Pillow Buying Guide
Searching for your perfect pillow can be difficult - especially as you never get the chance to test-drive them, even in shops. So welcome to our brilliant pillow buying guide! Here’s all the information you need to choose the best pillow to suit you; the right size, type, and firmness. Follow these simple steps and you will soon be enjoying the perfect nights sleep every night.
- Filling (Natural or synthetic, there are advantages to both)
- Support (How do you sleep? Get the best pillow for your position)
- Construction (The build of the pillow can also improve support)
- Size (Choose the right size for your bed and how you want it to look)
- Protection (Love your pillow to make it last)
Get the right filling
Natural feather and down is a popular choice. They’re usually combined – feathers are heavier and larger than down, adding bulk and support to your pillow. Down is very soft and light (a baby duck or goose is covered in this all over, but as they mature the more protective and waterproof feathers replace most of it, apart from the breast area) – this adds softness and loft to the pillow. Look for the right ratio for your sleeping position. Duck feather and down is heavier and firmer than that from the goose, and also a little cheaper.
Other natural choices include wool, silk and cotton. These tend to have a firmer finish than feather and down as the fibres are naturally thicker (in the case of wool) or less lofty (in the case of cotton and silk) than microfibre. These materials are naturally hypoallergenic and breathable – so they’re great organic choices for allergy sufferers.
Synthetic pillows can vary dramatically in firmness and support as these man-made fibres can be manufactured to any thickness.
Hollowfibre is a thick synthetic strand that’s hollow. This means that it is thick and robust, which creates a very supportive pillow, but the hollow quality means it is still lightweight. The more filling, the firmer the pillow.
Microfibre is a very fine (micro) synthetic strand. Its soft and silky nature means that it does a great job of simulating goose down. It has to be packed in quite densely to create a good level of support and it wouldn’t reach more than a medium/firm finish unless blended with hollowfibre.
Memory Foam was developed by scientists at NASA….so it must be good! It moulds to the contours of your head, but it only adjusts shape slightly. It is a very supportive pillow that is suitable for most sleepers…but it takes a little getting used to.
Synthetic pillows are popular because:
- They are comfortable.
- They are great value for money.
- They are easy to care for and can be washed more frequently at higher temperatures.
- They are good for allergy sufferers as they are naturally free of dust mites.
- The fibres are strong enough to be treated with anti-allergy chemicals so that the product is completely anti-allergenic.
Get the right support
Sleep on your side? You need a firmer orthopaedic pillow so that your neck is not taking the weight of your head. The best pillows for neck pain would be feather and down (lots of feather); a chamber pillow would be an ideal neck support pillow for a blend between support and softness. If you have broad shoulders you may even need two pillows.
Sleep on your back? You need a little more support so that your head is raised. Natural fillings like wool and cotton would be great for this or a feather and down blend. If you want a synthetic fill, go with a densely packed microfibre or a microfibre/ hollowfibre blend.
Sleep on your stomach? Choose a softer or flatter pillow. Your head only needs to be slightly raised. Good for this: natural fillings like silk or a pillow with lots of down in it or a soft microfibre filling.
To check the firmness on any Soak&Sleep pillow, click the 'specification' tab when you look at the product details.
This is the simplest decision when buying a pillow because it’s purely aesthetic. If you have a single size or a double size bed, choose a standard size pillow. If you have a king size or a superking size bed then you will need superking pillow (at least on the bottom) so that there isn’t a gap between them when you make the bed. Square (often known as continental) pillows are typically used to dress the bed.
- Standard: 50cm x 75cm (20" x 30")
- Superking: 50cm x 90cm (20" x 35")
- Square: 65cm x 65cm (26" x 26")
- Body: 45cm x 150cm (18" x 59")
We’ve also got a range of more specialist shaped and sized pillows. Embarking on your travels? Take your home comforts with you – starting with a feather and down travel sized pillow, and for all round neck support, choose a memory foam neck pillow.
A body pillow is a great sleep aid for anyone but is especially helpful in offering support and relief during pregnancy. A nursing pillow can offer back or bump support while pregnant and can then be used for breastfeeding when the baby arrives.
A chamber pillow has a central chamber of firm filling (for head and neck support) surrounded by layers of soft and squishy filling for comfort. It is most often used with feather and down fillings so that the supportive feathers are locked away in the middle of the pillow and the soft down is around the edge. It can also be used for a synthetic pillow with hollowfibre in the middle for support and microfibre around the edge for softness.
Love your pillow!
Now you’ve chosen the best pillow for you, protect it. Pillows absorb a heck of a lot of body moisture – so consider a waterproof pillow protector (which prevents it from becoming discoloured). This will make your pillow filling last longer. If you don’t want a waterproof protector then a thick, good quality cotton protector is the next best thing.