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Polyester pillows are a firm favorite with anyone on a budget. Soft, cuddly, and breathable, it’s not surprising they’ve become one of the most common pillow types.

Made with hundreds of fluffy polyester fibers, or poly fibers, polyester pillows can be tailored to suit the needs of side, back, or stomach sleepers. Polyester is quick-drying and can usually be machine-washed to keep the pillow fresh.

Tempted by the benefits of a polyester pillow, but not sure whether it’s right for you? We’ll discuss everything you need to know to make the right decision, providing buyer advice as well as our recommendations for the best polyester pillows on the market today.

Product Details

Product page photo of The Company Store's Essentials Down Alternative Pillow

Best Overall

The Company Store Essentials Down Alternative Pillow

Brand Logo


$59 – $79


100% polyester microfibers


  • Who it’s best for:

    1. Back sleepers
    2. Those who are allergic to authentic down
    3. Budget-conscious shoppers
  • Highlights:

    1. Shell composed of silky-smooth polyester
    2. Medium-density design cushions the head and neck without sinking excessively
    3. Each order includes two pillows

Sleep Foundation Special Offer

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on The Company Store pillows

The Company Store has earned a reputation for affordable yet well-made bedding products, and the Essentials Down Alternative Pillow is a prime example. Plush down alternative fibers make up the fill, effectively mimicking the softness and lightness of authentic down without using animal-based materials or triggering symptoms for people with down allergies. A silky-smooth polyester shell encases the fill.

The pillow is somewhat dense with a mid-range loft. The profile is thick enough to support the head and neck without causing any strain, so the pillow should appeal to back sleepers in particular. Our tests also show the pillow is a good option for hot sleepers. The fill absorbs less heat than real down, and the shell is fairly breathable. 

The pillow is technically machine-washable. That said, a front-loading washer is recommended — if your machine has an agitator, you may want to consider a visit to the laundromat or dry cleaner. Alternatively, a protector should safeguard the pillow from contaminants and minimize the need for regular cleaning.

Standard, queen, and king sizes are available. Each purchase includes two pillows, yet the sticker price should be approachable for most shoppers regardless of their budget. The Company Store offers low-cost ground delivery and accepts returns within 90 days of purchase.

Most Comfortable

Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow

Brand Logo


$99 – $149


Shredded memory foam


Firm to Medium Firm
  • Who it’s best for:

    1. People with persistent neck pain
    2. Hot sleepers who like foam pillows
    3. Those whose loft needs change over time
  • Highlights:

    1. Polyester-blend cover with cooling technology engineered to regulate temperature
    2. Foam and polyester down alternative contours to the neck to alleviate pressure
    3. Adjustable loft

Sleep Foundation Special Offer

Get an additional 10% off the Easy Breather and Easy Breather Natural Pillows with code SF10.

The Nest Bedding Easy Breather combines polyester fibers with adaptive foam, creating a luxuriously plush feel that closely contours to the neck to relieve pressure buildup. An adjustable loft made the pillow appealing to many of our testers across sleeping positions. 

Inside the Easy Breather is a blend of 70% shredded foam and 30% polyester down alternative, both of which are more breathable than solid memory foam or traditional down. The pillow comes overstuffed with the fill, so most sleepers can adjust the loft level to fit their needs. Side sleepers on our team enjoyed the pillow as-is with no fill removed. Back sleepers felt most comfortable with ¼ of the fill removed, and stomach sleepers preferred it with ⅓ removed. 

A cooling cover made from a blend of Icecore cooling fabric, polyester, and spandex encases the pillow. Our hot sleeping testers found the surface breathable, and our heat guns detected minimal heat buildup. The cover is fully removable and machine-washable, but you should only spot-clean the inner pillow. 

Four sizes are available: standard, queen, king, and a contoured option for side sleepers. Nest Bedding ships free to customers living in the contiguous U.S. The Easy Breather is backed by a 30-day return period and a 2-year warranty against structural defects.

