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Best Cooling Pillows and Hands on Reviews

There’s nothing worse than waking up too hot in the middle of the night. It’s not just a sweaty mess, it’s a major disruptor in the middle of the night that prevents you from having a satisfying sleep. As we all know, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is a vital component to a healthy lifestyle. You need to find a way to keep cool as you sleep, and there are few better options than a cooling pillow.

There are steps you can take to help keep you sleeping comfortably and cool, and much has to do with the choices you make surrounding the materials and fibers in your bedding. Many people are aware of how their mattress choices play into their overall comfort, but did you also know your pillow is almost as important to getting enough sleep? Not only does it support your sleep position, a pillow can help eliminate heat retention and provide you with a more ideal sleep temperature.

Some pillows are heat traps that seem designed to pull as much sweat out of your face as possible. Others are carefully designed to be breathable throughout the night, ensuring you get a full and satisfying sleep. Of course, it can be a little tricky to find the right cooling pillow to suit your lifestyle. Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place. Here at The Sleep Judge, we’ve rounded up the highest rated cooling pillows and put them through a series of trials to help provide you with our honest opinions. Our results confirm why these are some of the best in the business. Keep reading for all the details!

Rank Product Highlights Trial / Warranty
#1 If you have been asking yourself what kind of pillow do I need, then this article can help you find that answer.

Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Bamboo Cooling Pillow

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  • Fully adjustable to all sleep positions
  • Washable
  • Great for heavier bodies
  •  100 Day Free Returns
#2

Sleep Restoration Gel-Fiber Filled Pillow

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  • Soft, yet support
  • Good for stomach sleepers
  • Very breathable surface
  • 30 Day Trial Period
#3

Tempur-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

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  • Draws heat from your body
  • Washable protective casing
  • Memory foam contour head and neck
  • 5 Year Warranty
#4

GhostBed Memory Foam Pillow

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  • Absorbs and dissipates heat
  • Quick foam response time
  • Smells like lavender when opened
  • 101 Night Sleep Trial
  • 5 Year Limited Warranty
#5

Purple Pillow

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  • Excellent airflow
  • Fully adjustable
  • No fluffing required
  • 100 Day Trial Period
  • 1 Year Warranty
#6

SlumberCloud Core Down Alternative Pillow

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  • Good choice for stomach sleepers
  • Very cooling
  • Excellent customer service
  • Outlast Technology
  • 60-Night Trial
  • 180-Day Warranty
#7

Layla Kapok Pillow

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  • Does a great job transferring heat
  • Indicators that copper infusion could promote health
  • Great job at contour
  • Good neck support
  • 120 Day Trial Period
  • 5 Year Warranty
#8

Leesa Pillow

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  • Instant response foam comfort
  • Provides great neck support
  • Easy, hassle free returns
  • 100 Day Trial Period
  • 3 Year Warranty
#9

SleepBetter Iso-Cool, Gusseted Side Sleeper Pillow

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  • Stays cool
  • Supportive contouring
  • Excellent customer service
  • Works well for back and side sleepers
  • 5 Year Limited Warranty

The Best Cooling Pillows

1. Editor’s Choice – Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Bamboo Cooling Pillow

SPECS

  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Density: Adjustable
  • Cooling: Good
  • Machine washable: Yes
  • Warranty: 100 Day Free Returns

The combination of shredded memory foam that allows for increased air flow and natural fiber casings keeps the Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Bamboo Cooling Pillow sleeping naturally cool. Bamboo fibers are known for their breathability and hypoallergenic properties, making it our top choice for anyone who suffers from allergies. In other words, it’s the pillow equivalent of air conditioning (and feels silky smooth as well).

The quilted cover can serve as a standalone casing as it’s thick, protective and soft against the skin. Fully adjustable, this pillow is an excellent choice for anybody in a sleep position who already uses temperature control in their room. It breathes well, allows for a variety of personalized comfort and keeps heat from being retained near your body. This pillow should instantly solve any of the sleep problems that someone might have developed from a heat trapping pillow.

Pros

  • Fully adjustable to all sleep positions
  • Washable
  • Great for heavier bodies

Cons

  • May become lumpy overtime

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2. Runner Up – Sleep Restoration Gel-Fiber Filled Pillow

SPECS

  • Loft: Average
  • Density: Medium-soft
  • Cooling: Excellent
  • Machine washable: Yes, on a delicate cycle with cold water
  • Warranty: 30 day trial period

The 100% cotton casing and micro-denier poly fiber gel filling makes the Sleep Restoration Gel-Fiber Filled Pillow another top pick in our books. Not only is it highly breathable, but the gel-fiber filing helps pull heat away from your body to keep you feeling cool all night long. The effect is very noticeable as this type of fiber is also strong and keeps its shape under compression – meaning you have excellent air flow all night long.

