The 14 best pillows of 2022 for all sleep styles and budgets

On the hunt for the best pillow? There's no such thing as a good night's sleep without one. We've tested products from top rated brands to compile our list of the very best for 2022

A composite of the best pillows, as tested and reviewed by woman & home writers
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best pillow is such a personal choice – what may be comfortable for one person may be a nightmare for someone else. With that in mind, we've rounded up 14 pillows that we've tested ourselves, spanning a range of sleep preferences and budgets, to compile our list of the very best for 2022.

As you'll discover in our list, the best pillow doesn't have to set you back very much, which is great news if you're a cash-strapped student who wants to be as well-rested as possible for classes and other campus activities. Some of the pillows on this list retail for as low as £10 / $12. However, if you have the financial bandwidth for a premium, hotel-style pillow, we've got you covered there, too.

Whether you want a cooling pillow to keep the hot flashes at bay or a thin pillow to remain well supported whilst lying on your front, you'll find various types of pillows below. And if you're unsure of how to find the right pillow, we've consulted with several sleep experts for insight on how to choose something that'll keep you comfy and aligned. 

How we tested for the best pillows

What are the top 6 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 (UK)
  3. Panda Memory Foam Pillow (opens in new tab) - Best pillow for back sleepers (US)
  4. Tempur Original Support Pillow (opens in new tab) - Best pillow for neck pain
  5. Simba Hybrid Pillow (opens in new tab) - Best pillow for combi sleepers (UK)
  6. Purple Harmony Pillow (opens in new tab) - Best pillow for combi sleepers (US)

Our pick of the best pillows 2022

The Emma Memory Foam Pillow, overall best pillow of 2022

Best overall pillow

Specifications

RRP: From $119/£99
Firmness: Soft/medium
Machine washable: Yes (cover only)
Guarantee: 3 years (US) / 2 years (UK)
Trial: 365 nights (US) / 30 nights (UK)

Reasons to buy

+
Adjusts to suit your sleeping preferences
+
Relieves pressure in head and neck
+
Breathable materials prevent overheating
+
Comes with a full year to trial it (US)

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too soft for some
-
Shorter trial period in UK

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 (UK)

Specifications

RRP: From £48 (UK only)
Firmness: Medium—firm
Machine washable: Yes
Guarantee: 5 years
Trial: N/A

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
No clear trial period

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.

A 5-year guarantee applies that'll cover your purchase in case of a manufacturing flaw. Whilst the company offers a generous 1-year return window, it's only applicable for unopened, unused products. In other words, there's no real trial period offered here, so keep that in mind before you buy.

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

Panda memory foam pillow

(Image credit: Panda )
Best pillow for back sleepers (US)

Specifications

RRP: $65 / £45
Firmness: Medium to firm
Machine washable: Yes (outer cover)
Guarantee: 10 years
Trial: 30 nights

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent at regulating temperature
+
Comes with a 10-year warranty
+
Also suitable for side sleeping

Reasons to avoid

-
Not ideal for front or combi sleepers

Meanwhile, back sleepers in the States will want to check out the Panda Memory Foam Bamboo pillow. When we tested it, our dedicated back sleeper was cushioned and cozy throughout the night. Best of all, our neck and shoulders were a lot less stiff, despite most of us spending our days hunched over a laptop – thus, it's also a great pillow for neck pain. However, front and combi sleepers will have trouble getting comfortable due to the pillow's high loft and short length.

Hot sleepers should also give the Panda Memory Foam Bamboo pillow a try. Despite being made from memory foam (which is notorious for trapping heat), the outer bamboo fibre cover does a stellar job of regulating temperature – so much that even our warmest sleeper didn't break a sweat. And since bamboo is hypoallergenic, it's a great choice for anyone who suffers from allergies, too.

A 30-night trial is included, which while meagre compared to other brands is more than enough time for your body to adjust to a new pillow. What's more, a 10-year guarantee applies, which suggests that the company intends for its pillow to last for a long time. Despite being our pick for back sleepers in the US, this pillow is also available to buy in the UK. 

Back sleepers who want to feel comfortably cool and nicely cradled will find relief with the Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow – especially if they spend most of their waking hours hunched over a computer.

See our full Panda Memory Foam Pillow review 

A product shot of the Tempur Original Support pillow

Best pillow for neck pain

Specifications

RRP: From $119/£109
Firmness: Firm
Machine washable: Yes (cover)
Guarantee: 5 years (US) / 3 years (UK)
Trial: none (US) / 30 nights (UK)

Reasons to buy

+
Comes in three sizes
+
Molds to your shape
+
Does reduce neck pain

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for restless, multi-position sleepers
-
No sleep trial in the US

This contoured ergonomic Tempur Original Support pillow (known as the Tempur-Neck pillow in the US) 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-Pedic Original / Tempur-Neck pillow is a great option if you have the money to spend, as it is pretty pricey. Just note that in the US, there is no trial and pillows can't be returned.

