The best pillows for a comfortable night's sleep

Between memory foam, duck down, and even water pockets, there’s a lot more to pillow shopping these days — read our list of the best pillows and find your favourite for a comfortable, pain-free night’s kip

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From fibres and foam to fillings and firmness, there’s a surprising amount to consider when it comes to finding the perfect pillow. Luckily, we’re here to help with our round-up of the best pillows on the market, and a little advice on what to look for.

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What to consider when buying a pillow

Natural fillings are a traditional choice that have stood the test of time, and for good reason. Duck and goose feathers and down — the soft, fluffy, non-flight feathers found on the bird’s breast — feel soft and luxurious, giving you that extra-cosy sensation of sinking into your pillow. They, along with sheep’s wool, another popular naturally-sourced filling for pillows, are naturally heat-retaining, which makes them ideal for people who get chilly in the 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 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.

1. eve Memory Foam Pillow

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 buy offers all the benefits of memory foam while addressing its more commonly cited drawbacks, such as overheating. The hypoallergenic foam and antimicrobial UltraFresh finish mean that everyone can benefit from its comforting and muscle-aligning properties. However, it might take some getting used to as it’s far flatter than your average memory foam pillow. Luckily, there’s a 30-day trial, so if that’s a deal-breaker, you can send it straight back. 

2. Snuggledown Scandinavian Duck Feather and Down Pillow

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, these traditional feather pillows are an ideal meeting of luxury feel and affordability. 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. It’s even light and flexible enough to take on the road for comfort on a long car journey. All it needs is a good shake every now and then to plump it up and improve the loft.

3. Silentnight Anti-Allergy 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 budget anti-allergy pillows are a fantastic buy. The soft hollowfibre filling is antibacterial, the cover is easy-on-skin microfibre polyester, and the whole thing can be popped in the washing machine for easy cleaning. Buy them for yourself, an allergy-suffering partner or the kids, to eliminate those mysterious night-time coughs and itches. However, this is a very soft pillow that’s ideal for front-sleepers, but not those in search of more support. For more firmness, consider the Dunlopillo Super Comfort. 

4. Dunlopillo Super Comfort

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 memory foam, give this Dunlopillo pillow a try. It’s far more expensive for just one pillow, so only consider it if there’s room in the budget, but it ticks all the boxes. It’s quick to adapt to your unique shape; it remains cool, dry and breathable in the summer; and it’s naturally antifungal, antibacterial, and dust mite-free.

5. Mediflow Waterbase Fibrefill Pillow

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 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. The biggest winner for us is its customisability: simply adjust the firmness using the water level to meet your preference. 

6. Silentnight Just Like Down Microfibre 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 “Just Like Down” pillow instead. The hollow fibre filling is beautifully soft, making it suitable for sleepers of all descriptions including front-sleepers, and the whole package is budget-friendly and machine-washable, another improvement on higher-maintenance and higher-priced down. Great all round, if you like a soft pillow. 

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