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Best Memory Foam Pillows (2021 Picks)

There are two things you need to get a good night’s sleep – a supportive mattress and a quality pillow. Pillows are a dime a dozen these days with too many different options to count. Because they are so easy to come by, you may be tempted to think that all pillows are created equal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When it comes to choosing a pillow, the filling makes all the difference.

Viscoelastic polyurethane, more commonly known as memory foam, is one of the most popular materials for pillows, and for good reason. Not only is it incredibly comfortable with its body-contouring qualities, but it is supportive as well.

If you’re in the market for a new pillow, memory foam is a great option to consider – especially if you suffer from joint pain or stiffness in the morning. We’ve taken the time to research the market, bringing you our top seven picks for the best memory foam pillows you can buy.

Memory Foam Pillow Reviews

Memory foam is one of the most popular materials used in pillows, so there are countless options to choose from. In shopping for a memory foam pillow, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choice but, lucky for you, we’ve done the research to bring you a shortlist of the best memory foam pillows on the market. Check them out below.

Here are our top 5 picks for the best memory foam pillow:

Top 5 Best Memory Foam Pillows (2021 Picks)

  1. Best OverallSnuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow
  2. Best ValueEnerPlex Adjustable Luxury Queen Pillow
  3. Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
  4. Plixio 2-Pack Shredded Memory Foam Pillows
  5. Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Travel Pillow
editors choice

Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow


Memory Foam Pillow Reviews

1. Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow

Our top pick for the best memory foam pillow is this Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow. Ideal for all sleeping styles, this pillow is filled with shredded memory foam and stuffed in a premium bamboo fabric cover. Shredded memory foam is the ideal filling for a pillow because it conforms to the contours of your body, delivering a customized degree of support and comfort. Shredded memory foam is also a cooling material – it supports air flow through the pillow to help dissipate body heat.

Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow

In addition to its body contouring and cooling qualities, this pillow is also incredibly comfortable. Kool-Flow technology helps keep you cool on even the hottest nights while high-quality filling materials provide reliable performance in terms of support. Plus, the entire pillow is machine-washable for your convenience. You don’t have to worry about removing the cover and struggling to get it back on.

The Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow is available in three standard sizes – standard, queen, and king – and it is competitively priced for the quality it delivers. Customers comment that it does take some time to expand, but were largely pleased with the degree of comfort and support these pillows offer.

2. EnerPlex Adjustable Luxury Queen Pillow

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to sleep. Side sleepers tend to prefer a firmer pillow with a higher loft while stomach sleepers prefer a low-loft pillow. No matter your sleeping style and personal preferences, the EnerPlex Adjustable Luxury Queen Pillow could be a great fit. Not only is it made with high-quality materials and stuffed in a breathable bamboo cover, but this pillow is entirely adjustable. Simply add or remove filling to achieve the desired level of firmness and loft.

EnerPlex Adjustable Luxury Queen Pillow

The EnerPlex Adjustable Luxury Queen Pillow is filled with CertiPUR-US Certified shredded memory foam, making it a great option for sleepers who tend to run hot. Shredded memory foam encourages airflow through the pillow and the bamboo cover helps wick away moisture and dissipate body heat. This pillow is also easy to maintain. The cover is removable and washable but the entire pillow is machine-washable as well for your convenience.

Whether you like a firm, high-loft pillow or something a little softer, this pillow is completely customizable. Customers appreciate the cooling properties and the level of support, though some found it difficult to adjust the filling or didn’t like it even after making adjustments.

3. Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Available in Standard and King sizes, the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow is a great option and it is a little cheaper than the previous model. This pillow works wonders for neck and back pain because it is stuffed with shredded memory foam, a comfortable and body-contouring material. Memory foam softens as it absorbs body heat, so it will conform to the shape of your body to deliver the optimal combination of comfort and support without throwing your spine out of alignment.

Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

The Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow is also a great choice for hot sleepers. Shredded memory foam supports airflow through the pillow and this particular model features a cooling cover made from super-breathable bamboo fabric. This cover is removable and washable for your convenience and the pillow delivers a lump-free sleeping experience.

Customers love the fact that this pillow is adjustable – you can add or remove filling to change the firmness and loft according to your sleeping style. There are some comments about off-gassing and some found the pillow too firm, but customer reviews are largely positive.

4. Plixio 2-Pack Shredded Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows can be expensive but this 2-pack of shredded memory foam pillows from Plixio delivers on quality without being too pricey. These pillows come in the standard queen size and they feature a washable, hypoallergenic bamboo cover. Filled with shredded memory foam that has been infused with cooling gel, these pillows are great for side sleepers and sleepers who tend to run hot.

Plixio 2-Pack Shredded Memory Foam Pillows

These Plixio Shredded Memory Foam Pillows are particularly beneficial for side sleepers due to their pressure-relieving qualities, but they can work for any sleeping position. The pliable memory foam materials conform to the shape of your body, supporting the head and neck without throwing the spine out of alignment. Plus, these pillows will never go flat, and you can always toss them in the dryer to re-fluff them if needed. The pillow cover is washable and dryer-friendly as well.

