The Best Pillows: These 14 Picks Beat Out the Rest

By | July 21, 2022

Forget your mattress for a min — what about where you rest your precious head? If your pillow feels more like a crumpled-up ball of socks or a pancake than a pillow, it’s prob time to make a change.

Sleeping on the wrong pillow can be a real pain in the neck, but finding the right one can also be a huge pain in the neck.

To lend a hand in finding the right one, we compiled some of the best pillows of the year for every type of noggin.

So don’t sleep on these 14 pillows — er, do sleep on them.

A quick look at the best pillows of 2022

  1. Best for back sleepers: Brentwood Home Zuma Foam Wedge Pillow
  2. Best for stomach sleepers: Coop Home Goods Original Loft Pillow
  3. Best for side sleepers: Layla Kapok Pillow
  4. Best cooling: Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow
  5. Best firm: Purple Harmony Pillow
  6. Best memory foam: Leesa Premium Foam Pillow
  7. Best for travel: Sleep Artisan Natural Latex Travel Pillow
  8. Best for pregnancy: Tempur-Pedic BodyPillow
  9. Best for breastfeeding: Blessed Nest The Nesting Pillow
  10. Best for neck pain: Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow (Curved)
  11. Best for headaches: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Neck Pillow
  12. Best luxury: Cozy Earth Silk Pillow
  13. Best on Amazon: Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow
  14. Best  under $50: WayFair Sleep Medium Memory Foam Cooling Bed Pillow
best pillows

How we chose the best pillows 

Choosing where to rest your head for the next few years is a big decision. Here’s how we narrowed down the best of the best:

  • Reviews. You know a pillow is good when people are lining up to rave about it — without getting anything free for doing it. We sifted through the piles of pillows and pages of reviews to find products that real customers genuinely love.
  • Variety. Side sleeper? Back sleeper? Regular neck pain? Whether you need to accommodate that crick in your neck or breastfeed your bb, we have options that will take you through all walks of life, from day to night.
  • Company rep. Is this company legit? We only feature companies that make it through our vetting process, which is designed to catch unsupported health claims, safety concerns, or shady business practices.
  • Warranty and sleep trial. This is one sitch where trying before you buy is clutch. We prioritized products that let you sleep on your purchase (literally), often for months before you commit.  We also looked for products that offer warranties in case anything goes wrong.

Only the Greatist: The best pillows

Best pillow for back sleepers

Brentwood Home Zuma Foam Wedge Pillow

Brentwood Home Zuma Foam Wedge Pillow
  • Price: $49-$59
  • Height: 7, 10, or 12 inches (in.)
  • Size: 24 x 24 in. (for all heights)
  • Fill: memory foam
  • Firmness: medium-firm

Back sleepers, rejoice: A pillow shaped like a wedge of cheese just might offer the restful slumber you need.

It might seem a little odd, but the pillow’s unique shape is designed to provide just the right amount of incline and support for back sleepers. The high part supports your head, while the dense, lower portion supports your neck without straining it by forcing it upward. The company also says it’s ideal for watching TV on the floor or reading in bed.

Research shows that pillow height plays a big role in sleep comfort and potential neck pain — but there hasn’t been enough research to say for sure what height works best for back sleepers. Lucky for you, this pillow is available in three different heights, and the wedge shape gives you a little more height to play with.

Reviewers seem to find it super comfortable — especially back sleepers, those recovering from back, neck, or spinal surgery, and those who otherwise have snoring or breathing probs. Some side sleepers also swear by them. Reviewers also like the soft bamboo cover and that the pillow lacks that “chemically” smell that others have.

You get 30 days to try it at home, which is shorter than others out there — but it also doesn’t cost as much as competitors.

Pros

  • good for back sleepers
  • optimal breathing, watching TV or reading
  • no off-gassing
  • free shipping and returns
  • 30-night trial
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons

  • maybe an off-putting shape for some

Shop now at Brentwood Home.

Best pillow for stomach sleepers

Coop Home Goods Original Loft Pillow

Coop Home Goods Original Loft Pillow
  • Price: $71.99-$77.99
  • Height: adjustable
  • Size: 20 x 30 in. (queen) 20 x 36 in. (king)
  • Fill: shredded memory foam
  • Firmness: adjustable

For stomach sleepers, there’s nothing as uncomfy as your face smooshed into a too-high, too-hard pillow. When you sleep on your tummy, a flatter, softer pillow tends to work best. If you opt for a higher or harder pillow, you risk neck discomfort or back pain.

