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Like mattresses, pillows play a major role in how well you sleep – and finding the right one can be challenging. Shoppers today have a lot to consider in terms of composition and fill, thickness, durability, temperature regulation, and pain relief. You should also take personal factors into account when searching for a new pillow. People with neck and shoulder pain may need a pillow with an orthopedic shape, while heavy snorers often require a high-loft pillow to keep their heads upright. Your sleeping position, weight, and body mechanics can all affect how your pillow feels.

Our testing team uses a comprehensive methodology when evaluating pillows. This process consists of multiple stages, during which our testers lie on and handle the pillow to gauge its shape retention, moldability, and conforming ability. Additional tests evaluate the pillow for temperature control and odor potential, and we also take weight, firmness options, and ease of cleaning into account. Our selections for the best pillows are chosen using our testers’ scores along with in-depth research and analysis.

Our Verdict — What’s the Best Pillow of the Year?
Choosing the right pillow can promote even spinal alignment, alleviate neck and shoulder pain, and help you sleep at a comfortable temperature. We’ve named the Saatva Latex Pillow the best pillow of the year thanks to its strong balance of contouring and support, plus excellent cooling properties. Neither too firm nor too squishy, this pillow is just right for a wide array of sleepers.

Below our top picks you’ll find a buyer’s guide that can help you learn tips for finding your perfect pillow. This guide includes a complete rundown on pillow types and important criteria for shoppers. We’ll take an extensive look at pillow materials, loft, firmness, and shape so that you can choose the best one for your personal preferences. You can also find helpful information on what to expect when it comes to average costs, cover materials, and sizing.

Best Pillows of 2023 Video

Watch the video below to learn more about our lab’s top pillows of 2023.

Product Details

Best Overall

Saatva Latex Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $165 – Queen $185 – King
Fill: Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative
Firmness: Medium Soft

Who it’s best for:

  • People who tend to sleep hot
  • Combination sleepers
  • Consumers who prefer buying products with organic components


  • Shredded Talalay latex core offers a balance of contouring and responsiveness
  • Removable outer pillow for adjustable loft
  • Optional pillowcases made of silky-soft organic cotton

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Saatva pillows

Bottom Line

Our tests show the Saatva Latex Pillow nicely balances cushioning, responsiveness, and support. Side and back sleepers should enjoy the thick profile, while a breathable cover and core components help ensure a cool, comfortable night’s sleep.

Saatva is best known for luxury sleep products made from premium materials. The Saatva Latex Pillow is a prime example of the brand’s commitment to quality and sustainable production. We found the pillow quite balanced, with plenty of cushioning for the head and neck without sacrificing support. At 8 inches thick, the Latex Pillow is among the loftiest we’ve tested firsthand.

How It Performed

Our side sleepers enjoyed the Latex Pillow’s high-loft profile. We’ve found people who primarily use the side position need thick pillows to fill the gap between their head and downward-facing shoulder, which in turn promotes even alignment. Some of our back sleepers also enjoyed the pillow, while the stomach sleepers on our team found it a bit too thick.

Shredded fill makes the pillow quite moldable and snuggly, but we also noticed decent shape retention due to the chambered design. Temperature control was another highlight during our tests. Air circulates nicely throughout the inner chamber to minimize heat retention, and the breathable cover also helps ensure consistent cooling.

What It’s Made of

The Saatva Latex Pillow features shredded Talalay latex in the core chamber, and down-like microdenier fibers in the outer chamber. Latex is highly responsive compared to foam, so the pillow shouldn’t sink too much beneath your head and neck, but the microdenier chamber keeps the surface invitingly plush. An organic cotton sateen cover encases the fill. After separating the three components, you can wash and dry the cover and microdenier in your household machines.

The Latex Pillow is competitively priced, and Saatva offers substantial discounts if you include two pillows with your purchase. Queen and king sizes are available. Shipping is free for customers in the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. Your order includes a 45-night sleep trial and a 1-year warranty against structural and material defects.

Read our Full Saatva Latex Pillow Review to learn more
A picture of the Silk & Snow Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best Value

Silk & Snow Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $75 – Standard $85 – King
Fill: Shredded memory foam core with down alternative microfiber outer chamber
Firmness: Medium

Who it’s best for:

  • People whose pillow thickness preferences vary from night to night
  • Those who need extra cushioning for their head and neck
  • Value seekers


  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who usually sleep hot on memory foam pillows
  • Value seekers

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Silk & Snow pillows

Bottom Line

The Silk & Snow Pillow’s adjustable design sets it apart from other models in this below-average price range. If you are a combination sleeper or prefer a different loft level from night to night, this pillow lets you change the thickness and support level with relative ease.

If you’re shopping with a limited budget, you may find that low-cost pillows sacrifice quality to carry an affordable cost. The Silk & Snow is a notable exception. With an adjustable core and chambered design to cushion your head and neck, the pillow is thoughtfully constructed and practical if you frequently change your pillow’s thickness and firmness.

How It Performed

To accurately evaluate the Silk & Snow Pillow, our tests involved multiple loft adjustments. The side sleepers on our team preferred the pillow’s fill at maximum volume, whereas our back sleepers needed to remove some of the foam to avoid neck strain. For our stomach sleepers, the pillow felt most comfortable when the core chamber was half full.

For the remainder of our tests, we evaluated the pillow at about 90% volume. The shredded foam and synthetic down outer chamber gave the pillow an exceptionally moldable feel, and the chambered design helped to distribute the fill evenly and maintain a full shape. Thanks to the cotton cover, none of our testers felt excessively hot.

What It’s Made of

The core contains shredded memory foam that provides deep cushioning and close contouring for your head and neck. In the outer chamber, microfiber fill creates a down-like softness. The cover is composed of crisp cotton percale. You may machine wash the cover, but should avoid exposing the other components to water.