Customers love the affordable price of these pillows as well as the fact that they come in a 2-pack. The majority of customer reviews are positive, though some found the pillows too firm. Some customers also found the pillows a little lumpy at first, though they can be tossed in the dryer to remedy this.

5. Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Your bed at home can be customized to your every whim and preference but you can’t take the whole thing with you when you travel. Unfortunately, you also can’t count on your hotel accommodations to be as comfortable as your bed at home. Hotel pillows are a toss-up – you’re just as likely to get one that’s perfectly comfortable as you are to get one that leaves you with a headache in the morning. Why take the risk? The Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Travel Pillow is the perfect solution.

Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Travel Pillow

The Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Travel Pillow is a travel-sized pillow that can fit in your suitcase or overnight bag. It is stuffed with shredded memory foam to give it the body-contouring quality you need for optimal comfort and it comes with a cooling bamboo cover. Featuring Kool-Flow technology, this pillow delivers a cool and comfortable sleep experience, and it is machine-washable, so you can throw it in the washer when you return home from your travel to get it ready for the next trip.

Though some customers found this pillow too small, others appreciated that it was travel-sized – it may also be a great pillow for kids. Customer reviews are largely positive, though there are also some comments about it being too thick for comfort.

What to Consider When Buying a Memory Foam Pillow

As previously mentioned, memory foam is also known as viscoelastic polyurethane foam. Originally invented by NASA for the comfort of astronauts during launch, memory foam became popular among the general public with the release of the Tempur-Pedic memory foam mattress. Today, memory foam is a common material used in mattresses, pillows, and more.

Here are the three primary types of memory foam:

  • Traditional Memory Foam – The original type of memory foam that was first developed, traditional memory foam is still widely used. This foam has a fairly high density which means it tends to retain body heat but it also contours to the body to relieve pressure points.
  • Open-Cell Memory Foam – This type of memory foam has a different internal structure which allows for better airflow through the foam. Open-cell memory foam tends to sleep cooler because it transfers heat away from the body rather than trapping it.
  • Gel-Infused Memory Foam – Gel memory foam or gel-infused memory foam is also known for its cooling qualities. Because it is memory foam it still responds to pressure and contours to the shape of your body but it also helps with temperature regulation.

Memory foam mattresses often incorporate different types of memory foam and foams of different density. High-density memory foam is typically used in the supportive base layers of a mattress while lighter density foams are used in the comfort and transition layers.

In memory foam pillows, there are two primary types of memory foam that come into play:

  • Solid Memory Foam – One-piece memory foam pillows are typically made from a solid piece of memory foam or several layers fused together. They have the benefit of not needing to be fluffed, though they may retain more heat than shredded memory foam pillows.
  • Shredded Memory Foam – Filled with shredded memory foam, these pillows are often adjustable for customers who can add or remove filling according to their preferences. Shredded memory foam also dissipates heat a little better than solid memory foam. 

When shopping for memory foam pillows, it’s important to understand the difference between these two materials. Most memory foam pillows are made with shredded memory foam, but some incorporate layers of solid memory foam AND shredded.

Here are some additional factors to consider when shopping for a memory foam pillow:

  1. Sleeping Position
  2. Firmness Level
  3. Pressure Relief
  4. Cooling Properties
  5. Cover Materials

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these factors individually.

  1. Sleeping Position

The biggest factor to consider when shopping for any pillow is your sleeping position. If you sleep on your side, you may find yourself struggling with neck, shoulder, or back pain if your pillow doesn’t deliver the right degree of support. Side sleepers generally need a high-loft pillow to keep the head, neck, and spine in proper alignment during sleep.

If you’re a back sleeper, you need a medium-loft pillow that will support your head and neck to keep your spine aligned properly – something too high or too low can throw your spinal alignment out of whack. Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, need a low-loft pillow to avoid tilting their head too far in either direction. Memory foam tends to work best for side and back sleepers for these reasons.

  1. Firmness Level

In addition to considering your sleeping position, think about what firmness level you prefer in a pillow. Side sleepers tend to prefer firmer pillows while back and stomach sleepers like a little bit of give. Memory foam pillows come in just about any firmness level, depending on the type of memory foam used and the density. High-density memory foam tends to be pretty firm while shredded memory foam and open-cell foam has a little more give to it.

  1. Pressure Relief

Memory foam is known for its pressure-relieving qualities, so that shouldn’t be an issue when shopping for a memory foam pillow. Both solid memory foam and shredded memory foam perform well in this area which is what makes memory foam such a popular material in orthopedic pillows. Just keep in mind that the conforming qualities of memory foam make it a little slower to respond to changes in position and it may take some time for the pillow to conform to your body shape to deliver optimal comfort.

  1. Cooling Properties

Traditional memory foam tends to retain body heat, so it may not be the best choice if you’re a hot sleeper. Open-cell and gel-infused memory foam, on the other hand, perform well in terms of temperature regulation. If you tend to sleep hot, you may prefer a shredded memory foam pillow versus a solid memory foam pillow because the shredded foam supports better airflow through the pillow.

