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We often overlook the pillow when considering why we aren’t sleeping well enough. We buy new mattresses with promises of a full, relaxing night’s sleep and still toss and turn. We wake up with a sore neck and wonder why. It could be your pillow.

Soft pillows will support your head, with enough give and movement to allow your neck to stay in-line. Something a hard pillow may not do. Let’s look at the best soft pillow you can buy.

What You Should Consider Before Buying a Soft Pillow

There are several factors you need to consider before making your final purchase. Your sleep position will play the largest role in your pillow choices. Other things to think about are budget, allergies, and the pillow’s attributes. Pillow attributes are things the pillow offers you such as loft, fill materials, cover materials, etc.

Your Budget

You can buy a pillow almost anywhere you shop for less than ten bucks. However, you will find that these inexpensive pillows last a few months before becoming deformed and almost useless. Taking the time to budget for a higher-quality pillow will have you sleeping better and saving money in the long run. Check your pillow’s warranty for added reassurances.

Most high-quality pillows will give you a few years of service before they need to be replaced. The general rule is to begin checking your pillow for deformities (like the filling bunching in a corner, or the memory foam not bouncing back) after 18 months.

Once the pillow shows signs of these problems, it is time to think about buying a new one. The pillows on this list all come with a multiple year warranty to help ease your doubts about price and give you room in your budget for the purchase.

Allergies

If you suffer allergies, you will need to make sure that your pillow is hypoallergenic. Not only the cover but the fill as well. Mold, mildew, spores and dust mites all cause allergic reactions. Each one of them can end up in our bedding and pillows over time.

A great pillow will be completely hypoallergenic. If you want pillows that don’t use any animal byproducts, due to allergies, you will need to look for those without any goose, duck or another animal down or feathers.

Loft

The loft is important to a lot of consumers. Although, when asked, they don’t really know why. The loft doesn’t equal softness. There are plenty of flat pillows that are super soft, and plenty of thick pillows that are like rocks.

Loft refers the to the height of the pillow when laid on a flat surface. In other words, how thick the pillow is without your head on it. Why does this matter? It’s all about compression and keeping your neck, jaw, and spine aligned correctly. We are all different in this regard. Some need more loft; others need less.

The average soft pillow has a loft of about five to six inches. What matters most, though is the compression, or how flat the pillow becomes with weight on it. Different sizes and weights of people will compress a pillow differently. How you sleep on the pillow (back, side or face down) will also be affected by the loft.

In general, face down sleepers need a lower loft and higher compression; meaning the pillow is flatter without a weight and doesn’t compress much with weight. Back sleepers and side sleepers have more variances in this regard.

Fill Materials

Let’s talk about filling for a moment, and I don’t mean the creamy kind inside a Twinkie. There are several different types of filling: poly-foam, down and feathers, Kapok, and shredded or solid core memory foam. What does this mean to you? More importantly, what the heck is kapok?

First, Kapok is a fiber found inside the seed pods of a Kapok tree. The fibers are softer than cotton and airier than wool. This results in a filling that has more loft as well as more breathable air flow.

The shredded memory foam adds a firmness and comfort level to other filling types, when mixed, and gives you a compression that hits all the pressure points and doesn’t go completely flat. Because the fill is so airy, it will move around with you, and you won’t discover those lumpy spots quite as often as you usually do.

Solid core memory foam is generally firmer and doesn’t compress very much. Firm pillows don’t mean they aren’t soft. Loft and compression have very little to do with the actual softness of a pillow.

Poly-foam is a hypoallergenic foam that naturally resists most allergens. In pillows, it is generally shredded or chopped to allow it to move and not billow of fluff around your head. It works much like the shredded memory foam but doesn’t add as much firmness or movement. It will compress a lot more, as well.

Down and feathers are the general filling we have all come to know and love over the years. They are soft, move great and allow constant air-flow for more cooling. However, by nature, they absorb heat and repel moisture. The result can be a pillow that is very soft but sleeps quite hot.

Cover Materials

The cover of our pillows doesn’t get much love. It may get some drool, but we don’t think about it very often, if at all. Now it’s time to consider the pillow cover.

Covers will come in various materials; cotton is among the most popular. Cotton is a great cover because it is soft and pliable. It also absorbs moisture and will sap it from your hair and skin (this is why you wake up with frizzy hair).

Padded foam covers, copper-infused covers, and others will also be presented. Each one has various attributes, benefits, and disadvantages. We will go over them as they arise in the following section as there are far too many options to detail here.

Sleep Position

Your sleeping position matters. Not only will it affect your overall sleeping habits, but it will affect what types of pillows you can buy. Soft pillows are generally good for back and side sleepers. If you sleep on your stomach, you can still use a soft pillow, as long as the attributes fit your style.

Warranty

One of the important factors when buying a high-quality pillow is the warranty. What if you end up hating it? Most pillow companies will offer a warranty for craftsmanship and wear and tear or factory defects.

Others will go further and offer you a trial period (generally 90 days). Any other factors of an individual warranty should be examined. For instance, because of the nature of a pillow, a lot of companies will not take a return since they cannot be resold.

Check the length of the warranty and the special conditions it may come with, some are arguably better than others, regardless of term length.

The Best Soft Pillows

Here are the best soft pillows you can find on the market right now. Each has an advantage or disadvantage over the others. We have ranked them in order of softness and usability.

