Coop Home Goods The Original Pillow
Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow
Frontgate Resort Luxury Goose Down Gusseted Pillow

6 Best Pillows in 2021

Substance, not just fluff
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Erica Puisis

The right pillow is an essential part of restful sleep. A pillow that is too firm or too soft may contribute to neck pain, while a pillow that is too flat or too fluffy might cause you to toss and turn. The perfect pillow will suit your sleeping style while supporting your head and neck. 

5 Things To Know About Pillows Before Making A Purchase

  1. Fill: Popular pillow fill options include memory foam, down or down alternative fiber clusters, and polyester fiber.
  2. Sleeping Position: It’s important to consider your sleeping position when picking a pillow, since a thick and fluffy pillow that’s great for a side sleeper might cause neck strain for a back or stomach sleeper.
  3. Size: Make sure you buy a pillow that fits your mattress and bedding. Virtually all pillows measure 20 inches wide, but a standard pillow is 26 inches long, queen pillows are 28 to 30 inches long, and a king-size pillow is 36 inches long. 
  4. Care: Some pillows can be machine-washed, while others are spot-clean only. The AAFA recommends that people sensitive to dust mites wash pillows weekly, so this is something to consider if indoor allergens concern you. 
  5. Breathability: A pillow’s construction, including fill material and cover, will determine how much airflow passes through the pillow. Dense pillows (such as solid memory foam) may not allow for much airflow, and may retain heat more than pillows with loose filling and breathable cotton or bamboo rayon covers. 

We’ve researched some of the most popular pillows on the market and reviewed their quality and comfort to find the best options for your sleeping style and budget. Our first choice for the best pillow is The Original Pillow from Coop Home Goods, since it offers excellent support, allows for easy fill adjustment, and is machine washable. Whether you’re looking for the down feather pillow of your dreams or a plush set of pillows for your guest bed, you’ll find all these options and more in this pillow primer. 

If you find this helpful, you might also want to check out the Best Comforters, Best Mattress Toppers and Best Bedsheets.

Our Top Picks

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Top Pick
Top Pick
Coop Home Goods The Original Pillow
Best Overall Pillow

Coop Home Goods The Original Pillow

Manufacturer :

  Coop Home Goods
coop home goods

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Machine washable
  • Includes extra fill to adjust loft
  • Pillowcase is made of polyester-bamboo blend

Cons

  • May sleep hot
  • Foam needs occasionally fluffing

Product Snapshot

The Coop Home Goods Original is an ideal pillow pick for most people. Regardless of how high and lofty or thin and flat you prefer your pillow, this pillow is designed to be customized for your preferences and sleeping position. It features a zippered inner liner that gives you access to the crosscut memory foam and microfiber fill inside. Remove as much as you need, or add more from the included bag of fill that ships with every pillow.

It’s easy to keep this pillow clean and free of dust, dander, and other allergens. The quilted outer cover, which doubles as a super soft cooling pillowcase, can be stripped off and machine-washed and dried like any other pillowcase. The entire inner pillow can be washed regularly as well: just be sure to secure the zipper with a safety pin to prevent an accidental release of foam filling inside your washer. Tumble dry on low. Easy to adjust and easy to care for, there’s a lot to love about this popular pillow. Learn more about the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow.

Specs

Fill Material
Microfiber
Memory foam
Firmness
Medium-firm
Sizes
King
Queen
Care
Machine wash
Tumble dry low

Where to Buy

Best Adjustable Pillow

Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow

Manufacturer :

  Sleep Number
Sleep Number

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Available in classic, curved, or adjustable height options

Cons

  • Not machine washable
  • Only the ultimate option has adjustable fill

Product Snapshot

Best known for making mattresses to meet a wide range of firmness levels, Sleep Number offers a pillow for nearly everyone. The Comfortfit pillow is medium-firm, filled with memory foam and down-alternative fiber fill clusters. 

