If you have a king-sized bed, you'll want appropriately sized pillows that fill the width. Sleep specialist Nicole Shallow says large king pillows tend to work well for those who doze on their backs and sides. "If it's not comfortable under the neck, looking at it as a body pillow may be helpful," she adds.
With expert buying tips from Shallow in mind, we researched and tested standout options for every sleeping style. Our favorite is the Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow, an ultra-fluffy yet supportive bed pillow filled with NASA-approved cooling technology.
Check out the best king-size pillows currently on the market.
Best Overall: Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow
Two firmness levels
Cooling and sweat-wicking
Our top choice is the Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow, a supremely fluffy yet supportive sleeping companion available in two firmness levels. The soft-to-medium option may be best for those who doze on their stomachs, while the medium-to-firm is ideal for side and back sleepers. If you do not opt for a king size, a standard size is also available.
One of this pillow's star features is its temperature-regulating capability. Each side of the pillow is lined with a NASA-approved fabric that captures heat and releases it throughout the night as your temperature changes. While this wasn't a major concern of our tester, she still found that this pillow noticeably improved the quality of her sleep. "I was worried a new pillow would be too bulky or fluffy, [as] I am used to using a very flat, firm pillow," she noted. "However, this one feels much more comfortable than what I currently use, and I simply didn't know what I was missing."
Filled with 100% down alternative fill, this pillow offers a down-like feel at a more affordable price. The shell is made with 300-thread count cotton, which provides a soft and breathable feel, and it is also Oeko-Tex certified for peace of mind.
Price at time of publish: $79 for a King
Best Budget: Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows, Set of 2
Set of two
Plush and supportive
Not ideal for stomach sleepers
Beckham Hotel Collection makes a great budget option. These affordable king pillows come in sets of two, each measuring 36 x 20 inches. The ultra-plush design features a down-alternative fill, and the cotton shell is perfectly soft, breathable, and Oeko-Tex certified for chemical safety.
While these pillows might be a little too shapely for stomach sleepers, they have a nice bounce that supports the head and neck. We also appreciate that they're machine-washable and dryer-friendly.
Price at time of publish: $40 for a set of two kings
Best Splurge: Saatva Latex Pillow
Cooling and airy
If you're willing to invest in the best of the best, you can't go wrong with Saatva's Latex Pillow. This premium option is filled with shredded latex fibers for adaptable support, plus a removable, down-like inner pillow for extra loft. Side sleepers can keep the loft as-is, while back, stomach, and combination sleepers might want to remove the inner pillow.
During testing, we were the most impressed by the quality of this pillow: out of all the options we considered, it felt the most luxe and expensive. It has a nice weight that makes the pillow stand tall and maintain its shape, and our testers felt comfortable and supported in all sleeping positions. The super-soft shell is woven with Fair Trade Certified cotton to help you maintain a comfortable temperature—and when laundry day comes around, you can simply toss the pillowcase in with the rest of your wash.
Price at time of publish: $185 for a king
Best Memory Foam: WEEKENDER Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Pillow
More narrow than average
If you like a contoured feel, this one's for you. Boasting a full five inches of the brand's gel-infused polyurethane foam, the Weekender Gel Memory Foam Pillow has a soft yet supportive feel that our tester rated medium-firm. It maintains its shape while responding to the weight of your head, making it an especially great option for side and back sleepers.
This memory foam pillow has a ventilated design, which is intended to promote airflow and prevent heat from getting trapped in the foam. During testing, this pillow kept our tester cool and comfortable throughout the night. "I have had a gel foam pillow before, but this one has definitely outperformed it," she said. Just note that it's on the narrower side: 16 inches in width, versus 20 inches for most kings.
Price at time of publish: $40 for a king
Best Foam: Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow
Squishy and supportive
Not ideal for stomach sleepers
For those who like the buoyancy of foam but not necessarily memory foam, we recommend Tuft & Needle. This pillow is made of squishy, supportive foam infused with gel and graphite to keep you comfortably cool all night.
Since the fill isn't shredded, you can't adjust the loft—and although 5 inches is likely too thick for stomach sleepers, back and side sleepers will appreciate the support. Our tester, who's a combination sleeper, found this pillow to be comfortable in virtually any position. "I used to wake up repeatedly throughout the night, tossing and turning, fluffing pillows, turning them over, rearranging them," she said. "Now I mostly sleep soundly throughout the night and don't recall having to squish or fluff my pillows."
