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Last updated: May 31, 2021
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When one thinks of a pillow in general, one thinks of feather-lined or simple foam pillows. But there is something better! There are high-tech pillows that have a special gel filling; these are called gel pillows!
Do you wake up during the night because your pillow gets too hot to sleep on? The gel pillow is a great way to make the night more comfortable. The best gel pillows are usually filled with gel or just a gel component, which is often placed on the front of the pillow. But what makes the gel cushion so special and which are the best models for you? By taking a look at their filling technology, size, firmness, cover type, and warranty, we have helped you handpick the 10 best gel pillows.
"This pillow has a filling that comprises memory foam and heat-capturing liquid gel, and is available in a standard shape and with a cutout for side sleepers.Plenty of sizes, including Neck and Travel options.6-inch mid-loft.Medium firmness."
"This pillow is not only of excellent quality, but it also comes with a lifetime warranty and up to a 180-night sleep trial, which makes it a great value.Polyester and bamboo rayon cover.Hypoallergenic properties.Standard and King sizes."
"Those sleeping on their bellies will find this pillow comfortable: it’s flatter than most pillows and has a filling of gel-infused memory foam.2.5-inch-thick profile.Medium to soft feel.Lifetime limited warranty and 30-night trial."
"This pillow is ideal for anyone who wants naturally cooling sleep support, and thanks to its medium to firm feel, it’s great for back sleepers.Low and high profiles available.Dual-action cooling.30-day sleep trial and 3-year limited warranty."
"This pillow is geared towards hot sleepers, with its unique and patented phase-change material to keep you cool during the night.Cool-to-the-touch cover.Aerated for continuous airflow.101-night sleep trial and 5-year limited."
"This is a classic and affordable shredded memory foam pillow infused with gel for cooling, which you can adjust according to your desired loft and firmness.Bamboo cover.Standard, Queen, and King sizes.100-night trial and 3-year limited warranty."
The Amore Beds Double-Gel Cooling Pillow as its name suggests has a filling that comprises memory foam infused with gel. Not too soft nor too hard, it has a medium firmness. The highlight of its cooling property is the heat-capturing liquid gel, which makes it even more sleep-worthy for hot sleepers. The mattress is available in cut-out and without cut-out shapes, in Queen, King, Travel, and Neck versions. For great cooling and moisture-wicking effect, the cover is made from bamboo velour. It is also washable and suitable for allergy sufferers. Therefore, this pillow meets the highest standards of comfort and hygiene.
Unlike the Amore Beds Bamboo Charcoal Luxury Pillow, this is a gel memory foam pillow. The name and shape of this pillow already reveal that great emphasis is placed on cooling and supporting the back and neck. Due to the special cut-out shape and the memory foam, the pillow is suitable for both back and side sleepers. The contour adapts to the body and you are well supported in every position.
What are its best features?
What we like most are the shape and materials used in making the pillow. The material ensures that the weight is distributed over the entire surface. This relieves the back of the head when you lie on the pillow. The pillow is based on the proven properties of neck support pillows and enhances them with gel technology.
What could be improved?
The pillows could be cheaper. Some of the versions cost upwards of $120. However, they are designed for different types of needs and every budget. The neck and travel models cost a little bit over $30. But if you want a mattress pillow, that's where it gets really expensive as they are luxury pillows.
The product is a hypoallergenic neck support pillow that is filled with gel memory foam. It is covered in polyester and bamboo rayon. The greatest upside is that it comes with a lifetime warranty and up to 180-night sleep trial.
This pillow is ideal for people with back, neck, and shoulder pains. It adapts to the shape of the body very well and supports your cervical spine. At the same time, it should ensure that the sleeper adopts an orthopedically correct posture while sleeping. The pillow reacts quickly to a change in the lying position. It can adapt directly to pressure. The manufacturer points out that the pillow can help alleviate or reduce back pain, tension, and other complaints. According to the manufacturer, it can even prevent complaints such as neck pain.
What makes it stand out?
The neck support pillow is provided with special air channels through which the pillow should be particularly breathable. In addition, we liked that the special pillow is hypoallergenic. If you want to take the pillow with you on a trip, you can minimize its volume as it is adjustable. As a result, the pillow takes up less space in the travel bag or suitcase.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The price seems a bit high for a pillow. It also may shift if you change your sleeping position during the night.
It’s said about 7% of Americans sleep on their stomach. Health experts say it is the unhealthiest position to sleep in because it’s really hard to get neutral head, neck and spinal alignment when you’re sleeping on your stomach. However, those committed to stomach sleeping can take solace in the Belly Sleeper Pillow. It’s flatter than most pillows and has a filling of gel-infused memory foam. It’s also covered in bamboo and polyester fabrics.
