The Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Learn how the right pillow can eliminate your neck pain and see our picks for the best pillows for neck pain of 2021.

By Loren Bullock

Jun 30th, 2023

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When a person suffers from neck pain, it’s no small inconvenience. Pain can impact so many areas of life in ways that make functioning difficult. From sleeping to simple movements around the house, neck pain can really limit a person.

At some point or another, neck pain will affect 25% of women and 15% of men. The source of an individual’s neck pain will vary from one person to the next, but a common aggravator of neck pain is the pillow that’s you’re sleeping on.

Check out our top picks for the best pillows for neck pain.

The Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Luxome Layr Pillow

Luxome Layr Adjustable Pillow

If you’re suffering from neck pain and having a difficult time finding a pillow that feels just right, an adjustable pillow can be a good solution. And while most adjustable pillows allow you to add or remove filling until you reach your desired height and firmness, the Luxome Layr takes a different approach.


The pillow comes with three different inserts—soft (down alternative fiber fill), medium (shredded memory foam and fiberfill blend), and firm (one- and two-inch solid memory foam) —that can be used in different combinations to get the unique configuration that works best for you. Although you’re free to play around with the combinations to find out what feels best, you can also follow Luxome’s guide based on sleeping positions.


The Layr is also a great option if you run hot during the night, as it has a bamboo viscose cooling cover and gel-infused memory foam that helps regulate temperature and pull heat away from the body. The cover and cotton inserts are machine-washable, so the pillow is easy to keep hygienic and allergen-free.


  • Price: $120-$150
  • Size: Standard, king
  • Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars


  • Lots of options for all types of sleepers
  • Cover and insert covers are machine-washable
  • Cooling tech prevents overheating


  • Expensive
  • Can feel overly complicated if you have simple pillow needs
saatva pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow

Latex foam is an excellent option for those looking for the high support and pressure relief of memory foam without the occasional unpleasant smell or use of toxic chemicals. This pillow by Saatva has a shredded latex core surrounded by microfiber fill, which gives the pillow a soft, supportive, and very plush feel that’s responsive enough that it won’t go flat. It also allows you to sink in just enough that it cradles your head and neck.


The pillow is made from natural Talalay latex, which doesn’t pose a threat to those with allergies like the latex found in medical and household products. Commonly used in bedding, Talalay is durable and pressure-relieving.


The pillow’s cover is made from 100% Fair Trade-certified cotton, which is machine-washable, naturally cooling, and highly breathable. If you’re unsure if it’s the right pillow for you, you have plenty of time to make up your mind—Saatva gives you a 45-night sleep trial with your purchase.


Read our full review here.


  • Price: $165-$185
  • Size: Queen, king
  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars


  • Made from natural products
  • Fairtrade-certified
  • Durable and responsive


  • Pricey
  • Non-adjustable
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam

If you find that it’s not just neck pain waking you up in the middle of the night but also overheating, you’ll probably want to invest in a pillow that’s purpose-built to keep you cool.


This one by Brooklyn Bedding uses a dual-action cooling system that incorporates ventilation technology—alongside a gel infusion in the pillow’s foam that brings heat away from the head and neck. It also uses copper graphite, which is antimicrobial and resistant to allergens, mold, bacteria, and dust mites.


The pillow itself is made from a single piece of memory foam, which forms to the shape of the head, neck, and shoulders so it can support and relieve pressure from beneath your body. It also comes in both high- and low profile versions—the high is best for side sleepers, while low works best for back and stomach sleepers.


  • Price: $97—$112
  • Size: Queen, king
  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars


  • Comes in high- and low-profile versions
  • Great cooling technology
  • Removable cover
  • Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial


  • Might be too firm for some
Tempur-Cloud Adjustable Pillow Review

Tempur-Cloud Adjustable Pillow

This adjustable pillow from Tempur-Pedic includes three different types of shredded foam that are designed to serve different support purposes. Tempur Pressure relief adapts to your weight, shape, and temperature; Tempur Plush is soft, pillowy, and allows for natural airflow; and Tempur Premier Support offers support for your head and neck, and prevents the pillow from going flat over time.


Since the pillow is adjustable, you can take out some of the filling to get it to a softer feeling and lower height, which will be more appropriate for some sleep styles. It can also help ease neck pain caused by misalignment. The pillow’s cover is removable, machine-washable, and equipped with Tempur-Pedic’s Surface Guard technology, which helps keep the whole pillow looking and smelling fresh.


