Our pick of the best memory foam pillows to suit all budgets and sleep styles
Choosing the right pillow is almost as important as buying the right mattress. It’s critical for comfort and support, so having a poor-quality pillow can be a real pain in the neck (both literally and figuratively). The best memory foam pillows offer a number of benefits: not only will they help you get a good night’s sleep, but they’re also beneficial for spine alignment and providing pressure point relief.
The thing is, memory foam has become ubiquitous in today’s mattress and bedding market, with almost every brand under the sun seeming to offer its own foam products. So how is the discerning bedding buyer expected to separate the wheat from the chaff?
We’ve done the research and testing so you don’t have to. Below, you’ll find our top picks of the best memory foam pillows to buy, plus a buying guide to help you make an informed decision.
If memory foam isn’t your thing, don’t worry: we have plenty of microfibre and down recommendations in our main best pillow roundup.
How to buy the best memory foam pillow
Do I need a memory foam pillow? What are the benefits?
Aside from comfort, a good memory foam pillow can contribute to a better night’s sleep in a number of ways.
Since it moulds to the shape of your body, a memory foam pillow will cradle your head and neck in order to keep your spine aligned and in a natural position, rather than causing it to bend uncomfortably. What’s more, your weight is more evenly distributed when lying on memory foam, meaning less pressure is applied to certain areas of your body. As a result, a good memory foam pillow can help prevent neck and back pain, while also easing tension in your head that has been linked to jaw aches and teeth grinding.
For more information on this, check out our separate article on the benefits of a memory foam pillow.
Are there any drawbacks?
If you’re used to pillows with down or microfibre fillings, the transition to foam can be jarring for some. And despite the aforementioned benefits, memory foam isn’t for everyone.
A common issue is that, since memory foam works by reacting to your body heat, the heat it retains can cause it to become uncomfortably warm. Many of us prefer a cool pillow over a warm one (temperature-regulating cooling pillows exist for this very reason), so it’s worth taking this into account when buying a memory foam pillow. Of course, most brands are well aware of this fact and have implemented their own techniques (such as Dormeo’s Octaspring technology) to ensure you don’t overheat in the night.
It’s also worth pointing out that memory foam can give off a distinct chemical odour when it is newly unpackaged. This smell is harmless and only temporary, but it’s unpleasant nonetheless.
How much should I spend?
While memory foam can be expensive, it’s certainly not the most lavish option. Luxury pillows such as goose down pillows are often most costly. Even comparatively affordable options such as the Scooms pillow (£75 each) are more expensive than many memory foam pillows. With that said, we’ve made sure that our roundup reflects a range of budgets, so you’ll find both affordable and premium foam options below.
How we test pillows
As with our mattress reviews, we test pillows by sleeping on them, taking into account a number of important factors including temperature, firmness, height (or ‘loft’, to use the proper pillow terminology) and value for money – as well as different people’s subjective preferences and sleeping styles.
For instance, taking the height of a pillow into consideration is necessary when recommending a pillow for side sleepers, who might want a firmer, more lofty pillow to support their shoulder. How warm a temperature can feel during the night will vary depending on what it’s made from: all-foam pillows, for example, will retain heat more than non-foam ones, making them a less viable option for those prone to overheating.
We also focus on other key factors including trial periods and washable covers, plus adjustable and ergonomic designs – all of which help us build a clear picture of the product.
The best memory foam pillows to buy
1. Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow: Best value memory foam pillow
Price: £45 | Buy now from Panda
Panda’s memory foam pillow undercuts many of its rivals on price, including the pillows of online bed-in-a-box companies such as Eve, Otty and Emma. Price aside, though, it’s a very comfortable and supportive pillow, landing somewhere in the middle on the firmness scale.
It comes with a built-in protector and a hypoallergenic bamboo cover for softness and breathability, which can also be washed at 40°C. Bamboo is often lauded for its eco-friendly qualities (being one of the world’s fastest-growing plants), and while true to an extent, it’s a claim that’s often prone to exaggeration. That said, Panda is a brand that prides itself on its stance on sustainability, and has introduced an initiative to ensure all of its memory foam products are eventually disposed of responsibly.
Key features – Filling: Memory foam; Cover: Bamboo (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only
2. Nectar A Whole Night’s Sleep Pillow: Best adjustable pillow
Price: £89 | Buy now from Nectar
Given the subjectivity of comfort, finding the right pillow for you can be a bit of a personal journey. That’s where height-adjustable pillows such as this one can provide a real benefit. Nectar’s A Whole Night’s Sleep pillow is made from three layers of memory foam underneath a soft Tencel cover, allowing you to easily find the optimum height for a better night’s sleep.
Comfort-wise, the pillow is on the firmer side, and your head won’t sink into it as with other foam pillows we’ve tested. For this reason, Nectar’s adjustable pillow is perhaps more suitable for sleepers who want to prioritise decent support over plush comfort.
