11 Best pillows of 2022: Comfortable and supportive options from top-rated brands

On the hunt for the best pillow? There's no such thing as a good night's sleep without one—so we've rounded up our pick of the comfiest and most supportive

A composite image of three of the best pillows to buy in 2022 as chosen by Woman and Home on a watercolour peach background
(Image credit: Future)

The thing about picking the best pillows is that it's such a personal choice and what might be deemed the most comfortable solution for sleeping by some, would leave others lying awake at night.

The first step before choosing a new pillow for your bed is to identify what type of pillow is best for you and how you like to sleep.  Consider if you regularly sleep on your stomach, side, or back and if you suffer from any joint, neck or back pain.

You will also need to take into account if you are prone to getting hot during the night, suffer from any allergies, and if you have any preference when it comes to materials. A preference for a firm pillow or a soft pillow will also influence which product will suit you best.

There are plenty of different types of pillows out there that cater for all combinations of the above. For example, you might want to think about opting for a cooling pillow like the Simba Hybrid Pillow (opens in new tab) with a breathable cotton outer that helps you regulate your temperature while you sleep if you tend to overheat at night.

Silk pillow cases or memory foam, hypoallergenic microfiber pillows like the Emma Original Pillow (opens in new tab) will help if you suffer from allergies. And for those who sleep on your front, thin pillows can often feel better and less obstructive.

How we tested for the best pillows

What are the top 5 pillows of 2022?

  1. Emma Memory Foam Pillow (opens in new tab) - Best overall pillow
  2. Soak & Sleep New Zealand Wool pillow (opens in new tab) - Best pillow for back sleepers
  3. Tempur Original Support Pillow (opens in new tab) - Best pillow for neck pain
  4. Simba Hybrid Pillow (opens in new tab) - Best memory foam pillow
  5. Eve microfibre pillow (opens in new tab) - Best pillow for side sleepers

The best pillows to buy in 2022 for a great night's sleep

The Emma Memory Foam Pillow, overall best pillow of 2022

Best overall pillow

Specifications

RRP: From $99/£79
Firmness: Soft/medium
Machine washable: Yes, the cover is washable
Product guarantee: No, but you get a 100 night trial of the pillow before you have to commit

Reasons to buy

+
Adjusts to suit your sleeping preferences
+
Breathable
+
Relieves pressure in head and neck

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too soft for some

The soft, breathable outer cover of this Emma Memory Foam pillow encases three separate layers of support and makes this one of the best pillow picks for us. The top is cold foam, which according to the makers is necessary for counter-pressure and helps to keep your spine aligned. The second is an Airgocell foam layer that’s softer, aiding sleep by letting your head softly sink into the pillow. Finally, an adaptive visco-elastic memory foam layer will distribute and relieve pressure evenly for a good night’s sleep. However, this isn’t where this pillow’s story stops: it’s designed to allow you to remove layers, depending on what kind of sleeper you are, in order to have a night’s sleep that’s right for you. 

Removing or adding layers will make this pillow thicker or thinner, depending on your preferences. Emma’s recommendation is that side sleepers keep the pillow with all three as they will need more support in the neck area. Front sleepers should use just one, while back sleepers two. It doesn’t say which layers to take out or leave in so we experimented. Our side sleeper found the three layers super supportive but the restless, position-changing sleeper preferred two layers—the comfort and the memory foam combined. It gave the right level of softness as well as helping to keep the spine aligned whether they were on their side or back. If you're looking for how to sleep better, then this pillow would be a good investment.

The Emma Memory Foam is a pillow you can adjust to your sleeping preferences, for a breathable sleep at a very reasonable price-point.

