Choosing the right kind of pillows is as important as picking the right kind of mattress for a comfortable and soothing night’s sleep. Your body type, your sleeping position, any kind of allergic reactions, medical conditions, and various other things can affect the type of bed pillow that might be perfect for you. Picking the right kind of pillow, based on all the above-mentioned factors is very important to maintain a good sleep quality for you.
Therefore, before you- plan to order a brand-new pillow for yourself, it is very important to know all the different types of pillows that are available in the market. Below mentioned are all the different types of pillows, based on different categories to help you make the best choice possible.
A. Different Types of Bed Pillows based on the material used:
- Down Pillow
- Down Alternate Pillow
- Memory Foam Pillow
- Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
- Cotton Pillow
- Feather Pillow
- Kapok Pillow
- Woolen Pillow
- Water Pillow
- Innerspring Pillow
- Gel Pillow
- Latex Pillow
- Bamboo Pillow
- Polyester Pillow
- Buckwheat Hulls Pillow
- Microbead Pillow
1. Down Pillow
A down pillow is made with really soft and light feathers like the feathers of swan, duck, or goose. It is very important to check the ratio of down to feather while buying a down pillow. Also, make sure that you buy only a pillow certified by Responsible Down Standard, which ensures that the feathers used in the pillow are sourced ethically.
- Good head and neck support
- Really soft and cushioning
- Extra-light weight
- Can get overheated easily
- Might induce allergies
- Might use unethically sourced feathers
- Requires frequent fluffing
2. Down Alternate Pillow
A down alternate pillow is a synthetic alternative to the real down pillow. They are filled with polyester to provide a feather-like feeling. The use of polyester makes the pillow highly affordable as well as ethically safe. If you need the feel and comfort of a real down pillow, without the use of real animal feathers, this would be the best pick for you.
- Easily cleanable
- Weaker insulation
- Might develop lumps
3. Memory Foam Pillow
These are some of the most commonly used modern-style pillows. Memory foam pillows contour as per your body shape, providing you with the most comfortable sleeping positions. It also allows your neck as well as your head to mold into a position that is most comfortable for you.
- No Clumps
- Contours as per your body shape
- Aids pain relief
- Finding a decent foam density for decent breathability might be difficult
- Might retain body heat and moisture
4. Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
A shredded memory foam pillow is a great alternative to memory foam pillows. They provide the users with the features and comfort of memory foam pillows. However, shredded foam can be added or removed from the filling of a pillow based on the preference of the user, providing them with the best desirable comfort.
- Easy to clean
- May wear out with usage
- May get overstuffed
5. Cotton Pillow
Cotton pillows have been one of the best picks for comfort for ages. However, its usage has come down with the introduction of new pillow material like memory foam. However, cotton is still an ideal pick for those who are allergic to synthetic material and do not wish to use any pillow made with animal skin or feathers.
- Easily washable
- Light and breathable
- Can form lumps over time
- Does not contour as per your body shape
- May need frequent cleaning
6. Feather Pillow
A perfect pick for those who require a highly supportive and comfortable pillow, but are allergic to down. They help in providing support to your neck, without losing its shape. However, do not forget to look into the formation of the pillow filling if you are allergic to down.
- Hold their original shape
- Light in weight
- Needs regular fluffing
- Difficult to clean
- Might retain body heat
- Feathers might be unethically sourced
7. Kapok Pillow
Kapok pillows have a filling of natural fiber found in the pods of mature Kapok trees. These pillows are highly durable, soft, as well as loftier. Kapok is also highly used in blends to make pillows softer and comfortable.
- Highly Flammable
- May form lumps
- Might retain and uncertain fluff
8. Woolen Pillow
Wool is an entirely natural fiber and is used in pillow fillings as stand-alone material as well as in blends. However, manufacturing woolen pillows is actually really extensive. Therefore; you may not be able to locate a good woolen pillow easily. They are perfect to be used in warmer regions and climates.