With the correct pillowcase, this pillow keeps a comfortable surface through just about any ambient temperature you can throw at it. This cooling pillow thrives under conditions that other cooling pillows fail. Because it’s a plush sleep surface, it provides a soft feel with a firmer, yielding support. However, the average loft does compress without any sacrifice of this support. That means that this could be an absolutely perfect choice for back and stomach sleepers.

Pros

  • Soft, yet support
  • Good for stomach sleepers
  • Very breathable surface

Cons

  • May not be suitable for side sleepers
  • Low fill amount
  • May flatten over time

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3. Best Gel Infusion – Tempur-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow

SPECS

  • Loft: High
  • Density: Plush
  • Cooling: Excellent
  • Machine washable: Spot nature
  • Warranty: 5 year

The Tempur-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow is the company’s answer to the dreaded memory foam heat sink that often occurs with this type of material. Throughout the years, Tempur-Pedic has answered the needs of their consumers with new and innovative approaches, which has lead to them being one of the leading brand names in the sleep industry. With this incredible product, the company has tried their hand at the cooling pillow market – and to say that they’ve delivered a winner would be an understatement.

This pillow is filled with their ES (extra soft) foam, and dual sided gel pads to provide a plush and yielding yet firm support that will contour perfectly to your head and neck. It does all of this while pulling heat away from your body for a cooler night’s rest. Although the pillow’s loft may not be high enough for certain side sleepers, the placement of a second pillow beneath seems to solve that problem.

This is an amazing cooling option for anyone who sleeps hot and is a side or back sleeper. Gel can take on the ambient air temperature, so if your room is typically warm, it may affect the cooling sensation. This is because the pillow tends to work well in a controlled temperature environment. It also needs a proper low thread-count cotton pillow case. However, if you’re able to provide these things, the Tempur-Cloud Cooling Pillow will make a massive impact on the quality of your sleep every night.

Pros

  • Draws heat from your body
  • Washable protective casing
  • Memory foam contour head and neck

Cons

  • May be too soft for side sleepers without an added pillow
  • Very heavy
  • Cooling may dissipate over time

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4. Best Warranty – GhostBed Memory Foam Pillow

SPECS

  • Loft: Average
  • Density: Medium firm
  • Cooling: Very Good
  • Machine washable: Spot clean only
  • Warranty: 101 night sleep trial, 5 year limited warranty

The GhostBed Memory Foam Pillow is one of those new and innovative sleep products that are making a huge splash in the sleep industry along with their mattress counterparts. GhostPillow doesn’t exactly go light in their marketing materials. The company makes some pretty lofty claims surrounding the gel layers that’s able to absorb and dissipate heat without ever warming to the ambient temperature. Thankfully, this remarkable pillow lives up to all the hype.

The pillow is constructed with gel infused memory foam that includes air pockets that release a gentle burst of air when compressed. Upon opening the extensive packaging, it smells like lavender – a natural scent that’s been proven to produce a calming effect (which is great for encouraging sleep). While this smell will begin to dissipate after about a week, the comfort of the pillow lasts.

Most popular with back and side sleepers, some side sleepers feel the need to add a pillow beneath for added loft, but still feel that it’s cool enough to sleep on. It also works well for heavier stomach sleepers as it compresses easily and quickly, and provides proper spinal alignment. This quite a versatile cooling pillow that should offer many different types of sleepers the satisfying rest they deserve.

Pros

  • Absorbs and dissipates heat
  • Quick foam response time
  • Smells like lavender when opened

Cons

  • May compress slightly overtime
  • Fairly flat
  • May need a second pillow for side sleepers

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5. Best Airflow – The Purple Pillow

SPECS

  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Density: Soft
  • Cooling: Excellent
  • Machine washable: Yes, cover is machine washable
  • Warranty: 100 Night Trial, 1 Year Warranty

The Purple Pillow uses an entirely new form of pillow construction to create a comforting and cooling sleep surface. It integrates a Hyper-Elastic Polymer that flexes to your weight, all while keeping its shape to allow increased breathability. In other words, this won’t feel like any other pillow you’ve experienced before.

Completely adjustable, the pillow also has an additional air pocket pillow to help adjust the loft for back and side sleepers. Plus, the polymer is never supposed to break down, meaning you’ll have a consistently comfortable sleep on this pillow night after night. The wide open design allows for a free flow of air helping to keep it from getting too warm.

