image credit: Brooklinen)

11. Brooklinen Down Pillow

The best down pillow for a variety of firmness levels


Fill: Down clusters and feathers
Firmness: Plush, mid-plush, or firm
Dimensions: 20x26 inches or 20x36 inches
Care: Spot treat or dry clean
Warranty: 2 years
Trial: 1 year
RRP: $69 - $119

Reasons to buy

Two sizes and three firmness levels
Free returns for up to one year 
Great for side and stomach sleepers

Reasons to avoid

Not ideal for back sleepers

The Brooklinen Down Pillow is the company's softest and fluffiest option for sleeping. That's because this best-seller has been constructed to provide support and plush comfort across a range of sleeping positions.

Choose from two sizes (standard or king) and three firmness levels: plus, mid-plush, and firm. The plush pillow is completely filled with down clusters and is the best choice for stomach sleepers. Meanwhile, side sleepers can either opt for the mid-plush pillow with equal parts feathers and down, or the firm pillow with a higher ratio of feathers to down. 

Brooklinen offers an impressive 365-day return window on this Down Pillow, with shipping fees included plus a full refund. And if that's not enough, the brand tacks on an additional one-year warranty beyond that.

The Brooklinen Down Pillow is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars from over 1,900 customers. Many sleepers find it so comfortable that they boldly declare it's the only pillow they'll ever need. Of course, with three levels of firmness, it's easy for shoppers to find the best pillow for their needs here.

The Brooklinen Down Pillow$109 $92.65 at Brooklinen

The Brooklinen Down Pillow: from $109 $92.65 at Brooklinen
The Brooklinen Down Pillow is currently 15% off all sizes, bringing a firm king-size pack of two down to $126.65 from $149. Please be aware that all returns are subject to a $9.95 return fee deducted from your refund amount (but that price stays the same whether you order a single pack, double pack, or four-pack).

Best pillow: The Avocado Green Pillows in white with a green logo tag

(Image credit: Avocado)

12. Avocado Green Pillow

Organic fans, drift off on this kapok and latex pillow


Best for: Non-toxic sleep; side and combi sleepers
Fill: Organic latex and Kapok fibers
Firmness: Medium-plush
Dimensions: 19x25 inches, 19x29 inches, or 19x35 inches
Care: Machine-wash, spot clean
Warranty: 1-year warranty
Trial: 100 nights
MSRP: $89 - $109

Reasons to buy

Adjustable loft (extra fill included)
Made from vegan materials
Suitable for anyone with allergies

Reasons to avoid

Might be too firm for some

Avocado is known for its line of eco-friendly mattresses, yet it also makes a stunning range of pillows, including the Avocado Green Pillow. Made in California, this organic pillow is crafted from certified-organic and vegan materials. 

It's filled with latex shreds (upcycled from the brand's mattresses) and Kapok fibers that can be adjusted to suit your preferences. The fill is then housed in a cotton jersey liner, enveloped by a machine-washable quilted cotton cover.

The pillow comes in three sizes: standard, queen and king. Every Avocado Green pillow comes with a 100-night trial, a one year warranty, and a spare bag of organic fill. More than 4,000 Avocado customers have rated the Avocado Green Pillow, generating a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Sleepers who suffer from allergies also sing the Avocado pillow's praises as a comfortable, sustainable solution to achieving a good night's rest. 

If you feel like this pillow is the one for you, check our Avocado Mattress promo codes to save on your order.

Avocado Green Pillow: $109$98 at Avocado

Avocado Green Pillow: from $109 $98 at Avocado
You can save 10% on the Avocado Green Pillow right now, with a standard single size down to $98, and a queen size just $116 (was $129). You'll also get a 100-night trial, which is impressive for a pillow.

How to choose the best pillow

There is no one single best pillow for every person as our bodies are different, but you can narrow down the list by pinpointing your sleep style. Do you sleep on your stomach, back or side, or a combination of all three? Knowing this will help you choose a pillow easily. With that in mind, here are three key criteria to be aware of:

  • Pillow loft – This refers to the height of a bed pillow. Side sleepers receive the most support from a high loft (because it better plugs the gap between your head and shoulders). Back and stomach sleepers are usually fine with a low loft. 
  • Firmness – This describes a pillow's ‘give’ when weight (as in, your head) is placed on it. Soft pillows are usually best for stomach sleepers. Side sleepers often feel better supported by a firm pillow that keeps their neck and back in alignment. Back and combo sleepers do well with a medium-firm pillow. 
  • Fill – This dictates the loft and firmness, but there are health issues to consider here too. For instance, if you suffer from allergies, stay away from feather fills and choose a down alternative pillow instead.

