The Best Pillows of 2023, Tested by HGTV Editors
Drift off into dreamland with one of these editor-tested and approved pillows.
Our Top Pillow Picks
- Best Overall: The Original Coop Home Goods Pillow
- Best Budget: EnerPlex Memory Foam Pillow
- Best Cooling: Layla Kapok Pillow
- Best for Side Sleepers: Zoey Sleep Curve Pillow
- Best for Stomach Sleepers: The Purple Pillow
- Best for Back Sleepers: Brooklinen Marlow Pillow
- Best for Neck Pain: TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow
- Best Down Pillow: Boll & Branch Down Pillow
- Best Down Alternative: Original Casper Pillow
- Best Memory Foam: Layla Memory Foam Pillow
- Best Latex: Avocado Molded Latex Pillow
- Best Gel: Allswell Gel Cooling Pillow
We take bedding very seriously at HGTV because we also take sleep very seriously. Over the last two years, we've tested almost every bed component there is, from mattress toppers and duvets to sheets and silk pillowcases. We know that a good night's rest starts with high-quality essentials, like, for starters, the perfect pillow. Our picky editors tested more than 30 pillows to find the best-of-the-best in a variety of categories tailored to sleep styles and material preferences. Keep reading to see which ones got our stamp of approval.
How to Choose the Perfect Pillow
The most important factor in preventing neck pain and general discomfort is spinal alignment. You always want your neck to be in a neutral position, not strained or flexed. Depending on how you sleep (on your side, back or stomach), the ideal pillow material and height (a.k.a. loft) will vary.
Side Sleepers: If you sleep on your side (which is the most common sleep position), you'll need a firm and thick pillow that bridges the gap between your neck and the mattress without lifting your head too much. A pillow that is too thin won't offer enough support, resulting in a craning, drooping neck all night. A pillow that is too fluffy will put your neck out of alignment causing tension and strain on the underside of your neck. Essentially, you're looking for the Goldilocks of pillows — not too soft and fluffy, not too firm and flat, but just right. We found that latex pillows offer the best support for this sleep style.
Back Sleepers: Sleep experts recommend this position for everyone to keep proper neck alignment. If you already sleep on your back or are trying to form a habit of sleeping this way, opt for a mid-loft pillow with firm support that won't elevate your head too much. During our testing, we found that memory foam pillows with some give are most comfortable for back sleepers as they offer enough loft and support to keep the neck in alignment while not being so flat that the head will droop back.
Stomach Sleepers: This position may require some adjusting as it'll be trickier to keep your neck and head from straining too far upward. Generally, a thinner and softer pillow will work best for this sleep style. Down and down alternative pillows can be fluffed and scrunched to find the right loft as can adjustable fill pillows. Solid memory foam or latex may be too firm and high for stomach sleepers.
Also, consider the fill type and care instructions. It's recommended to wash your pillows every couple of months. But some materials, like memory foam, shouldn't be washed. So, at the very least, look for pillows with a removable, washable cover. Some pillows can be thrown in a standard home washer and dryer while others require more delicate care in commercial machines. Still, other pillows should only be spot-cleaned, so take into consideration your lifestyle and how often you're likely to treat your pillow.
The Most Popular Pillow Fill Types
Down fill is the softest option. It's made from goose or duck down and is very fluffy airy and light. Although down doesn't offer firm support and will fall flat, it's easy to re-fluff and re-shape it after a run through the dryer. Down is also one of the most expensive fills.
Down alternative is plush and light, like down, but much cheaper and easier to care for. It's made from cotton or polyester clusters and is often blended with other synthetic materials like gel or memory foam for additional loft and support. This is a good option for those with sensitivities to natural down.
Memory foam is available as either a solid form, for more structured support, or shredded pieces, for a fluffier feel. Shredded memory foam fill is often adjustable for a customized shape that's tailored to your sleep style. A standout feature of memory foam is its ability to hold its shape while contouring to your body, however, some may find it too firm, clunky and not very cooling.
Latex is bouncier and holds its shape better than memory foam. It comes in two fill types, shredded or solid, and is one of the most natural, sustainable materials available. Latex pillows can be pricey, though, and may not be suitable for those with a latex allergy.
Gel is typically preferred by hot sleepers and appears in pillow fill as either a solid gel layer or as memory foam infused with gel. It's typically used in combination with memory foam for cooling, cushioned support that allows for more airflow and breathability.
