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Best Pillows of 2022

Lauren Fountain

Written by

Lauren Fountain, Certified Sleep Coach

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Methodology

We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guide to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn More

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Following a recent round of product tests, we've updated this page to include the Cozy Earth Silk Pillow as our best luxury pick and the Boll & Branch Down Pillow - Soft as our top pick for back and stomach sleepers. The Saatva Latex Pillow remains our best overall pick for this guide.

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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 top picks listed below are based on our own in-house testing, which examines fill, construction, and quality among other factors. Our testing team includes side, back, and stomach sleepers with varying weights and sleep habits. Our selections for the best pillows are chosen using our testers’ scores along with in-depth research and analysis.

Top Picks Overview

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 2022 Video

Watch the video below to learn more about the Sleep Foundation Lab’s top pillows of 2022.

Product Details

Saatva Latex Pillow

Best Overall

Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow
Price: $155 - Queen $175 - 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
Highlights:
  • 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
Saatva Latex Pillow

Buy more, save more. Get up to $450 off!

Talalay latex is a popular choice for pillow fill because it cushions and conforms to the head and neck, but also feels more responsive and supportive than foam. The Saatva Latex Pillow contains a core of shredded Talalay latex that creates a medium soft feel. This plushness is enhanced by an outer pillow padded with down-like microdenier fibers and a cover made of smooth organic cotton.

Your head may sink a bit into the pillow, but a thick profile ensures adequate elevation for most side and back sleepers. The outer pillow can be removed, which reduces the loft and makes the pillow more comfortable for stomach sleeping. This customizable design can also be useful for combination sleepers who usually switch between two positions while they sleep.

Above-average temperature control is another benefit to the Saatva Latex Pillow. Latex won’t trap heat quite like foam, and the same is true of the microdenier material when compared to real down. The cotton cover also enhances the pillow’s breathability. The cotton has received certification from the Global Organic Textile Standard, ensuring the fibers are sustainably grown without chemical pesticides. The cover and outer pillow are machine-washable. You can also add two silky-soft sateen pillowcases to your order for a small surcharge.

Saatva provides free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Your order includes a sleep trial that allows you to test out the pillow for 45 nights. Those who decide to keep it will also receive a 1-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Saatva Latex is one of the most well-rounded pillows we’ve tested in the lab. The microdenier outer pillow and latex core offer the best of both worlds when it comes to plushness and support.”

Silk & Snow Pillow

Best Value

Silk & Snow Pillow

Silk & Snow Pillow
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
Highlights:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who usually sleep hot on memory foam pillows
  • Value seekers
Silk & Snow Pillow

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

The Silk & Snow Pillow offers a premium design at an affordable price. The memory foam can be added or removed to adjust the loft based on your thickness preferences and sleep position. Side and back sleepers typically need more fill volume to ensure proper support, whereas stomach sleepers often feel comfortable with a low-profile surface.

The chambered construction features a shredded memory foam core cushioned with an outer layer of down-like microfiber fill. These materials – along with a soft cotton shell – create a plush feel that also conforms to the head and neck for targeted pressure relief. To clean the pillow, simply remove the shell and wash and dry it in your household machines.

Customers can bundle their purchase with a pair of pillowcases made of silk or linen. Silk & Snow provides free ground delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. Each order is backed by a 100-night trial period and a 3-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Silk & Snow pillow was a great fit for almost every sleeper on our test team, thanks to the adjustable fill. It was even comfortable for stomach sleepers, who usually find most pillows too lofty.”

Brooklinen Down Pillow

Most Comfortable

Brooklinen Down Pillow

Brooklinen Down Pillow
Price: $99 - Standard $119 - 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
Highlights:
  • 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
Brooklinen Down Pillow

New Brooklinen Customers can use code HOLIDAY15 to get 15% off their orders

Many people enjoy the luxuriously plush feel of down pillows, but some sleepers complain of insufficient support and excessive sinkage around the head and neck. The Brooklinen Down Pillow is a standout product because three different designs are available, each with a distinct feel and support level, so sleepers across weight and sleeping position groups feel comfortable.

