The Best Pillows – UK Buyer’s Guide

A fantastic pillow is a crucial part of a great night’s sleep, as it provides critical support for your head and neck. Not to mention, a comfy pillow can help you doze off to sleep much faster.

Want to know how important a pillow really is? Let’s put it this way – if you get the wrong one, it doesn’t matter whether you have the most comfortable mattress in the world. You’ll still end up with aching neck or shoulders the next morning.

So the next question is, how do you even big to pick one out? Many people have this dilemma, so we decided to help out once and for all by rounding out the best pillows UK buyers can get for the perfect slumber.

The Best Pillows UK

Silentnight Ultrabounce Pillows

  • Type: microfibre
  • Hypoallergenic: yes

The Silentnight Ultrabounce Pillow is an economical option, especially for the budget-conscious sleeper. Nevertheless, it can still provide exceptional comfort and softness for a good night’s sleep.

These pillows can be best described as having soft to medium firmness (or 4 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being very firm). They have an elastic quality that enables them to bounce back after you’ve laid in them, allowing them to retain their shape for far longer. If you need medium support, you can simply use two Silentnight pillows at a time (which shouldn’t be a problem, because they come in packs of 6).

The pillows are also hypoallergenic so that they won’t cause any nasty allergic reactions. As with most synthetic pillows, caring for them is easy. A simple trip to the washing machine at 40C is all it takes to bring them back to pristine condition.

Overall, the Silentnight Ultrabounce Pillows are great as your all-purpose, all-around pillows. The pack of 6 is enough for the whole family, plus your guests, too.

Pillow With a Hole

  • Type: natural cotton
  • Hypoallergenic: yes

The Pillow With a Hole (or lovingly called PWAH) might look funny, but you’ll probably stop laughing once you’ve used one. These specialist pillows are designed for those with ear infections or people recovering from ear injuries or surgery (such as after a piercing). It’s one of the few pillows that’s recommended by doctors all across the UK.

The hole, as mentioned above, allows you ear to snugly fit in. This facilitates proper air circulation that maximises healing and comfort. Because let’s face it, it’s generally uncomfortable to sleep on an injured ear, isn’t it? You also have the added benefit of hypoallergenic and breathable stuffing, to promote ear and skin health further.

The PWAH also has a zipper feature that allows you to control the firmness of your pillow to your liking. Just open the zipper and remove or add stuffing until you’re satisfied. The pillow comes in extra-firm, so you have much leeway when adjusting.

So if you’re suffering from painful ears or just want to sleep comfortably with your headphones on, the Pillow With A Hole is the best specialist solution for you.

Tempur Original Pillow

  • Type: memory foam
  • Hypoallergenic: yes

Tempur is a luxury brand of high-quality memory foam pillows known for its therapeutic benefits, and this Tempur Original is no different.

The unique shape and foam filling both focus on superb support for your neck and shoulders, conforming to its natural curvature. The result is one of the best support pillows you’ll ever sleep on. Tempur pillows are best for both back and side sleepers as it can relieve pressure and put your spine back into alignment.

Tempur pillows are about overall well-being, so they’re covered with a soft fabric to help keep the insides nice and fresh. The cover is easily cleaned and washable, too, for easy maintenance.

Lastly, should you have any doubt of the effectiveness of Tempur pillows, they have a three-year guarantee that you can bank on. However, we find it unlikely you’ll return them once you’ve felt their wonderful benefits.

So if you’re suffering from chronic neck or back pain and nothing ever seems to work, a Tempur pillow might be your solution. It’s certainly worth the high price tag.

Marcapiuma Latex Pillows

  • Type: latex
  • Hypoallergenic: yes

If you’ve always wanted the therapeutic benefits of memory foam, but find they’re too hot on your skin, this soap-shaped Marcapiuma Latex Pillow is the one for you.

This pillow provides the same contour-shaping benefits as memory foam, but is far more comfortable. Aside from the natural air circulation of latex, it’s also perforated with holes for added breathability. This also makes them odour-free and naturally hypoallergenic, with resistance to both moulds and dust mites.

Compared to other latex pillows, Marcapiuma is generally cheaper yet just as effective, making it a great sleeping companion overall.

Snuggledown Duck Feather and Down Pillow Pair

  • Type: down and feather
  • Hypoallergenic: yes

This Snuggledown package gives you a pair of snuggly pillows filled with a high-quality blend of select duck and down feathers, in the classic 85%/15% ratio. All raw materials are sustainably sourced in British farms for the most ethically-made pillows.

