To ensure you get the best sleep each night, you must create the best sleep environment. A big part of improving your sleep is finding the best pillow to fit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a plush comfort or firmer support, there’s a pillow type out there for you. We’ve compared some of the different pillows to figure out the pros and cons and who each pillow is best for.


Feather pillows are filled with the feathers of ducks and geese. While once very popular, feather pillows aren’t used as often today. Because of the feathers inside, these pillows are very soft and plush but don’t provide a lot of support.


  • Comfort: Feather pillows are very soft, making them perfect for anyone looking for a plush, comfortable sleeping experience.


  • Support: Because of how soft they are, feather pillows don’t provide much support. 
  • Allergies: Some people may be allergic to the feathers inside the pillow.

Who’s It Best For

Feather pillows are a good option for people looking for a soft, plush sleeping experience but want something slightly firmer than a down pillow.


Like feather pillows, down pillows have a soft, fluffy feeling. Rather than being filled with feathers, down pillows are filled with the undercoat of birds like ducks and geese. Down pillows often also include feathers to give them more structure and support.


  • Comfort: Down pillows are very soft and puffy, making for a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Durability: Down pillows are known for being long-lasting.


  • Structure: Down pillows are very soft, meaning they may lack the support some people need.
  • Allergies: Because they’re made of birds’ undercoat, people with certain allergies may have an allergic reaction to down pillows.

Who’s It Best For

Because of their soft, puffy nature, down pillows are a good option for anyone prioritizing comfort over support in their pillow.

Memory Foam

Memory foam pillows are made of polyurethane and provide a supportive place to rest your head at night. These pillows conform to the shape of your head and adjust as you move throughout the night. Memory foam pillows have become a popular option and come in various forms, including cooling gel and natural foam.


  • Support: Memory foam pillows provide support to those with neck and back pain, as well as other health issues.
  • Comfort: Because memory foam pillows contour to your shape, they can be very comfortable.


  • Temperature: Many memory foam pillows retain heat, making for an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
  • Smell: Memory foam pillows often go through off-gassing, which creates a chemical scent.

Who’s It Best For

Because of their supportive and conforming nature, memory foam pillows are well-suited to people who need neck and back pain support.


Microbead pillows are filled with many small, hypoallergenic beads. These pillows can provide a firm type of support, conforming to your shape as you move throughout the night. Microbeads are often used for the U-shaped travel pillows you would see on an airplane.


  • Support: Microbead pillows conform to your shape at night and support your back and neck.
  • Breathability: Microbead pillows have increased breathability and airflow so they won’t feel hot while you are sleeping.


  • Potential mess: These pillows are filled with thousands of small beads, which means they can create quite the mess if they rip open.
  • Durability: Microbead pillows aren’t as durable as many other options on the market.

Who’s It Best For

Microbead pillows provide a mix of comfort and support and can be ideal for people who need a breathable but structured option.


Buckwheat pillows are a plant-based option filled with the buckwheat seed’s hard outer shell. These pillows are hypoallergenic and breathable, providing firm support. While they aren’t widespread in the U.S., they are popular in Asia.


  • Natural: Buckwheat pillows provide a natural, hypoallergenic, plant-based option.
  • Support: Because of their firmness, buckwheat pillows can provide a lot of support.


  • Weight: Buckwheat pillows are heavier and firmer than many other pillows, and they don’t conform to your shape in the same way a memory foam or microbead pillow would.

Who’s It Best For

Buckwheat pillows are a good option for people who prefer a firmer option and want a natural, plant-based pillow.


Lumbar pillows are small, lightweight pillows often filled with memory foam. Unlike many of the options on this list, lumbar pillows are meant to provide spine and lower back support. Rather than using them to rest your head at night, people most often use lumbar support pillows while seated to give back support and good posture.


  • Support: Lumbar support pillows are a popular option for people who need spine support while sitting at their chairs during the workday.
  • Posture: If you’re struggling with your posture, lumbar pillows can improve it.


  • Not made for sleeping: While not necessarily a con, these pillows aren’t intended to provide head support while you sleep. If you’re looking for neck and upper back support at night, this isn’t the pillow you’re looking for.

Who’s It Best For

Lumbar pillows are ideal for people who spend their day sitting in an office chair and need back support and pain relief.


Wedge pillows are triangle-shaped and often made of foam. These pillows prop your head up at an incline. They are often used for people who suffer from health issues or discomforts such as acid reflux and sinus problems. Some people may also use them during pregnancy or to prop their feet up.


  • Support: Wedge pillows provide a lot of support and can help people with pain during pregnancy or in a particular part of their body.
  • Relief: These pillows are often used by people who need relief from a medical condition such as acid reflux or sleep apnea.


  • Unconventional shape: Wedge pillows are a very different shape than traditional pillows, and some might find them uncomfortable or challenging to get used to.

Who’s It Best For

Wedge pillows are best for people suffering from health problems that are alleviated when their heads are propped up or people who need support in a particular area.


Latex is made from the sap harvested from rubber trees. Latex pillows are soft yet supportive. They provide a blend of comfort and structure. Natural latex is hypoallergenic, though there are many synthetic or blended latex pillows on the market that aren’t.


  • Comfort: Latex pillows are very soft, making for a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Support: Despite being soft and comfortable, latex pillows also provide support and structure for those who need them.


  • Allergies: While latex is hypoallergenic, some people suffer from latex allergies. Additionally, the synthetic latex pillows on the market may not be hypoallergenic.

Who’s It Best For

Latex pillows are well-suited to anyone looking for a blend of softness and support in a pillow.

Other Types Of Pillows

Neck Pillows

A neck pillow is specifically designed to provide support to your neck. These pillows are often useful in reducing neck pain. They generally contour to the shape of your neck. These pillows come in different shapes and sizes, including U-shaped travel pillows.

Body Pillows

A body pillow is a long and narrow pillow that people sleep alongside. These pillows have many uses. First, they can provide support between someone’s legs as they sleep on their side. They can also be placed next to someone to prevent them from rolling over if they are trying to learn to sleep in a different position.

Pillows For Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes someone to periodically stop breathing while they’re sleeping. There are pillows specifically designed to position someone’s head in such a way that they can breathe better. These pillows often prop someone’s head up, opening their airway. A wedge pillow is an example of one someone might use for sleep apnea.


What are the best types of pillows?

There are many pillows on the market, and people have different needs and preferences for softness and support. Memory foam and down pillows are some of the most popular on the market.

What are hard pillows called?

For people looking for a firmer level of support in a pillow, microbead and buckwheat pillows can be a good option.

What are fluffy pillows called?

Feather and down pillows are some of the most fluffy. They are filled with the feathers and undercoat of ducks and geese, giving them a plush feel.

What pillows do 5-star hotels use?

Different hotels may use different pillows, but down pillows are the most common to find in a hotel room.

What types of pillows are good for sleeping?

There’s no one right pillow for the best night’s sleep. Down and feather pillows are a good option for people looking for a soft, plush rest. For someone looking for a more supportive pillow, memory foam and latex are both good options.

Final Thoughts

There are many types of pillows on the market that come in all degrees of softness, plushness, and support. Depending on your preferences and any physical needs you have, the right pillow will be different for you than for someone else.