Best Pillows for Back Sleepers in 2023

$139 at Amazon

Coop Eden Cool+ Pillow on a white bed

Coop Eden Plus Pillow

Best overall pillow for back sleepers

$179 at Amazon

Purple Harmony on a white bed

Purple Harmony Pillow

Best latex pillow for back sleepers

$62 at Amazon

Casper Original Pillow on a white bed.

Casper Original Pillow

Best down alternative pillow for back sleepers

$109 at Helix

Helix Wedge pillow on a white bed.

Helix Wedge Pillow

Best wedge pillow for back sleepers

Side sleeping may be the most popular sleeping position, but back sleepers come in a close second. I like sleeping on my back, and it turns out, it’s great for your spine. Plus, sleeping on your back reduces the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux (if the head of your bed is properly elevated) and even reducing the risk of wrinkles.    

If you’re a back sleeper, you know how important finding the right pillow is — especially if you have neck pain. The best pillow for back sleepers shouldn’t be too lofty (high) or too flat; it should be somewhere in the middle. The right pillow should also keep your neck and spine aligned when you lie down for the night. After personally testing more pillows than I can fit on one bed, I rounded up the best pillows for back sleepers. Here’s what I found.     

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), made of high-quality, shredded memory foam that’s CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold Certified and keeps your neck and spine supported and aligned. Another perk of this pillow is that 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. And 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 from sleeping on my side to sleeping on my stomach. Though I’ve tested more than 25 pillows (and another 10 for this article), I thought it would be best to consult a 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, 2023

Coop Eden Cool+ Pillow on a white bed

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You may have heard of Coop Sleep Good’s Eden Pillow, as it often tops lists of the best pillows. And 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, and 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.

Nolah Squishy Pillow on a white bed

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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.

Brooklyn Bedding Cooling Pillow on top of a white bed

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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.

Bear Pillow on a white bed

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If you’re a back sleeper who often overheats at night, the Bear Pillow is a great option. It has a machine-washable cover that’s cool to the touch. At both ends of the pillow is a mesh that allows for more airflow. It’s also hypoallergenic and helps to stop 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.

Purple Harmony on a white bed

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You might have heard of Purple and its unique honeycomb-patterned grid layer. This feature, found in all its products, such as the Purple Harmony Pillow, is flexible, supportive and slightly molding like memory foam. The pillow also has a Talalay latex core that’s perforated for airflow. (Talalay latex 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.

Avocado Green Pillow on a white bed.

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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 cotton cover is quilted and has a zipper for easy adjustability. Remove or add the filling to your liking.

Brooklinen Down Pillow on a white bed.

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A good down pillow is made of quality materials, with evenly distributed clusters, and it cushions the head and doesn’t feel lumpy. The Brooklinen Down Pillow checks all those boxes. It’s made of 100% down clusters and feathers and covered with a cotton sateen shell. You can also choose the 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.

Casper Original Pillow on a white bed.

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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 with the Casper Original.

Helix Wedge pillow on a white bed.

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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.

Other pillows I tested for back sleepers

Saatva Graphite Memory Foam Pillow, Slumber Cloud UltraCool, and Parachute Down Alternative pillow on a white bed.

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

Parachute Down Alternative Pillow on a white bed.

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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 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.

Saatva Graphite Memory Foam Pillow on a white bed.

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This hefty pillow from Saatva is made with a shredded memory and latex foam core. It comes with a soft, knit cover 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.

SlumberCloud UltraCool Pillow on a white bed

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Slumber Cloud is known for its cooling bedding. In fact, 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.

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 don’t 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

Price Size(s) Firmness Materials Machine washable? Hypoallergenic? Trial period
Coop Eden Cool Plus Pillow $139 Queen, king Adjustable Shredded memory foam Cover only Yes 100 nights
Nolah Squishy Pillow $198 Two queens Adjustable Shredded foam Covery only Not specified 30 days
Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Memory Foam Pillow $129 Queen, king Medium Memory foam Cover only Yes 30 days
Bear Pillow $150 Standard, king Medium Latex and memory “hybrid” foam No Yes 30 nights
Purple Harmony Pillow $199 Standard, king Medium Latex Cover only Yes 100 nights
Avocado Green Pillow $109 Standard, queen and king Medium Shredded latex and cotton Cover only Yes 100 days
Brooklinen Down Pillow $109 Standard, king Medium Down clusters and feathers No Not specified 365 days
Casper Original Pillow $65 Standard, king Medium Polyester fiber, down alternative Yes Not specified 30 nights
Helix Wedge Pillow $109 Standard Medium-firm Gel memory foam and poly foam Cover only Yes 100 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 a foam (memory, poly or latex), down, or down alternative pillow. 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 a 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 lie down and rest your head on your pillow. 

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