How to pick the best pillow for side sleeping

Side sleeper pillows have a medium to high loft than back and stomach sleeper pillows. That’s because they need more material to plug the natural gap that forms between your head and shoulders when you sleep on your side. How far your sink into your mattress also determines how much loft you need from your pillow when sleeping on your side. Why? Because if you sink into your mattress, you may need a low-loft pillow even in a side sleeping position.

For people who switch between side sleeping and other positions (so combination sleepers), we’d advise choosing an adjustable pillow so that you can customize the loft to suit your body better. Customizing the loft means removing or adding as much ‘fill’ (the pillow’s inner material) as needed to best plug the gap between your head and shoulders. Generally speaking, the broader your shoulders, the more loft you need. An adjustable pillow will help you create the perfect loft.

If you struggle to sleep in the heat, be sure to check out how to stay cool to get a better night’s sleep

Two women sleep on their sides on a white pillow while cuddling in bed

(Image credit: Getty)

How to choose the best pillow for neck pain

Neck and shoulder pain pillows are normally on the firmer side. They are designed to hold your head in a healthy position while relieving pressure on your neck, shoulders and spine. So what you don’t want is a super-firm pillow that creates new pressure points. Again, adjustable pillows come to the rescue here, as you can customize their fill to make them as close to perfect as possible for the support and comfort your neck needs.

The best pillow materials for neck pain includes memory foam, which offers a cradling, contouring feel. Buckwheat is another good choice because it naturally holds its shape well, so it won’t spread out too much inside the pillow during sleep. That means it will hold its shape well throughout the night to keep your neck properly supported.

Best pillows: Two Saatva Latex Pillows placed on a white mattress

(Image credit: Saatva)

How we chose the best pillow

Our guide for the best pillows were based on extensive, consumer report research and online reviews. We rated things like material type, shape and comfort for various sleeping positions. In addition, we looked at how practical it was to use and its durability. 

What are the different types of pillows?

Pillows aren’t that complicated really, and come in just a few different types. These include the following:

Memory foam pillows
This is probably the most popular type of pillow as, just like the best memory foam mattresses, these are designed to cradle your head. Most pillows for neck pain support are made using memory foam, but this material does retain heat more than other types. So if you’re a hot sleeper, choose a cooling memory foam pillow, or go for one with naturally cooling latex. 

Down pillows
Look away now if you have allergies, as these are not the best pillows for you. For everyone else craving a soft place to lay their head at night, you’re in for a treat here as down pillows are comfy and plush. They’re commonly made with the soft fibers found under the exterior of a duck, goose or swan, and are often mixed with feathers for extra fluffiness. They best suit stomach and back sleepers, as most aren’t firm enough for side sleepers.

Latex pillows
These are among the best cooling pillows you can buy. That’s because latex is naturally cooling, so heat won’t build up as much inside compared to some synthetic materials. Latex is an allergen for some though. Plus, they’re expensive, so be prepared to pay a higher price. But if you want a non-toxic, organic pillow for healthier sleep, we’d start with latex. 

How often should you change your pillow?

Every one to two years at least. Surprised? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you replace your pillow every 18-24 months. We’re not judging if you’re sleeping on a pillow that’s much older than this, but there are good reasons why you should change your pillow every couple of years. The filling can become flat and unresponsive, so you won’t be supported during sleep. That can cause neck and back pain down the line. This is just one of the 7 signs that it’s time to replace your pillow

Changes in your body weight also impact how well a pillow supports you, and every person’s pillow requirements change the older they get; we simply need more support and comfort as we age.

Older pillows get pretty dirty too, even with regular washing. That’s because some materials act as a mecca for dust mites, odors and sweat, with a build-up of moisture leading to bacteria growth in some instances. 

We’d recommend choosing a hypoallergenic pillow that can either be machine washed (the best option), or one that comes with a removable, antimicrobial cover that’s suitable for machine washing. You can learn more about this in our feature on how to wash a pillow.

Read more:

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!

With contributions from