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Most people know the feeling of turning over the pillow to the “cool side” in the middle of the night. Some pillows retain heat and feel warm against the sleeper’s face. Flipping these pillows will help them feel cooler, but only briefly. A pillow specifically designed with breathable components can reduce sweating, overheating, and the general discomfort that comes from sleeping hot. Since warm temperatures can negatively affect sleep quality, a cooling pillow can also curb sleep interruptions and help you avoid daytime fatigue.

Our best cooling pillow picks are a diverse assortment in terms of composition, firmness, and thickness. Some of our selections are composed of fill and shell materials noted for superior temperature control, while others are equipped with features that promote airflow and breathability. Our testing team consists of people who tend to sleep hot as well as those who normally don’t struggle with overheating in bed, so our recommendations should reflect the experiences of most sleepers.

Our Verdict – What’s the Best Cooling Pillow?
We recommend hot sleepers look for pillows made with breathable materials or enhanced cooling technology to keep them comfortable throughout the night. The Saatva Latex Pillow is made from organic cotton and latex, both naturally breathable materials that help prevent overheating.

The Best Cooling Pillows

Best Overall – Saatva Latex Pillow
Best Neck Support – Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow
Best Luxury – Cozy Earth Silk Pillow
Best for Neck Pain – Layla Kapok Pillow
Best for Combination Sleepers – Nectar Copper Pillow
Best Adjustable – Marlow Pillow

Best Cooling Pillows Video

In the video below, our testers take a closer look at our top five picks for best cooling pillows. Watch the video to see how the pillows performed in the Sleep Foundation Test Lab.

Check out the pillow profiles below to learn more about each of our top picks and why they stand out from the rest of the pack. We’ve highlighted key strengths of each pillow and who we think will enjoy them the most. Our cooling pillows guide also includes detailed information for first-time buyers. We’ll discuss types of pillows that sleep cool – as well as those known for overheating – and how much you can expect to pay for different types of pillows.

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 enjoy a soft cushioning for their head and neck
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who prefer pillows with adjustable thickness

Highlights:

  • Plush fill consists of shredded Talalay latex and microdenier material
  • Organic cotton cover is machine-washable
  • 45-night sleep trial and 1-year warranty

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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

Bottom Line

The Saatva Latex Pillow sleeps exceptionally cool thanks to its breathable cover and fill materials. Due to the gusseted design and full shape, we also recommend the pillow to anyone who needs a lofty pillow to sleep comfortably.

Our team has personally tested hundreds of pillows, many of which sleep fairly cool. The Saatva Latex Pillow stands out from most of the pack for its durable construction, high-quality materials, and lofty shape. Shredded latex fill makes the pillow plush and responsive in equal measure, and a breathable cover further sweetens the deal for hot sleepers.

How It Performed

The Saatva Pillow measures 8 inches thick, making it thicker and loftier than many competing models. During our hands-on tests, the pillow was a big hit among our side sleepers. People who use the side position typically need a thicker pillow to fill the space between their head and downward-facing shoulder, which promotes even alignment and reduces pressure buildup. Some of our back sleepers also felt comfortable resting their head on the pillow. The thick profile makes this pillow particularly useful for back sleepers prone to snoring.

Thanks to the chambered design, our testers noticed consistent shape retention. You may need to fluff the pillow from time to time, but probably not as often as a pillow with down or down alternative fill. Latex is a naturally durable material, so we also expect this pillow to hold up well over time.

What It’s Made of

The pillow’s dual-chamber design consists of a shredded latex core and outer layer containing down-like microdenier fibers. These fibers make the pillow feel plush as you lay down your head, while the latex provides enough reinforcement to support your neck and shoulders. A cover made of organic cotton encases the fill.

You may machine wash the pillow after separating the cover and outer chamber from the latex core. Queen and king sizes are available. For an additional charge, you can add a pair of matching cotton sateen pillowcases. The Latex Pillow is reasonably priced and Saatva offers free shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. Each order includes a 45-night trial period, and those who keep the pillow receive a warranty covering structural defects for up to 1 year.

Read our Full Saatva Latex Pillow Review to learn more

Best Value

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 who tend to sleep hot
  • Those who are allergic to real down

Highlights:

  • Animal-free down alternative fill is derived from plant-based materials
  • Breathable cotton cover helps the pillow sleep cool
  • Durable design with budget-friendly pricing

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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

Bottom Line

We’ve found that the Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow’s vegan fill nicely mimics the luxurious softness of real down without the allergy symptoms, reliance on animal-based materials, or the high price tag. This pillow should appeal to anyone who enjoys fluffy, lofty surfaces for their head and neck.

Comfort is a subjective quality, but we’ve found that some pillows have designs that appeal to a wider swath of sleepers than others. The Sweet Zzz Plant-Based Pillow lands squarely in the former category while maintaining an affordable price-point. With vegan down alternative fill and a smooth cotton cover, this pillow excelled throughout our hands-on tests and felt comfortable to the majority of side and back sleepers on our team.