See our full Emma Memory Foam Pillow review

Soak & Sleep New Zealand Wool pillows on top of a wooden crate

(Image credit: Soak and Sleep)

2. Soak & Sleep New Zealand Wool pillow

Best pillow for back sleepers

Specifications

RRP: From £48 (UK only)
Firmness: Medium—firm
Machine washable: Yes
Product guarantee: Yes—five years

Reasons to buy

+
Good for allergy sufferers
+
Contours the head and neck well
+
Soft but supportive

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly more expensive option

Filled with New Zealand wool, this medium-firm Soak & Sleep New Zealand Wool pillow was both supportive enough for our back sleeper but also soft enough for a more than sound night for our restless sleeper, making it our best pillow choice for back sleepers. It fitted beautifully under the head, gently shaping to cradle the contours of the neck and shoulder, which ensured there was no neck stiffness in the morning. To keep it from compacting, we just massaged the filling a bit and it was back to its usual medium-firm plumpness in no time. Wool is naturally temperature regulating and dust mite resistant, making this a good choice for allergy sufferers too. Plus, it can also be machine washed at 60˚C, which means it can be easily kept in tip-top condition. It comes in three sizes, junior, 40x60cm, standard and super king.

This pillow will cradle you to sleep, and given its anti-allergen properties, it easily made it onto our list of the best pillows.

See our full Soak & Sleep New Zealand Wool pillow review

A product shot of the Tempur Original Support pillow

3. Tempur Original Support pillow

Best pillow for neck pain

Specifications

RRP: From $109/£95
Firmness: Firm
Machine washable: Yes—the cover is washable
Product guarantee: Yes—three years

Reasons to buy

+
Very firm
+
Molds to your shape
+
Does reduce neck pain

Reasons to avoid

-
Not ideal for restless, multi-position sleepers

This contoured ergonomic Tempur Original Support pillow is one of the best pillows for neck pain. It has been specifically designed to cradle the neck and shoulders, to provide a neck-pain-free night. Made from a visco-elastic material first developed by NASA to provide pilots with a comfortable seat when flying, Tempur began making mattresses from this material in the 1990s. 

Their Original Support pillow is very firm and the unconventional, almost rigid curved shape means it’s best suited to those who experience neck pain, and also those who sleep on their back or side. The shape, and the memory foam filling itself—which gently molds itself to your individual shape when sleeping and springs back to its original shape afterward—definitely take a little time to get used to, particularly if you’ve always had a traditional style pillow. But many say it’s well worth persevering for a couple of weeks for a pain-free experience. It was definitely the most ‘Marmite’ of all the pillows we tested and while it didn’t really suit our multi-position, restless sleeper, after a few days our back sleeper had got used to it and found it helped them sleep a little sounder with no recurrence of recent neck pain.

Ensuring a pain-free night's sleep on a super firm pillow, the Tempur is a great option if you have the money to spend, as it is pretty pricey.

The Simba hybrid pillow shot from the side

Best memory foam pillow

Specifications

RRP: From £109 (UK only)
Firmness: Adjustable
Machine washable: Yes—the cover is washable
Product guarantee: Yes—one year

Reasons to buy

+
Ideal for regulating temperature
+
Adjustable height and firmness
+
Stays supportive throughout the night
+
Very comfortable to use

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the most expensive options

Like the Simba mattress, the Simba pillow is in-demand because of their next-gen sleep technology. And we love the latest version of their Hybrid Pillow, which now features heat-phase technology called Stratos, which helps the body maintain the perfect sleep temperature, effectively storing and releasing heat for when you are cold and moving it away from you when you get too warm.

We really liked the fact that the loose filling of soft memory foam cubes was encased in a zip pocket, allowing us to remove as much or as little as we liked to create a bespoke sleeping experience. When it arrived, with all its filling intact it was quite deep even for our side sleeper but once we’d taken out a few handfuls of the cubes to adjust the height and firmness, it was very comfortable. If you feel you need more or fewer cubes, simply empty or fill from the mesh bag (that comes with the pillow) to adjust. The Stratosfabric technology—inspired by technology originally designed for astronauts—solved a common memory foam pillow problem of overheating, as it works to keep your body temperature steady all night by absorbing, storing and releasing heat as and when it’s needed. The cubes are also sandwiched between a hypoallergenic mineral-enriched fiber called Aerelle Cool Night, which dissipates heat and a durable microfiber padding for softness. As with Simba’s original offering, our overheating side sleeper definitely found it supportive and there was no need to flip it during the night—making it a great option for those who are always stuck with how to get back to sleep during a restless night.

The ideal pillow for regulating your temperature while you sleep, there's a reason Simba is everyone's favorite memory foam pillow.

