Are Expensive Pillows Worth It? 🛏️ How To Decide

If you’re someone who has trouble sleeping or has back or neck pain, choosing a pillow is an important decision. Your pillow can be the difference between a good day and a bad day. There are so many different options, and the prices can range from $10 to upwards of $100.

Expensive pillows are worth it. Features like the material of the fill and cover, adjustability, and cooling technology all go into the price of a pillow. An expensive pillow is worth it if you find it comfortable.

Below, I’ll explain some of the things that cause pillows to cost more and help you decide if those benefits are something you need.

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The Fill Material

The pillow filling is the number one thing that will cause a price increase. There are several different options available for pillow stuffing, with the most common choices being down, down alternative, feather, memory foam, and latex.

Down Pillows

Down refers to the fibers beneath a bird’s outer feathers on the bird’s bellyOpens in a new tab.. Most often, these fibers come from geese or ducks and are pure white. They make a soft and fluffy pillow filling that molds to your head and neck, providing support. 

While these pillows often can last a long time, they tend to go flat over their lifespan, making them less comfortable. 

However, many are machine-washable with the proper care. A new filling can be added, making it easy to reinvigorate them. The down filling can also hold heat but is breathable, which means that while you might feel warm, you won’t feel sweaty. 

The downside is that the same air pockets in the down that make it breathable are also more likely to trap allergens and dust mites. The price of these can start around $30 but go up from there. 

Are Down Pillows Worth It?

Down pillows are worth it, are incredibly comfortable and long-lasting but hold heat. They are a great option if you prefer something on the fluffier side, but not if you’re concerned about allergens or convenient cleaning.

Good Options

These Snug & Cozy Feather Down Pillows (available on Amazon) are a great example of a simple, no-frills down pillow. They are listed as Amazon’s Choice and have an average of 4.4 stars.

SNUG&COZY Grey Goose Feather Down Pillows for Sleeping(2 Pack)- Standard Size(20IN×26IN), Goose...
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2,115 Reviews
SNUG&COZY Grey Goose Feather Down Pillows for Sleeping(2 Pack)- Standard Size(20IN×26IN), Goose...
  • PEODUCT DATE AND PACKAGE: Every order include two duck feather down pillows. Standard Size is 20×26...
  • FILLING: Filling weight is 34 OZ; 90% grey goose feather and 10% grey goose down; filler is...
  • COVER: The pillow have four layers of fabric, The cover is 100% cotton that they come from more...

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For a more luxurious down pillow, reviews are raving about this Lincove White Down Luxury Pillow (available on Amazon). It boasts a high thread count to keep filling from escaping and advertise that their down is humanely sourced.

Sale
Lincove Cloud Natural Canadian White Down Luxury Sleeping Pillow - 625 Fill Power, 500 Thread Count...
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4,355 Reviews
Lincove Cloud Natural Canadian White Down Luxury Sleeping Pillow - 625 Fill Power, 500 Thread Count... Opens in a new tab.
  • Filled with premium 625 fill power Canadian white down for luxurious comfort and support
  • 500 thread count 100% cotton sateen shell is soft, breathable and durable
  • Comes packaged in a custom travel case, perfect for gifting or travel

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Down Alternative Pillows

If you browse the pillow aisle at your local big-box store, you will likely see a lot of pillows labeled with “down alternative.” Down alternative is made of synthetic fibersOpens in a new tab. meant to mimic traditional down fibers, but it is not a perfect clone. 

A down alternative has a silkier texture and is not as fluffy, meaning it does not quite have the same plush feel as a down pillow. As a result, down alternative pillows are much less expensive. 

They are also easier to wash, as they can be tossed in with regular laundry detergent but cannot be dried with heat. 

And speaking of heat, because the down alternative is not as breathable as down, you may be uncomfortable if you’re a hot sleeper. However, one upside of this is that the most down alternative is hypoallergenic and does not hold in allergens or dust mites like its natural counterpart.

Are Down Alternative Pillows Worth It?

Down alternative pillows are worth it if you’re looking for something hypoallergenic and easy to care for, as well as a price point that won’t give you sticker shock. If you’re looking for something super cozy or breathable, a down pillow is going to be more your style. 

Good Options

This set of two Cotton Hotel Down-Alternative Pillows from Amazon are highly rated and have multiple options, so you can choose the firmness that will be most comfortable for you.

Digital Decor Set of Two 100% Cotton Hotel Down-Alternative Made in USA Pillows - Three Comfort... Opens in a new tab.
  • Refreshed & Relaxed- Embrace a restful sleep with the plush, hypoallergenic cooling pillow you...
  • Stay Cool & Sleep Easy- Chill out when you hunker down each night. The breathable cotton shell lets...
  • American Craftsmanship- Made here in USA, with the quality you have come to expect and trust. These...

