The Original Groove® Pillow vs Cushion Lab Cervical Neck Pillow

I admit I’m constantly buying new pillows. I have purchased many, many pillows over the last couple years in a quest to find one that relieves my chronic neck and shoulder pain. I’ve tried soft and firm foams, down alternative, cotton, buckwheat, combinations, and probably more types of fillings that I’m not remembering right now. I’ve also tried all sorts of different shapes and styles, including customizable, layered, neck roll, almost flat, and no pillow at all.

Some worked for a while, and some didn’t work at all. Many pillows seemed to be too tall for me and would crank my neck into an awkward angle. That’s what led me to try a mostly flat pillow. This worked for less than a year, but eventually my neck, shoulders, and upper back started complaining. The mostly flat pillow was also extremely uncomfortable when I ended up on my side because my head and neck had basically no support.

And then I finally found the pillow for me. The Original Groove® Pillow is what finally helps me sleep comfortably and relieves the pain from unsupportive pillows. But I also wanted to try a similar pillow that was smaller, just in case. Here’s my experience with The Original Groove® Pillow and the Cushion Lab Cervical Neck Pillow.

One important not is that, because these pillows are specifically designed, I’ve found they have to be used exactly as intended. That is, if I end up on my back but not exactly in the neck cradle, that causes some discomfort. Most of the time, I’m comfortable and don’t seem to move around in sleep as much as I used to. But sometimes one of the cats is in my space or something like that, so I might end up in a weird position.

The Original Groove® Pillow

Photo of The Original Groove® Pillow by Easy Sleeper Co

I admit I didn’t want to buy this pillow. It looks kinda weird, I was pretty sure it would be too big, and I was afraid it would be too firm since some of the reviews mentioned that. But it was recommended by the Sleep Foundation as the best pillow for neck pain, so I decided to give it a try. The website says buyers get a 100-day free trial, so why not?

The first night was a bit rough. It did feel too firm that first night, and I was pretty uncomfortable. But I know new pillows take time to adjust, so I stuck with it. And I’m glad I did! After that first night, the neck and shoulder pain that had been plaguing me for weeks felt better and better each morning.

I eventually got used to the firmness, and now it feels perfect.

Side note: I was surprised to receive the Groove pillow shipped at its full size in a pretty nice box (that I now use for under-bed storage) without the usual vacuum-sealed plastic that accompanies foam products. Maybe it’s a little weird, but I feel like this presentation shows great respect to the pillow. After all, foam sometimes re-inflates in a weird way or it may never regain its intended shape after being compressed. So I even though I paid nearly $20 for shipping, I appreciate the extra care here and it was a small price to pay to receive the high quality pillow as it was intended to be.

Cushion Lab Cervical Pillow

Photo of cervical neck pillow by Cushion Lab

I wanted to try the Cushion Lab version of this style pillow because it is:

  • Shorter than the Groove pillow by almost 1/2″.
  • Made of 100% Hyperfoam ™, CertiPUR-US certified premium visco elastic memory foam.

Groove doesn’t offer a firmness rating on their website, but Cushion Lab states their pillow is 7.5 firmness out of 10 (where 10 is very firm).

The Cushion Lab pillow is shipped rolled and vacuum-sealed, but it wasn’t super compressed like some other foam items I’ve purchased. It was ready to sleep on the same day it arrived after letting it breathe for a few hours, but like all foam, it does have a smell at first.

This isn’t exactly a review because I didn’t sleep on the Cushion Lab pillow. I spent maybe an hour lying on it, but I was too uncomfortable to sleep and switched back to the Groove pillow. It just didn’t feel like it fit me properly, and it also felt too firm on the back of my head.

Comparing the pillows

Both pillows have lateral raises on the sides and a head cradle in the center. They’re quite similar, even in size. One major difference is that the Cushion Lab pillow is designed to be used from either long side, whereas the Groove pillow only has one long side that’s shaped.

The table below shows some basic comparisons between the two pillows, including price and measurements.

