There is no one-size-fits-all pillow. A pillow should take into account your sleeping habits and positions, as well as your body size, any aches and pains and even the type of mattress you have.
With so many to choose from, and with prices ranging from $10 to more than $300, it's difficult to know which pillow is right for you or how much you really need to spend. CHOICE surveyed our members to find their favourite pillow brands and retailers.
How we survey
In February 2011, we surveyed more than 1000 CHOICE members who had bought a pillow in the past five years. They:
- rated how satisfied they were with their pillow and told us the main reason they purchased their particular brand
- identified what material their pillow was made from and how much they paid for it
- told us whether or not they would buy the same brand again
- rated their retailer on cost, product range and customer service
- specified if they tried out their pillow before buying.
|Brand (number of
|Main reason for
||120 - 160
||20 - 250
||45 - 110
||169 - 299
||12 - 130
Using the table: 'Other' includes all brands where the brand/category was unknown by respondent, or it did not meet minimum sample size requirements (30 or more respondents). Price range is based on recommended retail prices.
- Dunlopillo, a manufacturer of latex and memory foam pillows, topped our survey with an overall satisfaction score of 86%.
- Downia, which produces feather and down pillows, ran a close second.
- More than 90% of respondents who bought a Dunlopillo or Downia said they would buy that brand again.
- Interestingly, Dunlopillo finished third-last in our mattress survey, while Tempur, which topped mattresses, is less popular for pillows - though members who bought Tempur pillows are also likely to buy the brand again.
|Retailer (number of
|David Jones (88)
|Harvey Norman (37)
|Big W (67)
Using the table: Online stores were excluded due to insufficient sample size. 'Other' includes all retailers with fewer than 30 responses. Average satisfaction score is an average of customer service, product range and cost scores.
- David Jones came out on top for satisfaction, with the highest scores for both customer service and product range.
- "Other" came second, possibly due to pillows being bought at smaller specialist stores and chains, where advice on sleep health may be more readily available than generalist stores.
- Big W and Myer scored lower than average on customer service, while Target and Kmart scored low for both customer service and product range.
What we found
Members who bought latex pillows were more satisfied than those who bought polyester pillows. While polyester pillows are cheap, they tend to be very soft and lack good support for your head and neck. More than half of members who bought a Tontine pillow did so from their polyester range, which may account for their low satisfaction score.
Members who paid between $50 and $200 were more satisfied than those who paid less than $50. Half the pillows in the higher price bracket were made from latex, and latex pillows scored higher than average for satisfaction.
Members who tried their pillow before buying were more likely to be satisfied with their purchase. If you can't try out a pillow in-store, do what CHOICE member Debbie did and take one home. "When I bought the first pillow, I was told that if I left the plastic cover on, I could try it overnight and take it back if it wasn't what I wanted – which I did." Check with the retailer about its returns policy to see if this is possible. Alternatively, consider buying from a shop that offers you the chance to try lots of pillows in-store on a mattress similar to your own.
What members said about Dunlopillo
"I used to change pillow frequently due to no lasting firmness, but have had current pillow for 12 months and still as firm. Love, love, love it and take it with me when we go away, can't sleep on others now."
"This is the third Dunlopillo Soft pillow I have bought. It's perfect for me, so every time I replace my pillow, I buy the same one. I just shop around for the best price and usually buy them during sale time."
"I am a repeat buyer of this brand and type of pillow. I take it everywhere with me for sleeping when away from home."
"Pillow works really well with the pillow-top mattress we bought at the time. This pillow might not work so well on a firmer mattress."
"Next time I will just buy cheaper pillows and replace them more often. Husband sweats a lot even with pillow protectors meaning the pillow gets stained and looks yellow."
"It was my second Dunlopillo. I bought the first in 2001 and only got a new one when I realised how old it was."
"I've tried a number of different types of pillow over the years, but none even come close to the comfort and support of a latex pillow."
"I use to like a completely different style of pillow but after switching to Dunlopillo I'll never go back."
"I searched for a long time on different pillow types before I found this one. Very, very happy with it."
"I have used the same type of latex pillow for years. I buy a replacement when it starts to look discoloured, even though I use a pillow protector."
"I have used Dunlopillos for about 20 years and wouldn't buy anything else. I recommend them to family and friends."
"I bought a Dunlopillo because I have had them before and really like them."
