The 11 Best Pillows for Neck Pain of 2024

Whether you have neck pain from working at a desk all day, a serious case of tech neck, or an injury or condition, the pillow you sleep on matters. After all, we spend about one-third of our day sleeping. Swapping your pillow can be an easy fix for neck pain, and the best pillow for neck pain is one that keeps your head and neck straight, which chiropractors call neutral alignment. If your pillow is too tall, low, or unsupportive for your body and sleep position, that can exacerbate existing neck pain or even create new stiffness and soreness, explains The Joint Chiropractic’s Kevin Lees, DC.

The good news: People with neck pain often find switching to a more comfortable pillow can make a monumental difference, says James D. Lin, MD, spine surgeon and assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. But here’s the catch: There’s no one best pillow for neck pain. The best option for you will depend on your body shape and size, your sleeping position, and what fill materials you prefer—and narrowing it down to The One might take some trial and error.

To make our selections, we spoke with three experts, including a chiropractor and spine and neck orthopedic surgeon. We also had a board-certified physical therapist on our Medical Expert Board review this article for medical and scientific accuracy. We chose the best neck pillows based on shape, fill materials, firmness, and support. 

Casper Hybrid Pillow with Snow Technology
PHOTO:

Casper


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4.8/5

  • Breathability

    5/5

  • Support

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

Why We Like It

According to our tester, who is a side and stomach sleeper, the Casper Hybrid Pillow is extremely comfortable and supportive—she said it feels like a foam brick that molds to your head and shoulders, providing ample support and eliminating any neck pain after a good night’s sleep on it. She also noted that the pillow holds its shape impeccably, even after sleeping on it night after night. 

That’s because this pillow is made from an innovative foam and fiber inner, one of the most supportive and resilient materials. Most foam pillows also run hot, but Casper’s blended materials, breathable design, and Snow Technology—a breathable foam layer—make the Casper Hybrid an exception: Our tester said she’s never felt a pillow that’s so cool to the touch all the time, and that she could even feel the coolness through her pillowcase.

This pillow’s support, comfort, and consistent cooling are why the Casper Hybrid Pillow with Snow Technology is our best overall pillow to help with neck pain for most people.

Plus, our tester found the pillowcase exceptionally easy to remove, clean, and put back on—a small win, but one that will save you regular frustration. Lastly, Casper offers a 30-night sleep trial and has great customer service if you’re not happy with your purchase. Even better, this pillow is backed by a one-year warranty.

It’s Worth Noting 

This pillow is definitely pricey. And while support and cooling work together to justify the price tag for many, its lack of heat retention may not be an issue worth a $150 solution for everyone.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Foam and fiber
  • Loft: Low, medium, high
  • Firmness: Medium
  • Sizes: Standard, King
  • Trial or guarantee: 30-day return

Health / Julia Fields


The Company Store Neck Support Memory Foam Pillow
PHOTO:

The Company Store


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    5/5

  • Breathability

    4/5

  • Support

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

Why We Like It

Cervical pillows, designed with a raised edge and lower center, cradle the head and support the neck while sleeping on your back and are more supportive than a traditional flat pillow, Lees explains. 

Thanks to its material, The Company Store Neck Support Memory Foam Pillow is excellent at keeping its shape and providing consistent support, which held up when we tried it out. Our tester, a combo sleeper, said this pillow allowed her neck to feel so rested and offered relief from her constantly stiff neck

At $83, that relief is a steal. 

Our experts do note that a cervical pillow’s extra support can be too much for some people and lead to more soreness. While the brand recommends giving your body time to adjust, we love that The Company Store accepts returns within 30 days in case this pillow is too supportive for you in the end.

It’s Worth Noting 

Due to cervical pillows’ unique shape, they typically work best for back sleepers. They won’t be comfortable for stomach sleepers, and most cervical pillows aren’t designed for side or combination sleepers. A cervical pillow may take time for your body to adjust; try alternating with a traditional pillow every other night for two weeks.

