Best pillow 2023: perfect options to rest your head at night

Upgrade your sleep with the best pillows for all budgets, from goose down to synthetic, wool to bamboo & beyond

best pillow: Scooms Hungarian Goose Down pillow
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(Image credit: scooms)

Finding the best pillow in 2023 isn't the easiest of tasks. After all, most pillows look pretty much 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) and the best duvet (opens in new tab) so you can complete your sleep set-up.

  • This guide focuses on UK options. Coming from the US? Jump to the best US pillows section instead.

Best pillows 2023 ranking

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best pillow: Scooms Hungarian Goose Down pillowT3 Awards 2022 Winner's Badge

(Image credit: Scooms)

1. Scooms Hungarian Goose Down pillow

The best down pillow

Specifications

Filling: goose down
Firmness: medium
Cover: sateen cotton
Hypoallergenic: no

Reasons to buy

+
Full yet soft
+
Chamber design doesn't go flat
+
Breathable and durable
+
Plastic-free packaging

Reasons to avoid

-
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.

One of the benefits of down over memory foam is that it's naturally breathable, but a down-side is that it can trigger allergies. Scooms has thought of this, and 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.

Panda bamboo pillowT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Panda)
The best memory foam pillow

Specifications

Filling: memory foam
Firmness: medium
Cover: bamboo
Hypoallergenic: yes

Reasons to buy

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Comfortable and supportive
+
Easy to clean
+
10-year guarantee

Reasons to avoid

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It may seem weird to you at first
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Doesn't look as inviting on the bed

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. Head to our Panda Memory Foam Bamboo pillow review to find out more.

Soak & Sleep microfibre pillow on chairT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Soak & Sleep)
The best down-alternative pillow

Specifications

Filling: microfibre
Firmness: soft-medium
Cover: cotton
Hypoallergenic: yes

Reasons to buy

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Soft and fluffy
+
Machine-washable
+
Cruelty-free
+
Affordable price

Reasons to avoid

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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. See our Soak&Sleep Supremely Soft As Down pillow review for more.

stack of different sized Levitex pillowsT3 Awards 2022 Highly Commended logo

(Image credit: Lexitex)
The best pillow for neck and shoulder pain

Specifications

Filling: Levitex foam
Firmness: medium
Cover: nylon
Hypoallergenic: not stated

Reasons to buy

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Four size options
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Supportive and comfortable
+
Won't get hot

Reasons to avoid

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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. Find out more in our Levitex pillow review.

Silentnight Hotel Collection pillowsT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Silentnight)

5. Silentnight Hotel Collection pillow

The best cheap pillow

Specifications

Filling: hollowfibre polyester
Firmness: medium soft
Cover: polyester
Hypoallergenic: yes

Reasons to buy

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Extremely low price
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Washable and can be tumble dried
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Non-allergenic

Reasons to avoid

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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. 

Simba Hybrid PillowT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Tom May)
A memory foam pillow with two sides for different seasons

Specifications

Filling: Open-cell foam
Firmness: Medium
Cover: Cotton/Outlast
Hypoallergenic: No

Reasons to buy

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Comfortable and supportive
+
Adaptable in terms of heat management and height
+
Easy to clean

Reasons to avoid

-
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. Head to our Simba Hybrid Pillow review to find out more.

REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel pillowT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)
A memory foam pillow with cooling gel

Specifications

Filling: Memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Cover: 40% Lyocell from Tencel, 60% Polyester
Hypoallergenic: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Plush sleep surface
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Excellent cooling properties
+
Very supportive

Reasons to avoid

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Pricier than alternatives
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Green sections show through pillow case

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 in our REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel Pillow review we had very few complaints with its performance or comfort. 

Emma Premium Microfibre PillowT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Tom May)
The best height-adjustable pillow

Specifications

Filling: microfibre
Firmness: soft
Cover: polyester
Hypoallergenic: no

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to adjust height
+
Luxury look and feel
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Soft and cloud-like 

Reasons to avoid

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Pointless if you prefer a high loft

Different people like to have different heights of pillow, which is why high-priced hotels have started to offer pillow menus. And following similar logic, the Emma Premium Microfibre Pillow allows you to customise its height by removing one or other of its inner layers. 

So what exactly do you get? Well, the pillow as a whole 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. See our Emma Premium Microfibre Pillow review for more.

More best pillow options

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.

Ruth Hamilton

Ruth is currently on secondment as Sleep Editor for Tom's Guide and TechRadar. The role is an extension of her work on T3, where she ran the site's Wellness channel, which includes sleep, relaxation, yoga and general wellbeing. She was also Outdoors editor, reviewing and writing about everything from camping gear and hiking boots to mountain bikes, drones and paddle boards. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle, and has had to implement a one-in-one-out pillow policy, for fear of getting smothered in the night.


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