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Because it feels like summer is never going to end
Sleep is an essential part of our physical and mental wellness, yet most of us aren’t getting enough of it. One of the main reasons people often toss and turn at night is because they overheat easily. Even if you keep your room at a lower temperature and make sure you get lots of proper airflow, you may still find that you can’t cool down because your pillow retains too much heat (and thus you begin the game of flipping the pillow to the cooler side throughout the night).
A cooling pillow seems like it would be a helpful tool in diffusing heat so you can be comfortable enough to get good quality rest, but do they really work? Or are they just a gimmick? The PEOPLE Tested team put 29 cooling pillows to the test and compiled the best ones in this roundup so you can find the perfect new addition to your bedroom and elevate your sleep routine with a quality cooling pillow.
Best Overall: Coop Sleep Goods The Eden Pillow
Fits a wide variety of standard pillow cases nicely
It’s gel-infused throughout to keep you cool all night long
Entire pillow is machine washable so you can easily clean it as needed
The pillow itself has a light odor upon taking it out of the packaging that we continued to smell when we buried our face into it throughout use.
This pillow by Coop won our vote for best overall because of not only its cooling capabilities but also its customization features. It’s easy to add or remove the gel-infused fill — as much or as little as you’d like — to create a firmness or softness that is unique to you. Whether you’re a stomach, side, or back sleeper, you’ll be able to get the perfect level of comfort. Another thing we love about the fill is that it’s gel-infused throughout as opposed to only having a gel core. This cooling pillow actually stayed cool all night; there was no need to flip it or change positions due to overheating!
While the pillow is high quality, it isn’t necessarily high maintenance — the whole pillow is machine washable, which means you can easily toss it in the wash to clean as needed. This one would’ve gotten a perfect score if it didn’t have a noticeable odor upon taking it out of the packaging that lingered even after consistent use. While it was only really noticeable when we buried our face into it, we could see this being irritating for people who sleep on their stomach. With this in mind, we still loved this pillow and were amazed at just how well it worked all night.
Price at time of publish: $96.00
Measurements: 27 x 18 x 8.5 inches | Material: Hypoallergenic, non-toxic blend of cross-cut, gel-infused memory foam and microfiber | Sizes: Queen, King
Best Budget: Himoon Cooling Pillows
Doesn’t flatten or harden out even after weeks of use, and very easily refluffs by quickly popping it in the dryer
Remarkably durable; even after putting it in the washing machine, quality isn’t sacrificed
Noticeable airflow that keeps you from getting overheated in the night
Although it succeeds in providing good airflow, it isn’t noticeably cooling
This 2-pillow set by HIMOON is impressive for the price. For just over twenty bucks, you get two pillows that feel high quality and stay that way throughout consistent use. We can't stand a pillow that goes hard and flat over time, but these ones maintain their loft and fluff throughout months of use. And even if you feel like they need a little extra fluffing, you can easily throw them in the dryer to get them back to that out-of-the-package feel. These cooling pillows even hold up in the washing machine: They come out just as plush and supportive as they were when they went in.
We do have to acknowledge the fact that you get what you pay for — while these are good quality considering the price, they aren’t quite at the level of other cooling pillows we tested in terms of actual cooling abilities. These aren’t cool to the touch, but they do have good airflow. We never felt overheated or noticed that the pillow itself got hot like regular pillows normally would. But if you’re looking for something that feels noticeably cooling, this isn’t the right purchase. But then again, if you’re on a budget and want something that won’t cause you to overheat, we think it’s great.
Price at time of publish: $24.99 (orig. $34.99)
Measurements: 27 x 17 x 7.5 inces | Material: Top-end Microfiber | Sizes: Standard, Queen, King
Best for Very Hot Sleepers: Purple Harmony Pillow
It’s moldable and breathable, so it’ll move with you and provide support no matter what position you’re in
It does an excellent job of staying cool and maintaining your temperature all night long
It feels well made and bounces back to the same look and shape it had when we took it out of the packaging
It’s on the pricier side, so prepare to make a major investment
This pillow by Purple Harmony exceeded our expectations in every way. The minute you take it out of the packaging you can tell that no corners were cut in its making. It feels heavy but not bulky, plush but supportive, dense but also breathable. Its quality was truly unmatched — it’s shape was not sacrificed due to prolonged use. It always bounces back to the same look and feel it had the day we took it out of the packaging.
