Making sure you are buying the right pillow isn’t easy. Even if you search online for reviews (like you’re doing now…!) then you will likely come across a lot of American websites that aren’t relevant to the UK.
And there’s nothing worse than researching a pillow, finding the perfect one, then discovering that it’s priced in dollars – and isn’t even available over here in Britain! 🙁
So for this review, I’ve only looked at pillows that you can buy in the UK (and all of them can be bought online).
Now, the first thing to understand is that the correct pillow is extremely important for comfort and good sleep; in fact, research shows that it’s almost as important, if not more so, than your mattress.
In terms of percentages, only a small part of your body is actually resting on the pillow – with the rest on the mattress – but of course it’s the importance of your head that counts. If you don’t get your pillow right then you’ll get all sorts of problems – neck ache, back pain, hip pain, or worse.
Many people are surprised to learn that these types of conditions aren’t only limited to using the incorrect mattress (for example, a mattress for back pain sufferers). Your pillow really is that important.
So without further ado, here is my list of the best and worst pillow reviews. Make sure to read my best mattresses guide here too if you’re looking to buy a new mattress – I have reviewed all prices, ranging from £200 up to £3,000!
1. Nectar ‘A Whole Nights Sleep’ Pillow – Best Overall
Choosing the perfect pillow can feel like an endless search: the struggle to find the right balance of comfort and support can leave you feeling like Goldilocks, trying one pillow after another. That’s where adjustable pillows come in, promising a customisable sleeping experience. And I’ve included quite a few of these in my top 5, starting with this, the Nectar ‘A Whole Night’s Sleep’ pillow.
Nectar’s pillow boasts adjustability as its main selling point. The pillow features three foam layers that can be removed or reinstated to achieve the desired height and firmness. there’s no foam pieces to adjust here, but actual layers, which certainly makes it easier.
What about the layers?
And speaking of layers, an adaptable gel-fused memory foam centre makes up the core of the Nectar pillow. Because I want my pillows to be able to conform to my head and neck, I found that using 2 of the 3 layers worked best for me.
The Nectar pillow’s cover is constructed from ultra-plush Tencel fabric, which is both breathable and moisture-wicking. This aids in maintaining a comfortable temperature and warding against overheating during the night. The softness and cushioning provided by the technofibre fill are ‘just right’ and in a world where pillows are now very complicated, I like the way that Nectar have kept it simple.
The Nectar pillow strikes a nice balance between firm support and soft relaxation. And while the concept of adjusting your pillow to fit your needs is appealing, be aware that the adjustments with the Nectar pillow won’t be as precise as others (but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Sometimes, keep it simple, stupid really works: though for those seeking micro / more specific adjustments, this pillow may fall short. But for most people, I think it’ll be just fine.
One thing to note: If you prefer a solid and supportive pillow – rather than something plush and very soft – the Nectar will suit you to a tee; for others just don’t expect ultra-plush softness as this isn’t the pillow for that.
Next let’s talk about the price… At £99 (before any discounts, which are commonly available), the Nectar pillow is within a comparable range to other memory foam pillows in the market.
But like most things in the UK lately, the price has jumped and therefore this makes it more expensive than its main competitor, the OTTY adjustable pillow.
In a nutshell:
But that drawback aside, in terms of almost everything else, it’s just perfect and it’s why I picked the Nectar A Whole Night’s Sleep Pillow as my top choice: it works for most people, has some notable features, including its adjustability and firmer (but not firm) support.
2. TEMPUR Cloud Pillow – Best Memory Foam
I’ve personally had the opportunity to test out the TEMPUR Cloud Pillow extensively, and as I noted in my review, it’s quite an impressive choice for those seeking the best memory foam pillow in the UK at the moment (and happy to spend a bit more).
Why? Because of its 30 day trial, but also because of the wide range of features – let’s start with the filling, which consists of specially developed “ES” (Extra Soft) material. This unique material strikes a perfect balance between softness and support, closely mimicking the cushioning comfort of TEMPUR Cloud mattresses (which cost around £2,000 in the UK… gulp). As someone who appreciates a softer feel, this pillow delivered on that front in spades.
