When the time comes to invest in a new bed pillow, where should you begin your search? If you’ve ever spent hours scrolling through bedding reviews, you've probably noticed that it’s hard to find any consensus on what the best one actually is. In truth, there may not be an uncontested “perfect pillow” out there, since everyone’s physical, emotional, and environmental factors are different.
But despite the abundance of choices on the market today, you can use what you already know about your current sleep preferences to help narrow your options down.
The Best Bed Pillows for Sleeping
- Best Foam Pillow: Tuft & Needle Foam Pillow
- Best Shredded Foam Pillow: Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow
- Best Cooling Pillow: Bedgear Storm 1.0 Pillow
- Best Neck Pillow: TEMPUR-Breeze Neck +Advanced Cooling Pillow
- Best Pillow for Side Sleepers: Leesa Hybrid Pillow
- Best Pillow for Back Sleepers: Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow
- Best Pillow for Stomach Sleepers: FluffCo Down-Alternative Pillow
- Best Pillow for Omni-Sleepers: Layla Kapok Pillow
- Best Down Pillow: Parachute Down Side-Sleeper Pillow
- Best Down-Alternative Pillow: Snowe Down Alternative Pillow
- Best Adjustable Pillow: Marlow Pillow
- Best 2-in-1 Pillow: Original Casper Pillow
- Best Pillow for Spooning: Purple Harmony Pillow
- Best Firm Pillow: Bear Pillow
What to Consider
“Selecting a pillow is a very individualized process,” says Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist also known as The Sleep Doctor. “When it comes to picking the right pillow, there is really no one pillow size, shape, or material that fits all. The best way to find the pillow that’s right for you is to determine your individual criteria, and then use your instinct about what feels most comfortable and appropriate for you.”
In our testing, we’ve found that a bed pillow's fill material and firmness are two of the most important factors to take into account when beginning your search, as you can immediately rule out a lot of products that way. Think about the pillow that you currently sleep with, and try to specify what you like and dislike about it. Is your pillow way too firm, or does it completely lack support? Is it made of solid memory foam, or is it filled with a malleable material? And would the opposite type be a better fit?
Your usual sleep position can also help indicate what type of firmness is best for you. We asked Lexie Sachs, the senior product analyst in the Textiles Lab of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, about what the most important factor in buying a new pillow is. She told us, “The goal is to have your head and neck aligned. When you lie on your pillow, your neck shouldn’t be tilting in any direction. Side sleepers need a thick, firm pillow; stomach sleepers need a thin, soft one; back sleepers need somewhere in between.”
It’s important to note that some fill materials, like memory foam, will inherently be heavier and have a more supportive core than other materials like a fiber or feather blend, which will be softer, but potentially less structural.
What remains true for all types, though, is that there should be no neck pain whatsoever, even in the first few days of sleeping on a new pillow. Sachs adds, “New pillows may feel unusual at first, especially if you are making a switch to a material you’re not used to, but a pillow should never leave you feeling sore.”
With that in mind, make sure you check the retailer’s return policy before you make a new pillow purchase, just in case it ends up not working for you.
How We Tested:
As Best Products’ senior home decor editor, I’ve been testing bed pillows for this site for roughly six years, experiencing firsthand the differences in various firmness levels, fill types, and heat-wicking fabric technology. While not every pillow that I test at home may be right for me as a side/stomach sleeper, I try to take into consideration the benefits that a product does offer in terms of support, fill material, and quality of construction that may be better suited for a different sleeper.
All of the pillows in this piece were tested either by me or other site editors for a 3-week long trial. We judged these pillows based on the following criteria:
- Support: Does the pillow provide balanced head and neck support, or is it much too soft or firm?
- Responsiveness: Is the pillow malleable, or does it only have one form?
- Pillow weight: Does the pillow’s heaviness or lightness impact the comfort of sleeping with it?
- Heat retention: Does the pillow hold onto or wick away body heat?
Check out our guide to the best bed pillows below, and start your search for the dreamiest bedding upgrade imaginable.
