Best Pillows Of 2021 For Every Type Of Sleeper

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Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to review more than 50 pillows. I’m talking pretty much every type of pillow, including a huge range of fillings, cover materials, innovative designs, and one-of-a-kind features I honestly didn’t know existed until now. With all of this in mind, I’ve created a comprehensive list of the best pillows for 2021 that should suit all sleep needs and preferences.

Is there one perfect pillow that meets everyone’s needs? No way! That’s because we all sleep differently and our differences are one reason there are what feels like a million pillows on the market, with new fabrics and technologies all geared towards helping people sleep better.

This enormous amount of options can seem daunting initially, but I’ve included a list of my favorite tips or tricks for narrowing down the many choices out there and making it simpler to find the best match.

The Best Pillows Detailed

Here is our comprehensive list of the best pillows:

 

There’s so much to know about each of these awesome pillows – keep scrolling for more details on why they made the top of our list of best pillows.

Best Memory Foam Pillow

GhostPillow Gel Memory Foam Pillow

The Gel Memory Foam GhostPillow features inventive cooling technology in both the ice-cold cover and the ventilated foam filling, resulting in a superb coolness that will keep the hottest hot sleeper comfortable.

The outer cover is made out of what the team at GhostBed calls “GhostIce” fabric – it’s  53% polyethylene and 47% polyester and has that performance wear, moisture-wicking feel to it. Inside the pillow is a solid piece of aerated Gel Memory Foam, one side has a layer of proprietary Phase Change Material (PCM) which is known for absorbing heat and then re-releasing it slowly and evenly to keep a person’s body temperature as neutral as possible overnight.

In general, the pillow has a  plusher feel so it may be good for average-sized back and stomach sleepers. The pillow comes in one size for $85 and customers get 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).

GhostPillow Deals
GhostPillow: Gel Memory Foam
GhostPillow: Gel Memory Foam
GhostPillow: Gel Memory Foam

The GhostPillow Memory Foam offers a variety of cooling features, starting with its aerated gel memory foam core with a layer of Phase Change Material. It also has a Ghost Ice Fabric cover that is cool to the touch. 

Best Pillow For Back Sleepers

Saatva Latex Pillow

If you’re a back sleeper, you’ll want a pillow that provides both comfort and support. That’s exactly what you’ll find in the Saatva Latex. 

The Saatva is a hypoallergenic pillow that boasts an organic cotton cover, microfiber fill, and a shredded latex core.  When you are back sleeping, you should feel your head sink in a fair amount, but the shredded latex will make sure you don’t bottom out. You shouldn’t be waking up with a kink in the neck! 

The Saatva pillow is also going to be a great fit for hot sleepers. The breathable cover and loose fill should allow for plenty of airflow. You could be sleeping pain-free and cool as well with the Saatva pillow. 

What Makes The Saatva Pillow Stand Out?

  • It’s made with hypoallergenic and high-quality materials. 
  • Shredded Talalay latex provides support in the center of the pillow while soft microfiber provides soft comfort
  • Inner pillow is removable. 
  • It’s a great choice for back sleepers, and it doesn’t trap heat easily. 
  • Saatva offers 45-day free returns and 1-year limited warranty

Learn more in our Saatva pillow review

Saatva Deals
Saatva Pillow
Saatva Pillow
Saatva Pillow

The Saatva Pillow has an organic cotton cover that is removable. Underneath is an outer pillow made up of hypoallergenic microfibers. You can unzip that pillow and reach a pouch filled with shredded Talalay latex pieces. 

Best Down Pillow

Casper Down

If you’re on the hunt for a high-quality down pillow, look no further than the Casper. It has a unique 5-chamber design, which makes it feel more supportive than traditional down pillows. 

It’s stuffed with responsibly-sourced down feathers, which gives the pillow a soft and malleable feel. When your head hits the pillow it will sink through the fluffy feathers, and you’ll feel its plush softness all around you. 

The Casper Down pillow has two loft sizes. The low loft works best for lightweight people, and the mid loft is better suited for heavier people. Because it feels especially airy and light, this pillow works best for back and stomach sleepers. 

