What Should I Consider When Buying Pillows?

J. Beam
J. Beam
A throw pillow.
A throw pillow.

There are many different types of pillows to suit the many different uses for them in the home, including throw, floor, bed, and even travel pillows. Choosing the right pillow depends on the purpose it will serve, but those designed for use in bed are perhaps the most purposeful type. Since you sleep on them every night, there are several important criteria to consider when purchasing them.

Pillows provide support during sleep.
Pillows provide support during sleep.

You should first consider the contents. Bed pillows come with a variety of fillings, from polyester and synthetic materials to goose feathers. Some are solid, in which case they're made of foam and usually don't include stuffing. The type of fill material that you choose is a matter of personal preference, but keep in mind any allergies that you or your bedmate might have.

Firm, u-shaped pillows are typically used by travelers to support the neck.
Firm, u-shaped pillows are typically used by travelers to support the neck.

If you or a partner have allergies, you may want to consider hypoallergenic fillings, which are usually made of synthetic fibers. Whether you have allergies or not, you should replace any pillows that have stuffing about every six months because of dust mites, which can cause allergic reactions.

Comfort is another consideration when buying pillows. Much like a mattress, a pillow can offer different levels of support. Those made of memory foam material are similar to mattresses made of the same material except with less density. Choosing pillows that offer the right support for your particular sleeping position will prevent muscle cramps in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.

Queen and king size pillows are designed to fit a bed of the same size.
Queen and king size pillows are designed to fit a bed of the same size.

You should also consider the size of pillow you want as well as the size of any pillowcases that you have. In addition to standard, queen, and king sized pillows, you can also purchase body pillows, but there is generally far less selection in this size.

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Discussion Comments

sevenseas

Down pillows are comfortable, but they can also be a bit pricey. Because they can become mildewy from the moisture, they need to be replaced often. Probably anywhere from three to five years.

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    • A throw pillow.
      By: aspen rock
      A throw pillow.
    • Pillows provide support during sleep.
      By: taka
      Pillows provide support during sleep.
    • Firm, u-shaped pillows are typically used by travelers to support the neck.
      By: karam miri
      Firm, u-shaped pillows are typically used by travelers to support the neck.
    • Queen and king size pillows are designed to fit a bed of the same size.
      By: Alexander Gitlits
      Queen and king size pillows are designed to fit a bed of the same size.
    • Memory foam pillows can be made to mimic the size and shape of standard pillows to maximize comfort.
      By: Elenathewise
      Memory foam pillows can be made to mimic the size and shape of standard pillows to maximize comfort.