We Tested 24 Popular Pillows — Here Are Our Honest Reviews

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From editor-tested bedding to the latest in sleep tech, we've got everything you could ever need for better sleep. Welcome to New Year, New Sleep.

Between memory foam, organic bamboo, activated charcoal, and duck down, there is an endless list of specs that you can now find in a pillow. But which ones are actually worth the hype? The Hunker team spent the last few weeks testing out a ton of different pillows to get to the bottom of it. (It's hard work, we know, but someone's gotta do it.) Before you buy a buzzy new pillow, check out our thoughts below.

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PlushBeds Sateen White Goose Pillow, $338

Who:​ Lowe, side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ It's filled with European White Goose Down (which just sounds fancy). And apparently, medium-firm feather pillows are excellent for side sleepers. The sateen cover also seemed pretty luxe.

Review:​ I went with the queen option because this pillow has a tendency to slip and slide around in a pillowcase (mine is a standard/full-size BTW). I do think it works wonders for my neck and back pain. I also think it's equally good if you occasionally sleep on your back like me. No matter which way you turn, your head sinks into the down perfectly. And when you wake up in the morning, the pillow isn't completely flat, which was a concern of mine. The only thing I don't completely love about this pillow surprisingly is the sateen cover. I thought it would be great and help keep me cool during the night, but it's just a little too slippery. Sometimes, the pillow pops halfway out of the case. I think adding a zippered pillowcase would be a super easy fix for this, though. And the minor inconvenience is honestly worth the overall comfort.

Overall grade:​ A

Coyuchi Turiya Organic Latex Pillow, $118

Who:​ Leonora, stomach sleeper

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Why we chose it:​ The description is impressive and it's a Coyuchi bestseller: "It's designed for proper spinal alignment, relieving pressure on your head and neck. With the Serenity Pillow, you feel as if your head is cradled in air, an unparalleled sense of comfort that helps you sleep better and longer."

Review:​ As a stomach sleeper, I was really excited about this pillow because it has this large head-shaped hole. My assumption was that, if I was on my stomach, the hole would hold my neck properly (the main concern for stomach sleepers is we have a weird neck-twist thing we do when we sleep, so you kind of need a pillow that's on the flatter side). Turns out, that hole (which is buttressed by two smaller holes) is actually the bottom of the pillow. I tried sleeping on the pillow both ways (hole up, hole down) and each time was pretty terrible. It felt like, even on my side, my neck was positioned way too high for my body, and because it's a certified organic latex (foam-like texture) pillow, it weighs weirdly on your arms if you like to position an arm underneath your pillow. I tried it for three nights, all of which were fairly un-restful, and I had to throw the pillow off the bed on the last night. (This review was written in March 2020.)

Overall grade:​ C

Who:​ Katie, side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ Since Leo gave this pillow a low grade and review (seen above), Coyuchi actually gave this pillow an entire rebrand — including a new name, updated instructions, and more clarity (A+ for brand awareness) — and implored us to try again. Now dubbed the Turiya, meaning pure consciousness, this pillow is best for side and back sleepers who struggle with neck pain and pressure on their head. Full disclosure: They do recommend users try this out for a full 30 days to get used to the unique shape, but I only tried it for about a week.

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Review:​ As mentioned above, I was slightly skeptical after Leo's review. But, as a side sleeper who struggles with both neck pain and fear of face wrinkles, I was game to try anything. Usually, I do sleep with a ton of fluffy pillows cradled around me as I toss-and-turn all night, but to give this pillow a thorough try, I removed everything else and tried this on its own. At first glance (Leo was right), this is a very strange looking pillow. It has a large head-sized divet in the center and two smaller holes on the sides made to relieve pressure when on your side. When the head hole is face down (as it should be if you're on your side), you can barely feel it, but your neck is getting extra support, which I desperately need. I could feel the smaller ear holes on the sides, but they were actually quite nice and seemed to "squish" my cheeks and face less. While it definitely felt pretty flat on the first night — especially compared to my usual mountain of pillows — I was shocked to find my neck ​way​ less sore the next day. If you love the feeling of fluffy pillows, this is probably not the one for you, but if you're looking for a serious solution to neck pain and wrinkles from side-sleeping, I highly recommend this one.

Overall grade:​ B+

Molecule Martex Purity Stay Fresh Pillow, $69

Who:​ Eva, toss-and-turn sleeper

Why we chose it:​ It's designed to be both comfy and antibacterial.

