Best pillows: 10 buys for a comfortable night's sleep

Choosing the best pillow isn't a one-size-fits-all exercise – to get the best night's sleep and wake up without neck pain there's all sorts to consider. Our expert guide takes you through the process to help you decide which of our buys to go for

best pillow: dreampad sleep pillow in use with lady
(Image credit: Dreampad Sleep)

When it comes to finding the best pillow so that you get a really good night's sleep, you need to get not just the right filling, but the right firmness, too – and both of these might well depend on your most common sleep position (side, back, front?) and special circumstances – do you suffer from hot flushes, are you a sweaty sleeper or pregnant, or perhaps can't get to sleep without music? 

How can you tell what you need? Our expert guide takes you through the simple steps below to help you choose from our best pillow recommendations below. We've only included really great pillows – to suit all budgets – so you can be sure to find something that suits. Talking of prices, our clever widget means that you'll get the best deal on the pillow you choose at the best price today.

Before you dive in, bear this in mind: unless you and your partner both sleep soundly, it shouldn't be a case of buying matching pillows 'just because'. What you find comfortable might not work for your other half, so your pillow choices should be entirely independent. And, if you still can't sleep well after this, it might be time to find the best mattress, too.

How to buy the best pillow

Follow these simple steps to get the very best pillow for you:

1. How do you sleep?

Side sleepers will need a plump, firm pillow: think hybrids or memory foam; back and stomach sleepers will need much softer, thinner pillows to hold their necks in perfect alignment.

Now think about where your pillow will sit beneath your head while you sleep. If you prefer it completely beneath your head, you'll get on best with a low- to medium-loft pillow; if you sleep with your pillow only partially beneath your head, you may find a pillow with a higher loft to feel supported.

2. How thick is your preferred pillow? 

This is called 'pillow loft', and when you're buying new, you might see it written on the side of the packaging. Experiment at home to get your preferred thickness right. Low loft pillows are around 7cm thick; medium loft pillows are 7cm to 12cm thick; high loft pillows are 12cm+ thick.

3. Remember, it's personal

The pillows below have been rated by our experience of them, but it's vital to remember that we all have different preferences that don't necessarily relate to their sleeping position, as mentioned above. Some of us prefer to sleep with two pillows (even though sleep experts suggest that sleeping with one is the best option); others prefer the feel of synthetic fillings over natural... and so on. 

4. How do a pillow's fillings feel to sleep on?

Natural fillings, including duck and goose feathers and down, feel soft and luxurious, giving you that extra-cosy sensation of sinking into your pillow. They, along with sheep’s wool, are naturally heat-retaining, which makes them ideal if you get chilly at night, but not for those who are constantly in pursuit of the cool side of the pillow.

If you like the softness of down but not the heat, or you suffer from allergies or respiratory diseases, you can get synthetic fibre fillings that mimic the feel. And speaking of allergies, pillow manufacturers are very much up to speed with the needs of their users these days, so you can expect to find anti-allergy fillings and coverings, plus keep-clean machine washable constructions, for a reasonable price

Finally, for those of us who need more support in bed, or just prefer the feel of a firm pillow, there are latex, hybrid and memory foam. Helpful for sufferers of neck or back pain, they keep the spine and muscles correctly elevated and aligned for a deep sleep and a pain-free morning.

If you still can't decide what to buy, find our more in our complete guide to choosing a pillow.

What is the best pillow?

Our choice of best pillow is the Simba Hybrid with OUTLAST®, which can have its stuffing (foam Nanocubes, if you prefer) removed or added back in to suit the height and firmness levels you prefer. See more below about why we've chosen this as the best pillow and to see all our other picks. 

