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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Pillow Inserts Reviewed In 2018Last Updated November 1, 2018
№1 – Decorative Pillow Insert (2 Pack, White) – Square 18×18 Sofa and Bed Pillow – Poly Cotton Cover – Indoor White Pillows by Utopia Bedding
№2 – Set of 2, Down and Feather Pillow Insert, Cotton Fabric Throw Pillows
№3 – 16×26 Inch Pillowflex Premium Polyester Filled Pillow Form Insert – Machine Washable – Oblong Rectangle – Made In USA
The Insider Pick
A good pillow means a good night’s sleep. We reviewed dozens of pillows to narrow down the choices to the ones you’ll love best. The Premium Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow from Coop Home Goods is our top pick. You’ll enjoy sweet dreams on this supremely comfortable pillow.
Back in the days of Ancient Egypt, a carved stone was considered a very comfortable and supportive pillow, but in today’s world, you’re probably looking for something a bit softer. Luckily, you’ve got a lot more to choose from than the people of ancient times.
There’s a nearly dizzying array of pillows on display in any bed ‘n bath shop, or on the virtual shelves of your favorite online home store. That can make it a bit difficult to choose the best pillow for your needs.
Is memory foam best? How about down? Or maybe you’re confused about all the different shapes: standard, contour, bolster. Well, have no fear, because we’ve done the research for you.
While ultimately, there is no “best for everyone” pillow — personal preference plays a huge part in determining the pillow you’ll like the most — we checked out all the top recommendations from consumer buying websites, listened to what pillow buyers had to say, and even tried out some of the pillows ourselves to bring you the five picks most likely to send you off to the land of Nod comfortably. Here’s what you need to know before we jump into the pillow fight.
Sorting out the different pillow fills
The main difference between types of pillows is their filling. While there are many specialty fills, the most common are the following six.
Memory foam : Originally created by NASA to cushion astronauts during reentry to Earth’s atmosphere, today, memory foam is one of the most popular types of pillow. It’s very supportive, conforms to your head and neck, is naturally hypoallergenic, and is especially good for those suffering from neck, shoulder, or upper body pain and stiffness. On the downside, it tends to be hot and is heavy.
Shredded memory foam : Take memory foam, shred it into small chunks, and you have a supportive, firm, and comfortable pillow filling without the heat and sweat of a traditional memory foam. Shredded memory foam molds and conforms to your body, but if you want it even more customized to your liking, it’s easy to push or pull into just the right loft and shape for your sleeping pleasure. : Real down has a luxurious, “sleeping on a cloud” fluffiness that some people love, and others hate. Down is very soft and lightweight, so it easily molds to the perfect loft and shape for your needs. It’s not very supportive, however, and tends to be expensive.
Polyester : Polyester is the typical fill in budget pillows. It’s soft, lightweight, and machine-washable, but not exceptionally supportive or firm. Still, it’s a good middle ground between the softness of down and the firmness of memory foam.
Buckwheat hulls : Buckwheat hull pillows are not nearly as popular in the United States as they are in Asia, but they definitely have their fan club. A buckwheat hull pillow feels a lot like a beanbag; the hulls move freely inside the pillow, allowing you to adjust the shape, loft, and firmness to your liking. This is one of the best pillow fills for those who “sleep hot,” as well. However, these pillows are heavy, and the hulls can make a rustling sound as you move. : There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love latex pillows, and those who hate them. For those who love them, the firm support with a slightly bouncy feel provides superior sleep comfort. For those who hate them, the usual complaint is that the pillow is just too firm. Latex pillows are heavy and usually expensive, but also very durable, naturally antimicrobial, and not too hot.
Pillow shapes and sizes
Along with different pillow fills, there are also different pillow shapes. Some, such as shams and throw pillows, are purely decorative. Others, such as body pillows, neck bolsters, and various chiropractic designs are specialty pillows. For basic sleep, the following four are the most popular pillow shapes.
Traditional : This is the basic, rectangular shape most people prefer. You’ll find three sizes: standard, queen, and king.
Contour : These pillows have raised rounded edges to snugly support your neck and a “valley” for your head. Most are made of memory foam and are quite firm.
Cervical : These pillows are shaped something like a cat bed: There’s a hollow in the center for your head, which is surrounded on all sides by higher neck rolls. Most are filled with polyester. Cervical pillows are a good choice for people with neck or spine pain and are often recommended by chiropractors.
Bolster : Bolsters are cylindrical pillows mostly used for comfortable support of arms and legs during sleep, but some people use them as regular bed pillows. They gently support the neck without placing any pressure on the shoulders or back.
What makes the
Coop Home Goods pillow particularly wonderful is that it’s adjustable. You can unzip the inner pillow cover to add or remove foam until the pillow is just the way you like it. It’s also hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant, so you won’t wake up sniffly or congested. When it’s time to clean the pillow, no problem — Just toss it in your washing machine and dryer. We recommend that you add another pillow or a blanket to balance the load, along with a couple of clean tennis balls to help fluff up the foam.
Coop Home Goods’ proprietary shredded memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified, meaning it’s guaranteed to be free of chemicals and toxins you really don’t want to sleep with, such as formaldehyde, lead, mercury, ozone depleters, PBDEs, phthalates, and TCEP flame retardants. Manufactured in California, the pillow has a 30-day guarantee, so if you don’t love it, you can return it with no questions asked.
