When we think of latex, we typically think of gloves or balloons. Latex rubber is a material that can feel like a second skin, making it comfortable and natural feeling, especially in products like clothes.
A material that offers support and breathability, latex is also commonly used in mattresses and pillows. A 2010 study compared polyester, foam, feather, and latex pillows and their effect on neck stiffness and headaches, and found latex pillows to cause the lowest amount of waking pain.
Many of us have experienced neck stiffness and pain getting out of bed, back sleepers especially. We can probably relate to the dance in the middle of the night – punching, reshaping, and folding the pillow to get it to the right height. But you don’t have to live with neck pain caused by a pillow. If you’re looking for a latex pillow, either because you’re waking up in pain or just because you want to try one out, we’ve put together a guide to buying your first one.
King – $115
- Loft: 4.5-5.75 inches
- Ideal for side sleepers or back sleepers who like a firm pillow
- 5-year warranty
This zoned pillow is great for the side sleeper who needs a lot of support. While latex pillows offer more cooling than pillows stuffed with other materials, this pillow is punched with holes of varying sizes — larger in the center, smaller on the perimeter — which gives it an even greater cooling power. And with a five-year warranty, get comfortable, because you know this pillow is going to stay firm and supportive for a long time.
King – $45
- Loft: 7 inches
- Ideal for broad-shouldered side sleepers looking for an ultra-thick pillow
With a seven-inch loft, this pillow is for the sleeper who needs the highest, firmest pillow out there. This pillow is springy and does a great job of retaining its shape. Back sleepers who switch to their side at night know the pain of a pillow losing its firmness, but this pillow will stay supportive through the night.
Queen – $60
- Loft: 2.5 inches
- Ideal for sleepers who needs an adjustable pillow
Like many latex pillows, this pillow might emit a rubbery odor when it comes out of the box, but it’s well worth the air-out time. With a shredded latex fill, the height of this pillow is completely customizable. Just pull out some of the stuffing on stomach-sleeping nights or fluff it up on nights where your neck feels stiff and needs extra support. Another major benefit this pillow offers is you can throw it directly into the washing machine, unlike many latex pillows.
King – $73
- Loft: 6 inches
- Ideal for stomach sleepers or those looking for a soft latex pillow
Latex pillows are typically too firm for stomach sleepers, but Organic Textiles has created a pillow that is incredibly soft while retaining the support that latex pillows offer. Don’t be intimidated by the high loft; this is a lightweight pillow that will mold to the shape of your head like memory foam without the harsh chemicals found in most memory foam.
Size Big Waves – $49
- Loft: 3.9-3.7 inches
- Ideal for back and side sleepers
If you’re switching from memory foam to a latex pillow but still want the contoured design many memory foam pillows offer, this is an easy transition. Plus, this pillow is kind of like two in one. In one direction, it’s higher for back sleepers or broad-shouldered side sleepers, but turn it 180 degrees for a lower height, great for smaller-framed people and back sleepers. Contoured pillows mimic your frame, providing support to the neck and shoulders as well.
Pros and Cons of Latex Pillows
Latex pillows can be polarizing. For stomach sleepers, they’re too high and firm, and they don’t offer cloud-like softness like down pillows. If you’re the type of person who finds themselves folding their pillow in half for a higher loft, however, making the switch to a latex pillow might improve your sleep and reduce pain.
Pros of Latex Pillows
- They reduce neck and back stiffness and pain, and help people who sometimes wake up with headaches.
- Latex pillows are typically made with all-natural rubber, which means you’re sleeping on a pillow made with fewer chemicals.
- Latex offers unmatched coolness and circulation. If you typically wake up too hot, a latex pillow can help.
- Latex is naturally mildew-proof and dust mite resistant.
- Latex retains its shape better than other pillows; it’ll bounce back even for the heaviest of sleepers.
Cons of Latex Pillows
- They’re typically too firm for stomach sleepers, who may prefer something softer like down pillows. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got you covered with pillows specifically designed for stomach sleepers.
- Latex is smelly. You’ll likely need to let your pillow air out for a few days before using it.
- They can take some getting used to. Latex is firm and springy, and has a much different feel than memory foam. While latex pillows can offer long-term benefits for your head and neck, they might feel a little high at first.
- Latex is a common allergen. If you’re experiencing itchiness, skin redness, or a rash after sleeping on your latex pillow, this is definitely not the pillow for you.
Looking to overhaul your bedroom and get a new mattress to match your pillows? We can help. Check out mattresses recommended by health experts or, if you’re a side sleeper, the best mattresses for extra support.