Best Cooling Pillow 2018 – Reviews, Testing & Buyers Guide

If you live in a warm climate, choosing a pillow that’ll keep you cool and dry throughout the night is a huge deal. Even in cooler climates, you might find yourself struggling – especially if you’re pregnant or suffering those dreaded hot flushes!

Cooling pillows come in several formats. Some use a cooling gel or fluid pack to physically cool the pillow down, whilst others use simple, breathable fabrics that allow your body heat and sweat to wick away.

Gel, Water or Breathable?

best cooling pillow

Most cool pillows on the market come with either a cooling get layer, or sometimes a water based layer (less frequent). Most people think you need to “prime” the pillow by putting it in the fridge/freezer first, yet not only do they not work like this – you’ll likely break your pillow in the process!

In reality, these pillows work in a fashion similar to a radiator. They take heat from your body, dispersing it over a wide area to allow all that excess heat to disperse naturally.

For 90% of people, a quality gel pillow is all they’ll ever need. Water ones can be impressive, yet some with a load of drawbacks, particularly the weight, noise and of course the fact they can burst!

Breathable pillows are a modern, and extremely good style of cooling pillow. Modern fabrics, like microfibre and memory foams, contour to the body and actively absorb excess heat and sweat.

They also work out cheaper too.

Phase Changing Models

Some cooling pillows, get a little bit technical with their construction. Using a phase change material, they actively help to regulate your temperature throughout the night. Starting to feel chilly? The fabric will tighten up, loosing less heat to keep you snug. Feel a bit hot? The fabric will turn the other way, allow that excess heat to flow away.

The technology behind these pillows, was developed at the same time and by the same people as memory foam – everyone loves a NASA bed!

Machine or Hand Washing?

First thing we must point out; gel based cooling pillows cannot be machine-washed. You’ll need to take your time, wash them by hand and leave them to air dry. Many people who like using gel cooling pillows will have two pairs, so they always have one free whilst the other is drying!

Water based pillows, can have their outer fabrics sections machine washed, yet you must remove the water pouch. We’ve heard horror stories of water pouches being damaged in the wash – ruining the next night’s sleep!

Breathable fabric cooling pillows are much easier to look after. The usual care needs to be taken with memory foam, yet the fabric parts should be easy to wash.

What About Washing the Cores?

90% of breathable cooling pillows, are constructed from either bamboo or buckwheat. For machine washing, bamboo is best and can take quite a beating; however, buckwheat often needs a little bit of love – give buckwheat inserts a light hand wash and leave them in the air to dry.

What About Firmness?

This is the easiest part of finding a good pillow. If you tend to sleep on your back or front, get a thinner pillow that won’t cause you head to be pushed up – putting stress on your back.

Sleep on your side? Then you’ll want a firmer pillow that gives your head the support to sit level as your lie down. You might also want to try using two thinner pillows instead of one firm model, giving you a little flexibility.

How We Chose Our Top 7 Best Cooling Pillow of 2018

How We Chose Our Top 7 Best Cooling Pillow

We like to give all our products a good trial before recommending anything! Our cooling pillow review is no different, and we tested all pillows in our review during the Summer months.

Each of our review team look a pillow home of their liking; checking the firmness to match what they already use. We tested these pillows for 2-weeks before giving them the thumbs up!

So which cooling pillow kept us cosy throughout the night? Read on to find out.

#1 Coop Home Goods – Shredded Memory Foam & Bamboo

Coop Home Goods

First pillow up, is a USA made bamboo insert model with shredded memory foam providing the support. One of the cool things (excuse the pun!) about this pillow, is that it comes in standard, queen and king sizes. For anyone who likes a nice large pillow, get the king!

Features

  • 60% Polyester, 40% Rayon derived from Bamboo.
  • Adjustable memory foam inserts. Shredded bamboo can be removed or topped up to suit.
  • Certi-PUR certified foam.
  • Hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.
  • Machine washable.
  • 30-day money back guarantee.