  • Price: $69—$89
  • Size: Queen, king
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


  • Adjustable
  • Reasonable price
  • Soft but supportive


  • Some found that the foam clumped
Marlow Pillow Silo Stack A White Bkgd Cropped

Marlow the Pillow

Most adjustable pillows require opening up the pillow and removing some of the filling, which isn’t very conducive to a last-minute adjustment before bed. The Marlow pillow, however, has an easier method: The pillow has zippers that can be opened for a softer, flatter feel, or zipped up for a plumper, firmer sleep surface. This is a great option if you switch sleep positions often, as you can adjust the pillow quickly to prevent neck pain.


The Marlow is filled with a blend of shredded memory foam and polyester microfiber fill, which makes it both soft and plush—and supportive without being hard. The cover is made from 100% cotton in a sateen finish, so it’s soft, crisp, and cool to the touch. While cotton itself is breathable, the cover also has mesh gussets that are exposed when fully unzipped. This helps to keep it even cooler and increases airflow.


While you can’t remove the cover on this pillow, it can be spot cleaned.


  • Price: $65—$85
  • Size: Standard, king
  • Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars



  • Easily adjustable
  • Affordable price
  • Hypoallergenic


  • Cover is not removable or washable

Lagoon Fox

Whether you’re a combination sleeper or just haven’t been able to find a pillow that relieves your neck pain without feeling like you’re sleeping on a rock, a microfiber/memory foam fill blend is a great option because it’s both soft and fluffy, as well as supportive and pressure-relieving. This one is also adjustable, so you can take out some of the fill if it feels too firm.


The pillow has a cover made from a bamboo polyester blend that’s soft to the touch and has natural cooling properties. It’s also machine-washable for easy cleaning—and hypoallergenic, so you don’t have to worry about allergies.


The Fox’s foam is also CertiPUR US certified, which means that it’s high-quality and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. Since the pillow’s foam includes a fiber blend, it’s less likely to clump than most shredded memory foam pillows.


  • Price: $120-$140
  • Size: Queen, king
  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars


  • Doesn’t clump
  • Soft but supportive
  • Removable, washable cover
  • Cooling properties


  • Expensive for a foam and fiber blend
coop pillow

Coop Sleep Goods Original 

The Coop Sleep Goods Original provides excellent pressure relief through the power of comfy, contouring memory foam. This makes the pillow a great option for back, side, and combination sleepers—and really, anyone who’s looking for a pillow with an adaptive memory foam feel. 


The pillow’s medium firmness also makes it a good fit for most sleepers, but you can unzip the pillow and remove some filling if you want it to be less elevated or firm. Memory foam has a reputation for being slow-moving, but this pillow also responds quickly to changes in movements, so it’s easy to flip from one side to the other and back. 


The pillow’s cover is made from viscose rayon derived from bamboo, which is designed to keep you cool and dry while you sleep. You can remove it and machine-wash it, and also machine-wash the whole pillow—one of our favorite things about this model is that it’s so easy to care for it and keep it feeling fresh.  


  • Price: $72
  • Size: 20” x 30”, 20” x 36”
  • Rating: 4.7/5, 15,393 reviews



  • Adjustable
  • Pressure relief from memory foam
  • Responsive



  • Heavy if you’re used to the fluffy lightness of down
Cozy Earth Silk pillow

Cozy Earth Silk

If you want one of the softest pillows known to mankind—and are willing to spend a little extra for it—then this silk pillow is for you. While silk is most commonly used as a pillow cover, this one uses it as a filling.


The pillow is stuffed with 100% mulberry silk, which is not only incredibly soft, plush, and clump-resistant but also highly breathable and naturally cooling. If you suffer from head and neck pain due to built-up pressure, the pillow could be a great option for you, as it allows you to sink down without the squeezing effect of memory foam.


The pillow also has a 100% viscose bamboo cover that’s naturally cool to the touch and moisture-wicking, which means that it will keep you feeling dry and sweat-free throughout the night. It also has a tight weave that’s resistant to pilling. While it’s recommended that you spot or dry clean the pillow if possible, the full pillow is machine-washable—though Cozy Earth recommends you add dryer balls when machine-drying to prevent clumping.