The Simba hybrid pillow shot from the side

Best pillow for combi sleepers (UK)

Specifications

RRP: £109
Firmness: Adjustable
Machine washable: Yes (cover)
Guarantee: 1 year
Trial: None

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
-
No trial period

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

Purple Harmony Pillow

(Image credit: Purple)

6. Purple Harmony Pillow

Best pillow for combi sleepers (US)

Specifications

RRP: From $179
Firmness: Medium-soft
Machine washable: Yes (cover)
Guarantee: 1 year
Trial: 100 nights

Reasons to buy

+
Choose from three loft sizes
+
Feels squishy but also supportive
+
Get 100 nights to trial it

Reasons to avoid

-
It's expensive
-
Top cover is prone to pulling

The Purple Harmony pillow utilizes the same technology found in the brand's award-winning mattresses: the Purple Grid Hex. This gel-like material gives the pillow a 'squishy' feel and features thousands of open channels to promote proper airflow. At the core is Talalay latex, which is highly adaptable and thus perfect for those who toss and turn at night. This combination makes for one supportive pillow.

Whilst the pillow itself comes in one firmness level, it is available in three loft options The Mid (5.5 in) and High (6.5 in) are best for combo sleepers with average to extra large frames, respectively. Meanwhile, the Low (4.5 in) profile will only suit back or front sleepers of small to average build. 

When we tried the Purple Harmony pillow, it reminded us of a luxurious hotel-style pillow as it's got the perfect blend of softness and support. However, it also has a luxurious price tag to match with a starting RRP of $179. Fortunately, frequent Purple sales mean you'll be able to catch a break on the final cost. You'll also receive 100 nights to trial it – especially key since you'll want to ensure you've selected the right loft for your body type and sleep style.

The Purple Harmony is a somewhat unconventional pillow but for combination sleepers, the Talalay latex core and proprietary Grid Hex work in perfect harmony to quickly adapt to every movement. 

Silentnight Airmax Pillow on a white mattress

Best budget pillow (UK)

Specifications

RRP: From £15
Firmness: Soft
Machine washable: Yes
Guarantee: 2 years
Trial: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Super affordable at under £20
+
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. Its super low price makes it a great choice for budget-conscious college students who need to be well-rested for their classes.

See our full Silentnight Airmax pillow review

The Big One Quilted Pillow

(Image credit: Kohl's)

8. The Big One Quilted Pillow

Best budget pillow (US)

Specifications

RRP: From $16
Firmness: Medium to extra firm
Machine washable: Yes
Guarantee: N/A
Trial: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Great quality at a low price
+
Tailored to suit various sleep styles
+
Contains hypoallergenic fill

Reasons to avoid

-
No warranty information available
-
May need to fluff often

The Big One is a Kohl's house brand and its quilted pillows are consistent best sellers. They retail for as little as $16, and frequent Kohl's coupons knock the price down even further. But don't let the low cost deceive you as these are some of the most comfortable pillows we've ever rested on. Choose between a medium feel (stomach and back sleepers) or a firmer pillow (side sleepers). Either way, you'll receive proper support in the areas you need it most.

At such a low price, it's easy to buy up several of these pillows to refresh every bedroom in your home. You can even place them in a spare room and not have to worry about potentially triggering your guest's allergies as The Big One pillows contain a hypoallergenic down alternative fiberfill. Caring for them is as easy as popping them in the washing machine and allowing them to air-dry.

Of course, going the budget route means sacrificing amenities like trial periods and warranties. Fortunately, Kohl's has one of the most accommodating returns policies in retail, although pillows may not always be accepted if they've been opened and used.

For a comfortable pillow that's inexpensive and easy to care for, The Big One Quilted pillow is your best bet – especially for college students who need a couple of pillows for their dorm or apartment.

The side view of the Eve Microfibre Pillow

(Image credit: Eve)
Best pillow for side sleepers (UK)

Specifications

RRP: £49
Firmness: Soft
Machine washable: Yes
Guarantee: Three years
Trial: 30 nights

Reasons to buy

+
Ideal for side and back sleepers
+
Two options for sleeping
+
Cooling effect, good for hot sleepers

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)

The Layla Kapok Pillow is the best cooling pillow for side sleepers

(Image credit: Layla Sleep)

10. Layla Kapok Pillow

Best pillow for side sleepers (US)

Specifications

RRP: $109 - $129
Firmness: Medium
Machine washable: Yes (outer cover)
Guarantee: 5 years
Trial: 120 nights

Reasons to buy

+
120 nights to trial it
+
Adjustable, cooling kapok fill
+
Very comfy for side sleeping

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a cheap option
-
Will require regular fluffing

The Layla Kapok Pillow is a boon for side sleepers who need the right amount of comfort and support along their head and neck. Filled with shredded memory foam and kapok fibers, the Layla pillow will mold to fit your shape whilst maintaining a proper amount of support so you don't sink too deep into it (and therefore misalign your spine).

