Best Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam is famous for its ability to conform perfectly to any shape, offering both support and supreme comfort.
There are a seemingly endless array of options currently on the market, and this guide will help you navigate the possibilities.
We’ll cover the pros and cons of choosing memory foam, explain the different varieties of foam available, compare foam with other pillow materials, and review seven of today’s best memory foam pillows.
Our Top Memory Foam Pillow Picks
The Best Memory Foam Pillows
First up, we have the Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow, made of highly customizable shredded memory foam. Like others in the category, it is hypoallergenic, dust mite and mould resistant, and CertiPUR, short for “Certified Pure,” meaning it contains no ozone depleting materials or harmful heavy metals such as lead or mercury.
It offers medium support with a wide range of user adjustability, including a zipper on the side which allows you to add or remove foam from the pillow itself. You can buy additional shredded memory foam if you really want to puff the pillow up even more! For these reasons, the Snuggle-Pedic is perfect for combination sleepers (people who move through 2+ positions while sleeping).
The Snuggle-Pedic uses a bamboo-mix cover, which enhances breathability and comfort throughout the entire night. The pillow is fully machine-washable and even comes in three sizes. And last but not least, the Snuggle-Pedic comes with a 120-day trial period, followed by a twenty-year warranty. The company offers a full refund if you’re not happy with your purchase in four months, and will repair any damage to the pillow within two decades. While this is not quite the lifetime guarantee of the Sleep Whale (below), it is still a great value. Many people throw their pillows out every year or two, but there’s absolutely no need to do so with this one. High-quality shredded memory foam pillows are meant to last, and their hypoallergenic nature and ease of cleaning helps too.
Second, we have the Premium Adjustable Loft Shredded Memory Foam Pillow made by Coop Home Goods. This is a truly classic memory foam pillow design. Because of the material choice, the Coop Home Goods pillow is of course hypoallergenic and resistant to mould growth. Since it’s shredded memory foam instead of a block, this pillow is remarkably breathable. Also aiding in breathability is the included pillow cover made of a mixture of polyester and bamboo-derived rayon, which helps keep you cool while you sleep and won’t build up sweat like cotton can. Plus, the Coop Home Goods pillow is CertiPUR, free of ozone depleters and heavy metals. The pillow is fully machine-washable too, as is the cover.
A special feature of the Coop Home Goods pillow is the fact that it is user-adjustable. You can simply unzip a convenient access point on the side of the pillow and add or remove shredded memory foam. This lets you tailor your pillow to meet your specific needs, which really does make it quite versatile—and ideal for combination sleepers. This pillow can be adjusted to suit just about any kind of sleeping position. You can also choose from multiple sizes.
To top this all off, the Coop Homes Goods pillow comes with a thirty-day warranty, so you have plenty of time to test the pillow and see if it meets your sleeping needs. That’s in addition to a 5-year guarantee that your pillow won’t go flat! So if you’re in search of a solid pillow with good support and adjustability, Coop Home Goods may have what you’re looking for.
Next up, we have the Perfect Cloud Double Airflow Memory Foam Pillow. This pillow is a bit different because of its “double airflow” construction, meaning that it is air-infused and well-ventilated. The mesh trim adds even more ventilation. Since excessive heat retention is one of the major drawbacks of memory foam, this pillow is a welcome addition to the market. It’s specifically designed to keep you feeling cool and airy all night long. And of course the memory foam core provides good support for your head and neck.
The plush quilted cover is fully removable to allow for easy washing. Perfect Cloud pillows are CertiPUR, certified free of a number of toxic materials. Unsure this pillow is right for you? Not a problem: you can enjoy a 30-day trial period to see how you like it. This pillow also comes with a 10-year warranty.
The Premium Shredded Memory Foam Pillow made by Clara Clark is up next. As the name would suggest, it is made of shredded memory foam, so it’s quite easy to adjust and alter to your individual needs. Like the Coop Home Goods pillow, it has a zipper which allows you to add or remove filling to make the pillow fit you perfectly. Again, this kind of adjustability and versatility make it a great pick for combination sleepers who move between various positions throughout the night.
