BEST COOLING PILLOWS | NOVEMBER 2017

If you're prone to overheating while you sleep, a cooling pillow might be the answer. The ReviewLab team did extensive research on cooling pillows across several categories – including hypoallergenic cooling pillows, gel cooling pillows and others – to curate this list of recommended products. To learn more about the different types of cooling pillows available, be sure to check out our handy buying guide below that covers topics, such as pillow materials, support and care and cleaning. Read more about our methodology.

Best Overall

94

Snuggle-Pedic’s Shredded Memory Foam pillow is ideal for back, side, and stomach sleepers. It uses shredded memory foam and bamboo to deliver an excellent night’s sleep. In addition to staying cool throughout the night, it provides an excellent balance between softness and support, which many of its competitors struggle with.

Read full review.

Best Value

91

For people who don’t want to invest in a specialty pillow to cool down at night, the Penguin Cooling Pillow Mat is an effective and affordable alternative. It’s designed to go on top of or tucked into a pillowcase, and is perfect if you only need to cool down occasionally.

Read full review.

Cooling Pillows BUYING GUIDE

  • KEY CONSIDERATIONS

    Material

    There are many different types of cooling pillows and pads on the market, from shredded bamboo or memory foam pillows to water-filled cooling pads that need to be placed in the freezer before use. Additionally, cooling pillows offer a variety of cover materials, some of which are more effective at keeping cool. A bamboo-based cover, for example, will usually keep you cooler at night.

     

    Support for Your Sleeping Position

    Side, back, and stomach sleepers all have different needs. A pillow that’s too firm will cause back pain and discomfort for a stomach sleeper, while the same pillow might do wonders for a side sleeper who necks more neck and spine support. It’s important to find a pillow that works with your sleeping position.

     

    Care and Cleaning

    Pillows are some of the most frequently-used items in the house, and unfortunately that means they attract particles and dust mites. It’s important when buying a pillow to determine how easily it can be cleaned. Some pillows can be tossed through the dryer to quickly freshen up, while others have machine-washable covers that will last for years.

  • PRICE BREAKDOWN

    If you’re buying a cooling pillow, you can expect to spend at least $30. If you’re looking to spend less than $30, your best bet is a cooling gel mat, although these typically make some sacrifices to comfort. On the other hand, they’re versatile enough to be used with the pillows you already have, so if you already have enough support and simply want to augment with a cooling effect, this may be perfect. The vast majority of cooling pillows fall in the $30 to $60 range, and choosing one is largely a matter of personal preference and budget. Some people may find that they don’t like the feel of a gel pillow, for example, while others may need specific materials to manage allergies or provide neck and cranial support.

FULL product reviews

We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.

501 products
considered
153K RATINGS
ANALYZED
26 research
hours

Best Overall

TOP PICK

Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow

This Snuggle-Pedic pillow is made of shredded memory foam, which provides excellent cooling and support for any sleeping position. The cover has very tiny holes that really enhance airflow, while the cover and stuffing are both made of high-quality, hypoallergenic material. It’s an all-around great pillow, and it’s also fully machine washable. This makes it a really excellent value, since it stays cool and full for much longer than many of its competitors.

  • 94overall
  • 94quality
  • 92value
  • 89brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Balance of softness and support. The shredded memory foam strikes a balance between soft down pillows and firm, solid memory foam pillows. This is perfect for stomach sleepers, who frequently have a difficult time sleeping on memory foam.
  • High-quality materials. Every part of this pillow is made of high-quality materials, from the shredded memory foam to the bamboo blend pillowcase. The foam itself is low-VOC, so you won’t breathe in hazardous fumes while you sleep.
  • Continuous cooling. This pillow stays cool all night thanks to its material and cover. This is in contrast with many gel pillows, which can absorb heat throughout the night and lose their effectiveness.
  • Excellent customer service. This pillow also comes with excellent customer service. The manufacturer offers free customization, so you can get the pillow as firm or soft as you’d like within the first 90 days after purchasing it.

Other Considerations

  • Vacuum-packed to ship. This pillow arrives vacuum-sealed from the manufacturer, which unfortunately means it arrives pretty flat. The company recommends running it through the dryer before use, but even then it takes some time for the pillow to be ready to use.
  • Memory foam smell. Although it is made of low-VOC materials, there is still a certain memory foam smell that lingers in the pillow for the first few days. The dryer may eliminate most of these odors, but they can be an inconvenience.

Best Value

TOP PICK

Penguin Cooling Pillow Mat

Cooling gel mats are a more affordable alternative than a cooling pillow, and can be used with pillows you already own to create a cooling effect. The Penguin Cooling Pillow Mat is one of the best-designed mats available, with a soft cover that works well on top of a pillow and a low-profile design that can be easily tucked away when it’s not needed.  