One of the best features of this pillow is its adjustability. Micro-cushions give it a soft initial sensation and mould to your head and neck: this adjustability means that you can play around to discover the perfect sleeping position that suits your needs.
It’s worth noting that you can use any standard pillowcase with the pillow, so it’s simple to coordinate with your current bedding too.
Layers & Cover
The dual-sided cover of the TEMPUR Cloud Pillow adds to its practicality and comfort. The cover is made from a soft, textured fabric that feels pleasant against the skin. It is also removable, allowing for easy washing at 60°C (up to).
One thing to be aware of is that the TEMPUR Cloud Pillow doesn’t offer so-called micro adjustments (i.e. there are no cubes of foam here) as it relies on the overall design and fill. This may be a drawback for individuals who prefer more precise customisation or want a particularly flat or full pillow. Honestly, I didn’t find it an issue in my testing, but your mileage will vary.
Finally, every TEMPUR Cloud Pillow comes with a 3-year guarantee in the UK.
In a nutshell:
In conclusion then, the adjustable design and soft texture make the TEMPUR Cloud an excellent choice for those seeking a memory foam pillow with a dreamy, softer feel.
While it may have some limitations regarding precise adjustments, in my opinion the overall quality and performance of the TEMPUR Cloud Pillow make it a compelling option for a restful night’s sleep. Unlike some others in this list, you also get 30-nights to trial it. Prices start at £109.
3. Brook + Wilde Everdene: Best Hollow Fibre
First things first, I’m going to discuss the elephant in the room: This is a hollow fibre pillow that costs £139. Yes, really.
I know, it’s a lot. But bear with me, as I’ll clarify why I think it’s the best one around.
First, let’s talk about the construction of the Everdene. Specifically, they use a filling called Thermofill Plus, which keeps you cool in hot nights and warm in colder weather. The pillow has internal pockets to distribute the filling evenly, a thoughtful touch and what’s more the pockets are made of cotton, adding to the overall quality of the pillow.
Cover & Comfort Levels
Moving on to the cover, it’s made of 100% Egyptian cotton. The material feels soft and breathable, though you’ll probably want to use a pillowcase with this one for longevity (and possible a protector too).
Now, let’s talk about the important part: the level of support. The Everdene pillow is designed to cater to combination sleepers, meaning it works well for all sleeping positions, including those who sleep on their stomach. It offers a medium-high depth or ‘loft’ that provides support and pressure relief for the head and neck.
The pillow has a “fluffy” character, which may or may not be to everyone’s liking but for a hollow fibre I couldn’t believe the quality here – it felt like a much more pricey pillow that retails for twice the price.
Price-wise, the Everdene pillow isn’t cheap: before any discounts it costs £139, which I know can seem quite steep for a hollow fibre pillow. But if you’re lucky enough to afford it, then it’s a great buy.
In a nutshell:
The Brook & Wilde Everdene pillow is my top choice if you’re looking for a hollow fibre and want a bit of luxury on top. Of course, if you’re looking to spend less, then you’ll want to weigh up this one against my top budget choices.
Comparison: Top 3 pillows
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the main features, of the above three pillows that I’ve compared/reviewed so far:
|Nectar Whole Night’s Sleep
|Brook + Wilde Everdene
|? Soft and supportive
|? Adjustable height
|? Cooling technology
|? Dear without a discount
|? No money-back guarantee
|? High price
|One size only
|One size only
|One size only
|Hollow fibre + Memory foam
4. Emma Premium Microfibre Pillow – Best Adjustable
Similar to the Nectar pillow above, this one features removable layers that allow you to customise the height and firmness according to your preference.
However, what sets it apart is the quality and versatility of its filling. Why? Because the Emma pillow is filled with microfibre, a “down alternative” that strikes a good balance between softness and support. This makes it one of my top choices for sleepers who prefer a softer pillow that still offers ample cushioning for the head and neck – very elusive to do.
