Pillow Buying Guide

Choosing the best pillow for you is essential for getting a good night's sleep. When buying a pillow, the main things to consider are:

  • How you sleep - are you more comfortable with a firmer option or do you like to sink into your pillow at bedtime?
  • If you need additional support for any aches and pains.
  • Your choice of filling - are you looking for a classic feather pillow or a synthetic option? Maybe you're an allergy sufferer and need a hypoallergenic pillow.

We've put together this in-depth guide to help you make an informed decision when purchasing your next pillow. Read on to learn more about firmness, fillings and what options are available to you if you are prone to allergies.

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Mother and daughter having pillow fight with father
Our useful guide can help you find the perfect pillow for a great night's sleep

Which pillow firmness is best for me?

The type of pillow you need depends on the level of support your head and neck require.

Our pillows each have a firmness rating, ranging from softer to firmer. The scale below can help you figure out which pillow is the right firmness for you.

  1. Medium-soft
  2. Medium feel
  3. Medium-firm
  4. Firmer feel

If you prefer snuggling into an ultra-soft pillow, choose a pillow rated medium-soft. If you need additional support for the most comfortable sleep, choose a medium-firm or firm pillow.

Woman sleeping on pillows
Choose from a range of firmness options with our Silentnight pillow collection

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A guide to pillow types

When you begin your search for the perfect, comfiest pillow, you will soon find that there are two main types available:

  1. Synthetic fillings, e.g. microfibre or hollowfibre
  2. Natural fillings, e.g. goose and duck feathers or down

Read our advice below on both types of pillow to find out which one is right for you.

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Synthetic pillows

Synthetic pillows provide a great level of comfort and warmth. They are a much lighter alternative to natural fillings and often retain their shape better than a natural pillow.

This type of pillow can be washed more frequently than natural options, making them much easier to keep clean and hygienic.

Pillows with a synthetic filling are also ideal if you suffer from allergies, as they're often treated to prevent dust mite build-up.

We have a huge range of synthetic pillow fillings available. They're highly versatile, making them a great choice for most people, as they're suited to a range of sleeping positions and offer a good level of support.

Browse each option below to see if a synthetic filling is the right choice for your next pillow purchase.

Casper Pillow
Synthetic pillows like the Casper Pillow aren't just comfy - they're supportive and breathable too

Hollowfibre pillows

Hollowfibre pillows are invitingly plump-looking and are filled with hollowfibre and polyester. The hollow spaces between the fibres make this material cosy, warm and breathable.

This type of pillow is an affordable option. Plus, the high quality of the material makes it fantastic value for money, as well as very low maintenance.

If you think a hollowfibre is right for you, see our favourite here.

Casper Pillow

Casper Pillow

  • From £75
  • Plush hollowfibre and cotton fillings
  • Unique pillow-in-pillow design

Memory foam pillows

Memory foam pillows have special qualities which offer enhanced comfort and pressure relief. This helps to prevent aches and soreness.

Memory foam pillows are thought to be the best for aches and pains, regardless of whether you are a side, back or front sleeper. This is because memory foam pillows conform to the shape of your head and neck, meaning you won't wake up feeling stiff and sore.

See our favourite memory foam pillow below.

Aloe Vera Memory Foam Pillow

Aloe Vera Memory Foam Pillow

  • From £34.95
  • Pressure-relieving memory foam
  • Calming aloe vera-infused cover

Browse memory foam pillows

Gel pillows

Gel pillows contain individual layers of gel infused with cooling gel. These gel layers have unique cooling properties which help diffuse body heat, ensuring you feel fresh all night long.

A cooling pillow also reduces sweating, which can prolong the life of your bedding and mattress in the long run.

If you're looking for a gel pillow, view our top pick here.

Silentnight Geltex Premier Pillow

Silentnight Geltex Premier Pillow

  • From £64.95
  • Refreshing geltex layer
  • Gives you a cool night's sleep

Anti-allergy pillows

If you are particularly sensitive to allergens, you might require a special pillow that will be labelled as hypoallergenic or anti-allergy.