How It Performed

Most of our side and back sleepers had positive things to say about the pillow. Our side sleepers found the pillow sufficiently lofty and didn’t experience any neck or shoulder pain due to uneven alignment, and back sleepers received enough loft to lie comfortably. The pillow may be too thick for stomach sleepers, but our testers in this category weighing less than 130 pounds also awarded it positive ratings.

Thanks to the breathable down alternative fill, the pillow performed well during our temperature control and moldability tests. You may need to fluff the pillow frequently to maintain a full shape, but you can also place the pillow in a dryer if it flattens with use and you need to expand it.

What It’s Made of

The Plant-Based Pillow’s down alternative fill is derived from soybeans, so it won’t trigger allergies and does not use any animal-based components. The outer chamber’s fill is looser and plusher, and the core chamber is denser to ensure good support for your head and neck. A cover made of smooth natural cotton encases the fill.

The entire pillow is machine-washable for quick and easy care. You can choose from standard and king sizes.

Not only is the Plant-Based Pillow affordably priced, but most orders in the contiguous U.S. qualify for low flat-rate shipping. Sweet Zzz allows returns and exchanges within 100 nights of the delivery date, and you’ll receive a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty against structural and material defects if you decide to keep the pillow.

Most Comfortable

Sijo FluffBase Eucalyptus Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $60 – Standard/Queen $80 – King
Fill: Tencel down alternative fibers
Firmness: Medium Soft

Who it’s best for:

  • Hot sleeper
  • People with sensitive skin
  • Shoppers with limited budgets

Highlights:

  • Eucalyptus-derived fibers mimic the softness of real down without trapping heat
  • Sateen-woven cover offers a luxuriously smooth feel
  • Fully machine-washable for easy care

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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

Bottom Line

The Sijo FluffBase Eucalyptus Pillow uses breathable Tencel for its fill and cover material. The result is exceptional cooling and moisture control without sacrificing a plush surface for your head and neck, and affordable pricing further sweetens the deal for budget-conscious shoppers.

Many soft pillows hug your head and neck closely, trapping heat in the process. This shouldn’t be an issue with the Sijo FluffBase Eucalyptus Pillow. The fill consists of down alternative fibers made of Tencel, a breathable material with moisture-wicking properties. A smooth Tencel cover completes the affordably priced design.

How It Performed

Our tests show the FluffBase Eucalyptus Pillow’s mid-loft design is thick enough for back sleepers. The pillow is also fairly soft, so our stomach sleepers didn’t experience any neck strain. Some of our side sleepers also felt comfortable on the pillow, but others needed more loft to fill the space between their head and downward-facing shoulder.

We’ve encountered many pillows with shredded fill that require frequent fluffing, but the FluffBase Eucalyptus maintained a full shape throughout our tests while still feeling very moldable. Tencel is more durable than other fabrics such as cotton and polyester, so we expect the pillow to hold up well over time.

What It’s Made of

The pillow’s Tencel-based down alternative fibers provide the same softness and airiness as real down without triggering allergy symptoms or using animal-based materials. You may notice some sinkage beneath your head, but the pillow’s volume is fairly substantial. The Tencel cover is soft and smooth, and the material’s moisture-wicking properties help ensure you’ll stay cool and dry even on humid nights.

Sijo offers the pillow in standard/queen and king sizes. The entire pillow is machine-washable, but you should separate the cover and core before doing laundry.

In addition to its affordable sticker price, the FluffBase Eucalyptus Pillow qualifies for low flat-rate delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Sijo allows returns and exchanges within 30 days of receipt, during which shipping is free of charge.

A picture of the SHEEX Original Performance Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best for Side Sleepers

SHEEX Original Performance Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $99 – Standard/Queen $109 – King
Fill: Polyester down alternative fibers
Firmness: Medium Soft

Who it’s best for:

  • People with persistent neck and shoulder pain
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Value seekers

Highlights:

  • Proprietary fiber fill dissipates heat to keep you cool
  • Gusseted design maintains full, even loft
  • Outer cover is removable and machine-washable

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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

Bottom Line

SHEEX’s Original Performance Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow has a gusseted, high-loft design to cushion the space between your head and shoulder, resulting in even alignment and less pressure for those who use the side-sleeping position. A cooling cover and fill materials also earned the pillow strong ratings during our temperature control tests.

If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll most likely need a lofty pillow to ensure even alignment and less pain in your neck and shoulders. The SHEEX Original Performance Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow contains plush down alternative fill, and a thick gusset expands the shape to create a high profile conducive for this position.