It’s hypoallergenic and resistant to mould and dust mites, as are other pillows in this category. The shredded memory foam and its bamboo-blend cover are quite breathable, so you’ll stay cool as you sleep. And the entire thing is even machine-washable. Finally, Clara Clark offers a money-back guarantee if you’re not 100% thrilled with your new pillow. Overall, this pillow is a good option if you’re interested in soft yet supportive shredded memory foam.
A rather unique option is the Cr Sleep Reversible Memory Foam Gel Pillow. This pillow boasts two sides: one made of memory foam and one with cooling gel. Feeling hot? Just flip the pillow over and rest your head on the gel side. Using this side of the pillow is ideal when it’s warm or humid, as it will keep you from waking up hot and damp with your own sweat. Freezing cold? Flip to the memory foam side to stay warm and cosy on arctic winter nights. This distinctive design makes it an ideal year-round pillow, especially if you live in a climate that has a hot summer and cold winter.
This pillow is CertiPUR and therefore is free of toxic materials like formaldehyde or methane chloride. Finally, note that you should not put the entire pillow in your washing machine. Only the cover is machine-washable.
Here we have another model by Cr Sleep: the Ventilated Memory Foam Pillow with AirCell Technology. This pillow, unlike many others on our list, is not made from shredded memory foam, but rather from one large block of the stuff. This means that the pillow provides excellent head and neck support while sacrificing adjustability. The pillow is medium-firm, so it provides a good level of support for most people and is a solid pick for combination sleepers. It will mould itself just right against your head without ever going flat.
But won’t a solid memory foam pillow trap moisture? Won’t you wake up soaked in your own sweat? Not with this pillow. Cr Sleep uses air cells in the memory foam body to ensure air flow all night long. Also, the pillow cover for this model comes with two very different sides, a warm side (65% polyester and 35% tencel) and a cool side (50% ice fabric and 50% polyester). So, like the other Cr Sleep option above, this pillow will have you covered all year round.
The Cr Sleep pillow is CertiPUR. Take care of your pillow by not putting it in the washer as this will damage the gel memory foam body. Stick to washing only the cover.
Finally is the Premium Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow by Sleep Whale. This is another pillow which offers great head and neck support without being too firm. This is because it is made from shredded memory foam like some others on this list. Because of the materials used on this pillow, it is also quite breathable. The Sleep Whale pillow’s bamboo-mix cover also helps to keep you cool as you sleep.
You can adjust the loft of the pillow by adding or removing shredded memory foam. This is a nice feature which lets you customize your pillow to your specific needs. As with many other pillows made of shredded memory foam, it is machine-washable. However, be sure to remove the cover and wash it separately in order to ensure that both are cleaned most effectively. Both the pillow itself and its cover are dryer-safe. You’ll also be certain that your pillow is clean and free of allergens.
Shredded memory foam is quite durable, but Sleep Whale has decided to go a step further and offers a full lifetime replacement guarantee on their pillow. This is a truly exceptional value, which only a few pillows come with. The lifetime guarantee really does make this pillow stand out from the crowd. Remember, this is a market where people often buy and then get rid of a pillow within a year. A warranty of any sort is an exceptional value, but a lifetime warranty is truly something special. So if you’re in search of a cost-effective memory foam pillow that will offer you great support and adjustability, all backed by a full lifetime guarantee, the Sleep Whale may just fit your needs.
What Actually is Memory Foam?
It’s a material that was developed by NASA in the 1960s to make aircraft seating safer. Known as “viscoelastic” polyurethane foam, this innovative material soon spread to other markets, most notably for making medical and sports equipment. Today, it’s a popular and widespread material for mattresses, mattress pads, and pillows.
What are the Benefits of Using a Memory Foam Pillow?
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sinking into a memory foam pillow—many people who try out memory foam pillows just once find that they can never go back to their regular old pillow. Benefits of memory foam include the following:
- A memory foam pillow is quite supportive and will keep your spine and neck in alignment. Many users report reduced neck pain upon switching to a memory foam pillow.
