The Best Memory Foam Pillows 2021Updated on January 18, 2021 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about how we make money here.
After bursting on the scene as a material for mattresses, memory foam has risen in popularity as a fill material for pillows as well. The responsiveness and softness of memory foam give it a unique feel that many people love in supporting their body as well as their head and neck.
In this guide, we’ll provide all the information you need to select a memory foam pillow. We’ll cover the types of pillows, the pros and cons, and who usually does best with this type of pillow. And of course, if you’re looking for recommendations, we’ve got you covered with our list of the 5 best memory foam pillows.
Our Top Picks
|Brand||Brand/Model||Type of Pillow||Loft Level||Price|
|Nest Bedding Easy Breather||Shredded Memory Foam||Adjustable||$89|
|Layla Pillow||Kapok + Shredded Memory Foam||Medium||$99|
|Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow||Shredded Memory Foam + Microfiber||Adjustable||$70 – $90|
|Tempur-Pedic All-Purpose Pillow||Memory Foam (TEMPUR)||Low||$50|
|Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow||Shredded Memory Foam||Adjustable||$50 – $70|
Nest Bedding Easy Breather
Why We Like it
- Avoids overheating thanks to Tencel cover
- Adjustable amount of shredded foam lets you control loft level
- Significant responsiveness from well-stuffed foam fill
- Free returns during 30-night sleep trial
Nest Bedding’s Easy Breather pillow has a straightforward design that employs shredded memory foam to create a comfortable and adjustable pillow. It has a hefty amount of shredded foam — 8” worth to be exact — and it can be unzipped to remove some of this if you want less loft.
The many small pieces of foam can be pushed around within the pillow, letting you mold it to your needs. This is especially helpful for side sleepers who may need more loft or a more specific shape of their pillow to keep their spine aligned. The exterior of the pillow is made of a Tencel fabric that is .5” thick, and this cover provides a soft and cool feel.
Nest Bedding offers a 30-night sleep trial for the Easy Breather.
The Layla Pillow
Why We Like it
- Combines shredded memory foam with speciality Kapok material
- Stays cool with copper-infused cover
- Sleep trial of 120 nights
- Plenty of loft while retaining softness
This pillow from Layla, which also manufactures a well-regarded mattress, uses a mixture of shredded memory foam and Kapok to give the pillow a distinct feel. Kapok is derived from seed pods of a tree known as the Kapok tree, and this material has both softness and loft. It complements the memory foam and creates a surface that is both comfortable and supportive. For people who are worried about sleeping hot, the Layla Pillow has copper woven into the cover to help prevent heat buildup.
Layla also offers a long sleep trial of 120 nights, giving you basically four months to check out this pillow and its innovative materials.
Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow
Why We Like it
- Rayon and polyester blend cover helps with moisture wicking
- Zippered liner makes loft level adjustable
- Mix of gel-infused memory foam and microfiber for softness and responsiveness
- Sleep trial of 100 nights to test out pillow
The Eden pillow from Coop Home Goods has numerous features that make it a clear choice among our top memory foam pillow options. It is adjustable thanks to the zippered inner liner, and this means that you can modify the loft level to fit your sleeping position, head size, and comfort. The fill is made with both a gel-infused memory foam (which helps hedge against heat retention) and microfiber. This combination provides a high level of responsiveness while also creating a soft and cozy feel. The exterior uses a blend made with bamboo-derived rayon and polyester that helps to wick moisture and decrease heat buildup.
Coop Home Goods also offers a 100-night sleep trial, giving you a no-risk opportunity to test out this adjustable pillow.
Tempur-Pedic All-Purpose Pillow
Why We Like it
- Versatile thanks to unique peanut shape
- Highly-responsive TEMPUR memory foam fill
- Small and portable making it great for travel
- Cover is removable and machine-washable
TEMPUR-Pedic is one of the best known brands in the industry thanks to their pioneering role in using memory foam as a mattress material. This TEMPUR material is high-quality memory foam with strong contouring properties allowing it to compress and take on numerous different shapes. In the All-Purpose Pillow, this foam is in a peanut-shaped pillow that is small relative to most other standard bed pillows. This size makes it easy to take along when traveling and gives it versatility for use as a lumbar pillow or to support the legs; however, it can be used as a standard bed pillow. Its smaller size may mean that it lacks necessary loft for side sleepers (especially those with broader shoulders). It has a polyester and propylene blend for the cover that is removable and machine-washable.