How It Performed

As its name implies, the pillow is designed for side sleepers. Our testing team members who favor this position all agreed the pillow provided enough loft to fill the space between their head and downward-facing shoulder, so there wasn’t any discomfort or pressure buildup. Back sleepers who prefer high-profile pillows may also enjoy this one, but most of our stomach sleepers found it too thick.

The pillow also earned favorable ratings during our shape retention tests, which we’ve attributed to a thick gusset that keeps the fill evenly distributed. At the same time, we found the pillow plush, moldable, and conducive to snuggling.

What It’s Made of

Like other SHEEX products, the Original Performance Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow is made using proprietary materials engineered for consistent cooling. The fill consists of Clima fibers intended to mimic the softness of real down without absorbing too much heat. Since the fill is entirely synthetic, it shouldn’t trigger allergy symptoms and does not feature any animal-based materials.The smooth, moisture-wicking cover is quilted in SHEEX’s signature hexagonal pattern.

The cover and core are both machine-washable, though you may need a large-capacity appliance for the latter. Standard/queen and king sizes are available.

The Original Performance Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow carries an approachable sticker price and shoppers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for low flat-rate shipping. SHEEX allows returns and exchanges within 60 days of the purchase date. If you decide to keep the pillow, you’ll receive a 1-year warranty.

Best Temperature Regulating

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:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Combination sleepers
  • People who experience neck pain in the morning

Highlights:

  • Two loft options
  • Open-cell memory foam construction promotes airflow
  • Memory foam cradles the head and neck

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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

Bottom Line

A lot of foam pillows we’ve tested claim to sleep cool while still trapping heat, but the Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow from Brooklyn Bedding is the real deal. A ventilated core and breathable, cool-to-the-touch cover allow you to enjoy the foam’s adaptive, pressure-relieving qualities without feeling too warm.

The Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow lives up to its name in more ways than one. The solid memory foam core provides gentle contouring to relieve tension and strain in your neck and shoulders. However, temperature regulation is one of the pillow’s biggest strengths. The foam is ventilated and infused with copper-graphite to ensure consistent cooling and the circular-knit cover is highly breathable, so bothersome heat absorption shouldn’t be an issue for most people.

How It Performed

The pillow is available in two loft levels. The lower-loft option — which measures about 4.5 inches thick — was most popular among the back sleepers on our testing team. The thicker profile of roughly 6 inches provided adequate cushioning for our side sleepers. Some of our stomach sleepers felt comfortable on the low-loft pillow, but this pillow may be too thick and strain the neck if you primarily use the stomach position.

In our experience, solid memory foam pillows struggle during temperature control tests, so we were very impressed with this Brooklyn Bedding model. Our thermal sensors detected little to no heat buildup, and none of our testers complained of uncomfortable heat retention. No fluffing is needed to maintain a full shape, but the pillow is soft enough to provide gentle cushioning.

What It’s Made of

The core contains a single piece of memory foam. Pinhole perforations allow air to circulate throughout the interior, and a copper-graphite infusion provides extra breathability and cooling. The cover is composed of circular-knit polyester. This material is engineered to feel cool to the touch at all times.

In addition to the medium- and high-loft options, you can choose from queen and king sizes. The cover is removable and machine-washable, but you should only spot clean the foam as needed.

The Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow is competitively priced and shipping is free of charge for all customers in the contiguous U.S. Brooklyn Bedding’s pillow trial spans 30 nights in length. Returns are free during this time frame, but those who keep their pillow also receive a 1-year warranty against structural and material defects.

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 who enjoy frequently changing how their pillow feels
  • Hot sleepers and those who sweat in their sleep
  • Value seekers

Highlights:

  • Adjustable design lets you customize the pillow for firmness and loft
  • Cover is composed of breathable, moisture-wicking viscose derived from bamboo
  • Customers who purchase two pillows receive a substantial discount

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

SleepFoundation readers get the best price on Luxome products

Bottom Line

The Luxome LAYR is one of the most customizable pillows we’ve tested firsthand. Multiple inserts allow you to customize the loft and firmness based on your needs, and the vented cover generates enough airflow to help you sleep cool no matter which inserts you use.

We’ve tested a fair amount of adjustable pillows in our lab, but few match the Luxome LAYR’s customizability. The pillow comes with four inserts of varying composition, and each material has a distinct firmness level. You can stack the inserts as needed to achieve your ideal firmness and loft, and a vented, moisture-wicking cover keeps you cool throughout the night.

How It Performed

Our testing team experimented with several of the Luxome LAYR’s configurations. Side sleepers generally preferred most — if not all — of the inserts in place, and felt most comfortable with the down alternative or shredded memory foam insert on top. For our back sleepers, two to three inserts provided enough support. Stomach sleepers only needed one to two inserts.

Regardless of how the inserts were arranged, the LAYR slept cool throughout our tests. The moisture-wicking cover fabric played a major role in the pillow’s breathability, as did the vents at both ends of the cover. We found shape retention varied by how many inserts were used. With three to four inserts, the pillow should maintain a full shape, but you may need to fluff the pillow frequently if you use one or two.

