Choosing the best pillow is an important task. While we all have different sleep styles and schedules, having the right pillow keeps your neck and head supported, helps align your spine and corrects your posture.
I’ve tried my fair share of pillows and one thing I always look for is how my neck and shoulders feel after sleeping on the one I’m testing. Neck pain is uncomfortable, painful and can disrupt your day, so when I heard about Groove Pillow, a pillow that’s specifically designed to relieve neck pain, I knew I had to give it a try.
The Original Groove Pillow has a big reputation, having been voted best pillow for neck pain by The Mattress Guide in 2021, 2022 and 2023. It’s most known for its unique ergonomic design that’s meant to feel “like a hug for your neck” while also relieving neck stiffness, shoulder pain and tension headaches.
I put the Groove Pillow to the test to see if it lives up to its stellar reputation and in this review, I’ll take you through the positives, negatives and if you should buy it or not.
Groove Pillow review: Unboxing
The Groove Pillow was delivered in a small rectangular shaped box and was tightly rolled up inside. I was pleasantly surprised by the company’s sustainable approach as it strives to use as little packaging as possible that’s also recyclable. The pillow was easy to unfurl and while the instructions said it should take a couple of days to go back to normal size, it didn’t take any time at all and I was already using it on the first night I received it.
Speaking of instructions, the pillow comes with a leaflet that explains the best way to sleep on it depending on your sleeping position. As the Groove Pillow has a dip and raised edges, I thought this was pretty helpful as it explains how to use it when you sleep on your back and on your side. Right from the get-go, the instructions make it clear that the Groove Pillow is NOT for stomach sleepers, so if you sleep in this position, this pillow is not for you.
Groove Pillow review: Design
My first impression of the Groove Pillow was that it’s an odd shape! While it’s rectangular like a traditional pillow (see our pillow size guide for more details), it has high sides that slant downwards with a dip in the middle. The design is ergonomic and built to support the neck and head when you sleep on it in specific positions – more on this later.
The Groove Pillow is made of bamboo charcoal infused memory foam with a soft polyester lining and soft scuba cover. While you might think bamboo and charcoal are strange materials for a pillow, they’re incredibly long lasting and supportive. When used in memory foam, bamboo and charcoal respond and mould to your body and cradle it, giving the right level of support and pressure. The pattern and feel of the pillow is exactly like that of a memory foam mattress so if you have one, the Groove Pillow won’t look or feel out of place in your sleep set-up.
The material and ergonomic design is created to “eliminate neck and upper back pain and stiffness by correcting your posture while you sleep.” Alongside reducing headaches, the Groove Pillow is designed to promote neutral spine alignment, improve posture and counteract the effects of slouching. While the shape and construction of the Groove Pillow might feel strange, it’s been designed meticulously to support the body and it will fit into any pillowcases you have already at home. With the pillow, Groove sent me a 100% grade 6A mulberry silk pillowcase to go on it which is soft and kinder to skin and hair than other fabrics.
For more details on pillow materials, take a look at our comparison guide to down vs memory foam vs feather pillows.
Groove Pillow review: Comfort
When I first used the Groove Pillow, I was shocked by its hardness. During the first couple of uses, it felt very firm and sometimes rock solid which took a lot of getting used to. Before trying the Groove Pillow, I’d been sleeping on a soft memory pillow so I’d gotten used to the sinking feeling but the Groove Pillow does not have this feeling at all. Because of this, I had a bit of neck pain after the first use but the initial hardness does calm down overtime.
As I said previously, the Groove Pillow has a dip in the middle and high sides. The dip is suggested for back sleepers and the sides are slightly raised for side sleepers. As a side sleeper (see 5 tips for side sleepers if you favour this position), I enjoyed the support and found it comfortable to put your hand or arm in the dip where your head should go if you’re on your back. My favourite way to sleep on the Groove Pillow was definitely on my back (check out how to sleep on your back for more), as the dip cradles the neck and the raised sides are nice to tuck into, making you feel swaddled and cosy.
Having said this, the Groove Pillow feels a bit weird if you move in the night. If you’re not on the bit which is meant to benefit your sleep position, you need to reposition and get comfortable again which can wake you up too much if you’re a light sleeper.
The initial neck and back pain I got after my first sleep went away quickly and in general, I found the Groove Pillow comfortable and supportive. One thing to keep in mind is the firmness takes a lot of getting used to, for example, one night I had the best sleep ever and felt refreshed when I woke up but another night, I was insanely uncomfortable.
Groove Pillow review: Pricing
If you choose to buy the Groove Pillow, it will cost you £29.95. This is extremely affordable and you can buy it as part of a bundle. You can choose multiple pillows for a discounted price or you can add pillowcases to your order. If you aren’t happy with your order, Groove offers a full refund policy if you return it within 100 days.
Groove Pillow review: Verdict
The Groove Pillow definitely has its pros and cons. On the positive side, it’s definitely earned its reputation as a pillow which delivers top neck and back support and aligns the spine. It’s made from high quality materials that both feel and look good, and it's at an affordable price.
In terms of negatives, the Groove Pillow is quite hard when you start using it and maintains its firmness after usage, so if you’re not into firm pillows, the Groove Pillow is not for you. I do think there’s too much focus on which position you sleep in, as if you move in the night, you could technically be using the pillow wrong. Personally, I prefer a softer pillow but I did enjoy trying out the Groove Pillow and if I have any neck pain in the future, it will be the first thing I turn to.
Groove Pillow review: Alternatives to consider
If you’re a memory foam pillow fan, the best alternative is the Panda Memory Foam Bamboo pillow. Sitting at number two in our best pillow guide, the Panda Memory Foam Bamboo pillow is made of quality sustainable materials and is firm and cradling. It’s more expensive than the Groove Pillow but if you love memory foam but don’t want anything too hard, this pillow from Panda is super soft.
For a pillow with a similar price tag, my recommendation would be the Soak&Sleep Supremely Soft As Down pillow. It’s soft, fluffy and luxurious, plus it's incredibly affordable and cruelty free while still offering a down-like experience.