The 8 best comforters for your bed in 2021

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When you’re shopping for a bed, salespeople will tell you not to skimp on quality. After all, you’re in bed eight hours per day – maybe more. That’s equal to one-third of your life.

And with so much of your time spent in bed, you might as well be warm while you’re there, which is why investing in a high-quality comforter is key. A wide variety of comforters are available at all different price points, depending on the type of fill, color options, insulation level, and size. Learn more about different comforter types and fills here.

Here are the best comforters you can buy in 2021

The best comforter overall

best comforter

The Topsleepy Luxurious All Size Goose Down Comforter provides just the right level of warmth at a great price point.

Pros: Low price point, good construction quality for the money, provides comfort in all types of weather, easy to clean, goose down fill, baffle design keeps down from shifting

Cons: Low thread count allows some fill to escape, only 50% goose down fill

The Topsleepy Luxurious All Size Goose Down Comforter will keep you warm and cozy all year round with its 50% goose down filling and baffle stitching. It’s not too heavy or too warm, so you can use it most of the year. 

Since it’s a plain white comforter and it doesn’t have the highest thread count at 300, you may want to put it inside a duvet cover. A duvet cover will protect the comforter from staining and losing feathers and it’ll also add some color or a fun pattern to your bed. You can check out the best duvet covers on Insider Reviews for some ideas.

Additionally, the Topsleepy Luxurious Goose Down Comforter is very easy to clean. Just use lukewarm water to spot clean the comforter and air dry it. A duvet cover will keep it even cleaner and ensure it lasts longer, though.

Should you have any problems with it, Topsleepy says it’s guaranteed for 15 years. You can check the instruction book it comes with for information on how to send the comforter back for a refund or exchange. The price is also much more reasonable than most other comforters, making it a good pick for most people.

The best comforter from a startup

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The Brooklinen Down Comforter is super luxurious and well made with a 700 fill power and 400 thread count.

Pros: Made in Canada, 700 fill power, real goose down, 400 thread count cover, lifetime warranty

Cons: More pricey

If you don’t like buying from big-name companies and you’d much prefer checking out a startup, Brooklinen is our favorite new bedding brand. Its down comforter is a great buy.

It’s hand-made in the Hutterite communities of Northwest Canada, and contains 700 fill power white down, making it extra cozy and warm. The fill is covered by a 400 thread count cotton sateen shell that’s soft to the touch, just like Brooklinen’s sheets, which are among our favorites.

Brooklinen has a lifetime warranty, too, so if you don’t like it for whatever reason, the company offers free exchanges or replacements. 

For those who experience allergies, don’t worry — Brooklinen offers a down alternative version, too. 

Meanwhile, if you know you like weighted blankets but don’t like how they may shift or slide on your existing comforter, Brooklinen also offers a weighted comforter, which we’ve tested and loved for its thick, fluffy feel and built-in heft. 

The best colorful comforter

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The LaCrosse Down Comforter from The Company Store works great in all seasons and it comes in fun color choices.

Pros: Large number of color options, works well in all kinds of weather, includes loops to keep comforter in place on the bed, high-quality sewn-through design

Cons: Pricey, lower thread count than some of our other picks

If you’re tired of boring white comforters, The Company Store LaCrosse Down Comforter is a smart choice. It carries a slightly above average price point, but you’ll be able to find just the right shade to go with your bedroom’s décor. 

You can get the comforter in colors like ivory, russet, bubblegum, walnut, navy, chino, coal, guava, and silver. It has a 250-thread-count combed cotton shell that’s Oeko-Tex certified, so you know it’s chemical-free. It’s made with a sewn-through 12-inch box construction that ensures the 100% duck down filling never spills out.

If you do want to pop it in a duvet cover, the comforter has corner loops to attach duvets with ties. You can check out the best duvet covers on Insider Reviews for some ideas. Additionally, the LaCrosse comforter is machine washable for easy cleaning.

Even though this comforter provides a good deal of warmth with its fill power of 500 to 550, it still works great in summer, too. 

The best budget comforter

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If you can’t afford the luxury of a down comforter, the LinenSpa All-Season Down Alternative is an excellent, affordable option.

Pros: Extremely low price point, multiple sizes and colors available, machine washable design, hypoallergenic materials in the fill, comfortable and soft

Cons: Fill may leak out, on the thinner side

Those of you who are seeking an inexpensive comforter that will keep you cozy will love the  LinenSpa All-Season Down Alternative comforter

Although it doesn’t have goose or duck down inside, the LinenSpa comforter features a down alternative, which is hypoallergenic and quite warm. It’s machine washable and sports box baffle stitching to keep the fill inside where it belongs. In addition to classic white, it comes in black, navy, sand, and charcoal, as well as blue and white striped. 

The comforter’s fill may poke through the threads, but it seems to be a rare occurrence. It’s also on the thinner side, meaning you might need to pair it with an extra blanket in the winter. 

Despite the quibbles, it’s still a solid down alternative option for those who are on a budget. 

 

The best luxury comforter

best_comforter_ _Highland_Feather_Carmel_Hutterite_ _from_Amazon

The Highland Feather Carmel Hutterite Goose Down Comforter offers well above average stitching, fill power, and comfort.

Pros: High-quality construction, high fill power number, all goose down fill, anti-microbial treatment to combat allergens, extremely soft, excellent for providing warmth in winter

Cons: High price point, too heavy for summer usage 

Those of you who are seeking a high-end comforter know that it’s going to cost you a pretty penny to get full goose down with a high fill power. However, the Highland Feather Carmel Hutterite Goose Down Comforter is slightly less expensive than some of its competitors in the luxury space.  

The comforter comes with a 15-year warranty, a 725 fill power, and 100% imported goose down fill. Highland Feather applies an anti-microbial treatment to the goose down fill to prevent problems with allergens. It’s pillowy soft, warm, thick, and luxurious.

It’s a plain white comforter, so you may want to add a duvet cover for protection and style. Duvet covers will add another layer of softness, a fun color or design, and durability to your pricey duvet.

This is not a lightweight comforter. The super king size of the Highland Feather Carmel Hutterite Goose Down comforter with a deluxe fill weighs 50 ounces, so it’s better suited for use in the winter when you want to be cozy than for use in the summer when you get hot at night.

Nonetheless, there’s no denying that this is a well-made, high-end goose down comforter that’ll keep you snuggly warm in bed for years to come. That alone makes it worth the high price tag.

The best hypoallergenic down alternative comforter

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The Superior Solid White Down Alternative Comforter has a soft poly-fill that will be more comfortable if you are allergic to feather or goose down.

Pros: Good price point, hypoallergenic poly-fiber fill, plenty of fill weight for warmth, extremely soft comforter, fill doesn’t create noise as you’re moving around during the night

Cons: Comforter is shorter than average, stitching and shape may show some wear after multiple trips through the washing machine

Finding a comforter with just the right mix of fill that’s also hypoallergenic can be a challenge, but we like the Superior Solid White Down Alternative Comforter with its warm design and affordable price tag.

The king size Superior Solid comforter includes 100 ounces of fill weight, which is sure to keep you warm during cooler months. 

The soft fill makes no noise as you move the comforter around, which will help you get a full night of sleep. Double stitching makes the comforter more durable, but it may not hold its shape and stitching after a couple of trips through the washing machine.

 

 

The best goose down comforter

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There’s something extra luxurious about a true goose down comforter, and the Puredown Goose Down Comforter fits that description perfectly.

Pros: Good price point for a goose down comforter, works equally well in summer and winter, good stitching design to hold fill in place, high build quality that means comforter should last a while

Cons: Thin filling that won’t provide enough warmth for some people, pricey compared to some of our other picks

For those who do not have any allergies to goose feathers, a down comforter is a great option for a luxurious bed covering that also looks great. Our favorite goose down comforter is the Puredown Goose Down Comforter because it’s incredibly soft and warm with its 600 fill power

The comforter uses a baffle box stitching design that’s subtle and attractive. The stitching also helps keep the goose down in place so there are no cold spots.

A word of warning: you might need to add an extra blanket if you’re not a warm sleeper because the goose down filling is thinner than expected. 

 

The best 1,200 thread count comforter

best_comforter_ _Egyptian_Bedding_Goose_Comforter_ _from_Amazon

If you want a soft fabric to go with a great fill weight in your comforter, the Egyptian Bedding 1200 Thread Count Goose Down Comforter is a great buy.