To adjust the loft, simply unzip the cover and inner pouch containing the foam. We recommend using a receptacle if you are removing foam, as the strands can create a mess. Silk & Snow does not sell additional foam fill in bulk.

Not only does the Silk & Snow Pillow carry an affordable price-point, but shipping is free of charge to all customers in the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. The company’s sleep trial runs for 100 nights, and you may return the pillow for a full refund after testing it for 30 nights. Those who keep their pillow also receive a 3-year warranty.

Most Comfortable

Brooklinen Down Pillow – Plush

Brand Logo
Price: $79 – Standard $99 – King
Fill: Pure Canadian white down or a down/feather blend
Firmness: Plush

Who it’s best for:

  • Sleepers who aren't sure about their ideal pillow firmness
  • Value seekers
  • Shoppers looking for a pillow with a long sleep trial


  • Three firmness options to suit different sleeper preferences
  • Down and feather clusters with a cotton sateen shell ensure a soft, cloud-like feel
  • Each order comes with a trial period spanning an entire year

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklinen pillows

Bottom Line

Brooklinen’s Down Pillow delivers a plush, cloud-like feel structured with chambers to ensure good overall support. Multiple density options make this pillow suitable for different sleep positions, and a generous sleep trial means you’ll have plenty of time to test it out and make an informed decision.

Brooklinen delivers everything we love about down pillows — a plush, cloud-like feel with chambered construction to keep your head aloft and a breathable cover that reduces heat retention. The pillow is available in three density levels, each with a distinct firmness to accommodate different sleep positions.

How It Performed

Our testers evaluated all three of the Brooklinen Down Pillow’s density levels. The Plush pillow is the softest option, resulting in notable sinkage and minimal neck strain for our stomach sleepers. If you sleep on your side, we recommend the Firm pillow for its high loft. Our back sleepers awarded the highest ratings to the Mid-Plush feel, but this pillow is suitable for anyone who wants a compromise between soft cushioning and strong support.

Each density has a different construction, but we found all three pillows quite moldable and snuggly. The chambered design also helps maintain a full shape. That said, Brooklinen recommends daily fluffing to distribute the fill. While the down retains some heat, the breathable cover promotes cooling and none of our testers found the pillows overly warm.

What It’s Made of

Each of the three Brooklinen Down Pillows has a unique construction. The Plush design only contains down, creating an exceptionally soft surface for your head and neck. Mid-Plush pillows are structured with feather cores and down outer chambers. Since feathers provide better support, this design provides excellent cushioning without sinking too much. The Firm pillow also has a chambered design, but with a higher ratio of feathers to elevate your head even further.

Silky-smooth cotton covers encase the fill. To avoid damaging the down and feathers, you should only spot clean the pillow if stains occur. Dry cleaning is another option. Standard and king sizes are available.

The Brooklinen Down Pillow is reasonably priced and you’ll receive a discount when ordering two or four. Shipping is free for all customers in the contiguous U.S. Brooklinen’s 365-night sleep trial is one of the longest in the online bedding industry, and the pillow is backed by an additional year of warranty coverage against structural defects.

Best Luxury

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $279 – Standard $329 – King
Fill: 100% long-strand mulberry silk
Firmness: Medium soft

Who it’s best for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who prefer to use very soft pillows
  • High-end shoppers


  • Mulberry silk fill is both plush and durable
  • Cover composed of breathable, moisture-wicking viscose derived from bamboo
  • Excellent shape retention and little to no flattening

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Cozy Earth pillows

Bottom Line

The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow is both luxuriously soft and exceptionally durable. During our hands-on tests, we were particularly impressed with the pillow’s breathability and consistent shape retention.

Mulberry silk is one of the most luxurious bedding materials on the planet. As such, products made from this material tend to be fairly expensive. The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow delivers exceptional softness, cooling, and overall comfort, yet carries a price-point that’s accessible to many shoppers. Above-average durability also makes this pillow a solid long-term investment.

How It Performed

Our testers found the Cozy Earth Silk Pillow quite soft, yet the silk fibers didn’t sink too much and overall support was excellent. A mid-range loft made the pillow best suited to the back sleepers on our team, though it also earned favorable ratings from some of our side and stomach sleepers.

During our temperature control tests, we found the pillow very breathable. Our testers attribute this to silk’s natural cooling properties and the moisture-wicking cover. Shape retention is another strong point. The silk shouldn’t clump or flatten even after years of use — in fact, this is a defect covered under Cozy Earth’s warranty — but the fill still gives the pillow a plush, moldable feel.

What It’s Made of

Long strands of mulberry silk comprise the pillow’s fill. Silk is an ideal pillow material if you enjoy soft surfaces for your head and neck, but also want consistent shape retention and breathability. The cover is made of viscose derived from bamboo. A sateen weave gives the cover fabric a silky-smooth feel that’s ideal if you have sensitive skin. You can machine wash the pillow if needed, but Cozy Earth recommends spot cleaning or dry cleaning instead. Standard and king sizes are available.

Shipping is free for orders in the contiguous U.S. Your order comes with a sleep trial spanning 100 nights in length. If you decide to keep your Silk Pillow, Cozy Earth backs your purchase with a 10-year warranty against shifting fill, pilling, and other material defects.

A picture of the Layla Kapok Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best for Neck Pain

Layla Kapok Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $109 – Queen $129 – King
Fill: Shredded memory foam and kapok tree fiber blend
Firmness: Medium Soft

Who it’s best for:

  • Those seeking an adjustable pillow
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Individuals who normally sleep hot on memory foam


  • High-loft design supports and contours to the neck, reducing pressure and improving spinal alignment
  • Copper-infused memory foam regulates temperature
  • Generous 5-year warranty and 120-night money-back guarantee

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Layla pillows

Bottom Line

The Layla Kapok Pillow is one of the softest and loftiest models our team has tested. Plush fill coupled with a thick profile make the pillow a great option for people who wake up with pain, soreness, or pressure points in their neck and shoulders.