Its cooling properties were also most definitely grand; the inner cooling material has an almost jello-like feel, and it kept us cool all night long without having to change sides. It not only diffused heat but helped in maintaining body temperature so we didn’t overheat to begin with. The main drawback here is the price — at just under $200 this is certainly an investment. While you could probably find a pillow that meets your needs and works well at a lower price, this one is truly excellent in every way. If you’re a very hot sleeper, this is a great purchase that you’ll get years of use out of.
Price at time of publish: $179.00
Measurements: 26 x 17 x 6.5 inches | Material: Ventilated Latex, Mesh | Sizes: Standard, King
Best Memory Foam: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Pillow
Just one side stayed cool and crisp all night so we didn’t even have to flip it over in the middle of the night
This pillow moves with you throughout the night, so it supports you in all the right places when you change positions
The pillow cover is machine washable
The pillow itself is a little heavy so it’s not going to look plush and airy on a made bed
Tempur-Pedic is known for being high quality and elevating your sleep hygiene, and their pillows are no exception. As soon as we took this pillow out of the packaging we were amazed at how luxurious and soft it felt. With most pillows we tested we noticed a chemical smell, but we didn’t find that at all with this one, even in the first few nights of use. Whether you’re a side, stomach, or back sleeper, you’ll appreciate how this pillow is flexible but firm, and adjusts to your unique movements so it can provide support in all the right places when you change positions at night.
The cooling features were on point as well: While many of the pillows we tested stayed cool, we found that we had to flip sides throughout the night. With this one, just one side stayed cool all night long. Additionally, the material itself is incredibly flexible, so you can compress it and pack it for travel without it losing its shape. The comfort combined with the cooling technology allowed us to see a noticeable difference in sleep quality from the jump, which makes it worth the steep price point. However, one potential drawback we noticed was that, due to its firm look and feel, it won’t look full and airy on a made bed. If you want something that will look aesthetically pleasing on your bed, you may not love this. But if you simply want something high quality that will help you sleep better and wake up feeling even better than that, this is perfect for you.
Price at time of publish: $67 (orig. $89)
Measurements: 24 x 15.5 x 5 inches | Material: Memory Foam | Sizes: Standard
Best Foam: Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow
It stayed cool all night long, even throughout prolonged use
High quality foam provides a supportive but bouncy feeling
Due to the foam interior, the pillow can’t be machine washed
You either love foam pillows or hate them; it depends on what you’re looking for. But if you like the firmer, more supportive feel they have to offer, we love this one by Tuft & Needle. The look and feel of this cooling pillow are above average compared to others we’ve tested. It feels nice and cool to the touch, and that didn’t waver throughout testing. We didn’t notice any transfer of body heat to the pillow’s surface, and it kept up a steady level of air circulation all night long — we didn’t have to flip the pillow once in the middle of the night! Even after consistent nightly use, it maintained its shape and loft, regardless of how it was compressed or folded throughout the night, which is one of the things foam pillows are known for.
One thing we didn’t love, which is pretty standard with foam, is that the pillow itself wasn’t machine washable — just the cover. Throwing the cover in the wash is easy, but if you want a pillow that you can clean as needed, you may find this a tad bit frustrating. However, the cooling properties and the support were on point here and exceeded our expectations, even for foam.
