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First popularized in East Asia, buckwheat pillows have earned a strong following among U.S. sleepers in recent years. These pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls, the outer casings of buckwheat kernels, which give the pillows a firm yet flexible quality that has been likened to heavy beanbags. Most include covers made of cotton or organic cotton, making them an eco-friendly option for shoppers.
There are other benefits of buckwheat pillows, as well. They conform closely to the sleeper’s head, neck, and shoulders, which helps align the spine (particularly for side sleepers) and alleviates pressure points in their most sensitive areas. Most buckwheat pillows also offer adjustable loft; owners simply add or remove hulls to increase or decrease the thickness, and many manufacturers sell hulls in bulk to owners who need to replenish their supply. These pillows have good airflow and sleep fairly cool, as well.
This guide will explore the characteristics and benefits of buckwheat pillows. Below you will find our choices for the best buckwheat pillows sold today. Our picks are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Our Editor’s Pick is the Hullo buckwheat pillow from Hulltex LLC. This pillow is a standout for several reasons. For one, it sleeps exceptionally cool even by buckwheat pillow standards. In addition to good air circulation within the interior, the pillow comes with a cover made from breathable organic-cotton twill. The cover is machine washable, as well, and the hulls never need to be cleaned.
Pressure relief is another key strength of the Hullo. It conforms very closely and alleviates aches and pains quite effectively. The pillow’s loft is completely adjustable. Hulltex LLC sells buckwheat hulls in bulk; a 10-lb. bag is $49 and a 20-lb. bag is $89.
The Hullo is offered in a Standard size for $99 and a King size for $149, making the pillow a good pick for shoppers with bigger budgets. Hulltex LLC offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S., as well as a 60-night sleep trial for the pillow.
The Zen Chi Organic Buckwheat Pillow, our Best Value pick, is available in four sizes: Standard, Queen, and King, as well as a smaller ‘Japanese’ size suitable for reading, watching television, or traveling. Comparatively, other buckwheat pillows usually have a more limited size selection – and all options have lower-than-average price-points. The pillow also conforms exceptionally well to reduce aches and pains in the neck and shoulders. Good airflow also allows it to sleep fairly cool, as well. Zen Chi sells replacement hulls in two-pound quantities for $19.95.
This pillow is a good eco-friendly option, as it is crafted with organically-grown hulls and an organic-cotton cover. Zen Chi offers a 30-night sleep trial for the Organic Buckwheat Pillow; the pillow is also sold on Amazon.com and through other third-party retailers, which may offer different sleep trial options.
Buckwheat pillows generally sleep cool; air circulates well throughout the interior, and most models have breathable cotton or organic cotton covers. PineTales is our Best Cooling pick because the brand’s pillows have covers crafted from a blend of cotton and rayon made from bamboo; although it is a synthetic material, rayon made from bamboo is a light, breathable fabric that complements the natural cooling properties of cotton. The covers are waterproof, as well, and can help wick away moisture from the sleeper’s body when temperatures rise.
PineTales also offers a pillow filled with organic millet hulls; millet hulls tend to be smaller and smoother than buckwheat hulls, making this pillow a good option for those who find buckwheat models too lumpy and uneven. Additionally, PineTales sells pillows containing a combination of buckwheat hulls and shredded memory foam for added pressure relief. The PineTales pillow containing crushed lavender and buckwheat hulls is suitable for sleepers who enjoy scented aromatherapy, as well. PineTales backs each pillow with a 30-day trial and free returns.
A high-quality buckwheat pillow provides consistent conforming to the head and neck, which can alleviate aches and pains while preventing new pressure points from forming. The Sachi Organics buckwheat pillow offers extra pressure relief thanks to its supportive, cylindrical shape. The pillow is designed to elevate the head and cradle the neck, making it ideal for those who experience chronic discomfort in these areas. The pillow can also be used as a leg or knee bolster for sleepers with lower body pain.
