While most other pillows seem to breeze past the exterior design, Birch clearly took the time to get it right. The organic cotton cover has a luxurious peachy handfeel that’s so soft, it feels wrong to cover it up. Most importantly, the pillow is dense and super supportive, a bit on the firmer side. For our tester, it was easily the most comfortable pillow he’s tried. Because they’re made-to-order, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to get it shipped to you, but the uptick in quality is undoubtedly worth the delay.
The Best Gel Pillow: Purple Original
Purple’s original pillow is a glorious, 10-pound hunk of ventilated purple polyester made up of tiny triangles. Its space-age design makes every other pillow look absolutely old-school (though it looks just like any other when you have the pillowcase on). It evenly distributes the weight you put on it, never bends out of shape or needs to be fluffed, and sleeps extra cool thanks to the built-in air holes all over. Talk about airflow! No overheating here! It doesn’t feel like any standard pillow—more like a unicorn of a gel memory foam pillow that keeps your head aloft with less sinkage involved. Sure, it’s a weird-looking, heavy hunk of breathable purple polyester—but then again, most pillows are feather pillows. Isn’t it kind of weird that we still put goddamn bird parts in our pillows?
The Best Customizable Pillow: Pluto
Pluto technically makes 35 pillows, but they’re all considered the Pluto. Why? Because Pluto designs to your specifics. Head over to their website, fill out a quiz, and Pluto will whip up a pillow that meets your needs using its algorithm. All factors are carefully considered, including loft, fill, and firmness. If you sleep hot, you can even get a pillow that’s specially created to help you avoid waking up in a pool of your own head sweat. Don’t worry if Pluto doesn’t nail it the first time (they usually do) because you have a 110-day trial period to make sure your pillow is just what you like.
7 Other Pillows We Like
Marlow is a sister brand to Brooklinen (no introduction necessary), except it only makes one thing: pillows. While other pillows usually offer some sort of adjustable fill, Marlow is customizable in a unique way. You can zip or unzip part of it to make it firmer or softer. It sounds beyond simple, but it somehow works perfectly. Aside from the zipper gimmick, the pillow is a winner. It’s packed with cooling memory foam and down alternative materials, and there’s an inner mesh layer to further assist with breathability. One drawback: The pillow is not machine-washable, only spot clean-able, though we appreciate the antimicrobial shell that helps with keeping bacteria at bay.
One of many reasons why we crowned Layla’s Kapok pillow as a top choice in our 2022 Home Awards is its Goldilocks combo of lofty yet squishy neck support. Filled with airy, plant-based Kapok fibers and shredded memory foam, the pillow maintains its shape without deflating as quickly as a cotton-or wool-filled pillow. The cooling polyester/viscose material also ensures you stay cool throughout the night, and its stylish hexagonal design looks great when the pillow case comes off. We still prefer our top choice, the Coop, since it comes with a bag of additional fill, and has a gusset to it for additional structure and support, at a slightly cheaper price. Still, the Kapok pillow doesn’t fall too far behind if you want to give it a shot.
Like the pillow from Coop Home, the Easy Breather is filled with a shredded foam material. If it’s feeling a bit too lofty, you can easily pull some out. That makes it a pretty good pillow for anyone, but especially good for side sleepers. Unlike the Coop Home pillow, or the cheaper customizable Xtreme Comforts bed pillow below, the Nest Bedding pillow cover is made with Tencel. Tencel is a eucalyptus-derived fabric that tends to be a little better for breathability than traditional cotton or bamboo fabrics, which might explain why the Easy Breather performs like a cooling pillow without any of the weird cooling gels some companies try to sell. If you’re looking for a solid alternative to the Coop, the Nest Bedding pillow is calling your name.
The Leesa pillow is often sold in a set with the purchase of one of its mattresses, but you can buy it alone. It sets out to be of a “medium” thickness—not too soft, not too hard, but ends up falling on the softer side of the spectrum. This is lovely if you want your head to sink into your pillow a bit more, but may not be the best fit if you’re sleeping off a serious case of tech neck.
Memory foam pillows are probably best for side sleepers, thanks to their supportive density. Usually, these pillows lack loft. This is not a problem for the DreamCloud pillow, which is extremely thick. It’s the kind of pillow that’s perfect for those with Michael Phelps shoulders. If you aren’t broad-shouldered, your head will likely fall into the center of the bottom of the pillow, which might not be great for your neck. But if you are, its foam filling offers a cooling exterior that makes it a great alternative to the Coop Home Goods pillow.
Parachute’s down pillow has a luxe feel courtesy of its silky sateen cotton shell, but we found that it didn’t have quite the same support as the Brooklinen trio above. Our tester felt like it lacked a bit of oompoh for the price, though if that’s your thing (less loft, do you!), shop away.
Leesa’s hybrid pillow is an odd duck. It’s adjustable, like the Coop Home goods, but it is not symmetrical. One side is smooth. The other-side is quilted with twelve raised sections, sort of like miniature microfiber pillows on top of the pillow. This is great for the kind of person who is constantly flipping their pillow, looking for the solution to better sleep on the other side. The company says the side with 12 raised bumps (pillows in miniature) is ideal for hot sleepers, since air can flow in between your head and parts of the pillow. It may not be the best cooling pillow we’ve ever tested, but if you’re looking for something to shake up your sleep routine, this pillow is a great option.