Fibers from the kapok tree offer the same softness and lightness as real down, but without triggering allergy symptoms or using animal-based materials. The Layla Kapok Pillow combines this material with shredded memory foam to create a supremely soft feel. We recommend the pillow to anyone who needs a plush surface to alleviate neck and shoulder pain.

How It Performed

Since the Layla Kapok Pillow offers adjustable loft, our testers evaluated multiple profiles. The stomach sleepers on our team preferred a mid-level profile with roughly half of the fill removed. For our back sleepers, three-quarters of the fill provided enough loft without elevating the head too much, while our side sleepers preferred the pillow’s fill at full volume.

Breathability proved to be one of the pillow’s biggest strengths during our tests. The shredded fill promotes steady airflow, and the cover is both breathable and moisture-wicking. We also found the pillow quite moldable and snuggly. If the Kapok Pillow feels uncomfortable at first, try removing some of the fill to lower the profile.

What It’s Made of

The fill consists of shredded memory foam and kapok fibers. This blend provides even contouring and exceptional softness, making this pillow the best of both worlds for people who need pressure relief and support. A cover made of poly-viscose encases the fill. The cover fabric is infused with copper for extra cooling. You can machine wash the cover, but first you should separate it from the inner pouch containing the fill. Queen and king sizes are available.

The Kapok Pillow is competitively priced and Layla offers free ground shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. Each purchase includes a 120-night trial. If you decide to keep the pillow, you’ll also receive a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Read our Full Layla Kapok Pillow Review to learn more
A picture of the Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best for Side Sleepers

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $125
Fill: 75% Latex and 25% Polyester Fiber
Firmness: Medium, adjustable

Who it’s best for:

  • Those who normally sleep hot
  • Side sleepers with frequent neck or shoulder pain
  • Value seekers


  • Ergonomic shape promotes even spinal alignment for left and right side sleepers
  • Latex and fiber fill blend can be added or removed to optimize the pillow's loft
  • Breathable components help the pillow resist overheating and sleep cool

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

SleepFoundation readers get 20% off. Discount automatically applied to cart.

Bottom Line

Adjustable and ergonomic, the Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow from Eli & Elm lives up to its name and should accommodate anyone who primarily uses this position. The latex and down alternative fill blend offers responsiveness and cushioning, creating a balanced feel for your head and neck.

If you sleep on your side, you’ll probably feel most comfortable on a high-loft pillow that fills the space between your head and downward-facing shoulder — but this isn’t always the case. Regardless of your personal preferences, the Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow features an adjustable design that lets you customize the profile to your liking. The pillow’s ergonomic shape also aligns the neck and shoulders with the rest of your spine, reducing pressure in these areas while you sleep.

How It Performed

Not surprisingly, the side sleepers on our team all felt comfortable on the pillow. We were particularly impressed with how the pillow’s ergonomic shape promoted even spinal alignment — a constant struggle for side sleepers who use traditional rectangular pillows. Our back sleepers also enjoyed the pillow, though they preferred less fill and lower loft than their side-sleeping counterparts.

The fill didn’t retain too much heat during our temperature control tests and the cotton-blend cover is highly breathable, so we recommend the pillow to hot sleepers and those who reside in warm or humid climates. We also found that the pillow provides above-average support compared to adjustable models with foam fill. The latex has some springiness to keep your head aloft and prevent uncomfortable sinkage.

What It’s Made of

The Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow’s fill blend contains 75% shredded latex and 25% down alternative fibers. Although the higher ratio of latex makes the pillow feel responsive, the fibers add a touch of softness to cushion your head and neck. The oblong shape is designed to support your head and neck while bending around your shoulders to ensure even alignment for side sleepers.

You can unzip the cotton cover to add or remove fill as needed, and Eli & Elm sells extra fill if you want to replenish your supply. The cover is fully machine-washable. For added protection, you can purchase a matching pillowcase.

The Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow is reasonably priced, and you’ll receive a substantial discount if you order two pillows. Standard ground delivery is free for most customers in the contiguous U.S., but California residents must pay shipping fees. Each purchase is backed by a 45-night trial period and a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Best Memory Foam

Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $129 – Queen $149 – King
Fill: Open-cell memory foam
Firmness: Medium

Who it’s best for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • People seeking a foam pillow that retains less heat
  • Those who experience neck pain during sleep


  • Two loft options
  • Adaptive memory foam core provides excellent contouring
  • Cover feels cool to the touch

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklyn Bedding pillows

Bottom Line

The Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow is the perfect choice for sleepers who need a pillow that cradles the head. Bonus points for an infusion of cooling gel to help keep the pillow cool.

If you enjoy the feel of foam pillows but tend to overheat on them, the Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow is designed with several cooling features that reduce heat retention while still offering the comfort and contouring benefits of foam. Shoppers willing to spend a bit more on a thoughtfully constructed pillow may want to consider this pick.

How It Performed

Shoppers can pick from two profile options with this pillow. The high-profile option is best suited for side sleepers, who typically require more loft to ensure that their head and neck receive the right balance of support and cradling. Back sleepers can opt for either loft option, depending on personal preferences, while stomach sleepers should opt for the low profile. Regardless of loft, the foam in the pillow provides excellent contouring for sleepers who are looking for deep cradling.

What It’s Made of

The pillow has a medium feel and contains memory foam with an open-cell design that helps the foam ventilate more effectively than conventional memory foam. The foam is infused with a cooling gel intended to draw heat from your head and neck during sleep. A copper-graphite infusion is also intended to enhance cooling. The cover is made with a circular-knit fabric that feels smooth and cool to the touch.

The pillow may be returned within 30 days for a full refund. Brooklyn Bedding also offers a 3-year warranty with your pillow purchase. Shipping is free within the contiguous U.S.