This one from Coop Home Goods is adjustable — so the height and firmness are totally up to you. All you need to do is add or remove the hella soft shredded memory foam fill to reach Goldilocks-level comfort.

With over 50,000 glowing reviews on Amazon (and a Greatist editor that’s totally in love with it), it’s fair to say people love this pillow. Many praise the adjustability and say it’s one of the comfiest pillows they’ve ever used.

The pillow has a 30-day return policy and a 5-year warranty.

Pros

  • good for stomach sleepers
  • adjustable
  • washable
  • free shipping and returns
  • 100-night trial
  • 5-year limited warranty

Cons

  • some reviewers say there’s some off-gassing

Shop now at Amazon.

Best pillow for side sleepers

Layla Kapok Pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow
  • Price: $100-$115
  • Height: 7 in., adjustable
  • Size: 18 x 28 in. (queen), 18 x 34 in. (king)
  • Fill: shredded memory foam and kapok fiber
  • Firmness: adjustable

Made from shredded memory foam and fibers from kapok tree seeds, this adjustable pillow is designed to feel soft and firm at once. Whether you prefer a flat and firm pillow or something taller and softer, you can adjust this pillow’s height to suit your needs. Simply unzip and remove (or add) some of the fill.

As we mentioned, current research doesn’t provide any great guidelines for pillow height depending on sleep position, but height is def important. That’s why adjustable options like this work well for side sleepers — no matter your body size, shoulder width, or personal preference, you should be able to find a fill level that feels comfy AF.

Some reviewers call it the perfect side sleeper pillow. They say it’s comfy, supportive, and retains its shape, night after night. Some also rave about it for easing neck and shoulder pain.

Heads up, though: Some complain about a chemical scent that lasts for several days. It has a 120-day trial and 5-year warranty, so it might be worth a few sleeps.

Pros

  • good for side sleepers
  • free shipping and returns
  • 120-night trial
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • some reviewers say there’s some off-gassing at first

Shop now at Layla.

Best cooling pillow

Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow

Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow
  • Price: $85-$100
  • Height: 5 in.
  • Size: 16 x 25 in. (standard), 16 x 34 in. (king)
  • Fill: memory foam, charcoal, cooling gel
  • Firmness: medium-firm

If you’re prone to night sweats, this Tuft & Needle Pillow might be the cooling relief you need. Instead of being molded or shredded like other memory foam, this foam is specially cut for ideal airflow.

It also contains graphite and cooling gel to help absorb heat so you can stay cool — even without flipping to the other side of the pillow.

Though this pillow is designed to support all types of sleepers, some stomach sleepers might find the height too high. Back and side sleepers seem to love it though.

Some sweaty sleepers complain this pillow isn’t exactly a miracle worker, but others say it really does the trick. Others dislike the charcoal smell but say the scent does eventually dissipate.

It has a 100-night sleep trial, so you can find out for yourself.

Pros

  • good airflow and cooling features
  • free shipping and returns
  • 100-night trial
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • may be too high for stomach sleepers
  • some say it could be even more cooling

Shop now at Tuft & Needle.

Best firm pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow
  • Price: $143-$219
  • Height: 5.5., 6.5, or 7.5 in.
  • Size: 26 x 17 in. (standard and medium), 28 x 17 in. (king)
  • Fill: gel and latex
  • Firmness: firm

If you like your pillows firm, Purple has the pick for you. It’s made from a gel material formed into a grid with a latex core, which is designed to feel firm yet cool and malleable.

It’s also available in 3 heights, so you can pick whatever is best for your needs. For reference, Purple says the medium and tall heights are best for side and combo sleepers, while the tall is ideal for those with larger frames. Meanwhile, the low height is best for back and stomach sleepers and those with small to medium frames.

Some complain that it’s a little on the heavy side, but that might be expected from a firmer pick. It’s also a little spendy, but many say it’s worth it.

It has a 100-night free trial and a 1-year warranty.

Pros

  • firm feel
  • unique material
  • breathable
  • free shipping and returns
  • 100-night trial
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • pricey
  • heavy

Shop now at Purple.

Best memory foam pillow

Leesa Premium Foam Pillow

Leesa Premium Foam Pillow
  • Price: $80-$109
  • Height: 5 in.
  • Size: 18 x 26 in. (standard), 18 x 32 in. (king)
  • Fill: memory foam
  • Firmness: medium-firm

In a 2020 study, researchers concluded that materials like memory foam reduce neck fatigue by aiding in spinal support, which in turn promotes better sleep. Whether you have nagging neck pain or just want to enjoy a more restful slumber, this medium-firm memory foam MVP might be the thing you need.

