8 Best Orthopedic Pillows of 2022

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Do you frequently wake up with neck and shoulder pain? If so, it could be time to upgrade your bedding. To ensure your neck stays in the proper alignment, look for an orthopedic pillow.

These pillows aren’t just comfy — they also help alleviate pain! Here are our picks for the best orthopedic pillows of 2022.

If you need help shopping for a pillow, check out our best orthopedic pillows of 2022 buyer’s guide below. We’ll go over all of the different aspects to consider when purchasing an orthopedic pillow.

Our Top Picks for the Best Orthopedic Pillows

 

Editor’s Pick – Saatva Natural Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow

The Saatva Pillow has an organic cotton cover that is removable. Underneath is an outer pillow made up of hypoallergenic microfibers.

Mattress Clarity Score
4.80 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Latex

Trial Period
Trial Period

45 nights

Warranty
Warranty

1-year limited warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

 

Who is it for?

As our top rated pillow, the Saatva Latex has many impressive features. It feels lofty and luxurious, and that’s thanks to its unique construction.

First, you’ll notice its soft cover made out of organic cotton. When you unzip the outer pillowcase, you’ll feel plush microdenier fiber sewn all around the edges. This gives the pillow the fluffy feeling of down feathers.

Saatva Pillow constructionThe core consists of shredded Talalay latex foam. This provides ample support and durability. This material feels much softer than traditional latex, and it’s great at relieving pressure.

With a medium firm feel, this pillow will work well for back and side sleepers.

What Makes the Saatva Latex Pillow Stand Out?

  • The Saatva Latex pillow has a unique construction that feels like down feathers.
  • It has a medium firm feel, so it’s great for back and side sleepers.
  • The high-quality and luxurious materials make the pillow extra durable.

Learn more in our Saatva pillow review.

Best Customizable- Layla Kapok

Layla Kapok Pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow

The Layla Kapok pillow combines shredded foam and natural kapok tree fibers to give you a great balance of comfort and support. You can also take out some of this fill to adjust the height of the pillow to make it work for you.

Mattress Clarity Score
4.50 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Memory foam, Polyester, Viscose

Trial Period
Trial Period

120 nights

Warranty
Warranty

5-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping minus HI and AK

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

 

Who is it for?

A woman holds open the Layla Kapok pillow, revealing its shredded fill.

Don’t know exactly what you need from a pillow? In that case, you’ll want to check out the Layla Kapok.

This customizable pillow is filled with tiny pieces of Kapok tree fibers and open-celled memory foam. Together, this gives the pillow the plush feeling of down.

When it first arrives, the pillow will feel extremely lofty and firm. If that doesn’t work well for you, simply remove some of the interior filling. After a bit of trial and error, you’ll get your pillow the ideal loft.

And if you’re a hot sleeper, this pillow will definitely help you out. Its cover has copper fibers sewn in, which helps keep the surface clean and cool. Plus, the open-celled memory foam allows for airflow, so it won’t trap heat like many others do.

What Makes the Layla Kapok Pillow Stand Out?

  • It’s filled with tiny pieces of Kapok tree fibers and open-celled memory foam, giving it the feeling of down feathers.
  • It’s adjustable, so you can easily get it to your preferred loft and firmness level.
  • The copper fibers and open-celled memory foam promotes airflow and breathability.

Read our full Layla pillow review.

Best for Neck Pain- TEMPUR-Neck

TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

The ergonomic shape to the TEMPUR-Neck pillow makes it an ideal pillow for anyone dealing with neck pain. This solid slab of memory foam will contour to your head and neck, giving you good support and will alleviate neck pain.

Mattress Clarity Score
3.90 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Polyester, Memory foam

Warranty
Warranty

5-year limited warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

No returns

 

Who is it for?

The TEMPUR-Neck Pillow on a bed.

If you suffer from chronic neck pain, then you know how hindering it can be to your day-to-day life. And in some instances, having the wrong pillow can be what’s causing that pain. So, look at the TEMPUR-Neck pillow to help out!

Right off the bat, you’ll see that this pillow is different from others thanks to its curved, ergonomic shape on one side. This contoured shape will fit your head, neck, and shoulder rather comfortably!

Because this pillow fits right into your shoulder and neck, it will keep your neck in a neutral position, and keep your head from craning downwards, which is one way neck pain develops over time.

It is made from a single piece of dense, firm TEMPUR material, which is TEMPUR-Pedic’s proprietary memory foam.

What Makes the TEMPUR-Neck Pillow Stand Out?

  • The ergonomic design will keep your neck in a neutral position, which will help prevent and alleviate neck pain.
  • TEMPUR also sells this pillow in a cooling version made with gel-infused foam and a breathable cover for hot sleepers.
  • It’s made of firm, dense foam that has some give but overall is very supportive.