What It’s Made of

The LAYR comes with four inserts, all of which are encased in liners to keep them separate. These include one insert with down alternative fill, another with shredded memory foam, and two solid memory foam inserts measuring 1 inch and 2 inches thick, respectively. Placing the down alternative on top creates a plush feel, while the foam inserts are firmer and more supportive. We suggest trying several different configurations to nail down your ideal firmness and loft levels.

The cover is composed of viscose derived from bamboo, a highly breathable fabric with moisture-wicking properties. Air vents promote airflow for additional cooling. You can machine wash the pillow and liner covers, but you should not launder any of the inserts. Standard and king sizes are available.

Given its customizable design, the LAYR is very reasonably priced, and you’ll receive a substantial discount by including two pillows with your purchase. Shipping is also free within the contiguous U.S. Your order includes a 30-night trial period.

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:

  • People who prefer very soft pillows
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who would rather purchase sustainably made products

Highlights:

  • High-grade mulbery silk fill provides plush cushioning
  • Breathable viscose from bamboo cover helps the pillow sleep cool
  • Fully machine-washable

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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

Bottom Line

Pure mulberry silk fill gives the Cozy Earth Silk Pillow a softer feel than most of the pillows we’ve tested in our lab. We were also impressed with the excellent shape retention — a rare quality for a pillow this plush.

Mulberry silk is one of the most luxurious bedding materials in use today, and most pillows made with silk carry expensive price-points as a result. The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow is more affordable than many of its direct competitors without sacrificing the quality or longevity people have come to expect from silk.

How It Performed

The Silk Pillow has a thick profile but its fill is quite plush. As a result, the pillow was popular among a wide range of testers on our team. Side and back sleepers received enough loft to lie comfortably without their heads falling back too much, while the fill compressed well for most of our stomach sleepers and didn’t cause any neck strain.

Shape retention proved to be a standout quality during our tests. The pillow requires virtually no fluffing to keep a full shape and should never flatten — if it does, this is considered a defect under Cozy Earth’s warranty. Temperature control was another testing highlight. The silk does not absorb much heat and the moisture-wicking cover feels cool to the touch.

What It’s Made of

The pillow’s fill is composed of mulberry silk strands that are grouped tightly together, resulting in a soft surface for your head and neck that shouldn’t sink or lose shape. A bamboo-derived viscose cover encases the silk. Standard and king sizes are available.

You have multiple care options for your Silk Pillow. Cozy Earth recommends dry cleaning or spot cleaning, but you can also machine wash the pillow in a delicate cycle. Tumble dry on low heat with dryer balls, or hang to air dry. Keep in mind machine washing may cause the pillow to deteriorate more quickly.

Shipping is free for customers in the contiguous U.S. Your Cozy Earth Silk Pillow comes with a sleep trial spanning 100 nights. If you decide to keep the pillow, it’s backed by a generous 10-year warranty against structural defects such as pilling fabric and shape loss.

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:

  • People whose loft preferences vary on any given night
  • Hot sleepers
  • Side and back sleepers

Highlights:

  • Contains a plush blend of shredded memory foam and natural kapok fibers
  • Cover is infused with copper intended to promote cooling
  • Fill can be added or removed to adjust the loft

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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

Bottom Line

The Layla Kapok Pillow’s ultra-plush fill provides deep cushioning to alleviate pain and pressure points in the neck. Our team also found the pillow exceptionally moldable and ideal for snuggling.

If you live with frequent or chronic neck pain, choosing the right pillow can be highly beneficial. We recommend the Layla Kapok Pillow to anyone who needs a plush, slightly adaptive surface for their head and neck to sleep comfortably. The fill blend consists of shredded memory foam and natural down alternative fibers for a balance of cloud-like softness and gentle contouring. The adjustable design also allows you to customize the loft based on your sleep position and personal preferences.

How It Performed

Since the Layla Kapok Pillow is adjustable, most of our testers found a profile that was sufficiently supportive. Our side sleepers preferred the pillow at full volume, and most did not remove any of the fill. The back sleepers on our team removed about a third of the fill to avoid excessive elevation, and stomach sleepers felt most comfortable with most of the fill removed.

The fill doesn’t retain much heat and the poly-viscose cover is quite breathable, so the pillow fared well during our temperature control tests. You may need to fluff the pillow if you remove some of the fill, but at full volume we noticed good shape retention. At the same time, the fill is soft enough to ensure exceptional moldability.

What It’s Made of

The pillow contains shredded memory foam and kapok tree fibers. The latter have a soft, airy feel akin to real down, so the pillow feels plush but also contours evenly to the head and neck. To adjust the pillow’s loft, unzip the cover and add or remove the fill to your liking. You can purchase additional fill in bulk if you run out and need to replenish your supply.

