A Guide to the 7 Types of Pillows and Their Pros and Cons

One of the most important things that you can have on your bed to help you get a good night’s sleep is a pillow. But it can be hard to choose the right one. There are so many types of material that pillows come filled with. Below is a guide to the different types of pillow fillers.


Feathers aren’t the same thing as down. Down is the soft clusters that are found under goose and duck breast feathers which keep the birds insulated during the cold weather. It’s a lot warmer than feathers and don’t have any quills, so they’re not going to poke through your pillow. However, it’s important to note that most of the down pillows contain some feathers to create volume.

Benefits – Down pillows are very soft. Not only that, but it’s hypoallergenic and anti-microbial. There are people who believe that they are allergic to this kind of pillow, but they probably are really allergic to the dust mites. One of the best ways that you can combat this is through using a pillow protector.

Drawbacks – Down is very expensive. If you want a pillow that’s completely down, expect to pay a lot for it. You also are going to have to constantly fluff your pillow. Eventually, it’s going to be completely flat. One final thing to know is that it has a natural smell that’s subtle and gamy.

Final Notes – If you are shopping for a down pillow online and you can’t feel the pillow that you are thinking of buying, one way to know the amount of fluff in it is to look at its fill power. This goes anywhere from 300-800, and this is the space that’s occupied by the down. A higher number is better.

Natural Latex

This is a foam that is free of chemicals and it’s made from a rubber tree’s milk. When it comes to pillows, there are two types:

  • Dunlop – This has denser at its bottom
  • Talala – This has a more consistent texture and it’s more expensive.

Benefits – A lot of chiropractors suggest this type of pillow for those their patients who have back or neck pain. The reason for this is because its bouncy and buoyant. It will push back, so it feels like your head’s floating. This type of material dispenses heat and is porous, so it’s ideal for warm sleepers. It’s also mildew-proof and anti-microbial.

Drawbacks –  A latex pillow is costly, and it can smell rubbery when you first get it, so it’s a good idea to air it out. There are also people with latex allergies.

Final Notes – If you’re an especially warm sleeper, you want to look for one that comes with copper. This will help with distributing the heat through your pillow to help you feel cooler.

Memory Foam

This has become popular in more recent years and also goes by the name of visco-elastic foam. This foam is petroleum based and high in density, and it was actually created by NASA back in the later 1960s to create airline chairs that were safer and  more comfortable during takeoff. It’s made to distribute weight evenly, which is why it’s so popular to use in mattresses, and respond to pressure and heat.

Benefits – It feels cushy. It also contours to your head’s shape and returns slowly to its form. There are different densities that are based on what you prefer. Some of them are very soft like marshmallows and some take more time for you to sink into them. Since it’s anti-microbial and hypoallergenic, it’s low maintenance and only needs to be spot cleaned occasionally. It also shouldn’t become flat as the years go by.

Drawbacks – It absorbs heat, so it’s not good for people who are hot sleepers. It also has a texture that not everyone likes. Even the softer versions are too firm for some people. The pillow’s firmness also might change. Since it is heat responsive, memory foam often gets softer during the summer and firmer during the winter. Then there’s also the smell, which can take some time for you to get used to it. it’s definitely important that you air it out before using it.

Final Notes – If you want additional fluff, you can look for memory foam that’s been wrapped up in down. It’s hard to figure out how well you’ll like the memory foam pillow if you don’t sleep on it. However, when you are shopping, you’ll be able to get a good idea of how firm it is according to the weight. If the pillow is heavy, chances are that it will be firmer.


Gel that’s put in the pillows generally is polyurethane that’s encased inside plastic. This is layered by the manufacturer on top of one of the more traditional types of pillow material, such as memory foam. Sometimes the gel is shredded or chopped and blended by the manufacturer so that the The gel used for pillows is generally polyurethane encased in plastic. Manufacturers layer this on top of a more traditional pillow material, like memory foam. Sometimes manufacturers shred or chop gel and blend it right into memory foam.

Benefits – Gel has great cooling properties, and these  can help with you falling asleep. The temperature dropping can help with falling asleep. Hot showers before bedtime and then laying down on the gel pillow will help you with falling asleep.

Drawbacks – The gel will absorb the heat, but it won’t dissipate it. this means that the cooling effect only lasts around 10 minutes.

Final Notes – If you love your pillow but you’re interested in trying gel’s cooling effects, you can always buy one of the gel mats. Place it in your fridge and then put it into the pillowcase before going to bed.


This is a really strong synthetic fiber that’s made of petroleum. It is able to be processed as well as used in a lot of ways, so you are going to find many different qualities, prices and comfort levels of polyester pillows. A code name of polyester is down alternative.

Benefits – Some of the higher quality polyester pillows can be thrown into your washer and then put them into the dryer on a low setting. These pillows are also very well-made and comfortable. Some polyester pillows also have luxurious details like covers made of cotton sateen and with gusseting.

Drawbacks – Polyester’s texture has a lot of places that dust mites can hide in. it also can be sometimes uncomfortable. Some people say it feels unnatural and some of the pillows don’t last very long. They often become lumpy and flat in just a few months. They’re not very supportive.

Final Notes – A lot of the pillows that are called hypoallergenic have been made from polyester. However, since most people aren’t allergic to polyester it’s kind of misleading.


A wool pillow is stuffed with fibers made from fleece from goats and sheep. They are also stuffed with other types of hairy animals like alpacas. It isn’t hard to find a manufacturer who only uses covers made of organic cotton and unprocessed wool, if you’re looking for something that’s truly chemical-free.

Benefits – These pillows have an appeal that’s rustic, since some of them are stuffed by hand. People often think of wool as being warm but it’s great insulator both against cold and heat. A wool pillow will keep you cool during the summer and warm during the winter. It’s good for wicking moisture away so mildew and mold can’t thrive.

Drawbacks – A wool pillow often feels flat and dense. They don’t conform to the head and you’re going to have to keep adjusting to have a comfortable place to lay.

Final Notes – Some of the wool pillows have a side that zips, so it’s possible take some of its filling out for less puffiness and then put it back in when it settles. If you like the thought of wool but you’re looking for additional cushioning, you can get a pillow with natural latex filling that’s wrapped up in wool.

Buckwheat Hulls

Pillows stuffed with buckwheat hulls are very firm and supportive. These hulls are heavy and they’ll shift when they’re moved, although they’ll keep their loft.

Benefits – You can maneuver the hulls so fit your body’s curve. They then lock into that place to give you the support where you want it and not place uncomfortable pressure in those places where you don’t want it. it’s also possible to add additional hulls to your case to give you more support or to replace the old ones.

Drawbacks – This type of pillow is different, so you may not like it. The pillow won’t have the typical squishable, soft, fluffy feel that you probably expect from your pillows. Some users also have said that these hulls are noisy when they’re changing positions while sleeping.

Final Notes – These types of pillows have a great lifespan. To clean the pillow, you don’t have to use your washer or even any water. You just dump the filling out into a shallow, wide bowl or onto a big cookie sheet. To get rid of any odors, simply put your hulls in the sun. then you can place your case into the washer and use mild detergent for washing it.

Choosing the right pillow can be a bit overwhelming, but knowing the different types of pillows can make it a bit easier. Find the right pillow for you and you will have a much better night’s sleep. You’ll wake up a lot more refreshed and ready to start your day.




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