Also, The Company Store Neck Support Memory Foam Pillow is a unique size that won’t fit a standard pillowcase. It does come with two machine-washable covers, but not matching the rest of your bedding may be a (minor) con for some.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Memory foam
  • Loft: 5 inches
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Sizes: Non-standard (24.75 inches x 15 inches)
  • Trial or guarantee: 30-day return

Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow
PHOTO:

Nest Bedding


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    5/5

  • Breathability

    3.5/5

  • Support

    4.5/5

  • Durability

    4/5

  • Comfort

    4/5

Why We Like It

Sleep position is critical in determining what loft (height) you need in a pillow to keep your neck in line with your spine—which means those of us who flip back and forth between our stomach, back, and side have a difficult time picking a pillow. Adjustable pillows are great as you can add or remove fill to adjust the loft to the level that feels best for you personally, no matter how you sleep.

One thing that all three of our experts made clear: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all best pillow for people with neck pain. Your body shape, sleep position, and personal pain points all come into play for what will be comfortable for you—which is why an adjustable pillow with customization is the safest purchase if you aren’t sure what loft you want or you’re trying to change your sleep position.

The Nest Easy Breather Pillow is made with shredded CertiPUR-US certified medium-firm foam fill, will naturally conform to your body, and is hypoallergenic. 

This pillow felt extremely luxurious during testing, and when adjusted to our preferred loft, it felt very supportive—like a posturepedic pillow even without being full—and stayed cool throughout the night.

It’s Worth Noting 

Our tester reported this pillow smelled a little funny directly out of the box, but that dissipated quickly and left no residual smell.

Also, this pillow is on the pricier side, but the adjustability means it will continue to serve you even if your pain points or sleep position change over time.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Foam and polyester fiber
  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Sizes: Standard/Queen, King, Side Sleeper
  • Trial or guarantee: 30-night sleep trial; 2-year warranty

Purple Harmony Pillow
PHOTO:

Amazon


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    5/5

  • Breathability

    4/5

  • Support

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

Why We Like It

A hypoallergenic pillow like the Purple Harmony Pillow is designed to alleviate neck pain and not irritate allergies. It has a unique internal grid structure optimized for head and neck support and a hypoallergenic Talalay latex core that offers all the contouring and cooling properties without the irritation of a natural rubber latex. Together, these allow this pillow to support your head and neck in any sleeping position. 

We particularly like that it comes in a Low loft (among three height options) for stomach sleepers to score all the benefits of this pillow at a lower height, better aligning their neck and spine. During testing, our stomach- and side-sleeper immediately noticed the Purple Harmony Pillow’s quality and comfort, noting the soft and breathable cover and describing the inner material as feeling like “memory jello” (that is, like memory foam, but the most comfortable jello). They noted that the pillow always maintained its shape and sprung right back up in the morning—something that’s hard to maintain in a low-loft pillow ideal for stomach sleepers. 

It’s Worth Noting 

This pillow is the most expensive on our list, but considering the benefits—and the company’s 100-night trial period—it’s worth the investment.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Talalay latex
  • Loft: Low, medium, high
  • Firmness: Medium
  • Sizes: Standard, King
  • Trial or guarantee: 100-night sleep trial

Amazon Sealy Molded Memory Foam Pillow
PHOTO:

Amazon


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    5/5

  • Breathability

    4/5

  • Support

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

Why We Like It

Firmer pillows keep their shape better throughout the night and provide more support, says Dr. Lin, making them a great choice for side sleepers and those with severe neck pain.

Sealy is a long-trusted name in the sleep industry, and this memory foam pillow lives up to its reputation: Our tester, who is a side and stomach sleeper, reported that this pillow felt like magic, provided a quality night’s rest, and was “literally [her] favorite pillow ever used.” Sleeping on it, she said the Sealy Molded Memory Foam Pillow was the perfect mix of soft but firm and provided enough support to cradle her head comfortably without straining the neck. It didn’t lose its comfort or perkiness over time, and our tester added that it was a godsend on vacation where she slept much better when swapping the lumpy rental out for this Sealy pick.

