Pillows seem simple enough but, thanks to technology, they’ve levelled up from clumpy feather monstrosities to comfortable memory foam pillows. However, just because one thing uses the same material, it doesn’t mean it’s of the same quality. To make sure you enjoy it to the fullest, here are the best memory foam pillows in the UK.
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All About Memory Foam
Memory foam is an extremely popular bedding material that most of us have already heard about, especially when the conversation turns to mattresses and pillows. But even with this level of familiarity with it, few truly understand it.
Memory foam is largely made out of polyurethane, which is a type of plastic polymer that’s popular in the tougher plastic products such as insulation, paints, and even rollerblade wheels!
The more technical term for memory foam is viscoelastic polyurethane foam, a name that highlights two main features of this material— viscosity and elasticity.
Memory foam is viscous in the way it takes time for applied pressure to change its shape, while the elastic character describes its ability to return to its original shape when the pressure is gone. In simpler terms, it moulds to your body but goes back to its original shape, “remembering” how it used to be.
It was originally made by NASA as padding and cushioning materials in the 1960s and was introduced into consumer goods in the 1990s. When marketed as a mattress material, ‘viscoelastic polyurethane foam’ just wasn’t catchy enough, thus begins ‘memory foam’.
It’s still extremely popular today and is the go-to material when looking for something to provide body support while sleeping. This is remarkable for the way it moulds itself to hold the body rather than straining the body on an unyielding surface. This material also evenly distributes weight across surfaces and helps to relieve pressure on certain points of the body.
That said, memory foam isn’t superior. Memory foam, unlike cotton or wool, is a synthetic material. It’s made with chemical mixtures that vary from company to company. With this diversity in mixtures, the memory foam product will end up just as diverse.
This material’s overall quality is reliant on how it was produced. Matters such as firmness, comfortability, heat retention, viscosity, elasticity, and even safety will depend on the brand itself. However, even with the differences in memory foam properties from each formula, its ability to mould to a heat source and return to its original shape is consistent.
Be that as it may, there are also some downsides to using memory foam. With bedding as such a subjective matter, there are bound to be high and low points when using memory foam.
Memory foam is brilliant at relieving pressure and tension during sleep by providing the body with proper support. This can also easily be made into a hypoallergenic material that’s safe for most people. It’s even able to reduce motion transfer, lessening possible disturbances from a fitful sleeping partner.
However, issues of heat retention are unavoidable. Memory foam is notorious for running hot and absorbing heat the more it's used. There’s also the concern of off-gassing, where chemical fumes are slowly emitted from the mattress. This could be harmful in bad quality foam but, fortunately, is easy to avoid with quality sources. Unfortunately, getting good quality could also mean shelling out more pounds than most are comfortable with.
Memory foam is most popular for orthopaedic mattresses, providing pain relief for tense muscles, body pains, and weak bones. Another common use for it is in pillows.
An Introduction to Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows are a very popular bedding choice. Although not as aesthetically pleasing to look at in pillow fights, it shines when used for sleep and relief.
Memory foam can take up many forms in pillows but here are four common ones that you’ll most likely encounter in a simple search.
1. Traditional Memory Foam
Traditional memory foam pillow looks like a whole block of memory foam cut into the desired shape. It’s firm and durable, only changing shape after much wear and tear. This form opens up the issue of heat retention but is reliable in contour pillows.
2. Open-cell Memory Foam
Open-cell memory foam pillows are constructed with chambers for air to circulate through. These are used for increased breathability and present one way to siphon heat off of the foam.
3. Gel-infused Memory Foam
Gel-infused memory foam is another common form that deals with the heat retention issue. This combines cooling gel with the foam to better help with temperature regulation. It absorbs moisture and helps make warm nights more pleasant.
4. Shredded Memory Foam
Shredded memory foam is another technique used to help. By shredding the foam, it increases the space for air to circulate through. It doesn’t compromise much on support or comfort, so long as there are enough shredded bits piled together to stay firm.
These forms can be mixed with one another or can stand alone. There are many ways to use memory foam and these are just four simple ways that it can be used in pillows. It’s true that memory foam pillows don’t work for everyone but these five options might just work for you!
Here Are Some Of The Best Memory Foam Pillows
1. BedStory Gel Memory Foam Pillow
- Gel-infused memory foam
- Breathable materials
- Regulates body temperature levels
- Tencel and microfibre fabric cover
- CertiPUR-EU and Oeko-Tex Certification
- Compatible with all sleeping positions
- Packaging is gift-friendly
- Opens with a noticeable smell
- Could have a too shallow pillow depth
The BedStory Gel Memory Foam Pillow starts off this list with a focus on orthopaedic and cooling relief during sleep.