"Have tried many cheaper pillows which have given me neck aches, this is the first pillow I am pain-free."
What members said about Downia
"You can punch it into the shape you want."
"Still trying to find my ideal. Every purchase is experimental as I get older. Tend to favour down-filled but have had some problems with shape retention and sharp feather ends protruding. Would also like to find a pillow that is easy to wash."
"It no longer provides enough support. Am on the look-out for my next pillow."
"I would not have chosen this pillow if I had a chance to test it. It wasn't firm enough for me. I chose it because it was [made] from natural fibre and I remember the feel of my grandmother's feather/down pillows (hers had more feathers/down volume)."
"I wash my pillow every six months - also adding eucalyptus oil in wash (recommended by EN&T specialist) to kill any dust mites, drying it on the line and finishing it in the tumble dryer. Like new again. "
"I sleep with two pillows, one firm and one medium - so I get the support I need."
"I have used a goose down pillow for more than 10 years. A neurologist advised this pillow as I suffered from migraine. Does help!"
"I always have to remove some of the filling to make the pillow lower."
"Due to some neck issues, I changed pillows four or five times before finding this one."
What members said about Tempur
"Very expensive, but does seem to support neck better. Is the extra cost worth the improvement over a good ($80) latex pillow? Probably not."
"The pillows were included as a package when we bought our new mattress (in response to the CHOICE mattress survey!) The overall combination is a winner!!"
"Recommended by my physio, who also ensured it was the right fit for me."
"Loved it so much I bought four, and two [more] for travelling."
"Less headaches in the morning - head is kept in better position whilst sleeping."
"It had a very strong smell."
"I tried the pillow in-store with a new bed I was buying – the pillow was not as soft as the one in-store – disappointed."
"I may have bought the same brand but a different shape, had I been given more time to try it."
"I have neck problems so change around my pillows quite often, from Tempur to rubber foam pillow, to soft Dacron micro fibre pillow. Tempur is the best but hot in summer."
"I find the Tempur Millennium Pillow to be the perfect shape to support my neck when I sleep on my side."
"I have a very bad neck that has had remedial cervical spine surgery. The pillow is pretty important."
"Good support. Good shape retention."
What members said about Tontine
"Very happy to see that the manufacturers now put a suggested date on the pillow for when you should replace it. I would think most people do not replace their pillows within a regular timeframe."
"This was not the pillow I intended to buy but because it was very close to it and the price was only a fraction of what I usually pay for my pillows I bought it. It has been quite comfortable."
"The pillows are gusseted, so that they form a solid, level pillow, rather than tapering off to the side/end seams."
"Started out reasonably high, but soon squashed down to become a low pillow."
"Pillow was way too high and fluffy. Very uncomfortable but little other choice apparent."
"Just love it, very comfortable."
"I suffer from neck and shoulder problems and try a new pillow at least once a year in the search for the perfect pillow. In this instance the profile was too high and it was the only choice at the time in memory foam. Would purchase same brand again if I could get a lower profile."
"I find the low profile pillow very suitable as I also tend to sleep on my stomach, as well as on my side."
"Have always bought Tontine pillows and found them to be good. Only recently have become dissatisfied with my pillows, waking up every couple of days with a stiff neck and headaches."
"Medium and high-and-firm pillow varieties easy to find, but low profile pillows for stomach sleepers are often not stocked."
What members said about Dentons
"The pillow is of excellent quality, is easy to clean (also has a removable cover), and has not lost its shape at all in the years I have been using it."
"Love my Dentons."
"It's a wedge-shaped pillow with one side flat and the other slightly concave. Thus, there is a choice of arrangements to suit individual preferences - my sore neck improved rapidly with this firmer pillow and a second pillow of the same type was purchased more recently for use in the caravan. These pillows have a removable cotton cover for laundering."
"Impossible to sleep on my stomach with this pillow and the pain in my neck did not improve, will return to using my old soft feather pillow."
"I bought it specifically to improve sleep and back pain - it has not been very successful"."
"I am extremely fussy when choosing pillows. I used to go through a pillow a month! I am so satisfied with mine, I bought my husband the same brand. I am very happy with my pillow. We spend enough time on them, more people need to spend more time choosing one correctly."
"Excellent. It was a replacement for a similar pillow but that brand is no longer available."
"This is our fourth Dentons pillow with all the family using."