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A good night’s sleep is essential for restoring our bodies and our minds. For adults, this means 7 to 9 hours a night of uninterrupted rest.

If you’re having trouble meeting this goal, or you wake up feeling tired or even in pain, you might want to reevaluate what you’re sleeping on — starting with your pillow. The right (or wrong) pillow can make or break your sleep quality.

“It is very important to find the right pillow for your sleeping position so that you can have a more restful and restorative night of sleep,” says Ryan Fiorenzi, certified sleep coach and founder of Start Sleeping. “Finding the right pillow depends on a variety of factors like your sleeping position, weight, sleep temperature, and the anatomy of your neck and shoulder area.”

Fiorenzi says there are a number of ways your pillow could actually be responsible for poor sleep, such as:

  • Your pillow is too thin or too thick.
  • Your pillow isn’t a good match for your sleeping position.
  • Your pillow causes you to sweat or sleep too hot.
  • Your pillow doesn’t support your neck or shoulders well enough.

Assess how well your current pillow is working for you. If you’re ready for an upgrade, you can use the following guide to find the best option for you.

First, you want to make sure that the pillow you choose fits your bed size. There are four main sizes to choose from:

SizeMeasurement
Standard20 x 26 in. (51 x 66 cm)
Super standard20 x 28 in. (51 x 71 cm)
Queen20 x 30 in. (51 x 76 cm)
King20 x 36 in. (51 x 92 cm)
  • Standard: This size is optimal for twin- or full-size beds. One standard pillow fits nicely on a twin bed, while two standard pillows fit well side by side on a full-size bed.
  • Super standard: Less common than the standard, this slightly larger option will fill the width of a twin-size bed just a bit more, making it a good option. While two of these pillows next to each other would be too large for a full-size bed, they could work on a queen, if you prefer your pillow-to-bed ratio to be a touch smaller.
  • Queen: This size pillow is used for queen-size bed, as the name suggests, since two pillows fit nicely side by side. However, these pillows will also fit in standard-size pillowcases. One queen-size pillow can also fit the width of a twin bed, so it’s an option there, too.
  • King: The king-size pillow is made for king- or California king-size beds. These pillows do require a larger king-size pillowcase, which is important to note when you’re buying sheet sets and shams. One king-size pillow will just fit on a twin-size bed — with about an inch on each side to spare — if you’re looking to put a larger pillow on a smaller bed.

Keeping these pillow sizes in mind, we rounded up a list of the best pillows. When selecting those to feature, we looked at the value of each product, assessing the quality of the materials, price point, and ease of cleaning.

We also chose trusted brands and took user reviews into account. Finally, we looked at different pillow options for each size, including ones designed for various types of sleepers, to provide a variety of choices.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $45
  • $$ = $45–$95
  • $$$ = over $95

Standard pillows

Viewstar Down Alternative Hotel Quality Pillow, 2-Pack

  • Price: $
  • Pro: machine washable and dryable
  • Con: takes time to fluff up fully
  • Fill: down alternative
  • Firmness: medium
  • Best for: side and back sleepers

With more than 25,000 reviews on Amazon — and 70 percent of them 5 stars — this two-pack is a great value. The down-alternative fill is a good option for those looking for a hypoallergenic product.

Brooklinen Down Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Pro: 365-day trial gives you time to decide if this is the right option for you
  • Con: those will allergies or down sensitivities should avoid this pillow
  • Fill: down
  • Firmness: can choose from soft, medium, or firm
  • Best for: stomach sleepers

This down option offers three levels of support, allowing you to choose how soft or firm you want your pillow. This pillow is also treated with an antimicrobial agent to keep germs out. It can be spot- or dry-cleaned if needed, too.

Pacific Coast Hotel Touch of Down Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Pro: comes with an allergy-free warranty and a 30-night trial period
  • Con: tendency to go flat if not fluffed regularly
  • Fill: down
  • Firmness: medium firm
  • Best for: side sleepers

According to Pacific Coast, this pillow is used in over 2 million hotel rooms. In addition, it won the Sleep Foundation award for best side-sleeping pillow of 2020.

It also comes in the hard-to-find standard queen- and king-size options.

The Purple Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Pro: great reviews and a trusted sleep brand
  • Con: very pricey, but comes with a 1-year warranty
  • Fill: polyurethane foam
  • Firmness: firm
  • Best for: people with neck pain who need a supportive, adjustable pillow

Not only does this pillow come with various easy-to-remove inserts to adjust the height and feel, but it’s also designed with open-air pockets that keep it cool. While you can’t throw the insert into the washing machine, you can clean it with soap and water, which makes it unique from other luxury pillows.

Pluto Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Pro: the pillow is designed based on a Q&A
  • Con: you don’t get to see what pillow you get before ordering
  • Fill: customized
  • Firmness: customized
  • Best for: anyone who’s not sure what they want

If you’d like to outsource choosing a pillow, this company will design your optimal option based on your answers to a questionnaire. You’ll get 100 days to try your personalized pillow and can return it for a full refund if you’re not satisfied.