Sleep Like the Dead found that 8percent of buyers love the Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow. In fact, it’s the highest-rated memory foam pillow on the site. That matches numbers, where out of an astounding 12,200+ reviews, 8percent give the pillow four or more stars.
Washing a pillow
How long you can keep your pillow is also influenced by how your treat your pillow. How many times have you washed it in a year (if it can be)? Generally good quality pillows are washable and ideally should be washed at least 2-times per year! Why? Just like any other bedding item, they do capture dust, mites and particles of skin. Regular washing keeps it clean – if you leave to once a year, it’s a big job to restore it to its white glory.
However, whether they can be washed or not depends upon the composition you choose. Most microfibre pillows can be machine washed gently although the cheaper polyester pillows can go lumpy after a wash and pretty much not useful for anyone’s head anymore! Latex and down-based pillows can be washed gently or hand-washed although some cheaper latex pillows cannot be washed at all. Most pillows cannot be dry cleaned unless the manufacturer instructions permit it.
Polyester vs Microfibre Pillows
Synthetic pillows are another name for Polyster pillows and are the most popular around due as they are not expensive. They are filled with a polyester filling and are nice and bouncy initially but overtime will lose the ‘bounce’. Some Polyester pillows have had the filling anti-bacterial treated and have a higher gsm filling than others ensuring a better quality pillow as a result.
Microfibre pillows are another type of polyester and are the result of a different and newer manufacturing technique. Microfibre is definitely one of the wonder fabrics of modern day (see our Buying Sheets/Doona Cover Guide where Microfibre is explored in more detail) as they are generally easy to care for, breathe just like cotton and dry quicker. Microfibre pillows are filled by blowing in a fine denier fibre to give the effect of being filled like ‘down’. Obviously microfibre pillows will be a little more expensive than your standard polyester range.
Most quality synthetic pillows are excellent for those suffering allergies as compared to natural down, feather or wool pillows.
Down & Feather Pillows
The newer down and feather pillows manufactured these days tend to be in the more expensive range. They do offer great insulation and come in a quality casing to ensure no feathers escape (a problem with older duck and down pillows!). These pillows tend to need more maintenance and fluffing to keep them in shape. They are not as easily washable (the recommendation is to use a commercial grade washing machine due to size) compared to a microfibre option. Certainly the equivalent price range in latex or memory foam pillow options will hold their shape and are more allergy-free than down/feather options.
Soft vs Medium vs Hard pillows
Pillows are made to a scale of soft, medium and then firm. The most popular pillows sold and therefore made by manufacturers are ‘medium’. There are a few brands that make a ‘soft’ and you can see these on our site with ‘soft’ in the title. ‘Firm’ pillows are not so popular. Any new pillow is going to seem very soft in comparison to older pillows.
The amount of fill for non-latex/non-memory foam pillows also determines ‘fluffiness’ or ‘plumpness’ of a pillow. The average budget pillow has about 500gsm of filling, whereas your more expensive (and softer/fluffier) pillows could have up to 800gsm+ of filling.
The best way to choose how soft a pillow you need is to examine how you sleep. If you tend to sleep mainly on your stomach, then softer is better. If you are a side or back sleeper, you can go for a firmer type. The most popular is medium by far.
A few pillow insert basics
Square, round, rectangular, oblong and bolster are the most common pillow insert shapes. They can be as small as a ring-bearer’s pillow and as large as a floor cushion. The most common size throw pillows are 16″ and 18″ squares.
When selecting the pillow insert size, keep in mind that the insert should always be the same or a bit larger than the finished cover size. This keeps your cover taut. How much larger is a matter of personal preference and the style of the pillow cover. At Sew4Home, we most often use a pillow insert the same size as the pillow cover we are making. For example, an 18″ x 18″ finished pillow cover for an 18″ x 18″ insert. An inch smaller on the cover is also a nice, chubby look: a 17″ x 17″ finished pillow cover for an 18″ x 18″ insert.
Feather and Black
There’s nothing more luxurious than real duck down to nestle your face into at the end of a tough day. This one is plump and bouncy despite its weighty 70 per cent down filling. Its high quality 100 per cent cotton exterior means it will stand the test of time, too – gone are the days of pulling feathers out of dog-eared pillow corners in the middle of the night.
Debenhams ‘J’ by Jasper Conran Feels Like Down Pillow Pair
Silent Night Studio Pillow
This could well be the cleverest pillow yet. It’s made of three layers of filling, each of slightly different heaviness and thickness, adding up to seven potential combinations. Remove one or more layers to find the right level of support to suit you. In reality it’s a genius option for a guest bedroom, where each visitor is likely to have a slightly different preference. The machine washable pillow is finished with a soft touch, anti-allergy cover designed to keep dust mites at bay.
From the award-winning mattress makers, this has what the brand calls a “pillow-in-pillow” design. In practise, that means inside there’s a smaller supportive cushion that zips into a softer outer made comfy by a filled gusset. The supportive part ensures the neck and spine are looked after and works with the body’s movement, while the outer keeps things soft-feeling. The outside cover’s 100 per cent cotton so it feels cool against the skin. Our tester found it springier than her usual down bedding and really comfortable, though the loft is relatively high, so bear in mind your pillow size preferences before buying. Comes in two sizes.