  • 91overall
  • 91quality
  • 96value
  • 87brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Soft cover. The outer layer of the Penguin Cooling Pillow Mat is a cotton-blend cover, which is much better than the PVC cover you see on many similar models. This provides extra versatility, since you can rest your head and neck directly on the mat.
  • Low profile. The Penguin Cooling Pillow Mat is flexible and low-profile, which makes it ideal for traveling or occasional use. The low-profile design is also great if you want to tuck the mat into your pillowcase.
  • Gel-based design. Some cooling mats are water-based, which can make them inconvenient to use and require you to place them in the freezer for a few hours. This mat is gel-based, which means it doesn’t require refrigeration (although you can refrigerate it for extra cooling).

Other Considerations

  • Not as comfortable as a cooling pillow. Even with a soft cotton cover, this cooling mat still doesn’t offer the same level of comfort as a pillow with integrated cooling gel. It’s still the most comfortable mat available, but it definitely has its limitations.
  • Absorbs heat. One major drawback with the cooling mat is that it works as a heat sink. This is great for drawing heat away from your head and neck, but over the course of the night can result in the mat retaining a lot of that heat.

BEST BY CATEGORY

Best Hypoallergenic Cooling Pillow

why buy?

Allergy sufferers need to choose their pillows very carefully, since many traditional and modern materials can cause allergic reactions. Hypoallergenic pillows tend to be made from natural or man-made materials that resist particles like dust and spores, as well as dust mites. It can be tricky finding a pillow that balances neck and spine support, effective cooling, and allergy relief, but some of the best pillows combine these features to promote a better night’s sleep.

Top Pick

ViscoSoft Memory Foam Gel Pillow

The Viscosoft hypoallergenic pillow combines memory foam and cooling gel in a contoured pillow that provides excellent neck and spine support. The washable hypoallergenic cover keeps your head cool, especially when combined with the layer of cooling gel, although sleeper who remain in one spot throughout the night may find that the gel heats up too much overnight.

  • 89overall
  • 90quality
  • 82value
  • 81brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Combination memory foam and gel design. The combination of memory foam and gel provides a great balance of support and cooling. The gel has a ridged design beneath the cover, which enhances airflow and helps you cool down quickly. 
  • Excellent head and neck support. This pillow is shaped into a gentle curve that provides excellent support, especially for back and side sleepers. The memory foam is firm, but not overly so, which gives this pillow a high level of comfort.
  • Washable, hypoallergenic cover. The outer cover of this pillow works in tandem with the cooling gel to really help regulate temperature. In addition, it’s hypoallergenic and fully machine-washable, which is excellent for relieving allergies from dust and particles.

Other Considerations

  • Memory Foam Smell. Like most memory foam pillows, the Viscosoft Contour Pillow does have a strong memory foam smell when you first start using it. Generally, this fades away pretty quickly, but if you have a sensitivity to the smell, it could interrupt your peaceful sleep.
  • Warms up with long-term use. Because the layer of cooling gel acts as a heat sink, drawing heat away from your head and neck while you sleep, it can get pretty hot over the course of a night. This can be a pretty significant issue if you keep your head in one spot while you sleep.
RUNNER-UP

Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic Pillow

Shredded memory foam pillows are ideal for stomach sleepers, but are also effective for side and back sleepers. Instead of a solid piece of memory foam, the Xtreme Comforts Slim pillow is stuffed with shredded foam that balances softness and support. It also features a vented hypoallergenic bamboo cover that enhances airflow to keep you cool through the night.

  • 87overall
  • 87quality
  • 86value
  • 85brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Shredded memory foam fill. If you’re allergic to down filling, but want a pillow with a similar feel, this is an excellent choice. The shredded memory foam is solid enough to provide ample head and neck support, but not so stiff that it’s uncomfortable for stomach sleepers.
  • Very effective cooling. The vented bamboo cover really does help keep you cool throughout the night. Because there’s no gel layer, the Xtreme Comforts Slim pillow doesn’t act as a heat sink, so you won’t wake up sweating in the middle of the night.
  • Fully machine washable. The cover and fill are both fully machine washable, which helps extend the life of the pillow and keep it free from allergens and dust mites. Additionally, a quick trip through the dryer fluffs the pillow back up after you’ve been using it for awhile.

Other Considerations

  • Flattens easily. If there’s one major issue with this Xtreme Comforts pillow, it’s that it tends to flatten out very quickly. You can fluff it back up, but the fill still has a tendency to push toward the edges and corners, leaving your head and neck without much support.

Best Gel Cooling Pillow

why buy?

If you’re looking for the most effective cooling pillow, a gel-based product is definitely your best bet. There are countless varieties of gel cooling pillows available, although many sacrifice some comfort to cool your head and neck more effectively. The vast majority of gel cooling pillows consist of a memory foam pillow with a gel layer around the outside, but some take this a step further by incorporating the gel into the memory foam to provide all-around cooling.  

