best in class

The 9 Very Best Memory-Foam Pillows

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist

Whether you’re Team Firm and Supportive, Team Fluffy and Soft, or Team Somewhere in Between when it comes to pillows, memory-foam pillows can cradle your head and neck to provide optimal comfort. Memory foam is known for being supremely responsive and durable. Side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers alike can often find a memory-foam pillow that works for them and helps their body maintain the perfect head, neck, and spine alignment while they snooze. The goal is a “balance of support and pressure relief,” explains Logan Foley, a sleep-science coach and the managing editor at sleepfoundation.org.

Unlike other pillow fills, memory foam is dynamic and unique because it can be shredded, solid, gel-infused, and mixed with other fill types — making it adaptable to serve a variety of sleep needs. Available in different densities, firmness levels, and shapes, memory-foam pillows are comfy and supportive, and though they typically run on the warmer side, if you are a hot sleeper, some memory-foam pillows can be cooling and breathable too.

We’ve talked to Foley and four other experts to find the best memory-foam pillows you can buy online.

Best overall | Best less expensive | Best cooling gel | Best for side sleepers | Best gusseted | Best cervical | Best body pillow | Best high loft | Best low loft

What we look for:

Cooling features: Memory foam can be hot, and if you run warm while you sleep, a solid memory-foam pillow can cause slightly elevated body temperature to become a full-on night sweat. To keep things cool, solid memory-foam pillows typically have ventilation holes to promote air circulation and can also be infused with gel to pull heat away from your body. Shredded memory-foam pillows naturally allow air to flow more freely instead of trapping it and can be blended with gel-infused fibers for a cooling boost.

CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certifications: Dr. Dennis Colonello, a celebrity and professional-athlete chiropractor at Peak Wellness, warns, “Many pillows are treated with chemicals that are potential health hazards. Look for CertiPUR-US certification to ensure your choice is healthy and safe.” A CertiPur-US certification ensures foam-based products are not made with chemicals that are harmful to the user or the planet. While some brands list their CertiPUR-US certification along with a GREENGUARD Gold certification, they are not the same. GREENGUARD tests products to determine if they contribute to indoor air pollution, while CertiPUR-US certifications indicate your pillow is free from chemicals that are harmful to you and the environment.

Solid versus shredded foam: In the past, almost all memory-foam pillows were made of a single, solid piece of foam that was designed to conform and contour to your head and neck. These days, there’s a lot more variety, with memory-foam fill primarily available in one of two different “formats”: solid or shredded. Solid memory-foam pillows are firmer and typically perforated for ventilation; they’ll provide consistent contoured support and don’t need to be readjusted or fluffed. Shredded memory-foam pillows have a more variable density that feels supportive yet plush because the shredded pieces of foam can move around within the pillow (which also helps to promote airflow). Many shredded memory-foam pillows are adjustable, meaning you can add or remove fill to customize the loft height and firmness level.

Best overall memory-foam pillow

Shredded memory foam | CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified | Adjustable loft | Machine-washable cover

One of our favorite bed pillows, the Coop Home Original Loft pillow offers a great introduction to memory-foam pillows. It’s filled with cross-cut memory foam, and an extra bag of fill is included with your purchase, so you can adjust the loft and firmness of the pillow to fit your needs whether you sleep on your side, your back, your stomach or in a combination of positions. The pillow is CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified, and its breathable and machine-washable viscose-rayon-and-polyester-blend cover will help keep you from overheating while you snooze.

Best (less expensive) memory-foam pillow

Gel-infused solid memory foam with perforation for airflow | Medium-high loft | CertiPUR-US certified | Machine-washable cover

This budget-friendly memory-foam pillow is designed to keep air flowing for a cooler, sweat-free night of rest. Extra-warm sleepers will appreciate that the memory foam is both perforated for ventilation and infused with cooling gel that helps to pull heat away from your body. With a loft height of five inches, this pillow is on the taller end, making it a good choice for side sleepers. Unlike the Coop Home pillow, its fill is solid and not adjustable, so it will appeal to those who prefer a firmer feel. You can choose from three sizes — standard, queen, and king — and the cover is machine washable.

Best cooling-gel memory-foam pillow

Gel-infused shredded memory foam | Adjustable loft | CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified | Entire pillow is machine washable

JD Velilla, the head of sleep experience for Serta Simmons Bedding, says, “One of the biggest sleep disruptors is sleeping hot.” If you run warm, you’ll want to look for a cooling pillow like this one from Snuggle-Pedic. Stuffed with CertiPUR-US and GreenGuard Gold Certified gel-infused shredded memory foam that draws heat away from your body and promotes airflow, the pillow has a plush, lofty feel. The filling can be adjusted to fit your comfort preferences and sleep style (and your purchase includes a bonus bag of fill). Back and side sleepers can add more filling for a medium to high loft, and stomach sleepers can remove filling for a flatter pillow. The pillow’s cooling power is boosted by its breathable bamboo cover. A major plus is that the entire pillow can be tossed in the wash and dried on low.

