When you have the best pillows for sleeping nestled under your head, drifting off becomes easier and more enjoyable. Not all bed pillows are made equal though, and some are way better than others in terms of support, comfort and sheer snuggliness. On a basic level, a pillow is where you lay during sleep, right? But a good pillow keeps your neck in alignment, so you experience less neck pain upon waking. The trouble is, there are hundreds of pillows for sleeping, so how do you sort the best from the rest?
As with the best mattress online, the simple truth is that there’s no ultimate pillow for everybody. Instead, we’ve divided the best pillows for sleeping into different areas, such as pillows for side sleepers, for hot sleepers, and those for people who need maximum cushioning. It pays to recognize your dominant sleep position (side sleeper, stomach sleeper, etc), as knowing this can help you narrow down the right pillow very quickly.
Do you roll between different sleep positions? The doctor-approved Nature’s Guest Pillow featured below is your best option, as it’s designed to cradle your head as you roll from your side to your back. If you’re unsure whether your current pillow for sleeping is supportive, if your neck tilts when you’re lying on it, you’re out of alignment so pick another. Good spinal alignment during sleep is vital, and something we discuss further in our guide to good bed toppers.
Hot sleepers would be better off with a proper cooling pillow. These use similar tech to the best cooling mattresses to stop you from overheating. Finally, experts recommend changing your bed pillow every two years, with the American Sleep Association (ASA) explaining that the support you need changes the older you get, or if you gain or lose weight. Nasties build-up in pillows over time too, so if yours is over two years old, it’s time for a change.
The best pillows for sleeping to buy now
1. The Purple Harmony Pillow: The best pillow for sleeping overall
This award-winning latex bed pillow from Purple uses the same cooling Purple Grid Technology as found in the company’s flagship mattresses, which often features in the best Purple mattress deals. In fact, the Purple Harmony is a complete game-changer if you sleep hot. And with three different heights on offer, there’s sure to be one that will support your neck and head, no matter your size or sleep position.
For a high-quality, non-toxic, non-allergenic pillow, the Purple Harmony ticks all boxes. The premium Talalay latex core also provides excellent durability and softness, with plenty of breathability. Meanwhile, allergies are kept to a minimum with a sweat-wicking synthetic-fibre cover designed to keep you cool.
As you can imagine, with all these great features this pillow doesn’t come cheap. It’s $159, but with a one-year limited warranty, plus a 100-night no-pressure guarantee, you can try it out before you fully decide if it really is the best pillow for you.
- Read our Purple Harmony Pillow review
2. Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow: Best pillow for sleeping in hot weather
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 of you who are considered hot sleepers.
We love how snuggly this bed pillow is, and the fact that you can get two of them for such a reasonable price only increases their attractiveness. But hey, can you actually sleep well using this pillow? Well, it depends on your sleep style and if you’re looking for any back or neck support, and if you have any existing sleep health issues.
The reason we mention that is because one of our testers uses a CPAP machine to help with his sleep apnea. He found this pillow to be comfortable and supportive for his back sleeper style, and crucially it didn’t interfere with the CPAP machine.
Our stomach sleeper wasn’t so fond of the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow because of just how dense and fluffy it is, which made them feel like they were suffocating a bit. While there’s no warranty on this bed pillow, you do get a 30-day window to try it out and return it if you don’t like it.
- Read our Beckham Collection Gel Pillow review
3. Birch Organic Pillow: Best organic pillow overall
Birch’s premium pillow is made with certified organic natural materials for a healthy and eco-friendly sleep experience. All the materials used in the pillow are sourced ethically and sustainably, and include Birch’s own cruelty-free wool, which comes direct from New Zealand farms and offers excellent breathability and wicks away moisture.
Supreme comfort and support for all types of sleeper is provided with the pillow’s crushed natural Talalay latex core, which is seven times more breathable than standard latex. And if you’re after a soft surface, the pillow’s 100% organic cotton cover is a dream to sleep on.
Other great qualities of this pillow includes the natural flame resistance of the wool, as well as its temperature-regulating qualities. The wool fibers also provide plenty of bounce, plus helps the pillow keep its shape.
If you like your pillows super soft and squishy then the Birch Organic Pillow may not be for you, as this one tends to fall on the firmer side, but if you are looking for something firmer to give your neck and head plenty of support, then this eco-friendly choice will be for you.
- View the Eco-Friendly Organic Pillow at Birch
4. Tempur-Cloud: Best pillow for sleeping with neck pain
When it comes to healthier sleep, Tempur-Pedic is a brand you can rely on, especially for its bed pillows. The extra-soft TEMPUR-Cloud Original has a low profile and conforms to your head and neck to keep it comfy and supported. It’s especially suited to people who sleep on their back or stomach.