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Meanwhile, this set of two Beckham Hotel Pillows from Amazon has a gel fiber casing to help combat the heat of typical down alternative pillows.

Sale
Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows Standard / Queen Size Set of 2 - Down Alternative Bedding Gel... Opens in a new tab.
  • SUPERIOR COMFORT - Queen pillows have a 250 thread count cover filled with a soft down alternative....
  • KEEP COOL - If you easily overheat, or maybe you're looking for cool queen size pillows for night...
  • SAFE & SOUND - These fluffy bed pillows are made in an OEKO-TEX Standard Certified factory that...

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Feather Pillows

The feathers for feather pillows come from the wings and backOpens in a new tab. of the birds. Feather pillows often cost less than down, but the feathers can often poke through the casing and be irritating. 

These pillows are comfortable because they are moldable, but they can go flat after a few years, and unlike the previous options, feather pillows need to be washed much more carefully. They also hold heat much more than down or down alternatives.

Are Feather Pillows Worth It?

Feather pillows are not worth it if you want to keep your pillow for a longer time. While inexpensive and comfortable, they aren’t long-lasting and are difficult to maintain. However, they are a fine option if you don’t mind buying a new pillow more often. 

Due to their fluffy nature, feather pillows are often used for throw pillows as well.

Memory Foam

Memory foam has grown in popularity over recent years. Composed mainly of polyurethaneOpens in a new tab., they typically are available as either a single block or shredded filling and are commonly advertised as being better for alignment and pressure points than other types of pillow fillings. 

However, many people don’t find them comfortable at all. They retain heat, which may make them even more uncomfortable. While they don’t have issues with clumping or losing shape, they are much more challenging to clean than traditional pillows.

Are Memory Foam Pillows Worth It?

Memory foam pillows are worth it if you find this material comfortable. Many people swear memory foam cured their bad back, while others can’t sleep on it. You may also find more success with the shredded foam than the block style, or vice versa. 

Good Options

While memory foam has some drawbacks, the Weekender Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Pillow (available on Amazon) has solved many of them. To combat the issue of heat, the pillow is infused with cooling gel fibers and the foam is vented. 

WEEKENDER Gel Memory Foam Pillow - Standard Size - 1-Pack - Medium Plush Feel - Neck & Shoulder...
  • COOL GEL INFUSION: Designed for cooler sleep, this memory foam pillow is infused with temperature...
  • CONTOURING MEMORY FOAM: Super soft yet supportive memory foam contours to your head, neck, and...
  • REMOVABLE POLYESTER COVER: This supportive memory foam pillow is finished with a super soft and...

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

And while the pillow itself may not be machine washable, the cover of this pillow is.

The DreamyBlue Premium Pillow (available on Amazon) is an excellent choice if you aren’t a fan of the block-style of memory foam. Instead, the foam in this pillow is shredded, and the amount is adjustable, so you can find a level that works best for you.

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Latex

Latex, like memory foam, can be found in a block or as a shredded filling. It doesn’t conform to your body as much as memory foam and springs back into shape quicker. Latex pillows are often divided into Talalay latex and Dunlop latex. 

Talalay is lighter and holds more air, making them more breathable, while Dunlop latex is heavier and holds its shape longer. Latex is a natural material, which drives up the price. It isn’t easy to find one for less than $50.

Are Latex Pillows Worth It?

Latex pillows are worth it if you’re not allergic to latex. There are a lot of benefits to latex. They’re firm, breathable, and better for the environment. However, they won’t be an option if you’re allergic to latex or looking to keep costs down. 

It’s also important to note that latex pillows are typically not machine washable and must be washed by hand. 

Good Options

This Naturepedic Latex Pillow (available on Amazon) contains shredded Talalay latex that can be adjusted to fit your comfort level. It has a hypoallergenic cover and is labeled as climate pledge friendly.

Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Latex Pillow - Standard Bed Pillow with Quilted & Stretchy Sides - Luxury...
  • CERTIFIED ORGANIC: Experience the comfort of GOTS certified organic cotton and GOLS certified...
  • ADJUSTABLE FILL: Customize your comfort by adding or removing fill through the easy-access zipper....
  • 2 in 1 FLIPPABLE: Quilted side for smoother, less "sinking" feel. Stretchy side allows more depth.

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Juvea Silk & Silver Pillow (available on Amazon) is a block of silver-infused Talalay latex. The latex block contains holes to increase airflow, and the pillow comes with a silk cover.