What Makes The Casper Down Stand Out?

  • It has a 5-chamber design, which gives the pillow more support. 
  • It’s made from responsibly-sourced down feathers. 
  • The Casper Down pillow has a light and fluffy feel.
  • It works especially well for back and stomach sleepers

Read our full Casper Down pillow review.

10% Off
Casper Down Pillow
Casper Down Pillow
Casper Down Pillow

Casper's down pillow features responsibly sourced down and a five-chamber design to help increase support. The luxurious pillow comes with the company's signature 100-night trial as well. Click the button below to save 10% on your purchase!

Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

Eli & Elm Organic Cotton Side Sleeper

The unique design and supportive fill of the Eli & Elm Organic Cotton Side-sleeping pillow are two features that helped earn its name as my pick for the best pillow for side sleepers. This curvature allows for proper head and neck alignment while side sleeping, giving the shoulder ample room next to the pillow without pressing into the pillow itself and adding extra unnecessary pressure and/or pain.

The cover is a super-soft, 100% organic cotton and it’s also hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, mildew-proof, and dust-mite-resistant! The core of this side sleeping pillow is made up of 75% engineered latex and 25% polyester fibers, giving it a supportive but smooth feel overall. A zipper along the side makes it adjustable so larger or petite side sleepers can adjust the overall height and firmness level with ease.

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

  • It is specially designed to support side sleepers while conforming to the precise contours of the head. 
  • The cover is designed to help dissipate heat. 
  • You can easily remove the filling and adjust its loft
  • Noodle latex foam is mixed with extremely soft, cooling gels to regulate body temperature throughout the night
  • It is hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, mildew-proof, and dust-mite-resistant.

Read the full Eli & Elm pillow review.

Save 20%
Eli & Elm Organic Cotton Side Sleeper Pillow
Eli & Elm Organic Cotton Side Sleeper Pillow
Eli & Elm Organic Cotton Side Sleeper Pillow

The Eli & Elm Organic Cotton Side Sleeper pillow is designed for side sleepers with its curvature and offers great support with its latex foam and polyester fiber combination. Save 20% on your Eli & Elm pillow.

Best Soft Pillow

Tempur Cooling Cloud Pro Pillow

The Tempur Cooling Cloud Pro Pillow is a cooling pillow that also has the height and support that side sleepers really need. 

The TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling pillow is easily the softest pillows from TEMPUR-Pedic. The pillow is beyond durable, supportive and truly cooling. There is a thin 100% cotton cover.

However, the star feature is the solid piece of TEMPUR material (proprietary memory foam) that features two cooling gel panels on each side. This material is also part of the reason this pillow feels soft to touch. 

What Makes The Tempur Cloud Cooling Pillow Stand Out?

  • High stretch performance panel cover that’s made up of 90% polyester and 10% elastane
  • A solid piece of medium Tempur material sandwiched between dual-sided cooling gel pads
  • Removable, washable cover

To learn more, check our Tempur Cloud Cooling Pro pillow review.

TEMPUR-Pedic Deals
TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro
TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro
TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro

The TEMPUR-Cloud Cooling Pro encompasses height, support, and coolness and is excellent for larger body types with its two height profiles. Click the link for the best deals on TEMPUR-Pedic's many pillow offerings.

Best Cooling Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding’s Talalay Latex pillow is a solid piece of aerated Talalay latex foam.

The standout feature of this pillow is how cool it sleeps. The ventilation in the filling promotes airflow, and the bamboo blend fabric on the removable outer cover is breathable as well.

While it comes in Firm and Plush options, the 7″ profile should work for back sleepers if you choose the Plush option. Your head should sink far enough into the latex foam to create a neutral angle, but the bouncier feel will keep it supported without going flat all night.

What Makes The Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow Stand Out?

  • It has a firm and plush option
  • It’s hypoallergenic and antimicrobial
  • It’s great for hot sleepers. 

Check out the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex pillow review.

Brooklyn Bedding Deals
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.

