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THE GOOD: The main strength of buckwheat pillows is their support and adjustability. These features tend to result in above average prevention and relief of neck pain. Heat retention is often minimal.
THE BAD: They can be too firm, too noisy, too heavy, and too small for some. Odor is possible when new. Experimentation to determine comfortable fill-quantity may be needed. They can be fairly expensive ($55 average).
THE PILLOWS: Buckwheat pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls which are the small, hard husks that protect the buckwheat kernel.
THE COMPETITION: See how buckwheat pillows compare to other pillow types in the pillow comparison.
The ratings below show how buckwheat pillows overall compare to the average pillow as evaluated by consumers. For ratings on specific brands, see the following section.
|Affordable||d+||Prices often range $25-$115 depending mainly on size and hull quantity. People on average pay about $60. Pricier buckwheat pillows often have somewhat higher owner satisfaction than those less pricey.|
|Durability / longevity||b||They often perform above average on this issue. The hulls become compacted with use, and eventually the product will lose some volume.|
|Less (neck) pain||b+||Pain-relief potential is above average, with at least 20% of owners reporting reduced pain, especially neck pain. However, at least 5% of owners say the product causes pain usually due to high firmness.|
|Support||a||Support is a clear strength of the pillows. They tend to not sink in / flatten during the night, allowing one's head, neck and upper spine to maintain a proper, neutral position.|
|Moldable||b+||Buckwheat pillows conform or mold to the contours of the neck / head resulting in even distribution and proper support. Getting the pillow to mold properly may require using one's hand to shape the pillow.|
|Cuddly||d||A "cuddly" pillow is one that is soft and huggable, as opposed to hard, rigid, stiff or too heavy. Softer, lighter pillow types do better on this issue.|
|Easy to use||d||Experimentation may be needed to find a comfortable fill quantity.|
|Easy to lift, turn, move||D||Weight is determined by fill quantity and often ranges from 2-11 pounds – well above that of the average pillow. This means the pillow will stay put, but there is some difficulty in moving or picking up the pillow.|
|Contents won't shift / clump||d-||Hulls can slide / shift to one side, but the problem can be fairly easily corrected.|
|Loft adjustment||A-||Buckwheat pillows often have a zipper that allows them to be opened and hulls to be removed or added. This allows loft and firmness to be adjusted to suit personal preference.|
|Reduces snoring||B+||The proper support potentially provided by the pillow helps to open airways to reduce snoring.|
|Back sleep friendly||b||Back sleepers tend to be most satisfied with the pillows.|
|Stomach sleep friendly||c-||The high firmness of the pillows may undermine comfort for stomach sleepers, at least initially.|
|Side sleep friendly||c+||The pillows are generally good for side-sleep support, but the firmness may irritate the ears of some, at least initially.|
|Short break in||D||Considerable time, experimentation with fill quantity, and use may be required before the pillows reach optimal comfort.|
|No initial odor||c-||At least 5% of owners report an initial, unpleasant smell.|
|Air flow||b+||Buckwheat hulls allow air to circulate around them. Less than 2% of owners report heat buildup. Regular use, however, will result in increasingly compacted hulls which may decrease air circulation.|
|No noise||d||Buckwheat pillows are likely the noisiest pillow (especially for side sleep) because the hulls make a soft sound when compressed. Many owners, however, report getting used to the sound and that the noise largely goes away over time as hulls become compacted.|
|Fewer allergies||b||Allergies caused by buckwheat hulls exist but are rare.|
|Easy to clean||d+||Directions may call for occasionally removing hulls and washing the case. It is usually not recommended that the hulls be cleaned.|
The table below evaluates buckwheat pillows that rate highest in owner satisfaction based on 250 or more consumer experiences.
|Comfy Sleep||Premium Buckwheat Pillow||Zen Chi Organic||Beans 72|
|Owner Satisfaction (sample)|
|88% (335)||86% (309)
||82% (1297)||82% (1823)|
|$75 for 15"x21" (japanese)
$85 for 15"x23"
$95 for 15"x26"
$115 for 20"x36" (king)
|$56 for 17"x23" (standard)||$25 for 14"x20" (japanese)
$33 for 20"x26" (twin)
$40 for 20"x30" (queen)
$45 for 20"x36" (king)
|$35 for 11"x16" (travel)
$40 for 14"x20" (japanese)
$60 for 20"x26" (twin)
$65 for 20"x30" (queen)
$75 for 20"x36" (king)
|Maximum hull quantity*|
|5-10 lbs depending on size||5 gallons||4-10 lbs depending on size||2-10.5 lbs depending on size|
* Greater hull quantity allows for greater loft and customization potential.
Our buckwheat pillow research and ratings are based on over 3,700 actual buckwheat pillow consumer reviews collected using an unbiased, accurate methodology.
– A buckwheat pillow is likely the noisiest pillow type especially for side sleepers who have an ear to the pillow. Many owners, however, report that they get used to any sound produced and that noise largely goes away over time.
– Buckwheat pillows are not as available in stores as other pillow types.
– While the pillows are supportive, they are not "solid state" because the hulls inside will shift when the pillow is moved, picked up or handled.
– Buckwheat pillows are seldom considered "cuddly" as they are not particularly soft, huggable or lightweight.
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