JUVEA Talalay Silver Infused Latex Technology Sleeping Bed Pillow, Beautifying Firm Queen Size with... Opens in a new tab.
  • PRODUCT DETAILS: This Juvea Talalay silver infused latex sleeping queen size bed pillow is made of...
  • BEAUTY BENEFITS OF SILK: Beauty experts, fashion models, hairstylists, and dermatologists all agree...
  • HEALTH BENEFITS OF SILVER: Juvea Silk and Silver mixes natural silver with Talalay Latex to produce...

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Often, you can find pillows that blend two or more types of fillings. Depending on what those fillings are, they could end up being expensive. But if you’re someone who likes the plushness of down but the firmness of memory foam, finding something that offers both fillings may be the right choice for you.

Customization

Another factor that may drive the price of your pillow up is how customizable it is. Pillows that allow you to add or subtract filling often cost more than a standard pillow. There are also options for layered pillows, which allow you to take layers out or add more in to find your perfect comfort level. 

Both types have become more popular recently, but unfortunately, the price is often much higher.

Is Customization Worth It?

Customization can be worth it if you struggle to find a pillow in stores with the right amount of filling. Spending the extra money on something adjustable can pay off in the long term. The ability to add more stuffing may also extend the life of your pillow so that it won’t go flat. 

However, most pillows with adjustable filling are memory foam, so you may want to pass if you aren’t a fan.

Good Options

Above I mentioned the DreamyBlue Premium Pillow, which is filled with shredded memory foam that can be added or taken out to your comfort. If you are looking for a layered-style pillow, though, a popular choice is the Layr Adjustable Firmness and Loft Pillow (available on Amazon). 

LUXOME LAYR Adjustable Firmness & Loft Pillow - Completely Customizable - Memory Foam - Cooling...
  • COMPLETELY CUSTOMIZABLE: Our patent-pending LAYR pillow is the world’s first FULLY customizable...
  • ADJUSTABLE INSERTS: Our FIRM insert has 3” of solid gel-infused memory foam in a 1” and 2”...
  • CertiPUR-US MEMORY FOAM: All of our memory foam is CertiPUR-US, which is the highest standard of...

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This pillow offers layers in memory foam, down alternative, and a mix of both, and the layers can be adjusted to your preferred height and fluffiness.

Ergonomics

If you’re someone who has chronic back or neck pain, an ergonomic pillow may work better for you than a traditionally-shaped pillow. Like the customizable pillows, most ergonomic pillows are made of memory foam. 

They are designed with cooling fibers to allow better airflow than solid memory foam. 

These pillows are contoured to support the neck and spine better, often with a slight dip in the middle. The price range for contoured pillows tends to fall within $30-$60, although some on the market go above $100. 

Are Ergonomically-Friendly Pillows Worth It?

Ergonomically-friendly pillows are worth it if you suffer from aches and pains in your shoulder and neck region. These pillows are specifically designed for those with back, neck, and shoulder pain, so if traditional pillow styles have been uncomfortable, a contoured pillow is worth a try. 

Again, if you aren’t a fan of memory foam, you might want to pass.

Good Options

The Epabo Contour Memory Foam Pillow has over 25,000 reviews on Amazon, most of them five stars. It is contoured to provide head and neck support, and the memory foam is breathable. The cover is breathable as well, made of a bamboo blend, and is silky soft and machine washable.

Sale
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows, Ergonomic Cervical Pillow for Neck...
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27,163 Reviews
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows, Ergonomic Cervical Pillow for Neck... Opens in a new tab.
  • LUXURIOUS SLEEPING PILLOW - Provides therapeutic relief for all sleepers and neck pain, you will...
  • ERGONOMIC - Proven contour design perfectly supports and aligns your head, neck, shoulder and back....
  • QUALITY MATERIAL - Breathable memory form provides better air circulation to keep you cool and dry....

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Zamat Adjustable Cervical Memory Foam Pillow (available on Amazon) is a slightly different shape, allowing for support of not only the head and neck but arms and shoulders as well. The memory foam inside this pillow is adjustable, allowing you to set it to your preferred height. 

Sale
ZAMAT Adjustable Memory Foam Neck Pillow for Pain Relief - With Cooling Pillowcase, Orthopedic...
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7,772 Reviews
ZAMAT Adjustable Memory Foam Neck Pillow for Pain Relief - With Cooling Pillowcase, Orthopedic... Opens in a new tab.
  • 【Have trouble with neck pain sleeping?】 In fact, 25-30% of people suffer from neck pain. Pillow...
  • 【Are you looking for a personalized pillow?】 Special butterfly shape, neck contour, central...
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Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Like the Epabo pillow, the cover is a breathable and soft bamboo blend.