Read about the most popular TEMPUR-pillows!

Best for Back Sleepers- Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding's Talalay Latex Pillow is a supportive and pressure relieving blended latex foam pillow. It has a ventilated core and removable soft knit cover. It comes in two loft options, making it a good choice for any sleep position.

Mattress Clarity Score
4.70 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Latex

Trial Period
Trial Period

30 nights

Warranty
Warranty

3-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping minus HI and AK

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

 

Who is it for?

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex PillowWhen it comes to sleeping with a pillow to alleviate any kind of pain, we often talk about a pillow needing the correct loft, or height. For back sleepers, pillows should be not too tall, and not too low. I’d recommend anywhere between 3” to 5” at max for back sleeping.

One such pillow that falls in that sweet spot for all back sleepers is the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex pillow. This pillow comes in two loft options, a low and a high; the low loft is 4”, the high 5” tall. Lightweight back sleepers should find comfortable sleep with the low loft, while average to heavyweight back sleepers should opt for the high.

This pillow is made from a single slab of Talalay latex foam, which feels very soft, but responsive and supportive as well. It will keep your head from going too far back, or too far forward, which is ideal for back sleeping.

What Makes the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow Stand Out?

  • This pillow’s two loft options make it ideal for back sleepers of all body types.
  • The Talalay latex has been perforated with holes so it won’t trap heat.
  • Brooklyn Bedding offers deals year-round, making this a very affordable pillow.

Read our full Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex pillow review.

Best for Side Sleepers- Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow

Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper Pillow

Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper Pillow

If you’re a side sleeper looking for a supportive and comfy pillow, the Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow has you covered. This U-shape pillow was specifically designed to alleviate neck pain and promote the proper spinal alignment.

Mattress Clarity Score
4.30 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Polyester, Spandex

Trial Period
Trial Period

45 nights

Warranty
Warranty

5-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

 

Who is it for?

An image of the Eli & Elm Side Sleeper pillowSide sleepers – take note! Eli & Elm’s popular cotton pillow has a special U-shape design, which helps people maintain the proper spinal alignment in this sleeping position.

This pillow has a thin cotton cover, so it shouldn’t make sleepers overheat at night. In the filling, you’ll find two materials: soft polyester fiber and responsive latex noodles. The interior fluff gives the pillow a balanced feel.

To make things even better, this pillow is especially versatile. You can easily remove some of the filling to adjust the loft. This means it will work well for both small and large people.

Plus, you can remove the cover and wash it on the cold cycle. It’s easy to maintain and should last for many years.

What Makes the Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow Stand Out?

  • It has a special U-shape design, which helps side sleepers maintain the proper spinal alignment.
  • The pillow has a soft cotton cover that’s breathable and machine washable.
  • You can easily remove the interior filling and adjust the loft.

Read the full Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow Review.

Best Cooling- Purple Harmony

Purple Harmony Pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow

The Purple Harmony pillow combines a solid and bouncy feel - thanks to its ventilated latex core - with the squishy nature of the Hex Grid that's made with the brand's Hyper-Elastic Polymer.

Mattress Clarity Score
4.40 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Gel Fiber, Polyester, Latex

Trial Period
Trial Period

100 nights

Warranty
Warranty

1-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

 

 

Who is it for?

A woman rests on her back with the Purple Harmony pillowIf you’re a hot sleeper, you know that the wrong pillow can make you overheat just as much as the wrong blanket. Pillows that don’t feature breathable or moisture-wicking materials aren’t great for temperature regulation. But that’s where the Purple Harmony pillow really shines.

This pillow has a thin, breathable polyester cover that has been combined with a thinner version of the gel grid that you find in Purple mattresses. This open structure of the grid has plenty of room for air to flow through, but it doesn’t stop there.

The grid surrounds a springy, responsive piece of latex foam that has been perforated with holes. Latex is a great material for hot sleepers because it is incredibly breathable and won’t trap heat like traditional memory foam.

And it’s this combination of the grid and latex that will give you ample support and pressure relief, so you can say goodbye to aches and pains, all while staying cool.

What Makes the Purple Harmony Pillow Stand Out?

  • This pillow comes in three different loft options–low, mid, high–making it suit all sleeping positions and a variety of body types.
  • The open structure of the grid and the perforated foam ensures that this pillow won’t trap heat.
  • Both the grid and the latex used in this pillow are durable materials, so this pillow will last you quite a while!

Read our full Purple Harmony pillow review.