In Use

Laura took this pillow for a test run, she tends to sleep on her left side through the night, so we gave her a king-sized pillow as that’s what she prefers.

There are two awesome things that make the Coop pillow truly cooling. The rayon/bamboo cover helps to disperse body heat, while the shredded memory foam support provides more space for heat to flow through. For those of you old enough to remember, the heat is dispersed in a similar way to natural feather down pillows of time past.

That shredded foam has other benefits too. You can remove and top up the foam to make the pillow as firm as you need. For Laura, she didn’t remove any foam, yet if you like your pillows with a bit more give, you can get it exactly right.

Our advice? Keep the foam you take out in a carrier bag and put it away. Memory foam does become more compressed over time, so that left-over foam could prove a helpful top-up.

Why We Like It

Reasonably priced, the Coop pillow certainly keeps you cool and snug all night, plus the shredded memory foam can be removed or topped up to get exactly the support you want.

We’re also big fans of the fact this pillow is available in standard, king, and the more obscure queen sizes.

Click Here to Buy Coop Home Goods


#2 Snuggle-Pedic Shredded Bamboo – Cool Flow Cover

Snuggle-Pedic

Once again, we’re looking at a cooling pillow that’s been made in the USA from shredded bamboo. However, that’s where the similarities end, because the Snuggle-Pedic has some great features that the Coop just can’t match.

Of course, you’ll pay a little bit more for all these extras.

Even so, the Snuggle-Pedic is great value, and perfect for those sleepers who want a nice upgrade!

Features

  • 43% Viscose of Bamboo, 56.4% Polyester and 0.6% Lycra.
  • 20-Year warranty, 90-day sleep trial.
  • Made in USA.
  • Hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.
  • Shredded memory foam can be removed or topped up to suit your required firmness.

In Use

I took this pillow for a trial myself; after all, it’s the most expensive one we tested! For your money, you do get an awful lot of features, and the pillow feels extremely soft and comfortable in use.

Like the Coop pillow, you can remove and top-up the foam inside, making for a pillow that you can make as firm or soft as you like. I’m also a huge fan of the Bamboo viscose pillow cover, which really does wick away sweat and heat during the night. When I tested this pillow, temperatures were 24 degrees, which sounds cool for some climates; however, humidity was a sticky 74% – something the Snuggle-Pedic coped with admirably.

The Snuggle-Pedic keeps you cool by using micro vents within the cover itself. These allow small amounts of air the space to vent away from your body, plus the bamboo itself is a highly dispersing fabric too.

What We Liked

Shredded memory foam inserts, easily adjustable firmness and a cover that wicks sweat and heat away nicely. The price might put some people off; however, if you do decide to take the plunge with the Snuggle-Pedic you won’t look back.

Click Here to Buy Snuggle-Pedic from Amazon


#3 Snuggle-Pedic Ultra Luxury Bamboo Pillow – Shredded Bamboo

Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo

Another pillow from the excellent Snuggle-Pedic range; this time, available in a range of sizes to suit all beds. The hypoallergenic cover has a very similar version of the kool-flow system available above, yet with a slightly improved design that allows even more heat to disperse.

Features

  • Shredded style memory foam insides.
  • Hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.
  • Zipper outer cover, allowing for easier adjustment of shredded foam.
  • Certi-PUR certified foam.
  • Made in the USA.

In Use

The first thing to say about the Snuggle-Pedic, is that it matches the version above for heat control and comfort. The altered design didn’t seem to make that much of a difference, the model above does a superb job already!

Even so, there is one reason to purchase the Ultra-Luxury version, and that’s the size availability. You can purchase this pillow in standard, queen and king sizes – something I know many people love.

There are other small additions too. You can choose from a range of memory foams blends with this pillow. In practice, it means you can be even more specific with the firmness before you order. To be quite honest though, the fact you can remove or top up the foam means you can set the firmness yourself.