The Luxe pillow down

Best Value

Luxe Pillow (Polyester Gel Fiber)

Brand Logo


$79 – $99


Down alternative polyester


  • Who it’s best for:

    1. Those who enjoy the soft feel of hotel pillows
    2. Hot sleepers
    3. Shoppers who want a pillow with a lengthy trial period
  • Highlights:

    1. Fill consists of plush, down-like synthetic fibers
    2. Breathable cotton cover helps minimize heat buildup
    3. Fully machine-washable for easy care

Sleep Foundation Special Offer

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Luxe Pillow pillows

The Luxe Pillow (Polyester Gel Fiber) offers the plush feel many sleepers love about luxury down pillows used in hotels – only it doesn’t contain down or any other animal-based materials. The fill consists of gel-coated down alternative fibers that create a soft, airy feel reminiscent of real down. This material is hypoallergenic and won’t trigger any symptoms for people with down allergies, nor does it trap heat the same way down does.

A shell made of cotton encases the fill. The cotton has a 300 thread count, ensuring consistent breathability. You can wash the entire pillow in your home appliances. Machine wash in warm water with mild soap on a gentle cycle, then tumble dry on low heat. Alternatively, you can use a machine-washable pillow protector if you’d rather not launder the pillow itself. Standard and king sizes are available.

The Luxe Pillow has an affordable price-point. Ground delivery is free within the contiguous U.S., and those who live in Alaska, Hawaii, or Canada qualify for low shipping rates. Each order includes a 100-night sleep trial, which is fairly long compared to the trial periods of other pillow brands.

A picture of the Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow in Sleep Foundation's test lab.

Best for Side Sleepers

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow

Brand Logo




75% Latex and 25% Polyester Fiber


Medium, Adjustable
  • Who it’s best for:

    1. People with sharp pressure points around their necks
    2. Hot sleepers
    3. Those who prefer pillows with adjustable loft
  • Highlights:

    1. Contoured design delivers excellent head and neck support
    2. Reduces pressure on the shoulders and neck
    3. Encourages spinal alignment for side sleepers

Sleep Foundation Special Offer

20% off

The Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow from Eli & Elm features a contoured U-shaped design that allows you to lie comfortably on your side without compromising your spinal alignment – a common source of pain and pressure points for people who primarily use this sleep position. In contrast, traditionally shaped pillows often create too much of a barrier between the head and neck, leading to alignment issues.

While the pillow’s cover is made of a stretchy cotton and polyester blend, the fill is composed from a blend of shredded Talalay latex and polyester batting. The latex is soft yet springy to cushion and support the head, while the batting provides extra padding to keep the pillow from feeling too firm. This pillow offers adjustable loft, meaning you can add or remove the fill to increase or decrease the overall thickness.

The Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow is also a good option for hot sleepers thanks to its breathable cover and fill materials. To clean the pillow, remove the fill before washing and drying the cover in your household machines.

Compared to other pillows with latex fill and adjustable loft, this model is very reasonably priced. Eli & Elm also offers free ground shipping for all orders. You may return the pillow if you aren’t satisfied within 45 days of the original order, even if you’ve used or cleaned it.

Best for Neck Pain

Zoey Curve Pillow

Brand Logo


$110 – $130


Shredded memory foam


  • Who it’s best for:

    1. Sleepers with loft preferences that vary from night to night
    2. People with neck pain
    3. Hot sleepers
  • Highlights:

    1. Shredded fill can be added or removed to adjust the loft
    2. Curved shape provides great neck support
    3. Breathable lyocell-polyester cover

Sleep Foundation Special Offer

SF Readers get 15% off with code SF15

The Zoey Curve Pillow is designed with enhanced neck support in mind. A slightly concave shape gently raises the head while allowing your shoulders to rest on the sleep surface, making the pillow a great choice for side sleepers who experience pressure in the neck. The shredded memory foam fill can also be removed to lower the loft for back and stomach sleepers.

The cover is composed of a lyocell-polyester blend with a hint of Spandex to give the fabric a smooth, stretchy feel. Lyocell is a highly breathable textile and the shredded fill won’t retain as much heat as solid foam, so the Curve Pillow should also sleep quite cool. Queen and king sizes are available, and you can also choose from white or grey colors for the shell. The cover can be removed and machine washed whenever a cleaning is needed.

