Pillows are also an important detail that not only helps create a comfortable, and correct sleep position through the night- they can also be highly influential surrounding how cool you sleep. The Sleep Judge team has reviewed an entire series of top rated cooling pillows and provided you with our best choices.
One of our purchases included the Classic Brands Reversible Cool Gel, Memory Foam Pillow which help create a customizable sleep experience depending on your specific needs. Our honest opinion of our sleep trial is found below.
Breakdown of The Classic Brands Reversible Cool Gel Pillow
The Classic Corporation began their journey as a waterbed manufacturer in the 1970’s, and quickly began to introduce other popular sleep products as new, more innovative technologies made their debut in the industry. By 2002 they became Classic Brands, and expanded their line to include even more of what consumers needed for the best night’s sleep possible.
The specialty sleep products offered by the company include an entire line of cooling choices to help you sleep cooler, and more rested. Their patented open-celled memory foam, combined with a cooling gel layer, helps create a pillow that not only pulls heat from your body- but traps and allows it to dissipate away.
When used with breathable, natural fiber casings, this is a pillow that should stay cool to the touch all night long and provide you with a supportive, cooler rest. Since a lower temperature is conducive to a healthier night, supporting the sleep process in this manner can have long-term health benefits over time.
This pillow came well packaged in it’s own plastic carrying bag without any compression that could cause damage to memory foam. I was surprised at the heft of it as it weighs in right around 5 lbs. Although not the heaviest foam pillow I’ve reviewed, it is still a decent weight- hinting at a good quality, high density foam.
The offgassing of this pillow was the strongest I have ever experienced however. I could actually smell it from across the room after initially opening it. This also lasted much longer than I expected as I could still smell it a week later, and had to put off reviewing it until it dissipated. I finally set it outside in a partially sunny porch area one afternoon, and although by day 8 the smell was dissipating, this airing out finally did the trick.
I read many reviews from other consumers, and although there were a few mentions of offgassing, for the most part they all spoke of it dissipating within a few hours. So perhaps I got a poorly stored pillow? Or was especially sensitive to it? Whatever the reason, the pillows are health and safety certified, so I had no concerns about dangerous, chemical fumes.
Safety and Health Certification Standards
I think it is important to provide this information here due to my offgassing experience. Memory foam and gel are plastic by products, and so the smell most likely had everything to do with the chemical composition from which they are made and then stored in a non-breathable container. These off-gassing exposures are not harmful, although some people do complain of headaches if they are smell sensitive. I experienced no side-effects what so ever, and also reassured myself of the safety certifications this pillow has.
Cooling Benefits and Claims
This pillow is created with cooling in mind and contains a dual sided memory foam foundation, one of which has a very specific gel layer impressed within it. Gel is a synthetically made material that is often used in bedding products to provide a cooling sensation through the process of conduction. Conduction is the simple physics of one material object passing heat to another, cooler, object when they come in contact with one another.
The cooling sensation your body feels when you touch this substance is due to the heat from your hand passing to the cooler, gel like surface that is most likely only at ambient room temperature. The utilization of this within the pillow is supposed to provide a cooling effect through the night. When combined with breathable, CoolPass fiber casings, you should get a comfortably cool rest according to the company.
Fabric and Material Choices
No material actually ‘creates’ a cooler temperature unless powered by some source. These cooling effects are due to variables you are completely in control of. Natural fibers, low thread count weaves, and synthetic materials, such as the gel described above, are all capable of aiding in helping you to sleep cooler. The companies that create products, such as the Classic Brand Reversible Cool Gel Pillow, utilize the technology and science behind what makes a more comfortable night’s sleep to provide you with choices for a better night’s rest.
Cotton and bamboo are two such examples of highly used natural fibers that breath more easily than petroleum and chemically made fibers. This is due to the natural open cellular structure of these types of materials. But even so, if your material has a high thread count then you have a tighter weave that can hinder the air flow through the material. Thread counts that weigh under 400 are the types you want to utilize, especially if you are a warmer sleeper.
Natural fibers also help wick moisture away from your skin, which also provides a cooling feel. Once body moisture is absorbed, it can then evaporate into the surrounding environment away from your skin.
Materials such as gel, as described above, can be used in conjunction with low thread counts and natural fibers to create a more comfortable sleep environment. Since your body naturally drops in temperature as you sleep each night, this cooling effect helps support a deeper, healthier sleep for your overall well-being.
Features & Benefits
Any product that makes the claims this pillow does has a pretty impressive list of features and benefits for you to consider to help you decide if this is the best choice for you. Since everyone sleeps differently according to their personal preferences, sleep position, and body weight and height- basically everything that makes you unique- looking over these types of details are important before making a final investment.
Standard sized pillows almost always come in a 20×26 inch size with variations for queen and king sizing. The Classic Brands Reversible Cool Gel Pillow is a one size fits all model with a 16×24 inch measurement.
Larger sized pillows are often popular with larger sized people who have wide shoulders for the added neck support. They also often boast a bit more fill for the head as well as shoulder comfort. I am used to standard and queen sized pillows, but never really noticed the size difference of this particular pillow in comparison to them.
