Best Memory Foam Pillows

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In the world of bedding, memory foam is everywhere, having made its way into just about every type of product in the sleep industry. But before we help you pick the best memory foam pillow, let’s go into a little of the material’s history and the reason for its popularity.

best memory foam pillows 2020 - contouring and pressure-reliving foamMemory foam — also called temper foam — is a unique, dense foam known for cushioning the body and relieving pressure. It was originally developed by NASA in 1966 to help absorb shock and increase protection and comfort in NASA’s airplane seats. It eventually became clear that it could make everyday sleep equally as comfortable.

Despite its many positive qualities, one type of memory foam pillow does not fit all. Memory foam is used in a variety of ways to fill pillows, including solid pieces molded into specific shapes or shredded pieces with a zipper to add and remove as much filling as desired.

After hours of research and testing (okay, snoozing), we’ve put together our list of the best memory foam pillows!

The Six Best Memory Foam Pillows

 

Best Pillow For Back Sleepers

GhostPillow

The GhostPillow features a solid piece of aerated gel memory foam that should allow back sleepers’ heads to sink in just the right amount. While in this sleeping position, you’re likely to feel the slow-moving foam conform to your head. It could also be a comfortable pillow for side sleepers.

Pillow Details:

  • The GhostPillow sleeps cool, thanks to a gel infusion and Phase Change Material that draws heat away from the body.
  • The removable, washable cover is made of a proprietary cooling fabric called Ghost Ice.
  • GhostBed offers a 101-night sleep trial and five-year warranty.

Price: $95, with dimensions of 16″ x 23″ x 6″.

Read our full GhostPillow review.

Best Pillow For Back Sleepers
GhostPillow
GhostPillow
GhostPillow

The GhostPillow Memory Foam is a comfortable pillow that offers great contouring and support. It also sleeps surprisingly cool for a memory foam pillow.

Best Shredded Foam Pillow

Coop Home Goods Original

Inside the Coop Home Goods Original pillow, you’ll find a core of shredded memory foam surrounded by a soft and breathable bamboo-knit cover. While the pillow arrives overstuffed (making it the perfect height and support for side sleepers), it’s also adjustable and allows you to add/remove as much as filling as desired.

Pillow Details:

  • It’s machine-washable, hypoallergenic, and dust mite-resistant.
  • To keep the pillow lofted and firm, you’ll need to put it in the dryer and fluff it on occasion.
  • Coop Home Goods offers a five-year limited warranty.

Price: $72–$78, with dimensions of 20″ x 30″ (Queen) or 20″ x 36″ (King).

Read our full Coop Home Goods Original pillow review

Best Shredded Foam Pillow
Coop Home Goods Original
Coop Home Goods Original
Coop Home Goods Original

The Coop Home Good's Original pillow is filled with large chunks of memory foam and comes overstuffed — a terrific fit for side sleepers. 

Best Plush Foam Pillow

Iso-Cool

The Iso-Cool pillow comes in many different shapes, so I always like to highlight that this is the Traditional version. Overall, it’s a flatter and plusher memory foam pillow with a filling of viscoelastic memory foam. I often suggest this pillow to stomach sleepers who love foam and a streamlined, simple design.

Pillow Details:

  • The 100% cotton cover contains a microscopic Phase Change Material that absorbs heat and helps you sleep cool.
  • It comes with a five-year limited warranty and is endorsed by the American Sleep Association (ASA).
  • It’s also available in a gusseted model that caters to side sleepers.

Price: Starts at $62.23, with dimensions of 18″ x 24″.

Read our full Iso-Cool pillow review

Best Plush Foam Pillow
Iso-Cool
Iso-Cool
Iso-Cool

The core of the Iso-Cool pillow is a single piece of solid plush memory foam with Phase Change Material added. 

Best Pillow For Side Sleepers

Layla Kapok

The adjustable Layla Kapok pillow takes some of the best characteristics of memory foam — namely its support and pressure relief — and mixes it with a natural and sustainable Kapok fiber for extra smoothness. I love this pillow for side sleepers because, at its fullest, it has a high loft that should give them a lot of comfort. Back sleepers should also be comfortable with the maximum amount of filling, while combination sleepers should love the versatility. As for stomach sleepers, they can remove as much of the fill as they’d like for a lower loft.

Pillow Details:

  • The cover is exquisitely soft, woven with copper fibers to add coolness.
  • Another added bonus of the cover is that it offers antimicrobial protection.
  • Layla offers a five-year prorated warranty and a 120-night trial.

Price: $109–$129, with dimensions of 18″ x 26″ x 4″ (Queen) and 18″ x 32″ x 4″ (King).

Read our full Layla Kapok pillow review.

Best Pillow For Side Sleepers
Layla Kapok
Layla Kapok
Layla Kapok

The Layla Kapok pillow is a mix of memory foam chunks for support and natural and organic Kapok fibers for smoothness and added plush feel. 

Best Cooling Pillow

TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling

The TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling pillow is beyond durable, supportive, and — of course — truly cooling. There’s a thin 100% cotton cover, but the star of the show is the solid piece of TEMPUR material (proprietary memory foam) that features two cooling gel panels on each side. This design allows the pillow to stay tall and supportive while retaining a low temperature at the same time. 

Pillow Details:

  • Thanks to the pillow’s classic memory foam feel, you should feel your head slowly sinking into the surface.
  • The TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze is a good fit for side sleepers and heavier sleepers who love a plush feel.
  • The pillow has a removable, washable cover made from 100% cotton.

Price: $189–$229, with King and Queen sizes available.

Read our full TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling pillow review.

