We all know that getting a good nights rest is so important in keeping in good health and maintaining energy levels. Some of the most important factors in sleeping well include your mattress and pillow.
Pillows can be one of the more tricky bedding items to purchase because of varying sleeping styles and personal preferences. A pillow that is great for some people may not suit others.
In this article we review some of the most popular pillows on the market in Australia and discuss their pros and cons. We then break down the different types of pillows available so you know what to look out for on your search for the perfect pillow.
- 1. Dunlopillo Latex Pillow (Top Pick)
- 2. Downia Double Surround White Duck Down & Feather Pillow
- 3. Dentons Therapeutic Medi Rest Pillow
- 4. Downtime Luxury High Loft Pillow
- Pillow Buyers Guide
Dunlopillo produce some of the most popular pillows on the market in Australia. Comfortable and durable, these pillows have been helping people across the country get a good nights sleep for many years.
Dunlopillo Latex pillows are made with Talalay Latex. This type of latex generally softer than alternatives, retains its shape well, and has effective heat transferring properties.
The latex construction of these pillows also means they are naturally bacteria, mould and dust mite resistant – perfect for asthma and allergy sufferers.
The medium profile Dunopillo pillows are quite versatile but would ideally be suited medium sized adults who are back or side sleepers. Customers also have the option from soft, medium, or firm, based on personal preferences.
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Best Feather & Down Pillow
If you’re looking for a more traditional, luxurious pillow, the Downia Double Surround Down & Feather Pillow might be right for you.
Created with a triple chamber construction, this pillow is designed to provide optimum neck support without compromising comfort, and still delivering that soft, fluffy feel that users expect from a down pillow.
The duck down provides a luxurious soft loft, while feathers add support. A soft cotton cover encases the down and feathers, providing additional comfort and protection.
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Best for Neck Support
Dentons are an Australian pillow manufacturer who have been in the business for over thirty years. They are known for producing high quality, comfortable and supportive pillows.
The Medi Rest pillow sits in their Therapeutic range. By collaborating with leading Chiropractors and Physiotherapists, these pillows are designed to provide optimal support while you sleep. The Medi Rest is constructed with a Softec TM foam, a soft yet durable material created by Dentons.
This pillow is medium-high and is suited to side sleepers. It provides exceptional neck support thanks to its contour shape and dual shoulder recesses. If you are trying to alleviate head and neck pain associated with sleeping, this pillow could be a good place to start.
It also comes with a machine washable cover for easy care and a five-year replacement guarantee.
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Best Down Alternative
Polyester pillows have come a long way over the past few years, and are now probably the most similar filling you will get to down. They provide a great budget or mid-range option.
This great pillow from Downtime is created with an innovative new high loft filling, and is designed to provide down-like comfort with all the benefits of polyester, including being hypoallergenic and machine washable.
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Pillow Buyers Guide
Determine your needs
Before you go out and purchase a new pillow, you’ll want to consider your particular needs and preferences as well as gaining an understanding of the different materials and features available.
Below are some of the key things to consider:
Do you have head or neck pain you are trying to relieve?
Are you a tummy sleeper? This may be the cause of neck and head pain. The best positions for neck and back pain are generally considered to be on your back or side. The aim is to find a pillow that supports the natural contours of your spine, neck and head in one of these positions. See the section below for the best pillows for different sleeping positions.
What is your preferred sleeping position?
Your sleeping position is perhaps the most important consideration when selecting a pillow. Aside from comfort, the main goal in pillow selection is to find one that will support your spine during the many hours you spend in bed. Different sleeping positions mean different requirements for supporting your spine, neck, and head.
Side sleeping can be a good position for spinal alignment however you will want to find a pillow with enough height and firmness to support the head in it’s raised position. Using a low, soft pillow in a side sleeping position may place undue stress on the neck and shoulders.
While stomach sleeping is not an ideal position in terms of spinal alignment, a thin, soft pillow is the best option for stomach sleepers. This option prevents unnecessarily raising the head and placing additional strain on the neck.
Back sleepers will want to opt for a pillow with a rounded section to support curve of the neck, with a flatter section for the head. Options for this include either a contoured solid foam (e.g. memory foam) pillow or one where you can manipulate the filling into the desired formation.
Do you suffer from asthma or allergies?
Dust mites are one of the most common most indoor allergens and bedding is one of their favourite places to reside. If you suffer from hayfever or cold like symptoms after sleeping, it’s likely you’re having a reaction to dust mites.