The Sleep Number Comfortfit Ultimate is our top adjustable pillow: It unzips to reveal three inserts that can be removed to customize the pillow’s height and support. No matter which sleep position you prefer, this pillow can be configured to cushion your head and neck. Non-height-adjustable curved and classic pillows complete the options available in the Comfortfit series. The only downside is that the Lyocell cover isn’t removable on the classic and curved options, making these pillows spot-clean only.

Specs

Fill Material
Down alternative fill
Shredded memory foam
Firmness
Medium
Sizes
King
Standard
Care
Spot clean only

Where to Buy

Splurge
Splurge
Frontgate Resort Luxury Goose Down Gusseted Pillow
Best Down Pillow

Frontgate Resort Luxury Goose Down Gusseted Pillow

Manufacturer :

  Frontgate
Frontgate

Where to Buy

Pros

  • 5-year warranty
  • Choice of three firmness levels
  • 15-step cleaning process to remove allergens

Cons

  • Lacks RDS Ethical Down Standard certification

Product Snapshot

For the ultimate level of softness and support, look no further than the Frontgate Resort Luxury Goose Down Gusseted Pillow. This down pillow features 650-fill power white goose down that has been subjected to a vigorous 15-step cleaning process to remove nearly all allergens. Pillows are available in both standard and king sizes, with three firmness levels available: soft, medium, and firm. 

The gusseted design of this down pillow helps to ensure that it maintains its loft and cradles your head and neck. Like any down-filled pillow, we’ve found it necessary to occasionally fluff this pillow to maintain its softness and shape, but it resists flattening much better than some other down pillows we’ve tried. 

Specs

Fill Material
White goose down
Firmness
Soft
Firm
Medium
Sizes
King
Standard
Care
Tumble dry low
Machine wash warm

Where to Buy

Best Memory Foam Pillow

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud® Memory Foam Plush Support Pillow

Manufacturer :

  Tempur Pedic
Tempur Pedic

Where to Buy

Pros

  • 5-year warranty
  • TEMPUR foam retains shape

Cons

  • No cooling properties
  • Only the cover is machine washable

Product Snapshot

Memory foam pillows are great if you’re looking for a soft yet supportive pillow. They’re designed to compress under pressure without collapsing like a fiber-filled pillow, which means you can count on having a squishy-yet-firm pillow all night long. Memory foam has skyrocketed in popularity for everything from mattresses to travel pillows, but our top pick for a pillow is the Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Memory Foam Plush Support Pillow. 

While some memory foam pillows are so dense they feel like a brick under your head, this option from Tempur-Pedic is softer than expected. The Tempur memory foam inside holds its form, but provides plenty of give for a variety of sleeping positions. Stomach and back sleepers will especially appreciate the way the pillow cradles the neck and head. 

Specs

Fill Material
Memory foam
Firmness
Extra soft
Sizes
Standard
Care
Machine wash cover only

Where to Buy

Best Value
Best Value
Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows, Set of 2
Best Budget Pillow

Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows

Manufacturer :

  Beckham Luxury Linens
Beckham Luxury Linens

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certified

Cons

  • No ability to customize fill
  • Pillow not recommended for the dryer

Product Snapshot

You don’t have to break the bank to sleep on a plush new pillow, especially if you choose a two-pack of pillows like this set from the Beckham Hotel Collection. These down-alternative fill pillows are budget-friendly and versatile enough for most sleeping positions. Unlike some memory foam or down pillows, these pillows are temperature-neutral and allergen-free.

The Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows don’t offer much in the way of options or adjustments: There’s one firmness option (described as plush by the manufacturer) and a 5-inch loft for all pillows, but you can choose between queen-size or larger king-size pillows if you prefer. This pillow set is a great value for an everyday essential or for outfitting a guest bedroom with versatile, comfy pillows. 