Best Value- Sutera Pillow

Sutera Pillow

Sutera Pillow

The Sutera pillow has a unique contoured shape that will keep your spine in its natural, curved state. All three sleeping positions will enjoy this pillow due to its soft foam feel and unique contoured shape.

Mattress Clarity Score
3.90 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Memory foam, Polyester

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

 

Who is it for?

An image of the Sutera pillow on a bedStriving to be pain free shouldn’t hurt your wallet in the process. Many orthopedic pillows can run upwards of $150. But Sutera makes a more budget-friendly pillow, and you can even find it on Amazon, too!

Sutera designed this pillow specifically for orthopedic needs, and it has a unique shape to reflect that.

On the sides of this pillow, you’ll find what Sutera calls “butterfly wing” cut outs. These cutouts will accommodate your arms if you’re a side or stomach sleeper! Or even if you’re a back sleeper who finds yourself with your arms above your head while you sleep, that’s what these are for.

In the middle of the pillow, there’s something called a “neck nook” which is where you will place your head. The pillow is taller on this side, and slopes downward, which will keep your head and neck in a neutral position while you sleep.

What Makes the Sutera Pillow Stand Out?

  • It’s a fairly affordable pillow, in comparison to some others on this list.
  • It’s made of a single piece of dense, firm foam that is responsive and will keep you in a neutral position while you sleep.
  • The pillow has been designed to fit orthopedic needs.

Full review to come!

Best for Combination Sleepers- Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic Pillow

Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic Pillow

Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic Pillow

Dosaze makes an orthopedic pillow that has a design to help alleviate pain, all while being easy enough to move around on, too!

Mattress Clarity Score
4.90 / 5 starstarstarstarstar

Accessories Details

Material
Material

Memory foam, Bamboo

Trial Period
Trial Period

60 nights

Warranty
Warranty

3-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns minus shipping/handling

 

Who is it for?

The Dosaze PillowSome orthopedic pillows are so hyper-specific with their design that they aren’t always the easiest to move around on. And while staying in one position can certainly be a good thing, it’s just a simple fact many of us toss and turn during the night.

Dosaze makes an orthopedic pillow that has a design to help alleviate pain, all while being easy enough to move around on, too! This pillow is fantastic for keeping your head and neck in a neutral position while you sleep, thanks to a neck basin in the middle, and raised supports for side sleeping.

But the shape of this pillow won’t make you feel trapped into sleeping in one position all night long. It’s made of a single piece of foam that is more supportive and responsive than traditional memory foam. So while you’ll still get amazing pressure relief, this pillow is also really easy to switch positions on.

What Makes the Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic Pillow Stand Out?

  • It has an ergonomic design to help you sleep in a neutral position and alleviate pain.
  • The foam is responsive and easy to move around on for the combination sleepers out there.
  • Its unique shape can accommodate back and side combo sleepers with ease.

Full review to come!

What is an Orthopedic Pillow?

Pillows that feel too firm or flat can cause neck tension and shoulder pain. Orthopedic pillows, however, help ease the discomfort by promoting a neutral alignment.

Side sleepers reach a neutral alignment when their ears line up with their shoulders. If you’re a back or stomach sleeper, you’ll want your chin to align with your sternum.

good and bad pillow alignment for different sleeping positions

Choosing the Right Orthopedic Pillow

With so many different pillows on the market, it can feel exhausting to sift through them all. To make the selection process easier, we outlined the most important things to consider when buying an orthopedic pillow.

Firmness

A pillow’s firmness level will greatly affect how comfortable it feels. Most pillows feel medium firm, which works well for back sleepers. However, stomach sleepers greatly benefit from a soft pillow that easily compresses. If you don’t quite know what firmness level you need, opt for a customizable pillow. With these types of pillows, you can easily remove or add filling to adjust its firmness.

Sleeping Position

Not every pillow will work for each sleeping position, so it’s especially important to figure out how you rest at night. If you’re a back sleeper, you’ll need a soft pillow with decent support. If the pillow feels too firm, you may feel your neck craning out of alignment. Side sleepers will want to look for a firm and supportive pillow. You don’t want it to deflate or sag as the night goes on! Stomach sleepers should look for a pillow that is almost completely flat. This will help the chin stay in line with the sternum.

Feel

This one is ultimately up to your personal preference. Do you like the fluffiness of a down feather pillow? Or do you prefer to feel memory foam cradle your head? No matter what you choose, you’ll find a pillow that works for you.

Shape

Side sleepers often prefer U-shaped pillows because they create extra room for shoulders. Traditional rectangular pillows will work better for back and stomach sleepers. Ultimately, it comes down to what you think looks and feels best.

