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Many people prefer sleeping with a pillow that contains cooling gel to maintain a comfortable temperature during the night. Just like the name suggests, gel pillows are pillows made with gel-infused memory foam or series of gel layers just below the surface. However, just because a pillow may be made with gel, it does not guarantee that it sleeps cool. This is why it’s so important for shoppers to try out different pillow models so they can be sure that the one they choose works well for them.
Gel pillows are available in a variety of different types, each one with its own unique characteristics. For example, pillows containing shredded, gel-infused foam are often fully adjustable to the thickness of your choice. Plus, these are quite moldable, so they’re perfect for people who love snuggling with their pillow. A pillow made with a solid piece of gel-infused foam conforms to a sleeper’s body quite easily, but unlike shredded foam, it has great shape retention for the most part.
We’ve compiled this guide to help you understand the distinctions among the various options available today to gel pillow shoppers. Below we’ve listed our picks for the best cool gel pillows currently on the market. Our selections are the result of verified user experiences and extensive research.
The Best Cool Gel Pillows
- Coop Home Goods: the best gel-infused shredded memory foam pillow
- Malouf: the coolest gel pillow
- Leesa: the most versatile cool gel pillow
- PharMeDoc: the best reversible cool gel pillow
- Serta: the best gel pillow for side sleepers
- Perfect Cloud: the softest gel pillow
- Classic Brands: the most breathable memory foam gel pillow
- ViscoSoft: the best gel pillow for neck support
- LinenSpa: the best budget-friendly option
Table of Contents
The Best Gel Pillows Comparison Table
- Gel-infused memory foam mixed with a microfiber fill blend
- Contains heat-capturing gel beads
- Flippable with dual firmness
- Reversible cool/warm design
- Ample loft provides healthy spinal alignment
- Scientifically designed with a quilted gel layer
- Open-cell memory foam technology promotes airflow
- Made with 2 lbs. of cooling wave-flow gel
- Made with gel memory foam outer encasement
The Best Gel Pillows Reviews
Coop Home Goods: The Best Gel-Infused Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
Among our top choices is the Eden pillow by Coop Home Goods. It contains gel-infused shredded memory foam mixed with a microfiber fill blend. The cover is made of a soft, breathable bamboo rayon fabric, making the Eden exceptionally cool compared to many other cool gel pillows.
The pillow closely conforms to your body to keep the spine aligned and relieve aches and pains, which commonly affect the neck and shoulders. The Eden is perfect for side sleepers and those suffering from chronic discomfort.
Another great feature of the Eden is that the loft can be easily adjusted. Owners can add or remove any amount of filling to change the thickness and firmness of the pillow and find a loft that is to their liking. People in all different weight categories can sleep comfortably after adjusting their pillow.
The product is made in the USA and contains no toxic chemicals. It has received CertiPUR-US plus GREENGUARD Gold certification, which means it has undergone strict third-party testing for quality and safety. The Eden is very durable and easy to keep clean due to the removable polyester liner storing the foam. It’s also a great choice for those suffering from allergies because it’s hypoallergenic as well as dust mite resistant.
The Eden cool gel pillow has a lower price point than the average shredded foam pillow. Coop Home Goods offers free shipping within the U.S., as well as a 100-night sleep trial plus a 5-year warranty. Both of these are longer than what many other manufacturers offer.
Malouf: The Coolest Gel Pillow
Malouf Fine Linen’s Z collection features more than 60 luxurious pillows selling at relatively high price points, including their Gelled Microfiber pillow. The exclusive gel dough formulation combines heat-capturing gel beads with pressure-relieving memory foam to provide a comfortable yet supportive pillow surface that won’t overheat.
Gel dough sleeve encases the memory foam to offer a consistent feel. Removable cover is made of Tencel fabric for maintaining an optimum sleeping temperature. This gel memory foam pillow may cost more, but it sleeps much cooler than most other models.
The filling is made in clusters for improved foldability and customized comfort. While your head may sink into the pillow, it does provide optimum support for people who tend to suffer from neck and/or shoulder pain. The Gelled Microfiber pillow holds its shape and therefore doesn’t need to be constantly fluffed up. It comes in Queen and King sizes plus a Full Body pillow as well, which is highly suitable for pregnant women.
This gel pillow comes with a 3-year warranty, and Malouf offers free shipping to all states within the contiguous U.S.
