THE GOOD: Often soft yet supportive • tends to conform effectively to head and neck • no noise • loft adjustable for some models.
THE BAD: Initial off gassing odor possible • can be somewhat pricey • firmness excessive for some.
THE PILLOWS: Memory foam is made from polyurethane with additional chemicals added to increase density. The pillows come in different varieties including shredded and one-piece.
The following table shows how the two main types of memory foam pillows – shredded (consisting of many small, separate pieces of memory foam) and one-piece (consisting of a single piece of memory foam) – rate against the average pillow.
|Affordable||D+||C+||Prices are often $30-$75. Shredded averages about $50, 1-piece about $42. Paying a higher price does not necessarily result in higher satisfaction.|
|Durability / longevity||B-||c||Shredded tends to last longer given its ability to be fluffed. Both types will lose memory and support over time. Expect on average a 3-4 year lifespan.|
|Less (neck) pain||B||b-||18% of owners say their pillow results in less (neck) pain. About 8%, however, report increased pain, often due to excessive firmness or lack of support.|
|Support||B||b-||Most owners say their memory foam pillow provides adequate or better support and holds its shape.|
|Minimizes pressure||A||B+||Memory foam contours to the head / neck better than other pillows resulting in more equal weight distribution and above average pressure relief.|
|Moldable||B||d||"Moldable" means the pillow can be easily altered or scrunched to increase comfort / support. Shredded, unlike 1-piece, offers at least some moldability.|
|Cuddly||B+||C||A "cuddly" pillow is soft and huggable – not hard, rigid, stiff or oddly shaped.|
|Contents won't shift / clump||C+||A||A strength of one-piece memory foam pillows. Shredded has less stable contents which may shift somewhat during the night.|
|Not a heat trap||B-||C-||About 5% of owners (1 in 20) of the shredded type report excessive and bothersome heat retention vs about 10% of owners (1 in 10) for the one-piece type.|
|No initial odor / off gassing||D+||d+||8%+ of owners (1 in 13) report significant off gassing – a chemical-like odor occurring due to manufacturing & packaging. It often ends after a few days but can persist longer. Headaches, nausea, eye / throat irritation, sweating, insomnia & asthma from off gassing occur for about 2% of owners.|
|Short break in||B-||C||Break-in time is mostly similar to that of the average pillow.|
|Easy to lift, move||C||C+||Memory foam pillows, especially the shredded type, weigh at least average, usually around 3 lbs.|
|No noise||B+||b+||Some covers may make a rustling sound when compressed. The pillows themselves are silent.|
|Fewer allergies||B+||b-||The foam is antimicrobial and resistant to allergens. Dust mites reportedly do not eat the foam but still may live inside to feed on shedded skin cells.|
|Easy to maintain||C||A||Shredded memory foam pillows may require occasional fluffing. One-piece types do not.|
|Can be thoroughly cleaned||A-||C-||The one-piece type should be spot cleaned. The shredded type can usually be machine washed.|
The table below evaluates memory foam pillows with 83% or better owner satisfaction based on at least 300 owner experiences. Important: Information regarding firmness, loft and sleep position shows what tends to be true for owners. Your personal evaluation may differ.
|Snuggle- Pedic||Blue Wave Slim||Coop Home Goods||WeekEnder|
|Owner Satisfaction (sample)|
|87% (3,985)||87% (352)||86% (15,259)||83% (682)|
|shredded||1 piece||shredded||1 piece|
|med||med-firm||med to firm||med|
|low to high||low (2.6") or less||low to high||med-high (6" est)|
|Sleep Position Best Suited For|
|all||back, stomach||all||side, back|
|Person Size Best Suited For|
|small, avg, large||small, avg||small, avg, large||avg, large|
|Weight (standard / queen)|
|4 lbs fully filled||2.6 - 2 lbs||3.5 lbs fully filled||2.75 lbs|
|standard, queen, king||standard||standard, queen, king||standard, queen, king|
|Pillow Machine Washable|
|56% polyester / 43% bamboo||60% polyester / 40% bamboo||60% polyester / 40% bamboo||100% polyester|
* See the pillow loft guide and loft calculators.
Ratings are based on 20,000 actual memory foam bed pillow owner reviews and experiences that were collected using an accurate research methodology.