Cover

Many companies sell pillows with washable covers, so you don’t even need to purchase a pillowcase. But with some pillows, the filling sits directly inside the outer cover. This makes it especially difficult to wash because you have to remove all of the fluff before putting it on the cold cycle. This may not be a deal breaker for some, but it’s an important element to consider.

Budget

Pillow prices range from cheap to expensive. Usually, you get what you pay for. We always recommend people consider their budgets before springing for brand new pillows.

Durability

You’d hate to shell out money for a new pillow, only for it to disintegrate after a year. If you want your pillow to stand the test of time, look for something made with high-quality materials. Custom-cut foams and Talalay latex typically have longer lifespans than other materials. And, as always, make sure to follow the washing directions carefully. Otherwise, the pillow’s covers may lose their luster.

Types of Orthopedic Pillows

As you can see, there are so many different kinds of orthopedic pillows out there. We broke down the most popular models below, so you can easily find the right product for you.

Dual Profile

These pillows have several different loft options. Typically, they come with foam inserts that you can place inside the cover. This allows sleepers to find the perfect height for their body weight and sleeping position.

Adjustable

Adjustable pillows share many similarities with dual profile pillows. They’re both customizable and easy to change. But unlike dual profile models, adjustable pillows don’t have foam inserts. Instead, sleepers can add or remove the filling from the interior of the pillow.

Memory Foam

If you want your pillow to gently cradle your head, opt for something made out of memory foam. This slow-moving material helps relieve pressure, and it’s super comfortable. However, classic memory foam also has the tendency to trap heat. If you already wake up feeling hot at night, you’ll want to make sure your orthopedic pillow has some cooling features built in.

Look for something made with open-celled memory foam, because this will promote airflow and breathability. Gel, copper, and graphite infusions also help pull heat away from the body and keep you cool.

RELATED: Best Memory Foam Pillows

Microfiber

Pillows stuffed with microfiber pieces typically feel soft and fluffy. Even though it’s an entirely synthetic material, microfiber still feels super luxurious and comfortable. Also, microfiber pillows tend to cost less than down and memory foam models. If you’re on a budget, this could be a great choice.

Neck Pillow

Typically used while traveling, these small U-shaped pillows help cradle the neck and ease pain. They work well for short naps, but they’re not recommended for everyday use.

RELATED: Best Travel Pillows

Down Pillow

Down pillows are filled with the back, wing, and chest feathers from geese and ducks. This creates an airy and malleable feel, so they can work well for stomach sleepers. However, due to its materials, down pillows often attract allergens and dust mites. They also cost a bit more than other types of pillows. If you love the way these pillows feel, you may also want consider getting something that’s stuffed with down-alternative.

RELATED: Best Down Pillows

Final Thoughts

Once again, here are our top picks for the best orthopedic pillows of 2022.

 

Mattress Best For
Saatva Editor’s Pick
Layla Kapok Best Customizable Orthopedic Pillow Pillow
TEMPUR-Neck Best Orthopedic Pillow for Neck Pain
Brooklyn Bedding Best Orthopedic Pillow for Back sleepers
Eli & Elm Best Orthopedic Pillow for Side Sleepers
Purple Harmony Best Cooling Orthopedic Pillow
Sutera Pillow Best Value Orthopedic Pillow
Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic Pillow Best Orthopedic Pillow for Combination Sleepers

FAQs

Before we wrap up, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about orthopedic pillows.

What is the best orthopedic pillow?

As you can see, there are so many great orthopedic pillows on the market. Ultimately, it depends on what you need. Stomach sleepers will love the low loft Brooklyn Bedding Latex pillow. Heavier people should consider the Purple Harmony pillow.

What is the best pillow for neck pain?

If you frequently suffer from neck pain, you'll want to get a pillow that will help you get back to neutral alignment. In our experience, the TEMPUR-Neck pillow really helps support and cradle the head and neck.

What is the best pillow for back pain?

When back pain strikes, it's tough to focus on anything else. We recommend switching to the Saatva Latex pillow if your pain becomes severe. This pillow has a unique construction that creates both comfort and support -- which is exactly what you need if you're frequently feeling back pain.

What does an orthopedic pillow do?

Orthopedic pillows help sleepers maintain the correct spinal alignment. For side sleepers, this means the pillow is supportive enough to keep the ears in line with the shoulders. Back and stomach sleepers should find a pillow that helps their chins stay in line with their sternums.

Gravatar for Elisa Regulski

Elisa Regulski

Elisa is the Editor of Mattress Clarity, where she analyzes sleep products and appears in review videos. A certified sleep science coach, Elisa's sleep tips have appeared in Readers Digest, Homes and Gardens, and 21 Oak. She earned a M.A in Mass Communication from Texas State University and a B.F.A in acting from Oklahoma City University.