Given that we spend an estimated one-third of our lives sleeping, our sleep position should not cause discomfort or pain, and sleeping on the wrong pillow can lead to many restless nights. However, sleeping on the right pillow can eliminate or minimise discomfort and pain by keeping the head and spine in optimal alignment and offering adequate comfort, support and pressure relief.
A quick look online or in stores may have left you unexpectedly overwhelmed by the ever-growing number of options, in addition to pillow terminology, materials, and clever marketing jargon. We have put together a list of what we consider some of the best pillow options on the UK market, along with some extra information and suggestions that may be helpful in your search for the perfect pillow.
(Important Facts, Studies, Advice, Considerations & FAQs In Conclusion)
|PILLOW||TYPE||SIZE||TRIAL & WARRANTY||PRICE|
|Panda Bamboo pillow||Memory Foam||60x40x12cm||30 Nights|
|Simba Hybrid pillow||Open-cell foam Nanocubes®||50x75xXcm||NA Nights|
|Kally Sleep Adjustable Pillow||Hollowfibre||70x40x22cm||14 Nights|
|REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel pillow||Memory Foam||64x40x12cm||NA Nights|
|Eve Memory Foam pillow||Solid Memory Foam with Holes||42x66x13cm||30 Nights|
|Emma pillow||Polyfoam & Memory Foam||70x40x12cm||200 Nights|
|OTTY Adjustable pillow||Memory Foam pieces||65x43x25cm||14 Nights|
|Ergoflex HD pillow||High Density Solid Memory Foam||45x65x14cm||NA Nights|
|Nanu Pillow||Hollowfibre||48x74xXcm||NA Nights|
1. Panda Bamboo Pillow
|• 40% bamboo pillowcase|
• 30-night trial
• 10-year guarantee
|• Individuals seeking memory foam|
• Those who enjoy medium-firm support
• Eco-conscious individuals
The Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow comprises a 3rd generation memory foam fill encased in a removable soft and luxurious bamboo cover. The memory foam offers comfort and support without the danger of it flattening while you sleep or over time.
The pillowcase is made up of 40% bamboo and 60% polyester. The manufacturers describe this product as ethically sourced from organic bamboo, grown pesticide-free, and vegan-friendly. Due to the bamboo's natural qualities, the pillow cover is naturally breathable, encouraging airflow and coolness. It is also antibacterial, hypoallergenic, sustainable, and free of harmful substances (OEKO-TEX® certified).
A built-in pillow protector comprises a strong and breathable mesh fabric around the memory foam pillow, ensuring it stays intact and is dust and dirt free. This pillow is described as having medium-firm support. Panda offers free UK delivery and returns, as well as a 30-night trial and a 10-year guarantee to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase.
2. Simba Hybrid Pillow
|• Open-cell foam Nanocubes®|
• Stratos® active temperature regulation layer
• 1-year guarantee
|• People seeking an adjustable height and firmness|
• Hot sleepers
• Those with a higher budget
The Simba Hybrid® Pillow has been designed with breathable and lightweight open-cell foam Nanocubes® that can be added or removed to customise the height and firmness of the pillow. This feature could make this pillow a good potential option for sleepers who aren't quite sure of their preferred specifications.
Six different layers have been combined in this hybrid pillow to ensure optimal comfort and coolness. First, from the bottom up, is a breathable cotton cover. Above this, a soft, breathable, hypoallergenic microfibre. Next is the layer of breathable and lightweight open-cell foam nanocubes with a mesh border facilitating maximum airflow. Then, the Stratos® active temperature regulation layer absorbs, stores and releases heat when you need it, ensuring optimal sleep temperature.
This product is CertiPur certified and therefore not harmful to you or the environment. In addition, Simba-Pure foam is free from pollutants and made with sustainability in mind. Simba offers a 1-year guarantee on the Hybrid pillow, and customers review this product very highly - many people mentioning how comfortable and supportive the pillow is.
3. Kally Adjustable Pillow
|• 4 removable hollowfibre pads|
• 14-night sleep trial
• 2-year guarantee
|• Those seeking adjustable height and firmness|
• All sleep positions
• Hot sleepers
The Kally Adjustable Pillow could be a great option for those unsure of what height and firmness they prefer or those who might want to change their preference over time. This pillow has the option of 1 to 4 blown hollowfibre pads that can be added or removed to suit the sleeper's needs. The hollowfibre is light, springy, and breathable - for a firmer feel, more pads can be added, and for a softer feel, some taken out. Manufacturers note that this pillow is suitable for side, back, and front sleepers due to its adjustability.
