Archive for Lauren Savoie

The best KitchenAid stand mixers

A stand mixer is the crowning jewel of a kitchen, and KitchenAid's stand mixers have been the standard for over a century. I've used a KitchenAid stand mixer daily — sometimes all day — while working in professional kitchens for more than a decade. It makes efficient work of tasks that typically take a lot of time or effort to do by hand, like whipping egg whites to soft or stiff peaks, effortlessly turning cream into whipped cream, churning out big batches of cookies, and kneading tough, heavy bread doughs — which is exactly how I tested four of them to determine the best KitchenAid stand mixer for different needs. 

I have years of experience with each stand mixer in this guide. I've broken them, repaired them, purchased them for my own personal use, and am intimately aware of each model's advantages and limitations. 

But I didn't just rely on my previous experiences. I put each mixer through a standard set of tests for this guide. I used a King Arthur recipe for bagels, a stiff dough with a 10-minute mixing time; I prepared Compost Cookies (kitchen-sink cookies with five cups of mix-ins including chocolate chips, potato chips, and pretzels) from New York City's Milk Bar; and put each mixer through additional tests to evaluate its capacity, mixing capability, and ease of use. You can read more about how I tested KitchenAid stand mixers in our methodology here, along with how to shop for a KitchenAid and what to make with it.

Here are the best KitchenAid stand mixers:

Prices and details are accurate as of 10/28/20. We've rewrote this guide by re-testing previous picks to see if they still stack up, testing new KitchenAid stand mixers, and adding how-to and FAQ sections. We're continuing to test the stand mixers in this guide for durability while looking for new models for consideration.

The best KitchenAid stand mixer overall
Best kitchenaid stand mixer overall

This popular model balances power, capacity, and size for a mixer that is perfectly designed for most home bakers; plus it comes in more than 45 fun colors.

The Artisan Series 5 Quart model strikes a great balance of power, size, and design. Its 325-watt motor is ideal for most home bakers: powerful enough to handle the occasional stiff bread dough or sticky pizza dough, but adequate for common tasks like mixing batters or creaming butter and sugar. 

During testing, it quickly became my favorite mixer to use. At 23 pounds, it was easy enough to store and move around. Tilt-head stand mixers have a smaller base than bowl-lift stand mixers so the bowls tend to be narrower and can feel cramped. You often have to stop the mixer and tilt the head back whenever you want to scrape down the mixing bowl. With a functional capacity of 3.75 quarts (read more about the difference between stated and functional capacity here), the large bowl of the Artisan 5 Quart felt open enough that I could scrape the sides without adjusting the head, had a sturdy handle for easy lifting, and provided plenty of room for pouring in ingredients — particularly helpful when adding more than five cups of mix-ins for Compost Cookies. 

While it shook a bit when I made bagel dough, it was never overly noisy and I didn't feel like I had to babysit it for fear of it walking off the counter. That said, with its lower-powered motor, I don't think I would chance to make multiple batches of bagels in a row to avoid overheating the mixer. 

For many people, the real fun in buying a stand mixer is picking out a color and the Artisan Series 5 Quart comes in 47 different color offerings, the most of any of their stand mixers. Every color of the rainbow is represented, from a cheery "Orange Sorbet" to "Boysenberry" — the deep purple color I tested and loved seeing on my counter every day. In addition to the plethora of colors to choose from, the Artisan Series 5 Quart also offers customization, allowing you to engrave your stand mixer or switch out the standard bowl for a patterned ceramic or glass mixing bowl. It also works with all KitchenAid attachments, which can extend the versatility of your stand mixer.

Pros: Easily accomplishes common cooking tasks, a moderate 23 pounds, comes in 47 different colors and finishes, can further customize with interchangeable mixing bowls, works with all KitchenAid attachments, work bowl has a handle

Cons: Too underpowered if you regularly make a lot of stiff or wet doughs

The best affordable KitchenAid stand mixer
KitchenAid

The least expensive model made by KitchenAid, the Classic Plus has all the quality components of more expensive mixers but it's compact, efficient, and powerful enough to accomplish most tasks for casual bakers. 

The KitchenAid Classic Plus 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer became my first mixer when I rescued an earlier version of this model from my dad's basement. Though it had seen regular use for most of the 15 years prior, I used it heavily for about five years before it gave out on me while kneading dough for hand-pulled noodles (a notoriously tricky dough, and one known to tax stand mixers). This issue first highlighted to me how most stand mixers break and the importance of choosing a model built to accommodate your typical usage. 

You can read more about the specifics of stand mixer wattage in our "How to choose a stand mixer" section here. But the gist is that lower wattage models have less powerful motors than higher wattage models. The stand mixers in this guide range from 250 to 970 watts and the Classic Plus is on the lower end of that spectrum with a 275-watt motor. This is perfectly adequate for common tasks like making cookies, brownies, whipped cream, cake, and the occasional bread loaf, but not hand-pulled noodles. 

I tested a new version of this mixer for this guide, and while it happily worked through cookies, egg whites, and even hefty bagel dough without issue, it's possible that with too much heavy use, like making many batches of bagel or pizza dough back-to-back, the mixer can overheat or — in the case of my old mixer — wear down its gears. While the issue is repairable, it requires seeing a KitchenAid repair specialist, which can be expensive, so you're better off purchasing a stand mixer with a wattage that meets your needs from the get-go. 

Don't let the lower price fool you into thinking it's not going to perform. If you're an occasional baker or just starting to dip your toes into cooking, this is a great model to get started with. It's made with the same metal parts as more expensive KitchenAid stand mixers, has a strong motor, and a relatively roomy work bowl. While its functional capacity is 3 quarts (smaller than its stated 4.5-quart capacity), it still easily accommodates single batches of common recipes, and it's moderately-sized at 22 pounds and 14 inches long. The machine also works with all KitchenAid attachments. My only wish is that the work bowl had a handle for better maneuverability.  

Pros: Relatively inexpensive, spacious but still maneuverable, can handle most common tasks and occasional tough doughs 

Cons: Work bowl doesn't have a handle, relatively low-powered motor, not ideal for heavy use

The best KitchenAid stand mixer for bread
Best Stand Mixer for Bread

The KitchenAid Pro Line Series 7-Quart Bowl Lift Stand Mixer is the largest, most powerful KitchenAid mixer you can buy without venturing into commercial models, which makes it perfect for avid bakers. 

Stiff or heavy doughs like bagel dough, pizza dough, and some noodle doughs require a large amount of power to knead properly, which can be taxing on some stand mixers. The 7-Quart Pro-Line model has a 970 watt motor for powerful and thorough kneading without overheating the mixer, as I've seen happen with smaller models. The wider bowl-lift design also provides more stability during mixing, so the mixer doesn't "walk" or shake as much during use. 

This is the model I primarily used during a decade of work in professional kitchens. The machine is reliable, nimble, easy to use, and remarkably quiet for such a large mixer. It can handle everything from whipping two egg whites to mixing triple batches of cake batter. KitchenAid claims the 7-quart size can make up to 14 dozen cookies in a single batch, and while I haven't ventured to test the limits of that claim (I love cookies, but I don't need 14 dozen), in my tests for this guide, it made a double batch of compost cookies and bagels with plenty of room to spare. 

The mixer particularly excels at making bread dough. The wide bowl, which has a functional capacity of 5.75 quarts and a large comfortable handle, is easy to remove and provides lots of space for adding ingredients during mixing and the powerful motor glides the included mixing attachments — paddle, whisk, and dough hook — effortlessly through stiff and heavy doughs. Avid bakers and especially those who make bread will appreciate its reliability — these mixers saw heavy daily use when I worked with them in professional kitchens and I rarely ever had one that needed repairs. If you take care of this mixer, it's likely to last you decades. 

That said, it's a hefty machine, weighing 27 pounds and measuring 16 inches in both height and depth. It's not the sort of mixer you want to lug around, so it's best for those with ample counter space to devote to its large footprint. It's also only available in six colors: red and five different neutrals. However, it is compatible with every attachment made by KitchenAid, including the ice cream maker bowl. 

Read our full review

Pros: Largest capacity of any residential model, bowl-lift design provides stability when mixing, wide mixing bowl for adding ingredients, powerful motor that can handle all kinds of doughs, work bowl has a handle

Cons: Heavy, takes up a lot of space, only comes in a few colors

The best KitchenAid stand mixer for small spaces
Best small mixer

The smallest of KitchenAid stand mixers, this model is the perfect size and strength for occasional bakers, new cooks, and those with petite kitchens.

When my hand-me-down KitchenAid finally bit the dust after about 20 years of regular use, I decided to downsize to KitchenAid's latest model: the KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer. At the time, I was living in a 600 square foot apartment and every inch felt precious. Since counter space was limited, I needed a mixer light enough that I wouldn't mind hauling it out from a cabinet every time I wanted to bake. The KitchenAid Mini hit all these marks for me. 

Measuring just over 11 inches wide and weighing 17 pounds, the Mini is about 25% smaller than our best overall pick. While this may not seem like a drastic difference in size, the Mini is much more maneuverable than any other stand mixer I've used, and I love that it fits easily under my cabinets or on a shelf. Less surface area also means less to clean, and the Mini's work bowl doesn't hog space in my sink or dishwasher.