- No pressure points: because memory foam contours directly to your body, it will provide consistent, even support without pressing excessively on any one point.
- No need for constant fluffing; memory foam retains its shape all night long.
- Various options are available. We’ll discuss the different types of memory foam below, but rest assured that you’ll have your pick of multiple varieties. Whether you prefer soft or firm, high loft or low, there’s a memory foam pillow out there for you.
What are the Drawbacks of Using a Memory Foam Pillow?
That said, no material is perfect. Here are some of the potential drawbacks of memory foam pillows (and suggestions on mitigating them):
- Some memory foam pillows retain body heat and run “hot.” You can counteract this tendency in several ways. One, choose shredded memory foam, which breathes better than most solid pieces of foam. Two, try a gel-infused memory foam pillow, with gel microbeads that improve airflow. Three, look for a pillow with a breathable or cooling cover.
- Some people find memory foam pillows too firm: this is mostly an issue with pillows that are moulded from one solid block of foam. Again, you can solve this problem by looking into shredded memory foam.
- Most memory foam pillows are on the heavier side, so they’re generally not ideal for travel or camping. If you’re a huge fan of memory foam and can’t travel without it, consider buying a smaller, travel-size version or a more portable neck roll-style pillow.
- Some users report an initial chemical odour from their new memory foam pillows (known as “offgassing”); however, any smell should dissipate quite quickly, often within half an hour.
Consider the Density
Memory foam is a denser material than many other pillow fillings like down or feathers. This makes the average memory foam pillow heavier but also more supportive than traditional pillows. Among memory foam pillows, there are differences in density that lead to differences in feel, supportiveness, and durability. Higher-density memory foam has a longer lifespan than lower-density, though high-density foams are also more prone to trap heat and can sometimes restrict the sleeper’s movements. A higher-density pillow will be firmer and more supportive, while a lower-density one will be softer—choose according to your personal needs and preferences!
Types of Memory Foam Pillows
Multiple types of memory foam pillows are readily available, and it can be a daunting task to sift through them all and determine which is best for you—so we’ve made this guide to help! Here are some of the categories you’ll encounter when you begin shopping around for memory foam:
- Shredded memory foam: These pillows are filled with many pieces of shredded foam, which allows them to be shaped and moulded however you like while retaining the supportive properties of memory foam. Shredded foam pillows are generally a bit softer and cuddlier than the traditional foam block, but they still contour to your body and provide good support. Shredded foam pillows typically have slightly longer life spans and offer better breathability.
- Gel-infused memory foam: Similar to standard memory foam, but with gel microbeads added to the material. These gel microbeads work to regulate heat retention. Standard memory foam often traps heat around your body, but gel-infused foam does a better job of dissipating your body heat. If you decide to buy a gel-infused memory foam pillow (or mattress), do your research: how much gel is infused? Not enough, and you won’t get any benefit. How high quality is the product? In general, the tinier the gel beads are, the better, since larger gel beads will weaken the foam structure and shorten its lifespan.
- Bamboo memory foam: These pillows feature bamboo-derived viscose outer shells and are typically filled with shredded foam. Bamboo-based covers are quite breathable and help to dissipate your body heat as you sleep. A bamboo-blend cover will generally contain around 40% viscose of bamboo.
- Contour memory foam: This is what most people picture when they hear “memory foam pillow.” It’s a single, moulded block of memory foam, sculpted into a contour (or “wave”) shape. One end is often higher than the other, and there’s a dip in the middle to cradle your head. Contour pillows are especially great for back sleepers. These pillows have a spongey feel and provide firm neck support, though they can trap body heat. Today’s pillow technology has helped to alleviate this heat retention somewhat; for instance, “open cell” memory foam was developed to allow better air flow.
How Does Memory Foam Compare to Other Pillow Materials?
Pillow technology in the 21st century is pretty complex and has yielded numerous different materials. There’s always traditional down pillows, but now we have newer materials like latex and gel to consider. Buckwheat is traditional in East Asia and is quickly gaining traction in the West as well. Let’s see how all of these materials stack up compared to memory foam.