Best Cooling

SHEEX Infinite Zen Performance Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $139 – Standard/Queen
Fill: Solid memory foam
Firmness: Medium firm

Who it’s best for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers who often experience neck pain
  • Back and side sleepers


  • Cooling gel layer designed to disperse heat
  • Solid memory foam construction adapts to the head and neck to relieve pressure
  • Breathable knit cover with proprietary cooling fibers

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on SHEEX pillows

Bottom Line

SHEEX’s Infinite Zen Performance Pillow is engineered for excellent thermoregulation with a breathable cover and cooling gel to dissipate heat. Our testers also enjoyed the memory foam’s soft, adaptive feel.

Memory foam pillows have earned a bad rap for sleeping hot, but some models feature cooling components to offset the foam’s heat-retaining properties and keep you comfortable at night. The SHEEX Infinite Zen Performance Pillow strikes a nice balance between temperature control and pressure relief. Plush memory foam conforms closely to ease tension and reduce pressure in your head, neck, and shoulders, but cooling materials in the cover and inner chamber help ensure you won’t overheat.

How It Performed

Thanks to its 5-inch profile, the Infinite Zen Performance Pillow earned favorable ratings from the back sleepers on our team. Some of our side sleepers also received enough loft from the pillow. While the pillow is probably too thick for most stomach sleepers, it may be suitable for those who use this position and prefer soft surfaces when lying face-down.

In addition to performing well during our temperature control tests, the pillow also displayed excellent shape retention — a shared quality among most models with solid memory foam. Pressure buildup was minimal for our side and back sleepers. There was some initial off-gassing odor, but the smells weren’t excessive.

What It’s Made of

The Infinite Zen Performance Pillow features a solid memory foam core coated in cooling gel meant to dissipate heat on contact. We’ve rated the pillow as medium soft due to the close contouring and deep cushioning our testers received. A 2-inch gusset helps the pillow maintain a full shape.

The cover is composed of a polyester-polyethylene fabric blend engineered for exceptional breathability. A jacquard knit adds to the pillow’s soft feel. You can remove and machine wash the cover as needed, but the foam should only be spot cleaned if stains occur.

The Infinite Zen Performance Pillow carries an approachable price-point and most U.S. orders qualify for affordable flat-rate shipping. SHEEX’s sleep trial runs for 60 nights beginning on the purchase date. If you decide to keep your pillow, it’s also covered under a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.

A picture of the Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best Neck Support

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $100 – Standard/Queen $115 – King
Fill: Down alternative, shredded gel-infused memory foam, solid gel-infused memory foam
Firmness: Adjustable

Who it’s best for:

  • People whose pillow thickness and firmness preferences vary from night to night
  • Combination sleepers
  • Those who typically find memory foam pillows too hot


  • Each purchase comes with soft, medium, and firm inserts to adjust the firmness and loft
  • Shell composed of breathable, moisture-wicking viscose derived from bamboo
  • Shoppers save 50% on second pillow when they purchase two

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

SleepFoundation readers get the best price on Luxome products

Bottom Line

Offering more than a dozen insert combinations, the Luxome LAYR is one of the most customizable pillows our team has tested firsthand. We’re confident this pillow will be comfortable for most people regardless of their primary sleep position.

A pillow with good neck support can greatly reduce pain and pressure buildup that occurs while you sleep. The Luxome LAYR comes with four different inserts, allowing you to customize the feel and loft based on your personal preferences and sleep position. This level of adjustability makes the LAYR suitable for side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers.

How It Performed

Our team tested most of the LAYR’s insert combinations to get a sense of the pillow’s overall performance. Side sleepers on our team felt comfortable with most or all of the inserts in place, and preferred the shredded foam or down alternative inserts on top. Our back sleepers were a little more divided between using both solid foam inserts or the shredded foam and fiber inserts, but all agreed two was ideal. For our stomach sleepers, a single insert — down alternative, in most cases — felt most comfortable.

How well the pillow performs largely depends on which inserts you use. The down alternative insert retains less heat than the others, so this may be the best top layer if you’re a hot sleeper — though the vented, moisture-wicking cover kept most of our testers cool and comfortable no matter which inserts they used. Those who feel pain and pressure points in their neck and shoulders should get adequate relief from the solid foam or shredded foam inserts.

What It’s Made of

Each LAYR comes with inserts containing down alternative fibers, shredded memory foam, and solid memory foam. For the latter, you’ll receive inserts measuring 1 inch and 2 inches thick. You can add, remove, and rearrange the inserts to achieve the most comfortable configuration. Each insert is encased in a pouch to keep the materials hygienic and easy to separate.

A cover made of bamboo-derived viscose encases the inserts. This fabric is highly breathable and has moisture-wicking properties. Ventilated side panels provide additional cooling. The cover and insert pouches are fully machine-washable, but you should avoid laundering the inserts themselves. Standard and king sizes are available.

The LAYR is very reasonably priced compared to other customizable pillows we’ve tested, and you’ll receive a significant discount if you order two pillows. Standard shipping is free for customers in the contiguous U.S. Luxome allows you to return undamaged pillows within 30 days of delivery.

Best Hotel-Style

Boll & Branch Down Chamber Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $150 – Standard $160 – King
Fill: White down
Firmness: Soft, Medium, Firm

Who it’s best for:

  • People who enjoy the fluffy feel of down
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those seeking a machine-washable pillow


  • Three firmness options
  • Down and feather fill balances support and plushness
  • Breathable cotton shell

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Boll & Branch pillows

Bottom Line

The Boll & Branch Down Chamber Pillow has a luxurious feel and appearance that will give your bed a sophisticated touch. The high-quality construction means this pillow will last longer than many competing down pillows.

The Boll & Branch Down Chamber Pillow is a carefully constructed pillow that emulates the look and feel of high-quality hotel pillows. Our tests show that the mostly down construction has a luxuriously plush feel that suits a wide array of sleepers.

