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Most people naturally sleep warm. However, some sleep much hotter than others. Pillow selection is important for those who feel excessively warm during the night. Some pillows have good airflow throughout the interior and come with breathable fabric covers. These models tend to sleep cool and comfortable for most. Other pillows absorb more body heat from sleepers, causing them to feel warm. These models can be very uncomfortable for sleepers who already feel too hot.
The term ‘cooling pillow’ refers to any pillow that offers temperature neutrality and sleeps relatively cool. Cooling pillows may be made from different materials, such as gel-infused memory foam or latex. Additionally, cooling pillows with water chambers have become increasingly popular among today’s sleepers.
This guide will look at some common features and characteristics of cooling pillows, as well as buying tips and considerations. Below you’ll find our picks for the six best cooling pillows sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as product research and analysis.
Best Cooling Pillows
Editor’s Pick – Saatva Pillow
Best Value – Brooklyn Bedding Premium Shredded Foam Pillow
Best Luxury Pillow – Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Dual Breeze
Best Down Alternative Pillow – Malouf Z Gelled Microfiber
Best Memory Foam – Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Pillow
Best Latex – Organic Textiles Latex Pillow
Our Editor’s Pick is the Saatva Pillow, which is a standout cooling pillow for several reasons. It is made with an organic-cotton middle layer buffered with outer layers of shredded Talalay latex fill. The breathable organic-cotton cools the pillow’s interior while the shredded latex circulates air fairly well, which helps regulate surface temperatures. The 100% cotton cover absorbs minimal heat and sleeps fairly cool, as well.
The Saatva Pillow is also highly durable; latex is more resilient than other fill materials, and the product has a longer-than-average expected lifespan as a result. The latex also conforms closely to the sleeper’s head and neck to alleviate pain and pressure points in sensitive areas. The Saatva Pillow is available in Queen and King sizes. Saatva offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and the pillow is backed by a 45-night sleep trial.
Although price ranges for cooling pillows vary considerably, shoppers on a budget can find plenty of low-cost options. Our Best Value pick, the Premium Shredded Foam Pillow, offers exceptional quality at a very reasonable price-point. The pillow is constructed with shredded, gel-infused memory foam fill and a moisture-wicking cover, both of which keep the pillow cool and comfortable for naturally hot sleepers.
Adjustable loft is another key benefit of this pillow. Owners can unzip the cover and add or remove fill to increase or decrease the thickness, making it a great option for those whose loft preferences vary night to night. The cover is also antimicrobial, which is hygienic and beneficial to sleepers with sensitive skin. The Brooklyn Bedding Premium Shredded Foam Pillow is available in Queen and King sizes. Brooklyn Bedding backs this product with a 30-night sleep trial and a three-year warranty.
Our Best Luxury pick is the TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling pillow from Tempur-Pedic. The pillow contains a single-piece of memory foam with ‘Medium’ firmness; the material conforms closely and consistently, molding to the sleeper’s head and neck to alleviate discomfort. Many single-piece foam pillows tend to sleep hot; the TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling also includes layers of cooling gel on both sides to regulate the sleeper’s temperature and keep them cool throughout the night.
Tempur-Pedic products have been touted for their durability, and this pillow is no exception; the resilient memory foam typically resists permanent sagging and deterioration after years of use. The removable, machine-washable cover made of breathable cotton also improves the pillow’s overall temperature neutrality. The TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling has a higher-than-average price-point, but Tempur-Pedic backs the product with a five-year warranty. Free shipping is also available to customers in the contiguous U.S.
Made from polyester puffballs, down alternative is a popular pillow material because it is hypoallergenic and usually priced lower than authentic down; unfortunately, many down alternative pillows also deteriorate rather quickly. The Gelled Microfiber pillow from Malouf – part of the brand’s luxury Z collection – is a notable exception. It holds its shape very well and requires little to fluffing, and its expected lifespan is considerably longer than the average down alternative pillow.
The pillow is filled with ultra-soft down alternative fibers that have been infused with cooling gel, which gives the pillow excellent temperature neutrality. The soft cotton-percale cover helps regulate temperatures by absorbing minimal body heat from sleepers. Additionally, the down alternative fibers are clustered to maintain a stronger, more supportive surface that cuts down on aches and pains. Malouf offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S.; the Gelled Microfiber pillow is backed by a three-year warranty.
Poor and/or inconsistent temperature neutrality is a common complaint about memory foam pillows. Many sleepers find the material absorbs and traps body heat, causing it to sleep excessively warm. Our pick for this category, the Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Pillow from Relief Mart, contains shredded, gel-infused memory foam fill that feels cool and circulates air very well. Another benefit of the pillow is the cover made a rayon from bamboo, a highly breathable material that provides comfortable sleeping temperatures for most.