The TEMPUR-Cloud Original Pillow has a hypoallergenic removable cover that can be machine washed, with the pillow itself made from a single piece of TEMPUR covered with a polyester knit cover. It’s easy to compress too, so you could use it while traveling. Simply roll it up, then secure it with a belt or scarf before packing it in with your luggage.
At around $79 a pillow, this isn’t the cheapest option in our best pillows round-up, but for the comfort on offer we think it’s worth the price. The TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow also comes with a five-year warranty, which is a decent coverage period.
A word of warning: firmer pillows like this one do take some getting used to, so it may be a couple of weeks or longer before you’re used to it, especially if you have a history of sleeping with softer pillows.
- Read our Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud review
5. Saatva Latex Pillow: Best organic pillow for side sleepers
Saatva’s hotel-quality Talalay latex and cotton pillow is a superb choice if you’re after the highest levels of design, comfort and support. And while the high price tag matches the highly quality, you won’t be disappointed, especially if you’re after a sleeping pillow made with certified organic materials.
The Saatva Latex Pillow offers chiropractor-approved support for your head and neck. It’s made with 100% organic cotton, which has been filled with down-like microdenier fiber that’s not only hypoallergenic, but breathable too.
At the core lives Talalay latex, which is responsive, hypoallergenic, and dust mite and mildew-resistant. But the proof is in trying it out. Right? That’s why Saatva is offering a 45-night trial on its luxury latex pillow... But we reckon you won’t want to give it back.
6. Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Pillow: Best pillow for all sleep styles
Get the perfect pillow for you with this ultra-convenient adjustable bed pillow that can be made as deep or as flat as you like. Simply add to or reduce the filling to get the height you need to suit your sleep position or body size. The hypoallergenic fill is a non-toxic blend of memory foam and microfiber.
To add to the versatility, this pillow comes with an extra half-pound of fill, plus it can be machine washed. Meanwhile, the removable pillowcase is made from a super-breathable polyester and viscose rayon blend.
Over time the pillow does flatten, but the extra fill will come in handy should you need to plump it up again. Also, if you’re not a fan of fuss and just want a sleep pillow that you can use straight away, then you might want to stick to one of the more conventional choices in our list of the best pillows for sleeping.
7. Casper Pillow: Best down-alternative pillow
More than just your typical pillow, the Original Casper Pillow uses ‘adaptive innovation’ via a surface that responds to movement. That means you stay supported and comfy all night long
With a pillow-in-pillow design, Casper says its Original Pillow is suitable no matter what your sleep position, making it ideal if you tend to shift around. It’s also convenient in other ways too, as it can be cleaned in the washing machine – simply separate the inner and outer pillows and place both in the machine.
The pillows are filled with 100% polyester, while the breathable cover is 100% cotton so you can stay cool. If you prefer to sleep on natural fibers, this might not be the best pillow for you. But if you’re looking for an easy all-rounder, then this is a great choice.
If you're looking for a new mattress and like the Casper brand, we'd also recommend taking a look at our guide to the best Casper mattress deals.
- Read our Casper Original Pillow review
8. The Emma Pillow: Best memory foam pillow for pressure relief
Get the perfect pillow for you with the customizable Emma Pillow. It offers three layers, any of which can be removed to suit you better depending on whether you’re a side sleeper, stomach or back sleeper.
The three layers (adaptive memory foam, firm support foam and breathable soft comfort foam) can be removed or changed to your preferred firmness. They also fit within the removable, non-toxic and non-allergenic machine washable cover.
If you sleep hot, the breathable top cover of the Emma Pillow should provide cooling relief, as will the cold foam support layer. Meanwhile, the middle Airgocell foam layer adds a nice amount of ‘squish’ for premium coziness and support for your neck and head.
Finally, the visco-elastic memory foam layer is ideal for comfort, enabling the weight of your head to be evenly distributed. At $99.99 this isn’t cheap, but the versatility here more than makes up for it. Other highlights include a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty.
9. Layla Kapok: Best pillow for molding to your neck
Layla makes a beautiful range of more natural sleep products, including a down-alternative comforter, pillows, sheets and other bedding and accessories. As well as pure comfort, Layla’s Kapok Memory Foam Pillow is big on sleep innovation, and feels as cool as it looks.
For the ultimate in natural materials, Layla takes responsibly harvested kapok fibers and uses them to fill its luxurious pillow for a super-light and airy feel. What’s more, the Layla Kapok Memory Foam Pillow comes over-stuffed, leaving you free to remove any filling to get the perfect pillow height for you.
The cover is woven with CuTEC, a copper-infused yarn that helps minimize odor and improve hygiene. The copper fibers also keep things cool with the CuTEC naturally pulling heat away from your skin to prevent overheating.
