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Many people are just starting to travel again after what feels like (or quite literally has been) years. If you’re like us, you’ve used that time at home to reorganize, redesign, and take stock of everything you’ve got. Maybe you’ve noticed just how old your hand-me-down duffel is. Perhaps, whether in an existential crisis or simply to declutter, you tossed anything that didn’t have to do with working from home. Regardless of why you’re looking to upgrade your carry-on luggage, we’re here for it — and we’re here to help.
As a former military kid and travel writer myself, I’ve had the privilege (and, at times, task) of trying nearly every travel bag brand there is. Without a doubt, the secret to seamless TSA experiences, preventing unpacking procrastination, or living comfortably out of a carry-on begins and ends with the carry-on itself. At Apartment Therapy, we’re experts at all things home, but we’re also versed in taking home on the road when need be. Since bad travel bags can really put a damper on an otherwise good trip, we’ve done the research and compiled this list of the best carry-on luggage to take with you on your next adventure.
The Best Carry-on Luggage
What to Consider Before Buying a Carry-on
The first thing to consider is your travel habits or aspirations. How often do you travel? Are you typically in planes, trains, cars, or all three? Do you travel to the same places routinely or somewhere new almost every time? Do you prefer to keep everything with you at all times or are you willing to gate check your carry-on? For business travelers, utility and organization is key. Leisure travelers may benefit from the trackability of smart luggage or the option to overpack. Below are all the common types of carry-on luggage, along with who they suit best. If you’re seasoned and already know what you like, more power to you, but getting to know your options could present you with a better solution to any packing woes or travel tribulations.
Hardside: One of the most ubiquitous suitcase styles today, hardside carry-ons are most of what you’ll see from direct-to-consumer travel brands. Their construction is usually inflexible, but their hard shell exteriors offer more protection. They often come in a variety of colors, are designed to be attractive, and can even be customizable.
Softside: Soft suitcases are somewhat flexible and may allow you to pack more than you’d be able to in a hard shell suitcase with the same dimensions. The exterior is less protective, so breakable belongings inside may benefit from additional padding. We suggest packing soft shell suitcases sandwich-style: put in half your clothes first; place waterproof-packaged toiletries, accessories, and hard items in the middle; add the rest of your clothes on top.
Duffel: Ideal for those traveling with mostly soft items, duffels are for travelers who don’t mind or even prefer carrying their luggage. They can be low maintenance with a totally open interior or include pockets and additional storage.
Backpack: If you prefer to stay hands-free while en route, backpacks are your best bet. They offer support via weight distribution and often include a multitude of pockets, so everything down to your pens can be organized.
Tote: Also referred to as carry-alls, totes have a wide open interior with limited pocket storage. They are usually open at the top, but can be found with zipper tops or small fastener closures. They work well for travelers who prefer having easy access to their belonging. We recommend totes for carrying on grab-and-go items like books, sweaters, and water bottles or separate storage bags of small items like toiletries and medication.
The TSA now defaults to the regulations enforced by the specific airline you’re traveling with. That said, there usually isn’t a weight limit for carry-ons as long as you can get yours into any provided storage space yourself. Most major airlines, such as JetBlue, Delta, United, Virgin, American, and Alaska, approve carry-ons that are max 22″ in height, 14″ in length, and 9″ in width for overhead storage. If you’re flying on a small aircraft, regardless of the airline, the measurements can down to around 16″ x 12″ x 6″. Other airlines like Southwest allow overhead carry-ons up to 24″ x 16″ x 10″. Under-seat storage should be reserved for bags 17″ x 13″ x 8″ or smaller, depending on your flight. Prevent the inconvenience that comes with not realizing your carry-on is too large until it’s too late and check with your airline to confirm size and weight specifics.
What We Look for in a Carry-on
We tested a wide range of carry-on luggage for our list, judging them on the following criteria:
The Best Carry-on Luggage
The best overall carry-on has to be reliable, durable, sturdy without being bulky, spacious without being heavy, and something you’d be proud to pluck from the baggage carousel. Meet the Platinum Elite Hardside Spinner from Travelpro, the founding brand behind rollaboard luggage. It includes portable USB charging, lets you pack more while somehow staying in regulation (it fits more than any other hardside carry-on we tried), and glides smoothly and quietly. The handle and zippers never get stuck (no matter what we put it through), and its appearance is classic — not too youthful, not too antiquated. Stickers peel off without residue, and scuffs buff away with just a cloth and some water. We’ve even used this carry-on as a step stool during pandemic lockdowns when we rearranged our apartments (okay, that was me), and now it’s zipping and rolling as smoothly as ever. Travelpro has our trust and we couldn’t recommend it more.
Who It’s Best For: Those who travel frequently and want a single carry-on to last years; those who want utility and style.
Good to Know: Usually around $650 to $750, this Travelpro suitcase is worth catching when it goes on sale, so keep your eyes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
Like most Amazon brand products, this Amazon Basics 21-inch carry-on hits all the marks: it’s expandable, has excellent rolling mobility, includes zipped pockets, and has the love and loyalty of over 25,000 Amazon reviewers. Its interior is made of 150D polyester, the same stuff used to make some of the highest quality, waterproof hammocks and tents on the market. The carry-on is available in a range of colors, so you can choose from a sleek black or an easily identifiable orange. Regardless, none of the exterior colors shows scuffing or discoloration easily, and after testing for over a year of travel, we can assure you this carry-on’s more functional parts show just as little wear and tear.
Who It’s Best For: Those who need a good carry-on fast; those who want to spend under $100.
Good to Know: You can get the whole Amazon Basics hardside luggage set, either 2- or 3-piece, and save even more.
If you’ve got the cash to spend and want something of undeniable quality, RIMOWA’s Original Cabin carry-on is the way to go. Designed from anodized aluminum, its exterior is virtually corrosion-proof, so it’ll stay shiny and new through a lifetime of travel wear and tear. Its patented flex dividers keep your belongings secure and are optimized to compress everything safely and efficiently, removing excess air and revealing more packing space. Oftentimes, a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a better product, but if you value highly considered design, extreme durability, and want to invest in luggage that will last generations, this carry-on will deliver. Be prepared to be taken seriously when rolling this RIMOWA suitcase from place to place, as this is the carry-on for travel pros.
Who It’s Best For: Those looking to invest in their carry-on luggage; those who want something virtually indestructible.
Good to Know: Nordstrom makes it easy to gift this carry-on by offering DIY gift kits, Nordstrom packaging services, gift messaging, and delivery and in-store pickup.
Wider than they are long, duffels are a traditional handheld or shoulder-strapped travel bag built for low-maintenance packing and easy access. Whether you prefer to travel just with a duffel or accompany your rolling suitcase with extra storage, our winner is perfect for both. The Monos Metro Duffel has all the bells and whistles of a good soft carry-on bag: a trolley sleeve that allows it to slip over your spinner for easy transport, easily cleanable interior and exterior materials, and lots of storage space or pockets. What makes this duffel unique is the magnetic Metro Classic Kit it comes with, which allows you to choose exactly how much storage you want for each trip. The kit includes two separate packing cubes of sorts, the insides of which have a clear toiletry bag and device and notebook storage, respectively. These simply (yet securely) snap onto the back of the Metro duffel, keeping liquids and devices easily accessible for you and the TSA, and completely separate from your clothing and other belongings. We’re suckers for organization, and this duffel helps to keep track of everything while still accommodating the classic toss-in-and-go style of duffel packing.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a spacious, easy-to-pack, and easy-to-access travel bag; those who pack differently for each trip.
Good to Know: The Monos QuickSnap modular storage system that comes with the duffel also works on other Monos travel bags, including the backpack.
If you’ve already got your carry-on suitcase but want to optimize your personal item to fit everything you need at the ready and still slide under the seat in front of you, a zipped tote is a great option. If you want one compact bag to carry everything for an overnight stay or a brief business trip, a tote’s good for that, too. The Lo & Sons O.G. 2 tote is the chic, extremely durable (without looking utilitarian) travel bag to consider whether you need a carry-all for a quick trip or additional easy-access storage. I’ve tested it for over three years and have brought it on every trip I’ve taken. I’m consistently impressed with how much I can pack in it, how it always fits under the seat in front of me, how organized its compartments keep me (there’s even a corded key clip!), how easy it is to clean (and how little I actually have to clean it), how durable the closures are, and how comfortable the straps stay. No wonder I often get asked where it’s from! The tote’s laptop compartment is soft but protective and makes going through TSA checkpoints a breeze. It has a sleeve that lets it slip right over the handles of your rolling luggage, which brings actually carrying your carry-on to a minimum. Personally, I had no idea that I’d use my O.G. 2 as much as I have, but after all this time I might as well give it a name since it’s my No. 1 travel companion and even comes with me to the gym and to work.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a personal item-sized carry-on; those who love organization.
