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Best Pillows for Back Sleepers in 2024

It's best to pick the right pillow for your sleeping position. Here are the best pillows for back sleepers, tested and reviewed by our sleep experts.

Caroline Igo Editor, Sleep
Caroline Igo (she/her/hers) is a wellness editor and holds Sleep Science Coach and Stress Management certificates from the Spencer Institute. She received her bachelor's degree in creative writing from Miami University and continues to further her craft in her free time. Before joining CNET, Caroline wrote for past CNN anchor, Daryn Kagan.
Expertise Sleep | Mattress Accessories | Vitamins and Supplements | Nutrition | Personal care Credentials
  • Carl R. Greer/Andrew D. Hepburn Award for Best Nonfiction Essay (Miami University, 2020)
Caroline Igo
10 min read
$139 at Amazon
Coop Eden Cool+ Pillow on a white bed
Best overall pillow for back sleepers
Coop Eden Plus Pillow
$119 at Nolah Mattress
Nolah Squishy Pillow on a white bed
Best adjustable pillow for back sleepers
Nolah Squishy Pillow
$129 at Brooklyn Bedding
Brooklyn Bedding Cooling Pillow on top of a white bed
Best memory foam pillow for back sleepers
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Memory Foam Pillow
$195 at Bear Mattress
Bear Pillow on a white bed
Best cooling pillow for back sleepers
Bear Pillow
$199 at Amazon
Purple Harmony on a white bed
Best latex pillow for back sleepers
Purple Harmony Pillow
$109 at Avocado Green
Avocado Green Pillow on a white bed.
Best organic pillow for back sleepers
Avocado Green Pillow
$119 at Brooklinen
Brooklinen Down Pillow on a white bed.
Best down pillow for back sleepers
Brooklinen Down Pillow
$65 at Casper
Casper Original Pillow on a white bed.
Best down alternative pillow for back sleepers
Casper Original Pillow
$109 at Helix
Helix Wedge pillow on a white bed.
Best wedge pillow for back sleepers
Helix Wedge Pillow
$80 at Parachute
Parachute Down Alternative Pillow on a white bed.
Also tested
Parachute Down Alternative Pillow
$165 at Saatva
Saatva Graphite Memory Foam Pillow on a white bed.
Also tested
Saatva Graphite Memory Foam Pillow
$69 at Slumber Cloud
SlumberCloud UltraCool Pillow on a white bed
Also tested
Slumber Cloud UltraCool Pillow

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Everybody has their preferred sleeping position. Although many folks like to sleep on their sides, sleeping on your back has several benefits. Sleeping on your back aligns your spine fully. Additionally, if the head of your bed is correctly elevated, it can help ease heartburn and acid reflux, and reduce the risk of wrinkles.

Good sleep requires the right pillow. Sleeping positions are an important factor to consider when buying the best pillow for your needs. For back sleepers, the best pillow should exist somewhere between options that are too lofty (high) and too flat. Ideally, you need a supportive pillow to keep your neck and spine aligned. After spending hours testing more pillows than I can fit on one bed, I rounded up the best pillows for back sleepers below.

The best overall pillow for back sleepers

The best overall pillow for back sleepers is the Coop Eden Cool Plus Pillow. This pillow is adjustable (meaning you can add and remove the filling to your liking), and it's made of high-quality, shredded memory foam that's CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold Certified. It also keeps your neck and spine supported and aligned. Another perk of this pillow: It's cool to the touch and great for hot sleepers. It even made our list of the best cooling pillows.  

How we tested the best pillow for back sleepers

A stack of pillows on the bed with a black dog sitting among them.

Human and pet tested and approved.

Caroline Igo/CNET

During my testing, I considered price, materials, feel, firmness, height and size. When I tried each pillow, I checked to see if my neck and spine were aligned to make sure the pillow was supportive enough for back sleepers.   

