Good support for side sleeping
Not great for back and stomach sleepers
What is Casper?
Casper, which launched in 2014, is one of the best known mattress-in-a-box companies. It carries a variety of mattresses, including the Casper Original Mattress, which is all-foam construction, as well as two models of hybrid mattresses. The company has since branched into bedding—from weighted blankets to duvet inserts to bed sheets.
But it sells just one pillow: the Casper Original Pillow. It’s made with down-alternative fill and looks like a normal pillow at first glance. But it’s unique in that it’s composed of two pieces—it’s basically a pillow within a pillow. According to the company, each component brings different qualities to the pillow—and your time sleeping on it. The densely packed inner pillow is designed to provide structure, rigidity, and support. The fluffier shell, in contrast, is meant to give the pillow a cushiony, plush surface, intended to closely mimic that classic down feel. The pillow's case is made with a tight percale weave, likely 300 thread count according to the company rep. Ringing up at $65 for a standard size, its price is about average for pillows from companies that focus on sleep and mattresses.
How did we test the Casper pillow?
At Reviewed, we believe in testing that’s representative of real life and scientifically valuable. As such, the Casper went through two types of testing: home tests and lab tests.
For the home tests, I slept on the Casper pillow for several nights and took note of how comfortable and supportive it was overnight and as I watched Netflix in bed (bad sleep hygiene, but sometimes I don’t practice what I preach). I also observed whether it felt hot and even whether it required fluffing. I’m a hybrid side and stomach sleeper, so I tested it (and other pillows) for those positions. Of course we couldn’t neglect back sleepers, so we asked Sarah Hagman, a Reviewed editor who swears by sleeping on her back, to try it out for sleeping supine.
Our senior scientist, Julia MacDougall, also had her hands in the pillow-testing pot. She checked pillows for heat retention by measuring their temperature as they lay beneath a heated blanket, weighed them down overnight to assess their ability to spring back, and washed those that were machine-washable to check that the fill texture and encasements didn’t take a hit.
What’s great about the Casper pillow?
I’d already tested a handful of pillows when the Casper arrived, and from the moment I freed it from its packaging, I thought it would be an amazing pillow. It was soft and had that classic down feel, but it also didn’t totally flop or collapse in my hands—it perfectly balanced rigidity and plushness. In that sense, the company’s unique design seems to have worked.
This balance makes it great for side sleeping, in particular. Side sleepers want a pillow that will cradle their neck and shoulder and support their head, not letting it droop down and nor forcing it to crane up uncomfortably. The Casper’s stiffer inner pillow makes it supportive enough for side sleepers, and the cushiony outer layer provides sufficient loft and give so that it doesn’t feel like your neck is being pushed up.
The Casper pillow’s unique structure is also designed to keep air circulating overnight, but neither Sarah nor I found it particularly cool-feeling overnight—it was just average. The same held true in lab testing, where it didn’t retain or dissipate heat.
The Casper pillow is fully machine-washable, making it a good option for people with allergies. But the pillow’s advertised washability isn’t the only upside for allergy sufferers and folks who like to keep their pillows clean and dust-free. Casper’s unique structure also has unsung benefits in this regard: The outer layer offers inherent protection to the inner core. So you can wash part of the pillow without sacrificing cleanliness, as the shell provides a buffer.
Another perk of down-alternative fill is that it doesn’t tend to smell or off-gas, like foam pillows do when you first bust open their package. The Casper was no exception—even though it came compressed, it didn’t smell whatsoever and was ready to roll on night one.
What’s not great about the Casper pillow?
The company claims the pillow works for all sleep positions, but in our testing, we found it well suited mainly for side sleeping. I was able to use it while sleeping on my stomach, but with one major caveat: I used it wrong. Because the whole pillow is far too tall for comfortably sleeping prone, I removed the outer, cushy section and slept directly on the inner core. It was great—very thin so as not to push my neck out of alignment but filled enough to not fall flat beneath the weight of my head. However, if you’re a dedicated stomach sleeper, buying the Casper only to cast half of it aside just doesn’t seem worthwhile, cost-wise. Sarah, our back sleeper, wanted to love the Casper pillow but just couldn’t. In her nights with it, the fluffy sides folded up around her face, and the tall height forced her neck and head up too much.
The Casper fabrication means it’s just not designed to be customized, which ultimately limits its versatility and crowd appeal. Some of the other pillows we tested came with zippered inner bags that allowed you to take out their shredded-foam fill by the handful to customize loft and density. This is just not a feature of the Casper pillow.
The pillow comes with a trial, as do many pillows we tested. At 30 days, it’s not as generous as the duration offered by others, but a month is probably long enough to figure out if the pillow isn’t working for you. In contrast, Brooklinen offers a year long trial, and Coop Home Goods gives buyers 100 nights to try its pillows.
Is the Casper Pillow worth it?
I think the Casper pillow is a wonderful option for side sleepers who prefer down-alternative pillows. It’s substantial and supportive, but also plenty plush to keep you nestled overnight. In my time with it, I looked forward to snuggling up with it at night. It can work for stomach sleepers, too, by casting aside the outer portion—I just have a hard time justifying the cost. It’s also a good option for allergy sufferers, because in addition to being fully washable, its design makes it such that you likely won’t need to wash the entire pillow all that often.
As with all pillows, the only way to really know if it works for you is to sleep on it. Casper has you covered, with the 30-night trial.
There are still pillows I would choose over the Casper Original—like our top picks from Coop Home Goods that have adjustable fill—but I think that the Casper has a well-deserved place among our favorites for side sleeping. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who prefers that position, and is looking for a quality down-alternative pillow at a competitive price.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Staff Writer, Sleep@lindseyvix
Lindsey writes about sleep, lifestyle, and more for Reviewed. In her waking hours, she likes to spend time outside, read, cook, and bake. She holds a master’s in journalism from Boston University and bachelors' degrees in English Literature and Anthropology from the University of Utah.
Checking our work.
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