Leesa: The Most Versatile Option
What makes the Leesa Hybrid so versatile is that it offers two different sleep experiences with different levels of firmness, textures, and temperatures. One side has a soft contoured padded synthetic down filling that closely conforms to your body. The opposite side is flat with a cooling gel insert as the lining. To change your sleeping surface, just flip the pillow over.
The synthetic down side is medium soft and closely conforms to your body, so it works great for people prone to neck and shoulder pain. The side with the gel insert is medium-firm and feels quite cool, so it’s perfect for people who get hot and sweaty in bed at night.
To change your level of support or firmness, you can unzip the pillow and remove the insert between the quilted pocket and the cooling layers. Additionally, the pillow’s cover is made with fibers that give a chilling effect and can be washed and dried in conventional machines.
The Leesa Hybrid is a little more expensive than other gel pillows, but it’s worth it for shoppers who appreciate the versatility. Leesa offers a 100-night sleep trial and free shipping to all 50 states.
PharMeDoc: The Best Reversible Cool Gel Pillow
PharMeDoc’s reversible gel pillow features memory foam on one side for cool nights and cooling gel on the other side for warmer nights. The soft conforming memory foam supports the head and neck, reduces painful pressure points, and aligns the spine. The side with the thermoregulating cooling gel effectively diffuses heat to provide a cooler surface to sleep on during the night. PharMeDoc is widely known as an excellent menopause pillow, but it certainly appeals to a far greater audience than that.
The hypoallergenic cover is removable for easy cleaning, and it’s a great option for people with allergies and/or sensitive skin.
Many users posted positive reviews for the comfort and cooling features of this gel pillow, as well as its affordable price. The negative reviews are mostly complaints about the unpleasant smell when first taken out of the package. However, this is a very common problem among cooling pillows. The manufacturer recommends that you air the pillow out for 2-3 days before using it, so the odor of new memory foam can dissipate. This product comes with a lifetime manufacturer warranty.
Serta: The Best for Side Sleepers
Finding the perfect pillow isn’t easy for side sleepers because they need just the right firmness with a sufficiently high loft, so the neck remains properly aligned. If the pillow is too soft, your head will sink down too far, which could make breathing difficult and cause neck pain.
The Serta gel pillow is designed specifically for side sleepers with just the right firmness combined with an ample loft. The gel memory foam inside the core prevents a buildup of heat. It is also vented for improved airflow, which makes for a nice cool sleeping experience. The removable and washable mesh cover is not only breathable, but it also wicks away moisture for improved cooling.
The gel memory foam relieves painful pressure points while providing an optimum sleep temperature. This Serta cool gel pillow maintains its shape quite well, so you never have to worry about it going flat.
The design of this pillow is also quite comfortable for back sleepers as well because the sufficient loft provides just the right neck support. Serta offers customers a 5-year Limited Warranty on their product.
Perfect Cloud: The Softest Option
The Perfect Cloud Dual Option Pillow offers users two different levels of coolness, one on each side of the pillow. On one side, you have a nice soft quilted gel layer, and when you flip it over, you have Perfect Cloud’s signature memory foam, making this pillow suitable for every season.
The memory foam in this pillow conforms more quickly than other memory foams, so it is immediately comfortable. The support level offered by this pillow can help ease tight muscles in the neck and shoulders, so if you sit in front of a computer screen all day, sleeping on Perfect Cloud at night may help relieve your muscle tension.
This hypoallergenic pillow is great for allergy suffers because it’s dust mite and mold resistant. It’s also ventilated for improved airflow and cooling. The soft knit cover is removable and machine washable.
The Perfect Cloud Dual Option Pillow has earned CertiPUR-US certification, which means it contains no toxic chemicals. The product has been designed in the USA and comes with a 3-year warranty. Also, if you buy it on Amazon, you get a 30-day trial period.
Classic Brands: The Most Breathable Memory Foam Cooling Gel Pillow
This cool gel pillow is made with advanced cooling technology: open-cell memory foam, which is more porous, so air can flow more freely throughout the material. This helps dissipate body heat, allowing you to sleep cooler throughout the night. When combined with a breathable knit cover, this pillow can keep you nice and cool all night long.
This is a reversible pillow that works well throughout the year. One side is made with a gel layer that can keep you cool on warm nights because it promotes better airflow while dissipating body heat. On the reverse side, you have memory foam to keep you warmer on cold nights. It will comfortably cradle your head to keep your neck and shoulders properly aligned in an optimum sleep position.