The Sachi Organics pillow has a smooth and breathable organic-cotton canvas cover that allows it to sleep fairly cool for most. All buckwheat hulls contained in the pillow are organic and U.S.-grown. To adjust the loft, simply add or remove the hulls; a zippered opening allows owners to make easy customizations. Sachi Organics offers a 30-day return period for all buckwheat pillows.
Finding the right pillow size is essential for comfortable and supportive sleep; unfortunately, many buckwheat pillow brands offer a limited selection. Beans27 is a notable exception. Customers may choose from five different sizes: Travel/Child (11W” x 16L”), Japanese (14W” x 20L”), Twin/Standard (20W” x 26L”), Queen (20W” x 30L”), and King (20W” x 36L”). This range ensures most buyers can find a suitable size for their sleep needs and preferences.
In addition to standard 100% buckwheat pillows, Beans27 also offers an aromatherapy pillow containing buckwheat hulls and crushed lavender. All Beans27 pillows are encased in a breathable, unbleached cotton cover, which makes them suitable for hot sleepers. They also provide adjustable loft; Beans27 sells buckwheat hulls in bulk for those who need a replenishment. These pillows have price-points that are below-average compared to similar models from other brands. Beans27 also offers a 30-night sleep trial and issues full refunds for all returns.
Buckwheat pillows make great travel accessories, especially for sleepers who experience head and neck pain while flying. However, most buckwheat pillows are too heavy and cumbersome to transport comfortably. T2pillows remedies this problem with its buckwheat travel pillow, which measures 10W” x 16L” and weighs one and a half pounds. The pillow is equipped with a cable tie, which can be used to attach the pillow to suitcases and other luggage for easier carrying.
The T2pillows travel-size buckwheat pillow is also easy to clean. The pillow is constructed with an inner zippered pouch, allowing owners to add or remove hulls to adjust the loft, and an outer cover made of organic-cotton that can be removed for machine washing. Because the hulls are all-natural, the pillow is a good choice for eco-conscious shoppers who support sustainable products. Customers can also choose from four color options. T2pillows offers a 60-day return period will full refunds.
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 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.
The best buckwheat pillow for you will depend on what loft (height) is most comfortable for you and your budget. A few other things to consider before buying are how to clean the pillow and what the return policy and warranty include.
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. Most models feature zippered covers, which allow owners to remove or add hulls as needed to achieve their optimal loft settings.
Buckwheat pillows are commonly available in the following sizes:
The table below features approximate measurements for each of the pillow sizes discussed above.
|Standard||20W” x 26L”|
|Queen||20W” x 30L”|
|King||20W” x 36L”|
|Specialty||Average: 15W” x 20L”
Varies by manufacturer
Pros of buckwheat pillows include:
Cons of buckwheat pillows include the following:
Generally speaking, buckwheat pillows are best suited for the following people:
However, buckwheat pillows may not be suitable for the following people:
|Criteria||Buckwheat Pillow Rating||Explanation|
|Affordability||Poor to Fair||The average buckwheat pillow costs between $50 and $75. By comparison, down alternative, latex, memory foam, feather, and polyester pillows are all cheaper.|
|Durability||Good to Very Good||Most buckwheat pillows perform for at least three years due to the natural durability of buckwheat hulls.|
|Support||Very Good to Excellent||Buckwheat pillows provide a stable, supportive surface for the head neck and shoulders that helps align the spine and minimize pressure buildup.|
|Noise||Poor to Fair||Buckwheat pillows often produce noise when bearing weight, and are considered one of the loudest pillow types.|
|Weight||Poor to Fair||Buckwheat pillows often weigh 10 pounds or more, making them much heavier than other pillow types on average.|
|Odor||Fair to Good||Buckwheat pillows may emit unpleasant smells when new, but these odors tend to dissipate with time and use.|
|Washable||Poor to Fair||Most 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 Options||Good to Very Good||Most buckwheat pillows feature zippered cases that allow owners to adjust the loft to meet their preferences.|
|Availability||Poor to Fair||Buckwheat pillows are considerably hard to find compared to other pillow types.|
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.