How It Performed

The pillow is available in three firmness options – soft, medium, and firm – so most testers on our team were able to find a model that felt comfortable. Side sleepers reported that the medium and firm pillows felt most comfortable since this sleep position needs ample loft and firmness to fill the space between the head and shoulder. Back sleepers gravitated toward the medium pillow, as it offered just enough firmness to elevate the head without cranking it at an awkward angle. The soft pillow felt most comfortable to stomach sleepers, who usually experience optimal spinal alignment with low-profile pillows that compress easily.

The fluffy feel of the Boll & Branch Down Chamber Pillow appealed to testers who enjoy molding and cuddling their pillow at night. It also retains minimal heat, so you won’t need to worry about excessive heat retention.

What It’s Made of

The Boll & Branch Down Chamber Pillow is composed of three chambers. The soft pillow contains down in all three chambers to provide a plush, lofty feel. The medium and firm pillows contain feathers and down in the inner chambers, surrounded by a layer of down. This design enhances support in the core while keeping the surface soft and fluffy. The shell is composed of 100% cotton.

You may wash the pillow in cold water on a gentle cycle and tumble dry on a low setting. Note that it may take several cycles to dry your pillow completely.

Boll & Branch offers free shipping in the U.S. You may return the pillow within 30 days of delivery.

Best for Back and Stomach Sleepers

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $79 – Standard/Queen
Fill: Solid Memory Foam
Firmness: Extra Soft

Who it’s best for:

  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • Frequent travelers
  • People who experience neck pain during sleep


  • Extra soft foam conforms closely
  • 5-inch loft provides consistent neck support
  • Compressive and easy to pack

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Buy 2 TEMPUR-Cloud Pillows for $119 and save $59!

Bottom Line

The TEMPUR-Cloud’s memory foam core is exceptionally plush and adaptive. The pillow truly lives up to its name by contouring closely around the head and neck, but we didn’t notice any excessive sinkage.

Back and stomach sleepers generally prefer pillows with low to mid-range profiles. The TEMPUR-Cloud from Tempur-Pedic has a 5-inch profile, which is on the thicker side, but its soft memory foam core molds closely to your head and neck. This allows the pillow to compress a bit, but the foam has a high density and shouldn’t sink too much to ensure proper support.

How It Performed

The TEMPUR-Cloud earned favorable ratings across all position groups during our hands-on tests. Our side sleepers appreciated the high loft, which allowed the pillow to fill the space between their head and downward-facing shoulder. The pillow was also soft enough to provide adequate cushioning for our back and stomach sleepers without elevating their necks excessively.

TEMPUR memory foam has a dense composition, so expected durability for the pillow is above average compared to other models with softer foam cores. Although the pillow is not very moldable, it maintains a full shape at all times and requires virtually no fluffing. Our tests also show the foam conforms closely enough to alleviate neck and shoulder pain.

What It’s Made of

The TEMPUR-Cloud contains TEMPUR memory foam, a proprietary material also used in Tempur-Pedic mattresses. While the foam is quite dense, the pillow is relatively soft and you should expect deep cushioning around your head and neck. A breathable, knit polyester cover encases the foam. You can machine wash the cover, but the foam should only be spot cleaned.

Affordable pricing and free ground shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. make the TEMPUR-Cloud a great option for shoppers with tight budgets. Tempur-Pedic does not allow returns, so all sales are final, but each customer receives a 5-year warranty with their purchase.

A picture of the Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best Eco-Friendly

Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $99 – Queen $119 – King
Fill: Plant-based down alternative fibers
Firmness: Medium

Who it’s best for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • People with persistent neck pain
  • Hot sleepers


  • Breathable cotton cover helps regulate temperature
  • Plant-based down alternative fibers cushion the head and neck to relieve pressure
  • 50-day return period

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Sweet Zzz pillows

Bottom Line

Our testers with pressure points in their neck thoroughly enjoyed the cushioning from the Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow. The pillow has a plush feel similar to down without animal products or potential allergens.

The hotel-style Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow uses a plant-based down alternative derived from soybeans to create a well-cushioned sleep surface. Animal-conscious shoppers and people with down allergies should appreciate this pick.

How It Performed

A medium feel and 5- to 6-inch loft made the Plant-Based Pillow a hit with our side and back sleepers. Our side sleepers found the profile thick enough to maintain proper alignment, while the plush down alternative fill cushioned the head and neck to relieve pressure. Our back sleepers also felt comfortable. If you sleep on your stomach, you may find the pillow cranes your neck too high and causes discomfort.

We also recommend the pillow for hot sleepers, thanks to the naturally breathable materials. Our heat guns detected very little heat buildup on the pillow’s surface. The fiberfill also made the pillow quite moldable during our tests, which is great if you prefer to snuggle your pillow at night.

What It’s Made of

The outer chamber is filled with plush fibers to give extra cushioning for the head and neck. Meanwhile, denser fibers in the inner chamber prevent the pillow from sinking too deeply. A breathable shell made from natural cotton keeps your head cool throughout the night. You can machine-wash the pillow for easy care. Simply wash on a gentle cycle and tumble dry on low heat.

Standard and king sizes are available. Sweet Zzz ships free to customers living in the contiguous U.S. The pillow comes with a 50-night sleep trial and a 1-year warranty against structural defects.

Best Down

Luxe Pillow (Down and Feather)

Brand Logo
Price: $129 – Standard $149 – King
Fill: RDS-certified down and feather fill
Firmness: Soft

Who it’s best for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who like the softness of down
  • People with allergies


  • Firmer waterfowl-feather core provides structured support
  • Softer white goose down exterior layers offer a plush feel and soft contouring
  • 300 thread count pillow protector included

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Luxe Pillow pillows

Bottom Line

The Luxe Pillow offers the best of both worlds for those who enjoy the cloud-like feel of real down but also need some support for their head and neck. An RSD certification should also appeal to anyone who wants to invest in a down pillow with ethically and humanely sourced materials.