Despite being more petite, the Mini is still perfectly capable of whipping up a single batch of cookies or biscuits just as nimbly as any other stand mixer. I've made muffins, pasta dough, bread dough, pizza dough, cake, frosting, and more cookies than I can count in the Mini with no issues or changes to the mixing times called for in the recipes. That said, its functional capacity is just 2 quarts, so it's too tight a squeeze for most double batches.

When I put my Mini through strenuous tests for this guide, it showed some of its limitations. The work bowl was just able to fit all the mix-ins for compost cookies, but it started to overflow a bit when I turned on the mixer. The cookies came out perfect, but cleaning up was a bit of a hassle since I had to wipe bits of dough from the counter and the top of the mixer. Bagel dough also came together fine, but the mixer shook and "walked" around the counter during the long kneading time, enough so that I felt like I had to keep an eye on it for the whole 10 minutes it was mixing. 

That said, if space is your primary concern or you're an occasional baker, the Mini is a great option for an unobtrusive machine that can do just about anything a full-size mixer can do. It has the same 10 speeds as other mixers, comes with the standard attachments (whisk, paddle, dough hook), and works with all KitchenAid attachments except the ice cream maker. It comes in a variety of fun colors from a pink "Guava Glaze" to a bright "Hot Sauce" red, and also makes a great (albeit generous) gift for kids who are interested in baking; one that they can continue to use well past childhood.

Pros: Perfectly sized for small kitchens, easy to maneuver, makes single batches of most recipes well, ideal for occasional bakers, a good size for kids, works with most KitchenAid attachments, comes in a variety of different colors, work bowl has a handle

Cons: Too small for double batches, shakes a lot when running at high speed, doesn't work with KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment

What else we considered
What else we considered, KitchenAid Stand Mixers

We also researched other KitchenAid models for this guide that we ultimately didn't end up testing. Here are the products that didn't make the cut and why: 

  • KitchenAid Classic Series 4.5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer ($259.99): Previously our best budget pick, the Classic is identical in both function and design to our new affordable pick, the Classic Plus. We confirmed this with KitchenAid, who said the only difference is that the Classic Plus is available in a silver color. There used to be a slight difference between the Classic and the Classic Plus with the former having 250 watts, a slightly less powerful motor than the Classic Plus' 275 watts. However, both models are now being made with 275 watts and are priced the same. Both are great options, and since KitchenAids have been in short supply, buy whichever you can get your hands on. We've seen some retailers still selling the 250-watt version of the Classic, so be sure to check the specs before you buy. 
  • KitchenAid NSF Certified Commercial Series 8-Qt Bowl Lift Stand Mixer ($699.99): Unless you're running a bakery, you don't need a mixer this large or this powerful. That said, if you are operating a bakery or food business, this is the only KitchenAid mixer that is certified by NSF International for commercial use. It has a two-year warranty (double the time of their other mixers) and a strong, durable motor for heavy use. However, home bakers are unlikely to need these extra features, which are designed to withstand hours of heavy use each day. 
Our testing methodology

While I drew from my own experience as a food editor working in professional kitchens and using these mixers over many years, I also put each model through a standard set of tests to see how they'd compare to each other. Here's how I evaluated KitchenAid stand mixers:

Size, capacity, and ease of use: I weighed and measured all the stand mixers, including comparing the stated versus functional capacity (the capacity when measured from the bottom of the work bowl to the top of the mixing attachment) of each work bowl. I carried the mixers around and noted how comfortable they were to move and handle.

Power: We consulted the company to learn the power of each motor in watts. Residential stand mixers range from 250 to 970 watts, and mixers with higher wattage motors can mix heavy, wet doughs more readily. 

Whipping: I whipped two egg whites to stiff peaks in each mixer, which tests the mixers' control during gradual ramping up of speed. It also tested the larger mixers' ability to function well even with a very small volume of ingredients. 

Creaming: I used each stand mixer to make Milk Bar compost cookies, which have more than 5 cups of mix-ins. Not only did this test the functional capacity of the mixers, but also their ability to operate on different speeds — high speed for creaming butter and sugar, and low speed for incorporating delicate mix-ins like chips and pretzels without breaking them. 

Kneading: Each mixer was used to make a batch of King Arthur bagels; a stiff dough with a long, 10 minute mixing time. I made a note if any of the mixers shook or walked, struggled, or made excessive noise during this tough task. 

Durability: The true test of a stand mixer is how it performs over time. While I included information from my own experience working with these models over nearly a decade, I'll continue to use the stand mixers in this guide and report back on any durability issues.

What we look forward to testing

Our picks encompass most of KitchenAid's offerings, but there are two models we're interested in testing that we weren't able to include this time around: 

  • KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Series 5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer ($399.99): Previously our best KitchenAid for making bread, this model was out of stock at the time of this testing. I'm of the mindset that if you're going to upgrade from our best overall pick (which is also 5 quarts), it should also offer an increase in capacity. However, this model may be a good fit for those who prepare a lot of heavy, wet doughs but either don't make large batches or are prioritizing cost. 
  • KitchenAid Pro 600 Series 6 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer ($499.99): This model offers a slight jump up in capacity from the 5-quart professional model and was also unavailable at the time of testing. It offers 15 colors; the most colors of any of KitchenAid's bowl-lift models. We'd like to test if the slight increase in capacity justifies the big jump in price.
How to choose a KitchenAid stand mixer
How to choose, KitchenAid Stand Mixer

KitchenAid makes an overwhelming number of models. Here are some considerations to help you narrow down your selection.

Wattage: The higher the wattage of the motor, the more powerful the mixer will be. Mixers with higher wattage — like the 970 watt motor on the KitchenAid Pro — glide through tough doughs and don't easily overheat. If you bake at least once a week or you regularly make a lot of heavy, wet doughs like pizza or bread dough, then you'll benefit from a larger, more expensive model with a high wattage motor built for power and durability. However, if you're the kind of person who breaks out the stand mixer once a year to make holiday cookies, you don't need the Cadillac of KitchenAids. Occasional bakers will be perfectly well off with 250 or 275-watt models, like the Artisan Mini or the Classic Plus. Lower wattage models can also handle the occasional tough task like kneading bagel dough a few times a year. Be mindful that tough kitchen tasks can be hard on the gears of smaller machines, so give your machine time to cool down between uses if you're making a hard dough in a lower wattage model. 

Capacity: The advertised capacity of a KitchenAid mixer is not its actual capacity. The advertised or stated capacity refers to how much the work bowl can hold when completely full. Not only would you have a big mess on your hands if you tried to use a mixer at full capacity, but it also wouldn't operate effectively since the ingredients would actually cover the mixing attachment. Instead, the functional capacity is measured from the bottom of the bowl to the top of the mixing attachment and it's usually about 1 to 1.5 quarts less than the stated capacity. One quart is about the size of a large deli container, so if you have a recipe that regularly makes enough dough to fill four or five of those, opt for a mixer with a larger stated capacity of 6 or 7 quarts. It's also a good idea to buy a mixer with a larger capacity if you make a lot of bread since the mixer needs a fair amount of clearance to knead the dough effectively.  

Maneuverability and storage: The bigger the capacity and more powerful the mixer, the heavier and larger the mixer will be. The largest KitchenAid mixers in our guide can weigh almost 30 pounds. Unless you're comfortable regularly lifting an appliance of that size, you'll either need to consider a small mixer or have dedicated counter space. Larger mixers will take up about half the width of a standard size counter and may not fit readily under your cabinet overhang. If space is at a premium, consider a smaller, less expensive mixer.

Colors and customization: For some people, the most important factor in choosing a KitchenAid is the color. If a fun color is your priority, opt for a mixer from KitchenAid's Artisan series. Our best mixer for small spaces and best overall pick are both Artisan mixers and are available in up to 47 different colors. Our best overall pick also offers further customization with interchangeable decorative work bowls in various patterns and materials. The Classic and Pro Line series offer a much more limited color choice — just red and a handful of neutrals.

What to make in your KitchenAid stand mixer
What to make with KitchenAid Stand Mixer

We've put together a number of how-tos for making the most out of your KitchenAid stand mixer. KitchenAid makes more than two dozen different attachments that expand the versatility of your machine and let you make everything from zoodles to sausage to ice cream and more. Most of the attachments operate from the "hub" of the mixer — the portion underneath the metal disk on the top front of the machine. Since all KitchenAid mixers have this hub, almost all the attachments are compatible with every KitchenAid model in our guide. If you're interested in KitchenAid attachments, we reviewed them all here

Here are some of our favorite things to make with our KitchenAid mixers and attachments:

Fresh pasta: This is one of those tasks that shows the true versatility of a KitchenAid stand mixer. You use the stand mixer and work bowl to make the dough, and then the KitchenAid pasta sheeter or pasta extruder to form the pasta shapes. Read more about how to make pasta in your stand mixer

Bagels: Chewy bread like bagels are one of the hardest and most arduous tasks to do by hand, which means they're the perfect recipe to outsource to your stand mixer. While writing this guide, I used this recipe by King Arthur and it churned out perfectly springy bagels that reminded me of home in New Jersey.

