Down, memory foam, latex, feathers, there are too many pillow stuffing options out there. Which one is the best? It’s hard to tell. Each one of them has a set of unique features and a few downsides of using them, which makes the picking choice difficult. While there are a lot of different filling options, it’s often reassuring that there are also a lot of adjustable options.
Pillow stuffing helps determine how a pillow feels and whether it’s comfortable or not. Every filling feels different and not every type of filling will work with everyone. That means that you’ll already need to experience a certain type of stuffing to know whether it’s right for you or not.
Keep in mind that while they are all feature-rich, their drawbacks may not be as attractive to you.
10 Top Types of Pillow Stuffing
Even if you haven’t experienced all types of different pillows, this list will help you determine which pillow stuffing works the best for your needs. Pillow stuffing is also important because it determines the comfort level for people with different needs and requirements.
For example, if you sweat a lot during sleep, you need a pillow with good cooling technology. Also, pillow stuffing works for different sleeping positions and other preferences.
1. Down Pillow Stuffing
The fluffiest and softest layer of the feather is called down, and it’s an ideal filling for pillows, mattress toppers, mattress pads, and different kinds of bedding. Natural down is much better than the synthetic one and is more durable than other options.
A lot of people confuse down pillows with the regular feather stuffing, but they’re quite different. The Down layer is fluffier compared to the feathers. Additionally, the stuffing is chunkier and larger compared to the normal feathers. It’s important to be choosing pure down feathers and not the combination of two, as that doesn’t give away the same effect.
Of course, you won’t always be able to find a 100% down pillow. However, the best relation between down and feathers should be 75% to 25% down concerning feathers.
- They are lightweight and thus more comfortable.
- They are durable and have a lifespan of well over 15 years if treated properly
- The feel of the pillow is luxurious and moldable enough to adjust it to your needs.
- Adequate temperature regulation properties.
Drawbacks: Although it has better temperature regulating properties, it can still trap a lot of heat in the summer. Additionally, it’s quite expensive so it may not be the best option for everyone.
Recommendations: Our best lover Libero Pillow from matouk.com.
2. Feather Pillow Stuffing
Adjustable: Mostly not
If you’re extremely restricted on budget and need an option that will just work, feather pillows are abundant on the market and fairly affordable. However, they’re far from the best option.
Feathers wear off too fast, leaving the pillow either too saggy or degraded. Also, the feathers after a while start to pop out, making a mess in your bedrooms.
They were a popular option in the past when other materials were way more expensive than they are today. However, the loss of loft and the constant need for fluffing sparked the demand for down pillows and other materials such as memory foam.
Some pricier feather pillows include small clusters of down to improve durability, but that’s far from the effect that pure down pillows create. Also, because they are more affordable than other options, it’s unlikely that you’ll find an adjustable option.
- Lightweight, similarly like the down stuffing.
- Easy to mold up and shape the way you like, making them cuddly.
- They’re more affordable than down options.
Drawbacks: There are some notable drawbacks such as lack of proper support, heating, hard to clean and maintain and they often give away an unpleasant smell after a few years of use. They’re less durable than down.
Recommendations: Our best lover Puredown 2 Pack White Goose Feather Pillows
3. Polyester Fiberfill Pillow Stuffing
Aside from the polyester fiberfill, this type of stuffing is also known as poly-fil, as well as a down alternative. People who like the fill of down stuffing, are vegans and need a more affordable down-like option also call it a down alternative. Pol-fil pillow stuffing has a more approachable price and can be used on a great variety of pillows. It’s also relatively adjustable.
Although it still can’t be washed due to synthetic material, polyester fiberfill options make it much easier to clean and use on various applications. However, due to their high-maintenance, the quality decays quickly. They will easily lose shape and the comfort they had when they were bought and require fluffing.
- The pillow stuffing represents a great value for the price, while more suitable for vegans.
- Hypoallergenic in the sense that those allergic to feather and down won’t feel discomfort
- Among the cheapest options, there are.
- They are easy to clean and maintain, unlike the down pillows.
Drawbacks:: Everything that is cheap also wears off relatively fast. With that in mind, the alternative down fibers wears off easily, leading to loss of the original shape and the need to re-fluff. It can sag and lose its firmness which is bad for back and side sleepers. Finally, it can lead to sleeping hotter than with other pillow options.
Recommendations: Our best lover Mybecca
4. Memory Foam Pillow Stuffing
Memory foam is the most popular material for pillow stuffing. You can find it in two shapes. Block or shredded memory foam. The block foam is just wrapped in a pillowcase and shipped as a product. On the other hand, shredded memory foam is adjustable, makes a better contouring experience, and is overall more comfortable and plushy.
