Pillow Type Guide
Types of Pillows
There are so many different types of pillows on the market today that scrolling through inventory online can be a chore to find the best pillow for you. That's why we've outlined all the differences between pillow types below, highlighting the key features of each type of pillow to make it easy for you to find the pillow of your dreams. You can also check out our guide on the Best Pillows for Better Sleep.
Down pillows are filled with down. Down is a super-soft and lush material made from duck or goose feathers. Down feathers are much finer and soft than regular feathers, and they're located under the tough exterior feathers of most birds. Down is known to be hypoallergenic so it makes for a great hypoallergenic pillow, but not so much if you're allergic to ducks or geese specifically.
Down pillows are rated based on their fill count. The higher the fill count is, the higher the quality. Speaking of high, the price of down pillows can be on the high side, but it's a good price to pay if it means good quality sleep thanks to their supreme levels of softness. Hot sleepers should be warned though, down pillows are known for being warm so you might want to find another one. If you like cozying up with a nice warm pillow, then let yourself melt comfortably into a pillow full of luxurious down.
Feather pillows use the regular feathers from duck and geese instead of down feathers. They're still soft, just not as soft as down pillows. Feather pillows are usually less expensive than down pillows, while still giving you that soft feather feel. There are some feather pillows that come blended with down feathers. This helps bring down the cost of the pillow, without sacrificing as much comfort. The downsides to feather pillows are they can start to poke through the pillow, which can be annoying, or a sign your feather pillow needs replaced.
Down Alternative Pillows or Feather Free Pillows
If you're allergic to ducks or geese then regular feather pillows and down feather pillows are both out of the picture. Luckily there are some great down alternative pillows that make a perfect fit for all types of sleepers. You can also get pillows filled with a microfiber material that serves as another down alternative pillow.
Memory Foam Pillows
Did you know that memory foam was invented by NASA!? That's right! So when you choose a memory foam pillow it's kind of like you're sleeping in space. The foam in memory foam pillows is technically called polyurethane foam. Memory foam is a much better name though, and it's called that because of how it knows to respond to your natural movements in a way that keeps your head and neck comfortably supported no matter how you move during your sleep.
There are two kinds of memory foam pillows. These are block memory foam pillows and shredded memory foam pillows. Block memory foam pillows use one solid block or pad of memory foam which makes them firm and supportive, but still soft and cushiony. Shredded memory foam pillows are pillows filled with shredded memory foam material. This makes them less firm than block foam, but they are more moldable for added comfort.
Latex pillows are filled with latex foam that can come in a block or shredded, just like memory foam pillow options. Latex is good for people with allergies because it is mildew, mold, and dust mite resistant. However, if you're allergic to latex you'll want to steer clear from latex pillows. They can be made with natural latex or blended or synthetic latex. Natural latex is biodegradable, and therefore, more friendly for the environment.
A buckwheat pillow is filled with hypoallergenic buckwheat. One of the most natural fillings for pillows, buckwheat pillows have a unique texture. They offer a natural alternative for people who may experience allergic reactions from other types of pillows.
Contour pillows are designed with a curved shaped to provide targeted support to the neck and spine. Because they cradle your head and neck to help promote a neutral spine, contour pillows are often recommended by chiropractors for people experiencing pain in their neck, shoulders, or back. Contour pillows come in a variety of fill types, so you can find one that fits your sleeping style and comfort needs.
Everyone loves the cool side of the pillow and now both sides can stay cool thanks to the advancements in cooling pillows. There are several different types of cooling pillows, but they all feature similar cooling technologies. Some cooling pillows have vents in the pillow to allow for increased airflow. Most cooling pillows will be made of materials that are designed to stay cool, with some actually absorbing and dissipating heat. Cooling pillows are especially great for hot sleepers.
Aromatherapy Infused Pillows
Believe it or not, smells interact with our nervous system. Some smells can help us relax and fall asleep. Now those same smells are starting to be infused into pillows so you can benefit from aromatherapy when you go to bed and as you're sleeping. The smell of the pillow should help you fall asleep too, like the lavender-infused into this Malouf Zoned ActiveDough™ + Lavender Z.
This lavender-infused pillow comes with a spritzer so you can add more all-natural lavender oil as the smell fades out over time. It also comes in peppermint and chamomile.
Lounge pillows are great for the entire family. These oversized pillows are made for lounging around and they do the job right. Whether you're scrolling through social media, eating, or just sitting upright in bed, lounge pillows give you the comfort you want with the support you need. Lounge pillows have armrests and are built to support the upper body while reducing shoulder and neck strain for a perfect lounge experience every time.
Travel pillows are a classic symbol for traveling in comfort and style. When you're sleeping on the go, no one needs a strained neck while traveling. You also don't want to be awake for the whole two-hour flight next to Chatty Kathy, or is it more Starin' Karens these days? Either way, you get the point. Travel pillows let you hit snooze no matter where you're at, or who you end up next to. It turns out, some people even prefer to wrap the travel neck pillow around the front of their neck so they can fall asleep with their head leaning forward, and it works. Who knew?
There are lots of different kinds of lumbar pillows, but they're all designed to do one thing really well, and that supports your lumbar. Lumbar pillows give you the extra back support you need whether you're at the house, in the office, or at a sports stadium cheering on your favorite team. When you're looking for support and comfort on the go, consider adding a lumbar pillow to your regular travel accessories.
Wedge pillows are designed at an angle. They look like really comfortable tiny ramps to rest on. The angled design helps reduce sinus pressure, acid reflux, and heartburn. Wedge pillows are also great for the snorers out there because the angle can help reduce snoring. But wait, there's more! No seriously, there is more.
Wedge pillows can be used for supporting your back when sitting up in bed or on the couch. You can put them at the foot of your bed to elevate your feet. This helps activate your lymphatic nervous system and can provide relief for people with swollen feet or painful leg conditions, including varicose veins.
If that wasn't enough, wedge pillows are recommended to expectant mothers during their second or third trimester. It helps support the belly during pregnancy, adding yet another benefit of wedge pillows.
Shaped pillows are engineered to provide very specific comfort and relief. An L-shaped pillow, for example, is designed to be a perfect pillow for side sleepers. The L-shaped design holds the head and supports the neck and back comfortably. At the same time, the L-shaped pillow can also be used as a pregnancy pillow or a nursing pillow, making it a versatile pillow to have around.
Another great shaped pillow is a wrap-around pillow. With all the feelings of the perfect hug, a wrap-around pillow wraps around your entire body. Its ergonomic design supports your head, neck, back, hips, and abdomen. Having one wrap-around pillow is like having several different pillows that all work together in harmony to keep you comfortable while in dreamland.
Fun With Pillows
Pillows don't just have to be for sleeping! One of the most classic fun things to do with pillows is to make a pillow fort! You don't have to be a kid to enjoy the fun of a pillow fort, but it is one way to entertain your kids at home with something we all have lying around the house.