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Written by

Lauren Fountain

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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

Product Details

Utopia Deals Premium Plush Gel Pillow

Utopia Deals Premium Plush Gel Pillow
Fill:
Down alternative fibers
Firmness:
Soft
Utopia Deals Premium Plush Gel Pillow
Highlights:

Made of soft, fluffy polyester gel fiber, the Utopia Premium Plush Gel Pillow is ideal for stomach and back sleepers and comes at a budget price-point.

Who it's best for:
  • Those who like soft, fluffy pillows
  • Stomach and back sleepers
  • Hot sleepers

Offered at a very attractive price point, the Utopia Premium Plush Gel Pillow is made of 100 percent polyester fiber. Utopia uses gel ball fiber, which has a soft, fluffy feel and tends to hold its shape without developing lumps or flattened areas. The pillow is squishy and can be molded to a certain extent to fit the desired shape.

Despite its full shape, the pillow is quite soft and it doesn’t have a gusset. Most sleepers will find their head sinks in significantly, resulting in a low-to-medium loft that’s best-suited to stomach and back sleepers.

The cover is made of cotton with a 240 thread count and sports a classic striped design. Hot sleepers should find the cotton allows generous airflow to keep the pillow cool.

The pillow is mold- and mildew-resistant and can be machine-washed following the manufacturer’s instructions. When it starts to flatten, it can be easily fluffed up by putting in the dryer on no heat along with two tennis balls. The Utopia Deals Premium Plush Gel Pillow comes in queen and king sizes and is sold in packs of 2 or 8.

The White Company Deluxe Down Alternative Pillow

The White Company Deluxe Down Alternative Pillow
Fill:
Smartdown polyester down alternative fibers
Firmness:
Medium
The White Company Deluxe Down Alternative Pillow
Highlights:

The White Company Deluxe Down Alternative Pillow uses recycled materials to emulate the softness of down without the allergens.

Who it's best for:
  • Those who want the feel of down without the high price
  • Allergy sufferers
  • Side sleepers

Down alternative is a type of polyester fiber that’s treated to give it a similar feel to goose or duck down. The White Company Deluxe Down Alternative Pillow contains Smartdown, a down alternative filler made from recycled materials. This is a good option for people who are allergic to real down.

The White Company Deluxe Down Alternative Pillow has a medium feel, with a wide gusset that helps support the neck for side sleepers. The cover is made from cotton percale with a 280 thread count. The relatively low thread count helps the pillow breathe, yet it’s still durable enough to withstand frequent washes.

The White Company Deluxe Down Alternative Pillow is sold in standard and super king sizes. It can be machine-washed and tumble-dried, although The White Company recommends getting the pillow professionally laundered. For hygiene reasons, The White Company does not accept returns once the pillows have been opened.

Sobella Pillow

Sobella Pillow
Fill:
Down alternative fibers
Firmness:
Soft
Sobella Pillow
Highlights:

Perfect for side sleepers, the Sobella Pillow is a plump polyester pillow made with lightweight microfiber and a breathable cotton cover.

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers
  • People who prefer a plump pillow
  • Those who sleep hot

The Sobella Pillow is made with a hypoallergenic virgin microfiber with a very fine denier of 0.9. This lightweight fill gives the pillow an initially plush feel, although it forms a firmer cradle to support the head as sleepers gradually sink into the pillow.

The pillow is fairly plump, which makes it ideally suited to side sleepers who don’t need a firm pillow. It can also be used by back sleepers who prefer a higher loft.

The cover is made of 100 percent cotton with a durable 300 thread count, decorated with a subtle geometric box design. Cotton is known for being one of the more breathable bed sheet materials, and this cover helps dissipate heat to keep a neutral temperature throughout the night.

The pillow is sold in standard, queen, and king sizes. Sobella offers free shipping for customers in the continental U.S. Returns are accepted within 30 days of the order date, but customers are responsible for shipping costs.

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?

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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.

Pros Cons
  • 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.

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.