Sausage: KitchenAid makes several attachments that allow you to grind your own meat for homemade sausage. Read more about how to grind meat and make sausage with a KitchenAid stand mixer.

Pizza dough: This type of dough is really wet and sticky, but a stand mixer excels at pulling it all together. Here's a recipe I really love for pizza dough made in a stand mixer. 

Ice cream: KitchenAid makes a special bowl that fits on all stand mixers but the Artisan Mini to make homemade ice cream. Read more about how to make ice cream in your Kitchenaid stand mixer

Glossary of KitchenAid terms
KitchenAid Glossary

Tilt head: A common mixer design where the work bowl twists onto the base of the mixer. The head of the machine tilts forward for operation and lifts back so you can attach a paddle, whisk, or dough hook; add ingredients to the work bowl; or use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. These machines have a lever that allows you to lock the head in place so it doesn't accidentally lift during mixing or moving. This style is common in smaller capacity mixers and is contrasted to a bowl-lift design.

Bowl lift: A mixer design where the work bowl sits on a Y-shaped arm extending from the body of the mixer. A lever allows you to raise and lower the bowl. A raised position brings the bowl closer to the mixer head for operation, while a lowered position allows you to more easily add ingredients or add/remove the paddle, whisk, or dough hook. This design allows for more stability during mixing but comes at the cost of a larger footprint. 

Hub: A circular port at the front of the mixer head where you place KitchenAid branded attachments such as the meat grinder, pasta cutter, or spiralizer. When not in use, the hub is usually covered by a silver medallion with the KitchenAid logo. 

Paddle: A flat, open mixing attachment included with every KitchenAid stand mixer. The paddle is used for mixing ingredients together when you don't want too much air incorporated, such as when creaming butter and sugar, mixing cookie dough, and some batters. Think of it as the stand mixer equivalent of a wooden spoon. 

Whisk: A balloon-shaped wire whisk mixing attachment included with every KitchenAid stand mixer. The whisk attachment is used when you do want to incorporate a lot of air into the ingredients you're mixing, like when whipping cream, making meringue or frosting, or mixing cake batter. It's used in similar ways to a hand whisk.

Dough hook: A corkscrew-shaped mixing attachment included with every KitchenAid stand mixer. The dough hook is used for kneading bread dough. Typically you'll mix the dough with another attachment such as the paddle, and then use the dough hook to form the dough into a ball and knead it. The corkscrew shape pushes the dough against the sides of the work bowl in an action that approximates kneading by hand. 

Attachment: Can refer to the paddle, whisk, and dough hook that come with the mixer, but also used to describe the various accessories you can purchase to extend the versatility of your stand mixer such as the ice cream maker, food processor, or meat grinder.

FAQs

What is the warranty on KitchenAid stand mixers?

Almost all of KitchenAid's stand mixers come with a limited one year warranty, though you can purchase an extended service plan for another three years of coverage. 

What do I do if my KitchenAid stand mixer breaks?

When a KitchenAid stand mixer stops working, it can usually be repaired. The machines are designed so that inexpensive gears fail before the core part of the mixer; oftentimes a repair is as simple as replacing a gear. If your stand mixer is still within warranty, you should contact KitchenAid for a replacement. However, in my experience, don't expect much from KitchenAid customer service if you're out of warranty. While plenty of KitchenAid repair videos exist online, you'll get the best results from a paid repair from the KitchenAid factory or by visiting a reputable appliance repair service. Keep in mind that you can void your remaining warranty if you attempt to repair your stand mixer on your own.

Will my KitchenAid stand mixer last a lifetime?

With proper care, it's possible! Keep in mind that technology changes, so it's never a guarantee that a small appliance like a KitchenAid stand mixer will be forever compatible with modern home wiring or safety specifications. (Your grandma's toaster or microwave may still work, but it might not necessarily be safe.) While your stand mixer might not become a family heirloom, you should get many years of use out of it. 

How do I use my KitchenAid stand mixer?

I'd start with a solid recipe for something you like to eat often, like cookies or bread. Once you know what you want to make, a well-written recipe should guide you through when to add ingredients, what speed to use, and even when to scrape down the bowl. Recipes from cookbooks or food magazines are usually well-tested and thoroughly written. Some good cookbooks to start with include "Pastry Love," "Black Girl Baking", "Bravetart," "Cook's Illustrated Baking Book", "The New Way to Cake," and "The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook." It's also good to keep best practices in mind: avoid overloading the mixer or adding too many ingredients at once, and turn up the speed slowly to avoid kitchen messes. Only operate your stand mixer on a stable countertop or table, and don't leave it unattended while it's running. 

Can I use an electric hand mixer instead of a stand mixer?

Electric hand mixers are best used for light batters or frostings where you want to incorporate a lot of air, and it doesn't take a lot of mixing to bring the ingredients together. While the electric mixer is spinning the whisks, you're still responsible for moving the mixer around the bowl. This is much less efficient than a stand mixer where the whisk is rotating, but also moving in a circular motion around the work bowl. Electric hand mixers also aren't very good for heavy doughs or recipes with a lot of varying textures since these tend to get caught in the smaller tines of the beaters. While an electric hand mixer is an efficient way to whip up a batch of brownies or frosting, stand mixers are much more versatile.

Why buy a KitchenAid stand mixer

While there are a number of other stand mixer brands out there — including Breville, Sunbeam, Oster, and Bosch — none are as ubiquitous or revered as the KitchenAid stand mixer. Some people consider purchasing a KitchenAid stand mixer to be a life milestone, and according to The Knot, a KitchenAid stand mixer was the most-wished-for product on wedding registries in 2019. Julia Child's KitchenAid mixer even lives in the Smithsonian Museum. But what makes KitchenAid stand mixers so special?

KitchenAid stand mixers have been around for more than a century. According to KitchenAid, the brand got its name in 1919 when an executive's wife called the first home model stand mixer "the best kitchen aid I've ever had." The name stuck and KitchenAid has been synonymous with stand mixers ever since. While there are a number of great stand mixers from other brands out there, KitchenAid still stands out in a number of ways.

Durability: I've tried almost every brand of stand mixer out there in my seven years reviewing kitchen products, and KitchenAid mixers are the only ones that use an almost all-metal construction. Other brands cut costs by using plastic in part of the design: either in the body of the mixer, on knobs and dials, in the mixing attachments, or even in the gears. Mixers made with a lot of plastic are usually lighter and less expensive, but much less durable. KitchenAid mixers can last for decades because of their strong metal parts. While this stronger construction comes at a premium — KitchenAid mixers are among the most expensive out there — their durability makes them a great investment. Even the most affordable KitchenAid mixer shares this same hearty construction and powerful motor and will last for decades with proper care. There is also a robust network of authorized KitchenAid repair technicians who can repair your stand mixer if something does break.

Stability: The all-metal design makes KitchenAid mixers much heavier than most other brands. While they can be a pain to lug around, the added heft produces an important benefit: more stability when mixing. Lighter machines can shake or "walk" off countertops. The heaviness of KitchenAid mixers helps them stay put. 

A mixer for everybody: Many brands that make stand mixers only produce one or two models. KitchenAid makes almost a dozen models with different capacities, power, and price points. This allows you to choose a model that meets your needs and excels at the tasks you perform most.

Attachments: KitchenAid is the only brand that has produced a robust lineup of attachments that extend the versatility of their stand mixers. These attachments can turn your KitchenAid into a food processor, meat grinder, ice cream maker, spiralizer, pasta machine, and more — eliminating the need to buy separate appliances that are often larger and more expensive. 

Colors: It's undeniable that one of the major selling points of a KitchenAid mixer is the sheer number of colors available to choose from. KitchenAid offers its mixers in 47 different colors — no other brand even comes close to that much customization. While choosing an appliance based on color may seem silly to some consumers, the ability to pick out a color that matches your personality or decor is one of the reasons people feel such an affinity to KitchenAid mixers.

Read our guides to the best KitchenAid attachments and how to use them
KitchenAid meat grinder

The best KitchenAid attachments


How to use a KitchenAid stand mixer to grind your own meat


How to make sausage with a KitchenAid stand mixer

Check out our other kitchen appliance guides
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

The best espresso machines


The best blenders


The best food processors


The best juicers

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Make your own soda and seltzer at home with up to 40% off popular Sodastream models this Amazon Prime Day

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Sodastream Fizzi White

An easy and environmentally friendly way to save on groceries is to make your own sparkling beverages at home. This Amazon Prime Day 2020, Sodastream is compounding the savings by offering more than 40% off on its popular Jet and Fizzi soda makers and bundles.

Of the Sodastream deals on offer this Prime Day, the standalone Sodastream Jet offers the lowest investment at $47.99; a 40% savings off its usual price of $79.99. It comes with everything you need to get started: the Jet, one Co2 cartridge, and one carbonating bottle. It's the ideal setup if only one or two people in your home are planning on using the soda maker and you should be able to get about 60 uses out of the Co2 canister before you need to refill. 

