The 8 Best Pillows of 2021, Tested by Experts

The smartest choices for your sleeping needs

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Best Pillows to buy

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, research shows the right bed pillow can greatly improve your overall sleep quality, so your pillow choice is just as important as your mattress and sheets. Whether you prefer firm or fluffy, the best pillows offer the perfect amount of softness and support to keep you comfortable all night long. Your sleep position can help determine which pillow is right for you, so you should always consider this before making a purchase.

To help you choose the right pillow, we tested the top pillows on the market to see if they lived up to the manufacturers' claims. Our team of testers who are side, back, stomach, and all-over sleepers spent over 1,500 hours resting on these pillows so they could assess the durability, quality, comfort, and overall value.

Based on our testing, here are the best pillows for all your sleep position needs.

Our Top Picks
During testing, this pillow immediately softened to cradle the tester's head and neck, but returned to its original shape after use.
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Our tested noted that she could easily add and remove the memory foam in order to create the exact level of firmness she preferred.
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If you sleep on your side, this adjustable pillow can help keep your spine aligned through the night.
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If you want to add gel pillows to your guest room or for occasional use, this is a great option according to our tester.
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Our tester felt that this down pillow is everything a down pillow should be, "plush, soft, and supportive."
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This supportive pillow has a plush feel thanks to its pillow-in-a-pillow design.
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Best for Neck Support:
UTTU Sandwich Pillow at Amazon
Ideal for side sleepers, this affordable sandwich pillow is touted as one of the best options to help support your neck.
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After over 200 hours of testing, we found this pillow to be fluffy, supportive, and easily customizable.
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Best Overall: Xtreme Comforts Loft Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow

Hypoallergenic Bamboo Pillow - Shredded Memory Foam With Kool-Flow Micro-Vented Bamboo Cover - Hypoallergenic and Dust Mite Resistant (Standard)
4.8

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5

Sizes: Standard, Queen, King | Materials: Shredded memory foam fill, bamboo viscose cover | Care: Cover and inner pillow are machine-washable | Certifications: CertiPUR-US, GREENGUARD Gold | Return Policy: 365 days, warranty not listed

What We Like
  • Adjustable fill for custom height

  • Soft outer shell that washes easily

  • Hypoallergenic and eco-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Shredded fill is messy to remove

  • Slight chemical smell when first opened

There are many types of bed pillows on the market, but one of the best products available is the Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic Bed Pillow, which uses adjustable bamboo memory foam to cradle your head all night long. This pillow comes in standard, queen, king, and body pillow sizes, and because it’s adjustable, it can be used in a variety of sleeping positions.

This pillow has an inner zipper that allows you to remove or add its shredded memory foam fill to meet your needs. Plus, the fill will bounce back each day, ensuring your pillow isn’t flat after a few months. The Xtreme Comforts Pillow also has a micro-vented bamboo cover that provides superior air circulation, regulating your temperature throughout the night to keep you comfortable. If you suffer from allergies, rest assured that the cover is hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, and machine washable (a room air purifier can also help allergy-proof your bedroom).

After sleeping on this pillow for a week, our testers felt like this option was well worth the price due to its customizable options, cool sleeping experience, and overall high quality.

Xtreme Comforts Pillows

The Spruce / William Brangham

What Testers Say

"In terms of performance, the foam immediately softens when you lie down, contouring to your head and neck, but it returns to its original shape as soon as you lift your head."Michelle Hainer, Product Tester

Best Memory Foam: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow

Coop Home Goods Original Pillow
4.8

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Sizes: Queen, King | Materials: Shredded memory foam and microfiber fill, polyester/bamboo viscose rayon blend cover | Care: Inner pillow and cover are machine-washable | Certifications: CertiPUR-US, GREENGUARD Gold | Return Policy: 100 days plus 5-year warranty

What We Like
  • Easy to add or remove filling

  • Extra foam included

  • Thick, luxurious outer shell

What We Don't Like
  • Slight odor when unpackaged

  • A bit pricey

Memory foam is a popular material for pillows thanks to its ability to contour to your head. Products like the Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Pillow will provide superior support and comfort, and they won’t get flat as quickly since memory foam bounces back to its original form after each use.

