Do you love the conforming feel of memory foam but struggle with its warmth? Your pillow is the foundation for your head and neck, so it’s important to find that perfect balance of comfort and support with a touch of cooling.
Gel-infused pillows are a great solution to overheating and have a lot of offer when it comes to pressure relief, cushioning, and breathability too. If you’re shopping for a new pillow but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.
We put together our top 6 picks for the highest-rated gel pillow list to help make your decision a little easier.
6 Top Rated Gel Pillows Review
- Lagoon The Otter Pillow – Editor’s Choice
- Coop Sleep Goods Eden Pillow – Best Gel Pillow for Stomach Sleepers
- Tempur-Pedic Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling – Best Gel Memory Foam Pillow
- Brooklyn Bedding Cooling Memory Foam – Best Value Gel Pillow
- Marlow Pillow – Best Gel Pillow for Back Sleepers
- Purple Harmony Pillow – Best Gel Pillow for Combination Sleepers
Sleep Advisor’s Testing Methodology
At Sleep Advisor, our product reviews are based on findings from in-person tests that allow us to have a genuine understanding of how the mattress feels and performs.
For this roundup, we prioritized features that are especially important for gel pillows. We paid special attention to components such as pillow thickness, support elements, material, and cooling features.
Lagoon Otter Pillow
A gel-infused memory foam pillow to prevent heat retention.
Sleep Advisor Score
4.80 / 5
Our editor’s choice is the Lagoon Otter pillow because it’s designed to provide cooling, comfort, and support in all sleeping positions. This pillow is filled with gel-infused shredded memory foam that helps with temperature regulation by pulling your body heat away from the pillow’s surface. A bamboo and polyester blend also helps promote cooling by preventing overheating.
The memory foam fill is CertiPUR-US® certified, which means it has no heavy metals, chemicals, or other harmful materials. In addition, the cover is hypoallergenic, making this Lagoon pillow a good choice for people with allergies.
You should also keep in mind the pillow is fully adjustable, so it should fit all body shapes and sleeping positions. Simply unzip the liner and remove some of the fill to customize the pillow’s height and firmness.
Best Gel Pillow for Stomach Sleepers
Coop Eden Pillow
A gel-infused memory foam pillow with a hypoallergenic design
Sleep Advisor Score
4.60 / 5
The Eden pillow by Coop Sleep Goods is a good choice for stomach sleepers who prefer a softer pillow with a lower loft. Although it has a softer feel, the design provides sufficient support to keep your neck aligned with the rest of your body. In addition, the pillow comes with an extra ½-pound bag of fill should you want to make it firmer or taller.
Filled with a combination of gel-infused memory foam and microfiber, this pillow has a similar feel to down, but it’s cooler thanks to the gel infusions. The mesh tape gusset also allows an even fill distribution so that fibers don’t clump around your head and neck.
For even more of a cooling effect, the pillowcase is made from a breathable Lulltra™ fabric, which uses a blend of bamboo-derived viscose rayon and polyester. You can wash it in cold water using a delicate cycle, but avoid using any bleach or fabric softener.
Best Gel Memory Foam Pillow
TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillow
A medium-feel pillow for all sleeper types.
Sleep Advisor Score
4.30 / 5
This Tempur-Pedic pillow is one of the more unique cooling pillows on this list as it features the brand’s proprietary TEMPUR® materials, along with two layers of TEMPUR-Breeze® gel. This combination of proprietary materials promotes continuous airflow and cooling in all sleeping positions.
The construction starts with a removable cover made from premium cotton. The zipper allows easy access to the inner layers while also making it easy to remove the cover for washing. You also shouldn’t have to worry about which side of the pillow is the cool one – both sides of the Cloud Breeze contain the TEMPUR-Breeze™ gel layer. For contouring around the head and neck, this pillow also features a piece of medium-firm TEMPUR® Material which creates a supportive core.