At under $50, we love that this pillow is extremely affordable, especially for the quality and performance.

It’s Worth Noting 

This pillow is made of memory foam, which is high on comfort—and heat retention, which our tester confirmed; if you run hot in your sleep, you won’t like it. Also, it doesn’t come with a sleep trial, and the return policy depends on the retailer you purchase it from.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Memory foam
  • Loft: 5 inches
  • Firmness: Soft-medium
  • Sizes: Queen
  • Trial or guarantee: None

Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow
PHOTO:

Brooklyn Bedding


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    5/5

  • Breathability

    5/5

  • Support

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

Why We Like It

Compared to memory foam, latex fill offers the same great body contour—great for keeping you in a pain-free position once you find one—and maintains its shape over time, but it runs cooler. The only downside, really, is that many people are allergic to natural rubber latex. But this Brooklyn Bedding pillow offers all the perks in a hypoallergenic alternative: Talalay latex.

After three months of sleeping with this pillow, our tester reported that it cradles the neck incredibly well when sleeping on your back or side and that she liked how responsive and supportive it was to her movement while she slept. Overall, she said the pain in her neck and shoulders isn’t as frequent after using this pillow night after night. The pillow’s design kept it breathable and not hot, and the removable cover was easy to wash and get back on.

We also love that it comes in two lofts: low, which is great for back sleepers, or high, perfect for side sleepers.

It’s Worth Noting 

Our tester reported this pillow is too firm for sleeping on your stomach (even in the low loft option). She also added it took some time to get used to: It was so sturdy that at first, she didn’t like it, but after a few nights, she got used to how firm it was and really valued its pain-relieving properties.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Talalay latex
  • Loft: Low, high
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Sizes: Queen, King
  • Trial or guarantee: 30-day return; 3-year warranty

Amazon Linenspa Shredded Memory Foam Pillows
PHOTO:

Amazon


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4.5/5

  • Breathability

    3/5

  • Support

    4.5/5

Why We Like It

For $30, you can score two shredded memory foam pillows from Linenspa that we found great at contouring to the head, supporting the neck, and keeping cool despite being memory foam. 

Out of the box, we noted that the pillow’s fabric had a soft and (perhaps surprising) luxury feel. The shredded memory foam creates a plush-like feeling that bounces back and after sleeping on this pillow for many nights, we found the pillow firm but comfortable. We found it easy to move from one position to another if you’re a combo sleeper, and the pillow contours seamlessly without a need to adjust it as you roll over.

It’s Worth Noting 

Because the memory foam is shredded on the inside, these pillows won’t have quite the motion-isolation effect that a full memory foam block pillow will. Also, our tester noted that the standard pillow is slightly narrower than the traditional size, leaving a small gap at the top or bottom of the pillowcase—but this isn’t a big enough concern to override the affordable price and top quality.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Memory foam, shredded
  • Loft: Medium
  • Firmness: Medium
  • Sizes: Standard, Queen, King
  • Trial or guarantee: None

Saatva Latex Pillow
PHOTO:

Saatva


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    5/5

  • Breathability

    4/5

  • Support

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    4/5

Why We Like It

Another leading name in sleep products, Saatva’s Latex Pillow is made with a hypoallergenic core so you can score the perks of latex—neck-supporting contouring, solid airflow, and temperature regulation—without the risk of allergy.

When our tester slept on this pillow for three months, it maintained the same supportive loft as when she pulled it out of the packaging. In a side-sleeping position, she says the Saatva Latex Pillow provides plenty of support for her neck and head, and even when her pregnant body is achy in the morning, her neck is decidedly pain-free. 

This pillow is on the firmer side but still comfortable, and it comes in a Standard loft and High loft, depending on your preferred sleep position. As a cooling bonus, it comes with a breathable, fair-trade-certified cotton pillow cover.