Pros: Excellent thread count equals high-quality fabric, looks like a luxury hotel comforter, 90% goose down fill, size of comforter has plenty of overhang for a king size bed, extra warm 

Cons: Price is a little high, weak baffle box stitching may not allow fill to remain properly spread throughout comforter

Perhaps you like the idea of a high thread count in your comforter because you like to pretend you’re spending the night in a five-star luxury hotel. (Trust us, your partner’s dirty underwear on the floor and the snoring dog in the corner kind of ruin the illusion.)

Once you’ve eliminated those distractions, we’d suggest the Egyptian Bedding 1200 Thread Count Goose Down Comforter to provide luxury style and comfort in your bedroom. Thread count measures the number of threads that can be woven into a square inch of fabric, with higher numbers yielding better comfort and quality.

The Egyptian Bedding comforter includes 90% down and 10% small feather fill, which results in a lightweight, yet warm and comfortable, product. Its 750 fill power is pretty high, too.

A word of warning: we came across some online reviews that say the baffle box stitching is not of a high quality, meaning the fill doesn’t stay in place well, leading to cold spots.

 

What we’re testing next

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Equinox White Quilted Comforter, $29: Senior reporter Connie Chen has tried and continues to use this Amazon favorite, which was a contender for the best budget comforter. It’s a down alternative comforter and hypoallergenic, not to mention soft and breathable. Plus, it has corner tabs to keep a duvet cover in place, if you choose to use one. The only issue with this comforter is that despite its overall breathability, it still runs a bit warm in the summer.  Read our full review of the Equinox comforter here.

Buffy Comforters, $129-$279: We’ve tried both of eco-friendly startup Buffy’s popular comforters, the original Cloud as well as the Breeze. They’re both on the flat side, and as The Wirecutter points out, maybe not as environmentally friendly as they seem. Overall, we like the silky and comfortable feel and the 7-day free trial. Read our full review of the Buffy Cloud comforter here and the Buffy Breeze comforter here.

Comforter FAQs

Understanding terms for comforters

Shopping for a comforter comes with its own set of terminology. Understanding each of these terms will help you find a comforter to meet your needs.

  • Baffle box vs. sewn-through: A baffle box comforter is sewn with flexible boxes that create pockets. The idea is that the fill inside the comforter cannot shift too far out of its box, ensuring the fill remains properly spread throughout the entire area of the comforter. Meanwhile, a sewn-through comforter has sewing through both the top and bottom layers of the comforter, creating patterns such as diamonds, channels, or curved rectangles. The fill does not shift at all with a sewn-through comforter, performing slightly better than a baffle box comforter in terms of evenly distributing warmth.
  • Duvet vs. comforter: For most comforters and duvets sold in North America, the terms are used interchangeably, as the bedding company Crane & Canopy explains. Technically, a duvet is very similar to a comforter but doesn’t have an outer shell, meaning it’s usually placed inside a duvet cover. 
  • Fill power: This measures the amount of volume that one ounce of down occupies. A larger fill power number equals a comforter that provides a greater level of insulation. In other words, the comforter with the higher fill power number offers greater warmth without being heavier. A fill power of around 600 provides average warmth and durability. Higher fill power numbers have greater durability and insulation; lower numbers won’t provide as much warmth, which may be desirable in warmer climates or in the summer.
  • Thread count: Similar to a bedsheet, the thread count in a comforter indicates the number of yarns within an inch of the fabric. Higher thread counts equal finer yarns, which are more comfortable and softer than larger yarns. Because a comforter probably won’t be touching your skin, thread count for softness isn’t quite as important as with a bedsheet. More importantly for a comforter though, a higher thread count ensures the fill will remain inside, rather than leaking out through gaps between yarns.

Types of fills for comforters

The fill used inside the comforter plays a key role in your enjoyment of it.

  • Down alternative: If the comforter doesn’t use goose down or duck down as a filler, you may see down alternative listed in the specifications. This can include cotton fibers, cotton-polyester blend fibers, and gel fibers. Gel fiber is the most expensive type of down alternative, as it provides the most softness.
  • Down cluster: The down cluster is the fluffiest portion of a duck feather or goose feather, existing under the main part of the feather. When used in a comforter, it provides greater warmth than the main part of the feather. A comforter manufacturer may list the percentage of down cluster used in the fill in the blanket’s specifications. A higher percentage of down cluster equals a higher quality comforter and a higher fill power number.
  • Duck down: In North America, duck down is a more common comforter fill material than goose down. As a general rule, duck down is not as fluffy as goose down, so it’s not often found in the highest-end comforters.
  • Goose down: Goose down is the most common fill material in European-made comforters. It provides a little more fluff versus duck down on average, although exceptions do occur. 

Check out our other great guides for bedding

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Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best bed sheets we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Good sheets help you sleep better. It’s important to buy a set that’s comfortable and long-lasting.
  • We tested 14 sheets and consulted three experts to find the best sheets for every need.
  • The L.L.Bean Percale Sheet Set is soft, breathable, and made from durable extra-long-staple cotton.

Even if you have the perfect mattress, it can be hard to fully enjoy your time in bed without a comfortable set of sheets.

Though bedding brands are often quick to show off high thread counts, they’re less important than you might think. The type of fiber and weave also help determine the sheet’s texture, breathability, and durability. Percale and sateen, for example, are both made of cotton but have different weave structures, resulting in different feels.

“When finding sheets that will last and provide comfort and a relaxing night’s sleep, take a look at the material first and thread count second,” said Ave Bradley, senior vice president of design and creative director at Kimpton Hotels. Kimpton uses 200-300 thread count cotton sheets from Frette in its rooms.

Dennis Chan, director of retail product at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said his team looks at the fabric drape (the way the fabric hangs), hand feel, and construction of weave when sourcing bedding for hotels worldwide. Four Seasons produces its own line of bedding in its Four Seasons at Home collection, featuring 350-thread count sateen weave cotton sheets.

Top hotel brands like Four Seasons and Kimpton outfit their rooms in 100% long-staple cotton sheets because they’re soft, breathable, and durable, resulting in luxurious and memorable sleep experiences for their guests. Long-staple cotton has longer fibers, so it’s stronger and softer than shorter-staple cotton, which is why we also generally recommend 100% long-staple cotton in our best picks. However, we’ve also included options like flannel and linen, which hold heat differently and may be more appropriate for specific seasons or those who tend to sleep cold or hot.

To test the best sheets, we washed and dried each set according to its respective instructions at least five times, looked at how each set fit on a 10-inch-thick mattress, and slept on each set to note texture, overall comfort, breathability, and coolness. Read more about how we tested in our methodology and consult our FAQs section for more on thread count, materials and fiber types, and fabric care, including input from a textiles scientist.

Here are the best sheets for your bed in 2021

The best sheets overall

best sheets 2021 L.L. Bean pima cotton sheets

The L.L.Bean percale sheets feel amazing on your skin — simultaneously light, crisp, and soft — and prove that quality materials are more important than thread count.

Pros: High-quality construction, very soft and comfortable, fitted sheet is labeled, accessible price

Cons: Lack of prints and patterns, fitted sheet may be loose on thinner mattresses

Of all the percale cotton sheets I tested, L.L.Bean’s set stood out for its ultra softness and comfort. It’s our overall best pick because it boasts a bit of everything that most shoppers are looking for: lightweight, breathable, and cool fabric; crisp yet soft feel; and strong construction that can reliably stand up to multiple washes. 

The sheets are made from pima cotton, which is a high-quality, extra long-staple cotton. Karen Leonas, who holds a doctorate in textile chemistry and is a professor of textile sciences at the Wilson College of Textiles, NC State University told us extra long-staple cotton is even stronger and more resistant to abrasion than long-staple cotton. That’s likely why the L.L.Bean sheets are extra soft and durable, even though the 280-thread count is on the lower end of the spectrum. They also had a great feel even after many washes and experienced no loose threads or shrinkage in the last three months.

The fitted sheet fit generally well and never slipped off, but there was a little excess (it fits up to 15-inch mattresses) on my IKEA Haugesund mattress. I loved that the long and short sides were labeled, a thoughtful touch that always sped up the annoying task of putting on my sheets. (When you’re constantly trying and washing different sheets, you notice and appreciate these things.) 

