10 Types of pillow fillings explained


Best Pillow Filling

Pillows are the closest friends for many people and for a reason. You can laugh at it, cry on it, cuddle it, hug it and even play a mock game of wrestling with it- which of course you win, all the time.

Invariably in our lives, whether we are men or women, boy or girl, or other, we have resorted to a comfort of a pillow on a cold wet night or a dry and humid day. Pillow is that long last friend of ours, who does not get the respect it deserves.

Pillows come in varied sizes, shapes and fillings. For utmost comfort, what is inside the casing is very important. In this section, let us explore a bit more on different kinds of pillow fillings.

Before a delve into the fillings, let us if this friend of ours, was a friend of our ancestors too. Certainly, they were, but only in different shapes. One of the earliest references comes from biblical times in the land of Egypt, where pharaohs used them to elevate their heads from the mattress. A little analysis tells us that only the rich could afford one, then. Anyways, pillows then were just hard stone or wood carved in a u shape with certain elevation. We can find them only in museums now.

Pillows have evolved over time and for a good reason. Pillows have not only evolved from the outside; they have grown in the inside as well.

Following analysis of pillow fillings will help you understand better which pillow fillings suits you the best.

Pillow Fillings – Choose the best pillow filling

Feathers and down

Bird feathers and downs have been a popular filling for ages. Down is not same as feathers, a popular misconception. Down is the layer which is under the feathers.

Considered one of the softest pillows, it is expensive and, on the decline, now with other scientifically superior fillings in the market. Pillows made of feather are not conducive for a good bout of wrestling and cannot withstand a good choke slam.

Feather pillows are soft and sometimes poky. Comfort is subjective and many people use it for cuddly purposes alone and not for a good night’s sleep.

These pillows do disintegrate over time and do not retain its shape for long. Moisture and natural oils of our hair hasten the process of aging.

The Hungarian Goose down is considered as the best filling material quality. This filling is also known as European white goose down. The down is a cluster of pure white and soft fibers.

These clusters are larger as compared to other types. These down feathers are collected by using 3 different technologies.

  • Post-mortem
  • Live plucking
  • From live birds


  • Down pillows are moldable. They offer great support for the head and neck.
  • Down pillows are so light and soft that one cannot resist cuddling with them.
  • If these down feather pillows get proper care, these pillows can last for longer periods.
  • Down is a recyclable material. It can always be renewed and reused.


  • They absorb heat from the body and become warm.
  • They need a consistent re-fluffing to avoid flattening.


best pillow filling

Cotton has been one of the main fillings in the subcontinent. Very much comparable to feathers or downs, pillows made of this are soft and durable.

One of the most discomforting factors of this pillow is excessive use and same head positions causes lumps which tend to harden over time, rendering the pillow completely useless.

Unlike the traditional pillows, cotton pillows are soft, compressible, and firmer. Cotton being one of the popular crops of the world is easily available and suits most of the people’s tastes.

It is natural and user-friendly material and tends to keep the pillow cool. Mixed with some synthetic materials like polyester, this cotton filling helps prevent the clumping of the pillow material.


  • It has no odor.
  • It is free of toxic materials.
  • It is hypoallergenic and breathable.


  • It becomes after some time of constant usage.
  • May be noisy sometimes.

Organic Cotton Pillows – Why they are a must buy!

Polyester Fibers

A cheaper version of the cotton pillow, this pillow filling is not recommended nor preferred for a comfortable sleep. We strongly recommend you not to use these pillows unless you are living under a bridge.

If you care about your health and your sleep, a polyester fiber filling is highly not recommended. Although it is cheap and lightweight, yet it can seriously affect the comfort of your night’s sleep.

Avoid this filling unless you really want to invest in a cheaper pillow and can’t afford any other option.


  • It is easy to clean.
  • It has a very low price.
  • It’s a lightweight filling.


  • It has a short life span due to clumping.
  • It is hazardous to health as many toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and toluene are used during manufacture.
  • It is not breathable as it gets warm easily.

Shredded Memory foam

The most used and the most sought-after pillow filling in the world. This pillow offers comfort and support. This usually takes shape of your head and neck, which provides necessary support and bounces back to its original shape.