See our full Simba Hybrid Pillow review

Silentnight Airmax Pillow on a white mattress

Best budget pillow

Specifications

RRP: From £19 (UK only)
Firmness: Soft
Machine washable: Yes
Product guarantee: Yes—two years

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Great if you want a cooler pillow
+
Lovely, marshmallow-soft comfort

Reasons to avoid

-
Too soft for some sleepers
-
Might be too big for some

Just like the duvet of the same name, this Silentnight Airmax pillow has lovely, squishy marshmallow plumpness—in fact, it was so big we had to use an oversized Oxford pillowcase to cover it. Don’t be fooled, though, this box construction hollowfiber pillow is pretty supportive, and at just £10.99 (it's only available in the UK), it was also one of the best value pillows we tested. Even though it’s very much on the soft end of the scale, our dedicated side sleeper actually found it firm enough for a comfortable night’s rest, so it's a good option for many different sleepers. 

However, it’s the improved airflow from the meshed material strip that runs through the center of this pillow that makes the difference. It definitely helped to circulate the air and keep our over-heater cool and rested, with no need for the usual pillow turning to get the cool side in the middle of the night. It’s hypoallergenic and machine washable at 40˚C, plus it has a two-year guarantee—all things that added up to make it the best budget pillow we tested.

We loved the Silentnight Airmax's plumpness, firm softness, cooling abilities and easy-care options—all for a great price.

See our full Silentnight Airmax pillow review

The side view of the Eve Microfibre Pillow

(Image credit: Eve)
Best pillow for side sleepers

Specifications

RRP: £49 (UK only)
Firmness: Soft
Machine washable: Yes
Product guarantee: Yes—three years

Reasons to buy

+
Ideal for side and back sleepers
+
Two options for sleeping
+
Cool

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too soft for some

The unusual shape of this Eve microfibre pillow—it’s boxy at one end and tapered at the other—means it works well for both side and back sleepers. The thicker side provides more support to the neck—great for those who assume the side position— while the thinner edge works to align the spine for back sleepers. Softly supportive, rather than firm, it still provided enough rigidity for our multi-position sleeper to get a good night’s sleep, once they’d decided on which of the two options (the thicker of the two) suited them best. The 230 thread-count cotton case is beautifully soft and the polyester mesh side panels aid airflow, ensuring there was no sign of overheating, even on an unseasonably warm spring night. At 46x67cm it’s sized to fit a standard pillowcase and is machine washable at 40˚C, too. A quick re-fluff after tumble-drying will help it to retain its shape.

A fantastic option for side and back sleepers, the Eve Microfibre pillow is cool and provides great neck support—though it may be too soft for some.

See our full Eve Microfibre pillow review (opens in new tab)

Slumberdown Allergy Protection pillow packaging

7. Slumberdown Allergy Protection pillow

Best pillow for allergy and asthma sufferers

Specifications

RRP: From £10 (UK only)
Firmness: Medium
Machine washable: Yes
Product guarantee: No

Reasons to buy

+
Best pick for allergy sufferers
+
Ideal if you sleep in different positions

Reasons to avoid

-
None!

One of our testers has what Allergy UK has named ‘home fever’, an increasingly prevalent non-specific allergy to our homes that causes sniffles and sometimes sore eyes, as well as aggravating eczema. So, we were keen to try this Slumberdown Allergy Protection pillow—one of the few that has the Allergy UK seal of approval—filled with synthetic fibres that have been specially treated to combat dust mites, one of the biggest causes of night-time allergies and asthma. It’s a medium-dense, soft filling that’s a good all-round option if you sleep in a variety of different positions during the night—although our side sleeper needed two in order to ensure proper spine alignment and avoid a stiff neck in the morning. It’s machine washable at 40˚C, has a breathable 100% cotton cover and at just £12.50 for a set of two measuring 48x 74cm, we felt it was one of the best value pillows we tested, too.

