There’s a huge range of pillows out there. Different materials are used to create a different sensation. From soft and comforting to hard and supportive.
If you’re considering getting a new pillow take a look at the pillow reviews below where you’ll find the pros and cons of each type of pillow and a link to one of the bestselling pillows of its type on Amazon.
If you specifically want a pillow to alleviate back, neck or shoulder pain, take a look at these orthopedic pillows instead.
Memory Foam Pillow
Made of a special foam that slowly mold around the head and neck creating a molded impression that keeps its shape for some time after you lift your head from the pillow.
Pros of Memory Foam Pillows
- Provides excellent support for your head and neck eliminating any painful pressure points.
- Premium memory foam pillows (like the one pictured) distributes heat evenly, keeping you cool and comfortable through the night.
Cons of Memory Foam Pillows
- Some find memory foam too firm, particularly when it’s cold.
- Some find memory foam creates a sensation of being held in place which some people find uncomfortable.
Memory foam is a great choice if you have a stiff neck and shoulders. The firmness might take some getting used to if you’ve only ever used very soft pillows.
Buckwheat pillows are filled with 100% buckwheat hulls. They’re very popular in Asian countries and are growing in popularity in the West.
Pros of Buckwheat Pillows
- Keeps its shape very well.
- Can easily adjust the height of the pillow by adding or removing the buckwheat hulls.
- Doesn’t flatten over time like other pillows.
Cons of Buckwheat Pillows
- Creates a noisy rustling sound when moved around.
- Some people find buckwheat pillows too firm.
Buckwheat pillows have unique advantages and have quickly developed a very strong fan base. Definitely worth considering if you’re a fan of firm pillows.
Soft polyester filling that sits above a rubber membrane that’s filled with water. The air is squeezed out of the rubber membrane creating a vacuum so water doesn’t move around and you can’t hear it sloshing around.
Pros of Water Pillows
- Easily adjust the height by adding as much water as you like.
- Provides good even support, relieving pressure around the neck and head.
Cons of Water Pillows
- Can get very heavy with the weight of the water.
- Water leakage is rare but not unheard of.
- Can get uncomfortably cold during the winter.
A softer alternative to memory foam. It feels much more like a traditional pillow whilst still offering excellent support.
Filled with polyester fiber. Often considered to be the standard pillow in most Western countries.
Pros of Polyester Pillows
- Easily the cheapest pillow. Great if you want to buy a bunch of them and stack them on top of each other.
- Soft bouncy cushioned feel.
Cons of Polyester Pillows
- Can be too soft giving the feeling of your head sinking into the pillow.
- Notorious for losing shape over time. Will need replacing often.
- Lacks the support provided by other pillows.
A no frills pillow. If you’ve only ever bought polyester pillows, consider the advantages of other types of pillow. They often last longer as so could be cheaper in the long term.
Made from bird feathers. Often advertised as also containing the more expensive down feathers. Although the percentage of down feathers is often tiny.
Pros of Feather Pillows
- Creates a good firm adjustable shape.
- Very cheap. Often just a little more expensive than polyester.
Cons of Feather Pillows
- Require regular fluffing to keep their shape.
- The hard quills from the feathers can poke out and feel quite uncomfortable.
Feathers create a good firm pillow. The poking out quills turns a lot of people off. It’s often worth considering paying a little extra for a feather/down hybrid where the feathers are at the core of the pillow, providing support but not poking out.
Down are soft feathers that come from the underbelly of the bird. These feathers are much softer than regular feathers but are also much more expensive. Some companies under stuff their down pillows to save on cost so always read the reviews. You often get what you pay for.
Pros of Down Pillows
- Very soft and springy whilst still providing good shape and support.
- Made from small fine feathers so you can’t feel them through the pillow case.
Cons of Down Pillows
- Often the most expensive type of pillow you can buy.
Many people who get a good down pillow find they can never go back to regular pillows. But be prepared to pay extra for the premium comfort.
Down Alternative Pillow
These pillows are filled with a synthetic alternative to down made from soft microfiber.
Pros of Down Alternative Pillows
- Hypoallergenic alternative for people who are allergic to bird feathers.
- 100% animal friendly. No birds are harmed in the making!
- Much cheaper than down whilst still maintaining the same overall feel
Cons of Down Alternative Pillows
- Loses it shape over time like most synthetic pillows.
- Down purists will notice the difference.
It’s sort of a mixture between polyester and down pillows. It doesn’t feel exactly like down but what you save on price makes it a very attractive alternative.