Review:​ If you love that cool side of the pillow feeling, you will most likely LOVE this pillow. From the second you put the pillowcase on, it feels smooth and cold against your face. It's also just really comfortable, mostly for people that like their pillows on the fluffier side. The pillow was designed to prevent "odor-causing bacteria" to give you "better sleep hygiene." It's hard to track if that's actually the case since I'm not super versed in the science of SILVERbac Technology (basically, silver particles). I did notice I didn't break out as much as expected during the holidays (because of all those cookies) but it's hard to say if that's because of the pillow.

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Overall grade:​ B+

Brooklinen Firm Down Pillow, $69

Who:​ Dennis, back sleeper (Author's father)

Why we chose it:​ This is the most supportive pillow that Brooklinen offers. It's meant for side sleepers who need alignment in their back, neck, and head.

Review:​ This pillow started out great — it was cool, fluffy, and felt especially supportive. As the night went on though, I found myself turning and flipping the pillow over the "fluffy" side to get more support. I think I may have been extra sensitive though because a) my regular pillow is king-size and I was testing out a standard size, and b) I recently injured my shoulder and have been more sensitive while sleeping in general. Overall, it was a very solid, comfortable choice. If you're looking for a supportive, "standard" pillow, this is a great pick.

Overall grade:​ B+

The CBD Pillow, $129

Who:​ Laurie, side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ CBD, of course.

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Review:​ I really like this pillow! I don't know if it's because I love all things CBD-related, but I'm into this. It's on the denser side, but the memory foam allows my head to sink in just right while supporting my neck at the same time. It's comfortable. Once you open the packaging, the directions suggest that we throw it into the dryer for 20 minutes to fluff up the gel memory foam (and also to get rid of that new pillow smell). You can also customize it to make it less firm or less tall, but I've kept it as is. The cover is infused with CBD, so that's where the magic is. They say that we can put a pillowcase over the pillow to dampen the effects of the CBD, but I don't really notice anything overwhelming about it. Sometimes I use a pillowcase just because it looks pretty, and sometimes I don't. It's supposed to help promote all-night calm, which maybe it does? I can't really tell, but I will say that on the whole, I've been getting great sleep. But, that could also be because I use additional nighttime remedies to help me get those zzz's. One note that I read on their website: The CBD in the pillowcase lasts an average of six months, so it'll need to be replaced.

Overall grade:​ A

Who:​ Eva, toss-and-turn sleeper

Review:​ My quality of sleep can change pretty drastically from one night to the other just because of meds/if my cat is meowing at my face, so I really prefer a pillow that can put up with all my tossing and turning. This one promises to also help me sleep better but it's honestly hard to measure that super scientifically because, well, I'm asleep. One thing to note: The box does warn about a slight smell and I definitely notice it. I did not throw mine in the dryer, just fluffed it by hand. It's not a deterrent for me, but might be for someone with a sensitive sense of smell. It's definitely very comfortable and a great height without adjusting it. Edit: After using it for a couple of months, I did notice that it wasn't quite as fluffy anymore. I didn't seem to be falling asleep more quickly, although maybe that's because of current events more than anything. Not sure I would be tempted to invest in this (the price tag is higher than my usual budget) over others.

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Overall grade:​ B

Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Activated Charcoal Pillow, $89

Who:​ Aaron, stomach sleeper

Why we chose it:​ We were intrigued by the textured pattern and the memory foam.

Review:​ The entire pillow is covered in a textured pattern with various little arches of varying sizes and thickness. I don't know if the pattern is designed for a reason, it looks random, but I was excited to see if a pillow with that much texture could make a difference in my sleep. I was also excited to experience the firmness of the memory foam; typically I sleep on my stomach with a soft down feather pillow, [and] this was very different. Although I liked the texture pattern, I did not care for the firmness of the memory foam. The pillow was just too rigid and never really allowed my body to get into a comfortable position. Since I sleep on my stomach, the pillow ended up kinking my neck in an awkward position all night. Might be better for someone who sleeps on their back.

Overall grade:​ B-

Brentwood Oceano Gel Memory Foam Pillow, $109

Who:​ Katie, side sleeper

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Why we chose it:​ It's filled with a breathable Certi-PUR-US gel memory foam and polyester blend to provide the ultimate in comfort and cooling sleep.

Review:​ I received this pillow in a bundle with my Brentwood Home Oceano Mattress — full review on that here — and love it as much as I love the mattress. It's made out of the exact same material and feel, so naturally, they complement each other well, but it's always a good way to give the mattress a test-run without having to spend much. It's equally squishy and supportive from the foam, while also feeling plush and cozy like a down pillow. I'm a huge fan of this pillow and so is the rest of my family; they actually steal and pass this pillow around every time I leave it unattended — so be forewarned!

