In This Article
If you have ever woken up with a stiff or sore neck, the culprit could be your pillow. There are several factors to think about before jutting off to purchase a new pillow. We will cover all of the articles here in this review.
Once you know what to look for in both your pillow and your sleeping habits, we will show you the best pillow for neck support. You will then be armed with all the information you need to make a purchase you can be certain will help relieve some of the pain, cramping, and soreness from your night’s sleep.
Things to Consider Before Buying Your Neck Support Pillow
As with any purchase you need to ensure that you have the right option for you and your specific needs. There are things to think about such as your sleep position, your budget, and the attributes of the pillows. These attributes include the fill material, cover material, loft, softness, and even the warranty.
Your sleep position may be the most important aspect of pillow selection. It is crucial to know if you sleep on your back, on your stomach or your side. There are even combination sleepers that go from back to side or side to side or even stomach to side.
Your sleep position will tell you what to look for when searching for the right support pillow for your neck.
Back sleepers need a pillow with a good loft that compresses well. If the pillow goes too flat, your head will fall back putting pressure on your spine. If the loft is too high, you can strain your neck forcing your chin to your chest.
Side sleepers are the most difficult to select a pillow for. Some side sleepers use an arm underneath the pillow for added support; a habit that is hard to break. If the pillow is too flat the head will rest unnaturally towards the shoulder and cause spinal and neck muscle strain.
Stomach sleepers also need to be careful. A pillow that is too soft will billow around the face and could cause you to have trouble breathing. Likewise, one that is too firm won’t compress enough and cause you to have an awkward neck angle, compressing the spine and putting too much stress on your neck.
Combination sleeper, then, need to pay attention to the loft, compression, and firmness of the pillow for each of their sleeping positions.
The loft of the pillow is something that most companies proudly display on their packaging. However, it can be very misleading. Just because a pillow has a high loft doesn’t mean it is very soft. Likewise, a pillow with a very low loft can be soft or firm.
The loft is the measurement of the thickness of a pillow. It is how tall the pillow sits without any weight on it. What you may not realize is that the filling material is what determines the loft and the compression of that material helps determine the softness.
Solid core memory foam, for example, may not have a very high loft, nor will it compress very far. The firm pillow can be comfortable, but it may not be soft enough for your needs.
On the other hand, down feather filling can have a very high loft, sometimes topping nine or ten inches, and compress down to less than two inches, making it very uncomfortable for stomach and side sleepers.
If you want neck support, you are going to need to pay special attention to the filling materials. Poly-foam and memory foam are going to be among the top contenders, either solid core or shredded.
Just because the filling is shredded doesn’t mean it won’t offer you just as much support. There are several filling types, including the foams, natural fibers such as bamboo, cotton, down or Kapok.
Some fillings are hypoallergenic, and others are not. If this is something you need to be concerned with, then it needs to be put on your consideration list before your final purchase. If you don’t suffer allergies, you may not care if the fibers are hypoallergenic or not. However, most of us with sinus congestion issues may require an anti-allergen cover and filling.
You will also see gel fillings. Unless otherwise stated, don’t think it is a pillow filled with gel balls or little packs of gelatin. Instead, most gelled fillings are gel-infused. Shredded memory foam is popular to have a gel additive applied. The gel can help the pillow remain cooler through the night and add a softness to the compression. It generally (though not always) does very little for support.
Another thing to consider is your budget. Because you are shopping for a specialty item, you should expect to pay more for your neck support pillow than you will at a local retail outlet store.
Some of these pillows can become quite expensive, especially when you learn that most recommend replacement within 18 to 36 months. However, the cost will still be less than trips to the doctor for neck strain or spinal compression due to sleeping on inferior pillows.
Still, the budget may be a concern to you, and you need to be aware of how much you are going to put down before you make the final purchase.
Most specialty and high-end pillows offer a warranty. The terms of the warranties and what exactly they cover will vary from company to company (and sometimes even between pillow types within a single company.).
What you should look for are trial periods. These are applied form the date of purchase and give you a certain amount of time to try the pillow to make sure you like it. These can range anywhere from 10 to 200 nights.
If you decide to return the pillow during this period, you will get a full refund (in most cases). Others won’t offer a trial period. The warranty, either way, will kick in once this period is over.
These warranties will cover things such as manufacturer’s defects, quality concerns in materials, craftsmanship or defective parts, fillings, pieces, etc.
Some companies, such as Tempur-Pedic, won’t allow you to return the pillow. Because of the nature of what the pillow is used for, they cannot resell it. They do honor a warranty though and may replace or repair your pillow at their discretion.
When dealing with the warranties and trial periods make sure you read the fine print before clicking the buy button.
The Best Pillows for Neck Support
There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to pillows. For those looking for the best pillows for neck support, look no further. We have rounded up the best options for you to choose from.