The pillow’s loft can also be adjusted for those who prefer different thickness settings on a nightly basis. The Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo is professionally sealed; rather than adding or removing fill themselves, customers can mail it to Relief Mart for a customized loft adjustment. Adjustments are free of charge (including shipping costs) and unlimited for all customers. The company also offers free shipping to all 50 states and backs the product with a 120-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
Latex, like memory foam, can trap heat and cause sleepers to feel excessively warm during the night. Our pick for this category is the Organic Textiles Latex Pillow, which features a single piece of aerated, natural latex. This material sleeps noticeably cooler than blended or synthetic latex, and the ventilation holes allow air to pass through the core and cool off the pillow surface. The Latex Pillow also has a breathable organic-cotton cover.
Organic Textiles offers four firmness settings for this pillow: ‘Soft,’ ‘Medium Firm,’ ‘Firm,’ and ‘Extra Firm.’ It is also available in Standard, Queen, and King sizes. This product range should offer an option that accommodates most sleepers regardless of their sleep position, weight, or firmness preferences. The latex is also very resilient, giving the pillow a long expected lifespan, and the material conforms consistently to alleviate pain. The Organic Textiles Latex Pillow is backed by a 30-night sleep trial.
There are a few things you need to consider when looking to buy a cooling pillow. For instance, a pillow may feel cool to the touch initially, but will it maintain a consistent temperature throughout the night?. Does the pillow evenly disperse heat or will you have to flip it? If you’re prone to hot flashes, you want to make sure the pillow you choose is good at wicking away moisture, helping you stay cool and dry. The best cooling pillows allow hot sleepers to enjoy a refreshing night’s sleep free of excessive warmth or discomfort.
In this guide, you’ll learn about important considerations for making the best possible cooling pillows purchase.
Many sleepers naturally sleep hot or warm, and in some cases this increase in temperature can lead to nightlong discomfort and sleep disruption. Pillows can help those who sleep hot or, alternatively, make the problem worse. Some pillows are made from materials that retain high levels of body heat, which may result in sleeping hot or warm, while others retain low amounts of body heat and sleep relatively cool by comparison. Most cooling pillows sold today are made from one of two materials: aerated latex; or specialty memory foam.
In addition to material composition, two other factors often play a role in how hot or cool a pillow sleeps. One is internal structure, since pillows may be crafted with one solid piece or shredded fill. The second factor is the material(s) used to make the pillow’s cover — specifically, if any specialty materials (such as phase-changing material) is used. Other considerations include the sleeper’s weight and temperature preferences, as well as the mattress they use.
Read on to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses cooling pillows, as well as key considerations when looking to make a purchase.
In addition to comfort, there are a few notable benefits to sleeping on a cooling pillow. Some of these advantages include:
Temperature Neutrality: As is to be expected, most — but not all — pillows sold as ‘cooling’ models retain minimal body heat and allow sleepers to remain cool and comfortable throughout the night.
Noise: Because cooling pillows are usually made from materials like latex or memory foam, they produce little to no noise when bearing weight.
Support: Both memory foam and latex offer above-average support compared to other pillow materials because they adjust to the sleeper’s head, neck, and shoulders and maintain a stable surface throughout the night.
Pain and Pressure Relief: Latex and memory foam can help with spinal alignment, which may reduce pain and pressure for sleepers.
Durability: Cooling pillows made from latex or shredded memory foam typically perform for at least three to four years, which is considered an above-average lifespan.
As popular as cooling pillows are, they do have their downsides. It’s important to know the potential drawbacks of cooling pillows before making a purchase. Some disadvantages include:
Cost: Due to their specialized designs, cooling pillows are often priced significantly higher than non-cooling pillows.
Weight: Pillows made from latex or shredded memory foam can be dense and somewhat heavy, weighing more than five pounds in some cases. This may make them difficult to move and adjust during the night for some sleepers.
Odor Potential: Latex is associated with a lingering rubbery smell (latex comes from rubber trees), while memory foam often produces strong off-gassing odors.
Allergy Potential: Latex pillows may trigger latex allergies in some sleepers, depending on how much natural latex is used, while memory foam may attract dust mites that can lead to other allergies.
Maintenance: Shredded memory foam cooling pillows may need to be fluffed or shaken on a regular basis in order to maintain a full shape. Latex cooling pillows usually come in one-piece designs that never need to be fluffed, but these pillows should be spot cleaned or dry cleaned, and never machine washed.
Availability: Cooling pillows are somewhat hard to find compared to non-cooling pillows, and shoppers may be limited in loft and firmness options.
As stated above, pillows that offer better-than-average cooling and temperature neutrality may be made from different materials. Common fill materials for these pillows include shredded or single-piece gel memory foam, latex, down alternative, and buckwheat hulls. Other fill materials simply do not provide the same level of cooling.