The Plush pillow contains pure white down for exceptional softness that may be ideal for stomach sleepers. The Mid-Plush option is chambered with a feather core and an outer down layer for added support without sacrificing the plush feel. The Firm option is also chambered, but contains more feathers and less down for extra reinforcement around the head and neck. All versions of the pillow are encased in shells made of silky-soft cotton in a sateen weave.

The pillow is given an antimicrobial treatment intended to stave off harmful bacteria, though you can also spot-clean or dry-clean the pillow as needed. Double-stitching along the perimeter ensures above-average durability and reduces the potential for fill escaping. Standard and king sizes are available. All Brooklinen Down Pillows are made in Canada.

While Plush pillows cost more than the Mid-Plush or Firm models, prices are reasonable across the board. Brooklinen provides free ground delivery for U.S. customers, and international orders qualify for affordable flat-rate shipping. Each order includes a 365-night sleep trial, giving you plenty of time to decide whether to keep or return the pillow. Exchanges are also allowed if you aren’t satisfied with your initial firmness selection.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Brooklinen Down Pillow is much more supportive than most down pillows we’ve tested, thanks to the different firmness options. We recommend this pillow for sleepers who enjoy down pillows but need that extra support.”

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Best Luxury

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow
Price: $263 - Standard $311 - 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
Highlights:
  • 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
Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Shop Cozy Earth's biggest sale yet and get 25% to 30% off sitewide

Mulberry silk offers natural softness and excellent durability, but many pillows that use silk as a fill material carry expensive price-points. The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow is the best of both worlds for shoppers. Premium silk strands form the fill, creating a luxuriously plush surface for the head and neck that shouldn’t flatten too much over time, but its sticker price falls well below average.

A cover made of bamboo-derived viscose encases the silk. This fabric is both breathable and moisture-wicking to keep you cool and dry, even on hot or humid nights. The silk also retains very little heat. The cover has a sateen weave to create a silk-soft feel that is also ideal for people with acne, rashes, and other conditions that cause sensitive skin.

Standard and king sizes are available. You can launder the entire pillow in a commercial washer and dryer, though frequent cleaning with this method can damage the silk. Cozy Earth recommends dry cleaning or spot cleaning to preserve the pillow’s structural integrity, and you may also invest in a protector to safeguard the pillow from stains and contaminants.

In addition to the accessible pricing, the Silk Pillow qualifies for free ground shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. Each order comes with a 100-night sleep trial, giving customers ample time to test the pillow and decide whether it’s right for them. Those who choose to keep it also receive a 10-year warranty that covers flattening, loss of shape, and other structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow is both soft and sturdy. I enjoyed how plush it felt beneath my head and neck, but the silk fill maintains a full shape and I didn’t notice any of the flattening or clumping that often occurs with softer pillows.”

Layla Kapok Pillow

Best for Neck Pain

Layla Kapok Pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow
Price: $99 - Queen $119 - 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
Highlights:
  • 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
Layla Kapok Pillow

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

The Layla Kapok Pillow combines shredded memory foam fill with kapok fibers. The kapok fibers are sustainably harvested from the seed pods of the kapok tree, which grows in Indonesia. These two materials come together to provide a mix of cushioning and support that is ideal for side sleepers.

The pillow features an innovative cover that is woven with copper fibers that are designed to draw heat away from your face and neck to prevent uncomfortable heat buildup over the course of the night. The copper is also intended to confer antimicrobial properties to the pillow.

The cover has a zippered opening so that users can remove the cover for washing. This design allows for loft adjustments. The pillow arrives overstuffed, which may be perfect for larger side sleepers, but those who sleep on their backs or stomachs will want to remove some fill to achieve the appropriate loft level for proper spinal alignment. This customization enables the pillow to suit a wide range of sleepers.

Layla backs the pillow with a 120-night sleep trial and a 5-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The side and back sleepers on our team felt very comfortable on the Layla Kapok. The pillow has a perfect mix of support and contouring to keep the head, neck, and spine nicely aligned.”