This Kally pillow has a 100% pure cotton removable quilted cover with permeable side air vents to keep the sleeper cool and comfortable whilst they sleep. It is recommended to fluff and plump by hand regularly, wash at 40°C and dry naturally on a flat surface. Kally offers a 14-night sleep trial and a 2-year guarantee on this product. Customers generally seem very satisfied with their purchases, some commenting that it's a very good deal and that the adjustability has proved very useful.
4. REM-Fit 500 Pillow
|• Gel-infused memory foam|
• Machine-washable cover
• 5-year guarantee
|• All sleep positions|
• Hot sleepers
• Those seeking pressure relief
The REM-Fit 500 Pillow has a viscoelastic polyurethane foam filling designed to give maximum support and adaptive comfort in any sleep position and aid in spinal alignment and pressure relief. In addition, this pillow has gel-infused Re-Ax® fibres that move sweat away from the body, promoting a cool, dry sleep. The inner cover is made of 100% cotton, and the outer cover is 40% Lyocell from Tencel and 60% polyester. The ultra-light, stretchy, durable fabric encourages the passage of moisture and air.
Manufacturers recommend that the inner foam be sponge-cleaned only, whilst the outer cover is machine-washable at 40°C. The REM-Fit 500 pillow has a 5-year guarantee and free next day delivery. Customers overall seem satisfied with their purchases; however, some customers with a larger frame and broad shoulders find they need a little more height.
5. Eve Memory Foam Pillow
|• 100% polyurethane foam|
• Removable 100% polyester cover
• 2-year guarantee
|• Hot sleepers|
• Those wanting a sleep trial period
• Individuals preferring European-made products
The Eve Memory Foam Pillow claims to achieve the perfect balance between 'not too hard' and 'not too sinky' by combining a velvety soft foam with one that's a bit denser. As a result, the head and neck feel 'hugged' yet supported without a firm or 'propped up' feel.
This pillow is made up of 100% soft and supportive polyurethane foam with specially crafted air holes to facilitate ventilation and prevent overheating while you sleep. There is a 100% polyester cover with a breathable jersey knit for a soft and stretchy feel. The cover is removable and washable at 40°C.
Also worth mentioning that this Eve memory foam pillow fits a standard pillow size. This product was designed in London manufactured in Europe. Manufacturers offer a 30-night sleep trial to ensure you are satisfied with your purchase, as well as a 2-year guarantee. Although on the more expensive side, customers generally seem very happy with their purchases and comment on value for money, quality, and comfort.
6. Emma Pillow
|• 3 specialised foam layers|
• 2-year guarantee
• 200-night trial
|• Sleepers who prefer a choice of firmness|
• Hot sleepers
• People who like to buy British
The Emma Original Pillow has been designed with three separate layers of memory foam, each of which you can remove to suit your needs. The first layer consists of viscoelastic foam, which offers even weight distribution and pressure relief. This is followed by a layer of HRX Supreme Foam, designed to support and aid spinal alignment.
The pillow also includes Airgocell® memory foam, which has an open-pored design to help provide breathability and moisture absorption. In addition, the pillow is covered in a moisture-resistant top cover (98% polyester and 2% elastane) which has been added to encourage air circulation.
This pillow offers firm support and is described as being ultra-durable. The removable and machine washable cover is also vegan, non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Due to the adjustability, this Emma pillow is said to be suitable for all sleep positions. Manufacturers offer a 200-night trial to ensure that you are completely satisfied with your pillow and a 2-year guarantee. Customers generally seem happy with their purchases, some mentioning comfort and good value for money.
7. Otty Adjustable Pillow
|• Removable memory foam pieces|
• 14-night trial
• 1-year guarantee
|• Sleepers who prefer a choice of firmness|
• Allergy sufferers
• Those with a more flexible budget
The Otty Adjustable Pillow is made up of specially designed memory foam pieces that can be added or removed, allowing the sleeper to adjust to their preferred loft. For thing reason, Otty recommends claims that this pillow is suitable for side, back or front sleepers. Additionally, this pillow is both soft and supportive, enabling comfort and adequate support and spinal alignment. On a firmness scale, this brand rate the pillow at 5.5/10. The pieces of memory foam, opposed to a solid block, facilitate air circulation and a cool, comfortable sleep.
