The Best Memory Foam Pillow for a Good Night’s Sleep

If you’re waking up with a sore neck, consider sleeping on a memory foam pillow. 

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Best Memory Foam Pillow

Photo: depositphotos.com

When you notice that you are tossing and turning at night instead of sleeping, it could be time to replace your pillow. While a mattress’ job is to support your entire body, pillows have an equally important job: supporting your head and neck. Having a good pillow helps make the difference between waking up with a stiff neck and waking up rested and ready for the day.

Memory foam pillows, made of the same polyurethane foam as memory foam mattresses, offer several advantages over traditional pillows. They keep your head, spine, and neck aligned and supported. They’re also antimicrobial and mold- and dust mite-resistant. Read on for reviews of some of the best memory foam pillows.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow with Cooling Gel
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sealy Molded Memory Foam Pillow
  3. BEST LUXURY: Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
  4. BEST COOLING: Columbia Extreme Cooling Memory Foam Pillow
  5. BEST FOR NECK PAIN: Bedsure Contour Memory Foam Pillow
  6. BEST ADJUSTABLE: Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
  7. BEST ORGANIC:JUVEA Talalay Latex Pillow With Organic Cotton Cover
  8. BEST HYPOALLERGENIC: Layla Sleep Kapok Pillow
Best Memory Foam Pillow

Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Consider When Buying a Memory Foam Pillow

When shopping for the best memory foam pillow, the following are factors to consider.

Types of Memory Foam Pillows

There are four basic types of memory foam pillows. Finding the pillow type that’s right for you depends largely on your sleep position: side, back, or belly. The perfect pillow should keep your head and neck in alignment.

For side sleepers, this proper alignment can be achieved with a firm, high loft pillow that accommodates the extra height between the mattress and head that results from laying on the hips. Back sleepers may want a thinner pillow, but one with extra loft at the bottom to help cradle the neck. Stomach sleepers may find that low loft pillows are ideal for their sleep position.

Traditional

Also called solid core, molded, or one-piece, traditional memory foam pillows are carved from a single block of memory foam. They resemble a traditional bed pillow in shape, yet offer a consistent, supportive feel across the entire surface of the pillow. They conform closely around the head and return to their original shape when you lift your head off of the pillow.

Contour

Contour pillows are similar to traditional memory foam pillows, but they have an s-shaped design intended to cradle and support your head, neck, and shoulders and to improve alignment as you sleep. This type of pillow tends to suit back and side sleepers.

Shredded 

Shredded memory foam pillows are made of shredded pieces of memory foam. Compared to solid memory foam pillows, shredded memory foam pillows allow more airflow and can be fluffed to some extent. The interior of a shredded memory foam pillow is typically accessible via a zipper cover—a feature that lets you adjust the pillow’s loft (height) to your liking by removing or adding extra fill.

Wedge

This triangle-shaped memory foam pillow offers support while sleeping, as well as when sitting up in bed reading or watching TV. This pillow’s gradual slope provides excellent support for back and shoulders and has even been proven to aid against snoring, breathing issues, acid reflux, and poor circulation. Since wedge pillows are made of rather large blocks of dense foam, they tend to be well suited for those who prefer firmer pillows.

Comfort 

Firmness (how soft or resistant a pillow feels) and loft (a pillow’s height from the bed’s surface to a sleeper’s head) are the two most common measures of how comfortable a pillow is. Most memory foam pillows fall into the medium-soft to medium range of firmness, and are fairly low loft. If you prefer a higher loft or a very soft or very firm pillow, consider a shredded memory foam pillow, as it will let you adjust these features.

Material

Memory foam is a polyurethane foam, a material that is a polymer (plastic). Modern pillows often consist of a blend of materials, such as polyurethane foam plus gel, microfiber fill, or latex. The materials can affect the feel and price of a pillow. It can also affect a pillow’s durability. While all memory foam eventually loses its springiness, a higher quality foam typically lasts longer.

