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Call us corny, but having the wrong pillow is a pain in the neck (and shoulders, and back). While everyone has different preferences when it comes to getting some restful Zzz’s, there are a few features that every good pillow should possess.
Support for your favorite sleeping position is key, and your pillow should hold its shape throughout the night (as well as every night thereafter). It should also be made with safe, non-toxic materials, and if it’s eco-friendly and cruelty-free? Well, that’s even better.
If this sounds like a tall order, you may just not know where to look. To save you from the frustration of tossing and turning through yet another restless night, we’ve rounded up the best pillows for every kind of snoozer. Whether you find yourself constantly fluffing, routinely flipping, or waking up with a dreaded insta-headache, remember that you can upgrade your bed simply by switching to a decent pillow.
Here, the best pillows for back, side, stomach, and combination sleepers—no matter if you're looking for a down, down alternative, or memory foam option.
Best for Back Sleepers: Purple Pillow
Without a doubt, the ultimate solution for back sleepers is Purple. The pillow's core is made from hypoallergenic latex—opposed to down or poly-fill stuffing—which is laid out in an innovative hex grid system. It allows for plenty of airflow and is designed to support the head, neck, and shoulders while maintaining its shape.
Thanks to its height and texture, the Purple Pillow is ideal for back sleepers, specifically, because it won’t prop the neck too high. That said, you can also grab a pillow booster (view on Purple) if you want to add more height. Reviewers note that the pillow stays cool to the touch and keeps them from their usual tossing and turning. If that isn't the case for you, though, you can return the pillow (no questions asked) thanks to Purple's 100-Night No-Pressure Trial .
Best for Side Sleepers: Parachute Down Side Sleeper Pillow
The plight of the side sleeper is snuggling into your pillow only to have it fall flat. Well, not anymore. With its square shape that holds its form and thick sides that lift and support the neck and shoulders, Parachute’s Down Side Sleeper Pillow is ingeniously designed so you can spend less time flipping and fluffing, and more time snoozing.
Rest assured this pillow offers more than practicality; it’s indulgently luxe, too. The sateen cotton shell is stuffed with airy European white down, so its about as close to a cloud as pillows come. It’s also Responsible Down Standard certified (RDS) OEKO-TEX certified, so you’ll be sleeping on the best of the best.
Best for Stomach Sleepers: Saatva Memory Foam Pillow
If you regularly sleep on your stomach, you know how easy it is to get a crick in the neck. With too flat a pillow, your neck can become uncomfortably twisted, and with too high of a pillow? You'll be equally strained. That's just where the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow comes in handy.
The pillow—which cradles joints without being overstuffed—consists of three smart layers which work together to offer a pleasant sleep experience. There's a breathable organic cotton cover, a heat-wicking graphite memory foam layer, and a supportive, gel-infused core that offers a foundation of support.
It’s also worth mentioning that Saatva's foams are CertiPUR-US certified as they're made without toxic chemicals. The cover is machine-washable, too, so you don't have to worry about sweat ruining your new favorite pillow.
Best Adjustable: Nectar The Nectar Memory Foam Pillow
A memory foam pillow with both soft and firm capabilities? Check and check. Nectar’s pillow is designed with a plush outer foam layer and a removable dual-foam interior for those who prefer a bit more structure. Feelin’ soft? Take the center pad out and sink into bliss. Need support? Stuff the insert back in to find your ideal level of comfort.
It’s true that “one size doesn’t fit all” when it comes to pillows, and it's just this sentiment that inspired Nectar’s innovative design. But beyond that, one size doesn’t fit all the time, and the ability to change your pillow’s firmness based on your needs is reason enough to consider this pick. While there are options out there that are technically more adjustable, this option offers seamless, mess-free soft-to-firm transitioning.
Best Firm: Coop Home Goods The Original Pillow
The reason Original Coop scored this slot? Because its firmness is completely based on your preference. The Coop has three parts, including a quilted sustainable bamboo case, a breathable stretch liner, and a medium-firm memory foam/microfiber filling—the last of which you can stuff as densely or lightly as you please. (You’ll get a half-pound bag full of the stuff.)
You’ll also love that the stuffing is CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified for being non-toxic, the case is made with sustainable bamboo, and all materials are cruelty-free. Suffice to say, snoozing on a firm pillow won’t change a soft heart.