The foam pieces themselves should not be washed; however, the hypoallergenic cover can be machine washed at 40°C. The manufacturers offer a 14-night trial to ensure you are completely satisfied with your purchase and a 1-year guarantee.
8. Ergoflex Pillow
|• ACPT™ memory foam|
• TENCEL™ removable and washable cover
• 2-year guarantee
|• Sleepers who prefer a firm feel|
• Allergy sufferers
• Those seeking support an pressure relief
The Ergoflex HD pillow offers signature cradling, weightlessness and pressure relief. It gently shapes to provide comfort and support to the head and neck whilst avoiding a ‘sinking feeling’. This firm-feel pillow is composed of anti-allergenic and antimicrobial high-density proprietary ACPT™ visco-elastic memory foam, and manufacturers claim that no ‘pillow plumping’ will ever be required.
In addition, this pillow has an all-natural breathable TENCEL™ cover that is removable and machine washable. The Ergoflex HD pillow comes with a 2-year guarantee as well as free next day delivery. Also, worth noting this ergonomic pillow fits standard pillowcases.
9. Nanu Pillow
|• Build your own pillow|
• Hollow fibre fill
• 2-year guarantee
|• Those seeking a customised option|
• Eco-friendly individuals
• People with a tighter budget
The Nanu Pillow is something completely unique in that you can design your pillow - perfectly customised to your needs. This UK-based company has developed a method to build your pillow in 4 steps on their website and deliver it to your door. You are required to fill in some information regarding your sleep position and your height and weight measurements, and the system will create a "perfect-for-you" firmness level - from super-soft to super-firm.
This hypoallergenic pillow has a polyester hollow fibre fill, polyester fabric lining, and 100% cotton cover. The Nanu pillow is eco-friendly and a good potential option for those on a budget. In addition, the manufacturers offer a 2-year guarantee on this product.
Best Pillow UK Types & Materials
Using the correct pillow plays an important role in the quality of your sleep; however, research✓ shows that people often make poor pillow choices leading to poor sleep quality.
The materials used to construct the pillow will have a significant impact on the qualities and characteristics of the pillow. The type of pillow can alter the loft, firmness, comfort and support; therefore, it is essential to find the pillow type best suited for your needs and preferences.
Having said this, it’s worth pointing out that these days the choice of pillow is not limited to the 'standard' size and shape, and different shapes, sizes and designs are available. From C-shaped pregnancy pillows to V-shaped pillows for reading, or a pillow with a hole for ear pain, there is something that caters for every need. These various kinds of pillows are made from different types of materials that most likely fall into one of the following categories.
- Memory Foam: This type of foam consists of polyurethane and is often referred to as viscoelastic or low resistance polyurethane foam. It is designed to use body heat to mould to the sleeper’s head and neck, providing cushioning and support. Memory foam pillows are known for their pressure-relieving properties, and research has shown✓ pressure distribution in these pillows to be superior to many other pillow types. As a result, memory foam is often used in ergonomically designed pillows for neck pain and orthopaedic, wedge or knee pillows.
- Bamboo: Bamboo pillows are called as such because most often, the pillow, which can be filled with memory foam, down, polyester or other, is encased in a woven outer cover made partly from bamboo fibres. This creates a soft, breathable, and durable surface on which to sleep.
- Hollow Fibre: Hollow fibre is made using fine, hollow strands of polyester. These hollow fibres trap air inside them, and this material is therefore known to be lofty, lightweight, soft and breathable.
- Down: Duck feather pillows, goose down pillows, and feather imitation pillows tend to be soft and conform excellently to the head and neck shape and have the potential to last a long time. The downside is that they tend to lose their support and loft over time, feather quills may poke, and they may have an odour unpleasant for some.
- Latex: Latex pillows can be made from natural or synthetic materials or a combination of both. They are known to offer a good combination of comfort and support, are generally breathable, hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and antifungal.
- Combination: Manufacturers will often use different materials to create pillows that have 'the best of both' worlds. For example, memory foam and hollow fibre fill for a supportive yet cushioning feel. Or, a foam fill with duck down cover. It is also not unusual to see pillows infused with materials to increase the breathability of a pillow. For example, gel particles or beads are often added to heat-retaining memory foam pillows and marketed as 'cooling pillows'.