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
Why We Like it
- Free adjustments by Snuggle-Pedic to achieve perfect loft level
- Bamboo-polyester cover helps reduce heat buildup
- Fully machine-washable
- 120-night in-home trial period
Snuggle-Pedic’s shredded memory foam pillow serves as an excellent choice for people who are looking for a moldable, adjustable, and responsive pillow. The pieces of memory foam that make up the fill can be moved around on the fly, allowing sleepers to get the exact amount of loft they need in that moment. If you want to have more or less fill, you can contact the company who will make adjustments for free to customize the pillow. It is fully machine-washable to help keep it clean and fresh, and the cover made from a blend of bamboo and polyester works to carry away moisture and keep from overheating.
As an additional benefit, Snuggle-Pedic lets you try out the pillow at home for 120 nights, and if you have any issues, will work with you to try to customize it to make it work. But if you’re still not satisfied, you can return the pillow within those 120 nights for a refund.
Memory Foam Pillow Guide
What Are Memory Foam Pillows Made Of?
Memory foam is a common material used in mattresses and pillows. It was first developed by NASA and is also known by its technical name of viscoelastic foam. The most notable feature of memory foam is its responsiveness. When pressure is applied to it, it compresses directly in proportion to that pressure. When the pressure is taken away, the foam will slowly rebound to its main shape. This gives it a reputation of hugging or closely contouring whatever part of the body is in contact with the foam.
In pillows, there are three main ways that memory foam is used:
- One-piece: this is a single piece of foam. It compresses when the head and neck are placed on it, but its general shape cannot be easily molded.
- Shredded: instead of one piece of foam, these are made up of hundreds of little pieces of memory foam. Given the foam’s responsiveness, this allows the pillow to be molded and adjusted in real time to give it a different shape. Many shredded memory foam pillows have a zippered opening that allows you to add or remove the amount of foam to your liking.
- Noodle: these are usually body pillows and are shaped as a cylinder filled with shredded memory foam.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Memory Foam Pillow?
Memory foam can be a controversial material in bedding products as people tend to love it or hate it. In the context of pillows, it’s important to remember that the performance of a shredded memory foam pillow will be different from a one-piece memory foam pillow. In this section, we’ll review their common pros and cons as well as some of the differences between them. Pros Cons Pros
Memory foam’s hallmark is its contouring and pressure point relief. This can for many pillows make it a great material to make sure that the head and neck get proportional support to help maintain proper alignment with the spine.
Memory foam compresses and bounces back virtually noiselessly. Cons
The responsiveness of memory foam means that it can hug closely to the skin, preventing cooling airflow. As memory foam warms up, it becomes even softer, and this can make the heat retention and airflow issues more pronounced.
While it depends on the quality of the memory foam used, many memory foams begin to wear down faster than many other materials. If the foam sags, then it is far less effective in promoting alignment of the neck and spine.
As a result of the production process, memory foam gives off a smell when it is first unboxed. Most customers find this smell dissipates quickly (within a few days at the longest), but others are very troubled by it.
Comparing Shredded and One-Piece Memory Foam Pillows
While shredded and one-piece memory foam pillows have certain similarities, it’s necessary to also highlight how they are different. These are the key ways in which they vary:
- Moldability: a shredded foam pillow is much more malleable, and this allows sleepers to mold the pillow into the shape that best suits their sleeping position in that moment. A one-piece pillow can respond to the pressure from the head and neck, but its overall shape can’t really be adjusted.
- Need for fluffing: because the small foam pieces can move all around within the pillow, you usually need to fluff the pillow frequently for it to get back to its original shape. This fluffing isn’t necessary with a one-piece foam pillow.
- Weight: A one-piece pillow tends to weigh more and have a heavier overall profile than a shredded foam pillow.
- Washing: in most cases, a shredded foam pillow can be machine-washed, but one-piece pillows typically can only be spot-cleaned.
Who is Best Suited to a Memory Foam Pillow?
There’s no foolproof formula for knowing which pillow will be best for you, but speaking generally, memory foam pillows work best for:
- Side-sleepers: shredded memory foam pillows, thanks to their moldability, usually work very well for side sleepers who need to have plenty of material to keep their neck in line with their spine. This is especially the case for people with broad shoulders. If it has the right amount of loft, a one-piece foam pillow can also work given its ability to cushion the neck.
- Back-sleepers: by contouring to the head and neck, memory foam pillows often work well for back-sleepers. An adjustable shredded foam pillow can be especially useful by providing more control over the loft level.
- People who want more loft: memory foam pillows usually have more loft, which is the height of the pillow when sitting on the bed. The beauty of memory foam, though, is that it has high loft but can still provide plenty of cushioning.
On the flip side, memory foam pillows normally don’t work as well for:
- Stomach-sleepers: the amount of loft and considerable sink are both potential issues for stomach sleepers.
- People prone to sleeping hot: temperature regulation is an issue for memory foam, so if you’re worried about building up heat in the night, memory foam isn’t the best choice.