Good to Know: It’s got a zipped shoe compartment on its side, so you can even throw a change of attire in there and keep it separate from your toiletries and other belongings.
Twelve-hour flights. Twenty-four-hour train rides. Back-to-back-to-back transportation. Whatever your long-haul trips look like, the same few things are essential: dependable device charging, easy access to essentials, and consolidation. Away’s Carry-on with a pocket includes a removable portable charger, so we can recharge while still keeping our phones on our person at all times. Its slim front pocket fits all our travel documents, our laptop, and even a book, which basically removes the need for any additional personal items. If you’re like us, though, and like to bring stuff home with you when you travel, there are also easily accessed interior pockets that are perfect for phones, passports, and sanitizer. While I can’t condone the consistent overstuffing of luggage (even the best stuff wears fast when mistreated), I’ve somehow managed to squeeze an entire sample-sized skin-care routine into these convenient spots.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want one roller carry-on to hold everything; those who need constant easy access to documents or devices; those who need to charge devices on the go.
Good to Know: Away offers a 100-day limited trial as well as free shipping.
There’s a certain *chef’s kiss* je ne sais quoi to the feeling that comes from getting to customize anything. ROAM, our winning brand for this category, allows you to customize your luggage’s hues down to the zipper, which is not only fun to do but also helpful for identifying and tracking your luggage. The Jaunt carry-on, which comes in a larger carry-on size as well, is a hard shell suitcase made of thin and lightweight virgin polycarbonate, so it’s got the protective benefits of a hard exterior without being unnecessarily bulky. The colors of the front and back panels as well as the trim are up to you, making it our winner of the best customizable carry-on. You can also add a monogrammed ID patch in your chosen color on the back. We can attest that the Jaunt makes an awesome gift, whether you customize it yourself or give your recipient the chance to design their own. My partner customized the Jaunt he was given in a shameless few hours of unadulterated giddiness, so I naturally asked him to customize mine the following year. I still think of him when I catch sight of my hot pink Jaunt rounding the corner of the baggage carousel.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want to express their personal style through their travel gear; those shopping for a carry-on to give as a gift.
Good to Know: You can also choose a pre-made design from ROAM’s gallery.
Samsara, the winning brand behind our best smart carry-on, designed its Aluminum Smart Carry-on to be a problem-solver on wheels. Its highly considered construction begins with the bag itself, being of quality aluminum with a flat desktop surface, and extends to its most identifying feature: its smart tracking unit. More specifically, its removable, multiple device-charging, app-controlled, GPS-tracking smart unit. This is the carry-on you want when you’re traveling with valuables or are just looking to impress whomever you’re headed to see, but it’s surprisingly competitively priced for what it does (and how it looks). In testing the Samsara carry-on, we were able to put the tracker and its paired app to work…and we were impressed, to say the least. For those times when your first flight is delayed or a layover lands you in a wonderland of duty-free shopping and you miss your connecting flight, you’ll thank yourself for being so prepared with your trackable Samsara.
Who It’s Best For: Those who never want to risk losing their luggage; those who work on the go.
Good to Know: Samsara also has a smart duffel for those who want something softer or more compact.
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.
Whether you have pets and need the extra help or just want to streamline your cleaning process, a robot vacuum is a great product to add to your home cleaning arsenal. These cordless machines run on their own, and most can even be put on a schedule and charge themselves, taking vacuuming almost entirely off your plate. There are a ton of options out there, and each comes with its own long list of features to sift through, so we narrowed down our favorites to help you find the best robot vacuum to fit for your needs.
What to Consider Before Buying a Robot Vacuum
Robot vacuums are an increasingly essential household item. Consistent cleaning is more important than ever, but the free time we have to keep up with it seems to have dwindled over the past few decades. Not to mention, if you have pets, kids, allergies, or a large or especially dust-prone home, it’s even more important to keep your space clean and your air purified. For these reasons, robot vacuums are smart purchases, but they may even be as ubiquitous as smart phones somewhere down the line, so it behooves those able to get one now to do so in order to get used to their unique functionality. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to finding the right robot vacuum for your needs, which is why research is so important — and why we did as much as we could for you. Here’s what to think about:
Robot vacuums have a whole suite of impressive features, but you might not need all of them. If you’re someone who has fully leaned into your smart home system, you’ll definitely want a vacuum that is compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant and WiFi enabled so you can control it from your phone.
On a more basic level, self-docking and self-charging models are highly recommended — they’ll automatically go back to their dock when their charge is running low and finish the job when ready. While many robot vacuums are labeled “smart,” some can still fall down stairs, bump into barriers, and create unforgivable messes. Take stock of your space and determine how smart a device you may need, especially if you have pets, multiple stories, and a variety of flooring types. Robot vacuums with smart mapping are different from those with just smart home compatibility. Lastly, robot mops are a newer addition to the robot cleaning family, and some high-end models can vacuum as well.
The robot vacuum model you choose will largely depend on the type of household you have. There are more options if you have a small space, but if you have a whole house to keep clean, you’ll want something heavy duty with a large self-dispensing dustbin and longer run time. Households with pets or people with allergies will benefit from a more powerful robot vacuum that has a HEPA filter and strong suction, leaving no allergens behind.
There’s no way around it: Robot vacuums are expensive. Be wary of models that cost below $150, as they’re definitely priced so low for a reason. Quality “budget” robot vacuums are in the $200-$250 range, which certainly isn’t cheap, so you’ll want to read on to find your best option before committing. Check sites like Amazon and Walmart for deals, and plan to buy around a major sale season (like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Memorial Day) to score discounts on robot vacuums that are the real deal.
What We Look for in a Robot Vacuum
We tested and researched a range of robot vacuum models to find the best, judging them on the following criteria:
For this category, we looked for one robot vacuum that did it all, from working on multiple surfaces to being app-controlled and smart home compatible, without costing a month’s rent. The Roomba 675, best overall robot vacuum winner for the second year in a row, has all the bells and whistles at a surprisingly low price. It’s got the patented iRobot dual-roller cleaning system all Roombas have, which makes the brand unparalleled when it comes to cleaning carpets and rolling over multiple surfaces. This model can be controlled via the iRobot app or your Alexa or Google Assistant smart home devices and automatically re-docks and recharges when its battery is low. Yep, you can handle the entire cleaning process without even touching your vacuum until its storage needs a refresh. It even has a full suite of sensors, making it reactive to furniture and barriers before it comes in contact with them. This robot vacuum is also lightweight and easy to clean out and get reset for the cleaning jobs ahead. For all these reasons, the Roomba 675 is exceptional for its price point, but even if you are willing to shell out extra dough, you need not look further unless smart mapping or extra debris storage is necessary for your home size and lifestyle.
Who It’s Best For: Those who need something to simplify their general floor-cleaning routine; those who want something hands free; those working with a tighter budget.
Good to Know: We’re not the only ones who love it — more than 40,000 Amazon reviewers also give it all the stars.
The eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S is actually owned and loved by a number of our editors. In our opinion, there couldn’t be a better option if you don’t want to spend over $200 or wait for sales. Remember when we said you get what you pay for? Well, what the eufy lacks in WiFi connectivity and smart home compatibility, it makes up for in reliable remote controllability, multiple surface capabilities, and schedule setting and cleaning modes. For those just starting out with robot vacuums, who don’t use smart home devices, or who live in an apartment with little space and sensitive neighbors, the eufy BoostIQ is for you. It’s no louder than a running microwave, is our slimmest option, and comes with a small charging dock. It also docks automatically when its battery is low, so you don’t have to come home to a dead vacuum when you’re ready to get it started. It’s got a large dustbin, super slim design, and triple filter system, making cleaning easy. Not only do we find this vacuum’s little back-and-forth movements and sensor-guided pivots adorable to watch, but we are also still genuinely impressed by how thorough and attentive it is when it cleans.
Who It’s Best For: Those working with a tighter budget; those who need something simple for area cleaning in addition to their regular vacuum; those who need something quiet.