UK Pillow Price Ranges
Due to the vast range of different pillows on the market, the prices of pillows range equally. There are options from £5 to over £200. Hollowfibre and some memory foam pillows are often cheaper, and latex and goose down are generally more expensive; however, this depends largely on the individual pillow. Some high-density memory foam pillows may well cost far more than some down pillows.
The price will often reflect the quality of materials in the pillow. Higher quality materials and advanced design, technology or construction often result in a higher price tag. This is, however, not always the case. In addition, the bedding industry is saturated with brands using clever marketing jargon and claims to compete with one another.
The best strategy is to be clear on your own needs and preferences, familiarise yourself with what is available, and take note of certain considerations, discussed below. You will then hopefully be in a better position to make the most well-informed decision.
Selecting The Best Pillow Loft
The loft essentially refers to the height or thickness of the pillow. Pillows with a higher loft are thicker, while those with a low loft should be thinner. A too high or too low pillow can force your neck to bend at an unnatural angle, causing stress and pain over time. The correct pillow will keep your spine in a straight line from the very top to the bottom and cause no strain to your neck. It is also a good idea to keep your sleeping position, the weight of your head and the width of your shoulders in mind when making your choice.
A higher loft doesn't necessarily mean a firmer pillow. A high-loft plush pillow refers to a thick pillow that can provide plenty of sinkage and cushion. The ideal loft will depend on individual needs and preferences, and essentially, if the head and spine are correctly aligned. Many bedding companies describe their pillows as having a low, medium, or high loft.
- Low: A low loft pillow is usually less than 7.6cm (3 inches). Low loft pillows may be better suited to front sleepers or those with a smaller, more narrow frame and lighter head. Mattress firmness should also be taken into consideration - if the head is misaligned with the spine, the sleeper could feel discomfort, pain, or even breathing difficulties.
- Medium: Pillows with a medium loft usually fall between 7.6-12.7cm (3-5 inches) and are typically best-suited to back and side sleepers who need cushioning and support. It’s worth noting that some pillows have an adjustable loft, which may be useful if you want to remove or add filling to change the height.
- High: High loft pillows are usually around 15.2cm (6 inches) or more. These pillows may also be suitable for back or side sleepers or those with a larger frame, broader shoulders and heavier head, as the pillow is less likely to sag and sink under pressure.
Selecting The Best Pillow Firmness
A pillow that feels too soft may cause too much sinking of the head, and one that is too firm may cause discomfort. Both, as with the loft, can potentially result in incorrect spinal alignment and pressure points. Also, again, as with the loft, the best pillow firmness can be largely subjective and can depend on factors such as sleep position, body size, the weight of the head, and loft.
The materials used in the pillow construction play an important role in pillow firmness. And, although the same materials can be offered in different levels of firmness, the type of material can often be used as a guide as to how soft or firm the pillow will be.
Most pillows fall into one of the following categories; however, it's worth mentioning that there is no universal firmness 'scale', so the firmness of a pillow may well vary between brands.
- Soft: Soft and soft-medium pillows offer a cushioning feel; however, pillows that are too soft may sag under your head and fail to provide proper support and result in head and spine misalignment. Therefore, soft and medium-soft pillows may be better suited to those with lighter heads and those who enjoy a plush feel. Down pillows are available in varying amounts of soft to firm, but most fall in the soft-medium range.
- Medium: Medium and medium-firm pillows tend to be the most versatile and are suited to a wide range of people. Side and back sleepers are usually most comfortable in this range as they provide a balance of contouring and support. Hollow fibre, latex pillows, and some memory foam pillows are often available in medium to medium-firm options.
- Firm: Firm pillows are known for giving increased amounts of support and stability. However, pillows that are too firm may cause pressure points. Higher-density memory foam generally has a firmer feel than lower density memory foam.
Best Pillow For Your Sleeping Position
The position in which you sleep is one of the most significant determining factors for which pillow is the best for you.
Best Pillow For Side Sleepers
The distance between your shoulder and head is greatest when sleeping on your side. Therefore, the best pillow for side sleeping is generally a pillow with a higher loft - necessary to keep the head and spine in optimal alignment.
Best Pillow For Back Sleepers
Whilst sleeping on your back, the natural spinal curvature should not be overly extended, and at the same time, your head should not be under-supported. The pillow height should ensure that your head and spine are correctly aligned.
Best Pillow For Front Sleepers
Sleeping on the stomach is regarded as the most stressful position for the back and neck. However, if this is your preferred sleeping position, a very thin or even no pillow is generally recommended.