Although Tempur-Pedic doesn’t offer a trial period for this pillow, sleepers can count on a 5-year warranty that protects you against faulty materials and manufacturing.
Best Value Gel Pillow
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Pillow
A pillow with dual-action cooling for hot sleepers.
Sleep Advisor Score
4.60 / 5
Brooklyn Bedding’s Cooling Memory Foam pillow offers a great value for the price with its dual-action cooling and high-quality materials. This dual-action technology combines gel infusions with pin core ventilation to increase airflow while drawing the heat away from your neck and head.
Apart from providing excellent cooling, the copper-graphite infusions have antimicrobial benefits. As a result, the memory foam in this pillow should be resistant to allergens, dust mites, mold, and bacteria, making it a good option for people with allergies.
In addition, Brooklyn Bedding offers two heights, so you can choose between a low and high loft depending on your preferred sleeping position. Side sleepers should like the higher loft, while back sleepers can fare well with both the high and low loft. Stomach sleepers should find the lower loft most comfortable.
Best Gel Pillow for Back Sleepers
The Marlow is a cooling pillow that provides the right combination of pressure relief and support for back sleepers. With an adjustable firmness level, you can also customize this pillow for other sleeping positions just as well. There are two zippers that make it easy to access the fill if you want to add or remove some based on your comfort preferences.
The memory foam in this pillow is infused with gel to allow maximum cooling regardless of the outside temperature. Gel helps draw the heat away from your body, letting it escape through the zipper gussets and breathable sateen shell.
Apart from the memory foam core, the Marlow also features microfiber that helps make the pillow more supportive. This blend of materials is antimicrobial and should help with neck pain. The pillow comes in two sizes, plus it’s 100 percent allergy-friendly and vegan.
Best Gel Pillow for Combination Sleepers
Combination sleepers need a pillow that can easily adapt while switching between various sleeping positions. These sleepers also need a pillow that provides continuous support without pressure build-up, even if you switch positions throughout the night. The Purple Harmony’s Talalay latex core helps provide support and pressure relief whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. Latex is also a naturally bouncy, responsive material which helps the pillow move with you as you change positions.
As for its cooling abilities, a temperature-neutral, moisture-wicking mesh cover promotes continuous airflow. The Talalay latex core also has excellent cooling properties because it prevents heat build-up around your head and neck. This combination of cooling materials should keep you comfortable throughout the night, so you never have to flip the pillow.
The Purple Harmony’s durable latex material also helps ensure it doesn’t fall flat. This means the pillow should retain its shape while adapting to your head and neck even if you change positions, toss, and turn.
Gel Pillow Buying Guide
Gel pillows can be individual layers of soft, jelly-like material, infused memory foam, or one single top layer on one or both sides underneath the cover. Memory foam has a reputation for retaining heat, so this soft material is often used to create a cooler sleeping surface that minimizes disruptions throughout the night. Those with allergies may prefer gel because it is often hypoallergenic and resistant to allergens.
Another benefit of this type of material is that it is designed to conform to the shape of the head and neck, offering pressure relief and comfort. Unlike some other materials, it is more durable and resilient, built to withhold its shape over time. Many people enjoy the soft, comforting feel of sleeping on this type of cushioning fill.
Cool Pillow Types
There are many different types of gel pillows to choose from. Some have layers on the surface so you can experience a cooling touch for sleep. Others have layers built into the interior alongside other types of material.
The warming nature of memory-based foam makes this one of the more common types to have gel materials paired with. This can come as swirls, beads, or a single piece of material amid shredded foam or a single solid piece.
Gel Infused Memory Foam
Memory foam may have layers infused with gel, either just on the surface or throughout. Sometimes, these can be removed and other times they cannot. Exterior layers are designed to create a pillow that is cool to the touch while interior layers provide an overall cooling experience.
Shredded foam is a foam that has been separated into many tiny pieces. This creates an adjustable loft so sleepers can find their preferred pillow height based on their unique shape and size. Shredded foam is also known for being more breathable, which can also help with cooling.