This pillow comes with a generous 120-day trial (with a money-back guarantee), which is plenty of time to figure out if it’s the right fit for you. The Layla Kapok Memory Foam Pillow is also covered by a five-year guarantee. One downside, if you do decide to commit, is that this pillow is not machine washable, so always use it with a protector and cover.
10. Tuft and Needle Down Alternative: Best pillow for natural sleep
For all the luxury and coziness this pair of medium-soft pillows offers, you’ll be surprised to hear how affordable they are. Made with a polyester down-alternative, this makes the Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillows hypoallergenic as well as easy to machine wash.
The synthetic fill maintains the super-soft feel of sleeping on feathers, making this an ideal pillow choice for back and side sleepers. However, if you want something firmer or with a little more oomph, then try one of the other great options in our guide.
Because this pair of sleep pillows are such great value, they’d make a great addition to the guest bedroom, or to keep as a spare if you occasionally need a little extra cushioning. Tuft & Needle’s Down Alternative Pillows also come in two sizes: Standard and King.
11. Nature’s Guest Cervical Pillow: Best pillow for headaches
Falling asleep isn’t easy if you suffer from neck pain, so it helps to have the best pillow for the job. And with its adjustable cervical pillow, Nature’s Guest offers exactly that.
Ideal for back sleepers (or if you shift from back to side), the unique gusseted design of the Nature’s Guest Adjustable Cervical Pillow for sleeping comfortably guarantees full support and stability to keep you aligned and comfortable.
There are high levels of adjustability here too, with a dual-zippered design giving you access to the hypoallergenic microfiber polyester filling, so that you can remove or adjust it to a firmness that suits you.
If you’re after a soft pillow, the Nature’s Guest Adjustable Cervical Pillow won’t be it. Because it’s specifically designed to provide added support for your neck, this Cervical Pillow has been recommended by chiropractic and orthopedic practitioners as a way to ease pain.
You can try the pillow for up to 30 days to ensure it’s right for you. If you’re not satisfied, you can get your money back, no questions asked.
12. Avocado Molded Latex Pillow: Best organic pillow for hot sleepers
Avocado Green excels at making eco-friendly bedding that’s not only better for the planet, but great at helping you sleep too. With its Molded Latex Pillow, the brand takes 100% certified organic natural latex to create a pillow that's big on comfort and support.
A charcoal-infused latex core serves to regulate temperature and eliminate odors and excess heat. For an extra layer of hygiene, the sleep pillow also comes with a removable cover that’s easy to wash by hand or in the machine.
We’d recommend the Avocado Molded Latex Pillow for back sleepers in particular, as it offers a firmer surface to lay your head on. So if you are after something softer, it might not suit.
Of course, as expected with such high-quality vegan materials on offer, this pillow doesn’t come cheap, with prices starting from $99 for the Standard size, and rising to $119 for the King size.
Today's cheapest prices on the best pillows for sleeping
Best pillows FAQ
Can a good pillow really make a difference to your sleep?
Finding the right pillow is important if you want a comfy night’s sleep. Choosing the wrong pillow can lead to neck, shoulder and back pain, as well as headaches. We talk about this more in our feature discussing why is sleep important.
The first thing to think about is alignment. A good pillow keeps your head, neck and spine in a neutral line no matter your sleep position. If you change positions a lot during the night, a pillow made with an adaptable material (memory foam) will support your head as you move around.
To keep this neutral alignment, pillow height is crucial. Some bed pillows will be taller or flatter than others. Modern pillows for sleeping are adjustable too, which means you can remove or add layers of filling to suit.
Once you’ve found the right firmness and height, other extras to think about include breathability, and whether it's hypoallergenic and suitable for machine washing.
What is pillow loft?
‘Pillow loft’ refers to the height of the bed pillow when it’s positioned flat, with nothing resting on top of it. Generally speaking, sleep pillows are split into three different ‘lofts’ or heights. This includes low, medium and high.
A low loft pillow is three inches or less in height, while a medium loft pillow is around three to five inches in height. Anything higher than five inches tall is considered a high loft pillow.
When determining the ideal pillow loft for you, consider the following:
Your sleep position
Do you sleep on your stomach? If so, a low loft pillow is best suited to you. Those who sleep on their backs prefer low or medium loft pillows. Side sleepers might benefit from a high loft pillow to align their neck and shoulders, and to plug that gap between their head and shoulders when snoozing on their side.
Softer mattresses don’t require much pillow loft because your body sinks into the mattress. A low or medium loft pillow for sleeping should provide all the support you need. Firmer mattresses need a high loft pillow to ensure your neck and head are properly supported.
Your body weight
The more you weigh, the higher loft pillow you might need. That’s because your weight determines how much you sink into your mattress. Those on the lighter end usually prefer lower lofts.
