With adjustable pillows, you get fully customizable comfort, as you’re able to adjust the contours of the pillow to the natural curves of your head, neck, and shoulders. As a result, the quality of your sleep improves dramatically. Here we review and compare 2 major brands: MOLECULE vs. My Wholly. Check also our Buying Guide for Adjustable Pillows, at the bottom of this page.
Buying Guide – How to Shop for an Adjustable Pillow
Adjustable pillows (just like mattresses) play a critical role in your sleep quality.
The incorrect pillow can lead to added pressure and strain in the shoulders and neck, while the correct one can help ensure a comfortable night’s rest.
However, finding the adjustable pillow that’s just right for you can be difficult.
Adjustable pillow shoppers must consider several factors. Material composition is the most important consideration. These include cotton, polyester, memory foam, down, latex, and buckwheat pillows, as well as organic and natural options.
Finding the right thickness/loft is also important, and often comes down to the sleeper’s comfort preferences and body type.
And with 6 pillow sizes commonly sold, determining the proper width and length also requires comprehensive research.
This guide will help you to learn more about which adjustable pillow is the best fit for your sleep needs.
Adjustable Pillow Sizes
Nowadays, most adjustable pillows sold come in the following 5 sizes: Standard, Super Standard, Queen, King, and Body Pillow.
Additionally, there are corresponding pillowcase sizes: the pillowcase is two to four inches long and one to two inches wider than the adjustable pillow itself.
An adjustable pillow size often comes down to both mattress size and personal preferences.
Standard is the most common size for adjustable pillows, and are often the most compact and shortest options. They often are also the least expensive. One standard pillow is often adequate for both Twin and Full-size mattresses, while 2 standard pillows will be adequate for most Queen and King size mattresses.
Super Standard pillows are a slightly longer option for sleepers who find standard size pillows to be too compact.
Anyway, with adjustable pillows, you simply add or remove whatever material is inside.
Queen adjustable pillows provide extra room on both sides of your head, making this size more suitable for sleepers who toss and turn and/or shift positions during the night.
King adjustable pillows also offer extra room on both sides of the head, making this size more suitable for people that toss and turn. They can also be used as backrests for individuals who are sitting up in bed.
Body adjustable pillows are designed for people who prefer to hold onto their pillow while sleeping, and they’re popular with pregnant women and side-sleepers.
Adjustable Pillow Thickness/Loft
The height or thickness of an adjustable pillow is linked to how comfortable and supportive the pillow will feel for different sleepers.
Loft is often categorized using the following 3 categories:
Low loft pillows are less than 3″ thick.
Medium loft pillows fall between 3″ and 5″ thick.
High loft pillows are more than 5″ thick.
Most sleepers won’t feel comfortable on pillows with very low or very high thickness, but this will come down to personal preferences, and that’s why adjustable pillows are so practical because their comfort is fully customizable.
Common Adjustable Pillow Types
The most common adjustable pillow types include the following, listed in alphabetical order:
Buckwheat adjustable pillows are filled with the husk-like outer shell found around buckwheat kernels (or hulls). They’re designed to contain around 5 to 10 pounds of buckwheat hull.
Buckwheat adjustable pillows offer above-average support.
You normally get customizable fill capacities to accommodate different sleepers.
Buckwheat adjustable pillows are often linked to pressure relief and pain.
Buckwheat adjustable pillows do not absorb as much body heat as other pillow types.
Buckwheat adjustable pillows often have prices above-average, with a few costing $100 or more per pillow.
The term down is applicable to the plumage (not the feathers) of geese and ducks. The adjustable pillow must contain less than 25% feather fill and more than 75% down.
Down adjustable pillows are extremely malleable beneath the sleeper’s head and neck, resulting in high levels of overall comfort.
The lifespan for most down adjustable pillows is well above-average
Down adjustable pillows are often very expensive, with high-end models selling for more than $200.
Due to their fill structure, down adjustable pillows may need to be fluffed out or shaken on a regular basis in order to ensure proper support and comfort.
Down carries an allergy risk for a few sleepers, and its material may emit an unpleasant smell for some.