While the Saatva Latex Pillow will run you a pretty penny, our tester says after multiple months of sleeping with it, the quality, durability, and support make it worth the money.

It’s Worth Noting 

Our tester noted this pillow does retain some heat night after night, but it’s still not as warm as her memory foam pillows. Also, she notes that as latex is naturally heavy, this pillow is a bit more cumbersome to get into a pillowcase—but adds this isn’t a strong enough annoyance to override how great she felt sleeping on this pillow long-term.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Latex
  • Loft: Standard, High
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Sizes: Standard/Queen, King
  • Trial or guarantee: 45-day return, 1-year limited warranty

Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow
PHOTO:

Slumbercloud


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    5/5

  • Breathability

    5/5

  • Support

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    4.5/5

Why We Like It

If you run hot at night, a cooling pillow will help you score a more sound night’s sleep. This Slumber Cloud pillow uses proprietary, space-aged, NASA-engineered technology in its 300-thread-count cotton cover, so it always feels like it’s on the “cool side.” Our tester noted that the pillow felt just as cool when she woke up as when she fell asleep, no flipping required.

While the lining gets all the hype here, we love that the core is down alternative, so it’s hypoallergenic. Our tester noted that while the pillow looked quite thin and looked like it might be uncomfortable, it was comfortable exactly how it came, with no need to bunch it up for a comfortable smush. The down alternative and option between two firmness levels make for great support and softness under your head and a pillow that’s not too soft or too hard.

And for just $60, the quality was stand out.

It’s Worth Noting 

If you are a serious night sweater, Slumber Cloud makes two pillows at an even cooler rating that might be a better pick for you.

Also, the loft might not be high enough for some.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Down alternative 
  • Loft: Low-Medium
  • Firmness: Soft/Medium, Medium/Firm
  • Sizes: Standard, King
  • Trial or guarantee: 60-night sleep trial

Health / Joy Kim


Three Geese White Goose Feather with Polyester Bed Pillow
PHOTO:

Amazon


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4/5

  • Breathability

    4/5

  • Support

    3/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    3/5

Why We Like It

If you like a down pillow, this Three Geese pillow was incredibly helpful at relieving neck pain for our tester. It’s crafted with 60% goose feathers sandwiched between polyester fiber layers, giving it a medium firmness and reliable head cradling

After three months of sleeping with it, our tester reports this pillow is very supportive but not overly firm and holds up to position changes throughout the night. We liked that it maintained an even sleeping surface throughout the night, keeping our heads in line with our spines whether we slept on our stomachs, backs, or sides.

This pillow is also well-made and pretty affordable, making it an easy yes if you want a supportive down pillow.

It’s Worth Noting 

Some people are allergic to down, making this pillow not ideal for everyone.

Also, our tester found the pillow can be a bit stubborn to get a pillowcase over—but, she added, this wasn’t annoying enough to override recommending the pillow.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Down, polyester
  • Loft: Medium
  • Firmness: Soft
  • Sizes: Queen, King
  • Trial or guarantee: Free returns

Amazon Weekender Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Pillow
PHOTO:

Amazon


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    5/5

  • Breathability

    3/5

  • Support

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

Why We Like It

Gel and memory foam both have great contouring properties to support your neck in whatever position you may sleep, and this Weekender pillow combines the best of both while ditching the worst of memory foam (heat retention).

Our tester noted this pillow outperformed every gel memory foam she had in the past. She also liked that the Weekender was very firm, supporting her head and neck—while still being extremely comfortable. There were zero adjustments needed to the pillow and, as she shifted positions throughout the night, she never felt the need to re-adjust the pillow. In addition to its firmness, our tester reported the pillow felt snuggly, soft, and sturdy.

It’s Worth Noting 

This pillow may be too firm and too high of a loft for some. Also, our tester noted it is just a tad too long to fully fit inside a Queen pillowcase, which might be annoying to some for aesthetic reasons.

