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Much of the credit for a good night’s sleep goes to your mattress, but your choice of pillow plays a big role, too. A great pillow offers enough support to comfortably cradle your neck while you snooze.

Just like mattresses, pillows can run the gamut of firmness options. What’s best for you depends on your personal sleeping position, body weight, and idea of comfort.

A firm pillow is usually most suitable if you spend much of the night on your side, because it keeps your neck and spine properly aligned.

Here’s what else to know about firm pillows, including our picks for the eight best.

In choosing the best firm pillows, we looked for those with high density and loft (or thickness) as an indication of firmness.

We also checked for features like:

  • adjustability
  • ease of cleaning
  • material quality

Finally, we reviewed customer feedback to make sure each pillow comes with rave reviews.

Pricing guide

Just like mattresses, pillows come in a range of price points depending on the brand, material, and size. All the prices here reflect standard size pillows. Some pillows also come in larger queen and king sizes.

  • $ = under $80
  • $$ = $81–$150
  • $$$ = over $150

Best cooling firm pillow

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

  • Price: $$$

The TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze is made with a single piece of medium-feel TEMPUR foam encased in two layers of gel for cooling, adaptive support. It strikes a nice balance of soft firmness.

Two thousand reviews tout the pillow’s quality, longevity, and comfort. It only comes in queen and king sizes, so it’s a little larger than your standard pillow.

This pillow is designed for all sleeping positions and comes with a 5-year warranty.

Buy the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow online.

Best latex firm pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow

  • Price: $$$

The Purple Harmony Pillow is a mix of Purple’s grid material and a Talalay latex core. It’s designed to be both cool and responsive.

Available in two heights, Purple says the standard height is well-suited for back and side sleepers, and the tall height is best for side sleepers in larger bodies.

More than 6,000 reviews describe the Purple Harmony Pillow as incredibly comfortable and supportive. It comes with a 100-night trial and a 1-year warranty.

Buy the Purple Harmony Pillow online.

Best memory foam firm pillow

Saatva Memory Foam Pillow

  • Price: $$

This graphite-infused, CertiPUR-US certified memory foam pillow is designed to conform to your head and neck for optimal support, no matter how you sleep.

The cooling organic cotton cover can be machine washed, but Saatva recommends spot cleaning the graphite inner pillow.

Like the Tempur-Pedic pillow, this pillow only comes in queen and king sizes.

Saatva offers a 45-day in-home trial.

Buy the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow online.

Best budget-friendly down firm pillow

Brooklinen Down Pillow

  • Price: $

Brooklinen offers a more budget-friendly down pillow that’s just as well reviewed as Parachute’s. More than 1,000 reviews describe this pillow as comfortable, supportive, and an excellent value.

Available in three densities based on the ratio of feathers to down clusters, this firm pillow is designed for full support of your back, neck, and head.

The company cautions that dry cleaning will shorten the lifespan of your pillow by removing the down’s natural oils, which causes clusters to break down faster. Instead, they recommend spot cleaning as needed.

Brooklinen also offers a 365-day return and exchange window.

Buy the Brooklinen Down Pillow online.

Best firm down alternative pillow

Original Casper Pillow

  • Price: $

This down alternative pillow is made with a pillow-in-pillow design. The inner pillow is designed to be firmly supportive, while the outer pillow offers a bit of fluffy softness. A 2-inch gusset ensures better neck alignment and keeps the fiber cluster fill evenly distributed.

Casper has a 30-night, risk-free trial with free shipping and returns. Close to 7,000 reviews rave about the supportive softness this pillow delivers. Plus, it’s entirely machine washable.

Buy the Original Casper Pillow online.

Best eco-friendly firm pillow

Buffy Cloud Pillow

  • Price: $

The name is apt. The Buffy Cloud Pillow is designed to be soft yet supportive. Reviewers liken it to sleeping on a marshmallow.

The pillow is available in three firmness levels, and its firmest offers support without losing fluffiness.

It’s made with recycled, air blown fiber and covered in a eucalyptus fabric that’s as durable as, as soft as, and more eco-friendly than cotton. According to Buffy, each pillow keeps 30 plastic bottles out of landfills.

Buffy offers a 7-night free trial for this pillow.

Buy the Buffy Cloud Pillow online.

Best adjustable firm pillow

Avocado Green Pillow

  • Price: $$

This non-toxic pillow is made with Global Organic Latex Standard certified latex and Global Organic Textile Standard certified kapok tree fiber.

While it comes filled with a medium-plush firmness level, the included extra fill bag means you can add as much support as you need to customize its firmness.

The cotton cover can be machine washed and hung to dry, while the inner liner should only be spot cleaned.

Thousands of reviewers describe this pillow as the best for support and comfort.

Buy the Avocado Green Pillow online.

Best classic down firm pillow

Parachute Down Pillow

  • Price: $$

If you love the luxury of down pillows, this is a great option. Parachute’s down pillows are available in three firmness levels at no additional cost. The brand’s firm option is their most dense and supportive.

These pillows are made in the United States with premium European white down. The seams are double-stitched for durability.

The pillows also come with a 3-year warranty against defects, and they can be dry cleaned or machine washed.

Hundreds of reviewers praise the pillow’s quality and comfort.

Buy the Parachute Down Pillow online.

There’s no universal standard for measuring pillow firmness. Generally, it’s a reference to how much “give” a pillow has when you put your head on it. Individual manufacturers often have their own scales as a reference point, so that’s a good place to begin.

If you’re unsure whether you’ll like a firm pillow, consider how you spend most of the night. Stomach sleepers should avoid firm pillows, which tend to have high loft.

Back and side sleepers can do well with medium-firm to firm pillows for proper alignment in the back and neck.

If you’re a combination sleeper, an adjustable pillow, or one that’s very responsive, will be a good option.

Pillow material also plays a role in firmness level. The firmest pillows are typically made with memory foam, latex, or buckwheat. You can also find firm options made with down or down alternative.

However, even the firmest down pillow may not be quite as firm as other types of pillows. A 2011 study of side-sleepers found that the cervico-thoracic spinal slope, or the tilt of the neck and upper back, varied the most when changing from a foam, latex, or polyester pillow to a feather pillow.

We spend a lot of time researching mattress options and what will work best for our body type, sleeping habits, and preferred sleeping positions. Applying that same logic to choosing a pillow is just as important.

A firm pillow can be a great choice for side sleepers. The greater density helps your spine and neck maintain a neutral position — the best way to ensure you don’t wake up with aches and pains.


Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.