Choosing the perfect pillow can be a confusing experience! With so much choice and jargon it can be difficult to know that you’re actually spending your money wisely and getting what you really want. Do you get what you pay for with pillows? Can bargains be found? We pulled apart two well-known retailer pillows to help you know what to look for if you want to wake with an ‘ahhh’ not an ‘ow’.
Check the fill
“So many sins can go on within a pillow,” says fine linen expert Robert Lancaster-Gaye, who believes the right pillow is key to a good night’s sleep. The first retailer’s pillow we tested contained down and feather fibres, broken feather quills and dust, despite being advertised as 90% White Duck Down. Equally misleading was another well-known retailer’s Luxury White Duck Down pillow. This so-called luxury item contained 80% pure feather with large quills, plastic, red threads along with a lot of dust and other muck.
We say: Product titles can be misleading. Buy from a trusted bedlinen specialist and read the product description to understand how the pillow’s composed. A pillow only needs 60% down to advertise as a down pillow. The rest of it may contain a fill you neither want or need.
Power your fill
The quality of the down affects the pillow’s fill power – its ability to fluff up - which in turn limits how well it will keep you warm and snug. Both our shop bought examples had small cluster sizes and a fill power well below Tielle's standard, as well as a noisy feathery core likely to crackle in your ear at night.
We say: Buy from a trusted source and don’t be afraid to ask more about the fill; a good retailer will always be happy to help. In general, the bigger the down cluster, the warmer and lighter the down pillow. However, most people also need some feather for support.
Buy to last
There’s no escaping the impact fast fashion, food or anything else made quickly and cheaply is having on the world we live in. A pillow that’s responsibly made from high quality ingredients will last around three years – that’s 1000 sleeps - before losing its ability to fluff up and offer effective support. A good quality pillow will also bounce back well after being washed properly.
We say: Look for a retailer that insists on the finest quality and follow their laundering guidance or have it washed professionally to extend its life. A pillow protector will also help protect your pillows from odour and stains – the average person can perspire up to a litre of sweat of night!
Save money, reduce waste
Heard of expectancy theory? It’s the assumption consumers make that a product packaged, for instance, in a heavier bottle or bigger box is higher quality, which is simply not true. Retailers often exploit this misconception by overpackaging bedlinen to give the illusion of quality. A pillow or duvet in a big box will typically cost you an extra £5, only for it to end up in the bin.
We say: Invest in the highest quality filling rather than worry about the size and look of the packaging.
Go for no quibble
There’s no ‘best for everyone’ pillow but there is a pillow for everyone. While many people find our 70% feather and 30% down pillow provides the perfect balance of softness and support, your sleeping position – whether you sleep on your side, back or stomach – and other personal preferences can affect what suits you.
We say: Buy one pillow and sleep on it before buying the rest. Read our Buyers Guide or speak to the retailer for advice on finding a pillow that’s right for you.
Avoid excess choice
It’s common for retailers to bamboozle you with choice. Some may offer as many as 90 different pillow options – choice paralysis anyone? - making it hard for you to choose the right pillow and difficult for them to have the close partner relationships needed to guarantee the quality of their supply.
We say: Go for a retailer that works closely with a limited number of partners to properly source and manufacture quality products.
The proof is in the pudding as they say, and there’s no better endorsement than other people’s reviews. That said, paid-for online reviews can falsely represent a product so be wary of a glowing reviews published within a short time-frame and trawl back for a more balanced feel.
We say: Don’t restrict yourself to online reviews and a pillow you’ve never tried. If you enjoyed a great sleep experience at a hotel, find out the supplier’s name and replicate that hotel feel at home. High quality commercial pillows are designed to provide lasting luxury, which is why you’ll find Tielle pillows in over 5,000 luxury 5* hotels and boutique properties in the UK and around the world.
Ready to upgrade your sleep experience? Take the pillow test to find out if your current pillow partner is past its best.