Good to Know: It’s designed to work with hard floors up to medium-pile carpets and rugs, so if you’ve got high-pile or shag rugs, it may not be for you.
Cleaning up after pets, simply put, requires a vacuum. Incorporating a robot vac into your routine can free up a whole lot of the time you spend picking up pet hair, dander, litter, dirt, and other debris. But what about allergies caused by pets or otherwise? A robot vacuum’s constant movement stirs and captures more allergens than you may even realize are causing issues. Add allergen-enemy HEPA filtration and an attractive shell, and you’ve got our pick of the best robot vacuum for those with pets and/or allergies: the Roborock S7 vacuum and mop hybrid. “Rocky, as he has come to be known,” in AT contributor Shifrah’s household of four pets, “took a maiden voyage around the house and mapped out the rooms in our home. I love this feature because we can tell him to go to a certain place and either vacuum or mop or we can program him to do certain rooms at certain times. And when I say ‘tell him,’ I mean that literally. Rocky is smart home-connected, so we can direct him through our Google Home speakers.”
The Roborock S7 knows when it’s on hard floors versus carpets and seamlessly switches modes. “The mopping portion is easy to set up and maintain,” says Shifrah. This model mops at 3,000 spin cycles per minute while also using its powerful vacuum, lifting dry dust, dirt, and pet hair before it gets wet to avoid clumping or dragging it across the floor. “The floors aren’t left too wet, there’s no streaking, and, yes, it gets the floors noticeably clean,” says Shifrah.
Who It’s Best For: Those with multiple pets; those who need extra help mopping and vacuuming in a busy household; those who want a smart vacuum.
Good to Know: Warranties may be available if you shop directly through the Roborock website.
Whether it’s because of pets, kids, or just you living how you do, wet messes happen (she writes with one hand while the other holds iced tea). Imagine a world where your cat pushes your water off the table or your friend’s new puppy has an accident and, unless you choose to, you never have to know it happened. Bissell’s SpinWave combines the brand’s trustworthy dry vacuum capabilities with those of a powerful wet mop — an independent one at that. Of the multiple mop hybrid robot vacuums we tried, this one’s mop-cleaning power took center stage without sacrificing any of its dry vacuuming capabilities. App controlled and hands free, the SpinWave is designed to switch effortlessly from dry vacuum and wet mopping duties, avoiding carpets in the latter mode. Its power level and low water indicators, app tracking, and physical water level window allow you to easily keep up with the SpinWave’s progress and stay ahead of refills.
“I loved how I was able to have it running in the background while I was doing other things,” says our production editor, Tracey. “It works especially well when it has wide room to move around. To switch from dry mode to wet mode, all that’s required is to swap out the dry collection bin to the container with the cleaner. I moved a bunch of furniture out of the way and watched the mop move back and forth across the tile. It was easy to see that every section of the floor had been cleaned. There were a couple areas that needed a stronger cleaning, and I was able to use another function to have the mop go in circles over it until it disappeared. I hate mopping, and it’s so nice to outsource this!”
Who It’s Best For: Those with pets; those who want a powerful, smart-sensing robot mop.
Good to Know: Not only does it function well for families with pets, but every purchase goes to supporting the Bissell Pet Foundation and its mission to help house homeless cats and dogs.
This award is for the robot vacuum with conspiracy-theory-level independence. The one that knows what it’s doing, where it’s doing it, and when. The one that feeds, cleans, and all but puts on a tie itself. When you want your robot vacuum to do the most it possibly can for you — so much so that you forget to vacuum for two weeks — you want the Shark IQ Self-emptying robot vacuum. There are a few options out there that have automatic charge docking, self-emptying, and smart mapping capabilities, but we wanted the most trustworthy one at the best value. The Shark IQ docks itself to recharge when it needs it and picks up vacuuming right where it left off. It can be programmed to self-empty while it’s there, but it’ll also head home as needed to free space and get right back to it. It’s controllable, trackable, and direct-able within the app, so you can tell your Shark exactly what you want it to do. As far as its vacuum range, it has brushes on all of its edges, allowing it to capture hard-to-reach debris from angular corners more easily.
We love having this control, and that all we really have to do is find an accessible spot for the dock, plug it in, and hit the big button on the top of the vacuum. It starts learning and mapping the area right away as it cleans, and once it’s finished the job (it’ll keep going unless we tell it to stop or go home), it’ll self-empty and recharge. It’ll even clean its own brushes so not even long hair or pet hair can stop it.
Who It’s Best For: Those who are out for long periods of time and want to return to a clean home; those who want to regularly maintain their vacuum as little as possible.
Good to Know: The XL version of the Shark IQ allows you to turn forgetting to vacuum for two weeks into forgetting for two months.
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.
I’ll be honest — before testing for this list, I’d never tried a mattress topper before. Buying a new mattress seemed to be the only effective solution to sleep issues, but that’s expensive and sometimes a pain. As it turns out, a mattress topper can mean the difference between your dreamiest night’s sleep and shelling out upwards of a grand for a new mattress.
For instance, do you love the firmness of your mattress but wish there was that cloud-like je ne sais quoi everyone talks about? Mattress topper. What if you’ve started sleeping on your side but your mattress is too firm to support you? Mattress topper. Are you getting a little too hot at night? Does your partner like sleeping in a cold room, leaving you shivering? Want to remain soundly asleep even when someone’s shuffling on the other side of the bed? Mattress. Topper.
Whether you don’t want to invest in a new mattress, need a temporary solution to tide you over for a shorter period of time, or just want a bit of height to your bed, a mattress topper is the key. But, as with bedding, there’s a plethora of options out there, making it difficult to narrow down your perfect topper, especially if you’re still not quite sure what you need to sleep better at night. Relax. We did the work and investigated over 30 mattress toppers to determine which are worth it across the most sought-after categories.
The Best Mattress Toppers
What to Consider Before Buying a Mattress Topper
There are a few things you need to consider before you add a topper to your cart: type of fill, thickness level, and sleeping style. Additionally, mattress toppers and mattress pads are different — mattress toppers sit on top of your mattress to provide extra cushioning, while mattress pads (or protectors) are thin coverings that protect your mattress from fluids, allergens, and dust mites. That said, some mattress pads add the support, cushion, or temperature regulation you may need without the height of a topper. For this reason, we’ve included a few high-performing mattress pads that achieve these functions in addition to mattress toppers.
It’s recommended that you replace your mattress topper every 3 to 5 years, simply because it’s a thinner version of the multi-layer thickness of a mattress, so it will wear faster with regular use.
Foam: By far the most popular fill for mattress toppers, foam is a great option if you’re looking for extra plushness and a bit of support. Soft and comfortable, foam toppers relieve pressure and come in a range of thicknesses. They can get hot, though, so if you’re a hot sleeper, you should look for gel-infused foam.
Down: Sometimes called featherbeds, down mattress toppers provide little in the way of support, but they’re luxuriously soft and comfortable (if you have a down comforter, you know the feel). They don’t retain heat, making them a good option for hot sleepers. On the downside, they can trigger allergies in some people and are typically expensive. You can, of course, solve both of those problems by shopping for a down alternative topper instead.
Latex: If you want a more sustainable version of foam, latex is the answer. Natural latex comes from the rubber tree and feels pretty similar to foam, providing a good deal of support and a cooler feel compared to foam. Most organic mattress toppers have a latex fill.
If you want to add extra height to your bed, consider foam and latex mattress toppers. Most toppers are about 2 inches thick, but you can find options that are 4 inches and higher. The main benefit of a thicker mattress topper is extra cushioning, which can mean both softness as well as support — if you have a seriously lumpy mattress, a 2-inch topper might not be enough to make you comfortable. Make sure your fitted sheet has sides that are long enough to fit over both your mattress and your topper if you go this route.
When shopping for memory foam, check if it’s CertiPUR-US certified, which ensures that the foam is free from harmful chemicals, flame retardants, heavy metals, and more. Other common certifications for foam include GREENGUARD certified, which means that the foam has low chemical emissions, and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, which means the textile has been tested for and proven free of harmful chemicals.
