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Theodore Turner
Theodore Turner

The Best Bed Pillow To Buy

Emma Seymour (she/her) is a senior product analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab, where she has led testing for luggage, pillows, towels, tampons and more since 2018. She graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of science in fiber science and apparel design and a minor in gerontology, completing research in the Body Scanner Lab on optimizing activewear for athletic performance.

the best bed pillow to buy

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Side-sleepers sleep either in a fetal position or a relatively straight one, and they need the most pillow support (roughly 4 to 6 inches). According to this study, most people are side-sleepers.

Stomach-sleepers are a trickier bunch: If you sleep with your head turned to the side and resting on a pillow, you need the least amount of support. If you tuck your arms under your torso, sleep in a half-side and half-stomach position, or have sensitive breasts, you may prefer a pillow with more cushioning.

Some manufacturers market their pillows toward back-, stomach-, or side-sleepers specifically, but there are no industry standards on what, for example, makes one model a side-sleeper pillow and another a back-sleeper pillow. At the end of the day these labels are meaningless.

We personally are not the most diligent about pillow care. But our research found that everyone should wash their pillows a couple of times a year, to zap any crud that sneaks past pillowcases and even pillow protectors. We asked down expert Jack Sukalac, owner of All About Down, and Christian Alexander, chief operating officer at Nest Bedding, how to wash pillows with different kinds of fill.

Sleep Number PlushComfort Pillow ClassicGood for: all sleep positionsWe prefer the adjustability of the PlushComfort Pillow Ultimate, but the PlushComfort Pillow Classic was one of the comfier down-alternative pillows in our 2019 testing. Side-sleepers found it was more supportive than the Snowe Down Alternative pillows and much softer than the Brooklinen Down Alternative. If you like a medium-density pillow, for any sleep position, this is one to consider.

Parachute Down Alternative Pillow (soft)Good for: stomach-sleepersIn our pre-2018 tests, stomach-sleepers who liked a soft pillow with little support appreciated this pillow, but those who wanted more substance found it to be merely flat.

Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow ClassicGood for: all sleep positionsIn two years of testing (2018 and 2019), side-sleepers have liked this pillow a lot, and it ranked in the middle of the pack for back- and stomach-sleepers. But no one liked it better than the Nest Bedding Easy Breather or the Xtreme Comforts pillows, and we prefer the adjustable Ultimate version for its flexibility.

Xtreme Comforts Slim Sleeper Shredded Memory Foam PillowGood for: stomach-sleepersThis is a version of the Xtreme Comforts we like as a budget pick, just with less fill. We tested it in 2019, but we found that people who preferred a flattish pillow liked down options more, and people who wanted a pillow with more support needed more loft.

Malouf Z Cotton Encased Down Blend Pillow (standard)This was the highest-rated down/feather pillow on Amazon that was under $100 at the time of our testing. Side-sleepers found it comfortable at first, but they ultimately needed more height for proper support throughout the night. Back-sleepers liked its support and extra-long size, but they said it was just too firm and flat to be comfortable over the long haul.

Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow (plush, mid-plush, and firm)We tried all three densities of this Brooklinen pillow, and we sleep-tested the mid-plush and firm pillows with different sleep positions. All were universally uncomfortable to our sleep panel.

Garnet Hill PrimaLoft Comfort PillowFirst impressions among testers were good for the firm version of this pillow, but after trying better options from Riley and Brooklinen, we passed on testing this one. Its soft density was better than that of others we tried, but it was not comfy enough to test.

The Company Store Company Essentials LoftAire Down Alternative PillowOur first-round side-sleeping tester liked this one, but we passed on testing it in favor of similar-feeling pillows with better owner reviews.

The Company Store Legends Hotel PrimaLoft Black Label Down Alternative PillowThis pillow compressed too much for side- and back-sleepers, though one back-sleeper noted that its softness made it feel more luxurious than most down-alternative options. It received a thumbs-down from all stomach-sleepers, who said it was just too lofty.