I'm a combination sleeper, meaning I often switch to sleeping on my side or my stomach. Although I've tested more than 25 pillows (and another 10 for this article), I thought it would be best to consult a more consistent back sleeper for a second opinion. My boyfriend, who's a strict back sleeper, helped me test and pick these pillows. We both spent a few nights sleeping and lounging on them (my dog included). The pillows that made this list are truly the best of the best for back sleepers. 

Best pillow for back sleepers

You may have heard of Coop Sleep Good's Eden Pillow, as it often tops lists of the best pillows. If you thought that pillow was cool, let me tell you, it got even better. The Coop Eden Cool Plus Pillow is the new version of the Eden Pillow. It has a similar cool-to-the-touch cover, but now it also has a heat-wicking inner liner, a gel layer and shredded gel-infused memory foam, which is great for hot sleepers. The filling is Greenguard Gold and CertiPur-US certified.

This pillow is also adjustable. It comes with extra filling, as well as an option to pull out the filling. Make it as firm or soft as you desire, as long as it isn't too high. I like that the memory foam lets you sink a little into the pillow, regardless of how much you fill it. Back sleepers will feel fully supported with this pillow. 

Sleeping positions: Back and side

Pros:

  • Cool to the touch; great for hot sleepers
  • Adjustable and hypoallergenic 
  • Removable, washable cover

Cons:

  • Not for those who don't like to sink a little into pillows 
  • On the expensive side

If you're unsure about how supportive you want or need your pillow to be, finding an adjustable pillow is the right move. The Nolah Squishy Pillow is my favorite adjustable pillow for back sleepers. It's made of cube-cut foam that's super squishy, hence the name. My head sunk into the pillow a little, but I felt supported enough to sleep through the night. 

Its cover is soft, machine washable and made of Oeko-Tex-certified bamboo-blend fibers. The best part is that one box comes with two queen-size pillows, so you get two for the price of one. Nolah even has frequent deals, so look for sales where you can get these two pillows for $20 cheaper.   

Sleeping positions: Back and side

Pros:

  • Soft and comfortable 
  • Sold as a set of two queen pillows
  • Adjustable foam filling 

Cons:

  • Some sleepers might find it too lumpy
  • Not for those who don't like to sink a little into pillows

Memory foam is great for back sleepers who have neck pain because the foam will contour to the head and neck. The Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Memory Foam Pillow in a low loft is great for these back sleepers. The pillow's memory foam is perforated, and the top is infused with copper. This natural mineral helps fight against mold, allergens and dust mites. It's around a medium firmness.

This Brooklyn Bedding pillow is also ideal for hot sleepers, as the cover is cool to the touch and can be removed and washed. Also, Brooklyn Bedding often has deals, so you can usually grab this pillow for under $99.  

Sleeping positions: Back, stomach, side and combination

Pros:

  • Cool to the touch; great for hot sleepers
  • Good for combination sleepers who switch to their back
  • Machine-washable cover

Cons:

  • On the thinner side
  • Not for back sleepers who like a loftier pillow

If you're a back sleeper who often overheats at night, the Bear Pillow is a great option. It has a cover that's cool to the touch. Both ends of the pillow have mesh, allowing for more airflow. It's also hypoallergenic and resistant to mold, bacteria and dust mites. At its core, the Bear Pillow is made with a hybrid foam, which I consider halfway between bouncy latex foam and slow-molding memory foam. I think it's right down the middle when it comes to firmness and softness -- the perfect combination for back sleepers.

Note that you can't wash the Bear Pillow cover. Spot clean only, and use a light, breathable pillowcase to feel the full effects of the cool-to-the-touch cover.

Sleeping positions: Back and side

Pros:

  • Cool to the touch; great for hot sleepers
  • Hypoallergenic 
  • Not too soft, not too firm

Cons:

  • Not machine washable
  • On the expensive side

You might have heard of Purple and its unique honeycomb-patterned grid layer. This feature, found in all products including the Purple Harmony Pillow, is flexible, supportive and slightly moldable, like memory foam. The pillow also has a Talalay latex core that's perforated for airflow. (Talalay is a natural latex sourced from rubber trees.) When you put your head down on this pillow, it feels light and slightly bouncy. My head never sank too far into the pillow.