Best Cooling Pillow
TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling
TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling
TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling

The TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling is all about its significant solid core made of proprietary memory foam called TEMPUR material. 

Best Pillow For Neck Pain

Casper Foam

The Casper Foam has that classic memory foam feel, but with a firmness that should be comfortable and supportive enough for sleepers who experience neck pain. It follows a similar design philosophy to Casper’s down and signature pillows: three-layered foam core, two plush outer layers, and a firmer middle layer. As a result, sleepers will feel their heads slowly sink into the pillow without going too deep or feeling the sides move up around their heads. 

Pillow Details:

  • The supportive inner layer contours to the head and neck in all sleep positions.
  • Conversely, the plush outer layers offer some nice comfort.
  • To clean the cover, remove it from the pillow and machine-wash cold on a delicate cycle. Dry flat, and do not bleach or iron.

Price: $89–$119, with dimensions of 16″ x 24″ (Standard) and 16″ x 32″ (King).

Read our full Casper Foam pillow review.

Best Pillow For Neck Pain
Casper Foam
Casper Foam
Casper Foam

Casper's Foam pillow features a 3-layer foam core that is comprised of two plush outer layers and a firmer center core. 

Marten’s Take

Finding the perfect pillow can be so personal, as a lot of it depends on individual weight and body type. For instance, I’m 5′ 7″ and of average body type. So while my review can be insightful, it’s always better to add another opinion into the mix. I asked Marten, who is 6’7” and weighs 250 lb, to offer his take on which of these memory foam pillows would be best for heavier sleepers.

Marten's Take - Best Memory Foam Pillow 2020

Coop Home Goods Original: “What I like about this one is that it’s got a fluffy feel in addition to that supportive memory foam feel. The pillow’s overall firmness level makes it a great fit for back sleepers and side sleepers.”

TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling: “I’m a hot sleeper, so I love the way the dual gel panels on the side of the pillow feel against my face. In terms of positions, it’s great for side sleepers like me because you can feel the gel against your face. I like it for back-sleeping, too.”

Iso-Cool: “I’m not much of a stomach sleeper, but when I do turn around onto my stomach, this pillow is a very good match. I like that my head is supported without sinking right through to the bottom.”

Why Does Memory Foam Sleep Hot?

One of the chief complaints about memory foam in both mattresses and pillows is that the material tends to retain heat and can cause people to sleep hot. This usually happens later in the night, once a person has been sleeping in the bed for a while.

Companies use a variety of different techniques to help customers stay cool while using memory foam mattresses and pillows:

different ways memory foam is incorporated into pillows

  • Plant-based foams: Plant-based memory foam uses a portion of plant-based ingredients (typically soy).
  • Gel-infused layers or pads: Adding a gel layer onto or into foam products may make them cooler, but there’s still some debate as to whether gel memory foam is effective.
  • Phase Change Materials (PCM): Customers may see companies using Phase Change Materials alongside memory foam. PCMs are designed to absorb body heat that’s released during the night.
  • Ventilated foam: Typically, solid pieces of molded memory foam will have small holes cut out to promote airflow.
  • Shredded foam: Shoppers may see many types of shredded memory foam pillows on the market. The idea is that air will move between the foam pieces and keep the pillow from getting too hot.

Does Density Matter?

features of high-density memory foam

Density does matter when it comes to memory foam, but it probably makes a bigger difference when shopping for a memory foam mattress rather than a memory foam pillow.

While it can get a little complicated, we have found (and studies show) that the higher the density, the more the following facts are true.

  • The price goes up: More materials go into a higher density foam, so sleepers can almost always expect a correlation between density and price.
  • Increased durability: Generally, the higher the density, the longer the pillow (or mattress) will last.
  • Added support/pain relief: More density means more support. Higher-density foam does a better job of contouring to someone’s body. Those who have neck pain, for example, will want a higher density foam pillow.

Should I Worry about the Smell?

memory foam off-gassesNo matter the brand or how eco-friendly a product is, all memory foam is made from petrochemicals. As a result, customers may notice a slight chemical smell when unboxing the new memory foam pillow. This is known in the sleep industry as off-gassing.

Before enjoying the pillow overnight, it’s best to let it breathe in a ventilated space until the off-gassing smell is gone. While there is some debate on this topic, it’s generally believed that the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during the off-gassing should not impact a person’s health.

FAQs

What's the best memory foam pillow?

There is no single “best” memory foam pillow, as not all memory foams are created equal. Some are proprietary blends (like TEMPUR-Pedic) and may offer a slightly different feel. They may also come in a solid piece, ventilated pieces, or even chunks or shreds. The truth is that what’s ultimately going to be the best fit is really up to the individual.

What's the best memory foam pillow for side sleepers?

Side sleepers, in general, need the most loft (height) and overall support as compared to back and stomach sleepers. For this reason, solid and firmer memory foam pillows tend to be the best, providing enough height and support for the neck, but also not letting the head fall too far or sink too far in. Of the products on this roundup, we think the Layla Kapok embodies these traits quite wonderfully and is one of the best memory foam pillows for side sleepers.

Why are memory foam pillows so comfortable?

Memory foam pillows are really good at cushioning the body and providing a contouring feel and pressure relief. They’re not everyone’s preference, but those who are trying to relieve tension or stress in their muscles and joints may want to consider it.

Are memory foam pillows good for neck problems?

Memory foam pillows can be very good for neck problems, specifically because of their contouring and pressure-relieving characteristics. If positioned correctly for the person, they can take a lot of strain off of someone’s neck.

Gravatar for Katie Golde

Katie Golde

Katie manages the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news. She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.