Bigger households might consider one of the bundles being offered with the Jet and Fizzi models. The Sodastream Fizzi bundle is $95.99; about 35% off its normal price of $149.95 and is available in three different colors: black, white, and icy blue.

The Sodastream Jet Bundle is also on sale for $79.99; around 42% off its usual price of $139.99. Both bundles come with the machine, two Co2 canisters, two carbonating bottles, and two soda flavors. The bundles offer the most bang for your buck if you're planning on drinking a lot of seltzer or live in a home with a lot of soda lovers. 

The main differences between the Jet and Fizzi models are the type of bottles they use and how they connect to the machine. The carbonating bottles snap on automatically to the Fizzi, while you have to screw the bottles on to the nozzle of the Jet. We named the Fizzi our top user-friendly soda maker in our guide to the best soda makers, but both machines are easy to operate with just the push of a button and allow you to customize the level of fizz you want in your beverage. 

Below you'll find the best deals on Sodastream seltzer makers for Prime Day 2020. Be sure to check out our guide to other great Amazon Prime Day kitchen deals.

The best Sodastream deals:

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The best pillows for your bed

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and our sleep habits can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing. Central to getting a great night's sleep is having a solid setup, including a really comfortable, supportive pillow. 

"A good pillow is absolutely a top priority," said Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher, author, and post-doctoral fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, "No matter your budget, I really encourage people to splurge and invest in these products because they will help. The bed is the foundation of our sleep and if these elements aren't supportive and not cozy to your personal preference, you put yourself at risk for sleep difficulties."

With that in mind, we tested eight different pillows and considered four others. I've been writing unbiased, meticulously tested product reviews for more than seven years and have a personal stake in finding a good pillow: I'm a living embodiment of the princess and the pea, and have purchased more pillows than I can count in pursuit of a good night's sleep.

While I slept on every pillow recommended in this guide for at least three nights, individual preferences and anatomy vary greatly (see: how to find the perfect pillow), so I enlisted a stomach sleeper (my husband) and two side sleepers (my neighbors) to try each pillow for at least a night and considered feedback from other Insider Reviews editors who have tried or reviewed pillows over the last few years. You can read all about our methodology here.

Here are the best pillows:

Prices and links are accurate as of 10/9/2020. We rewrote this guide after consulting a sleep researcher and thorough testing of our picks.

The best overall
Best pillow Coop

The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow offers thoughtful features like adjustable fill, a washable pillow cover, and an unparalleled 100-night trial that make it the best choice for most people.

In the better part of a decade that I've been reviewing housewares, it's rare that I've come across a product as thoughtfully designed as the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow. Made from hypoallergenic shredded memory foam, the fill in the Coop pillow is adjustable so you can customize it to the perfect loft for your sleep preferences. Other thoughtful features like a washable pillow cover, 5-year warranty, and 100-night trial make it the obvious choice for our top recommendation. 

While adjustable pillows made from shredded foam have become more popular, the Coop stands out in a number of ways. The first is in the packaging. When you open the box, you're greeted by a bright yellow insert that walks you through how to customize the pillow and suggestions on how much fill to add or remove (it's more than you think) based on your preferred sleeping position. It also offers tips on how to check your alignment so that you get the most comfortable night's sleep. While the pillow arrives almost overfilled, it also comes with a half-pound bag of additional fill in case you need even more support. 

I followed the package recommendations to remove about a third of the fill for back sleepers and then fluffed the pillow up a bit to redistribute the foam. The result felt deeply personalized and it was very comfortable to sleep on with a great balance of support and fluff. 

One drawback? If you favor a softer, more down-like fill (like I do), you may find the Coop pillow has the same issues as all memory foam pillows: it's on the firmer side and tends to get a bit hot during the night. If that sounds like you, you might appreciate our other top pillows in the picks below. However, we think most people will love the customization of the Coop pillow, especially if you prefer the springy feel of memory foam.

Pros: Completely customizable with removable fill, comes with additional fill if you prefer a firmer pillow, comes with a washable encasement, hypoallergenic, 5-year warranty, 100-night trial

Cons: On the firmer side and might not be the best choice if you don't like memory foam, testers in previous reviews thought it arrived with a slightly funny smell

Read our full review of Coop Home Goods' The Original Pillow

The best pillow for side sleepers
Best pillow Casper

The Casper Original Pillow offers the loft and support that side sleepers need but with the soft and fluffy feel of a down alternative. 

The goal of a good pillow is to bring your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. For side sleepers, this means bridging the gap between your ear and where your shoulder meets the mattress. But side sleepers are a tricky bunch because shoulder size and height can vary a lot from person to person, meaning one side sleeper might need a really lofty pillow while another needs just a little bit of lift. The Coop pillow is ideal for side sleepers because it offers a lot of customization to help fill that gap. But if you're not a memory foam fan, your next best bet is the Casper Original Pillow

Made from down-alternative fill with a percale cotton shell, the Casper pillow feels a lot like the soft, plush pillows you'd find in hotel rooms. A 2-inch gusset (the strip of fabric between seams that gives the pillow more of a rectangular rather than oval shape) keeps the pillow lofted for the supportive lift that side sleepers require, but the plush fill still gives the "sinking in" sensation when you lay your head down. One of the side sleepers who tried the pillow over several weeks also loved that the pillow stayed cool throughout the night and kept its shape despite its softer fill. 

You can adjust the fill a bit by removing the inner pillow, but all the side sleepers who tried it preferred the loft of the full pillow. We also liked that all parts of the pillow are machine washable and the company offers a 100-night trial to decide if the pillow is right for you. 

Many of our editors have tried and loved the Casper pillow throughout the years, with one reporter even calling it his "Goldilocks pillow." If you want a balance of support and softness, we recommend giving the Casper Original Pillow a try; just keep in mind that it's not as customizable or adjustable as other pillows.

Pros: Soft and fluffy, 2-inch gusset that provides support for side sleepers, removable inner pillow, machine washable, 100-night trial period

Cons: Loft is not very adjustable, not as supportive as memory foam

Read our full review of the Casper Original Pillow

The best pillow for back sleepers
Best pillow Saatva

Luxuriously plush, the Saatva Pillow offers an ultra comfortable, hotel-like experience and is particularly well-suited to back sleepers.

I've cycled through pillows throughout the last decade — from cheap Ikea and Target pillows, to bespoke offerings from high-end bedding brands — but never quite found my perfect pillow. That all changed when I tried The Saatva Pillow. 

The Saatva Pillow is made from a supportive shredded latex core surrounded by a plush, down alternative layer and a satteen cotton liner. Its unique construction makes it different from any pillow I've ever felt before — it's got the hefty weight and support of a memory foam pillow, but with the plush, cool feel of a down pillow not unlike one you'd find in a hotel. Throughout testing, I kept coming back to this pillow and it quickly became my go-to for nights I wasn't actively testing anything new. I love how my head sinks into this plush pillow, but it's still supportive enough to keep its shape all night long and when I wake up, the pillow looks just as plush as when I fell asleep on it. I'm a very active sleeper who likes to move around a lot in bed and take my bedding with me, so I love that the pillow is equally plush and comfortable from all sides and angles. It's still soft and supportive when I inevitably fold it, scoop it, or hug it throughout the night. It's also weighty enough that it doesn't move on its own or slip into the gap between the headboard and the mattress (a pet peeve of mine), and has plenty of structure for when you want to prop your head up for reading or watching TV. Finally, it's hypoallergenic, which is a must for allergy sufferers like myself. 

While the Saatva pillow is my perfect pillow, it's not adjustable enough to be our top recommendation for most people. The only adjustability offered is the ability to remove the latex core, which also takes away the supportive part of the pillow. Multiple stomach sleepers who tried the pillow as part of our testing found it too lofty, even with the inner core removed. Some side sleepers might also find the pillow not quite lofty enough; we think it's best for back sleepers and those who prefer a plusher, cooler feel than memory foam. 

While it was one of the most expensive pillows we tried, the company offers a 45-day trial period to determine if the pillow is right for you.

Pros: Moderate height that's ideal for back sleepers, plush like a hotel pillow, supportive latex core, 45-day trial period, comes with a pillow cover, cover and outer pillow are machine washable

Cons: Not very adjustable, too lofty for stomach sleepers

The best pillow for stomach sleepers
Best pillow Parachute

Soft, but not too thin, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow has the perfect loft for stomach sleepers who want just a bit of cushion.

Stomach sleepers generally require the least amount of pillow support, since your head and spine are already pretty close to alignment when lying on your stomach. Most stomach sleepers would benefit a soft pillow with just a bit of loft, and for that, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow is our top choice. 

This is the only pillow that received high marks for comfort from my husband, who is an avowed stomach sleeper and finds most pillows too lofty. The Parachute pillow elevates his head just enough to alleviate any neck strain, and the sateen cotton encasement keeps the pillow remarkably cool all night long; ideal for those, like him, who run hot. We purchased four of these pillows a little over a year ago, and they were our mainstay before I started testing and evaluating pillows for this guide. In a lot of ways, this pillow hits all the marks for me: it stays cool, is incredibly soft and comfortable, and is hypoallergenic. But while my husband happily drifts asleep with one of these pillows tucked under his head, I (a back sleeper) need to stack two or three to get the loft I need to fall asleep comfortably. 

While the fill is thin enough that the pillow easily folds over for some support if you occasionally flip to your side or back during the night, it doesn't provide enough for those who spend the majority of the night in those positions. The pillow also won't offer much lift if you're looking to prop yourself up to read or watch TV while lounging in bed. Since stomach sleepers are in the minority according to the National Sleep Foundation, we don't recommend outfitting a guest room with these soft, thin pillows, but they're a great personal pillow for any stomach sleeper who has found other pillows too lofty. 

While experts recommend fluffing your pillows daily to extend their life and maintain their comfort, we've found that these thinner pillows with less filling especially benefit from a daily fluff to keep their shape.

Pros: Soft and pillowy, made from hypoallergenic down alternative, folds easily for added support when lying on your side or back, stays cool, 60-day return window

Cons: Needs to be fluffed regularly to retain its shape, doesn't offer enough support for sleepers who spend the majority of the night on their back or side and therefore not the best choice for guest bedrooms, fill cannot be adjusted

The best pillow for neck pain
Best pillow Leesa

The Leesa Hybrid Pillow's cooling gel side provides ice-like relief from neck pain, while the quilted side offers a more traditional pillow experience for nights when you don't need as much support.

As someone who has struggled with back and neck troubles, I literally feel your pain if you're currently dealing with a stiff or painful neck. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the first line of business is to make sure that your current pillow isn't causing or exacerbating your neck strain. Your pillow should support your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine in your preferred sleeping position, which can be a very personal thing. Sleeping on the wrong pillow for your body and preferences can actually make neck pain worse. While we think our picks for side, back, and stomach sleepers will help you minimize the chances of sleep-induced neck pain, if you're deep in the throes of an existing neck sprain you should check with your doctor before considering a new pillow. 

Experts told us that a memory foam pillow is the preferred choice for neck pain because the material offers cushion and support to keep your neck aligned, and doesn't flatten or "sink" throughout the night like other more fluffy pillows. For this, we think our overall pick by Coop is a great choice since it has an adjustable memory foam fill that you can customize to your perfect loft. But if your pain is making it hard to even get to sleep, I highly recommend you try out the Leesa Hybrid Pillow.

The pillow's unique construction consists of a gel-filled cooling side and a quilted cushioning side, with a removable mini-pillow in between for adjustability. While the quilted side is plenty comfy, the gel-side is where the Leesa pillow truly shines. The gel provides an instant chilling effect that I found deeply soothing for muscle pain and neck strain; a similar effect to holding a wrapped ice pack up to your neck. On nights when my back and neck have really hurt, the Leesa has provided some much needed relief to help me fall asleep. 

That said, this hybrid pillow has received mixed reviews from our testers over the years. With only two possible (and both relatively low) heights, it's also less adjustable than other pillows we tested, and best suited for stomach and back sleepers who don't need a lot of loft. It's also fairly heavy, and its unique design may take a few nights to get used to. And if you're not a hot sleeper or currently struggling with neck pain, the pillow's main selling points may be lost on you. 

Pros: Cooling gel helps relieve neck pain, good for hot sleepers, two different sides to choose from for optimal support, removable inner pillow for adjusting loft, inner pillow can be used as a travel pillow

Cons: On the heavy side, takes some getting used to, may be too squat for some side sleepers

Read our full review of the Leesa Hybrid Pillow

The best pillow on a budget
Best pillow Hotel Collection

At just under $20 per pillow, the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows are an inexpensive option that still offers a comfortable, supportive night's sleep.

Experts we consulted for the guide stressed that a good pillow is a worthy investment; after all, you spend nearly one-third of your life laying on it. But if you're the type of person that can fall asleep just about anywhere or you're primarily concerned about price, the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow is the best bang for your buck. 

I was intrigued by the sheer number of positive Amazon reviews — there are more than 25,000 five-star reviews, and we all know that reviews aren't always reliable. But when I tried them for myself, I understood why. These pillows are on the thinner side, but have a gentle, down-like plushness that sets them apart from other inexpensive pillows I've tried from Ikea and Target. While they're definitely more squishy than supportive, they're a good choice for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and anyone who likes to hug, fold, or stack their pillows at night. 

"Gel pillow" is a bit of a misnomer; there's no liquid or cooling gel in these pillows like there is in some other cooling pillows. Instead, these pillows are filled with polyester gel fiber, which is similar to a down alternative in both feel and performance. The pillows stay relatively cool compared to denser materials like memory foam, but stop short of actively cooling you like the Leesa Hybrid Pillow.

While these pillows aren't adjustable, each pack comes with two pillows, so you can easily stack them to your desired comfort level. The pillows themselves are also machine washable and the company offers a 30 day satisfaction guarantee — a rarity for Amazon-only pillow brands.

Pros: Inexpensive, soft and stackable, sleeps relatively cool, machine washable, good for stomach and side sleepers, 30-day return window, hypoallergenic

Cons: Side sleepers will likely need two or more of these pillows, pillows are not adjustable

The best luxury pillow
Best pillow Saatva

If you love memory foam and are looking for something a bit more luxurious than what's out there, the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow offers a spa-like feel at a premium price. 

In my 30+ years of sleeping on pillows, I've come to the conclusion that memory foam is just too hot and dense for me. Then I slept on the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow. The pillow is made from a combination of solid and shredded memory foam, and the result is a luxurious and supportive softness I haven't experienced before in memory foam pillows. Its equal parts plush and supportive, and reminds me of a larger version of the pillows they use to support your head during a spa facial. 

The pillow particularly appealed to the memory foam lovers among our testers, who concurred that it stayed remarkably cool and soft — qualities not usually seen in traditional memory foam. We also liked that it offered plenty of support for sitting up and reading. I love lounging on this pillow throughout the day, and whenever I lay my head down on it to sleep I feel like I'm a queen on the most luxurious hotel bed. If that's the experience you're looking for, this pillow may be right for you.

Loft-wise, the pillow has a moderate fill that is well-suited for side and back sleepers, but doesn't offer much adjustability; you can remove the memory foam core, but that takes almost all the support out of the pillow. And at $145, this Saatva pillow (along with Saatva's flagship pillow, which we recommend above for back sleepers) is the most expensive pillow we tried. While the company offers a 45-day trial period, it's a big financial investment to make for a pillow that might not offer the right loft for you. 

Still, I have never once had to fluff the pillow; each morning when I wake up, it's as perfectly plush and springy as when I went to sleep on it. If you're looking to treat yourself to a spa-like experience, we soft memory foam pillow, we highly recommend the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow. 

Pros: Luxurious feel, soft, spa-like feel, stays cool, doesn't need to be fluffed, machine washable, 45-day trial period

Cons: Not very adjustable, firmer than down-alternative pillows

What else we considered
Best pillow Tulo

We tested or considered a dozen pillows while researching this guide. Here are some of the products that barely missed the cut and are worth considering:

  • Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow

Like our best overall pick by Coop, this pillow is stuffed with shredded foam that makes it easily adjustable to your sleeping preference—just remove fill as needed. However, it lacked many of the attributes that made our top pick a standout, like a pillow protector, a longer trial period, and additional foam right in the box for those who need even more loft. Comfort-wise, it was similar to other shredded foam pillows we tested: supportive, with some bounce, and runs a teeny bit hot. While it's a top choice with over reviewers, we think the Nest pillow offers fewer features than similar pillows do at a lower price point. 

  • Le'Vista Hotel Collection Pillow

Formerly our best budget pillow, this Amazon-only brand has an unclear return policy (many report being charged a return fee) and gets middling reviews on the site. Still, $10 per pillow is a great price, and it might be worth a try if you're budget strapped. Just keep in mind that customer service might be nonexistent and many reviewers claim the pillows flatten out quickly.  

  • Tulo Pillow

A few of our side-sleeping editors recommended this moderate-height memory foam pillow, but it lacks many of the qualities of our top picks: it's not adjustable or washable, and the company doesn't offer a trial period or returns of open pillows.  

  • Royal Hotel Goose Down Pillow

This goose down pillow was featured and recommended in previous iterations of this guide, but we ultimately excluded this time around because the company doesn't appear to accept returns. If you have your heart set on a down pillow, this pillow may be worth checking out along with our guide to the best down pillows.

What we don't recommend

We tested or considered a dozen pillows while researching this guide. Here are some of the products that barely missed the cut and are worth considering:

  • Zen Chi Buckwheat Pillow 

Previously our top pick for best buckwheat hull pillow, we downgraded this product because some Amazon reviews mention brand new pillows arriving with wheat beetles on or inside the pillows or in the packaging--not exactly a quality that inspires a night of good dreams. While the pillow height and fill is adjustable, the company also doesn't accept returns or exchanges of any opened merchandise, which makes this a risky purchase if you're not sure you like the feel of buckwheat. 