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow

Best for Side Sleepers

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow
Price: $120
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
Highlights:
  • 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
Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow

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

Many pillows on the market today are suitable for side sleeping, but the Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow is one of the few models specifically designed for those who primarily use this position. The U-shaped design provides ergonomic support by aligning the neck and shoulders with the spine while cushioning the head to keep you comfortable. This can help alleviate pain and pressure points caused by poor alignment that often affect side sleepers.

The proprietary fill blend consists of latex strips and down alternative fibers. The latex has a responsive, springy quality while the fibers add plushness, so the pillow has a balanced feel. You can add or remove the fill to create the ideal loft. Eli & Elm sells extra fill in reasonably priced, 12-ounce bulk shipments if you need to replenish your supply.

The cover is composed of a cotton-polyester blend with a touch of spandex to make the material soft and stretchy. This fabric is also highly breathable and the fill shouldn’t retain too much heat, so the Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow is a good choice for hot sleepers. You can remove the cover and launder it in any household machine, but you should avoid exposing the fill to water.

The Cotton Side-Sleeper costs less than many competing models that contain latex. Shipping is also free for most locations in the contiguous U.S., making this pillow a good option for shoppers on a budget. Eli & Elm accepts returns within 45 days of the delivery date. Each order also includes a manufacturer’s warranty covering structural defects for up to five years.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“As a side sleeper, I really appreciated the curved cutout design of the Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper. The shape accommodates my shoulder and allows for better contouring around the neck.”

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Best Neck Support

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow
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
Highlights:
  • 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
Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

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

Most adjustable pillows on the market today allow you to add or remove fill until you’ve achieved the ideal thickness – but in most cases, the firmness won’t change much. The Luxome LAYR, on the other hand, is designed for customizable firmness and loft. These qualities make the pillow suitable for most sleepers regardless of their primary sleep position or personal preferences. We’ve also found the easily adjustable design is suitable for combination sleepers who frequently change positions during the night.

Each pillow purchase comes with three inserts. The soft insert contains plush down alternative fill that cradles the head and neck. This is also the loftiest insert and should be a good option for side sleepers, as well as back sleepers who prefer thicker pillows. Shredded memory foam fills the medium feel insert. This material is more supportive than the down alternative clusters and the profile is slightly thinner, so most back sleepers will likely prefer this insert. The firm insert contains two layers of solid memory foam, one with a 1-inch profile and the other with a 2-inch profile. For added customization, you can use either of these layers or both together. Our testing found this was the most comfortable insert for stomach sleepers.

Owners can use two or even all three inserts together if they wish, though this may require a specialty pillowcase. The shell is composed of viscose derived from bamboo, a highly breathable material that wicks away moisture to keep you cool and dry at night. Open-mesh side vents promote air circulation for added breathability, so the pillow shouldn’t sleep too hot – even if you use the solid foam inserts. The shell is fully machine-washable, as are the inner covers that contain each insert.

The Luxome LAYR is competitively priced, and those who purchase two pillows receive a 50% discount on the second. Standard/queen and king sizes are available. Standard ground shipping is free of charge for customers in the contiguous U.S., or you can pay an extra fee for expedited delivery. Luxome allows returns and exchanges of pillows in new condition within 30 days of receipt.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Luxome LAYR’s triple insert design stands out from other customizable pillows we’ve tested. Every tester in our lab found a configuration that worked for them.”

Boll & Branch Down Pillow

Best for Back and Stomach Sleepers

Boll & Branch Down Pillow

Boll & Branch Down Pillow
Price: $158-198 - Standard $168-228 - King
Fill: Down, down-feather core
Firmness: Soft, Medium Firm, Firm
Who it's best for:
  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • People with sensitive skin
  • Animal-conscious consumers
Highlights:
  • Premium white down creates a plush, lofty feel
  • Shell made from smooth and breathable organic cotton
  • Triple-washing process helps remove allergens from the fill
Boll & Branch Down Pillow

Enjoy 15% off orders $200+ with code FRESH15

Back and stomach sleepers each have unique pillow needs. Those who primarily use the back position often prefer mid-loft pillows that keep the head and neck upright without sinking too much, while stomach sleepers may need a lower-loft pillow to prevent neck pain. Anyone who uses either – or both – of these positions will likely feel comfortable with the Boll & Branch Down Pillow. The pillow is available in three firmness and density levels. After testing all three, we’re recommending the soft option to back and stomach sleepers.