Kapok is a breathable material that's similar to cotton and it's known for its temperature-regulating properties. We've slept on this pillow throughout another hot summer and have seldom, if ever, woken up hot. The outer cover, made with woven copper, also helps – copper is known for its cooling and anti-microbial properties.

Since it's an adjustable pillow, you can make it as high or low as you need it to be. Just be aware that it can lose its shape after a full night of sleep so make sure to fluff it each morning. It's also one of the pricier options on this list but in return you'll receive a 120-night trial plus a 5-year limited warranty. For such a well-crafted product, it's well worth the investment in your sleep health.

The Layla Kapok Pillow is the best choice for side sleepers who want to customize the height of their pillow and keep night sweats away. Best of all, you'll have 120 nights to trial it, with a money back guarantee if you're not satisfied.

Slumberdown Allergy Protection pillow packaging

11. Slumberdown Allergy Protection Pillow

Best pillow for allergy and asthma sufferers (UK)

Specifications

RRP: From £10
Firmness: Medium
Machine washable: Yes
Guarantee: No
Trial: No

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
No guarantee or trial

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.

It's 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. This is another fantastic option for cash-strapped college students who need a couple of new pillows on which to rest their weary heads.

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

(Image credit: Brooke + Wilde)

12. The Cavendish Duck Down Pillow

Best luxury duck down pillow (UK)

Specifications

RRP: From £109
Firmness: Medium
Machine washable: Yes
Guarantee: No
Trial: No

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable and supportive
+
Long lasting 
+
Machine washable

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey compared to other duck down pillows
-
No trial or guarantee

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.

A product shot of the Tempur Comfort Pillow Original

(Image credit: Tempur)

13. Tempur Comfort Pillow Original

Best premium pillow for support (UK)

Specifications

RRP: From £95
Firmness: Medium
Machine washable: Yes (cover)
Guarantee: Three years
Trial: 30 nights

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the pricier options
-
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)

14. Gentle Living Cooling Lumbar Support pillow

Best lumbar support pillow

Specifications

RRP: From $29.99/£69
Firmness: Firm
Machine washable: Yes
Guarantee: No
Trial: No

Reasons to buy

+
Cooling gel inside that can help hot sleepers
+
Can be used in a number of different positions
+
Very supportive with 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.

What pillow is the best for sleep?

"In general, the ideal pillow must offer spinal support, stability, and comfort. It is also important to have materials that maintain a stable body temperature overnight, preventing overheating or getting too cold," says Dr. Carleara Weiss (opens in new tab), a sleep doctor with over 15 years of experience and an advisor for Pluto pillow (opens in new tab).

When it comes to the best pillow for your dominant sleep position (how you initially lay when you fall into bed), you'll want to keep firmness and loft (height) in mind, according to Amelia Jerden, certified sleep science coach and staff writer at Sleepopolis (opens in new tab).

"For side sleepers, a firm, high loft pillow is best. For back sleepers, a medium loft and medium firmness are best. And for stomach sleepers, a soft, low loft pillow is best," says Jerden. Combination sleepers will want to seek a pillow that's a blend of their two main positions in terms of height and feel.

Jerden adds: "For each position, it’s most important to ensure that the sleeper’s neck is in line with the rest of their spine — not craning upwards or dipping down too far."

Like the best mattresses, many pillows now come with trial periods of at least 30 days so you can allow your body time to adjust to a new pillow before deciding whether or not to keep it.

How often should you replace pillows?

A general rule of thumb is to replace pillows every one to two years, but length of use should not be the only indicator that it's time for a refresh.

Amelia Jerden of Sleepopolis says, "Pillows should also be replaced as soon as possible if they are lumpy, have stains on them, smell bad, or are causing acne breakouts on your skin. Additionally, pillows should also be replaced if they are uncomfortable, you constantly have to re-fluff them, or you are having neck and/or shoulder pain when you wake up."

Jerden recommends a simple test to see if your pillow needs replacing. Fold your pillow in half; if it doesn't return to its original shape within 30 seconds, it's time to purchase a new one. 

You can extend the life of your pillows by investing in a pillow protector. Also take a look at the care instructions for your pillow; Jerden advises washing your pillows every six months to keep them in like-new condition.

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