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Best pillow 2024: Our favourite microfibre, memory foam and down pillows

A collection of bed pillows

Discover the best pillow for your sleeping style with our buying guide and bite-sized reviews

Many people don’t appreciate that finding the best pillow is almost as important as getting the right mattress. And how you choose the right pillow for you depends on a number of factors, including your body shape and size as well as your sleeping preferences.

We’ve tested around 15 pillows here at Expert Reviews; we’ve rested our heads on soft microfibre, goose down and firm memory foam, adjustable pillows and even ergonomic cervical pillows. The majority of the pillows featured in our roundup below we recommend based on carefully considered testing.

Below you’ll find a quick at a glance list of recommendations, based on our roundup of mini reviews further down the page. Below that is a buying guide chock full of tips and advice on what to look for when buying a new pillow. And for more insight into our pillow testing process, see our How We Test section.

READ NEXT: Best mattresses

How we test pillows

When testing pillows, some of the key factors that we take into consideration include loft (or height), firmness, temperature, and value for money – as well as the sleeping position of the person we are recommending the pillow to (whether that be on their side, back or a combination of the two).

For instance, if you sleep on your side, you may want something with a bit more loft. And if you’re someone who is prone to overheating at night, it’s important to be aware that some pillows – particularly memory foam ones – may feel warmer than others. Different sleepers will get on better with different pillows, and it’s important to bear that in mind when testing.

Where relevant, we also take into account other aspects including trial periods, washable covers and extra features – such as adjustable and ergonomic designs – all of which can play a part in our recommendations.

READ NEXT: Best memory foam pillows

The best pillows you can buy in 2024

1. Otty Deluxe Pure Pillow: Best foam pillow overall

Price when reviewed: £70 | Check price at Otty

Otty Deluxe Pure Pillow: A cool, comfortable memory foam pillow

Great for… comfort and support
Not so great for… those averse to a cuboid pillow

Of all the myriad memory foam pillows we’ve tested, the Otty Deluxe Pure is one of the most comfortable. Its boxy appearance might give the impression that, like many foam pillows, it’s impenetrably dense. However, while it does offer a good amount of support and ‘bounce back’ (meaning it’s quick to take its shape once you’ve stopped laying on it), we’d confidently argue that it’s about as close as you can get to plush comfort from an all-foam pillow.

The memory foam filing of the Deluxe Pure is infused with bamboo and charcoal for its moisture-wicking, hypoallergenic and antibacterial properties, and the polyester cover can be machine washed at 40°C. It’s a bit of a hefty investment,  Bbut by no means is it the most expensive pillow on our roundup, and you can often find it discounted in Otty’s sitewide sales.

Read our full Otty Deluxe Pure Pillow review

Key features – Filling: Memory foam with bamboo and charcoal; Cover: Polyester (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only

Check price at Otty

2. Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow: Best-value memory foam pillow

Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at Panda

Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow: Best-value memory foam pillow

Great for… an all-round memory foam option
Not so great for… those who prefer a softer pillow

Making the move to a memory foam pillow can be a big step for some, and the initial prospect of resting your head on a wad of foam isn’t always the most appealing. However, we found this  memory foam pillow from Panda to be both supportive and comfortable. In fact, it’s one of the best memory foam pillows we’ve reviewed.

In our tests, the Panda pillow felt a little bit firmer than the Otty Deluxe Pure (below), but not so firm that it felt clinical, instead landing somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It comes with an inbuilt protector, plus a soft, breathable and hypoallergenic bamboo cover (which can be washed at 40°C), which helps you to keep things fresher than washing your pillowcase alone.

The Panda pillow offers great value for money, beating bed-in-a-box rivals such as Eve, Emma and Otty on price. A single pillow will cost you £45 direct from Panda, although you might find it cheaper on Amazon. And while the claim that bamboo is the last word in sustainability is open to dispute, Panda prides itself on its eco-friendly credentials, avoiding the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides, while introducing its own Circle of Life recycling initiative.