In terms of construction, the Emma Microfibre Pillow boasts a durable and lightweight design. Its conjugated fibres, which weirdly resemble 3D spirals, ensure that the pillow maintains its shape and fluffiness over time.
When comparing the Emma Microfibre Pillow to the Nectar A Whole Night’s Sleep pillow, one noticeable difference is the filling material – while the Nectar pillow uses memory foam, the Emma pillow offers the squishy and plush feel of microfibre. This makes the Emma pillow more suitable for sleepers who prefer a softer and more adaptable surface to rest their heads. It’s basically a softer version of the Nectar, if that’s your thing.
And with four layers, including two removable ones, the Emma pillow provides ample flexibility to find your ideal height and firmness.
Considering the overall package, it’s no surprise that the Premium Microfibre Pillow is regarded as the “Best Adjustable Pillow” here on WhatMattress – and has been for a few years now.
While it may come with a slightly higher price tag (around £115) compared to its competitors, it still offers decent value for money. Additionally, the 30-night trial period ensures that you have ample time to test it out and decide if it meets your expectations.
So what’s the difference between hollow fibre and microfibre?
Allow me to dig deeper into their characteristics and weigh the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision:
Microfibre, typically made from polyester, has gained popularity for its softness, lightweight feel, and durability. It provides a plush and luxurious sleeping experience, gently cradling your head and neck. Microfibre pillows also tend to maintain their shape well, offering consistent support. They are often marketed as hypoallergenic, making them suitable for those with allergies or sensitivities.
Hollow fibre (sometimes spelled hollowfibre), on the other hand, features tubular fibres that trap air, creating a lightweight and breathable filling. This allows for better air circulation, preventing excessive heat build-up during the night. Hollowfibre pillows strike a balance between softness and support, providing a comfortable surface for your head.
The latter are often more budget-friendly, making them a practical choice for those seeking affordability. However, it’s worth mentioning that the quality of hollow fibre can vary, with some lower-quality pillows losing their loft over time and requiring regular fluffing to maintain their shape and support.
So which is best?
Ultimately, the choice between microfibre and hollowfibre should come down to the following:
- If you prefer a softer, more luxurious feel and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of breathability, microfibre might be worth considering.
- However, if breathability and a lightweight feel are important factors for you, hollowfibre could be a better fit.
- MyPillow Review (UK)
- Emma Pillow review
- Nectar Pillow review
- Simba Hybrid Pillow review
- Eve Pillow review
How do I know what pillow to look for?
Like with mattresses, there is – sadly – no agreed industry standard scale of comfiness or softness for pillows either. So, you will likely just have to rely on reviews and hands-on experiences to decide if a new pillow is going to be too soft or too hard.
I’ll keep updating this page with more reviews and guidance – unlike most other websites I try to actually test out everything myself before writing a review.
Finding the perfect pillow: A guide
Of course, the perfect pillow loft differs for each person, depending on various factors such as sleep position, head size, body weight, and even mattress firmness.
When it comes to sleep position, stomach sleepers generally prefer less-deep or ‘low loft’ pillows to avoid straining their necks by elevating their heads too much. Back sleepers tend to opt for low to medium depth pillows. On the other hand, side sleepers often find much deeper pillows more suitable as they help maintain proper spinal alignment by supporting the head, neck, and shoulders.
Head size is another consideration – if you have a larger head then you’ll fin dthat you tend to sink deeper into pillows, so individuals with larger heads usually prefer thick pillows. Conversely, those with smaller heads often find lower loft pillows more comfortable.
Body weight also plays a role. Heavier individuals generally benefit from higher loft pillows to provide sufficient support, while lightweight sleepers tend to prefer pillows with lower lofts. However, it’s important to consider other factors such as sleep position and pillow firmness when choosing the right pillow, as body weight alone shouldn’t be the sole determining factor.