These are incredibly warm and plump cradles for your head and neck, finished with an equally soft cotton cover for maximum comfort. It has medium and gentle support, perfect for keeping stomach and side sleepers comfy.

Snuggledown pillows are fantastic for people who want to sink in while sleeping but don’t want to wake up with an aching neck.

Adam Home Hollowfibre with Quilted Cover

  • Type: microfibre (hollowfibre)
  • Hypoallergenic: yes

These Adam Home Hollowfibre pillows offer exceptional softness and comfort, despite being synthetic pillows. They’re filled with 3D hollowfibres, a hollow material that’s extra bouncy for maintaining the overall fluffiness without much effort on your part.

The quilt itself adds an extra layer of softness to the pillow. Aside from this, it’s also breathable and hypoallergenic, helping to cool you off and reduce sweat during warm nights. It has antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties to promote your overall health and wellness.

Overall, the Adam Home Hollowfibre Pillows are an inexpensive way to get a great night’s sleep with extra comfy and fluffy pillows.

Slumberdown Super Support Pillows

  • Type: microfibre
  • Hypoallergenic: yes

Slumberdown Super Support pillows are perfect for side sleepers who need extra support. These walled pillows are firmer than your usual. They have a specially designed core block that helps align your body, neck, and back perfectly. The result is pillows that help relieve pressure and reduce pain on key parts of your body.

The insides of these pillows are filled with hollowfibres, giving them a fantastic bounce without making it too soft. The duvet-like covers of these pillows are fantastically soft with a smooth finish. It’s machine washable as well for easier maintenance and cleaning.

In the end, Slumberdown Pillows are the ideal cost-effective support pillows if you continuously suffer from neck or back pains.

Silentnight Anti-Allergy Pillows

  • Type: microfibre
  • Hypoallergenic: yes (anti-allergy)

Silentnight Anti-Allergy Pillows are great if you or a family member is suffering from allergies and asthma, and no other options seem to work. It uses microfibres that’s scientifically formulated to reduce allergens in your immediate environment. It’s an antimicrobial sleeping companion proven to work and certified by the British Allergy Foundation, so you know you’re in good hands.

As for comfort, these pillows provide a medium firmness, providing soft support to your head and neck without giving that sinking feeling. For extra firmness, you can use two pillows instead.

The only drawback is that they tend to flatten out quicker, so you need to fluff them up more often. Nevertheless, if you need a pillow that promotes your health and well-being, these Silentnight Anti-Allergy Pillows are for you.

How Often Should I Switch Pillows?

This is a good question that’s not asked around that often. Generally speaking, experts recommend that pillows should be changed every two to three years for the best hygiene

However, that advice is just a rule of thumb. The actual frequency really depends on what type of pillow you’re using, how you sleep, and whether you suffer from any conditions like allergies or chronic body pains. For example, if you’re using microfibre, you might need to change it often. On the other hand, if yours are natural pillows, then they will need less changing overall.

There are, however, signs you need to watch out for that can tell you if it’s time to switch that pillow.

If you’re feeling a bit more aching in your neck than usual, that’s a good indication that it might be time to buy a new pillow. Symptoms of dust mites can also be a warning, or at least, a wake-up call that you need to clean your pillow. Finally, if you find that you’re fluffing your pillow more often than usual to return it to shape, it’s probably past its prime.

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Pillows UK

Pillows might seem like such a trivial purchase that you don’t need to think much about it. However, there are some essential considerations you need to make before you commit to buying one.

Type of Filling

Pillows can be classified according to the filling used, roughly categorised into either natural or synthetic. Different fillings have different advantages and drawbacks to the overall sleep experience. For example, some materials are softer than others, while some are easier to wash and clean.

Feather and Down Pillows

This is a natural pillow filled with a material that’s roughly 85% duck feather and 15% duck down (the soft chest feathers of a duck). These proportions, however, vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. As a general rule, however, a pillow must contain at least 30% duck feather to be called a feather pillow, and 70% down to be called a down pillow.

Feather and down pillows are some of the softest, most comfortable, and most luxurious pillows on the planet. They’re characterised as being mouldable and soft, which makes them suitable as support pillows. Feather and down pillows are also often covered in cotton, which further enhances their comfortable feel. In general, these soft pillows also have a longer lifespan, meaning they retain their shape and integrity longer.

The drawback is that they’re also one of the more expensive pillows you can buy, with some of the more premium types like Hungarian goose costing a small fortune. They also flatten out easily when not properly maintained. And speaking of maintenance, they require a professional to clean, so this might factor into the price as well.