Product Details:

  • Pillow Type: Gel memory foam
  • Loft: High
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Sizes: Standard, Queen, King
  • Trial or guarantee: None

  • L.L. Bean 700-Fill-Power Sateen White Goose Down Pillow: After testing this pillow for three months, we found it regularly lost its shape. Our tester had to constantly refluff it throughout the night and often woke up with a sore neck and shoulders.
  • UTTU Sandwich Pillow: This pillow has a lot of good features—quality construction, cool temperature, a firm feel, and very comfortable for side sleeping—but it didn’t wow enough to win a top spot in any one category.
  • Marlow The Pillow ($65): This pillow has a unique and effective design to zip open the sides for more ventilation and better airflow or lower the density or loft. It’s a great alternative for an adjustable pillow.

We spent over three months testing pillows for neck pain and in the end, Casper Hybrid Pillow with Snow Technology was the clear winner. The foam and fiber core molds exceptionally well to support the head and shoulders all night, and the Snow Technology keeps this pillow cool to the touch all night long. We also love Casper’s 30-night sleep trial. We’ll keep our list updated as we test new products, so watch this space.

Our team undertook comprehensive testing of the leading pillows on the market purported to alleviate neck pain. In total, 11 of our testers spent up to 3 months testing each of the 118 pillows to see which was the best for neck pain in a head-to-head comparison. Each tester tried the pillow out in the comfort of their own home, in their own bed. 

Our testing methodologies varied depending on the type of pillow being tested (foam, latex, cooling, down, or other) but all analyzed attributed crucial to comfort, support, and durability. Here’s how we tested them for key attributes:

  • Quality: The feel, fit, and, for certain pillows, ease of adjustability are indicators of a pillow’s premium quality and comfort. To determine this, we examined the materials and construction without a pillowcase, checking for softness, any odors, and any feathers or down poking through. We then tested how well each pillow fit into a standard pillowcase and how easy the fill of some pillows was to adjust.
  • Temperature and Airflow: A pillow should maintain a neutral (or cool) temperature and have sufficient airflow to not overheat. Our testers rested their head on the pillow for 15 minutes then used their hands or, for cooling pillows, an infrared thermometer to measure the pillow’s surface temperature before and after to see how much heat the pillow retained. Testers particularly noted any urge to flip the pillow for cooling pillows.
  • Effectiveness for Different Sleeping Positions: A pillow should maintain a neutral spine alignment and provide targeted support if it claims to support side sleeping, for example. We assessed each pillow’s firmness and comfort in all major sleeping positions or the specific one it was designed for. This included the use of contoured pillows as intended for at least five minutes. 
  • Durability and Care: Durability, ease of care, and the pillow’s ability to retain its shape and comfort after washing are key to the products longevity and, therefore, value. For washable pillows, we measured dimensions pre- and post-wash, checking for changes in firmness, fill consistency, and any damage or shrinkage. Note that not all pillows could be machine washed or dried.
  • Overall Value: Value is the quality, performance, and durability combined and compared against the price. To determine each pillow’s value, each reviewer considered all aspects of their testing and evaluated whether the pillow’s price reflected its performance and quality.

To determine what features in a pillow are best for neck pain, we spoke with multiple experts about what qualities to look for in a pillow to ease and prevent neck pain. Some, like Dr. Marko, helped us narrow in on what crucial features our testers should use to compare each product they were using. Others, like Dr. Lees, Dr. Shah, and Dr. Lin, all weighed in on what pillow attributes truly make a difference in neck pain, as well as factors of a pillow’s safety and quality. They also shared which products they recommend to patients. 

The experts we spoke to include:

  • Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, owner of Marko Physical Therapy helped us determine ideal testing parameters
  • Kevin Lees, DC, manager of auditing and quality at The Joint Chiropractic
  • Rahul Shah, MD, board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon based in New Jersey
  • James D. Lin, MD, spine surgeon and assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

All three of our experts agree: Finding the best pillow to support your spinal alignment is highly individual

If your neck pain is chronic, or it’s from an injury or condition, consult with a chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedic surgeon to find out what kind of pillow they recommend for your specific needs.