The sheets are available in a handful of light colors and they have hemstitched detailing (decorative threading at the edges). If you prefer a simple look that fits into pretty much any room style, the L.L.Bean sheets won’t disappoint. If you like fun prints and patterns, try Brooklinen’s sheets. They came in a close second to L.L.Bean for comfort and durability and are also reasonably priced.  

There’s nothing gimmicky or “special” about these L.L.Bean sheets and that’s what makes them so great. They’re simply well-made, extremely comfortable, and dependable — the best you could want out of something you’re sleeping on every night. 

The best cooling sheets for summer

best sheets 2021 what else we recommend

The cool, airy, and beautiful linen sheets from Sijo will be your summer favorite, or if you regularly sleep hot, a durable yearlong standby.

Pros: Stays dry and cool, casually wrinkled style, flexible flat sheet option 

Cons: Doesn’t come in as many colors and sizes as competitors, may experience some shedding

Linen is a contentious textile. It wrinkles very easily, feels a bit rough, and is notoriously expensive. On the other hand, some prefer the casual, lived-in look, and it does get softer with time and use. Most importantly, because it’s made from hollow flax fibers, which absorb moisture and let air pass through, linen is breathable and stays dry even on the warmest, stuffiest nights. 

Sijo sheets are the best linen sheets I’ve tried because they strike the right balance of comfort, coolness, durability, and price. After a couple months of testing, they knock out our former best pick, MagicLinen, because of how downright soft and comfortable they are, even while having the signature grainy texture of linen. And, they get softer and better after multiple washes. If your preconception of linen is that it’s too scratchy to enjoy, Sijo’s sheets will change your mind. They’re also airy and light, keeping me cool on California spring-nights-that-already-feel-like-summer (we recently had temps in the high 80s in late March). 

I personally loved the wrinkled look, especially combined with the soothing Blush color. I’m also a fan of Sky, a dusky blue. The color and overall construction have held up well so far, and the fabric continues to feel both substantial and lightweight. You should expect some shedding in the first few washes — it’s a natural part of the process but a little annoying to pick off your bed.

Unlike with MagicLinen, I didn’t have any sizing issues with Sijo’s sheets. All the sets have a 15-inch depth. You can also opt in or out of a flat sheet, which provides great flexibility and can bring the price of your purchase down.

The best flannel sheets for winter

best sheets 2021 Pinzon flannel sheets

It’s hard to imagine snuggling in anything but Pinzon‘s thick flannel sheets on a cold winter night. They’ll keep you warm and cozy without causing you to overheat.

Pros: Plush and cozy feel, heavyweight, breathable, affordable 

Cons: Lots of dryer lint, only available in solid colors, may be too warm for hot sleepers

Imagine you’re nestled in a cabin in the woods, far, far away from the people and bustle of regular life. There’s a fire crackling nearby and you have a book in one hand and a mug of tea in the other. That’s what it feels like sleeping in these flannel sheets, even if the reality is that you’re laying your head to rest in a modern city high-rise. 

There’s no better fabric than flannel to bundle your body in during fall and winter (and even beyond, if you don’t sleep hot). Pinzon’s flannel is thick, soft, and cozy from the very first use and the comforting feeling only gets better over time. They’re velvety and a little fuzzy, but were never itchy and uncomfortable. Though the sheets are very warm, they never felt stifling or unbreathable, despite the fact that I sometimes sleep warm. However, if you regularly sleep hot, the flannel sheets may be too stifling.

These sheets make it dangerously tempting to take midday naps curled up like a cat or to sleep in every day as if it were a Sunday free of commitments and appointments. I consistently felt like I slept better and deeper because of how warm and comfortable these sheets are. Fortunately, there’s been no shrinkage or pilling to get in the way of that comfort.

Still, there are a few small inconveniences. Out of the package, they have a slight chemical odor, so you’ll need to wash them before the first use. Also, be prepared to empty out a thick layer of fuzz from your dryer lint trap every time you wash them. If you have thicker or high-loft pillows, the pillowcases may be a tight fit. I used them on my Casper and Leesa pillows (both moderately-sized pillows), and the pillowcases were a bit difficult to pull on.

The best hotel sheets

best sheets 2021 H by Frette hotel sheets

When you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a night to sleep at a luxury hotel, H by Frette‘s smooth and luxurious sateen sheets will take you there instead.

Pros: Luxury hotel-approved, quality materials, washes well, brand has long manufacturing history

Cons: Only available in white

Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Kimpton hotels worldwide turn to this iconic name for their bedding needs. We’re talking about none other than Italian luxury brand Frette, once the official maker of linens for the Italian royal family. 

Sleeping in Frette’s soft and smooth sateen sheets, you’ll certainly feel like royalty. H by Frette is Frette’s consumer line of linens and whisks you away into the sumptuous hotel bed of your dreams. But rather than paying for just a single night in a high-end hotel, you’re dropping $300 for years of hotel luxury in your own room. 

The sheets are, of course, only available in white, and you can get them in sateen or percale depending on your preference. The resulting bed looks simple, clean, and fresh, and while housekeeping staff isn’t included with your purchase, you’ll probably feel motivated anyway to maintain the signature hotel style yourself because of how sleek and composed the all-white look is.

Frette uses 100% extra long-staple cotton, so even though the set doesn’t have the extraordinarily high thread count (300) you might expect from hotel sheets, it feels very soft. Extra long-staple cotton is also very durable — important for hotels where housekeeping teams are washing each room’s sheets constantly, and important for you as a consumer if you want to be sure your investment goes a long way. 

Sateen sheets can be too warm for me sometimes, but Frette’s felt perfect and cooler than other sateen sets I’ve tried. The sheets have a subtle gloss and a silky feel and they remain comfortable after every wash. 

You’ll find less expensive and equally comfortable sheets in the rest of this guide, but if you specifically want the sheets used in and approved by hundreds of hotels, then you’ll be very happy with Frette’s. Whenever I rotate through my sheets, I look forward to this set because I know it’ll feel like a treat.

Pro tip: “When recreating this [hotel] experience at home, think about using high lofting pillows, quality sheets and a plush duvet with a duvet cover for the ultimate luxury experience,” says Chan. 

The best sheets on a budget

best sheets 2021 Threshold budget sheets

Threshold‘s sheets are popular among Target shoppers because they’re comfortable, thoughtfully designed, and best of all, affordable.

Pros: Affordable, great fit 

Cons: May trap body oils more, smell terrible out of the package

It’s the price tag that’ll catch your eye first, then the great fit and soft feel that’ll sell you completely on these budget-friendly sheets from Target brand Threshold. Of all the sets I tested, Threshold’s fitted sheet was the easiest to put on and fit my mattress the best, despite being designed for mattresses up to 18-inch deep. The extra stretch in the corners of the sheet made a big difference and helped the sheet cling to my mattress without showing excess material on top. It also has a top and bottom label to speed up the fitting process. 

Once on, the sateen sheets are smooth and silky. They’re made from 100% cotton and have a 400-thread count, which is on the higher end of all the sets I tried. I noticed after some use, however, that they seem to trap body oils more readily and feel greasier than other sets, making them less pleasant to sleep on. I wondered if this was because Target uses a short-staple cotton, or if they applied some kind of treatment over the sheets to give them their “performance” qualities (wrinkle-resistant, bleach friendly), but the brand didn’t respond to my requests for additional clarification. The problem does seem to go away if I wash the sheets more often.

Either way, I had a comfortable experience overall; they just weren’t the best of all the sheets I tried. And though they’re touted as “performance sheets,” most notably as being wrinkle-free, they certainly wrinkle. The best way you can get rid of the wrinkles, as with all cotton sheets, is to iron them. 

Be warned — the sheets have a strong sour and chemical smell when you first take them out of their packaging. The smell lingers even after the sheets are aired out for a couple of days, so you’ll definitely want to wash them first.

If you’re on a budget, a college student, or a frequent host looking to outfit a guest bed, these sheets are a smart decision. We’re continuing to test and wash them to look for any durability issues, but so far we haven’t run into any. 

What else we tested

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What else we recommend and why 

Brooklinen: As I mentioned earlier, it was a tight race between Brooklinen and L.L.Bean. We still highly recommend Brooklinen because the brand offers incredible value for long-lasting, comfortable, and beautiful sheets. But the set we tested (Brooklinen’s most popular) may be too warm for some people because of the sateen weave, which is why we ultimately picked L.L.Bean’s cooler percale. Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here.