Ikea Ärenpris Pillow
You can’t go far wrong with Ikea’s bargain priced microfibre everyday options. They come rolled up and slowly fill out once unravelled to give a reliable pillow that is soft and – for those who like something to grab – large enough to manipulate. Its flat, wide design makes it ideal for back sleepers.
The weight, softness and warmth of a duvet depends on its tog rating and filling, and tog ratings are based on a duvet’s ability to trap warm air. The higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet, with 2.– tog perfect for spring and summer and 10.– 13.ideal for autumn and winter.
Natural-filled duvets traditionally have better thermal properties than synthetic, and need less filling to achieve the same level of warmth, so their weight can be deceptive. Our best quality Canadian goosedown, for example, is very light indeed but has excellent thermal performance.
We have also specifically designed a lightweight synthetic duvet to combat those that do not like natural. The Lightweight Luxury has excellent warmth without the heaviness.
If you want flexibility and versatility, all-season duvets are a great choice. They consist of two separate duvets, usually a lightweight 4.tog for summer, a warmer tog for autumn and spring, and connect together for a 13.in winter.
Lightweight summer duvet 3.0 – 4.togSpring/Autumn weight duvet 7.0 – 10.togWinter weight duvet 12.0 – 13.tog
Ask in our shops about custom-made duvets made at our Herbert Parkinson factory in Lancashire, for couples who like differing levels of warmth in bed; no compromise is necessary as each side of the duvet can be given a different tog rating.
Fill power Duvets containing feather and/or down are also given a “fill power”. This is the volume occupied by the filling and it varies depending on the quality. It’s about how well the filling recovers and relates to thermal efficiency.
The higher the fill power, the better the duvet. With fill power ratings between 345gsm (grams per square metre) and 750gsm for our feather and/or down duvets and 475gsm to 750gsm for our synthetic and specialist duvets, you’re sure to find bedding that suits you perfectly.
All our natural duvets come in a boxed wall construction, where the filling held in each box allows an even distribution and prevents cold spots. Always shake your natural duvets from the side, and not the bottom, to prevent the filling from moving between boxes. For added comfort and quality all our natural duvets (except duck feather and down) have Nomite cases – Nomite guarantees that no feather escapes.
All synthetic duvets are constructed in a way that allows the filling to stay in its place, making them easier to maintain.
Duvets for children
When choosing a full-sized duvet for a child, unless their bedroom is very cold, it’s best to stick with a lighter weight duvet of 4.tog. As children are smaller it means that their duvet traps more air and increases the level of warmth over and above that experienced by most adults. A heavier duvet may well prove uncomfortable and is not recommended.
For babies and toddlers, we sell cot and cotbed duvets in our Nursery departments. Please note though, that duvets and pillows aren’t suitable for children under 1months, and that a room temperature of 18°C is recommended by many health professionals.
Single – 13x 200cm (mattress size W90 x L190cm or 3′ x 6’3″)
Double – 200x 200cm (W13x L190cm or 4’6″ x 6’3″)
Kingsize – 230 x 220cm (W150 x L200cm or 5′ x 6’6″)
Super kingsize – 260 x 220cm (W180 x L200cm or 6′ x 6’6″, or 2x zip and link beds)
Duvets with natural fillings are soft, light and comfortable, in the same way that natural fibres help your skin ‘breathe’ more effectively. They are also highly resilient and tend to last longer than those with synthetic fillings. We guarantee all our natural duvets for years.
Down duvets are lighter in weight than feather and down, but still offer the same level of warmth, and our options are all hardwearing and great value.
All our natural bedding suppliers provide us with a guarantee that their feather and down is sourced only as a by-product of the food industry. In addition, they’re monitored to ensure they practice the highest standards of animal welfare.
The higher the proportion of feather in a duvet, the cheaper and heavier it becomes. Many people prefer a heavy duvet, but don’t confuse weight with warmth, as a top quality down duvet may feel very light but has extremely effective thermal properties.
Natural-filled duvets should be professionally laundered because they need to be thoroughly dried, and this may be difficult for you to achieve at home. Please refer to the care guide that comes with your product on how to look after it. The number of times a duvet is laundered will have an impact on its lifespan, as will repeatedly lying or sitting on top of it as this has the effect of compressing the filling and eventually diminishing its ability to trap air.
Classic Duck Feather & Down Featuring an 80% duck feather and 20% duck down filling encompassed in a plain 230 thread count piped pure cotton cover with down-proof casing.
Great value and high quality, it’s designed to keep you warm and comfortable with natural breathability for a good night’s sleep.
Fine European Duck Down Naturally lightweight and comfortable, our Fine European Duck Down collection is made in the UK and filled with 80% duck down and 20% duck feather, encased in a 240 thread count cotton casing with down-proofing.
Breathable and filled with clusters of down that are lighter and softer than feathers, it’s lightweight but warm and boxed construction helps to prevent any cold spots.
Supreme White Goose Down Beautifully soft and lightweight without compromising on warmth, this naturally breathable Supreme White Goose Down range is made in the UK.
Made with European goose down and feather, it provides more warmth with less weight than duck down for a refreshing night’s sleep.
