two gel pillows

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Back, stomach, and side sleepers alike know that the right pillow can be life changing for getting quality sleep. And if you tend to sleep hot, you probably know that a too-warm pillow can get in the way of a good slumber. Enter: gel pillows.

Gel pillows are made with foam or synthetic fibers. The materials are infused with gel to help catch and lower your body temperature.

There are gel pillows that claim to offer the cold chill that hot sleepers crave. How can you tell which one works best for you?

We will walk through our top gel pillow picks and give you some tips to help you make the right decision.

We used these criteria when making our picks.

  • Materials. Because this list is focused on the best gel pillows, every pillow features some gel element to help keep you cool all night long.
  • Variety. Whether you need something hot, cold, squishy, firm, flat, or contoured, our list covers you. We selected a wide range of pillow types with different materials to accommodate just about every sleeper.
  • Customer reviews and editorial testing. We always read reviews, so you don’t have to. But, in some instances, we personally tested products over multiple slumbers to ensure our recommendations reflect our own experience with these products, too.

Pricing guide

A good gel pillow costs different amounts. We marked each product with a price symbol.

  • $ = under $100
  • $$ = $100–$130
  • $$$ = over $130

Best gel pillow for back and side sleepers

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Cooling Neck Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Material: gel-infused memory foam
  • Who it’s best for: back and side sleepers

This cooling pillow from Tempur-Pedic is contoured — meaning the edges of the pillow are higher than the middle — and designed to help relieve neck and shoulder discomfort.

“Reviewers say it is cool, but doesn’t make them sleep too well.”

While this product is ergonomically designed to relieve tension, it’s intended for back and side sleepers who prefer to doze on denser and thicker pillows.

It is a neck cushion, so it is A standard pillow is larger than a smaller pillow., so expect some wiggle room in your pillowcase.

“We found that the cooling pillow helped us sleep longer. It took us 2 nights to get used to this shape. If you don’t currently use a pillow, it might take a little adjusting to get used to it.”

Pros

  • It is designed for back and side sleeping.
  • It was designed to relieve neck pain.
  • The cover is not dry.

Cons

  • A standard pillow is larger than a smaller pillow.
  • It is It is expensive..

Buy the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Cooling Neck Pillow online.

Best It is adjusted. gel pillow

Leesa Hybrid Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Material: polyester microfiber and ventilated gel
  • Who it’s best for: combination sleepers

Leesa designed the hybrid pillow to fit your needs as they change from one night to the next.

The double-sided pillow has a soft material on one side and a cooling gel on the other. You can adjust the height by adding a separate insert between the layers.

“Leesa’s customers write glowing testimonials, confirm the effectiveness of the cooling features and even say they’ve purchased more pillows to gift to their friends.”

Users who only have a handful of reviews offer a single star prefer lighter pillows.

Pros

  • It is possible to be custom-tailored.
  • The cover is machine washed.
  • The quilted design keeps filling.
  • Return policy for 30 days.

Cons

  • Reviewers say it is heavy and hard.

Buy the Leesa Hybrid Pillow online.

Best gel pillow for stomach sleepers

Helix Adjustable Pillow

  • Price: $
  • Material: gel microfiber
  • Who it’s best for: stomach sleepers

Helix’s pillow is also It is adjusted., but, unlike Leesa, their pillow is thinner and better suited for stomach sleepers.

The pillow is made with microfibers. This felt like a soft, fluffy down.

The pillow also has a removable insert that helps you find the right height and firmness. Helix says adding the insert is best for side, back, and combination sleepers. We found the pillow a little too flat for side sleepers, even with the insert added.

“Reviewers can’t get enough of this pillow, describing it as plush and luxurious. The pillow isn’t thick enough for side sleeping, but there are a few complaints.”

Pros

  • It is adjusted.
  • Comes in a king size.
  • A sleep trial.

Cons

  • It may be too thin for back sleepers.

Buy the Helix Adjustable Pillow online.

Best cooling gel pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Material: open cell memory foam
  • Who it’s best for: hot sleepers

Brooklyn Bedding designed a pillow that keeps the sleep soundly, without the need to flip it over.

The pillow has open cell memory foam which allows for better air flow.

The brand says the foam has gel, copper, and graphite which draw away heat and promote breathability for the ultimate cool.

This was our favorite pillow. It was easy to adjust to the dense feel and it helped us sleep quickly.

“Most reviews agree. Some reviewers think that if you cover it with a thick pillowcase it won’t feel as cool.”

Pros

  • Comes in queen and king sizes.
  • Two heights are offered.
  • 30-night trial

Cons

  • It is It is expensive..

Buy the Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow online.