The Curve Pillow costs less than many competing models with adjustable loft. Customers also save money when they bundle their purchase with two or four pillows. Ground delivery is free for U.S. orders, and each pillow purchase includes a 100-night trial period and a 5-year warranty against structural defects.

Product page photo of the Coop Home Goods Eden

Best Polyester-Lined

Coop Sleep Goods Eden

Brand Logo


$96 – $120


Cross-cut gel-infused memory foam and microfiber


Medium Soft
  • Who it’s best for

    1. Anyone whose loft preferences vary from night to night
    2. Those seeking a pillow with low-maintenance care
    3. Shoppers in the market for multiple pillows
  • Highlights

    1. Adjustable design lets you add or remove fill to customize the loft
    2. Gusseted side panel distributes the loft and minimizes the need for fluffing
    3. Receive a discount when you buy 2- or 4-packs

Sleep Foundation Special Offer

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Coop Sleep Goods pillows

The Coop Home Goods Eden is an adjustable pillow containing a fill blend of shredded memory foam and polyester-based down alternative clusters, resulting in a plush feel with noticeable contouring around the head and neck. Polyester is also used for the inner lining pouch that holds the fill. The cover is made of proprietary Lulltra fabric, which consists of a polyester and bamboo-derived viscose blend.

Adjustability is one of the Eden’s major selling points. You can unzip the pouch and add or remove fill until you’ve achieved the perfect loft. Each purchase includes extra fill for those who want to stuff their pillow to full volume, but others, such as stomach sleepers, may prefer less fill and a lower profile. If you anticipate changing the loft on a regular basis, we recommend keeping a container near your bed — the fill can create a bit of a mess. Coop Home Goods sells extra fill in bulk whenever you need to replenish your supply.

Ease of care is another perk, as the entire pillow is washable in any household appliance — even those with agitators. Just be sure to separate the cover from the pouch before doing so. The latter only needs to be washed once or twice a year. You can also toss your Eden into the dryer for a quick tumble cycle to recover its shape after flattening occurs with use. That said, the cover’s gusseted side panel helps distribute the fill evenly.

The Eden is reasonably priced compared to competing pillows with similar designs. You’ll receive a 10% discount if you purchase two, and a 15% discount if you purchase four. Shipping is free within the contiguous U.S. Your order comes with a 100-night trial period.

What is a Polyester Pillow?

Polyester is a synthetic fabric that’s present in many linens, from clothing to bed sheets to upholstery. As polyester grew in popularity over the last century, it largely replaced cotton as a pillow filling. When it’s used in pillows, polyester is usually referred to as poly fiber or fiberfill. This describes the way it’s been spun out into airy, lightweight fibers that feel somewhat similar to cotton.

Although not quite as soft as down alternative pillows, many people associate polyester pillows with the feel of a traditional feather pillow, at a much lower price-point. Polyester pillows are soft, lightweight, cuddly, and somewhat moldable. They compress well, and by adjusting the fill, they can be tailored to virtually any sleep position. Their affordability and versatility has led to them being one of the more common pillow types currently on the market. Polyester pillows usually have a cotton cover to enhance breathability.

How to Choose a Polyester Pillow

Now that we’ve discussed what a polyester pillow is and shared some of our top picks, we’ll go more in-depth about how to shop for a polyester pillow. Along with some general buyer tips, this guide covers the pros and cons of polyester pillows, as well as advice on who is best-suited to a polyester pillow.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Polyester Pillow

Many polyester pillows look similar at first glance, leading some manufacturers to make lofty and exaggerated claims to encourage buyers to choose their pillow above the rest. Having a basic understanding of the components that make up a pillow and how they affect its functionality can help you see past these claims and choose the pillow that’s best for you.

Loft: Pillow loft refers to how thick a pillow is. Thicker pillows raise the head higher up off the mattress. They are best-suited to side sleepers, who need the extra lift to prevent shoulder pain and a cricked neck. Back sleepers tend to prefer medium-loft pillows that keep the head at a comfortable distance off the pillow, and stomach sleepers need hardly any loft at all. Polyester pillows can be made with any loft and are often adjustable.

Support: The amount of support a pillow provides is directly related to how high and how firm it is. Polyester pillows can be quite high, but they’re not usually very firm. This makes them unsuitable for sleepers who need extra head and neck support.

