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- Editor’s pick for most comfortable pillow: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
- Most comfortable pillow for side sleepers: Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
- Most comfortable down alternative pillow: Casper Original Pillow
- Most comfortable cooling pillow: Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow
- Most comfortable medium-firm pillow: Leesa Pillow
- Most comfortable ergonomic pillow: IKEA ROSENSKÄRM
- Most comfortable budget pillow: Alwyn Home Akiva Plush Bed Pillow
- Most comfortable adjustable pillow: The Polysleep Pillow
- Most comfortable hotel quality pillow: Harris Pillow Supply Heavenly Down Pillow
We don’t seem to put as much stock in pillows as we do mattresses. Many people know that a good mattress can significantly improve sleep quality. Still, those same people will spend months — even years! — sleeping with an old, lifeless pillow that isn’t right for their sleeping style.
Like a mattress, it can be tough to find the perfect pillow on the first try. Many companies claim to have the “most comfortable” pillow, but it’s impossible to verify those claims without actually laying your head down on the pile of fluffy stuff. And what makes a pillow comfortable anyhow?
Below, we cover pillow shopping basics and go into detail about our own pillow-testing adventures. Just remember, though, pillow preference is highly personal — what works for one person might leave you tossing and turning.
Here’s how we narrowed down our most comfortable pillow picks:
- Real-world testing and impressions. Deciding whether a pillow is comfortable is pretty personal. However, knowing how other people describe the feel of a pillow can help you decide whether it’s right for you. Our first consideration for putting together this list was how the pillows felt when we took them for a test run — or test nap.
- Customer reviews. We also took customer reviews into account because it allowed us to see how other people — with different sleeping styles, body types, and health conditions — respond to the pillows. If a pillow doesn’t have consistently top marks from customers, it’s not listed here.
- Variety. We also aim to include a variety of pillows that fit different needs and budgets.
Unless we mention otherwise, pricing is based on a queen-size pillow.
- $ = under $60
- $$ = $60–$120
- $$$ = over $120
Most comfortable pillow for side sleepers
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
- Price: $$$
- Fill type: Proprietary foam fill
This comfy pillow pick comes from Healthline editor Candice Abellon, who loves its versatility. She says it works for both her and her partner who have different body types. She also says it’s perfect for side sleepers who want their head and neck to be cradled and supported. She’s also a fan of the washable cotton cover, which adds another layer of comfort over the foam.
Over 1,500 reviewers give the pillow 5 stars and agree that it’s worth every penny. Customers say the pillow prevents morning stiffness and provides comfortable support. The firm feel won’t appeal to everyone, but back and side sleepers may want to give it a try.
Most comfortable down alternative pillow
Casper Original Pillow
- Price: $$ (standard size)
- Fill type: Down alternative (polyester microfiber fill)
The Casper Original Pillow is also a Healthline favorite. It’s fluffy but still manages to provide support, cradling your head and neck.
Casper achieves this pillowy yet supportive feel by wrapping a pillow within a pillow. The inner pillow offers a touch of firmness, while the exterior layer is nice and soft. Seriously — in our honest opinion — if you could touch a cloud, it might feel like this pillow. Reviewers tend to agree.
Not sure if it’s right for you? We’d recommend it if you’re a combo sleeper or tend to end up on your side or back. Thankfully, you don’t have to gamble with your comfort. You can try out the Casper Original Pillow for 30 nights and return it if it’s not right for you.
Most comfortable cooling pillow
Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow
- Price: $$ (for standard size)
- Fill type: Foam
Graphite and gel help give this foam pillow its cooling, breathable qualities. Back and side sleepers say the pillow helps reduce neck and back pain and also boosts their sleep quality.
Reviewers say that it’s a bit too thick for stomach sleeping, but it has a softness that many really enjoy. Additionally, while many reviewers love the pillow’s cooling properties, a few say they still sleep hot.
Most comfortable medium-firm pillow
- Price: $$
- Fill type: Memory foam
With an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, the Leesa Pillow gets top marks for comfort, support, and pain relief. Side sleepers, in particular, love the firm yet soft pillow.
Healthline editor Jamey Powell is also a huge fan of this pick. She says it comfortably conforms to her head and shoulders, providing the perfect amount of support without losing its shape. She also says that while it’s not a soft pillow, its cover makes it super snuggly — even through the pillowcase.
Most comfortable ergonomic pillow
- Price: $
- Fill type: Foam
One study from 2014 suggests that an orthopedic pillow might be the best for improving sleep quality. The study only followed 20 participants, who tried the pillows for a short period of time. But the results showed that an orthopedic pillow was better at supporting the natural curve of the spine.
IKEA’s popular ergonomic pillow has a slight curve to it, which helps support the neck and proper spinal alignment. If you find one side too high, you can flip it over to reveal a shorter height. The medium-firm foam is also a good fit for back and side sleepers.