Boll & Branch: Boll & Branch uses cotton that’s both GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified, so if you live an organic lifestyle, or are trying to incorporate more organic products into your cart, you’ll love these ethically and sustainably made sheets. The sheets are comfortable and durable but keep in mind that the manufacturing process and certifications do come at a cost. Read our full review of Boll & Branch sheets here.

MagicLinen: MagicLinen recently lost its spot as our top linen pick because it wasn’t as comfortable or affordable as Sijo. There are a few reasons you might still want to buy MagicLinen, though: it comes in a lot more colors and sizes, including twin and deep-depth. If you’re willing to pay a bit more to find a specific style and fit, MagicLinen’s a good place to shop durable and airy linen sheets. Read our full review of MagicLinen sheets here

Riley: Riley’s percale sheets are softer than other percale sheets, but not more so than L.L.Bean’s. They felt cool and held up to all our washes well. I also appreciated the fair price point, and the flexibility of opting for the add-on flat sheet, instead of being stuck with one you don’t want. 

What we do not recommend and why 

Crane & Canopy: We liked the comfortable feel and embroidery of these extra-long staple, 400-thread count cotton sheets. Like L.L.Bean and Brooklinen, they’re made from high-quality cotton and have a mid-tier thread count — but they’re a lot more expensive. Since there are no other distinct features to set Crane & Canopy apart, we prefer L.L.Bean and Brooklinen for their better value.

Serena & Lily: The home brand has many pretty and composed sheet options, like this Classic Ring Sheet Set, which has a percale weave and a 310-thread count. The feel is indeed crisp and cool, but it’s a bit pricey for what you get and our other sheet picks offer better value. We also noticed after the first wash that there were already some loose threads on the pillowcases. 

Italic: Long-staple cotton percale sheets made by the same manufacturer of Frette, Four Seasons, and St. Regis sheets for $75? The Slumber Cotton set is definitely enticing for this reason, and it’s comfortable to sleep in. However, Italic has a $100/year membership model, so buying this set only makes sense if you plan on purchasing other goods from the site. We recommend first browsing the rest of the online shop to see if you’re interested in the other home products, clothing, and accessories. Otherwise, you’ll be paying $175, which isn’t any more competitive than our picks above. 

Ettitude: Ettitude’s claim to fame is using bamboo lyocell for its sheets. They’re made from 100% organic bamboo with a water-efficient manufacturing process and the result is uniquely soft, silky, and cool. However, we noticed they’re more delicate than other fabrics and the sheets showed more pilling and abrasion after we washed them.

Bespoke PostA defining characteristic of percale is that it’s crisp and airy, like your favorite button-down shirt. The problem I experienced with Bespoke Post’s new percale sheets are that they’re too crisp and can rustle loudly if you move in your sleep (which is probably most of us). It also held onto and showed body oils easily, and you’d need to wash the set frequently. 

Our testing methodology

best sheets 2021 testing methodology

Here’s how we tested the sheets over a period of five months. Knowing that this is a fairly short amount of time, we’ll continue to follow these steps in the upcoming months and note any changes.

  1. Washed and dried each set according to its respective instructions at least five times. Usually, we washed the sheets in a cold cycle with gentle detergent and dried them on a low tumble cycle. 
  2. Put the fitted sheet on a 10-inch-thick mattress and noted slipping, sliding, post-wash shrinkage, and stretchiness of elastic. 
  3. Slept on each set for at least one week and noted texture, overall comfort, breathability, and coolness.

What we’re testing next

best sheets 2021 what we look forward to testing

BrooklinenBrooklinen’s sateen sheets usually get all the love, but we’re also interested in its other fabrics. Each set of its cozy made-in-Portugal linen sheets is individually garment-dyed, so you’ll feel like you have a unique piece of bedding. 

West Elm: West Elm’s Fair Trade-certified linen sheets are popular among linen lovers. They come in around the same price as MagicLinen’s and are also available in many beautiful colors, so we’ll mainly be comparing their comfort and durability. 

Kassatex: These long-staple cotton, 300-thread count sateen sheets seem promising, especially considering a Queen set is only $100. We look forward to putting these inexpensive sheets through all our tests to see how they stand up over time and how they compare to our current picks. 

ParachuteParachute’s name often comes up along with fellow direct-to-consumer darlings Brooklinen and Boll & Branch, all of which launched around the same time. We’re testing its sateen sheets and loving their smooth, soft feel so far. We need to sleep in them and wash them more to determine long-term durability. 

FAQs

Sheets FAQ best sheets 2021

Does thread count matter?

Yes, to a certain extent. However, don’t use it as your sole determining factor because its definition can be manipulated, and after a certain number, the difference in feel and durability is negligible. 

Thread count is the number of yarns per inch, horizontally and vertically. Leonas tells us that a ply yarn (two single yarns twisted together) has traditionally been considered one yarn, but in recent years, some brands have been using total ply yarn count as the thread count, resulting in an artificially high number. 

Remember that thread count only applies to cotton sheets and single yarn weaves. All of our best cotton sheets fall in the 300-500 range, and you likely won’t need anything beyond that.

What are the different types of sheets?

The quality and type of material do matter. Below, we define, compare, and contrast different materials, fabrics, and terms you’ll often run into while shopping for sheets. 

Drape: The fluidity or rigidity of a fabric. A fabric with high or fluid drape, such as silk, is flowy and clings more to the object. A fabric with low drape is stiffer and holds its shape more. 

Long-staple cotton: Cotton with longer-staple fibers that result in smoother and stronger yarn. This is compared to short-staple cotton, which has fiber ends that stick out and cause the sheets to be rougher and less abrasion-resistant. Brands will generally call out when they use long-staple cotton; otherwise, you can probably assume it’s short-staple. Leonas says the industry definition of long-staple cotton is a fiber length of 1.15-1.22 inches.

Egyptian cotton: Cotton grown in Egypt. It’s often assumed that Egyptian cotton is long-staple, but it could also be lower-quality, short-staple cotton that just happens to be from Egypt, so be careful of this labeling, and look specifically for “long-staple cotton.” 

Pima cotton: Also known by its trademark name, Supima cotton. Extra long-staple cotton that is grown only in the US and has a fiber length of at least 1.5 inches. Extra long-staple cotton is even smoother, more flexible, and more resistant to pilling than long-staple cotton.

Percale: A type of cotton weave where one thread is woven another thread into a tight, grid pattern. It has a matte, crisp feel. It’s airy and more breathable. 

Sateen: A type of cotton weave where three or four threads are woven over one thread into a looser grid pattern. It has a smooth, silky feel and a slight sheen to it. Compared to percale, it’s less breathable and may not be suitable for sleepers who run hot. According to Leonas, sateen has a tendency to snag more easily and also show dirt more readily, due to its unique “float” weave. If you enjoy the feel and look of sateen, keep in mind that sheets made using this weave require a little more care and maintenance. 

Polyester: A type of synthetic fiber that may be blended with cotton or used to make microfiber. It’s less breathable and traps moisture more easily, and it may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. 

Microfiber: A type of synthetic material made with very fine polyester fibers. It’s very soft and drapeable, but doesn’t breathe well. 

Lyocell: Also known as tencel. A type of fiber made from wood (often eucalyptus) pulp. It’s soft, silky, and breathable. 

Linen: A type of fiber made from flax plants. It’s slightly rigid, with a rougher texture, and it feels cool and breathable. It wrinkles easily. 

Flannel: A type of fabric made with thickly woven wool or cotton. It’s brushed to give it a slight soft and fuzzy texture, and it feels warm.

What are the different sheet certifications?

You may notice that some of our best picks have a Standard 100 by Oeko Tex certification. This label means the final sheet product has been independently tested for more than 100 harmful chemical substances and is safe for human use. While it’s not the only certification out there, it’s widely used and known in the textiles industry. Our experts say you should look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for basic safety, but if you also care about manufacturing, look for STeP by Oeko Tex. It checks for environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and safe practices all along the production process.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is another certification, used specifically for organic textiles. GOTS-certified sheets contain at least 95% certified organic fibers and meet environmental and social standards at every stage of processing and manufacturing.

What’s the best way to care for your sheets?