Best memory-foam pillow for side sleepers

Copper gel-infused solid memory foam with perforation for airflow | High loft | CertiPUR-US certified | Spot clean only

“More than half of Americans are side sleepers so the loft — the height of the pillow — is critical,” explains Dr. Dennis Colonello. At 5.5 inches tall, the DreamCloud Best Rest Memory Foam pillow can cradle your head in the ideal position for spine, neck, and head alignment when sleeping on your side. The solid piece of memory foam is infused with copper gel, which helps to wick away moisture while releasing moisture quickly to keep you dry and cool, and also has perforated holes to allow air to circulate. Coupled with the polyethylene-blend cover, the pillow is cool to the touch for a temperature-regulated rest. The pillow is available in a standard or king size, and to keep the cover in tip-top shape, the brand recommends only spot cleaning.

Best gusseted memory-foam pillow

Solid memory foam with perforation for airflow | Medium-high loft | CertiPUR-US certified | Spot clean only

Similar to the Weekender and DreamCloud pillows above, this SensorPEDIC pillow has ventilation holes to promote air circulation and pull heat away from your body. It’s especially well suited to side sleepers who switch from one side to the other throughout the night as it has a two-inch gusset around the perimeter that makes its loft more consistent from edge to edge with very little taper. It comes only in king size with its 35-inch length making it even more rollover friendly.

Best cervical memory-foam pillow

Solid memory foam | Contoured loft | CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified | Machine-washable cover

The natural curves of your spine can twist out of wack from injury, age, or tech neck, explains Dr. Thomas Schuler, the chairman of the National Spine Health Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Board and founder of the Virginia Spine Institute. Pillows for neck pain, like this one by Elviros, can help alleviate pressure and hold your neck in place while you sleep. Available in standard and queen sizes, the solid memory-foam fill contours to your neck and head to provide medium-firm support, and you can position the pillow so your neck rests on the higher-loft side or the lower-loft side to help customize your sleeping experience. Unlike the other solid memory-foam pillows on this list, this one doesn’t have ventilation holes, but the breathable, machine-washable “ice silk” viscose cover is designed to help keep excessive heat at bay.

Best memory-foam body pillow

Shredded memory foam | Medium loft | CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified | Entire pillow is machine washable

“Sleeping with a body pillow between your knees can be a great way to alleviate those experiencing joint pain in your knees, hips, and lower back, as it can put the spine in more proper alignment,” explains sleep consultant Kelly Murray. Filled with shredded memory foam, the Snuggle-Pedic body pillow has a soft bamboo cover that allows air to freely circulate so you’re able to stay cool even while you’re hugging the pillow. The supportive, medium-firm pillow can help support your legs, knees, and hips and, at about 54-inches long, may extend far enough to use under your head, depending on your height. Just like the Snuggle-Pedic gel-infused bed pillow above, the entire pillow is machine washable.

Best high-loft memory-foam pillow

Graphite and gel-infused foam | High loft | CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified | Machine-washable cover

High-loft pillows are usually five inches or more in height, and they are especially well suited for side sleepers and folks with broad shoulders who need more loft to keep their neck, head, and spine in alignment. The Tuft and Needle original foam pillow has a five-inch loft, a denser feel to help prevent it from going flat while you sleep, and an open cell design to promote airflow and keep you cool. It also has a graphite-and-gel-infused core to further help with temperature regulation. The pillow is available in standard and king sizes. Like most memory-foam pillows, the actual pillow is not machine washable, but the breathable micro-polyamide-and-polyester-blend cover is.

Best low-loft memory-foam pillow

Gel-infused memory foam with perforation for airflow | Low- to medium-loft | CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified | Machine-washable cover

Unlike side and back sleepers, stomach sleepers need flatter, softer pillows to ensure their “head will be closer to the mattress, keeping the integrity of the neck’s natural alignment,” explains Colonello. Designed to be lower profile than the average medium-loft pillow, the BlueWave Bedding Super Slim pillow is available in three somewhat confusingly labeled low-loft heights: “Hyper Slim” (2.25 inches in height), “Ultra Slim” (2.75 inches in height), and “Super Slim” (3.25 inches in height). The Hyper Slim and Ultra Slim are ideal for stomach sleepers, while the Super Slim can work for stomach or back sleepers. The pillow is available in two sizes, king and standard, and the solid memory foam is perforated and infused with cooling gel to help regulate your temperature while you sleep with a bamboo-and-polyester-blend cover that can be tossed in the wash. If you are a hot sleeper, for an extra $10, the standard size pillows are available with additional cooling technology in the form of a graphite-infused coating on the pillow and a cooling Tencel-blend cover.

Some more memory-foam pillows we've written about

Our experts

• Dr. Dennis Colonello, celebrity and professional-athlete chiropractor at Peak Wellness
• Logan Foley, sleep-science coach and managing editor at sleepfoundation.org
• Kelly Murray, sleep consultant
• Dr. Thomas Schuler, chairman of National Spine Health Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Board and founder of Virginia Spine Institute
• JD Velilla, head of sleep experience for Serta Simmons Bedding

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The Very Best Memory-Foam Pillows