The Best Cooling Pillow, Whether You’re into Memory Foam, Gel or Down-Alternative

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We’re all too familiar with the middle-of-the-night pillow flip: our desperate attempt to avoid waking up in a sweat puddle (or, if it’s too late, find relief from it). It’s no wonder that nearly every pillow on the market these days touts its “breathability” and makes some reference to keeping you cool. And when they vary in price from $6 to $240, you start to wonder: What’s the best cooling pillow out there? Which one really works—and would work for my side-to-stomach-sleeping habit? That’s where we come in.

How We Determined Our Picks:

We tested several pillows, from generic brand varieties to the buzzy brands you keep getting Instagram ads about, to uncover which ones really kept us cool throughout the night—and felt comfortable to boot. We focused on a range of sleep styles and preferences (stomach, back and side sleepers; materials, pillow height and density), and kept price top of mind. Because that $220 pillow may be L-U-X-E, but if outfitting your house costs more than your mortgage, that’s a problem.

The Best Cooling Comforters We’ve Seen

The Best Cooling Pillows (According to Editors’ Tests):

1. Allswell Gel Cooling Pillow

Best for Side & Back Sleepers

  • Value: 17/20
  • Pillow Quality: 19/20
  • Plushness: 18/20
  • Cooling Ability: 20/20
  • Sleep Quality: 17/20

TOTAL: 91/100

If you want your head to feel perfectly cradled—as in, feels-custom-fitted-to-your-skull—this is the pillow for you. It took a few minutes to slowly sink into the gel memory foam (it’s that dense), but once I did, my head and neck felt comfortably aligned. It seemed to encourage me to sleep on my back, so I tossed and turned less during the night, and even on May summer nights in Florida’s balmy summer heat, the cooling gel layer kept me from sweating or overheating. Due to its thickness and density, we wouldn’t recommend it for stomach sleepers.

2. Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow

Best King-Size Pillow

  • Value: 16/20
  • Pillow Quality: 18/20
  • Plushness: 15/20
  • Cooling Ability: 20/20
  • Sleep Quality: 17/20

TOTAL: 86/100

Many of the most effective cooling pillows we tried featured holes within the memory foam to keep air circulating, so heat doesn’t get trapped within it. Brooklyn Bedding combines teeny tiny pinholes with a cooling gel surface, so even the hottest sleepers maintain their chill. Plus, we loved that it was made with antimicrobial materials and available in low and high profiles, so you could choose how much support you’d like, based on how you sleep. (Our reviewer’s one caution? If you like extra height, you may want to sleep with an extra pillow underneath it.)

3. Buffy Cloud Pillow

Best for Stomach Sleepers

  • Value: 17/20
  • Pillow Quality: 18/20
  • Plushness: 17/20
  • Cooling Ability: 18/20
  • Sleep Quality: 19/20

TOTAL: 89/100

Finding a decent pillow when you sleep on your stomach can be challenging—especially when you’re shopping for a cooling pillow, which tends to be made of dense memory foam (aka a surefire way to feel neck pains in the morning). Buffy’s recycled fiber-filled pillow fills that void, providing a cushy place to rest your head that won’t leave you aching—or surrounded by a pool of sweat—in the morning.

4. Original Casper Pillow

Best Down-Alternative Pillow

  • Value: 15/20
  • Pillow Quality: 17/20
  • Plushness: 18/20
  • Cooling Ability: 9/20
  • Sleep Quality: 16/20

TOTAL: 75/100

If you’re not into memory foam but still want a plush pillow, look no further. Casper’s pillow is a splurge, but our reviewer loved its smushy texture (and ability to fluff back up as soon as you lift your head off of it). “My husband is famous for staining and denting pillows with his heavy, sweaty head—and this guy bounced back to its true shape immediately in the morning,” our tester said.

As comfy as it is, if you want something that really cools you, this pillow may not be for you. In our experience, it didn’t have that chill-to-the-touch feeling some of the gel-infused pillows have.

