The Best Memory Foam Pillows

Your pillow is one of the most vital ingredients for a good night’s sleep. It supports the head and neck while you sleep, ensuring your comfort and saving you from cramps and aches the next day. That’s assuming you choose the correct one.

Memory foam pillows can offer more support and greater levels of comfort than other materials and they’ve grown increasingly popular in recent years. They’re available in a few different styles, such as solid or shredded memory foam. A memory foam pillow can be a pricey investment, so it’s important to find the right one for you.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what makes a good memory foam pillow, how to choose one that suits you, and we give you our top picks for the best memory foam pillows of 2019.

Our Top Picks: Summary

Best Overall: Coop Home Goods Eden
Best Budget: Snuggle-Pedic
Best Luxury: Tempurpedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow
Best for Side Sleepers: Layla Pillow
Best Cooling: Bear Pillow

The Best Memory Foam Pillows: Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Coop Home Goods Eden
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Coop Home Goods Eden

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$69.99 USD

Why We Picked It

The Coop Home Goods Eden pillow is made of shredded, gel-infused memory foam and is available in three sizes: Queen, King, and Standard. It comes with a stretchy liner and comfortable, breathable outer case.

As a shredded foam pillow, the Eden pillow can be adjusted easily by simply removing some of the contents. The pillow is machine-washable, hypoallergenic, and comes with a 5-year warranty.

The Eden pillow is popular with customers, holding a 4.5 star rating on Amazon with over 1,700 reviews at the time of writing. There’s a 100-night sleep trial that will let you try out your pillow and returns are free. We chose it as our best for its quality, gel-infused foam, generous sleep trial, and popularity with customers.

Keep in Mind

Some off-gassing may occur while the pillow is new, but this will dissipate with use.

In a Nutshell

  • Three size options
  • Adjustable
  • 100-night sleep trial
Best Budget: Snuggle-Pedic
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Snuggle-Pedic

Memory foam comfort at an affordable price.

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$175.00 USD

Why We Picked It

Memory foam bedding often comes with an associated expense, which can lock some sleepers out of buying memory foam products. That’s why the Snuggle-Pedic makes our list as an affordable memory foam pillow that doesn’t compromise on quality.

The Snuggle-Pedic pillow is a shredded foam pillow available in Queen, King, and Standard sizes, with a breathable bamboo and polyester cover. There are no zippers, making it ideal for sleepers who find them irritating. The pillow can be customized by sending it to the manufacturer within the first 90 days, who will make adjustments and return it to you at no extra cost.

With over 7,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.4 star rating at the time of writing, the Snuggle-Pedic’s popularity with customers is obvious. The Snuggle-Pedic comes with a 120-day trial and 20-year warranty. The Snuggle-Pedic is also a certified U.S. product, manufactured with a 100% US labor force and supply chain.

Keep in Mind

Customizing the pillow will leave you without it for a while, but the option to customize is still a great feature.

In a Nutshell

  • Adjustable via manufacturer
  • Long trial
  • Affordable price
Best Luxury: Tempurpedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow
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Tempurpedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow

A memory foam pillow with cloud-like luxury.

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$69.00 USD

Why We Picked It

The Tempurpedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow is an extra-soft, 5-inch, low-profile memory foam pillow. The breathable luxury quilted cotton cover is removable and washable for easy maintenance.

The soft memory foam contours extremely well to the neck and shoulders, offering a cushion-soft sleeping experience. It’s particularly well suited to sleepers looking for a soft and comfortable pillow over a supportive one.

The Tempur-Cloud pillow is a luxury pillow, offering an extremely soft, low-profile experience made of comfortable materials. It comes with a 5-year limited warranty. Tempur-Pedic is an established and popular brand, with over 10 million people sleeping on Tempur-Pedic pillows.

Keep in Mind

Extremely soft, which may not provide enough support for some sleepers.

In a Nutshell

  • Extra soft
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Luxury cotton cover
Best for Side Sleepers: Layla Pillow
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Layla Pillow

Supporting side sleepers with.

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$99.00 USD

Why We Picked It

The Layla Pillow is a shredded memory foam pillow available in Standard/Queen and King sizes. The memory foam is copper-infused, which gives it anti-bacterial properties and may help to promote a good night’s sleep through the release of copper ions. It also helps to carry heat away from the body, so this pillow may sleep cooler than some memory foam alternatives.