Memory foam pillows are made out of polyurethane as well as other synthetic chemicals. It’s made so that it’s pressure and heat activated so when you lay your head in bed, the contouring and snuggling technology will activate, conforming to the shape of your head and making you feel comfortable.
However, now and then they can end up sinking. That’s why memory foam that is shredded is better because you can adjust the firmness and thickness of the pillow. In addition to that, it’s important to note that the memory foam filling can cause unpleasant odor associated with the process of off-gassing, while also providing sweaty and hot night if there’s no gel-infused foam.
- Amazing pressure relief and comfort
- Contours to the shape of your head and neck to maximize comfort.
- Is less likely to sink compared to other pillow stuffing.
- Great support regardless of the sleeping position you lay on.
Drawbacks:: Many people are turned off by the unpleasant odors that are a result of off-gassing of the volatile materials. They may occasionally sink too much, yet their biggest flaw is the fact it heats up easily and leads to hot flashes and sweating during the night.
Recommendations: Our best lover TEMPUR-Cloud® Breeze Dual Cooling™ Pillow
5. Buckwheat Pillow Filling
Buckwheat pillows have grown extremely popular over the last decades. They are made using the buckwheat hull shells. The pillows originally came from Japan, where they were used for a long time. On average it can take up to 10-12 pounds of buckwheat hulls to fill one pillow.
Buckwheat is a great temperature regulator, which makes it a popular pick among people who sleep hot and sweaty and don’t want to use down or memory foam. The buckwheat filling also naturally conforms to the sleeper’s head and helps them sleep comfortably and peacefully. They are firm, thick, and balanced, but perhaps less cuddly than other options.
Another thing that we like about buckwheat is that they are durable, and can last a lot of years, if not several decades.
However, they’re less prominent on the market due to more affordable options. Another downfall of using this type of pillows is that they are heavy and can make disturbing noise as they collide and move inside the pillow shell. That can lead to discomfort and difficulty staying asleep if you’re a light sleeper.
Given they’re less snuggly than other options, they may be too firm for some sleepers and with that cause discomfort for some type of sleepers.
- Extremely durable, can last up to a few decades or a lifetime.
- The hulls are distributed in a way that allows more breathability
- There’s a lot of support in terms of comfort
- Ideal for those who prefer high firmness
Drawbacks:: Noise is one of the key drawbacks that turns a lot of light sleepers away. They may also be too firm to sleep on, especially because they are heavier than other options.
Recommendations: Our best lover Hullo Buckwheat Pillow
6. Kapok Pillow Stuffing
Another name for Kapok stuffing is Ceiba Pendandra, which is a tropical tree located in Mexico. They are used for a variety of things, but you may mostly find it in pillows. They are similar to the cotton filling so it’s soft
Manufacturers who make Kapok pillows often refer to this magnificent and soft material as silk cotton because it’s gentle and silky. One pillow stuffing can consist of hundreds of different seeds. If you don’t want to use polyester or down for your pillow stuffing, this is the best option.
For those who are looking for organic and natural options, Kapok is 100% natural and organic. Additionally, this is great for people who are suffering from certain allergies as there are absolutely no toxic materials. Lastly, those who enjoy soft and plushy sleeping surface may get better rest.
The bad sides include that it is prone to lumps. A more worrisome downside is that Kapok material is flammable, so you don’t want to keep it close to the fire. Lastly, they are not so moldable like other types of pillow despite them being quite huggable. Nevertheless, they’re great for all types of sleepers.
- Organic and natural, completely free of toxic and volatile chemicals.
- Soft, silky, and snuggly.
Drawbacks:: It’s hard to keep them in their original shape as they are not moldable. Additionally, they represent a fire hazard.
Recommendations: Our best lover BeanProducts Kapok Sleep Pillows with 100% Organic Cotton Fabric
7. Cotton Pillow Stuffing
Cotton is a material you won’t always readily see, but there’s a reason why most of the bedding is made out of cotton. It’s available everywhere, especially when it comes to 100% natural and organic shape. That also makes it a vegan-friendly and environmentally-conscious option.
Sometimes, however, it can be found together with shredded memory foam and polyester, which adds the contouring technology to its use. It’s soft, gentle, and snuggles to lay on. Additionally, it’s quite easy to sleep with it too.