Our testing methodology

There is no one-size-fits-all best pillow for everyone; individual anatomy, sleep habits, and preferences deeply impact how comfortable a pillow will be from person-to-person. For that reason, our rating criteria for this guide relied heavily on the following considerations:

Return policy and trial period: It's impossible to know how comfortable a pillow is going to be for you until you sleep on it, despite how comprehensive our guide aims to be. "The most important thing is trying the pillows out to see what works for you," said Robbins, which includes being able to touch, lay on, and sleep with a pillow before deciding if it's right for you. For this guide, we only considered pillows that accept returns of used merchandise for a full refund with at least a 30-day trial window, which gives you ample time to decide if a pillow is right for you.

Adjustability: We prioritized pillows that are adjustable, with removable inserts or shredded fill for dialing in your perfect loft. This creates a more custom pillow that would better suit your needs.

Ease of Use: We looked at how well each pillow fit a standard pillowcase, whether the pillow came with a case or protector, and whether all or parts of the pillow were washable for better hygiene and pillow longevity.

Comfort: I slept on all of the pillows for at least three (sometimes agonizing) nights. I also enlisted a side sleeper and a stomach sleeper to try the pillows over the course of a couple weeks. For future updates, we will develop a diverse sleep panel and have them test our top picks for additional feedback.

What we look forward to testing
  • Boll & Branch Pillows ($150.00 to $195.00): Boll & Branch reportedly tried 100 different prototypes, and at least five of our editors have tried its down and down alternative pillows. We'll be retesting and incorporating the feedback into this guide. 
  • Brooklinen Pillows ($53.10 to $89.10): Brooklinen makes three different pillows in both down and down-alternative fills. Executive editor Ellen Hoffman reviewed the plush and mid-plush down options, and favored the mid-plush, calling it "a little bit of everything in a good way." We're looking forward to testing Brooklinen's options against our top picks for our next iteration of this guide.
  • Bear Pillow ($125.00): Breton Fischetti, VP of commerce, tried the Bear Pillow and said it improved his neck pain and helped him sleep better. Made from memory foam and "double ice fabric," the pillow claims to stay cool all night long. We'll be testing for a future update to this guide. 
  • Hullo Pillow ($99.00): The Hullo pillow is made from buckwheat hulls, a traditional fill used in Japan and many other Asian countries. Since we no longer have a buckwheat pillow we recommend, we're looking forward to testing this popular model and reporting back on our findings.
How to pick the perfect pillow
Best pillows

Robbins told us the single biggest consideration when picking a pillow is your preferred sleep position: side, back, or stomach. The goal of your pillow is to support your neck in a neutral position aligned with the rest of your spine, but that alignment shifts depending on the position you're sleeping in. While we all move around during sleep — switching positions about 60 times throughout each night — most of us spend the majority of our sleeping time in one position. 

Not sure what your sleep position is? Consider what position you typically fall asleep or wake up in. Robbins also has a neat exercise she performs with her clients: imagine you've been up for 24 hours and are presented with a big, luxurious hotel bed; how would you lie down on it to go to sleep? The position you envision is most likely your preferred sleep position and plays a big role in what type of pillow will work best for you. 

Side sleepers: Around 65% of the US population are side sleepers, according to Robbins, and this position requires the most loft and support to bridge the wide gap between the side of your head and where your shoulder rests on the mattress. If you're a side sleeper, choose a lofty pillow — ideally with an adjustable fill since there can be a lot of variability in the size of that shoulder gap from person to person. Robbins said hotels and sleep clinics usually outfit rooms with side sleepers in mind, so if you're buying pillows for a guest bedroom, a side sleeper friendly pillow is usually a good bet. 

Back sleepers: Back sleepers are the Goldilocks of pillow hunters — they need a pillow that is not too soft and not too firm, and with just enough support to lift the back of the head to be in line with their shoulders. Back sleepers tend to benefit from a medium, cushion-y pillow made from down or down alternative, though an adjustable pillow with at least one third of the fill removed may work as well. 

Stomach sleepers: In the minority are stomach sleepers, who need the least amount of support from their pillow. Typically a thin, very soft pillow works best for stomach sleepers — just enough fill to cushion their face from the flat surface of the mattress. 

When should you buy a new pillow?
Best pillows

Even the best pillows aren't meant to last forever; for the best sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing a well-used pillow every couple of years. Our fluffy little pillows absorb a shocking amount of dead skin and body oils night after night, which is the perfect breeding ground for allergens like dust mites. 

You can tell if it's time for a new pillow if your pillow is lumpy or flat no matter how much you fluff it. Robbins also told us that a healthy pillow springs back when you compress it; if you fold your pillow in half and it stays put, it's probably time for a new pillow. (One caveat: it may not work with a very, very thin pillow.)

Taking care of your pillow not only extends its life and helps you sleep better, but can also ease allergies. The National Sleep Foundation and Robbins both recommend adding a pillow protector (an encasement that adds another level of protection from allergens, body oils, dust mites, and other pests) in addition to a pillowcase if your pillow doesn't already come with one (many of our top picks do), fluffing your pillows daily, and washing your pillow every couple of months according to manufacturer directions.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best pillows for your bed

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and our sleep habits can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing. Central to getting a great night's sleep is having a solid setup, including a really comfortable, supportive pillow. 

"A good pillow is absolutely a top priority," said Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher, author, and post-doctoral fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, "No matter your budget, I really encourage people to splurge and invest in these products because they will help. The bed is the foundation of our sleep and if these elements aren't supportive and not cozy to your personal preference, you put yourself at risk for sleep difficulties."

With that in mind, we tested eight different pillows and considered four others. I've been writing unbiased, meticulously tested product reviews for more than seven years and have a personal stake in finding a good pillow: I'm a living embodiment of the princess and the pea, and have purchased more pillows than I can count in pursuit of a good night's sleep.

While I slept on every pillow recommended in this guide for at least three nights, individual preferences and anatomy vary greatly (see: how to find the perfect pillow), so I enlisted a stomach sleeper (my husband) and two side sleepers (my neighbors) to try each pillow for at least a night and considered feedback from other Insider Reviews editors who have tried or reviewed pillows over the last few years. You can read all about our methodology here.

Here are the best pillows:

Prices and links are accurate as of 10/9/2020. We rewrote this guide after consulting a sleep researcher and thorough testing of our picks.

The best overall
Best pillow Coop

The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow offers thoughtful features like adjustable fill, a washable pillow cover, and an unparalleled 100-night trial that make it the best choice for most people.

In the better part of a decade that I've been reviewing housewares, it's rare that I've come across a product as thoughtfully designed as the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow. Made from hypoallergenic shredded memory foam, the fill in the Coop pillow is adjustable so you can customize it to the perfect loft for your sleep preferences. Other thoughtful features like a washable pillow cover, 5-year warranty, and 100-night trial make it the obvious choice for our top recommendation. 

While adjustable pillows made from shredded foam have become more popular, the Coop stands out in a number of ways. The first is in the packaging. When you open the box, you're greeted by a bright yellow insert that walks you through how to customize the pillow and suggestions on how much fill to add or remove (it's more than you think) based on your preferred sleeping position. It also offers tips on how to check your alignment so that you get the most comfortable night's sleep. While the pillow arrives almost overfilled, it also comes with a half-pound bag of additional fill in case you need even more support. 

I followed the package recommendations to remove about a third of the fill for back sleepers and then fluffed the pillow up a bit to redistribute the foam. The result felt deeply personalized and it was very comfortable to sleep on with a great balance of support and fluff. 

One drawback? If you favor a softer, more down-like fill (like I do), you may find the Coop pillow has the same issues as all memory foam pillows: it's on the firmer side and tends to get a bit hot during the night. If that sounds like you, you might appreciate our other top pillows in the picks below. However, we think most people will love the customization of the Coop pillow, especially if you prefer the springy feel of memory foam.

Pros: Completely customizable with removable fill, comes with additional fill if you prefer a firmer pillow, comes with a washable encasement, hypoallergenic, 5-year warranty, 100-night trial

Cons: On the firmer side and might not be the best choice if you don't like memory foam, testers in previous reviews thought it arrived with a slightly funny smell

Read our full review of Coop Home Goods' The Original Pillow

The best pillow for side sleepers
Best pillow Casper

The Casper Original Pillow offers the loft and support that side sleepers need but with the soft and fluffy feel of a down alternative. 

The goal of a good pillow is to bring your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. For side sleepers, this means bridging the gap between your ear and where your shoulder meets the mattress. But side sleepers are a tricky bunch because shoulder size and height can vary a lot from person to person, meaning one side sleeper might need a really lofty pillow while another needs just a little bit of lift. The Coop pillow is ideal for side sleepers because it offers a lot of customization to help fill that gap. But if you're not a memory foam fan, your next best bet is the Casper Original Pillow

Made from down-alternative fill with a percale cotton shell, the Casper pillow feels a lot like the soft, plush pillows you'd find in hotel rooms. A 2-inch gusset (the strip of fabric between seams that gives the pillow more of a rectangular rather than oval shape) keeps the pillow lofted for the supportive lift that side sleepers require, but the plush fill still gives the "sinking in" sensation when you lay your head down. One of the side sleepers who tried the pillow over several weeks also loved that the pillow stayed cool throughout the night and kept its shape despite its softer fill. 