While this isn’t our first choice for a pillow to sleep with every night, it may be a good option if you’re experiencing any back and neck pain. It’s a bit too firm for combo sleepers who change positions throughout the night, but it’s definitely a solid pick if you’re a solid back or side sleeper.
We also noticed a bit of off-gassing from this pillow, so you may want to skip this one if that tends to bother you.
Most comfortable budget pillow
Alwyn Home Akiva Plush Bed Pillow
- Price: $
- Fill type: Polyfill
If you’re looking for something luxurious but are on a tighter budget, this pillow set could be a great fit for you. We’ll admit that we didn’t have high hopes for these pillows, but they’ve ended up being surprisingly reliable and comfortable.
On top of being super inexpensive, they also have a plush feel that fits multiple sleeping styles. We noticed they work well for side sleepers and combination sleepers, which is no small feat for a budget pillow.
They’re also breathable and don’t heat up when you sleep with them, making them a good choice for people who often wake up sweating. Even better, they’re super easy to clean — just toss in the washer and you’re good to go.
Most comfortable adjustable pillow
The Polysleep Pillow
- Price: $$ (for standard size)
- Fill type: Adjustable foam layers
In testing, it took us some time to get used to this pillow, but that’s because we had to experiment with the adjustable fill. We spent almost a week fiddling with the foam layers — removing and putting them back to find the perfect combo — and finally settled on a three-layer configuration.
We love the pillow’s gusseted design, which means it has an extra piece of fabric between the seams. This adds height so there’s more space to insert and remove the adjustable layers. We also love its firm yet plush feeling.
The interior foam is surrounded by a very fluffy cover that keeps the pillow from feeling too, well, foamy. If you’re not usually a fan of memory foam, you might be pleasantly surprised by the Polysleep.
What do other reviewers have to say? They also love the ability to switch out layers and find it very comfortable. Bonus: It also comes with a 30-night trial and a generous 3-year warranty.
Most comfortable hotel quality pillow
Harris Pillow Supply Heavenly Down Pillow
- Price: $
- Fill type: Down alternative (microfiber cluster and conjugated fiber)
It took months to get our hands on this pillow, but we can confirm that it’s a dream in terms of comfort and getting better sleep.
These pillows feel like giant marshmallows and are perfect for anyone who loves soft pillows. They also bounce back really well, which is impressive for being so soft and squishy. If you like to ooze into your pillows, this is the pillow for you.
The fill is also a down alternative, making this a good option if you have a down allergy or prefer to steer clear of pillows made with animal feathers.
What makes one pillow more comfortable than another? Personal preference is important, but you should also consider firmness, sleeping position, price, and materials.
What’s inside the pillow matters. Feathers or down are soft and fluffy, but they’re not supportive like memory foam. Foam materials come in a range of firmness levels, and some models are even adjustable.
Gel foam is ideal for people who sleep hot because it doesn’t trap heat as easily as memory foam. Latex is a bit more responsive than memory foam, but people with latex allergies should steer clear.
You might also prefer the feel of shredded foam or down alternative instead of a slab of foam.
Pillow loft refers to the height of a pillow. High loft translates to a thicker pillow. Research suggests that a pillow that’s 10 centimeters (or just under 4 inches) high is most comfortable for side sleepers. Stomach sleepers might prefer one that’s flatter (or no pillow at all), while back sleepers usually find medium loft pillows to be most comfortable.
In general, look for a height that helps keep your neck aligned with your spine, no matter what position you sleep in.
You’ll want to go with personal preference here while also taking into account your favorite sleeping position. Generally, people who sleep on their back or side prefer medium-firm pillows. Stomach sleepers tend to prefer softer pillows because they don’t put as much pressure on the neck when lying on the belly.
Most pillows that claim to be cooling don’t have mini AC units tucked inside them. Very few actually actively cool you down. If you’re a hot sleeper, opt for pillows with phase-changing materials or gel. They won’t necessarily turn your face into an icicle — wouldn’t that be the dream? — but they won’t trap heat like other materials, including down.
These days many pillows come with trial periods, just like mattresses do. If you’re having trouble finding the perfect pillow, opt to buy from a company that’ll let you test it out for a few weeks — just make sure there’s a no-hassle return policy.
According to the Better Sleep Council, you should be replacing your pillow about every 2.8 years.
It’s probably time to swap your pillow if you’re regularly waking up with a stiff neck or shoulder pain. Over time, a pillow will also lose its fluff factor. When it starts to look like a pancake, it’s time to go pillow shopping. Think your mattress may be to blame? Change your pillows first. It’s a cheaper fix than replacing a mattress.
Ultimately, comfort is personal. Sure, a medium-firm pillow might be the best option for a side sleeper, but those recommendations mean nothing if you end up feeling uncomfortable all night.
Trial and error is sometimes the only way to find what works best and leaves you feeling the comfiest. But with a few tips to get you started, you might be able to find the most comfortable pillow a little quicker.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.