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Finding the Right Pillow

A great pillow can make a world of difference for your sleep. An important part of sleep hygiene, your pillow cushions your head and neck, which is essential for both comfort and support. A pillow that maintains a proper neck angle can ward off neck pain and encourage overall spinal alignment.

Given the immense selection of pillow types and sizes, though, many shoppers are unsure of how to find their perfect pillow. We’ve covered all the bases for you with top pillow picks based on sleeping position, pillow type, and specific preferences and needs.

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Pain and Needs

Pillow choice is very important to people who live with neck, shoulder, or back pain. The right pillow can help alleviate tension and stiffness in these areas, while the wrong pillow can cause more discomfort and pressure. All pillows flatten over time, so if you’ve been using the same pillow for years, you may experience added aches and pains.

Pillows for Neck Pain

People with neck pain typically prefer pillows that contour evenly to the head and neck while providing adequate support and maintaining a full shape. For those with severe pain, a contoured ergonomic pillow that cradles the head and supports the neck may be the best option.

Queen
King

Saatva Latex Pillow

Fill: Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative

Firmness: Medium Soft

Standard/Queen
King

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Fill: Down alternative, shredded gel-infused memory foam, solid gel-infused memory foam

Firmness: Adjustable

One Size Fits All

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow

Fill: 75% Latex and 25% Polyester Fiber

Firmness: Medium, adjustable

See More Pillows For Neck Pain

Pillows for Shoulder Pain

A supportive pillow that cushions the head and neck can make a huge difference for people with persistent shoulder pain. Some pillows sold today are specifically designed for people with torn rotator cuffs, osteoarthritis, and other conditions that cause shoulder discomfort.

Queen
King

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pro Pillow

Fill: TEMPUR Memory Foam TEMPUR Micro-Cushions

Firmness: Soft, Medium Soft, Medium

Standard
King

Silk & Snow Pillow

Fill: Shredded memory foam core with down alternative microfiber outer chamber

Firmness: Medium

Queen
King

Saatva Latex Pillow

Fill: Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative

Firmness: Medium Soft

See More Pillows For Shoulder Pain

Pillows for Back Pain

Many people develop aches and pains in their back because their shoulders and hips are not aligned with their spines while they sleep. A pillow for back pain should support these areas to ensure even alignment. Side sleepers can also improve their alignment by lying with a second pillow between their legs.

Pillows for Snoring

Most people snore at least once in a while, but for many this is a chronic condition. The issue is particularly common for back sleepers because this condition can restrict airflow through the breathing passages if the head is not elevated. The best pillows for snoring provide the loft and support needed to keep your head upright throughout the night.

Pillow Types

Pillows fall into different categories based on the materials that make up their fill. From memory foam and latex to feathers and buckwheat hulls, each type of fill offers certain advantages and drawbacks. Factors to consider when choosing a pillow material include durability, temperature control, pressure relief, and ease of cleaning and care. Cost will also be a factor, as average prices differ considerably between different pillow types.

Memory Foam Pillows

A memory foam pillow is ideal for anyone who enjoys close contouring around the head and neck. Pillows with solid foam cores often excel at pain and pressure relief. You can also opt for a shredded memory foam pillow, many of which offer adjustable loft.

Queen
King

Saatva Memory Foam Pillow

Fill: Shredded Gel Memory Foam

Firmness: Medium

Standard/Queen
King

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Fill: Down alternative, shredded gel-infused memory foam, solid gel-infused memory foam

Firmness: Adjustable

Queen
King

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

Fill: TEMPUR memory foam with TEMPUR-Breeze Gel coating

Firmness: Medium (5)

See More Memory Foam Pillows

Down Pillows

Down pillows are cushioned with the soft inner plumage of geese or ducks, and may also contain feathers from the same birds as supplemental fill. These pillows are best suited to people who prefer a plush, cloud-like surface for their head.

Standard
King

Brooklinen Down Pillow

Fill: Canadian white down with feather core

Firmness: Plush, Mid-Plush, Firm

Standard
King

Boll & Branch Down Pillow

Fill: Down, down-feather core

Firmness: Soft, Medium Firm, Firm

Standard/Queen
King

Pacific Coast Hotel Double Touch of Down Pillow

Fill: Hyperclean down and Resilia feathers

Firmness: Soft

See More Down Pillows

Cooling Pillows

A cooling pillow is constructed with cover and core materials that promote air circulation and don’t trap body heat. These materials include breathable fabrics such as cotton, Tencel, or rayon from bamboo, as well as latex, ventilated foam, or down alternative fibers on the interior.