In a hurry? This is our top pick:

  • Best pillow for side sleepers: Simba Hybrid pillow
  • Best pillow for back sleepers: eve Memory Foam pillow
  • Best pillow for front sleepers: Snuggledown Scandinavian duck feather and down pillow
  • Best budget pillow: Silentnight anti-allergy pillow pair
  • Best pillow for allergy sufferers: Dunlopillo Super Comfort pillow
  • Best pillow for neck pain sufferers: Mediflow Waterbase fibrefill pillow
  • Best synthetic pillow: Silentnight Just Like Down microfibre pillow
  • Best pillow pair: The Perfect Pair pillows by The Fine Bedding Company
  • Best pregnancy pillow: BBHugMe
  • Best speaker pillow: Sound Asleep Original Sleeper pillow

Best pillow: Simba Hybrid Pillow with Outlast

1. Simba Hybrid pillow

The best pillow: this is the best pillow for side sleepers, scientifically engineered to offer the best night's sleep

Best for: Temperature regulation, side sleepers
Filling: Memory foam tubes/ down
Firmness: Soft medium
Cover: Jacquard Cotton
Reasons to buy
+Temperature regulation and adjustable height+Best for side sleepers
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey -Too firm for some

If you are looking to invest in a top notch pillow then this is the best you can buy. This Simba pillow has been scientifically engineered to give you the best night’s sleep, with temperature regulation and adjustable height, but forget all that. It's just really great to sleep on, particularly if you're a side sleeper. 

What are they like to sleep on?

Adjustable height = perfect alignment. So, first, the adjustable height feature, which should allow you to achieve perfect alignment: the pillow comes with a zipper that allows you to access its interior and remove (or add back) the foam Nanocubes. The more foam is inside the pillow, the higher and firmer it feels. Our tester removed around three handfuls to get the desired height and level of firmness. 

Will it suit your sleep position?

This is a firm to medium firm pillow that's perfect for side sleepers who like a single pillow, but because you can adjust the pillow's thickness it works for back sleepers who need a shallower pillow, too. It has more of a sink-in quality than the memory foam pillows we tested, but won't give you the same soft sensation that a down or feather pillow will. That said, unlike down or feather, it holds its shape and barely needs re-plumping. Unlike traditional memory foam pillows, it's a cool place to lay your head each night. 

Ease of care

Remove the fillings, pop in the washing machine. Job done.

See our review of the Simba mattress to complement your pillow choice.

Best pillow for back sleepers: eve memory foam pillow

2. eve Memory Foam pillow

Best pillow for back sleepers: flatter, firmer, smarter and more supportive than the average pillow

Best for: Luxurious memory foam
Filling: Memory foam
Firmness: Medium firm
Cover: 100% polyester removable cover
Reasons to buy
+ Cooling memory foam + Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial 
Reasons to avoid
- Expensive 

Designed as an extension of the acclaimed Eve mattress (see our review), this luxury Eve memory foam pillow offers all the benefits of memory foam while addressing its more commonly cited drawbacks, such as overheating. 

What's it like to sleep on?

The hypoallergenic foam and antimicrobial UltraFresh finish allows you to benefit from its comforting and muscle-aligning properties. 

Users mostly rate it as excellent and 'like sleeping on a cloud'; others say it's too firm, but in our experience, memory foam pillows do feel firmer than any other pillow type, and take a little getting used to (we'd rate it medium to firm). 

Once you've adjusted, though – if you can, not all our sleepers could get used to the initial firm feeling – you may never want to go back to traditional fillings, whether natural or synthetic. Either way, there’s a 30-day trial, so you can send it straight back if you don't get on with it. 

What else? The cover’s durable jersey fabric is knitted, which makes it feel like it has a lot of give, and it's super soft, too. 

Will it suit your sleep position?

For memory foam fans, it might take some getting used to as it’s far flatter than your average memory foam pillow, which is why we've rated it as best for back sleepers. Side sleepers, look up to the Simba for the level of neck support you'll need. 

Ease of care?

The cover can be removed and washed at 40°C, and it’s hypoallergenic, making it a great choice for allergy sufferers.

Best pillow for front sleepers: Snuggledown Scandinavian Duck Feather and Down Pillow

3. Snuggledown Scandinavian Duck Feather and Down pillow

Best pillow for front sleepers: snuggle down into this luxurious feather pillow for a price that’ll let you rest easy

Best for: Value feather and down
Filling: Duck feather (85%) and down (15%)
Firmness: Soft
Cover: 100% cotton
Reasons to buy
+ Great value down option + Lightweight and flexible 
Reasons to avoid
- Needs re-plumping 

Conceived in Norway and manufactured in the UK, this traditional Snuggledown Scandinavian Duck Feather and Down pillow (actually, 85 per cent feather, 15 per cent down) is an ideal meeting of luxury feel and affordability. 