#1: Layla Copper-Infused Pillow – Best Overall

The best soft pillow I could find is the Layla Copper-Infused Pillow. It has the perfect mix of loft and support for all sleepers. The fill is made from 100 percent natural kapok and shredded memory foam, which is Cetri-Pur certified to be hypoallergenic.

The pillow cover is also infused with copper which science suggests may help in blood flow and resting periods. Copper has known anti-microbial benefits as well as being one of the best conductors of heat known to man.

The copper threading helps the pillow remain allergen-free while absorbing your body heat and transferring it through the pillow to keep you sleeping cool. The cover is also pliable and fitting without making any noise.

This pillow is best designed for side and back sleepers, though stomach sleepers find it just as comfortable as everyone else.

The Layla pillow has one of the best warranties in the industry; you will get a full 120 nights to try it out risk-free. After that, you have up to five years to return it for a prorated refund.

Pros:

  • Hypoallergenic fill and cover.
  • Copper may help aid in sleep.
  • Soft and giving without billowing around the face.
  • Sleeps cool without the need to flip it over.
  • Great warranty.

Cons:

  • Stomach sleepers might find the fill to be too firm when compressed.
  • Will have off-gassing and should be vented before use.

#2: Smart Home Bedding Super Plush Pillow – Runner-Up

The Super Plush from Smart Home Bedding is a down-alternative using a hypoallergenic polyester fill with a very high loft. At first sight, this pillow seems to be everything a soft pillow sleeper wants. For a lot of users, this is the case, especially side sleepers.

Stomach sleepers will not like this pillow at all as the compression is almost zero which causes billowing around the face and won’t keep the neck in line with the spine. For back sleepers, if you are heavy enough, you can compress the pillow, so it doesn’t push your head forward, but this is the biggest complaint.

Pros:

  • Hypoallergenic for those that may suffer allergies.
  • High loft is great for side sleepers.
  • The cover is quiet and doesn’t move much during sleep.
  • Completely machine washable.

Cons:

  • Won’t compress much for face-down sleepers.
  • Size marking can be misleading; make sure you order the right size by dimensions.

# 3: Winersi Goose Feather and Down Pillow – Honorable Mention

The guys over at Winersi have put together a soft pillow for stomach sleepers. The design is plush and pliable, and you can easily mold and shape the pillow to your needs. This makes it great for side sleepers too, who tend to layer pillows for a good fit.

The seven-inch loft compresses a lot due to the natural fill of white goose down and feathers. However, it works well on pressure points, too. Those that like a pillow under their hip or between their knees will enjoy this pillow.

The cover makes a lot of noise, and you have a tendency to wake up with nothing under your head with all of the fillings pushed to the sides, though. It also isn’t a good fit for back sleepers, as the compression can be too great and the head tilts backward putting an awkward strain on the neck.

Pros:

  • Good for stomach sleep positions.
  • High compression to eliminate misalignment for side sleepers.
  • Perfect for pressure point relief while sleeping.

Cons:

  • Not a good choice for back sleepers.
  • The cover can be too noisy for some.

#4: Easy Breather by Nest Bedding – Honorable Mention

The unique Easy Breather pillow offers you control over your softness and loft. The cover is made from eucalyptus wood pulp fibers and is extremely breathable. It also opens to allow you to remove the shredded memory foam fill.

By adjusting the amount of fill you have in the pillow, you can control how soft it is and get the proper loft for your neck support.

The downsides here are that it cannot be washed, only spot cleaned, and there isn’t anywhere to store the fill you may remove. If you take out too much and decide so several days later, you will have to store the fill yourself, hoping you don’t lose or toss it out.

Pros:

  • Adjustable fill for a more personalized fit.
  • Certi-Pur Certified
  • Designed best for back sleepers.

Cons:

  • Not machine washable.
  • The excess filling can become lost.
  • May take some time to get the right loft and softness.

#5: Zen Bamboo Ultra Plush Gel Pillow – Honorable Mention

Zen Bamboo’s Ultra Plush Gel pillow is a unique design that combines airy, breathable materials and a great loft for support and comfort. When you think bamboo, you might think the hard tree-like grass and wonder how it is ever going to be soft. The fibers used in the cover and filling, though, are made from the soft bamboo fibers found inside the stalks.

The bamboo fibers are comparable to cotton and wool in their softness, and some say are even softer. The cover is breathable and conforms to movement without much sound. The filling has gel-infused fibers for added support and softness. It is ideal for side and back sleepers with some stomach sleepers finding the compression too much for proper alignment.

Pros:

  • The plush filling is hypoallergenic.
  • The loft is high for side and back sleepers.
  • Fibers are naturally dust mite and allergen resistant.

Cons:

  • Not ideal for stomach sleepers.
  • May become deformed or “lumpy” over time.

In Conclusion

The Layla Copper-Infused pillow is one of the highest quality items of its kind, and softest pillows you can buy. The comfort alone is worth the price tag. For back and side sleepers, the copper threading absorbs body heat and moves it away, keeping your head cool while you sleep.

It is also great for stomach sleepers with an easily compressed, non-billowing fill. Though the fill does firm up when compressed, most stomach sleepers don’t mind. The contour of the pillow helps back, and side sleepers keep their necks in line with their spine and wake up with less stiffness and pain.

If you don’t like the idea of an all-for-one style pillow, there are other options based on your sleep positions and preferences. Each pillow listed fits a specific consumer, and your next pillow could be right on the list above.

Tim

Remember how your parents told you that you were going to sleep your life away? Well that would be perfectly fine with Tim. He's been in search of the most comfortable nights sleep for years and shares his findings with any willing ear.

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