The white down fill is luxuriously soft, but a triple-chamber design gives the pillow great shape retention and excessive sinkage shouldn’t be an issue. The medium profile is also conducive to back or stomach sleeping. A shell made of organic cotton encases the down. The fabric is breathable and should help offset the down’s heat-retaining properties. A smooth hand-feel also makes this pillow a good option for people with sensitive skin.

The down is washed three times during production. This process can remove allergens from the plumage that trigger sniffles, sneezing, and other symptoms for people who are allergic to down. A certification from the International Down Standard also ensures the down is obtained using ethical means, and that the geese are humanely treated during each step of the extraction process.

If this version of the pillow sounds too soft, you can also choose a medium or firm design. All are reasonably priced, given the high-end materials, and ground shipping is free for all domestic U.S. orders. Boll & Branch offers a 30-night trial period with free return shipping for dissatisfied customers.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“This pillow from Boll & Branch embodies everything we love about down. It’s exceptionally plush and provides gentle cushioning for the head and neck, but the chambered design helps the pillow maintain a full, lofty shape.”

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Best Latex

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow
Price: $89 - Queen $99 - King
Fill: Talalay latex foam
Firmness: Medium firm
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who find foam pillows too soft or squishy
  • Value seekers
Highlights:
  • Solid latex cushions and contours to the head and neck while maintaining even support
  • Excellent cooling thanks to ventilated core and breathable organic cotton cover
  • Two loft options to accommodate different sleep positions
Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

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If you wake up feeling soreness or stiffness in your neck and shoulders, your pillow may be to blame. A pillow that does not provide sufficient support can interfere with your spinal alignment, creating pressure buildup in the process. The Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow is supportive and responsive, so you shouldn’t experience the deep sinkage you may encounter with a foam pillow. Two loft options also make the pillow suitable for different sleep positions.

During our tests, the 4-inch low loft pillow was most popular with the back sleepers on our team. This loft should provide adequate cushioning without excessively elevating the neck for people who primarily use the back position. If you’re a back sleeper who prefers a thicker profile or a side sleeper, then the 6-inch high loft pillow will probably be more comfortable.

The Talalay latex core is ventilated with small holes to promote air circulation throughout the interior and the organic cotton cover is highly breathable, so the pillow should sleep cool for most people. You can remove and machine wash the cover, but the latex should only be spot cleaned as needed. Queen and king sizes are available.

The pillow is very affordable compared to other models that contain Talalay latex and Brooklyn Bedding offers free ground delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Each purchase comes with a 30-night sleep trial, and those who keep the pillow also receive a 3-year warranty against structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Our testers all agreed that the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow excels at keeping your head and neck cool. It’s also very supportive without feeling overly firm.”

GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam

Best Cooling

GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam

GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam
Price: $95
Fill: Aerated Gel Memory Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Hot sleepers who enjoy foam pillows
  • People who seek pressure relief for the head and neck
Highlights:
  • Memory foam is aerated to promote cooling
  • 6-inch loft and medium firm feel
  • Cover is machine-washable
GhostBed GhostPillow - Memory Foam

SF Readers get 25% off pillows at GhostBed

The GhostBed GhostPillow – Memory Foam is constructed with memory foam that provides deep contouring, which might be an especially good fit for people who experience neck pain during sleep and require a pillow that cushions the head and neck.

The pillow is made from a single piece of memory foam with an aerated design meant to enable air flow through the pillow. The surface features a phase change material designed to regulate the temperature of the pillow as your body temperature fluctuates throughout the night. The pillow is encased in two covers. A machine-washable outer zippered cover is made with Ghost Ice fabric, which feels cool to the touch. An inner cover has a mesh design that further promotes air circulation.