What We Look for in a Mattress Topper
We tested a wide range of mattress toppers for our list, judging them on the following criteria:
The Best Mattress Toppers
It’s no surprise that Coop Home Goods, which makes one of our favorite pillows, has such a fantastic mattress topper as well. Made from CertiPUR-US certified foam, this topper has a few features that make it stand out from the rest. First, it’s flippable, with both a plush and a firm side. If you tend to go through periods of different sleep positions (like me), the ability to change your bed completely with one quick flip is a huge relief — literally. What if you think you prefer plush but it turns out you actually need something firm? The firm side is great if you need extra support or want to improve alignment, while the plush side turns any old mattress into a cozy wonderland. The Flip already comes covered with a waterproof mattress protector, saving you money if you need both. Plus, having a protector will give you some peace of mind if you have pets or little kids jumping into bed with you (or if you enjoy drinking wine in bed).
Who It’s Best For: Those who want flexibility with their mattress feel; those who want something waterproof.
Good to Know: It’s a mattress topper and waterproof protector in one.
When it comes to luxury mattress toppers, we’re looking for the one that does the most with the best materials. Even a higher-end mattress can underperform if it’s not right for you, in which case a luxurious topper could be what you need. But if you’re working with an older or inexpensive model and not ready to fully update, our commerce director, Mark, says Saatva’s Luxury Latex Topper is perfect for people who don’t want to invest in a new mattress but want to breathe new life into their old one. “My Saatva mattress was already comfortable but it got even better with this topper, and I did sleep a little better,” he says. The Saatva topper is “firm but super comfortable and conforms to my body.” While Mark loved his Saatva mattress as is, he “always thought it could be a little bit firmer” for what he needs. “The mattress topper gives me the exact level of firmness that I love.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a natural topper; those who prefer firmer support as well as subtle body contouring.
Good to Know: The Saatva mattress topper is available in 2 additional types: graphite for cooling and foam for plushness.
Mattress toppers and pads, like mattresses, can be an investment, especially if you have specific features in mind. Our best budget-friendly pick has to perform as well as the rest of our winners, with the added bonus of being the least expensive of the lot. The Martha Stewart Collection Quilted Mattress Pad adds subtle softness, cools, and protects, making it the ideal all-around option for those who have a mattress they’re okay with but still wake up sore at times and sleep hot at night. AT brand partnerships director Camey says, “I’ve slept better! My mattress is on the firmer side, and this mattress topper makes the bed perfectly soft with the firmness I want. It also feels much cooler than my previous topper, which is a HUGE plus considering I’m a hot sleeper.” If you’re in the market for a thick mattress topper to totally change the overall feel of your current mattress, this one may not be for you. But, as a topper that benefits your current sleep situation, Martha has you covered.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want additional comfort on a budget; those who want to protect their mattress; those who sleep hot.
Good to Know: This wraparound mattress pad fits mattresses up to 22 inches deep.
Looking to treat yourself to something truly luxurious? Allow us to introduce you to Brooklinen’s down alternative mattress topper. Its microgel fill mimics the plushness of a true down top, creating a seriously soft and hypoallergenic topper that ensures you’ll never want to leave your bed. This topper’s main function is to provide extra cushion and protection without any added heat, so it should be used on beds that aren’t totally hopeless, just maybe a tad too firm. (If you’re looking to add a bit of warmth, Brooklinen also sells a down topper we recommend.) “I love that it’s not bulky and stays put so well (restless sleeper over here),” AT’s social media manager, Rachel, says of the down alternative version. “I splurged on a good mattress, so I didn’t realize I needed a mattress topper in my life until now. This down alternative one is SO SOFT and feels just like my favorite blanket. The way the box arrived also felt like such a luxe treat — I’m planning to gift it this season for that reason.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want added softness; those who sleep hot; those who want the feel of down without the use of real down.
Good to Know: This wraparound mattress topper fits mattresses up to 18 inches deep.
As one of the top needs among sleepers searching for mattress toppers, effective cooling is something we always look for when it comes to bedding. The Slumber Cloud Core Mattress Pad offers additional softness but really shines with its NASA-approved cooling technology that’s used for spacesuits and redesigned for bedding. It goes without saying, but according to AT video producer Anita, “It definitely cools. My boyfriend notices the difference. We both have been sleeping very well. He runs warmer than I do, and I end up getting his residual heat, which sometimes can be too hot. I haven’t had that issue since using this topper. I am considering purchasing sheets or other items from their site.” Us, too, Anita.
Who It’s Best For: Those who like the feel of their mattress but sleep hot.
If you’re in love with your summer sheets but start to shiver come fall, or if you love cozying up in a warm bed in a chilly room, a mattress topper with insulation is your answer. That said, we don’t want anything that holds in too much heat and crosses over into uncomfortable or sweaty, as many foam toppers tend to do. That’s why we love the Plushbeds 100% Natural Latex Topper and its fluffy, breathable latex fill. It comes in multiple feels and can be perfect for firm-mattress lovers as well. “I’ve slept really great with the topper,” AT senior sales research manager Marisa says. “My mattress is a little too plush on its own, so the topper has made it a little more firm. I notice less back pain and it’s comfortable whether I sleep on my side or my back. I also really loved how you can choose the thickness and level of firmness you want when buying. I ordered the medium firm and would probably step it up to extra firm if I were to order it again.” Marisa also notes that “this will be really nice in the winter, but for the end of summer, it required a little bit more out of our AC,” which is worth keeping in mind if you prefer cooler sleeping environments or want something for seasonal use.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want something all natural; those who sleep cold or want a winter topper; those who want to customize their topper upon order.
Good to Know: Latex is more breathable than traditional foam, so warming in this case doesn’t mean stuffy — it means not needing to stay in the one area where your body heat has warmed the bed.
Honorable mention: The Sleep Number Comfortfit Mattress Layer has a blended fill of memory foam and down alternative fibers, giving you optimal insulation for cool nights — it’s perfect for bringing on camping trips or winter cabin vacations.
“Since using the Airweave, I have had a better, more solid sleep, and wake up less than I used to,” AT’s lifestyle editor, Ella, says of the Airweave Top Mattress. Airweave is a consistent winner for us when it comes to firm mattresses and accessories, as the brand’s own fill is specially developed to cater to body alignment and performance. “This topper definitely hits my need for a firm mattress, and I have really been enjoying it,” says Ella. Whether the mattress you currently have is too plush for your sleeping positions or you need additional firmness, Airweave’s proprietary airfiber technology creates a fill that is extremely breathable without the give that comes with other porous materials like foam or latex.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want all the support they can get; those who wake up with neck or back pain.
Good to Know: Airweave mattresses and pads are used and endorsed by elite athletes around the world for their ability to heighten performance and provide unparalleled support.
Honorable mention: The Boll & Branch Mattress Topper‘s wool, cotton, and poly design makes it dense, giving you the firm support you need while serving as a truly decadent addition to your sleep setup.
Sometimes, all we really need is a little added cushion — some extra comfort to settle into after a long day. And while plushness may not be right for some, side sleepers can especially benefit from the flexibility and body contouring that a plush topper can provide. The Nest Bedding Cooling Topper is our best plush option for its multitasking ability. It’s more than just a soft mattress topper — it’s cooling, supportive, and luxurious to boot. “It completely elevated my bedding situation,” says commerce managing editor Ivy. “A little something extra that made my sleeping situation even more comfortable. The cooling properties from the special foam were great, as I didn’t get hot, even in warm weather. It’s also very plush but still supportive. It’s a great item to buy if you want a luxurious, high-quality topper at a reasonable price point. I didn’t really wake up with a stiff back before, but after using this topper, how I felt after getting up was noticeably different. It’s the perfect mix of plush and supportive, and feels like you’re sinking into a cloud. This topper was amazing!”
Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a soft surface layer; those who sleep hot.
Good to Know: Nest Bedding toppers are made to order, each taking 10 to 12 days to produce and 3 to 8 to ship.
Say your mattress does the job, but you’ve got an early-rising partner, kids as alarm clocks, or pets who love to cuddle. Motion isolation is a necessity in more than just these cases, and it can mean the difference between full REM cycles and exhaustion. The MOLECULE Triple Zone Foam Topper is not only cooling and cloud-like, but it also has multiple zones of fill that amplify memory foam’s already impressive motion isolation. According to commerce coordinator Emily, “Motion isolation for my bed has increased with this, so I highly recommend for couples!” But it doesn’t stop there. “I’ve actually slept really well with NO pillow and am able to take naps quickly versus needing time to wind down. The topper really does give a cloud-like feel, and the best part is that it is very cool to touch. Comparative to my already ‘cool’ mattress, it actually was even cooler, which is great for hot sleepers like me. It adds a lot of height to the bed, which makes jumping on it all the more fun.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who don’t sleep alone; those who wake due to movement on the bed.
