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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 (also known as pillow height) 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. Plus, every pillow on our list was vetted by our medical affairs team for brand integrity and product quality.

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

ProductPriceSizesBest for
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow$$$ queen and kingside sleepers, combination sleepers, and warm sleepers
Purple Harmony Pillow$$standard and kingwarm sleepers and combination sleepers
Saatva Memory Foam Pillow$$$queen and kingcombination sleepers
Brooklinen Down Pillow$$standard and kingall sleeping positions depending on the firmness you choose
Original Casper Pillow$standard and kingside and back sleepers (mid loft), stomach sleepers (low loft)
Buffy Cloud Pillow$standard and kingstomach sleepers (soft option), back and combination sleepers (the medium firmness), side sleepers (firmest option)
Avocado Green Pillow$standard, queen, and kingall sleeping positions (customizable fill)
Parachute Down Pillow$$standard and kingside sleepers

Best cooling firm pillow

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: queen and king
  • Material and fill: 100 percent cotton cover, TEMPUR material (a type of memory foam) core, and gel layers
  • Who it’s best for: side sleepers, combination sleepers, and warm sleepers

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.

Over 2,500 reviews tout the pillow’s quality, longevity, and comfort. However, there are negative reviews from customers who find the pillow far too soft and lacking in support. It only comes in queen and king sizes, so it’s a little larger than your standard pillow.

Because of this pillow’s thicker loft, it’s best for side sleepers and some combination sleepers may find it suitable as well.

It comes with a 5-year warranty.

Pros

  • accommodates all sleeping positions
  • designed to stay cool
  • TEMPUR material known for pressure-relieving and supportive properties

Cons

  • high price tag
  • heavy
  • some reviews mention a lack of support
  • not available in a standard size

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

Best latex firm pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Size: standard and king
  • Material and fill: mesh cover, layers of Purple’s unique gel in grid hex design, and a Talalay latex core
  • Who it’s best for: sleepers looking for durability and pressure relief, those who tend to sleep warm, and combination sleepers

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.

This pillow is available in three heights.

Purple says the medium and tall heights are well-suited for side and combination sleepers, but the tall height is best for people with large to extra-large frames.

The company says its low height is often preferred by stomach and back sleepers, and people with small to medium frames.

There are over 12,000 reviews for the Purple Harmony Pillow, and the overwhelming majority are 5 stars. Customers call the pillow incredibly comfortable and supportive. It comes with a 100-night trial and a 1-year warranty.

Read our full review on Purple pillows here.

Pros

  • hypoallergenic and non-toxic
  • different height options to accommodate all kinds of sleepers
  • designed for support and temperature regulation

Cons

  • high price tag
  • responsive feel may not be for everyone

Buy the Purple Harmony Pillow online.

Best firm memory foam pillow

Saatva Memory Foam Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: queen and king
  • Material and fill: organic cotton cover, memory foam core
  • Who it’s best for: combination sleepers, anyone who prefers the feel of a traditional pillow, and those who want a pillow with CertiPUR certified materials

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.

Graphite-infused memory foam is designed to draw heat away for cooler sleep, while also contouring to the head and neck for support. 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.

Pros

  • accommodates all sleeping positions, making it great for combination sleepers who move around a lot
  • foams are CertiPUR-US certified
  • cooling and contouring support

Cons

  • high price tag
  • not offered in a standard size

Buy the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow online.

Best budget-friendly down firm pillow

Brooklinen Down Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Size: standard and king
  • Material and fill: cotton sateen shell with down clusters and feathers in the core
  • Who it’s best for: down pillow lovers, all sleeping positions depending on the firmness you choose (more on that below)

Brooklinen offers a budget-friendly down pillow that’s really well-reviewed. Close to 3,000 reviews describe it as comfortable, supportive, and an excellent value.

It’s available in three densities based on the ratio of feathers to down clusters. The firm option is designed to fully support your back, neck, and head.

According to Brooklinen, it’s a great option for side sleepers. Because it comes with three firmness options, this pillow is appropriate for all sleeping positions. The plush and mid plush would be best for back and stomach sleepers. The firm option would be the best for side sleepers.

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.

Pros

  • budget-friendly
  • ethically sourced Canadian down
  • very supportive

Cons

  • down might not offer enough support for all sleeping positions
  • not great for people who don’t like the “sinking in” feeling of down

Buy the Brooklinen Down Pillow online.

Best firm down alternative pillow

Original Casper Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Size: standard and king
  • Material and fill: cotton cover and polyester microfiber fill
  • Who it’s best for: anyone looking for an alternative to down and a pillow that’s machine washable (yes, the whole thing)

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.