You can adjust the fill a bit by removing the inner pillow, but all the side sleepers who tried it preferred the loft of the full pillow. We also liked that all parts of the pillow are machine washable and the company offers a 100-night trial to decide if the pillow is right for you. 

Many of our editors have tried and loved the Casper pillow throughout the years, with one reporter even calling it his "Goldilocks pillow." If you want a balance of support and softness, we recommend giving the Casper Original Pillow a try; just keep in mind that it's not as customizable or adjustable as other pillows.

Pros: Soft and fluffy, 2-inch gusset that provides support for side sleepers, removable inner pillow, machine washable, 100-night trial period

Cons: Loft is not very adjustable, not as supportive as memory foam

Read our full review of the Casper Original Pillow

The best pillow for back sleepers
Best pillow Saatva

Luxuriously plush, the Saatva Pillow offers an ultra comfortable, hotel-like experience and is particularly well-suited to back sleepers.

I've cycled through pillows throughout the last decade — from cheap Ikea and Target pillows, to bespoke offerings from high-end bedding brands — but never quite found my perfect pillow. That all changed when I tried The Saatva Pillow. 

The Saatva Pillow is made from a supportive shredded latex core surrounded by a plush, down alternative layer and a satteen cotton liner. Its unique construction makes it different from any pillow I've ever felt before — it's got the hefty weight and support of a memory foam pillow, but with the plush, cool feel of a down pillow not unlike one you'd find in a hotel. Throughout testing, I kept coming back to this pillow and it quickly became my go-to for nights I wasn't actively testing anything new. I love how my head sinks into this plush pillow, but it's still supportive enough to keep its shape all night long and when I wake up, the pillow looks just as plush as when I fell asleep on it. I'm a very active sleeper who likes to move around a lot in bed and take my bedding with me, so I love that the pillow is equally plush and comfortable from all sides and angles. It's still soft and supportive when I inevitably fold it, scoop it, or hug it throughout the night. It's also weighty enough that it doesn't move on its own or slip into the gap between the headboard and the mattress (a pet peeve of mine), and has plenty of structure for when you want to prop your head up for reading or watching TV. Finally, it's hypoallergenic, which is a must for allergy sufferers like myself. 

While the Saatva pillow is my perfect pillow, it's not adjustable enough to be our top recommendation for most people. The only adjustability offered is the ability to remove the latex core, which also takes away the supportive part of the pillow. Multiple stomach sleepers who tried the pillow as part of our testing found it too lofty, even with the inner core removed. Some side sleepers might also find the pillow not quite lofty enough; we think it's best for back sleepers and those who prefer a plusher, cooler feel than memory foam. 

While it was one of the most expensive pillows we tried, the company offers a 45-day trial period to determine if the pillow is right for you.

Pros: Moderate height that's ideal for back sleepers, plush like a hotel pillow, supportive latex core, 45-day trial period, comes with a pillow cover, cover and outer pillow are machine washable

Cons: Not very adjustable, too lofty for stomach sleepers

The best pillow for stomach sleepers
Best pillow Parachute

Soft, but not too thin, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow has the perfect loft for stomach sleepers who want just a bit of cushion.

Stomach sleepers generally require the least amount of pillow support, since your head and spine are already pretty close to alignment when lying on your stomach. Most stomach sleepers would benefit a soft pillow with just a bit of loft, and for that, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow is our top choice. 

This is the only pillow that received high marks for comfort from my husband, who is an avowed stomach sleeper and finds most pillows too lofty. The Parachute pillow elevates his head just enough to alleviate any neck strain, and the sateen cotton encasement keeps the pillow remarkably cool all night long; ideal for those, like him, who run hot. We purchased four of these pillows a little over a year ago, and they were our mainstay before I started testing and evaluating pillows for this guide. In a lot of ways, this pillow hits all the marks for me: it stays cool, is incredibly soft and comfortable, and is hypoallergenic. But while my husband happily drifts asleep with one of these pillows tucked under his head, I (a back sleeper) need to stack two or three to get the loft I need to fall asleep comfortably. 

While the fill is thin enough that the pillow easily folds over for some support if you occasionally flip to your side or back during the night, it doesn't provide enough for those who spend the majority of the night in those positions. The pillow also won't offer much lift if you're looking to prop yourself up to read or watch TV while lounging in bed. Since stomach sleepers are in the minority according to the National Sleep Foundation, we don't recommend outfitting a guest room with these soft, thin pillows, but they're a great personal pillow for any stomach sleeper who has found other pillows too lofty. 

While experts recommend fluffing your pillows daily to extend their life and maintain their comfort, we've found that these thinner pillows with less filling especially benefit from a daily fluff to keep their shape.

Pros: Soft and pillowy, made from hypoallergenic down alternative, folds easily for added support when lying on your side or back, stays cool, 60-day return window

Cons: Needs to be fluffed regularly to retain its shape, doesn't offer enough support for sleepers who spend the majority of the night on their back or side and therefore not the best choice for guest bedrooms, fill cannot be adjusted

The best pillow for neck pain
Best pillow Leesa

The Leesa Hybrid Pillow's cooling gel side provides ice-like relief from neck pain, while the quilted side offers a more traditional pillow experience for nights when you don't need as much support.

As someone who has struggled with back and neck troubles, I literally feel your pain if you're currently dealing with a stiff or painful neck. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the first line of business is to make sure that your current pillow isn't causing or exacerbating your neck strain. Your pillow should support your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine in your preferred sleeping position, which can be a very personal thing. Sleeping on the wrong pillow for your body and preferences can actually make neck pain worse. While we think our picks for side, back, and stomach sleepers will help you minimize the chances of sleep-induced neck pain, if you're deep in the throes of an existing neck sprain you should check with your doctor before considering a new pillow. 

Experts told us that a memory foam pillow is the preferred choice for neck pain because the material offers cushion and support to keep your neck aligned, and doesn't flatten or "sink" throughout the night like other more fluffy pillows. For this, we think our overall pick by Coop is a great choice since it has an adjustable memory foam fill that you can customize to your perfect loft. But if your pain is making it hard to even get to sleep, I highly recommend you try out the Leesa Hybrid Pillow.

The pillow's unique construction consists of a gel-filled cooling side and a quilted cushioning side, with a removable mini-pillow in between for adjustability. While the quilted side is plenty comfy, the gel-side is where the Leesa pillow truly shines. The gel provides an instant chilling effect that I found deeply soothing for muscle pain and neck strain; a similar effect to holding a wrapped ice pack up to your neck. On nights when my back and neck have really hurt, the Leesa has provided some much needed relief to help me fall asleep. 

That said, this hybrid pillow has received mixed reviews from our testers over the years. With only two possible (and both relatively low) heights, it's also less adjustable than other pillows we tested, and best suited for stomach and back sleepers who don't need a lot of loft. It's also fairly heavy, and its unique design may take a few nights to get used to. And if you're not a hot sleeper or currently struggling with neck pain, the pillow's main selling points may be lost on you. 

Pros: Cooling gel helps relieve neck pain, good for hot sleepers, two different sides to choose from for optimal support, removable inner pillow for adjusting loft, inner pillow can be used as a travel pillow

Cons: On the heavy side, takes some getting used to, may be too squat for some side sleepers

Read our full review of the Leesa Hybrid Pillow

The best pillow on a budget
Best pillow Hotel Collection

At just under $20 per pillow, the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillows are an inexpensive option that still offers a comfortable, supportive night's sleep.

Experts we consulted for the guide stressed that a good pillow is a worthy investment; after all, you spend nearly one-third of your life laying on it. But if you're the type of person that can fall asleep just about anywhere or you're primarily concerned about price, the Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow is the best bang for your buck. 

I was intrigued by the sheer number of positive Amazon reviews — there are more than 25,000 five-star reviews, and we all know that reviews aren't always reliable. But when I tried them for myself, I understood why. These pillows are on the thinner side, but have a gentle, down-like plushness that sets them apart from other inexpensive pillows I've tried from Ikea and Target. While they're definitely more squishy than supportive, they're a good choice for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and anyone who likes to hug, fold, or stack their pillows at night. 

"Gel pillow" is a bit of a misnomer; there's no liquid or cooling gel in these pillows like there is in some other cooling pillows. Instead, these pillows are filled with polyester gel fiber, which is similar to a down alternative in both feel and performance. The pillows stay relatively cool compared to denser materials like memory foam, but stop short of actively cooling you like the Leesa Hybrid Pillow.

While these pillows aren't adjustable, each pack comes with two pillows, so you can easily stack them to your desired comfort level. The pillows themselves are also machine washable and the company offers a 30 day satisfaction guarantee — a rarity for Amazon-only pillow brands.