According to various bedding brands, you should wash your sheets every 1-2 weeks, and alternate sets to preserve their quality. We recommend following the specific care instructions that come with the sheet set you buy. Based on our experience, brands generally advise washing the sheets in a cold or warm cycle with gentle detergent, then drying in a low tumble cycle. Hot water can make colors bleed, cause shrinkage, and weaken fibers. Drying at a high heat can also weaken fibers and cause pilling.

What’s the best way to prevent wrinkles?

For all its great properties, cotton naturally wrinkles, and that’s thanks to its molecular structure. Leonas explained to us that wrinkles basically happen when hydrogen bonds form as your sheets bump around in the dryer. “The only way to get rid of those bonds is to flip some water on it, or apply high heat. That’s why we use a lot of steam when we press things,” she says. 

If you want to get rid of wrinkles, the best way is to iron them before fitting them onto your bed, or removing them from your dryer a little before the cycle ends and fitting them onto your bed while slightly damp.

Are alternative fibers any good? 

Alternative fibers like bamboo lyocell or microfiber are appealing because they’re often very comfortable and affordable. In our testing experience, however, their durability doesn’t match up to that of cotton or linen. They’re more prone to pilling, abrasion, and shrinkage. Plus, the production and care of these alternative fibers can be murky and bad for the environment. The shedding of microfiber, for example, is polluting the ocean

Check out our other great bedding guides

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The 4 best down pillows in 2021

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While most people might prioritize the importance of a mattress in their quest for a good night’s sleep, don’t overlook the humble pillow. It offers your entire body support and alignment and adds to your general comfort (or in some cases, discomfort), so finding the best pillow for your needs is important.

In the world of pillows, down pillows provide more breathability, comfort, and luxury than memory foam pillows. They remain cool to the touch and offer a plush “sinking in” feeling that memory foam can’t. It’s also used more often in hotels than memory foam, so if you’re missing the feeling of a proper vacation, consider upgrading your pillow to one of these down pillows.

Here are the best down pillows in 2021

The best overall

Best down pillow 2021 Pacific Coast

The smart pillow-in-pillow design of the Pacific Coast Double Down Around King Pillow Set gives you a mix of support and comfort with high-quality duck down and feathers.

Pros: Pillow-in-pillow design has a good mix of support and comfort, offers good support no matter the sleeping position, good hypoallergenic properties

Cons: May not quite match pillows you’ll find in luxury hotels

If one of your complaints about down pillows is the lack of support, the Pacific Coast Double Down Around Pillow has an interesting design to solve that problem.

The Pacific Coast down pillow has an inner core of feathers with a down filling around it. It consists of all-natural duck down and feathers in a design that is almost like a pillow inside a pillow. The inner core gives you a nice level of support while sleeping, and the down filling gives you a great level of comfort.

Pacific Coast describes the pillow as medium support, so it should work well for most sleepers. You get two pillows in the set, and each one has a fill power of 550. The pillows are machine washable and hypoallergenic.

Pacific Coast also offers a 30-day guarantee, so if you dislike the pillow for any reason, you can return it and get your money back.

The best with 750 fill power

Best down pillow 2021 royal down pillow

Filled with 75% down and 25% feathers, the Royal Hotel Down Pillow has a ton of firm support.

Pros: High ratio of down to feathers, firm, comfortable support 

Cons: Only sold by the pair 

Some down pillows are stuffed mostly with feathers that aren’t as soft or bouncy as down — and you run the risk of being poked by a stray quill. The Royal Hotel Down Pillow is filled with 75% down and 25% feather, so you’ll enjoy a luxuriously comfortable night of sleep.

Royal Hotel doesn’t skimp on the down either. With 750 fill power and 42-ounce fill weight for a Standard or Queen pillow, and 52 ounces for a King, you’re getting lots of comfort that’s neither too soft nor firm. Plus, the down is sanitized to remove allergens, so you can enjoy the pillow even if you’re usually allergic. The cover of the pillow is 100% cotton, with a 500-thread count, so it’s soft and smooth, but strong enough to contain the down.

To keep the pillow in the best shape, fluff them every so often for the highest loft and dry clean only.

For down pillows, the price is actually quite reasonable, but Royal Hotel only sells the pillows by the pair, making it a more expensive purchase overall. — Michelle Ullman

The best luxury down pillow

best down pillow 2021 continental bedding

The 100% goose down in the Continental Bedding Premium White Goose Down Pillow gives it a feeling of luxury that justifies its cost.

Pros: Extra comfort from goose down, uses an all-cotton pillow cover for breathability

Cons: Not as flexible as some down pillows, may compress too flat  

While price doesn’t always equate to quality, the higher cost associated with the Continental Bedding Premium White Goose Down Pillow is justified in its soft, fluffy comfort.

With 100% goose down instead of a mix of down and feathers or duck down, you get a softer and fluffier pillow with a high level of comfort that’s justified. It has a 550 fill power so it’s pretty supportive, and the pillow is hypoallergenic.

This also has among the widest range of pillows we’ve seen for down pillows and comes in Standard, Queen, and King sizes with Soft or Firm variations of each. You can also buy a single pillow or a set of two.

The best on a budget

best down pillow 2021 puredown

The Puredown Natural Goose Down and Feather Pillow has a mix of feathers and down, and doesn’t sacrifice comfort.

Pros: Includes pillow cover for comfort and breathability, very soft and comfortable 

Cons: Compresses too much for some people, higher percentage of feathers than down

If your eyes are widening at high prices you see for most down pillows, you’ll appreciate the price tag on the Puredown Natural Goose Down and Feather Pillow, which gives you two down pillows for the price you’d normally pay for one.

These Puredown pillows include goose down and feathers, which typically carries a higher price tag than duck down and feathers. But the pillows are filled with 95% feathers and just 5% down, which explains the lower-than-usual price. They’re soft but may compress too much under pressure, not giving sleepers the support they need. If you like firmer pillows, these may not be the ones for you. But for someone who might be experimenting with down pillows without the full investment, this is a financially smart choice. 

Puredown follows the Responsible Down Standard when it selects the down and feathers used in its pillows. These pillows have 32 ounces of down and feathers for medium support.

The 100% cotton, 233 thread count cover keeps the pillow comfortable and breathable while also protecting it from wear. The cover is durable and prevents feathers from leaking out.

Down pillow FAQs

What type of down pillow should I buy?

Here are the most common types of down in pillows:

  • Duck down is the least expensive type of down pillow. Duck down gives you a nice cushioning, but it does sometimes have an odor to it.
  • Goose down costs more than duck down, but it’s higher quality. Goose down tends to retain heat better than duck down, too, which is nice for cold nights. If you’re someone who sleepts hot, you may want to reconsider and go with duck down.
  • Eider down is easily the most expensive style of down used in pillows, as it comes exclusively from the eider duck. It’s incredibly soft and comfortable, but you’ll have to hunt quite a bit to find this type of pillow.

What is down?

Down is the soft, protective covering on a bird around the chest and underbelly, and usually comes from a duck or goose. Most pillows will consist of a mix of down and feathers for comfort, support, and breathability — percentages of 50%, 75%, and 95% down are common, and the higher the down, the softer a pillow will be.

What is fill power?

Fill power measures the loft of the down, or how much it rises when not compressed by an outside force such as your head or hands. This gives you a clue as to the durability of a pillow, as well as its ability to retain its shape. Fill powers of 700 and higher are the best quality because they retain their shape longer, though 550 fill power is the most common for medium down pillows.

Fill weight is how much down is physically packed into the pillow. The higher the fill weight, the firmer the resulting pillow. It’s important not to confuse fill power with fill weight. A 700 fill power pillow will not be firmer than a 550 fill power pillow with the same fill weight, but it will be more durable. On the other hand, a pillow with a 32-ounce fill weight will be much firmer than a pillow with a 16-ounce fill weight, even if they both use 550 fill power down.

How can I clean a down pillow?

Caring for your down pillow depends on the manufacturer’s instruction. Some down pillows are machine washable, which is convenient, while others must be dry cleaned or only may be spot cleaned. Some have removable covers that can be washed, while other covers cannot be removed. Be sure to check the care and maintenance before you purchase.

Check out more in-depth bedding guides

 

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The 7 best pillows in 2021 for side, back, and stomach sleepers

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • We tested 13 pillows (and counting) to find the most comfortable choices for every sleep position.
  • The Coop Home Goods Pillow is our top pick because it can be customized to the perfect fill for ultimate support and comfort.
  • If you’re looking to outfit the rest of your bed, check out our guides to the best mattress, best bed frame, and best sheets.

