Best Cooling Pillows

Here’s the hard truth: there’s no point in investing in a quality pillow if it’s going to result in an uncomfortable night’s sleep that leaves a person feeling hot, sweaty, and generally uncomfortable. It’s 2020, and there are way too many awesome pillows filled with cooling technology for that to happen anymore!

Not all cooling pillows are created the same – there are several ways a pillow can help a sleeper stay cool, including Phase Change Material technology, moisture-wicking fabrics, and ventilated fillings – there are a lot of options out there. I’ve put together my list of the four best cooling pillows that each bring a little something special to the table.

Side sleepers, back sleepers, stomach sleepers and, most of all, hot sleepers – there are pillows here that will suit even the pickiest sleeper’s needs. Watch my list unfold in the video below or scroll for more details. I’ll address some commonly asked questions about pillows at the bottom of the post! If you don’t find what you’re looking for, check out our overall best pillows guide.

Cooling Gel Panels
TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro
TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro

The TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro offers two height profiles and endless coolness with dual side gel panels. The best prices on TEMPUR-Pedpic pillows are just a click away with the CHECK PRICE button!

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Gel Memory Foam
Gel Memory Foam GhostPillow
Gel Memory Foam GhostPillow

The Gel Memory Foam GhostPillow has coolness woven into its fabric, literally. Get the coolest deal on this pillow by clicking the CHECK PRICE button!

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Innovative Cover Fabric
Helix Ultra-Cool
Helix Ultra-Cool

The Helix Ultra-Cool pillow combines the power of down alternative and clever cooling technology. Click the button for the best price on this pillow!

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Down Feathers
Puredown Cool-Down
Puredown Cool-Down

The Puredown Cool-Down pillow is filled with feathers and down and features an outer cover that is cooling to the touch. The coolest deals can be found through the CHECK PRICE button!

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Pillow Details

Here’s a more detailed look into each of the cooling pillows on my list.

Cooling Gel Panels

TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro

The TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro is one of my favorite TEMPUR-Pedic pillows – it’s a significant pillow that comes in 5″ or 6.6″ height levels and has a solid piece of TEMPUR material (proprietary memory foam) in the core. There are dual side gel panels underneath the performance knit cover that keep the pillow cool to the touch. It also ensures that the core remains cooling and can provide an excellent level of support (about a medium firmness).

The pillow comes in Queen ($169) and King sizes ($209) and the one downside is that pillows are not returnable. Based on our experiences with this pillow, we recommend side sleepers and heavier sleepers go for the taller height and back sleepers and larger stomach sleepers check out the low profile option.

Pillow Details:

  • Dimensions (Queen ProHi): 25″ x 16″ x 6.6″
  • Removable Cover: High stretch performance panel cover that’s made up of 90% polyester and 10% elastane
  • Core: A solid piece of medium Tempur material sandwiched between dual-sided cooling gel pads
  • Removable and washable cover
  • Available in Queen and King sizes and Hi and Lo profile (6.6″ vs. 5″)
  • Full price: $169

Learn more about this TEMPUR-Pedic pillow and others in our ultimate list.

Gel Memory Foam

Gel Memory Foam GhostPillow

The Gel Memory Foam GhostPillow from GhostBed is covered in cooling technology – it’s woven into the fabric in the GhostIce material and is layered on the gel memory foam core via Phase Change Material (PCM).

Ghost Ice fabric is made up of 53% polyethylene and 47% polyester and offers performance wear, moisture-wicking feel to it (plus, it’s washable!). Sleepers can unzip the cover and feel the solid ventilated gel memory foam core. Half of the core is covered in a layer of PCM that absorbs body heat to help regulate temperature during the night.

The pillow has a plusher feel, which is why I recommend it for average-sized back and stomach sleepers. Currently, it comes in one size for $85 and it comes with a 101-night sleep trial.

Pillow Details:

  • As of this review, only one size is available and the dimensions are 16″ x  23″ x 6″
  • Cover: Ghost Ice Fabric Zippered Cover – made out of 53% polyethylene and 47% polyester
  • Core: A solid piece of aerated Gel Memory Foam with a performance cooling side. This is a layer of the brand’s proprietary Phase Change Material (PCM). PCM helps absorb body heat and dissipates it throughout the night.
  • The core has a plusher feel and slow-moving response
  • The cover is removable and washable (line dry only)
  • GhostBed offers a 101-night sleep trial and 5-year warranty
  • $85 full price, one size only

Check out our full review of this GhostPillow (and the Faux Down option).

Innovative Cover Fabric

Helix Ultra-Cool

This distinctive pillow is a product of the mattress brand Helix Sleep and stands out thanks to the Phase Change Material technology featured in the antimicrobial cotton cover. When a sleeper presses his or her head or another extremity into the pillow, it turns from blue to white, signaling the absorption of heat and keeps the individual cool and comfortable.

