Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow
A longtime favorite among our testers, this pillow has moldable, customizable filling that offers firm support for back- and side-sleepers. What it doesn’t have: the lingering chemical smell we’ve noticed in some other shredded-foam pillows.
Sleep Number PlushComfort Pillow Ultimate
This customizable down-alternative pillow is softer than shredded foam, so it’s better for stomach-sleepers who need less loft than the Nest Bedding Easy Breather provides. It’s also much less messy to adjust.
The Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow has been a consistent tester favorite for its firm, adjustable support. It’s one of the most comfortable shredded-foam pillows we’ve found, and there isn’t a persistent problem with smelly foam (which we’ve encountered with shredded-foam pillows from other companies). The Easy Breather was redesigned in 2021 with a softer, cooler cover, and the shredded foam is now encased in its own washable inner pouch (making it the first fully washable shredded-foam pillow we’ve tested). The pouch also has a zipper, so you can still add or remove shredded-foam filling to achieve your ideal loft. This can be a messy process, but it does let you achieve a precise fit. The Easy Breather comes in four sizes, including a side-sleeper version with a curved edge for your shoulder (which we haven’t yet tested). This pillow comes with a 30-day return policy and a two-year warranty, both of which are more generous than that of our other top pick.
The Sleep Number PlushComfort Pillow Ultimate is the only customizable down-alternative pillow we’ve ever tested, and it’s ideal for stomach-sleepers who have a hard time finding the right height. (“Down alternative” is a fluffy fill, usually polyester or rayon, that mimics the feel of down but costs much less.) Most pillows we’ve tried come in soft, medium, or firm densities. But the PlushComfort Pillow Ultimate includes all three options in one pillow: It comes with three sealed, removable layers of fill to help you achieve the best fit for your body shape. Most of our testers (even some back- and side-sleepers, who generally prefer shredded foam) found a comfortable height and enjoyed the cushioned support of the PlushComfort Pillow Ultimate. Sleep Number has recently changed its no-return policy to a 100-day return policy by mail, and the company also provides a one-year limited warranty on its pillows.
Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow Ultimate
This shredded-foam, down-alternative pillow has removable layers, so it’s easier to tailor to different body shapes than others we’ve tested. And it offers plenty of neck support for back- and side-sleepers.
The Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow Ultimate is one of the loftiest shredded-foam pillows we’ve tested. And there are three sealed, removable layers inside, so this pillow is easier to customize than any others we tried. It’s similar to the Sleep Number PlushComfort Pillow Ultimate, but this one uses a mix of shredded foam and down alternative, instead of just down alternative. (Don’t confuse this pillow with another shredded-foam pillow we tried, the Sleep Number ComfortFit Pillow Classic, which isn’t adjustable.) We believe the PlushComfort Pillow Ultimate is the best option for side- and back-sleepers who aren’t sure how much loft they really need. That’s because adjusting this pillow is tidier than adjusting our Easy Breather pick (which has loose clumps of foam that can be messy to mold). Like our other Sleep Number pick, the PlushComfort Pillow Ultimate, this pillow comes with a 100-day return policy by mail and includes a one-year warranty against defects.
In our years of testing, we’ve found that down has a very specific appeal. If you are partial to it, note that our stomach-sleepers in particular preferred the firm-density Garnet Hill Signature White Down Pillow, with its give and softness, to other down pillows we’ve tried over the past four years (with 11 sleep testers). This pillow is easier to shape to your shoulders and neck than other down pillows we’ve tried. In our 2022 testing, several back- and side-sleepers (who in testing have typically preferred taller pillows) also liked the firm Garnet Hill. It’s the only down-pillow pick in this guide, and it is Responsible Down Certified (RDS). Garnet Hill has a 90-day return policy (changed in 2022, from the previous lifetime guarantee) and a one-year warranty against defects.
Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
This adjustable pillow is more affordable than other shredded-foam pillows we’ve tried, and it offers firm support for back-, side-, and some stomach-sleepers. However, in some previous testing we’ve noticed a strong chemical smell.
We’ve been recommending the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow since 2016, and it was a top pick in previous versions of this guide. Over time, several staffers and readers have reported that this pillow has occasionally arrived with a notably strong chemical smell. And when we tested four Xtreme Comforts pillows in 2019, half of them smelled so bad that we couldn’t get to sleep; even after several weeks, the smell didn’t fade (the other half of the pillows were odorless). However, in the past few years, we haven’t seen complaints from readers or staffers about a chemical smell, so we think the problem may have been resolved—we’ll retest in a future update to be sure. The Xtreme Comforts pillow has a medium loft, and you can mold or adjust the filling to make it comfortable for people with various body types and sleep positions (even some of our stomach-sleepers have really liked this pillow). It typically costs half the price of the Nest Bedding Easy Breather, and the company offers a 30-day no-questions-asked return policy.