Owning one of the best pillows, believe it or not, will do wonders when it comes to getting a great night’s sleep. Since research shows at least eight hours of kip is essential to our well-being, having a comfortable place to rest your head after a long day at work, school, or fun is more important than you think.
This doesn't mean you have to spend all of your savings on a pillow. In fact, we’ve found a selection of affordable options too, suitable for each and every type of sleeper. Featuring memory foam, down-filled, and sustainable pillows, as well as the best pillow for side sleepers, snorers, and even allergy sufferers, if you're not sleeping soundly, these pillows are for you.
These are the answers to all your bedtime and spending needs. Along with my fellow beauty sleep advocates, I've snoozed on the job to make sure you'll be getting your money's worth. Though if you’re in the market for an even better sleep experience, don’t rely solely on what you put your head on. A good pillow combined with one of the best mattresses will help you drift off into the deepest of slumbers.
The best pillows
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Our favourite pillow
Filling: Open-cell foam tubes and Aerelle Cool Nights fibres
Firmness: Medium firm
Cover: Stratos cotton
Care: Machine wash at 40°C and tumble dry
+ Great for all sleepers
+ Stays plump
- An investment, but so worth it
This Simba hybrid pillow has been a long-standing favourite for us at Real Homes, and for many others too it seems. While we’ve updated this guide to test new and other high-rated pillows on the market, no other option has managed to knock the Simba hybrid off its top spot as our best overall pillow. What’s so special? It’s been scientifically engineered to give all kinds of sleepers the best night's sleep, with temperature regulation and adjustable height. Trust me, it really is worth investing in.
Best memory foam pillow
Filling: Visco memory foam
Cover: Bamboo fibre
Care: Machine wash cover only
+ Environmentally friendly
+ Stays firm
- Not great for front sleepers
Wanting something soft and smooth to sink into at the end of a long, hard day? The Panda memory foam pillow gives you plenty of comfort. It's the best memory foam pillow for anyone who is eco-conscious, too. One of our team members has been sleeping on this pillow for years, and they still love it as much as they did the first night. It's still firm, and better yet, it's super comfortable for side and back sleepers. Just avoid if you sleep on your front, we know this from experience.
Best pillow for side sleepers
Filling: Levitex foam
Firmness: Medium firm
Cover: 100% nylon
Care: Machine wash and tumble dry cover only at 40°C
+ Helps with sleep posture and neck pain
+ Doesn't flatten
- Not good for front or back sleepers
This is a new type of pillow made with Levitex foam, a material we haven't seen before, and it’s making its mark on the pillow industry. It comes in variants of sizes, rather than firmness, as other brands offer. After a sleep consultation with founder James Leinhardt, he issued me a medium-size pillow to try. After just a few uses, the difference was really noticeable. I sometimes suffer from shoulder pain. Turns out, all I needed was a pillow that sat at the correct height.
Best sustainable pillow
Filling: 100% British wool
Cover: Organic cotton cover quilted with British wool
Care: Machine wash at 30°C
+ Traceable, sustainable wool
+ Entirely washable
- Needs to be re-plumped
Made solely from traceable British wool and certified organic cotton, Woolroom’s pillow is our best sustainable option. In keeping with its full transparency approach, we love how you can open this pillow up to see and feel its filling. Don’t be put off by its slightly flat appearance, the pillow is super plush thanks to its dense wool ball inside that you can increase or decrease your liking. With a few re-plumps, you'll no longer need to count sheep to sleep.
Best affordable pillow
Cover: 100% microfibre
Care: Machine wash at 40°C
+ Super affordable
+ Great down alternative
- Flattens over time
If you like the soft, luxurious feel of feathers, but can’t stretch your budget, then try this Silentnight Just Like Down microfibre pillow. It’s one that has been loved by me for years. I do like to sleep on two of these at once since they tend to flatten over time. But, they’re plump, soft to the touch, and an affordable alternative to some of the best down pillows out there. Who likes being poked by feathers when bedding starts to wear away anyway? I certainly don’t.
Best value down pillow
Filling: 90% Hungarian goose feather and 10% down
Cover: 280 TC cotton
Care: Machine wash at 40°C and tumble dry until completely dry
+ Luxury feel
+ Can wash entirely
- More expensive
This best-selling Hungarian down pillow is a fair favourite amongst front sleepers and feather-filled lovers. After resting our heads on this luxurious Hungarian goose-down pillow, we know why everyone else out there rates it best. As you’d expect from natural filling, it's soft and cushioning, yet surprisingly supportive too. And unlike other natural pillows, you can actually wash this one. All this makes up for the high price point in my opinion.
Best pillow for back sleepers
Cover: 100% cotton
Care: Machine wash and dry at 40°C
+ Best for back sleepers and snorers
+ Super affordable
- Flattens after a few washes
Designed with an S-shaped inner foam core, this anti-snore pillow boasts a bold claim to stop your (or your partner's) loud snoring. And whilst we can’t say it reduced the noise completely, it did relieve some symptoms and help our tester sleep better through the night. In comparison to other tested pillows, it marked up as our best pillow for back sleepers and snorers alike. If you’re a side sleeper or don’t snore, we’d suggest skipping this read, but if you’re buying on behalf of your snoring spouse or bed-sharer, then it might be worth the thought.