Polyurethane is dense, so it can be hard to wash. Launder it, and it’s so slow drying out that the foam can mildew. The good news is memory foam typically doesn’t require as much cleaning as a traditional pillow because dust mites, dirt, and grime can’t get into memory foam easily because it’s so dense.

Cooling  

Memory foam pillows are notorious for holding heat, and a hot pillow can make you too uncomfortable to sleep. If you’re a hot sleeper or live in a hot climate, consider buying a shredded memory foam pillow. They allow better airflow through and around the pillow, which helps make your skin feel cooler. Other features, such as gel-infused foam, ventilated foam, and special cooling layers also help keep your pillow cool.

Adjustability 

By nature, memory foam pillows have limited adjustability. No matter how much they’re fluffed or flattened, they return to their original shape. If you want some degree of customization, consider shredded memory foam pillows. Most allow access to the memory foam fill, so you can add more shredded foam filling or remove some to fit your preferences. Some brands even include extra foam fill with purchase to adjust the pillow.

Removable Cover 

Unlike traditional cotton, down, or polyester pillows which can be tossed into the washing machine, most memory foam pillows are not machine washable. Washing by hand isn’t recommended either, since foam can easily become waterlogged. For these reasons, look for memory foam pillows with a removable cover. Covers provide an extra layer of protection against dirt and grime, and they can be removed from the pillow and tossed into the washing machine.

Pressure Relief  

A memory foam pillow softens only in response to direct heat and pressure, yet remains firm everywhere else. This ability to cushion and hug the shape of your head and neck while supporting the areas around them allows body muscles to relax. It also promotes proper body alignment and lowers the number of pressure points between your body and your pillow. Fewer pressure points mean less pressure on your head, neck, and body.

Our Top Picks

There are a lot of memory pillows on the market with a range of features. To help you pick the best memory foam pillow, this guide includes a list of editor favorites.

Best Overall

Best Memory Foam Pillow Coop
Photo: amazon.com

Coop Home Goods’ Eden pillow has a number of features that lands it at the top of our list. Its blend of shredded, gel-infused memory foam and microfiber fill makes for a cooler sleep experience and gives this pillow a soft, down-like feel. Its gusseted design provides added structure and support. A stretchy inner liner prevents memory foam from leaking out, while a bamboo-derived outer case is a breathable, machine-washable cover. The Eden is also hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certified—meaning it contains no toxins or harmful chemicals. Each pillow also comes with an additional 1/2-pound bag of fill.

Best Bang For The Buck

Best Memory Foam Pillows Sealy
Photo: amazon.com

This gusseted, traditional memory foam pillow from Sealy is a good option for someone buying their first memory foam pillow. It’s a single piece of memory foam that conforms to your head and neck in many sleep positions. It has a plush, zippered cover that adds a layer of softness to the pillow’s firm support, and can be removed and put in a washing machine for easy cleaning. It’s only available in standard (queen) size.

Best Luxury

Best Memory Foam Pillows Tempur
Photo: amazon.com

Tempur-Pedic’s TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze pillow is made of the same material as the company’s iconic mattresses. This pillow is a single piece of memory foam with a gel layer on both sides that keeps you cool. This pillow has a 6.4-inch loft, so it’s high enough to keep a side-sleeper comfortable, but it promises a medium firmness that can accommodate all sleep positions. It comes with a 100 percent cotton cover that’s removable and machine-washable and is available in queen and king sizes.

Best Cooling

Best Memory Foam Pillows Columbia
Photo: amazon.com

This Extreme Cooling pillow from Columbia (yes, the same brand that brings you weatherproof sportswear and outerwear) is outfitted with not one, but three cooling technology features. On one side of the pillow, there’s a breathable fabric surface that pulls away sweat, leaving a dry, evaporative cooling sensation on the skin. On the other side, there’s a layer of cooling gel that keeps the pillow cool to the touch. The third cooling feature of this medium-firm pillow is its ventilated foam core that allows air to circulate through it, further activating the cooling gel. The pillow comes in two sizes, standard/queen and king.