What's it like to sleep on?

As you'd expect with this natural filling, it's soft and cushioning to lie on (we'd rate it soft to medium), but supportive, too – don't expect your head to sink right back to the mattress like it might on poorer quality pillows. The air-trapping down-and-feather filling makes this pillow perfect for sleepers who get chilly at night, and can be easily manipulated for the ideal level of cushioning – perfect if you're a fidget who likes to reshape their pillow mid-sleep. 

What else to like about it? The washable 233 thread count cotton cover has a luxurious feel, and the pillow itself is light and flexible enough to take on the road for comfort on a long car journey. 

Will it suit your sleep position?

It's quite a flat pillow and those supportive sink-in qualities means it's perfect for back and front sleepers. Side sleepers might prefer a pillow that's a little firmer and deeper – ours did.

Ease of care

All it needs is a good shake every now and then to plump it up and improve the loft. The pillow itself can be machine washed but always follow care label instructions.

Best budget pillow for allergy sufferers: Silentnight Anti-Allergy Pillow

4. Silentnight Anti-Allergy pillow

Best budget pillow: this hypoallergenic pillow banishes coughs and sneezes, itches and wheezes

Best for: Budget anti-allergy
Filling: Hollow fibre
Firmness: Soft
Cover: Microfibre polyester
Reasons to buy
+ Very inexpensive + Soft anti-allergy option 
Reasons to avoid
- Offers little support 

At just over £12 for two, these Silentnight Anti-Allergy pillows are a fantastic budget anti-allergy buy. 

What is it like to sleep on?

Great for allergy sufferers. The soft hollowfibre filling is antibacterial, and actively protects the pillow from dust mites. This helps to prevent allergies and keeps your pillow feeling fresh and clean. The cover is easy-on-skin microfibre polyester, and 

In case you were wondering just how good they could be at the price they're selling for, Silentnight anti-allergy fibres are approved by the British Allergy Foundation, which means they have the ultimate seal of approval. Buy them for yourself, an allergy-suffering partner or the kids, to eliminate those mysterious night-time coughs and itches. 

Silentnight rates the firmness of their pillows from one to 10, with one being very soft and 10 being extra firm. These anti-allergy pillows are rated as a four, which means they are of a medium comfort. 

Will it suit your sleep position?

In theory, this comfort rating makes them suitable for all sleep positions. But, compared to hybrid, memory foam and plumper feather and down pillows, we think this is a very soft pillow that’s ideal for front sleepers (see our mattress guide for stomach sleepers for more). For those in search of more support, perhaps side sleepers, or for anyone who like a pillow with more firmness, see the pillows above, or consider the Dunlopillo Super Comfort (reviewed below). 

Ease of care

The whole thing can be popped in the washing machine for easy cleaning. Use our guide to find out more about how to get rid of dust mites, too.

Best pillow for allergy sufferers: Dunlopillo Super Comfort pillow

5. Dunlopillo Super Comfort pillow

Best pillow for allergy sufferers: a high-end, high-performing pillow for allergy sufferers

Best for: Naturally allergy averting
Filling: Latex foam
Firmness: Firm
Cover: Removable knitted
Reasons to buy
+ Firm, supportive latex foam  + Antibacterial, antifungal and dust mite-repelling 
Reasons to avoid
- Expensive 

For the allergy-alleviating properties of the Silentnight pillows, but with the firmness and support of a hybrid or memory foam pillow, give this latex Dunlopillo Super Comfort pillow a try. 

What's it like to sleep on?

At night, it remains cool, dry and breathable in the summer, as you'd expect from latex; and it’s naturally antifungal, antibacterial, and dust mite-free, making it a really great choice for allergy sufferers, too.

Will it suit your sleep position?

Its medium firmness and depth – it was described as 'bouncy' by some of our reviewers – make it a good choice for side sleepers who like to sleep on a single pillow, but because it’s quick to adapt to your unique shape, it will suit back sleepers, too. 

Ease of care

This latex pillow is covered in a luxury removable knitted cover, which makes it easy to keep clean.

