How We Tested
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.Click here for testing insights >
What to Consider When Buying One of the Best Affordable Pillows
Shopping for a pillow may seem like an easy task, but there are lots of things to consider. Every person has their own sleep style as well, so the pillow that works well for someone else might not be the optimal choice for you.
Here are some important things to consider when buying a pillow:
- Sleeping position
- Firmness level
- Quality ingredients
- Cleaning and maintenance
In addition to these factors, you may also want to consider the pillow’s height.
Otherwise known as “loft”, the height of your pillow is more or less determined by how full it is with stuffing. Pillows usually have a medium to high loft, but they are often filled with materials that compress easily. You might also find pillows that have adjustable stuffing, like our Snuggle-Pedic pillow. You can change the loft by adding or removing the filling. High-loft pillows are best for side sleepers, medium-loft for back sleepers, and low-loft for stomach sleepers.
1. Sleeping Position
In addition to evaluating the cooling properties of a cooling pillow, other details like your sleeping position should play into your decision. The position you sleep in affects the ideal level of firmness and loft you should look for in a cooling pillow.
If you sleep on your side, you can benefit from a high-loft pillow that supports your head while filling the space between your neck and shoulders to keep your spine properly aligned. For back sleepers, it’s essential to maintain a neutral posture during sleep without allowing your head to tilt too far forward or too far back – a medium-loft pillow should work well. Low-loft pillows are ideal for stomach sleepers because they help keep your neck at a comfortable angle during sleep.
Loft is an important consideration in a pillow, especially in conjunction with your sleeping style, but it’s worth consider the firmness level as well. The firmer the pillow, the less it will give under your head. Firmness level is largely a matter of preference, but you should consider your sleeping position as well. A firmer pillow may be best for side sleepers while back and stomach sleepers can use a little more give.
The firmness level of a cooling pillow is largely determined by the materials with which it is filled. Shredded memory foam, down, and wool materials are fairly soft and tend to compress while solid foam and latex have a medium to medium-firm feel. Some cooling pillows combine multiple materials, and some allow you to adjust the filling yourself to customize the firmness level.
3. Quality Ingredients
The ingredients from which a pillow is made determine not just the firmness level but also the pillow’s durability. Great materials have the longest lifespan, so be prepared to pay a little more for a cooling pillow that is going to last versus one that’s only good for a few months. Natural latex and memory foam tend to be the most durable in terms of support and shape retention while softer materials like feathers and down tend to compress and lose their shape more quickly.
4. Cleaning + Maintenance
Keeping your pillow clean is essential, especially considering how much time you spend in direct contact with it. Over time, your pillow will accumulate dirt, oil, and dead skin cells from your face which can create an ideal environment for bacteria and dust mites to thrive. Look for a cooling pillow that has a machine-washable cover so you can keep the pillow clean.
Even if your cooling pillow comes with a removable cover, however, you should still consider using a pillowcase. Pillowcases add an extra layer between your skin and the pillow, plus they are washable, so you’ll always have a fresh surface on which to sleep.
Pillow Materials – What’s Right for You
A pillow is only as good as its filling. While traditional pillows are stuffed with materials like down, feathers, or polyfill, cooling pillows are often stuffed with some kind of foam. The type of materials with which the pillow is filled determines how well it dissipates body heat and supports airflow to keep you cool and comfortable at night.
Here are some of the best pillow types choices:
Made from polyurethane, memory foam responds well to pressure and heat. While memory foam offers excellent support and pressure relief, it can restrict airflow and retain heat if it isn’t mixed with other materials. Open-cell memory foam supports airflow and both gel- and copper-infused memory foam have cooling properties.
Down and feathers are common materials used in traditional pillows, but they compress easily and can retain heat. Down alternative is a synthetic material that imitates the feeling of down, but it is less likely to retain heat – it is also more cost-effective.
In addition to considering the materials with which your pillow is filled, you should also pay attention to the material used for the cover. Some pillows come with a pillow cover or have the same company
Gel or Copper
Both highly conductive materials, gel and copper draw heat away from the body. Typically infused in foam, these materials help keep heat from accumulating in the pillow. Gel has the added benefit of being cool to the touch and copper is antimicrobial.
A natural alternative to memory foam, latex offers excellent pressure relief, but it is more breathable and less likely to retain heat than memory foam. Aerated latex is a great option for cooling pillows because it encourages airflow and dissipates body heat.
Other Products We Considered
The Fat Kid Deals editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
- Amazon Basics Down-Alternative
- Restorology Genius
- Utopia Bedding Gusseted
- viewstar Soft and Supportive
- Qnoon Soft Pillow
- HIMOON Bed Pillows