Best Pillow For Neck Pain

Tuft & Needle Foam Pillow

If you suffer from neck pain, you’ll need a pillow that will help you maintain a neutral alignment. This means, when you’re resting on your side, your ears will align with your shoulders. If you’re a back or stomach sleeper, you’ll want your chin to line up with your sternum. 

Because the Tuft & Needle pillow is made with a thick piece of custom-cut foam, it will create plenty of support and won’t sag as the night goes on. This is especially great for side and back sleepers who frequently deal with neck pain. 

Additionally, this pillow has a soft and breathable cover that is completely machine washable! The foam itself is ventilated for extra airflow, so it’s a fantastic choice for hot sleepers. 

To make things even better, the Tuft & Needle pillow costs less than similar products on the market. 

What Makes The Tuft & Needle Pillow Stand Out?

  • It’s supportive and won’t sag, so it will help alleviate neck pain.  
  • The foam core is infused with gel for added cooling, and it’s ventilated for airflow. 
  • The core is custom-cut, which makes it especially durable

Read our Tuft & Needle pillow review.

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Tuft & Needle Foam Pillow
Tuft & Needle Foam Pillow
Tuft & Needle Foam Pillow

Made with special responsive foam, the Tuft & Needle pillow feels both soft and supportive. It has many cooling features, and it's super durable. It's a great match for back and side sleepers. Click the link below to save 10% on your purchase!

Best Pillow For Combination Sleepers

Purple Harmony

If you switch sleeping positions in the night, you’ll need a pillow that provides comfort and support all night long. If you fall in this category, we recommend checking out the Purple Harmony pillow. 

Made with a thin layer of their classic Purple hex, this pillow has a completely unique feel. The cover, made with a stretchy and breathable mesh material, easily moves with the gel grid underneath. 

When you unzip the cover, you’ll find a thick piece of ventilated Talalay latex foam. Like memory foam, this material creates plenty of pressure relief and body contouring. However, Talalay latex doesn’t trap heat as easily, and it’s much more durable. Because your head will gently sink into the material, it should keep you supported in all three sleeping positions. 

Plus, the Purple Harmony comes in three loft sizes! This means it works well for every body type. 

What Makes The Purple Harmony Stand Out?

  • The Purple hex grid feels both soft and supportive at the same time. 
  • The Talalay latex core has a slow-moving feel, but it won’t trap heat easily
  • It’s a versatile pillow, so it works well for combination sleepers
  • The Purple Harmony has three loft sizes – low, medium, and tall. 

Read our full Purple Harmony pillow review

Up To 10% Off
Purple Harmony
Purple Harmony
Purple Harmony

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. Save up to 10% when you bundle with other Purple products. 

How To Choose A Pillow

In this buyer’s guide section, I’ll explain everything you need to know and look out for when you’re shopping for your next pillow.

A woman sleeps on a pillow

Alignment

One way to reduce the risk of neck pain is to ensure the head is resting on a pillow that allows for the head, neck, and spine to be in a straight line. This is also referred to as neutral alignment.

If you sleep on your back or stomach, make sure your chin lines up with your sternum. If you fall out of this neutral alignment, you may develop neck pain over time.

Side sleepers — you’ll also want to make sure your chin lines up with your sternum. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure your ear lines up with your shoulder. Otherwise, you may crane your neck into an unnatural position!

 

bad head and neck alignment while sleeping

good head and neck alignment while sleeping
Sleeping Position

I always suggest that people start by looking at their primary sleep position, this is the position a person typically wakes up in the morning.

Side sleepers need a thicker, more supportive pillow to keep their neck properly aligned. Side sleepers can be comfortable on any type of pillow as long as it provides enough loft and support. Check out the best pillows for side sleepers.

Stomach sleepers need a thinner pillow for neutral alignment. I generally recommend softer pillows like down, down alternative, and feather pillows for stomach sleepers. If stomach sleepers want a foam pillow, look for shredded foam for a less dense feel or adjustable pillows so you can remove excess filling. Check out the best pillows for stomach sleepers.

