In the past the shredded foam used in these pillows was cheap and not very comfortable. Most manufacturers now use Memory Foam which is much more supportive. They will need to be fluffed up occasionally as they can lose their shape.
The range of these pillows is huge, so it pays to do your research before buying. And if you can, try before you buy!
Feather Pillows are the traditional style of pillow. They compress down a lot to give firm support, and need to be fluffed up regularly to help them keep their shape.
They are breathable and light, and are a great option if you are after something cozy.
Down Pillows are generally made from a mixture of Goose and Duck Down. Down is the layer of insulation under the feathers that provides warmth and protection from water.
These are considered very luxurious pillows. They are warm, yet light, breathable and compress down well. They require frequent fluffing of the pillow to ensure that it gives good support and confort.
The best Down pillows are made from 90%+ Goose Down as the feathers are larger and more resilient than Duck feathers.
Cotton Pillows are a hypoallergenic, breathable option that are great on a hot night. They have a cotton outer and fill which is soft and fresh.
Sometimes these pillows have a mixture of materials in the fill, like cotton and polyester which gives them more support. Something to watch out for is that some pillows advertised as being cotton only have a cotton cover, and the inside can be made from other materials – e.g. shredded foam.
These are one of the most popular pillows around. Sometimes referred to as hollowfiber or microfiber although those are slight variations. Polyester fiber pillows are a synthetic pillow that are light and soft.
They are generally quite cheap to buy, and have a short lifespan because they do compress down. Frequent fluffing of the pillow helps to give the pillow more support and a longer life.
These pillows are ergonomically designed to give great support to your head and neck. The contoured shape of the pillow hugs your neck and shoulder to keep them supported, and help prevent you from slouching over.
Cooling Pillows are self explanatory – they are designed to keep you cool at night, so they are great in warmer climates if you don’t have air conditioning. Usually they have a gel top, but you can also purchase gel inserts by themselves to get the same result.
The gel quickly cools down to room temperature. So when you put your head down on it, it will instantly feel cool. The gel will slowly warm up, so after a while you may need to move your head to a cooler part of the pillow.If you are after cooling option for your bed check out this list.
Wool pillows are another traditional option which a renowned for being cozy and soft. You probably used them when you stayed at your grandma’s!
These pillows are a great option for those wanting to be reminded of home, but have been superseded by the new materials – like Memory Foam and Latex.
The other characteristics of these pillows is that they do compress down a lot and require fluffing regularly. But they will last a long time, so it really is hard to say anything negative about them.
Buckwheat Pillows have 2 common uses – firm support, and as a heating pad. They are great as lumbar or neck support as they have very little give. They can be used in the bed, car or sofa, so it’s very handy to have a couple of these in the house.
When heated they are great to apply to injuries where there isn’t a lot of blood flow – like around joints (knees/elbows). Physiotherapists often use them to warm a muscle or ligaments up before treating an injury.
To heat them up in the microwave, put a small amount of boiling water in a cup, and put that in the microwave. Then put the pillow in and heat it for about 30 seconds. When the water boils the steam will help to heat up the pillow. Just be careful when you take it out as it may be very hot.
The great thing about V Pillows is that when you are lying on your side, you can wrap your arms around the pillow. This helps to support your shoulders as they won’t slump over as much. If you like to sleep on your side but get shoulder pain, try out a V Pillow and see if they help.
They are commonly filled with polyester or shredded foam. There are other options around like memory foam or latex, so if you are willing to pay a bit more, do your research and you should find a great pillow!
The Snoogle Body Pillow is only manufactured by one company – Leachco. They are intended to be a pregnancy support pillow because of the stomach and back support that they give, but if you aren’t pregnant (or are a man) they are still a great option. If you have recently broken up with your partner, or just like to be able to snuggle up something or feel like you are being snuggled into, this may be the pillow for you.
The Snoogle has Polyester fill which Leachco say holds it’s shape, and is very supportive.
The U Body Pillow is shaped to wrap around your body, providing support to your head, neck, back and front. This is a great option for side sleepers as it helps to keep your posture upright, and prevents back or shoulder soreness.
Often they are marketed towards pregnant women because of the support and relief they can give. There are options with Down, Feathers and Foam. You may even be able to find a memory foam option, but they are quite rare and expensive.
If you haven’t tried a travel pillow for long bus, train or plane rides then you’re missing out. The traditional style is a U shape that is generally filled with Memory Foam or microbeads (similar to a bean bag).
They can be used in various ways depending on how you want to angle your head; whether its leaning back, to the side or forward.
One common issue with these pillows is that they can slip out of place. There are now options around that have a strap, or you can look at the Inflatable or Ostrich travel pillows.
There are a lot of options around for Inflatable Travel Pillows, but the one I’m referring to here is the ‘Daydreamer Face Pillow’. This design allows you to lean forward onto the pillow when you’re sleeping, which means there are no issues with the pillow falling out of place, or your head coming off the pillow.
