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A pillow is a pillow, right?

Well, not exactly.

Pillows can look and feel very different, depending on their materials, the sleeping position they’re intended for, and any special features they have.

Sleeping on the wrong pillow can contribute to head and neck pain, and it can keep you from getting the quality rest you need.

Had your current pillows for longer than you can remember? Are they yellowing, flat, or overstuffed? If so, it’s time to say good night.

Then, check out our 10 best pillow picks below for potential replacements.

A new pillow might be a small purchase, but it’s an important one. We considered the following factors to make sure we only recommend quality pillows:

  • Customer reviews. User feedback is often the best way to know how something really works, and pillows are no exception. We used reviews to narrow down our search for the best pillows and to make sure the ones we recommend are everything the brands have fluffed them up to be.
  • Company reputation and transparency. For your peace of mind, we make every effort to recommend products from brands known for being up front about product materials and construction. We also look for brands with good customer service ratings.
  • Variety. With the hope of including something to meet everyone’s needs, we’ve selected pillows made from various materials, at different price points, and for every sleeping style.

Pricing guide

The 2 for $10 pillows at your usual department store might work well for your wallet, but they may not do much for your sleep. Pillows that promote a good night’s rest typically cost a little more.

Prices of our picks range from:

  • $ = under $60
  • $$ = $60–$120
  • $$$ = over $120

Best pillow overall

Original Casper Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Fill type: Polyester microfiber
  • Height: 7 inches with 2 inch gusset

Pillow preference can depend on sleep position, desired comfort level, and preferred fill, among other factors. That makes it pretty difficult to find one single best pillow that works for everyone. Still, this Casper synthetic down pillow is a good option for all sleepers.

The pillow-within-a-pillow design boasts a firm inner pillow for support and a fluffy outer pillow for comfort. The company says they use a special process to blow each fiber cluster into the cover separately, which they say makes the pillow clump-resistant. A breathable cotton cover helps keep air flowing through the pillow so you stay cool while sleeping.

Some reviewers found these pillows too high or too firm. But plenty of other reviewers rave about them, calling them firm, supportive, and fluffy all at once. Several people say they get better sleep on these pillows and wake up without head and neck pain.

Reviewers also love that you can throw them in the washing machine — just follow the recommended care instructions to keep them fluffy post-wash.

Buy the Original Casper Pillow online.

Best pillow for pregnancy

Tempur-Pedic BodyPillow

Sleeping for two? Finding it difficult to actually sleep at all? Pregnancy can make it tough to curl up in your usual position, but pillows specially designed to support your body as it grows can make a big difference.

Pregnancy pillows come in all shapes and sizes, but the BodyPillow’s simple design offers a basic option for pregnancy and beyond. This 48-inch pillow is designed to support and relieve pressure during pregnancy when you’re encouraged to sleep on your side.

The company’s unique TEMPUR material, made of open-celled viscoelastic foam, is designed to cushion you as it contours to your body. But it’s also responsive enough to maintain its shape through regular use.

Reviewers call this pillow “life-changing,” saying it helped them sleep comfortably during pregnancy. People who experience pain and back problems also rave about this body pillow, saying it provides just the right support to improve their sleep.

A few reviewers note the pillow started to break down after a year or so of heavy use, but it does come with a 5-year warranty.

Buy the Tempur-Pedic BodyPillow online.

Best cooling pillow

Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Fill type: Foam
  • Height: 5 inches

Who wants to wake up with a sweaty head? This cooling pillow from Tuft & Needle may help prevent that dreaded, sticky discomfort.

The foam in this pillow is specially cut, not molded or shredded, for optimal airflow and support. Graphite and cooling gel infuse the foam to pull away heat so you stay cooler without having to flip the pillow again and again.

A few reviewers say it doesn’t stay all that cool, but many others praise the cooling technology and say it really works. Some people mention a chemical smell but say it clears up after some airing.

This pillow is designed to provide supportive comfort for all sleeping positions, but some stomach sleepers may find the loft (aka the height) too high. Reviewers love the softness and the way the pillow maintains its shape over time.

Back and side sleepers, in particular, say this pillow helped relieve head and neck pain and improve their sleep. Not convinced? Tuft & Needle’s 100-night sleep trial gives you the chance to sleep on it, literally and figuratively.

Buy the Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow online.

Best pillow for side sleepers

Layla Kapok Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Fill type: Foam and kapok fiber
  • Height: 7 inches, adjustable

Many happy reviewers call this pillow “perfect” for side sleepers. They claim it’s comfortable and supportive, it maintains its loft through the night, and it improves neck and shoulder pain.

Need a tall pillow? A flat pillow? The Layla pillow can work either way. It comes stuffed full, but the cover unzips so you can easily adjust the height to maintain spinal alignment while you sleep.

The pillow is made using shredded memory foam and fibers from kapok tree seeds, which help give the pillow a soft, airy feel. A few reviewers go so far as to call it “cloud-like.”

