Pillow Reviews: The Best Pillows of 2021

I Reviewed Over 90 Pillows, And Settled On Just Nine Options.

After 20+ years in the bedding industry inventing and building mattresses, we’ve watched pillow technology follow neck to neck with new advances in mattress design. There wasn’t much to choose from a few years back, but now, there are dozens of highly sophisticated pillows for virtually every kind of sleeper.

We’re going to give you the basics, the bullet points, and tell you where to buy our choices for the top 10 pillows available today. Not all pillows are created equal, and though we are all familiar with the old school fluffy dog eared rectangular pillow that your head collapses into, not many of us realize that, for one thing, pillows should be replaced frequently…like every year.

Neck and head support are probably more important than body support, and a comfortable pillow provides deeper, more restorative and energizing sleep. 

Considering we spend at least a third of our lives in bed, the other two thirds being largely dependent upon our time at rest, the lowly pillow is actually an extremely important purchase and should be given serious consideration. I know this personally from having sleep issues for decades, and although I have tried dozens of pillows through the years, I ultimately discovered that my body really only likes one or two of them to maintain my well oiled machine.  

“Patients come to me in pain, and I know their pillow isn’t keeping their neck aligned with their spine,” says Dr. Darren Pollack, chiropractor and medical director of DASHA Wellness & Spa. “Overtime, this wear-and-tear can cause muscle stiffness, tendonitis, nerve pain, herniated discs, and more.” If you’re shopping for a pillow, whether online or in brick and mortar stores, here are some helpful tips on how to make a good pillow choice. 

1. Recognize when it might be time for a replacement.

Pillows simply don’t last forever, so keep an eye out for lumps and sagging, but more than that, stains, smells, and signs of extreme use.  A pillow filled with shredded fill material or fiber will generally last only a couple of years, slowly mashing down until it takes on the consistency of a sleeping bag. A polyurethane foam pillow will compress and become less “sumptuous” feeling. 

Natural latex pillows will almost never need replacing because of failure of the material, however ALL pillows will collect dust mite egg casings, particulate matter, bodily fluids, and  allergens within two years. 

2. Get to know the materials.

“Down pillows tend to be the fluffiest, but a combination of down with feather will be less expensive,” says Sachs. Also, down pillows are probably the worst pillow you could own. Offering little or no support, they are notorious for bottoming out, require constant “repoofing” and are antiquated at best.

Memory foam, latex, and gel foam hybrid foam pillows offer support and yielding and many are computer designed based on data that includes head and neck placement, dynamic sleep data, and are even zoned in specific layers, sculpted to contour anatomy very specifically. Advanced fibers and fill techniques have resulted in pillows that instantly “repoof” and will not permanently sag or sink.

3. Consider how you sleep.

A pillow’s material can tend to determine how supportive it is, but its thickness makes a significant difference, too. This especially applies to foam pillows in general. If you are a back sleeper with sleep apnea, for example, you need a low profile pillow to keep your neck aligned with your spine to keep an open air way, rather than having your head cocked forward, making breathing difficult.

Side sleepers can function well with something a bit loftier and slightly thicker, though we recommend considering as low a pillow as you can tolerate. A 4-5″ tall pillow is generally considered the ideal for proper spine alignment. For GERD or other digestive issues, don’t rely on pillows to give you any relief. Consider a wedge for the underside of your mattress instead, that will elevate the head end of your bed about 10 degrees. 

“In general, side sleepers need a thicker pillow, stomach sleepers need a thinner pillow, and a back sleeper will fall somewhere in between, often much lower” says Natalie Dautovich, Ph.D., an environmental scholar at the National Sleep Foundation.

But it’s very possible you’re an exception to these guidelines. “It’s all about the position of your neck,” says Dr. Pollack. “It should align with your spine in a neutral position as you sleep.”

One final consideration…do you use a pillow for head support, or for between your legs support? For between your leg support, or body pillow support, there are specific products made for these applications.

While you can use a low profile foam pillows such as memory foam or latex for between the knees, often a body pillow is make using fill material like Fibrefill, down, or other synthetic and natural blends, and can be long, tubular shaped pillows. Our selection of the 10 Best Pillows below, focuses on head pillows.

4. Note how you’ll need to care for it.

“Before purchasing a pillow, check the care label to make sure you’re willing to wash it as recommended,” says Sachs. “Most are machine washable, but some are dry clean only, have front-loading machine restrictions, or only allow spot-treating. Your pillow will last longer if you wash it two to four times a year, and if you use a pillow protector to keep it clean and safe from wear.”

And absolutely, and we cannot stress this enough here at MBG, use a washable pillow protector for any pillow that cannot be washed. Today’s space age materials are breathable, don’t crinkle or make noise, and allow the pillow to actively ventilate, keeping it dry and fresh. Also, liquids cannot pass through these barrier type materials due to the osmotic nature of the film. Air can move in and out, but liquids can not.

5. Test it out before you commit.

Just like you would when you buy a mattress, you should rest your head on a pillow to see if it’s right for you. If you can, try it out for at least 10 minutes in the store, but if that’s not possible, test it at home before removing the plastic wrap. If you feel your neck tipping forward or backward, or have any other discomfort, return it. If you buy a pillow online, it’ll come with a money back trial, so you can test it out for a good week, and then keep it or return it. Give a pillow a solid seven day trial, though as your body will need to adjust to it, just like a mattress. 