There are loads of reviews raving about comfort. Reviewers who side sleep seem to love this baby in particular, though it’s designed for all types of sleepers. Some do say it’s a little too short in height and firm for their taste, though, but most seem to love it.

This one has a limited 1-year warranty and a 30-night free trial.

Pros

  • good for neck pain
  • free shipping and returns
  • 30-night trial
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • maybe too short and firm for some

Shop now at Leesa.

Best travel pillow

Sleep Artisan Natural Latex Travel Pillow

Sleep Artisan Natural Latex Travel Pillow
  • Price: $44.99
  • Height: adjustable  
  • Size: 8 x 13 in.
  • Fill: latex fill
  • Firmness: adjustable  

Need to rest up on the go? This Sleep Artisan pillow will comfortably cradle your neck on every plane, train and automobile.

The eco-friendly shredded fill is adjustable — simply zip it open and add or remove as desired. The latex is also designed to be cooling, so you can count on this one during even the hottest summer vacays.

It’s not quite the typical travel U pillow — that’s because the recessed shape is designed to relieve pressure points while you sleep sitting up.

Reviewers give it 5 stars for comfort. Some don’t love that it lacks a pillowcase, though. You’ll have to buy one separately, and the shape isn’t the easiest to find.

Pros

  • ideal for travel
  • adjustable
  • low price point
  • free shipping and returns
  • 30-night trial
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • no pillowcase

Shop now at Sleep Artisan.

Best pillow for pregnancy

Tempur-Pedic BodyPillow

Tempur-Pedic BodyPillow
  • Price: $199
  • Height: 5.5 in.
  • Size: 48 in. long
  • Fill: memory foam  
  • Firmness: medium-firm

Getting good sleep for one is tough enough as it is — what about when you’re snoozing for two? This Tempur-Pedic BodyPillow might help.

While pregnancy can make falling asleep in your usual position a challenge, this pillow is specially designed to support your bod as it grows and shifts. It’s a long, firm pillow designed to relieve pressure on your spine during pregnancy when you’re following doc’s orders and sleeping on your side.

It’s made from open-celled elastic memory foam, which is designed to cushion and contour your curves while also remaining firm enough to not turn into a crepe. There’s some limited evidence that suggests sleeping on a specially designed pillow like this one may relieve nighttime lower back pain during pregnancy.

Reviewers love it for both during and after pregnancy — many also say it’s legit for alleviating back pain unrelated to carrying a babe.

Some reviewers say the pillow started to break down after a year or so of hardcore use, which is a bummer. But it does come with a 5-year warranty, which means you could likely get a replacement if that happens to you.

Pros

  • relieves back pain during pregnancy
  • ideal for side sleepers
  • free shipping
  • 5-ye ar warranty

Cons

  • may break down over time
  • no returns or trial period

Shop now at Tempur-Pedic.

Best breastfeeding pillow

Blessed Nest The Nesting Pillow

Blessed Nest The Nesting Pillow
  • Price: $90-$100
  • Height: 5 in.
  • Size: 26 x 16 in.
  • Fill: buckwheat
  • Firmness: adjustable

You, baby, and your breasts deserve the very #Best. It might not be the cheapest option, but it’s definitely a consumer fave.

It’s made with buckwheat, which is entirely moldable. That way, you can adjust its shape to conform to your bod and help prop up your lil babe.

The cotton canvas and terrycloth cover are designed to look minimalist and, dare we say, elegant. Plus, all of the pillow’s materials are certified organic.

A few reviewers say it’s a little on the heavier side, but other than that, breastfeeding peeps everywhere are loving it.

Pros

  • designed for use while nursing
  • adjustable
  • aesthetically pleasing
  • organic materials
  • free shipping and returns

Cons

  • pricey
  • on the heavy side
  • no trial period
  • no warranty

Shop now at Amazon.

Best pillow for neck pain

Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow (Curved)

Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow (Curved)
  • Price: $119.99-$139.99
  • Height: 3 in.
  • Size: 24 x 17.5 in. (standard), 34 x 17.5 in. (king)  
  • Fill: foam and polyester down
  • Firmness: firm

This pillow just might mean the end of that pain in your neck. According to 2011 research, switching to a new latex, polyester or foam contour pillow could reduce neck pain upon waking. Since this one’s curved and made from polyester, it just might do the trick.  