Best anti-allergy pillow
Cover: Microfibre polyester
Care: Machine wash and dry at 40°C
+ Allergy UK approved
+ Super cheap
- Offers little support
These anti-allergy pillows by Slumberdown are a fantastic buy at just £9 for two. They may not be anything overly special, but they do the trick for allergy sufferers who need a down alternative with extra protection. Our tester, a home-fever sufferer, tried these in the height of a high-pollen count period, which put them through their paces. We can’t have solely relied on these to relieve our symptoms entirely, but we did notice a difference when we swapped from a feather-filled alternative.
Best cooling pillow
Cover: 100% cotton
Care: Machine wash at 40°C
+ Great for all kinds of sleepers
+ Thermo-regulating cooling properties
- Higher price
Our tester Christina sounds like she's remixing Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Princess and the Pea when she talks about this pillow from Bensons for Beds. That's because it has been a real game-changer when it comes to getting her 40 winks. Thanks to the phase change crystals inside iGel™ Advance technology, this one responds to body temperature so you can use it all year round, especially in the summer when sleep is a little uncomfortable in the heat.
How we tested these pillows
Yes, that’s right, we’ve been snoozing on the job putting the top pillows and brands to the test. Because different sleepers require a different type of pillow to sleep soundly, we’ve shared the snooze time amongst members of the Real Homes team and passed them around to family members for an all-round rating.
We’ve had allergy sufferers try out our best anti-allergy pillow and had a snorer (we won’t tell you who) see which anti-snore pillow helped them sleep any quieter. They’ve been slept on, washed, and used again for numerous nights to take into account every sleep scenario. You can rest assured these pillows are the best value for your money.
This is an updated review of the best pillows, and some favourites will have kept their place on the bed. As for the new pillows, we’ll pay special attention to how they last over time and update the guide accordingly. No one likes sleeping on a tired pillow, do they?
Meet our sleeping beauties:
Louise is our ecommerce editor and bedding expert at Real Homes. She knows the importance of balancing her beauty sleep without spending her whole budget. Louise is always on the lookout for affordable finds. A side sleeper and allergy-sufferer, she's reviewed the majority of these pillows, including our best sustainable, anti-allergy, affordable, and for side sleeper options.
"The Silentnight Just Like Down pillows (opens in new tab) I have used for many years, they're synthetic which is good for my home allergies and the best cheap alternative for a luxury feel. They're quite soft though, and I now like to alternate between this and the Levitex posture pillow (opens in new tab). I didn't have trouble with neck pain or stiffness before, but I do find I sleep better without waking in the night."
Annie is our head of ecommerce and has been testing products for Real Homes since 2018. Annie has tried a range of pillows, but as a front sleeper, she finds it hard to find one she loves. The one she currently sleeps on is no longer in production, too, so can't be featured on this list! However, her husband is a big fan of helping her test pillows as a side sleeper, and he is obsessed with the Panda pillow (opens in new tab) in this guide. He's been sleeping on this pillow for the best part of three years now and finds it hard to get a good night's rest without it. He's a huge memory foam fan and loves how firm this pillow has stayed even after sleeping on it night after night. It's also surprisingly breathable.
From cleaning to eating to sleeping, Christina likes to keep a healthy home and understands the importance of catching those vital Zs. She believes a pillow can make or break a good night's sleep and was eager to put a plump cushion through its paces.
The iGel Side Sleeper Deep Pillow (opens in new tab) from Bensons for beds is her absolute favourite, though it must be said, she doesn't always use it to rest her head on. "My friend mentioned getting a pregnancy pillow as I'm a side sleeper, but I couldn't bring myself to order one because of the size of it, and well... because it's meant for women who are expecting children. This pillow does sort of act like one, in the sense that I can cradle it in a recovery-type position, but looks like a 'normal' headrest. It doesn't have that C-shaped or U-shaped characteristic that would make it stand out on our king-sized bed."
Jennifer is one of our expert reviewers here at Future, and she's tested a fair few of the pillows throughout her time. Her favourite? The Simba Hybrid (opens in new tab), what else? "I'm (probably) the biggest fan of the Simba pillow. I think it's so dreamy. I'm a side sleeper and find it so soft yet supportive, and after a rummage with the fillings, it's great for sitting up in bed with. "
She used to be our large appliance editor, but now looks after all things reviews over at our sister site TechRadar.
How to choose the best pillow for your needs
Buying the best pillow for you may seem easy. Is the price right? Does it feel soft? What's it made of? Whilst these are all important things to consider, there's a little more to it. To explain it better, and with more validity, we've spoken to industry experts from Levitex, Woolroom, and Slumberdown in our handy how to choose a pillow guide.
How often should you replace pillows?
Usually, most experts would recommend replacing your pillows after two years, unless they have become visibly worn before then. Buying a new pillow ensures you are sleeping on something that's supportive and clean, which is especially important if you suffer from allergies. To help with longevity, it's important to care for your pillows. Our how to wash pillows guide offers expert advice and tips on how to keep your pillows clean.
Are expensive pillows worth it?
We'd always recommend investing in your sleep. But, we get not everyone has tons of cash to splash on something to put your head on. If you do have a bit to spend, then our top tip is to splurge on one fancy pillow that suits your needs and pick up a cheaper one to put underneath. That's if you need two, of course.
Otherwise, there are plenty of ways you can upgrade your sleep set-up without having to overspend on a pillow. Try purchasing a cosy duvet or fresh set of sheets. Our edit of the best bedding brands may help you find a brand that caters to your budget.