Cooling Features

Science says humans sleep a little better when we’re cool. Cooling pillows are available in a wide range of styles and fills, and they’re designed to wick away moisture and disperse heat, so your head doesn’t feel too hot at night. 

Often, gel fibers are used to keep the filling cool, often mixed in with memory foam or other types of filling. 

Many of these pillows are encased in a breathable fabric, such as bamboo. Because cooling technology is available for a wide range of styles, they come in a wide range of prices. Many pillows range from $30-$70, but more luxury styles will set you back in the range of $100.

Are Cooling Pillows Worth It?

Cooling pillows are worth it if you live in a hot environment or sleep hot, as it could be your ticket to better sleep. They’re available in a wide range of styles and prices. However, they may be more difficult to clean and maintain depending on the type you choose.

Good Options

In addition to the Beckham pillow listed above, there are plenty of options in whatever style pillow you prefer.

The Tuphen Bed Pillows (available on Amazon) use gel fibers to make them cooler, as well as a breathable microfiber cover. Customers on Amazon rave that it’s super soft, “like sleeping on a cloud.”

tuphen Bed Pillows for Sleeping: Standard size Microfiber Pillows 2 Pack - Ultra soft Breathable... Opens in a new tab.
  • 100% gel fibers provide cooling properties and long lasting comfort. 100% Microfiber cover for super...
  • Super soft, fluffy, plush and cool. The Microfiber down-alternative fill regulates temperature while...
  • These Microfiber pillows are supportive enough to keep your neck aligned and can provide relief from...

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you prefer memory foam, these Cool Bed Pillows (available on Amazon) use gel-infused memory foam to keep you cool at night, along with a bamboo cover for breathability. Reviews posted by self-proclaimed “picky sleepers” claim it’s the best pillow they’ve ever used.

Sale
Cooling Bed Pillows for Sleeping 2 Pack Shredded Memory Foam Pillows Adjustable Cool Pillow for Side... Opens in a new tab.
  • [ FLUFFY ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT FOR YOUR COMFORT ] SUPA MODERN is a fast growing US brand who is engaged...
  • [ LUXURY COOLING PILLOW ] The premium material enables your queen sleeping pillow to be ultra soft....
  • [ 3D BREATHFUL DESIGN--ENHANCING YOUR SLEEPING QUALITY ] There are hundreds of 3D small parts on the...

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Name Brands

If you choose a pillow that’s name-brand, chances are good that it’s going to be more expensive. Brands raise prices because they often assume that consumers will pay more for a name they recognize. 

Brands like Tempur-Pedic, Sleep Number, Purple, and Casper mark their pillows at a much higher price than most other pillows on the market. Most of the time, these pillows only have average ratings, making it hard to justify spending over $100 on them.

Are Name Brand Pillows Worth It?

Name brand pillows can be worth it if what you get is comfortable and lasts a long time. However, many name-brand pillows are made with the same materials as their cheaper counterparts. 

The one upside to these pillows is that these brands will often offer a free trial or a generous return policy.

How To Decide

Clearly, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to pillows. So, how do you decide if it’s worth it to splurge? 

When deciding on a pillow, the most important thing to consider is what will make you comfortable. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you prefer something firmer, like memory foam or latex? 
  • Or would you prefer something softer, like down? 
  • Do you need a pillow that’s contoured or is adjustable? 
  • Do you want one with cooling technology? 

The answers will dictate whether or not a more expensive pillow is worth it. 

Understandably, paying $50 or $100 on a single pillow can sting. However, if it improves your sleep, it’s worth it. Good sleep is vital for our health, both mental and physical, but chronic poor sleep increases your risk of depression, obesity, heart and kidney disease, diabetes, and stroke. 

When you consider it that way, that $50 or $100 is a small price to pay for a good night’s sleep and a healthier future.

Conclusion

The only person who can decide if an expensive pillow is worth it is you. Several features can raise the price of a pillow, and deciding which features are important to you is key in deciding if you should pay more. 

Choosing a pillow that’s contoured with cooling technology will be more expensive, but if that is what you need to sleep comfortably, then it is worth it. Because sleep is so crucial for our health and well-being, you should ultimately allow yourself to spend whatever you need to choose the pillow that will help you sleep the very best.

Sources

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Team SafeSleep

Hi! We're a team of scientists, doctors, teachers, and coaches experienced in helping people with special needs. We hope you like our research and share it with others who might find it helpful too :)

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