- Cool and comfortable
- Highly breathable
- Highly Expensive
- Requires fluffing frequently
- Short life span
9. Water Pillow
Apart from having a water bladder at the base, most of the water pillows also have a layer of polyester on the top. Water pillows have been highly regarded to enhance the user’s sleep quality and also have proven to be pain relieving in various clinical studies.
- Conforms and contours your neck and head
- Does not forms lumps
- Enhances your sleep quality
- Adjustable firmness and pillow height
- Heavy in weight
- It May get noisy sometimes
10. Innerspring Pillow
An innerspring pillow features a steel spring in the core of the pillow, covered with a polyester or memory foam layer. These pillows have been designed considering all the ergonomic properties of the human body and are best for those who may have neck pain. Also, the height of an innerspring pillow is designed to respond as per the sleeping position of individual users.
- Provides relief to neck pain
- Permits airflow and are cool in nature
- Adjusts as per individual user
- Highly expensive
- Shorter life-span
- Difficult to clean
11. Gel Pillow
The gel pillow is popular amongst those who desire a cool pillow to a sleepover. Most of the gel pillows are made with a combination of a softer material like foam or latex. It helps the user to enjoy the softness of that fabric material along with the cooling effect of gel underneath.
- Cooling effect
- Easy to Clean
- Beneficial for people who sleep either on their back or stomach
- Not suitable for side sleepers
- Might be really firm for some
- Highly expensive
12. Latex Pillow
Latex pillows are best suited for those who need a good level of support to their neck and head, without compromising with the level of softness. Latex pillows are available in the market in shredded form as well as the whole. However, if you are allergic to synthetic material, do not forget to confirm if the pillow has any kind of blends.
- Easily breathable
- May induce allergies
- May induce odor after a bit of use
13. Bamboo Pillow
Bamboo pillows are becoming more popular due to their moisture-absorbing and anti-bacterial properties. Most of the bamboo pillows usually have a shredded foam core with a viscous bamboo covering. It allows the users to enjoy the benefits of a memory foam pillow, combined with the cooling effect and anti-microbial properties of bamboo shells.
- Cooling effect
- It may be too firm for stomach and side sleepers
- Difficult to clean
14. Polyester Pillow
Also termed as fiberfill or polyfill pillows, polyester pillows are soft and lightweight in nature. However, it is very difficult to figure out the quality of a polyester pillow.
- Most affordable choice
- Can develop lumps
- Bad quality polyester pillows might not be breathable
- Short life span
15. Buckwheat Hulls Pillow
Buckwheat pillows are perfect to be used by back and stomach sleepers. These pillows are filled with shells of buckwheat, which may seem to be really stiff, however; are highly breathable. These pillows are becoming more and more popular around the world due to their clinical benefits.
- Cooling & Breathable
- Way too noisy
- Heavy in weight
- Might be firm for side sleepers
16. Microbead Pillow
Ideal for back sleepers, microbead pillows are stuffed with synthetic uniform polymer beads. They retain their shape for a longer time, yet provide the users with high breathability and conformity. It is a perfect alternative to the noisy Buckwheat Hulls Pillows.
- Highly breathable
- Highly supportive and malleable
- Might retain heat for a long time
- Not durable
B. Different Types of Pillows based on their Features:
- Cooling Pillow
- Cradling Pillow
- Conformity Pillow
- Pregnancy Pillow
- Lumbar Pillow
- Snoring Preventing Pillow
- Allergy Reducing Pillow
- Wedge Pillow
1. Cooling Pillow
One of the most important features that each and every person is looking out for in their pillows nowadays is its cooling element. Pillows that use fills that provide ample air ventilation throughout the night, without retaining heat usually provide a cooling effect. Some of the best pillow types that allow this additional feature are water pillows, latex pillows, buckwheat hulls pillows, and gel pillows. Cooling pillows are not only known to be healthy for the overall well-being of a person but also provide relief to the users from insomnia, and boost the person’s metabolism.