These pillows have been specially designed to reduce the instance of dust mites and also avoid filling materials likely to cause a reaction for sensitive sleepers.

If you're susceptible to allergies, view our favourite anti-allergy pillow here.

The Silentnight Deep Sleep Luxury Pillow Pair cover

Silentnight Deep Sleep Luxury Pillow Pair

  • From £29.95
  • Soft hollowfibre filling
  • Hypoallergenic for your peace of mind

Pocket sprung pillows

Pocket sprung pillows have small pocket springs sitting within the comfort fillings. These pocket springs move individually and respond to your movement while you sleep.

These pillows are great if you suffer from neck ache or are looking for additional support for your head and neck.

Now we've covered synthetic pillow fillings, you can learn about natural pillows below.

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Natural pillows

Natural pillows tend to be very soft and comfortable. They're very supportive, keeping your head level through the night to avoid neck pain. Plus, natural pillows can help your skin breathe during the night.

The most common natural fillings are duck or goose feathers and down, although wool options are becoming increasingly popular.

If you suffer from allergies, double-check before going straight to a natural pillow filling, as they're made from animal products.

You can find out more about the benefits of natural pillow fillings below.

Feather and down pillows

Feather pillows are made with a 'quill-proof' outer cover (to stop the sharp points sticking through) and are packed with back and wing feathers from geese and ducks. Pillows that only contain feathers tend to feel slightly rough so the majority will add in a bit of down to soften things up and increase comfort.

Down pillows ade from the softer under-feathers which insulate ducks and geese, down is a great deal softer than the outer feathers. Pillows made from goose down are seen as more luxurious than those made with duck down, as they produce larger tufts which offer more insulation.

With luxury comes a larger price tag, but comfort is guaranteed from a down pillow.

Feather and down pillows combine the two of these luxurious fillings for a blissful night's sleep.

Hypnos Feather and Down Pillow in packaging.

Hypnos Feather and Down Pillow

  • From £69.95
  • 100% goose feather and down
  • Soft and supportive

Wool pillows

Wool pillows are increasing in popularity due to their thermal insulating qualities which keep you at the optimal temperature year-round.

They're also naturally heavier and firmer than synthetic, down and feather options. Plus, some are anti-allergenic, so these pillows combine a healthier night's sleep with comfort and functionality.

The Hypnos Wool Pillow unzipped to show the wool fillings inside.

Hypnos Wool Pillow

  • From £89.95
  • 100% sustainable British wool
  • Naturally breathable

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Latex pillows

Natural latex pillows offer enhanced comfort, support and pressure relief. Their elastic properties allow latex pillows to mould to your head and neck.

Latex pillows are also durable and built to last, so they should make a great investment for your bedroom.

Looking for some extra support? Try one of our latex pillows below.

Relyon Superior Comfort Deep Latex Pillow

Relyon Superior Comfort Deep Latex Pillow

  • From £114.95
  • Deeply supportive and comfortable
  • Bounce-back technology to keep its shape

Shop all latex pillows

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Which pillow depth is best for me?

There are many different depths of pillows, ranging from extra-deep to super-slim. The depth (or height) of pillow that will suit you best depends on how you prefer to sleep.

Just like mattresses, we recommend different pillows for different sleeping positions:

  • For side-sleepers

We recommend deeper pillows

  • For back and front-sleepers

We suggest slimmer profile pillows

To discover the best pillow for your sleeping position, check out our helpful guide!

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Still unsure on which pillow to choose? Why not check out our top ten pillow picks for 2022? We selected the ten best pillows to help you get a better night's sleep.

Once you've decided on your perfect pillow, make sure the rest of your bed is just as comfortable. Read our other helpful guides on choosing the best mattress for your bed as well as finding the right duvet for your comfiest night's sleep.

Or, if you'd like more advice on how often you should change your pillow, check out our handy advice page.

Remember that we can help you through the decision process if you're unsure - simply get in touch.