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Viscoelastic polyurethane foam, also known as memory foam, is a popular material for mattresses and pillows because it alleviates aches and pains in the sleeper’s most sensitive areas. Memory foam becomes softer when it comes into contact with body heat, allowing it to conform closely, and then recovers its shape when it cools down.
Pillows made of memory foam may be constructed from a single piece of foam or filled with shredded foam. Additionally, some memory foam pillows are raised to elevate the neck and provide better support for sleepers with chronic neck and/or shoulder pain. Memory foam should never be machine washed, but most pillows include removable, washable covers to help keep the pillow hygienic. Memory foam pillows have below-average price-points compared to pillows made from other materials, such as latex, wool, or buckwheat hulls.
Read on to learn more about memory foam pillows and important considerations for selecting the right model. Below you will find our picks for the best memory foam pillows sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis
With its copper infused-cover and kapok fiber-infused fill, the Layla Pillow made our editor’s choice for best memory foam pillow. The Layla Pillow is a standout due to its material composition. The shredded foam fill is supplemented with fibers from the kapok tree, which have a downy texture and do not retain heat like foam does.The shredded memory foam kapok fill contours the head, neck, and shoulders, which can relieve pain and promote proper spinal alignment. Moldability is another benefit of the Layla Pillow; it is scrunchy enough for most people who like to snuggle with a pillow while they sleep. It also produces less off-gassing odor than most similar shredded foam pillows.
Additionally, the polyester-blend cover is infused with copper; this material helps regulate the temperature of the pillow, allowing it to sleep cool. Copper has been shown to improve blood flow in sleepers, as well, making the Layla Pillow a good option for those with poor circulation.
The Layla Pillow features a ‘Medium Soft’ feel that makes it suitable for back, side, and stomach sleepers of lower weights (less than 130 pounds) and average weight (130 to 230 pounds) groups, as well as heavier individuals (230 pounds and over).
The Layla Pillow will ship for free anywhere in the contiguous U.S., and Layla offers shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada for a flat rate of $20 (much cheaper than average for these locations). The pillow is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a five-year warranty.
Price-point can be a barrier for some memory foam pillow shoppers, but some models are much more affordable than others. Our Best Value pick, the Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Pillow from Relief Mart, is priced much lower than average. However, the pillow offers the same levels of conforming and pressure relief as most higher-end foam models. Thanks to its shredded memory foam fill and rayon from bamboo cover, the Snuggle-Pedic sleeps quite cool, as well.
The Snuggle-Pedic offers adjustable loft. However, owners should refrain from adding or removing foam fill themselves; the pillow is sealed along the opening to prevent fill from escaping. Those who wish to have the loft adjusted are asked to ship their pillow to Relief Mart, where the pillow can be resealed. Relief Mart offers free, unlimited loft adjustments for all Snuggle-Pedic owners, and the shipping for this service costs nothing.
The Snuggle-Pedic qualifies for free shipping to all 50 states. It is backed by a 120-night sleep trial, as well as a 20-year warranty (one of the lengthiest pillow warranties available).
From the time-honored, respected brand Tempur-Pedic, the TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow has earned our editor’s title of “Best Luxury” with its sophisticated design elements. The pillow is made from a lightweight Tempur memory foam, a material known for its exceptional contouring and pressure-relieving abilities. Both sides of the pillow feature a layer of Tempur-Breeze gel, designed to keep you cool throughout the night. The TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow is encased in a soft, breathable quilted cotton cover that can be removed and washed in a conventional machine.
The pillow’s medium soft feel makes it a suitable choice for back, side, and stomach sleepers of all body mass indexes. Note that — like many memory foam models — the TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow may come with an initial off-gassing odor that should dissipate within a few days.
Tempur-Pedic offers free shipping within the continental U.S. along with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. Unlike many competitors, the brand does not offer a sleep trial.
An ideal choice for side sleepers, the Easy Breather from Nest Bedding features a shredded memory foam fill that works to alleviate pressure points that build in the neck and shoulders. It also sleeps fairly cool due to good circulation within the interior and a breathable cover made of Tencel® lyocell. Additionally, the pillow is exceptionally moldable, and can be scrunched and squeezed into different positions. This can be beneficial for side sleepers who prefer to cuddle with pillows.
The Easy Breather is considered a ‘Medium’ in terms of firmness, which is one of the most popular firmness settings among all sleepers. It is suitable for most people in the light weight and average weight groups, as well as heavier individuals who prefer pillows that are less firm, The loft is fully adjustable, making the pillow suitable for those whose thickness preferences frequently change, as well.
Nest Bedding offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The Easy Breather is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a two-year warranty.
Combination sleepers — or those who shift sleep positions during the night — require a pillow versatile enough to support their spinal alignment regardless of their sleep position. With its moldable, adjustable shredded, gel-infused memory foam fill, the Eden is an ideal choice for combination sleepers. The Eden provides close conforming to the sleeper’s head, neck, and shoulders irrespective of their sleep position. This helps align the spine, which can reduce pain and pressure points in these areas.
Another benefit of the Eden is adjustable loft, or thickness. Owners simply add or remove the shredded foam fill to increase or decrease the loft, making this a good pillow for sleepers whose thickness preferences fluctuate from night to night. And unlike many competing pillows, the Eden is highly durable and has a longer-than-average lifespan. Cleaning the cover is fairly easy, as well, since it features a removable polyester liner that holds the foam,
The pillow also sleeps exceptionally cool compared to other memory foam models. Air circulates well within the interior and the pillow’s cover, made from breathable bamboo-based rayon, retains minimal body heat.
