Finding the best pillow in 2023 isn't the easiest task. After all, most pillows look the same, and even when you can see and touch them in the shop, there's no guarantee that its plush feel will last forever; you could find that after only a few months, your pillow is limp or lumpy.
It's worth bearing in mind that we all approach sleep differently, and the best pillow for one person may be totally unsuitable for another. Some favour a soft cushion that feels like floating; others prefer something firmer and more supportive. There are those who crave traditional goose down, others go for memory foam, and synthetic pillows also have their fans. (If you're not sure what the differences are, our guide to down vs memory foam vs feather pillows explains it all.)
Then, of course, there's budget. You might be tight on cash, and looking for the best pillow for a low price, or you may be flush with funds, and seeking the absolute best pillow, money no object.
To cover all the bases, we've rounded up the very best pillows on the market in 2023. So, whatever kind of pillow you're looking for, you're certain to find your dream purchase in this guide. And why stop there? We also have comprehensive guides to the best mattress and the best duvet so you can complete your sleep set-up.
- Coming from the US? Head to the best US pillows
Best pillows 2023 ranking
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The best down pillow
+ Full yet soft
+ Chamber design doesn't go flat
+ Breathable and durable
- Not hypoallergenic (but anti-allergy)
For traditionalists, we'd recommend the Scooms Hungarian Goose Down pillow. It has a chamber design, with an inner core that's 15% down and 85% feather, and a softer outer chamber that's 89% down and 10% feather. While it may feel a little firm at first it soon settles down into a soft, full pillow that retains its shape and rarely needs plumping. And as an added bonus, both its down and feather are certified ethically sourced as a by-product of the food industry.
Scooms encased its pillow in a tightly woven, cotton sateen cover that's dust mite-proof – this pillow is Nomite certified (this reviewer suffers from a dust allergy, and had no issues with this pillow). Note that while it's suitable for those with dust mite allergies, it's not fully hypoallergenic, as many memory foam options are.
The Scooms pillow is pricier than your average down pillow, but it's excellent quality for that price – and it's full enough that you can just use one at a time, rather than doubling up. There are some nice added extras to make it even more appealing: free next day delivery, plastic free packaging and a three-year guarantee.
The best memory foam pillow
+ Comfortable and supportive
+ Easy to clean
+ 10-year guarantee
- It may seem weird to you at first
Memory foam mattresses have become a popular bedding option over the last few years thanks to their supportive, pressure-relieving properties, so it's no surprise to discover memory foam pillows trying to do the same for your head and neck. The Panda Memory Foam Bamboo pillow can take a bit of getting used to; it feels unsettling solid and unyielding at first, but once your head starts sinking into its bamboo fabric-clad memory foam it begins to feel a lot more comfortable and supportive, and it'll stay that way.
Our main point of resistance to a memory foam pillow is that it doesn't look as soft and inviting as a traditional pillow, but those fears tend to evaporate once you actually try it. The outer casing of this Panda offering has a remarkably cool feel to it – and who doesn't love the cool side of their pillow? It zips off for easy cleaning, as well. This pillow comes with a 10-year guarantee and a no-quibble, money-back promise.
Read our full Panda Memory Foam Bamboo pillow review.
The best down-alternative pillow
+ Soft and fluffy
+ Affordable price
- No firm version
If you like the idea of a goose-down pillow, but either don't want to spend a lot of money, or just want to avoid exploiting animals, then here's a great alternative. Soak&Sleep blends two types of microfibre, carded to create a soft and lofty pillow, and wrapped in a 100% cotton case with a 233 thread count. And while it's cheaper than a traditional down pillow, it's very well designed and feels luxurious in use. It comes in five sizes, and can be machine-washed and tumble-dried.
Expertly made, with quality materials, this is a light, soft pillow, so won't suit anyone looking for firmer support. If you just want to sink into a soft pillow and imagine you're in an expensive hotel room, though, this will do the job just fine... at an excellent price.