This pillow uses a fusion of gel beads and breathable memory foam for its filling. The gel is infused into the foam to help regulate body temperatures and provide cooling relief in the middle of sleep. The foam itself is also built-in with its own Air Cell technology. These are basically little holes spaces throughout the foam to act as a passageway for air to pass through.
This is a high-density foam with an impressive five-second rebound time. Additionally, this foam is hypoallergenic and keeps away dust mites while dispersing body heat. All of these factors work together to provide proper support for your shoulders, neck, and head. It also ensures that your spine receives proper elevation.
This foam comes with an inner cover as well as a washable outer cover, made with a specific mix of Tencel and microfibre. The outer cover also comes in a 3D pattern similar to elongated honeycomb shapes. The repeating dips and rises in this pattern provide a layer of air support on the surface of the pillow, once again lending a hand to breathability and cooling features.
Combining gel-infused Air Cell memory foam with the Tencel and microfibre textile mix can produce magical results. These materials work hand-in-hand for an ultra-soft and comfortable pillow that relieves pain and lasts a long time.
Unfortunately, this pillow is not free from the typical memory foam smell that drifts out during its unboxing. This smell could be left over from when it was packed in the factory or it could also be a result of off-gassing. Luckily, airing this pillow is enough to address that issue and will only take a few days to disappear.
With the mention of a smell, there might be some safety concerns nagging at your mind. Fear not because this pillow has been certified by both CertiPUR-EU and Oeko-Tex. These two labels guarantee that this pillow meets their strict safety standards and that it’s free from harmful chemicals and toxins in its materials. This certification also brings good news for the pillow’s own durability and performance.
Another factor to consider is that it’s not very thick. It has a medium firmness but might be too shallow for your tastes, especially if you’re looking for a thick, fluffy pillow. The reason for the short height is because memory foam should already be enough to provide proper support and cosiness without needing to rely on overstuffing it with expensive materials to fatten it up for your neck and head.
This pillow could perform well for you if you’re looking for a pillow to address concerns with support and warm temperatures. If your sleep is constantly interrupted by overheating at night, this pillow might be able to help out, regardless of sleeping positions. As a bonus, this pillow is sleek to be appropriate to give as a gift on birthdays, holidays, or as a housewarming present.
2. Power of Nature (PON) Memory Foam Cervical Pillow
- High-density memory foam
- Moisture-sensitive fibre core for support
- Five second rebound time
- Ergonomically contoured design for neck and head support
- Built-in armrest crevices
- Dustproof inner cover
- Removable and machine washable cotton cover
- Compatible with all sleeping positions
- Does not regulate temperature
- Medium firmness might be too soft
- Cannot be left under direct sunlight
Next is the Power of Nature (PON) Memory Foam Cervical Pillow. This PON pillow is memorable for its unique shape, intended to stretch out the cervical spine during sleep.
This pillow’s ergonomic design makes use of dips, slopes, and peaks in order to comfortably cradle the head. By doing this successfully, it helps relieve pressure in the shoulders, head, and neck.
As the name suggests, this is to address any strain that cervical spines could have and granting it relief before waking up. It achieves this by opting to use a high-density foam with a moisture-sensitive fibre core. These two features work well together in providing support for this specific area of the body.
This pillow’s moisture-sensitive fibre core acts as a firm base and is the reason behind its support and firmness. This core is also partly responsible for the pillow’s mild cooling features. Furthermore, the high-density memory foam being used in this is responsible for the softness and durability of the pillow. This foam provides a soft place for your head to land.
For coverings and pillowcases, PON uses a mix of rayon and polyester fibres to help with ventilation and air circulation. With a removable pillowcase, it gives the pillow dust protection and makes it easy to stay hygienic with your beddings.
This pillow is delivered in a vacuum-sealed pack which, when opened, unrolls into its distinct shape. Like with most memory foam pillows, this also comes with the tell-tale fresh memory foam scent that requires aeration. However, when aerating and using this pillow, be careful not to leave it under sunlight for too long. This pillow’s core is sensitive and can lose its intended shape or firmness after sun exposure. This compromises its performance, comfort, and durability. Exposing it to sunlight could further activate its heat-retention, especially since this pillow only has mild temperature regulating properties.
Still, this might be a fantastic pillow for your night-time routine if you’re a side or back sleeper looking for unique support solutions. It’s an interesting way to address body pain issues and is a highly specialized design. Rather than shooting for a one size fits all pillow, this sets out to specifically help side and back sleepers with spine support. It’s also very soft and won’t lack in comfort, even with the wacky shape.