Good to Know: MOLECULE tested this topper on an innerspring mattress using infrared images of pressure mapping technology to visually display the difference it makes in body pressure while sleeping.
The Lucid 5 Zone Lavender Mattress Topper surprised and impressed us with how effective its lavender scent is in improving our sleep. Beyond this, the design of its five zones of differing foam textures relieved pressure in all the right areas, making it ideal for tossers and turners. It’s a plush mattress topper, though, and mildly warming, so if you’re in need of a firmer or more cooling surface, it may not be for you. “One word: LAVENDER! The lavender smell of this mattress topper is by far my favorite part of the experience of sleeping on it,” says AT’s SVP of marketing & brand strategy, Lauren. “Not only is the fragrance wonderful, but it has a very calming effect. Of course, this is only the mattress topper for you if you enjoy the scent of lavender as much as I do — it’s not for everyone! I also like the contouring of the different zones.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a very soft surface; those who enjoy aromatherapy.
Good to Know: This mattress topper is also available in gel vs. memory foam and can either come with or without a lavender-infused cover.
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.
The past couple of years have taught us many lessons, but a lighter one among them is how to turn our homes into oases where we can unwind and stay safe. We’ve shared some of our own favorite safe-space additions like weighted blankets and comforters, but few things create the ambience that an aroma diffuser can. There are several different kinds, from electric or ultrasonic to reed and nebulizer (we’ll explain), and all function by dispersing fragrance or essential oil molecules into the air. Some diffusers use heat to warm the fragrance and encourage evaporation, similar to the way a candle does. However, oil diffusers are safer to leave unattended and can be just as beautiful as candles, if not more so, depending on your style.
Everyone could use a little extra zen these days, so we’ve gone ahead and tested over 20 oil diffusers across a range of brands, function types, and aesthetic styles and rounded up the most impressive of the bunch.
What to Consider Before Buying an Oil Diffuser
The oil used with a diffuser is arguably the whole point of using the device, but there are actually quite a few things that differentiate some diffusers from others. A diffuser’s features and type can make or break the way an essential or aroma oil is released and the atmosphere that’s created. Before we get into what the types are, though, we’ve outlined the features worth noting when it comes to oil diffuser shopping. Each feature is followed by one or more prompting questions to help us determine our priorities. Even better — the list of diffuser types in the next section notes which of the below features each one caters to the most.
While many of us are familiar with reed and electric diffusers (the latter including different types of its own), there are a couple on our list that, admittedly, we learned about in our research. For each type below, we included the features it prioritizes most, making it easy to determine which one may be best for you.
How Much to Spend on a Diffuser
A diffuser’s cost usually begins with the work it does, and nebulizers are among the priciest for their ability to atomize oil particles (watching one is a bit like witnessing a science experiment). For this reason, nebulizers can cost anywhere from $200 to close to $1,000. There are also many passive, powerless, and waterless diffusers, such as ceramic and reed models, which have a design, materials, or fine fragrance that warrants their higher value. These can go from $40 up to hundreds of dollars.
While there’s no shortage of budget-friendly options, shopping for one without testing it first can prove that some just aren’t worth the amount they’re sold for. This is why we’ve tested across a variety of price points, and we found that some of our least expensive diffusers, around the $15 to $30 range, beat out some of the most expensive ones we tested.
We recommend determining your priorities from the list of features we detailed in our What to Consider section with the addition of price point. This formula could lead you to your perfect diffuser.
What We Look for in an Oil Diffuser
We have three priorities from the above list of functions that we think define a great overall diffuser.
Tried and true, the ultrasonic diffuser from Muji is as reliable and chic as minimal, high-performance diffusers get. I’ve used the Muji diffuser for years with very minor (or even somewhat neglected) upkeep, and it still diffuses any aroma or essential oil like the day I first tried it. It starts diffusing immediately once the button is pressed, filling even the biggest spaces in whatever home I’m in at the time (up to 500 square feet). Its internal light, which has two brightness settings when on, gives off a warm, ambient glow. It allows for 30 minutes to 180 minutes of diffusion with multiple other lengths of time in between. In terms of reliability, longevity, diffusion functionality, range, and appearance — being both chic and discreet — this one by Muji is our best overall diffuser winner.
Who It’s Best For: Those looking for one reliable diffuser to use for years; those who prefer minimalist decor.
Good to Know: Give your Muji diffuser a good rinse with mild soap after every few uses (ideally after each one) to free it of residue buildup, especially between using different essential oils or aromas.
Testing for high-performing, budget-friendly diffusers involved the trial and error of multiple electric, reed, and dry diffusers. Ultimately, Target’s Casaluna reed diffuser came out our winner. Casaluna’s delicate, non-artificial-smelling scent selection and minimal, brandless bottle design elevate it past anything we expected to be priced under $30. “Not only is the container super cute,” AT commerce intern Grace Cooper agreed, “but I immediately fell in love with the scent. I REALLY love this diffuser and will absolutely be purchasing another one.” New to reed diffusers, Grace was skeptical of this one’s scent payoff. “I have a pretty big apartment with very high ceilings, so I thought the diffuser would do best within my bathroom or bedroom, since those are smaller areas. However, within 24 hours, I could smell the scent as soon as I walked in the door and throughout the apartment. I usually go for the candles when I’m at Target, but for only $15, a second diffuser is definitely on my list for my next haul.”
Who It’s Best For: Those not wanting to spend too much on a home fragrance; those who want multiple diffusers throughout their home; those who want to easily restock.
Good to Know: Casaluna has three diffusers which come in different colors and an accompanying fragrance for use with its vessel and reeds.
Luxury diffusers, to us, should be compatible with fine fragrance without watering it down or diffusing too much too quickly. They should lend to a space’s overall decor, even elevating it, and be an experience worth having while using. We found the best luxury diffuser in AromaTech’s AroMini BT, a whisper-quiet oil nebulizer with Bluetooth compatibility. Its gilded, 100 percent recycled aluminum exterior makes the AroMini stand out in a space, especially when accompanied by AromaTech’s own amber bottles of essential oil blends. It functions free of heat and water, cold-diffusing the brand’s scents directly from their bottles (which are inserted into the AroMini) and providing undiluted olfactory and therapeutic experiences. It’s also a Bluetooth compatible diffuser, so you can conserve energy and oil by scheduling scent releases on your phone and customizing the diffusion intensity at any time. It has coverage capability in up to 1,000 square feet of space, making a single AroMini all you may need for diffusion throughout even the largest spaces in your home.
Who It’s Best For: Those with modern home decor; those who want the purest diffusion of essential or aroma oils; those willing to make the initial investment and continue purchasing AromaTech’s oil blends.
Good to Know: AromaTech recommends using their own aroma oil blends, which are sized and blended specifically for use in the brand’s proprietary nebulizer.
Honorable mentions: AT commerce director Mark reveres Dr Vranjes’ fine fragrance reed diffusers, especially in his favorite fresh fig leaf scent Fico Selvatico or spice-forward Chinotto Pepe, and has garnered significant praise from his house guests on the memorable, beautiful, subtle scents. Those in search of a luxurious dry oil diffuser, a treat for themselves, or a gift for someone else should grab something from the Italian perfumer.
Tight spaces require a fragrance that’s subtle enough not to overpower the room. Voluspa’s reed diffuser is our top pick thanks to its thinner reeds, which offer a more subtle aroma payoff and a quicker absorption rate. This particular scent’s eucalyptus and white sage profile is fresh and light, giving a smaller space just enough fragrance without being overpowering. “I was so pleased with this reed diffuser,” AT commerce managing editor Ivy says of the Voluspa diffuser. “The bottle was gorgeous — a very chic opaque white for my eucalyptus and white sage scent. It would go perfectly in any room and blend seamlessly with any decor.” She appreciated the thinness of the reeds, not only for their ability to fill the space with a subtle scent, but because “sturdier, blockier reeds can sometimes make the diffuser look more functional and service-y and less like natural decor, and these were longer than your average reed and wispier, giving it a little more of an elegant edge.” Ivy used one in her kitchen and in her bedroom, which are far apart. “The smell definitely lingered in a pleasant way, but doesn’t overpower from room to room,” she says.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a subtle fragrance in a single room; those who want an elegant, low-maintenance diffuser.