Firmness Level: While a pillow must be firm enough to maintain the head and neck aligned, a pillow that’s too firm can cause pressure points. This is especially true for side sleepers, who commonly experience pressure build-up on the ears. Generally, polyester pillows provide sufficient cushioning to alleviate this kind of pressure.

Pressure Relief: Materials that conform more closely tend to provide better pressure relief. While poly fiber doesn’t attain the superior pressure relief of memory foam, it does a fairly good job of contouring to the head and neck in order to reduce pressure points.

Shape: Pillow shape is not only a matter of aesthetics. Many pillows feature flared ends, raised areas, or other features that are meant to enhance support for the head and neck. Polyester pillows, however, usually have a traditional rectangular shape that allows even distribution of the fibers inside.

Price: Given that pillows usually need replacing after a few years, it’s tempting to buy the cheapest pillow available. However, a cheap pillow can wreak havoc on your back and neck and make it difficult to find a comfortable position. That’s not to mention the fact that cheaper pillows usually deteriorate faster, which means you’ll have to fork out money sooner for another one. The best policy is to do your research and try to find a pillow that offers good value for your money.

Quality Materials: Within pillow types, there can be vast differences in feel and durability depending on the quality of the materials. This also applies to polyester pillows, which often offer better longevity and enhanced features if you’re willing to pay just a little more.
Moldability: Many sleepers prefer a moldable pillow that can be scrunched into shape to suit their sleeping position. Polyester pillows can be molded to a certain extent, but they tend to regain their original shape almost immediately.

Temperature Regulation: For those who sleep hot, temperature regulation is one of the most important features of a pillow. Luckily, polyester pillows score fairly well in this category, with a loose-packed construction that allows room for airflow. If you have serious problems staying cool at night, try choosing a pillow with a breathable cover and cooling technology such as gel infusions or phase-change material.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Polyester Pillows?

Polyester pillows mimic the light, fluffy feel we associate with the feather pillows of our youth, but for a significantly more affordable price. However, the low price may come at the cost of support and durability.

  • Affordability: Polyester pillows tend to be the cheapest models on the market.
  • Ease of Care: In contrast to other pillow types, most polyester pillows can be machine-washed and tumble-dried.
  • Temperature Neutrality: Due to their airy construction, polyester pillows don’t build up as much heat as other pillow types.
  • Weight: Polyester pillows are lightweight and easy to move for sleepers who frequently shift positions.
  • Softness: Those who suffer from pressure points should find that polyester pillows do a good job of cushioning sore spots.
  • Customizability: In many cases, users can add or remove fill to adapt a polyester pillow for any sleep position.
  • No Strong Smells: Polyester pillows rarely present any odors when first unwrapped. Additionally, polyester is a hypoallergenic material, unlike feathers, buckwheat, or latex.
  • Poor Support: Poly fiber often shifts and flattens under weight, and sleepers may find the pillow fails to keep the head and neck aligned.
  • Lumpiness: Polyester is prone to clumping together, and users may find that the contents distribute unevenly and must be constantly re-fluffed.
  • Short Lifespan: Polyester pillows are among the least durable pillows, and may need replacing as soon as 1 to 2 years after purchasing.
  • Noise: Some polyester pillows rustle when moved, which may be a problem for sensitive sleepers.
  • Dust Mites: Polyester pillows leave plenty of room for dust mites, which can trigger allergies in some sleepers.
  • Not Sustainable: Polyester is derived from petroleum and may be problematic for sleepers who are concerned with their impact on the environment.

Who is Best Suited to a Polyester Pillow?

Polyester pillows can be successfully used by stomach, side, and back sleepers alike. They’re popular with sleepers who like a soft, fluffy pillow, as well as with those who are sensitive to smell. Polyester pillows are commonly favored by sleepers who fit the following categories:

  • All Sleep Positions: By adjusting the fill of a polyester pillow, users can change the loft and, to some extent, the firmness level. In this way, sleepers can adjust the pillow to suit the high loft needed for side sleeping, or the lower loft needed for stomach and back sleeping.
  • Those Sensitive to Odor: Polyester pillows don’t off-gas like memory foam or polyfoam, nor do they give off strong smells as buckwheat or feather pillows are prone to do. This makes them a suitable choice for those who are sensitive to smell.
  • Those Who Prefer a Plush Pillow: Poly fiber is inherently soft and fluffy, and most polyester pillows are on the plush side. This is good news for sleepers who prefer sinking into their pillow, as well as those who commonly suffer from pressure points in the ears or other sensitive areas.

