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Best pillows

Best pillows
(Image credit: @Nathan Waters on Unsplash)

Choosing a good pillow is almost as important as choosing a good mattress in order to get a good night’s sleep. Where you’re a back sleeper, side sleeper, stomach sleeper, or expecting we’ve gathered a good list of pillows to give you the support you deserve and need. Plus, they’ve all been thoroughly tested by a dozen testers, each one with a unique sleeping style and need. Here is our list of the best pillows for sleeping. 

Our favorite

Best pillow: Casper Pillow

(Image credit: Casper)

Casper pillow

Perfect for all sleeper types

The Casper pillow is filled with microfiber, so it’s a firm and fluffy bed pillow that’s easy to clean too. It’s rated pretty high for comfort and it doesn’t move around much as you sleep. And because it’s made of microfiber it stayed much cooler than other pillows in this guide. No flipping to find a cool spot! The entire pillow is machine washable and can be fluffed back to its original shape before drying if you notice any flattening. 

Best value

Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow

(Image credit: Beckham Hotel)

Beckham Hotel Collection gel pillow

Feels and supports like down

The Beckham Hotel Collection gel pillow feels just like the fluffy, full-down pillows you often find in plush hotel rooms. But the hypoallergenic filling means it’s suitable for allergy sufferers, and it’s much cooler than traditional down pillows too. That’s good news for those who are considered hot sleepers. It’s supportive for back and side sleepers, though not as comfortable for stomach sleepers. 

Hypoallergenic pillow

Best pillows

(Image credit: Amazon)

Coop Home Goods hypoallergenic pillow

Adjust the thickness

This pillow by Coop Home Goods is filled with hypoallergenic memory foam pieces. It is designed to let you fill or un-fill the pillow to achieve the perfect firmness for you. This makes the Coop Home Goods pillow perfect for all sleeper types, including stomach and back sleepers. The cover is made from rayon and bamboo, both great materials for allergy sufferers.

Best maternity pillow

Best pillows

(Image credit: Amazon)

PharMeDoc pregnancy pillow

Whole body support and comfort

The PharMeDoc pregnancy pillow gives relief and support in the areas expectant mothers need. This includes the lower back, legs, and belly. The fiber-filled pillow can be moved and scrunched to find the perfect shape for you. You don’t have to use it only on the bed It’s great for support while sitting on a couch or laying on the floor. You can continue to use this pillow for support during nursing and caring for your new baby. 

Best for neck pain

Best pillow: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow

(Image credit: Tempur-Pedic)

Tempur-Cloud pillow

Neck support and back comfort

Back sleepers who normally sleep well on firm pillows will adore the Tempur-Cloud, and how it consistently delivers brilliant spine and neck support but without feeling like you’re sleeping on a slab of rock. The Tempur-Cloud is made up of a continual piece of foam, with a removable polyester knit cover that can be washed. It’s a firm pillow and may take some getting used to if you typically sleep with a softer pillow. 

Best for back sleepers

Utopia Gusseted Premium pillow

(Image credit: Amazon)

Utopia Bedding gusseted pillows

Not too thick

The Utopia gusseted pillows aren't too thick, so they are supportive and great for back sleepers. They also work for stomach sleepers. These pillows are filled with poly fiber and are double stitched to help them last a long time. They can't be washed in a washing machine. Instead, the manufacturer recommends either spot cleaning or hand washing when needed.

Choosing a pillow 

When it comes to the best pillows for sleeping, we recommend picking one that’s designed for your preferred sleeping position. If you lie on your side when drifting off, look for pillows for side sleepers, as these are thicker to fill the gap between your head and shoulder. Fall asleep on your back? Choose pillows for back sleepers - they’re supportive but won’t tilt your head forward at an awkward angle. 

The best pillows for sleeping on your stomach, also known as stomach sleeper pillows, are thinner, which is great because you don’t want to feel as though you’re being suffocated as you snooze. And if you tend to overheat during sleep, look for a cooling pillow.

So how do you know if you have found the best pillow for your sleep style? Simple: if your neck tilts in any direction when your head is on the pillow, you’re out of alignment, so pick another. According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), your pillow requirements will change as you get older and need more support, so your ideal pillow five years ago might feel very different now.

Types of pillow material

If you’ve bought a cheap pillow from a local department store, it’s probably made of synthetic polyester. While they’re worth looking at if you’re on a tight budget, they tend to flatten out and absorb heat easily. These didn’t make the grade for our search for the best pillows.

Next up you have feather and down pillows. A traditional and popular choice, these pillows tend to be very soft and luxurious, molding to suit your neck. They do tend to clump and will need to be plumped regularly and they need to be professionally cleaned. If you suffer from allergies, these should be avoided.

Memory foam has become very popular in recent years, with this style of pillow contouring to your individual shape, while they’re also hypoallergenic. Memory foam pillows can be quite firm, so tend to be popular choices for those suffering from neck pain. They do retain heat, which can be an issue and they can be pretty heavy as well.

Then there’s microfiber. While some incredibly cheap pillows use a form of microfiber filling, this is a completely different proposition to the latest premium microfiber pillows. These aim to be soft and fluffy like down and feather pillows but provide the support of memory foam. They’re also good at dissipating heat and don’t trap perspiration, though you do pay a premium for this luxury.

Many pillow companies offer decent trial periods, and this is something that can be really worthwhile as according to the ASA, it takes a minimum of two weeks for someone to become accustomed to their new pillow, and at least a month before a pillow is properly broken in.

Not as popular as other fillings is latex. These have a similar feel to memory foam pillows, but they stay cooler for longer, while they can hold their shape very well. Durable and naturally hypoallergenic, they can be pretty heavy and expensive.

Testing pillows

(Image credit: Future)

Firm vs soft: Which pillow do I need?

How hard or soft your pillow should be really comes down to personal preference. Through our testing, we’ve found that most side sleepers tend to prefer the thicker, softer pillows while back sleepers like pillows that are firmer but thinner. We suggest looking for a pillow that fills in the gap between the bed and your head, filling the space around your neck and shoulders to give you enough support and help keep your back aligned properly.

Testing pillows

(Image credit: Future)

How we tested pillows

We gathered a dozen testers to try out most of the pillows in our guide. Because it takes a month for you to get used to a new pillow, and three months for the pillow to be properly worn in, we checked in with our testers several times over the course of six months. The pillow each tester was given to try matched with their personal sleeping style.

We weren't too surprised to find most of the testers were happy with their pillow and provided great feedback. This was mostly due to the fact we research pillows for several months, including reading personal reviews, so we chose the top pillows in each category. One of the surprising bits of feedback we received was from one of the testers using the Beckham hotel gel pillow. This particular sleeper used a sleep apnea machine, so finding a comfortable and supportive pillow was important. This particular pillow was exactly what he needed. It didn't interfere with the mask or tubing, wasn't too high or too low, kept his neck straight and supported, and allowed him to comfortably move from back to side during the night.

Testing pillows

(Image credit: Future)

Why trust us?

At Top Ten Reviews, we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As expert curators, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your day-to-day, from cart to doorstep. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. We deliver detailed product overviews, balancing objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is as easy as possible.

Nikki Johnston

Nikki writes for multiple Future Publishing brands covering topics from antivirus to kitchen appliances to SAS. She has over 15 years of research and writing experience, including eight years of testing and reviewing consumer products. Nikki earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and Political Science with a focus on empirical research. In her spare time, Nikki serves on several school councils and volunteers for a local arts board.