15 Best Pillows for Every Type of Sleeper in 2023, Tested

It offers solid head and neck support no matter how you’re sprawled out, enough to curb our tester’s GERD-related night coughing. Compared to other options out there (sorry, Helix), the medium wedge we tested is also roughly the size of a standard pillow, meaning you can slip your usual pillow cases on it. As a reading or working wedge, there’s not quite enough support to prop up your back while you tinker away at an email from bed. But for $40, it costs significantly less than most other options on this list, and far outperforms some of its pricier peers.

Tested and Reviewed by Lori Keong

Tested and Reviewed by Lori Keong

The Best Budget-Friendly Pillow Set: Beckham Hotel

Beckham Hotel

Collection Pillows (2-pack)

At just around $40 for a set of two, these Beckham Hotel Collection pillows (no relation to David, Posh, and/or any of their unusually-good-looking children) might seem too good a deal to actually deliver. And yet, over 100,000 five-star Amazon reviews cannot be wrong! Here’s what those shoppers—and GQ’s own tester, who loved his initial set of two enough that he shelled out for another pair—fell in love with: They’re soft and comfortable, but still firm enough to not lose their shape; packed with a cooling down alternative fill that won’t cause your allergies to act up; and just the right height to sleep with one alone or stacked, depending on your preference. If you’re looking for a simple, no-fuss pillow—either for your own bed or to dress up your guest room with—this is the ticket.

The Best Organic Pillow: Birch Organic

Birch is a brand for the CSA-supporting, organic-only shoppers in the produce aisle who want to sleep on something just as thoughtfully produced. The brand’s organic pillow uses an all-natural crushed talalay latex core that comes wrapped in organic wool from New Zealand, one of the best of the best wool suppliers. The temperature-regulating wool is both breathable and moisture-wicking, while the organic, eco-friendly production also nixes the kind of chemicals that keep you up at night.

While most other pillows seem to breeze past the exterior design, Birch clearly took the time to get it right. The organic cotton cover has a luxurious peachy handfeel that’s so soft, it feels wrong to cover it up. Best of all, the pillow is also dense enough to support your heavy dome, teetering on the firmer side. Our tester called it the most comfortable pillow he’s tried, though be aware that these are made-to-order so they may take a little longer to ship out.

The Best Gel Pillow: Purple DreamLayer

Purple’s calling card is its signature honeycomb gel that’s perforated all over for extra ventilation and extra squishy and supportive. Its space-age designs make their peers look stuck in the past, and its newest DreamLayer amps up its next-gen sleep tech with even more customization. This GQ Sleep Award-winner includes a sizable hunk of foam wrapped up in a gridded GelFlex covering, all ensconced in a stretchy knit cover. That cover expands to squeeze in two additional support layers that you can add even more loft for your Phelps-ean shoulders. It evenly distributes your weight, never bends out of shape or needs to be fluffed, and sleeps extra cool thanks to the built-in perforations all over.

Plus, 5 Other Pillows We Like


Foam Pillow With Snow Technology

Casper’s firm-leaning foam pillow is an excellent option for side sleepers and back sleepers, and it’s an especially welcome choice for those who burn up at night. Thanks to its proprietary cooling “Snow” technology and a series of heat-diffusing bands, this option doesn’t have just one cool side because both are designed for extra breathability. Casper claims that this pillow will secure you over 12 hours of cooler sleep—though we doubt that anyone’s sleeping in that late to truly put it to the test. From our calculation, it’s certainly breathable for a regular six to eight hours.

The Company Store is one of our favorite places to source primo bedding at reasonable prices (see the $40 wedge up above). Its GQ Sleep Award-winning down pillow makes the most of the retailer’s knack for fluffy, warm, down feather offerings with a customizable pillow you can shop based on how puffy you want your pillow to feel. Our tester appreciated that the “firm” fill left just enough room to form a neat little pyramid of feathers when she lay her head down on it. Still, we’d recommend going one fill size up from what you’d normally buy since the fluffy factor was a little sparser than expected. The “extra firm” might be the best fit for people who want an even amount of support for their back and shoulders. This pillow’s not quite as supportive or affordable as the Brooklinen down pillow above, but it is guaranteed for life in case the feathers lose their loft over time or the cover rips.

True to the Tempur-Pedic name, this ergonomic hunk of a neck pillow is made from the sleep brand’s signature cushioning, pressure-relieving Tempur foam. This one has dedicated curves—one larger and one smaller—that prop up your head and neck when you’re side sleeping, or sleeping on your back (with the option to toggle between the two). The shorter end feels like you’re comfortably drifting off to sleep on a carved-out nook for your head, while the taller end offers slightly more elevation when sleeping on your back, and a little digestion aid if you like to snack at night. Despite the soft and foamy surface you might associate with Tempur-Pedic, this one’s firmer than most other pillows we’ve tested here (which is a boon for side sleepers but might be polarizing for people who prefer a squishier surface). Other perks: The Tempur-Neck also comes with a washable cover you can toss in the wash, along with a five-year warranty.

One of many reasons why we crowned Layla’s Kapok pillow as a top choice in our 2022 Home Awards is its Goldilocks combo of lofty yet squishy neck support. Filled with airy, plant-based Kapok fibers and shredded memory foam, the pillow maintains its shape without deflating as quickly as a cotton- or wool-filled pillow. The cooling polyester/viscose outer also ensures you stay cool throughout the night, and its stylish hexagonal design looks great when the pillow case comes off. The Coop is still our top choice since it comes with a bag of additional fill, has a gusset to it for additional structure and support, plus clocks in at a slightly cheaper price point. Still, the Kapok pillow doesn’t fall too far behind if you want to give it a shot.

Marlow is a sister brand to Brooklinen (no introduction necessary), except it only makes one thing: pillows. While other pillows usually offer some sort of adjustable fill, Marlow is customizable in a unique way. You can zip or unzip part of it to make it firmer or softer. It sounds beyond simple, but it somehow works perfectly. Aside from the zipper gimmick, the pillow is a winner. It’s packed with cooling memory foam and down alternative materials, and there’s an inner mesh layer to further assist with breathability. The only drawback is that you can’t toss this pillow in the washing machine, you can only spot treat the cover, though we appreciate the antimicrobial shell that helps with keeping bacteria at bay.

Like the pillow from Coop Home, the Easy Breather is filled with a shredded foam material. If it’s feeling a bit too lofty, you can easily pull some out. That makes it a pretty good pillow for anyone, but especially good for side sleepers. Unlike the Coop Home pillow, the Nest Bedding pillow cover is made with Tencel. Tencel is a eucalyptus-derived fabric that tends to be a little more breathable than traditional cotton or bamboo fabrics, which might explain why the Easy Breather performs like a cooling pillow without any of the weird gels some companies try to sell. If you’re looking for an airier alternative to the Coop, the Nest Bedding pillow is calling your name.

How to shop for pillows

There are several factors to mull over when you’re browsing pillows online. Firmness, size, and material matter most, and that’s already enough variables to think about. The rest will come down to “headfeel,” or how you want your head to feel supported on the pillow, which is where loft comes in.

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