Lastly, the Eden has a price-point that is much lower than that of the average memory foam pillow. Coop Home Goods offers free shipping to customers in all 50 states, and the pillow is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a five-year warranty – both of which are longer than average.
Our choice for best cooling pillow, the Bear Pillow, is built from a single piece of aerated “Loft X” polyfoam that promotes air circulation. To further enhance its cooling effect, the polyester-blend case features mesh panels on either side that promote breathability.
In addition to cooling, the aerated polyfoam offers solid contouring that helps relieve pain and pressure. The pillow also offers excellent shape retention.
The Bear Pillow comes with a 5” loft regardless of its size. Its medium firmness makes it suitable for lightweight, average, and heavyweight users of all sleep positions.
The Bear Mattress company offers a 100-night sleep trial and two-year warranty with its pillow. The company also ships free to destinations within the contiguous U.S.
Memory foam pillows are made from viscoelastic polyfoam, which conforms to the sleeper’s head, neck and shoulders. Memory foam reacts to body heat; it will conform when warm, and recover its original, even shape when cool. Two types of memory foam pillows are commonly sold: one-piece (also known as ‘traditional memory foam pillows.’) and shredded.
Memory foam pillows are often suitable for people who experience neck and/or shoulder pain, since the close conforming can help alleviate pain and pressure points. The material is also fairly supportive for most sleepers, and produces little to no noise. However, memory foam pillows also have drawbacks, including body heat retention, below-average durability, and high odor potential. Other pros and cons are specifically associated with shredded and one-piece designs.
Read on to learn more about shredded and one-piece memory foam pillows, and how they are different from other pillow types.
Memory foam is treated with chemicals to sink deeply and conform closely to relieve pain and pressure, which sets it apart from standard polyfoam. As the name suggests, one-piece pillows consist of a single segment of memory foam that is cut to size. In addition to flat-surface pillows, some one-piece memory foam pillows are contoured to create a more supportive surface for the head, neck and shoulders.
Shredded memory foam pillows typically feature cases stuffed with tiny pieces of memory foam. Some shredded designs have cases with zippers, which allows owners to add or remove individual pieces in order to achieve their optimal firmness and loft. Shredded memory foam pillows without zippered cases can be fluffed to adjust the feel.
Cover materials for memory foam pillows vary by brand, but most are made from cotton or polyester blends.
Memory pillows are commonly available in the following sizes:
The table below features standard measurements for the Standard, Queen, King, and Body pillow sizes.
|Standard||20W" x 26L"|
|Super Standard||20W" x 28L"|
|Queen||20W" x 30L"|
|King||20W" x 36L"|
|Body Pillow||54W" x 20L" 48W" x 20L"|
When discussing the benefits and drawbacks of memory foam pillows, it’s important to note that one-piece pillows have certain advantages over shredded foam pillows, and vice versa. First, let’s look at some general pros and cons for both memory foam pillow types.
Pros of one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows include:
Cons of one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows are as follows:
Now, let’s look at some unique pros and cons for one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows:
Memory foam pillows are generally suitable for the following types of sleepers:
Memory foam pillows may not be suitable for the following groups:
People who are sensitive to smell, as memory foam pillows may emit persistent, unpleasant off-gassing odors.
|Criteria||One-piece Memory Foam Pillow Rating||Shredded Memory Foam Pillow Rating||Explanation|
|Affordability||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||The average price-point for a memory foam pillow falls between $50 and $60, with shredded pillows being slightly more expensive.|
|Durability||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||One-piece memory foam pillows may sag or form indentations somewhat quickly, while shredded pillows will begin to feel lumpy unless they are regularly fluffed|
|Support||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Both one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows offer above-average support, according to owners.|
|Noise||Very Good to Excellent||Very Good to Excellent||Memory foam pillows produce little to no noise, whether they are one-piece or shredded designs.|
|Weight||Fair to Good||Poor to Fair||Some one-piece memory foam pillows weigh more than 5 pounds. Shredded pillows are slightly lighter, but still heavy compared to other pillow types (such as down or feather).|
|Odor||Poor to Fair||Poor to Fair||Off-gassing is one of the chief complaints among memory foam pillow owners, although some products produce less offensive and persistent smells than others.|
|Washable||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||One-piece memory foam pillows should be spot cleaned, as conventional washing machines could damage them. Shredded pillows, on the other hand, are usually machine washable.|
|Loft Options||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||Most memory foam pillows are medium- to high-loft, with a firmness of Medium to Firm, but some manufacturers sell pillows with different settings.|
|Firmness Options||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Most people are satisfied with the firmness of memory foam pillows, but very few designs are available below a Medium rating.|
|Availability||Very Good to Excellent||Very Good to Excellent||Memory foam pillows are widely available.|
Memory foam pillows are available from a wide range of brands. Additionally, they are found in numerous online and brick-and-mortar home goods stores, as well as online-only retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com.
In terms of price-point, memory foam pillows usually cost between $50 and $60. This puts them on par with latex pillows. Memory foam pillows are generally less expensive than other pillow types, such as down, buckwheat, and natural/organic, and more expensive than others, such as polyester, down alternative, and feather pillows.
Memory foam pillows are fairly easy to maintain over time. One-piece pillows should be spot-cleaned periodically, but never need to be dry-cleaned. Shredded pillows should be fluffed regularly to maintain a consistent shape.
The graph below lists average price-points for eight of the most common pillow types.
|Pillow Type||Memory Foam||Down||Down Alternative||Buckwheat||Feather||Latex||Natural/Organic||Polyester|
|Average Cost||$50-$60||$70-$100||$20-$30||$50-$75||$25-$50||$40-$60||$150 and higher||$10-$15|