Queen
King

Saatva Latex Pillow

Fill: Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative

Firmness: Medium Soft

Standard/Queen
King

Luxome LAYR Customizable Pillow

Fill: Down alternative, shredded gel-infused memory foam, solid gel-infused memory foam

Firmness: Adjustable

Standard/Queen
King

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Fill: 100% long-strand mulberry silk

Firmness: Medium soft

See More Colling Pillows

Sleeping Positions

Your sleeping position is central to how your body is aligned during the night, making it an important consideration when selecting a pillow. The loft, or height, of a pillow and its firmness directly affect whether it can meet the needs of your body.

Though many pillows can be used effectively in more than one sleeping position, we’ve identified what distinguishes the top performers for side, back, and stomach sleepers. If you are a combination sleeper who changes positions frequently, look for a pillow that best suits the position that you spend the most time in.

Side Sleepers

When lying on your side, your shoulder generates a sizable space between your head and the mattress. This can put pressure on your neck if your pillow is too short. For that reason, most side sleepers, and especially those with broad shoulders, do best with a pillow with medium or high loft. Adjustable-loft pillows are popular with side sleepers, who also benefit from pillows with plenty of fill and at least medium firmness.

Queen
King

Saatva Latex Pillow

Fill: Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative

Firmness: Medium Soft

Queen
King

Layla Kapok Pillow

Fill: Shredded memory foam and kapok tree fiber blend

Firmness: Medium Soft

Standard
King

Brooklinen Down Pillow – Plush

Fill: Pure Canadian white down or a down/feather blend

Firmness: Plush

See Pillows For Side Sleepers

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers should look for a pillow that can lift their head into a comfortable and supportive angle. In most cases, that’s a medium-loft pillow with at least medium firmness so that it doesn’t compress too much under their head.

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleeping is the least common position, and it can create unique needs for maintaining proper alignment. Stomach sleepers get the best results with a low-loft pillow; taller pillows can push their head too far upward and put pressure on their neck. A pillow that is thin and either soft or medium firm suits most stomach sleepers.

Pillows for Support

Not all pillows are designed to go under your head and neck. Depending on your sleeping position, body pain, comfort preferences, or other needs you may find it helpful to use a different type of pillow to support yourself.

Knee Pillows

Knee pillows can improve spinal alignment and alleviate pressure for side sleepers. Back sleepers can also place these pillows beneath their legs for added support. Most knee pillows are constructed from dense memory foam that doesn’t compress too easily, allowing the material to maintain a full shape.

Wedge Pillows

A wedge pillow is shaped with a slight incline to support the head and shoulders. These pillows are particularly beneficial for heavy snorers and people with acid reflux. Some back sleepers also prefer to rest their legs on wedge pillows, which can help alleviate aches and pains in the lumbar region and hips.

Body Pillows

Body pillows are ideal for side sleepers who enjoy snuggling with a pillow while they sleep. Pregnant women can also use them to help improve spinal alignment. Additionally, a body pillow can help alleviate discomfort for people with back pain and provide extra cushioning for stomach sleepers.

Travel Pillows

Travel pillows allow you to sleep comfortably on airplanes, trains, and other types of public transportation. They can also be useful for people staying in motels, youth hostels, and other overnight lodgings where bedding quality is questionable. Most travel pillows are light and compact enough to fit in any luggage.

Pillow Reviews

Brand Model Fill Firmness Full Review Price
Avocado Avocado Green Pillow GOLS-certified shredded latex and GOTS-certified kapok fibers Medium Read Our Review $89
Bear Bear Pillow Single, aerated piece of ‘LOFT-X’ polyfoam Medium Read Our Review $125
Casper Casper Original Pillow Crimped Polyester Microfiber Fill Medium Soft Read Our Review $65
Coop Home Goods Coop Home Goods Original Shredded Memory Foam and Microfibers Medium Firm Read Our Review $60
Copper Fit Angel Sleeper Pillow Solid memory foam Medium Read Our Review $40
Layla Layla Kapok Pillow Shredded memory foam and kapok tree fiber blend Medium Soft Read Our Review $109
Miracle Bamboo Miracle Bamboo Pillow 95% Shredded Memory Foam 5% Polyester Microfibers Medium Firm Read Our Review $30
Purple Purple Harmony Pillow (Standard) Hyper Elastic Polymer Talalay Latex Medium-Soft Read Our Review $159
Purple Purple Pillow 3″ Hyper-Elastic Polymer 1” removable polyfoam booster .5” removable polyfoam booster Soft – Middle Firm – Edges Read Our Review $109
Saatva Saatva Latex Pillow Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative Medium Soft Read Our Review $165
SleepDream SleepDream Zoned memory foam Medium Firm Read Our Review $110
Sleepgram Sleepgram Pillow Polyester Microfiber Adjustable Read Our Review $50
Sutera Sutera Pillow Solid gel memory foam Medium Firm Read Our Review $55

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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