  • Price: $225-$262
  • Size: Standard, King
  • Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars


  • Incredibly soft
  • Machine-washable
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Highly breathable


  • Expensive

How Pillows May Contribute to Neck Pain

Pillows can contribute to neck pain due to a lack of support, whether from age or poor construction. When designed properly, a pillow is supposed to align the head so that it sits atop the shoulders in a neutral position without bending back or reaching forward too far. When a person sleeps on his or her side, the pillow should support the head so that the neck isn’t arching too far to one side.


A lack of proper head and neck support is a common issue with most standard pillows today. In fact, many pillows marketed as “orthopedic” or  “therapeutic” to alleviate neck pain are not able to properly support for the head and neck. Therefore, it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for the best pillows for neck pain and always consult a chiropractor for their professional recommendations.

Related: How to Ease Shoulder Pain from Sleeping

What to Look For in a Pillow if You Have Neck Pain

If you suffer from neck pain, or would simply like to avoid it by having proper support, there are some specific qualities you should lookout for when shopping for the right pillow. It’s always beneficial to test a pillow out before buying to confirm it will give you the support you need. A supportive pillow will keep your neck in a neutral position as you sleep, no matter what position you may be in. You’ll want a pillow that is durable, does not sink, and fills the space between your head, neck, and back.

Outside of age, the filling used in a pillow will best determine the level of support, durability and loft it provides. There are a variety of materials that are used to make the best pillows for neck pain that each come with their own set of pros and cons:

Memory Foam

Memory foam pillows, known for their comfort and contour, are a great pillow for reducing neck pain by offering adequate support. One of the greatest benefits of sleeping with a memory foam pillow is their ability to respond quickly and easily to changes in body position and leaving no space between  the neck, head, and back. They are also easy to care for and durable. Memory foam has traditionally received a bad rap for trapping heat but advances in the product development of foam has largely resolved this issue.


Pillows made from latex are arguably the most durable and long lasting of all pillow types. Not to mention, latex is known for being naturally breathable and hypoallergenic. Latex pillows are good for pain relief because they shape nicely into the back of the head and offer good support. However, latex pillows can be expensive and are not ideal for sleepers who move around in their sleep as the height cannot be adjusted. Sometimes latex is a bit smelly at first due to the natural materials used to craft the pillow.


Buckwheat pillows are traditionally Japanese and filled with hulls that contain buckwheat seeds. Pillows made of this material are supportive and contouring, making them a great place to rest your head. Oftentimes, buckwheat pillows are adjustable, so they are ideal for sleepers to switch positions frequently throughout the night. These pillows are breathable, durable, and made from natural materials. However, they can be a bit heavy and noisy as you move, and they are on the more expensive side.


These types of pillows are usually affordable, easy to move around and shape, and are durable. They also have a good lifespan and tend to be soft. On the downside, the feathers will oftentimes poke through the cover and they can hurt or feel uncomfortable. They also require fluffing on a regular basis to regain their form and are not allergen-free.


Down pillows are typically very plush, comfortable pillows. Soft to the touch, cool, and lightweight, down pillows are enticing to most sleepers. However, down pillows are not ideal for side sleepers, or those with neck pain, as they do not offer much height or support. They can also be on the expensive side and do require some fluffing from time to time.


Pillows made with microbeads are wonderful for relieving neck and shoulder pain. They offer great support and responsiveness—contouring to the shape of your body and head as you adjust positions. Pillows filled with microbeads are also fairly affordable, light and breathable, and long-lasting. One downside to these types of pillows are that they are cylindrical in shape so they may not fit into standard pillowcases. Additionally, they can be difficult to get used to as they may feel strange at first or be on the firm side.


Cost-effective, lightweight, and allergen-free, polyester pillows are easy to care for and move around easily. Unfortunately, they have a short lifespan (six months to two years) and will become flat fast. It’s also common for them to become lumpy and lose their form.

Water Pillows

Water pillows offer support that can be customized for height and firmness. Water is the ideal filler for a contour pillow as it shapes itself to fit the head and neck. This superior contouring ability offers excellent relief from back pain and neck pain. Water pillows can also be cooling. However, they can be heavy and a bit noisy. Keep in mind that it may take some time to find the right water level to meet your firmness and comfort preferences.

A pillow with the wrong filling is likely to go flat fast—becoming less and less supportive as you use it. You should also look for a pillow that is designed to support you in your preferred sleep position.

Pillows are the only factor to consider when it comes to pain management. If you’d like to find the best mattress for neck pain we welcome you to view our mattress guides to learn more about the best mattress for you.