Best Buckwheat Pillows

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Buckwheat is a plant that yields edible seeds used as a cover crop in some countries. Additionally, the hard husks that protect buckwheat seeds — known as hulls — are used to fill some pillows made today. Buckwheat pillows are exceptionally dense and tend to be on the firmer side, but they are supportive and moldable enough to offer a conforming fit that alleviates some pain and pressure. Buckwheat pillows are hypoallergenic, and are associated with longer-than-average lifespans.

However, there are some drawbacks to using buckwheat pillows. The hulls tend to clump, causing the pillow to lose shape, and this may require adjustments during the night. Buckwheat pillows are also heavy, with most Standard-size models weighing 10 pounds or more, and this makes them relatively difficult to move and maneuver. And in terms of average price-point, buckwheat pillows tend to be significantly more expensive than most other pillow types.

Read on to learn more about buckwheat pillows and how they stack up compared to other pillow types.

 

What Is the Makeup of a Buckwheat Pillow?

Buckwheat hulls are the hard, round outer husks of buckwheat kernels. The average hull is smaller than a dime, and a typical buckwheat pillow contains hundreds of individual hulls;  depending on the size, buckwheat pillows may weigh anywhere from five to 10 pounds. Some models feature zippered covers, which allow owners to remove or add hulls as needed to achieve their optimal loft settings.

 

Which Sizes Are Available for Buckwheat Pillows?

Buckwheat pillows are commonly available in the following sizes:

  • Standard: Standard is considered the most compact non-specialty pillow size. This size is the most popular in terms of sales, and is generally associated with the lowest price-points.
  • Queen: Queen-size pillows are roughly four inches longer than Standards, making them ideal for people who find Standard sizes too compact, as well as those who toss and turn or shift positions during the night.
  • King: The King is 10 inches longer than the Standard. In addition to offering sufficient space for people who move or rotate positions in their sleep, King-size pillows also serve as suitable headrests or backrests for people who sit up in bed to read to watch television.
  • Specialty Sizes: In addition to the sizes listed above, some buckwheat pillow makers offer smaller sizes that match those used in countries where buckwheat pillows are most popular, such as Japan and South Korea. Typically, these pillows are at least five inches narrower than Standard, Queen, or King sizes, and may five to 10 inches shorter as well.

The table below features approximate measurements for each of the pillow sizes discussed above.

Pillow SizeDimensions
Standard20W” x 26L”
Queen20W” x 30L”
King20W” x 36L”
SpecialtyAverage: 15W” x 20L”
Varies by manufacturer
 

Pros and Cons of Buckwheat Pillows

Pros of buckwheat pillows include:

  • Support: Buckwheat pillows offer exceptional support due to their stable yet adaptable surface that contours to the head, neck and shoulders and helps sleepers maintain spinal alignment.
  • Lifespan: Buckwheat hulls are naturally hard and durable, and buckwheat pillows have longer-than-average lifespans as a result.
  • Sleeping Cool: Buckwheat pillows retain little body heat due to a fair amount of airflow within the interior of the pillow, and many owners say they sleep relatively cool.
  • Allergies: Buckwheat hulls are naturally hypoallergenic, unlike other pillow materials like down, feathers, and latex.
  • Moldability: With the exception of non-adjustable high-loft models, most buckwheat pillows are fairly scrunchy, allowing sleepers to mold them in order to create the most comfortable shape.
  • Snoring Aid: Because they are so supportive, buckwheat pillows offer a stable surface that keeps the head upright and helps prevent snoring for some sleepers.

Cons of buckwheat pillows include the following:

  • Price: The average buckwheat pillow costs between $50 and $75, making them significantly more expensive than most other pillow types.
  • Weight: Buckwheat pillows can be exceptionally heavy; the average model Standard model contains 10 pounds of hulls. This can make them difficult to move and adjust during the night for some.
  • Shape: Some buckwheat pillows — particularly low-loft models — are prone to clumping when hulls shift.
  • Noise: New buckwheat pillows often produce soft cracking sounds when bearing weight, but this issue tends to improve over time.
  • Odor Potential: Buckwheat hulls may produce unpleasant smells, especially in newer pillows.
  • Availability: Buckwheat pillows are somewhat hard to find compared to other pillow types, although shoppers will find additional options by browsing companies based in East Asia.
 

Who Is a Buckwheat Pillow Good For?

Generally speaking, buckwheat pillows are best suited for the following people:

  • People who sleep on their back. The stable surface and above-average conforming capabilities of buckwheat pillows provide adequate support for most back-sleepers.
  • People who tend to sleep hot, since buckwheat pillows retain minimal body heat and usually sleep cool.
  • People who snore. Buckwheat pillows are stable enough to keep the head fully supported and help minimize snoring.
  • People who have allergies to other pillow materials like down, feathers, or latex.

