Best Cheap Pillows

A good pillow is essential, but you don't have to pay top dollar to get one—here are five supportive, comfortable pillows for under $100.

By Caitlin Giddings

Feb 3rd, 2023

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A good pillow is as essential to a good night’s sleep as the right mattress. But you shouldn’t have to budget mattress-level prices for one—there are plenty of high-quality pillows available for under $100, if you know where to look. While that might not be “cheap,” per se, it’s a solid value for a product that provides the support, spine alignment, and pressure relief you need all night, so you roll out of bed feeling more energized for the day.

Below are our favorite pillows that won’t put too much strain on your bedtime budget, plus some pillow shopping advice.

 

The Best Cheap Pillows

Nolah Cooling Foam Pillow

Best Cooling Pillow

Nolah Cooling Foam Pillow

Features: Cool Airfoam filling, Outlast cover material, breathable
Sleep Trial: 30 nights
Warranty: 2 years

Nolah’s mattresses are cushioned with Airfoam, which is comparable to memory foam in its ability to adapt to pressure, but designed to help you sleep cooler. Its pillows use a softer version of that foam, with just the right amount of support to keep your spine in alignment. This type of pillow works best for side sleepers due to its medium-firm feeling and a level of loft that’s neither too flat nor too fluffy. It also works well for those who tend to sleep hot, thanks to not only the interior cooling foam, but a cooling treatment in the pillow’s cover that keeps you from turning into a sweaty mess overnight.

Marlow Pillow Silo Stack A White Bkgd Cropped

Good for Back Sleepers

Brooklinen Marlow Pillow

Features: Adjustable loft, cooling-infused memory foam filling, soft cotton cover
Sleep Trial: 365 nights
Warranty: One year

 

The Marlow’s big trick is that it’s adjustable—you can zip or unzip the sides to control the loft and make the pillow tighter or fluffier. If you’re expecting a dramatic change, however, you might be disappointed—the pillow feels medium-firm in both modes, though it does allow your head to sink down a little more when it’s unzipped. Overall, this pillow should work well for back and side sleepers due to its blend of support and fluff. Cooling-infused foam and mesh fabric on the sides of the pillow help make it feel breezier while you slumber.

TEMPUR-Cloud® Pillow

Most Supportive

TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow

Features: Tempur foam, removable polyester knit cover
Sleep Trial: None
Warranty: 5 years

 

This memory foam pillow slowly contours to your head shape like a Tempur-Pedic mattress, and gives you plenty of support where you need it most. It has a medium firmness and medium level of loft, so it works well for side sleepers and back sleepers seeking pressure relief and alignment. Inside the pillow, a big block of Tempur foam provides adaptive cushioning, while the removable polyester knit cover adds extra coziness and makes for an easy machine-washing experience. Our only caveat is that the pillow is a bit warmer than some of our other options, so hot sleepers might consider a different option.

coop pillow

Most Adjustable

Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

Features: Adjustable memory foam filling, bamboo blend fabric, fully washable
Sleep Trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 5 years

 

Like the Brooklinen Marlow Pillow, the Coop Home Goods Original is adjustable in loft and support—but in this case, you change the firmness of the pillow not with a zipper but by removing or adding an extra bag of shredded memory foam. No matter your chosen level of foam, the pillow is a great option for side sleepers, back sleepers, and combination sleepers because it molds to your neck to provide cushion where you need it, and adjusts quickly to changes in position. It also sleeps cool, due to a bamboo-blend pillowcase that feels super-soft against your face. Washing the Original could not be easier—the entire pillow is machine-washable, but the pillowcase can be removed and washed separately if you choose.

Shredded Foam Cooling Pillow Press Lifestyle

Best Value

Brooklyn Bedding Shredded Foam Pillow

Features: Adjustable loft, blend of latex and memory foam, machine-washable pillow cover
Sleep Trial: 30 nights
Warranty: 3 years

 

Made from latex and memory foam, Brooklyn Bedding’s shredded foam pillow works well for all types of sleepers, including side sleepers, back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and those who sleep hot. That’s because it’s easy to mold the pillow to the shape you want by adding or removing foam, and zipping or unzipping it to slightly tweak the pillow’s loft. The latex material gives it more responsiveness and spring, while the soft memory foam helps it conform to your body and cradle your neck. An infusion of cooling gel prevents the pillow from feeling too warm.


Cheap Pillow Buying Guide

How much should I spend on a pillow?

A new pillow can cost you anywhere from $3 to thousands, but most options tend to be in the $50 to $200 range. You don’t have to spend more than $100 to get a comfortable, supportive pillow, but looking beyond the cheap pillow bin at your local big box store will almost always pay sleep dividends. The pillows recommended here strike a balance between lower cost and higher quality—most also offer sleep trial periods so you can determine if the pillow is worth it to you before making a long-term commitment.

What’s the best material for an affordable pillow?

Most pillows are made from memory foam, latex, polyester, down, or some combination of those materials. Each has its pros and cons, including a higher or lower price tag.

  • Memory foam strikes a nice balance between lower cost and high level of support. It does a good job of molding to your body to maintain spine alignment and take pressure off your head and neck. It also tends to absorb movement, so if you roll around a lot at night, it will help you quickly find a comfortable, cradled position. Some snorers even find that memory foam puts their neck and throat in a good position for better airflow. Memory foam’s biggest downside is that it retains heat, which is why you’ll find so many memory foam pillows with a gel infusion or other cooling technology added to the mix.
  • Latex also supports good spine alignment but tends to feel softer and bouncier than memory foam. It’s durable and naturally cooler than memory foam because it doesn’t retain heat in the same way. However, it’s often more expensive than memory foam, which is why most of our value options here are made from memory foam or a latex hybrid.
  • Down or down alternative pillows are often very soft but don’t provide the same level of support that memory foam and latex do. Some tend to sink and go flat overnight, though others supply unfailing comfort that contours to the shape of your head and neck. Down alternative is a cheaper way of getting the luxurious, cloudlike feel of down in a synthetic form that’s easier to wash in the washing machine and doesn’t pose ethical issues for animal lovers.

What is the best affordable pillow for me?

The quest for the right pillow is largely a solo journey—much of the decision will depend on small personal preferences in firmness, loft, and overall feel. But there are a few indicators that a pillow may or may not be right for you based on how you sleep.

  • Side sleepers tend to prefer a pillow with higher loft, and a firmer feel. This is because their position on the bed demands extra support beneath the head and neck to maintain good alignment. Latex and memory foam pillows, like the Nolah Cooling Foam Pillow and Coop Home Goods Original pillow, tend to work best for this group.
  • Back sleepers need a lower-lofted or medium-lofted pillow for good alignment, and medium firmness for good support. Memory foam pillows, like the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud and Brooklinen Marlow pillows, tend to do the best job at maintaining the right shape to support this group of sleepers.
  • Stomach sleepers should use a relatively flat pillow with low loft and soft support, so it won’t create too much strain on their necks. The best pillows for this group tend to be made from down or down alternative because those are the most compressive and soft.
  • And combination sleepers? You can choose a pillow with zipper-adjustable fill like the Brooklinen Marlow or Brooklyn Bedding Shredded Foam so you can alter your pillow to suit the position you’re in, or just choose the pillow that feels best in your most frequent position.