Best For Neck Pain

Best Memory Foam Pillows Bedsure
Photo: amazon.com

While the Bedsure Contour Memory Foam Pillow provides excellent support for back and side sleepers, those troubled by back pain benefit from this pillow’s unique design. Its wave shape relieves stiffness by cradling the curve of the neck and easing strain on pressure points. The pillow offers two heights—one side is five inches high, the other is four inches—so you can choose the height that gives you the best neck support. The pillow’s gel-infused memory foam minimizes heat build-up and offers sleepers medium-soft support. The three-layer design—a memory foam core, a cotton inner cover, and a removable zippered outer cover—keeps it cleaner, longer.

Best Adjustable

Best Memory Foam Pillows CoopHome
Photo: amazon.com

Coop Home Goods’ memory foam pillow comes with extra filling to adjust it to suit your sleeping style. You can add fill to give it a higher loft if you’re a side sleeper, or take some fill out if you want a flatter pillow. The pillow has an inner liner to prevent memory foam from leaking out, and an outer, bamboo-derived fabric cover that’s breathable and machine washable. It’s also hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certified—meaning it contains no toxins or harmful chemicals.

Best Organic

Best Memory Foam Pillow JUVEA
Photo: amazon.com

This JUVEA Talalay latex pillow is made from plant-based materials that are sustainable and renewable and won’t off-gas plastic-y odors or VOCs. The result is a healthier product that’s also cruelty-free, vegan, and made in the USA. The JUVEA pillow also has a removable, machine-washable certified organic cotton cover.

While it doesn’t have special cooling technology, the latex pillow’s ventilated structure provides enhanced airflow to the skin for maximum breathability. JUVEA pillows are available in queen and king sizes, as well as two loft heights: a 5-inch high version for stomach sleepers, and a 6.5-inch high version for back and side sleepers.

Best Hypoallergenic

Best Memory Foam Pillows Layla
Photo: amazon.com

The Kapok pillow from Layla Sleep is filled with a blend of shredded, open-cell memory foam and kapok, a natural fiber made from the seed pods of kapok trees that is both hypoallergenic and lighter than cotton. Combined, these materials create a pillow that’s breathable and molds to support the head and neck.

The pillow is woven with the brand’s signature gray honeycombed CuTEC copper-infused yarn, which helps reduce odor and has antimicrobial properties to keep your pillow fresh and clean. The copper-infused fabric also has a natural cooling effect, transferring heat away from a sleeper. The Layla Kapok pillow is available in queen and king sizes.

The Advantages of Owning a Memory Foam Pillow 

Memory foam pillows offer advantages over traditional pillows, including the following perks:

  • Memory foam pillows alleviate back and neck pain by contouring and cradling the head and upper body.
  • Memory foam pillows are dust mite- and bacteria-resistant. Most are also hypoallergenic.
  • Memory foam pillows don’t need to be fluffed. They spring back to their original height and shape when not in use.

FAQs About Your New Memory Foam Pillow 

Still not sure how to choose the best memory foam pillow for you? Here’s some more information to help you make a decision.

Q. Do memory foam pillows get flat over time?

Memory foam pillows don’t necessarily go flat like traditional pillows do, but they can lose their ability to spring back over time. This is usually a sign you need a new pillow.

Q. How do you clean a memory foam pillow? 

Washing memory foam pillows in a washing machine is not recommended. They can develop mold or mildew if they don’t air dry completely and they can be damaged in washing machines and dryers. Memory foam pillows can be spot cleaned using a damp cloth and a mild detergent. The best way to keep your memory foam pillow clean is to use its protective cover underneath a pillowcase, and machine wash both of these covers often. Follow the cleaning instructions on your pillow’s label for the best results.

Q. How long do memory foam pillows last? 

On average, memory foam pillows last for about 2 years. To test the pillow’s condition, press the middle of the pillow with your hand. The pillow should spring back to its original shape as soon as you remove your hand. If it doesn’t spring back, it’s likely time to replace your pillow.