However, buckwheat pillows may not be suitable for the following people:

  • People who sleep on their side, due to the above-average firmness of buckwheat pillows. Side-sleepers typically require softer pillows in order to align their spine and alleviate pressure points.
  • People who prefer to snuggle with pillows, since buckwheat pillows can be somewhat rigid, and typically work best as primary sleep pillows.
  • People who awaken easily due to noise, since buckwheat pillows can be quite loud.
  • People who struggle lifting or moving heavy pillows. Most Standard-size buckwheat pillows weigh at least 10 pounds.
 

Buckwheat Pillow Ratings

CriteriaBuckwheat Pillow RatingExplanation
AffordabilityPoor to FairThe average buckwheat pillow costs between $50 and $75. By comparison, down alternative, latex, memory foam, feather, and polyester pillows are all cheaper.
DurabilityGood to Very GoodMost buckwheat pillows perform for at least three years due to the natural durability of buckwheat hulls.
SupportVery Good to ExcellentBuckwheat pillows provide a stable, supportive surface for the head neck and shoulders that helps align the spine and minimize pressure buildup.
NoisePoor to FairBuckwheat pillows often produce noise when bearing weight, and are considered one of the loudest pillow types.
WeightPoor to FairBuckwheat pillows often weigh 10 pounds or more, making them much heavier than other pillow types on average.
OdorFair to GoodBuckwheat pillows may emit unpleasant smells when new, but these odors tend to dissipate with time and use.
WashablePoor to FairMost buckwheat pillows require owners to manually remove all of the hulls and wash the case separately, which can be a time-consuming process. Buckwheat hulls should never be cleaned.
Firmness/Loft OptionsGood to Very GoodMost buckwheat pillows feature zippered cases that allow owners to adjust the loft to meet their preferences.
AvailabilityPoor to FairBuckwheat pillows are considerably hard to find compared to other pillow types.
 

Buying Tips for Buckwheat Pillows

Buckwheat pillows can be hard to find for shoppers. In the United States, they are sold through a small number of brick-and-mortar and online home goods retailers, as well as exclusively online retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com. Shoppers may find more options by browsing companies based in Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, where buckwheat pillows tend to be most popular.

Buckwheat pillows typically cost between $50 and $75, though some models cost more than $100. This makes them less expensive than pillows made from other natural and organic materials, such as down or organic cotton. However, buckwheat pillows are priced higher than most other pillow types.

In order to properly clean most buckwheat pillows, owners will first need to remove all of the hulls and wash the cover separately. Buckwheat hulls cannot be cleaned; owners can typically order more hulls from the pillow manufacturer.

The graph features average price-points for buckwheat pillows and seven other popular pillow types.

 

Buckwheat Pillow Price Comparison

Buckwheat Pillow Brands and Models

Brand NameComfy Comfy ComfySleep PillowHullo PillowKuseno Buckwheat Hull PillowPillow Company Buckwheat Hull Night PillowQbedding (Multiple Models)
Price Range (Standard)$98.00$99.00$78.00$47.95$25.95 to $40.99 (Specialty Sizes)
SizesStandard
Specialty Sizes (15W” x 21-26L”
Standard
King
Specialty Size (14W” x 20L”)
Standard
Specialty Sizes (11-18W” x 16-24L”)
Standard
Queen
King
Specialty Sizes (12-14W” x 16-21L”)
Specialty Sizes (20-26W” x 10-15L”
CoverOrganic Cotton TwillOrganic Cotton TwillCottonUndisclosedCotton
Loft Adjustable (Zipper Cover)Adjustable (Zipper Cover)Adjustable (Zipper Cover)Adjustable (Zipper Cover)Adjustable (Zipper Cover)
Weight (Standard)10 lbs10 lbs10 to 12 lbsUndisclosedUndisclosed
Trial30 Nights60 Nights45 Nights30 Nights30 Nights
CleaningRemove Hulls
Cover is Machine Washable
Remove Hulls
Cover is Machine Washable
Remove Hulls
Cover is Machine Washable
Remove Hulls
Cover is Machine Washable
Remove Hulls
Cover is Machine Washable
Customer Satisfaction Rating91% (197 Customer Reviews)85% (235 Customer Reviews)87% (204 Customer Reviews)82% (93 Customer Reviews)88% (242 Customer Reviews)
 

Conclusion

For more information about buckwheat pillows and other pillow types, please check out our Pillow Buying Guide.

 
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