The best way to discover your ideal pillow loft is to try a few at different heights - many of the best pillows for sleeping featured above, such as the Emma and Casper, are available on a trial basis.
What are the different types of sleep pillows?
There’s more to pillows than just their loft height. Here are the different types of sleep pillows available to buy right now to help you have a dreamy night’s sleep.
Memory foam pillows
This type of pillow can be suitable for all different sleepers. Why? Because memory foam pillows molds to the contours of your body. Memory foam pillows therefore offer brilliant support to your head and neck. However, many memory foam pillows tend to retain heat so work better for the colder months.
If soft, cushiony and moldable pillows are your thing, down pillows might help you catch a good night’s sleep. Made from the soft fibers found under the exterior of a duck, goose or swan, these pillows are sometimes mixed with feathers for extra fluffiness. Down pillows are ideal for stomach, side and back sleepers because they offer brilliant head and neck support.
Latex pillows are one of the most cooling pillow materials to buy. So if you’re looking for a breathable and cooling fabric, this type of pillow could be your best bet.
Latex pillows offer a high level of support while coming with durable and moldable qualities. However, it’s important to note that latex pillows are quite expensive, so make sure you aren’t allergic to the fabric before you buy.
How often should you change your pillow?
If you’re still sleeping on a pillow you bought two years ago, now is the time to think about buying the best pillow for your weight and sleep style. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing bed pillows every 18-24 months.
This is because the filling in your pillow can become flat and unsupportive, putting unwanted strain on your neck. It’s not just about comfort either, as the material in some pillows retain sweat and dust mites, making them unhygienic after a while.
What are the best pillows for sleep made from?
If you’ve bought a cheap pillow from a local department store, it’s probably made of synthetic polyester. These tend to flatten out quickly and absorb heat easily, making them an absolute no-no for hot sleepers.
Feather and down pillows are a more traditional. These sleep pillows tend to be soft and luxurious, and mould around your neck. However they are prone to clumping and will need to be plumped regularly. Feathers often poke through, which is irritating, and they need to be professionally cleaned. If you suffer from allergies, avoid down pillows at all costs.
Memory foam pillows for sleeping are hypoallergenic and designed to contour to your body. Because they're quite firm, they're popular among people suffering with neck pain. They do retain heat though and they can be pretty heavy.
Premium microfiber pillows are as soft as down, as supportive as memory foam, and they won't trigger allergies. They’re also good at dissipating heat and don’t trap perspiration, though you do pay a premium for this sleep wizardry.
Latex pillows are everywhere in the organic pillows market. These have a similar feel to memory foam pillows, but stay cooler for longer and hold their shape well. Durable and naturally hypoallergenic, they are an ideal choice of non-toxic pillow for sleeping but they are expensive.
What is a natural, non-toxic or organic pillow?
When shopping for an eco-friendly sleep pillow, you will often see terms such as ‘organic’, ‘natural’ or ‘non-toxic’. Here, we run through what these terms mean, so you can make more informed choices when deciding which of the best pillows online to buy.
This applies to natural materials – such as latex, cotton and wool – which have been grown without using any prohibited substances in the manufacturing process. 100% organic materials do not contain harmful chemicals that can trigger reactions and affect breathing.
Some top organic brands include Avocado Green, Birch and Saatva, with prices usually being around the $100 mark, and often higher. True organic materials are usually certified, so look out for accreditation such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
As it sounds the materials have been taken from natural sources such as animal and plant fibres – so wool, cotton and latex, for example. The benefits of these are mainly comfort and breathability, but it’s worth noting that just because a material is natural, it doesn’t mean it’s organic.
What we mean is, pesticides and other chemicals may still be used in the growing process, so watch out for this if you suffer from allergies. Brands that used certified organic natural materials include Avocado Green, with its Avocado Green Pillow ($89) and Birch with its Organic Pillow ($99).
Non-toxic materials contain no or minimal nasty chemicals, and can also be synthetic too. If you want to guarantee that your natural pillows are non-toxic, then look out for organic certifications, such as GOTS and GOLS, as detailed above.
Organic pillows vs normal bed pillows: Which should you buy?
As with a lot of things sleep-related, whether you choose organic over standard, is down to personal choice. If you suffer from an allergy, organic is recommended, as the materials are more likely to keep allergic reactions at bay.
Also, if you like to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, then you should also choose organic, as no toxins are used in the manufacturing process, so it’s kinder to the earth too.
Pillows filled with organic wool are a great option, as this material is naturally hypo-allergenic, dust-mite resistant and anti-microbial too. And contrary to popular belief, many natural fibers can be easily washed in the machine.
However, the downside is, with all the care and attention put into making organic pillows, the price is often higher. So if you are looking for affordability or occasional use, then there is still plenty of choice to be found among normal bed pillows.