This memory foam pillow is a hit with everyone I know – it can be customized to support many sleeping positions

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Best pillow Coop

  • The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow can be customized and adjusted based on your preferences.
  • I slept on it for several weeks; it was comfortable and supportive, and I loved being able to adjust the fill.
  • I also enlisted a stomach and side sleeper to try the pillow, and one of them likes it so much they refuse to give it back.

Original Pillow (small)Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

As an insomniac who also suffers from neck and back pain, I’ve spent years looking for the perfect pillow to no avail. I’m not alone: in researching, interviewing experts, and testing more than a dozen pillows for our guide to the best pillows, I learned that a one-size-fits-all pillow is hard to come by because the loft and support we need vary based on our size and primary sleeping position. A pillow that works for a stomach sleeper, for example, will likely be uncomfortable for someone who prefers to sleep on their side. One pillow that meets every sleeper’s needs seemed like a pipe dream; until I tested the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow.

Review of Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

The Coop Original is a customizable pillow made from hypoallergenic, CertiPUR-US, and GreenGuard Gold-certified shredded memory foam. A side zipper lets you access the entire inner cavity of the pillow and remove fill to find your perfect loft and support. While the pillow comes overstuffed, sleepers who need even more support can add up to a pound of extra filling from a bag of additional fill that accompanies each pillow.

The pillow is quite lofty, but it comes compressed in a small 17 inch by 7-inch package. When you open the box, you’re greeted by an insert that explains how to get started customizing your pillow. The company suggested these general guidelines:

  • Side sleeper: try the pillow as is
  • Back sleeper: remove about 1/4 of the foam
  • Stomach sleeper: remove about 1/3 of the foam

Everyone’s body is a different shape and size though, so you can play around with the amount you add or remove.

Coop Pillow Insert

The insert also notes that you can contact the company for help adjusting, or if you need any extra fill beyond what’s in the pillow and the 1-pound bag of extra fill. Before I touched any of the filling, I followed the package instructions to let the pillow fluff up to normal size after its long journey under pressure. It only took about 10 minutes to expand, and I used my hands to help fluff and distribute the fill. Coop mentions that you can also put the pillow in the dryer for approximately 10 minutes as an alternative.

Once the pillow was fluffed, I gave it a try as is. I’m a combo sleeper, rotating between my side and my back throughout the night, but I spend the majority of my time on my back. The pillow was too lofty for me out of the box, so I followed the instructions to remove one-third of the foam. I was a bit nervous scooping handfuls of shredded foam out of my pillow and into a trash bag – it seemed like a lot to remove – and the process left a pretty big mess of wayward foam all over my mattress and floor. Fill adjusted and floor vacuumed, I settled in for my first few nights on the Coop pillow.

Coop Pillow Fill

While I did some tossing and turning during my first few days using and adjusting the pillow fill, I eventually settled in comfortably to my new perfect, custom loft. At this height, the pillow was an ideal size and shape for both comfort and support, and I slept soundly for several weeks without any neck or back strain. I loved how customizable it was: the fact that my husband and I – who have completely different sleep preferences and have been arguing over pillows for years – could buy the same pillow and get a comfortable custom feel was remarkable to me. After sending the pillow off for more testing from my side-sleeping neighbor and hearing her sing the praises of its custom loft (like many side sleepers, she preferred more fill), I was even more impressed with this pillow’s ability to work equally well for different sleeping preferences.

Ultimately, this customization made it the obvious choice as the best overall pillow in our buying guide; a title it’s held onto for many years and multiple iterations of that story.

Cons to consider

That said, there was something about the pillow that was just missing on personal comfort for me – I like a softer, down-like fill that envelops your head the way that hotel pillows do, and memory foam doesn’t do that no matter how much fill you add or remove. Like many memory foam pillows, it also felt a bit hot compared to other pillows I’ve tried, though it was never sweaty or stifling. While you can get a completely customizable height and fluff out of this pillow, it might not be the coziest choice if you’re just someone who doesn’t like memory foam.

Because I like a softer pillow, most nights I prefer to sleep with my Saatva Pillow, but I know plenty of people who swear by the Coop Pillow. Among them is my neighbor, who after many years of sleeping on stacks of pillows as flat as pancakes now refuses to return my Coop pillow.

In all, I’m confident that most people will be extremely happy with the Coop Original Pillow, which is why it’s our top overall pick for the best pillow.

Extra features

Aside from custom comfort, the pillow has a few thought features that I love.

First is the bamboo-derived rayon pillow liner that encases the foam and makes for easier cleaning; this is different than a pillowcase you’d normally put on. I’ve tried a couple of other adjustable fill pillows, including the Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow and none of them have this extra encasement. If you want to wash these pillows, you have to remove all of the fill before putting them in the wash. With the Coop pillow, the encasement acts as a barrier between your pillowcase and the inner pillow. If your pillow gets dirty, you simply remove and wash the encasement and pillowcase – much easier than wrestling with all the foam. You can buy a separate encasement for those other pillows, but I love that the Coop pillow just comes with one.

Next up is the 100-night trial period, which is one of the longest I’ve seen for pillows and another key reason the Coop pillow is the best overall pillow in our guide. Since pillow preference is so personal, a generous return policy is critical. Coop’s 100-night trial gives you plenty of time to sleep on the pillow, adjust, and decide if it’s right for you. If it’s not, the company will cover return shipping and issue you a full refund. Coop says they donate any gently used returned pillows to various local charities.

Finally, while I think a good pillow is worth investing in, it’s hard to find a quality pillow at as good a price as the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow. At around $60 when not on sale, the Coop pillow is priced significantly lower than other shredded memory foam pillows like the Nest Easy Breather and pillows from other bedding brands like Saatva, Leesa, Boll & Branch, and Bear.

The bottom line

The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow is an exceptionally designed pillow that can provide a custom, supportive night’s rest for almost anyone, no matter how you sleep. Its customizable fill works equally well for stomach, back, and side sleepers, and it’s made from hypoallergenic materials for those who suffer from nighttime allergies. The pillow encasement makes for easy cleaning and upkeep, and it’s priced very competitively compared to other high-end pillows.

The only people who I don’t recommend this pillow for are those who really just hate the feel of memory foam; it’s no fault of the pillow, but there’s simply no way memory foam has the same feel as down or down-alternative. If you’re on the fence, I recommend trying the pillow; with the 100-night return window, it’s a risk-free purchase, though I’m confident most buyers will love the customization of the Coop pillow.

Original Pillow (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider

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. 

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