Price at time of publish: $85 (orig. $100)
Measurements: 25 x 16 x 5 inches | Material: Foam | Sizes: Standard, King
Best Down Alternative: Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow
Even after washing, the pillow maintained its fluffiness
Outlast lining fabric repels heat so that you won’t even have to flip sides overnight
Plush and full so that it fills out a standard pillowcase and looks nice on a made bed
Isn’t too hard or too soft — if you want something that leans one way or the other then you may not like the lack of definition
Down is a great material for its softness. But if you don’t like the way it retains heat (or its classically high price tag), we’ve found a great alternative that harnesses all of down’s plushness and still keeps you cool. This pillow by Slumbercloud is stuffed with a fiber fill that feels just as soft to the touch as the real thing. It fits great in any pillowcase and fills it out nicely, making your bed look full and easy to sink into. It’s also made with an Outlast lining that dissolves heat. We were very impressed by this — not only is it cool to the touch upon taking it out of packaging, but even at night, it keeps the air flowing, so you don’t have to flip to the cool side when you should be restfully sleeping. It’s also machine washable, and even after throwing it in for a cycle, it still maintained its shape and softness.
It somehow manages to toggle between firm and soft and isn’t too much of one thing. This is the main drawback we saw for people who may want a plush or more firm feel. If you’re a run-of-the-mill sleeper who wants a comfortable pillow that keeps you cool, you’ll love this one. But if you want something specific for your own struggles or needs, you may find the lack of definition frustrating.
Price at time of publish: $69.00
Measurements: 25 x 18.5 x 4 inches | Material: Down | Sizes: Standard, King
Best for Stomach Sleepers: Sleep Number True Temp Pillow
Keeps you cool all night long without having to flip slides
Supportive although on the softer side, which makes it ideal for stomach sleepers
Pile height does decrease after use, so it lost points for durability
The pillow itself isn’t washable, so you’ll have to take special care if it needs to be cleaned
This pillow by Sleepnumber won our vote for stomach sleepers because it manages to be soft yet supportive. The classic shape is plush and airy, and the fact that it is cool to the touch only adds to the comfort. We were impressed at how this one did overnight — it did so well at dissolving body heat that we didn’t even have to flip the pillow to the other side. It held its shape pretty well, considering how soft it is, but it did start to lose a bit of its pile height over time, which tells us that this may not be the most durable pillow on the market. This is fairly inevitable because it is on the softer side, but it’s something to note when thinking about using this in the long term.
Also, while the cover is washable, the pillow is not, so if you need to clean it or spill something on it, you’ll have to take special care by dropping it at the dry cleaners. It isn’t the most durable pillow we tested, and not being machine washable is a bit of a pain, but the way it expertly toggles between soft and supportive makes it a winner for stomach sleepers.
Price at time of publish: $109.99
Measurements: 24.5 (L) x 16.5 (w) x 8.5 (pile) | Material: Polyester, foam | Sizes: Standard, King
Best for Side Sleepers: Saatva Latex Pillow
The latex core keeps you nice and cool without having to flip it over in the middle of the night
It is on the taller side and has a loftier feel, which is ideal for side sleepers
It’s machine washable and bounces back so it’s always like new after washing
It’s hard to dry after washing, and takes several cycles to truly be free of moisture
The feel of this pillow isn’t ideal for stomach sleepers
This pillow by Saatva comes in three pieces: the zippered cover, the machine washable outer pillow, and the interior pillow with the latex filling. This unique design is why it does an excellent job of keeping you cool overnight — we didn’t have to flip the pillow over once, nor did we notice any sort of overheating or discomfort. The reason it won our vote for side sleepers was because it was a bit loftier, which means it’ll support your head and neck while you sleep. Because it is a bit firm, it does take a few days for it to truly mold to your body shape and feel supportive. However, once it did, we found that it was comfortable and cooling. It’s also almost entirely machine washable — aside from the latex core, you can throw the whole thing into the washing machine with no fuss. However, we did find that it took several dryer cycles to completely get the moisture out.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, you aren’t going to love this, and you’re probably going to balk at that $165 price point. But if you’re a side sleeper, these drawbacks aren’t a big deal — the fact that it’s truly designed so you can be truly supported while you sleep, is easy to clean, and stays cool all night long, means that this is a winner.
