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Emma Original Pillow review

 The Emma Original Pillow on a yellow blanket.
The Emma Original Pillow on a yellow blanket.

Emma Original pillow: two-minute review

The Emma Original pillow is a firm yet spongy pillow that capably supports your head whilst maintaining its form and keeping cool. I was a little wary of its firmness when I started using it, but I needn't have worried. During my three weeks of testing I never woke up feeling any discomfort – in fact I slept on it just as soundly as with any of the best pillows on the market.

The pillow holds its shape and firmness thanks to its gel foam, memory foam and soft foam layers. These separate layers mean you can flip the pillow over for a slightly different firmness to support your body frame and sleeping position. Personally, I found the soft gel layer provided slightly more immediate comfort. Both the outer soft and gel layers feel a bit hard when I first lie on them each night, but within minutes my head sinks in comfortably, and feels reliably supported throughout the night.

The Emma Original Pillow showing the Emma label
The Emma Original Pillow showing the Emma label

At full price, the Emma Original Pillow sits in the premium price bracket, but it's fairly common to see a discount that takes it down into the mid-range, making this a high-performance all-rounder that won't break the bank if you catch it at the right time.

If you want to pair this pillow with an equally comfortable bed, be sure to take a look at our guide to this year's best mattresses for all budgets.

Emma Original pillow specs

Emma Original pillow review: price & value for money

  • Premium at full price, often discounted into mid-range

  • High quality materials

  • 2-year warranty and 30-night trial

With an RRP of £69, the Emma Original pillow sits in the premium price bracket, but at time of writing there's a regular discount that knocks 25% off and takes it down into the mid-range price bracket. For that money though you get high-quality materials (this is the brand behind one of the best memory foam mattresses, after all). A 30-night trial (with the security of a money back guarantee if you're not happy with it during that period), a two-year warranty and free delivery further help to cushion the blow if you're working to a budget.

The Original is the most affordable option in this brand's pillow range. Its synthetic stuffed option (details in our Emma Premium Microfibre pillow review) has an RRP of £109 but is often sold at £65, while an option with more advanced foams (covered in our Emma Premium Pillow hands-on review) is a much bigger investment at £115. Yes, they all have confusingly similar names.

The Emma Original Pillow on a bed
The Emma Original Pillow on a bed

Other memory foam pillows might slightly undercut the Emma Original pillow on price, but in terms of performance I'd say the cost and customer service add-ons mean you're getting good value for money, especially when you buy during an Emma sale period.

Emma Original pillow review: design & materials

  • Removable and machine-washable polyester cover

  • Three different-feeling foam layers

  • Foam layers can be removed to adjust loft

The Emma Original pillow is made of three foam layers and a polyester case. One one side, a feather-light Gel Foam layer that's designed to hug your neck comfortably and maintain a stable temperature. In the middle, a Visco Memory Foam layer, which is meant to distribute weight evenly. Finally, on the other side there's the High Resiliency Extra foam layer. This is the softest of the three and is there for extra pressure relief.

The Emma Original Pillow opened to show its filling
The Emma Original Pillow opened to show its filling

The layers tuck inside a polyester cover, which zips open. Depending on how you sleep, any of these layers can be removed to give a lower loft.

Emma Original pillow review: care & allergies

The pillow's polyester case can be removed and machine washed at up to 60°C (which is the temperature required to get rid of dust mites). The three foam layers aren't washable, and should just be left to dry in the event of anything getting spilled on them. Speaking of the cover, this has been tested by Emma to be hypoallergenic and non-toxic. The cover and foam layer inserts also comply with relevant ignitability regulations.

Emma Original pillow review: comfort & support

  • Firm memory foam layers

  • Two different sleep feels

  • Remains a comfortable temperature overnight

  • No need for re-plumping

I used the Emma Original pillow as my main pillow for three weeks for this review. To begin with I was wary of how firm it would be – the first time I tried it out it felt very hard. Fortunately, though, I found the pillow softened and moulded to my head after a few minutes of lying on it, although each night it did still feel hard to begin with.

What’s more, the Emma Original pillow has some flexibility in terms of use. The outer foam layers provide different levels of support, meaning you can flip the pillow over for a more comfortable sleep experience depending on your preference. The spongy gel foam layer is the firmest choice, whereas I found the soft but still somewhat firm foam layer cushioned my head slightly faster.

A person sleeping on the Emma Original Pillow
A person sleeping on the Emma Original Pillow

I slept on my side throughout and felt thoroughly supported every night; not once did I need to turn it over or plump it. The pillow has a high loft, but if the height or comfort are not quite to your taste you can easily adjust either by removing one or two of the three foam layers. I'm primarily a side sleeper, so all three layers together suited me perfectly; back sleepers would benefit from either two or three layers, while stomach sleepers would do best with just one layer.

Emma Original pillow review: temperature regulation

The Emma Original pillow is cool to the touch and remains at a similar temperature throughout the night. I tested it both with and without a pillowcase during the winter months in a heated bedroom and was never woken up by trapped warmth or overheating. Flipping over the pillow for a coolness shot was never required as it stayed at a comfortable room temperature level all night long and did not wake me up.

Should you buy the Emma Original pillow?

Buy it if…

✅ You're sensitive to heat. I found that the Emma Original pillow remained at a consistent temperature all night long and never woke me up with the need to flip it over to the cool side.

✅ You've never tried a memory foam pillow before. This was my first time using one, and while it took a while to get used to the hardness, the 30-night trial would give me the confidence to take a chance on it.

✅ You want some firm support. The three foam layers work together brilliantly to make your head feel cushioned, and pressure is reliably spread to prevent any aches or strains developing while you sleep.

Don't buy it if…

❌ Hardness is an issue. The Emma Original Pillow remains firm night after night, meaning you might want to try something a little softer. Luckily Emma has just the thing in the shape of the Emma Microfibre Pillow, which is in roughly the same price range too.

❌ You're shopping to a budget and can't wait for a deal. Even though the Emma Original pillow is quite reasonably priced, the 25% discount is too tempting to pass up. If you have the time to wait for the discount to come around, hold off on adding it to your basket.

❌ You specifically want a more breathable pillow. While the Emma Original pillow is ideal in terms of temperature, it isn't geared towards breathability. The Emma Premium Foam Pillow has an Ultra-Dry Plus cover which caters to this need and lets your skin breathe during the night.

How I tested the Emma Original Pillow

I tested the Emma Original pillow over the course of three weeks in the winter months. During these nights I had the heating on in order to keep the pillow at room temperature and provide a controlled environment to conduct a fair test.

Each night I slept on my side, but I can easily see back or front sleepers benefiting from its foam layers too. The pillow was tested both with and without a cover to ensure that I could gauge the coolness accurately.