Key features – Filling: Memory foam; Cover: Bamboo (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only

3. Silentnight Just Like Down Microfibre Pillow: Best value microfibre pillow

Price when reviewed: £24 (pair) | Check price at Amazon

Silentnight Just Like Down Microfibre Pillow: Best value pillow

Great for… smaller budgets
Not so great for… front sleepers

You’ll have no problem drifting off with this Silentnight pillow cushioning your head. As its name suggests, you could easily be fooled into thinking the soft and fluffy filling inside the Just Like Down Microfibre Pillow is down, when in fact it’s just hollow fibre. The result is a well-insulated, warm pillow that comes in at a fraction of the price of a real down one.

Moreover, you get two in the pack, making the savings even greater. The pillow spells good news for people with allergies as it’s hypoallergenic and we also like the fact that the whole thing is washable. Unlike down pillows, though, it’s relatively big and bouncy, making it better for side and back sleepers than front ones – and it won’t last as long as real down. Still, given that you can pick up a pair for just under £25, these are only minor moans.

Key features – Filling: Hollowfibre; Cover: Microfibre (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only

4. Emma Premium Microfibre Pillow: The best microfibre pillow (if you can afford it)

Price when reviewed: £109 | Check price at Emma

Emma Premium Microfibre Pillow: Best adjustable microfibre pillow

Great for… those who like a lofty pillow
Not so great for… smaller budgets

Just like Nectar’s A Whole Night Sleep pillow, the loft (or height) of the Emma Premium Microfibre Pillow can be adjusted by adding or removing one of its layers. The difference with Emma’s pillow is that it’s made from microfibre rather than memory foam. When we tested the pillow, we found it much more “squishy” than most of its foam counterparts, so we’d argue it’s best suited to sleepers who prefer a softer pillow.

The pillow’s two polyester microfibre layers are encased in a soft padded pillowcase. With both layers inserted, the pillow has a good amount of loft, which is a good thing for side sleepers who need to support their head and shoulder (though we also found the pillow to be comfortable and supportive with just the one insert). While most of the pillows on our roundup have a machine washable cover, you might also be pleased to hear that this pillow – inserts and all – can be popped in the washing machine at a temperature up to 60°C.

Emma’s Premium Microfibre pillow is on the pricier end of the spectrum. But taking into account the regular promotional sales that the brand runs, there’s a good chance you won’t have to pay full price. What’s more, the pillow comes with a trial period, giving you 30 nights to try it out. If you decide you don’t like it during this time, you can return it for a full refund.

Key features – Filling: Polyester (machine washable inserts); Cover: Polyester (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only

5. Scooms Hungarian Goose Down pillow: Best down pillow

Price when reviewed: £90 | Check price at Scooms

Scooms Hungarian Goose Down pillow: A luxury pillow that won't break the bank

Great for… plush softness
Not so great for… vegans

If you’re in the market for a truly luxurious pillow, Scooms’ Hungarian goose down pillow ticks pretty much every box. It’s made from a goose feather and down core surrounded by a 90% down outer chamber, and we discovered in our tests that it delivers emphatically on the company’s claim that it’s simultaneously supportive and soft.

Scooms’ “perfect” pillow is surrounded by a 300 thread count, 100% sateen cotton case and it’s machine washable – which the company recommends you do so every 6-12 months. The down and feathers both adhere to the Responsible Down Standard, meaning they’re sourced from geese that have been treated well and never suffer from live-plucking.

One thing we noticed while reviewing the pillow, however,  is that you’ll need to plump it up daily to keep it feeling its best – something that’s admittedly a bit of a faff and not necessary with many of the other pillows in this list.