The pillow’s cover is composed of polyester and viscose with a hint of Lycra spandex to give the fabric a stretchy feel. You can machine wash the cover, but must first separate it from the pouch containing the fill. The Layla Kapok Pillow is available in queen and king sizes.

Affordable pricing and free shipping within the contiguous U.S. make the Kapok Pillow a good option for budget-conscious shoppers. You can bundle your purchase with Layla bedding products for additional discounts. Each purchase comes with a 120-night trial, and you’ll receive a 5-year warranty if you decide to keep the pillow.

Read our Full Layla Kapok Pillow Review to learn more

Best for Combination Sleepers

Nectar Copper Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $99 – Standard $119 – King
Fill: Solid memory foam
Firmness: Medium

Who it’s best for:

  • Combination sleepers
  • People who normally find memory foam pillows too hot
  • Budget-conscious shoppers

Highlights:

  • Breathable cover woven with copper fibers helps reduce heat retention
  • Solid memory foam core contours evenly around the head and neck
  • Affordable pricing in all sizes and a lengthy 50-night trial

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

33% off all Nectar products

Bottom Line

The Nectar Copper Pillow has a solid core and gusseted design for excellent shape retention. This ensures consistent neck support for every sleeping position, and the foam is adaptive enough to alleviate pain and tension in your neck.

Neck support is key for restful sleep, especially if you frequently change positions at night. We’re recommending the Nectar Copper Pillow for combination sleepers seeking more neck support. Thanks to a gusseted design, the pillow maintains a full shape to elevate the neck and promote even alignment while you sleep.

How It Performed

The Nectar Copper Pillow earned its most favorable ratings from side and back sleepers on our team, but some of our stomach sleepers enjoyed the softer feel and adaptive foam as well. The mid-to-high loft offered our side sleepers ample cushioning to fill the space between their head and downward-facing shoulder, while the pillow comfortably elevated our back sleepers’ necks without creating too much strain.

Temperature control was a major testing highlight. Many solid foam pillows we’ve evaluated absorb and trap heat, but a cover woven with cooling copper fibers made a world of difference for this model. Our thermal sensors detected minimal heat buildup, and none of our testers felt excessively warm. As with other solid foam pillows we’ve tested, this model excelled at shape retention.

What It’s Made of

The Copper Pillow contains a solid memory foam core. A medium feel means the foam is somewhat adaptive, but contours to a moderate extent and provides decent overall support. The cover consists of breathable mesh fabric woven with copper, which has natural cooling properties. A thick gusset reinforces the high profile.

You can remove and machine wash the cover whenever it needs to be cleaned, but the foam should only be spot cleaned with water and a gentle cloth if stains occur. Standard and king sizes are available.

The Copper Pillow is much more affordable than the majority of memory foam pillows we’ve tested and Nectar offers free shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. The company’s trial period is also longer than average, allowing you to test the pillow for up to 50 nights before deciding to return it or keep it. If you go with the latter, you’ll receive a 5-year warranty.

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

Best Adjustable

Marlow Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $65 – Standard $85 – King
Fill: 80% memory foam, 20% polyester fiber
Firmness: Adjustable

Who it’s best for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who are unsure of their ideal loft or firmness
  • Shoppers who prioritize long sleep trials

Highlights:

  • Zippered design allows sleepers to adjust firmness and loft
  • Memory foam and polyester fill excels at contouring
  • 365-day sleep trial

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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

Bottom Line

The Marlow Pillow offers excellent contouring for your head and neck, and the innovative adjustable design allows you to change the loft and firmness with a quick zip of the cover.

The Marlow Pillow is a memory foam model with cooling features meant to offset heat retention that you’ll typically find in foam pillows. The pillow is sold at a reasonable price-point, considering its thoughtful design. You’ll also receive a discount if you purchase a 2 or 4-pack of pillows.

How It Performed

Many foam pillows we’ve tested in the lab have a tendency to retain heat, but the Marlow Pillow is designed with a few features that help reduce some of the heat retention. The foam is shredded, rather than a solid piece, which improves airflow through the pillow. The gussets are also ventilated with mesh fabric to enhance breathability. Back and side sleepers on our team found the pillow very comfortable, thanks in part to the strong contouring around the head and neck. The adjustable design allowed testers to customize the pillow’s firmness and loft to meet their specific needs.

What It’s Made of

The Marlow Pillow is filled with a shredded blend of 80% memory foam and 20% polyester fiber. The shell is composed of 100% cotton in a sateen weave, with mesh gussets made from polyester. You can adjust the loft and firmness with a unique zippered design. Zipping both sides results in a firm pillow with thicker loft, while unzipping both sides produces a softer pillow with a lower profile. You can also zip just one side if you prefer a medium firmness and loft. Keep in mind that the gussets only appear when you unzip the pillow, so zipping both sides will prevent some of the airflow enabled by the gussets.