The breathable cover is woven with copper-infused yarn, which the company says helps prevent unpleasant odors and trapped heat. Several reviewers confirm they did sleep cooler with this pillow, though a few people didn’t notice much of a cooling effect.

Several reviewers mention a chemical smell that lasted for several days, so you may want to plan to air your new pillow out before sleeping on it. If you don’t love the pillow, you can return it within 100 days.

Buy the Layla Kapok Pillow online.

Best pillow for back sleepers

Brentwood Home Zuma Foam Wedge Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Fill type: Foam
  • Height: 7, 10, or 12 inches

If you sleep on your back and can’t seem to get comfortable on a standard pillow, you might consider making the switch to a wedge pillow.

They’re a little unusual, sure, but wedge pillows can provide just the right amount of incline and support for back sleepers. The gentle slope helps support your head without creating shoulder or neck pain, while the dense foam provides firm comfort.

According to the many positive reviews, back sleepers find the Zuma pillow very comfortable. Reviewers also find it useful for other sources of sleep disruptions, including post-surgery pain, GERD, snoring, and respiratory problems. Wedge pillows even work well for side sleeping, some reviewers say. People also love the lack of chemical smell and the soft bamboo rayon cover.

This pillow comes in three heights: 7, 10, or 12 inches. Brentwood Home offers a 30-day trial, so you can exchange the pillow if your first choice isn’t quite right.

Buy the Brentwood Home Zuma Foam Wedge Pillow online.

Best organic pillow

Avocado Green Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Fill type: Latex and kapok fiber
  • Height: Adjustable

Organic pillows may be hard to come by, but this standard pillow from Avocado Green might just end your search. Not only is it fully organic down to the cotton jersey cover, but it’s also vegan, handmade, and Greenguard Gold certified to produce low emissions.

Reviewers love the support and pressure relief this pillow provides. They call it soft and comfortable, saying it stays dense without feeling uncomfortably firm. Many reviewers even say this pillow helps relieve neck, shoulder, and back pain.

If your new pillow feels too high or too flat, no problem — you can easily adjust the height. Avocado Green even sends a bonus bag of fill so you can get the pillow just the way you like it.

A few reviewers find this pillow uncomfortable and don’t like the latex smell, but most people love the pillow. Out of more than 4,000 reviews, it has a 4.5 star rating. All Avocado Green pillows also come with a 100-night sleep trial, so you can try them out risk-free.

Buy the Avocado Green Pillow online.

Best memory foam pillow

The Muse Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Fill type: Memory foam
  • Height: 5, 6, or 7 inches

This foam pillow comes in low, medium, or high loft versions, so there’s a Muse pillow for you, no matter your sleeping position or height preference.

The core contains dense molded foam for contouring support, while shredded foam and fibers surround the core to make the pillow soft and breathable.

A cover made from cooling fabric is designed to help you maintain a comfortable temperature as you sleep, and several reviewers confirm this cooling feature really works. In fact, some people say it’s the coolest pillow they’ve ever slept on.

In general, reviewers call this pillow soft and supportive, and several people even say it helps them wake up without pain.

Buy the Muse Pillow online.

Best pillow for stomach sleepers

Sealy Conform Medium Memory Foam Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Fill type: Memory foam
  • Height: 5.75 inches

Many stomach sleepers will recognize the familiar struggle of trying and failing to get comfortable on a too-high pillow, eventually pushing it away in frustration.

When you sleep on your stomach, a flatter, medium pillow can often improve your rest, while a taller pillow can lead to discomfort and pain. Reviewers say this medium memory foam pillow provides just the right mix of comfort and firm support for stomach and combination sleepers.

A few reviewers found it uncomfortably firm, but many people call it very comfortable. Several even say this pillow helped improve neck pain. It doesn’t feature any specific cooling technology beyond a breathable cover, but a few people note that it stays cool regardless.

Buy the Sealy Conform Medium Memory Foam Pillow online.

Best budget pillow

Wayfair Sleep Medium Memory Foam Cooling Bed Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Fill type: Memory foam
  • Height: 5 inches

This basic memory foam pillow has a lower loft that a variety of sleepers may find comfortable. According to the reviews, a few stomach sleepers find it comfortable, but most combination sleepers prefer this pillow for side and back sleeping.

The company says the foam in the pillow is infused with cooling gel for cooler sleep. Ventilation in the pillow is supposed to help promote airflow, so heat pockets don’t make you sweat in the night.

A few reviewers find this pillow a little too firm, and not many of them mention much of a cooling effect. Still, many people find this memory foam pillow a sturdy, yet soft, option at a good price.

Buy the Wayfair Sleep Medium Memory Foam Cooling Bed Pillow online.