The table below breaks down some of the most common fill materials used in cooling pillows:
|Pillow Type||Fill Description||Cooling Properties||Summary||Average Price Range|
|Buckwheat||Pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls, the hard casings around the kernels.||Air circulates freely between the shells. Most buckwheat pillows also have organic-cotton covers||Buckwheat pillows are a good option for hot sleepers, but they feel excessively firm for some.||$50 to $75|
|Down||Down is the soft, inner plumage found beneath the outer feathers of ducks and geese.||Down provides warmth for ducks and geese, and can trap heat to an uncomfortable degree.||Down pillows are very soft and lightweight, but hot sleepers may experience excessive warmth.||$70 to $100|
|Down Alternative||Down alternative is made from polyester puffballs engineered to mimic the lightness and softness of real down.||Down alternative tends to sleep cooler than real down because the material absorbs less body heat from sleepers.||Down alternative is a good option for hot sleepers who enjoy the softness of real down. Most down alternative pillows are also low-priced.||$20 to $30|
|Feather||Some pillows contain the coarser outer feathers of geese and ducks.||Feathers circulate air better than down. Because they do not insulate geese or ducks, they also tend to trap less heat.||Feather pillows have a distinct feel; they are noticeably firmer than down pillows. However, they sleep fairly cool for most.||$25 to $50|
|Latex||Latex is a resilient substance derived from the sap of rubber trees.||Latex can trap heat, but many latex pillows are aerated to allow more air circulation.||Aerated latex pillows are quite popular among hot sleepers; single-piece pillows tend to trap more heat, but some also sleep fairly cool.||$60 to $80|
|Memory Foam||Memory foam is a polyfoam material designed to become softer when it comes into contact with body heat, then return to its original shape when cool.||Sleeping hot is a common complaint regarding single-piece memory foam pillows. Some brands infuse the foam with gel for better cooling; others shred the memory foam to promote airflow.||For hot sleepers, memory foam pillows are recommended if the material is infused with cooling gel and/or shredded.||$50 to $60|
|Polyester||Polyester pillows contain synthetic microfibers.||Most polyester pillows have fair temperature neutrality. The microfibers trap some heat, but not as much as other fill materials.||Polyester pillows are a low-cost option for shoppers, but they may sleep too warm for some; other types are recommended for exceptionally hot sleepers||$10 to $15|
The cover material is also important, as some fabrics trap heat more than others. Some of the most common cover materials used in cooling pillows include:
Cooling pillows are typically available in the following sizes:
The table below features approximate measurements for each of the pillow sizes discussed above.
|Standard||20W” x 26L”|
|Queen||20W” x 30L”|
|King||20W” x 36L”|
|Specialty||24W” x 16L”|
Generally speaking, cooling pillows are best suited for the following types of sleepers:
On the other hand, cooling pillows may not be suitable for the following sleeper types:
|Criteria||Cooling Pillow Rating||Explanation|
|Affordability||Poor to Fair||The average price-point of a cooling pillow is $60 to $90, and some models cost as much as $200 or more. By comparison, most non-cooling pillows are much less expensive.|
|Durability||Good to Very Good||Both latex and shredded memory foam pillows have longer-than-average lifespans, but some cooling models may lose their ‘temperature-reducing’ properties over time.|
|Support||Good to Very Good||Cooling pillows made from latex or shredded memory foam provide above-average support, say owners.|
|Noise||Very Good to Excellent||With few exceptions, cooling pillows made from latex or shredded memory foam produce little to no noise when bearing weight.|
|Weight||Fair to Good||The average cooling pillow weighs between three and five pounds, which is considered slightly above-average; some sleepers may struggle to move these pillows during the night.|
|Odor||Poor to Fair||Materials used to make cooling pillows — namely latex and memory foam — produce unpleasant smells that may linger.|
|Washable||Fair to Good||Some shredded memory foam cooling pillows are machine washable, but latex cooling pillows typically need to be spot cleaned or dry cleaned.|
|Firmness/Loft Options||Fair to Good||Most cooling pillows are medium- to high-loft, although some ultra-thin models are available. In terms of firmness, cooling pillows typically rate between Medium Soft and Medium Firm.|
|Availability||Poor to Fair||Cooling pillow options are somewhat limited for shoppers.|
Cooling pillows are available through select brick-and-mortar and online home goods retailers, as well as exclusively online retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com. Some models are manufactured by mattress brands, such as the Cloud Breeze from Tempur-Pedic and the ActiveX pillow from Nest Bedding.
Cooling pillows tend to be priced on the expensive side. Shoppers should expect to pay at least $60 for their cooling pillow, and some models are priced higher than $200. By comparison, non-cooling latex pillows typically cost between $40 and $60, and non-cooling memory foam pillows typically cost between $50 and $60.
Many cooling pillow sellers offer sleep trials that allow new customers to test out the pillow for a pre-agreed length of time and then return it for a full or partial refund if they are not satisfied. This can be an effective way for shippers to determine what kind of cooling pillow they prefer without paying above-average costs.
Latex cooling pillows typically need to be spot cleaned or dry cleaned, which can be time-consuming and somewhat expensive in the long run. Shredded memory foam cooling pillows, on the other hand, are usually machine washable.
The graph below lists the average price-points of cooling pillows and seven non-cooling pillow types.
When compared to other types of pillows, cooling pillows can cost a bit more. Special, high-end cooling pillows are often carefully constructed to ensure they provide a cool and comfortable night’s sleep. This means they will likely contain high-quality materials and features that traditional, less expensive pillows will not.
To get a better idea of what cooling pillows cost versus other pillow types, take a look at our comparison chart below.
Are you interested in learning more about bedding for hot sleepers? Tuck has a variety of articles to help you discover the best products to help you sleep cool.