Pillows buying guide

A good pillow can make for a great night's sleep.
 
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  • Updated:1 Jul 2008
 

01.Buying a new pillow

Bed

When you consider that the average person will spend approximately one third of their life asleep, having a comfortable and good quality pillow is important.

Pillow choice is a very personal thing and with so much choice available, buying a pillow isn’t that simple. Our pillow satisfaction survey may help you decide. There are pillows for people who sleep on their back, rounded pillows for stomach sleepers, pillows that claim to stop snoring and even special pillows to support pregnant bellies.

The wide range can make it hard to choose, but take the time to educate yourself and shop for something that suits. After all, you’ll be reminded of your choice every night.

Please note: this information was current as of July 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


When to buy a new pillow

  • As general rule you should look to replace your pillow every six months to two years although this does depend on the pillow fill.
  • Check with the manufacturer at the time of your purchase as the expected life span of your pillow will really depend on what material is used and the quality of it.
  • Some pillow manufacturers even provide a tag on the pillow so you can jot down the date you bought it, to see how it’s ageing.

Pillow test

The pillow test

For synthetic and feather down pillows you can also try the shoe test to see if your pillow might need replacing:

  • Put your pillow on a reasonably flat surface and fold it in half.
  • Put a sports shoe on top.
  • If the shoe flies off as your pillow bounces back into its original shape, your pillow is in top form.
  • If the shoe stays there or the pillow doesn’t spring back into shape, it’s probably time to buy a new one.

Before you buy

It pays to consider a few issues before you go out to buy yourself a new pillow:

  • How do you sleep and what position do you prefer? Do you like to curl up on your side, sleep on your stomach or crash out on your back?
  • Are you a tosser and turner or do you sleep like the dead?
  • Consider your size: do you have a large frame? Are you small or somewhere in the middle?
  • If you’re sharing your bed with a partner don’t forget to take their sleep position preferences and body shape into consideration too. Different pillow styles suit different people, so it’s smart to make sure you both shop for your own pillows to get one for your individual needs.

Soft or firm?

  • If you sleep on your stomach or have a small build, a low, soft pillow is best. This is also suitable for children.
  • If you sleep on your back a medium to firm pillow with a medium profile is the best.
  • If you sleep on your side mostly or have a bigger body frame, a firm to extra-firm pillow might suit you better.

Pillow care

To get the most out of your pillows follow these simple steps:

  • Give your pillow a good shake and fluff it up every day, and try to air it out in the sun and fresh air on a regular basis. This will help kill any dust mites and will keep it fresher and cleaner.
  • Consider buying a pillow protector — they’re quite cheap and are available in most homewares shops. A protector keeps your pillow dry and away from moisture or oils, and will also keep it from staining. You can easily wash a pillow protector, which helps keep your pillow clean and fresh.
  • Polyester and some latex pillows can be popped in the wash to keep them really clean, but not all pillows are machine-washable, so check the labels first.
 
 

 

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