Luxury Hungarian Goose Down A truly luxurious offering for a wonderfully comfortable night’s sleep, our Luxury Hungarian Goose Down range features a 90% Hungarian goose down and 10% goose feather filling within a down-proof cotton cover with a rich 300 thread count, woven stripe finish and piped edging.
Made at our Herbert Parkinson factory in Lancashire, the down filling offers a lightweight insulated solution that is naturally breathable.
We also offer this filling in a split Mine and Yours duvet, perfect for couples who can’t agree on how warm their duvet should be – it comes with a cosy 10.tog on one side, and a cooler tog on the other.
Anti Allergen Pyrenean Down Innovative and groundbreaking, our Anti Allergen Pyrenean Down range is not only super soft and comfortable, but is also hypo-allergenic and therefore perfect for allergy sufferers who prefer to sleep in natural down.
Clinically proven to reduce allergy symptoms, it does not contain optical white, formaldehyde, perfume or any other unnecessary treatments that can affect airways and allergies.
Filled with the large, soft clusters of down from Pyrenean ducks, it is encased in a luxurious and tightly woven cotton cover that is down-proofed to seal in the natural filling.
Our synthetic duvets give the same warmth as natural fillings, and are a practical choice if you’re allergic to feathers and down, or if your duvet is likely to require frequent washing as synthetic fillings dry more easily.
However, the number of times a duvet is laundered will have an impact on its lifespan, as will repeatedly lying or sitting on top of it as this has the effect of compressing the filling, eventually diminishing its ability to trap air – especially with a synthetic duvet.
Soft Touch Washable
Silky and soft, for the ultimate in comfort look to our Soft Touch Washable range. Featuring a microfibre filling that is encased in a super-soft polyester cover, it offers lightweight warmth and a comfortable, bouncy feel that recovers shape well after washing.
Active Anti Allergy
This innovative Active Anti Allergy range is sure to give you a great night’s sleep, free from the worry of allergies. Featuring a special microfibre and Amicor filling that actively prevents dust mites, it is clinically proven to reduce allergy symptoms.
It’s encased in a pure and soft cotton cover with a luxurious 200 thread count and piped edging for comfortable breathability.
Breathable Microfibre Luxurious with innovative breathable filling, the Breathable Microfibre range features modal, which regulates body temperature and wicks away moisture for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Featuring a microfibre and modal filling encase in a light blend of cotton and modal with piped detail, it is ideal for allergy sufferers.
Natural/Synthetic Blend: Cashmere Soft Soft and luxurious with a lovely ‘bounce back’ quality, this Cashmere Soft bedding range is filled with a hypoallergenic blend of plump microfibre and opulent cashmere encased in a silky soft pure cotton cover with 230 thread count and piped edging.
Lightweight Luxury A luxuriously lightweight duvet that boasts a lovely natural drape across the body for added comfort. It features an ultra-light and very fine Dacron Quallofil hollowfibre filling that is encased in a smooth cotton cover.
Each duvet is individually made by combining two separately quilted panels, which are then hand finished and bound together, creating an extra air layer inside the duvet that eliminates all cold spots.
Specialist duvets Perfect Mulberry Silk Filled with pure silk that has been created by silkworms that mainly feed on the leaves of mulberry bushes, these duvets are naturally breathable and hypoallergenic.
The super-soft 300 thread count cotton sateen cover helps to regulate your body temperature as you sleep, making it the ultimate in bedtime luxury and ideal for allergy suffers.
Gingerlily Silk Made from only the finest ‘A’ grade mulberry silk, Gingerlily’s luxurious 100% silk filled duvets have been designed to improve the quality of your sleep.
Devon Duvets Wool Handmade in Devon using wool from pure breed flocks of Texel sheep, these wool duvets are a natural alternative to a down-filled duvet.
A sustainable product as the sheep is reared solely for its wool, the duvet is naturally resistant to dust mites and breathable, so it helps to regulate body temperature all year round.
Duvet protection We also provide protection for duvets in the shape of an anti-allergen duvet liner, which zips up fully to enclose it; this helps prolong its life, and is ideal for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.
Mattress and pillow protection
Mattress protectors not only help to prolong the life of mattresses and pillows by protecting against soiling and general wear and tear, but create an extra layer of softness too. They can also keep your bedding fresh and revitalise tired mattresses and pillows.
The majority of our mattress protectors now come with a Microfresh finish to allow you a healthy and fresher sleep. Exclusive to us, Microfresh eliminates nasty bacteria and odours.
Mattress toppers are a means of softening the feel of your mattress and providing extra support – see our guide to mattresses for further information.
If you are looking for basic, practical protection, we stock a wide range of mattress covers from completely enclosed polyester protection to luxury pure cotton quilted. We also have pillow protectors to help stop soiling and prolong the life of your pillow.
Our breathable waterproof mattress covers provide a discreet way of ensuring extra protection against soiling.
For anyone who suffers from asthma or other respiratory problems, our breathable anti-allergy protection can be helpful. Our zipped anti-allergy protector is made from a special barrier fabric that allergens cannot penetrate and completely encloses your mattress or pillow.
Use our anti-allergy protectors to keep new bedding allergen-free, or as a safeguard against the allergens already present in old bedding. Look out for the BAFA logo on anti-allergy products.