However, even as a side or back sleeper, this might pose problems for you if you tend to move around in your sleep. The contours of this pillow are designed to nestle your head and keep it in one place. If this is an uncomfortable prospect for you, other pillows might be better.
3. NOFFA Contour Memory Foam Pillow
- Contoured memory foam
- Butterfly wing design supports shoulders, neck, and head
- Slow-rebound foam
- Washable Tencel outer cover
- Soft knit inner cover
- Oeko-Tex Certification
- Reduces head roll over during sleep
- Lessens snoring
- Compatible with all sleeping position
- Materials could be too soft, depending on personal preference
- Grooving is low and is less compatible with taller people
The NOFFA Contour Memory Foam Pillow is another serious competitor in this list, especially in how it merges orthopaedic support for all sleeping positions.
Like other contoured pillows, this is made out of slow rebound memory foam shaped into NOFFA’s ergonomic butterfly wing design, with wide yet shallow dips carved into it. This is meant to mould the pillow to your body without adding any strain from your shoulders up.
It was designed to fit well with the neck, which is why the bottom edge of the pillow has been shaped to reduce contact with the shoulders. This feature stretches out the cervical spine without straining other parts.
The head area of the pillow also has a concave depression that lessens head movement. This feature was added to minimize unconsciously contorting your bodies in harmful ways. Without this, there’s a huge possibility of bending oddly in the middle of the night and waking up sore.
To help even more in the support department, the slow rebound memory foam chosen for this pillow is meant to maximize weight distribution on the pillow, which helps relieve pressure in the usual places. This is also a soft kind of memory foam that’s comfortable for front sleepers while still providing enough support for back and side sleepers, and even lessens snoring! This memory foam also doesn’t retain much heat.
It uses a soft knit fabric for its inner cover, to keep it simple and soft. The removable and washable outer cover is made of high-quality Tencel fabric. This was used in order to introduce more breathability. Tencel is a sustainably produced fibre known for its strength, durability, softness, and moisture absorption. It’s a smart choice for pillow coverings, with how it’s very gentle on the skin and helps give passage for air to pass through while protecting against harmful dust mites and such. This also meets Oeko-Tex standards and has the certification to prove it.
It’s delivered rolled up in a box and will need to be gently aired out for it to revert back to its original shape. It’s smaller than standard pillows but larger than most contour pillows, which is great news if you prefer big surface areas in pillows. However, even with this size, the design of this pillow prevents much movement on it.
Yet still, it comes with some drawbacks. The drawbacks are mainly based on personal preference. This memory foam might be too soft, especially for side and back sleepers who prefer very firm pillows, because it was also made with front sleepers in mind. Another possible issue is in its shoulder contouring since everybody is different and the shape might not be compatible with taller people who have long necks or higher neck arches.
Nevertheless, even with those possible complications, this might be the dream pillow for fitful sleepers who wake up in uncomfortable positions. The roll-over prevention features make sure to give you the best chance at staying in the optimal position throughout the night in order to wake up pain-free. It could also help if you don’t have one specific sleep position, since this pillow is compatible with front, back, and side sleepers.
4. PillowLY Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
- Dual comfort zones for soft and firm support
- Adjustable shredded memory foam and microfibre filling
- Regulates body temperature levels
- Removable bamboo cover
- Hypoallergenic and anti-dust mite
- Compatible with all sleeping positions
- CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold Certification
- Orthopaedic support for shoulders, neck, and head
- Could be too firm initially
- Is opened with a noticeable smell
- Excess fill could be a source of waste
Ending this list is the PillowLY Shredded Memory Foam Pillow, which is a little different from the other options on this list.
Rather than keeping the memory foam in one piece and shaping it as desired, this uses a mix of shredded memory foam and microfibre instead. While it’s not what most people expect in a memory foam pillow, it comes with its own advantages.
It comes in a rayon and polyester fibre mix cover, derived from bamboo. This textile gives the pillow hypoallergenic properties that protect against dust mites, bacteria, and other allergens. It’s a soft and breathable cover that feels luxurious to the touch. This cover can be unzipped to find an equally soft inner cover.
This inner cover can also be opened but, unlike with the outer cover, not for hygiene purposes. This is a feature to adjust the support levels of the pillow. Unzipping the inner cover exposes the filling for people to be able to customize their dream pillow.
This stuffing can be added or subtracted as preferred, making it easy to achieve optimum comfort levels with minimal effort for all sleep positions. Shredded memory foam bits can still work together in tight spaces (such as a pillow covering) to provide orthopaedic support.
Since this pillow filling is shredded, air can easily travel through this pillow and help regulate body temperatures. The shredding also gives it the soft and fluffy feel of luxury pillows but has eliminated the need for constant fluffing and annual replacements.