2. Cradling Pillow
Everyone feels better when they feel loved and cradled. Moreover, many people have a habit of cradling while being asleep. These types of pillows can especially be very soothing, for people with heart diseases or for ones who need to keep a check on their overall health. A cradling pillow molds as per your body and provides you with that satisfying cradling effect. Mostly, long body pillows, which do not move much while you are sleeping are best to be used for this purpose.
3. Conformity Pillow
If you need any kind of body posture rectifications or desire a good quality night’s sleep, nothing else can help you better than a pillow made with conformable material. A memory foam pillow is one of the best conformities pillows that one can use. In these types of pillows, the surface usually takes up the form of your head or neck, without pushing back to retain its original form. However, ensure that you do not get stuck up with a low-quality polyester conformity pillow that may sink your head or neck all the way to the bottom of the pillow. These types of pillows can especially be beneficial for those who sleep on their side.
4. Pregnancy Pillow
Pregnancy pillows are designed to eliminate any kind of pressure on the body and provide relief to pregnant women from stomach and back pain through the night. Different sizes, as well as shapes, are available to be used as pregnancy pillows. Different variants of pregnancy pillows might be helpful for women through different phases of pregnancy to provide them with added comfort.
5. Lumbar Pillow
Lumbar pillows are highly recommended for those who suffer any kind of back pain or have suffered any kind of spinal issues in the past. Lumbar pillows are designed to provide support to the lower back of your spine. These types of pillows can also be highly beneficial for those who have to sit on a chair for a longer part of the day, which may induce spinal misalignment. Lumbar pillows can be really helpful in relieving back pain and are also helpful for people recovering from back injuries.
6. Snoring Preventing Pillow
Different types of pillows which have been designed to provide proper neck and head support to keep all your air passages open are known to prevent snoring at night. The pillows that contour as per your neck and head position can be really helpful for preventing snoring, like memory foam pillow, water pillow, and buckwheat hulls pillow. The latest addition to snoring prevention pillows is the smart pillows. These pillows are in-built with sleep monitoring technology, alongside using a high-quality fill material that can lower your snoring.
7. Allergy Reducing Pillow
Many types of pillows like feather pillows or low-quality synthetic pillows can actually induce sneezing and eye-watering for several people. However, there is a huge range of pillows in the market which claim to be hypoallergic. Before you finalize your pillow type, you must ensure the elements that may induce any kind of allergy for you. Some of the best pillows that can be used by people with frequent allergies are memory foam pillows, latex pillows, and polyester pillows.
8. Wedge Pillow
Wedge pillows are specially designed to provide additional support to different parts of a person’s body while sleeping. Wedge shapes pillows come in various sizes and are highly beneficial for people undergoing pregnancy, abdominal pain, or back pains.
C. Different Types of Bed Pillows based on their Size:
- Standard Sized Pillow
- Super Standard Sized Pillow
- Toddler-Sized Pillow
- Body Pillow
- Queen Sized Pillow
- King Sized Pillow
- Travel Pillow
- European Pillow
1. Standard Sized Pillow
2 standard-sized pillows can be perfectly placed edge to edge on a bed. This size of the pillow is easier to place on your bed as well as to fluff. Most commonly used standard-sized pillows are made of either cotton or foam. For a neater look on your bed, you need to look out for high-quality pillows that do not easily sink. For added back support, you can also use a combination of 2 pillows on either side.
- Size: 20” x 26”
2. Super Standard Sized Pillow
A super standard pillow is best for single and twin-sized beds. They can also be used for kids’ beds. Also, these are a perfect pick for those who need their extra sleeping space and love rolling over the night. Moreover, they fit perfectly into standard as well as queen-sized pillow covers.
- Size: 20” x 28:
3. Toddler-Sized Pillow
This pillow size is perfect to provide the utmost comfort to a toddler. Moreover, they are easy to handle by the small hands of toddlers as well. They can also be carried along to the daycare if the toddler needs a daytime nap.
- Size: 13” x 18:
4. Body Pillow
Body pillows are twice as long as standard-sized pillows. These pillows can especially be used by people who need to hug something while sleeping. They can conform easily to your body shape and provide you with great comfort.