Best Foam Pillow
The Tuft & Needle pillow is made of one piece of adaptive foam that is ventilated with small holes for airflow, and it has a removable, quilted cover that adds a little extra padding.
While this pillow’s buoyant, extra-supportive form doesn't provide that sinking-into-a-cloud feeling, its round-cornered shape makes it easy to get cozy with. It's comfortably lightweight, and the graphite-infused foam feels cool to the touch and breathable. It also won't sag over time. The pillow's soft, lightly padded cover is another plus, sliding easily into a pillowcase.
Overall, the single-foam construction of this pillow offers enough pushback to keep the head and neck aligned, and it's moderately firm without feeling heavy.
The Tuft & Needle Foam Pillow starts at $85 and is available in a standard and king size.
Best Shredded Foam Pillow
The Coop Home Goods pillow is a shredded memory foam pillow that can be zipped open to add or remove stuffing — it even comes with an extra bag of foam just in case you want it super jet-puffed! The foam is lightweight and slow reacting, and it feels significantly airier than a solid piece of foam.
If you’re searching for the best pillow on Amazon, the Eden pillow typically appears as a top choice, with 74% of its current 12K reviewers giving it a 5-star rating. The pillow’s quilted cover is also a favorite feature of ours, because not only does it make the pillow feel extra soft, but it effectively grips onto a pillowcase so that it doesn’t slide around in the night. The pillow has a ventilated gusset around the sides that effectively pushes out hot air.
We think that sleepers of all types who prefer a soft, cozy pillow would enjoy the Eden — just as long as you’re OK with removing some of the memory foam to get its loftiness just right for you.
The Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow starts at $82.99 and is available in queen and king sizes.
Best Cooling Pillow
The Bedgear Storm 1.0 pillow is a cooling hybrid pillow that has a firm, solid, memory-foam feel on one side and a softer, shredded foam texture on the other. Its cool-to-the-touch cover is what makes it a standout: It's incredibly effective at drawing heat away from the body throughout the night (and not just in the first 10 minutes of sleep).
Bedgear’s pillow materials and construction are entirely proprietary to the brand, engineered for full-body recovery for the most restful night of sleep possible. After testing this pillow — along with several other pillows from the brand over the years — we find this premium sleep product to be worth every penny.
The Bedgear Storm 1.0 Pillow starts at $209.99 and is only available in a standard size.
Best Neck Pillow
While a lot of neck pillows tend to be a little too firm, hot, or awkward to get comfortable with, the TEMPUR-breeze Neck +Advanced Cooling Pillow is a standout exception.
As far as construction, this 3-pound pillow comprises a proprietary memory foam core, layered with gel sheets that are meant to provide a cooling sensation to the sleeper. Its sloped shape is encased in a stretchy, smooth, 500-thread-count performance cover that's removable and washable. This results in a support level that's firm without providing active, exhausting pushback and responsiveness that's slow-reacting and adaptive to the shape of the sleeper's body. In other words, it's not a light, fluffy, bouncy pillow, but it supports the head gently and effectively.
For anyone living with chronic pain — specifically in the neck and shoulder areas — this sloped, cooling memory-foam pillow helps to minimize any fussing or wrestling with it. So, that supportive spinal alignment can be achieved as soon as your head hits the pillow. This pillow is best for side sleepers, though back sleepers might find its contoured shape comfortable as well. Stomach sleepers might be better off with something a little softer and squishier.
The TEMPUR-Breeze Neck +Advanced Cooling Pillow is $169 and is only available in a standard size.
Best Pillow for Side Sleepers
The Leesa Hybrid Pillow’s unique construction may look a little strange, but it checks a lot of boxes, comfort-wise. Each side offers a completely different textural experience — one side has cushioned microfiber quilting that nestles the head and neck, while the other is flatter and much firmer, but is layered with a ventilated cooling gel directly underneath the pillow's surface. Even when covered with a thick pillowcase, the cooling sensation is effectively transferred to the skin.
Although it's on the heavier side, this pillow is much more breathable and cushy than it looks. It has a low loft and is decently spoonable, but note that its form isn’t adjustable. The ability to experience different sensations depending on which part of your body is making contact with the pillow is definitely unique and conducive to the sleep experience.
The pillow doesn't make you feel like you're sinking or overheating, or like you have to fluff it up at any point. No matter which side of it you sleep on, the Leesa Hybrid Pillow is engineered to keep the user feeling nestled and cool while maintaining correct body alignment for side sleepers.
The Leesa Hybrid Pillow starts at $119 and is available in standard and queen sizes.
Best Pillow for Back Sleepers
It can be tough to find a cozy pillow for back sleepers: It's best for them to sleep on a firm — but not brick-like — pillow with mid-level loftiness. Luckily, the Snuggle-Pedic Pillow is here to fill that need. This budget-friendly pillow contains shredded memory foam fill, and it's covered by a bamboo-polyester-lycra pillow cover that’s both breathable and stretchy.
Conforming to the sleeper's upper body, this foam pillow provides much-needed support to the head and neck to keep back sleepers in a happy spinal position. It's not too heavy or too light, and the shredded foam also helps its breathability.
The Snuggle-Pedic Pillow starts at $34.99 and is available in standard, queen, and king sizes.
Best Pillow for Stomach Sleepers
FluffCo's Down-Alternative Pillow comprises of airy microfiber fill, covered with a satisfyingly cool cotton and Tencel pillow cover. It is also one of the cheapest pillows on this list — as far as high-quality pillows go, this one is a bargain.
This pillow’s “soft fluff” firmness is indeed supremely soft, and it has a lower loft and less forceful pushback than other pillows filled with foam, or even down feathers. It’s ideal for stomach sleepers for this reason. Some pillow constructions designed to support the neck end up feeling like a struggle for stomach sleepers to get comfortable with because they’re just way too firm. If you’re a side sleeper, we’d recommend the “firm fluff” version for a little more oomph.
FluffCo's pillow is probably the lightest and softest on our list, and it shouldn't lead to stomach sleepers feeling kinked out of alignment at all. The microfiber fill is also very silky-feeling and non-reactive, making it one of the most malleable pillows on this guide as well.
The FluffCo Down-Alternative Pillow starts at $55 and is available in a standard and king size.
Best Pillow for Omni-Sleepers
The Layla Kapok pillow is an adjustable pillow that is filled with a combination of memory foam and plant-based kapok fibers. Its hexagonal-patterned pillow cover is made of polyester and viscose woven with CuTEC, a copper-infused yarn.
If you tend to sleep on both your back and side, this pillow can help you feel cozy and supported in both positions. Stomach sleepers would probably enjoy the Kapok pillow's responsiveness as well, as long as they adjust the fill to their preferred height before sleeping on it. While it's on the firmer and weightier side, this pillow's cooling properties and plushness make it really comfortable.
The Layla Kapok Pillow starts at $109 and is available in a queen and king size.
Best Down Pillow
We originally tested the down-stuffed Parachute Side-Sleeper Pillow as part of a month-long down-pillow test, and it ended up being one of our favorite pillows that we've ever tried. (It's also available in a down-alternative version.) Its construction is unique in that it is more rectangular than a regular pillow, and it features a 3.5-inch border gusset.
This gusset is a standout feature that really helps the pillow retain its structure. It helps keep the neck in alignment, and it gives this pillow a backbone that most down pillows completely lack. The down fill comprises European white duck down and feather fibers, and it comes from a certified Responsible Down Standard (RDS) supplier.
This pillow is generously stuffed, light as a feather, and very responsive — and it still hasn't started to sag, even after I've spent 2 years with it. Overall, it's intelligently constructed and a pleasure to sleep on.
The Parachute Down Side-Sleeper Pillow starts at $129 and is available in a standard and king size.