Best Soft: Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow
Although Tuft & Needle’s pillow is temptingly “soft and squishy,” it’s also plenty supportive for your head, neck, and shoulders. The foam is custom cut for optimum performance, and it’s ideal for anyone who wants to make sure their pillow always maintains its shape. Even better, it’s constructed with cooling materials like heat-absorbing graphite, gel beads, and a breathable cover that’s also removable and machine-washable.
And as far as safety goes, fear not: the brand's Original Foam Pillow is GREENGUARD Gold and CertiPUR-US certified (in sum, it’s clear of harsh chemicals and VOCs), and is stamped with Intertek’s Clean Air Certification, so you can inhale and exhale with peace of mind.
Best Down: Boll & Branch Down Pillow
This pick gets marks for being ethically made and keeping cozy comfort in mind. Boll & Branch's offering starts with plush down filling, which is sourced responsibly from U.S. farms and triple washed with Bluesign-certified detergent for ultimate cleanliness. Then, it’s then stuffed in an organic cotton shell which was designed with three chambers to maintain shape and distribution. The pillows also feature a tight weave which prevents fluff from escaping.
With an International Down Standard seal and an OEKO-TEX certification, Boll & Branch’s down pillow is also up to snuff as far as eco-friendly practices go. You can pick yours up in standard or king sizes and soft, medium, or firm densities.
Best Down Alternative: RiLEY Down Alternative Pillow
Finding an alternative pillow that feels as luxe as airy down is often no small feat, but RiLEY doesn't disappoint. The brand's pillow is stuffed with lofty microfiber that mimics the feel of natural down, and it’s encased in a removable, machine-washable sateen cover made of long-staple cotton.
Available in both plush and firm densities, it’s suitable for any sleeping position. (Pro tip: Reviewers say plush is best for back and stomach sleepers while firm is ideal for side sleepers). If ethical factors have you torn between getting this fluffy alternative or real-deal down, keep in mind that RiLEY's best-selling White Down Pillow is Responsible Down Certified (view on RiLEY).
Best Cooling: Sleep Number VariaCool Pillow
One of the best things about Sleep Number’s VariaCool Pillow is that its refreshing feel isn’t its only redeeming feature. It’s also made with gel-infused memory foam that cushions and supports joints and comes in three different styles for every kind of sleeper. The Classic is best for back or stomach sleepers, the Contour for back and side positions, and the adjustable Ultimate is stuffed with removable inserts so you can customize based on your sleep style.
As far as its temperature-regulating capabilities go, the VariaCool is ventilated to effectively promote airflow and prevent heat from trapping. And the finishing touch? An airy cover that’s cool on the skin. According to reviewers, it’s a hot sleeper’s savior.
Best Memory Foam: Nest Easy Breather Pillow
Of course you’ve heard of memory foam, but the Easy Breather is memory foam like you’ve (probably) never seen it. That’s because it’s shredded, as opposed to being in one solid block. For the record, it still has the mold-ability that fans of the stuff love, it’s just airier, and—true to its name—more breathable.
You’ll breathe easier for other reasons, too; the case is made with eco-friendly Tencel and the foam is CertiPUR-US certified ensuring that it’s made without harsh chemicals and is low in VOCs. Further, the filling is removable, so you can take out a handful or two to customize your pillow’s firmness. Now, try to find all that in your standard memory foam pillow.
Best Hotel-Quality: Four Seasons Down & Feather Pillow
The best place to find a hotel-quality pillow? At one of the world's best hotels, of course. Thankfully, the Four Seasons sells its legendary bedding so you can bring the five-star experience home with you. Stuffed with a blend of down and feathers, resting your head on this ultra-plush pillow every night will feel an eight-hour vacation.
Despite its feathery fill, this pillow is hypoallergenic, plus it’s OEKO-TEX certified to ensure that it’s free of toxic chemicals. So while you may not be able to book a stay at your dream resort right now, at least you can sleep like it.
Best Eco-Friendly: Avocado Green Pillow
To the benefit of eco-conscious consumers, there are lots of pillows made with eco- and family-friendly materials. One of the decorated pillows—in terms of certifications and seals, of course—is the organic, sustainably-made Avocado Green.
To summarize (you might want to take notes): It’s 100 percent organic and made with cotton, tree fiber, and latex that's GOTS- and GOLS-certified; the filling is upcycled and sustainable; the materials are OEKO-TEX and GREENGUARD Gold certified for being non-toxic with low chemical emissions; plus it’s vegan and animal cruelty-free. Furthermore, the Avocado Green Pillow is handmade in Los Angeles, machine-washable, and its stuffing can be added or removed for customized comfort.