Have a look at our best latex mattresses, designed with allergy sufferers in mind.

Best pillow for neck pain sufferers: Mediflow Waterbase Fibrefill pillow

6. Mediflow Waterbase Fibrefill pillow

Best pillow for neck pain sufferers: a unique doctor-recommended pillow for reducing neck pain and improving snooze

Best for: Most adaptable
Filling: Water and polyester fibre
Firmness: Variable
Cover: 100% cotton removable
Reasons to buy
+ Adjustable firmness + Clinically proven to reduce neck pain 
Reasons to avoid
- Not for everyone 

Those of us old enough to remember the reign of the waterbed will be (rightly) dubious about a water-filled pillow, but bear with us. This unique Mediflow Waterbase Fibrefill pillow, with its water base, thermal insulating layer, and hypoallergenic polyester fibres, ranked best for reducing neck pain and quality of rest in a sleep study at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

What's it like to sleep on?

The biggest winner for us is its customisability: simply adjust the firmness using the water level to meet your preference: soft, medium, firm or something in between. 

The pillow is made with a 100 per cent hypoallergenic cotton shell encasing a sealed and insulated water pouch, which keeps the pillow at body temperature, with a comfortable Dacron Hollofil fibre layer on top. A note on the body temperature bit – if you're a sweaty sleeper or get very hot at night, this might be problematic.

How does it feel to sleep on? It's important to note that you need to ensure the water levels are right for your firmness preference and that you get all the air out of the pillow cavity before replacing the cap to avoid a 'sloshing sound' as you turn. It will also feel heavier than pillows with other fillings, even memory foam. Otherwise, the pillow was roundly praised for its neck-pain relieving properties, while others found it difficult to adjust to. There's a 30 day money-back guarantee if you can't get on with it, too.

Will it suit your sleep position? 

Whether you're a side, back or stomach sleeper – or a fidget who switches positions regularly – the water within the pillow moves with your head, meaning you won't have to adjust or fluff the pillow while you half-sleep. 

Ease of care

The cover can be slipped off an machine washed.

Best synthetic pillow: Silentnight Just Like Down Microfibre Pillow

7. Silentnight Just Like Down Microfibre Pillow

Best synthetic pillow: for that down feel without the down pricing, try this budget hollowfibre option

Best for: Value softness
Filling: Hollowfibre
Firmness: Soft
Cover: Microfibre
Reasons to buy
+ Great value down alternative + Very soft filling 
Reasons to avoid
- Doesn’t stay plump for long 

If you like the softness of down, but suffer from an animal allergy or asthma, object to using animal products, or just don’t appreciate being poked by feathers when the pillow starts to wear? Try this Silentnight Just Like Down Microfibre Pillow instead. 

What's it like to sleep on?

This pillow has a medium support rating, but we'd rate it as soft to medium. It's a good buy if you're an allergy sufferer, as we've said above: the 100 per cent non-allergenic, conjugated, spring hollowfibres are encased in a 100 per cent microfibre, smooth-as-silk cover. In other words, it's allergy-friendly soft support all the way. Plus, it's a budget friendly buy, so if you want the best pillow for a low cost – perhaps for a spare bed – it's a good choice. 

Will it suit your sleep position?

The hollow fibre filling is beautifully soft, making it suitable for sleepers of all descriptions especially back and front sleepers. Side sleepers might prefer something firmer and deeper. Otherwise, it's great all round, if you like a soft pillow. 

Ease of care

It's machine-washable. 

Best pillow pair: The Perfect Pair pillows by The Fine Bedding Company

(Image credit: The Fine Bedding Company)

8. The Perfect Pair pillows by The Fine Bedding Company

Best pillow pair: soft and welcoming, and ideal for back sleepers

Best for: Back sleepers who like two pillows
Filling: 100% Microfibre
Firmness: Soft/Medium
Cover: Microfibre
Reasons to buy
+Great for anyone who loves soft support+Two pillows packaged as the perfect pair
Reasons to avoid
- Top pillow doesn’t stay plump for long - Not deep enough to please side sleepers

For those who prefer a pair of pillows that can be moulded around them while they sleep, it's a great idea to buy a pair of pillows designed to complement each other. The Perfect Pair has been designed exactly for this purpose. 