Good to Know: Voluspa was founded by husband-and-wife duo Troy and Traci Arntsen, known for their works in home fragrance. Rather than turning a best-selling fragrance into a reed diffuser, Voluspa’s designers understand the dynamics of aroma blends and diffusion at home — which is how they’ve earned such a loyal fan base internationally.
Honorable mention: We love Snowe‘s reed diffusers for their unique and robust aroma profiles and the subtle scent payoff they give, making them perfect for small bedrooms or office spaces. Snowe will be releasing their new diffuser vessel designs in October (with the same scents we already love), just in time for seasonal decor changes and holiday gifting.
With its ability to float your choice of fragrance across 500 square feet and look elegant while doing it, the Vitruvi Stone Essential Oil Diffuser is our winner of the best diffuser for large spaces. This Vitruvi diffuser uses ultrasonic vibration to combine oil and water within its BPS-free plastic reservoir and diffuse a scented mist evenly throughout a larger area. The porcelain exterior of this Stone diffuser model allows it to double as decor, making it a discreet — yet visually pleasing when noticed — addition to your home’s design.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a versatile diffuser; those who want to use their own aroma or essential oils; those who want something with a long diffusion time.
Good to Know: Vitruvi offers a one-year warranty, so your beloved diffuser will be covered in the event that anything should happen to it within that timeframe.
What if you want to control how much fragrance is diffused or even how? Canopy has our award for the best customizable diffuser for its ability to release aroma dry with its removable ceramic stones and aroma pucks or electrically with the addition of its cord-powered fan, which has three speed settings. Depending on the oil, the size of your space, or the atmosphere you want to create, being able to make subtle adjustments is remarkably helpful and what sets Canopy apart. “The diffuser is small enough to fit perfectly in a corner of my bathroom counter,” AT assistant shopping editor Britt says. “I’ve never used a stone diffuser before and was excited to try it since I’ve only ever had water and mist diffusers. There’s a fan inside the Canopy Diffuser with three speeds, and even on its lowest setting, the fragrance is spread out very well throughout my narrow bathroom. I love this diffuser! It’s opened my eyes to waterless diffusing.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a single diffuser that works in multiple spaces of different sizes; those who prefer waterless diffusion.
Good to Know: The Canopy subscription, which delivers three aroma pucks and three aroma oils every 45 days, allows you to put less effort into keeping your home scent consistent or even try out new ones regularly.
The Pura Smart Home Fragrance Diffuser, an app-controlled diffuser plug-in for the modern age, takes the cake for best smart diffuser. It can hold up to two diffuser oil cartridges at a time, allowing you to switch between them. Setup takes all of three minutes and happens in the app, which connects to your Pura via Bluetooth and knows when you’ve inserted your fragrances. From here, you can customize your fragrance strength at any time, including scheduling changes of your choice while you’re away from home. It has an ambient nightlight as well that can be any hue on the spectrum, from vibrant magenta to pale blue. You can control your home’s ambience all within the app as well as shop all Pura products and scents — getting aroma refills couldn’t be easier.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want full control of aroma diffusion, even from afar; those who prefer app-controlled or smart home devices.
Good to Know: Pura has a plethora of fragrance cartridges that you can easily shop directly within the Pura app, including in-house blends, seasonal releases, year-round favorites (looking at you, Capri Blue), and designer collaborations. We love the ones made with Brooklyn Candle Studio!
Who It’s Best For: Those who want discreet aroma diffusion; those who want a diffuser and night-light or ambient light in one.
Good to Know: You can place your essential oils directly on the lamp’s Himalayan salt surface as well to boost aroma diffusion and even clean its surface, the texture of which can trap dust particles over time.
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.
Choosing the right pillow is a lot like…well, dating. There’s a whole lot of trial and error and feeling out different options to find the ones you truly love. There are few things more personal than shopping for what we sleep on night after night, so we take the task very seriously and are here to make it that much easier. After several weeks of testing different brands, types, and levels of firmness — upwards of 45 pillows — we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best pillows on the market right now.
What to Consider Before Buying a Pillow
Finding the best pillow match depends on several different factors, and the truth is there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula. People with neck pain may insist on a firm feel, while others with neck pain find a plush pillow more beneficial. It all depends on your sleep positions and where your pain is localized. Alternatively, cloud-like plushness isn’t a universal desire when it comes to pillows, and many of us could actually need something firmer and not yet realize it. In short, there are a whole lot of factors, which made compiling this list fairly difficult. As always, we did our best to be unbiased, but what worked for us might be a little different for you. (That’s also why we included many categories and a whole lot of editor opinions.)
With that said, the two main things you should keep in mind while pillow shopping are fill and firmness. Fill refers to the material that makes up the inside of the pillow, such as foam, gel, and down. As for firmness, most pillows are considered either firm, plush, or somewhere in the middle.
Memory foam: This is a super popular material in both mattresses and pillows. Known for being plush and soft, memory foam is great if you want to really sink into your pillow — although there are definitely thicker foam options that feel much firmer. Foam pillows can also hold in heat (depending on what else the fill is composed of), making them less ideal for people who sleep hot.
Gel: Gel is actually a form of memory foam — its longer name is “gel-infused memory foam.” The main benefit of gel is that it makes the foam much more breathable, which is great for sweaty sleepers who need a cooling material. It’s also a bit denser than memory foam, so it offers greater support.
Down and down alternative: If you prefer a more traditional feel, try a down or down alternative pillow. Down pillows are filled with the material found under the feathers of birds (usually geese and ducks), and are typically much more expensive than other pillows. They have a luxe feel but could trigger allergies — not to mention, you may have ethical concerns about using animal products. If you want the same feel, there are plenty of down alternative options that feel nearly identical to the real thing.
Latex: For something more natural, consider a latex pillow. Latex comes from the rubber tree and is a chemical-free alternative to foam. Soft, bouncy, and durable, it’s a high-quality material that typically has a higher price tag. It’s also hypoallergenic, antifungal, and doesn’t absorb heat like foam does. Most organic pillows are made from latex.
This is where things get tricky. We’d always thought of “firm” pillows as being hard and uncomfortable, but it turns out that’s not always the case. For example, a firm down pillow feels very different from a firm foam pillow. On the other hand, we thought “soft” translated to “thick, plush, and oh so comfy,” but again, that’s not always the case. In fact, soft pillows tend to be pretty flat or flatten over time, especially those filled with down.
Firm: If you suffer from neck or head pain, consider a firm (or firmer) pillow. These have less give than soft options, which doesn’t mean less comfort, but rather that your head won’t sink into it unsupported. Stomach sleepers are advised to avoid firmer pillows, as they’ll keep your head elevated, slightly bending your neck backwards and putting you in an uncomfortable position.
Soft: Maybe you don’t experience neck pain or love sinking into a fluffy pillow. With a barely there feel and the ability to easily conform to your head and neck, soft pillows are best for stomach and back sleepers. That said, side sleepers most likely won’t get the proper support they need from a soft pillow.
Tip: If you sleep in multiple positions, consider two pillows of different firmness levels: one suited for the position you fall asleep in and another nearby in case you toss and turn and need more or less support in the position you wake up in.
Side sleeper: If you sleep on your side, you have a lot of freedom when choosing a pillow — but that also means you have an overwhelming number of options. The only thing you really need to look out for is pillow height. Softer, plush pillows tend to be less supportive, even if they appear tall. So, if you’re a side sleeper, soft pillows likely won’t keep your head and neck aligned. Go for something medium-firm for slight give but ample support, and be sure the pillow’s thickness works for you to keep your alignment in check.
Back sleeper: If you sleep on your back, look for a pillow that’s flatter with less fill. Firmness depends on your preference — those with pain might opt for something firm to keep the head in the same place throughout the night and relieve the neck. Otherwise, something soft and flat that’ll mold to your head is best.
Stomach sleeper: You’ll want something super soft if you sleep on your stomach — if you use a pillow at all. Picking a pillow that’s flat is best so you don’t mess up your spine and neck alignment, and you definitely don’t want one that’s firm.
