9 Different Types of Pillows – How to Choose the Right One for You

Grey Pillow Shoot Studio

9 Different Types of Pillows – How to Choose the Right One for You


With so many pillows out there, how do you choose the right one for you? Unless you test a pillow for a couple of nights, it’s difficult to conclude whether it will help or hinder your sleep.


Reading through our helpful guide below, you will feel confident enough to actually buy your pillows online without the need to test them first. That’s because we have compiled a comprehensive guide to nine different pillows on the market, explaining to you exactly how they feel, what they are like to sleep on, and how they affect your posture in the long run.


Go through this list of 9 different types of pillows and decide for yourself which one possesses the perfect balance for your sleep needs. But first, let’s take a general look at pillows and why choosing the right one matters.


The Fill of a Pillow

The fill of a pillow is of utmost importance to consider, because it will determine the density and feel of that pillow. A lot of companies will claim that they have discovered a new type of pillow that’s better than all the rest out there. However, there are only about a dozen pillow fills out there. The trick is choosing the one that suits you the best.


The Impact on Your Health and Your Sleep

The density of a pillow will affect the way you sleep. And as we can all agree, our sleep ultimately determines much of our health. Some questions to ask yourself are the following:

  • Do I prefer sleeping with one pillow or two?
  • Do I prefer hard pillows or soft?
  • What does my sleeping posture look like?
  • Do I sleep mostly on my left, my right, my back, or my stomach?


Bearing these questions in mind, we will attempt to help you choose the right pillow type for your unique sleeping preferences. We’ll look at density, fills, external fabric, and size.


Pillow Covers: Are They Important?

Pillow covers are also an important factor to consider. The fabric you use to cover your pillow can cause you to sweat, make you too hot, and even cause irritation on your skin. At the end of this article, we’ll discuss the importance of choosing the right pillowcases for your new pillows.


9 Different Types of Pillows

The following describes the 9 most common pillows available in South African stores and online bedding shops. Let’s look together to see how each one compares to the rest.


Memory Foam

There are two types of memory foam for a pillow:

  • Shredded memory foam
  • Cubed/Blocked memory foam


The selling point for a memory foam pillow is that they contour to the shape of your head. This means that you can settle in to your pillow and enjoy a combination of softness and firmness while you sleep.


However, memory foam is not ideal for those who sleep with their arms under their heads. Your arm may lift the pillow too much and disrupt the contouring aspect to your head and neck.


Another drawback is the chemical factor inherent in memory foam. Although some manufacturers minimise the chemical seeping from memory foam, many do not!  In short, memory foam pillows are comfortable for some people, but not all.



An innerspring pillow will contain a centralised steel spring covered with memory foam all around. These pillows are cooler than others, but they still present the problem of comfort for those who prefer sleeping with their arms or hands under their pillow. The other drawback to an innerspring pillow is that it is one of the most expensive types on the market.



A not-so-environmentally-friendly option is a microbeads pillow. These are stuffed with tiny polystyrene balls that make it really soft. The problem with this type of pillow is that it can easily be TOO soft, making it impossible to get comfortable.


As mentioned, this is not a “green” pillow, because polystyrene is a chemical-based product. Plus, if your pillow rips open, you’ve got a massive mess to clean up!



Feather pillows are probably one of the oldest pillow types we’re familiar with. There was a time when this pillow began to lose popularity though, because so many people developed allergies to feathers.


A drawback to using a feather pillow is that it has very little firmness, and is only suitable for people who like to sink into their pillow. That being said, there are still a number of people who use them, because they are one of the most affordable types on the market.


Down Pillows

At the bottom of the stomachs of ducks and geese is a very soft material called ‘down’. Down is considered one of the highest quality pillows because if stuffed correctly, it creates a luxurious level of softness. Down pillows are the favourite of many people due to their warmth and softness. Combining a down pillow with a 100% cotton pillowcase results in a very comfortable sleep. It’s also a keen favourite of children, because of the balance between firmness and softness.


Unfortunately, some people are allergic to down and have to settle for a different type of pillow instead. Many turn to ‘alternative down pillows’, which we’ll discuss below. A lot of people are also allergic to the PRICE of down pillows, as these can be quite pricey. For a good deal on down pillows, visit Comfy’s website and shop online.


Down Alternative Pillows

Cheaper than a down pillow and also super comfortable is down alternative pillows. This pillow is made to feel as much like a down pillow as possible, while negating the allergens of down. It’s made from synthetic material like polyester and often polyfill too. The pillows don’t need constant fluffing like down pillows, are easier to wash, and deliver a high level of comfort.


Down pillows are also available on the Comfy website, so shop online for either regular or king size alternative down pillows. You can buy yours here from as little as R349.00! If you’re looking for the perfect balance of price and luxury, then alternative down is the way to go. It has a number of benefits:

  • Easy to wash and maintain
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • A good investment (you won’t need to buy another pillow for quite some time)
  • Super comfortable
  • Works well with 100% cotton pillowcases



Wool is another keen favourite of some, as it’s also very soft and breathable. Wool pillows are a bit more on the pricier side and can be tricky to maintain. Since it’s best to only dry-clean a wool pillow, this can add to an already-expensive item. Very often, your wool pillow will be mixed with other fills to make it cheaper, but this also compromises the comfort level.



Cotton is an excellent material for bed sheets and duvet covers. It’s also a super comfortable material used to make 100% cotton pillowcases. However, it falls short as a fill for pillows. No matter how firm a cotton pillow claims to be, it will loose its firmness over time and become painfully soft. After a while, your cotton pillow will fail to support your neck, making it a less-desirable option to sleep on.



Another popular option for those who are not allergic to latex is a block-filled latex pillow. These also come in shredded latex fill, but blocked is more popular for pillows in South Africa. It’s clean, breathable, and even prevents dust mites and other microorganisms from living in your pillowcases. Note that not all latex pillows are completely natural, and natural latex is quite pricey.


What About Pillow Covers?

It is highly recommended that for the highest form of comfort, you purchase 100% cotton pillowcases for all your pillows. There are a number of reasons why this is the most prudent choice of pillow cover:

  • Cotton is breathable and will reduce sweating during sleep.
  • Cotton is a cooler material.
  • Cotton is super soft and comfortable.
  • It is easy to care for cotton pillowcases.
  • Cotton pillow covers are more durable and long lasting.


For the ultimate in luxury sleep, choose Pima cotton pillowcases. Pima cotton is even softer, more comfortable, and better for your skin than regular cotton.


Final Thoughts

Which pillow will suit your bed and your pocket the best? In our opinion, down and alternative down pillows are must for anyone who likes a supportive and luxurious sleep. They’re both easy to maintain, and give your neck the support it needs for a good night’s sleep. Shop for your best option at Comfy.co.za and don’t forget to add a few pillowcases too!


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