Finding the best pillows for a good night’s sleep should be easy. After all, there’s not that much science to finding a good pillow, right?
Well, as you may have come to realise if you’re tossing and turning at night squishing your current pillow into all kinds of shapes to try and get comfy, when it comes to pillows, one size does not fit all.
Just like when it comes to finding the best mattress, finding the best pillow for your best night’s sleep depends on several different factors. That includes your regular sleep position – i.e. whether you’re a front, back or side sleeper – if you suffer from any aches and pains, like neck pain, and what your pillow filling preferences are.
The good news is that we’ve done the hard work for you, and tried and tested multiple pillows from a wide range of brands pillows to find the cream of the crop. Our top recommendations are listed directly below, and we’ve broken down the basics of pillow shopping at the bottom of this guide. Happy snoozing!
Best pillows – tried and tested
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Best pillows overall
The Simba Hybrid pillow is a great all-rounder thanks to its adjustable fill which means each sleeper can alter the pillow's loft to best suit their sleep style. That means it works if you're a front, back, or side sleeper, and can mean it's a great option for offering to overnight guests (if you can bear to part with it).
Best memory foam
If you like a firmer place to rest your head then we think this is the crème de la crème of memory foam pillows. It's cooler-than-most sleep surface even converted our most memory foam-averse reviewers with many saying they now won't sleep without it.
Best natural fill
If you prefer to opt for natural materials over synthetics, then this wool-filled pillow with a quilted cotton case is a great buy, plus wool's naturally breathable qualities make it perfect for hot sleepers. Similar to the Simba pillow, it can also be unzipped to add or remove filling to adjust the height.
Best pillow for side sleepers
Thanks to its adjustable fill (a genius concept) multiple testers found this Simba Hybrid pillow option to be one of the best pillows for side sleeping support. Just add or remove the foam 'nanocubes' to make the pillow the correct height for you. That means this pillow can work just as well for back and front sleepers too, making it a great all-rounder. And whilst synthetic pillow fill can sometimes lead to overheating, Simba has addressed this with its 'astronaut-inspired temperature regulation' (that's coating the cotton pillow outer in a formula that absorbs, stores, and releases heat when you need it).
Memory foam pillows often divide opinions, with some loving the adaptive sleep surface and others less keen on the firmer feel. However, the Panda Hybrid Bamboo pillow converted even our most memory foam-averse reviewers, with this pillow scoring highly amongst all testers, especially our side sleepers. The cool and silky bamboo rayon top layer gives the pillow a luxurious feel, and our side sleeping testers found the malleable memory foam inner brilliant for spinal alignment several of our reviewers said they now won't sleep without it.
If you're looking for a classic feather and down pillow that's suitable for side sleepers, then this Scooms Hungarian Goose Down PIllow option is the best we've come across. It has a higher loft than most, making it a great height for side sleeping, and its tightly woven sateen cotton case not only makes it dust-mite and down-proof (so no escaping feathers) but keeps it super plump so you don't sink too low in the night. Inside is a combination of a supportive goose feather inner core surrounded by a softer, squashier layer of goose down that delivers that luxury boutique-hotel quality at home.
Side sleeping is by far the most popular sleep position, which is why we've done extensive testing to find the very best pillow for this sleeping style. You'll find more options, plus in-depth buying advice in our guide to the best pillow for side sleepers.
Best pillow for back sleepers
Similar to the Simba Hybrid Pillow with its adjustable foam 'nanocubes', Woolroom's Deluxe Washable Wool Pillow has a quilted cover that you can unzip to adjust the amount of wool filling inside. You can buy more wool fill to increase the height, (which side sleepers might find a necessity) but we found the default medium loft a great height for back sleepers. Better yet, the pillow is made from sustainable materials and is perfect for hot sleepers thanks to wool's naturally breathable thermo-regulating qualities.
If you're a back sleeper who enjoys a firm sleep surface then we think this high-density memory foam option, the Kally Sleep Neck Pain pillow could be one of the best pillows for you. It's designed to help side and back sleepers with neck pain, but once they adjusted to its firmness, our testers with no existing neck problems were just as impressed by its ergonomic shape that cradles the neck to offer optimum support during the night. It's also a great buy if you tend to switch positions during the night, with slightly higher headrests on either side of the pillow to cater for comfortable side sleeping.