What We Look for in a Pillow
We tested a wide range of pillows for our list, judging them on the following criteria:
“Fluff Co.‘s pillows are inspired by those luxe hotel pillows we all covet,” AT commerce writer Sarah says of our best overall pillow winner. The idea is to “get luxurious, hotel-style pillows into everyone’s hands at a fraction of the price (those fancy pillows can run well over $100 a pop!).” Everything Fluff Co.’s got has been sourced from the same factories that make 5-star hotel products. Their limited catalog only includes what they’ve meticulously tested and perfected. “I ADORED this pillow!” says Sarah. “The second I laid down, I knew I was in for a treat as I let out an audible, ‘ooooh.’ The support was great, I slept soundly, and didn’t wake up with any neck pain — a sign of a good pillow.” Another sign that this pillow was a winner was how Sarah’s best friend — a back sleeper with a history of neck problems and surgeries — reacted to it. “I didn’t mention anything about the pillow, I just let her use it when she stayed over,” says Sarah. “After five minutes, she turned to me and said, ‘You HAVE to send me the link for this pillow.’ Coming from someone who I know has spent so much time and money trying to find something for her delicate neck, it made me a believer that these might just be one of the best pillows around.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a luxe hotel-style pillow; those who don’t want to break the bank.
Good to Know: You can try your Fluff Co. pillow for 30 days and get a full refund if you’re not happy. (Pillow shopping might have a leg up on dating after all.)
If you’re looking for luxury, you can’t do much better than Snowe’s down pillow. Ultra soft yet supportive (if you choose firm), it’s made of RDS-certified down that doesn’t feel even remotely lumpy or uneven. We slept comfortably all night, although it definitely got warm, which could be an issue for hot sleepers. Down bedding is an investment (with a high price tag to prove it), but we feel confident that this down pillow will last years.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want something ultra luxe that will last; those who want a down fill that’s still washable.
Getting multiple high-quality pillows fast and for a steal is ideal, but often easier said than done. Luckily, we found a perfect pair of fluffy pillows that perform as well as some of the others on our list but at half the price (or even less). Made with OEKO-TEX certified down alternative fill, the Viewstar pillow can benefit all types of sleepers, whether you use one on its own or layered up. “I usually sleep with two medium-firm pillows but tested this super-plush one and found it to be fantastic,” says our commerce director, Mark, who’s a side sleeper. “I placed it on top of a firm pillow for a bit of support, and I loved how soft and comfortable this pillow was. It’s truly like resting your head on a cloud. I did sleep a little better with this pillow, mainly because my previous pillows were a bit too firm and often caused me to wake up with neck pains. That didn’t happen with this pillow. I think it’s a great option for any sleeping position.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a set of pillows; those who like a steal; those who prefer plushness.
Good to Know: This pillow set comes vacuum sealed, so it’s recommended to allow your pillows 24 hours to rest and grow to their fullest thickness.
When it comes to shopping on Amazon, most of us are looking for something that will work, get to us fast, and be a bit more affordable. The best pillow on Amazon had to align with these expectations and provide the comfort and quality that’s necessary in something you spend over 2,000 hours on a year. This set of two pillows by Fern & Willow delivers and is also adjustable, with removable fill that lets you decide the best height for you. “Not only did they provide outstanding neck support,” side sleeper Sarah says of the Fern & Willow pillows, “but I was floored by how well they kept their shape. After a couple days, my neck pain was gone and I knew there was no turning back. In fact, when I went to visit my parents for a month, I ended up buying a set for their guest room. What can I say? I’m a ride or die when it comes to products that work for me.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who don’t want to spend too much for a set of quality pillows; those who want adjustable pillow height.
Good to Know: Try your Fern & Willow pillow set for 100 days risk-free — that’s how confident they (and we) are that you’ll love them.
Side sleepers generally need a pillow with a bit of height and that’s supportive with a bit of give — a pretty specific ask. But it’s also totally up to preference. The Nectar memory foam pillow has a supportive center layer surrounded by removable fill, so side sleepers can get the support they need and adjust it to their perfect height and firmness for spinal alignment. It’s also designed with the same memory foam as Nectar’s best-selling mattress. The Tencel cover is ultra-cooling and its fill is actively ventilating. (Hot side sleepers, rejoice!) “I found this pillow to be very comfortable — not too firm, not too soft.” commerce director Mark says of the Nectar pillow. “It was cushy but provided just enough support as I alternated my sleeping position from one side to another. It also didn’t cause me to overheat in the middle of the night. I usually sleep with two pillows, so I also tried pairing it with a really soft pillow from another brand. While that arrangement is ideal, I could totally get by using just the Nectar, and I recommend it for side sleepers.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who sleep hot; those who change positions; those who want to determine their own perfect height and firmness.
Good to Know: Sleep on The Nectar Pillow for 50 nights, and if you’re not happy, return it for a full refund. (But we know you won’t want to.)
Stomach sleepers have the added challenge of finding pillows without much height or firmness — in fact, a supportive pillow could actually do more harm than good. A pillow you can sink into avoids discomfort from extending the neck backwards. The Brooklinen down pillow, especially in plush, is like putting your face into a cloud. It cradles and contours your head as well, so stomach sleepers can toss and turn less while keeping proper neck alignment. “The Brooklinen down pillow is very plush, so it’s extremely easy to relax into its softness,” says assistant shopping editor Britt. “The pillow itself is like having your own personal cloud, and it molds to how you sleep. Whether I was scrolling through my phone on my back, sleeping on my stomach, or rolling onto my side to get more comfortable, the pillow adjusted on its own. I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night needing to fluff it up or flip it over. It also kept me cool throughout the night, so I could sleep peacefully and uninterrupted.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want an extra-fluffy down pillow that won’t flatten over the course of the night.
Good to Know: You can return your pillow within 365 days (yep…a whole year) of trying it out for a full refund if you’re not absolutely in love with it.
Our winner of the best pillow for back sleepers, the Bear Mattress contour pillow, is also the most ergonomic on our list. With its contouring cutout providing optimal support and space for your neck, shoulders, and head, it’s a back sleeper’s dream. It’s got two sides as well: one cool-to-the-touch side and another soft-and-silky side. Commerce intern Grace calls this pillow “well suited for a back sleeper. It’s got a lot of filling, which helps to sort of secure your head in place and relax your head/shoulders. Right out of the box I could tell it was a super-high-quality pillow. One side is kind of smooth and silky, and the other side is more matte, which I thought was interesting and unique. I would definitely recommend this pillow to a back sleeper or anyone with neck/back pain.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a shaped pillow to a traditional one; those who want to alleviate snoring; those who run hot.
Good to Know: The ergonomic cutout of the Bear Mattress contour pillow makes it suited for side sleepers as well, providing space for the shoulder and support for the head and neck.
If you toss and turn in your sleep or simply wake up in a different position than you fall asleep in, the Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow is for you. Its double-layer design gives it both cushion and support, and it’s reversible: The soft side is ideal for side and stomach sleepers, and the firm side is great for back sleepers. Both sides cradle the head, keeping it still and allowing you to stay comfortable in one position for longer. “My sleeping positions are all over the place, and this pillow claims to so be the answer for the combo sleeper,” says our social media strategist Brian, who tried the Amerisleep after years of using big-box store pillows. “After a few nights of sleeping with the pillow, I definitely feel like I’m moving around less and it is the right comfort level for me. It supports my neck and back of my head without having to adjust the pillow. I would sometimes wake up with a stiff neck when I used my old pillow, but I can say that I haven’t experienced that with the Amerisleep. I would highly recommend if your sleeping style is all over the place.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who sleep on their stomachs and backs; those who want to choose firmness or softness at any time.
Good to Know: The firm side of the Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow offers back sleepers — or stomach sleepers who toss and turn — the perfect gentle elevation and support.
This impressive pillow by Boll & Branch is definitely one of the most luxurious on our list. Crafted from responsibly sourced down farmed in the U.S. (and triple-washed for sustained cleanliness), the pillow is covered in a 100 percent cotton shell that keeps the down in, preventing any uncomfortable feather poking. “This pillow was so plush and fluffy that I immediately loved it,” says commerce managing editor Ivy. “For those who want a dreamy, airy pillow, this is it — and it won’t lose its plushness over time. It also struck me as the type of pillow that’s PERFECT for your guest room. It looks absolutely beautiful and so full propped up on the bed, but it’s also worth every penny because your guests will think they’re at a fancy hotel with the down quality and Nancy Meyers-esque bedroom set design appeal. After all — you want to pitch your A game in your guest room and not greet guests with flat old pancake-y pillows.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who love a full, real down pillow; those who prefer a luxury pillow; those looking for visually impressive as well as comfortable pillows.
Good to Know: Boll & Branch operates in alignment with fair trade practices, meaning all their employees and craftspeople are paid what they deserve for their beautiful work.