Back sleepers, like stomach sleepers, also need a thinner pillow to keep their neck in proper alignment. Avoid pillows that are extra firm or extra soft. Many of the pillows that work for stomach sleepers will also work well for back sleepers. Check out the best pillows for back sleepers.

Pro Tip: Those who wake up in different positions consistently can consider themselves to be combination sleepers!

Body Type

When you’re buying a new mattress, it’s always a good idea to find something that suits your body type. The same thing applies to pillows! Larger people may apply more pressure to a pillow, causing it to fall flat. Because of this, heavier people will want to find a pillow made of supportive materials such as the Tuft & Needle or Purple pillow. Oftentimes, down pillows aren’t supportive enough for people with larger frames.

Because lightweight people won’t compress a pillow as much, they’ll want to make sure to find a pillow with a lower loft. Many pillows allow sleepers to adjust the height by removing the interior filling.

Firmness

A pillow’s firmness will also greatly impact how comfortable it feels. Side sleepers, generally, need pillows that feel more supportive and firm. Oftentimes, soft pillows compress as the night goes on, causing the sleeper to get out of a neutral alignment.

Stomach sleepers should look for an especially soft pillow, because this will help them maintain the proper spine alignment. Back sleepers, however, should find a pillow that feels medium firm. It’s important for the head to gently compress the center of the pillow without bottoming out.

Feel

When it comes to how a pillow feels, that’s a matter of personal preference. Some people love the slow-moving feel of memory foam. Others love a malleable and soft pillow stuffed with goose down. Many people opt for a traditional pillow stuffed with microfiber.

What To Consider When Purchasing A Pillow

In addition to the important elements we outlined above, it’s valuable to consider the pillow’s practical details. How long will it last? Is it difficult to maintain? You’ll find the answers to these questions and more below.

Shape

Most pillows have a traditional rectangular shape, but you’ll occasionally come across products with different dimensions. The Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow has a U-shape design, which specifically helps side sleepers maintain the correct spinal alignment. Wedge pillows have a triangular shape, making them especially useful for lounging.

Loft

Loft, also known as height, greatly impacts how comfortable a pillow feels. A side sleeper will need a loftier pillow than a stomach sleeper, because taller pillows usually create more support. If you’re unsure what loft size you need, purchase a pillow you can customize! The Coop Eden pillow comes with another bag of filling, so you can easily add or remove the microfiber fluff to adjust its height.

Cover

Whether or not you use a pillowcase, it’s important to pay attention to the pillow’s cover. If you’re a hot sleeper, pillow covers can help dissipate heat. Oftentimes, company’s use breathable fabrics to aid in airflow. Some products have special materials sewn in.

Many pillow covers also have zippers around the edges, which allows sleepers to easily remove them for cleaning. Sometimes, you can even take out the filling to adjust the pillow’s firmness level.

Core

You’ll find all kinds of different materials inside pillows. Sometimes, you’ll find shredded pieces of memory foam and microfiber. This gives the pillow a malleable feel, almost like down feathers. If a pillow has a thick piece of latex or memory foam inside, it usually feels especially supportive. This works well for many side sleepers, but they are more difficult to customize.

Budget

Some pillows are especially budget-friendly, but they may not last a long time. Sometimes, it’s worthwhile to spring for the luxurious model. However, it’s not impossible to find affordable pillows that don’t sacrifice on quality. When shopping for new pillows, make sure to keep your budget in mind.

Durability

Most pillows last at least three years, but if they aren’t made well, they may not have a long lifespan. If you’re especially concerned about a pillow’s durability, check the warranty information. Oftentimes, companies will replace your pillow if it get severely damaged during the first year.

Care Instructions

Most pillows have machine washable covers, but sometimes you’ll come across a pillow that does not. Before buying a new pillow, make sure you fully understand how to care for it and keep it fresh.

Types Of Pillows

With so many different types of pillows on the market, the selection can feel daunting. To make sure you get the right one, it’s always helpful to understand the different materials and constructions. Keep reading to learn about the most popular types of pillows.