If you prefer pillows that feel exceptionally soft and sink deeply beneath your head, you’re a prime candidate for a model containing down and feathers. The Luxe Pillow is affordably priced compared to its competitors, and a chambered design ensures a plush feel without sacrificing support. You can also rest easy knowing the pillow holds a Responsible Down Standard certification, meaning all birds providing the fill are humanely treated, housed, and fed.

How It Performed

During our tests, the Luxe Pillow earned its most favorable ratings from side and back sleepers. A mid-range profile and lofty feel helped ensure adequate elevation without straining the neck, and the chambered design provided enough support to reduce sinkage. Stomach sleepers may need a thinner pillow, but those who prefer extra cushioning may also find the Luxe comfortable.

The down and feather fill makes this pillow highly moldable, though you may need to fluff it often to maintain a full shape. Our tests also showed the pillow provides above-average temperature control. This is largely due to a breathable cotton cover that promotes airflow and helps offset the down’s heat-retaining properties.

What It’s Made of

The Luxe Pillow’s interior consists of three chambers. The core contains waterfowl feathers, which provide decent support, and plush down fills the two surrounding chambers to create an exceptionally soft feel. A cotton shell encases the fill, and your purchase includes a cotton pillow protector. You can machine wash the pillow and protector, but should separate these items before doing so. Standard and king sizes are available.

In addition to its below-average pricing, the Luxe Pillow qualifies for free ground delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. and low flat-rate shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada. The pillow’s trial period spans 100 nights, but you must test it out for at least 3 weeks before initiating a return.

Best Buckwheat

Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $59 – Small $99 – Queen $159 – King
Fill: Buckwheat hulls
Firmness: Firm

Who it’s best for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who sleep hot
  • Eco-conscious shoppers


  • Buckwheat hull fill provides excellent breathability
  • Removable fill offers customizable loft and feel
  • Made with organic, eco-friendly materials

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Hullo pillows

Bottom Line

We consider the Hullo a quintessential buckwheat pillow thanks to its extra firm feel, adjustable loft, breathable cover, and sustainably sourced materials. An affordable sticker price also means you won’t break the bank, and you can purchase additional fill as needed.

Buckwheat pillows should appeal to anyone who needs an exceptionally firm surface for their head and neck. Among the buckwheat pillows our team has tested, we recommend the Hullo for its straightforward yet versatile design and approachable pricing. This pillow is ideal for anyone who is interested in trying out a buckwheat model, but doesn’t want to spend too much money.

How It Performed

Since the Hullo Buckwheat Pillow is designed for adjustable loft, most of our testers found a thickness that suited their primary sleep position. The pillow is very firm and isn’t for anyone, but the buckwheat hulls adapt evenly to your head and neck without hugging too closely or sinking. Our testers likened the feel of this pillow to that of a firm beanbag. Air circulates freely throughout the interior and the cover is composed of breathable cotton, so the Hullo also earned favorable ratings during our temperature control tests.

What It’s Made of

Hulls are the hard outer casings of buckwheat kernels. The Hullo contains hundreds of hulls. While the pillow is quite firm, the hulls contour evenly and mold to your head and neck much like dense foam. The cover is composed of unbleached, organic cotton twill and the hulls are sustainably sourced, so the pillow should appeal to eco-conscious shoppers.

You can add or remove the hulls to achieve your ideal loft. Hullo also sells hulls in bulk if you ever need to replenish your supply, so the pillow’s expected lifespan is much longer than average. One thing to keep in mind: the pillow is quite heavy and may be difficult to move at night.

The Hullo’s shipping costs and return options vary by seller. If you order the pillow through Amazon.com, delivery is free of charge and you’ll receive a 30-night trial period.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our team at Sleep Foundation has tested hundreds of pillows in order to determine the best models for every type of sleeper. Each pillow undergoes the same extensive testing process, during which we examine and handle the pillow to assess performance areas such as shape retention, moldability, and overall support. We also consider weight, firmness, ease of care, and pricing when assigning pillow ratings. Our test team is comprised of sleepers with various sleep preferences and body types. This helps ensure that our testing represents a wide array of sleepers.


How We Evaluated These Pillows

To evaluate pillows, our testers lay their head on each model and change sleep positions to assess qualities such as firmness, feel, contouring, and support. We physically handle the pillows to see if they are moldable, or if they maintain a full shape and spring back after being compressed. Based on our hands-on testing, we’ve determined that the above list of picks represents the best of the pillows on the market today.

Below are more details about our product testing methodology for pillows:

Conforming: A pillow with strong conforming will closely hug your head and neck, reducing pressure buildup that can sometimes cause pain or discomfort. We evaluate conforming by lying on the pillow and observing how deeply our head sinks. We also compress the pillow and measure the indentation’s depth.

Support: Pillows offer varying levels of support depending on factors such as fill material, firmness, and loft. We evaluate support by laying our head on a pillow for several minutes and assessing how well it supports our head and neck for proper spinal alignment. We’ve tested more than 100 pillows to compare against each other.

Temperature Control: Depending on the materials they’re made of, some pillows retain more heat than others. Our testers use thermal sensors to measure heat buildup while lying on the pillow. We also collect subjective feedback from testers who lie on the pillow.

Off-Gassing: Certain pillows made with synthetic materials may initially off-gas volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. VOCs are relatively harmless and the odors eventually dissipate, but some people may find them unpleasant at first. Our testers use a VOC meter to detect off-gassing odors in pillows.

In-Depth Pillow Guides

For more personalized pillow guides, check out the following pages:

How to Choose a Pillow

The best pillow for sleeping varies from person to person, and there is no single perfect pillow for everyone. To find your ideal pillow, you must consider your sleep position preferences, as well as many aspects of pillows you’re considering.