If you have a controlled temperature bedroom environment and consider yourself a hot sleeper, this may be a great choice for you. With the 100 night, risk free sleep trial as part of your initial purchase, you really don’t have anything to lose by trying it out.

Pros

  • Excellent airflow
  • Fully adjustable
  • No fluffing required

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Awkward
  • Affected by ambient temperature

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6. Best Down Alternative – Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow

SPECS

  • Loft: High
  • Density: Extra Soft (available up to a firm)
  • Cooling: Excellent
  • Machine washable: Yes
  • Warranty: 60-Night Trial, 180-Day Warranty

The Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow is offered in a range of sizes and densities to meet the needs of people of all sleep styles. Created with a patented ‘Outlast’ fabric shell that’s supposed to extract heat from your body, when lying on this pillow a cooling effect can definitely be felt. It’s quite noticeable and a rather pleasant sensation as well. This is covered with a 300 thread-count, 100% cotton casing – all of which is easily machine washable and undeniably smooth to the touch. The size and comfort choices, combined with the continual night’s cooling rest, makes this a fantastic pick for just about any and all self-proclaimed hot sleepers.

Pros

  • Good choice for stomach sleepers
  • Very cooling
  • Excellent customer service
  • Outlast Technology

Cons

  • May be too soft
  • Slight offgassing
  • May need to be ‘plumped’ often

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7. Best Adjustable – Layla Kapok Pillow

SPECS

  • Loft: Average
  • Density: Medium
  • Cooling: Very good
  • Machine washable: Yes, but only on gentle cycle with low heat
  • Warranty: 5 years prorated

The Adjustable Layla Kapok Pillow is made from a soft copper-infused material to provide a thick, almost quilted feel. This cover is unique in a several ways. It’s thick and durable, making it easy to wipe clean. The edges are double stitched and folded in, which allows for the foam pieces within to effectively redistribute. It’s made from CuTEC performance fabric which uses a copper infused yarn. This is designed to help reduce odor and can actually help remove and replenish dead skin cells to help improve hygiene.

Given the use of visco foam as a filling (which is notorious for heat retention), the Adjustable Layla Pillow does offers an impressively cool sensation and we absolutely recommend this pillow to anyone who suffers from hot sleeping.

Pros

  • Does a great job transferring heat
  • Indicators that copper infusion could promote health
  • Ability to rearrange the contents of pillow helps customize the feel
  • Easy to keep clean

Cons

  • Could be disappointing if your primary goal is to reduce or eliminate snoring
  • Some complaints of mild off-gassing

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8. Customer’s Choice – Leesa Pillow

SPECS

  • Loft: Average
  • Density: Medium firm
  • Cooling: Very good
  • Machine washable: Machine washable
  • Warranty: 3 years

Sold as “the pillow that always feels perfect no matter how long you’ve slept on it”, the Leesa Pillow combines the foam and comfort technology of the Leesa Mattress to create a luxurious surface to rest your weary head. With a highly adaptive foam core, it provides spinal alignment support to your head and neck in any sleep position. Plus, it springs back into shape after compression and offers excellent cooling abilities thanks to the ventilated air channels along the surfaces of the pillow. The medium-firm feel provides an initially soft sensation with a supportive underlay. This means it offers pressure point reduction and can work well under the hips and between the knees. The washable cover is of the same material used in the Leesa mattress, which is a popular woven knit that’ll feel incredibly soft against your skin.

Pros

  • Impressive cooling sensation
  • Instant response foam comfort
  • Provides great neck support
  • Easy, hassle free returns

Cons

  • Not thick enough for broad shoulders
  • King size dimensions don’t fit king bed well

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9. Best for Side Sleepers – Iso-Cool Gusseted Memory Foam Pillow

SPECS

  • Loft: Average
  • Density: Firm
  • Cooling: Very good
  • Machine washable: Spot clean only
  • Warranty: 5 Year Limited Warranty

This firm, gusseted sidewall pillow by the Sleep Better company is created specifically for side and back sleepers to provide the perfect balance of support and contouring. If you fall into this category, get ready for the pillow of your dreams (and one that will lead to many sweet dreams to come as well).

Created with a 100% cotton cover and an ‘Outlast’ patented fabric shell to help draw heat from your body, the cooling effects of this pillow can be felt simply by placing your hand upon it. Like most memory foam products, the foam itself can create a heat sink, and though this pillow sleeps very cool, it does best in a temperature-controlled environment. This pillow is an excellent choice for side sleeping memory foam lovers. Also great for certain back sleepers, the cooling effect is a great way to help cool off anyone who naturally sleeps warm through the night.