This Luxury Hungarian Goose Down pillow from The White Company looks great on the bed, and once we rested our heads down we found it offers the perfect mix of squish and support. We tested the 'soft' version of the pillow which felt as dreamy as a cloud to lay our heads on, and turned out to be the perfect feather and down pillow for back sleepers, as once the weight of your head has expelled some air from the pillow, it becomes just the right height to keep the neck and spine aligned nicely. It won't be suitable for vegans, but both the feather and down are sourced from cruelty-free suppliers.
Best pillow for front sleepers
Front sleepers need a super soft, low loft pillow that won't raise the head too far from the bed and put unnecessary strain on the neck. A lightly filled feather and down pillow is ideal, and whilst you'll only want one of this two-pack Duck Feather & Down Medium pillows under your head at any one time, the airy duck feather and down fill is super squashy and ideal for getting comfortable on your front.
If you're a front sleeper who would prefer to avoid animal by-products then Simba's Hybrid pillow comes to the rescue. This versatile all-rounder is height-adjustable so you can remove as many of the foam 'nanocubes' inside the pillow as necessary to create the perfect height pillow for your front-sleeping needs. There's also a handy bag included for storing the excess foam fill.
Another great option, and similar to the Simba Hybrid Pillow with its adjustable foam 'nanocubes', Woolroom's Deluxe Washable Wool Pillow has a quilted cover that you can unzip to adjust the amount of wool filling inside. It sleeps firmer than our other two front sleeping options, but that naturally breathable wool fill is ideal for hot sleepers, plus its sustainable materials make it a winner for us.
Best memory foam pillow
Memory foam pillows often divide opinion, with some loving the adaptive sleep surface and others less keen on the firmer feel. However, the Panda Hybrid Bamboo pillow converted even our most memory foam-averse reviewers, with this pillow scoring highly amongst all testers, especially our side sleepers. The cool and silky bamboo rayon top layer gives the pillow a luxurious feel, and our side sleeping testers found the malleable memory foam inner brilliant for spinal alignment. In fact, several of our reviewers said they now won't sleep without it.
This one-of-kind pillow again converted even our memory foam cynics thanks to its dreamy sink-in sleep surface. Unlike most memory foam pillows that tend to be quite firm and 'block-like' in design, the Tempur Comfort Cloud pillow has a much more 'traditional' pillow shape and loft, which means it looks great in a pillowcase. It also suits a wide variety of sleepers, with our back and side sleepers all rating it highly. Just bear in mind that this memory foam pillow is far heavier than its name suggests – you'd definitely have an unfair advantage in a pillow fight.
Another entry from Panda, the brand's original memory foam pillow is a design that's amassed many positive reviews online. The pillow is higher than the Panda Hybrid Bamboo pillow, so whilst our back sleeping testers preferred the Panda Hybrid, it was very popular with our side sleeping testers who appreciated the extra loft. Without the quilted bamboo rayon upper layer, it doesn't feel as luxurious as Panda's Hybrid pillow, but it is nearly half the price, which makes it a great value memory foam option. Plus, its unzippable, washable cover is a bonus.
Best feather and down pillow
Generally considered to be the highest quality feather and down-filling money can buy, this Hungarian goose down pillow from The White Company delivers everything you expect from a high-quality feather and down pillow, with a plump shape that looks great styled on the bed, and a soft and squishy feel that delivers a real sense of luxury at night. We tested the 'soft' version of the pillow which felt as dreamy as a cloud to lay our heads on, but there's also a 'medium' firm pillow if you prefer more support.
The best feather and down pillow for side sleepers thanks to its high loft, this Scooms pillow has a plumptious fill that will deliver hotel pillow quality at home. It delivers that 'just right' mix of comfort and support thanks to a combination of a goose feather inner core surrounded by a softer, squashier layer of goose down, encased in a dust-mite proof high thread-count cotton cover that stops any filling from escaping. The result is a super plumptious pillow that our (non-vegan) testers loved sinking into.