The fabric is supposed to be breathable, cooling, and hypoallergenic, and reviewers seem to agree. It’s on the firmer side — some even say a little too firm. But others say it’s just right, especially when dealing with neck pain.

You have 100 nights to try it out, along with a 1-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • good for neck pain
  • hypoallergenic
  • cooling
  • free shipping and returns
  • 100-night trial
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • might be too firm for some

Shop now at Sleep Number.

Best pillow for headaches

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Neck Pillow

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Neck Pillow
  • Price: $119-$159
  • Height: 3.5 in. (small), 4 in. (medium), 4.75 in. (large), 4 in. (travel)
  • Size: 20 x 12.5 in. (small), 20 x 12.5 in. (medium), 20 x 12.5 in. (large), 10 x 12 in. (travel)
  • Fill: memory foam
  • Firmness: extra firm

Trying to get to sleep with a throbbing noggin is no one’s idea of a good time. According to reviewers with headaches and migraine, this pillow can help.

It’s designed to contour to your head and neck, with a little extra height at the neck that makes it more ergonomic than most.

Reviewers love it for easing headache tension and lending back and neck pain relief — but keep in mind that some long-time Tempur-Neck sleepers complain the original pillow was superior to the newer model.

It has a 5-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • contoured shape good for headaches and migraine
  • multiple heights and sizes to choose from
  • free shipping
  • 5-year limited warranty

Cons

  • some reviewers don’t love the newest version
  • no returns or trial period

Shop now at Tempur-Pedic.

Best luxury pillow

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow
  • Price: $279-$329
  • Height: not disclosed
  • Size: 20 x 30 in. (standard), 20 x 36 in. (king)
  • Fill: long-strand mulberry silk
  • Firmness: medium-soft

If you’re feeling blessed and boujee, you obvs need a silk pillow. With a plush 100 percent long-strand mulberry silk fill and bamboo cover, this is a pillow that says you made it.

Both fabrics are transparently sourced. The silk molds easily into your preferred shape, for a comfy and customizable experience.

Reviewers agree that they’re also highly breathable and moisture-wicking — a pro for hot sleepers. Those with sensitive skin also say they’re a win.

One bummer: Even though the pillow’s cover is washable, the brand recommends spot cleaning inside of machine washing.

It has a 10-year warranty (!!!) and a 100-night sleep trial.

Pros

  • luxurious materials
  • moldable, soft support
  • free shipping and returns
  • 100-night trial
  • 10-year warranty

Cons

  • maybe too soft for some
  • spot cleaning recommended over machine washing

Shop now at Cozy Earth.

Best pillow on Amazon

Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow

Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow
  • Price: $49.99-$65.99
  • Height: about 7 in.
  • Size: about 26 x 16 in.
  • Fill: down alternative gel fiber
  • Firmness: medium-soft  

For cushy, classic comfort, this pillow set gets the job done. It’s among the top-rated pillows on Amazon, with over 190,000 reviews at an average of 4.4 stars.   

Reviewers rave about its plush-yet-firm feel. If you like the feel of a classic hotel-like pillow, but don’t want it to collapse under the weight of your head, this might be the plush pal of your dreams.

If you sleep hot, you might like the gel fiber’s cooling action. It’s also hypoallergenic.

Heads up that some reviewers describe it as too tall for their needs, though. You can’t buy just one, though, so plan to buy for you and (real or imaginary) boo, too.

Pros

  • top rated on Amazon
  • inexpensive
  • cooling
  • free shipping
  • 30-day return period on Amazon

Cons

  • too high for some
  • only comes in 2 pack
  • no warranty information

Shop now at Amazon.

Best pillow under $50

WayFair Sleep Medium Memory Foam Cooling Bed Pillow

WayFair Sleep Medium Memory Foam Cooling Bed Pillow
  • Price: $33.99-$44.99
  • Height: 5 in.
  • Size: 16 x 29 in.
  • Fill: memory foam
  • Firmness: medium

This no-frills memory foam cooling pillow just might be the comfiest thing for under fifty bucks.

The company says it has cooling gel for cooler sleep, as well as ventilation for optimal airflow. That being said, we’re not seeing many reviews to back up this claim in particular.

The company recommends it for side, back, and stomach sleepers, though side and back sleepers seem to have a better time with it.

Even though it’s of medium firmness, some say it’s a little too firm for their liking. The majority seem to say it’s a soft n’ sturdy, durable and comfy option, especially for the price point.

It has a 3-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • inexpensive
  • good for back and side sleepers
  • free shipping and returns
  • 30-day returns
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • maybe too firm for some

Shop now at Wayfair.