Being an organic option, cotton is also hypoallergenic so you and your family won’t have to worry about bacteria, mold, and dust mites. It’s a more popular option than poly-fil but you may rarely see it as a standalone option.
Cotton is breathable, and with that, a great temperature regulator. You won’t have to worry about trapped heat or waking up during the night with hot flashes. It’s designed so that pillow would optimize your night rest and prevent you from waking up multiple times per night.
- One of the most eco-friendly options for a pillow stuffing
- Natural and organic, which makes it more vegan-friendly.
- Amazing temperature regulator, no sweating.
- Snuggly, silky, and comfortable to sleep on
- Great for people with allergies
Drawbacks:: The filling will occasionally lump together, and cause the pillow to sink in. That may make it more comfortable to sleep on if you’re a side sleeper. Also, you may need to replace the filling every then and now.
Recommendations: Our best lover James Hotel Quality Polyester Medium Support Pillow
8. Latex Pillow Filling
Latex pillows are extremely popular, but also quite expensive, especially if they’re made out of natural or organic latex. Latex is quite hard to extract, and the most popular option includes the Talalay latex that is more breathable.
Similar to memory foam, latex foam can also be found in a block or shredded, which makes the pillow easy to adjust to your individual needs. They offer amazing support regardless of your sleeping position and will reduce migraines while allowing the coolest and most comfortable night rest.
If you’re looking for a more adjustable, and moldable option, you should pick the shredded latex. Additionally, it makes the pillow more snuggly and softer to sleep cool.
Latex is also a more vegan-friendly option, especially if you’re using shredded, 100% organic latex. Unlike synthetic pillow fillings, natural latex is also more breathable. A lot of pillows offer the so-called open-cell design, so that the air is easier to exchange, and you won’t end up fully awake, tossing and turning around.
Also, latex pillows can be quite pricy, so they’re not the best option for people who are right on the budget.
- More eco-conscious compared to other designs.
- Organic and 100% naturally made, although synthetic options are also abundant.
- The open-cell design makes it more breathable
- Soft and silky feel, while also being snuggly.
Drawbacks:: Some may think that it’s too soft, so it’s not always the best option for side sleepers. Also, they are quite expensive and for that price, you could easily get two pillows of some other type with nearly as much comfort.
Recommendations: Our best lover Shredded Natural Latex Pillow from Plushbeds.com
9. Wool Pillow Stuffing
Whether it’s cold winter or scorching hot summer, the wool pillow has got you covered. It’s somewhere in the midrange pricing level and usually comes back with other materials to improve comfort and feel. It can be found in different types of pillows and produce great insulation for the winter months.
Similarly, it’s a breathable material, so during the summer it’d cool you down and give you a breezy night’s rest. However, you won’t find it often in the market. Over time, wool tends to get lumpy and sag, which is not good in the long run when it comes to durability.
- It’s a great insulation for the winter months
- Breathable and cool for hot and humid nights.
- It’s naturally hypoallergenic
- No toxic and volatile materials.
Drawbacks:: Not the most moldable material, so you likely won’t be able to shape it with ease, unless it’s also accompanied by some other, more moldable material. It’s not vegan-friendly and it can sag over time.
Recommendations: Our best lover thewoolroom.com
10. Honorable Mention: Microbeads Pillow Stuffing
This is another synthetic material, not so commonly found on the market. It’s a more affordable, yet similar alternative to the buckwheat pillow filling we mentioned earlier. They are more breathable because the microbeads inside the pillow make air circulation easier. They are also a moldable alternative to many other options.
However, the bad outweighs the good. They’re not environmentally-conscious, and they tend to get lumpy and eventually flatten out. Still, if you want a breathable pillow that feels similar to buckwheat, this is a good option to consider.
- They can mimic buckwheat
- More affordable than other options
- More breathable so you won’t sweat during the night.
Drawbacks: They can be made out of shady materials and produce off-gassing. Additionally, they are not so durable, so the pillow could flatten out over time.
Recommendations: Our best lover Cushie Pillows
Which Pillow Stuffing to Pick?
No option can fit all your needs. Any of them can be either too lumpy for you, too hot, or expensive. When picking the right pillow stuffing, you need to focus on purpose and how you can benefit from it. The softest, most comfortable, and adjustable options include latex and cotton. If you’re not bothered by noise, buckwheat stuffing is great too.
Still, if you’re restricted on money, memory foam pillows works like charm, as long as the pillow in itself uses gel infused beads.
The most budget-friendly option certainly includes feather pillow stuffing, but with new stuffing options emerging, it’s rarely found and used.Other two materials you may also like but not in the list: