A forest ranger and long-time fan of my work, Jamen Lee Curtis, recently contacted me looking for the best foam pillow for his neck and to get his wife off his case about his snoring. You see, Jamen has had excellent foam pillows in the past, but Hadley keeps stealing them. It’s basically the harshest form of gaslighting.
Anyway, since Jamen is the second person (more on that later) to ask me about memory foam pillows, I figured it would be best to go the whole hog with my review. What follows is a buyer’s guide and my strongest recommendations.
What Makes Memory Foam Pillows So Special?
Memory foam was developed by NASA in the ‘70s when they were trying to find better seat cushions to protect people in plane crashes. After thousands of wasted person-hours due to contractors falling asleep on the job, they realized they had stumbled upon the most comfortable sleep cushioning known to humans. They gave up on saving lives with the material and gave the technology to pillow manufacturers.
Memory foam is mainly made of polyurethane, but there are also other materials added to adjust the density and viscosity. Today, it is valued for its pain relief, comfort, and support for your stately head.
What to Look for in a Pillow
We were all created in God’s own image: completely different. Some of you weirdos sleep on your back. Meanwhile, us normies prefer to take weight off our backs and sleep on our sides or stomachs. Some of us are Asian and like everything to be super firm. And, those of us who are ‘Merican like an extra fluffy pillow to rest upon our Bible. Anyway, enough about offending people, here are some factors you need to consider when shopping:
Types of Memory Foam Pillows
There are three main types of memory foam pillows: traditional, shredded, and contour. Of all the memory pillows, the traditional pillow is the most popular and the most common. To the untrained eye, they appear to be just like any other pillow. However, they have the extra height to help support your shoulders and neck.
Rather than having a solid foam core, shredded memory foam pillows are filled with shredded foam filling. This has a few benefits. You can fluff the pillow to get the comfortable height you want, it doesn’t trap heat and breathes better, and it serves all sleepers well.
Lastly, contour memory foam pillows have two ridges that run from side to side. The center “valley” is where you place your head. The heightened ridges are meant to give you neck support. Back sleepers also report that contour pillows help them deal with their incorrect sleeping position.
Low-Density versus High-Density Memory Foam
High-density memory foam pillows are harder and tend to provide more support. Much like sleeping on a bag of concrete, it may feel uncomfortable at first, but unlike concrete, it will slowly conform to the shape of your body, head, and neck and deliver you to comfort country. If support is not your biggest concern, then low-density foam might be your jam. It is softer, lighter weight, and these pillows generally cost less.
Don’t Rely on Marketing Copy
Marketing pictures for a lot of the pillows feature a woman hugging the pillow in such a way that you have to look closely to tell that she is wearing clothes. Sex sells. And, I think it’s telling that our Brainiac friend Jamen’s wife chose the one pillow that prominently features a man. I’m just saying she may have asphyxiation fantasies involving Mike Lindell.
But seriously, the proof of the memory foam pillow is in the experience. If you are not able to take the pillow for a test drive in person, then look closely at customer and expert reviews. Also, many pillows offer money-back guarantees. If you don’t get a pillow that is perfect for your needs, send it back!
What Prices Are We Looking at?
Since the prices on Amazon change so frequently, if I were to list the precise cost of each of the pillows below, they would be inaccurate before bedtime. So, I’m going to give you rough estimates using this handy dollar sign system:
- $ = about $20 to $39.99
- $$ = about $40 to $58.99
- $$$ = about $59 to $85
All of the prices are based on the price for the queen-sized pillow (unless otherwise noted.) And, of course, if you want the current exact market rate for a particular pillow, you can click on the links provided.
Now that you have earned your Memory Foam Pillow Shopper Certification (your certificate is in the mail), we present our picks for the top 10 best memory foam pillows for your bed:
- 120-night no-hassle refund guarantee (which is a lifetime if you live near the North or South Pole)
- Cover is made in the USA with 56.4% polyester, 43% viscose of bamboo, and 0.6% Lycra
- Designed to give neck support for back, stomach, and side sleepers
Snuggle-Pedic’s Shredded Memory Foam Pillow features their proprietary mix of memory foam. This makes for a pillow that always stays fluffy, is lightweight, and is hypoallergenic. Of course, just about every memory foam pillow is hypoallergenic. The bamboo cover allows for air to circulate within the pillow for a cooler feel. People who have used this pillow have found it provides excellent support, and they were also impressed with the customer service. There are no tricks to their money-back guarantee.
