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Best Cooling Pillows (2021 Picks)

How often do you wake in the middle of the night feeling hot and clammy? You wipe your brow then turn your pillow over to the cool side and get back to sleep. But what if there wasn’t a cool side of the pillow – what if both sides remained cool and comfortable all night long?

Whether you’re a hot sleeper or you’re going through menopause, having a cooling pillow could be your nighttime savior – your key to a restful night’s sleep.

There are many cooling pillows on the market, but they are not all created equal. From covers to filling materials, the details that make each cooling pillow unique are also the key to finding the one that is right for you. We’ve scoured the market to bring you a list of the best cooling pillows you can buy.

Cooling Pillow Reviews (2021 Picks)

  1. Best Memory FoamSnuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow
  2. Best Gel PillowBeckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows
  3. Best Down AlternativeFern and Willow Down Alternative Pillows
  4. Sleep Restoration Bed Pillows
  5. Supreme Plush Ultra-Luxury Cooling Pillow
  6. Restorology Genius Cooling Gel Fiber Pillow
  7. Zen Bamboo Pillows
  8. Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
editors choice

Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow


Cooling Pillow Reviews

1. Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow

Side sleepers often struggle with shoulder and hip pain because they don’t get the support they need from their mattress and pillow. When it comes to the best pillows for side sleepers, you want to go with a high-loft pillow that is medium-firm. These Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillows are filled with shredded memory foam and they are completely adjustable so you can customize your level of comfort according to your sleeping style and preferences.

Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow

These Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillows feature Kool-Flow technology which helps keep you cool throughout the night. The extra-breathable, micro-vented cover supports airflow through the pillow and helps wick away moisture and body heat. The pillows are also machine-washable for your convenience – just throw them in the washer then dry on low or no heat until they regain their shape and loft.

Sold in a set of two, these pillows are moderately priced, and customers appreciate that they are adjustable. Many customers found the pillows had a strong chemical odor, but it dissipated over time and the cooling properties really seem to work.

2. Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows

Relax in the lap of luxury with these gel cooling pillows. Sold in a set of two, these Beckham Hotel Collection gel pillows are available in Queen and King sizes. They are generously filled with gel fiber materials, featuring a no-shift construction so the pillow won’t fall flat. Cooling technology helps regulate your body temperature throughout the night, so you enjoy a cool and comfortable night’s sleep each and every night.

Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows

In addition to cooling technology, these gel pillows feature a 100% cotton cover. The pillows themselves are fade-resistant, stain-resistant, and machine-washable but the breathable cotton cover kicks the cooling benefits up a notch. Because they are free from chemicals and allergens, these pillows are hypoallergenic which makes them a great choice for allergy sufferers. They are also expertly tailored to deliver the optimal degree of comfort in any sleeping position.

These gel pillows are a little on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for in high-quality materials and superior comfort. Some customers found the pillows a little firm, however, so they may be better for side sleepers than for back or stomach sleepers.

3. Fern and Willow Down Alternative Pillows

While natural down delivers an ultra-comfortable sleeping experience, it can be expensive, and the materials tend to fall flat over time. Down alternative, on the other hand, is allergy-friendly, cruelty-free, and super comfortable. These Fern and Willow Down Alternative Pillows strike the ideal balance between comfort and support for all sleeping positions, and you can’t beat the price.

Fern and Willow Down Alternative Pillows

In addition to being filled with premium microfiber materials, these down alternative pillows feature a luxurious design. Piping along the edge of the pillows gives them a neat, tailored appearance and they are completely machine-washable for your convenience. These pillows are more supportive than traditional down pillows and you can customize your level of comfort by adding or removing filling. Just be sure to massage the pillow to redistribute the filling after making adjustments.

Affordably priced for a set of two pillows, these down alternative pillows are a steal. Customers are pleased with the quality and adjustability of the pillows, though some found the pillows too firm.

