Choosing the Right Pillow: A Complete 2023 Guide

how to choose the right pillow

Choosing the right pillow is essential for a good night’s sleep.

But with all of the different types of pillows on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? 

In this article, we’ll go over the different factors to consider when choosing the best type of pillow so that you catch quality Zzzs in no time.

How to Choose the Right Pillow for Your Sleeping Position

Do you sleep on your side, stomach, or back? Just as mattresses are designed to suit different types of sleepers, different types of pillows are created specifically for each sleeping position, making this an imperative factor to consider when choosing a pillow.

No matter your sleeping surface, whether it is a quality foam mattress, or a pull-out sofa bed, choosing the right pillow will help you sleep better.

Let’s go over the most common sleeping positions.

Back sleepers should go for a medium-profile and medium-firm to firm pillow which will support the upper spine on the same level as the head and neck. 

  • Best types of pillow: Memory foam, down or feather

If you prefer sleeping on the side, choose a pillow that ensures there is no gap between your head and neck, keeping the spine straight. A good option is a contoured firm to extra-firm pillow, which cradles the head and supports the neck.

  • Best types of pillow: Memory foam and latex

Those who sleep on the stomach would feel most comfortable with a thin, flat pillow that keeps the head, neck and spine as level as possible.

  • Best types of pillow: Synthetic, wool-fibre and down

If you don’t typically settle in one sleeping position but alternate between the three, a soft to medium pillow, preferably one that is lower in the centre and higher on the sides, is the best option. Or you could try a synthetic pillow that is versatile enough to suit any sleeping position.

  • Best types of pillow: Synthetic

For better decision-making, read our selection of the finest pillows in Australia based on value for money, design, warranty, and customer satisfaction.

Choosing the Right Pillow Fill 

Next up on the list of factors to consider: what’s the pillow made of?

These are the most common materials used as pillow fill:

Memory foam

Like some of the best foam mattresses, these pillows contour to the shape of your body and neck, providing support. Memory foam pillows are quite versatile as well, coming in all shapes and sizes. However, they mould to your head, so it might make it difficult to move. So, if you are a restless or combo sleeper, a foam sleeping pillow may not be the best choice for you.


Known for its durability and resistance to dust mites and mould, latex is one of the best materials for sleeping. Latex pillows are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and densities; however, the price tag might be higher compared to other types of pillows.

Down & feather

Down and feathers provide softness and support, making them one of the most popular types of pillows. However, they can be a bit on the expensive side (especially if they have a higher percentage of down in the fill), and some people are allergic to down feathers.


Polyester/microfiber is a common material used in pillows and is known for being affordable,  durable and easy to care for. It is also resistant to dust mites and mould, making it a good choice for people who are allergic to other materials like down feathers. Synthetic pillows can be thin and soft or full and firm, depending on how much fill they contain.

That said, microfiber/polyester pillows tend to form lumps over time and need to be replaced sooner than other pillow types.

Other available materials include:

  • Bamboo: An eco-friendly option, bamboo has moisture-wicking capabilities, so it’s perfect for hot Aussie nights.
  • Cotton: Another hypoallergenic option, cotton is soft and breathable and the best pillow to sleep on if you tend to overheat at night.
  • Wool: This comfy pillow is also great for hot sleepers as it boosts airflow and reduces the risk of sweat and oil stains.
  • Tencel: Soft, hypoallergenic and antibacterial, Tencel provides fullness and support.

If you want to get the support of foam and the bounciness of latex, there are pillows that contain both of these that suit most sleeper types.

How to Choose the Best Pillow Profile

Profile refers to the height of the pillow and defines how your head and neck will be placed in relation to your spine.

The best pillow profile for a certain user mainly depends on their sleeping style and body shape.

Here is what to expect when you go pillow shopping: 

  • Low profile pillows: The best pillow for tummy sleepers and petite adults.
  • Medium profile pillows:  Best suited for back and medium-sized sleepers.
  • High profile pillows: Ideal for side sleepers and taller adults.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Perfect Sleep Pillow

Let’s go over the final deciding factors.

Care and maintenance

Before buying a pillow, consider the level of maintenance required to keep it clean and in tip-top shape. 

Polyester pillows are by far the easiest to care for, but they also have the shortest lifespan. Down, on the other hand, is durable, but pillows should be fluffed often, and they are not machine-washable.

For the best of both worlds, choose a pillow with high-end fill but a removable and breathable cover.

If you want to know more about how long pillows last, read this helpful article.


Pillow sizes can affect your comfort and the quality of your sleep. A pillow that is too small will not provide enough support, while a too-large pillow can lead to neck pain.

These are the options available to you, size-wise: 

Australian pillow sizes
Standard pillow 45 x 70 cm
Queen pillow50 x 78 cm
King pillow50 x 90 cm
European pillow65 x 65 cm

Neck pain

One of the leading causes of neck pain is sleeping on the wrong kind of pillow. To avoid discomfort and pain, make sure you rest your head on a pillow that is suitable for your sleeping style.

In general, a contoured model is considered the best pillow for neck pain in Australia as it properly aligns the spine and stops pressure from building up in the neck vertebrae.

Amount of pillow fill

The firmness of the pillow depends on the amount of fill-in it. You can choose any firmness level from soft to extra-firm depending on your sleeping position, body size and personal preferences.


Last but not least, think about how much you are willing to spend. Some of the best pillows in Australia range from $70 to $600, with models like the Ecosa and Sleeping Duck pillow reasonably priced at $120. This price range means you have the option to pick not only the best type of pillow for your preferred sleeping position but your budget as well.

Just like investing in the right pillow, choosing the right pillowcases and mattress topper will benefit your good night’s sleep, especially with warmer weather coming.

What Type of Pillow Is Best for You?

Sadly, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the right pillow. The decision depends on several factors, including the way you sleep, your preferred material and budget limitations.

So, as long as you keep these factors in mind and do proper research, you are sure to choose a pillow that will provide you with the most comfortable slumber possible.

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