Offering the luxe 'flumph' of down at a far more affordable price point, this two-pack of duck feather and down pillows from M&S is the best budget buy we've found. Other feather pillows at this price point have tended to clump or have uncomfortable feathers that stick through the casing, but not this option. Whilst the pillows are lower loft and not the same quality as The White Company or Scooms pillows, this is a great value set that still delivers a great squish factor for the price.
Best pillow for neck pain
In our opinion, the Kally Sleep neck pain pillow is by far the best pillow for neck pain of all the options we've tested. The ergonomic butterfly shape is specifically designed to support the cervical spine (the upper section that connects the head and back), to keep the head in alignment with the spine when back sleeping, and to support the natural curve of the neck and head whilst side sleeping. Our testers initially found the slow-rebound memory foam quite firm, but soon realised that was its winning formula. As one tester said, 'I recently pulled a muscle in my neck and this is the only pillow that could make me comfortable at night'.
Whilst Kally Sleep's butterfly pillow scored highly with most of our reviewers, a couple found it too low for their comfort, which is when this Zamat Butterfly cervical pillow came into its own. Offering ergonomic support that cradles the head and allows the cervical spine to rest in alignment, this is a slightly higher loft pillow that some of our testers found more comfortable, especially for side sleeping. It also comes with a removable pillow insert that gives you greater control over the pillow's height. The downside is it's not the most attractive, and you're unlikely to find a pillowcase to fit, although the outer cover is washable. Still, if it helps relieve neck pain, that's a small price to pay.
If your neck pain is caused by the wrong height pillow and you're struggling to find just the right depth to keep your neck and spine in alignment, then Simba's Hybrid adjustable fill pillow could be the solution. This boxwall pillow unzips so you can add or remove the foam 'nanocubes' that form the pillow's fill, enabling you to make it just the right height for you, whether you're a front, back, or side sleeper. And whilst synthetic pillow fill can sometimes lead to overheating, Simba has addressed this with its 'astronaut-inspired temperature regulation' (that's coating the cotton pillow outer in a formula that absorbs, stores, and releases heat when you need it).
Where to buy the best pillows
- Shop pillows at Marks & Spencers
- Shop pillows at John Lewis & Partners
- Shop pillows at Argos
- Shop pillows at DUSK
- Shop pillows at Dunelm
- Shop pillows at Kally Sleep
- Shop pillows at Panda
- Shop pillows at Soak & Sleep
- Shop pillows at The White Company
How to choose the best pillow for your needs
It's easy to think that there isn't much to choosing a pillow, which is probably why most of us grab the cheapest two-pack of pillows we can find on the shelves. However, once neck pain, overheating, or general discomfort enter the equation it soon becomes clear there's more to finding a good pillow than meets the eye.
Finding the best pillows – or best pillow, as most experts advise against sleeping with two – for your best night’s sleep depends on a variety of different factors. That includes your regular sleep position – i.e whether you’re a front, back or side sleeper – whether you suffer from any aches and pains, like neck pain, and whether you’re someone who tends to overheat at night.
There’s also your preference for natural materials – like cotton, down, feather, or wool – or synthetic materials – like memory foam or polyester – to factor in. Plus there’s sustainability to consider, and of course, the necessity to find the best pillows for your budget. You might also be desperately searching for an effective anti-snore pillow to silence a noisy bed partner. So what should you consider before splashing your cash in search of a better night's sleep?
Are you a front, back or side sleeper?
Your preferred sleep position is probably one of the biggest factors to consider when choosing the best pillows for you. As James Leinhardt, sleep & posture expert and founder at Levitex explains 'Choosing the right pillow for you is about ensuring the best possible sleeping surface for an optimised sleep posture', and that means considering your neck and spine alignment.
Whatever position you sleep in, if you imagine a thin pipe or tube (I like to think of a hosepipe!) running from the base of your spine to the top of your head, you want that tube to be straight with no kinks around the neck area. This means you don't want a pillow that's too flat – which will mean your head dips down forming a kink in the tube – or too high – which will force your neck to arch upwards adding a different kink to the spinal pipe.
The position you sleep in will largely determine the type of pillow you need to keep your spine aligned nicely straight.