5. Weekender Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Pillow

Coolest Cooling Pillow

  • Value:19/20
  • Pillow Quality:18/20
  • Plushness:15/20
  • Cooling Ability:20/20
  • Sleep Quality:20/20

TOTAL: 92/100

Our reviewers raved about how well this pillow worked. It didn’t just wick away moisture; it was genuinely cool to the touch. The ventilated memory foam certainly helps on that front—it’s studded with holes that keep air flowing—but the neatest feature is its duality. One side of the cover features “ice fabric technology,” which keeps the pillow feeling chilly on humid nights, and the other side is made of polyester, so you’re not freezing in bed when you sleep on it mid-winter.

6. Wayfair Memory Foam Cooling Pillow

Best Value

  • Value: 19/20
  • Pillow Quality: 16/20
  • Plushness: 17/20
  • Cooling Ability: 18/20
  • Sleep Quality: 18/20

TOTAL: 88/100

While Buffy was super soft and Allswell felt very firm, Wayfair’s Memory Foam Cooling Pillow felt like the ideal middle ground between the two, making it a great fit for someone who’s on the fence about firmness. The gel-infused foam is a little squishier than others, but it makes for a lightweight, breathable pillow. It wasn’t exceptionally cool, but it got the job done, keeping our tester’s head sweat-free through the night.

6 More Cooling Pillows To Consider:

While we haven’t tested these personally, each has gotten such rave reviews that we felt they were worth sharing with you, so you can make the best choice for your needs.

7. Layla Kapok Pillow

Great for Side Sleepers

Anyone who regularly wakes up with a numb arm is (a) likely a side sleeper and (b) knows all too well how crucial it is to have good alignment as you rest. Reviewers love the Layla Kapok pillow because it’s easily adjustable: Simply pull out a little filling if it feels too tall. The cover features copper fibers woven into the polyester/viscose blend, so it keeps you feeling cooler longer.

8. Coop The Eden Pillow

Great Down-Alternative Option

OK, so you like the support memory foam provides, but you hate sleeping on a straight-up slab of foam. Try The Eden pillow, which is made of cross-cut, gel-infused memory foam and microfiber. The materials help prevent night sweats, but reviewers really rave about how it prevents back pain (you just may need to take out a little filling, if you’re not into quite as plush a pillow, a few said).

9. The Belly Sleeper Pillow

Great for Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers, rejoice! There’s officially a pillow made just for you. Its 2.5-inch-thick memory foam supports your neck without borderline-choking you, like thicker foam pillows can. “It’s soft but I don’t sink in,” one reviewer said, though another noted that if you change positions during the night, it may be too flat.

10. Ghostpillow

Great for Neck Pain

As the self-proclaimed “Coolest Pillow in the World,” the GhostPillow uses a combination of phase-change material, aerated memory foam and a “cool-to-the-touch Ghost Ice Fabric” cover to keep night sweats at bay. Reviewers give it five stars for staying plush and preventing neck pain, and—perhaps best of all—the company offers a 101-night trial, so you can sleep on it for a few months before deciding whether it’s right for you.

11. Miracle Bamboo Deluxe Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Great Adjustable Pillow

If you’re never satisfied with the pillow you buy, give this one a shot. The shredded memory foam makes it less dense than the typical block o’ foam, and you can adjust the amount of filling to suit your sleep style. “I've tried so many pillows in the last five years looking for one with support. I love this pillow,” one reviewer raved, adding that it’s worth letting the bamboo-covered cushion sit out for a few hours before using it, since it can have a funky smell at first.

12. Sharper Image Cooling Leg Pillow

Great for Hip and Knee Pain

Pillows aren’t just for your head. This memory foam number sticks between your knees as you sleep, keeping your back and hips aligned. It’s specifically designed to prevent your legs from sweating too, but if that happens, the memory foam is charcoal-infused to prevent the pillow from smelling. Reviewers say it’s worked wonders in alleviating aches and pains throughout the night.