Read our full Soak&Sleep Supremely Soft As Down pillow review.
The best pillow for neck and shoulder pain
+ Four size options
+ Supportive and comfortable
+ Won't get hot
- Won't fill your pillowcase
There's nothing quite like a pillow that's either too thin or too thick for ruining a night's sleep. If you can never find that sweet spot, the Levitex pillow could be the solution you're looking for; it comes in four size options, and there's a helpful guide on the Levitex site so that you can find the perfect size for your build and sleep preferences.
It's not memory foam but Levitex's own foam, which is wonderfully soft and supportive and, thankfully, doesn't retain heat in the night. It'll mould to your head by just the right amount, and Levitex says that this pillow can ease tension as well as countering neck and back pain, along with other potential health benefits. It can take a few nights to get used to the Levitex pillow (although that said we found it perfectly comfortable from the outset), especially if you're used to feather pillows, and be warned: this isn't the most luxurious-looking pillow around, and it's a little small for the average pillow case. But it delivers where it matters, in terms of comfort and support.
Read our full Levitex pillow review.
The best cheap pillow
+ Extremely low price
+ Washable and can be tumble dried
- Synthetic cover not as breathable as natural
If you're after a cheap pillow, the Silentnight Hotel Collection pillow is well worth a look. It's made in the UK and has a hollowfibre fill, and while we might not recommend it as your main pillow, it's just the thing for a spare room. It's cheap and hold its shape pretty well, and you can wash and tumble-dry it, and it's hypoallergenic too.
The understated cover design makes it look less like a budget option, too, although it is polyester, so not quite as breathable as a natural fibre. Silentnight has given it a firmness rating of 4/10, but it comes in packs of two so you can easily double up if you prefer more height. There's also a 2-year guarantee for added peace of mind.
The best pillow with two sides for different seasons
+ Comfortable and supportive
+ Adaptable in terms of heat management and height
+ Easy to clean
- A bit overpriced
There are a few Simba Hybrid Pillow options to choose from; this one feature's Simba's Stratos temperature-regulating fabric to keep you cool at night. Rather than being constructed of a solid slab of foam, it's made of small cubes of open-cell foam (not memory foam), and has a cooling side as well as a standard side so you can flip it over in summer for a cooler night's sleep.
As an added bonus you can adapt its height by unzipping the core and removing excess stuffing. Whether or not you actually use all those options, there's no denying the Hybrid Pillow is a very comfortable thing to rest your head on.
Read our full Simba Hybrid Pillow review to find out more.
The best height-adjustable pillow
+ Easy to adjust height
+ Luxury look and feel
+ Soft and cloud-like
- Pointless if you prefer a high loft
The Emma Premium Microfibre Pillow allows you to customise its height by removing one or other of its inner layers. The pillow measures 50 x 70cm, weighs 990g, and made up of a zipped pillow case. Inside are two cushions, filled with siliconised micro elastic fibre (100% polyester). One of these cushions is flat and the other is more bulky. Plus the case itself – which is made of 100g/m3 microfibre woven from polyester – is plush enough to be almost considered a layer in itself.
We found this soft pillow to be light and cloud-like, in a way that's comparative to a down pillow. Removing the cushions to adjust the height is easy, and provides you with a good amount of customisation. Whether you actually want that is another matter: most people know already what height of pillow they prefer. This, however, would be very useful in a guest bedroom, as a way of covering a range of possible guest preferences.
Read our full Emma Premium Microfibre Pillow review.
The best memory foam pillow with cooling gel
+ Plush sleep surface
+ Excellent cooling properties
+ Very supportive
- Pricier than alternatives
Another memory foam pillow that tackles the problem of overheating head on, the REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel Pillow stands out for being infused with cooling gel. In general, we found this pillow delightfully soft and supportive with great temperature regulation, and we had very few complaints with its performance or comfort.
Read our full REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel Pillow review.