The good news is there are a wide range of pillow options that are resistant to dust mites. While any synthetic materials are generally going to be better than down or feather, there are also natural materials such as bamboo, latex, or wool that are naturally dust mite resistant.
It’s also critical to regularly wash your bedding in temperatures of 60c+ to ensure you kill any dust mites.
What size and level of firmness do You need?
The size or height of your pillow needs to be considered in conjunction with firmness or density to ensure you get adequate support in your favoured sleeping position.
The ideal height and firmness level is usually determined by your sleeping style combined with body size.
Firm pillows offer more support, which is generally more suited to side sleepers who require support for the gap created between the shoulders and head. They are also good for adults with larger frames.
Medium pillows can also suit back or side sleepers or those prone to changing positions.
Soft, flat pillows are suited to stomach sleepers or those with small frames.
Understanding the Materials used in Pillow Fillings
Feather and Down Pillows
Down has long been a very popular pillow filling and with good reason. It provides soft, fluffy, comfortable support that no other material is able to replicate. Down is able to retain its loft much longer than synthetic alternatives.
Note that most pillows will not be 100% down and will include a portion of feathers. 100% feather pillows are not recommended as they are prone to loosing their loft much quicker than down.
While there are many benefits to down filling, there are ethical implications that arise from the common practice of live plucking.
Latex is a very popular pillow material and comes in both natural and synthetic varieties. While natural latex will generally cost more than alternatives, it’s usually eco-friendly and provides piece of mind if you are concerned with exposure to synthetic materials.
Latex pillows generally offer a good amount of support, with a slightly more bouncy, and less contouring experience than memory foam.
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam is another very popular type of pillow. Memory foam compresses and conforms to the shape of your head on the pillow, providing support where you need it. Many people also find memory foam exceptionally comfortable to sleep on.
The main draw back of this type of pillow is that because it consists of a single piece of foam, it cannot be moulded into different shapes in the way that down, latex, or other synthetic fillings can.
Shredded Memory Foam Pillows
Shredded Memory Foam offers many of the same benefits of a traditional memory foam pillow, with some unique advantages. The key benefits are the improved breathability through shredded design and the fact they are more malleable, meaning users can change the shape to suit their sleeping position
The key downside of memory foam is that it’s manufacturing process involves the use of several chemicals. This can result in unpleasant odours and also raises concerns relating to toxicity for many consumers.
Polyester is a popular filling thanks to it being very cheap and also easy to clean. Like many synthetic materials, polyester is not particularly breathable, so may be uncomfortable for hot sleepers or those in hot climates.
While less common than the other filling on this list, wool can be great option if you are concerned about toxic materials used in synthetic pillows such as foam. The natural properties of wool mean these pillows are very breathable and provide excellent heat control. Allergy sufferers will also love wool pillows thanks to them being naturally inhospitable to dust mites.
However, wool pillows aren’t great at holding their shape and tend to attract odours over time.
Bamboo pillows are generally pillows with a shredded memory foam (or another filling) and a bamboo outer. They are gaining popularity thanks to the naturally antimicrobial properties of bamboo.
These pillows also provide excellent cooling, so are a great option for hot sleepers.
Care & Cleaning
Most down and synthetic pillows can be put in the washing machine which can take a lot of hassle out of keeping them clean. Latex and memory foam pillows are generally not suitable for the washing machine and therefore must be hand washed.
A cotton cover is a great idea if easy care is important to you and it can also help with extending the life of the pillow. Some covers provide dust mite and allergen protection.
Hotel pillows are known for feeling luxurious and soft. This is achieved by using either down or high-quality microfibre fillings. These pillows have very high loft so they retain their shape and remain soft for a long period of time.
While a lot of what makes a pillow comfortable comes down to personal preference, the most popular materials for luxurious, soft comfort are down or shredded memory foam. It is important to note that a comfortable pillow is not always the best in terms of support so ensure you are using a pillow type that suits your sleeping style.
For stomach sleepers, not using a pillow is fine and some may actually prefer it and find it places less stress on their neck, spine and head. Back and side sleepers should not sleep without a pillow as they need the support it provides to keep their spine in alignment during the night.
The best cheap pillows are generally pillows with high-quality synthetic filling. These offer many of the benefits of down without the price tag. They are also usually hypoallergenic and are easy to care for!
The Barefoot Investor (Scott Pape) recommends the Dunlopillo Latex pillow. These pillows are made from Talalay Latex, which is softer than the Dunlop variety of Latex, while still retaining their shape well.