No feeling is more satisfying than laying your head on your pillow for a good night’s rest. The problem with rounding up a bunch of the “best pillows” is that not everyone will love the same kind of pillow. Your pillow preference will depend on more factors than we can count. Whether you’re a side sleeper, back sleeper or stomach sleeper or something in between will dictate the best pillow for you so you don’t wake up with a sore neck. Softness and firmness levels also play an important part in choosing the right pillow for you. Some would prefer their heads sink in like quicksand, while others would prefer to sleep on something more brick-like.
From crowd-pleasing adjustable pillows to ones that are just really comfortable to sleep on no matter your sleep habits, these are our picks for the best pillows of 2021.
More Great Pillows
The Short List
Coop Eden Pillow
Adjustable pillows are the future of all pillows. They’re practically a one-size-fits-all option for someone who literally has no idea what kind of pillow they want. Coop’s Eden is one of the best on the market. The pillow is filled with shredded memory foam that you can remove or add (a pillow comes with a half-pound of the stuff) until you hit your desired firmness. Out of the box, the Eden is plush and thick, so adding more of the additional shredded memory foam feels like it could be a bit of overkill (and it might make it hard to stuff the pillow into a pillowcase). Because the memory foam is shredded, it allows it to better contour to your head for a more tailored fit. The outer cover, derived from bamboo, of the pillow is cool and breathable, as well as machine washable.
Sleep Number Ultimate Comfortfit Pillow
A $130 is something to balk at until you realize it offers some of the best sleep you’ve ever had. Many adjustable-fill pillows give you the option to remove shredded memory foam straight out of the pillow. The Sleep Number Ultimate Comfortfit pillow instead uses three layers of sealed fill, which takes away the mess associated with other adjustable pillows. Our tester notes that “with the addition of down alternative complementing the shredded foam, the pillow is softer than [his] previous pillow, which used shredded foam exclusively.” He found it to be soft and supportive, and recommended it for those who don’t know what kind of pillow they want. As Sleep Number recommends, use one to two inserts if you’re a stomach sleeper, and two to three inserts if you’re a back or slide sleeper.
Brooklinen Down Pillow
Brooklinen’s down pillow is available in three firmness levels: plush, mid-plush and firm. Each option comes with its own fill designation whether it’s completely filled with soft clusters of down or mixed with straight-up feathers for support. It has a hotel-quality plushness to it with enough give so it doesn’t feel like you’re sleeping on a block. It’s also made in Canada, which has nothing to do with the quality of the pillow, but could be a bonus for those looking to shop Canadian. It’s not machine washable, which is a bit of a downer, but you can dry clean (not recommended) and spot clean the pillow.
More Great Pillows
Like its innovative mattresses, Purple’s pillow utilizes the same funky gridded interior that makes it great for hot sleepers. Our tester was immediately taken by how cooling the pillow is thanks to its design. And if it wasn’t cooling enough already, the cover is made of mesh for even better air circulation. The pillow will always retain its shape, so there’s no need for fluffing every night, or ever at all really. Purple’s pillow also includes “boosters,” which sleepers can insert into the outer cover to get the perfect height for them. One thing our tester made an effort to point out is the pillow is a bit heavy, making it a dangerous weapon in a pillow fight.
Nest The Easy Breather Pillow
Like the Coop Eden pillow, Nest’s The Easy Breather is filled with shredded memory foam, which makes it great in all the same reasons the Eden is great. From its CertiPUR-US-certified foam fill to its eco-friendly Tencel blended cover, the pillow wants to be as good for the earth as it is for your sleep. While most pillows come in just standard, queen, and king sizes, Nest makes its pillow available in an additional junior and side sleeper sizes, the latter of which is notched in the center to accommodate your shoulder.
Avocado Green Pillow
Avocado’s whole brand ethos is about being green, so it makes sense its pillows are equally eco-friendly whether they’re organic or sustainably sourced. Another adjustable option, the Green pillow uses shredded latex ribbons and kapok fiber, a down alternative that’s softer, lighter and hypoallergenic. The interior is a bit messier than other adjustable pillows because it’s quite fibrous, but as a stuffing, it feels remarkable.
Pluto is literally made for you. No, really — you fill out a quiz on the website, and Pluto will run your answers through an algorithm to build a pillow with your specifications in mind. Depending on what you answer, the pillow will vary in height, density and cooling properties. While most pillows will let you choose from maybe one or two options from your pillow, Pluto offers over 35 variations, surely to meet your fickle sleeping needs. And if Pluto doesn’t nail the pillow on the first try, you have 100 days to let them remake it.
Authenticity50 Custom Comfort Pillow
Authenticity50 is one of our favorite sleep brands, and not just because its products are made in the US. The Custom Comfort pillows, named because they’re adjustable with shredded memory foam and microfiber, are comfortable to sleep on and offer great head and neck support. We like that the outer cover is washable, and there’s an inner liner to contain all of the fill so you can wash your pillow often, something you really should be doing more often. These pillows are always coming in and out of stock because of their popularity, so be sure to scoop some up before they’re sold out again.
Wavy is a new type of pillow that’s made of a gridded memory foam that’s — get this — completely machine washable. While we praise pillows that offer outer covers that are machine washable, you can throw Wavy into the washer and dryer, making it one of the cleanest pillows we could find. The memory foam is porous that lets air completely flow through — for breathability — and water — for machine washability. Wavy is a medium firmness pillow, which was our tester’s preferred firmness level. She praised the pillow’s support and lack of sinkage, as well as its ability to mold to her head. Her only qualm was the pillow’s smell out of the box, which took a couple days to dissipate. (Wavy also sells laundry detergents, which can also be used as shampoos or body washes, meant to infuse its pillows with calming aromas.)