- Size: 54” in length
5. Queen Sized Pillow
For a queen-sized bed, two queen-sized pillows fit in perfectly. You can also pair a queen-sized pillow with a standard-sized pillow on either side of your queen-sized bed for added back support. Queen-sized pillows easily fit in a standard-sized pillowcase as well.
- Size: 20” x 30”
6. King Sized Pillow
Due to the extra length of a king-sized pillow, they are good for joint and muscle pain due to additional body support. A pair of king-sized pillows also fit perfectly for a king-sized bed. You can also consider placing a king-sized pillow in a queen-sized case, paired with a king-sized pillow in a king-sized pillowcase for added back support.
- Size: 20” x 36”
7. Travel Pillow
Travel pillows are specially designed to prevent neck pain and while taking a nap on your flight, car, or bus. It is a perfect companion for people who travel frequently. They are usually made with microbeads and can be carried along easily due to their small size.
- Size: 12” x 16”
8. European Pillow
These pillows are square in shape and fulfill more of a decorative purpose. They can be paired with your regular-sized bed pillows to form a pretty-looking arrangement. Also, these pillows are used to cover cushioning joints and provide you extra body support instead of regular neck support.
- Size: 28” x 28”
Pillow Buying Guide
Going through all the above-mentioned different types of pillows might actually leave you more confused. Therefore, to make things easier for you, below mentioned are a few of the factors that can help you pick the best suitable pillow from the above-mentioned list.
Know when you need to replace your pillow:
Different factors like built-up skin cells, mites, wear and tear, forming of lumps, and uncomfortable sleep or even neck pain may hint you towards changing your pillow. Most of the pillows need to be replaced as soon as they are unable to retain their original shape after folding or use.
Consider your sleeping position for picking your pillow type:
Your choice of pillow may vary a lot due based on your sleeping pattern. Some pillows have been designed to offer enhanced comfort to people who sleep on their back, whereas; others have been designed for ones who sleep on their side or stomach. If you use the wrong kind of pillow based on your sleeping position, it may lead to neck pain or even spinal disorders. Below mentioned are the different types of pillows suggested for different sleeping positions.
- Side Sleepers: thick, firm pillow
- Back Sleepers: medium thickness
- Stomach Sleepers: thin, softer pillow
- Decide the pillow fill that you require:
Deciding the pillow fill is the most important factor while picking a new pillow. First things first, factor out all the materials which may induce allergies if you are prone to any kind of allergies. Next, figure out if you need any kind of special pillow fill based on your medical conditions. Finally, adding up all the factors, pick a pillow from the above-mentioned list that perfectly suits your budget and needs.
Assess the size of the pillow that you need:
An extra-large pillow might become more of a hassle for a small-sized bed. Also, a small-sized pillow might not allow you the desired level of comfort. The size of the pillow may also vary as per its usage. Based on the standard pillow sized mentioned above, figure out the best one that suits your bed size as well as your requirements.
Review the type of mattresses that you use:
If you have a softer mattress, you may need to go in for a thinner pillow. However, a firmer mattress calls in for a fuller pillow. Softer mattresses allow your body to sink in, leaving minimal space between the mattress and your neck, thus a thinner pillow is required, regardless of your sleeping position. However, if you have a firmer mattress, you may need a fuller pillow to provide better support to your neck. Click here to see Bed Sheet brands.
Figure out the sleeping temperature that you prefer:
Most of the people out there surely consider cooler and soothing pillows to sleep on. However, many of you out there might also prefer a warmer and cozier pillow. Some of the pillow types provide more ventilation and are cooler in nature, whereas, some pillow materials tend to retain your body heat for a longer period of time. Therefore, pick wisely!
Most people are unaware of the impact of a pillow on their overall well-being as well as their sleep quality. Especially, if you have any kind of body pain or medical constraints, you need to be extra careful about your choice of pillow. We hope that going through all the above-mentioned information, along with the types of pillows will surely help you pick the right kind of pillow.