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Pillow Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on August 31, 2016

The right pillow can mean the difference between waking up refreshed from a good night's sleep or waking up bleary-eyed with a sore back and a stiff neck. The best pillows should offer comfort and softness, yet also support you in all the right places. We found the best pillows for both home and travel -- in memory foam, down and other fills -- as well as full body and pregnancy pillows to give anyone their best night's sleep.

Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
Best Reviewed

Best memory foam pillow

No other memory foam pillow gets the rave reviews of the Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Pillow. It's equally popular with side, back and stomach-sleepers, with almost universal agreement that it strikes the perfect balance of comfort and support. Although heavier people are particularly pleased, this pillow is reported as comfortable for a wide range of body sizes. The micro-vented bamboo cover helps keep sleepers cool at night, too. See our full review »

Buy for $54.99
Royal Hotel Goose Down Pillow Review
Best Reviewed

Best down pillow

Back and side sleepers love the Royal Hotel Goose Down Pillow, saying it's got the cushy feel of down, with the firmness of a traditional pillow. These pillows are generously stuffed with 100 percent down feathers, and have a 500 thread count Egyptian cotton cover that reviewers say is very soft and comfortable. These pillows are allergen-free, so you can enjoy them even if you're sensitive to feathers. See our full review »

Buy for $179.99
Five Star Down Alternative Pillow Review
Runners Up

Down alternative pillow

Five Star Down Alternative Pillow

If you're worried about the possibility of allergy issues with down or feathers; or don't want to pay the premium price that down can bring, we suggest you consider the Five Star Down Alternative Pillow. Reviewers say these pillows are soft, not lumpy like some cotton pillows can be. The 300-thread count, 100 percent cotton fabric is soft and the pillow is machine washable. It also holds its shape very well -- even after months of use.

Buy for $79.99
Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Body Pillow
Best Reviewed

Best body pillow

The Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Body Pillow gets rave reviews from owners -- especially side and back sleepers -- who say that this body pillow is the best they've ever owned. It's supportive, yet comfortable, and users say it keeps its shape throughout the night. Many say it has helped ease back pain. The pillow is machine washable and reviewers say it holds up well even after repeated washings. See our full review »

Buy for $69.99

The right pillow can improve your sleep

If you wake up with headaches, neck or shoulder pain, or just toss and turn all night, you may want to try changing your pillow. Although most people probably just grab a likely-looking pillow from the department store, a more careful choice may give you a better night's sleep.

The right pillow will support your head and neck, keeping your spine properly aligned as you sleep. Pillow comfort also depends a lot on personal preference -- a pillow that is too soft for one person can be the perfect loft for another. Some sleep experts put a lot of stock in how pillows relate to sleep position, that is, whether you're a back sleeper, side sleeper or stomach sleeper and what type or firmness of pillow is best for each preference, but, quite frankly, those recommendations are often diametrically opposed from one "expert" to the next. In fact, most pillows aren't specifically made to target a particular sleep position; although a few do bill themselves as such. What's most important is to find the pillow that supports your head comfortably and comes in the loft that you prefer: If you like a soft pillow, someone telling you that you need a firm pillow probably won't help you sleep better -- get the soft pillow.

Of course, a pillow isn't the only component of a good night's sleep. The right mattress may be even more crucial in helping you rest well since it supports your entire body. If your mattress isn't all that great, but you can't afford a new one, a mattress topper can transform an old or worn mattress at a fraction of the price of a new mattress.

Types of pillows

Memory foam pillows are usually made of polyurethane-based memory foam, which molds to the shape of your head and constantly adjusts as you move. They provide a good balance of softness and support, and both experts and users say this type of pillow can help ease head and neck pain. Memory foam also won't shift or clump like down or synthetic fibers can. In addition to traditional bed pillows, the most popular wedge pillows and travel pillows are made from memory foam as well.

Down and feather pillows are made from the soft, fine feathers found on a baby bird or beneath the outer feathers of an adult bird. Pillows may be stuffed with just down, all regular feathers, or a combination of the two. Down and feather pillows are soft, cuddly and easy to mold to a desired shape. However, they compress easily and need to be regularly fluffed or shaken to restore their loft. These pillows are generally durable, and some are machine washable; others must be dry-cleaned. Down pillows tend to be the priciest, although the price range can vary widely.

Down alternative pillows offer the soft, fluffy feel of feathers at a lower price. Polyester-filled pillows are the least expensive type and are easy to find in your local department store. They are also easy to care for, as most can be machine washed. However, their contents tend to shift around over time, becoming lumpy and less supportive. A newer alternative to this type is pillows filled with polyester gel fibers. These are less lumpy than polyester and mold better to the shape of the head. However, like feather pillows, they require fluffing and may not be supportive enough.

Body pillows are a full-body pillow that, rather than just supporting the head, are designed to cradle and support the entire length of the sleeper's body. Some of these look just like regular pillows stretched out to full-body length, while others are specially shaped to support specific parts of the body. The latter type are particularly helpful for pregnant women, but they can also be used to help with problems such as back or hip pain.

How we found the best pillows

While there are few professional tests of pillows, we did find a comprehensive roundup at TheSweethome.com. Moreover, editors at SleepLikeTheDead.com analyze thousands of owner reviews and break down the data to provide specific information about different pillow types and brands. In addition, feedback at retail sites such as Amazon.com andOverstock.com offer valuable insight into how a pillow works in real world use -- and how they hold up over time.  

Pillows are a pretty straightforward purchase, but there are two main factors to consider when picking the right one: Comfort and durability. The best pillow for you has to have the right thickness and softness, or firmness, to keep you comfortable all night. It also needs to be durable enough to last for a reasonable amount of time, as well as survive a number of washings or airings. Based on these factors, we identify the best pillows of each type; one is sure to be the perfect choice for your best night's sleep.

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What every best Pillows has:

  • Comfort.
  • Breathability.
  • Easy care instructions.

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