Pros: Inexpensive, soft and stackable, sleeps relatively cool, machine washable, good for stomach and side sleepers, 30-day return window, hypoallergenic

Cons: Side sleepers will likely need two or more of these pillows, pillows are not adjustable

The best luxury pillow
Best pillow Saatva

If you love memory foam and are looking for something a bit more luxurious than what's out there, the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow offers a spa-like feel at a premium price. 

In my 30+ years of sleeping on pillows, I've come to the conclusion that memory foam is just too hot and dense for me. Then I slept on the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow. The pillow is made from a combination of solid and shredded memory foam, and the result is a luxurious and supportive softness I haven't experienced before in memory foam pillows. Its equal parts plush and supportive, and reminds me of a larger version of the pillows they use to support your head during a spa facial. 

The pillow particularly appealed to the memory foam lovers among our testers, who concurred that it stayed remarkably cool and soft — qualities not usually seen in traditional memory foam. We also liked that it offered plenty of support for sitting up and reading. I love lounging on this pillow throughout the day, and whenever I lay my head down on it to sleep I feel like I'm a queen on the most luxurious hotel bed. If that's the experience you're looking for, this pillow may be right for you.

Loft-wise, the pillow has a moderate fill that is well-suited for side and back sleepers, but doesn't offer much adjustability; you can remove the memory foam core, but that takes almost all the support out of the pillow. And at $145, this Saatva pillow (along with Saatva's flagship pillow, which we recommend above for back sleepers) is the most expensive pillow we tried. While the company offers a 45-day trial period, it's a big financial investment to make for a pillow that might not offer the right loft for you. 

Still, I have never once had to fluff the pillow; each morning when I wake up, it's as perfectly plush and springy as when I went to sleep on it. If you're looking to treat yourself to a spa-like experience, we soft memory foam pillow, we highly recommend the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow. 

Pros: Luxurious feel, soft, spa-like feel, stays cool, doesn't need to be fluffed, machine washable, 45-day trial period

Cons: Not very adjustable, firmer than down-alternative pillows

What else we considered
Best pillow Tulo

We tested or considered a dozen pillows while researching this guide. Here are some of the products that barely missed the cut and are worth considering:

  • Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow

Like our best overall pick by Coop, this pillow is stuffed with shredded foam that makes it easily adjustable to your sleeping preference—just remove fill as needed. However, it lacked many of the attributes that made our top pick a standout, like a pillow protector, a longer trial period, and additional foam right in the box for those who need even more loft. Comfort-wise, it was similar to other shredded foam pillows we tested: supportive, with some bounce, and runs a teeny bit hot. While it's a top choice with over reviewers, we think the Nest pillow offers fewer features than similar pillows do at a lower price point. 

  • Le'Vista Hotel Collection Pillow

Formerly our best budget pillow, this Amazon-only brand has an unclear return policy (many report being charged a return fee) and gets middling reviews on the site. Still, $10 per pillow is a great price, and it might be worth a try if you're budget strapped. Just keep in mind that customer service might be nonexistent and many reviewers claim the pillows flatten out quickly.  

  • Tulo Pillow

A few of our side-sleeping editors recommended this moderate-height memory foam pillow, but it lacks many of the qualities of our top picks: it's not adjustable or washable, and the company doesn't offer a trial period or returns of open pillows.  

  • Royal Hotel Goose Down Pillow

This goose down pillow was featured and recommended in previous iterations of this guide, but we ultimately excluded this time around because the company doesn't appear to accept returns. If you have your heart set on a down pillow, this pillow may be worth checking out along with our guide to the best down pillows.

What we don't recommend

We tested or considered a dozen pillows while researching this guide. Here are some of the products that barely missed the cut and are worth considering:

  • Zen Chi Buckwheat Pillow 

Previously our top pick for best buckwheat hull pillow, we downgraded this product because some Amazon reviews mention brand new pillows arriving with wheat beetles on or inside the pillows or in the packaging--not exactly a quality that inspires a night of good dreams. While the pillow height and fill is adjustable, the company also doesn't accept returns or exchanges of any opened merchandise, which makes this a risky purchase if you're not sure you like the feel of buckwheat. 

Our testing methodology

There is no one-size-fits-all best pillow for everyone; individual anatomy, sleep habits, and preferences deeply impact how comfortable a pillow will be from person-to-person. For that reason, our rating criteria for this guide relied heavily on the following considerations:

Return policy and trial period: It's impossible to know how comfortable a pillow is going to be for you until you sleep on it, despite how comprehensive our guide aims to be. "The most important thing is trying the pillows out to see what works for you," said Robbins, which includes being able to touch, lay on, and sleep with a pillow before deciding if it's right for you. For this guide, we only considered pillows that accept returns of used merchandise for a full refund with at least a 30-day trial window, which gives you ample time to decide if a pillow is right for you.

Adjustability: We prioritized pillows that are adjustable, with removable inserts or shredded fill for dialing in your perfect loft. This creates a more custom pillow that would better suit your needs.

Ease of Use: We looked at how well each pillow fit a standard pillowcase, whether the pillow came with a case or protector, and whether all or parts of the pillow were washable for better hygiene and pillow longevity.

Comfort: I slept on all of the pillows for at least three (sometimes agonizing) nights. I also enlisted a side sleeper and a stomach sleeper to try the pillows over the course of a couple weeks. For future updates, we will develop a diverse sleep panel and have them test our top picks for additional feedback.

What we look forward to testing
  • Boll & Branch Pillows ($150.00 to $195.00): Boll & Branch reportedly tried 100 different prototypes, and at least five of our editors have tried its down and down alternative pillows. We'll be retesting and incorporating the feedback into this guide. 
  • Brooklinen Pillows ($53.10 to $89.10): Brooklinen makes three different pillows in both down and down-alternative fills. Executive editor Ellen Hoffman reviewed the plush and mid-plush down options, and favored the mid-plush, calling it "a little bit of everything in a good way." We're looking forward to testing Brooklinen's options against our top picks for our next iteration of this guide.
  • Bear Pillow ($125.00): Breton Fischetti, VP of commerce, tried the Bear Pillow and said it improved his neck pain and helped him sleep better. Made from memory foam and "double ice fabric," the pillow claims to stay cool all night long. We'll be testing for a future update to this guide. 
  • Hullo Pillow ($99.00): The Hullo pillow is made from buckwheat hulls, a traditional fill used in Japan and many other Asian countries. Since we no longer have a buckwheat pillow we recommend, we're looking forward to testing this popular model and reporting back on our findings.
How to pick the perfect pillow
Best pillows

Robbins told us the single biggest consideration when picking a pillow is your preferred sleep position: side, back, or stomach. The goal of your pillow is to support your neck in a neutral position aligned with the rest of your spine, but that alignment shifts depending on the position you're sleeping in. While we all move around during sleep — switching positions about 60 times throughout each night — most of us spend the majority of our sleeping time in one position. 

Not sure what your sleep position is? Consider what position you typically fall asleep or wake up in. Robbins also has a neat exercise she performs with her clients: imagine you've been up for 24 hours and are presented with a big, luxurious hotel bed; how would you lie down on it to go to sleep? The position you envision is most likely your preferred sleep position and plays a big role in what type of pillow will work best for you. 

Side sleepers: Around 65% of the US population are side sleepers, according to Robbins, and this position requires the most loft and support to bridge the wide gap between the side of your head and where your shoulder rests on the mattress. If you're a side sleeper, choose a lofty pillow — ideally with an adjustable fill since there can be a lot of variability in the size of that shoulder gap from person to person. Robbins said hotels and sleep clinics usually outfit rooms with side sleepers in mind, so if you're buying pillows for a guest bedroom, a side sleeper friendly pillow is usually a good bet. 

Back sleepers: Back sleepers are the Goldilocks of pillow hunters — they need a pillow that is not too soft and not too firm, and with just enough support to lift the back of the head to be in line with their shoulders. Back sleepers tend to benefit from a medium, cushion-y pillow made from down or down alternative, though an adjustable pillow with at least one third of the fill removed may work as well. 

Stomach sleepers: In the minority are stomach sleepers, who need the least amount of support from their pillow. Typically a thin, very soft pillow works best for stomach sleepers — just enough fill to cushion their face from the flat surface of the mattress. 

When should you buy a new pillow?
Best pillows

Even the best pillows aren't meant to last forever; for the best sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing a well-used pillow every couple of years. Our fluffy little pillows absorb a shocking amount of dead skin and body oils night after night, which is the perfect breeding ground for allergens like dust mites. 

You can tell if it's time for a new pillow if your pillow is lumpy or flat no matter how much you fluff it. Robbins also told us that a healthy pillow springs back when you compress it; if you fold your pillow in half and it stays put, it's probably time for a new pillow. (One caveat: it may not work with a very, very thin pillow.)

Taking care of your pillow not only extends its life and helps you sleep better, but can also ease allergies. The National Sleep Foundation and Robbins both recommend adding a pillow protector (an encasement that adds another level of protection from allergens, body oils, dust mites, and other pests) in addition to a pillowcase if your pillow doesn't already come with one (many of our top picks do), fluffing your pillows daily, and washing your pillow every couple of months according to manufacturer directions.

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