Top 5 Pillows Tested by Experts in 2023

Sleep is highly personal, so the best pillow for you will depend on your sleep position, individual anatomy, and specific sleep concerns. Whether you’re looking for the best pillow for neck pain or the best down pillow, sleep experts we spoke to recommend picking your pillow with the same care and research you would devote to selecting the best mattress for your room.

1. The best pillows for every type of sleeper

Best overall: Coop Sleep Goods Original Pillow

The Coop Sleep 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.

Best budget: Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow (Set of 2)

The Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows are an inexpensive option that still offers a comfortable, supportive night’s sleep.

Best for side sleepers: Casper Original Pillow

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

Best for back sleepers: The Saatva Latex Pillow

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

Best for stomach sleepers: Parachute Down-Alternative Pillow, Soft

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


1) Best overall: Coop Sleep Goods Original Pillow

  • Fill: Shredded memory foam and microfiber
  • Firmness: Adjustable, but on the firmer side
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Sizes available: Queen (20″ x 30″) and king (20″ x 36″)
  • Care instructions: Wash in cold water, delicate cycle. Do not use fabric softener or bleach. Tumble dry low until the inner pillow is completely dry before use.
  • Who’s best for Back, side, and stomach sleepers who like the feel of memory foam

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 Sleep 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, a 5-year warranty, and a 100-night trial make it our top recommendation.

When you open the box, a bright yellow insert walks you through how to customize the pillow and suggests 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 stuffing 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 an outstanding 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, especially if you prefer the springy feel of memory foam.

2) Best budget: Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow

  • Fill: Gel fiber down alternative
  • Firmness: Moderate
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Sizes available: Queen (20″ x 24″) and king (20″ x 28″)
  • Care instructions: Wash on a delicate cycle using cold water. Lay flat to dry.
  • Who it’s best for Side and back sleepers

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 who 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.

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. While they’re 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 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 like that they have 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, similar to a down alternative in both feel and performance. Compared to denser materials like memory foam, the pillows stay relatively cool 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.


3) Best for side sleepers: Casper Original Pillow

  • Fill: Polyester microfiber
  • Firmness: Moderate
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Sizes available: Standard (18″ x 26″) and king (18″ x 34″)
  • Care instructions: Remove the inner pillow. Wash with cool water and a mild detergent on a gentle cycle. Run the rinse cycle twice. Tumble dry low.
  • Who it’s best for Side sleepers

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, and 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 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 provides 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 it 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.

4) Best for back sleepers: Saatva Latex Pillow

  • Fill: Shredded Talalay latex
  • Firmness: Moderate-soft
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Sizes available: Queen (18″ x 28″) and king (18″ x 34″)
  • Care instructions: Remove the shredded Talalay latex core, machine wash cover and pillow.
  • Who it’s best for 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 sateen 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.

I kept coming back to this pillow throughout testing, and it quickly became my go-to for nights when I wasn’t actively testing anything new.

I’ve now been sleeping on this pillow for five months. I love how my head sinks into this soft pillow, but it’s still supportive enough to keep its shape all night long. 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.

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.


5) Best for stomach sleepers: Parachute Down-Alternative Pillow

  • Fill: Superfine microfiber
  • Firmness: Very soft
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Sizes available: Standard (20″ x 26″) and king (20″ x 36″)
  • Care instructions: Dry clean or machine wash cool on a delicate cycle using mild, liquid laundry detergent. Tumble dry low with wool dryer balls.
  • Who it’s best for Stomach sleepers

Pros: Soft and pillowy, made from a 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 from 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 many 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 most 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. pillow

2. What to look for when shopping for pillows

The experts we spoke to recommend prioritizing three main criteria when shopping for a new pillow: sleep position, material, and trial period. Below you’ll find our recommendations for each consideration.

1) Sleep position

Robbins told us the single most significant 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. That alignment shifts depending on the position you’re sleeping in. While we all move around during sleep, 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 an 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 likely your preferred sleep position and plays a significant 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 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 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 pillow made from a 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.


2) Fill

The material a pillow is filled with has a big impact on the feel of your pillow. Here’s an overview of the major file types:

Down: Down consists of feathers taken from the underbelly of a goose or duck. It’s an incredibly soft and comfortable material for pillows. While most modern down is triple-washed to remove dander, some allergy sufferers may want to avoid this material, as animal fibers are more prone to dust mites (which can exacerbate allergies) than synthetic fibers. You can read about our favorite down options in our best down pillows guide.

Microfiber: Microfiber is an incredibly popular down alternative. The majority of the pillows in this guide are made from microfiber. It’s generally hypoallergenic and, when shredded finely, has a feel to mimic down.

Memory foam: Another popular fill is memory foam. We prefer pillows with shredded memory foam, which offers a more traditional and malleable pillow feeling. A solid block of memory foam may be preferred if you suffer from back and neck pain and need to keep your head immobilized during sleep. Read more about the best pillows for neck pain.

3) Trial period

The only way to know if a pillow is right for you is to sleep on it. We recommend looking for pillows that offer at least a 30-day trial with a money-back guarantee. This will allow you several weeks to decide if the pillow is right for you.

3. Pillow FAQs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about pillows.

1) How long do the best pillows last?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing a well-used pillow every couple of years. If you fold your pillow in half and it stays put, it’s probably time for a new pillow. (This may not work with thin pillows.)

2) How much do pillows cost?

You can find pillows at a range of price points, anywhere from $10 to several hundred dollars. Because of how much time we spend sleeping, Robbins recommends thinking of a pillow as an investment that will pay you back in better sleep.

3) Why do pillows turn yellow?

Sweat, oil, and skincare products can all turn your pillow yellow. Adding a pillow protector may help prevent the stains.

4. Conclusion

This guide summarizes the five best pillow types to use. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will find the right pillow for you

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