Top Pick

Perfect Cloud Cooling-Gel Pillow

The Perfect Cloud Dual Option Cooling Gel Memory Foam Pillow is an all-around solid performer, combining memory foam and gel in a comfortable and well-designed pillow. It’s dual-sided, with a layer of gusseted gel on one side and memory foam on the other, which is great for sleepers who only need occasional cooling. It also has several features that set it apart from other gel cooling pillows, including ventilation holes and a quilted finish.

  • 90overall
  • 91quality
  • 81value
  • 88brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Thoughtful design. While it does offer somewhat standard gel cooling pillow features, every element of the Perfect Cloud seems cleverly designed. Gusseted cooling gel alleviates the “heat sink” effect found in other pillows, while ventilated holes along the sides of the pillow help with airflow.
  • Generously sized. This pillow is a perfect size for a comfortable night’s sleep. At 24 x 16 inches, you’ll have plenty of space to spread out.
  • Comfortable and supportive. Despite being a memory foam pillow, the Perfect Cloud is not overly firm. It has a good level of neck and spine support, and is still comfortable for stomach and side sleepers.

Other Considerations

  • Price tag. At $54.99, this is definitely one of the more expensive pillows we reviewed. While it is a high-quality cooling pillow, this price may be a bit too high for some buyers (especially if they need to buy multiple pillows).
  • Hard to clean. Unlike many of its competitors, the Perfect Cloud does not have a removable cover, which can make cleaning it difficult. The pillow is spot-clean only, which can lead to discoloration and odors over time.
RUNNER-UP

Classic Brands Gel Memory Foam Pillow

The Classic Brands Gel Memory Foam pillow is much different than other cooling gel pillows, since it incorporates the gel into the memory foam itself. This innovation, combined with a gusseted design that features ventilation holes that go through the entire pillow, makes this a very effective cooling pillow. It’s also extremely comfortable and supportive, with a perfect height for any sleeping position.

  • 86overall
  • 87quality
  • 81value
  • 84brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Incorporated Cooling Gel. This pillow is much different from any other that we looked at, since the memory foam and cooling gel are combined into one component. This seems to really enhance the pillow’s ability to cool you down without overheating.
  • Ventilation Holes. The entire pillow has air holes that go all the way through, which helps with airflow and further enhances the cooling effect. These holes also give the pillow just a little more “give” to make it just a little more comfortable.
  • Great Size and Thickness. This pillow is a great size for most beds (and most sleepers). It’s on the thicker side at 6 inches thick, but if anything that helps to create even more support for your head, neck, and spine.

Other Considerations

  • Stiff Memory Foam. Some sleepers may find the Classic Brands pillow too thick. It’s a very solid piece of foam, even with the air holes drilled into it, so it could cause discomfort, especially for stomach sleepers and people who have back problems.
  • Strong Fumes. This pillow also has a pretty strong memory foam smell at first. Again, this smell usually goes away soon enough, but it can make the first few nights unpleasant.

Best Body Cooling Pillow

why buy?

For sleepers who need full-body cooling and comfort, a body pillow is probably the best bet. Ideal for people dealing with overheating or hot flashes, as well as expectant mothers, a body pillow can help keep you comfortable and regulate your body temperature through the night. Unfortunately, many cooling body pillows are oddly shaped or simply ineffective, which can make selecting one for regular use somewhat difficult.

Top Pick

Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Body Pillow

For sleepers who need full-body cooling and comfort, a body pillow is probably the best bet. Ideal for people dealing with overheating or hot flashes, as well as expectant mothers, a body pillow can help keep you comfortable and regulate your body temperature through the night. Unfortunately, many cooling body pillows are oddly shaped or simply ineffective, which can make selecting one for regular use somewhat difficult.

  • 97overall
  • 97quality
  • 95value
  • 94brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Excellent balance of support and softness. The Snuggle-Pedic’s shredded memory foam fill feels a lot like goose down, with a similar balance of comfort and firmness. This makes it very easy to pack more fill into areas where you need more support.
  • Effective cooling. Between the fill and the micro-vented cover, this pillow is very effective at providing whole-body temperature control. Even over the course of a night, it doesn’t get too hot or uncomfortable.
  • Free customization. The customer support for this pillow is outstanding. The manufacturer offers free customization for 90 days after purchase, so you can send your pillow in to get it exactly right for your sleeping needs.

Other Considerations

  • Needs time to expand. This pillow arrives vacuum sealed, so it does need some time to expand and air out. You can toss it in the dryer to speed up the process, but its large size might make that difficult for some owners.
  • Somewhat expensive. This is a relatively expensive pillow, which may stop some buyers. Considering its effectiveness and the excellent customer service, however, the price may be worth it.