4. Sleep Restoration Bed Pillows

Back sleepers typically prefer a medium-loft pillow that supports the head and neck to keep the spine in proper alignment. If you’re looking for a pillow that delivers the optimal degree of support and pressure relief, consider these Sleep Restoration pillows. These pillows are stuffed with down alternative materials which offer the bounce-back quality of memory foam without the heat retention. You’ll find these pillows offer the support you want with the cooling properties you need to sleep comfortably.

Sleep Restoration Bed Pillows

These Sleep Restoration pillows are allergy-friendly and machine-washable. Simply pop them in the washer then tumble dry to keep them nice and fluffy. In addition to being stuffed with premium down alternative materials, these pillows are encased in a 250-thread-count 100% cotton cover. The pillows are stain-resistant and breathable to keep you cool all night long.

Available in Queen and King sizes, these pillows are also incredibly affordable. Many customers found these pillows offered the ideal level of support without compromising on comfort – especially for back sleepers. Sound commented that it fell flat sooner than expected but you can put it in the dryer to fluff it back up.

5. Supreme Plush Ultra-Luxury Cooling Pillow

If you’re looking for a cooling pillow that delivers the ultimate sleep experience, look no further than these Supreme Plush Ultra-Luxury Cooling Pillows. Sold in a set of two, these pillows are available in Standard, Queen, and King sizes. They are stuffed with gel-infused shredded memory foam which self-adapts to any sleeping position to keep your spine in proper alignment. That being said, you’ll also receive a bag of extra fill if you want to adjust the shape or loft of your pillow.

Supreme Plush Ultra-Luxury Cooling Pillow

These luxurious cooling pillows are fully machine-washable for easy cleaning. The outer cover is made from cooling bamboo materials to support air flow through the pillow while wicking away body heat and moisture. These pillows utilize Kool-Flow technology to keep you cool and comfortable all night long and they are made in the U.S.A. with Eco-Friendly Biogreen and CertiPUR-US Certified foams.

While these pillows may be a little pricey compared to some, you get what you pay for in high-quality materials and reliable performance. Customers loved the adjustable feature of these pillows and found them to be comfortable and supportive, though some noticed a chemical smell.

6. Restorology Genius Cooling Gel Fiber Pillow

You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to enjoy a good night’s sleep. These Restorology Genius Cooling Gel Fiber Pillows are affordably priced and designed to keep you cool and comfortable all night long. Sold in a two-pack, these pillows are filled with gel-fiber filling in a silky sateen cover. The gel fiber materials help support airflow through the pillow while dissipating body heat to keep you cool at night. Plus, these materials are hypoallergenic which makes the pillows a great choice for allergy sufferers.

Restorology Genius Cooling Gel Fiber Pillow

These gel-fiber pillows are stuffed with a no-shift construction, so you won’t have to worry about lumps. No matter what position you sleep in, you’ll have the support you need and the comfort you crave. The pillows are fade- and stain-resistant, though they can be tossed in the washing machine if needed. Plus, they are covered by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

If you’re looking for and affordable option in cooling pillows, these are a great pick. Customers found they delivered on their promises of comfort, though some had issues with the construction – a few customers had the pillow break open during washing.

7. Zen Bamboo Pillows

Ideal for all sleeping positions, these gel fiber-filled pillows deliver a cool and comfortable night’s sleep. Whether you sleep on your side, your back, or your stomach, these pillows offer the ideal degree of support to keep your spine in proper alignment all night long. The filling is soft and fluffy with a down-like feel and it bounces back every time, so each night is like the first night you’re sleeping on it.

Zen Bamboo Pillows

Filled with super-plush materials, these pillows give you the feeling of sleeping on a cloud. Plus, they come with a fade- and stain-resistant bamboo cover for enhanced breathability. These pillows are machine washable for convenience and they are designed with a no-shift construction, so they won’t become lumpy and misshapen over time. They come in both Queen and King sizes.

These Zen Bamboo Pillows are affordably priced and sold in pairs. Customers found these pillows to be light and airy, though some thought they could use a little more filling. There are several customer comments about the fill compressing to the sides, leaving the middle of the pillow flat.

8. Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

When it comes to comfort, memory foam is one of the best materials out there. Not only does it conform to the shape of your body, but it relieves pressure from your neck and spine. This Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow is a great choice because it offers customizable convenience and cooling properties. Designed to maintain a firm level of support without going flat, this pillow is also customizable – you can add or remove filling to achieve your ideal level of comfort.

Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

In addition to being adjustable, this pillow is made with shredded memory foam to provide a cool and comfortable night’s sleep. Shredded memory foam delivers the luxury of down alternative materials and the support of foam to give you a lump-free experience. Plus, the shredded memory foam materials dissipate body heat, and the breathable bamboo cover adds to the cooling benefits.

This cooling pillow is available in three sizes and, because it is adjustable, it works well for all sleeping positions. That being said, it is a little pricey compared to other options and some customers found it too firm or that it had a strong chemical smell.

cooling pillows

Do Cooling Pillows Really Work?

We’ve all had those nights when you wake up sweating, despite the air conditioning running. Even if you keep your bedroom cool at night, some people just tend to run hot, and it can lead to a sticky situation between you and your pillow. That’s where cooling pillows come in.

A cooling pillow isn’t anything complicated – it’s simply a pillow that provides a temperature neutral sleeping surface and prevents heat retention.

Cooling pillows are designed to help draw heat away from your body instead of trapping it like traditional pillows often do. These pillows utilize specialized materials that encourage air flow, and they often feature covers made from breathable and moisture-wicking materials.

But do cooling pillows actually work?

According to the Sleep Foundation, there is a direct relationship between the temperature of your bedroom and the quality of your sleep. A national poll revealed that a cool room temperature was a significant factor in determining sleep quality with as many as 80% of participants responding that it was important to them. The ideal bedroom temperature is around 65°F.

Temperature plays an important role in sleep because it affects your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is influenced by the natural cycle of day and night – it’s your internal clock.

The average person has a core body temperature around 98.6°F, but body temperature can fluctuate by as much as 2 degrees during the night. Your body temperature tends to drop about two hours before you go to bed – this is also the time your body starts releasing more of the sleep hormone melatonin. Once you fall asleep, your temperature continues to drop until early morning when it rises again.

If your bedroom is too hot, it can interfere with your body’s thermoregulation abilities. This could have an impact not only on your ability to fall asleep but to stay asleep. Particularly if you tend to run hot at night, using a cooling pillow could help you achieve a more restful night’s sleep.

What to Consider When Buying a Cooling Pillow

Shopping for a pillow may seem like a simple task, but there are many different properties to consider – especially when it comes to cooling pillows. Every person has their own unique sleeping style as well, so the cooling pillow that works well for someone else might not be the optimal choice for you.

Here are some of the top things to consider when buying a cooling pillow:

  1. Cooling technology
  2. Sleeping position
  3. Firmness level
  4. Quality materials
  5. Cleaning and maintenance

In addition to these factors, you may also want to consider the pillow’s loft.

Loft refers to the height of the pillow – how full it is with stuffing. Cooling pillows usually have a medium to high loft, but they are often filled with materials that compress easily. You may also find cooling pillows that have an adjustable loft – 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.

Now, let’s explore each of the five factors above in greater detail.

1. Cooling Technology

The most important factor to consider when shopping for a cooling pillow is, of course, its cooling technology. This determines how well the pillow dissipates body heat to regulate your temperature, keeping you cool throughout the night. In most cases, cooling pillows provide passive cooling benefits – this simply means that they are made with materials that draw heat away from the body and/or encourage airflow through the pillow to keep it cool.

Some of the best materials for dissipating body heat are conductive materials like gel, copper, and graphite as well as phase-change materials. You should also keep in mind the materials for the pillowcase – these should be breathable, moisture-wicking materials like cotton or bamboo.

2. 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.

3. Firmness Level

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.

