12 of the best pillows for a sound snooze — no matter your sleep position

Our edit of the best pillows — tried-and-tested customizable options, plus highly-rated head supports we're keen to try

Best pillows stacked on pink and purple background
(Image credit: Future Studios / Philip Sowels)
Recent updates

This buying guide was last updated in January 2024. We've added three more options to the edit and provided helpful information on what to consider when choosing a pillow. Our reviewers are actively procuring more samples in the meantime to add to this list.

Best Pillows: Quick Menu

Not getting enough shut-eye? The best pillows will help you drift off to Neverlandand comfortably too. You want to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, don't you? 

If you're continually hitting "snooze" early in the morning, a variety of factors could be at play: dooming-scrolling TikTok into the early hours of the morning, too much caffeine during the day, etc. Oftentimes, we overlook the most likely culprit, a.k.a. an uncomfortably flat or lumpy pillow. And there's no time like the present to change that.

Whether you're eyeing memory foam pillows or considering bamboo pillows — there's something out there for everyone. Our team has literally slept on the job to find pillows matched to your sleep position, lifestyle, and budget. Pillows start from under $50, and go all the way to $199 for that first-class trip to Snoozeville.

The best pillows in 2024: how we chose, what's on sale, and more

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

All your sleep needs are right here. From discounted purchases to the best brands for all types of sleepers, our guide will put you one step closer to a restful night. (No more counting sheep!)  Just make sure to keep your memory foam pillows clean for the best night's sleep.

The best pillows in 2024

What to consider when choosing a pillow

Follow these five simple steps to find the very best pillow for you, because finding the best match for your needs is essential to sleeping well. You can find more helpful details in our guide to choosing a pillow.

1. How do you sleep?
Side sleepers
will need a plump, softer pillow: think cushy fill or softer memory foam. Stomach sleepers will need firmer, thinner pillows to hold their necks in perfect alignment. Back sleepers can find comfort on both sides of the spectrum with a medium-soft or medium-firm pillow or even foam pillows that align with the contours of their necks.

Think about where your pillow will sit beneath your head while you sleep. If you prefer having it fully beneath your head, you'll have the best success with a low- or medium-loft pillow. If you sleep with your pillow only partially beneath your head, you may want a pillow with a higher loft to feel supported.

2. How thick do you like your pillow?
This is called pillow loft, and 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 three inches thick, medium-loft pillows are three to five inches thick, and high-loft pillows are at least five inches thick.

3. It's what's on the inside that counts
Natural fillings, which include duck and goose feathers and down, feel soft and luxurious, giving you that extra-cozy 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. However, both options may need regular fluffing to maintain their loft. These aren't great for anyone who's in constant pursuit of the cool side of the pillow, though. Nor suitable for those who adopt a vegan lifestyle. For an eco-friendly, non-animal-based option, consider fillings such as cotton, buckwheat hull, Kapok seed pod, and bamboo.

If you like the softness of the down but not the heat, or you suffer from allergies or respiratory conditions, you can get synthetic fiber or gel fillings that mimic the feel. 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 for a reasonable price.

For those of us who need more support in bed or just prefer the feel of a firm pillow, there are latex and memory foam to consider. Helpful for sufferers of neck or back pain, they keep the spine and muscles correctly elevated and aligned for deep sleep and a pain-free morning. However, these may have a strong odor, which will disappear once it's had time to 'air' out. On the contrary, if moldability is a priority for you (for example, if you like to fold your pillow in half), then consider a shredded pillow filling.

Usually, most experts would recommend replacing your pillows after two years, unless they have become visibly worn before then. So buying a new pillow ensures you are sleeping on something supportive and clean, which is especially important if you suffer from allergies. Unfortunately, some covers and fill materials will degrade quicker than others so be sure to fluff your pillows regularly, and spot-check them for any wear and tear.

4. Good to know
Some of us prefer to sleep with two pillows (even though sleep experts recommend sleeping with one). Depending on whether you're team one or two — or maybe even three! — consider carefully which one you want to be your top pillow and how deep your pillow will be. Also, if you sleep next to a partner, what you find comfortable might not work for your other half. Your pillow choices can and should be entirely independent. Stomach sleepers might even benefit from sleeping without a pillow.

While not directly connected to comfort, here are some other things to consider:

How easy is it to source a sham? Some pillows (especially those that are aimed at those with back or neck pain), aren't made to fit conventional cases. If you're someone who likes their bedding accessories to coordinate, this may be an issue.

Can you wash pillows in the washing machine? The good news is that some pillows are so low-maintenance and don't need to be thrown in the washer (only their outer covers do). These removable sleeves often have a zip closure so you can remove and replace them with ease. Specifically, in the case of machine-washing memory foam pillows: don't. In 9 out of 10 cases, it's better to spot clean, hand wash (carefully), and don't even think about tossing it in the dryer. We've even got some innovative pillow-cleaning hacks for when your head support starts smelling a little sweaty. Our guide on how to wash pillows offers expert advice and tips on how to keep your pillows clean.

Price: Budgets differ across households, so how much you choose to spend on a pillow is entirely up to you. Duck and goose down requires careful processing, and this is often reflected in the price. On the other hand, polyester and synthetic options are far more accessible to those with tighter purse strings. FYI, we've got a separate guide on the best affordable pillows if you're feeling the pinch.