These pillows emit a chemical odor, which many people don’t like. Apart form this, one of the major disadvantages is that as it takes shape, sometimes the sides might flatten out, providing inconsistent support.

Shredded memory foam pillow filling comes in a solid box-like loaf that helps to retain its shape magically and proves it to be moldable. It doesn’t clump and provides great support to the head and neck.

Best Memory Foam Pillows for neck pain

These pillows are best for all sleeping styles especially for back and side sleepers.

Polyurethane and some other toxins are used in the shredded memory foam which causes a nasty odor.


  • It is malleable and moldable.
  • It never clumps even after squishing.
  • It provides the best support for all sleeping styles.


  • It uses toxic chemicals.
  • It gives off a nasty odor.
  • It absorbs heat and is not breathable.

Best Gel Memory Foam Pillows – Everyone loves them

Finger Millet

A very peculiar filling and used mainly for newborns in parts of India and the subcontinent. Very similar to buck wheat filling ( next), these pillows offer sturdy support to the tender neck of the newborn. As the seeds are small and smooth, these don’t hurt the soft skin.


One of the most expensive pillows in the circuit, these fillings offer excellent support as it provides firm surface and are long lasting. People who have allergies, prefer these pillows to other fillings as it is completely natural, without any chemical injections.

Heavy, people might take some time to get used to these. However, people who like it, stick to it. For people who are users of these, there is good news as these fillings last really long. The only thing to get used to it, apart from usage is the rustling sound.

Buckwheat Dull pillow filling is an ideal pillow fill as it is breathable and highly malleable. It circulates the air through the pillow and keeps the pillow cool.  


  • It is breathable and keeps the pillow cool.
  • It has a long lifespan and lasts for long.
  • It is eco-friendly.
  • It provides superior support to all the other pillow fillings.


  • It is quite heavy.
  • People take time to get used to this firmly hard pillow fill.


A very unorthodox filler, this age old, proven substance is a cure for many. Supportive, firm and often uncomfortable, these pillows also have the scare of wetting your bed, if you know what I mean.

Choose the best pillow filling appropriately for a good sleep.

Most of the pillows get flat overtime. Watch the below video how to fix it

Microbead filling

Microbeads are also known as ‘uniform polymer particles. They are the synthetic alternative of buckwheat. Most of their features are the same as Buckwheat.

Microbeads are soft little particles that allow the air freely to pass through the pillow and keep it super cool. Microbeads are also malleable.

They provide incredible support to the neck and shoulders and provide a comfortable sleep. The microbeads last longer, they are apparently smaller and denser.

Unfortunately, the microbeads cannot retain their shape and lose their volume earlier than other fills. They are also unfriendly for environment.


Microbeads are breathable and keep the pillow cool.
They provide great support.
They last longer and are denser.


Microbeads cannot retain their shape.
They get flattened and lose their volume.

Kapok Pillow Filling

Kapok is the name of a Mexican native tree also known as Ceiba Pentandra. Kapok gives of flowers that produces fluffy cotton-like material which contains thousands of seeds.

This cotton like fluffy material is light brown in color and has soft fibers. It is also called as silk cotton. Its softness and being natural makes it a good alternative to down pillows. Kapok fill is quiet popular for filling pillows, upholstery, and for the life preservers.

Kapok lost its importance once after the introduction of polyester foams in the market. But it has revived again and its taking its position back for the nature lovers.


  • Kapok is a natural fill without any chemicals or toxins.
  • It is very soft like a cloud.
  • It is eco-friendly material.


  • Kapok is highly inflammable.
  • Like polyester, it starts getting lumpy.
  • It is not moldable.

The organic pillows of 2020 – We have picked the best ones for you

Shredded Latex Pillow Filling

The latex pillow filling is gaining fame very fast these days. It is because they offer great support for the head and neck and provides a soft feel for the whole body. The other memory foam pillows, that come in a solid box like shape and are not moldable. However, the shredded latex pillow filling is moldable and malleable.

Shredded latex filling is a safe, natural and eco-friendly pillow filling. It circulates air and keeps the pillow cool but not as cool as compared to buckwheat or microbeads.


  • The shredded latex filling is eco-friendly.
  • It is malleable and moldable.
  • It is breathable and keeps the pillow cool.


  • It gives off a rubbery odor.
  • It is expensive.

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