The best memory foam pillow that won't overheat
+ Lovely quilted cover
+ Affordable price
+ Great for memory foam fans
- Cushion not machine-washable
The clever design of Nectar's Premium Nectar pillow goes a long way to overcome memory foam's tendency to overheat. It's encased in a thick, quilted cover made from polyester that incorporates Tencel cooling fabric. Tencel is extracted from eucalyptus trees, naturally breathable and wicks moisture away. There's also a mesh border to the cover to improve airflow. And inside the pillow is not a block of memory foam, but strips of the stuff. This contributes further to ventilation and coolness.
In use, we found this pillow lovely and comfortable, and would recommend it for side and back sleepers, although its loft will probably be too high for front sleepers.
The best hi-tech pillow made with charcoal-infused memory foam
+ Fantastic design and build quality
+ Super smooth removable cover
+ Won't trap heat
- A little on the shallow side
The latest addition to Panda's range of bamboo-enhanced sleep products is the Panda Hybrid Bamboo pillow. The headline feature is its 'Charco-Cell' memory foam, which is infused with naturally antibacterial, moisture-wicking and odour-resistant charcoal, and also helps keep things cool with 'Active O2 Micro-pods' that enhance airflow, and which we suspect are merely holes in the foam, but they do the trick.
The memory foam is good and comfy, and the bamboo cover is gloriously soft and smooth, with plenty of attention to detail and build quality (although if you add a pale pillowcase on top you'll be able to see the Panda logo and piping through it). Our main concern is that we found it to be a bit too shallow to deliver that all-important neutral spine alignment. Need to know more?
Read our full Panda Hybrid Bamboo pillow review.
Another great memory foam option
+ Gently supportive
+ Soft, attractive cover
+ Cool & breathable
- Initial chemical smell
The Eve Memory Foam Pillow uses state-of-the-art synthetic pillow tech to try to guarantee the ultimate night's sleep, it's suitable for most sleeping positions and it keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. One of our testers would have preferred it to be a little plumper, but overall it's still an excellent option if you're looking to try memory foam.
A curved pillow that's ideal for side sleepers
+ Side sleeper support
+ Tempur technology
+ 3 year guarantee
- Unusual sizes
Tempur's Original Support Pillow isn't your average pillow; it has a curve to it that's designed to give your head and neck maximum comfort and support. If you often wake up with a stiff neck then this pillow will provide uninterrupted sleep but the sizing is a little unusual and it may be difficult for some to get along with at first. However, if you’re one of those sleepers that folds their pillow in half or constantly moves to find the right position, then this is the best pillow for you.
A traditional duck feather pillow that's lovely and cosy
+ Good value for money
+ Duck feather cosiness
+ Can be shaped to your liking
- Sparse filling
This Scandinavian Duck Feather & Down Pillow by Snuggledown is super cosy. Filled with 85 per cent duck feather and 15 per cent down, it is a soft pillow that keeps you warm on those cold nights. It needs a good plumping every now and then but can be manipulated to your desired shape, making it ideal for any type of sleeper.
How to buy the best pillow for you
Side sleepers will find that a firm pillow is likely the best choice; it'll give you plenty of head and spine support. If you sleep on your front, however, you'll probably need a much softer pillow if you want to avoid a stiff neck in the morning. Tend to sleep on your back? You'll want something in-between. That's really a rough guide though – at the end of the day, what you find comfortable is really mostly down to personal preference.
There are still some great natural pillows on offer that provide thick and fluffy sleeping aids at prices from cost-effective to 'how much?!'. However, synthetic is a popular choice for those with allergies and for a pillow that will bounce back even after a run through the washing machine (for the avoidance of doubt, here's how to clean a pillow). Memory foam is bang on trend right now and is ideal if you find you're waking with a stiff neck.
Confused about sizing? Head to our mattress and bedding size guide, which covers US, UK and EU sizing and naming conventions.