Duvet protection We also provide the same protection for duvets in the shape of a duvet liner, which zips up fully to enclose it, helps to prolong the life of your duvet, and is ideal for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.
Pillows can actually change how your body responds to a mattress overall. … Start with the pillow first, then bring that pillow to the store when testing mattresses.
Another time to buy a pillow: when you’re buying a mattress (we have a full guide to foam mattresses). Pillows can actually change how your body responds to a mattress overall. Sean Bergman of pillow manufacturer PureCare recommends that customers buying a new mattress start with the pillow, then bring that pillow to the store when testing mattresses.
And if you have the budget for it, having a selection of pillows is ideal. Michael Breus, psychologist and American Academy of Sleep Medicine fellow, points out that sleepers have different support needs over the course of the week. “If you’re typing at a desk all week, by Friday, you’re going to need more support,” he said. “If you’re out and about, you don’t need that type of support; your neck is looser.” Your needs might even change throughout the night, given that the average person changes positions 1times as they sleep, according to Cralle. But due to expense and negligible long-term impacts, we don’t think you need to buy multiple pillows with different support unless a doctor advises you to do so.
How we picked
We tried a range of down, artificial down, and foam pillows for our testing. Less than a fourth of them are pictured here.
We hate to say it in a guide to the best pillow, but the experts we spoke with were unanimous: There is no best pillow. That is, there’s no best pillow for everyone, but there is a best pillow (or pillows) for you. This guide can educate you on what can help you find the best pillow for you, and our picks are trusted starting points that might indeed lead you to your choice. (And if our top picks aren’t quite right for you, you may want to look at what we tested in our competition section.) But to find out what your needs really are, you have to try out a variety yourself and see what enables you to rest most comfortably. It’s a trial-and-error process that the science of sleep can inform but not replace. “Comfort is what you need to seek out,” Bergman said. “Whatever gives you that level of comfort and relaxation is the correct pillow for you.”
Pull Quote “Comfort is what you need to seek out. Whatever gives you that level of comfort and relaxation is the correct pillow for you.” —Sean Bergman, CMO, PureCare
To begin, what is your sleep position most of the night? Most of us switch it up but still have one dominant position that we fall asleep and wake up in: on the back, side, or stomach. You want a pillow that will keep your head and neck in the same relative position as when you’re standing with good posture, so you’ll need a pillow that supports that alignment. You don’t want your head flexed backward or tipped too far forward (a common pillow error, since big, fluffy pillows appeal to our preference for decadence, even though they provide too much loft).
Side-sleepers will need the most support (roughly to inches). Most people are side-sleepers.
Back-sleepers usually need somewhat less loft to stay properly aligned.
Stomach-sleepers are a trickier bunch: If you’re a stomach-sleeper who simply sleeps with your head turned to the side resting on a pillow, you need the least amount of support because your head is already being supported by the mattress. But if you’re a stomach-sleeper who tucks your arms under your torso, sleeps in a half-side, half-stomach position, or has sensitive breasts, you may prefer more cushioning. If you’re a stomach-sleeper, we particularly recommend that you look through our competition section to identify the right pillow for you.
Even within those side/back/stomach guidelines there’s plenty of wiggle room, depending on body size and preference. A side-sleeper built like a linebacker is going to need more height from his pillow than a side-sleeper with narrow shoulders would, in order to be well-aligned—but he might like a pillow with less give than his twin brother who prefers a softer, more cushiony surface. And, like our testers, you may find that you go to sleep one way and wake up another.
Some manufacturers market their pillows as targeted toward back-, stomach-, or side-sleepers, which can be a helpful starting point since it indicates the loft of the pillow, but as there are no industry standards about what makes a side-sleeper pillow versus one for a back-sleeper (or, for that matter, what makes a “medium” pillow versus a “soft” or “firm”), at the end of the day it’s meaningless.
Pros: Good neck support and comfort, lower price, not sourced from animals
Cons: Less durable than down, less fluffy than down, still requires maintenance
Pros: Recommended for neck pain, medium price, easy to maintain, fewer allergy concerns, natural material
Cons: Can have off-smell and shorter lifespan, is not moldable; some people are allergic
A cool environment helps ensure a good night’s sleep, and some pillows have cooling technologies, like gel or wicking fabric. Memory foam is particularly prone to retaining body heat, so cooling properties in the covers of these pillows is particularly important, though we didn’t have heat complaints for any memory foam pillows we tested.
Allergies and irritants are another consideration, but a pillow protector that keeps out moisture and dust mites essentially makes any pillow hypoallergenic, so you don’t need to strictly buy a pillow that’s marketed for that. As for down allergies, they do exist, but most people who have an allergic reaction to down pillows are actually reacting to dust mites, not down itself.
A well-constructed pillow will have at least five to eight stitches per inch along the seams of the outer covering, known as the shell. (All the pillows we tested had at least nine stitches per inch.) For down and down-alternative, the shell fabric should have a weave that’s dense enough to prevent the filling from migrating outside of the shell. In the store, shake the pillow and run your hand across it to see if any filling pokes through. Higher-quality pillows may have a piping or binding at the seams that lend the pillow more strength, giving it more stability over time.