4. Quality Materials  

The materials from which a cooling pillow is made determine not just the firmness level but also the pillow’s durability. High-quality 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.

5. Cleaning and 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.

Cooling Pillow Materials Choices

A pillow is only as good as its filling, especially a cooling pillow. 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 cooling pillow materials choices:

  • Memory Foam – 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.
  • Latex – 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.
  • 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.
  • Wool – A natural fiber harvested from lambs and sheep, wool fibers have a crimped shape which provides loft and supports airflow through the pillow. Wool also acts as a natural insulator, pulling heat and moisture away when you get hot and retaining heat when you get cold. This material is great for year-round temperature regulation.
  • Buckwheat – Made from the shells of the buckwheat grain, this material has an open shape which allows airflow through the pillow to prevent heat retention. Buckwheat hulls are supportive and flexible, but they do have some natural odor and may make some noise.
  • Down Alternative – 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. It won’t do you much good to invest in a cooling pillow made with high-quality filling if the cover doesn’t wick away moisture and heat.

Here are some of the best materials for a cooling pillow cover:

  • Cotton – There are several types of natural cotton materials, all of which are soft and breathable. Cotton naturally wicks away moisture and body heat to create a cooling sensation. Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton are at the high end of the quality spectrum.
  • Bamboo – Another natural fiber, bamboo is lightweight and breathable. Bamboo tends to be more absorbent than cotton, so it can be a good option for people who sweat during the night, but it still encourages airflow through the pillow to keep you cool as well.
  • Phase-Change Material – These materials absorb and release body heat to control your body temperature while you sleep. Phase-change materials shift from a liquid to a solid state as a means of regulating temperature, helping draw heat away from the body.

Now that you have a better understanding of what makes a cooling pillow work, you’re ready to start shopping! You may even want to look for cooling bedding while you’re at it – many of the same factors you’ll use to choose the best cooling pillow apply to cooling bedding.

Who Are Cooling Pillows Best For?

It may seem obvious that cooling pillows are a great choice for people who tend to run hot overnight, but they can be beneficial for other sleepers as well. Side and back sleepers can also benefit from cooling pillows because they tend to have a higher loft than traditional pillows. Again, side sleepers need a high loft pillow to support the head and neck without throwing the spine out of alignment. Back sleepers need a medium loft pillow for the same reason.

While cooling pillows are a great fit for hot sleepers, side sleepers, and back sleepers, they may not be the ideal choice for stomach sleepers or for people who are sensitive to odors.

Stomach sleepers generally need a low loft pillow to provide the right degree of support without keeping the head and neck at an awkward angle. Most cooling pillows are medium-to-high loft, so stomach sleepers may need to remove some of the filling to make it work. Cooling pillows are also often made with synthetic foams that tend to off-gas – the odor could irritate people with sensitive noses, though it does tend to dissipate within a few days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you put pillowcases on cooling pillows?

Yes. While many cooling pillows have removable, washable covers, it’s still a good idea to use a pillowcase. Pillowcases provide an added layer between your face and the pillow to absorb moisture, oil, and dead skin cells which could reduce the lifespan of your pillow.

How long do cooling gel pillows last?

For the most part, you can expect a gel pillow to last 1 to 2 years. With proper maintenance, it may even last 3 years. What it really comes down to, however, is how well the pillow retains its shape and cooling properties. Once those start to go, it’s time to replace your pillow.

Are gel pillows worth it?

It depends. If you’re looking for a pillow that remains cool to the touch but still provides ample support and pressure relief, a gel-infused memory foam pillow could be a great choice. Just keep in mind that gel materials may be more expensive than traditional memory foam.

What is the best pillow that stays cool?

In order to stay cool, a pillow needs to be made with materials that support airflow and dissipate body heat – materials like aerated latex, open-cell memory foam, gel-infused memory foam, copper-infused memory foam, buckwheat, wool, or down alternative. Keep in mind the materials for the cover as well – options like cotton or bamboo help wick away moisture and dissipate body heat.

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