What are the Most Common Types of Pillows?

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


The inside scoop on how various pillows compare

Resting your head on your pillow should feel good each night. But there’s not one ideal pillow for everyone: Different people have their own ideas of what’s comfortable and what’s not when it comes to a pillow’s size, shape, and supportiveness, as well as the firmness versus fluffiness factor. So don’t be surprised if you and your bedmate choose contrasting types to suit your own needs. They key is to choose a pillow that's right for you.


The Great Pillow Stack-Up


Among the most common types of pillows found in stores and catalogs are:

  • Natural Fill Pillows. These include down, feather, or a combination of the two. The amount of filling will affect the loftiness or fluffiness of the pillow, as well as its durability. Less common than the others, buckwheat hull pillows are organic and hypoallergenic—they provide a lot of loft and can shift shape to fit the contours of your head and neck.
  • Synthetic Fill Pillows. These contain man-made fillings such as polyester fibers or rayon. While they don’t last as long as natural fill pillows do, they tend to be hypoallergenic and more affordable.
  • Foam Pillows. These are typically made with polyurethane, latex, or memory foam and they are usually hypoallergenic. Memory foam pillows tend to be more expensive, but they conform beautifully to your head and neck, thus providing extra support. Meanwhile, latex pillows tend to be the firmest of all; they’re generally viewed as dense and heavy, rather than cuddly.

Finding the right pillow for you may involve some trial and error. If you do some savvy shopping, you’ll find an ample selection of different types. Try resting your head on various pillows in the store and you’re bound to find one that appeals to you.