Higher-end pillows should include a warranty; part of what you’re paying for is that protection. Some down-pillow manufacturers may include cleaning, shell replacement, and even refilling as a part of their warranty. Length of coverage varies widely. A lifetime warranty is the gold standard for down. Five years is reasonable for a memory foam warranty, and latex warranties hover at three. You’re less likely to find a warranty for down-alternative pillows. Consider the return policy of the retailer you buy your pillow from. It’s worth seeking out a place with a generous policy—full refund (with receipt) even if it’s been slept on for a night—since you won’t know until you’ve spent a few nights on it whether it’s the right pillow for you. Ask your retailer about its policy before buying, since many won’t take back a pillow that’s been taken out of the package, or will give only a partial refund.
How we tested
For our 201guide, we had six testers test and take copious notes. For this update, we recruited our 201testers and added five new testers, so you’ll see 1people’s opinions reflected here—four back-sleepers, four side-sleepers, and three stomach-sleepers, though most of us spend some time throughout the night in a variety of positions. We had each tester sleep with all of the pillows that are sold as specific to that position’s needs, as well as all pillows that are billed as being appropriate for all sleepers. Most pillows were slept on for at least one full night (usually more), but we told our testers not to sacrifice a night’s sleep if a pillow felt wrong to them right off the bat.
We had testers fill out a questionnaire on each pillow, inquiring about comfort level, support, construction, any hassle factors (like ease of fitting into a pillowcase), price, and overall impressions. All testers for this update used Protect-A-Bed AllerZip Smooth Pillow Protectors, which minimized any sensitivities to each pillow’s fill (and also made sure things like pet hair, drool, or even the dreaded possibility of bedbugs didn’t make testers regret accepting pillows into their home). All pillows were the standard size.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The main trouble with any shredded memory foam pillow (and the Xtreme Comforts is no exception) is that you’re … sleeping on shreds of foam. That can make it feel lumpy, something testers noted. “It felt weird at first—I had to get used to it,” noted one tester. Still, only one of our testers said that lumps wound up detracting from her overall experience, and testers did get used to it—it’s a popular pick among staffers, some of whom had been sleeping on the Xtreme Comforts for months before volunteering to test these pillows. It also looks a little lumpy. By the time it was in the pillow protector and pillowcase it looked smooth enough to be presentable, but if you adore that perfectly smooth, round shape of a down pillow, it’s something to keep in mind. But the lumps of shredded memory foam in these pillows aren’t the kind of lumps that might have shown up in your old pillows that you’re looking to replace. They’re just characteristic of what makes shredded foam moldable and supportive. Shredded foam won’t make for a night of high-end luxury, but it’ll make for a night of good sleep.
One feature of the Xtreme Comforts might be a bug to some: To reap the most benefit from it, you have to mold it a little. Sometimes this is as simple as putting your head on it and letting the weight of your head shift the foam around, but sometimes it means pinching and pushing the filling into a mound (for your neck) or divot (for your skull). It’s easy and doesn’t require you to sit up and manipulate the pillow in the middle of the night—it’s just a matter of adjusting the pillow a little—but people who toss and turn a lot might find it annoying to tweak it throughout the night to get the most from it.
Several staffers who bought the Xtreme Comforts based on the last iteration of this guide found it to be a little small. Those with this complaint who upgraded to the queen size reported that the larger size addressed the concern, and they didn’t find it too hefty. But one who had purchased the queen based on word of mouth found that while testing the standard size for this guide, she preferred the slightly smaller size. So just keep your size preference in mind when ordering—if you tend to like big, huggable pillows, the queen-size Xtreme Comforts might be more your style, but don’t feel like you need to upgrade automatically.
One more thing: It should take a spin in the dryer whenever it starts to feel hard or compressed, which can be a hassle for people who don’t have a dryer. It also requires a little bit of prep out of the box, since it arrives compressed. A few minutes in a dryer or just a manual fluffing will get it to the right loft, with a dryer being preferable.
Long-term test notes
Long-term testers report that they got used to the lumpy texture pretty quickly, to the point where they no longer notice it. They also say this pillow can feel a little stiff. This can be helped to a degree by fluffing it every morning to keep the pieces of foam separated, and by periodically fluffing it in the dryer. One long-term tester regularly alternates between the Xtreme Comforts and a firm down pillow, depending on how much support she needs on any given day, with the Xtreme Comforts giving superior comfort but less luxury. And two long-term testers say that it’s helped with neck pain.
Our pick for (some) stomach-sleepers: Parachute Down Pillow
Many of our stomach-sleepers liked the no-lumps surface of the Parachute Down in the soft-density version and noted that it provided just enough support for the head and neck.
Premier Down-like Personal Choice Density Pillow (medium)
Note that side- and stomach-testers didn’t much care for the firm- and soft-density versions of the Premier Down-like, and Wirecutter readers agreed. Readers who bought various densities of this pillow found it either too dense or not supportive enough. If you sleep in one of those positions and are looking for a bargain pillow, stick with the Xtreme Comforts.