These pillows from Coop Home Goods come in queen and king sizes, and they have a washable cover to make care easier. You can easily add or remove some of the shredded memory foam to cater to your individual sleep position, and they’re resistant to dust mites and other pesky allergens. Plus, you can feel good about resting your head on these pillows, as they’re made with CertiPUR-US certified foam, which means they don’t contain any harmful chemicals.

You may find the Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Pillow is far superior to standard pillows, as it provides better support and retains its shape with a little bit of daily fluffing, and it may help minimize your neck and back pain during the night. After sleeping on this pillow for several nights, our tester noted that the filling was easy to adjust without making a mess, and she appreciated the extra foam that the company provided.

Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow

The Spruce / Michelle Hainer

What Testers Say

"When we washed the outer shell, it retained its size and shape and easily fit back onto the pillow without any shrinkage issues. The shell stayed soft and dried quickly in the dryer."—Michelle Hainer, Product Tester

Best for Side Sleepers: Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow
4

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Value
    4/5

Sizes: Standard, Queen, King | Materials: Shredded memory foam fill, bamboo cover | Care: Cover and inner pillow are machine-washable | Certifications: CertiPUR-US, GREENGUARD Gold | Return Policy: 120 days plus 20-year warranty

What We Like
  • Impressive 20-year warranty

  • 120-night sleep trial

  • Eco-friendly and made in the USA

What We Don't Like
  • Messy to remove shredded fill

  • Initial odor when unpackaged

  • Pricier compared to similar options

Your sleep position will often dictate what type of pillow will be most comfortable. One of the most common sleeping positions is on your side, and if you tend to snooze in this position, you’ll want a pillow that’s thick enough to keep your spine in alignment. One great option for side sleepers is the Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow, another product that you can adjust to fit your body.

This shredded memory foam pillow has a zipper so you can add or remove filling to suit your needs—if you sleep on your side, make sure the pillow is thick enough to fill the gap between your head and the mattress. It’s covered in a breathable bamboo cover to keep you cool during the night. Our tester noted that this cover is easy to wash and retains its softness.

Snuggle-Pedic Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

The Spruce / Michelle Hainer

What Testers Say

"Though it compresses when you lay down, it pops right back into place the moment you get up. The pillow feels almost like jumping into a foam pit: soft, yet with enough spring to support your weight."—Michelle Hainer, Product Tester

Best Budget: DreamNorth PREMIUM Gel Pillow Loft

DreamNorth Gel Pillow
3.5

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    3/5
  • Value
    3/5

Sizes: Queen | Materials: Cotton fill, cotton shell | Care: Spot-clean or hand wash with detergent | Certifications: None listed | Return Policy: Not listed

What We Like
  • Great price

  • Luxe look and feel

  • Hypoallergenic

What We Don't Like
  • Too soft for some sleepers

  • Not as supportive as other options

High-end pillows can get pretty expensive, so if you’re looking for spare pillows for your guest room or another seldom-used location, you may want to consider a budget option like the DreamNorth Premium Gel Pillows. These affordable gel pillows come in standard, queen, and king sizes, and they’ll be easy on your budget while still providing your guests with a restful night’s sleep.

The DreamNorth Pillows are filled with a special gel fiber that’s soft and breathable, and the covers are made from 100 percent cotton with a subtle striped design. The fabric is breathable to keep your head cool at night, and the pillows are hypoallergenic and dust mite-resistant. These pillows are both soft and supportive, and they’re best for back or stomach sleepers.

After several nights of testing at home, our tester especially appreciated the pillow cover's high-quality, breathable fabric that helped keep their head cool at night.

DreamNorth Premium Gel Pillow Loft

The Spruce / Tierney McAfee

What Testers Say

"The cover of this pillow is made of 100 percent cotton, making it very soft, breathable, and dry. We were pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the fabric—especially for such a low price. The quality feel of the material suggests that it will hold up well over time and through repeated washes."—Tierney McAfee, Product Tester

Best Down: Parachute Down Pillow

parachute-down-pillow
4.5

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Sizes: Standard, King | Materials: European white down fill, sateen cotton shell | Care: Machine-washable or dry clean | Certifications: None listed | Return Policy: 60 days plus 3-year warranty

What We Like
  • Sustainable and ethically sourced

  • Plush, high-quality materials

  • Available in soft, medium, and firm densities

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Down, which is another term for duck or goose feathers, is known as one of the most luxurious pillow materials, as it’s extremely light and soft. It's also relatively simple to wash and maintain. If you’re partial to down pillows, you’ll love the Parachute Down Pillows, which are filled with premium European white down and wrapped in a 100 percent sateen-cotton shell.