Finding The Best Pillow For You
What constitutes the 'best pillow' will differ depending on the sleepers personal preferences and requirements. In order to make an informed decision, it is essential to find out if and how the different pillow types can satisfy your needs.
- Age: Toddler's and children's pillows vary from adult pillows in several ways, most notably size and loft. Some children's pillows also differ in shape - in the form of full-body pillows. Hypoallergenic pillows are often a good choice for toddlers as their skin is more sensitive and may be more prone to itchiness and allergic reactions✓.
- Body weight: If you are a heavier or larger person or have a heavy head or broad shoulders, a firmer pillow with a higher loft could be preferable as it may be less prone to sagging under pressure.
- Neck pain sufferers: Research✓ suggests that our sleep posture can prevent or at least minimise neck pain; however, it is always recommended that those suffering from persistent neck pain find a medically approved pillow specifically for neck pain or an orthopaedic pillow. However, it is worth noting that there are no industry regulations or product specifications that indicate that a pillow is indeed “orthopaedic”. The term is often part of clever marketing strategies and therefore allows some manufacturers to advertise products as orthopaedic that may not differ from regular pillows.
- Allergy sufferers: ‘Hypoallergenic’ is a term you may often come across when searching for the best pillow and essentially refers to the ability of the materials used to potentially help reduce or prevent✓ an allergic reaction to dust mites and pets. However, as with the term ‘orthopaedic’, there are no specifications that 'medically' prove that a pillow is hypoallergenic. In general, you will find either the materials used in constructing the pillow have been treated with an anti-allergy product or that the material itself is allergy-resistant, such as natural latex or bamboo.
Did you know?
It is estimated that 1% to 2% of the world's population may be affected by household dust-mite allergy✓ - that's between 65 and 130 million people.
- Hot sleepers: Temperature plays an integral role✓ in our ability to both fall asleep and stay asleep. Those who tend to overheat at night may want to pay careful attention to the different pillow materials, as this could significantly affect sleep quality and quantity. Some materials, such as traditional memory foam, naturally retain heat, whilst others, such as natural bamboo or latex, are more breathable. However, thanks to clever design, construction, and infusions with cooling properties, many manufacturers have increased airflow in their pillows, promoting a cool sleep surface.
- Eco-conscious: Many bedding companies offer more natural options with increased efforts to produce and buy more eco-friendly products. You can look for several certifications to ensure you purchase eco-friendly and cruel-free pillows (more on this later).
Trial Period And Warranty
Many bedding companies now offer a trial period so that you can test the pillow and return it if you are not satisfied. Trial periods can vary from 30 nights to 100 nights. This is a great potential option for those who are unsure what qualities and characteristics they prefer.
In addition, most bedding companies will also offer a warranty or guarantee on their pillows. These time periods are usually 2 to 3 years; however, some brands offer as much as 5 or even 10 years on their pillows. It is always advisable to carefully read the terms and conditions surrounding trial periods and warranties.
Best Pillow Certifications
When looking to purchase a pillow, you may come across different certifications - many of which you may not have seen before. It can be helpful to familiarise yourself with them as they are often linked to safety and ethical practices.
- CertiPur Certified: Made without heavy metals or allergenic dyes, as well as decreased VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emissions.
- GOTS Certified: Materials used must include 70% organic fibres and practice ethical and organic production to get this certification.
- Oeko-Tex: Tests products to limit the use of harmful chemicals to ensure the safety of the final product.
- Responsible Down Standard (RDS), The NSF Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS), and Downpass: These are some of the certifications you can look out for when purchasing a cruelty-free down pillows.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best pillow?
The best pillow will be dependent on your individual needs and preferences and should be one that keeps your head and spine in correct alignment. In addition, certain factors such loft, firmness, shape, price, and quality should be taken into account, as well as the materials used and position in which you sleep.
What is the best pillow for neck pain?
Choosing the best pillow will be dependent on your individual needs and preferences. Certain factors such loft, firmness, shape, price, and quality should be taken into account, as well as the materials used and position in which you sleep. If your head and neck are in optimal alignment and the neck is not under any strain, you are less likely to experience pillow-related neck pain.
What is the best pillow for side sleepers?
The best pillow for side sleepers is one that will keep the head aligned with the spine, filling the gap between the bed and the neck. It should have a high enough loft so that the head is neutral, with the chin straight ahead but not so high that the upper ear is pushed towards your shoulder.