Classic Brands claims that this pillow is especially good for side and back sleepers. The 5” loft supports the head at the perfect height, whether you’re on your side. It also keeps your head tilted in the right position when you’re on your back, with excellent support for your neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Additionally, this gel pillow is hypoallergenic, which is great for those with allergies. The zippered cover can be removed and tossed in the washing machine for easy cleaning.
ViscoSoft: The Best for Neck Support
The Arctic Gel Contour Pillow by ViscoSoft is much more than a comfortably cool gel pillow. It provides targeted neck support using contoured memory foam. The pillow contains 2 lbs. of cooling wave-flow gel (30% more than comparable pillows) specially formulated to respond to your body temperature. This pillow is also designed to optimize airflow with a sleeping surface much cooler than traditional molded foam.
This is a durable pillow that conforms to the shape of your head, neck, and shoulders to relieve sensitive pressure points. It reduces pain resulting from a poor posture so both side and back sleepers can rest comfortably. A highly responsive design allows the foam to gently adjust to every move, so the spine stays properly aligned all night long.
The smooth COOLMAX fabric cover is moisture-wicking, hypoallergenic, and antibacterial. It can also be machine washed for a fresher, cleaner sleeping experience.
With its 30-day return policy, ViscoSoft will offer a full refund to anyone who is unsatisfied with this pillow for any reason and returns it within 30 days. The company also backs this product with a 3-year warranty for manufacturing defects.
LinenSpa: The Best Budget-Friendly Option
This LinenSpa cool gel pillow is made with an outer layer of memory foam containing gel beads to capture and dissipate body heat for a cooler sleeping surface. The pillow is medium-firm, which is perfect for a lot of people. The moldable shredded memory foam provides good airflow and breathability.
This pillow has a 6” loft and easily conforms to the shape of your head, neck, and shoulders to relieve pressure. It’s relatively heavy, so it stays in place to offer support throughout the night. The shredded foam can be moved around to fit your shape perfectly. The pillow is also CertiPUR-US certified, which confirms that the material contains no toxic chemicals.
LinenSpa comes with a nice soft 250-thread-count cotton cover that can easily be removed and tossed in the washing machine. Their pillow is also less expensive than many other gel pillows and comes with a three-year warranty.
How Are Gel Pillows Made?
A gel pillow is basically any pillow that contains gel as a cooling mechanism. The pillow may include layers of gel packs and/or be made of gel-infused memory foam. Most gel pillows contain memory foam, but some are made with a type of polyfoam or synthetic down material. However, they all contain one or more layers of cooling gel and/or gel beads or swirls infused into the foam to maintain a comfortable temperature during the night.
Because all foams, particularly memory foam, retain a lot of body heat, foam pillows often feel too warm. This is why manufacturers add cooling gel to their foam pillows, to ensure that you have a cooler night’s sleep since the gel can help dissipate your body heat.
The best gel pillows typically come with a cool, breathable cover to further help with temperature regulation. How the gel is incorporated into the pillow depends on the brand, and most have their own proprietary designs and methods for this.
Some pillows are made with one or more layers of gel packets lining the interior, while others place them near the surface to cool down the exterior of the pillow. The gel layers are usually thin, and sometimes can be removed.
Gel beads or swirls are infused into the memory foam and/or the polyfoam filling. Also, down alternative fibers can be infused with gel as well, and some manufacturers use this as filling for their pillows.
Benefits of Sleeping on a Gel Pillow
If you tend to get hot and sweaty at night, you know how hard it is to get a good night’s sleep. A good cool gel pillow can make all the difference in the world. Here are some benefits to making the switch:
More Daytime Energy
When you can’t get a good night’s sleep over a prolonged period of time, your health will suffer. You will likely be more stressed out and lack energy. With the help of a special cooling pillow, you will sleep cooler and wake up more rested and energetic.
Not only does being at a comfortable temperature help you fall asleep faster, but it also helps you fall into a deep stage of sleep. A good gel pillow will draw your body heat away so that you don’t wake up because you’re getting too hot.
Falling asleep faster
When you’re at a comfortable temperature of 60° to 68° F, you should be able to fall asleep much quicker. Some people naturally get hotter than others when they’re trying to get to sleep at night, which is why cooling technology is a huge benefit to them.