Side-by-side comparison

Product Price Size Height Firmness options Materials
Best for back sleepers Brentwood Home Zuma Foam Wedge Pillow $49-$59 24 x 24 in. (for all heights) 7, 10, or 12 in. medium-firm memory foam
Best for stomach sleepers Coop Home Goods Original Loft Pillow $71.99-$77.99 20 x 30 in. (queen) 20 x 36 in. (king) adjustable adjustable shredded memory foam
Best  for side sleepers Layla Kapok Pillow $100-$115 18 x 28 in. (queen), 18 x 34 in., (king) adjustable adjustable memory foam and kapok fiber
Best cooling Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow $85-$100 16 x 25 in. (standard), 16 x 34 in. (king) 5 in. medium-firm memory foam, charcoal, cooling gel
Best firm Purple Harmony Pillow $143-$219 26 x 17 in. (standard and medium), 28 x 17 in. (king) 5.5., 6.5, or 7.5 in. firm gel and latex
Best memory foam Leesa Premium Foam Pillow $80-$109 18 x 26 in. (standard), 18 x 32 in. (king) 5 in. medium-firm memory foam
Best for travel Sleep Artisan Natural Latex Travel Pillow $44.99 8 x 13 in. adjustable adjustable latex fill
Best for pregnancy Tempur-Pedic BodyPillow  $199 48 in. long 5.5 in. medium-firm memory foam
Best for breastfeeding Blessed Nest The Nesting Pillow $90-$100 26 x 16 in. 5 in. adjustable buckwheat
Best for neck pain Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow (Curved) $119.99-$139.99 24 x 17.5 in. (standard), 34 x 17.5 in. (king)   3 in. firm memory foam and polyester down
Best  for headaches Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Neck Pillow $119-$159 20 x 12.5 in. (small), 20 x 12.5 in. (medium), 20 x 12.5 in. (large), 10 x 12 in. (travel) 3.5 in. (small), 4 in. (medium), 4.75 in. (large), 4 in. (travel) extra firm memory foam
Best luxury Cozy Earth Silk Pillow $279-$329 20 x 30 in. (standard), 20 x 36 in. (king) adjustable medium-soft long-strand mulberry silk
Best on Amazon Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow $49.99-$65.99 26 x 16 in. 7 in. medium-soft down alternative gel fiber
Best  under $50 WayFair Sleep Medium Memory Foam Cooling Bed Pillow $33.99-$44.99 16 x 29 in. 5 in. medium memory foam

How to pick the right pillow for you

Still pressed about how to pick the perfect pillow? (Try to say that 5x fast.) Here’s what you might wanna consider:

  • Sleeping position. Are you a back, side, or stomach sleeper? Side sleepers tend to do better with thicker pillows because they help align the head and neck into a neutral position, while back sleepers usually benefit from a medium pillow that allows the neck to lay flat. As for stomach sleepers: They tend to do well with softer, flatter ones.
  • Back or neck pain. According to 2009 research, a contoured pillow (specifically made from latex foam) may help ease cervical pain. Experts in the study advised against feather pillows for those with back or neck issues.
  • Height. A higher pillow might cause strain to your back or neck if you tend to sleep on your stomach or back, but it might be just the thing for side sleepers. If you’re not sure about your ideal pillow height, consider an adjustable pillow. That way, you can adjust the fill as needed.
  • Cooling features. Tend to get sweaty during those sweet dreams? Look for a pillow with cooling features like a gel construction or breathable fabric cover.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of pillows do they use in 5-star hotels?

A lot of luxury pillows use down or feather pillows with cotton or sateen weave covers. Common brands include Downlite, Pacific Coast, and Sealy.

How often should I buy new pillows?

Experts at the Better Sleep Council recommend swapping out your pillow approximately every three years. But if you’re waking up with back, neck, or shoulder pain, or your pillow looks a little flat, you may be due for a change. On the flip side, if your pillow has retained its shape past three-ish years, you might be in the clear for a little longer.

What kind of pillow has the healthiest fill?

There’s no scientific consensus on the “healthiest fill” yet. While some research notes the advantages of latex foam for neck pain, it’s obvi not the best choice if you have a latex allergy! Organic cotton or buckwheat may be a better alternative for some with allergies or sensitivities.

The bottom line 

Picking a pillow can be a pill — but doing your research can help. Understanding what’s best in terms of your budget, sleep position, and unique preferences will help guide you to your MVP.

If you have back or neck pain or headaches, though, it’s a good idea to talk with your doc, just in case.

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