This pillow is made specifically for stomach sleepers. As it’s adjustable, there’s a zipper on the side that lets you access the filling. When your head is pressed against the pillow, you will not feel any lump. It’s more supportive than lumpy; the polyester fibers help keep it together and give it a soft feel, which is why we think it will be great for Belly sleepers.
Why is it special?
We like that it has an adjustable design and a super soft cover made from bamboo and polyester. It's very durable, breathable, and feels very soft. The pillow feels great on the side of your face even with the pillowcase over it.
What are the flaws?
Stomach sleepers who want something softer or flatter may want to pull out some of the filling. When left as it is, it is supportive but it's not going to go flat as you want.
This pillow is naturally antimicrobial. It is resistant to allergens, bacteria, mold, and dust mites. It is topped off with a luxury cover made from a blend of cotton and polyester knit fabric. It feels durable, soft and can be removed for machine washing. Just make sure to use a gentle setting. The cover material feels breathable, and this feature should complement the gel memory foam pillow insert.
Thanks to its open-cell design, this pillow is ideal for anyone who wants naturally cooling sleep support. According to Brooklyn Bedding, it’s suitable for side, back, and stomach sleepers. The ventilation holes allow air to circulate freely. The pillow is about six inches tall but when you rest your head on it, the foam compresses down to a comfortable height. It has a slow response, and this is what we expect from a gel memory pillow like this one.
What makes it stand out?
One nice feature that we like is the rounded edges. This design gives it that traditional look of most down and feather pillows. But technically, you also benefit from the breathability, medium firmness, and hypoallergenic design.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
With a thickness of around 6 inches, we think the pillow may be too thick for stomach sleepers. However, since it is adjustable, you can simply reduce the filling to your needs.
Made of ActiveDough foam with gel infusion, the pillow is responsive and feels like latex with a comforting memory foam feel. It has size variants in King and Queen with a loft of approximately six inches. If you don’t want to use a neck support pillow, you can opt for the flatter variant. This does not have any bulge on the sides but offers similarly good support for the neck. The cover is made of Tencel which has a great cooling property and regulates temperature in all seasons.
This pillow is a typical neck support pillow with a higher curvature in which the neck is perfectly placed. The numerous holes are noticeable. These are used for ventilation and ensure that the pillow is breathable. The holes pull themselves through the gel surface so that a high exchange of air is guaranteed. So if you suffer from heavy sweating while sleeping, this model is recommended for you.
Why are we impressed?
Because of the ventilation provided by the holes, the pillow becomes an unsuitable habitat for mites. So this gel pillow is suitable for allergy sufferers. The perforation promotes ventilation, and you benefit from this pleasant feeling, especially in summer.
What negatives must you be aware of?
This is not an adjustable pillow. But we think it's perfectly sized and shaped for different types of sleepers. You have two size options to choose from.
This pillow has a core made of gel memory foam and the cover is made of 88 percent polyester and 12 percent spandex. The pillow is adjustable and available in two sizes; that is, King and Queen, just like the PlushBeds. The pillow has removable foam cubes that are viscoelastic. They adjust to the contours of the neck and head.
The pillow is designed for all types of individual sleepers. The gel memory foam cubes are designed to help you sleep cool, helping you avoid the build-up of heat which most traditional viscose foams are known for. It prevents users from overheating.
What stands out?
The Cool-Knit cover is ergonomic for sleepers. This trademarked technology makes the pillow to be extra breathable. It ensures optimized ventilation, letting air pass through, circulate, and exit. We also like the spandex-composed cover. It gives the pillows some stretchiness. The pillow is easy to remove and easy to wash. Finally, the memory foam cube inner core lets the pillow adjust to your head and neck contours.
What cons did we manage to find?
The product emits some off-gassing smell, especially during the first few hours of unpacking it. This is a general downside of memory foam, but we think the odor should go down in time.
The Gel Memory Foam pillow from GhostBed has been around for a while. It’s obtainable in just one size: 16 inches wide, 23 inches long, and six inches tall. The outer fabric is removable and there’s a zipper. The cover is a proprietary one from Ghost Beds which they call the Ghost Ice Fabric. It adds a moisture-wicking performance to it. It’s 53 percent polyethylene and 47 percent polyester.
It’s geared towards hot sleepers, people who want a solid, pressure-relieving foam pillow but are worried about sleeping hot and not having a lot of breathability. There are so many factors and components built into this pillow to help with breathability that we don’t think it’s going to be an issue for you.
What do we love it for?
The cover material has a moisture-wicking cool feeling. The other side is more of just polyester. You can choose which side feels best for you. We also like that you can remove the cover with a zipper up at the top and machine wash it.