We also love that this king-size pillow is CertiPUR-US certified, so you know it's low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other potentially harmful chemicals.
Price at time of publish: $120 for a king
Best Latex : Nest Bedding Easy Breather Natural Pillow
Plush yet supportive
Latex is an excellent alternative to synthetic foam. We like the Nest Easy Breather, which contains 75 perfect natural shredded latex and 25 percent poly fibers. The result? Lightweight, plush support that doesn't trap air. What's more, you can adjust the fill to achieve your ideal level of firmness and loft.
Sourced from organic rubber trees, the latex is certified by the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). And the machine-washable outer cover is GOTS-certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard. All things considered, we just wish the Easy Breather was a little more affordable.
Price at time of publish: $84.50 for a King
Best Down: Quince Luxe Goose Down Pillow
Fluffy, cloud-like feel
Not ideal for back sleepers
As the name implies, Quince's Luxe Goose Down Pillow is filled with 100 percent natural down fibers from European white geese. It holds a Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certification, which tells you the material was ethically sourced from humanely treated animals.
Flaunting an impressive 700 fill power, this bed pillow is incredibly fluffy with a cloud-like appeal. You can choose soft/medium or medium/firm, though even the latter may not be supportive enough for back sleepers. Unlike many down-filled bedding inserts, this one is conveniently machine-washable. The smooth cotton sateen shell is a nice bonus, as well.
Price at time of publish: $159.90 for a King (Soft/Medium), $189.90 for a King (Medium/Firm)
Best Down Alternative: Parachute Down Alternative Pillow
Three densities available
Not ideal for side sleepers
Our favorite down-alternative king pillow comes from Parachute. This vegan-friendly, hypoallergenic sleeping companion is filled with lightweight, ultra-fine microfibers designed to mimic the loftiness of natural down.
It's available in three densities to cater to different sleeping preferences, but if you doze on your side, the gusseted version might be a better choice. Thanks to double-stitched piping at the seams, this durable pillow is machine-washable and dryer-friendly—and Parachute backs it with a three-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $89 for a king (soft), $99 for a king (medium), $109 for a king (firm)
Best Adjustable: Marlow The Pillow
Breathable and cooling
Not ideal for stomach sleepers
Marlow stuffs its signature pillow with an 80/20 ratio of chopped gel-infused memory foam and lightweight poly fibers. You can customize the support, firmness, and loft using its hidden zipper. In other words, it's easy to adjust without the mess of adding or removing handfuls of the fill.
Adjustability notwithstanding, our testers thought this pillow might be a bit too firm for stomach sleepers. Still, they were impressed with the design, noting its great airflow and temperature control. While it's not machine-washable, the price is reasonable, and it's backed by a two-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $85 for a king
Best Cooling: Coop Home Goods The Original Pillow
Slight odor out of the box
The Eden Pillow is ideal for hot sleepers. It earned a 4.8 out of 5 overall score from our tester, who liked the luxurious exterior and plush core. The foam and poly fiber fill is adjustable, and it comes with an extra bag of foam if you want to make it even firmer.
This pillow's core is infused with gel to provide a cooling effect, while the bamboo-derived viscose shell encourages airflow and pulls sweat away from your skin. You might notice a slight odor upon unboxing the Eden, but it should dissipate quickly. And it's CertiPUR-US certified to ensure that the foam is low in VOCs.
Price at time of publish: $78 for a king
Best Hotel-Quality: Sobel Westex Home Hotel Sahara Nights Pillow
Quilted cotton shell
Not ideal for side sleepers
If you're trying to create a five-star hotel vibe in your sleeping quarters, look no further than Sobel Westex. The Sahara Nights Pillow consists of a softly quilted cotton shell filled with a down-alternative blend of poly and gel fibers.
Boasting a super-plush feel with medium-soft firmness, the brand says it's ideal for stomach and back sleepers. (Side sleepers may want a thicker option, such as something with a gusset.) At 36 x 20 inches, this pillow will fill out a king-size pillowcase nicely. Owing to the durable design and reinforced seams, you can toss it in your washing machine and tumble-dry it as needed.