Pros

  • Firm, yielding support
  • Great neck support for side sleepers
  • Cool, smooth surface

Cons

  • Slower memory foam response
  • May not be as effective with warmer ambient temperatures
  • Inconsistencies between pillow orders

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Cooling Pillow Claims

Cooling pillows help to better regulate your body’s temperature each night while you sleep. As we sleep, our body naturally drops in temperature and significantly reduces its regulation. This is so our bodies may properly take advantage of the associated drop in blood pressure, increase in circulation and many physical and neurological healing processes that occur while we sleep each night.

When our body heat is retained close to us, our body is less likely to drop in temperature, thus interrupting this important part of the sleep process. As our body attempts to cool itself, we may wake up sweating, or feeling overheated – causing us to kick away our covers or reach for a cooler feeling surface. That’s why a cooling pillow can be such a valuable sleep tool. It helps alleviate this issue by encouraging the cool down process your body needs to sleep soundly throughout the night.

Fiber and Material Choices

Materials and fibers don’t create a colder temperature, but they can and will help create a cooling sensation due to how air naturally flows and through heat conduction. Pillows that feel cooler to the touch do so for a variety of reasons, many of which surround the choices of fiber and materials used in their construction.

Any pillow that includes the variables explained below will often feel cooler to the touch each night. However, cooling pillows depend on multiple factors to ensure you’re getting a very specific cooling effect. The best cooling pillows mix and match a variety of techniques to ensure that they provide that sweet cooling solution that you crave.

Natural Fibers vs Synthetic

Natural fibers, such as cotton and bamboo, are known to breathe better than synthetic fibers or blends. This is because natural choices have larger cellular structures and allow for increased airflow. They also help absorb moisture from your skin and allow it to dissipate, which helps keep you cooler. Artificially manufactured fibers tend to be too dense for this to occur.

Synthetic fibers are usually made from a polymer, which is a plastic by product. Naturally, these fibers don’t breathe well since they’re structurally not built to do so, and therefore they don’t allow as much air to flow through. These are still great fibers for insulation purposes when you need to keep warm – or cool – air closer to your body. But, they don’t always work well for heat release purposes. This is something worth keeping in mind as you seek out the best cooling pillow for your needs.

Casing Thread-Count

The fabrics used to cover these pillows as covers, casements, or protectants, also need to be breathable in nature. High thread-count materials may feel heavy and soft to the touch, but no matter what type of fiber it’s made from, the higher the thread-count, the less airflow will be available. Thread counts lower than 400 (and the lower the better) allow for a free exchange of air through its surface, and helps prevent heat retention.

Fiber Fills

The fiber fills used in many pillows are often of a synthetic or synthetic blend. These types of fills are preferable because of their small structure, and their ability to keep their shape and not compress as easily over time. Polyester and poly-gel blends help your pillow keep its loft, and this allows for air to flow through the pillow. Gel in particular is able to help pull heat from your body as well as help it dissipate.

Memory Foam

Memory foam is a popular choice used for personal comfort and proper posture support. Unfortunately, it also may create a heat sink due to the low breathability of the viscoelastic polyurethane it’s made from. The addition of varying other layers in cooling versions helps to increase air flow, so you can get the best of both worlds. In general, any sleep product that’s primarily constructed from memory foam will sleep hot. That’s just the nature of the foam, and there isn’t much that can be done about it.

Gel

Gel layers have become an increasingly popular material in the use of bedding materials. Gel draws heat away through the process of conduction and pushes it away from the surface of your body. Although it’s affected by the ambient temperature of a room, gels work as a great addition to other temperature control variables to help keep you feeling cooler.

Controlled Variables That Affect Your Sleep Temperatures

As mentioned, there are many variables that can affect your sleep temperature comfort. For example, the clothes you’re wearing to bed can have a major impact on how well heat is able to escape your body. Synthetic fibers and tighter weaves can act as insulators to keep both heat and body moisture from escaping. While cooling pillows will make a huge impact on improving your sleep, this isn’t the only factor so it’s important to consider other variables as well.

This also pertains to your choice of sheets and bed coverings. Anything that’s unable to breathe freely can cause a heat sink and make you feel too warm for comfort. Your room temperature and humidity also plays a part in your overall sleep temperature. A warm room naturally keeps you from cooling down, and humidity holds heat in the air rather than allowing it to disperse.

