Good sleep starts with a quality pillow. When searching for a new pillow, the saturated market causes the process to feel overwhelming and tedious. That’s why the This Old House Reviews team conducted the research for you, evaluating the important features and qualities of pillows to provide you with a comprehensive guide to the best pillows on Amazon.
Pillows provide comfort and support to your head and neck area and are essential to a good night’s sleep. Without the proper pillow, you can exacerbate existing neck, back, or shoulder pain and experience discomfort while you sleep. Additionally, owning an uncomfortable pillow can lead to the misalignment of your spine, leading to fatigue, back pain, and even chronic headaches.
The This Old House Reviews team understands the importance of owning a quality pillow that you can look forward to sleeping with every night. That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed purchase on your next pillow.
Four Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a New Pillow
The way you sleep can affect the type of pillow you need to properly align your neck and spine throughout the night. Take a look at our pillow recommendations based on your sleeping position:
- Stomach sleepers—Sleeping on your stomach can stress your spine by adding unnecessary pressure. If you’re a stomach sleeper, select soft pillows that are thin to keep your head even and in line with your body. We recommend the BioPEDIC Bed Pillows for stomach sleepers because of its plush design.
- Side sleepers—When side sleeping, a large gap forms between your mattress and head because of the added width of your shoulders. Look for a thick pillow to keep your head level and your spine in a neutral position. We recommend the Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Pillow for side sleepers because of its supportive memory foam filling.
- Back sleepers—A quality pillow is important for supporting your cervical spine’s natural curve, which helps prevent the buildup of unnecessary neck, shoulder, and head pressure. We recommend the MOKALOO Cervical Pillow for back sleepers because of its ergonomic design that supports the neck and head.
The type of filling your pillow contains is a heated topic of debate among many, with some people swearing by feathers and others by memory foam. No matter which pillow filling you prefer, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each.
- Down and feather—Down and feather pillows are lightweight and incredibly soft, but can lack the durable support offered by other fills. We recommend this type of pillow for those that like to switch sleeping positions throughout the night.
- Memory foam—Memory foam is a popular choice because it contours to the body and offers proper neck and back support. Most memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic, so we recommend them for anyone with bad allergies or those looking for additional support.
- Latex—Like memory foam, latex pillows are hypoallergenic and even resist dust and mold. These pillows are firm, heavy, and durable, though the benefits usually come at a higher price tag.
- Polyester—Polyester-filled pillows are affordable and easy to clean. Hollowfibre, a type of polyester, is lightweight and robust which can lead to a firm pillow.
- Buckwheat hulls—Buckwheat hull pillows are filled with the hulls that encase buckwheat seeds, providing a supportive and proper rest. These pillows are easily adjusted based on shape and thickness preference and are known for their breathability, support, and long lifespan.
- Cotton—Cotton pillows are affordable and known for their hypoallergenic qualities, though they don’t offer the support found with other fills.
It’s important to match pillow and bed size to maximize comfort and support. Typically, pillows are sold in one of these three sizes: Standard, Queen, and King.
- Standard—20 inches by 26 inches
- Queen—20 inches by 30 inches
- King—20 inches by 36 inches
The thread count of your pillow is a good indicator of its softness. In general, pillows with a 300 thread count or higher will provide more loftiness and comfort.
Is It Time to Replace Your Pillow?
The majority of pillows last between six months and three years, depending on the quality of the material and its care. Here are a few signs that it’s time to replace your pillow:
- Your pillow is discolored–We all sweat during the night. This sweat can seep into your pillow, causing discoloration and attracting bacteria.
- Your pillow is uncomfortable—If your pillow is flat and can’t hold air, or if you feel lumps throughout, throw the pillow out and buy a new one.
- You’re waking up in pain—While back or neck pain isn’t always related to an uncomfortable pillow, if you’re continuously waking up in pain, consider opting for a new pillow that provides spinal support. This will aid in your sleep by properly aligning your spine.
- You’re congested in the morning—A stuffy nose and headache could be the sign of a common cold, though an old pillow could be the culprit. Aged pillows harbor dust mites that can lead to allergic reactions, in which case a new pillow is recommended.
Caring for your pillow
Here are a few things you can do to extend the lifespan of your pillow and prevent premature replacement:
- Use a pillow protector—A pillow protector acts as a barrier against dirt, oil, and grime that might get inside the fabric of your pillow.
- Change pillow cases frequently—Like pillow protectors, pillow cases add a layer of protection between you and your pillow, preventing it from staining. It’s important to change and wash your pillow cases frequently to prevent exposure to bacteria that’s collected on the surface.
- Wash or clean your pillows—Most bed pillows are laundry-safe, though it’s important to check the manufacturer’s tag before washing. Washing a pillow removes the embedded dirt that can lead to discoloration and bacteria collection.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pillows
How much should you pay for a pillow?
The price of a pillow depends on its filling, quality and size. Some down feather or memory foam pillows cost as much as $60, while pillows with cheaper fills and lower thread counts are more affordable. For example, the Utopia Bedding Gusseted Pillow contains a polyester fiber fill that’s more affordable than its down feather counterparts.
Is it better to sleep without pillows?
While sleeping without a pillow can help you rest in a natural position, your mattress’s shape and firmness may cause discomfort in your head, neck, or shoulders. It’s important to pick a pillow that balances comfort and support to maintain healthy joints and muscles while providing quality sleep.
What is the best pillow for side sleepers?
Side sleepers require a thick and supportive pillow to keep their head in line with their spine during sleep. The best pillow for this kind of sleeper is the Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Pillow, which offers a firm, yet comfortable memory foam fill that supports the head.
Can I put my pillow in the dryer?
Typically, you’ll want to dry your pillows using a no-heat setting on your dryer. Confirm your pillow’s heat setting by examining its manufacturer’s tag before tossing it in the dryer.
Is it bad to sleep with a lot of pillows?
Sleeping with multiple pillows can lead to problems with your back and neck alignment. If you choose to sleep with more than one pillow, ensure that your head is properly supported and not sharply elevated.