Our sleep habits can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing. Central to getting a great night’s sleep is having a solid setup, including a really comfortable, supportive pillow.

“A good pillow is absolutely a top priority,” said Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher, author, and post-doctoral fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “No matter your budget, I really encourage people to splurge and invest in these products because they will help. The bed is the foundation of our sleep and if these elements aren’t supportive and not cozy to your personal preference, you put yourself at risk for sleep difficulties.”

With that in mind, we tested 11 different pillows and considered many others. I’ve been writing unbiased, meticulously tested product reviews for more than seven years and have a personal stake in finding a good pillow: I’m a living embodiment of the princess and the pea and have purchased more pillows than I can count in pursuit of a good night’s sleep.

While I (a back sleeper) slept on every pillow recommended in this guide for at least three nights, individual preferences and anatomy vary greatly (see: how to find the perfect pillow), so I enlisted a stomach sleeper (my husband) and two side sleepers (my neighbors) to try each pillow for at least a night and considered feedback from other editors who have tried or reviewed pillows over the last few years. You can read all about other pillows we tested and our methodology here.

Here are the best pillows in 2021

The best overall

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The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow offers thoughtful features like adjustable fill, a washable pillow cover, and an unparalleled 100-night trial that make it the best choice for most people.

Pros: Completely customizable with removable fill, comes with additional fill if you prefer a firmer pillow, comes with a washable encasement, hypoallergenic, 5-year warranty, 100-night trial

Cons: On the firmer side and might not be the best choice if you don’t like memory foam, testers in previous reviews thought it arrived with a slightly funny smell

It’s rare to come across a product as thoughtfully designed as the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow. Made from hypoallergenic shredded memory foam, the fill in the Coop pillow is adjustable so you can customize it to the perfect loft for your sleep preferences. Other thoughtful features like a washable cover, 5-year warranty, and 100-night trial make it our top recommendation. 

When you open the box, you’re greeted by a bright yellow insert that walks you through how to customize the pillow and suggestions on how much fill to add or remove (it’s more than you think) based on your preferred sleeping position. While the pillow arrives almost overfilled, it also comes with a half-pound bag of additional fill in case you need even more support. 

I followed the package recommendations to remove about a third of the fill for back sleepers. The result felt deeply personalized and it was very comfortable to sleep on with a great balance of support and fluff. 

One drawback? If you favor a softer, more down-like fill (like I do), you may find the Coop pillow is on the firmer side and tends to get a bit hot during the night. However, we think most people will love the customization of the Coop pillow, especially if you prefer the springy feel of memory foam.

Read our full review of Coop Home Goods’ The Original Pillow

The best pillow for side sleepers

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The Casper Original Pillow offers the loft and support that side sleepers need but with the soft and fluffy feel of a down alternative. 

Pros: Soft and fluffy, 2-inch gusset that provides support for side sleepers, removable inner pillow, machine washable, 100-night trial period

Cons: Loft is not very adjustable, not as supportive as memory foam

The goal of a good pillow is to bring your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. For side sleepers, this means bridging the gap between your ear and where your shoulder meets the mattress. But shoulder size and height can vary a lot from person to person, meaning one side sleeper might need a really lofty pillow while another needs just a little bit of lift. The Coop pillow is ideal for side sleepers because it offers a lot of customization to help fill that gap. But if you’re not a memory foam fan, your next best bet is the Casper Original Pillow

Made from down-alternative fill with a percale cotton shell, the Casper pillow feels a lot like the soft, plush pillows you’d find in hotel rooms. A 2-inch gusset (the strip of fabric between seams that gives the pillow a more boxy shape) keeps the pillow lofted for the supportive lift that side sleepers require, but the plush fill still gives the “sinking in” sensation when you lay your head down. One of the side sleepers who tried the pillow over several weeks also loved that the pillow stayed cool throughout the night and kept its shape despite its softer fill. 

You can adjust the fill a bit by removing the inner pillow, but all the side sleepers who tried it preferred the loft of the full pillow. If you want a balance of support and softness, we recommend giving the Casper Original Pillow a try; just keep in mind that it’s not as customizable or adjustable as other pillows.

Read our full review of the Casper Original Pillow

The best pillow for back sleepers

Best pillow Saatva

Luxuriously plush, the Saatva Pillow offers an ultra comfortable, hotel-like experience and is particularly well-suited to back sleepers.

Pros: Moderate height that’s ideal for back sleepers, plush like a hotel pillow, supportive latex core, 45-day trial period, comes with a pillow cover, cover and outer pillow are machine washable

Cons: Not very adjustable, too lofty for stomach sleepers

The Saatva Pillow is made from a supportive shredded latex core surrounded by a plush, down alternative layer and a satteen cotton liner. Its unique construction makes it different from any pillow I’ve ever felt before — it’s got the hefty weight and support of a memory foam pillow, but with the plush, cool feel of a down pillow. Throughout testing, I kept coming back to this pillow and it quickly became my go-to for nights I wasn’t actively testing anything new.

I’ve now been sleeping on this pillow for five months and it looks and feels as plush as it did on the day I got it. I love how my head sinks into this soft pillow, but it’s still supportive enough to keep its shape all night long and when I wake up, the pillow looks just as plush as when I fell asleep on it. I’m a very active sleeper who likes to move around a lot in bed and take my bedding with me, so I love that the pillow is equally plush and comfortable from all sides and angles. It’s still soft and supportive when I inevitably fold it, scoop it, or hug it throughout the night. Finally, it’s hypoallergenic, which is a must for allergy sufferers like myself. 

While the Saatva pillow is my perfect pillow, it’s not adjustable enough to be our top recommendation for most people. The only adjustability offered is the ability to remove the latex core, which also takes away the supportive part of the pillow. Multiple stomach sleepers who tried the pillow as part of our testing found it too lofty, even with the inner core removed. Some side sleepers might also find the pillow not quite lofty enough; we think it’s best for back sleepers and those who prefer a plusher, cooler feel than memory foam. 

The best pillow for stomach sleepers

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Soft, but not too thin, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow has the perfect loft for stomach sleepers who want just a bit of cushion.

Pros: Soft and pillowy, made from hypoallergenic down alternative, folds easily for added support when lying on your side or back, stays cool, 60-day return window

Cons: Needs to be fluffed regularly to retain its shape, doesn’t offer enough support for sleepers who spend the majority of the night on their back or side and therefore not the best choice for guest bedrooms, fill cannot be adjusted

Stomach sleepers generally require the least amount of pillow support, since your head and spine are already pretty close to alignment when lying on your stomach. Most stomach sleepers would benefit a soft pillow with just a bit of loft, and for that, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow is our top choice. 

This is the only pillow that received high marks for comfort from my husband, who is an avowed stomach sleeper and finds most pillows too lofty. The Parachute pillow elevates his head just enough to alleviate any neck strain, and the sateen cotton encasement keeps the pillow remarkably cool all night long; ideal for those, like him, who run hot. We purchased four of these pillows a little over a year ago, and they were our mainstay before I started testing and evaluating pillows for this guide. In a lot of ways, this pillow hits all the marks for me: it stays cool, is incredibly soft and comfortable, and is hypoallergenic. But while my husband happily drifts asleep with one of these pillows tucked under his head, I (a back sleeper) need to stack two or three to get the loft I need to fall asleep comfortably. 

While the fill is thin enough that the pillow easily folds over for some support if you occasionally flip to your side or back during the night, it doesn’t provide enough for those who spend the majority of the night in those positions. The pillow also won’t offer much lift if you’re looking to prop yourself up to read or watch TV while lounging in bed. Still, it’s a great personal pillow for any stomach sleeper who has found other pillows too lofty. 

The best pillow for neck pain

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The Leesa Hybrid Pillow‘s cooling gel side provides ice-like relief from neck pain, while the quilted side offers a more traditional pillow experience for nights when you don’t need as much support.

Pros: Cooling gel helps relieve neck pain, good for hot sleepers, two different sides to choose from for optimal support, removable inner pillow for adjusting loft, inner pillow can be used as a travel pillow

Cons: On the heavy side, takes some getting used to, may be too squat for some side sleepers

As someone who has struggled with back and neck troubles, I literally feel your pain if you’re currently dealing with a stiff or painful neck. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the first line of business is to make sure that your current pillow isn’t causing or exacerbating your neck strain. Your pillow should support your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine in your preferred sleeping position. If you’re deep in the throes of an existing neck sprain, you should check with your doctor before considering a new pillow. 