What were we disappointed with?
This pillow is not recommended for machine drying. You'll have to let it line-dry because you don't want it to go through high heat because of the gel content.
The Sweet Night pillow has a cover made of rayon derived from bamboo and has a filling of shredded memory foam. The pillow comes with a little bag where you can take out and store extra memory foam from the inside. This pillow comes with a removable case. It has zippers on one side and the case itself is soft. The stuffing is 10% shredded gel memory foam and 90% comfort foam.
It’s for users who have a lot of allergies and need a hypoallergenic pillow. It is suitable for combination sleepers. You can remove some of the shredded foam to get the precise height that you want. The pillow has shredded gel memory foam on the inside and as you can tell, it is squishy and fluffy.
Why are we impressed?
What is special about this pillow is that it is adjustable to the thickness you want. You can make it flatter or fluffy like the way it is designed. All you have to do is remove the shredded foam to get the height that you want.
What negatives must you be aware of?
We found nothing wrong with this pillow. It's one of the least expensive gel memory foams we came across. The only downside is the availability. It sells out too often and you may not find the perfect size for you.
The Infinity Pro from Molecule is a pillow made of shredded foam certified by CERTIPUR US. The cover is made of two polyester and polyethylene. It is adjustable and you have two size options to pick from; that is, standard and king. The foam is designed with open cells for ventilation, ensuring you can sleep cool.
The Molecule Infinity PRO pillow is designed for all types of sleepers. The pillow is guaranteed not to lose shape, regardless of how hard you twist, fold, and squeeze it.
What stands out?
We like that the pillow is Centipur US certified; that is, it doesn't contain ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, TCEP flame retardants, lead, mercury, or heavy metals.
What cons did we manage to find?
Because the pillow comes vacuum-sealed in a box, there's an initial off-gassing odor that is let off. Also, there's no Queen size neither is there any mention of a warranty.
Made by Allswell, this pillow has a filling with a dual design of memory foam and cooling gel. The cover is a knit fabric that is certified by OEKO-Tex. It is available in standard size and it has medium firmness. The cover can be removed using a zipper. It can be washed in a washer.
This is a neck pillow that should adapt to the shoulder and head. It can be used to prevent joint tension and muscle tension. The pillow can be used in bed or on the sofa or taken with you when traveling.
What makes it special?
We like that the cover is removable and washable. It is easy to clean as you can wash it in the washing machine. We don't recommend tumble drying the pillow, however, especially in high heat. The special thing about this neck support pillow is its ergonomic shape. The pillow can support the neck and also serve as a headrest. They can also relieve pressure on the shoulders, neck, and back.
What cons did we find?
The pillow is only available in a standard Queen size of 24 by 16 inches. The cover is also made in China, however, the knit fabric cover is certified by OEKO-Tex.
Things to Consider
Those who want to take benefits of the cooling properties of their pillow can choose the gel memory foam pillows. However, there is more to choosing a gel pillow than checking out the material. In this section, we’ll talk to you more about their benefits and show you how to choose one.
What are the benefits of a gel pillow?
The gel cushion is a real all-round pillow. It not only increases sleeping comfort but also has other properties, which is why it is worth buying. In the following, you can see a small list of how this pillow also has a positive effect on your sleep.
It relieves the neck
The gel pillow is fundamentally different due to its material. It’s more stable and it supports the head better. The pillow also has a shape in which special attention is paid to the neck. The neck muscles can finally relax during night sleep.
It adapts to the body shape
The gel pillow is wonderfully suited to support the neck and spine. It can also be used flexibly. If you often change your sleeping position during the night, the modern material is an optimal solution. Regardless of whether you are on your side or your back, the gel always adapts to your current position.
It’s suitable for allergy sufferers
Down or feathers offer an ideal habitat for mites or other small animals. During the night you will lose skin flakes and sweat. These collect in the pillow and provide an excellent breeding ground for the mites. This is a real nightmare for those who are allergic to house dust. The gel cushion is completely self-contained. There are no open spaces in which the mites can get themselves in and multiply. In addition, the gel cushions are breathable and do not absorb sweat. There are hardly any suitable living opportunities for mites here.
Another positive effect, especially in summer, is the cooling effect. The gel does not store the heat but dissipates it. Manufacturers can influence this effect even further by arranging the gel pads. During the winter the pillow is not too cold either. It feels more as if the pillow was briefly aired outdoors and is, therefore, a little cooler.
In some areas of life, animal welfare is being pushed to the fore. When making pillows, however, most people are not even aware that animal products are used here. If you do not want to use down or feathers in the pillow, the gel is a much better alternative. No animal products are used in them.