Key features – Filling: Goose down and feathers; Cover: 100% cotton cover (machine washable) Sizes: Standard size and king size

Check price at Scooms

6. Soak & Sleep 90% Hungarian Goose Down Pillow: Best down pillow for customisable options

Price when reviewed: From £85 | Check price at Soak & Sleep

Soak & Sleep 90% Hungarian Goose Down Pillow: Best down pillow for customisable options

Great for… range of size and feel options
Not so great for… vegans

Much like the Scooms pillow above, Soak & Sleep’s 90% Hungarian Goose Down Pillow won’t break the bank (in fact, starting at £72, it’s actually ever-so-slightly cheaper). It’s just as comfortable too: we were sent the medium/firm variant to test and found it to be supportive yet not too firm.

Soak & Sleep also claims that its ethically sourced down filling (which is contained within a 280 thread count cotton casing) is, contrary to conventional wisdom, suitable for allergy sufferers because of its “excellent oxygen and turbidity ratings” (among other things such as lack of chemical treatment).

Another  feature we particularly appreciate is the amount of choice you get when it comes to size and feel. It’s available in soft, soft/medium and medium/firm variants, as well as standard (50 x 75cm), superking (50 x 90cm) and square (65 x 65cm) sizes.

Key features – Filling: Goose down and feathers; Cover: 100% cotton cover (machine washable) Sizes: Standard, superking, square

Check price at Soak & Sleep

7. Simba Hybrid Pillow: Best adjustable foam pillow

Price when reviewed: £109 | Check price at Simba

Simba Hybrid Pillow: The most versatile pillow

Great for… customisation
Not so great for… smaller budgets

The Simba Hybrid Pillow with Stratos is one of the most expensive pillows we’ve reviewed, but it’s also one of the most sophisticated. Just like the company’s hybrid mattress, it’s made using a combination of different materials: on one side of the pillow is a breathable fibre filling encased in the “astronaut-inspired” material Stratos; on the other is a soft, anti-allergy microfibre filling below a layer of premium cotton. You can lay your head on either side but the pillow’s party trick is its “nanocubes” – small memory foam cubes in its core that can be added or removed to adjust both the height and firmness according to your preference.

Despite the high-tech credentials, our experience with the Simba Hybrid wasn’t quite as remarkable – though this is no bad thing. It feels surprisingly like a traditional pillow – much more so than some all-foam competitors. Unlike microfibre and feather pillows, which risk being either soft or supportive but rarely both, the Simba Hybrid finds that sweet spot right out of the box. It’s worth noting, however, that unlike the Simba Hybrid mattress, there’s no trial period with its bedding products.

Key features – Filling: Down, memory foam and microfibre; Cover: Cotton and Outlast; Sizes: Standard size only

Save on Simba pillows with the Hybrid Sleep Bundle

Simba’s pillows aren’t cheap. However, if you act now you can make a saving on two hybrid pillows when you buy the Simba Hybrid Sleep Bundle. The king size version of the bundle comes packed with a mattress, a hybrid duvet, and two of Simba’s hybrid pillows. With the Hybrid Sleep Bundle promotion applied it will bring the cost of all these items down to just £1,099.

8. Dormeo Octasmart Pillow: An outstanding breathable memory foam pillow

Price when reviewed: £49 | Check price at Dormeo

Dormeo Octasmart Pillow: An outstanding breathable memory foam pillow

Great for… its unique foam “spring” design
Not so great for… side sleepers

The Dormeo Octasmart pillow uses 24 memory foam “springs” to deliver a high level of support and breathability. The manufacturer claims this design is up to eight times more breathable than regular memory foam. Our reviewer, when pushing down on the pillow with their hand, could feel the individual springs and worried it wouldn’t be particularly comfortable. However, the reality was entirely different. If you’re looking for a memory foam pillow that’s supportive without being excessively firm or sweaty, this fits the bill admirably. It’s not as high as the Eve memory foam pillow, which arguably makes it better suited for back and front sleepers than side sleepers, but overall it’s a great all-rounder. The Octasmart’s cover is also machine washable.

