Different Types of Pillows Guide


With so many various types of pillows on the market, the simple task of choosing a pillow can quickly become your most dreaded shopping trip.

Your first impulse may be to grab the cheapest one and get on with your day. If you want the comfortable night’s rest you deserve, however, it’s wise to do your research before wasting money on an uncomfortable pillow.

types of bed pillows

Below is some important information about the many different types of pillows, so you can make the right choice.

Types of Pillow Material

The first step in choosing the perfect pillow is to consider the pillow material. Recommended materials are based on your sleeping position and any sleep-related health issues you may have. This might include sleep apnea, joint pain, or snoring.

A pillow with the right material will allow proper spine alignment and will provide crucial support while you sleep.

If you’ve ever had a stiff neck in the morning, this is just one sign that your pillow material may not be right for you.

Here are a few common types of bed pillow materials to consider:

Memory Foam

Memory foam is one of the most popular materials due to its superior comfort, high density, and viscosity. Memory foam pillows are suitable for most sleepers, including those with back and neck pain.

Similar to a memory foam mattress, this style of pillow will mold to the shape of your head. It can be expensive compared to other types, however, and may not be suitable for those sensitive to heat.


Down is the fluffy insulator located beneath the feathers of a duck or goose. The fluffy texture of down makes this material another top choice.

It’s ideal for anyone who easily gets hot since it regulates the temperature much better than memory foam. Down pillows also provide necessary support for the neck.

The only drawback of down pillows is that they aren’t quite as durable as other pillow types.

pillow styles


Feather pillows are a good option for anyone on a budget. Typically filled with a mixture of both feathers and down, these pillows are light and soft.

They’re also extremely durable, lasting years – so long as they’re taken care of and washed properly.

They do provide adequate support, but the major con is that they tend to sink as the night goes on. The feathers also may start to poke out with time.

These are great for the easy sleeper without a sensitive neck or back.


If you often wake in the middle of the night covered in sweat, you might want to consider buying a gel pillow.

Gel beads are added to either a microfiber or latex material to provide added comfort and cooling abilities. Gel pillows are as sturdy as memory foam, providing a healthy night’s sleep.

The main drawback is the lack of durability. The addition of gel will eventually break down the structure of the pillow and need to be replaced. They also tend to be a bit more expensive than the other material types.


One of the most supportive yet expensive pillow materials is latex. These come at a high price but are absolutely worth it for someone who suffers from a lot of back and neck pain at night.

These pillows come in both natural and synthetic; sometimes, they’ll even have a mixture. They’re one of the firmest pillows on the market, giving your head just the right amount of support.

Whether you choose natural or synthetic latex, it’s allergen-free. The only big downside to a latex pillow is the cost. If you can handle the price tag, it’s worth the investment.

types of pillows

Types of Pillow Shapes

Along with choosing the best pillow material for your unique needs, you also want to consider the different pillow shapes.

Not only will this help you decide on a pillow, but it will also make shopping for pillowcases much easier.

Here are a few types of pillow shapes to consider:

  • Standard – 20 x 26 inches, fits all bed sizes, ideal for the average-sized person.
  • Super Standard – 20 x 28 inches, added room for sleepers who roll a lot during the night.
  • Queen – 20 x 30 inches, provides slightly more headroom.
  • King – 20 x 36 inches, ideal for a larger-sized person, great for anyone with muscle and joint pain.
  • European – 26 x 26, a square shape often used for decorating; is useful as added back support, not ideal for head support.
  • Body – 20 x 54 inches, allows you to alleviate joint pain, is long enough to stretch around most headboards.
  • Wedge – Actual dimensions vary since wedge pillows are available for various areas, offers pregnancy support, joint replacement recovery, lumbar support, etc.

Here’s a video explaining how to pick a type of pillow that works for you.

Now that you know a bit more about the different pillow styles and materials, you can purchase your next pillow with confidence.

Make sure you choose a pillow with the necessary support and comfort, and you’ll be enjoying that ideal eight hours of sleep each night.

Do you have any tips on choosing pillow styles?


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