#1: Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Pillow
The Snuggle-Pedic stands out above the crowd for many reasons. Let’s start with their warranty. They have a trial period of 120 nights, the longest in the industry. Once that is over, the manufacturer’s warranty kicks in and lasts for 20 years. Well above the normal warranty period.
Beyond that, the pillow is designed with an adjustable loft and firmness. Not only can you remove or add filling, but the company will do it for you to ensure a proper fit for each individual. You will need to return the pillow until it is just right, though. Shipping is free for this as long as you live in the United States.
The bamboo cover is made from Lycra, polyester, and bamboo. It is removable and machine washable to keep your pillow cover fresh. The filling is shredded memory foam that is promised by the warranty never to go flat.
- Adjustable loft and firmness for all sleep positions, even combination sleepers.
- Industry-leading trial period and warranty.
- Professional fill adjustment for free.
- High air flow to sleep cooler.
- Fill adjustment means shipping the pillow back and forth, which can take a while.
- Pillow itself is not machine washable.
#2: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Neck Pillow
Tempur-Pedic has been in the game long enough to know what we need and how to deliver it. The Tempur-Neck is a specially designed pillow that relieves tension and stress in the neck and shoulders. The unique design makes the pillow adjustable to side and back sleepers.
The Tempur-Material is just a shredded poly-foam fill but has been treated with an anti-microbial to help fight off dust mites and allergens. Note that no Tempur-Pedic pillow is considered hypoallergenic.
The Tempur-Neck comes with a five-year warranty, though Tempur-Pedic will not accept returns due to the nature of what the pillow is for. There are three sizes to choose from based on your size and weight categories. Be sure you select the correct size for your body and your sleeping nights will leave you in perfect spinal alignment.
- Designed to relieve pressure from the neck and shoulders.
- Three loft positions.
- Great for side and back sleepers.
- Not ideal for stomach sleepers.
- No return if you aren’t satisfied.
- More off-gassing after initial purchase than most others.
#3: Malouf Z Shoulder Zoned Dough Pillow
The Malouf Z Shoulder pillow is a solid memory foam core infused with bamboo charcoal (found in skin care cosmetics). The charcoal allows the pillow to maintain freshness by absorbing and eliminating odors.
The pillow has a special design that is aimed for side sleepers. The shoulder zone is a cut out that allows you to position the pillow in the proper spot to fully support your neck and prevent the awkward head tilt.
The pillow is hypoallergenic, and Certi-Pur certified. The cover is made from Tencel fabric and allows even more airflow through the entire pillow keeping you cool and removing heat from the body and neck.
- Comfort design for side sleepers.
- Memory foam absorbs and eliminates moisture, heat, and odor.
- Hypoallergenic with Certi-Pur certification.
- Not ideal for back, stomach or combination sleepers.
- The loft may be too high for smaller or lighter persons.
#4: Marnur Cervical Pillow
The Marnur Cervical pillow is an ergonomically designed pillow for all sleep positions. The pillow has two lofts and special cutouts in the memory foam for side and stomach sleepers to place their arms.
The pillow does have an extended off-gassing period due to the solid core memory foam. However, once this is done (about 24 to 48 hours), you can use the pillow and get through the transitional period (the time it takes to get used to the pillow and shape.
The neck, shoulders, head, and spine are all aligned and supported regardless of sleep position. Lighter and smaller persons, though, may find the loft too high or the compression too low.
- Fully ergonomic design keeps your body aligned.
- Used by all sleep positions, even combination sleepers.
- Sleeps cooler than most solid core foam pillows.
- Take a while to get used to.
- Off-gassing can take a longer period to dissipate.
- Lighter and smaller framed persons may not be able to use the large pillow.
#5: Xtreme Comforts Kool-Flow Bamboo Pillow
Xtreme Comforts brings a neck support pillow for stomach sleepers. The thin, shredded memory foam pillow is the perfect loft and density for those that sleep face-down.
The entire pillow is hypoallergenic and won’t go flat or lose shape. You can refresh the pillow in the dryer or fluff it with your hands. Similar in all aspects to the Snuggle-Pedic, just with a smaller loft and thinner design.
- Ideal for stomach sleepers.
- Hypoallergenic shredded memory foam won’t lose shape.
- Keeps your neck aligned without pushing your head in awkward positions.
- Not for use by side-sleepers or combination sleepers.
- Can become too firm when compressed by heavier or larger framed persons.
When looking for a pillow to support your neck while you sleep, your first consideration needs to be the position you sleep in. Not every pillow is good for all sleep positions, and you should be aware of these positions before you make a final selection.
You also need to account for the fill material. If the filling is hypoallergenic, it may be more beneficial to you. Likewise, if it sleeps warmer or cooler may be of importance. Each little factor should be thought about and contemplated before making your decision.
In the end, the choice is yours to make, but now you are at least familiar with what you should be looking for as well as the best choices to fit almost ever need. We are sure your next neck support pillow is somewhere on the list above.