We spent many nights sleeping on top-rated pillows to determine which ones were the most supportive, highest quality, most durable, worth the price and, of course, the most comfortable while also taking into consideration user reviews and ratings. Consider this our round-up of the best-of-the-best, plus, check out our in-depth guides to cooling pillows and pillows for side-sleepers. Read on to see which pillows come highly recommended by our editors who tested them first-hand.
Who It's For: Anyone Willing to Fiddle With Fill for Optimal Comfort
Known far and wide as "the Internet's favorite pillow," The Original pillow certainly lived up to the hype. However, every editor who tested Coop's famous pillow offered the same caveat: It takes a lot of adjusting to get this pillow just right, but once you find the perfect loft level, no other pillow competes with the support and softness of The Original. Our testers cautioned that the first few nights will be uncomfortable. (They mentioned neck pain and stiffness as side effects of the adjustment period.) But taking the time to dial it in and find the ideal height is worth it.
If you're looking for a plush, ready-to-go pillow to sink into, the Original is not it. This pillow definitely falls on the firmer end of the spectrum but with plenty of soft support to give it a cloud-like feel without deflating. The medium-firm density makes this pillow very supportive for side sleepers, but shifting around the shredded memory foam and microfiber fill is easy if you switch between sleep positions. It comes with a bag of extra fill, but our testers actually recommended removing fill first before adding any since the pillow comes overstuffed. And while storing the additional fill is definitely a downside, it's not a deal-breaker.
Machine washability is hugely important to us, and most fortuitously, the entire Original pillow is washable. We had no issues washing both the outer cover and inner pillow, although the inner part needed a few cycles to dry. It's also recommended to only wash the inner pillow once a year. Overall, we think this pillow will work for most people. The customizable fill level means all sleep styles can use it, it's not exorbitantly expensive, it's hypoallergenic, it's the right amount of firm and fluffy, and it's low-maintenance.
Our Editor Says: "I move around a lot at night and end up on my side and back for the most part, so I loved that I could create a pillow that works well for both positions. On the same note, customizing it makes it a challenge, too. You have to deal with a few rough nights before getting the perfect fit."
Who It's For: Budget-Conscious Side or Back Sleepers Who Want Fluffy-but-Firm Support
Want the feel of the Original Coop pillow without paying a hefty price? This budget-friendly pillow delivers. (A pack of two EnerPlex queen-size pillows costs the same as one of The Original pillows!) CertiPUR-US-certified shredded memory foam comprises the plush-yet-firm inner fill and a vented polyester-viscose rayon cover that offers a breathable, soft place to rest your head. The best part, though, is that the entire pillow is washable — a removable zippered liner keeps memory foam contained in the wash while the separate outer cover comes off like usual. Our tester was pleasantly surprised at how well it held up after washing and even more surprised at how quickly it dried. Beyond the easy care instructions, though, our tester appreciated the versatility and support this pillow offered. As someone who suffered from neck pain in the past, she was happy to find that the EnerPlex cradled her head throughout the night even as she switched positions from side to back. If you're skeptical but curious about shredded, adjustable-fill memory foam pillows, this affordable option is a good place to start.
Our Editor Says: "I liked this pillow a lot. It was soft and thick, not too firm or lumpy. I have had neck issues in the past, so a supportive pillow that holds up my neck is important."
Who It's For: Side Sleepers Who Get Seriously Sweaty
What makes a pillow truly cooling? If it still feels cool to the touch after laying on it, that's a winner in our book. Layla's Copper-Infused Kapok Pillow offers all of the coolness without the gimmicks. The breathable polyester/viscose cover is woven with CuTEC® copper fiber to provide anti-bacterial protection and maximum airflow. A blend of reactive memory foam and natural, hypoallergenic Kapok fill gives the pillow its unrivaled cloud-like plushness while helping to regulate body temperature. Our self-proclaimed picky, sweaty, light sleeper tester only found fault with the high price. She loved the adjustable fill feature, which makes this pillow suitable for any sleep style, and never woke up hot even after raising the temperature. If you're tired of tossing and turning to find the cool side of the pillow, read the rest of our reviews for the best cooling pillows.
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."