We recommend reading this section with your own preferences in mind; a factor that knocked some pillows out of the running for us might be just what you love in a pillow. Our top picks aside, testers’ responses were all over the place, so consider your own sleeping patterns when choosing. Stomach-sleepers, in particular, were split, which is why we put a caveat in our stomach-sleeper pick. One stomach-sleeper hated that pillow, preferring a pillow as lofty as most side-sleepers, but another tester adored the “kitten fur” aspect of the flattish, soft-density Parachute Down Pillow.
While we think the picks above will work for most people, the following key can help you find the right pillow if you’d like to branch out.
Crane & Canopy Down Alternative Sham Pillow
One stomach-tester who tends to prefer pillows with ample loft said that this is the first conventional (i.e., not memory foam or buckwheat) pillow she’s loved enough to buy herself. She stood alone, though: Other testers reported that it felt supportive but dense, and that it felt “deflated and hard” by the morning. We also had heat-retention complaints.
Hotel Collection Primaloft Down Alternative Pillows
In our very first pillows guide, we ranked this as our runner-up. But the rise of shredded memory foam has knocked this out of contention. Back-sleepers didn’t find the medium or firm quite supportive enough, reporting that their head bottomed out even with the firm fill. It also ran warmer than other pillows. The comfort level was fine, though; one tester
Five Star Down Alternative Pillow
Think memory foam is not the plushest of them all? Here’s a better-fitting alternative for you in form of a top, user-rated down pillow. It no doubt feels 5-star, like a top-end spa retreat every time you hit the stack for some shut-eye.
You might find the firm but adjustable aspects of it the most appealing. Or you might like that it’s hypoallergenic unlike a whopping number of down pillows in the market right now.
Still, you might like how you won’t have to deal with irritating little feather ends that poke you on the surface of the pillow. Instead, you get plush, even luxurious (it’s a subjective thing, you know) comfort and support in one down pillow.
Malouf Zoned’s Talalay Latex
Buy this latex pillow if you prefer latex firmness that’s superior to traditional latex pillows out there. Expect a pillow that is resistant to bacteria and other allergenic crawlers.
But even more, expect the natural latex to offer bounce/springiness, a latex-degree of conformability and softness, as well as flexibility. So if you like a softer, yet adequately supportive and comfy bulge under your head and neck this 2.8-inch thick pillow might just get you covered. But, of course, you might prefer the medium-firmness of memory form to the medium-softness of the natural latex.
Mediflow’s Original Waterbase
Task this water-core pillow with an adjustability test and it’ll rise right up to it. Mediflow’s water base model is suited for anyone who wants to take charge of their sleep by customizing their tool of sleep to their sleep posture and ultimate liking.
This one is a good option for those who want to considering another natural material for your next pillow. A buckwheat shell is fantastic in that it is 100% natural, curbing any harmful allergies and crawlies moving about and causing mayhem in and around the home. Instead, you get a good serving of buckwheat hulls, snugly stacked up to a 3-inch depth. So if you tend to turn into back sleeper position, this is a great choice to take to bed.
The company behind it dipped pure, organic cotton twill to cover up the buckwheat hulls core. And that works exceptionally well to optimize both support for your head and neck—although it is noticeably small for it to extend all the way to the mid-section of your shoulders’ breadth.
In addition to these bedding customers, DOWNLITE sells washed and processed bulk feathers and down to many domestic furniture manufacturers, as well as highly respected international apparel makers. This list includes L.L. Bean, Marmot, and The North Face.Also, as the contractor for all Ralph Lauren natural bedding, and the exclusive licensee of all naturally filled bedding for the prestigious Croscill Home brand, DOWNLITE has been entrusted by some of the most powerful bedding brands in the world.
Thanks to its low price and relatively high owner satisfaction rate, polyester is a very popular pillow fill. It is unfortunately manufactured using questionable chemicals. Thus, consumers should be wary of the potential health hazards that are associated with long-term exposure polyester.
Hungarian goose down (otherwise known as European white goose down) is considered to be the best quality. These down clusters are pure white and larger than most other types.
Our friend Martha Stewart is fond of this type of pillow and suggests that you purchase only high-quality down fill due to its longevity.
1years old? I think Martha must take really good care of her pillows!
Down feathers are collected using one of three techniques: 1) post-mortem, after being killed for their meat, 2) live plucking or 3) gathering from live birds. None are humane. Read More: Down and Feather Pillows
Water pillows contain, you guessed it, water. Most water filled pillows are simply a plastic reservoir wrapped with polyester foam or down alternative fiberfill. Water pillows are popular due to their ability provide unchanging, solid support. I suspected water pillows were nothing more than a gimmick, but I reviewed one myself and was surprised by its effectiveness.
Snuggle-Pedic Cooling Pillow
This pillow is designed to suit everyone, whether you sleep on your side, back or stomach. Its moldable, customizable nature also makes it ideal for pregnant ladies or anyone who needs extra support.
Even after washing it several times, my Snuggle-Pedic still looked and felt as good as new. The fabric exterior remained very soft and comfortable against the skin.
Coop Home Goods Cooling Pillow
However, in this pillow the memory foam is shredded into smaller sized pieces. This makes it a versatile product, as you can mould the pillow (within reason) to a comfortable shape to suit your needs and your sleeping pattern.
The downside of having this shredded memory foam is that after sleeping on it for a few nights, some of the foam compresses to form larger, more solid chunks. This is uncomfortable to lie on, and the chunks can be difficult to even out manually (especially when half asleep in the middle of the night), although it can be improved with another quick spin in the dryer.