This section guides you through the various pillow qualities to evaluate while pillow shopping. Once you know what to look for, you can feel confident that you’re truly buying the pillow that best fits your needs.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Pillow

Marketing hype shouldn’t drive your decision-making as you shop for the perfect pillow. Companies may claim that their pillow feels like sleeping on a cloud, works well for all sleepers, and stays cool all night. Instead of being swayed by advertising, it’s best to evaluate the facts.

You should consider many factors when pillow shopping. First, your personal sleep position preference heavily influences which pillows best fit your body. Of course, many shoppers are limited by a budget. Keep these factors at the forefront of your mind while examining your pillow options.

“Your personal sleep position preference heavily influences which pillows best fit your body.”

Learn each pillow’s loft and firmness level to determine if it’s a good option for you. Identify the materials each pillow is made of, if it has cooling properties, and if it will relieve pressure in your neck and shoulders.

In this section, we provide more information about the factors to consider when pillow shopping.

  • Sleeping Position: Your preferred sleep position majorly affects which pillows you find comfortable. Stomach sleepers tend to like softer, flatter pillows, since thick pillows can prop the head too high, causing neck pain. Side sleepers generally prefer thicker pillows, which keep the head up and the spine aligned. Back sleepers likely prefer medium pillows, though they are the most flexible group.
  • Loft: “Loft” refers to a pillow’s height or thickness, specifically when the pillow is sitting flat with nothing on top of it. People with different sleep position preferences generally prefer pillows with different lofts. Loft and firmness level combine to determine a pillow’s height once weight is put on it.
  • Firmness Level: Just like mattresses, pillows come in different firmness levels. Firmness affects how a pillow feels, as well as how high it holds your head. For example, a pillow with a high loft might not hold your head up as high as you’d expect if it is extremely soft and sinks under weight.
  • Price: Pillows are available at nearly every price-point, ranging from under $10 to upwards of $1,000. Most pillows are sold for under $200, however. The price of a pillow is generally determined by the pillow’s materials and construction. Price loosely correlates with quality, though there are plenty of decent pillows available at affordable prices.
  • Pressure Relief: Like mattresses, pillows can be pressure-relieving or create pressure points. Since pressure points lead to discomfort or even neck pain, pressure relief is an important pillow quality for many sleepers. Pillow materials, loft, and firmness level combined with a person’s preferred sleeping position determines how well a pillow performs in terms of pressure relief.
  • Quality Materials: There is no single pillow cover or fill material that stands out as being the highest quality. Varying qualities exist within each material type. Customers can research down, polyfill, memory foam, and other types of material to better understand what determines quality within each material type.
  • Cooling Properties: Like mattresses, some pillows sleep cooler than others. Down alternatives tend to sleep cooler than down, and buckwheat hulls are known for sleeping exceptionally cool. Memory foam pillows can trap heat, but most contain cooling gel or another cooling material to counteract that tendency.

What Types of Pillows Are There?

Pillows are constructed with a variety of materials. Understanding what these materials are and how they generally perform will help you determine which pillows best fit your needs.

  • Polyfoam: Polyfoam, or polyurethane foam, is a type of foam used in both mattresses and pillows. Although polyfoam can vary widely in terms of both quality and firmness, it’s generally lower cost than memory foam. When used as pillow fill, polyfoam is often shredded or cut into small pieces.
  • Memory Foam: Memory foam pillows often provide a soft, conforming feel. Since memory foam tends to trap heat, manufacturers typically infuse it with a cooling agent or construct the pillow in a way that encourages airflow. Some memory foam pillows are constructed of full blocks of memory foam, while others contain shredded or cut memory foam.
  • Down: Perhaps the most traditional pillow fill, down is the soft, fluffy feather found beneath the outer, harder feathers of many birds. Most down pillows contain goose down, and some contain down mixed with feathers. Down is known for its durability, but it may bother some people with allergies or asthma.
  • Down Alternative: Any pillow that was created to feel like down, but does not contain down, is considered a down alternative pillow. Down alternative pillows offer options for vegans and people with allergies who like the feel of down. They are most commonly filled with a polyester microfiber filling.
  • Latex: Latex pillows are pressure relieving and extremely durable. They tend to have a high loft and be more dense, so they’re better for side and back sleepers than stomach sleepers. Latex pillows can be made of one piece of latex or shredded latex fill. Latex feels similar to foam, but is more cooling, especially when aerated.
  • Feather: Generally, the term “feather pillow” is used to refer to pillows that contain both feathers and down. Since feathers are harder than down, 100% feather pillows are less common. Feather pillows are soft, breathable, and a good option for people who sleep hot and want a lower loft.
  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls, the small outer casings of buckwheat grain kernels. These pillows closely conform to the body, and some people liken their feel to that of a bean bag. Many buckwheat pillows are vegan and organic, making them appealing to eco-conscious shoppers.
  • Wool: Wool is a less common fill material that is growing in popularity as customers search for natural pillow options. Most wool pillows are hypoallergenic, organic, and on the luxury end of the price spectrum. Wool is naturally temperature neutral and not extremely conforming.
  • Water: Water pillows typically contain water along with another fill material, such as memory foam or polyfill. Most water pillows require customers to fill the pillow with water themselves. This system allows for adjustable firmness levels. Water pillows are known for being supportive and cooling.

Pillow covers also come in a variety of materials. Most pillow covers are made of cotton, polyester, or a cotton-poly blend. Some are made of other materials, such as bamboo-derived fabric or satin.

Cotton covers tend to be more breathable than polyester. Different cover materials feel different to the touch, but the feel is less important since most customers use pillow cases over their pillows.

What is Pillow Loft?

A pillow’s “loft” refers to its height when it is lying flat with nothing sitting on top of it.

Pillows are generally divided into low, medium, and high lofts. A low loft pillow measures 3 inches or less in height. A medium loft pillow measures between 3 and 5 inches thick. A high loft pillow measures over 5 inches in height.