With a medium firm feel and 6-inch loft, this pillow should provide adequate support for many side and back sleepers. While memory foam pillows are typically known for trapping heat, the  is designed with several cooling features that help reduce heat retention. Sleepers who are looking for a foam pillow that doesn’t lead to overheating may find this to be an appealing option.

GhostBed offers a 101-night sleep trial that allows you to try the pillow risk-free. Customers receive free shipping and returns within the contiguous U.S. The pillow comes with a 5-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“As someone who regularly sleeps on foam pillows, I found the GhostPillow particularly strong at cradling my head and neck. It also runs a bit cooler than other foam pillows I’ve tried.”

Luxe Pillow (Down and Feather)

Best Down

Luxe Pillow (Down and Feather)

Luxe Pillow (Down and Feather)
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
Highlights:
  • 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
Luxe Pillow (Down and Feather)

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The Luxe Pillow is constructed with down and feathers. It contains a firmer, structured core of small-game waterfowl feathers. Surrounding the core are two chambers of soft, white goose down. This construction provides a mixture of support and plushness.

The pillow comes in a medium firmness level. The loft and feel make the Luxe a strong option for side and back sleepers, who benefit from pillows with medium or high loft. Stomach sleepers often prefer softer, less lofted pillows to maintain healthy spinal alignment. Down and feather pillows aren’t usually recommended for people with allergies, however the down and feathers in the Luxe undergo extensive washing that is intended to make the fill less bothersome to sleepers with allergies.

The Luxe Pillow comes with a high-quality pillow protector, which helps prevent wear and tear over time. It can also help protect sleepers from allergens that might develop in the pillow over time, such as dust mites.

The Luxe Pillow comes with free shipping and a 100-night sleep trial during which customers may return the product at no cost.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The mix of down and feathers in the Luxe Pillow delivers on plushness, but it’s also surprisingly supportive, which is something you don’t always find with down pillows.”

Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

Best Buckwheat

Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

Hullo Buckwheat Pillow
Fill: Buckwheat hulls
Firmness: Firm
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who sleep hot
  • Eco-conscious shoppers
Highlights:
  • Buckwheat hull fill provides excellent breathability
  • Removable fill offers customizable loft and feel
  • Made with organic, eco-friendly materials
Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

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

The Hullo Buckwheat Pillow is a supportive, adjustable pillow with a buckwheat fill. Buckwheat pillows, which are pillows filled with the outer casings of buckwheat kernels, are known for their advanced support, breathability, long lifespan, and comfort.

The cover of the Hullo is made of 100% organic cotton twill. The buckwheat hulls that make up the inner fill are carefully sourced and grown in the US. Users can adjust the firmness, malleability, and loft of the Hullo by easily adding or removing buckwheat hulls from the pillow. This allows you to carefully tailor your pillow to suit your sleeping position, weight, and personal preference. Back sleepers can adjust the amount of buckwheat hulls in the Hullo so the pillow has a lower loft, while side sleepers can add more hulls to achieve a higher loft.

The Hullo comes with a 60-night trial. During that time, pillows may be returned, but the customer must pay the cost of return shipping.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Of all the pillows we’ve tested in our lab, the Hullo Buckwheat outperforms much of the competition when it comes to support. The adjustable fill makes this pillow compatible with all sleep positions.”

Why You Can Trust Us

Our team has tested over 300 pillows to determine which models will help you get the best night’s sleep. Since sleep position is a common factor in finding a comfortable pillow, we draw on feedback from side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers on our testing team.

How We Evaluated These Pillows

To evaluate pillows, our testers lay on each model and moved around the surface to assess qualities such as firmness, feel, contouring, and breathability. Based on our hands-on testing, we determined that the above list of picks represents the best of the pillows on the market today.

In-Depth Pillow Guides

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

How to Choose a Pillow

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 because it 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.

Also, 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 types of down, polyfill, memory foam, etc. 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 often 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.

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. 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.

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.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Lauren Fountain

Certified Sleep Coach

Lauren is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with extensive experience researching and testing a wide variety of sleep products.