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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 some popular models for sale.
A large number of cooling pillows sold today are made from either aerated latex or memory foam that has been infused with materials to help it sleep cooler, such as gel or graphite. Other pillow materials noted for sleeping cool include buckwheat hulls, down alternative, and feathers. However, ‘cooling’ pillows made from these materials are somewhat rare.
Some cooling pillows feature shredded fill, while others feature a one-piece aerated design. Most cooling pillows are between four and six inches thick, making them medium- to high-loft.
Some cooling pillows feature covers made from phase-changing materials, or PCMs. PCMs are designed to absorb body heat until the sleeper’s body reaches a specific temperature, at which point they stop retaining heat and maintain a steady, fairly cool temperature throughout the night, no matter how much heat the sleeper gives off. Non-quilted covers also sleep fairly cool; these are often made from light, breathable fabrics like cotton, polyester, lyocell, or bamboo fabric.
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”|
Benefits of using a cooling pillow include the following:
Drawbacks of using a cooling pillow include the following:
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.
|Brand Name||Coop Home Goods||Laniloha||LumaLife Luxe||Malouf||Nest Bedding||Tempur-Pedic|
|Model(s)||Eden||Bamboo Gel and Memory Foam Pillow||Multiple Models||Z CarbonCool + OmniPhase||ActiveX||Cloud Breeze|
|Cooling Pillow Price Range (Standard)||$69.99||$47.95 (Amazon.com)||$59.95||$239.99 (Queen)||$129.00||$111.75|
|Specialty (23 1/2W” x 15L”)||Specialty (24W” x 16L”)||Queen||Standard (24W” x 16L”)||Queen|
|Material Composition||Shredded Gel Memory Foam||Gel Memory Foam||Memory Foam or Aerated Latex||Aerated, Graphite-infused Memory Foam||Shredded Memory Foam||Gel Memory Foam|
|Cover||Bamboo Fabric||Bamboo Viscose Fabric||Bamboo Fabric||Phase-change Tencel® Lyocell Material||Phase-change Material Blend||Cotton and Polyester Blend|
|Firmness Range||Medium||Medium||Medium Soft||Medium Soft||Medium||Medium Firm|
|Loft Range||Adjustable Loft (Zipper Cover)||4 1/2″||2 1/2″ to 2 3/4″|
Models Include Bonus Cover that Increases Loft to 5 1/2″
|6″||Adjustable Loft (Zipper Cover)||6 2/5″|
|Trial||100 Nights||365 Nights||Not Available||30 Nights||100 Nights (Full Refund)|
50% Refund after 100 Nights
|No Returns Unless Damaged During Delivery|
5 Year Warranty
|Cleaning||Machine Washable||Spot Clean||Spot Clean|
Cover is Machine Washable
|Spot Clean||Machine Washable||Spot Clean|
Cover is Machine Washable
|Customer Satisfaction Rating||86% (894 Customer Reviews)||83% (203 Customer Reviews)||85% (239 Customer Reviews)||84% (458 Customer Reviews)||86% (1,506 Customer Reviews)||88% (1,346 Customer Reviews)|
For more information about cooling pillows and other pillow types (including non-cooling latex and memory foam models), please check out our Pillow Buying Guide.