The loft of a pillow is defined by the height it sits at while at rest. Occasionally this can be somewhat deceiving as a high loft suggests a thicker, more firm pillow. However this is not always the case depending on the type of fill found within the pillow. Polyfills are notorious for looking more lofty than what they are since they can plump up so high.
With memory foam what you see is generally what you get and this pillow in particular stands at an average loft of just under 5 inches which is geared towards side and back sleepers to provide proper neck support.
Removable, Washable, CoolPass Fiber Covers
CoolPass Fiber is the company’s patented hypoallergenic, performance knit material that provides pillow protection as both an inner, and outer cover for excellent airflow to and from the pillow surface. The outer cover is especially soft with piped, double stitched seams, whereas the inner cover help the pillow keep its shape and also provide an extra protective barrier. Both covers also have a small, lay-flat zipper to keep from snagging or having and issues with it sticking out and causing the sleeper discomfort.
This construction allows for quick moisture wicking from your body surface and release to help provide additional cooling relief as it releases away. It also works well against the open celled memory foam used in the pillow construction for additional airflow, which is important for this to be truly effective.
I had no issues with removing the covers despite them being rather snug around the pillow. The material is very delicate feeling, and at first I was afraid it would easily tear if I pulled to hard on it while working the pillow away from the cover, but my worries dissipated quickly as I slid the covers off. They do need to be worked gently down, but come off easily once started.
Dual-Sided Memory Foam
The open celled memory foam used by the company is naturally more breathable due to how interconnected the cellular structure is, unlike viscoelastic foams which have a more dense, closed cellular foam structure. This creates a self ventilating material and help dissipate any body heat that may become trapped within more easily than other, traditional foam products.
Memory foam is also naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, making it an excellent choice for allergy sufferers, or for children’s rooms. Plus, the quick release foam allows for consistent contouring and shaping to your body no matter how many times you move throughout the night.
Textured Gel Layer Surface
One side of the pillow boasts a textured, thick blue gel layer to create what the company calls your coolest night yet. This cool gel side is a medium-firm sleeping surface and is supposed to help release pressure along your head, neck, and shoulders comfortably while you sleep. The texture really isn’t noticeable when you sleep on it, although it is supposed to provide a slight massage like feel.
As explained above, gel uses the physics of conduction to help draw heat from any surface it comes in contact to in order to equilibrate the temperature of the two surfaces. This creates a cooling sensation, although it can be affected by the overall ambient air temperature. A hotter room may cause it to not feel as cool as you would like as it can pull in heat from the air as well, although in theory it should never retain heat against your skin.
Soft Memory Foam Surface
On the flip side is a medium-plush softer contour with an underlying firm support. This is a breathable surface that doesn’t provide the same cooling sensation as the other side, and is geared towards the cooler nights you may experience when a warmer surface may be preferable. Plus, the slightly softer surface is also conducive to a wider range of sleep preferences and body types.
Even though the covers are machine washable, you should never wash a memory foam pillow as the cellular structure can breakdown with the application of liquids. They do spot clean well, however, and if a spill ever does occur you should blot up all excess immediately.
Most people do prefer to use a pillow protector with their pillows, but when using a breathable, cooling pillow, you want to avoid any waterproof, or otherwise tightly woven protectors as they may inhibit the benefits of these features.
30 Day Hassle Free Return
Classic Brands is sold through specific authorized sellers and provide a 30 day hassle free return with free shipping both ways. This allows you to determine if your pillow is a good fit for you, as well as determine if any defects are present.
Due to the dual comfort, cooling gel, and overall supportive surface- the Classic Brands Reversible Cool Gel Pillow is a popular and affordable pick for many consumers. It is often purchased specifically for people who sleep hot, and is a preferred comfort for side sleepers as well.
It is praised for how well it supports the neck and head and relieves pressure points for a comfortable night’s sleep. “Best sleep in years,” has been added to reviews multiple times surrounding those with chronic pain issues, and also highlighting how important a pillow is to your overall sleep experience.
Complaints surround it being too firm and the offgassing I also experienced. Although almost every offgassing issue I came across also noted the overall satisfaction of the pillow in the long run once the smell dissipated.
My Cooling Sleep Trial Experiences
Using this pillow for side sleeping was my preferred choice as it lifted my head just a bit too much on my back, although it was a comfortable back pillow and probably would be better suited for a heavier person. On my side it contoured beautifully to my head and fit well between my head and shoulder to support my neck just right.
I am not what I would consider a warm sleeper, and I generally can sleep alright in just about any situation. For my trials I made sure to create multiple variables that might create a warmer situation than I was used to to determine if the pillow was able to continue to feel cool even if I was warm.
My Trial Room Temperatures Variables
Although my house is kept right around 72 degrees, and I made sure to sleep with this pillow in the ambient temps I was already used to, I also raised the temperature to create a warmer environment. This higher temperature was achieved through keeping my AC off during the late summer days which resulted in low 80 degree room temperatures. Although this wasn’t extremely warm when at rest, it was noticeably warmer than what I was used to.