Unfortunately, these measurements haven’t been universally adopted across pillow companies. Some companies might call their pillow “low loft” or “high loft” when it is in fact medium or average in height.

Your ideal loft will depend on factors such as preferred sleep position and head size.

Check actual pillow measurements rather than descriptions whenever possible. Though some companies provide an exact measurement of their pillow’s loft, many do not.

How to Determine the Right Pillow Loft

The ideal pillow loft varies from sleeper to sleeper. Your sleep position preference, head size, body weight, and mattress firmness are all factors that influence which pillow loft is ideal for you.

  • Sleep Position: Stomach sleepers generally require low loft pillows. Medium and high loft pillows can push a stomach sleeper’s head up too high, putting strain on the neck. Back sleepers tend to prefer low or medium loft pillows. Finally, side sleepers tend to require high loft pillows. A high loft pillow can promote spinal alignment by keeping the sleeper’s head as high as their neck and shoulders.
  • Head Size: Your head size also helps determine the ideal pillow loft for you. Larger heads tend to sink more deeply into pillows. Therefore, people with larger heads tend to prefer high loft pillows. Similarly, people with smaller heads tend to prefer lower loft pillows.
  • Body Weight: Your body weight also influences your ideal pillow loft. The more a person weighs, the higher loft they should seek out. Lightweight sleepers tend to prefer pillows with lower lofts. Of course, other factors such as preferred sleep position and pillow firmness play a role. Body weight alone shouldn’t be used to choose which pillow to purchase.
  • Mattress Firmness: Since you’ll sink more deeply into a softer mattress, you won’t need as much pillow loft to feel comfortable. A low or medium loft pillow will feel more comfortable and provide adequate support for your head and neck. Less sinkage occurs on firmer mattresses, so you may need a pillow with higher loft to feel supported.

What Pillow Sizes Are Available?

Pillows come in a variety of sizes to fit beds of different sizes and people of different body weights and sleeping habits. Pillow size can be as important as firmness and loft when it comes to finding the pillow that best fits you.

  • Standard: Standard pillows measure 20 inches wide by 26 inches long. Standard pillows are the smallest, and therefore the least expensive, pillows on the market today. They are also the most commonly sold pillows.
  • Super Standard: Super Standard pillows measure 20 inches wide by 28 inches long. Like standard pillows, they are usually used one per twin or full bed, and two per larger bed. Super Standard pillows provide 2 more inches of length for sleepers who need it due to head size, body weight, or propensity to move during the night.
  • Queen: Queen pillows measure 20 inches wide by 30 inches long, 2 inches longer than Super Standard pillows. Queen pillows give extra room to sleepers who tend to toss and turn throughout the night or find themselves slipping off of smaller pillows.
  • King: King pillows measure 20 inches wide by 36 inches long. King pillows are much larger than most pillows, measuring 10 inches longer than standard pillows and 6 inches longer than queen pillows. King pillows work well with king beds and larger sleepers.
  • Body Pillow: Body pillow dimensions vary, though 48 or 54 inches wide by 20 inches long are common sizes. Body pillows are meant to be hugged. Side sleepers and pregnant women tend to most enjoy them.

How Much Does a Pillow Cost?

While pillow prices can range as high as several hundred dollars or more, most will cost you less than $200 — even luxury models. A major factor in pillow pricing is the type and quality of the fill material. We’ve found that pillows containing polyfoam and down alternative tend to cost less than pillows filled with latex, down, memory foam, or buckwheat.

Below are some other factors that may play a role in a pillow’s price:

  • Fabric quality
  • Enhanced cooling features like cooling gel or specialized fabric
  • Organic or sustainable sourcing of materials
  • Durability of seams
  • Design embellishments such as piping or embroidery

Frequently Asked Questions

What pillow types are best for side sleepers?

Side sleepers generally prefer pillows with medium to high loft, or about 4 to 6 inches thick (if not thicker). Due to the nature of this sleep position, extra padding is needed to cushion the head, neck, and shoulders and ensure even alignment.

Side sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds may prefer mid-loft pillows because they will sink more deeply into their mattress than lighter individuals, and thus not need as much padding. Specialty pillows for side sleepers often have contoured shapes or cutouts that mold around the shoulders and cushion the head without sacrificing loft elsewhere.

What pillows are best for sleepers with back pain?

The best pillow for any given sleeper should promote even spinal alignment by providing optimal cushioning for the head, neck, and shoulders. This factor is especially crucial for people with back pain, many of whom experience discomfort due to alignment issues in the first place.

Stomach sleepers with back pain should choose a low-loft pillow that won’t elevate their head to a significant extent. The same is somewhat true for back sleepers, though they may need a bit more loft to prevent their heads from falling back too much. Side sleepers with back pain may want to consider a medium- to high-loft pillow to ensure adequate cushioning for the head, neck, and shoulders.

What pillows are best for sleepers with neck pain?

The best pillows for people with neck pain will provide sufficient support without feeling too stiff or sinking excessively. In terms of composition, materials like solid memory foam, latex, and buckwheat hulls reinforce the head and neck quite well.

The pillow should also be firm and thick enough to maintain a full shape throughout the night. Pillows that contain down, feather, or down alternative fiber fill tend to be quite soft and overall support is fair at best, so sleepers with neck pain may want to bypass these products.

Which fill is best for pillows?

Since comfort is a subjective quality, the best pillow filling depends entirely on your personal needs and preferences. Down, down alternative, and shredded foam pillows tend to feel softer, while solid foam, latex, and buckwheat pillows are usually firmer. If you desire close contouring, foam or latex are more adaptive than other fill materials. Those who want a pillow with adjustable fill should opt for a shredded foam, shredded latex, or buckwheat pillow.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] or call us at (877) 672-8966 with your questions and we'll help you find exactly what you're looking for.

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