Best Pillows From Consumer Reports' Tests

Which pillows from brands, including Casper, My Pillow, and Tempur-Pedic, help you get better ZZZs?

Consumer Reports tests for the best pillows.
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Consumer Reports has long tested mattresses in the quest to help you get better sleep. And now, for the first time ever, we’re adding pillows to the mix, putting them through rigorous testing to see which offer the support you need. We poke and pound 10 pillows from widely available brands. One thing we learned: With pillows, you generally get what you pay for.

"Based on our tests, the less expensive pillows made from cheaper materials don't perform as well as pillows that cost a bit more,” says Chris Regan, the project leader who oversees pillow testing at CR.

In our tests, we assess how well each pillow supports the head and the neck of people of all sizes—petite, average, and large or tall—whether they sleep on their side or back. We use a pressure mat to analyze roughly 1,600 pressure points and note areas where the pillow is too soft or too firm around the head or doesn’t offer adequate support.

“You need to find a pillow that doesn't crane your neck in any position—the idea is to keep your neck as neutral as possible when you sleep,” says Joel Press, M.D., physiatrist-in-chief at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

We also evaluate how well pillows hold their shape by placing an evenly distributed 225-pound weight on each pillow in a room set to 98.6° F to mimic the human body and 80 percent humidity to mimic sweat for 96 hours. For more on how we test pillows, see our pillow buying guide.

Read on for a closer look at the top pillows from our tests, listed in alphabetical order. For more, check out our pillow ratings to see how well all 10 pillows perform in each of CR’s tests.

Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft
Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable...

    Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable...

    CR’s take: The Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft pillow is made of shredded memory foam and earns an Excellent rating in our tests for support—no matter your size and whether you sleep on your side or back. “It’s a very versatile pillow,” says Regan, in part because it comes with a kit with extra foam so you can adjust the filling to your liking. This CR-recommended pillow also keeps its shape well, showing little to no change in height or fluffiness in our resilience tests. Our panel of testers like the look and feel of this pillow, too. The only test where this pillow falls slightly short is in how well it allows air to circulate: It sleeps slightly warm, so your head might feel a little sweaty at night.

    My Pillow Premium
    My Pillow Premium

      My Pillow Premium

      CR’s take: Side sleepers will have a lot to like in the My Pillow Premium, as it earns an Excellent rating in that support test. But it’s not the best choice if you sleep mostly on your back, because the head sinks in too far, which could cause some slight strain. This pillow is middle-of-the-pack when it comes to resilience—our panel of testers find that the foam chunks inside this My Pillow sometimes shift and bunch up while sleeping on it. It has one distinction over the other pillows listed here: It earns an Excellent rating for breathability, meaning it dissipates moisture well and keeps your head cooler at night.

      Sealy Memory Foam Gel
      Sealy Memory Foam Gel

        Sealy Memory Foam Gel

        CR’s take: This Sealy pillow is made of memory foam, with a gel foam on one side. It’s great if you sleep on your side, but not ideal if you sleep on your back—it’s pretty firm, and doesn’t really allow your head to sink into the pillow. That creates a greater angle for petite sleepers that could lead to restless sleep. This pillow holds its shape well. However, despite its claim that the gel layer keeps the pillow cool, we find just the opposite in our tests: The gel layer combined with the dense memory foam make the pillow less breathable and trap moisture. So this might not be the right pillow for you if you tend to sleep hot at night.

        Tempur-Pedic Breeze Dual Cooling
        Tempur-Pedic Breeze Dual Cooling

          Tempur-Pedic Breeze Dual Cooling

          CR’s take: Tempur-Pedic's Breeze Dual Queen pillow is made of two layers of gel memory foam. And it's the most expensive pillow we've tested. It earns an Excellent rating in our tests for side-sleeper support. But for supporting those who sleep on their backs, it earns only a Good rating. In our resilience tests, this pillow mostly maintains its shape. Although this pillow has “breeze” in its name, it actually doesn’t allow for much airflow, so you could get sweaty sleeping on it at night. Note: This pillow is not washable—only its cover can be cleaned.

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          Haniya Rae

          I​’m interested in the intersection between design and technology​—whether for ​drywall or robotic vacuums—and how the resulting combination affects consumers. I’ve written about consumer advocacy issues for publications like The Atlantic, PC Magazine, and Popular Science, and now I’m happy to be tackling the topic for CR. For updates, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@haniyarae).