You’ll receive a 365-night sleep trial and 2-year warranty with your Marlow Pillow. Shipping is free to addresses in the contiguous U.S.


Why You Can Trust Us

Our team at Sleep Foundation has tested over 300 pillows in order to find the best models for every type of sleeper. Each pillow undergoes the same rigorous testing process, during which we examine and handle the pillow to evaluate it for  performance areas such as shape retention, moldability, and overall support. Technological implements allow us to track heat buildup and measure concentrations for particles that emit bothersome odors. We also take weight, firmness options, and ease of care into account when assigning pillow ratings.

How We Evaluated These Pillows

Since sleep position plays a large role in how comfortable a pillow feels, we’ve included side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers on our team, in order to address the needs of as many sleepers as possible. During the testing process, our team members lay their head on each pillow to evaluate firmness, contouring, and temperature neutrality. We’ve synthesized our findings to present what we believe are the best cooling pillows on the market. Our testers found that these pillows retained little heat, wicked away moisture, and slept cool compared to other models we evaluated.

What is a Cooling Pillow?

A cooling pillow prevents heat retention and provides a cool or temperature neutral sleep surface. This type of pillow is constructed to draw heat away from your body and increase airflow to prevent heat retention. The materials used in the pillow cover are often moisture-wicking and breathable.

Choosing the right pillow is just one component of creating a cooling sleep environment. There is a direct relationship between temperature and sleep, and your bedroom should be set to a comfortable temperature to improve sleep quality. Colder room temperatures facilitate better sleep, and many studies recommend keeping the bedroom around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Your body has a circadian rhythm that lowers your body temperature when it is time to prepare for sleep. A hot room can increase wakefulness. This disrupts the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and results in poor quality sleep. Some people sleep hotter than others. This can make it harder to fall asleep. Cooling bedding can provide comfort and encourage restful sleep.

How to Choose a Cooling Pillow

There are many factors to consider when choosing a cooling pillow, including its cooling properties and the quality of materials used. Every sleeper has unique needs, but there are common elements that can help you determine if a pillow is right for them. These include price, loft, firmness level, and pressure relief. Keep in mind your sleeping position, weight, and personal preferences when shopping for a cooling pillow.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Cooling Pillow

Below are some key factors you should keep in mind when purchasing a cooling pillow. A cooling pillow draws heat away from your body, and certain materials do this better than others. That being said, each person is different and what works for one may not work for another.

In addition to regulating temperature and providing a comfortable sleep environment, a cooling pillow may also relieve pressure and provide ample support for your head, neck, and shoulders. While the focus of our guide is a pillow’s cooling properties, there are additional factors that can help you determine if a pillow is a good purchase or not. You should consider what type of pillow you want, and what is most important to you in addition to cooling properties.

  • Cooling Properties: The cooling properties of a pillow determine how well it regulates your temperature, dissipates heat, and keeps you cool throughout the night. Most cooling pillows have passive cooling properties, meaning they are constructed with materials that either encourage airflow or draw heat away from your body. Gel, copper, phase change materials, and graphite are all conductive materials that dissipate heat. Moisture-wicking materials like wool, cotton, and bamboo are helpful if you’re prone to sweating throughout the night. These breathable materials also circulate air and prevent heat retention. For shoppers, it is important to focus on the materials and construction of the pillow over any marketing buzz.
  • Sleeping Position: The position you sleep in each night determines the firmness and loft you should look for in a pillow. Side sleepers need a pillow with a higher loft that fills the space between the neck and shoulders. This helps keep the spine aligned and reduces pressure. Back sleepers maintain a neutral posture, but need a pillow that keeps their head level and not tilted too far forward or back. Stomach sleepers prefer thinner pillows that keep their head and neck at a comfortable angle.
  • Price: Pillows are available at a wide range of price-points, so we recommend setting a budget before shopping. Keep in mind that some materials are more expensive than others. A high-quality cooling pillow can range between $75 to $150 or more, which is more expensive than the average pillow.
  • Pressure Relief: A pillow provides additional support and relieves pressure and tension in your neck and shoulders. Pillows that conform to the shape of your head and neck help keep the spine aligned. Memory foam is well-known for its conforming nature, while latex also offers pressure relief.
  • Quality Materials: The quality of materials used in a cooling pillow determines its lifespan. Many cooling pillows are made with high-quality materials that are especially durable. This includes natural latex and foams that offer shape retention and support. As a result, cooling pillows often last longer than other pillows.
  • Firmness Level: For cooling pillows, a medium soft to medium firm feel is common. Materials like wool, down, and shredded memory foam are often soft. Solid foam and latex pillows are more likely to be medium to medium firm. Buckwheat pillows and some foam options can be firm. When shopping for a pillow, personal preferences and sleeping position can help you determine which firmness level is the right fit.
  • Loft: Loft refers to the height of the pillow. Cooling pillows often have a medium to high loft. Certain cooling pillows have an adjustable loft, meaning you can remove or add filling to change the height of the pillow. A higher loft is better for side sleepers, while back sleepers tend to prefer a medium loft. Stomach sleepers benefit from a low loft.