The hole in the top is where your head rests, and there are also holes on the sides for your arms to go through and rest on. If you want to be upright when using it, just fold down the tray in front of you and put the pillow on that, otherwise juts put the pillow on your knees. It even has a spot that you can put your phone or tablet so you can watch moves while resting your head.
They usually come with a small storage back so you can pack it away when you are finished.
The Ostrich Travel Pillow is a creative design which allows you to nap anywhere. You just slip it on over your head, and it gives you full cushioning around your head.
On a plane it may not be ideal because it doesn’t give a lot of neck support, but if you have something to lean your head on then it should work. It has holes so you can breath easily, and you can also put your arms through it for additional comfort.
The Microbead Portable Pillow is a twist on a typical Travel Pillow. It is a pillow that can be easily changed in shape depending on what you want to use it for.
In its original shape it can be used as a ring pillow to sit on or folded in half it can be used as a neck pillow. It can also be twisted into any other shape you want for lumbar or leg support.
It is filled with microbeads which give make it a firm pillow which is great for all of these uses.
The Hoodie Pillow is a quirky design made for travel and relaxation. It gives you the support of an inflatable travel pillow, with comfort and privacy from a large hood.
The inflatable pillow allows you to adjust the amount of support you need. It is 80% Cotton which makes it breathable and warm, to keep you comfortable on your long trips.
The Neckroll or Bolster Pillow is designed to give you neck support in many different scenarios. Some ways to use it could be in the car for neck or lumbar support, on a plane instead of a travel pillow, or in bed.
There are a lot of different makes of these pillows. The fill can range from feathers, to memory foam, to beads which give varying amounts of support. You can also pick from a half circle or full circle pillow depending on how big you want it to be.
Wedge Pillows are intended to be used to keep your body on an angle when sleeping or lying down. They can also be used as an angled backrest.
Usually they are made out of a firm foam to keep your body on the right angle. If you want it for sleeping, the pillows with memory foam may be more comfortable.
The benefits of using a Wedge include reducing GERD, snoring, back pain, and for injury treatment.
Husband Pillows are a type of back rest pillow that has arms coming off it. Just like if your husband was behind you holding you.
The other popular names are Reading Pillow and Bed Rest Pillow because these are two of the other main uses. They are generally made out of memory foam or shredded foam. The shredded foam options do not keep their shape as well, or last as long.
One major design flaw of most of the options is that they don’t have removable covers which makes cleaning a pain.
This is a handy pillow that was featured on kickstarter, and has ‘infinite’ uses. It’s a great design that allows you to change its shape for whatever you are using it for.
The obvious uses that come to mind are as a travel pillow, napping on the go or at work, or for neck/back support.
The fill is a polyester microfiber, with a bamboo cotton cover so it is light, breathable and moisture resistant. It is machine washable which is a huge plus, as it should increase the longevity of the product.
Although many pillows in this list can be used for nursing, the Nursing pillow has features that make it fit for purpose. It wraps right around your body giving you back and arm support so you don’t get fatigued while using it.
It is made out of firm foam which provides good support for both you and your baby. The cover is removable so cleaning is easy for the inevitable accidents.
It has an adjustable strap that just clips on, so wrapping it around your body is quick and simple, and works for most body sizes. It also has a pocket that will fit a bottle, your phone, burp cloth or other similar sized items.
A little bit different from the body pillows, the Pregnancy Pillow is specifically made to support your belly. They are generally a half circle or square shape so you can just rest your stomach on them without affecting any other part of your body.
There are a range of fills that are used, including foam, memory foam, and feathers. The different materials vary in firmness so look around at the options to find the ideal pillow for you. Most have removable covers to make cleaning a breeze.
The Leg elevator pillow is an innovative design with leg injuries in mind. The leg goes in the middle of the pillow, and the sides hold it in place. Unlike a normal pillow, it will help to keep you lying on your back throughout the night as moving on your side will be difficult.
They are generally made out of a firm foam which is designed for practicality rather than comfort.
If you are recovering from a leg injury and need to keep your leg in place, these are definitely worthwhile investigating.
Wedding Ring Pillows are designed for style rather than comfort, and there are a big range to choose from. Between bows, lace and twine, the amount of designs available is endless.
Amazon has a great range available, but you may want to look in person to make sure you get the pillow you want as camera lighting can dramatically change the look of the product.
The Donut Pillow is a great way to lessen the pressure from your seat when you are sitting down. They are generally used for:
There are a range of options available including memory foam and gel and inflatable. As the uses of the pillow can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, it is best to get a high quality pillow. Memory foam is a great option as it provides a lot of support, but it is still quite soft.
A Tablet Pillow is a way to keep your tablet comfortable…kidding! It is an alternative to a tablet stand which can also be used as a pillow for you. So you can use it on your lap to hold your tablet which is more comfortable for long periods than a tablet, then when you are done you can use it under your head for a nap.