With every purchase of the Whole Night’s Sleep pillow, Nectar will make a donation to the #IAMWHOLE mental health campaign.
Key features – Filling: Memory foam and microfibre; Cover: Tencel cover (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only
Also consider: Otty Adjustable pillow – a softer adjustable alternative
Rather than using removable foam ‘slabs’, the Otty Adjustable pillow is filled with lots of small memory foam pieces that can be removed (and kept in the small drawstring bag included); a bit like packing peanuts but more comfortable to sleep on. Indeed, Otty’s adjustable pillow is breathable and less firm compared to Nectar’s. On the other hand, at £90, it’s not quite as competitively priced.
3. Eve Memory Foam Pillow: Best firm memory foam pillow
Price: £59 | Buy now from Eve
Eve’s memory foam pillow lies at the other end of the firmness spectrum. Memory foam can sometimes feel like lying on a massive glorified sponge, but that’s not the case here: Eve recommends this as a supportive option for back or side sleepers, and we can understand why. Much like its memory foam mattress, the bed-in-a-box brand’s pillow is noticeably firmer than many of the others we’ve tested.
It’s got a similar comfort level to Nectar’s A Whole Night’s Sleep Pillow, and also costs the same at the competitive price of £59. But with Eve you get a three-year warranty (one year more than Nectar), as well as a 14-night trial period.
Key specs – Filling: Memory foam; Cover: 100% polyester (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only
4. Otty Deluxe Pure: Best memory foam pillow for cool comfort
Price: £70 | Buy now from Otty
Notably softer than some of its rivals, the Otty Deluxe Pure is one of the most comfortable memory foam pillows we’ve tested. According to Otty’s website, inside the Deluxe Pure pillow is the brand’s temperature-regulating memory foam which, alongside its breathable and hypoallergenic cover, keeps your head cool throughout the night.
There’s also bamboo and charcoal inside the pillow, for added antibacterial and moisture-wicking properties. While this focus on hygiene is definitely a bonus, the cover will still need to be washed regularly – luckily, it’s easily removed and machine washable at 40 degrees, so keeping this one fresh will be a breeze.
Key features – Filling: Memory foam with charcoal and bamboo; Cover: 60% polyester, 40% viscose (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only
5. REM-Fit Snow Pillow: Best memory foam pillow for those who get too warm at night
Price: £99 | Buy now from REM-Fit
A common complaint for many sleepers, and one that is often associated with memory foam, is overheating. Designed with temperature regulation as a top priority, however, REM-Fit’s memory foam Snow Pillow aims to remedy this problem.
Thanks to its “Nordic Chill” fibre, which REM-Fit claims helps to dissipate body heat up to 10 times faster than other fabrics, the pillow feels cool to the touch when you first pick it up, and we never found it too warm during the night either.
It comes wrapped up in rather compact packaging, but once unwrapped, it starts to look like a pillow after about half an hour. The only minor qualm we had with the Snow Pillow was that it was a little on the small side, and didn’t quite fill our pillow case (which measures a standard 50 x 75cm).
It’s worth adding that you should always take any claims of “cooling” properties with a bit of a pinch of salt. While some bedding undoubtedly offers better heat regulation, no pillow we’ve ever tested will actively cool you down.
Key specs – Filling: Memory foam; Cover: 45% Ice Yarn, 55% polyester (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only
6. Dormeo Octasmart Pillow: An innovative and breathable foam pillow
Price: £49 | Buy now from Dormeo
Dormeo uses its unique “octaspring” technology across its range of mattresses, toppers and pillows. As such, the Octasmart Pillow is more than a little reminiscent of, and just as impressive as, the fabulous Octasmart Deluxe topper that appears in our roundup of best memory foam mattress toppers.
At the pillow’s core is a layer of 24 open-cell memory foam springs, which make it breathable and buoyant. According to Dormeo, these springs are eight times more breathable than traditional memory foam, and we’re inclined to agree. The octasprings are then surrounded by a soft polyester “Wellsleep” fibre layer, and the pillow’s washable and anti-allergenic cover is also covered in small “comfort pockets” for cushioning and further improved circulation.
The Octasmart pillow is plump, comfortable and supportive. It’s neither too hard nor too soft, fairly nailing the Goldilocks territory and landing roughly in the middle of the firmness spectrum. The feeling of resting your head against its foam springs might feel a little unusual to begin with, but this is a subtle sensation that you’ll soon become accustomed to.
Key specs – Filling: 24 memory foam springs, ecocell foam, Wellsleep fibre; Cover: Polyester (machine washable); Sizes: Standard size only
Also consider: Dormeo Octasmart Essentials pillow: Octasmart on a budget
The Octasmart Essentials pillow will set you back just £30. Instead of foam springs, it uses a layer of “Octacell” memory foam for breathability, and also comes available in a choice of firmness options: “plush comfort” or “firm support”.