What We Liked

Everything we already liked about the Snuggle-Pedic pillow above, plus some cool additions like larger sizes and firmness adjustment. However, if you want to save a little cash, and only need a standard size, the normal version above works just as well.

Click Here to Buy Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo


#4 Penguin Cooling Pillow Mat – Soft Gel Review

Penguin Cooling Pillow Mat

A totally different take on the cooling pillow, the Penguin cooling mat simply sits inside your existing pillow covers, soaking up the heat from your body as you sleep. There are some awesome benefits to this, partly the fact that you don’t need to purchase a modern pillow, plus you can refrigerate the mat to chill your pillow right down.

Features

  • Gel cooled core, with no water or leaks.
  • Japanese designed core that will slip within any pillowcase.
  • Refrigerable before use.
  • Easily stowed and folded for travel.

In Use

So impressed were we by this little mat, that 3 of our review team took it for a test run! The fact it can be put in the fridge a few hours before you go to bed is awesome; one of our team also mentioned it’s suitability for treating migraines too.

The gel and fabric outer are all formed from one continuous piece. This means that the met genuinely feels like an existing part of your pillow, without any nasty ridges or groves.

What We Liked

Super cheap, easy to use and a great alternative to spending $50 plus on a breathable pillow. The fact it can be put in the fridge before bedtime makes it a superb way to treat tension headaches.

Click Here to Buy Penguin Mat


#5 Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow Review

Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow

Back to the world is proper sized cooling pillows next, with the Iso-Cool and its more traditional memory foam core. However, what the Iso-Cool lacks in outright features, it more than makes up for with its range of sizes – even including side sleeper pillows and contoured versions.

As with many of the premium pillows features in our review, the Iso-Cool is manufactured in the USA.

Features

  • Visco-elastic memory foam.
  • 100% Cotton cover.
  • Micro beads featuring PCM to help disperse heat.
  • Available in a range of sizes.

In Use

The first major departure with the Iso-Cool pillow, is the fact it’s available in a range of sizes and contours to suit almost anyone. From gusseted side sleeper, to standard packs, there’s a huge range available.

As for coolness in use, the memory foam and 100% cotton cover are comfortable in use, and really do allow heat to move away from your body. Those micro beat PCM beads really do assist with the cooling effort too, making this pillow as comfortable as the Snuggle-Pedic.

What We Liked

Similar comfort levels and coolness to the Snuggle-Pedic; the sheer number of sizes available is where the Iso-Cool really begins to shine. Personally, I loved the gusseted side sleeper pillow, while most members of our team were content with the standard pillow size.

If you’re looking for a specific style of cooling pillow, the Iso-Cool range could be just what you need.

Click Here to Buy Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow


#6 Sleep Restoration Gel Pillow – King Sized

Sleep Restoration

The title of this brand of pillow is a slight misnomer, these pillows are available in standard, queen and king sizes. The filling is also standard stuff, with a combined gel and memory foam inside that cushioned and cools in equal measure.

What does set this pillow apart though, is the fact it’s designed to be super plush. If you’re a fan of pillows that really cushion you as you sleep, the Sleep Restoration brand could be exactly what you need.

Features

  • Super plush design.
  • Available in standard, queen and king sizes.
  • Mold, dust mite and mildew resistant.
  • 30-day refund guarantee.

In Use

First thing that sets this pillow apart, is the fact it’s resistant to mildew and mold. This might not be a huge deal for most homeowners, yet if you plan on purchasing a holiday home, boat or caravan/RV – it’s a huge bonus point.

There are other plus points too, the sheer plushness of these pillows was un-matched during our review, and for those who like a pillow they can really sink into – you won’t find much better. Of course, this also means that if you prefer a firmer filling, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

As far as the cooling effect of the Sleep Restoration pillow, it’s damn good, and easily as good as either the Snuggle-Pedi or Iso-Cool; however, you’re unlikely to get as good a cooling effect as the Penguin mat!