  1. Cover Materials

Though not a quality of the pillow itself, the materials from which the cover is made are worth considering. If you’re concerned about warmth, look for a cover made from cooling materials like cotton or bamboo. Both of these are fairly breathable and can help support the cooling properties of the memory foam pillow you choose.

Pros and Cons of Memory Foam Pillow

While memory foam is an incredibly popular material for pillows, it’s not the perfect choice for everyone. Before you go out and invest in a memory foam pillow, take the time to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this unique material.

Here are the pros of memory foam pillows:

  • It softens in response to body heat and pressure, conforming to the shape of your body to alleviate pressure points.
  • It supports the head and neck, helping keep the spine in proper alignment during sleep to reduce neck and back pain.
  • It absorbs movement without producing any noise, making it a great option for light sleepers and couples.
  • It is fairly dense by nature which helps keep allergens like dust and mold from accumulating inside the pillow or mattress.
  • It is a highly versatile material that can be molded into a variety of shapes – this makes it ideal for orthopedic pillows.

Here are the cons of memory foam pillows:

  • It tends to be fairly dense which makes it a heavy material, especially in King-size pillows and body pillows.
  • Traditional memory foam tends to absorb and retain body heat rather than dissipating it – this can be a problem for hot sleepers.
  • It doesn’t do very well with moisture – it should ideally be used with a waterproof cover.
  • It sometimes takes a little while to adjust to changes in position – memory foam tends to react fairly slowly, making it less springy than other materials.
  • It often has a chemical smell caused by volatile organic compounds or VOCs – the release of this smell during expansion is called off-gassing.
  • Certain types of memory foam can be quite expensive, especially gel-infused memory foam (compared to traditional memory foam).

Who Should Use a Memory Foam Pillow?

Memory foam is a unique material that provides many benefits, especially when used in a pillow. It is particularly beneficial for people who suffer from joint pain or stiffness in the morning due to pressure points or improper neck and spine alignment.

A memory foam pillow might be a good choice for people who:

  • Suffer from neck pain. The conforming qualities of memory foam help relieve pressure on the neck and spine which can alleviate pain and stiffness.
  • Sleep on their side. Side sleepers need a firm, high-loft pillow to support the head and neck without throwing the spine out of line – memory foam also relieves pressure on the shoulders.
  • Sleep on their back. People who sleep on their back do best with a medium-loft pillow that relieves pressure on the neck. Memory foam compresses under your weight to relieve pressure.
  • Prefer a higher loft pillow. Memory foam compresses under weight, but it still retains its shape and density better than other materials like polyfiber filling.

Who Should Avoid Memory Foam Pillows?

While memory foam has many benefits to offer, it isn’t necessarily the best choice for everyone. Some people also simply don’t like the feel of memory foam – they prefer a softer material like down or polyfiber filling.

A memory foam pillow may not be right for people who:

  • Sleep on their stomach. Stomach sleepers generally do best with a flat pillow that supports the head without putting the neck and spine out of alignment.
  • Tend to sleep hot. Traditional memory foam retains heat which can be a problem for hot sleepers. Shredded memory foam or gel-infused memory foam might be a better option.

Frequently Asked Questions

How thick should a memory foam pillow be?

The ideal thickness for a memory foam pillow is largely a matter of preference, so think about your sleeping style. Side sleepers generally need a thicker pillow than back and stomach sleepers to keep the head and neck supported and the spine in proper alignment.

How do I choose a memory foam pillow?

When shopping for a memory foam pillow, choose one that offers the ideal loft and firmness level for your sleeping style. You may also want to consider additional factors like cooling properties if you tend to sleep hot. Consider the differences between solid and shredded memory foam as well and pay attention to the materials from which the cover is made.

What is better, memory foam or gel memory foam?

Traditional memory foam is a highly durable material, and it offers strong pressure-relieving qualities, but it does tend to absorb heat and moisture. Gel memory foam performs well in pressure relief as well, but it tends to sleep a little cooler. Hot sleepers may prefer gel memory foam to traditional foam.

Is gel memory foam toxic?

Memory foam is made from polyurethane which is an industrial chemical – that’s why it tends to smell as it expands after shipping and unboxing. According to OSHA, certain chemicals in memory foam can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and skin in sensitive individuals.

How often should I replace my memory foam pillow?

Generally speaking, you should replace your pillow every 2 to 3 years. Memory foam is a very durable material, so you should be able to get a good 18 to 36 months out of it. Once you notice the pillow starting to compress or lose shape in certain areas, it may be time for a replacement.

How long does it take memory foam to expand?

When you purchase a memory foam pillow online, it will generally be vacuum sealed to reduce the shipping size. Memory foam compresses under weight, which is why it’s so great for pressure relief, but it does take time to respond to changes in pressure. You’ll need to give your memory foam pillow a good 4 to 6 hours to reach 90% expansion and another few hours to expand fully. For the best results, give your pillow 24 hours to expand before sleeping on it. 

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