Not to be ignored is the microfiber down-alternative that gives the pillow a traditional soft and plush feel but is fully machine washable and dryer friendly. I personally found the support level to be ideal for average-sized back sleepers and some stomach sleepers.

The pillow is an investment; while it comes with a 100-night sleep trial, the Standard is priced at $115 and the King is $129.

Pillow Details:

  • Dimensions:
    • Standard size: 20″ x 28″
    • King size: 20″ x 36″
  • Cover: 100% cotton that has antimicrobial properties
  • The cover also features Phase Change Material (PCM), which means it absorbs and regulates excess heat to keep hot sleepers cool
  • Fill: Microfiber down-alternative in a plush design
  • 100-night sleep trial and 1-year warranty
  • Price: Standard $115; King $129

Down Feathers

Puredown Cool-Down

This attractive cooling pillow is dedicated to all my down pillow lovers out there! This natural white goose down pillow from the brand Puredown brings the cooling factor to a down pillow. In particular, the outside cover features a cool-down ice silk fabric that is literally cool to the touch. It’s made with a combination of polyester and a synthetic fabric called olefin.

There is a barely noticeable zipper that makes the cover removable and easy to clean. In fact, the entire pillow is machine washable and dryer friendly – just make sure the dryer is set on a low heat setting to keep the down from scorching.

The pillow fill is 90% feathers and 10% down – this is most evident when the pillow arrives completely compressed. I highly recommend leaving the pillow alone for 24 hours to expand and revive itself, then toss it on a low heat setting to fluff it as well.

I really like this pillow for stomach sleepers and some back sleepers because the feathers keep the pillow flatter and the small down provides enough fluff to keep it comfortable. The fill is created through the “Responsibly Sourced Down” process, which is a voluntary global standard that aims to make sure the down wasn’t collected with unnecessary harm.

Pillow Details:

  • Dimensions:
    • Queen: 20″ x 30″, fill weight: 36 oz
    • Standard: 20″ x 26″ fill weight: 31 oz
  • Outer cover: cool-down ice silk fabric; 58% polyester, 42% olefin (synthetic fiber)
  • Inner filling: 90% goose feather and 10% white goose down
  • Down and feathers used in their products have been certified to the RDS (Responsible Down Standard)
  • Care: Machine wash and dry
  • Price: A set of two can be found for around $60 in a Standard size on Amazon; available at additional retailers
  • Comes with 30-day trial period depending on the retailer

Marten’s Take

In the process of selecting the best pillow, one’s body type and primary sleeping position are incredibly important. The whole team at Mattress Clarity always recommends that people think about that before making a decision. For this reason, I love incorporating my colleague Marten’s experience with the pillows into my review. I am 5’7” and about a medium-weight and Marten is 6’7” and weighs 250 lbs, so he can offer a different opinion and share his personal experience with these pillows in a way that helps to determine which would be best for heavier sleepers.

Of the four pillows on Katie’s list, the one I like the most is the TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro. I’m naturally a hot sleeper and I loved the soft and contouring feel of the memory foam in the Hi profile when I’m on my back, but I loved the cooling nature of the pillow when I moved onto my side. The height from the Hi profile version provides good support in both of these sleeping positions for me.

Final Thoughts

The best pillow for hot sleepers is going to look different for everyone but individuals who keep an eye out for ones that offer technology and innovation like gel infusions and Phase Change Materials – as well as cores with breathability and airflow promotion – stand a good chance at sleeping cool all night long.

Comment in the YouTube video if any questions pop up or a personal recommendation is needed – I’m always checking back!

FAQs

What is the best pillow that stays cool?

There are some features in a pillow to look for that will help individuals assess whether or not it’ll say cool.

  • Breathable materials – those looking for a cotton cover, choose a percale weave over sateen because that will allow for more airflow. Moisture-wicking material or material designed for athletes are also great options.
  • Cores that promote airflow – Usually solid foams will sleep hotter than shredded foam or other material that can be broken up or moved around like fibers; solid foam that is ventilated or contains gel, gel pads or Phase change Material can really help make a solid foam pillow cooler.

Do cooling pillows lose their cool?

Unfortunately, some do lose their cool, and it’s all about what materials and technology are used and the quality of them. This is where trial periods come in handy – it allows sleepers to give the pillow or pillows a chance to stay cool and to discover if it fails after a few hours or a few days.

I’ve personally had the best luck with pillows that are made with Phase Change Material and have core fillings that promote airflow, like the aerated core of the Gel Memory Foam GhostPillow.

Are gel pillows good?

The pillow world seems to be somewhat divided on whether or not gel infused into pillows helps keep it cool. I’ve had some gel pad pillows work really well, including the TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling pillow that offers the same gel panels at the TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro pillow that made my list.

I’ve also slept on plenty of foam pillows that are infused with gel and haven’t really noticed a big difference with those. Therefore, I am hesitant to say definitively that gel is always a good idea with a pillow, it truly depends on the quality of the brand, the gel they’re using and how they’re using it!

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.