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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.
The Best Polyester Pillows
Quince Premium Down Alternative Pillow
Who it’s best for:
- People who are allergic to real down
- Hot sleepers
- Those who want a pillow that comes with a long trial period
- Choose from two firmness levels
- Breathable fill and cover promote cool sleep
- 365-night sleep trial for all orders
Although most polyester pillows are affordably priced compared to other pillow types, some models sacrifice quality to cut costs even further. With the Quince Premium Down Alternative Pillow, you’ll get the best of both worlds – a durable, well-constructed pillow that also carries a reasonable sticker price. To sweeten the deal, Quince offers free shipping for all orders and the company’s trial period spans an entire year.
You can select from two firmness levels for your pillow. The medium soft option provides the plushest surface, creating a cloud-like feel for the head and neck, while the medium firm option is more supportive without sacrificing the fill’s gentle cradling. Those who are allergic to down shouldn’t experience any symptoms, and the pillow does not contain any animal-based components. A smooth, breathable cotton sateen shell encases the fill.
The entire pillow can be washed and dried in household machines for quick and convenient care. You may also have the pillow dry cleaned if you prefer this method. Standard and king sizes are available.
Hollander Sleep Products Great Sleep Loves to Be Washed Pillow
Who it’s best for:
- Hot sleepers
- Side and back sleepers
- Value seekers
- High-loft design elevates the head and neck
- Quilted corners aid with full shape retention
- Fill does not trigger allergies or contain animal-derived materials
When it comes to polyester pillows, the crossover between low cost and high quality tends to be somewhat slim. The Great Sleep Loves to Be Washed Pillow from Hollander Sleep Products is a great example of a well-crafted down alternative model that feels comfortable, sleeps cool, maintains a full shape — yet also carries an affordable sticker price. Add in a low-maintenance machine-washable design and you’ve got a great bargain for shoppers with limited budgets.
The pillow’s innovative construction is part of its appeal. Down alternative clusters fill the inner chamber, creating a plush and lofty feel without sinking too deeply beneath your head. Each corner is quilted to essentially cinch the pillow on all four sides and prevent the fill from flattening or bunching. Consistent shape retention and 7-inch loft make the pillow a good option for side sleepers because people who use this position need a thicker, fuller pillow to promote even spinal alignment. Back sleepers should also receive adequate support from the pillow, especially if they are prone to snoring. Since the fill retains very little heat, the pillow is also a solid pick for hot sleepers.
Light piping trims the border to give the pillow a polished look. As the name implies, you may wash and dry the pillow in any household machine. A smooth cotton shell should feel soothing for people with sensitive skin. The fill is also vegan, so it won’t trigger symptoms for those who are allergic to real down and does not use any animal-based materials.
Customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for reasonable flat-rate standard shipping when they order the Great Sleep Loves to Be Washed Pillow. Your purchase also includes a trial and return period that runs for 30 nights, during which you can test out the pillow and decide if it meets your needs.
Luxe Pillow (Polyester Gel Fiber)
Who it’s best for:
- Those who enjoy the soft feel of hotel pillows
- Hot sleepers
- Shoppers who want a pillow with a lengthy trial period
- Fill consists of plush, down-like synthetic fibers
- Breathable cotton cover helps minimize heat buildup
- Fully machine-washable for easy care
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.
Best for Side Sleepers
Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow
Who it’s best for:
- People with sharp pressure points around their necks
- Hot sleepers
- Those who prefer pillows with adjustable loft
- Contoured design delivers excellent head and neck support
- Reduces pressure on the shoulders and neck
- Encourages spinal alignment for side sleepers
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
Who it’s best for:
- Sleepers with loft preferences that vary from night to night
- People with neck pain
- Hot sleepers
- Shredded fill can be added or removed to adjust the loft
- Curved shape provides great neck support
- Breathable lyocell-polyester cover
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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Polyester Pillows
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.
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