It’s delivered in a box and will require to be aired for up to two days. In these two days, the typical memory foam smell will dissipate and the pillow will open up to its intended shape and size. If the initial smell is concerning, perhaps knowing that this pillow has CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certifications will help.
Greenguard Gold certifications are a little less familiar than CertiPUR standards but it is equally important. Meeting Greenguard gold standards means that this pillow is scientifically proven to have extremely low chemical emissions. This also means that these products come at lower chemical exposure and indoor air pollution risks.
When testing it out or during the first night, it could be too firm. This is because it still has too much stuffing and it’ll need a few more nights of trial and error before the optimum fill is achieved. What that means is that this pillow also has a learning curve that could be frustrating. Taking out the filling would also lead to having excess memory foam bits contributing to house clutter or being binned. Either way, the excess filling could be another source of waste that the planet didn’t need.
Having said that, this pillow might still be the pillow you’ve been looking for if you have specific pillow needs that are hard to meet. This adjustable pillow could be the last resort after no other pillow helped or it could also be the first try, to get rid of other hassles. Since this is customizable, it will suit most people’s sleep needs while still keeping it safe to use.
5. UMI. Essentials Memory Foam Contour Pillow
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- Layered and contoured memory foam
- Adjustable pillow height
- Slow-rebound foam with AirCell technology
- Washable aloe vera cover
- Anti-allergy inner cover
- CertiPUR-EU and Oeko-Tex Certification
- Lessens snoring
- Compatible with back and side sleepers
- Firmness will change depending on layers used
- Smaller than standard pillow size
Introducing the UMI. Essentials Memory Foam Contour Pillow loved for being an adjustable pillow that makes it easy to have a more personalized sleep experience.
Hearing that a pillow is adjustable might sound peculiar but it’s quite simple. UMI. Essentials found that customization is a big thing, especially since sleep is such a personal journey. In order to translate this desire into bedding, they’ve decided to create a layered memory foam pillow.
This pillow is made up of three stackable layers, with the topmost layer featuring a wavy contoured design to nestle your neck and head. By adding this simple feature, the pillow is able to relieve neck pressure and make the experience much more comfortable.
Each layer has AirCell technology incorporated into the foam, meant to lessen heat retention and increase breathability. With this technology, the foam helps absorb moisture, sweat, and opens channels for air to circulate.
These three layers can be removed or kept together. The layers chosen will dictate the pillow’s depth and firmness for when you use it. With the way the layers have been cut up, you can end up with one of four pillow options. This is great value for money because it helps give you more control over the overall enjoyment of the pillow.
For its pillowcase, it comes with a washable aloe vera cover. This kind of cover is a protective barrier against allergens and also allows air to pass through. Most importantly, it’s comfortable and soft to the touch, lessening possible irritants for your face as you sleep.
Since safety is always a priority, this pillow has been certified according to CertiPUR-EU and Oeko-Tex standards. This reassures people that when this pillow arrives at your doorstep, it’s free of harmful chemicals and toxins. Definitely, knowing that a pillow is safe to use will help you sleep even better at night.
However, this pillow is not perfect. It comes with a learning curve since this is meant for personalized experiences. It might take a while before you find the layer mix for you, which could be frustrating.
This pillow also comes in a size that’s smaller than what most people are used to. If this combination of a small pillow surface area and a slight learning curve is too much of a bother, other memory foam pillows might be more appropriate.
This might be the pillow for you if you’re a side or back sleeper with particular pillow preferences but still needs support. Because this is more customizable than other pillows on the market, this is something to seriously consider. As another benefit, the way it supports your neck also helps lessen snoring!
When all is said and done, all five pillows are strong contenders in being the best memory foam pillow but one has stood out among the crowd.
It was close but the PillowLY Shredded Memory Foam Pillow has come out on top. The fully customizable feature helps make this pillow compatible with the most number of people without compromising on support, safety, and temperature regulation.
However, the PillowLY pillow does come with a potential waste problem. If you prefer less waste but still want an adjustable pillow, the UMI. Essentials Memory Foam Pillow could be your best bet!
If you’re looking for simple neck support, the Power of Nature Memory Foam Cervical Pillow is designed for that. If you want support but are held back by fitful sleeping habits, the NOFFA Contour Memory Foam Pillow might just work. Lastly, if temperature regulation is equally important as shoulder and neck support, the BedStory Gel Memory Foam Pillow could be your new bedtime favourite.
There’s no perfect pillow since each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. The issue isn’t looking for the perfect pillow, it’s looking for one that’s perfect for you. There’s one out there and it might just be on this list!