Fiber fill refers to individual pieces of memory foam, polyfoam, or down alternative material that have been separated to create a fluffy and adjustable pillow. These pieces are often infused with gel swirls or beads to offer more cushioning and temperature regulation.
Many memory foam pillows are one solid piece of foam that conforms to the shape of the head and neck. Individual layers are when the material is separated into strips or is shredded for a more traditional feel. This also enables sleepers to adjust the loft and find the optimal height for their needs.
Who May Need This Product?
While many people love the cooling comfort of gel pillows, there are some that are particularly fond of this jelly-like material. People who love memory foam but tend to overheat, those who sleep on their sides, allergy sufferers, and pregnant women are all drawn to this type of material.
People Who Sleep Warm
There’s nothing worse than resting your head on a comfy surface only to find your face on fire an hour or two later. Overheating is a serious problem many sleepers face, and is especially common when sleeping on memory foam. Thankfully, many companies have addressed this issue by infusing products with cooling materials.
People Who Sleep Warm
Side sleepers face unique needs when it comes to keeping the head and neck aligned with the spine. A surface that is too high or too low can cause problems, and many find excess pressure can develop on the side of the face and neck. A conforming pillow with soft materials is one way to address these issues.
Latex, down, and other materials may offer comfort and support, but they can also bring other unwanted elements for those with allergies. Many gel pillows are built to be hypoallergenic, resistant to dust mites, mildew, and mold. This may help to address the issues that many individuals with allergies face.
Pregnant women experience unique needs when it comes to sleep. Side sleeping is recommended during pregnancy and many expectant mothers are prone to overheating. Gel pillows can be used under the head, between the legs, or underneath the growing belly to provide cooling comfort and support.
Gel Pillow Buying Considerations
Before shopping for any sleep product, it’s important to consider what your individual sleep needs and preferences are. With so many options to choose from, it can become overwhelming to navigate, so it helps to have some knowledge about what to look for before you begin.
Your sleep position is one of the key factors when it comes to selecting a pillow. Back and stomach sleepers should look for a lower loft that can support the head and neck while keeping the spine in optimal alignment.
Side sleepers often need something slightly thicker. This position can leave a lot of space between the head and the mattress, so it’s important to have a higher loft to fill in this extra room. Side sleepers also are more prone to experiencing excess pressure on the head and shoulders, so a conforming pillow is best.
Type of Cover
The cover is the first thing that comes in contact with your face, so choosing a soft and hypoallergenic material is key. Look for breathable, cooling materials that allow for airflow. Having a cover that can be removed for machine washing and adjustability is also desirable.
Distribution of Fill
Many pillows made from memory foam have a single, solid piece, but others have shredded foam or fiber fill. For conforming pressure relief, one solid piece works well but has the disadvantage of not offering an adjustable loft. Shredded fibers allow for adjustability and airflow throughout.
Similar to standard models, gel pillows come in many shapes and sizes. Knowing which to choose will depend on your sleep position and needs. Standard shapes are flat and even, while curved shapes cater to those with aches and pains.
- Traditional: Many people are looking for a traditional shape that is flat and even. This is a standard pillow shape that caters to most sleepers, but can also be infused with gel for cooling and contouring support. Traditional models come in different sizes like Standard, Queen, and King.
- Curved: Curved designs are also known as orthopedic pillows and feature two curved sides with a dip in the middle. This shape is designed to accommodate the natural curves of the head and neck. Many people who struggle with aches and pains benefit from an orthopedic shape.
- Convoluted: For greater breathability, convoluted pillows have an egg-crate design that allows air to flow freely throughout. For those who are very prone to overheat, this design enhances the benefits of cooling gel. Some feature tiny pinholes that allow trapped heat to escape.
Some pillows feature cooling gel on one side and regular memory foam or other material on the other side. This allows users to select the side based on the feel and desired temperature.