Laura took this pillow for a test run, she tends to sleep on her left side through the night, so we gave her a king-sized pillow as that’s what she prefers.
There are two awesome things that make the Coop pillow truly cooling. The rayon/bamboo cover helps to disperse body heat, while the shredded memory foam support provides more space for heat to flow through. For those of you old enough to remember, the heat is dispersed in a similar way to natural feather down pillows of time past.
That shredded foam has other benefits too. You can remove and top up the foam to make the pillow as firm as you need. For Laura, she didn’t remove any foam, yet if you like your pillows with a bit more give, you can get it exactly right.
Our advice? Keep the foam you take out in a carrier bag and put it away. Memory foam does become more compressed over time, so that left-over foam could prove a helpful top-up.
Why We Like It
Reasonably priced, the Coop pillow certainly keeps you cool and snug all night, plus the shredded memory foam can be removed or topped up to get exactly the support you want.
We’re also big fans of the fact this pillow is available in standard, king, and the more obscure queen sizes.
Once again, we’re looking at a cooling pillow that’s been made in the USA from shredded bamboo. However, that’s where the similarities end, because the Snuggle-Pedic has some great features that the Coop just can’t match.
Of course, you’ll pay a little bit more for all these extras.
Even so, the Snuggle-Pedic is great value, and perfect for those sleepers who want a nice upgrade!
What We Liked
Shredded memory foam inserts, easily adjustable firmness and a cover that wicks sweat and heat away nicely. The price might put some people off; however, if you do decide to take the plunge with the Snuggle-Pedic you won’t look back.
Another pillow from the excellent Snuggle-Pedic range; this time, available in a range of sizes to suit all beds. The hypoallergenic cover has a very similar version of the kool-flow system available above, yet with a slightly improved design that allows even more heat to disperse.
All pillows in our review are hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant too.
For a comfortable sleep – The Snuggle Pedic is where you’ll want to spend your cash. Of course, you’ll be spending a bit more than with the other pillows on review, yet you will thank yourself later! We loved the bamboo covers coolness, plus the fact it’s made in the USA and available in a range of sizes.
For unusual shapes/sizes – The Iso-Cool range is what you’ll need. The coolness is easily up to Snuggle-Pedic standards, yet with a huge range of shapes such as side gussets, contoured plus the usual standard, queen and king sizes.
The only major problem with Iso-Cool, is the price. Some people might be put off by such a huge outlay for what’s basically a pillow. Depending on your budget, it might be exactly what you’re looking for of course.
For cooling mats – It depends on what you need. For a good night’s cooling sleep, you’ll want to choose the Penguin mat. It retains its coolness well, plus it also features a fabric top that will wick off heat and sweat, long after the fridge induces effect wears off. For those who are trying to cure headaches and muscle/joint paint, the Gel O’Cool gets much colder in practice, making an instant impact on migraines and head paint. The drawback to this, is the fact it won’t really keep you cool throughout the night, once the initial effect wears off, you’ll be back to normal!
For a budget solution–The Coop home goods pillow is reasonably priced, and compares admirably with both the Snuggle-Pedic and more expensive Iso-Cool models. What’s more, it’s available in standard, queen and king sizes, making for a pillow you could use easily on your size, without paying a premium for it. The Coop pillow is also manufactured in the USA, and comes with Centi-PUR certification.
For Caravans/RV’s, boats or second homes – The Sleep Restoration pillow is mildew and mold resistant, making it perfect for leaving in holidays homes or boats/caravans – basically anywhere you can’t 100% guarantee good ventilation and dryness! Quality, coolness and comfort are pretty much on-point too.
For ultimate plushness – The Sleep Restoration wins again, with its super plush filling. The only issue of course, is the fact it might feel a bit too soft for some people. If you do purchase this pillow because of its mold and mildew resistance, and like a firmer pillow, you might want to purchase two.
Lifetime 100% moneyback guarantee
Top Rated Car Lumbar Pillows for Driver Comfort and Back Support:
These pillows are specially designed to help alleviate back pain while sitting. These pillows are designed to be added to any chair to improve support.
The Portability: The Love Home Lumbar cushion is completely portable with strapping system to attach to any seat. Size: Extends from the root of the spine upto the lower-midpoint of the back making this an essential option for computer workers, games players, backpain patients, and professional drivers.
Perfect Long Distance Travel Pillow
Relax-a-Bac provide you with relaxation away from home and may also supply lumbar support in your automobile, truck or SUV. In case you find yourself stiff and in pain following a road trip, this traveling pillow may be your response to get a much more enjoyable journey. The elastic strap makes the pillow simple when you go on excursions to take. Check out our review of some of the best back support pillows for the home
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Pillow Inserts wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Pillow Inserts
- №1 — Decorative Pillow Insert (2 Pack, White) – Square 18×18 Sofa and Bed Pillow – Poly Cotton Cover – Indoor White Pillows by Utopia Bedding
- №2 — Set of 2, Down and Feather Pillow Insert, Cotton Fabric Throw Pillows
- №3 — 16×26 Inch Pillowflex Premium Polyester Filled Pillow Form Insert – Machine Washable – Oblong Rectangle – Made In USA