The only way to find out which pillows are the most comfortable and supportive is to, well, sleep on them. Just feeling a pillow with your hand isn’t going to tell you what it’s really like to sleep on it. That’s why we sent our pillows home with 25 testers over the course of two weeks — a mix of side, stomach, and back sleepers. We were looking for pillows that gave us such good rest, we barely remembered sleeping on them.
Our favorites were pillows that provided adequate head and neck support, didn’t need to be adjusted throughout the night, and were soft and snuggly enough to lull us quickly to sleep. Pillows that were too stiff or bouncy, balled up and separated, or too flat to accommodate a human head, were cut early on.
Some pillows that initially felt soft ended up feeling way too tall and stiff when it came time to sleep on them. For example, the Isotonic Indulgence felt soft and luxurious — we’d be sold on this one in a store pretty easily. But when we rested our heads on it, we quickly changed our minds. It could be good for bunching on your side or laying out on your stomach, but testers complained about the lack of support as the night went on.
We also quickly became skeptical of any pillow brand’s marketing claims. Some disrupters like MyPillow (“The most comfortable pillow you’ll ever own!”) and the Purple Pillow (“The heaviest pillow in the world!”) tempt sleepers with their innovative designs and advertising. But the Purple, made of hyperelastic polymer, was so heavy that it was impossible to shift while sleeping. The MyPillow claims to have interlocking shredded memory foam, but it was perhaps too interlocking — it was the lumpiest pillow we tested.