- Memory foam vs. latex pillows: These two materials share some similarities: both offer an appealing blend of softness and support, and both are shown to reduce neck pain. Both sometimes arrive with a bit of chemical smell that dissipates over time. Memory foam pillows (especially one-piece pillows) tend to run a bit hotter than latex, but you can mitigate this problem by using a cooling, breathable cover or by trying a shredded memory foam pillow, which has better airflow. In terms of durability and longevity, both types of pillow tend to have a lifespan of around 3 to 4 years, though some high-quality options (both latex and memory foam) can last for up to a decade or longer. Finally, consider the feel of memory foam vs. latex. Some users like the springiness or “bounce” of a latex pillow, while others prefer sinking into a memory foam pillow, which cradles the head and neck.
- Memory foam vs. down pillows: Down pillows are as traditional as it gets, and they work well for many people. These pillows are filled with down, the soft plumage that serves as insulation underneath the outer feathers of geese and ducks. Some cheaper versions of down pillows have a small percentage (25% or less) of larger feathers inside as well. Overall, down is a light, soft, and fluffy material that makes for a lightweight and mouldable pillow. So what’s the downside? Down pillows don’t offer high enough loft or adequate support for some users. They also tend to flatten over time and need to be regularly fluffed. Finally, down pillows are often on the pricier side. Memory foam pillows are a better option for people who experience neck pain or need more neck support. If you want a pillow that adjusts right to your body and maintains its shape and loft all night, memory foam is definitely a better bet. You also do not have to sacrifice softness: shredded memory foam pillows are plenty cuddly and can be shaped into any position or thickness.
- Memory foam vs. buckwheat pillows: Buckwheat pillows are popular in East Asia and fast catching on in the West as well. Filled with firm buckwheat hulls, they provide strong head and neck support that, like memory foam, can conform well to your body. Overall, buckwheat pillows are a great option for those on the market for a firm, supportive pillow. Some users, however, don’t like the noise these pillows make as the hulls shift around, while some find that buckwheat pillows are too heavy. Finally, if you’re looking for a softer, more cushiony pillow, buckwheat is probably not the best choice. Instead, if you want to feel like you’re dozing on a cumulus cloud, consider a material like shredded memory foam.
- Memory foam vs. gel fibre pillows: Gel fibre pillows are a popular alternative to down; plush and luxurious, they have a similar feel and are often less expensive. The gel fibres breathe fairly well and even provide some neck support. People who require firmer support might be better served by a memory foam pillow, however. It’s always a good idea to try out different options—gel fibre, shredded foam, and contour foam—alongside each other to get a sense of what’s most comfortable for you.
There are Plenty of Options!
Many memory foam pillows are made of one solid block of foam, a good choice if you want stability and support. Then there’s shredded memory foam, which offers good support along with lots of adjustability and breathability. Shredded foam is probably the best all-around type of pillow in the category, especially if you’re a combination sleeper and need a pillow that will allow you to move. It’s also a good pick if you value a soft or plush feel, or want a pillow you can grab, scrunch, and shape as you like.
Then there are the gel-infused memory foam pillows, such as the Cr Sleep Ventilated Memory Foam Pillow, which are especially good at moderating body heat retention. Cr Sleep is a fantastic company to consider if you struggle with keeping a comfortable body temperature, or if you find yourself sleeping in a wide variety of temperatures.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is warranty: on this list, the Sleep Whale and Snuggle-Pedic pillows offer truly exceptional warranties and are guaranteed to last you for a very long time. Memory foam pillows aren’t the cheapest pillows out there, but they boast long lifespans and offer a lot of value.
It can be hard to choose with all the options: we hope our guide helps you navigate through the many different types of memory foam pillows. Take advantage of the trial periods that many of these pillows offer before committing, as personal experience is always the best way to learn what does or doesn’t work for you. But whatever you end up with, buy with confidence and sleep well!