Snuggle-Pedic Shredded Memory Foam PillowThe Snuggle-Pedic pillow managed to feel even bigger than the Coop Home Goods pillow, despite weighing less. Side-sleepers wanted more malleability than it offered.

At, we conduct extensive first-person experience tests on all but a select few products. This hands-on approach allows us to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations for mattresses, pillows, sheets, and other sleep essentials.

Below our top picks you'll find a buyer's guide that can help you learn tips for finding your perfect pillow. This guide includes a complete rundown on pillow types and important criteria for shoppers. We'll take an extensive look at pillow materials, loft, firmness, and shape so that you can choose the best one for your personal preferences. You can also find helpful information on what to expect when it comes to average costs, cover materials, and sizing.

Shredded fill makes the pillow quite moldable and snuggly, but we also noticed decent shape retention due to the chambered design. Temperature control was another highlight during our tests. Air circulates nicely throughout the inner chamber to minimize heat retention, and the breathable cover also helps ensure consistent cooling.

The Latex Pillow is competitively priced, and Saatva offers substantial discounts if you include two pillows with your purchase. Queen and king sizes are available. Shipping is free for customers in the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. Your order includes a 45-night sleep trial and a 1-year warranty against structural and material defects.

For the remainder of our tests, we evaluated the pillow at about 90% volume. The shredded foam and synthetic down outer chamber gave the pillow an exceptionally moldable feel, and the chambered design helped to distribute the fill evenly and maintain a full shape. Thanks to the cotton cover, none of our testers felt excessively hot.

Each density has a different construction, but we found all three pillows quite moldable and snuggly. The chambered design also helps maintain a full shape. That said, Brooklinen recommends daily fluffing to distribute the fill. While the down retains some heat, the breathable cover promotes cooling and none of our testers found the pillows overly warm.

Each of the three Brooklinen Down Pillows has a unique construction. The Plush design only contains down, creating an exceptionally soft surface for your head and neck. Mid-Plush pillows are structured with feather cores and down outer chambers. Since feathers provide better support, this design provides excellent cushioning without sinking too much. The Firm pillow also has a chambered design, but with a higher ratio of feathers to elevate your head even further.

Silky-smooth cotton covers encase the fill. To avoid damaging the down and feathers, you should only spot clean the pillow if stains occur. Dry cleaning is another option. Standard and king sizes are available.

Fibers from the kapok tree offer the same softness and lightness as real down, but without triggering allergy symptoms or using animal-based materials. The Layla Kapok Pillow combines this material with shredded memory foam to create a supremely soft feel. We recommend the pillow to anyone who needs a plush surface to alleviate neck and shoulder pain.

The fill consists of shredded memory foam and kapok fibers. This blend provides even contouring and exceptional softness, making this pillow the best of both worlds for people who need pressure relief and support. A cover made of poly-viscose encases the fill. The cover fabric is infused with copper for extra cooling. You can machine wash the cover, but first you should separate it from the inner pouch containing the fill. Queen and king sizes are available.

You can unzip the cotton cover to add or remove fill as needed, and Eli & Elm sells extra fill if you want to replenish your supply. The cover is fully machine-washable. For added protection, you can purchase a matching pillowcase.

If you enjoy the feel of foam pillows but tend to overheat on them, the Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow is designed with several cooling features that reduce heat retention while still offering the comfort and contouring benefits of foam. Shoppers willing to spend a bit more on a thoughtfully constructed pillow may want to consider this pick.

Shoppers can pick from two profile options with this pillow. The high-profile option is best suited for side sleepers, who typically require more loft to ensure that their head and neck receive the right balance of support and cradling. Back sleepers can opt for either loft option, depending on personal preferences, while stomach sleepers should opt for the low profile. Regardless of loft, the foam in the pillow provides excellent contouring for sleepers who are looking for deep cradling. 041b061a72


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