6. You might not need the same type of pillow forever.

Health-related changes (like weight fluctuation, new aches and pains, or other changes in your body as you age) affect the type of support you need, says Dautovich. So if the type of pillow you’ve used for years is no longer comfortable, it’s time to consider something new.

If you stick with the rule of thumb regarding changing your pillow every couple of years, you will likely find newer and better pillows to choose from as time goes on and your body and sleep hygiene changes.

9 Outstanding Pillows To Die For, Selected By An Industry Pioneer And Manufacturer With 25 Years Of Experience.

NOLAH AIR FOAM PILLOW
 
One of the best overall pillows I’ve reviewed. Specialized breathable foam does not get hot. Made from Nolah’s proprietary AirFoam™ that feels soft and supportive for every sleeping position, without sinking and constant fiddling. The cover is made from 100% premium cotton infused with cooling phase-changing Outlast® material to keep you cool and comfortable all night. I’d give it 5 stars. Just $69 for a queen 20″x30″ pillow.
August 16, 2021
Z CHARCOAL INFUSED MEMORY FOAM PILLOW
Malouf is a company we love. Their pillows receive phenomenal reviews, and they are always integrating healthy, therapeutic components. Dough memory foam is infused with bamboo charcoal to regulate odor, humidity, and temperature. Offers unique shoulder recess designed specifically for side sleepers, ZONED TECHNOLOGY cradles head and supports neck. Charcoal infused for cool comfort. TENCEL breathable covering. Certi-Pur safe foam.NEVER develops that pesky head smell, either. Click here to purchase or to have a look.
August 16, 2021
PRICELESS LUXURY PILLOW
Have you been looking for a pillow that is so Snuggly, Cuddly, and Irresistibly Soft and Comfortable that you never want to get out of bed? A pillow that you will just “melt into”? Your search is finally over! Priceless Pillow is the mastery of the world’s BEST pillow engineers, pillow designers, pillow craftsmen, and pillow materials experts. It is the most comfortable pillow you will ever sleep on! $60 each. I like the buoyant yet slightly immersive feel, excellent neck support. Click here to purchase or to take a look.
August 16, 2021
NIGHT OXYGENATED MEMORY FOAM PILLOW
The frigging most awesome pillow we’ve seen. Celebrity cult following. Self-Adjusting Memory Foam, lighter and airier than most brands I’ve seen. Optimal comfort and neck support. The ingredients are not fluff, either: they spandex silk (95% mulberry silk/5% spandex) formula to deliver optimal moisture levels for healthy, beautiful skin and hair. Intelligently Designed Black outer case. Signature black hue negates light acting like a built in sleep mask to promote deeper sleep. Made in USA. 3 Year Warranty. If you are not obsessed, you’ll get a full refund. $150 each. I tested them and went nuts! Order here.

August 18, 2021
PERFECT CLOUD DIAMOND REST GEL MEMORY FOAM PILLOW
A conceptual pillow using gel coated microfiber to prevent collapse. Deliciously comfortable. The luxurious feel of a down-filled pillow without the allergens and smell of real feathers; resistant to dust mites. Consistent filling does not shift or clump and has quick loft recovery. Queen size pillow measures 29″ x 16″. Check it out.

August 16, 2021

NECTAR MEMORY FOAM PILLOW
I would rate this pillow as the single best memory foam pillow sold on the web. It also happens to be the most popular pillow sold online. You can easily adjust the firmness level, too, as the pillow contains an inner compartment allowing you to add or remove the included inserts to control softness.Patented design. $75, 17” W x 29” L x 5.5” H  Take a look, reasonably priced and terrific reviews.

August 16, 2021
W HOTELS KING FEATHER AND DOWN PILLOW
Simply put, this is the W Hotels essential. Their feather and down pillow has earned a five-star reputation, thanks to its ideal loft and comfort. Our team stays in W’s all of the time and if we were evil, we’d shove them into our luggage… Amazing. Fluffy, plush, and totally covetable. Composed of 50% feathers and 50% down, Soft cotton cover, Machine washable, Made in the USA. Click here to buy or check them out.

August 16, 2021
THE TEMPUR-PEDIC SYMPHONY PILLOW
Simply put, the best memory foam pillow on earth. We’ve sold them, slept with them, and loved them for years. The temperature-symphony pillow is designed for all sleepers. Offers the conforming support only temperature material delivers, combined with comfort in a lightweight, beautiful design. $90 and worth it. Standard size measures 24X 17X 5. Click here to learn more and to buy today.

August 16, 2021
THE PURPLE PILLOW
You’ve seen it. Years ago, we tried to invent something similar. Extraordinary, truly a jelly like gel material made in a strangely futuristic matrix. I’m very familiar with this material and love the super buoyant sensation. “The Purple Pillow by Purple Innovations is made with Hyper-Elastic Polymer arranged in a head-specific Smart Comfort Grid” so it will never break down or lose its carefully formed shape. $109 each. Click here to order.

August 16, 2021