Overall grade:​ A

Brooklinen Plush Down Pillow, $99

Who:​ Maggie, toss-and-turn sleeper

Why we chose it:​ Brooklinen compares this to a luxury 5-star hotel pillow. If you're a stomach sleeper, this will keep your neck and spine aligned.

Review:​ I can't be the only person who loves sleeping in hotel beds. When this Brooklinen pillow was described as five-star luxury at home, I was all in. I tend to move around a ton as I sleep, so while I'm not exclusively a stomach sleeper, I thought this would help keep my neck and spine aligned as I tossed and turned. While it started out super fluffy and cozy, by the morning, it was pretty flat and I had to really fluff it up. I'm sure that's better for my neck in the long run, but it didn't feel as comfy as I would've liked.

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Overall grade:​ B

Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Wedge Pillow, $85

Who:​ Laurie, side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ Because it's a wedge! We were curious about sleeping with this pillow shape, plus we love the idea of a pillow with charcoal-infused memory foam.

Review:​ I'm a big fan of Brentwood Home products, so I was excited to try this. (I also have their Yoga bolster, which I highly recommend.) For me, this pillow didn't work for my regular sleep since it's a little too firm ... plus I was nervous about waking up with that pattern indented in my skin if I happened to turn on my side in the middle of the night. Not a good anti-aging look. But! I like this pillow for reading in bed, for giving a little extra lift and support while watching a movie from my living room floor, and also for elevating my feet. I'm a person with feet issues and need to raise them every once in a while, so this wedge offers great support. (Also, I think if I had a cold and was having difficulty sleeping, the pillow would be an ideal choice for keeping my upper body elevated for easier breathing.)

Overall grade:​ B+

Hülyahome Bamboo Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow, $39

Who:​ Gina, side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ The bamboo cover, coupled with shredded memory foam, was enticing.

Review:​ When I took this pillow out of its box, it was love at first sight. The super-soft bamboo cover and springy shredded memory foam fill had me convinced that this pillow and I were in it for the long haul. It's a pretty standard shape, sloped on each side, but the queen size is much more generous than your average pillow. It felt a bit lighter and fluffier than a traditional memory foam pillow on arrival, but it became quite dense after sleeping on it. There was no noticeable smell— a big plus for this material, which often has a chemical smell that needs several days to off-gas. Unfortunately, our love affair fizzled out at about midnight when I woke up on a flat, clumpy surface. I had high hopes for the shredded memory foam concept, thinking that it would have the flexibility and softness of a hotel-quality down pillow but with the extra support of memory foam. Unfortunately that wasn't really how it worked, as the foam didn't retain any support once the weight of my head was applied. On the plus side, it did come with an additional bag of the memory foam fill, which I used to fill out the pillow a bit more for night two. Alas, it still got flat and uneven within a few hours of sleep. This pillow might be good for a back or stomach sleeper who prefers a lower-profile pillow but unfortunately I can't recommend it for a side sleeper.

Overall Grade:​ C

Slumber Cloud Cirrus Pillow, $79

Who:​ Elise, stomach sleeper

Why we chose it:​ This pillow is constructed with NASA-engineered cooling technology (the same that's used in spacesuits!) to combat heat.

Review:​ The cooling technology is what really sets it apart from others. I get very hot when I sleep so the heat absorbency of the pillow helped me sleep comfortably — it felt like a constant "flipped-over pillow."

Overall grade:​ A

Avocado Green Pillow, $79

Who:​ Colette​,​ stomach sleeper

Why we chose it:​ It's organic, non-toxic, and vegan. It's good for you and the earth!

Review:​ Since I am a stomach sleeper, I am usually wary of anything but feather pillows since memory foam pillows are usually too firm for me. When I first opened the rolled pillow, I was sure I wasn't going to like it due to the familiar feel to memory foam. Well, I was wrong. I love this pillow — it was soft and squishy like my feather pillows, but I didn't have to fold it in half to give me the extra support for my neck. There was a slight new pillow smell, but I am sure it will air out. I definitely recommend this awesome pillow for all.

Overall grade:​ A+

Parachute Down Alternative Side Sleeper Pillow, $89

Who:​ Katie, side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ A bestseller for the brand, this pillow is designed with a 3.5-inch gusset to take the strain off the neck and shoulders, plus it features a 100% hypoallergenic down alternative fill for those who suffer from allergies.