What Materials are in a Cooling Pillow?

A cooling pillow uses materials in its fill and cover to regulate temperature and dissipate heat. We’ll break down common fill and cover materials here. It should be noted that certain materials are highly conductive and draw heat away from the body. Others allow air to flow through them to dissipate heat. There are multiple options available, and certain pillow types will work better for some than others.

Fill Materials

  • Latex: Latex is made from rubber tree sap, which is harvested and processed using the Dunlop or Talalay method. Dunlop latex is heavier, with a dense bottom and resilient feel. Talalay latex requires more processing, with a homogenous and breathable result. Latex offers ample pressure relief and is more breathable than synthetic foam. Some heat retention is possible, but many cooling pillows use aerated latex to dissipate heat and encourage airflow.
  • Memory Foam: Memory foam is a viscoelastic polyfoam that responds to heat and pressure to conform closely. This results in a customized feel for sleepers and pressure relief for the head, neck, and shoulders. Memory foam pillows may retain heat and restrict airflow, so look for a cooling pillow that offsets this. Open-cell memory foam has better airflow. Memory foam can also be shredded to let air circulate, or infused with gel or copper to draw heat away from the body.
  • Gel or Copper: Gel and copper are highly conductive materials that pull heat away from the body. These can be added to other fill materials, most often foam. Gel has a cool to the touch feel. Copper is antimicrobial. These materials prevent heat from building up in the pillow, but they often result in a higher price-point.
  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat hulls are the shells of the buckwheat grain. The hulls have an open shape and create air pockets in the pillow. This prevents heat retention. The hulls are malleable and supportive. Buckwheat pillows may take some getting used to, as the hulls have a natural odor and are prone to making a rustling noise when moved.
  • Wool: Wool is harvested from lambs and sheep. The natural fiber has a crimped shape that adds ample loft and airflow to a pillow. Wool acts as natural insulation, so it pulls heat and moisture away in warmer climates and retains heat in colder areas. A wool pillow is best for those who want year-round temperature regulation.
  • Down Alternative: Down alternative is often made with polyester or synthetic fibers that imitate the feel of down. This offers a vegan alternative to down, which is made with the down feathers of geese or ducks. Down alternative fill is less likely to retain heat than down. It is also more affordable.

Cover Materials

  • Cotton: Natural cotton fibers are soft and breathable. There are several varieties of cotton, and the fibers can vary from short-staple to extra-long staple. Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton are types of extra-long staple cotton that are soft and breathable. Cotton naturally wicks away moisture for a cooling feel. This material is often used in covers as it increases airflow and is easy to clean.
  • Phase Change Material: Phase change materials control temperature by absorbing body heat and releasing it. These materials change from a liquid to solid state to regulate temperature. Textiles that incorporate phase-change materials are often used in cooling pillows to draw heat away from the body.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo is a natural fiber that is moisture-wicking and lightweight. It is more absorbent than cotton, making it an ideal choice for hot sleepers who sweat throughout the night. Bamboo is breathable and increases airflow throughout the pillow.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Cooling Pillow?

Many shoppers are drawn to cooling pillows for their temperature-regulating properties. These pillows reduce heat retention and are an important part of creating a comfortable sleep environment. However, due to the cooling properties and materials used, cooling pillows are more expensive. There are a few pros and cons shoppers should consider before purchasing a cooling pillow.

ProsCons
  • Temperature Neutrality: Cooling pillows draw heat away from the body and prevent sleeping hot.
  • Long Lifespan: Cooling pillows are made with durable materials that result in a longer lifespan.
  • Pressure Relief: Tension in the neck and shoulders is relieved by cooling pillows that have a latex or foam construction.
  • Adjustable Loft: Shredded foam, buckwheat, or wool fill can be removed or added to an adjustable pillow for a customized feel.
  • Often Hypoallergenic: Materials like latex, foam, and wool are often used in cooling pillows and resist common allergens.
  • Cost: Cooling pillows have a higher-than-average price-point due to the quality of materials used.
  • Maintenance: Many cooling pillows are difficult to clean, especially if they have a solid foam or latex core that cannot be washed.
  • Not for Everyone: Those who do not sleep hot may find a cooling pillow is unnecessary.
  • Odor: Materials used in cooling pillows may off-gas or have a natural odor.

Who is Best Suited to a Cooling Pillow?

Hot sleepers especially benefit from cooling pillows, but there are also benefits for side and back sleepers. It is important for you to consider sleeping position and personal preferences when shopping for a pillow. A cooling pillow might not be right for you and there are special considerations that should be kept in mind.