Who is not suited:

  • Those With Back, Neck, or Shoulder Pain: Support is a weak point of polyester pillows, which tend to compress under the weight of the head. This makes it difficult to keep the head and neck aligned and can lead to neck and back pain. It may also cause pressure points in the shoulders for side sleepers.
  • Sleeper with Dust Allergies: Polyester pillows are a haven for dust mites, which may aggravate allergy or asthma symptoms in susceptive individuals.
  • Sensitive Sleepers: Polyester pillows may rustle slightly when you shift sleeping positions. This can cause sleep disruptions to people who are easily awakened.

Which Polyester Pillow Sizes Are Available?

Unlike memory foam pillows that are produced in a variety of orthopedic shapes, polyester pillows are almost always rectangular. They are usually sold in one of the following sizes, although the exact dimensions may vary by manufacturer:

  • Standard: At 20 by 26 inches, standard pillows are the smallest of the regular pillow sizes. They can be used not just on twin mattresses, but also on larger mattresses. Standard pillows are a good choice for anyone who prefers a smaller or more economical pillow.
  • Super Standard: The less-common super standard or “jumbo” pillows are 20 by 28 inches long, just slightly longer than the standard size.
  • Queen: The queen pillow is the most common type aside from the standard pillow. Measuring 20 by 30 inches, it’s perfectly suited to queen size mattresses and may occasionally be used on twin or full size mattresses.
  • King: After queen size pillows, measurements take a significant jump in length. The king size pillow measures a hefty 20 by 36 inches and can accommodate sleepers who frequently roll from side to side while sleeping. The greater length of a king size pillow may also be helpful when sitting up in bed.
  • Specialty: Common specialty sizes include extra-long body pillows for side sleepers, square Euro sizes, and cervical pillows with unique shapes that are tailored to provide better support.

How much do polyester pillows cost? 

Polyester pillows have an average price range of $10 to $20, making them the cheapest pillows on the market. You may even find polyester pillows for less than $10. Where available, polyester pillows of more than $30 tend to have additional special features such as gel infusions that justify the price.

How do I clean a polyester pillow?

Ease of care is one of the great advantages of polyester pillows, with most being machine-washable and dryable. Manufacturers may recommend using the gentle cycle and keeping it to low temperatures, although hot temperatures can be used in some cases to kill dust mites. Polyester dries fairly fast, but to prevent clumping and ensure even drying, it’s a good idea to add one or two tennis balls to the dryer. In cases where the pillow itself is not washable, the cover may be removable and machine-washable.

Where can I buy a polyester pillow? 

Polyester pillows are easy to find, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. When shopping online, you may be able to buy directly from the manufacturer, or through third-party websites such as Amazon. Take advantage of sleep trials, and don’t forget to take shipping fees into account when comparing prices.

How long do polyester pillows last? 

Polyester pillows have a below-average lifespan and usually need to be replaced every 1 to 2 years. The average lifespan of a pillow in general is 2 to 3 years, so while polyester pillows are less durable, the difference isn’t huge. You’ll know it’s time to get a new polyester pillow when you notice that the pillow begins flattening, losing support, and no longer responds as well to fluffing.

Are polyester pillows adjustable? 

Polyester pillows are adjustable to a certain extent. As they’re filled with hundreds of tiny fiber clumps, polyester pillows are quite amenable to being squished and hugged. Additionally, in many cases, users can open up the pillow to add or remove filling. This changes the loft and can make the pillow softer or firmer, although most polyester pillows will never get as firm as a buckwheat or latex pillow.

Do polyester pillows have an odor? 

Polyester pillows don’t emit a strong odor at first, and since most of them are machine-washable it’s easy to keep them odor-free. Because of this, plus the lack of natural allergens such as latex or down, they are a good candidate for most sleepers with allergies or those who dislike strong smells.

Still have questions?

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