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Memory foam pillows are made from viscoelastic polyfoam, which conforms to the sleeper’s head, neck and shoulders. Memory foam reacts to body heat; it will conform when warm, and recover its original, even shape when cool. Two types of memory foam pillows are commonly sold: one-piece (also known as ‘traditional memory foam pillows.’) and shredded.
Memory foam pillows are often suitable for people who experience neck and/or shoulder pain, since the close conforming can help alleviate pain and pressure points. The material is also fairly supportive for most sleepers, and produces little to no noise. However, memory foam pillows also have drawbacks, including body heat retention, below-average durability, and high odor potential. Other pros and cons are specifically associated with shredded and one-piece designs.
Read on to learn more about shredded and one-piece memory foam pillows, and how they are different from other pillow types.
Memory foam is treated with chemicals to sink deeply and conform closely to relieve pain and pressure, which sets it apart from standard polyfoam. As the name suggests, one-piece pillows consist of a single segment of memory foam that is cut to size. In addition to flat-surface pillows, some one-piece memory foam pillows are contoured to create a more supportive surface for the head, neck and shoulders.
Shredded memory foam pillows typically feature cases stuffed with tiny pieces of memory foam. Some shredded designs have cases with zippers, which allows owners to add or remove individual pieces in order to achieve their optimal firmness and loft. Shredded memory foam pillows without zippered cases can be fluffed to adjust the feel.
Cover materials for memory foam pillows vary by brand, but most are made from cotton or polyester blends.
Memory pillows are commonly available in the following sizes:
The table below features standard measurements for the Standard, Queen, King, and Body pillow sizes.
|Standard||20W” x 26L”|
|Queen||20W” x 30L”|
|King||20W” x 36L”|
|Body Pillow||54W” x 20L”|
48W” x 20L”
When discussing the benefits and drawbacks of memory foam pillows, it’s important to note that one-piece pillows have certain advantages over shredded foam pillows, and vice versa. First, let’s look at some general pros and cons for both memory foam pillow types.
Pros of one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows include:
Cons of one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows are as follows:
Now, let’s look at some unique pros and cons for one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows:
Memory foam pillows are generally suitable for the following types of sleepers:
Memory foam pillows may not be suitable for the following groups:
People who are sensitive to smell, as memory foam pillows may emit persistent, unpleasant off-gassing odors.
|Criteria||One-piece Memory Foam Pillow Rating||Shredded Memory Foam Pillow Rating||Explanation|
|Affordability||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||The average price-point for a memory foam pillow falls between $50 and $60, with shredded pillows being slightly more expensive.|
|Durability||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||One-piece memory foam pillows may sag or form indentations somewhat quickly, while shredded pillows will begin to feel lumpy unless they are regularly fluffed|
|Support||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Both one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows offer above-average support, according to owners.|
|Noise||Very Good to Excellent||Very Good to Excellent||Memory foam pillows produce little to no noise, whether they are one-piece or shredded designs.|
|Weight||Fair to Good||Poor to Fair||Some one-piece memory foam pillows weigh more than 5 pounds. Shredded pillows are slightly lighter, but still heavy compared to other pillow types (such as down or feather).|
|Odor||Poor to Fair||Poor to Fair||Off-gassing is one of the chief complaints among memory foam pillow owners, although some products produce less offensive and persistent smells than others.|
|Washable||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||One-piece memory foam pillows should be spot cleaned, as conventional washing machines could damage them. Shredded pillows, on the other hand, are usually machine washable.|
|Loft Options||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||Most memory foam pillows are medium- to high-loft, with a firmness of Medium to Firm, but some manufacturers sell pillows with different settings.|
|Firmness Options||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Most people are satisfied with the firmness of memory foam pillows, but very few designs are available below a Medium rating.|
|Availability||Very Good to Excellent||Very Good to Excellent||Memory foam pillows are widely available.|
Memory foam pillows are available from a wide range of brands. Additionally, they are found in numerous online and brick-and-mortar home goods stores, as well as online-only retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com.
In terms of price-point, memory foam pillows usually cost between $50 and $60. This puts them on par with latex pillows. Memory foam pillows are generally less expensive than other pillow types, such as down, buckwheat, and natural/organic, and more expensive than others, such as polyester, down alternative, and feather pillows.
Memory foam pillows are fairly easy to maintain over time. One-piece pillows should be spot-cleaned periodically, but never need to be dry-cleaned. Shredded pillows should be fluffed regularly to maintain a consistent shape.
The graph below lists average price-points for eight of the most common pillow types.
The table below compares five leading memory foam pillow brands sold today.
|Brand and Model Name||Classic Brands Conforma||Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow||Sleep Innovations (Multiple Models)||SpineAlign Pillow||Tempur-Pedic (Multiple Models)|
|Price Range (Standard Size)||$71.13 (Amazon.com)||$69.99||$28.99 to $51.73 (Amazon.com)||$129.00||$62.30 to $279.30|
|Shape/Contents||One-piece, Non-contoured||Shredded Gel Memory Foam||One-piece, Contoured and Non-contoured||Shredded, Contoured||One-piece, Contoured and Non-contoured|
|Varies by Model||Tencel® Blend|
|Varies by Model|
|Firmness Options||Medium Soft||Medium Firm||Medium Soft to Firm||Medium Firm||Soft to Firm|
|Loft Options||Medium||Adjustable (Zipper Cover)||Low to High||Adjustable (Zipper Cover)||Medium to High|
|Trial||None||100 Nights||5 Year Warranty||90 Nights||5 Year Warranty|
|Cleaning||Machine Washable||Machine Washable||Spot Clean||Spot Clean||Spot Clean|
|Customer Satisfaction Rating||86% (1,736 Customer Reviews)||89% (8,982 Customer Reviews)||79% (1,109 Customer Reviews)||84% (2,193 Customer Reviews)||88% (12,763 Customer Reviews)|
For more information on memory foam pillows and other pillow types, please visit our Best Pillows Guide.