- Made of shredded viscoelastic memory foam
- You can add or remove foam to adjust the pillow for your comfort
- Cover is made in the USA of 60% polyester and 40% rayon-derived bamboo
UPDATE 7/26/18: Josephine Lien with Coop Home Goods contacted me to let me know: “We updated our return policy to 100 nights last November.” I have updated my review accordingly.
The Coop Home Goods Memory Foam Pillow and our top pick share a lot of similarities, only this one is $20 cheaper. There are a lot of complaints about this pillow coming with an off-putting odor, but this is fairly common with memory foam. Instead of sleeping with the stink, let your pillow air out in a well-ventilated spot for a couple of nights before you use it.
- Rated the best pillow by Wirecutter
- Like most of the pillows on this list, made in the USA using CertiPUR-US foam
- Adjustable fill
The Xtreme Comforts Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow is specifically designed to provide proper spine and neck alignments to increase your spine health, relax your muscles, improve blood flow (don’t worry: you won’t bleed out), and reduce pressure points. Many consumers are confused when their pillow arrives, and it’s flat. You gotta do some fluffing to perk it up. After that, it has a lot of give but provides firm support.
4. MALOUF Z Zoned Memory Foam Pillow – $$$
- Special “dough” memory foam
- Increased breathability maintained with open cell “technology”
- Rayon from bamboo velour cover
We already went into great detail about the Malouf Z Zoned Memory Foam Pillow for another Brainiac, but rather than shelling out an extra $30 for this pillow, Jamen insisted that I create a whole new guide with options that cost less than $50. The main difference between this pillow and the ones above is that this uses one solid piece of dough memory foam, rather than shredded memory foam. This allows for excellent pressure relief and support. If you’re unwilling to put a price on comfort, get this pillow.
- Lifetime warranty
- Made of CertiPUR-US shredded memory foam
- Machine washable
The Restwel Bamboo Pillow Memory Foam is a good pillow, but there are a few things that make me uneasy about it. First, I can’t find any information about the Restwel company online. There is a “Restwell” company that sells pillows, but their branding is completely different. Also, the marketing copy for this pillow is exactly the same as that for Xtreme Comforts. Despite the weirdness, legit customers love this pillow because it allows you to sleep comfortably in just about any position, but I doubt they tried headstand sleeping.
6. MALOUF Z Memory Foam Pillow – $$$
- Molded memory foam construction
- Removable and washable rayon from bamboo velour cover
- Five-year warranty
Malouf is the only manufacturer with two pillows on our list. They are also the two most expensive options. The company was started by a husband-wife duo who fell in love with bedding while trying to avoid intimacy. The Z Memory Foam Pillow differs from the other Malouf pillow on our list in that it does not have the “pin-core design,” which is basically holes in the memory foam that help with breathability. However, this pillow still uses Malouf’s doughy memory foam.
- Resistant to bacteria, fungus, bed bugs, and dust mites
- 90-day sleep trial
- Claims their pillow will reduce snoring
The Island Slumber Foam Pillow is another of the popular shredded foam/bamboo cover pillows that you can adjust by adding or removing fill. They do claim to tackle snoring because their shredded memory foam is pliable and soft, which allows you to move around and keep your airway open. We think this is a bit of a stretch, though. Users were particularly impressed with how cool this pillow stays.
- Insane “100% Sweet Dreams” money-back guarantee (could not find specifics on this)
- Pillow cover is 40% bamboo
- Comes with a free carrying case because you never know where you’ll want to sleep
The Clara Clark Memory Foam Pillow costs about $16 less than any of the other options on our list. This makes it a terrific solution if you are broke but still want to sleep. BTW, with shredded foam pillows, you can usually fluff them and get rid of their initial stench by throwing them in the dryer on tumble dry for about an hour.
- 10-year warranty
- Machine washable and dryer safe
- Cover is made in the USA and is a fairly standard 60% polyester and 40% viscose of bamboo
The CozyCloud Deluxe Memory Foam Pillow does not give you the option of adding or removing fill. Instead, you can choose between their softer or firmer styles. And, if you choose poorly, they won’t judge or make fun of you. They’ll just exchange them. Users report that this beats the pants off the lumpy messes offered by MyPillow.
- Only 2.5” thick
- Designed for back and stomach sleepers and people who like their arm under the pillow
- Flat on one side and normal on the other
The Elite Rest Ultra Slim Sleeper Memory Foam Pillow is for the real weirdos out there that have tried everything to no avail. This is the Hail Mary option. The biggest Ultra Slim Sleeper fanatics are stomach sleepers who like it firm.
Do you have a good friend who is always complaining of neck pain? Well, share this article with this pain in the neck.