The Original Groove® PillowCushion Lab Cervical Neck Pillow
Price$60 plus shipping$85* (free shipping)
Measurements (inches)23.6 L x 14.2 W x 4.7 H23.5 L x 15 W x 4.3 H
Firmness (out of 10)Not listed (more below)7.5
Double sidedNoYes
Neck cradleYesYes
Lateral raisesYesYes
Includes pillow caseYesYes

*Cushion Lab often has sales, and if you use my affiliate link below, that gives 10% off. Since Groove doesn’t offer free shipping, the price of the pillows is actually about the same if you catch a sale at Cushion Lab or use my affiliate link below.

I’ve taken some measurements and photos of the pillows and included them in the table below, plus some additional notes after the table. All measurements are approximate and photos taken by me. The white pillow is the Groove and the gray pillow is by Cushion Lab.

The Original Groove® PillowCushion Lab Cervical Neck Pillow
Lateral Raises4.5″4.25″
Neck Cradle Ramp2″2.25″
Head Valley3″2.75″

The Cushion Lab pillow is quite firm, so now I know 7.5 on a firmness scale is too much for me. Much more firm than I prefer, so I ended up giving it to my husband, who likes it.

Though the lateral raises of the Cushion Lab pillow look taller than the Groove’s 4.5″, they are actually a bit shorter at 4.25″. I think the difference in appearance is due to the shape, but I’m not exactly sure. (Either that or I’m not good at measuring, which is also possible.)

Though the neck cradles on the pillows seem be a similar size and shape, when I measured them, they are a bit different. I measured from the outermost edge of the cradle to the base of the pillow (the bottom of the shoulder overhang). It’s only 1/4″ different, but it’s possible that it’s one of the reasons I found the Cushion Labs pillow less comfortable than the Groove pillow.

The valley where your head rests when using the neck cradle was hard to measure since it’s in the middle of the pillow, but I measured from the lowest point on each pillow from the side.

The back (opposite the neck cradle) of the Groove pillow has no extra shaping, though I suppose you could use it if you wanted a more traditional pillow experience. Meanwhile, the back of the Cushion Lab pillow has the same shoulder cutouts and a different type of neck support. Cushion Lab says this side is good for snoring and a balance between their neck cradle and a traditional pillow to help you transition to the neck cradle or simply if you like it better. I like the efficient use of the other side of the pillow. It’s good for buyers because we basically get a 2-in-1 deal with the Cushion Lab pillow. Neither side worked for me, but my husband seems to like it and switches between to the two sides depending on his position or how his body feels that day.

In closing

Part of the problem with finding a pillow is that our bodies are all different and we all like different things. Some may also have some injuries or other physical conditions that might make finding a pillow complicated. Sometimes you just have to try it before you can know, and that’s why I like that both these companies offer a generous return policy.

The Cushion Lab pillow was too firm for me, but if you need extra support, that might be a good choice for you. Both of these companies offer good trial periods, but I can’t speak to the return process is since I kept both of them.

I have to say I’m quite pleased with the Groove pillow. I look forward to it every night, and I feel like it fits me perfectly. I knew this is the pillow for me when I slept on it for just a couple nights and the neck and upper back pain I’d had for days felt better in the morning.

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The Original Groove® Pillow

Photo of The Original Groove® Pillow by Easy Sleeper Co

The Groove Pillow was definitely the right choice for me. It helps me sleep more comfortably and wake up without pain. I also have less neck and shoulder tension than I have in years. I had attributed all that to stress, but turns out it may have been my pillow.

Buy The Original Groove Pillow

Cushion Lab Cervical Neck Pillow

Photo of cervical neck pillow by Cushion Lab

Cushion Lab states their pillow is medium-firm, which was too firm for me but may work for others who like a firmer pillow.

Get 10% off the Neck Relief Ergonomic Cervical Pillow at Cushion Lab (return shipping is buyer’s responsibility)

Buy Cushion Lab Neck Relief Ergonomic Cervical Pillow on Amazon (no discount, free returns)