Parachute sells the best down alternative option out there. We honestly couldn’t tell that their pillow wasn’t filled with real down — the comfort, softness, and support are all in line with our expectations of luxurious down with the added benefit of being free of animal byproducts. We slept comfortably and found that the firm option was the perfect density for side and back sleepers.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want the luxury of down but at a lower price point and without the ethical issues.
Known for their budget-friendly mattresses, Tuft & Needle created a pillow that’s comfortable, cool, supportive, and suitable for pretty much any sleep position. Since foam absorbs heat, they added gel and graphite to improve breathability and keep you on the cool side of the pillow all night long. As is typical with foam pillows, it’s heavier than other options but won’t lose its shape over time. Side sleeper Ivy absolutely “LOVED this pillow. I caved awhile ago and got a pricey, trusty Tempur-Pedic as my go-to pillow when I started waking up with neck pain (hello, mid-30s), but I can confidently say that this Tuft & Needle foam pillow is an INCREDIBLE pick that’s very similar to my Tempur-Pedic,” but more budget-friendly. “It’s firm but squishy, molding to your head and neck, but the cooling factor came through loud and clear from the start. I never got hot and appreciated the wicking material of the cover, the foam, and the cooling gel beds within the pillow. This is a pillow that will satisfy those who want a medium-firm or a medium-plush feel. I sank right in every night, but always felt supported. I know it’s still a pricey pick for some, but if you’re looking for a truly high-quality cooling pillow, this is it!”
Who It’s Best For: Those who change sleep positions throughout the night; those who want the feel of foam but sleep hot.
Good to Know: It’s made of the same materials as Tuft & Needle’s popular Mint mattress.
We’ve written about our love for the Beckham Hotel Collection pillows once before, and even after all this testing we still think these are some of the very best pillows out there. Unassuming and budget-friendly, these pillows come with a gel fiber fill that keeps you cool and comfortable, even if the rest of you is sweaty (trust us, we can confirm). They have a perfectly plush, supportive fill that’s suitable for all sleep positions, making them ideal if you’re prone to tossing and turning. Better yet, they last — our pair is going on three years and still look and feel like new.
Who It’s Good For: Those looking for a steal; those who sleep hot; those who change sleep positions during the night.
Good to Know: Sold as a set of two.
If you’re trying to make more eco-friendly consumer choices, you’re going to love Avocado’s Green Pillow. It has pretty much every certification you can think of and is seriously comfortable to boot. Filled with a combination of organic latex and organic Kapok fiber, the pillow has a medium-firm fill that’s best for side and back sleepers — although you can take some fill out if you’re a stomach sleeper or prefer something flatter. Overall, we slept comfortably on it and found it’s a great option, whether or not your priority is shopping green.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want to integrate eco-friendly products in their home.
Good to Know: You can adjust the fill to your liking (pillow refill packages are sold separately if you want extra fluff).
It’s true — foam is typically known for being less supportive than other materials when it comes to pillows and mattresses. Casper’s foam pillow, however, is not your average foam pillow: Made with three layers of perforated foam, it’s actually one of the firmest options on our list. It perfectly contours to your head but not in a head-sinks-right-through-the-pillow way — instead, it cradles your head and keeps your neck and spine aligned all night long, making it ideal for those with neck pain.
Honorable Mention: Tempur-Pedic’s Neck Pillow, a cult favorite that costs $89.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond. Its shape is made for supporting proper alignment, but it definitely takes some getting used to.
Who It’s Best For: Those with neck pain; those who tend to wake up sore.
Good to Know: Since it’s not as plush as other pillows, it doesn’t quite fill out a standard pillowcase. That said, the pillow’s cover is washable, so you could just ditch the pillowcase altogether.
Whether or not you naturally run hot, cooling bedding is usually very beneficial. We conducted a pretty comprehensive search for the best, and our winner is the Molecule All-Season pillow. It’s dual-sided, so its effective temperature-regulation design works to cool on one side and keep you cozy in the winter on the other. But if cooling is what you’re after year-round, the cozy side of this pillow, when face-down, actually contributes to the effectiveness of the cooling side by drawing your head away from the cool surface. “This pillow is cool to the touch, and that made a huge difference during warmer evenings,” says AT influencer and talent manager Georgina. “The cooling was also quite soothing! I LOVE this pillow, it is the perfect size and the perfect amount of firmness. I already ordered one for my husband!”
Who It’s Best For: Those who run hot when they sleep; those who enjoy warm bedding in the winter and cool in the summer; those who want an adjustable feel.
Good to Know: This dual-sided Molecule pillow is endorsed and used by professional athletes.
Definitely one of the more unique options on our list, the Purple Harmony Pillow uses the same cushioning technology that makes their mattresses so great. This pillow is crafted with a layer of honeycomb-patterned Purple Grid Hex material surrounding an inner layer of ventilated latex. It’s designed to offer support without pressure, which was previously non-existent in the pillowsphere — regardless of sleeping position, your head and neck are supported, but all you consciously feel is cloud-like plushness. “When I first got this pillow, I was super weirded out,” Grace says of the Purple Harmony Pillow’s unique makeup. “It’s kind of heavy but also super squishy, and it also has a lining of the Purple grid, which makes it different from any other pillow I’ve ever slept on. I got the medium height, and despite the adjustment period, it only took a couple weeks for me to absolutely love this pillow. It’s now the only one I sleep on… I haven’t had any neck pain, and I do genuinely think I sleep better on it. I would recommend it, but with the caveat that you really have to put the time into trying it because it’s unlike any other pillow. Plus, it is super cooling, which I love!”
Who It’s Best For: Those looking to try a totally different kind of pillow; those who prefer the feel of a soft pillow but need support in all sleeping positions.
Good to Know: Because it’s free of down, memory foam, or really any of the usual pillow fill suspects, it may take some getting used to. But, like Grace, give it time and we expect you’ll never turn back.
Many sleepers prefer the support of a firm pillow, but there’s a difference between firmly supportive and rock hard. After testing quite a few options, the Airweave S-line pillow came out our winner for its unique fill construction, adjustable height, and firm-soft-firm construction. Notably a brand with some of the firmest pillows on the market, Airweave introduced the S-line pillow as a flexible version of their original. Both ends of the pillow have firm layers while the center is a bit softer. Ideal for back sleepers but effective for side sleepers as well, this design is a win and, for us, the hunt for a great firm pillow stops here. AT senior producer Meghan says, “It gave great support to my head and neck without raising my head too high, which some big plush or big firm pillows do.” As a side sleeper, she favors the height and firmness of the Airweave S-line pillow, especially noting that taller, softer models “always end up hurting my neck.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a very supportive pillow; those who sleep on their side, back, and/or stomach.
Good to Know: Side sleepers are recommended to place their head toward the edge of the pillow for best neck alignment while back and stomach sleepers should place their head at the softer center, which will help hold the head in place while sleeping.
We’ve written about Coop Home Goods’ Original pillow before: In 2017, we named it the best overall pillow on Amazon, and in 2019 we wrote about how it has over 12,000 positive Amazon reviews. It’s still a winner for us because it really is that good, especially if you’re a side sleeper. The key is that it’s completely adjustable — it even comes with a half-pound bag of extra fluff so you can make it as firm or as soft as you want. This feature is key for side sleepers and those who change positions, both of whom certainly do not fit into the one-size-fits-all approach. In terms of comfort, it’s soft, supportive, and breathable. Plus, even the shape is easily adjustable, so you can mold it however you like. “I found it super comfortable,” AT social media manager Rachel says. “I also loved the handy diagram that recommended how much memory foam to add or subtract based on the type of sleeper you are.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who are particular about their pillow firmness; those who sleep hot; those who often change sleeping positions.
Good to Know: You can also buy on Amazon for the same price.
Newer brand Pluto makes a fully customizable pillow that defies all categories, so it’s an easy choice for anyone. No matter how you sleep or what firmness you prefer, Pluto can make a pillow just for you. You take an online quiz that asks detailed questions, from the personal (height, weight, age) to the practical (what your current pillow is like, what position you sleep in). Your perfect pillow is then crafted based on your answers. We tried it ourselves and were impressed.
Who It’s Best For: Those who are seriously picky or hard to please when it comes to pillows; those who have been frustrated with their pillow search and want to customize their own.
Good to Know: If you’re unsure about the level of firmness that works best for you, take stock of your previous pillow experiences, give the questions in the questionnaire lots of thought, and communicate with a representative to ensure you end up with the pillow you love.