The machine-washable mesh cover is slightly cool to the touch. This pillow should support back sleepers and also back sleepers who may switch to their sides.

Sleeping positions: Back and side

Pros:

  • Well-ventilated; great for hot sleepers
  • Bouncy feel keeps head from sinking in too far 
  • Soft, machine-washable cover

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Its unique latex grid isn't for everyone

Whether you're particular about the materials that go into your bedding, have allergies or want a pillow that's both eco-conscious and all-natural, the Avocado Green Pillow could be for you. Made with shredded GOLS-certified organic latex and GOTS-certified organic kapok and cotton, the pillow is nontoxic, holds the Made Safe seal and is certified vegan. The removable, washable cotton cover is quilted and has a zipper for easy adjustability. Remove or add filling to your liking.

This pillow feels a little firmer than the other pillows on this list, but while lying on my back, I felt properly supported. The filling also contours to your head and neck, but not as much as memory foam filling. Note that this pillow requires frequent fluffing.

Sleeping positions: Back and side

Pros:

Cons:

  • Requires frequent fluffing 
  • Not for people who want a softer pillow

A good down pillow is made of quality materials, with evenly distributed down clusters, and it should cushion the head without feeling lumpy. The Brooklinen Down Pillow checks all those boxes. It's made of 100% down clusters and feathers, and it's covered with a cotton sateen shell. You can also choose your ideal support by opting for plush, mid-plush or firm. I tested the mid-plush option, and I'd say it's the best for back sleepers (in fact, this option should suit most sleepers). It's optimal in terms of firmness and support. Stop-clean this pillow or dry-clean if needed.

Sleeping positions: Back, side, stomach and combination 

Pros:

  • Available in plush, mid-plush and firm
  • Soft and fluffy 
  • Great for all sleepers

Cons:

  • Not for people who are vegan or who have allergies 
  • Besides picking the loft, it isn't adjustable
  • Requires daily fluffing

A more affordable version of the Avocado Green Pillow or other organic, all-natural pillows is a down alternative. These pillows are hypoallergenic and made without animal products while still being supportive and fluffy.

The Casper Original Pillow is my pick for the best down alternative pillow for back sleepers because it's comfortable, versatile and doesn't require constant fluffing. This pillow is made with a 100% cotton cover and polyester filling. Like foam, the pillow adapts to your head and returns to its original shape when you get up. I felt very supported by the Casper Original.

The removable cover is washable and the entire pillow can be machine-washed, as well.  

Sleeping positions: Back and side

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Fluffy and supportive 
  • Entire pillow is machine washable 

Cons:

  • Not for people who prefer solid foam pillows 
  • A little firmer than the other pillows on this list

Wedge pillows are great for supporting your back while you're lying in bed working, scrolling on your phone or watching TV. These pillows may also help with snoring, nasal drainage, acid reflux and heartburn. You can also place a wedge pillow under your knees if you have lower back pain.

The Helix Wedge Pillow is made with a layer of gel foam over a core of poly foam. The cover is a blend of rayon and polyester fibers and can be removed and washed. I liked how the pillow propped me up and supported my head and neck. I tested this pillow while I read in bed.    

Sleeping positions: Back and side

Pros:

  • Great for working or watching TV in bed
  • Can be used when you're sick or having symptoms of acid reflux 
  • Removable, washable cover

Cons:

  • Takes up a lot of space (it's 24 by 24 by 10 inches)
  • Not for people looking for a traditional pillow

Other pillows I tested for back sleepers

Although these pillows didn't make my list, some have features worth noting. Here are my honorable mentions.

The Parachute Down Alternative Pillow is my favorite of the honorable mentions. It's made with a hypoallergenic microfill and a cotton sateen shell. I tested the Down Alternative Pillow in a medium firmness but soft, side sleeper and firm options are also available. I'd consider both the medium and firm to be good for back sleepers, and the firm should work for people who don't want to sink too far into their pillow. 