My Trial Thread Count Variables
Since fibers can be such an influential factor in how well a cooling pillow performs, I also made sure to use varying pillowcases to see if heat was retained when the pillow was unable to breathe as freely. My preferred pillowcase is a 100% cotton, 250 thread-count case, whereas my 750 thread-count case made from a microfiber poly blend was a good case to compare my experiences against.
Having reviewed a variety of gel layered and gel infused pillows I was already expecting to discover that the cooling factor was highly dependent upon ambient air temperature and a general controlled room environment. This pillow had some surprising results that out shown more expensive pillow counterparts.
- 72 Degrees/Cotton Casing
As expected, this was a cool, comfortable night’s sleep where I could feel the coolness of the pillow easily when I drifted off to sleep, and again when I woke the next morning. From what I could tell the pillow stayed constantly comfortable through the whole night, and even though I know I moved, I never woke and felt constricted by any slow memory foam feel.
Result: The cotton casing supported the pillow as it should have, creating the optimal opportunity for the gel to draw heat from my body and allow the pillow free air flow for breathability.
- 72 Degrees/Microfiber Casing
This night was similar to the first. Although I expected the cooling gel to be inhibited by the thicker, less breathable pillowcase, I still fell asleep to a cool surface and woke with one. The gel is a thick enough layer to draw heat and combined with the breathable foam seems to be able to allow it to be stored away from the skin’s surface.
Result: Although the room was still on the cooler side, the high thread count pillowcase didn’t seem to keep the cooler sensation from being felt- suggesting that it is a pretty effective material combination.
- Hot Room/Cotton Casing
Although my body felt slightly warm when I laid down for the night, my pillow was luxuriously cool to the touch and I slept incredibly well, once again. The pillow was also still cool to touch the next morning, meaning that it wasn’t affected by the warmer ambient temperature from what I could tell.
Result: As with my earlier trials, the gel and open celled foam combination worked well and kept me cool all night long.
- Hot Room/Microfiber Casing
I figured this night would be one of two things: either very uncomfortable with a heat sink occuring due to the memory foam contouring- or comfortable enough, but with a loss of cooling due to the heat and microfiber case combo.
To my surprise this was comfortable, and cool. Although the cooling feel effect was not as strong as previous trials, it was cool to the touch as I fell asleep. The coolness factor was pretty much dissipated through the night with the warmer room, but the pillow was not at all uncomfortable by any means at any point.
Result: This pillow really does stand up to the hype. Although much of what I felt through this trial was subtle, it was cooling and comfortable to drift off too.
This pillow receives a big, two thumbs up by me after this trial run. I never would have expected it to hold up as it did, and I was more than impressed with how comfortable it truly is. The cooling claims definitely stand up to the hype.
As for comfort it is a great side sleeping pillow and if too low a profile, can easily be used on top of a thinner pillow to raise ti somewhat for heavier, or wider shouldered bodies. I also really enjoyed laying against it while reading or as a back support pillow. Some people even claim it is a great choice when bedridden, and I can easily see why as it doesn’t retain any heat and also is very supportive without being too thick.
Second Trial Opinion
After my results, I had to run this against another person who is a self-proclaimed hot sleeper. They are also a preferred side sleeper and is of a much larger body shape with wide shoulders, so I was curious to see how comfortable it slept for such a differing body type. They also had differing ambient room temperatures to determine how well it stood up to warmer conditions.
Their results were almost the same as mine, although they originally said they through it slept hot- UNTIL they turned it over to the gel sided and fell in love. They did not like the feel of the microfiber casing in any room temperature but mentioned that there still was a cool feel to the pillow surface despite this.
The Sleep Judge has rated this as one of our top cooling pillow choices due to how effective it really in in most circumstances, and also how comfortable it seems to play out for a variety of sleep positions. I always love when the claims a product makes can actually be proven, and in my experience this held to be true. In fact, this pillow was so nice to sleep with, that I actually took it camping in a hot camper in the desert one weekend and it was fought over each night as the favored pillow.
The longevity of this pillow is still to be seen, but the affordability of it makes it a good choice compared to many other comparable pillows on the current market. It definitely stays cooler to the touch due to the gel layer, and seems to breathe incredibly well despite being a memory foam construction. I’m used to memory foam feeling somewhat warm due to heat sinks in warmer ambient room temperatures but this pillow never experienced this sink.
It also is built as such that it layers well above another pillow if added height is needed for different body types. Plus the non-gel layer is a great perk for cold sleepers, or in colder sleep environments depending on the season.
Cooling pillows are a hot commodity (no pun intended) and not all stand up to the product hype. In having the opportunity to take a few for a trial run, it became obvious which claims rang true. The Classic Brands Reversible Cool Gel Memory Foam Pillow is definitely one of those products that stands behind their claims, and I was impressed with the overall experience.
Cooling gel and Cool Gel fiber cover combinations create a free flow of air and support heat conduction from your skin surface to create a cooling feel that lasts all night. Although the ambient air temperature can affect the overall experience, as can certain pillowcase material choice, this should be a pillow that provides you a cooler night’s rest.