The Best Cooling Pillows, Tested by HGTV Editors

Sleep on the cool side of the pillow all night long with these soft, breathable and most importantly, cool pillows we tried and loved.

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August 13, 2021

Our Top Cooling Pillow Picks

If you run hot at night, then your pillow could very well be contributing to your tossing and turning. A pillow specifically designed with cooling properties is a perfect way to get that cool-side-of-the-pillow feeling all night long. Cooling pillows can help prevent sweating and overheating, allowing you to sleep more soundly through the night.

When looking for a cooling pillow, there are a few factors to keep in mind, including material/fill, firmness and size. For example, our Best Overall pick, the Layla Kapok Pillow, features a breathable, copper-infused cover, while our Best Cooling Gel Pillow pick, the SHEEX Infinite Zen Performance Pillow, features a layer of cooling gel — two different cooling materials with different levels of firmness. Many pillows, like the Kapok, are adjustable, so you can simply unzip the cover and add or remove fill to create the perfect height. And most cooling pillows come in a standard size, but some will allow you to choose a king-sized version if you like.

We tested a variety of cooling pillows for different sleep positions and with different cooling properties to find the ones that kept us cool all night. These are our tried-and-true picks.

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The Layla Kapok Pillow gets our Best Overall pick because, simply, our tester absolutely loved it. In fact, she loved this pillow the moment she pulled it out of its reusable bag. The removable pillow cover is made of a breathable polyester/viscose blend with CuTEC® copper fibers woven in to keep the pillow cleaner and cooler. The cover is soft, fluffy and cool to the touch — not artificially, like an ice pack, but it doesn’t retain heat so it always feels like the cool side of the pillow. CuTEC®, a copper-infused yarn, can help reduce odor, improve hygiene, and remove and replenish dead skin cells. This type of fiber is widely used in performance fabrics, so you know it’s ready for hot sleepers.

While using a pillowcase will help increase the longevity of the pillow, it’s certainly comfortable and soft enough to use without. Layla Sleep suggests dry cleaning the cover versus machine-washing (which will actually void your warranty). If you do choose to wash by machine, then use cold water on the gentle cycle and tumble dry on a delicate, low-heat setting. The soft interior fill is made of Kapok fibers (fiber responsibly sourced from Kapok tree seeds) and CertiPur-US-certified reactive, open-cell memory foam. Plus, it’s fully adjustable to your height of preference. The pillow will arrive overstuffed, so you can unzip the cover and remove fill and adjust the loft to your liking. (You can store the excess fill in the included reusable bag.) And while the price isn’t cheap, the ability to almost customize your pillow makes it worth it, in our opinion.

Our Editor Says: "I will never stop using this pillow and will probably buy it for my husband. I can't say enough about it — it's soft and customizable to you, so if you like really flat pillows, you can make it happen. It molds to you and becomes 'your pillow' almost immediately."

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SHEEX, known for their Ridiculously Soft® sheets (seriously, they trademarked it), just introduced a cooling pillow to their bedding collection: the Infinite Zen Performance Pillow. Unlike the virtually customizable Layla Kapok, the Infinite Zen only comes in one standard/queen size and firmness (medium-firm), which is great for back and stomach sleepers. First, let’s talk about the zip-off jacquard pillow cover. It’s machine-washable, made from SHEEX’s proprietary cooling fibers and is infused with Microban technology to provide antimicrobial protection that resists the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. Plus, it’s soft and comfortable enough to use without a pillowcase (that was our tester’s preference, in fact). The pillow itself is made of two layers: SHEEX's Serene•Chill™ Memory Foam on the bottom and their TranquilAire™ Cooling Gel on top. The memory foam is soft, comfortable, responsive and breathable, while the top gel layer works hard to draw heat away from your head for an always-cool feeling that’s even cool to the touch. Our tester’s only complaint — if you can call it that — is that the pillow’s silk-like cover can slide around a bit at night. Also, if you are someone who prefers a very thick or firm pillow, then this is not the pillow for you. Because of its size, though, our tester was able to smoosh it flat into a large suitcase for a recent trip.

