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If you’re a hot sleeper, a cooling pillow may be the answer to your nighttime woes. We know what you might be thinking: do those gimmicks For real work? Sweet, icy relief is real, folks, and we’ve personally tested a range of options on the market for sleep to find the best of the best that will indeed (believe it or not) help you relax.
After weeks of testing, there were two products that clearly topped our list — seriously, old pillows were thrown in favor of these picks. Read on for the best cooling pillows that will keep you comfortable and breezy all night long.
Best firm support: The Marlow Pillow
Cushion, Marlow ($65)
Size: Standard or King | Firmness: Sturdy but adjustable | Filling: 80% memory foam, 20% hypoallergenic polyester fiber
What we like:
- Adjustable strength via zipper
- Good price
- 365 days return policy
- Feels more down than you’d expect from memory foam
Why we chose it: This fluffy and airy pillow offers firm neck support and cooling comfort.
The Marlow is one of those rare memory foam pillows that almost feels like down. For sleep seekers who prefer natural feathers over synthetic gel, you might love this option. It has none of the squishy, molded characteristics typically associated with memory foam.
In fact, at first glance, we were afraid that it would even be too fluffy. Shocking, right? We slept on it – as it is – and liked it. Then we realized the double zipper. The next night, we chose to unzip one side, revealing an ultra-breathable mesh insert that allowed for our perfectly desired level of loft. And if you’re looking for even more softness, unzip the other side too. What starts as a fairly firm pillow turns into something highly customizable to meet your changing needs.
When it comes to an advanced cooling pad, you’ll probably spend $100 or more for a reputable brand. At $65, the Marlow feels like serious theft. Created by from BrooklineA Domino favorite, and made from vegan and hypoallergenic materials, this pillow is built on seven years of research and NASA-manufactured gel infusion technology. Marlow also just released a companion product:the Marlow Cushion Protectorwith double-layer thermoregulation technology and an antimicrobial outer coating.
Best soft support: Serta Arctic cooling pad
Arctic cooling pad, Serta ($150)
Size: Standard | Firmness: plush yet durable | Filling: CertiPUR-US certified memory foam with Reactex technology
What we like:
- Double-sided cooling
- Squishy, sinking softness
- Much lighter than most memory foam options
- thinner attic; may need a second cushion behind it if you want more support
Why we chose it: A lightweight memory foam that literally feels cool.
Most of the memory foam cooling pads we tested for this story felt as dense as bricks. Seriously, there were a few options that we couldn’t even get through a night of because they were just too difficult. The Serta Arctic Cooling Pillow is the opposite. It still has that signature memory foam shape and absorption, but it feels like a cloud you can sink into. A chilly, snow-filled cloud.
This plush headrest uses unique pressure-activated cooling technology designed to draw heat away from the body. It’s so advanced that it even stores and releases that heat when not in use to prepare for the next night. Cool huh? And it eliminates the ‘cold side of the pillow’ game, providing double-sided cooling that means you’ll never have to flip again. The breathable fabric cover also adds to its appeal.
Note: If you prefer firmer support, this may not be for you. The 5-inch loft looks and feels thinner than most of the other options we tested, leading some reviewers to comment that it performs better when used with a second pillow behind it. But if you’re looking for light and plushy, we highly recommend this option, which is both soft and crunchy.
We love too
The Saatva latex pillow is another fantastic downward option. It feels heavier and less fluffy than the Marlow, but still retains a squishiness. While this pillow doesn’t use any specific cooling technology, its excellent breathability puts it in second place (natural latex feels cooler than polyurethane foam, plus it’s hypoallergenic and extra buoyant). But oofthat $165 price tag is steep.
Pottery Barn’s Hydrocool Down Alternative Pillow also makes our list thanks to its super soft feel and unbeatable price tag. It’s made from a moisture-wicking and 100 percent down alternative, so you can stay comfortable with climate control all night long. We were surprised by how much we enjoyed this low, light pillow with ultra-soft hotel vibes. And while it works for all types of bulldozers, it’s especially ideal for stomach sleepers.
How we chose these products
Every pillow we tested has been slept on for at least a week. Our methodology included testing for cooling technology, breathability, material, support and of course comfort. To ensure consistency of results, we used the same pillowcase for everyone. We looked forward to funky smells—many pillows, especially memory foam ones, emit heavy chemical odors, and we made sure none of our picks do—and shape retention after cleaning maintenance. Once we found the cozy companions we wanted to keep on our bed forever, we knew we had our winners.
Our Shopping Checklist
We give as much priority as possible to the use of natural materials. That feeling is especially true when it comes to objects on which we rest our face (hello, sensitive skin). For cooling pillows, look for high-quality upholstery fabrics and filling materials, which are hypoallergenic and certified to strict environmental standards, such as CertiPUR-US.
Most companies have their own trademark processes and productions for refrigeration technology. They differ from brand to brand. For example, Serta uses Reactex and Pottery Barn uses Hydrocool. Most work the same way by drawing heat from the body, drawing it into the depth of the pad and allowing airflow around the outer layers. All reputable sleep brands have vetted and tested these technologies, but we found the one listed above to be the most effective.
You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t the type to keep your bedroom thermostat below 65 degrees — we know your sleeping style is “overheated.” But sleeping position should always be a factor when buying pillows. If you’re a stomach sleeper, you’ll prefer a softer variety with a lower loft. Side and back sleepers may need a little more firmness to support their posture. At the end of the day, you’ll know what feels most comfortable for your body – consider your own experience when looking for a pillow that best suits your individual needs.
Firmness and loft
Again, firmness and loft preferences really come back to sleep style and personal choice. We love that the Marlow has an option for adjustable levels of strength with its innovative zip system. The most important factor is that a cooling pad maintains its loft and shape throughout the night; you don’t want to compromise on support when it comes to comfort.
Q: Which pillowcase is best to use with a cooling pillow?
A: Any natural, moisture-wicking fabric should have breathability. For maximum coolness, your best bet is 100% cotton, silk or bamboo. While silk pillowcases can be a big investment, they are worth it. And don’t forget Marlow’s new one Cooling pad protector.
Q: How do I wash my cooling pad?
A: It depends on the pillow. Most options, including both of our top picks, are only recommended for treating stains, although some inserts are machine washable. Follow the care instructions on your individual product to protect the cooling technology, and remember that if you wet a down pillow, make sure it is completely dry before use to prevent mold.
The last word
Yes, there are cooling pillows that actually work (not all of them, but that’s why we tested so many options for you). For hot sleepers, they can be revolutionary for banishing night sweats. Cooling pillows come in all kinds – from soft to firm and from memory foam to down. When finding your perfect fit, prioritize quality materials, breathability, support and comfort. With these traits in mind, you’re well on your way to sweet, climate-controlled dreams.
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