How to choose the perfect pillow

How to choose the perfect pillow

When you buy pillows it’s a case of buy before you try. You never know whether you’re going to like them, even if you squish them in a shop. So, it’s good to know a few pillow basics before going ahead with a purchase.

This article will cover how to choose the perfect pillow, so you can buy the right pillows first time around with no messing about.

Let’s jump right in.

Firmness matters

Are you a front sleeper, a side sleeper or back sleeper? Do you sleep in multiple positions, and if so, what position do you sleep in predominantly?

The answer to these questions will determine what pillow firmness you should get, because different firmness’s offer different levels of support.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • If you sleep on your side, get firm pillows
  • If you sleep on your front, get soft pillows
  • If you sleep on your back, get firm or medium pillows
  • If you sleep in all positions, get a firm and a soft pillow

If you don’t know how you sleep, record yourself, or ask your partner (if you’re lucky enough to have one). Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a medium pillow because you can use it as a benchmark for comfort at bedtime.

Allergies

Pillows that trigger allergies most commonly use animal products like duck feather and down, and goose feather and down. If you struggle with allergies, avoid these fillings at all costs, or else you’ll be sneezing to high heaven.

Some cheap pillows also use fabrics that are poorly woven and sealed, giving dust, dust mites and pet dander an opportunity to penetrate them. You should choose pillows that are marketed as ‘hypoallergenic’ to avoid this.

In addition to ‘hypoallergenic’ pillows, you might come across pillows marketed as ‘anti-allergenic’. These are treated with an anti-allergy spray at the factory, which seals the fabric or stops bacteria and dust mites from taking hold.

Synthetic down alternatives

If you love the sensation of down and feather but struggle with allergies, the synthetic alternative for down is microfibre filling.

Microfibre filling is made from strands and shreds of microfibre that hold air, creating a similar loftiness and airiness to down. When you press down on a microfibre pillow, it will compress and slowly rise back up, just like down.

The only real difference is microfibre pillows conform a little less to the shape of your head, but the fact there are no feathers to stab you makes up for it.

Cover materials

You’ll probably use a pillowcase anyway, but the outer cover fabric of your pillows will determine how they feel. For example, polypropylene feels rigid and scratchy, while cotton feels soft, smooth and luxurious to the touch.

Here’s a rundown of the main pillow cover materials:

  • Polypropylene: A water-resistant material reserved for budget pillows
  • Microfibre: A beautifully soft material found in mid-range and luxury pillows
  • Cotton: A soft, luxurious natural material often sold in Egyptian or organic form
  • Polyester: A synthetic substitute for cotton that’s more durable but not as soft
  • Polycotton: A 50-50 blend of cotton-polyester, offering good durability and softness

We sell pillows with covers made from all these materials. Since there are so many, here’s a breakdown of the luxury levels offered:

  • Polypropylene: Budget pillows
  • Polyester: Budget and mid-range pillows
  • Polycotton: Mid-range pillows
  • Microfibre: Mid-range and luxury pillows
  • Cotton: Luxury pillows

Filling types

To expand on our section about synthetic down alternatives, microfibre is only one filling material available. We use two fillings – hollowfibre or microfibre – because they offer the best comfort based on customer research.

  • Microfibre: A luxurious filling that mimics down and feather in shredded form
  • Hollowfibre: Polyester fibres intertwined to create an airy pillow that springs back

While you can get luxury microfibre and hollowfibre pillows, most luxury pillows use microfibre or a combination of fillings. The reason is simple: luxury pillows are associated with down and feather, which microfibre mimics.

Pillow sizes

The standard UK pillow size is 48cm x 76cm, give or take 1-2cm at either side. All our standard pillows measure 48cm x 76cm.  

Some UK pillows from other brands measure 50cm x 75cm. Pillowcases are often bigger than this, so you should have no problems either way. If in doubt, our 48cm x 76cm pillows offer a little more wiggle room with pillowcases.

Types of pillow

The most common pillows, of course, are rectangular pillows. Every bed needs these standard pillows. Other types of pillow include bolster pillows, U-shape pillows and V-shape pillows, which serve different purposes.

  • Bolster pillow: This is a cigar-shaped pillow most often used at the head of the bed for sitting upright, or you can stick it between your legs to reduce hip pain and stress on your knees when sleeping on your side.
  • U-shape pillow: This is a very large pillow longer than half the length of your body shaped into a ‘U’. U-shape pillows are used for support and during maternity to stop pregnant women rolling onto their back.
  • V-shape pillow: Shorter than U-shape pillows and in the shape of a V, V-shape pillows are for extra support in multiple sleeping positions – they’re great at stopping you from rolling over, or you can use them to sit up in bed.

Pillow prices

You can pay anywhere from £10 to £100 for a pillow, and some extravagant brands have pillows costing three times as much.

Our opinion is that for a budget pillow, you should look to spend less than £20. For a mid-range pillow, look to spend less than £35, and for a luxury pillow, look to spend less than £50 (give or take a couple of pounds).

We sell pillows for all budgets with a quality guarantee; all our pillows are made by us with strict quality checks at the factory.

For even better value, look for pillows in a set of two. Our pillow pairs offer excellent value for money, and most people need two pillows anyway.

Hopefully, this guide should help you choose the perfect pillow. Browse our pillow range today and feel free to get in touch for advice.

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