Best Down-Alternative Pillow
Filled with soft, breathable microfiber that mimics the airiness of down, Snowe's Down-Alternative Pillow retains its shape well, while also being incredibly responsive to the sleeper's movements. It is fluffy and plump but sinks right in when your head lands on it. The Oeko-Tex-certified cotton pillow cover adds to its silky feeling.
Available in soft, medium, and firm versions, this pillow provides gentle support that stomach and side sleepers will love. However, back sleepers might feel that even the firmest version of this pillow is a bit lacking in this arena.
The Snowe Down-Alternative Pillow starts at $85 and is available in a standard and king size.
Best Adjustable Pillow
While a few memory-foam pillows on this list are adjustable (meaning that you can unzip them to add or remove filling), they aren't exactly mess-free. This innovative pillow from Brooklinen's new sister brand Marlow changes all of that.
The Marlow pillow is filled with a blend of cooling shredded memory foam and polyester fibers, and the long sides of the pillow unzip, revealing mesh gussets and allowing the pillow to soften up for a more relaxed, airier feel. And you can zip the sides right back up if you prefer the firmness.
Marlow is a great pillow for back and side sleepers who roll over into multiple positions throughout the night. However, whether zipped or unzipped, its loftiness felt like it was a little too high for stomach sleepers to get comfy with. The best perk of the Marlow's adjustable support level is being able to use it in firm mode as a vertical bolster pillow for sitting up in bed to read, and then upon lights-out, unzipping it to enjoy its softness and cooling benefits. If you want the best of all worlds without having to buy multiple pillows, this one delivers.
The Marlow Pillow starts at $65 and is available in a standard and king size.
Best 2-in-1 Pillow
Another unconventional design, the Original Casper Pillow features a unique two-pillows-in-one structure that is meant to support every sleep position. Its firm core is filled with tiny coated microfibers that give it a gel-like texture, and it’s zipped inside of a soft, cushioned, outer shell that's filled with longer-strand microfibers for an airier feel.
The pillow has a great balance of firmness from the supportive inner core, in combination with the softness and malleability of the outer cover. This balance is also important for maintaining a comfortable spinal position, and it's why this pillow was highly rated by both side and stomach sleepers in our testing group.
While this 2-in-1 down-alternative pillow from Casper may not have the responsiveness of a down or memory foam pillow, its plush construction offers just the right combination of fluffiness and support.
The Original Casper Pillow starts at $85 and is available in a standard and king size.
Best Pillow for Spooning
The next best thing to nestling into your partner or pet while you tuck in for the night is snuggling up with the Purple Harmony Pillow. It's a multilayered pillow comprising of three main elements: a porous latex core pillow, a flexible Grid Hex layer that encases it, and a mesh outer cover. Because of this, its texture is unlike anything else in this pillow guide.
Both the core pillow and Grid Hex layer have a squishy, elastic quality — meaning, if you drop it on the ground, this pillow actually bounces. While this does add some weight to the overall product, it makes for a satisfying spooning experience because of its balance of give and pushback. And while it's not a cool-to-the-touch pillow, its porous materials do a fantastic job of wicking away heat.
Of course, you can absolutely sleep with this as your main bed pillow. Due to its firmness level, we'd recommend it most for back or side sleepers.
The Purple Harmony Pillow starts at $159 and is available in a standard and king size.
Best Firm Pillow
The Bear Pillow is an adaptive-foam pillow that's covered with a cooling fabric and equipped with mesh panels on opposite corners to help facilitate airflow. Its flat 5-inch height and incredibly firm structure won't be for everybody, but for those who suffer from persistent body aches — particularly in the shoulders — the Bear Pillow's gentle, firm support and cool-to-the-touch feel may be just what the doctor ordered.
The pillow's combination of low loft and high buoyancy has just the right balance to keep the spine in alignment throughout the night. Plus, the cooling material really works at keeping body temperature at a comfortable level. Overall, it's an incredibly well-made and durable pillow, and even after years of use, it'll maintain the same supportive comfort level as it did the first night.
The Bear Pillow starts at $125 and is available in a standard and king size.