Price at time of publish: $165.00
Measurements: 27 in x 17 in x 8 inches | Material: Shredded Latex, Cotton | Sizes: Standard, King
Best Firm: Marlow The Pillow
Two side zippers allow you to modify the firmness for customizable comfort
It holds its shape overtime so you won’t lose any firmness of you need extra support
It feels luxurious and well made — there were no loose fibers or stuck zippers over long term use
While we didn’t notice overheating, it wasn’t as cool as you’d expect a “cooling” pillow to be
This pillow by Marlow is perfect for those of you who want something with a firmer feel. While it does have a level of softness to it, we love the side zippers that allow you to modify the firmness for comfort that is customizable. After a few nights of playing with the zippers, we finally got it to the point that it had just the right amount of support. As soon as we took it out of the packaging we could tell just how luxurious and well made it was, and that didn’t falter overtime — there were no loose fibers, and the zippers never got stuck or ran off their tracks, which is something that often happens with zippered pillows.
It isn’t exactly cool to the touch, and while we didn’t overheat overnight, it certainly didn’t keep us remarkably cool either. Did we find ourselves getting noticeably hot overnight? Not exactly, so maybe that means it did part of its job. However, its luxurious feel and the customizable firmness settings make this a great option for those who need extra support.
Price at time of publish: $65.00
Measurements: 24 x 16 x 5 inches (firm setting) | Material: Memory Foam, Polyester, Cotton | Sizes: Standard, King
Best Splurge: Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
Strong and luxurious memory foam that bounces back as soon as you pull your hand away from it
Although it’s thick and on the firmer side, this pillow still manages to be comfortable and supportive
Machine washable cover means you can easily clean it as needed
Starts to lose its cooling feel overnight
The pillow itself isn’t machine washable so you’ll have to either dry clean or steam clean it
Once again, Tempur-Pedic didn’t miss with this one. You can feel just how luxurious it is as soon as you take it out of the packaging, and it was free of any pungent odors that you typically notice with a new pillow. Initially, we weren’t sure how this one would do, mostly because it was heavy and firm. But that signature Tempur-Pedic foam really earned its due — although dense, it was still very supportive and bounced back as soon as we pulled our hand away from it, looking just as smooth and crisp as it did the day we got it. Even if you prefer pillows on the fluffier side, you’ll appreciate that this one molds to your head’s shape and cradles it in all the necessary places. It’s also cool to the touch, and you can tell that it is designed to keep you from overheating at night. The cover can also be thrown in the washing machine for easy clean-up when necessary.
However, we noticed that it gradually lost that cool feeling throughout the night, and by morning, it was significantly warmer. That isn’t to say it didn’t keep us from overheating; it definitely made a difference compared to regular pillows. But it didn’t work as well as other cooling pillows we tested. Also, because it’s made from foam, it isn’t machine washable, so you’ll have to either dry clean or steam it if it’s stained or needs to be cleaned. In spite of all of this, it exceeded our expectations in its comfort and support, and for that alone, we found it to be worth the investment.
Price at time of publish: $149.25 (orig. $189)
Measurements: 27 x 19 x 6.4 inches | Material: Memory Foam | Sizes: Queen, King
Others Cooling Pillows We Tried
Cozy Earth Silk Pillows: If you want something that’s luxurious and soft, you’ll love this pillow by Cozy Earth. The mulberry silk provides an experience that is at a whole other level than most other pillows on the market. It’s soft, it’s cooling, and you can tell just by running your hands over it that it’s high quality. We tested this in the thick of a NYC heat wave, and it managed to stay cool even then! The main reason it didn’t make our list was because it had little to no support — while the silk adds an amazing level of softness, there wasn’t much support, and it continuously got flat overtime. The manufacturer recommends drying it with dryer balls to help it from flattening out and getting clumpy, and we found that, through trial and error, drying at a low and gentle cycle is key to helping it fluff back up again. But constantly having to throw it in the washing machine so that it’s soft again isn’t ideal.