Who It's For: Side Sleepers Who Want a Fine-Tuned Sleep Experience
Admittedly, we thought the contoured shape and adjustable fill feature were gimmicky, but after sleeping on the Zoey Curve Pillow for a few weeks, our tester has never slept better. He noted that sleeping through the night is rare for him, but the pillow's super-soft cushioning and curved shape helped him feel rested and comfortable. The breathable lyocell cover is removable and washable, and an included storage bag features fill lines marked "soft," "medium" and "firm" for gauging how much shredded memory foam to remove to achieve your ideal loft. Our tester was impressed by the pillow's substantial size (It's big enough to hug!) and plushness, which made for a luxurious night's sleep. The unique shape allows side sleepers to nestle into the curve, keeping shoulders and neck supported and aligned. What may be a pro for those wanting ultimate customization could be a con for those looking for a straightforward pillow. Adjusting the loft requires trial and error and storing the bag of excess fill is a bit annoying. All in all, though, our tester felt that these minor inconveniences were not deal-breakers and the solid nights of sleep he got during testing made this pillow worth the price. In fact, he may have inadvertently started a battle with his wife over who gets to sleep on it.
Our Editor Says: "This was the best pillow I've ever used. I've been struggling to adjust my sleeping position to a true side position rather than something that resembles more of a corkscrew (chest down but legs to the side), which can lead to a sore back. You really hug this pillow rather than sleep on it, which makes sleeping on the side much easier. I didn't have to flop around trying to figure out what to do with my downside arm."
Who It's For: Stomach Sleepers Who Value Innovative Design
The Purple Pillow is not for everyone. Even our tester was thrown off at first by the flexible gel grid and hefty size. (It's 11 pounds!) But after the first night and waking up with no neck or back pain, she was hooked. If you're ready for something different with ergonomic support, you won't be disappointed with Purple's soft and supportive hypoallergenic pillow. Its unique, nontoxic grid design allows for maximum airflow and durability to keep you cool and supported night after night. Its low profile and non-pressure cushion make it a great pick for stomach sleepers who don't need much head elevation. Our tester appreciated the included pillow boosters to customize the pillow's height and find your ideal level of comfort. No doubt, this non-traditional pillow takes some getting used to — it's not snuggly and cuddly — but if you really want to switch up your sleep game, it might be worth giving this highly-rated (17,665 reviews!) pillow style a try.
Our Editor Says: "This is the best pillow I've ever slept on and will continue to use for the foreseeable future. It keeps my head supported while also staying completely cool throughout the entire night."
Who It's For: Mostly Back Sleepers Who Shift Positions and Want Options
We never want to say that "one pillow suits all," but with the Marlow, you get pretty close to a universal option. Zippers around the entire pillow allow you to adjust the height and firmness to your liking without removing and storing stuffing like other adjustable pillows. It works sort of like a compression travel cube — unzip it all the way for maximum height or zip it tight for a firm low profile. For the price, Marlow offers solid support and customization features comparable to other higher-priced adjustable fill pillows. After an uncomfortable first night with the zipper fully closed, our tester slept much better the next night after unzipping both sides. The adjustments she made maintained the pillow's soft feel and kept the structure she needed to sleep comfortably. While the Marlow is on the firmer, denser end of the spectrum, it is very cooling and supported our tester throughout the night even when she switched sleeping positions. We were disappointed that the cover isn't removable or washable. The pillow also doesn't have as much "give" as other memory foam pillows we tried, but overall it offers excellent support for back sleepers who need low-loft comfort.
Our Editor Says: "I get bad headaches if a pillow is too thick, but I still need good structure that doesn’t just collapse under my head. Unzipped, this pillow sinks to a more comfortable height for me and still has the structure I need."
Who It's For: Side and Back Sleepers Who Need Extra Neck Support
Supremely soft memory foam with TEMPUR-Pedic's trademark conforming design earned this pillow the top spot as an ultra-supportive option for sleepers with stiffness and neck pain. Our tester suffers from neck and back pain and was prescribed the Pillowise pillow by her chiropractor last year but found the TEMPUR-Cloud pillow to be the closest comp at a cheaper price. With more than 5,000 reviews and an average of 4.5 stars, she's not alone in having a successful, comfortable night's sleep. The hypoallergenic cover is removable and washable, and the low profile makes it ideal for back and side sleepers. Our tester found it to be too lofty for stomach sleeping, even though the website claims that the pillow works for this sleep style. The one downside to this pillow is that it's only available in one size. If you frequently wake up with neck discomfort, give this pillow a try before switching to a contoured style.
Our Editor Says: "I felt like my head was being cradled. My head sank into the pillow but not too much that it blocked my airway, which is what I dislike about down pillows."