Dual Profile

Dual profile pillows allow you to easily change the loft by adding inserts underneath the cover. Because they’re so versatile, they work well for a variety of different sleeping positions and body types.

Adjustable

Adjustable pillows are quite similar to dual profile models. With both types of pillows, you can easily adjust its construction and change the loft. Adjustable pillows, however, don’t use foam inserts. With an adjustable pillow, you’ll take out some of the interior fluff or filling to change how it looks and feels.

Memory Foam

Memory foam pillows have a soft, cushioning feel. These pillows offer nice pressure relief so they are especially good for sleepers with neck pain. Some pillows contain shredded memory foam, creating a less dense feel. Memory foam pillows can also contain materials like gel to add cooling features to the pillow.

Latex

Latex pillows offer great support like memory foam pillows, though they have a different feel. Latex pillows will offer pressure relief, but you won’t feel like you’re “sinking in” to them as much as a memory foam pillow because latex is resilient and bouncy. Latex pillows can contain completely natural, synthetic, or blended materials. They are generally pretty cooling.

Microfiber

Pillows stuffed with microfiber tend to feel soft and plush. And because microfiber is completely synthetic, these pillows tend to cost less than memory foam or down pillows. If you’re a budget, this could be a great pick!

Neck Pillow

Often used for traveling, neck pillows have a special U-shape that allows people to sleep in tight spaces. These pillows gently cradle the neck, and they’re typically made out of memory foam.

Down

Down pillows have a classic, soft feel that many sleepers are accustomed to. If you’ve ever slept on a hotel pillow, you’ve probably slept on a down pillow. These pillows are less dense and supportive than memory foam and latex pillows, so they make a good fit for back and stomach sleepers.

Down Alternative

Down alternative pillows have the same soft, classic feel of down pillows, but instead contain a synthetic down alternative material. Down alternative pillows are cheaper than down pillows. Plus, they are hypoallergenic.

Summary

Individuals can rest easy knowing that a dream pillow is out there waiting to be selected! Again, here is our list of top picks:

Pillow Best For
GhostPillow Memory Foam Best Memory Foam Pillow
Saatva Latex Best Pillow For Back Sleepers
Casper Down Best Down Pillow Best Cooling Pillow
Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Best Pillow For Side Sleepers
Tempur Cloud Cooling Pro Best Soft Pillow
Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Best Cooling Pillow
Tuft & Needle Foam Best Pillow For Neck Pain
Purple Harmony Best Pillow For Combination Sleepers

This list is intended to be an informational and helpful guide – in some cases, it may take several nights testing a couple of pillows before the best one is discovered. Waking up reinvigorated and ready to start the day is one way to know the pillow is a good fit.

FAQs

Eager to learn more? We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Which is the best pillow for sleeping?

There is no single best pillow for everyone out there – we wish it was that easy! The best pillow for sleeping is going to depend on a person’s primary sleeping position and their personal preferences – whether they prefer down or foam, cotton or a different knit blend!

How do I pick the right pillow?

To pick the best pillow, individuals need to figure out what sleep position they most often wake up in. In general, stomach sleepers tend to need the flattest pillows that are the softest or most plush. Back sleepers do best with a medium-sized lofted pillow and a medium range of support. Lastly, side sleepers tend to need the most loft (height) and support to fill the gap between their shoulders and their heads and necks.

What are the best affordable pillows?

The right pillow doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive one. There are plenty of options for under $50 including a few on our list: Sleepgram and Purple Plush.

Other options include:

What is the best kind of pillow for a side sleeper?

Side sleepers need to fill a 4″ to 6″ gap of space between their shoulder and their head and neck when sleeping on their sides. For this reason, side sleepers tend to need the most height, loft and overall support from a pillow.

Look for pillows that are labeled for side sleepers and/or come overstuffed. Adjustable pillows that offer additional filling can also be a good option.

What is the best type of pillow?

There is no “best” pillow. Depending on your preferences, your body, sleep position and more, you will like different things. Check our many lists of the best pillows, including the best pillows for side sleepers, best foam pillows and best pillows for neck pain. 

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.