Pressure Point Pain Relief
Because memory foam contours to your body shape, a gel memory foam pillow will cradle your head and fit the contours of your neck and shoulders, so that your weight can be evenly distributed. This is known to provide pressure point pain relief to the sleeper. And because of the gel, you can stay nice and cool throughout the night.
Who Should Use Cool Gel Pillows?
Everyone has their own wants and needs, but from the research, we’ve done we’ve learned that certain types of people benefit most from using cool gel pillows, which are as follows:
People Suffering from Allergies
Certain types of pillow fillings can cause an allergic reaction in some people. That said, gel pillows are typically made of hypoallergenic materials and are safe for allergy sufferers. However, synthetic down is prone to dust mites.
Pregnant women often get hot during the night, and due to their shape, they are more comfortable sleeping on their sides. With this in mind, it’s clear that pregnant women could benefit a great deal by using a cooling pillow. They may also cool down by placing a gel pillow between or under their legs.
Sleep experts recommend shredded foam and synthetic down pillows for people who sleep on their side because they are soft, conforming, and supportive. Orthopedic solid-piece gel memory foam pillows are also recommended for side sleepers since they help align the spine and relieve painful pressure points in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Many hot sleepers say they are far more comfortable sleeping on a cool gel pillow than on a standard foam or synthetic down pillow. We recommend that people who tend to get hot and sweaty during the night test out a number of different models so they can find the one that helps them sleep cooler.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
When you’re shopping for a gel pillow and comparing the various brands and styles, there are a few factors to keep in mind:
Most everyone has a preferred sleep position - some people sleep on their back, others on their side or stomach. Then there are those who switch around all the time, and these are called combination sleepers. The perfect pillow for you will depend a lot on your preferred sleep position.
If you routinely sleep on your stomach, a flat pillow would work best for you. This way, you won’t strain your neck and back. Side sleepers are better off sleeping with a firm pillow with a higher loft so their head stays sufficiently propped up, while back sleepers should use a medium-firm pillow with a medium loft, so their neck is properly supported. Combination sleepers should also sleep with a medium-firm pillow.
Most pillows come in Standard, Queen, or King sizes, but some models only come on one or two sizes. Keep your desired size in mind when looking at pillows with limited sizing availability.
Just like most foam pillows, cool gel pillows come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here are your options:
- Curved: A gel pillow with a curved shape has two curves and a dip in the middle. If your neck needs some special support, this could be the right shape for you.
- Convoluted Egg-Crate Design: A convoluted gel pillow comes in an egg-crate design for improved airflow. While layers of gel packets or infusions of gel beads and swirls can make your pillow cool, a convoluted egg-crate design helps keep it even cooler. A convoluted egg-crate shaped gel pillow is recommended for people who get seriously hot and sweaty during the night.
- Standard or Traditional: These gel pillows don’t look much different than a standard, or traditional pillow does in terms of shape and size. Traditional gel pillows are perfectly fine for people who may be looking for a cooler, more comfortable pillow, but have no specific concerns regarding support that a uniquely shaped pillow can provide.
Gel pillows filled with either shredded foam, polyfoam, or synthetic down are basically flat in shape, and some solid-piece memory foam pillows are as well. However, most memory foam pillows are contoured to better align with the human head, neck, and shoulders. You will often see these pillows labeled as “orthopedic” because they are beneficial for people with chronic aches and pains.
Cool gel pillows come in several different types. Some contain a solid piece of foam, while others contain shredded foam made up of a lot of tiny foam pieces. Shredded foam pillow tend to conform to your body more easily, and they’re fluffier than pillows made of a solid piece of foam. Shredded foam pillows are also more breathable because air can flow more freely through them, however solid memory foam conforms more closely to your body, so it relieves pressure and pain better. Shredded foam pillows often come with a zippered opening so you can adjust the loft (thickness) by removing or adding filling to suit your needs.
Additionally, some pillows are made with gel packets layered within the pillow, while others place the gel layers just under the surface for a cooler exterior. Some models allow you to remove the gel packets while others attach them to the pillow. A gel memory foam pillow may have gel beads or swirls infused into the foam for cooling, rather than having gel packets layered inside with the foam.
If your bedroom is too warm, it can counteract the cooling sensation of your gel pillow. Many cooling products depend on the transfer of heat, and if the room is hot, that heat can raise the temperature of your bedding materials. Even if you have no control over your room temperature, you can at least turn on a fan to circulate the air to help dissipate body heat, and this can allow you to sleep better.