Side sleepers – if you sleep on your side then you'll want a thicker pillow – or two thinner pillows – that lift your head enough to keep your spine and neck in alignment. Finding the best pillows if you're a side sleeper can be a challenge as everyone’s shoulders are different widths – wider shoulders mean you'll need more pillow height to keep your neck straight once you're laid on your side – so sometimes it can take a little trial and error to get the correct height. A boxwall or memory foam pillow can be a good bet here as they both provide a more structured pillow that offers height but prevents your head from sinking too much.
Front sleepers – this sleep position is generally the one most frowned upon by osteopaths as unless you faceplant your pillow you're likely twisting your head to either side which isn't great for your spinal alignment and puts pressure on the neck. However, as a front sleeper myself I know it can be a hard habit to break! Front sleepers will want a softer, thinner pillow that doesn’t lift the head too far from the bed.
Back sleepers – if you sleep on your back you’ll want a mid-height pillow that sits somewhere between a thinner front-sleepers pillow and a higher side sleepers pillow. Again it’s all about spinal alignment, you don’t want a pillow that forces the neck to arch too far upward or sink too deeply down. A memory foam pillow can offer good support, moulding to the neck to support this area, whilst allowing the head to sink slightly deeper.
Which filling is best for pillows?
Spend some time looking for a new pillow and you'll soon realise there are a whole host of pillow fillings available. From hollowfibre to goose down, synthetic to natural, the array of terms and materials can fast become a little overwhelming.
To help you get to grips with the basics, we've broken down the pros and cons of most common pillow fillings below.
First up, it's synthetic fillings. These pillows are filled with manmade fibres, like polyester and polymide that are made from petroleum-based plastics.
Confusingly many manufacturers 'invent' their own terminology to dress things up to sound a bit more fancy, but the basic synthetic options are hollowfibre, microfibre, and memory foam.
Hollowfibre – the cheapest pillows you can buy tend to be made of hollowfibre. Made of polyester wadding, a hollowfibre pillow is dense but lightweight. A hollowfibre pillow is affordable, easy to care for as it can generally be washed at high temperatures, and anti-allergenic, which makes it a popular choice for kid's bedding. However, over time this pillow is most likely to flatten and become lumpy. Synthetics can also cause overheating and night sweats as the plastic polymer fibres aren't breathable and reflect body heat back towards the sleeper, and neither production or disposal at the end of the pillow's life span (plastic is non-biodegradable) is good news from an environmental point of view.
Microfibre – the 'luxury' version of hollowfibre, a microfibre fill is made of much finer strands of polyester resulting in a very lightweight pillow with a, yes, more luxurious feel. Some compare microfibre to the feel of down, but it has the upside of not running the risk of animal cruelty. However, again, being made of synthetics, the environmental impact of production and disposal is a concern. Like hollowfibre, microfibre can also cause overheating.
Memory foam – synthetic, yet a very different beast to hollowfibre or microfibre, memory foam is a dense material that offers a much firmer sleep surface. Activated by body heat, memory foam has elastic qualities that help it to mould to your contours as you sleep. This can make it a good choice for back sleepers and those who suffer from neck pain as it ensures good support of the head and neck. However it tends to be expensive, and some can find it too hot. Like with all synthetics, there are also environmental concerns.
Then there are the more traditional, natural fillings to consider. These range from all types of feathers and down to wool filling.
Down – long thought of as the Holy Grail filling of all the best pillows, down creates the plump, squishy and super soft feel that we perhaps all associate with the classic pillow. This natural fill is also far more breathable than a synthetic option, making for a cooler sleep. However, sourced from either duck or goose on an industrial scale, the fill can raise concerns about animal cruelty. Down pillows also can't be washed, will need more plumping, and that luxury feel comes with a luxury price tag to match.
Feather and down – a more affordable alternative to pure down, a feather and down fill bulks out down's fine softness by adding some larger feathers into the mix. Goose feather and down tends to be the most luxurious mix, with duck feather and down the more affordable (yet often a little lumpier) alternative. Generally speaking, the more you spend on a feather and down pillow the better the quality, with some cheaper options resulting in escaped down and feathers that stick through the casin