Review:​ I constantly have a sore neck; I also sleep with 1 million pillows (real count: six), so I probably have only myself to blame. What can I say? I like to be surrounded by fluffy comfort. I first tried using this pillow on its own since it's ergonomically designed to help keep the neck in the right position. I can't say that I felt a huge difference in neck pain — which probably means my posture while working and texting is the real culprit — but I did miss having a more elevated head position while sleeping. Once I added in my usual layering of this on top, I felt more comfortable, although again, my neck didn't feel any better. Overall, the pillow has a nice density and squish factor, which I appreciated.

Overall grade:​ B+

Allswell 'The Supreme' Pillow, $82

Who:​ Colette, stomach sleeper

Why we chose it:​ What's interesting about this pillow is that the memory foam part of the pillow is zipped inside of the outer white duck down filling to provide contouring and medium-firm support, while still also feeling fluffy.

Review:​ I am a stomach sleeper and love to be surrounded by tons of pillows. I usually choose all down pillows but decided to give the down and memory foam combo a try. The packaging for this pillow was sleek. When I opened the box, there was no strong odor or off-gassing, which was a relief because I dislike strong odors of any kind. I pushed my usual mountain of feather pillows to my husband's side of the bed and snuggled in for the night. The Supreme Pillow isn't as plush as I had hoped, and since I am a stomach sleeper, the memory foam was a little too firm for my liking, but my husband is a back sleeper and really likes it, so we will keep it!

Overall grade:​ B-

Helix Ultra-Cool Pillow, $85

Who:​ Jesse, side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ It features phase change material, which means it absorbs and regulates excess heat to keep hot sleepers cool. It even has an icy blue hue to really sell the chilly factor.

Review:​ I thought at first I liked it; it was light blue and gave the idea of a "cooling effect," so I was excited to try [it]. After laying on it for a bit, I felt like it was a little too much stuffing in the pillow. I generally like my pillows to be flatter and felt it was giving my neck a cramp. Back to my old pillow.

Overall grade:​ B

Layla Kapok Pillow, $99

Who:​ Lowe, side sleeper who usually sleeps on the couch

Why we chose it:​ This pillow promises to make you feel like you're floating on a cloud. Plus, it's supposed to stay cool, feel super plush, and offer crazy support all night long. Of course, we were intrigued.

Review:​ I don't have the highest standards when it comes to pillows. In fact, I usually just fall asleep on the couch with tiny throw pillows that do absolutely nothing to support my neck. It's painful, yes, but you get used to it. These Layla pillows encouraged me to actually sleep in my bed, though. So that's the first plus; having proper pillows and a mattress seemed to make my poor neck and back feel less strained in the morning. But was I actually sleeping on a cloud, like Layla claimed I'd be? The answer is a soft no. I did, however, enjoy the squishiness of the memory foam. My face and neck felt like they were being subtly cradled, and I like being cradled (as long as it's subtle). Those declarations about the Kapok's innate cooling effect seem legit, too. I never flipped my pillow over, but I think the pillow stayed fresh and crisp. I want to keep testing these guys, but they could be a good buy (if you're really into splurging).

Overall grade:​ B+

Crane & Canopy Down Alternative Sleeper Pillow, $40

Who:​ Lacey, mostly a back and side sleeper, occasional stomach sleeper.

Why we chose it:​ One of the brand's bestsellers, this pillow is advertised as luxuriously fluffy and best for side and back sleepers.

Review:​ I have fallen asleep and woken up in pretty much every sleeping position out there, so it's hard to nail down exactly what kind of sleeper I am. I tend to gravitate towards solid memory foam pillows — adaptive enough to mold to my head/face while supportive of my neck in whatever position I end up in. I decided to branch out though, and give this down alternative pillow a go. I love that it's high and lofty, but also soft enough that my head sinks in so I don't end up with a crick in my neck the next morning. Is this what having clouds around my ears would feel like? I'm into it. While this doesn't beat my current favorites, it's certainly comfortable and I would recommend it if you're looking for a simple, reliable pillow.

Overall grade:​ B+

Brooklinen Mid-Plush Down Pillow, $69

Who:​ Annie, back sleeper

Why we chose it:​ This is described as "the perfect balance between softness and support," perfect for back-sleepers.

Review:​ I want to preface this by saying I've pretty much already found my dream pillow situation — two thin but comfy pillows — so I'm a tough critic. This one felt fluffy to start but started to get thinner and thinner as the night went on. It was definitely very comfortable (and I'm probably just too used to my current situation), but was ultimately too thin to use on its own and too thick to use with a second pillow. Back to my previous set-up!

Overall grade:​ B

Pluto Pillow Customized Pillow, $85

Who:​ Katie, side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ It's a fully personalized pillow that fits your specific body stats, how you sleep, and what you like.