If you suffer from allergies, there's no better choice than this synthetic pillow, which offers great value-for-money too.

the best pillow from Brooke and Wilde on a bed with a blue velvet headboard

(Image credit: Brooke + Wilde)

8. The Cavendish Duck Down Pillow

Best luxury duck down pillow

Specifications

RRP: From £109 (UK only)
Firmness: Medium
Machine washable: Yes
Product guarantee: No

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable and supportive
+
Long lasting 
+
Machine washable

Reasons to avoid

-
High price point compared to other duck down pillows

Goose or Duck Down tend to be the most common kind of pillows found in 5 star hotels, as they provide a perfect amount of comfort, support and luxury. 

This plush pillow by Brook + Wilde includes three chambers filled with both duck down and feather: 100% new white feathers in the inner chamber, 80% new white down and 20% feathers in the outer chamber. 

The combination of down and feathers means that not only will this pillow retain its structure and shape over time, but it is also soft and cushioning to sleep on, as well as supportive if you need more support for your neck or spine while sleeping. 

The percentage of down in this pillow means it might not be firm or deep enough for side sleepers. We were most comfortable sleeping on our front, rather than our side. It was comfortable enough to sleep on our back, if using a second, older feather pillow underneath the Cavenish. 

Although not the most premium pillow in the Brook + Wilde range, we felt that the product still had a very luxurious feel, helped by the cotton will casing and medium feel – something you'd expect from a pillow at this higher price point. 

See our Brook + Wilde Marlowe Goose Down Pillow review if you prefer a firmer, good down rather than duck down cushion.

The Sealy zonal support pillow on a bed

(Image credit: Sealy)

9. Sealy Zonal Support pillow

Best pillow for a combination of support and luxury

Specifications

RRP: From £29.99 (UK only)
Firmness: Firm (but medium and soft also available)
Machine washable: No—only covers
Product guarantee: Yes—three years

Reasons to buy

+
Great support for head and neck
+
Crisp but soft casing
+
Maintains shape after use

Reasons to avoid

-
Not very plump
-
Limited availability 

The Sealy Zonal Support pillow does what it says on the tin—it exudes both hotel levels of luxury comfort, whilst also providing brilliant support for your head and neck. With multiple internal layers to provide different levels of support, this pillow puts spinal health and comfort at the forefront. The pillow really cradled our upper body during testing, with firmer foam springs in the center of the pillow for the head, and softer springs in the edges of the pillow, to gently support the shoulders and neck. One drawback is that this pillow definitely isn't as plump or fluffy as others, but this is because of the way that it works to support your body during sleep.

However, we did enjoy the luxuriously crisp, 100% cotton casing, which meant sleeping on the it felt a bit like sleeping in a hotel room. Pair this with one of the best sleep apps and you'll have an indulgently restful night.

Despite its lack of plumpness, there's no doubt that the Sealy is a dream to sleep on—supportive, bouncy, and leaving us pain-free in the morning. 

See our full Sealy Zonal Support pillow review

A product shot of the Tempur Comfort Pillow Original

(Image credit: Tempur)

10. Tempur Comfort Pillow Original

Best pillow for all sleeping positions

Specifications

RRP: From £95 (UK only)
Firmness: Medium
Machine washable: Yes—the cover is
Product guarantee: Three years

Reasons to buy

+
Great for all sleeping positions
+
Supportive
+
Molds well to your head and neck

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Memory foam isn't for everyone

Tempur Comfort Pillow Original is a pillow that offers great support for all sleepers, whether you lie on your side, front or back. Made of supportive memory foam, it's sturdy and heavy, so you can count on it to take care of your body where it really needs it while you sleep, as it adjusts its support levels depending on the position you are in. We found that this one molded incredibly well to our heads and necks when drifted off to sleep, and offered brilliant support. However, memory foam isn't for everyone, so it's worth noting that it generates a bit of heat after a few hours of sleeping. The Tempur Comfort is fairly expensive too, so that's something to factor into your buying decision. However, it offers a great guarantee, is very easy to care for (the cover is machine washable), and provides the incredible support that we've come to expect from the Tempur brand. If you're a bad sleeper, this comfy pillow and a couple of the best sleep aids can help you drift off no matter what your sleeping position.

For a pillow that offers premium support whatever position you sleep in, and for those with the larger budget to match, the Temput Comfort is an excellent option.