What are they like to sleep on?

The top pillow is a soft pillow for comfort, the bottom, square edged pillow is firmer for support. However, when we say 'firmer' we wouldn't class this pillow as anything other than medium/soft and, as a pair, they feel soft. 

Will they suit your sleep position?

That doesn't mean they're not supportive if you're lying on your back; in fact, they're perfectly comfortable for that sleep position. But for side sleepers with neck ache, you'll need something that's deeper – or at least a pillow that retains its shape better while you swap from side to side. And while we found that the bottom pillow has held its shape over time, the upper, softer pillow became softer and squashier still.

Ease of care

The big upsides to these pillows are that they're hypoallergenic and fully machine washable, making them a great choice for allergy sufferers.

BBHugMe pregnancy pillow

(Image credit: BBHugMe)

9. BBHugMe

The best pregnancy pillow: scientifically engineered to offer superior support for side sleeping

Best for: Natural side sleepers
Shape: Full length pillow
Filling: TOXPROOF certified and food grade expanded polystyrene (EPS) beads
Firmness: Soft medium
Cover: Cotton, spandex jersey
Reasons to buy
+Temperature regulation, ergonomic, adjustable, great for those who move a lot during the night
Reasons to avoid

Recommended specifically by midwives, the award-winning BBHugMe is our pick of the best pillows for pregnant women. It’s also perfect for use once your baby is born, to support your neck and shoulders while nursing. 

What are they like to sleep on?

The ergonomically designed, pressure-relieving pillow has a unique five-point support and comfort where you need it most: your belly, pelvis, knees, lower back and ankles. Our (pregnant) reviewer remarked on the pillow’s squish-ablility and supportive filling, but we have noticed other reviews online remarking on the space it takes up in bed. 

However, in the words of one of our (non-pregnant) reviewers, sleeping with pregnancy pillows is like 'sleeping with another body in the bed'. They are bulky as a whole, and their presence does take some getting used to. 

Will it suit your usual sleep position?

If you move a lot during the night, this lightweight pillow will move easily with you. With in-built support it will, however, encourage you to stay in the recommended sleep position throughout your slumber.

Ease of care

The product cover is machine washable (max 40°C) with similar colours. 

See all our best pregnancy pillows in our dedicated guide.

Soundasleep speaker pillow in packaging

(Image credit: Sounsasleep )

10. Sound Asleep Original Sleeper Pillow

The best speaker pillow: perfect for the restless or noise sensitive...

Best for: Anyone who likes to listen to music/white noise at bedtime
Shape: Full length pillow
Filling: Polyester hollowfibre and polyester microfibre
Firmness: Medium
Cover: Quilted microfibre
Reasons to buy
+No more awkward headphones in bed+Smart alarm incorporated+Sleep analysis provided
Reasons to avoid
-Some reports that partners could hear the music, too

The Soundasleep plays your music, audiobooks and podcasts, all without disturbing your partner. It will even manage your snoring, analyse your sleep and its smart alarm will wake you up gently. 

What's it like to sleep on? 

The quilted microfibre cover means you’ll rest your head in comfort and is an effective cushioned protection for the technology within.

What about the smart technology?

This pillow contains a multi-function button, a zip pocket that hides the micro USB charging cable and the Bluetooth speaker. You can use it to connect to your favourite apps; it's compatible with thousands to enhance your sleeping experience. 

As well as connecting the pillow to your favourite apps, you can listen to music, podcasts and audiobooks, or explore the world of meditation and relaxation via the Soundasleep app. 

The snore management function allows you to track and control your snoring by sounding a set decibel level controlled alarm that gently wakes you. 

There's an eight hour battery life and a mindfulness function. See our full review in our speaker pillow feature.

Our pillow testing process:

Our pillows are each tested over a few weeks by our Ed in Chief, Lucy Searle, who then passes them around her family and friends to bring you real-life opinions on what each one is really like to sleep on. Each sleeper chosen has different preferences and sleep positions, and as a group they range in age from 12 to 52. Plus it's not a one-night opinion you're getting: each pillow is given at least a week per person, unless, of course, they find it unbearably uncomfortable.

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