A cooling pillow is best suited for:

  • Hot Sleepers: Hot sleepers need cooling bedding to prevent overheating. This allows them to sleep comfortably, as temperature and sleep quality are connected. A cooling pillow can help draw heat away from the body and provide a cooling surface for hot sleepers. A cooling pillow will also wick away sweat.
  • Side Sleepers: Side sleepers need a higher loft pillow to keep the head elevated and neck aligned. Many cooling pillows have a higher loft that is suitable for side sleepers. Adjustable cooling pillows allow for additional fill and a higher loft.
  • Back Sleepers: Back sleepers need a medium loft pillow that supports the head without letting it tilt too far forward or back. Most cooling pillows have the ideal loft and firmness for back sleepers. Materials like memory foam and latex contour to the shape of the head for proper support and alignment.

These kinds of pillows are not well suited for:

  • Stomach Sleepers: Stomach sleepers need a low loft pillow. This keeps the neck at a comfortable angle. Some cooling pillows are adjustable, but most have a medium to high loft that is less than ideal for stomach sleepers. Stomach sleepers often prefer a soft pillow and most cooling pillows are considered medium soft to firm.
  • Sleepers with Odor Sensitivities: Cooling pillows often use synthetic foams or natural materials that prevent heat retention. Synthetic foam tends to off-gas, which causes a chemical smell in the pillow. This usually dissipates within a few days, but those who are sensitive to odors may notice it for longer. Materials like wool and buckwheat also have a natural odor that may be off-putting to sleepers with odor sensitivities.

Other Tips for Sleeping Cool

A cooling pillow is an essential part of a comfortable sleep environment, but it is just one component. You can take additional measures to stay cool throughout the night.

  • Bedding: Using breathable, lightweight bedding prevents heat retention. Natural materials like cotton, bamboo, and eucalyptus are ideal. These fibers are commonly used in cooling bed sheets, comforters, and duvets. Pay attention to thread count and weave to ensure your bedding allows air to circulate. A percale weave offers a crisp and cool feel for hot sleepers. Avoid heavy fabrics and synthetic materials that are not breathable.
  • Room Temperature: A cool room improves sleep quality. The ideal room temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the thermostat in this range, and use a fan to keep air circulating. Window shades can act as insulation, keeping hot air out of your room and preventing cool air from escaping.
  • Mattress: There are plenty of mattress options that regulate temperature and reduce heat retention. The best mattresses for hot sleepers are often made with latex or gel-infused memory foam. A hybrid construction with coil support increases airflow throughout the mattress and can make a significant difference for hot sleepers.
  • Pajamas: What you wear to bed plays a role in how well your body regulates temperature. Opt for natural, breathable fabrics like cotton and bamboo. Avoid heavier fabrics, thermal pajamas, or flannel pieces.
  • Mattress Topper: If buying a new mattress is not in the cards, a mattress topper can be an affordable way to make your current mattress more comfortable. Toppers act as an additional comfort layer and can improve the temperature regulation of the mattress. Aerated or gel-infused foam, latex, and wool are all breathable mattress topper options.

Cooling Pillow FAQs

How do cooling pillows work?

Cooling pillows are often infused with materials like gel, graphite, or copper that help draw heat away from your body. Certain models combine these elements with a construction that promotes airflow so that heat can escape. Cover fabrics like cotton, rayon derived from bamboo, and wool are beneficial too since they wick sweat and increase breathability.

Your pillow’s shape can also have an effect on how cool it feels. A solid piece of foam will generally retain more heat than it will when the foam is shredded, as air can better circulate around the shredded fill. Consider your sleeper type and fill preferences to find a cooling pillow that has all the qualities you need.

How do you wash a cool gel pillow?

While exact washing directions will vary by manufacturer, many cool gel pillows are spot clean only and should not be put in a washing machine. Most cooling pillows take this into account and provide a washable cover that's easily removed. If you need an option that's simple to launder, make sure to research the manufacturer's recommendations.

Can cooling pillows be toxic?

Purchasing a pillow that's OEKO-Tex certified and CertiPUR-US certified can help you ensure that your pillow has low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In small doses, VOCs aren't a threat to your health but can be irritating to people with allergies or respiratory problems. VOCs are present in many foam products and can have an unpleasant smell. It typically takes about 24 to 48 hours for these VOCs to dissipate, so sleepers particularly sensitive to smell should allow their pillow to fully air out before use.

How long do cooling pillows last?

Your cooling pillow's lifespan will depend on the quality of its materials, but you can expect a well-made pillow to last 3 to 4 years. Your weight and sleeper type can also affect how long your pillow lasts. A pillow that gets significant amounts of direct pressure will likely break down faster than one that has less weight applied. Choosing a high-quality fill and the correct firmness level for your sleeper type can help ensure your pillow goes the distance.

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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