Key features – Filling: Wellsleep fibres and memory foam; Cover: Polyester; Sizes: Standard size only

Check price at Dormeo

9. The Emma Pillow: Best foam pillow for firm support

Price when reviewed: £70 | Check price at Emma

The Emma Pillow: Best money-back guarantee

UPDATE: Since publishing our review, Expert Reviews has noticed a recent influx of negative customer reviews for Emma Sleep on Trustpilot, with many customers complaining of delays to shipping and a lack of communication over when deliveries will happen. According to Emma Sleep, these delays have been caused by factors “not under [the brand’s] control”, and a spokesperson said that the process of transitioning “order management and fulfilment platforms” has led to these issues. We’ve also been told that resolving these issues is a top priority for Emma Sleep and the company is expecting to resolve the issues in the coming weeks. We will be sure to bring you more information as we receive it.

Great for… customisability and trial period
Not so great for… ease of adjustment

Featuring three layers of removable foam, the Emma Pillow can be tailored to suit your personal sleeping preference. Each layer possesses different qualities: the Airgocell foam layer is open-pored, improving breathability and heat transfer away from your head, the memory foam layer contours to your head and neck, and the HRX layer provides firmer support for your head and neck.

Emma suggests side sleepers use all three layers, while those who sleep on their backs are encouraged to remove a layer, with front sleepers recommended to pick just one of the trio of foam inserts. We tested various combinations and found two layers to be the sweet spot in terms of comfort, support and breathability when sleeping on our side. Your experience may well differ, of course, but we’re confident that no matter your sleeping preference, you’ll find a configuration that works for you.

Emma is equally confident and offers a 30-night trial on the pillow. So, if you find it’s not helping deliver the sweet slumber you’re craving, simply return it and get your money back, no questions asked.

Key features – Filling: Airgocell foam, HRX foam, Visco-elastic memory foam; Cover: 98% Polyester, 2% Elastane; Sizes: Standard size only (70cm x 40cm)

Grab an Emma pillow for less in the early summer sale

Emma is currently having its early summer sale which includes some fantastic pillow discounts. The Premium Pillow is down from £115 to £80, while the Microfibre Pillow is down from £75 to £56. You can also grab a great saving on a set of new pillows with the Premium Pillow Bundle, down from £230 to £138. The Microfibre Pillow Bundle is currently £97, down from £150.

10. Simba Body Pillow: Best body pillow

Price when reviewed: £109 | Check price at Simba

The Simba body pillow floating against a coloured background

Great for… those who need cradled support, such as pregnant users
Not so great for… those on a tight budget

Body pillows such as this one are commonly associated with pregnancy but are also used by those looking to get extra support during the night. Although I’m not pregnant, I still found the pillow to be a very comfortable and supportive cradle. It’s soft and has a smooth surface that’s cool to the touch. That said, it can get quite warm in the night, so I’d recommend using it without a duvet.

I wasn’t necessarily won over by the look of the pillow, and if you’re someone who takes pride in bedroom aesthetics, you might prefer not to have a big grey sausage spoiling your otherwise chic pillow arrangement. I’d like to see Simba design some nice pillowcases to go over it. Nevertheless, it hasn’t necessarily been designed with aesthetics in mind, so perhaps not the fairest complaint. And for those who are bothered by this, the pillow dpes come with a very handy case, in which you can store it when not in use.

I should also mention that I was impressed with how the pillow functions as a back support when sitting up in bed. Sure, this isn’t its primary function, but it’s very comfortable if you like to read in bed. As with many of Simba’s pillows, it’s not cheap. But if you’re after a supportive body pillow, this is a good choice.

Key features – Filling: Polyester; Cover: Cotton; Sizes: 1 (120 x 35cm)

Check price at Simba

How to choose the best pillow for you

How often should I replace my pillow?