Although I loved the feel of this soft pillow, it does require frequent fluffing. As someone who isn't a big fan of down filling, I liked how this down-alternative pillow felt different. This won't be for someone who's a fan of down or down alternatives that feel like the real thing.  

This hefty pillow from Saatva is made with shredded memory foam and latex foam core. It comes with a soft knit cover that you can remove and wash. Around the core is a graphite-infused memory foam that may help you sleep cooler by pulling the heat away from your head.

I found this pillow to be much better suited for side sleepers. Because it has a high loft of almost 6 inches, back sleepers might hurt their necks on this pillow. While you do sink a little into the material, the loft is still too high. Side sleepers, on the other hand, should find this pillow comfortable. It gave me great support between my head and shoulder.   

Slumber Cloud is known for its cooling bedding. Its UltraCool Comforter made our list of the best cooling comforters. Its UltraCool Pillow is no different: cool to the touch and fluffy. Its down alternative filling is made of polyester fibers that won't retain your body heat. For your firmness preferences, you can choose between soft/medium and medium/firm. The pillow itself isn't adjustable.

For this review, I tested the medium/firm support, in consideration of back sleepers. I found this firmness level to be more medium than firm, which I was happy with. There isn't as much support there as I found with other pillows on the list. This isn't the pillow for back sleepers looking for more support.

Factors to consider when choosing a pillow for back sleepers

  • Material
    Look for pillows made with contouring foams like memory, poly and latex foam and other fill like down or down alternatives.
  • Loft
    Back sleepers should find a pillow with a loft (height) that is not too high nor too low.
  • Firmness
    Pillows that are not too firm nor too soft are perfect for back sleepers. Look for pillows that are right down the middle.
  • Price
    A nice pillow can cost you anywhere from $50 to $100. Pillows with higher-quality materials may be over $150 or $200.
  • Trial period
    You dont have to commit to a pillow. Look at the trial period to see how long you have to test it out.

Best pillows for back sleepers compared


PriceSize(s)FirmnessMaterialsMachine washable?Hypoallergenic?Trial period
Coop Eden Cool Plus Pillow $139Queen, kingAdjustableShredded memory foamCover onlyYes100 nights
Nolah Squishy Pillow $119Two queensAdjustableShredded foamCovery onlyNot specified30 days
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Memory Foam Pillow $129Queen, kingMediumMemory foamCover onlyYes30 days
Bear Pillow $195Standard, kingMediumLatex and memory "hybrid" foamNoYes30 nights
Purple Harmony Pillow $199Standard, kingMediumLatexCover onlyYes100 nights
Avocado Green Pillow $109Standard, queen and kingMediumShredded latex and cottonCover onlyYes100 days
Brooklinen Down Pillow $119Standard, kingMediumDown clusters and feathersNoNot specified365 days
Casper Original Pillow $65Standard, kingMediumPolyester fiber, down alternativeYesNot specified30 nights
Helix Wedge Pillow $109StandardMedium-firmGel memory foam and poly foamCover onlyYes100 nights

Best pillows for back sleepers FAQ

What type of pillow is best for back sleepers?

The best pillow for back sleepers is one that's right between a firm, thick pillow and a soft, thin pillow. Back sleepers should look for foam (memory, poly or latex), down or a down alternative. These pillows will help support the head and keep the neck and spine aligned during the night.

Should a back sleeper have a medium or firm pillow?

A back sleeper should find a pillow that isn't too soft or too firm. A pillow with medium firmness is best. Adjustable pillows are also great for back sleepers because you can add and remove filling to your liking. If you wake up with neck pain because you're overextending your neck, remove some filling. Add more if you feel like you aren't getting enough support. 

Is a thick or thin pillow better for sleeping on your back?

A pillow that's right between thick and thin is best if you sleep on your back. One that's too thick may hurt your neck during the night, and one that's too thin won't give you enough support. Make sure your spine is aligned when you lie down and rest your head on your pillow. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.