Specs

Fill Material
Down alternative fiber
Firmness
Plush
Sizes
King
Queen
Care
Lay flat to dry
Machine wash

Where to Buy

Best Cooling Pillow

Snuggle-Pedic Gel-Infused Memory Foam Pillow

Manufacturer :

  Snuggle-Pedic

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Add or remove fill for your firmness preference
  • Removable, zippered cover
  • Shredded foam for better airflow

Cons

  • Filling requires regular fluffing
  • Some off-gassing reported

Product Snapshot

If you’re constantly flipping your pillow to find the cool side, then a cooling pillow like this version from Snuggle-Pedic may be the answer. Unlike a standard memory foam pillow, this pillow is infused with cooling gel, which creates a much more pleasant night’s sleep for hot sleepers. The result is a pillow that sleeps cooler, thanks to improved air flow due to the shredded foam. In addition, the gel-infused memory foam dissipates heat better than standard memory foam, which is known for retaining heat.

One of the great things about this cooling pillow is the ability to adjust the fill to match your comfort preferences. Add more shredded foam for a firmer feel or remove some to achieve a thinner pillow with a softer feel. By adjusting the fill, back, side, and stomach sleepers can all have the right height and firmness while enjoying the Snuggle-Pedic Gel-Infused Shredded Memory Foam Pillow. You’ll need to regularly fluff the pillow, either by hand or in the dryer, to keep the shredded foam loose and able to conform to your head and neck. It’s nice to know that the entire pillow is machine-washable and also features a removable zippered bamboo cover.

Specs

Fill Material
Gel-Infused Memory Foam
Firmness
Adjustable
Care
Machine-Washable

Where to Buy

Compare

Best Overall Pillow
Best Adjustable Pillow
Best Down Pillow
Best Memory Foam Pillow
Best Budget Pillow
Best Cooling Pillow
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
  • Machine washable
  • Includes extra fill to adjust loft
  • Pillowcase is made of polyester-bamboo blend
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Available in classic, curved, or adjustable height options
  • 5-year warranty
  • Choice of three firmness levels
  • 15-step cleaning process to remove allergens
  • 5-year warranty
  • TEMPUR foam retains shape
  • Hypoallergenic
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certified
  • Add or remove fill for your firmness preference
  • Removable, zippered cover
  • Shredded foam for better airflow
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
  • May sleep hot
  • Foam needs occasionally fluffing
  • Not machine washable
  • Only the ultimate option has adjustable fill
  • Lacks RDS Ethical Down Standard certification
  • No cooling properties
  • Only the cover is machine washable
  • No ability to customize fill
  • Pillow not recommended for the dryer
  • Filling requires regular fluffing
  • Some off-gassing reported
Fill Material
Fill Material
Fill Material
Fill Material
Fill Material
Fill Material
Fill Material
Microfiber
Memory foam
Down alternative fill
Shredded memory foam
White goose down
Memory foam
Down alternative fiber
Gel-Infused Memory Foam
Firmness
Firmness
Firmness
Firmness
Firmness
Firmness
Firmness
Medium-firm
Medium
Soft
Firm
Medium
Extra soft
Plush
Adjustable
Sizes
Sizes
Sizes
Sizes
Sizes
Sizes
Sizes
King
Queen
King
Standard
King
Standard
Standard
King
Queen
N/A
Care
Care
Care
Care
Care
Care
Care
Machine wash
Tumble dry low
Spot clean only
Tumble dry low
Machine wash warm
Machine wash cover only
Lay flat to dry
Machine wash
Machine-Washable

FAQs

What size is a standard pillow?

Standard bed pillows are 20 inches wide and 26 inches long. Queen and king-size pillows are still 20 inches wide, but measure 30 and 36 inches, respectively.

Which type of pillow is best for side sleepers?

To maintain alignment of the spine, side sleepers need a pillow with plenty of loft for neck support. A good starting point is to measure the distance from the ear to the outside of the shoulder. Then, choose a pillow that has a thickness to match. In many cases, a side sleeper will need a pillow that is at least 4 inches thick.

How do I wash a pillow?

You can wash most pillows in a washing machine on a gentle cycle, using warm water. However, check the care instructions on your pillow before washing, since some pillows—like those made from a single piece of foam, aren’t good candidates for machine washing. In such cases, look for a pillow with a removable cover that can be washed instead.