Our Editor Says: "I have to give it up to the SHEEX pillow! The cover is so nice and cool, and the pillow is very soft and silky. Compared to other memory foam pillows, I like how soft and malleable the foam is. I was able to easily switch sleeping positions without feeling like I was fighting the pillow. I’m not a fan of memory foam pillows that are so hard, you lay your head on them and have to wait for the pillow to accept you. I fold and mush my pillows up at night, and this pillow is perfect for that."

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The Bear Pillow is the perfect mix of fluff and support without being too tall, which is why it gets our pick as the Best Cooling Pillow for Side Sleepers. Although it’s designed to be comfortable for every sleep position, our tester, a side sleeper, immediately noticed a positive difference in the elevation and support of her head and neck, especially compared to her former contoured memory foam pillow. The Double Ice fabric cover stays cool to the touch through the night, while dual mesh panels help maintain coolness and airflow. You’ll definitely want to use a pillowcase on this one, as Bear recommends spot-cleaning the cover. Inside, you’ll find a not-too-firm and not-too-soft Loft-X Foam that feels like memory foam with the bounce of latex. Plus, we love that the pillow is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, so you know it’s also working hard to stop dust mites, bacteria and allergens. Like the SHEEX Infinite Zen, the Bear Pillow cannot be adjusted beyond the size — standard or king. But if you’re looking for something with maximum ventilation, cooling properties and side-sleeper support, this is our top pick.

Our Editor Says: "I love the support and cooling factor. It cradled my head so nicely without being overly fluffy. I didn't have to fluff it or turn it over during the night, and it had the perfect amount of bounce. It’s worlds better than my old pillow. I honestly had no idea what I was missing."

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We love the Allswell Gel Cooling Pillow for a lot of reasons, but it gets our Best Budget pick because we truly can’t believe this pillow costs just $40. The standard/queen-sized pillow features a removable, machine-washable knit cover that’s OEKO-TEX® certified and silky-smooth. The cover is just sheer and lightweight enough that the Allswell logo on the gel layer below peeks through, so you’ll definitely want to use a pillowcase. (We suggest using a silk pillowcase for the best cooling effects.) Unzip the cover and inside you’ll find a supportive and comfortable memory foam pillow topped with a cooling gel layer that transfers heat away from your head throughout the night, keeping you cool longer and your sleep uninterrupted. Paired with its breathable, lightweight cover, it’s incredibly cool to the touch — and for the entire night. Our tester slept noticeably better and felt cool without doing any pillow flips. It is definitely on the firmer side, so it's great for side sleepers.

Our Editor Says: "I felt like I was sleeping on an ice pack but in a good way — like that just-hopped-into-bed feeling. I normally toss and turn all night but found my sleep quality improved because my body temperature was better regulated."

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If you’re looking for a pillow that’s made to fit your entire body and provide comfort in any sleep position, meet the EnerPlex Cooling Body Pillow. The 54-by-20-inch full-length pillow features a removable cover that’s made of plush and breathable bamboo that helps keep you cool while you sleep. Our tester actually said this pillow reminds her of one of our all-time favorite pillows, the Original Coop Home Goods Pillow. The pillow ships and arrives vacuum-sealed, so you’ll want to let it fluff and expand for a few hours to also help dissipate the scent of memory foam. Once it’s ready to go, you can unzip the cover and adjust the shredded memory foam to create your perfect loft and firmness. Plus, it’s machine-washable — the entire pillow, foam included. Just toss it right into the washer and tumble dry on low heat to make it nice and fluffy again.

Because we all like to know what we bring into our homes, EnerPlex’s shredded memory foam filling is CertiPur-US-certified, which we love. While our tester says it’s definitely soft and comfortable enough to sleep on without a pillowcase, the pillow’s zippered cover isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing so you’ll definitely want a decorative cover (we love these plush covers from Target). Although it’s slightly less cool to the touch than others we tested, the EnerPlex won us over because it’s affordable, more customizable to each person’s individual sleep preferences and the entire pillow is machine-washable.

Our Editor Says: "I love the price, how cooling it is, the customization of the memory foam and the fact that the entire pillow is machine washable. It checks all the boxes! I can use it for sleeping, as extra support on my bed for reading or on my daybed that requires a lot of pillows to be comfortable."

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