The firmness of your mattress is also relevant, surprisingly. Softer mattresses allow for more sinkage, requiring less depth in the pillow to maintain comfort and support. On the other hand, firmer mattresses may necessitate deeper pillows to compensate for less sinkage and provide adequate support to the head and neck.
Which type of pillow filling is best?
If you like a softer pillow that’s all snuggly and plush, options like down, down alternative, or shredded foam are great choices. They give you that cozy, sink-in feeling that some sleepers love. On the other hand, if you prefer a firmer pillow that provides more support, solid foam, latex, or buckwheat pillows might be right up your alley.
Now, if you’re all about that close contouring action, foam or latex pillows are your go-to. They really adapt and mold to your head and neck, giving you that personalised fit. And for those who want the freedom to adjust the fill of their pillow, shredded foam, shredded latex, or buckwheat pillows are the way to go. You can add or remove fill to get it just right for you.
Are adjustable pillows always better?
Adjustable height pillows stuffed with foam cubes are of course a good option if you prefer to customise the height and stiffness of your pillow(s) – this adjustability is usually done via the addition, or removal, of small foam cubes or “clusters”.
Adjustable-height pillows are advantageous because of the flexibility they provide: they easily let you try out various setups to discover the one that best suits your needs in terms of head and neck comfort and support. And let’s be honest, most people don’t know what type of pillow they need, according to research.
But with one of these, you can alter the height of your pillow to suit your personal preference, whether that’s via a flatter or deeper feel. Here’s a photo of the Simba ‘nanocubes’ which are basically the same thing:
Pillows stuffed with these foam cubes also have the added benefit of being breathable and allowing for (adequate) air circulation. The air that circulates depends on each pillow / each brand, and can vary quite a lot.
Do be aware that an adjustable foam-cube-height pillow won’t be right for everyone. When compared to other fillings, the texture and feel of foam cubes may not be ideal for some sleepers and they take some getting used to, particularly for harder cubes.
Annoyingly, the cubes may also move or settle over time, necessitating periodic readjustment – or fluffing up – to keep everything at the right comfort level.
What are the most important factors to look for?
Considering the below factors will help you find a pillow that aligns with your sleep preferences and provides the necessary comfort and support for a restful night’s sleep:
- Firmness Level: Pillows come in varying firmness levels. The desired firmness depends on personal preference and sleep position. Softer pillows may be preferred by those who enjoy sinking into their pillow, while firmer pillows offer more support.
- Sleep Position: Your preferred sleep position greatly influences the type of pillow that will provide optimal comfort and support. Stomach sleepers tend to prefer softer, flatter pillows, while side sleepers often need thicker pillows for proper neck alignment. Back sleepers typically find medium-depth pillows suitable.
- Price: Pillows are available in a wide price range. While price doesn’t necessarily indicate quality, it’s important to consider your budget and find a pillow that offers good value for money. There are plenty of decent pillows available at affordable prices.
- Pressure Relief: Pressure relief is an important consideration for those who experience discomfort or neck pain. The pillow’s materials, loft, firmness, and your sleep position all affect its ability to alleviate pressure points and promote a comfortable sleep surface.
- Breathability: Opting for a pillow with good breathability and airflow can prevent excessive heat buildup during the night, keeping you cool and comfortable. Look for pillows with breathable covers or materials that promote air circulation.
- Durability: While it’s difficult to predict exactly how long a pillow will last, considering the quality of the materials and construction can give you an indication of its durability. High-quality materials and sturdy stitching tend to contribute to a longer-lasting pillow.
- Allergies/Sensitivities: If you have known allergies or sensitivities, check the pillow’s composition to ensure it is hypoallergenic and.or it’s made with materials that won’t trigger any adverse reactions.
- Pillow Size: Consider the size of the pillow in relation to your body and bed. In the UK, these are mostly standard, but some specialists have larger or smaller pillows.
- Maintenance and Care: It’s important to consider how easy it is to clean and maintain the pillow. Some pillows come with removable and machine-washable covers, while others may require spot cleaning or professional cleaning. Additionally, check if the pillow retains its shape and quality after washing or prolonged use.