Features to consider before you buy a pillow
Finding the right gel pillow can be difficult with so many products to choose from. You should therefore pay attention to a few important points before choosing a pillow.
Filling and cover materials
Sleeping directly on the pillow is not recommended. The gel surface is not very pleasant for sleeping directly on. A cover however protects the pillow and extends its lifespan. However, since the pillow is much smaller, you cannot easily use an ordinary cover that is too big and will slip during the night.
If you do not want to use the supplied cover, there are alternative offers. However, you should make sure that these are suitable for the smaller size of a gel pillow.
The filling material is usually gel and memory foam or memory foam infused with gel.
Another advantage of the gel pillow is the cooling effect. In the summer months, in particular, many people sleep hot and sweat at night. This cannot happen with gel pillows. They do not store the heat but dissipate it. This positive property can be influenced even further by the arrangement of the gel pads.
However, this does not mean that the user of the gel pillow will get frostbite on the head in winter.
Even during the winter months, the gel cushion is not too cold. It feels a little cooler than when it has just been aired, which is not perceived as uncomfortable.
The models presented here are very different from ordinary pillows, being usually significantly smaller in comparison. It is therefore perceived as less “cuddly”, but the more compact shape is much better for the neck.
When buying, you should therefore look carefully at how big the pillow should be. This depends on your preferences and the sleeping position. If you sleep on your side, height is particularly important. Here you can use a pillow with a height of 15 centimeters. This ensures sufficient support for your head.
The shape can also differ in detail. This mainly affects the curvature. Depending on your feelings, you can prefer models that have a larger or smaller curvature and support the neck at this point.
As usual, you have a soft, medium, hard, and adjustable choice to make when it comes to the firmness of your pillow. We don’t recommend hard pillows. The Belly Sleeper Pillow is ideal for those who want a medium or soft pillow.
Most experts say that the loft or height of your pillow should keep your head elevated to around four inches off the bed. This allows your neck and back to sleep straight. There’s no exact science to make this happen, however. Much of it depends on the sleepers’ shoulders, head size, and how much you sink into your mattress.
Adjustability with luxury and gel pillows refers to the fact you can unzip the pillow and remove or add fillings to adapt to your needs. An adjustable pillow has to have a removable pillow.
Sleep trial and warranty
Many pillows such as the Molecule Infinity PRO come with night trials of around 30 to 180 days. This means you can return the pillow if you don’t like it during that timeframe.
The warranty can range from 1 to 10 years. However, there are models which come with a lifetime warranty. These are the most advisable to buy.
Consider your sleeping position
Finding the right gel cushion is not that easy as there are so many different models. Therefore, there are a few points to pay attention to before choosing a gel pillow. Only a suitable gel cushion tailored to the needs of the user brings noticeable relief.
It is therefore important that you always consider your sleeping position when making a purchase.
Here the pillow should be flat and soft so that the cervical vertebra is not overstretched. Sufficient head support should also be provided. It’s better not to sleep here without a pillow. The Belly Sleeper Pillow is the most suitable here.
The pillow should fill the entire area between head and shoulder so that the neck is not overstretched on one side. Do not choose a model that is too flat or too high, it is best to choose a narrow and rectangular gel cushion with a small width of 20 × 26 or 20 × 30 inches.
In this case, the gel pillow must support the space between the head and the back. It should be relatively flat, but it can also be a little higher if you have a rounded back.
Sometimes you hear that people who sleep on their stomach shouldn’t use gel pillows? This is not entirely true and only applies if the stomach sleeper chooses a gel pillow that is too high. Belly sleepers need a flat gel pillow.
Except the manufacturer says otherwise, you shouldn’t wash your gel pillow in the washer or you’ll lose the cooling properties. For reasons of hygiene, gel cushions should generally only be used in conjunction with a cover. This can then be changed and washed regularly. As a result, the gel cushion itself does not require any special care. However, if the cushion should be used without a cover, it can be wiped with a damp cloth to remove sweat residue.
That they have cooling effects don’t mean this cooling is so significant to increase your feeling of cold in winter. The good thing about these pillows is they regulate the temperature.
Rated 9.9 out of 10, our Editor’s Choice is the Amore Beds Double-Gel Cooling Pillow. As its name suggests, this has a filling that comprises memory foam infused with gel. Not too soft nor too hard, it has a medium firmness. It is therefore our choice of the overall best gel pillow.
With a rating of 9.7/10, the Puffy Pillow has the Best Value among our picks. This is covered in polyester and bamboo rayon. It comes with a lifetime warranty and up to a 180-night sleep trial.
Best for stomach sleepers, the Belly Sleeper Pillow, also rated 9.7, is for those committed to stomach sleeping. It’s flatter than most pillows and has a filling of gel-infused memory foam.