What We Liked

If you’re looking for the plushest cooling pillow on the market, then the Sleep Restoration is for you. Super comfortable and just as cooling as any other featured, it’s also available in most sizes.

Click Here to Buy Sleep Restoration Gel Pillow


#7 Gel O’Cool Pillow Mat Review

Gel'O Cool Pillow Mat

Another cooling gel mat comes courtesy of Gel O’Cool, a new brand that’s been making waves recently. It promises most of the features of the Penguin mat, plus additions like a softer cotton blend cover and medical grade gel.

Features

  • Medical grade gel that won’t leak, even after cutting.
  • Easily storable and portable.
  • Soft cotton fabric.
  • Refrigerable

In Use

The Gel O’Cool promises much of the same as the Penguin mat featured earlier; however, there are some worrying signs it’s not quite as well made. The cotton fabric across the top has well-formed grooves and dents in it, meaning it won’t huge your head as much as the smoother Penguin version.

We also didn’t like the cotton fabric either. Unlike all the other pillows tested, this one only provides a cooling effect after it’s be refrigerated.

It’s not all bad news though, once you’ve placed this mat in your fridge for a few hours it really does cool down, far more than the Penguin featured earlier. If you’re looking for a way to treat headaches or muscle pain, the Gel O’Cool is exactly what you need to purchase!

Unfortunately, if you want a cooling night’s sleep, you’ll want to skip this one.

What We Liked

Chilled down to a good temperature for curing headaches and muscle/neck pain. However, wasn’t nearly as good for providing a cooling night’s sleep.

Click Here to Buy Gel’O Mat


Round Up

As we said at the start, all seven pillows tested are top picks. The only guiding force when choosing between them, is exactly what you need from a cool pillow. There’s only one brand of pillow we reviewed where the price could jump into the 3 figures, most models tested could easily be purchased for about $50 – $100, about right for a quality upgraded pillow.

All pillows in our review are hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant too.

For a comfortable sleep – The Snuggle Pedic is where you’ll want to spend your cash. Of course, you’ll be spending a bit more than with the other pillows on review, yet you will thank yourself later! We loved the bamboo covers coolness, plus the fact it’s made in the USA and available in a range of sizes.

For unusual shapes/sizes – The Iso-Cool range is what you’ll need. The coolness is easily up to Snuggle-Pedic standards, yet with a huge range of shapes such as side gussets, contoured plus the usual standard, queen and king sizes.

The only major problem with Iso-Cool, is the price. Some people might be put off by such a huge outlay for what’s basically a pillow. Depending on your budget, it might be exactly what you’re looking for of course.

For cooling mats – It depends on what you need. For a good night’s cooling sleep, you’ll want to choose the Penguin mat. It retains its coolness well, plus it also features a fabric top that will wick off heat and sweat, long after the fridge induces effect wears off. For those who are trying to cure headaches and muscle/joint paint, the Gel O’Cool gets much colder in practice, making an instant impact on migraines and head paint. The drawback to this, is the fact it won’t really keep you cool throughout the night, once the initial effect wears off, you’ll be back to normal!

For a budget solution–The Coop home goods pillow is reasonably priced, and compares admirably with both the Snuggle-Pedic and more expensive Iso-Cool models. What’s more, it’s available in standard, queen and king sizes, making for a pillow you could use easily on your size, without paying a premium for it. The Coop pillow is also manufactured in the USA, and comes with Centi-PUR certification.

For Caravans/RV’s, boats or second homes – The Sleep Restoration pillow is mildew and mold resistant, making it perfect for leaving in holidays homes or boats/caravans – basically anywhere you can’t 100% guarantee good ventilation and dryness! Quality, coolness and comfort are pretty much on-point too.

For ultimate plushness – The Sleep Restoration wins again, with its super plush filling. The only issue of course, is the fact it might feel a bit too soft for some people. If you do purchase this pillow because of its mold and mildew resistance, and like a firmer pillow, you might want to purchase two.

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