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THE GOOD: Microbead pillows are generally supportive and conforming. As a result, they can be effective at preventing and relieving pain (especially neck and shoulder). They tend to not retain heat due to good air flow. Owners who approve of the pillows tend to highly approve.
THE BAD: They are too firm for some and their durability / lifespan is questionable. Significant off gassing odor is possible. Owners who disapprove of the pillows tend to highly disapprove.
THE PILLOWS: Microbead pillows are filled with round polystyrene beads ("microbeads") – a small version of what is usually found in bean bags. The outer fabric of the pillow is usually made of a soft and elastic material.
The report below is based on over 670 microbead pillow owner reviews and experiences that were collected using an unbiased, accurate methodology. The ratings below show how the pillows overall as a group are evaluated by owners. For information on specific brands, see the section following this one.
|Owner satisfaction||d||Microbead pillows overall as a group have 67% owner satisfaction. ( ) Satisfaction can differ somewhat by brand.
|Durability / longevity||c-||Durability / longevity tends to not be a strength of microbead pillows. About 20% of owners say the pillows lose supportiveness and become flatter over time. Some report microbeads spilling out.|
|Price / affordability||c+||The price range is usually $20-$30.|
|Less pain||c+||At least 20% of owners report relief from neck, shoulder and back pain, headaches, snoring, muscle tension and more. However, about 15% say that the product causes pain often because it is too firm.|
|Supportiveness||b-||Owners tend to agree that the pillows are supportive and won't flatten during the night. Supportiveness can decline, however, as the pillows age.|
|Moldable / contouring||b+||Microbead pillows typically can conform as well as any pillow type – potentially resulting in even distribution, proper support and comfort. However, some adjustment using one's hand may be needed to achieve the desired shape.|
|Cuddly||c||A "cuddly" pillow is one that is soft and huggable, as opposed to hard, rigid, stiff and or heavy. Only a few owners praise the pillows for having this quality.|
|Firmness variety||d||The different brands and models tend to have similar firmness levels. Most owners consider firmness to be medium to firm.|
|Contents won't shift / clump||c||The beads inside may shift somewhat when moving, picking up or handling the pillow.|
|Loft variety||d+||The different brands and models have similar loft or height which some owners say is too low or too high. Loft can often be lowered somewhat, however, by removing the cover.|
|Back sleep friendly||c+||The pillows can be suited for back sleepers.|
|Stomach sleep friendly||c||They may not be ideal for stomach sleepers because of firmness and loft, but some report good comfort.|
|Side sleep friendly||b-||Many side sleepers report good comfort, but a lack of loft is a problem for some.|
|No initial odor / off gassing||d+||According to about 8% of owners, the pillows can give off an initial chemical or plastic-like odor.|
|Air flow||b+||Microbeads allow air to circulate around them which tends to keep the pillow from getting too warm. Also, because air circulates, moisture evaporates leaving the pillow dry. Over time the microbeads will compact somewhat resulting in less air circulation.|
|No noise||c-||Some owners notice the rustling of the microbeads inside.|
|Fewer allergies||b||They are naturally hypoallergenic and resist the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. Dust mites reportedly don't eat microbeads.|
|Ease of use / maintenance||b||The pillows only seldom if ever need to be fluffed or shaken. Spot cleaning is likely best because some owners report the pillow being destroyed after putting it in the washer.|
|Lightweight||b-||They weigh typically no more than two pounds.|
The table below evaluates only those microbead pillows for which significant owner experience data could be found. The table does not necessarily include all microbead pillows available on the market. Links below go to Amazon.com.
|Owner Satisfaction / Sample Size||Available Sizes||Price / Retailer||Comment|
|72% / 411||22 x 15||$25 / amazon.com||cover is 85% nylon / 15% spandex; pillowcase is 70% cotton / 30% polyester|
|Sobakawa Cloud||64% / 262||std (18.5 x 12.5),
full (23 x 14)
|$20 / amazon.com, walmart.com, Bed, Bath & Beyond||cover is 87% polyester / 13% spandex; pillowcase is 93% polyester / 7% spandex|
Ratings are based on 660+ microbead pillow owner reviews and experiences that were collected using an unbiased, accurate methodology.
– Microbead pillows are likely the most polarizing pillow type. Owners tend to either love them or hate them.
– If you seek a soft or cuddly pillow, a microbead pillow may not be for you.
– The pillows are available in basically one firmness level which most consumers say is medium to firm or even excessively firm.
– 20 percent or more of owners say that their microbead pillow has poor or questionable-at-best durability and longevity.
– The pillows perform above average in their ability to conform and contour to one's head and neck resulting in proper supportiveness and even distribution.
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