What are the Best Filling Materials for a Pillow?
As product designers and founders of Twilla, the idea of choosing a filling material for our pillow was something that we wrestled with. After testing every pillow filling we could get our hands on, we wanted to share some of what we learned with you, and why we chose our specific filling materials.
With so many materials that exist, and more being created all the time, this is an exciting time to be a pillow designer.
With the invention of the Pod-System, we didn’t have any limitations on what fillings we chose because all the materials would stay contained, while still being adjustable. Our goal was to simply find the most comfortable materials possible.
Twilla Adjustable Pillow Filling:
In the outer layers of the pillow, we chose a down alternative filling because it is incredibly soft, breathable, hypoallergenic, and a cruelty free material. We found down alternative to be even more versatile than down.
Down Alternative Technical Details: It is very important to specify the proper denier, solid or hollow, cut length, and silicone coating to get the correct feel and durability. Siliconization treatments not only give it a feather-like touch, but also make it slippery and less attractive to bacteria and dust mites – making it both hypo-allergenic and antimicrobial.
While down alternative if great in a lot of ways, it is not as supportive as some foam filling materials. This is why in the center of our pillow you’ll find Pods, which contain supportive Cooling Gel Foam. Having the foam in the center of the pillow keeps the foam away from your face, which is important for great airflow, so you don’t get too hot. Additionally, our foam is also infused with a cooling gel which draws heat away from the pillow surface.
Hybrid Comfort: The combination of these two materials is what we call our comfort hybrid system. We are really excited about the soft, yet supportive combination of materials, and we hope you love it too!
Pros and Cons of Other Common Filling Materials:
Down Filling: Very fine feathers from the underside of duck, goose, or swan, and should be quill free. We have always been big fans of down, mainly because of its malleability. Down is also very soft and comfortable. Some of the biggest challenges with this material is potential allergens and finding a supplier that ethically produces the filling. Down filling can also be very costly. After testing quality down alternatives, we were much happier with all of the benefits that it provided, however, we may consider producing a down filled Twilla Adjustable Pillow in the future.
Feather Filling: Feathers from geese or ducks. While many people assume this is the same as down, that is not the case. The quality of feathers varies widely, and even with the best feathers, you may feel the quills. Feathers can be more supportive than down, however, we have never been able to get feathers to have the right feel for a sleeping pillow. There are also potential allergens and can retain body heat.
Buckwheat: Natural buckwheat shells. This may sound like an usual material to go inside of a pillow, but some people really like it. The main advantages are that it is very malleable, provides excellent airflow, and it’s a natural material. Possible negatives are that buckwheat is very firm and noisy when moving around, so it’s not for everyone. It’s possible that you could see a Twilla version with this filling but not likely.
Memory foam: Can be molded as a single piece or shredded. Memory foam can feel great to the touch and when first laying down on it, but it lacks supportive qualities to keep your spine aligned during the night. It can work well when combined and mixed with other fillings to create a specific feel. We are very curious about finding a better way to use memory foam in a future pillow, so we are continuing to test some of these combinations.
Latex Foam: Molded or shredded latex foam material. A natural material derived from the sap of rubber trees, making it durable and biodegradable. Latex foam has a unique bouncy feel that some people really like, but you have to try it first as it is not for everyone. We will continue to test latex filling options but have yet to find a compelling option.
A Note about Foam Off-Gassing:
A common complaint about foam materials is that they can have a strong odor when you first start using them. This is due to the chemical reaction during manufacturing. This smell, called “off-gassing,” is harmless but not desirable. We take pride in the selection of our cooling gel foam and ensure that the foam we use has been given time to fully cure before shipping.
Thanks for reading!
We love to experiment with different material combinations and other new materials as they come out. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or any materials that you would like to see in a future pillow.
-Mark and Peter