These are controllable as you can easily – and very affordably – find sheet sets of 300 thread-counts or lower. You also can adjust your thermostat, or if AC is not an option, use a fan to help draw heat away, or create an increase in airflow around your body.

Pillow Case Choices

With all of the details provided above, your choice of pillowcase is important. If you use a material that inhibits airflow, then you negate the properties your pillow can provide. Using a 100% natural fiber case combined with a low thread count will ensure you get the full cooling effect the pillow claims. Be sure to keep this in mind, because there’s no point in spending money on a high-quality cooling pillow to place it inside a pillow case that will negate the pillow’s cooling properties.

You also won’t be able to use an additional waterproof pillow encasement. If protecting your pillow is a priority, consider purchasing one that’s machine washable, or layer breathable casings to keep them better protected from accidents, body oils and moisture.

What to Consider When Choosing a Cooling Pillow

Do you normally sleep hot?

If you have a natural tendency to feel warm, no cooling pillow in the world will help if you’re not paying attention to the many other variables that are included to help you get a cooler night’s sleep. This includes your choices of mattress or mattress pads, sheets, pajamas and room temperature.

What is your sleep position?

Stomach sleepers need a softer, flatter pillow surface for proper cervical alignment. Back sleepers also need a flatter, but often more firm pillow for proper neck support and to help keep undue strain upon the back. Side sleepers need a higher loft, and a firmer pillow that’s able to properly support the neck and head.

Can you control your room temperature?

A hot room can interrupt the cooling sensation your pillow provides. Many products depend on heat transfer, and a hot room can transfer to the materials keeping you from reaping the full benefits. Even if your room is warm, applying a fan to increase air circulation will help with dissipating heat from your body and allow you to sleep easier.

What pillow case choices do you have?

As mentioned, your choice of pillowcase can completely interrupt the way your pillow is constructed. If you want a cooling effect, you need to look for a natural fiber, low thread-count case.

Conclusion

Each of our top picks provide a noticeable cooling sensation in just about every situation thrown at them, and each has its own comfort level to fit a variety of sleep positions. They also have their own list of benefits, especially when used with the correct pillowcases.

Our suggestions surrounding your best pick starts first with sleep comfort. You sleep posture is the most important part of your sleep health, and is incredibly important to getting a good night’s rest. Choosing your cooling pillow starts with sleep position recommendations, and then should be based on your personal preferences of cooling needs.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cooling pillows really work?

That depends on the type of cooling pillow you’re using. A cooling pillow made with natural fibers, such as bamboo and cotton, inadvertently regulates temperature because of the breathability of the fabrics. It also wicks away moisture, dissipating heat. A fabric like polyester on the other is not very breathable. Further, low thread count of the fabric promotes air flow and is much better for keeping you cool instead of high thread count. The fill of the pillow also determines whether it will have a warming or cooling effect. Memory foam on its own can prevent loss of heat while polyester and poly-gel blends keep you cool by allowing airflow. However, the truly cooling component of these pillows is the gel. It pulls heat from your body through conduction and traps it away. But it’s important to keep in mind, the extent of its impact is dependent on the ambient temperature.

What is the best pillow that stays cool?

There is no one best choice, because when it comes to cooling pillows, you don’t want to find one that’s just best at staying cool. Instead, you want a pillow that stays cool and works well for your sleeping position. You’ll also want to take into consideration the room temperature you’re going to be using the pillow in and the pillowcase it comes with. If you’re looking for a fully adjustable pillow that suits all sleep positions and can also support heavier individuals, Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Bamboo Cooling Pillow is our top choice. For stomach sleepers who want breathability in their pillows, go for the Sleep Restoration Gel-Fiber Filled Pillow. If you’re someone who runs hot at night, Tempur-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow is a great option.

Do cooling pillows lose their cooling effect?

Some cooling pillows do lose their temperature reducing ability with time. At the same time, certain pillows made with latex and shredded memory foam can last longer than usual.

Are cooling pillows toxic?

Not more than any other pillow. Having said that, you’ll want to check the specifications of your cooling pillow to determine whether it's toxic or not. Make sure your pillow isn’t treated with flame-retardant chemicals, in particular Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers or PBDEs. Foam pillows that were purchased prior to 2005 are likely to have this toxin. Look for the OKEO-TEX and CertiPur-US certifications to be sure that the pillow you are choosing is free of harmful chemicals.

How do you wash/clean a cool gel pillow?

It's always important to hand wash a cool gel pillow. You can spot clean problem areas with a mild soap and water mixture, or baking soda for those tough stains. You can use a clean cloth to wipe down the pillow and allow it to air dry so it won't retain excess moisture.