There are a lot of different options in terms of firmness when it comes to gel pillows. You’re going to need to choose among the options that offer your preferred level of firmness. Additionally, some models are reversible, with different levels of firmness on each side.
Some models are made to offer sleepers a different experience depending on which side of the pillow they’re sleeping on. For example, they can have a cooling gel on one side and not on the other. This is a great option for people whose preferences often change.
Most gel pillows come with a soft, breathable fabric on the cover, which provides a nice cool sleeping surface. Many are made of cotton or bamboo rayon, which are cooler and more breathable than most fabrics. Polyester is sometimes used because it tends to provide a cool sleeping surface as well. However, you need to be careful because some models may come with covers that do not necessarily sleep cool.
The average price of a gel pillow is $40 to $50. However, gel memory foam pillows, whether made of a solid piece of foam or shredded, are more expensive than gel down alternative or gel polyfoam pillows.
Remember that it will take some time before your new pillow is fully broken in. It may be a few days, or it could take weeks before you truly feel comfortable sleeping with your gel memory foam pillow. Many users report that their pillow felt way too firm in the beginning, but it did soften up over time. To ease this process, it’s best to sleep in the position you sleep in most often during the break-in period.
If you’re shopping in a brick and mortar retail store, you can certainly test a pillow out for a couple of minutes before buying it. However, even this may not be sufficient. Some manufacturers offer a sleep trial so that customers can sleep on the pillow for a given time period (usually at least 30 nights). If the pillow doesn’t work out, they can return it for a full refund. This can be a very effective way to determine whether the pillow actually keeps you cooler at night.
The best gel pillows will come with a warranty. Keep in mind that most pillows need replacing every couple of years. You might want to look for a product with a warranty that covers its normal lifespan. Keep in mind, though, that some brands come with no warranty period at all.
If you typically get hot and sweaty when trying to sleep at night, a single cooling pillow is not going to help if you fail to address the other factors that may be contributing to your problem. These include the room temperature, your pajamas, sheets, and ever your mattress. Aside from cool gel pillows, there are a lot of other products available to help you get a cooler night’s sleep.
Since gel pillows are uniquely designed, there are a number of considerations that don’t necessarily apply to standard pillows. Here are some of the questions people often ask about this pillow type:
What else could help me get cooler at night?
A gel memory foam pillow should help you sleep cooler at night, but there are other things you could do as well. You may want to look into getting a new mattress, one specifically designed to keep you cool or a cooling mattress pad (as a more affordable option). Furthermore, you may want to buy a set of 100% cotton sheets, which are known for their breathability.
Are gel pillows recommended for pregnant women?
Pregnant women often get hot at night when they’re trying to sleep, and a cool gel pillow can certainly be helpful in these cases. However, memory foam pillows are known for having an off-gassing odor when you first take them out of the package. It may take 2-3 days for this to subside. Since pregnant women can be quite sensitive to smells, this might present a problem.
What type of filling do gel pillows typically have?
Some gel pillows are filled with a solid piece of memory foam, while others are filled with shredded memory foam, polyfoam, fiberfill, or synthetic down. Shredded memory foam pillows conform more easily to your shape and feel a little plusher than those filled with a solid piece of foam. Some are even made with a zippered opening so you can remove or add more filling for a custom feel.
How often does a gel pillow need to be replaced?
Standard polyester-filled pillows should be replaced every six months. However, gel memory foam pillows last much longer, perhaps several years. It all depends on the quality of materials used and how often the pillow is being used. You can tell when it’s time to get a replacement if you notice that your pillow just isn’t as comfortable as it used to be.
Should I put a pillowcase over my gel pillow?
Most come with a removable, machine-washable cover so that it’s easy to keep them clean. But some users may prefer to use an additional cover over this to make the pillow softer or just more sanitary.
We’ve tried out so many different cool gel pillows that at this point, it’s become difficult to decide which one really is the best. Each one we’ve tried provides a noticeable cooling sensation and offers an optimum level of comfort depending on the sleep position it’s designed for. And, each also have their own list of benefits when used as recommended.
To choose the best gel pillow for you, start by addressing your comfort. Your healthy sleep posture is of primary importance for getting a good night’s sleep. Choose one of the pillows recommended for your particular sleep position. And then narrow your choices based on your cooling needs.
We hope our recommendations for the best gel pillows, along with our shopping guide, has been helpful to you. If you have any questions not already addressed, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.