These pillows come in standard and king sizes, and you can choose from soft, medium, or firm densities. The down filling comes from humanely treated animals, and the shell is reinforced with a double-stitched piping seam. These pillows come with a three-year warranty, and they’re well worth the investment for a luxurious night’s sleep.

After sleeping on this pillow for several nights, our tester felt that this pillow was soft and supportive, leaving them waking up refreshed. They also put the pillow to the test in the washing machine, where it held up, keeping its original shape and shine.

Parachute Down Pillow

The Spruce / Tierney McAfee

What Testers Say

"We enjoyed several good nights’ sleep with this pillow and were pleasantly surprised by how firm and supportive it is for a down pillow. We woke up feeling refreshed and free from any neck or back pain."—Tierney McAfee, Product Tester

Best Plush: Casper Original Pillow

Original Casper Pillow
4

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5

Sizes: Standard, King | Materials: Microfiber fill, cotton cover | Care: Cover and inner pillow are machine-washable | Certifications: None listed | Return Policy: 30 days plus 1-year warranty

What We Like
  • Good balance of softness and support

  • Sleeps cool

What We Don't Like
  • Only one firmness option

If you like feeling like you’re sleeping on a cloud, you’ll love the Casper Pillow, which has a plush feel thanks to its pillow-in-a-pillow design. This unique pillow has a supportive inner section surrounded by a plush, soft outer shell that effortlessly adjusts as you shift position.

The Casper Pillow has a 100 percent cotton cover in a breathable percale weave that keeps it from overheating during the night. Casper claims this pillow can be used in any sleeping position, but it may be too soft for back and side sleepers. Our testers, who typically sleep on their sides, noted that although the pillow was softer than they normally preferred, they slept well and continued using it.

Casper Original Pillow

The Spruce / Tierney McAfee

What Testers Say

"We were pleasantly surprised to find that the pillow delivered a lot more loft and support than expected. The inner core of the pillow prevented our heads from sinking straight through to the mattress, while the outer fluff amped up the comfort factor."—Tierney McAfee, Product Tester

Best for Neck Support: UTTU Sandwich Pillow

UTTU Sandwich Pillow
4.5

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5

Sizes: Standard, King | Materials: Memory foam, bamboo cover | Care: Cover is machine-washable | Certifications: CertiPUR-US, OEKO-TEX | Return Policy: Not listed

What We Like
  • Adjustable loft

  • Ergonomic design

What We Don't Like
  • Takes time to expand after opening

  • Not machine-washable

If you suffer from neck pain, experts recommend changing your sleeping position (just that alone could do the trick!) or swapping out your pillow. When you have neck pain, it could mean you’re not getting enough support while you sleep. Choose a more rounded pillow to mirror the natural curvature of the neck. And opt for soft memory foam or feathers, because a pillow that’s too hard may exacerbate neck pain.

Though the UTTU Sandwich Pillow has an affordable price, it may be one of the best pillows to help relieve neck pain and prevent a stiff neck. Like many of the best options out there, it’s customizable, so you can find the right height and firmness that works for you.

Best Customizable: Marlow The Pillow

Marlow Pillow
5

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Sizes: Standard, King | Materials: 80% polyurethane foam (memory foam) and 20% polyester fiber fill, sateen cotton cover | Care: Not machine-washable | Certifications: None listed | Return Policy: 365 day plus 2-year warranty

What We Like
  • Stays fluffy and supportive overnight

  • Customizable firmness

  • Cooling technology

What We Don't Like
  • Not machine washable

If you've ever wanted a firm pillow one night, but felt like something a bit softer the next, Marlow's supportive pillow is worth checking out. With a unique design, the pillow’s zipper controls the firmness—just move the zipper until you find the right level of support you want on any given night. Made of cooling-infused memory foam and breathable mesh, this pillow will help keep you cool as well as supported.

After 210 hours of testing, we found this pillow to stay fluffy and soft overnight. The customizable firmness was a standout feature that could be easily adjusted based on preference and desired sleeping position. Just note that similar to other options on this list, the Marlow pillow isn’t machine washable.