Most of us are guilty of putting up with our pillows long after they’ve lost their original fluffiness. But old pillows can lead to back and neck pain, as well as allergies. Some pillows may need replacing after as little as six months, while others will give you two years. Down pillows last longer – up to five years – and a feather pillow might even give you eight years.

Not quite sure whether your pillow needs replacing or not? If it’s lost its shape and/or you’re waking up with a sore neck or a blocked nose, chances are it’s time to invest in a new one.

What difference does my sleeping position make?

A good pillow, according to the Sleep Council, is not just about personal preference, but alignment. So whatever kind of sleeper you are – back, front or side – your pillow should hold your head in relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing up with perfect posture, with the cushioning of the pillow nicely tucked into the neck and shoulder area to fully support your head.

  • Side sleepers should ideally choose a medium-high thickness pillow (high-fill down, memory foam or medium-high synthetic are all good) to support the shoulders, neck and head.
  • Front sleepers should go for a softer pillow (down or low-fill synthetic are both good).
  • Back sleepers need a medium-thickness pillow (high-fill down, orthopaedic memory foam or medium synthetic are good).
  • People who sleep in a mixture of positions should go for medium thickness (for example, high-fill down or medium synthetic).

What type of filling should I go for?

There’s a whole world of pillow fillings out there, so we’ve summarised the pros and cons of the various types below.

  • Combined feather and down pillows are good for comfort and support, eliminating pressure points and avoiding face squashing. But if you suffer from allergies, they’re a no-no.
  • Pure feather pillows – as luxurious as the idea of pure feathers may sound, we’d avoid this type as those pesky feather quills seem to have a way of escaping and stabbing you in the face. It’s also worth noting they don’t offer the support and height needed for side sleepers. Plus, they can be noisy and don’t suit allergy sufferers.
  • Pure down pillows, on the other hand, are the ultimate in luxury, particularly if you like your pillow soft and fluffy. They’re lovely and light, as well as being airy and quiet – and they last well. But side-sleepers, be warned they often lack support and height so you may need a firmer pillow underneath. Other downsides are that they can be expensive and they are high maintenance, needing lots of shaking to get them back into shape. And once again, they’re no good for allergy sufferers.
  • Synthetic pillows are usually made from polyester. As they’re hypoallergenic, they’re great for allergy sufferers and also affordable, lightweight and easy to care for. They’re good if you sleep in a variety of positions throughout the night too. But they aren’t as malleable or breathable as other pillows and they have the shortest lifespan of all pillows – with the filling often prone to clumping.
  • Memory foam pillows mould to your neck and head, creating a comfy and smooth cradle while you are in the land of nod, making them a great option for pain relief and strong support. They are also quiet, as well as being easy to care for and temperature-sensitive. But they are dense and firm, which makes them a poor option for restless sleepers and they can start off with a rather chemical smell, as well as being pricey.
  • What other types are there? More niche pillows include micro-bead, buckwheat and water pillows (again, good for pain relief as they’re mouldable), but they can be noisy and have that certain smell.

What about pillow sizes?

If you have a single or double bed, choose a standard-size pillow. If you have a king or super-king bed, you may want to consider a super-king pillow. Square pillows are typically used for decoration.

  • Standard: 50cm x 75cm (20in x 30in)
  • Super-king :50cm x 90cm (20in x 35in)
  • Square: 65cm x 65cm (26in x 26in)

What if I have allergies?

If you’re an allergy sufferer, you should consider a latex pillow. These pillows are made from the sap of rubber trees, not only making it elastic and resilient but good to fight against allergies as they are mold-resistant. It’s worth noting, however, that they tend to be cooler than memory foam and can form to fit your head and neck but don’t offer as much give. They can also be quite heavy and expensive.

Does the cover fabric matter?

It’s easy to assume this is irrelevant as you’ll have a pillowcase covering it. But it’s worth noting that natural cover fabrics such as cotton have much more breathability than polyester and other man-made fibres, which can make for a far more comfortable night’s sleep if you’re prone to getting hot at night.

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