Casper Hybrid Pillow with Snow Technology: Casper has really nailed down their Snow Technology for temperature regulation. The Hybrid Pillow is not only cool to the touch but also stays that way all night. Even after prolonged use, that cooling feature doesn’t waiver. It’s also very supportive — it feels a bit like a foam brick that molds to your head and shoulders, so you’re cradled in all the right places. However, this feature is exactly why it didn’t make the cut for our main list — its firmness would most likely be off-putting for people who don’t need lots of extra support.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Cooling Pillow
Pillows (and any kind of bedding for that matter) are perhaps one of the most important purchases for your bedroom, so you should look at the materials closely. The pillow's material will determine how long it lasts and how well you sleep. One thing to remember is a pillow’s feeling; each one will have different benefits and drawbacks. For example, a pillow with a latex core, like the Saatva Latex Pillow, will stay cool and be more dense. A pillow made of silk, like the Cozy Earth Silk Pillow, will be softer and more lightweight, and, therefore, more flat.
Temperature and Airflow
Again, looking at what a pillow is made with is a pretty good way to know how well it will diffuse body heat and keep you cool at night. We found that pillows made with some level of latex did the best with staying cool all night — the pillows by Purple Harmony and Saatva were both standouts in this category. The only drawback to these is that they are sometimes tricky to wash — the Saatva pillow struggled to get fully dry, which could leave its cloth exterior susceptible to collecting mold. But if temperature is your priority, pillows made with latex are a safe bet.
You’ve probably had an experience one time or another where you had a pillow and it started to flatten out after prolonged use, becoming hard, lumpy, and uncomfortable. Finding a pillow that stays to its fluffy and full shape is key — anything that has a foam blend or is made from down (or a down alternative, like this one from Slumbercloud), is most likely going to fair well even after long-term use.
Additionally, the position you sleep in plays a role in what cooling pillow will feel best to you. "Back sleepers, like myself, tend to prefer medium-soft pillows, which are those that measure between 3 and five inches thick," says Mikel Welch, expert designer on Hack My Home, adding that usually translates to foam or down pillows.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, something on the softer side, like the Sleepnumber True Temp, will feel better to you when you bury your face in it at night. A side sleeper would benefit from something tall and firm that provides support to their head and neck, like the Saatva Latex Pillow.
How We Tested
Our editors selected 29 best-selling cooling pillows to try first hand and consider for this roundup. After taking them out of the packaging, testers slept on them for a cumulative 3,000 testing hours, and periodically checked in with reviews and reflections over the course of six months to see how their quality and performance changed. For pillows that were machine washable, we threw them in the washing machine to see how they held up after a cycle. Each one was evaluated for quality, comfort, airflow, durability, and value. For those that didn’t quite make the cut, if it grossly underperformed in one or more of these areas, we included it as an honorable mention at the end of the product reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I keep my pillow cold at night?
Aside from investing in a cooling pillow, there are many ways to get improved temperature regulation at night. Lowering the thermostat at night or keeping a fan at your bedside are great ways to keep the space itself cold. If you still run hot at night, putting your pillow in a silk case will help diffuse heat and stay cool all night.
Do cooling pillows work?
Through our tests, we found that some cooling pillows do perform better than others. We found that latex pillows were perhaps the most effective at staying cool all night, and some foam ones (like the one by Tuft & Needle) achieved this, as well. Some pillows promise “cooling” effects fell flat, but reading reviews is a good way to see whether or not a pillow keeps its promise, but all in all, foam and latex cooling pillows seem to be the winners, based on our testing.
What is the best material for cooling pillows?
Like we said above, foam and latex were the best performers for the sake of our tests. Additionally, the outer layer being made of some sort of breathable mesh provides an extra boost of breathability so it really gets that “cool to the touch” feeling. If you’re looking for cooling pillowcases for an extra boost, anything made with bamboo, cotton, or silk is also a safe bet.
Take Our Word For It
This roundup was written by Olivia Avitt, a freelance writer for PEOPLE who specializes in thorough, honest product reviews. For this roundup, she compiled the thirteen products included on this list based off of our six month long testing process. She took an unbiased and thoughtful editorial approach to providing you a straight-to-the-point review so you can buy a pillow that helps you sleep better, and feel better as a result. We also interviewed Mikel Welch, interior designer and one of the design experts on Hack My Home, for what to look for in pillows regarding design and comfort.
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