Best pillow for neck pain

Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow (Curved)

  • Price: $$
  • Fill type: Foam and polyester down alternative
  • Height: 3 inches

Research from 2011 found that switching to a new latex, polyester, or foam contour pillow may reduce your chances of experiencing neck pain when you wake up. The curved ComfortFit pillow from Sleep Number is contoured and made from polyester — a win-win.

The company recommends this breathable, hypoallergenic pillow to side and back sleepers, especially those who need a little extra neck support. (Find more pillows for neck pain here.)

This pillow blends memory foam and synthetic down fill to provide firm — but not too firm — support. Several reviewers say it really does help relieve neck and shoulder pain and morning stiffness.

A few people find this pillow a little too firm, but others call it soft and comfortable and say it’s the “perfect” pillow. Others love how the foam contours to their head and stays cool through the night.

Buy the Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow (Curved) online.

There’s something of a science to pillow shopping. Your pillow should feel comfortable, but it should also support your sleeping position. Finding just the right pillow often leads to a lengthy trial and error process, but this guide to common types can help you start narrowing down your search.

Down or feathers

Made of goose or duck down, these pillows feel soft and fluffy. They may have a higher loft to start, but they often flatten in the night and don’t offer much in the way of support. You’ll need to fluff and reshape them regularly. Still, feather pillows can help with neck pain, since they conform to your neck.

Synthetic down

Like real down, down alternative pillows feel quite soft, but they tend to lose their shape after a while. You can use synthetic down pillows for any sleeping position, but if you sleep on your stomach, opt for one with less fill.

Foam

This category can include memory foam or a brand’s own foam blend, in a range of firmness options. Foam contours to the shape of your head and shoulders to cushion you and provide pressure relief. This means a foam pillow might be ideal for people looking to relieve pain or discomfort.

Though foam can sometimes trap heat, many pillows have cooling features designed to help you sleep more comfortably.

Latex

Since latex has more bounce and breathability than memory foam, consider latex if you sleep hot or need a pillow that conforms slightly less. Latex is also more durable than other foams, so it makes for a longer-lasting pillow.

Skip these pillows if you have a latex allergy. However, you might find them a great option if you’re sensitive to dust.

Shredded foam or latex

These pillows offer more breathability than pillows made from a single piece of foam. They’re also easier to mold, so they might be a good choice for people who prefer a more yielding pillow.

Many shredded pillows can also be adjusted, so you have more control over the height. You may, however, notice a chemical smell with shredded pillows, so it’s best to air them out before sleeping on them.

Polyester

As your basic pillow, this inexpensive option tends to feel pretty firm. These pillows generally won’t last long, and most stomach sleepers will find them a little too high for comfort.

When shopping for the right pillow, you’ll want to consider more than just size and type. Keep these important elements in mind:

Sleeping position

Your ideal pillow may depend on whether you sleep on your back, stomach, side, or all of the above. The right pillow will help align your spine properly, which is essential for healthy sleep.

Side sleepers should consider thicker pillows that provide good support. Back sleepers should look for a soft pillow that gives the neck a gentle curve. Stomach sleepers typically need flatter pillows.

Body type

A good pillow will promote spinal alignment and comfortably relieve pressure. People with larger body frames may need larger, firmer pillows to provide the right combination of elevation, support, and weight distribution.

People with smaller body frames may not sleep as well on thicker pillows, since the pillow’s firmness and higher loft can create discomfort and pain.

Back and neck pain

Rounded or contoured pillows often provide relief from neck pain, while firmer, wedge-shaped pillows can help support your head to relieve back pain. A pillow under the knees may also help improve back pain for back sleepers.

Current mattress

Your pillow and mattress should work together to help relieve pressure at important points — like your neck and shoulders — and help maintain spinal alignment as you sleep. Look for opposites: Firm mattress, softer pillow, and vice versa.

Loft/height

A pillow with a higher loft can strain your neck when you sleep on your back or stomach, but it may work well for side sleepers. Low loft pillows of 5 inches or less are best for stomach sleepers.

If you’re unsure which height works best for you, consider an adjustable pillow. This way, you can remove some fill if you notice any pain.

Firmness

You might prefer your pillow to have a specific feel, but don’t forget to take your sleeping position into account. Soft pillows are ideal for stomach sleepers, while side sleepers typically do better with firmer pillows. Back sleepers may want to consider medium-firm pillows for the best support.

Cooling

If you sleep hot, you have plenty of options to consider for a cooling pillow. Look for gel, phase changing fabrics, and breathable construction.

Company policies

If you’re picky about your pillows (and there’s nothing wrong with that), look for brands that offer a trial period. Also, check the warranty to make sure you can exchange your pillow if it fails to provide good support.

The place you rest your head deserves some careful thought. A quality pillow can improve your sleep and leave you feeling more refreshed in the morning.

Still, new pillows may not solve every sleep problem, so it’s always best to talk with your healthcare provider about any lingering pain and discomfort.


Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.