These pillows come in many different shapes and sizes to accommodate the various needs of sleepers.
Just like with other bedding, the price can vary widely depending on the materials used, the fill, size, and other features. For a Standard size, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 for basic features up to $60 or more for memory foam. Shopping around is the best way to find all of the features you are looking for to meet your budget.
Firmness is another factor to consider. Similar to mattresses, some people prefer a firmer sleep surface while others prefer soft. Those with aches and pains may benefit from a firmer choice to keep the head and neck in alignment, preventing a common source of pain.
Having a warranty is a great feature since it brings peace of mind that if something goes wrong with your product, you can have it repaired or replaced free of charge. Some companies offer this feature, so be sure to look for this in the product listing or speak to a customer service representative if you’re not sure.
The sleep trial is a period of time that companies allow customers to test out their products. During this period of allotted time, if you are not completely satisfied with your experience, you have the option to return the product for a full refund.
Most pillows have a period of adjustment when your body has to get used to the feel of sleeping on a new surface. Memory foam starts out feeling firm but softens over time, so it could take a couple of weeks before it begins to feel soft and conforming.
Gel Filled Pillow: Pros and Potential Cons
Different materials work for different people, and not everyone will love the jelly-like feel of a gel. Testing out different pillows is one way to determine which type you prefer, or you can take advantage of the sleep trials that many companies offer.
Falling Asleep Quickly
If you struggle to fall asleep or toss and turn throughout the night because you’re too hot, the addition of cooling gel could be a solution. Research has pointed to the fact that our bodies prefer being cool at night and that this could help promote better rest. A cooling pillow may be one way to promote better sleep.
For many people, their pillow is the key to a better night’s rest. Too hard, too soft, too hot, too cold, too high, or too low. These are just some of the many complaints people have when they lay their heads down at night. Finding the right products may significantly improve the quality of your sleep.
If you are sleeping on a surface that is too soft or not the right height for your frame, this could cause your head and neck to be in poor alignment with your spine. This is one of the most common sources of morning aches and pains. You need to find a pillow that supports your neck properly and relieves the pain.
Off Gasing Smell
Memory foam is one of several materials that is known to give off that “new product” smell. This is due to some of the chemicals used in manufacturing and shipping. While this odor is unpleasant, it should dissipate quickly with proper airing out and ventilation.
Durability is important if you want your product to last for a long period of time. Lower end materials like inexpensive polyester wear out more quickly and should be replaced every 6 months. Higher quality memory foam and gel-based materials may last longer with proper care.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gel Pillows
When should I replace my gel pillow?
Depending on the type of materials, it may last for several years. Many companies have estimated time frames on how often their products should last, but it also comes down to preference. If you notice that your pillow is losing shape and no longer supportive, it’s good to replace it.
What can customer ratings indicate?
If you’re not entirely sure about a product, check out the customer ratings and reviews. These can give you a good idea of whether a product meets its claims. Customers often share how a product feels, durability, and other feedback that may help you in making your decision.
Is an additional pillowcase necessary?
Some companies include a pillowcase, especially if the product comes in a specialty size. It’s always a good idea to have a couple of extras as back-ups in case one is dirty and needs to be washed. Always use a pillowcase to protect your pillow from the oils on your skin and to reduce potential allergens.
Change your pillow, change your life. Okay, maybe it won’t change your life, but it could significantly improve the quality of your sleep at night. Nobody wants to toss and turn all night or lay their head on an old, worn-out surface. If you struggle with overheating or wake with aches and pains, a gel pillow may help.
With so many options to choose from, it can be a little daunting. We’ve taken the guesswork out by giving some of the top-rated pillow choices on the market with some great features. If you’re still not sure, check out some of the customer reviews and don’t forget to leave one for others once you’ve found your new pillow.
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As Sleep Advisor’s Performance Editor, Melanie writes and edits content throughout the site to ensure it’s accurate, engaging, and up-to-date.