Experts told us that a memory foam pillow is the preferred choice for neck pain because the material offers cushion and support to keep your neck aligned, and doesn’t flatten or “sink” throughout the night like other more fluffy pillows. For this, we think our overall pick by Coop is a great choice since you can customize it to your perfect loft. But if your pain is making it hard to even get to sleep, I highly recommend you try out the Leesa Hybrid Pillow.

The pillow’s has a gel-filled cooling side and a quilted cushioning side, with a removable mini-pillow in between for adjustability. The gel-side is where the Leesa pillow truly shines; it provides an instant chilling effect that I found deeply soothing for muscle pain and neck strain in a similar effect to holding a wrapped ice pack up to your neck. On nights when my back and neck have really hurt, the Leesa has provided some much needed relief to help me fall asleep. 

That said, this hybrid pillow has received mixed reviews from our testers over the years. With only two possible (and both relatively low) heights, it’s also less adjustable than other pillows we tested, and best suited for stomach and back sleepers who don’t need a lot of loft. It’s also fairly heavy, and its unique design may take a few nights to get used to.

Read our full review of the Leesa Hybrid Pillow

The best pillow on a budget

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At just under $20 per pillow, the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows are an inexpensive option that still offers a comfortable, supportive night’s sleep.

Pros: Inexpensive, soft and stackable, sleeps relatively cool, machine washable, good for stomach and side sleepers, 30-day return window, hypoallergenic

Cons: Side sleepers will likely need two or more of these pillows, pillows are not adjustable

If you’re the type of person that can fall asleep just about anywhere or you’re primarily concerned about price, the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow is the best bang for your buck. 

I was intrigued by the sheer number of positive Amazon reviews — there are more than 25,000 five-star reviews, and we all know that reviews aren’t always reliable. But when I tried them for myself, I understood why. These pillows are on the thinner side, but have a gentle, down-like plushness that sets them apart from other inexpensive pillows I’ve tried from Ikea and Target. While they’re definitely more squishy than supportive, they’re a good choice for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and anyone who likes to hug, fold, or stack their pillows at night. I’ve spent several months now sleeping with these pillows on and off, and they haven’t gone flat or gotten lumpy. They are a little less lofty and bouncy than when I first got them, but I actually like that, since it gives them a more lived-in feel. 

“Gel pillow” is a bit of a misnomer; there’s no liquid or cooling gel in these pillows like there is in some other cooling pillows. Instead, these pillows are filled with polyester gel fiber, which is similar to a down alternative in both feel and performance. The pillows stay relatively cool compared to denser materials like memory foam, but stop short of actively cooling you like the Leesa Hybrid Pillow.

While these pillows aren’t adjustable, each pack comes with two pillows, so you can easily stack them to your desired comfort level. The company also offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee — a rarity for Amazon-only pillow brands.

The best luxury pillow

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If you love memory foam and are looking for something a bit more luxurious than what’s out there, the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow offers a spa-like feel at a premium price. 

Pros: Luxurious feel, soft, spa-like feel, stays cool, doesn’t need to be fluffed, machine washable, 45-day trial period

Cons: Not very adjustable, firmer than down-alternative pillows

In my 30+ years of sleeping on pillows, I’ve come to the conclusion that memory foam is just too hot and dense for me. Then I slept on the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow. The pillow is made from a combination of solid and shredded memory foam, and the result is a luxurious and supportive softness I haven’t experienced before in memory foam pillows. Its equal parts plush and supportive, and reminds me of a larger version of the pillows they use to support your head during a spa facial. 

The pillow particularly appealed to the memory foam lovers among our testers, who concurred that it stayed remarkably cool and soft. We also liked that it offered plenty of support for sitting up and reading. I love lounging on this pillow throughout the day, and whenever I lay my head down on it to sleep I feel like I’m a queen on the most luxurious hotel bed. If that’s the experience you’re looking for, this pillow may be right for you.

Loft-wise, the pillow has a moderate fill that is well-suited for side and back sleepers, but doesn’t offer much adjustability; you can remove the memory foam core, but that takes almost all the support out of the pillow. And at $145, this Saatva pillow (along with Saatva’s flagship pillow, which we recommend above for back sleepers) is the most expensive pillow we tried. While the company offers a 45-day trial period, it’s a big investment to make for a pillow that might not offer the right loft for you. 

Still, I have never once had to fluff the pillow; each morning when I wake up, it’s as perfectly plush and springy as when I went to sleep on it. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a spa-like experience, we highly recommend the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow. 

What else we tested

Best pillow Tulo

We researched more than a dozen pillows and tested 11 that fit our criteria while writing this guide.  

What else we recommend and why:

  • Zoma Pillow ($75.00): I really enjoyed sleeping on this memory foam pillow, which comes encased in a gray, mesh-like fabric. Unlike other memory foam pillows I’ve tried, it wasn’t too hot or stiff and is a nice, moderate loft that works well for both side sleepers and back sleepers. Surprisingly, even my stomach-sleeping husband liked this pillow despite its moderate loft, since the pillow compresses pretty easily due to the softer memory foam and polyester filling blend. The gray pillow encasement comes off for easy cleaning and also hides stains well, so the pillow still looks brand new even after many nights sleeping on it. Unfortunately, the loft isn’t adjustable; I found the compression flattened out the pillow a bit during the night, and I woke up with my head sunken into the pillow. This didn’t cause me any neck pain and it was easy enough to fluff up the pillow again, but I prefer a pillow that doesn’t compress as much during the night. If you like a malleable, softer memory foam pillow, the Zoma pillow may be a good choice for you.
  • Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow ($99.00): Like our best overall pick by Coop, this pillow is stuffed with shredded foam that makes it easily adjustable to your sleeping preference—just remove fill as needed. However, it lacked many of the attributes that made our top pick a standout, like a pillow protector, a longer trial period, and additional foam right in the box for those who need even more loft. Comfort-wise, it was similar to other shredded foam pillows we tested: supportive, with some bounce, and runs a teeny bit hot. While it’s a top choice with other consumer review sites, we think the Nest pillow offers fewer features than similar pillows do at a lower price point. 
  • Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow ($130): This memory foam pillow has two sides: a “comfort” side and a “support” side, but I found little difference between either. Both sides are relatively firm, and while the “comfort” side may offer a teeny bit more softness, both were too stiff for my own preference or the preference of my testers. It was relatively cool compared to other memory foam pillows I’ve tried and may be a good option for those who like a pillow that lays flat and offers a lot of support.

What we don’t recommend and why:

  • Zen Chi Buckwheat Pillow ($34.95): We didn’t test this pillow for this iteration of this guide. It was previously our top pick for best buckwheat hull pillow but failed to meet our standards for inclusion because some Amazon reviews mention brand-new pillows arriving with wheat beetles on or inside the pillows or in the packaging — not exactly a quality that inspires a night of good dreams. While the pillow height and fill are adjustable, the company also doesn’t accept returns or exchanges of any opened merchandise, which makes this a risky purchase if you’re not sure you like the feel of buckwheat. 
  • Le’Vista Hotel Collection Pillow ($26.99 for two): Formerly our best budget pillow, this Amazon-only brand has an unclear return policy (many report being charged a return fee) and gets middling reviews on the site. We didn’t test it this time around because it didn’t meet our criteria for returns. Still, $10 per pillow is a great price, and it might be worth a try if you’re budget-oriented. Just keep in mind that customer service might be nonexistent and many reviewers claim the pillows flatten out quickly.  
  • Tulo Pillow ($71): A few of our side-sleeping editors recommended this moderate-height memory foam pillow, but we didn’t test it for this guide because it lacks many of the qualities of our top picks: it’s not adjustable or washable, and the company doesn’t offer a trial period or returns of open pillows.  
  • Royal Hotel Goose Down Pillow ($159.99 for two): This goose down pillow was featured and recommended in previous iterations of this guide, but we ultimately excluded it this time around because the company doesn’t appear to accept returns. If you have your heart set on a down pillow, check out our guide to the best down pillows.
  • Vaya Pillow ($60): I tried this pillow, but was perplexed that the pillow I received looks significantly different than what is on the website. I contacted the brand, which claimed that the pillow I received is a newer version, but after many months of waiting for a website update, I still only see the old pillows available. I thought this pillow was far too overfilled, even for side sleepers, and the inaccuracies of what we received versus what’s on the website are concerning. 