Queen pillows

EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Pro: a removable pad can change the pillow’s thickness
  • Con: can only wash the cover, not the inside of the pillow
  • Fill: bamboo memory foam
  • Firmness: firm
  • Best for: side and back sleepers

This pillow has a unique cervical design to provide support right at the base of the neck. Reviewers say this contoured shape helped relieve neck pain, but that it could take a few nights to get fully comfortable.

Beckham Hotel Collection, Set of 2

  • Price: $
  • Pro: more than 140,000 customer reviews and a 4.5-star rating
  • Con: some reviews say the pillows lost their plushness over time
  • Fill: down alternative
  • Firmness: soft but supportive
  • Best for: all sleeping positions

This two-pack of pillows is a great value for the price point. The pillows are not only versatile, providing comfort for all kinds of sleepers, but they can be easily cleaned in the washer and dryer.

Coop The Original

  • Price: $$
  • Pro: adjustable loft allows for personalized comfort
  • Con: some reviewers notice a strong odor due to the memory foam
  • Fill: memory foam and microfiber
  • Firmness: medium firm
  • Best for: back and side sleepers

More than 14,000 positive customer reviews say this pillow is a sleep game-changer. The pillow cover and insert can be washed and dried in traditional machines, making care and cleanliness easy.

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt Pro + Cooling Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Pro: low, mid, and high options
  • Con: no returns
  • Fill: TEMPUR memory foam
  • Firmness: depends on option chosen
  • Best for: all sleeping positions and people who run hot at night

One of the pricier offerings from this well-loved brand, this pillow comes in three different loft sizes to choose from, depending on your sleeping style, and boasts a cooling cover. The pillow’s core is one piece, which is good for people who don’t like the feel of shredded foam. It also comes with a 5-year warranty.

King pillows

Original Casper Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Pro: clump-resistant filling
  • Con: have to fluff daily to keep shape
  • Fill: down alternative (polyester microfiber)
  • Firmness: soft
  • Best for: back, side, and stomach sleepers

This pillow is designed to keep its shape as you move around at night and change up your sleeping position. Reviewers rave about the pillow-within-a-pillow design, saying it’s like “sleeping on a cloud.” It’s also machine washable and dryable, which makes cleaning easy.

Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow, 2 Pack

  • Price: $
  • Pro: 70 percent of 30,000 Amazon reviews are 5 stars
  • Con: blue stripe color may show through white sheets
  • Fill: fiber
  • Firmness: medium
  • Best for: all sleeping positions

This two-pack of pillows is highly rated and works for any sleeping position. One drawback is that the brand suggests spot cleaning these pillows, rather than machine washing. Customers who didn’t heed this advice inadvertently split open their pillows.

Layla Kapok Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Pro: can remove the fill piece by piece to make the pillow just right
  • Con: taking out the fill can be a messy process and may feel wasteful
  • Fill: kapok
  • Firmness: plush
  • Best for: all sleeping positions and people who need cooling

This luxury brand pillow has enjoyed a great deal of favorable press, likely because of its soft, cooling cover and its ability to conform to your body. While this pillow is pricey, it comes with free shipping, a 5-year warranty, and a 120-day trial period.

Snuggle-Pedic Original Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Pro: high quality for a low price
  • Con: some reviewers say it flattens quickly
  • Fill: shredded foam
  • Firmness: firm
  • Best for: all sleeping positions

This budget-friendly memory foam option was developed by a chiropractor and has more than 7,000 5-star reviews on Amazon for its soft, yet supportive design. This pillow is also machine washable, making cleaning convenient.

In addition to the above pillow sizes, there are many other types of pillows you might consider, depending on your lifestyle and needs. Here are just a few options that could come in handy:

  • Travel pillow: These smaller pillows usually measure around 10 inches in length and can be easily tucked into a bag for travel. Other variations of travel pillows include neck pillows and inflatable pillows.
  • Toddler pillow: Just slightly larger than a travel pillow, these small pillows are used by toddlers and small children. Experts advise waiting until a child is at least 18 months old before allowing them to sleep unsupervised with a pillow.
  • Body pillow: Measuring 20 inches by 54 inches, a body pillow can be used by side sleepers needing more support or by pregnant people to help them maintain a safer position while sleeping. Body pillows also fit nicely across queen- or king-size beds.
  • Euro pillow: Usually used as accents on queen or king beds, these square pillows measure 26 by 26 inches and require a specific euro-sized sham. Always check before buying a new duvet set if you have this type of pillow because typical shams are usually queen or king.
  • Throw pillow: Typically used for decoration, these pillows are firmer and can come with removable covers, making it easy to swap out colors and styles with the season or changing tastes.

You sleep on your pillow every single night, so it’s worth investing in a quality product that supports your sleeping style. The right pillow for you will allow you to wake up feeling rested, free of pain, and ready to take on the day.

If you’re having trouble finding the right pillow due to neck pain that makes sleep uncomfortable, talk with a doctor so you can get the necessary treatment for you to feel rested again.


Natasha Burton is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Livestrong, Woman’s Day, and many other lifestyle publications. She’s the author of What’s My Type?: 100+ Quizzes to Help You Find Yourself ― and Your Match!, 101 Quizzes for Couples, 101 Quizzes for BFFs, 101 Quizzes for Brides and Grooms, and the co-author of “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.” When she’s not writing, she’s fully immersed in #momlife with her toddler and preschooler.