But in general, you’re looking for a pillow that will keep your head and neck in neutral alignment (straight) with your spine. There are six key factors that influence this:

  • Materials and Type of Pillow: Memory foam contours to your body and holds you in the divet formed around your shape, which is great for keeping you in a pain-free position once you find it. However, memory foam also retains heat so it’s often best when used in a combination fill. Latex has similar motion-isolation properties as memory foam but is cooler. Always look for materials that have a certification (e.g., GreenGuard Gold, CertiPUR-US) to ensure the fillings are nontoxic and non-irritating.
  • Loft: Loft is, essentially, how much fill is inside your pillow and therefore how tall your pillow will be. The goal: When you’re lying on your pillow in your go-to sleep position, there should be no gaps between your head, neck, and shoulders and your neck shouldn’t be strained forward or sitting backward. In general, stomach and back sleepers will want a lower loft and side sleepers a higher loft. But your frame size and shoulder width factor in for that optimal head placement—if you have a small frame and sleep on your side, you might need a lower loft, while a side sleeper with broad shoulders will want an extra high loft. 
  • Firmness: While loft dictates height, support determines firmness. A firmer pillow will keep its shape better throughout the night and provide more support, which can be helpful for side sleepers, according to Dr. Lin. A firm pillow is also a good choice for people with severe neck pain, because it can keep the head and neck in place throughout the night. Meanwhile, softer pillows will compress down to a smaller height over time and may be better for stomach or back sleepers.
  • Shape: People prefer different pillow shapes based on their natural anatomy, Dr. Shah says. Some back sleepers find having a cut-out area for their head is helpful for natural support. Side sleepers with wide shoulders may prefer a cervical pillow with a raised bolster to better fill the gap under their neck. Let your anatomy and personal preference be your guide.
  • Sleeping Position: One of the most important factors to consider, the goal in any sleep position is to have a pillow at the perfect height to keep your head and neck in neutral alignment with your spine. Usually, side sleepers will need a medium to high-loft and medium firmness to keep their head lifted all night long. Back and stomach sleepers will want a thinner pillow so that their head is barely lifted off the mattress.
  • Body Type: Your height, weight, and shoulder width all come into play for what size, loft, support, and materials are best for you. For example, a small person who sleeps on their side might not need as much loft to put their head in line with their shoulders, while someone with a big frame might need more. Similarly, a small-framed person may be better off with a standard pillow while a person with a larger frame may be better supported on a king-size pillow. If your body type runs hot, you should opt for cooling materials and stay away from heat-retainers like memory foam.

Another important factor to consider is the brand’s return policy. Because there are so many factors influencing what pillow will alleviate neck pain for you, we recommend looking for a product with a sleep trial period or no-questions-asked return policy—that way, if the pillow ends up not being ideal for your body, you can return it and try another. If you’re shopping in-store,  Dr. Shah recommends spending at least 15 minutes lying on a pillow in your preferred sleep position before buying it if possible. 

What pillows do doctors recommend for neck pain? 

All three of our experts say the best pillows for neck pain are ones that keep your head and neck in neutral alignment with your spine in whatever position you’re sleeping in. 

Are firmer pillows better for neck pain? 

If you sleep on your side or your back, then yes, a firmer pillow keeps your head at the same height all night instead of compressing down and moving your neck out of neutral alignment, which helps with neck pain. If you sleep on your stomach, a plush, low-loft pillow is better to keep your spine in alignment, but this sleep position can exacerbate or cause neck stiffness, so consider switching to sleeping on your side or back.

Rachael Schultz has been a health and wellness writer for over a decade and specializes in translating scientific research and expert insight into digestible, usable everyday information. She has been a gear editor for five years and has extensive knowledge in discerning what differentiates a high-quality, reliable product that will not only support the buyer’s needs but is also worth your money.

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