Price at time of publish: $65 for a king
Best for Shams: Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow Insert
Plush and bouncy
Fills out shams
Hard to get shams on
Lots of folks choose one pillow to sleep with and another for their decorative shams. For the latter, we suggest Brooklinen's Down Alternative Insert. The plush, bouncy design is filled with super-fine microfibers sourced from recycled plastic bottles.
Due to the silky weight of the poly fibers, it has a somewhat gel-like feel. While it's not heavy per se, this pillow is thick and dense. It'll definitely fill out your shams, but getting them on might be tricky, since the fit will be snug. And although this insert isn't machine-washable, it won't need to be cleaned as often if you only use it for making the bed.
Price at time of publish: $85 for a king
The best king bed pillow is the Buffy Cloud Pillow. Available in three density levels, this fluffy yet supportive sleeping companion is perfect for folks who snooze on their stomachs, backs, or sides. But if you're looking for an insert for king-size shams, Brooklinen's plush and bouncy Down Alternative Pillow is the way to go.
How We Tested the Pillows
Between our home and lab testers, we spent dozens of hours assessing the quality, airflow, durability, effectiveness, and overall value of these pillows. While not all of the options tested were king-size, we were still able to capture need-to-know insights that will help better inform your shopping experience.
What to Consider When Buying a King-Size Pillow
At the risk of stating the obvious, king-size pillows are meant for king and California king beds. Most are 36 inches long, so if you place a pair side by side, they'll cover almost the entire width of a 76-inch king mattress. Two king pillows are the exact width of a California king (72 inches).
If an adult is sleeping in a twin bed, they might appreciate the length of a king-size pillow. However, Shallow says, "King pillows are best for larger frames. [For kids], it is just too much pillow."
When buying any bed pillow, don't overlook the material. "You want a material that you find comfortable, soft, and calming," says Shallow. Some popular fill options include responsive memory foam (shredded or solid), buoyant and breathable latex, lofty goose or duck down, and down-alternative poly fibers.
"A material that is cooling is also important," says Shallow. "Your body temperature needs to remain cool overnight to help you get to sleep and sustain sleep." Cooling and temperature-regulating fill materials include gel, copper, and graphite. For the shell, look for breathable fabrics, like cotton, bamboo, or lyocell.
Your preferred sleeping position can provide clues about what type of pillow to buy. "Back sleepers may enjoy medium firmness and medium volume to allow enough support for the neck," says Shallow, adding that solid memory foam might be the best choice.
For side sleepers, a thicker design will help support the neck and keep the spine in a neutral position. "If [a king pillow] is not comfortable under the neck, looking at it as a body pillow may be helpful," notes Shallow. She says that stomach sleepers should opt for a low-volume pillow to keep the head aligned with the spine. "You want something that can be compressed, like down or feathers."
How big is a king-size pillow?
Most king-size pillows are 36 inches long and 20 inches wide, though some are a bit narrower at 16 to 18 inches wide. Queen pillows are usually 30 x 20 inches, and most standard pillows are 26 x 20 inches.
Pillowcases should be about a half-inch bigger than the pillow on each side. However, some are substantially larger. To avoid a baggy fit, check the dimensions before buying your pillows and pillowcases.
Do I need a king-size pillow for a king bed?
While there's no official rule book, most people use king-size pillows for king-size beds. As noted, a side-by-side pair will cover nearly the entire expanse of the mattress, making things look more proportioned.
But if you find king pillows too large to sleep with comfortably, a queen or standard size might be better. Three standard pillows will cover the width of a king mattress, and you can always get king pillows for your shams when making the bed.
What size pillow is the best to sleep on?
This comes down to preference. While lots of folks enjoy sleeping with king pillows, bigger is not always better. Material, firmness, and density are better indicators of comfort. We recommend sleeping with the most comfortable pillow for your personal needs and preferred position and potentially choosing something different for your decorative shams.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a product reviewer and commerce writer specializing in textiles, lifestyle, and sleep products. For this article, she interviewed Nicole Shallow, M.Ed., BCBA, a sleep specialist and board-certified behavior analyst and the founder of Your Behaviour Gal. She considered dozens of king pillows, including several tested by The Spruce, narrowing them down to options suited for all different sleeping styles and needs.
Theresa sleeps with a Layla Kapok Pillow and uses Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillows for shams. She has pillows from Buffy and Beckham Hotel Collection in her guest room.