Review:​ As I filled out the questionnaire, I didn't really know what to expect. It asked me general sleep questions like preferred head elevation, squishiness vs. firmness, and usually sleeping position, but also things like my height, weight, and my preferred pillow surface. Once I actually used it though, I quickly realized that those questions are vital. The pillow is everything I never knew I needed in a pillow. One side feels more like down, while the other feels more like memory foam, but the combo of the two is perfectly comfortable and supportive on my neck. It also has a subtle cooling feel to it, which is always a pleasant surprise.

Overall grade:​ A

Sleep & Glow, $165

Who:​ Jonathan, back and side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ We were curious about the anti-aging angle to this pillow. It says that it fights sleep wrinkles, reduces puffiness, and has a head and face cradle for back or side sleeping.

Review:​ Sleep is everything to me. The mattress, the duvet, the pillows — they all have to be just right. Up until now, there wasn't a pillow that was both comfortable AND easy to use. Enter the Sleep & Glow. I'm a believer. It cradles my head just right whether I'm on my back or side. Gone are the days of piling up several pillows to get just the right angle. This pillow knows how your head and neck want to be. It just ​knows​! The best thing: my normal neck stiffness in the morning is completely gone. Evaporated — just like the rest of the pillows I no longer use! (As far as the anti-aging claim, I haven't noticed a difference in my skin, wrinkles, and so forth. But maybe just getting better sleep is the best anti-aging solution of all.)

Overall grade:​ A

Indulgence by Isotonic Pillow, $29.99

Who:​ Leonora, stomach sleeper

Why we chose it:​ It says it's specifically for stomach and back sleepers. Also, the "feels like down, sleeps like down" tagline was selling (it's synthetic, [which is] so good if you have allergies).

Review:​ This may not be news for you, but stomach sleepers need a pillow that doesn't add much height, otherwise your neck is twisting in a really bizarre way. Yet I think we often feel like our flat pillows don't offer much comfort, which is what attracted me to this luxe-looking pillow. It does have a really pleasant effect as you first sink into the pillow, but it still left me feeling like my head was in a slightly uncomfortable position.

Overall grade:​ B

Avocado Molded Latex Pillow, $99

Who:​ Colette, stomach sleeper

Why we chose it:​ Created for back and side sleepers, it is molded from a charcoal-infused latex core and regulates temperature.

Review:​ I like the feel of this pillow, it's softer than other memory foam pillows and is more pliable. Although I am a stomach sleeper, I was able to find a comfortable position and did not wake up with a kink in my neck as I usually do with most molded type pillows. I like that it's easily washable and there was no smell.

Overall grade:​ B

Helix Adjustable Pillow, $85

Who:​ Paul Anderson, side sleeper

Why we chose it:​ Each pillow comes with a removable memory foam insert "mini-pillow," so you can adjust the height of the pillow and find your most comfortable loft. This also ensures it's a good pillow for all types of sleepers.

Review:​ The construction, material, and overall quality felt really great. I've never seen a pillow with the versatility of inserts, so I was intrigued by the concept. However, I realized that I need a super-dense pillow for my head ... I'm a side sleeper and it didn't keep enough of its shape to keep the bend in my neck level even, so I moved it over to be more of an accessory pillow ... I'm into having a lot of pillows, so it's a nice addition, but I won't be using [it] for my main head pillow.

Overall grade:​ B+

Wamsutta Dream Zone Synthetic Down Pillow Sleeper, $69.99

Who:​ Eva, toss-and-turn sleeper

Why we chose it:​ Comfy and great for back/stomach sleepers.

Review:​ I am a sucker for fluffy pillows so I was excited to try this out. It's pretty large (my partner's two pillows were still shorter than this one) and very comfy. I would say it's about medium-firm — still plushy, but definitely would kinda hurt in a pillow fight. It's marketed as being for back/stomach sleepers, so I tried to lay on my side first just out of curiosity. It's definitely not good for that. The height of it made my neck feel weird. I fell asleep on my back and it was comfy but still fell almost too tall and fluffy. It definitely wasn't so bad that I woke up with neck pain or anything but it was a little hard to settle in at first. A caveat here: I'm petite (less than 5 feet tall!), so I'm sure the experience would be different for someone taller. It honestly wasn't my favorite but that's just a personal thing. If you want one of the fluffiest/tallest pillows in the land I would recommend it. Especially if you haven't been able to find one that works for you.

Overall grade:​ B+

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Katie is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers shopping trends, deals, and product reviews for Hunker. She's written for PureWow, Food Network, and Well+Good. When not online shopping, you can find her collecting vintage glassware or rewatching Nancy Meyers' movies for design inspo.

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