It’s available in two lofts]. The company offers a questionnaire that helps you choose which loft is the best for you based on your sleeping position, height, and weight. The mid loft is most suited for side and back sleepers, but stomach sleepers may benefit from the low loft option.

Casper has a 30-night, risk-free trial with free shipping and returns. More than 7,500 reviews rave about the supportive softness this pillow delivers. Plus, it’s entirely machine washable.

Read our full review of the Original Casper Pillow here.

Pros

  • machine washable
  • budget-friendly
  • traditional down feel with extra support
  • choice of two heights

Cons

  • might not keep hot sleepers cool enough
  • polyester fill not as durable

Buy the Original Casper Pillow online.

Best eco-friendly firm pillow

Buffy Cloud Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Size: standard and king
  • Material and fill: Lyocell shell and recycled PET, BPA-free core
  • Who it’s best for: those looking for an eco-friendly and hypoallergenic option

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

The hypoallergenic pillow is available in three firmness levels. The firmest option offers support without losing fluffiness. The soft firmness would be best for stomach sleepers, the medium firmness would be best for back and combination sleepers, and the firmest would be best for side sleepers.

It’s made with recycled, air-blown fiber and covered in a eucalyptus fabric that’s as soft and durable 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.

Pros

  • budget-friendly
  • eco-friendly
  • three firmness options

Cons

  • free trial is on the short side compared with other pillows on this list

Buy the Buffy Cloud Pillow online.

Best adjustable firm pillow

Avocado Green Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Size: standard, queen, and king
  • Material and fill: organic cotton cover, organic latex, and organic kapok fill
  • Who it’s best for: sleepers who want adjustability and pressure relief and those who want a non-toxic, organic, vegan pillow

This non-toxic pillow is made with Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certified latex and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) 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.

This makes it great for all sleeping positions, as stomach sleepers can remove fill for a lower loft, and back and side sleepers can add based on what keeps their neck aligned with the rest of their spine.

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.

Pros

  • non-toxic, vegan, and organic
  • adjustable fill can accommodate all sleeping positions
  • budget-friendly

Cons

  • adjustable fill may mean some trial and error

Buy the Avocado Green Pillow online.

Best classic down firm pillow

Parachute Down Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Size: standard and king
  • Material and fill: sateen shell with a European white down core
  • Who it’s best for: sleepers who enjoy traditional down and sleepers who need a high loft (side sleepers)

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 densest and most 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.

Over 1,000 reviewers praise the pillow’s quality and comfort.

Pros

  • luxurious and supportive
  • quality construction

Cons

  • high loft might not be comfortable for back or stomach sleepers
  • higher price tag
  • down might not suit hot sleepers

Buy the Parachute Down Pillow online.

Still searching for the right sleep products?

Let us help. Shop our top picks for pillows by condition or sleep position to get the sound sleep you deserve.

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 that have a high loft (flatter pillows are better in this case)
  • Back and side sleepers can do well with medium-firm to firm pillows for proper alignment in the back and neck.
  • Combination sleepers should consider an adjustable pillow, or one that’s very responsive.

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 might not be 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.

Side sleepers in particular tend to benefit from firm pillows, because they need adequate support for the head and neck to maintain alignment. Without this support, side sleepers may find themselves waking up with neck pain.

Back sleepers may also do well with firm pillows, because they need enough support to properly maintain the neck’s natural curve.

Ultimately, the right pillow is going to come down to personal preference. It’s important to try different pillows to see what works for you. Always make sure your pillow supports a neutral spine.

Pillow loft describes the height of a pillow when you lay on it. It’s important to choose the right loft for your sleeping style, so your spine can stay properly aligned while you sleep. Usually, pillow lofts are available in low, medium, or high options.

  • Stomach sleepers should look for low loft.
  • Side sleepers usually need medium to high loft, depending on their frame.
  • Back sleepers typically benefit from low to medium loft.

Can a pillow be too firm?

Just as a pillow can be too soft for adequate support, it can also be too firm. If you’re waking up with neck pain or sore ears, you may be sleeping on a pillow that’s far too firm for you.

Are firm pillows good for you?

A good pillow is one that maintains neutral alignment in your neck and spine. The right firmness depends on your preferred sleeping position, your weight, and your body type.

That means that not all firm pillows are automatically good for all sleepers. However, back and side sleepers tend to benefit from the support of firm pillows.

How often do you need to replace a firm pillow?

Most pillows should be replaced annually or every other year. Over time, most pillows tend to flatten and no longer offer the same level of support.

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.