We Tested 18 Popular Pillows — Here Are Our Honest Reviews

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Welcome to Sleep Week: From editor-tested bedding and slumber-friendly products to bed cleaning hacks, we've got everything to up your sleep game. 

Struggling to catch up on zzz's after Daylight Saving Time? Sleep Week is here to help. From editor-tested bedding and slumber-friendly products to bed cleaning hacks, we've got everything you could ever need to up your sleep game. Happy snoozing.

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 about them below.

Coyuchi Serenity Organic Latex Pillow, $118

Who: Leonora, stomach sleeper

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: I've never been more confused by a pillow. As a stomach sleeper, I was really excited about this pillow because it has this large head-shaped hole. (The pillow is geared to side and back sleepers but the engineering appealed to me.) 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. Huh? I was also confused by those smaller holes initially, like were they to cradle your hands? (They are actually for your ears, which I'm also not sure I understand.) Either way, turning the pillow over so the holes face down was perplexing. 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. I know that Coyuchi states: "It may take time to adjust to this new, realigned sleeping position. We recommend sleeping on the Serenity pillow for the full 30-day trial period ..." but I just couldn't sleep_._ The funny thing with the Coyuchi pillow is that, on the first night back on my old pillow, it felt weird. It's probably confirmation that my regular pillow is no good for me, but I really have yet to find a "good" pillow that properly supports and comforts stomach sleepers. But I guess I am back to my old pillow. Oh well.

Overall grade: C

The CBD Pillow, $129

Who: Laurie, side sleeper

Why we chose it: CBD, of course.

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 zzzz'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. I will keep using this one! Especially since the company says it can take up to two weeks to feel the full effects. I'm a somewhat new user, so I'm just scratching the surface of the benefits … but I definitely like it. I still have my old down pillow which I will never give up, so sometimes I supplement the CBD Pillow with it, or simply just hug my down one.

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. Before this I was using two pillows because my main one was getting pretty flat. I've definitely been have more uninterrupted sleep but that could be because the cat has been chill or just because my sleep cycle is better this week. I would recommend it more if you've exhausted all possibilities and it's within your budget. I'll definitely keep using it so I can track it for longer (like a few months).

Overall grade: Too soon to tell

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 in 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: C+/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, $59

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 neck and shoulders, plus it features a 100% hypoallergenic down alternative fill for those who suffer from allergies.

Review: I have a constantly 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, $98

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 the Allswell The Supreme Pillow, so we will keep it!

Overall grade: B-

Helix Ultra-Cool Pillow, $115

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 would 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+

The Down Alternative Sleeper Pillow, $40

Who: Lacey, mostly a back and side sleeper, occasional stomach sleeper. Okay, let's be real: I sleep in every position.

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+

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

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+

Sleep & Glow, $159

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! 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, $89

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. I am curious about using the CBD pillow for longer so I'll go back to that one for now.

Overall grade: B+


Katie is the Commerce Editor at Hunker. She has previously been on staff at Shape Magazine, Well+Good, and PureWow, and has spent her life perfecting the art of online shopping.

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