See our full Tempur Comfort Pillow Original review

A product shot of the Gentle Living Cooling Lumbar Support Pillow

(Image credit: Amazon)

11. Gentle Living Cooling Lumbar Support Pillow

Best lumbar support pillow

Specifications

RRP: From $34.99/£69
Firmness: Firm
Machine washable: Yes
Guarantee: No

Reasons to buy

+
Cooling gel inside that can help hot sleepers
+
Can be used in a number of different positions—not just behind the head
+
Very supportive
+
Adjustable levels

Reasons to avoid

-
Does move about during sleep at maximum thickness

A lumbar style cushion is one of the best pillows for back pain you can get and is worth the investment is you suffer from lower or upper back pain. 

The first thought that came to mind upon testing this pillow was “supportive”. Upon testing, we placed the pillow behind our back, where it fit snugly into the curve of the spine. At maximum thickness, when waking up a few times in the night our tester noticed the pillow had shifted away from its original position, causing some tension in the lower back the next morning. However, on the shallower level (it's an easy adjustment—all you have to do is unzip the case and remove the bottom piece of foam), the interruption was much less and the pillow stayed in place throughout the night, allowing us to enjoy a peaceful and supportive night's sleep.

By placing a lumbar pillow under your back, between your legs, or under your stomach at night, you can alleviate back pain by providing your spin with extra support. And we certainly found this to be true with the Gentle Living Lumbar Support Pillow could be the solution. The best part is is that you needn't use it only whilst sleeping. You can use the pillow for extra support at your office chair, on the couch, or at the dinner table. It's a versatile pillow that can make sitting or lying down much easier if you find it often causes you back pain. 

At a very reasonable price point, with machine washing an option, this is, overall, a solid pillow choice if it's lumbar support you are after.

See our full Gentle Living Lumbar Support Pillow review

How do I choose the best pillow for me?

There are a few things to consider when purchasing a new pillow—taking a moment to think about what you need from yours will ensure you buy one that will give you the most comfortable, restful night's sleep. Consider: 

1. Your sleeping position

Finding the best pillow for your needs will largely depend on your body size and shape, and what sleeping position you find yourself in the most. The best pillow will be one that comfortably supports your head and neck in the same alignment as if you were standing up straight—and this is normally down to the amount and supportiveness of the filling itself.

  • Back sleepers—as a general rule, back sleepers should choose a medium-thickness pillow. With a medium-loft pillow, most back sleepers will be able to achieve a good spinal alignment, to prevent any aches and pains from occurring.
  • Side sleepers—side sleepers a thicker, high-fill pillow to cushion the space between the neck and the bed. Pillows for side sleepers should also be on the firmer side, to maintain alignment for their body while they sleep.
  • Front sleepers—front sleepers require a thinner, softer down, synthetic or specialist pillow to avoid that suffocating feeling of sinking into something too deep. This is why thinner pillows can be good for people who sleep often on the front, and who may use their arm to prop up their head in the night.
  • Multi-position sleeper—if you’re a restless sleeper, choosing the pillow for your most common sleeping position could help. But if you naturally opt for several positions in the night, then choose a medium-filled pillow to ensure you have enough support overall.

2. Your budget

Pillows can vary wildly in price from $15 (£15), to over $100 (£100), so setting your budget is vital.

  • Most affordable—these are often synthetic pillows—e.g, those not made out of natural materials but man-made. They are often hypo-allergenic and can be very comfortable—however, they don't last as long as other pricier pillows.
  • Mid-price—these pillows usually use synthetic fillings too, such as microfiber or memory foam. These will meet the vast majority of different sleepers' needs.
  • Most expensive—often, those with more luxurious fillings (such as feather and down), will be more expensive. These are often the cushiony, marshmallow-like pillows that you might have slept on in hotels.

Ysanne Brooks comes from a family of wordsmiths, artists and jobbing journalists. Among other things, her somewhat lengthy career includes 10 years working on specialist magazine 25 Beautiful Kitchens, nine of those as editor.


For more years than she cares to reveal in public, she’s opined on planning, designing and buying for all areas of the home. She’s too long in the tooth to be a tech geek but she knows what’s what when it comes to beautiful, useable products that make modern living just that little bit more comfortable.

With contributions from