Testing methodology

There is no one-size-fits-all best pillow for everyone; individual anatomy, sleep habits, and preferences deeply impact how comfortable a pillow will be from person-to-person. For that reason, our rating criteria for this guide relied heavily on the following considerations:

Return policy and trial period: It’s impossible to know how comfortable a pillow is going to be for you until you sleep on it, despite how comprehensive our guide aims to be. “The most important thing is trying the pillows out to see what works for you,” said Robbins, which includes being able to touch, lay on, and sleep with a pillow before deciding if it’s right for you. For this guide, we only considered pillows that accept returns of used merchandise for a full refund with at least a 30-day trial window, which gives you ample time to decide if a pillow is right for you.

Adjustability: We prioritized pillows that are adjustable, with removable inserts or shredded fill for dialing in your perfect loft. This creates a more custom pillow that would better suit your needs.

Ease of use: We looked at how well each pillow fit a standard pillowcase, whether the pillow came with a case or protector, and whether all or parts of the pillow were washable for better hygiene and pillow longevity.

Comfort: I slept on all of the pillows for at least three (sometimes agonizing) nights. I also enlisted a side sleeper and a stomach sleeper to try the pillows over the course of a couple weeks. For future updates, we will develop a diverse sleep panel and have them test our top picks for additional feedback.

What we look forward to testing

  • Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow ($79.99): Made by the same company as our best overall pillow, the Eden Pillow features the same adjustable fill feature, but with softer, gel-infused foam. It could be a good option for those who are intrigued by an adjustable pillow, but like a cooler, softer feel. 
  • Sleep Number Comfortfit Pillow Ultimate ($89.99): This adjustable pillow has several smaller inner pillows that you can add or remove for your ideal loft. It’s made from down-alternative fill and could be a good adjustable option for those who don’t like the feel of memory foam. 
  • Boll & Branch Pillows ($150 to $195): Boll & Branch reportedly tried 100 different prototypes, and at least five of our editors have tried its down and down alternative pillows. We’ll be retesting and incorporating the feedback into this guide. 
  • Brooklinen Pillows ($59 to $99): Brooklinen makes three different pillows in both down and down-alternative fills. Executive editor Ellen Hoffman reviewed the plush and mid-plush down options, and favored the mid-plush, calling it “a little bit of everything in a good way.” We’re currently testing Brooklinen’s mid-plush down alternative option against our top picks for our next update this this guide.
  • Bear Pillow ($100): Breton Fischetti, VP of commerce, tried the Bear Pillow and said it improved his neck pain and helped him sleep better. Made from memory foam and “double ice fabric,” the pillow claims to stay cool all night long. We’ll be testing for a future update to this guide. 
  • Hullo Pillow ($99): The Hullo pillow is made from buckwheat hulls, a traditional fill used in Japan and many other Asian countries. Since we no longer have a buckwheat pillow we recommend, we’re looking forward to testing this popular model and reporting back on our findings.

How to pick the perfect pillow

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Robbins told us the single biggest consideration when picking a pillow is your preferred sleep position: side, back, or stomach. The goal of your pillow is to support your neck in a neutral position aligned with the rest of your spine, but that alignment shifts depending on the position you’re sleeping in. While we all move around during sleep — switching positions about 60 times throughout each night — most of us spend the majority of our sleeping time in one position. 

Not sure what your sleep position is? Consider what position you typically fall asleep or wake up in. Robbins also has a neat exercise she performs with her clients: imagine you’ve been up for 24 hours and are presented with a big, luxurious hotel bed; how would you lie down on it to go to sleep? The position you envision is most likely your preferred sleep position and plays a big role in what type of pillow will work best for you. 

Side sleepers: Around 65% of the US population are side sleepers, according to Robbins, and this position requires the most loft and support to bridge the wide gap between the side of your head and where your shoulder rests on the mattress. If you’re a side sleeper, choose a lofty pillow — ideally with an adjustable fill since there can be a lot of variability in the size of that shoulder gap from person to person. Robbins said hotels and sleep clinics usually outfit rooms with side sleepers in mind, so if you’re buying pillows for a guest bedroom, a side sleeper friendly pillow is usually a good bet. 

Back sleepers: Back sleepers are the Goldilocks of pillow hunters — they need a pillow that is not too soft and not too firm, and with just enough support to lift the back of the head to be in line with their shoulders. Back sleepers tend to benefit from a medium, cushion-y pillow made from down or down alternative, though an adjustable pillow with at least one-third of the fill removed may work as well. 

Stomach sleepers: In the minority are stomach sleepers, who need the least amount of support from their pillow. Typically a thin, very soft pillow works best for stomach sleepers — just enough fill to cushion their face from the flat surface of the mattress. 

FAQs

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How often should I replace my pillow?

Even the best pillows aren’t meant to last forever; for the best sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing a well-used pillow every couple of years. Our fluffy little pillows absorb a shocking amount of dead skin and body oils night after night, which is the perfect breeding ground for allergens like dust mites. 

You can tell if it’s time for a new pillow if your pillow is lumpy or flat no matter how much you fluff it. Robbins also told us that a healthy pillow springs back when you compress it; if you fold your pillow in half and it stays put, it’s probably time for a new pillow. (One caveat: it may not work with a very, very thin pillow.)

Which pillows are best for allergy sufferers?

Many pillows are made from hypoallergenic materials, but if you’re prone to allergies, Robbins recommends looking for a pillow with a synthetic filling. Pillows with animal fillings (such as down) may trigger allergies or exacerbate them over time, since dust mites really like fillings made from animal material.

No matter your pillow, the National Sleep Foundation and Robbins both recommend adding a pillow protector (an encasement that adds another level of protection from allergens, body oils, dust mites, and other pests) in addition to a pillowcase if your pillow doesn’t already come with one (many of our top picks do), fluffing your pillows daily, and washing your pillow every couple of months according to manufacturer directions. Taking care of your pillow not only extends its life and helps you sleep better, but can also ease allergies. 

Are pillows adjustable?

It depends on the pillow. Many are not. However, our top pick, the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow is completely adjustable, so you can find the loft that’s right for you. To adjust, you simply add or remove filling (the box comes with extra filling if you like a lot of loft) to reach your ideal comfort level.

What are the best pillows for hot sleepers?

If you tend to sleep hot (as I do), you may find pillows with down or down alternative filling — such as the Casper Original Pillow, Parachute Down Alternative Pillow, Saatva Pillow, or Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows — have better airflow than memory foam pillows. Some memory foam pillows have started advertising “gel foam” that purportedly keeps your cooler. However, we haven’t found that this type of foam produces a marked difference in comfort for hot sleepers. If you absolutely must have a foam pillow, the Leesa Hybrid Pillow is the coolest foam pillow we’ve found.

How much do pillows cost?

You can find pillows at a range of price points, anywhere from $10 to several hundred dollars. While it’s not always the case that you have to spend more to get a good pillow (our best budget pick costs just $20), considering how much of our lives we spend sleeping, Robbins recommends thinking of a pillow as an investment that will pay you back in better sleep. Our favorite pillow is completely customizable and costs about $60, though you can often find it on sale for as little as $40 during the holidays and other sales events.

Can I wash my pillow?

It depends on the pillow. We recommend following manufacturer instructions for how to best care for and clean your pillow. 

What is pillow loft?

Loft refers to the height of your pillow, which will determine how far off the mattress it will lift your head. In general, experts recommend a pillow that will keep your head and neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. How much loft that’s needed to accomplish this depends on your sleeping position (side sleepers need more loft to bridge their shoulder gap, while stomach sleepers need very little loft since their head is so close to the mattress) and individual anatomy. A pillow with an adjustable loft, like our top pick, helps you dial in the perfect loft for your body and sleeping style.

What pillow sizes are available?

Aside from decorative throw pillows and Euro pillows, most pillows for sleeping come in two sizes: Standard (or Queen) and King. We recommend a Standard/Queen size for Twin, Full, and Queen mattresses, and King pillows for King or California King mattresses. 

Check out more of our bedding guides

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