Pillows buying guide

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

02.Pillow types

Pillows can be made out of a number of different materials. Here are some of the more common ones.

Synthetic fibre fill

  • Polyester is the most commonly used synthetic fibre fill. These pillows are machine-washable and usually come in a variety of fill weights to suit your needs.
  • Polyester is quite long-lasting, and a good choice for the budget-conscious.

Wool fibre fill

  •  An alternative to synthetics, wool is washable and flame-resistant.
  • Wool provides good moisture absorbency, wicking away any moisture created by your sleepy head.
  • It allows the infill (the filling inside your pillow) to breathe well, which claims to provide you with a more restful night’s sleep.

Feather and down fill

  • Feather and down pillows have been used across the ages and are still very popular. They tend to be soft and sit a little higher than other pillows.
  • Suitable for people who like a soft pillow that will mould around their head and shoulders.
  • While they feel quite luxurious they’re not so great for people who move around a lot when they sleep or need their neck supported well.

PillowsFoam and latex fill

  •  Foam and latex pillows tend to last longer than most other types of pillow fill. 
  • Suitable for people who like a firm and supportive pillow.
  • While foam pillows are generally quite cheap, latex pillows can be pricey but come in a mind-boggling array of styles and shapes as the latex can be sculpted and contoured to any shape.
  • There are jellybean-shaped pillows with rounded edges for stomach sleepers, pillows with sculpted grooves to facilitate air flow and graduated pillows that claim to support troublesome necks.

Memory foam

  • Memory foam is made from polyurethane, but has a different cell structure from other foams, which makes it less ‘springy’ and slower to recover (hence memory foam — it ‘remembers’ your shape for a while after you’ve moved).
  • Memory foam pillows are very heavy and have a squashy feel, leaving an indentation where your head has been for quite some time, so it’s not recommended for those who move about a lot in their sleep.
  • Memory foam pillows are quite expensive; costing up to five times the cost of a polyester-fill pillow, so you’ll want to make sure it’s the right product for you before deciding to buy one.

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