What about pillows for those with back pain?
When it comes to picking the perfect pillow to ease back pain and get a good night’s sleep, it’s all about promoting that sweet spinal alignment. You will want a pillow that cushions your head, neck, and shoulders just right, giving you the support you need…
If you’re a stomach sleeper dealing with back pain, go for a shallow or low-depth pillow. It won’t prop your head up too high and keeps things nice and level. Back sleepers can also go for a low-depth option, but they might need a smidge more height to stop their heads from tilting back too far.
Now, side sleepers with back pain, listen up. You’ll want a medium- to deep pillow to make sure your head, neck, and shoulders are cozily cushioned; that extra loft helps with proper alignment and gives you the support you need to snooze away.
Methodology: How I decided on the best pillows
- Research and Selection: I conducted extensive research on various pillow brands and models available in the UK market. I considered factors like material, construction, firmness, and customer reviews. After careful consideration, I selected a diverse range of pillows to test for this review.
- Criteria Definition: I established specific criteria to evaluate the pillows. These criteria included comfort, support, durability, breathability, pressure relief, and value for money. They formed the basis for my assessment of each pillow’s performance.
- Testing Process: I dedicated significant time to testing each pillow individually, where possible, following a consistent and standardised approach. I used the pillows for at least a week to thoroughly assess their performance over time. I paid close attention to factors such as initial comfort, sleep quality, and any noticeable improvements or drawbacks.
- Sleep Positions and Scenarios: I tested the pillows in various sleep positions thta align with common preferences, including back, side, and stomach sleeping . I evaluated how each pillow catered to different sleeping styles and whether they provided adequate support and alignment.
- Performance Evaluation: Each pillow was evaluated against the predefined criteria. I used a rating scale and scoring system to provide an objective assessment of each pillow’s performance. I considered aspects such as pillow loft, firmness, pressure relief, breathability, and overall comfort.
- Comparison and Analysis: I compared the performance of each pillow, taking into account the established criteria. I identified strengths and weaknesses for each model and analysed how well they met different sleep preferences and needs. I looked for standout features and benefits that set certain pillows apart from the rest.
- Gathering Feedback: In addition to my own testing, I sought feedback from other individuals who also tested the pillows. This allowed me to incorporate different perspectives and insights into the review, enhancing its credibility.
And there we have it.
Choosing the best pillow in the UK in 2024 is a highly personal decision that depends on various factors such as sleep position, firmness level, and budget. Though it’s a minefield, by understanding your preferred sleep position, whether you’re a stomach, side, or back sleeper, you can select a pillow that provides the right support and alignment for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Stomach sleepers may benefit from softer, flatter pillows, while side sleepers often find thicker pillows more suitable. Back sleepers generally prefer medium-depth options.
Firmness level is another crucial consideration. Some individuals prefer the plush feel of a softer pillow, while others seek firmer support.
Finding the perfect pillow requires taking into account your own personal tastes, sleeping habits, and financial situation. Make an educated decision and purchase a pillow that offers ideal comfort and support by prioritising aspects like sleep position and hardness level. Always keep in mind that purchasing a high-quality pillow is an investment in your health and happiness. So, be picky, and get the revitalising sleep you deserve.
And let me know in the comments below what you think!
Are down pillows suitable for people with allergies?
Down pillows may not be suitable for individuals with allergies as they can harbor dust mites and allergens. However, there are hypoallergenic down alternative pillows available that offer similar softness and comfort without triggering allergies.
What is the best pillow for side sleepers?
The best pillow for side sleepers is typically one that offers adequate loft (height) and firmness to keep the head and neck properly aligned. Memory foam pillows or adjustable pillows with customisable depth/filling options are often recommended for side sleepers as they provide excellent support and contouring.
How do I clean and maintain my pillow?
Most pillows come with care instructions, but generally, it is recommended to regularly fluff and rotate the pillow to maintain its shape & also prevent clumping. Some pillows have removable covers that can be machine washed, while others may require spot cleaning.
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