The Layla Pillow is completely adjustable. By removing some of the shredded foam material, you can easily tailor the sleep experience to your needs. The cover is made of Kapok fibers, which tends to be airier than alternative materials like cotton and wool.

Side sleepers will particularly benefit from the Layla Pillow thanks to its supportive yet comfortable design and somewhat high profile, which will keep the head and neck aligned with the spine. The Layla Pillow comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a 5-year warranty. Layla recommends to spot-wash the pillow and running it through a machine may void this warranty.

Keep in Mind

Copper infusion and quality materials mean these pillow is more expensive than some competitors.

In a Nutshell

  • Copper-infused memory foam
  • Adjustable
  • Cooler than many other competitor pillows
Best Cooling: Bear Pillow
Bear Pillow

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Why We Picked It

Memory foam pillows can often sleep much hotter than desired, but the Bear Pillow is an excellent option for a cooler night’s sleep. The Bear is made from Loft-X polyfoam with dual mesh side panels at both ends to maintain airflow. It’s also layered with Bear’s “double ice” fabric that will remain cool throughout the night.

The pillow includes a removable and washable cover. The hypoallergenic Bear pillow comes in Queen and King sizes.

The Bear is suitable for most sleepers as it sits in the middle firmness range, so it can support side and back sleepers without being too firm for stomach sleepers. The pillow comes with a 100-night trial period and a 2-year warranty.

Keep in Mind

Not adjustable, but suitable for a wide range of sleepers.

In a Nutshell

  • Sleeps cool
  • Mesh panels for airflow
  • 100-night trial period

How We Chose

To select our top picks, we take a close look at several key categories that will define your pillow’s sleep experience. These include its support and construction, but also other aspects, like the price or return policies. The categories we take a look at are:

Support

The ultimate purpose of a pillow is to provide support for the head and neck as we sleep. It’s also important that the pillow can offer comfort at the same time. A supportive pillow without the right level of comfort can feel too hard or resistant, defeating its purpose.

Construction

There are several varieties of memory foam pillows, from traditional memory foam to open cell memory to shredded. These all have their pros and cons and appeal to different types of sleepers. We looked at the pillow’s construction to give you the most complete idea of whether this is the right pillow for you.

Price

Memory foam is a luxury material. While comfortable and supportive, it’s also frequently expensive. For sleepers on a budget, that can be a real deal-breaker. We take a look at the cost to let you know whether the pillow offers good value for money and to help you decide whether it’s a luxury you can afford.

Customer Satisfaction

There’s no series of tests that can guarantee the performance of a pillow in a live environment. We look at the customer satisfaction scores of each pillow, as these give the clearest picture of how well the pillow performs in day-to-day use. Customer satisfaction scores can also highlight any recurring issues, such as poor durability.

Return Policy

Things don’t always work out, no matter how much you find out about your pillow in advance. The sleep test is the only one that matters. If you find your pillow isn’t for you, whether in the short or long term, then you’ll want a return policy that means you won’t lose out. We take a look at the return policy for each pillow so you’ll have some peace of mind while you’re in the honeymoon period with your new pillow.

What is Memory Foam?

Memory foam is a popular bedding material first developed by NASA in 1966. It’s often described as “viscoelastic.” It stretches and springs back like elastic but its ability to retain impressions for a short time mirrors viscous fluids.

When pressure is applied to memory foam, the foam will retain that shape for a few seconds after the pressure is removed. This is the “memory” aspect. Different memory foams have different levels of springback, but it’s a universal feature of memory foam.

As a bedding material, memory foam is popular for its extraordinary comfort, as it actively molds to the shape of any applied pressure, creating a perfect cradle for a sleeping body.

Memory foam typically sleeps hotter than other mattress and pillow materials, but more modern varieties of memory foam often incorporate technology to counteract this problem. In pillows, one popular way to combat this issue is to shred the memory foam and use it as a filling material instead of shaping the foam as a solid block.

Feel of Memory Foam

The sleep experience of memory foam can be quite different than that of other materials. It’s a highly conforming and comfortable material, though it can be firmer than many people are used to.

The most obvious difference is in the way that memory foam conforms to your body. Your own body heat and pressure will reshape the foam into a kind of mold that allows you to sink into it, creating a supportive and comfortable cradle. This can be a strange sensation at first, as memory foam adjusts slowly, creating a kind of sinking effect.

Memory foam can sleep hot, thanks to the density of the foam and the way it conforms to the body.

Shredded memory foam is popular in pillows as a way of offsetting some of memory foam’s quirks. Shredding memory foam allows it to offer comfort without the slow sinking sensation and helps the material to sleep cooler thanks to the additional airflow it provides.

Memory Foam Pillow Construction

Memory foam is a true Space Age material, originally developed by NASA. As you might expect, there’s some chemical science behind its construction. In plain English, the foam is created by frothing the polyurethane base material, which sets into a foam. Controlling the amount of air in the mixture controls the resulting density of the foam.

Shredded memory foam is exactly what it sounds like. The memory foam is torn up into many individual pieces and stuffed into the pillow, just like traditional down. This creates a sleeping surface that offers some of the same benefits of memory foam but also aims to even out its drawbacks, such as its heat retention.

Lifespan

Memory foam pillows are much more robust than typical pillows. They hold their shape much longer and are more resistant to wear and tear thanks to their dense construction. Shredded pillows don’t “squash” over time to the extent that ordinary pillows do.

On average, a memory foam pillow lasts around seven years. Synthetic pillows rarely last longer than two years. While more expensive, memory foam pillows have a clear edge in longevity.

Memory Foam Pillow Sizes

You may notice that there are multiple sizes available when you shop for a memory foam pillow. In many cases, it’s appropriate to match your pillow size to your bed, but that’s not the only consideration. Below, we look at the various sizes available and who will typically use each size:

  • Standard: As the name says, Standard is the most common pillow size and is suitable for most people. This is typically 20 in × 26 in.
  • Queen: There are various names for the Queen size, including Super Standard or Standard/Queen. This size is a slight upgrade on the Standard, for sleepers who want just a little extra room. Larger or more mobile sleepers may opt for a Queen size bed pillow. Queen size pillows are typically 20 in x 30 in.
  • King: King pillows are large and best suited to king-sized beds or perhaps single sleepers who want more room to move. They typically measure 20 in × 36 in.
  • Body: Body pillows don’t fit into the usual sizing scheme of pillows per se, as they no longer perform the same function. As the name suggests, a body pillow is designed to run roughly the length of a body. Some are larger still, designed to double back on themselves to create a “cradle” for the body. They’re typically used to provide support and comfort above and beyond the standard pillow sizes.
  • Travel: Travel pillows are mini-pillows suited for use on transport like planes and trains.

Who Should Use a Memory Foam Pillow

Memory foam isn’t for everyone, but it can provide excellent support and comfort for the right kind of sleeper. Sleepers who need additional support for the neck and head will often find memory foam offers some advantages over other materials. Side sleepers, in particular, can benefit from the way memory foam tends to retain its height even under pressure, which keeps the head, neck, and spine in alignment.

On the other hand, stomach sleepers often get the least benefit from memory foam. It may be too firm for stomach sleepers and provide extra stress on the neck and head.

One unpredictable element of memory foam pillows lies in their feel. They’re more resistant than typical pillows and some sleepers will find this unpleasant. While they conform to a sleeper’s head and shoulders, they don’t squash in the same way an alternative pillow might. Some people won’t find this behavior to their taste, particularly when paired with the time it can take for the memory foam to form an impression.

Memory foam pillows do sleep hotter than other pillow types (though shredding the foam helps), so they aren’t the best fit for sleepers who struggle with heat regulation.

How to Take Care of Memory Foam Pillows

Like all pillows (and bedding in general), memory foam pillows perform best and last their longest with proper care. Here are a few tips to help you care for your memory foam pillow.

How to Wash

Unfortunately, you can’t throw a memory foam pillow (shredded or solid) into a washing machine or dryer. Doing so will weaken the foam and, in most cases, invalidate your warranty, as well. Most manufacturers recommend spot cleaning your pillow. If you need to do a deeper clean, you can vacuum your pillow or even steam clean it. However, you must be sure the pillow is completely dry before you use it again to avoid the build-up of mold or mildew.

How to Deodorize

The domestic miracle substance that is baking soda will help to keep your memory foam pillow smelling fresh. Simply sprinkle the pillow with baking soda, leave it to sit for at least an hour, and then vacuum clean. Air-drying your pillow outdoors can also help to remove smells.

How Often to Change Your Pillowcase

You should aim to change your pillowcase around once a week. Your pillowcase is the buffer between dirt and your pillow, so keeping it clean will also protect your pillow. Most memory foam cases are machine washable, unlike the pillow.

Related Resources

If you’ve found this guide helpful, be sure to check out some of our other pillow guides:

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Daniel James