Wool Pillows

Wool pillows are made from natural fibres like cotton or real wool. Their best characteristic is that they’re hypoallergenic, naturally resisting mould and mite growth. This makes them ideal as a natural solution for people with asthma or allergies.

These pillows are also naturally firm, so they’re suitable for people who need additional supports on their necks, especially for back sleepers. Natural fibres are also much more breathable, helping you keep cool during warmer nights.

The big drawback with wool pillows is that they flatten quickly, so you need to fluff them up frequently. They also tend to be heavy and more expensive than synthetic (although not as much as a feather and down pillow).

Microfibre Pillows

Microfibre pillows are a synthetic type of pillows that use a blend of polyester, hollowfibres, and other artificial fibres, usually in a 50:50 ratio. Manufacturers usually have their own blends for maximising comfort, support, firmness, or any combination of the three.

These types of pillows are the perfect marriage of price and comfort. They’re one of the cheapest options available and (depending on the brand) can be soft and comfortable as well. Many microfibre pillows are also hypoallergenic, so it’s an excellent economical option for relieving asthma or allergy sufferers. Cleaning them can be quickly done at home, which further brings the maintenance cost down.

The problem with microfibre pillows is that they have a relatively short lifespan, requiring you to replace them every few years or so. They’re also not as breathable, so you might find you’re more prone to sweating while using them.

Nevertheless, microfibres are the best choice for the budget-conscious.

Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows use the same elastic material that you would see in a good quality memory foam mattress. This enables the pillow to contour to your head and neck, providing strong support and allowing you to rest in a natural position.

These types of pillows are focused more on therapy than comfort (although that’s not to say that they’re not comfortable; they can be). We say that because not too many people like the sinking feeling that memory foam pillows give. They also tend to be dense with poor breathability, which can be uncomfortable to sleep in, especially during summer nights.

However, if you suffer from chronic neck pain, a memory foam pillow is essential to relieving some of the pressure. They have the added advantage of being easy to clean like microfibres as well.

Latex Pillows

Latex pillows are similar to memory foam pillows in that it contours to the shape of your head and neck. The former, however, is far more breathable so they can keep you cool much more effectively. They’re also much more durable than any other pillow type and resistant to dust mites and moulds as well.

The only reason why latex pillows are not as readily available is that they can be pretty expensive, costing north of £100 on average.

Sleeping Position

Your preferred sleeping position plays a crucial role in what type of pillow you need to pick. While there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation, here are some guidelines you can follow:

For Back Sleepers

For back sleepers, neck support is crucial. The right pillow shouldn’t push your head too far forward, as this can strain your neck. If this describes you, we suggest getting a thinner microfibre or wool pillow so your neck can be as flat as possible. Memory foam is also a fine choice, as it provides necessary support to help relieve some of the pressure.

For Stomach Sleepers

For stomach sleepers, a “snuggle” pillow is a must. It helps keep your spine aligned and supports your neck as well. And for the softest pillow, nothing beats feather or down. Wool and cotton can also work well as alternatives.

For Side Sleepers

If you sleep on your side, support is critical. You need the proper height to keep strain off your neck, plus maintain proper spine alignment as you sleep. For this purpose, go for firmer pillows. Alternatively, memory foam pillows can also work wonders for the added neck support they give.

For Those Who Toss Around A Lot

If you constantly shift your positions around a lot, you need a pillow that can respond accordingly. Sadly, there isn’t a best-case solution for all your sleeping positions. Your best bet is to use a microfibre pillow of medium firmness and thickness. This is a good choice for providing ample support whether you’re on your back, front, or side.

Hypoallergenic and Anti-allergy

You’ll often see these two as standard features when buying pillows. A common misconception is that they mean precisely the same (i.e. hypoallergenic means it doesn’t cause any allergies). However, there’s a distinct difference between them that’s crucial for you to know.

Hypoallergenic pillows are made from materials that don’t pose any allergy risks, such as feather or wool. However, it doesn’t prevent any further allergens, such as dust mites and moulds, from forming on the pillow. So, in the wrong conditions, you can still develop a reaction even when you’re using hypoallergenic pillows.

For the best protection against allergies, you should get a pillow that’s explicitly stated to be anti-allergy. These pillows are filled with materials treated to resist the formation of allergens like dust mites, so you get round-the-clock protection.

If you’re suffering from symptoms of a dust mite allergy (skin rash, watery eyes, coughing, and itchy nose are just some of them), it’s probably an issue with your pillow. In this case, it’s worthwhile to switch to an anti-allergy variant.