Best soft gel pillow

Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Material: adaptive foam
  • Who it’s best for: combination sleepers

If you dream of sleeping on a cloud, you’ve met your match with Tuft & Needle’s Original Foam Pillow.

The pillow is heavy and best suited for side sleeping. After resting on the pillow, your head will sink into the plush interior made from a bouncy foam infused with gel and graphite.

We thought the pillow was too flat for side sleeping, but we thought it was a great companion. The cooling effect was subtle. We slept better when we used it.

Reviewers agree that this pillow is comfortable and helps improve sleep. One reviewer referred to it as magic. Others say it is too flat and wish it was thicker for support.

Pros

  • A trial lasting 100 nights.
  • Comes in standard and king sizes.

Con

  • It may be too flat for some people.

Buy the Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow online.

Watch our video review of the Tuft & Needle Pillow

Gel pillow Price Material Best for
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Cooling Neck Pillow $$$ gel-infused memory foam back and side sleepers
Leesa Hybrid Pillow $$$ polyester microfiber and ventilated gel combination sleepers
Helix Adjustable Pillow $ gel microfiber stomach sleepers
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow $$ open cell memory foam hot sleepers
Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow $$ adaptive foam combination sleepers

There are still several elements to consider when choosing which one is right for you, and all gel pillows listed here offer a cooling comfort.

Materials

What is on the inside of the gel pillows really matters. Gel pillows are made from either foam or fibers.

A lot of gel pillows are made with foam. Memory foam is a popular option because it’s known for providing pressure relief. A 2020 study also found that memory foam pillows are ideal for supporting your neck while sleeping, which can improve overall sleep quality.

The foam used in pillows can be shredded. Side and back sleepers who need a little extra support can find pillows made with solid foam to be dense and heavy.

Solid foam can provide good neck support, but shredded foam can provide better neck support.

The best pillows for stomach sleepers are filled with other fibers like gel- infused microfibers, which will feel soft and fluffy.

Loft

The height of pillows is referred to as loft. Keeping your neck and spine in proper alignment is the key to sleeping.

A 2015 study showed that pillows 10 centimeters (about 4 inches) high are ideal for back sleepers.

A separate 2015 study showed similar results for side sleepers. This study also found that pillows 10 and 14 centimeters high can help reduce muscle activity in the neck and mid-to-upper back.

Stomach sleepers should look for flatter pillows to keep their spine neutral.

These guidelines are not hard and fast. Everyone is different.

Use these tips to get started, but also look for pillows that are It is adjusted. or have sleep trials, so you’re not stuck with an uncomfortable pillow.

Firmness

Solid foam pillows are heavier, denser and better for side and back sleepers than shredded memory foam or microfibers.

Stomach sleepers prefer softer pillows.

It might take a little trial and error to find the right pillow for you.

Temperature regulation

“Product reviews suggest that gel inserts and firm cushions are the most effective at cooling consumers, even though they don’t advertise it.”

Customers who run chilly were not found to be too intense with these products.

Price

Keep in mind that shelling out money for the most It is It is expensive.. pillow doesn’t guarantee your best night’s sleep.

It is best to think of pillow shopping like dating, where you think about your own needs and preferences before hitting the add to cart.

More It is It is expensive.. pillows are often heavier or intended to support your head, neck, or back.

But, if you’d rather sink in to your pillow than lay your head on it, a plusher, less It is It is expensive.. option might be your perfect match.

Thermal environment plays a huge role in how well you sleep. Studies from 2012 and 2018 show that overheating at night can increase wakefulness, decrease slow wave and REM sleep, and reduce overall sleep quality.

It is not known how bedding can help regulate body temperature as you sleep. Many people swear by using gel pillows to keep their pillows from flipping.

People who sleep on the cool side still like gel pillows.

Gel pillows are a good option for a lot of people, but it is important to remember that they are made from different materials and pillow shapes.

How long does a gel pillow last?

Most gel pillows will last a year or two. If you wake up sore in the morning, you should replace your pillow.

Are gel foam pillows safe?

All foam pillows are prone to off-gassing, or emitting chemicals. This is due to the materials they’re made out of. If you’re concerned about off-gassing, look for ones with safety certifications, like CertiPUR-US.

Choosing a pillow with the right materials can help you sleep better.

If you are looking for a gel pillow that will cool you down, you should dig deeper into the reviews of the company. A little research can help you avoid sweating for hours.


“Megan Sauer was a great writer and would force her cousins to perform her plays in her grandparents living room. The recent Medill graduate reports on politics, travel, and health. Her work has been published in a number of magazines. When she isn’t writing about her life as if it belonged inside a book jacket, she spends her time figure skating, binge-watching The Office, and typing incoherent ideas in her phone’s Notes app.”