These adjustable pillows are made from polyester fibers designed to mimic the lightweight, soft qualities of the genuine down.
These adjustable pillows are usually much cheaper than genuine down adjustable pillows.
These down alternative pillows provide often the same malleability and softness as their genuine down alternative ones.
Down alternative pillows are not as durable as genuine down pillows.
Feather adjustable pillows are almost entirely made of duck or goose feathers (and are not to be confused with down adjustable pillows, the latter made essentially from duck or goose plumage. Many do not contain any down percentage whatsoever.
Feather adjustable pillows are relatively lightweight, soft and malleable.
In terms of durability, feather pillows have often lifespans that are longer than other adjustable pillow types.
Feather adjustable pillows are much cheaper than down adjustable ones – although they often cost more than other adjustable pillow types (e.g. polyester or down alternative).
Feather adjustable pillows often produce an unpleasant odor.
Fluffing or shaking is often required to maintain a uniform shape.
Memory foam adjustable pillows are designed to conform deeply around the sleeper’s head, shoulders, and neck. Memory foam adjustable pillows are filled with shredded foam fibers, and are available in low, medium or high thickness designs.
Memory foam offers a good balance of support and firmness for most sleepers, and these adjustable pillows are linked to pressure and pain relief.
Memory foam adjustable pillows produce little to no noise.
Off-gassing odors are often associated with memory foam. You should expect unpleasant smells to be present for a few days after the adjustable pillow has been removed from its packaging.
Your Health Conditions and Adjustable Pillows
Some adjustable pillows are better than others for specific health conditions, such as allergies or chronic pain. Just like your current mattress, your adjustable pillow can either add to or alleviate your discomfort. If you’ve got one of the following health conditions, watch out for adjustable pillows that can add to your sleep quality:
Pain – People with chronic pain, especially pain in the shoulders or neck, need an adjustable pillow optimized for pressure relief and support. Look for adjustable pillows with high-conforming ability, e.g. buckwheat.
Allergies – Many adjustable pillows are available in hypoallergenic models. These have been specially pre-washed and treated to prevent buildup of dust mites, bacteria, and mold. An adjustable pillow that can be easily washed is very useful.
Heat – If you normally sleep with the feeling of hot, shop for an adjustable pillow optimized for breathability. These should include specialized cooling fabrics and materials such as gel or Tencel fibers.
Adjustable Pillow Care Instructions
Regular cleaning and care can extend your adjustable pillow’s lifespan. Being able to easily clean your adjustable pillow is particularly important for individuals with allergies.
Review the adjustable pillow’s care instructions. Feather and down adjustable pillows need to be fluffed to maintain their loft/shape. As for washing, most pillowcases are machine-washable, but the adjustable pillow insert may not be. Some can be machine washed and dried, while other adjustable pillows are dry clean only.
When to Replace Your Adjustable Pillow
Is it time to replace your current adjustable pillow(s)?
Look for the following signs:
Does your adjustable pillow smell? Pillows might develop an odor if they’re not naturally odor-resistant or regularly cleaned. If the odor remains after cleaning, you’ll need a new adjustable pillow.
Can your adjustable pillow still hold its shape right? If you’ve got a down adjustable pillow, try folding it in half. If it springs back, that’s ok. If not, it’ll need to be replaced.
Do you wake up with pains and aches? When an adjustable pillow breaks down, it loses its supportability, often causing shoulder or neck pain.
Do you see any lumps or bumps? These may appear as feathers poking out of the case or clumps of shredded filler. If you notice any of those issues, it’s time for a replacement.
Are you getting a new type of mattress? If that’s the case, your adjustable pillow may no longer adequately support spinal alignment.
Adjustable Pillow Trial Periods and Warranties
Just like a new mattress, it takes some time for getting used to sleeping on a new adjustable pillow. That’s why the home sleep trial is so important. Consumers can buy the adjustable pillow and return it either for free or less the cost of shipping. If you’re trying out a new adjustable pillow, make sure you’ll be offered a home trial period of at least 30 nights.
Adjustable pillow warranties typically only cover manufacturer defects but can last anywhere from one year to a lifetime.