Who It's For: Back Sleepers Interested in Luxury, Eco-Conscious Production
Finding the perfect down pillow is tricky. You want one with ample support that doesn't flatten overnight and you need a strong but soft shell that prevents poke through. Boll & Branch's Down Pillow meets both requirements. Our tester was impressed with the level of support this pillow offered her as a back sleeper. Not once did she wake up to adjust or re-fluff the pillow — a common issue with down. Boll & Branch also felt the highest quality of all the down pillows we tested. Little details like piping, subtle logo embroidery and a personalized note included in the box make this pillow feel truly luxurious and well-made. With three different densities (or support levels) to choose from, Boll & Branch's 30-night risk-free trial is an especially nice feature that allows you to dial in on your specific comfort needs. The high price certainly makes this down pillow a splurge, but with Boll & Branch's commitment to quality and sustainability, we think it's worth the price. No other pillows in lower price brackets even came close to offering the right amount of support that this pillow did. Investing in your sleep is the best decision you'll ever make!
Our Editor Says: "I slept through the night — no need to readjust the pillow to better support my neck and head. The Boll & Branch pillow kept my head and neck in a comfortable position without flattening out, like other down pillows."
Who It's For: Side and Stomach Sleepers Who Want Personalized Comfort
Get the plushness of down without the actual feathers with a down alternative pillow. Our tester has been sleeping soundly on the Original Casper Pillow for five years, and even after trying other competitive options, she still preferred this one. (Although Brooklinen was a close second.) Ultimately, Casper Original's easy-cleaning feature and pillow-in-pillow design made it a stand-out. A breathable percale weave cotton cover allows for better airflow to keep you cool, and the inner polyester microfiber fill offers adaptive support for any sleep position you end up in. Our tester is a side and stomach sleeper and loved how the pillow adjusted to her changing needs, even through two pregnancies. Basically, this pillow offers the personalized comfort of an adjustable fill pillow without the mess of storing excess fluff.
Our Editor Says: "It's comfortable from day one. I usually sleep with two pillows stacked and this allowed me to just have one. I initially purchased the pillow for myself, and my husband quickly stole it."
Who It's For: Side and Stomach Sleepers Who Want Soft Support Without Firmness
With a shredded open-cell memory foam and poly fiber fill, Layla's Memory Foam pillow provides customizable, breathable comfort that supported our tester all night long. As with all adjustable fill pillows, the first night's sleep usually isn't the best. It takes a few nights to get the loft level just right, but once our tester found the perfect height for her side/stomach sleep style, she slept soundly. The hypoallergenic, washable polyester cover features a hexagon pattern that our tester said was so snuggly and soft that she didn't even need a pillowcase. While this definitely wasn't the best temperature-regulating pillow we tried (in other words, not for sweaty sleepers), overall, it offered just the right amount of firmness and support without being too hard.
Our Editor Says: "I think [this pillow is] both luxurious in terms of comfort, practical in terms of cleaning and customizable in terms of firmness and height. That's a lot to ask for in a pillow!"
Who It's For: Side and Back Sleepers Who Prefer Natural Materials
If you're looking for a non-toxic, sustainable option, then latex is the way to go. The texture and feel of a latex pillow is similar to memory foam but bouncier and softer. Avocado Green Mattress's organic molded latex pillow was the clear winner for us. Our tester is mostly a side sleeper and found this pillow to be perfectly supportive, squishy and adequately lofted. The latex core is infused with charcoal to prevent odor and moisture while also regulating your temperature. The 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton cover is super soft and, even better, it's washable. Our tester has been sleeping on this pillow for more than a year (and through pregnancy) and called it the "Goldilocks pillow" since it's flat enough to not be obtrusive for side sleepers but still comfortable and supportive without letting your head drop at a weird angle. The price is a bit steep, but if you're ready to make an investment in your sleep, side and back sleepers looking for a natural option won't be disappointed in this pillow.
Our Editor Says: "Compared to my previous pillow, which was contoured, I like this one so much better. I used to occasionally wake up with a stiff neck, but I never do with the Avocado pillow."
Who It's For: Side Sleepers Who Need Cooling Support
Looking for something a bit more cooling? Gel memory foam pillows are ideal for hot sleepers. We love this one from Allswell not least because it's just $40! A removable, machine-washable OEXO-TEX certified cover is breathable, smooth and easy to clean. Our tester noted that the cover is thin, though, so you'll want to use a pillowcase to hide the logo. This pillow is also on the firmer side, which will best support side sleepers. Read more about our favorite gel pillow in our Best Cooling Pillows review.
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."