What Testers Say

"If you want a supportive pillow that can be flexible to your needs this is the right fit. Both my husband and I fight over who gets to use this at night and we prefer different sleep surfaces.”Dwyer Frame, VP of Commerce

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a versatile, comfortable, and hypoallergenic bed pillow that most sleepers will love (regardless of their sleeping position), the Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic Bamboo Pillow is our top choice. However, if you need a little more support at night, try the Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow, which will contour to your head and retain its shape better.

Snuggle Pedic Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

The Spruce / Michelle Hainer

How We Tested the Pillows

For this article, our team of testers who are side, back, stomach, and all over sleepers spent over 1,500 hours sleeping on these pillows in their own beds. They then rated them across a number of categories including quality, durability, comfort, and value. We combined their testing results with our writers' and editors' own research to bring you this list.

What to Look for in a Pillow

Material 

Pillows are typically made of materials like foam, down, down alternatives, gel, or polyester fill. Each has its pros and cons. For instance, memory foam pillows are great if you sleep in the same position every night, while down pillows are super fluffy. Consider whether the material you’re buying is conducive to your sleep preferences and whether it might cause any allergies to act up.

Firmness 

Your firmness preference is an essential consideration when purchasing a pillow. Think about whether you like your pillows firm, super soft, or somewhere in between before you buy.

Sleep position

The position you sleep in can affect which pillow is best for your needs. Those who sleep on their side typically do best with a wide pillow with a gusset or extra height, while those who sleep on their stomachs need a soft, thin pillow to maintain their neck’s natural curve.

Xtreme Comforts Pillows

 The Spruce / Michelle Hainer

Standout Features

Third-party certifications

When choosing a new pillow, it's helpful to look for options that have been third-party tested for consumer safety and sustainable sourcing. For example, some foam pillows are CertiPUR-US-certified to be free of heavy metals, ozone depleters, and other potentially harmful chemicals. Similarly, down products with Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certification guarantee ethical animal treatment.

Breathability

Down pillows are naturally breathable, but if you prefer down alternative or foam pillows, there are a few features that will enhance breathability. If you're shopping for a foam pillow, choose one made with shredded foam for better airflow. And with all pillows, it's always a good idea to choose one with a breathable cover made from cotton or bamboo for added comfort.

Adjustable filling

If you want the option to customize your pillow's loft, look for one with adjustable filling that you can add or remove to reach your desired height. If you like a loftier pillow, choose one that comes with extra filling that's easy to add as needed.

FAQ
  • Where can you find an affordable pillow?

    When it comes to pillows, you tend to get what you pay for, so a cheap pillow may not be very comfortable or durable. Look for sales, coupons, and promotional codes to shop in stores and online for affordable quality pillows.

  • What are good options for someone who needs neck support?

    Choose a pillow that will cradle the head and support the curve of the neck. Foam contour pillows like the UTTU Sandwich Pillow have rounded edges that offer excellent neck support.

  • Where can you find a good plane pillow?

    You can find travel pillows while searching for regular pillows. In fact, many pillow brands offer a smaller portable version so you can enjoy the pillow features while traveling. In stores, look in the pillow section. When shopping online, search for travel pillows in your desired brand.

  • Where can you find a pillow that is easy to pack?

    Travel pillows are smaller and easier to pack, but sometimes you want to bring your full-sized pillow on a trip. Pillows made from memory foam are the easiest to roll up and pack in a suitcase. When researching pillows, looks for features like portability. Read reviews to see how other users traveled with the pillow.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was edited and researched by Cristina Sanza, a lifestyle writer specializing in home products and organization hacks. To keep our product picks current and help you choose the right pillow, she reads customer reviews, third-party articles, and brand websites. We then combined her research with our testing results to create this list.

Updated by
Jenna Stregowski
Jenna Stregowski, RVT, Pet Expert and Contributing Writer for The Spruce Pets

Jenna Stregowski, RVT, has worked in veterinary medicine for more than two decades. Her veterinary experience ranges from routine wellness care and preventive medicine to emergency and specialty care, where she has performed duties ranging from specialized nursing to clinical administration. Jenna has been writing about pet care for over 10 years, including for publications like DVM 360 and DogTime.

Learn more about The Spruce's Editorial Process
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Jeon MY, Jeong H, Lee S, et al. Improving the quality of sleep with an optimal pillow: a randomized, comparative studyTohoku J Exp Med. 2014;233(3):183-188. doi:10.1620/tjem.233.183

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