How we test products
Our mission is to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect sleep products.
We've dedicated hundreds of hours to testing mattresses and sleep accessories, and rely on a team of testers of differing weights, temperature preferences, and sleeping positions to evaluate each product.
Tested products are granted the Sleep Hero tested stamp of approval, a mark of our review's reliability.
If we haven't personally tested a product, please be assured that we invest significant time and energy into scouring the UK market and researching the best recommendations, and we work with a team of sleep experts who review our articles, ensuring that the insights we provide are not only relatable but also reliable.
What is a bamboo pillow?
A bamboo pillow, simply put, is a type of pillow made partially or wholly from bamboo. 🌱
And what exactly is bamboo?
Bamboo is a natural grass, native to Asia, that’s often used in eco-friendly products.
It’s a sustainable material that grows quickly, doesn’t require much water, and doesn’t need pesticides or other chemicals to thrive. 💦
Bamboo pillows are becoming increasingly popular because of their low price point and their hypoallergenic and temperature-regulating qualities. ❄️
It’s exceedingly rare, though, to find a 100% bamboo pillow.
Most pillows marked as bamboo combine multiple materials - and many of them only feature a bamboo fibre cover, with a fill of a different material.
We’ll look at the different types of bamboo pillows in more detail further down. 👇
The different types of bamboo fibre
Bamboo fibre is distinguished according to the manufacturing process used to create it.
There are three common types of bamboo fibre.
Rayon bamboo fibre (also called bamboo viscose) is one of the most common forms of bamboo fibre.
Rayon is a semi-synthetic fibre made by dissolving the cellulose in the bamboo plant with chemicals.
The material is very affordable and soft, making it a great fabric for pillows. 💷
But, rayon is usually considered lower-quality as it's not as durable as linen bamboo fibre.
Rayon also has a stronger environmental impact, as the chemicals used in the manufacturing process can harm both humans and the environment. ☹️
But, there are nuances to this.
Some manufacturing plants, like the ones used by Panda London, focus on Oeko-Tex Standard 100 solutions that follow global organic textile standards.
Lyocell bamboo fibre is similar to rayon bamboo but relies on a more environmentally-friendly manufacturing process. 🌏
If you're looking for a bamboo product that best matches quality, price, and environmental impact, lyocell would be your best bet.
Linen bamboo fibre is made by crushing and breaking down the bamboo pulp without using any chemicals.
This type of fabric is more expensive but it’s also more durable and has a higher quality feel if used in high-thread-count fabrics.
Bamboo linen is also the most environmentally-friendly option. 💚
In what sizes are bamboo pillows available?
Bamboo pillows are usually available in most standard sizes. 🇬🇧
The most common UK pillow sizes are:
- Standard size: 50 x 75 cm (19.6 inches x 29.5 inches)
- Super king-size: 50 x 90 cm (19.6 inches x 35.4 inches)
These standard-size pillows should generally suffice.
But, if you have a unique body type, sleep on an unusually-sized bed, or need something specific like a neck pillow or wedge pillow, you may need to look for a custom pillow.
How to choose a bamboo pillow
Now that you know a bit more about bamboo pillows, let’s talk about how to choose the best bamboo pillow for your needs.
Here are a few things to keep in mind. 🧠
Choosing your preferred pillow fill
As we mentioned above, bamboo pillows often contain various pillow fills.
These could include:
- Shredded bamboo fabric
- Small pellets of bamboo fabric
- Memory foam
- Down or feathers
- Hollowfibre or microfibre
The pillow fill greatly affects the comfort and support your bamboo pillow can offer.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly pillow, it’s also essential to consider the environmental impact of the other pillow materials. 🌿
Consider your sleeping position
While bamboo pillows are well-suited to a range of sleeping positions, the shape and size of your pillow will depend on your preferred position.
You need to consider:
- Loft (how high or low a pillow is)
- Firmness (how firm or soft & squishy the pillow is)
- Mouldability or adjustability
These factors will affect how well-suited the people will be for you and your sleeping position.
As a general guideline:
- Side sleepers generally need a higher-loft, firmer pillow with more support to keep their head and spine in alignment.
- Back sleepers do well on a medium-firm, medium-loft pillow that supports the spine's natural curve.
- Stomach sleepers need a thinner, softer pillow that won’t put too much pressure on the neck.
People of larger build generally also need thicker and firmer pillows. 🏋️♀️
Adjustable loft pillows are a great option for people who aren’t sure what type of pillow is best.
Adjustable pillows generally contain layers of foam or shredded foam, allowing the sleeper to add or remove content to best suit the preferred sleeping position.
The Martian Dreams is a bamboo pillow with adjustable memory foam fill.
Bamboo fibre quality
As we’ve seen above, not all bamboo fibre is created equal.
While all bamboo fabrics should be soft and silky, the environmental impact of the different manufacturing processes does differ remarkably. 🌎
If eco-friendliness is a decisive factor, it’s worth looking at this in more detail.
Bamboo linen is the top choice for quality, durability, and eco-friendliness.
Bamboo versus other types of pillows
So you’re considering a bamboo pillow, but you’ve never slept on one?
Going through a few pillow comparisons may help!
Let’s consider some popular options. 🔎
Bamboo pillows vs memory foam pillows
Memory foam pillows are popular for people who want a comfortable pillow.
The memory foam conforms to your head and neck, providing optimal pressure relief and support.
However, memory foam can often feel quite firm and rigid.
It can also trap heat, making it a bad choice for people who sleep hot. 🥵
Gel memory foam pillows are a popular alternative, where the standard memory foam is infused with gel beads for enhanced cooling.
The Simba Hybrid memory foam pillow is also a great option for a softer, more comfy feel.
Bamboo pillows versus down pillows
Down pillows are a good choice for people who want a soft and fluffy pillow.
However, down often leads to allergies, so it’s not a great choice for people who frequently struggle with dust mite allergies. 😷
Down pillows can also be quite expensive.
One of our favourite down pillows is the Hypnos Feather and Down pillow. 🦆
Bamboo pillows versus latex pillows
Latex pillows are a good choice for people who want a firm pillow. 🧱
The latex filling is also hypoallergenic and breathable, making it an excellent choice for hot sleepers and people prone to allergies. 💨
That said, latex pillows are costly and not as common as other types of pillows.
The Relyon Latex Pillow is a good option. 👌
Bamboo pillows versus polyester pillows
Polyester pillows are a cheaper option but still quite soft and comfortable. 💸
The polyester filling is also hypoallergenic and dust-mite-resistant, making this a great choice for people prone to allergies.
On the downside, polyester is not as breathable as other materials, so it’s not the best choice for hot sleepers.
These pillows also generally don’t last as long. 🗓
Kally Sleep makes some great budget-friendly pillows with polyester fill.
The Kally Adjustable Pillow is one of our favourites.