We'd always recommend investing in your sleep, but we know that not everyone has an unlimited budget for pillows. If you do have a chunk 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 cozy comforter or a fresh set of sheets. Our edit of the best bedding brands will help you find a brand that caters to your budget. 

Noise: Yes, really. While you might not immediately associate pillows with sound, rustling from pillow filling can be distracting when you're trying to drift off. If this is the case, go for a pillow with solid or densely-packed stuffing.

How we test pillows

Two pillows sitting on bed on chunky knit throw

Two pillows, from Coop Home and Comphy, in review

(Image credit: Future/Annie Collyer)

We're currently testing a whole bunch of pillows at Real Homes with help from the whole team. This way, we can get a verdict from all types of sleepers, whether they tend to sleep on their side, front, back, or even if they sleep hot or cold. These pillows are tested for a minimum of four weeks and during this time we make sure that we don't change anything else about our bedroom setup, apart from fresh sheets whenever needed, of course. 

While testing these pillows, we consider everything, including price, care, how easy they are to clean, and comfort, which is key. We try to sleep on them in different positions to get a good feel. We recommend each pillow based on the way that certain people sleep, so what is good for a side sleeper probably won't be the best for a front sleeper — unless it's adjustable!

Sometimes, we are unable to call in a particular pillow and rely on online reviews from customers who have bought the product instead. We note the good, bad, and ugly so you can make an informed decision and spend your money well. Given the personal nature of pillows, some items are non-refundable so we are careful only to recommend items we think you will want to keep.

Meet our pillow testers below:

Annie Collyer author image
Annie Collyer

Annie has been testing products for Real Homes since 2018 and has tested 10+ pillows. She sleeps on her side mostly, as she's currently pregnant so can no longer sleep in her normal sleeping position — on her stomach. Right now, she's sleeping on the Coop Home Goods Original Adjustable Pillow and she has her husband testing the Coop Home Goods Eden Cool + Pillow. She's working her way through all of the Coop Home Goods pillows you can buy, and she has a few more on her list, too.

Emily Lambe deputy editor of Real Homes headshot
Emily Lambe

Emily is our deputy editor and has been at Real Homes since 2023. She tends to be a side or front sleeper and right now is testing a bunch of stuff from bedding brand Helix, including its Helix Dream Pillow Set.

Christina Chrysostomou selfie
Christina Chrysostomou

Christina has been writing for Real Homes since 2021 and has tested everything from pillows to air fryers for us. She usually sleeps on her side and her front and has reviewed the Zamat Contour Memory Foam Pillow. Right now, she's in the middle of testing the Sweet Zzz Buckwheat pillow and has called in a sample of Marlow The Pillow.

Louise Oliphant author image
Louise Oliphant

Louise was previously our ecommerce editor, focusing on sleep buys. She currently works for our sister brand Homes & Gardens. As a side sleeper, Louise has tested both the Casper Original Pillow and the Saatva Latex Pillow.

Jaclyn Turner photo
Jaclyn Turner

Jaclyn used to be our sleep commerce editor, frequently testing out and staying up to date on all things mattresses and bedding. As a back sleeper who needs her full eight hours, she tested both the Slumber Cloud UltraCool Pillow and the Company Essentials LoftAIRE Down Alternative Pillow.

Selfie of Eve Smallman
Eve Smallman

Eve joined the team a few months ago but has dove into reviewing products for us. She sleeps on her back and side and often tosses and turns at night. She's sleeping on the Purple Harmony Pillow and is also testing its bed sheets and other sleep accessories. She intends to test the travel-sized Purple Harmony Pillow on her next vacation.


Which size pillow should I buy?

What is the standard pillow size? It's typically 20” x 26”. If you prefer a larger pillow, go for queen or king dimensions, just be mindful of pillowcase size.

When is the best time to buy a pillow?

We at Real Homes compare prices and provide insight using the Amazon price tracking site, camelcamelcamel, and Google Shopping. This allows us to see the lowest and highest prices recorded and provides guidance on the right time to buy a pillow. Typically speaking, some of the best times to buy are Black Friday and Cyber Week, but we've seen some impressive discounts at the time of updating this article.

Looking to give your sleep sanctuary some TLC? Here's how to give your bedroom a refresh

Annie Collyer
Head Ecommerce Editor

Hi! I'm Annie, and I'm the Head Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes. I've been part of the Real Homes team since 2018, when I joined as Deals Editor. Along with covering major sales events — from Black Friday to Amazon Prime Day — I review home must-haves so that you can buy with peace of mind. Mostly focusing on home fragrance and sleep, as well as a few vacuum cleaners, I've tested pretty much every item you can think of that you need in your home. I live on the outskirts of the city in a two-bed apartment with my husband and my pug, Doug. So I am always searching for compact alternatives and ways to save floor space. What about when I am not typing away? Well, you'll find me enjoying an iced coffee (no matter the season) and trying out the latest brunch spots the city has to offer, or booking my next holiday. Where else can you find my words? Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home, Gardeningetc, and Woman & Home.

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