Hot Sleepers: Opt for the Best Bamboo Pillows for Cooler, Breathable Snoozing
Leave feathers to the birds.
Published Jun 14, 2022 11:00 AM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
Ah, the quest for the perfect pillow. At times, this feels like a never-ending pursuit. But we’ve found that by understanding your slumber needs (body temperature, neck support, and sleep position are good places to start), you’re more likely to discover that just-right place to rest your head. And while you might be better acquainted with popular fillings like feathers and down, if you haven’t explored the best bamboo pillows, we can fix that.
Bamboo pillows—those that contain a memory foam or combination filling with a cover that’s crafted from bamboo fibers—check off several boxes that point toward a good night’s rest. “Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, as well as moisture wicking and breathable,” certified adult and pediatric sleep consultant Kelly Murray tells us. “It’s also a natural material.” Beyond that, bamboo pillows are an especially useful pick for those who run warm. “Cooling your head can effectively cool your core body temperature,” says Murray. “Sleeping on a pillow made of bamboo fibers can help with this, especially for sleepers who tend to overheat.”
Antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and naturally cooling? If you’re feeling persuaded (us too), continue, below, to see and shop the best bamboo pillows.
- Best overall: Cozy Earth Silk Pillow
- Best pressure relief: Cariloha Retreat Pillow
- Best adjustable: UTTU Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow
- Best cooling: Zen Bamboo Breathable Pillows
- Best for combination sleepers: Luxome Customizable Pillow
Best Overall: Cozy Earth Silk Pillow
For: All sleepers | Sizes: Standard, king | Shell: 100% viscose from bamboo | Filling: 100% mulberry silk
What we like:
- Outer shell is bamboo; filling is mulberry silk
- 10-year warranty and 100-night trial
- Supremely soft
- Not cheap
Why we chose it: An unbelievably soft, breathable bamboo pillow that’s perfect for all kinds of sleepers.
Soft and bamboo are not two words you’d typically pair together, but in the case of Cozy Earth, they’re one and the same. The fabric shell is premium 100 percent viscose from bamboo fabric and the filling is 100 percent mulberry silk. “This pillow is great for people who sleep in all positions due to its plush moldability,” Murray notes. It comes with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty and is oversize so it can fit every bed and head. Also it’s Oprah Winfrey–approved, if that sort of thing matters to you (it should).
Best Pressure Relief: Cariloha Retreat Pillow
For: Side and back sleepers | Sizes: Standard, king | Shell: 100% viscose from bamboo | Shell filling: 80% microfiber, 20% viscose from bamboo | Filling: 100% bamboo charcoal memory foam
What we like:
- Adjusts to body contours
- Good for pressure relief
- Almost entire pillow made from bamboo
- Best for side and back sleepers
Why we chose it: A medium-firm pillow that adjusts to your body’s contours and relieves pressure.
Not one, not two, but three comfy layers comprise this bamboo pillow from Cariloha. The most inner layer is filled with bamboo charcoal memory foam, which not only blocks odors and is moisture wicking but helps alleviate pressure while molding to your head. The shell is made from 100 percent viscose from bamboo and “the medium-firm form adjusts to your body’s contours,” says Murray. Stomach sleepers, take note: The pillow can become a bit stiff since it retains its shape overnight. “If you move a lot, it can become uncomfortable until it reshapes. I’d say this is best for side and back sleepers,” she adds.
Best Adjustable: UTTU Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow
For: All sleepers | Sizes: Queen, king | Shell: 40% viscose from bamboo, 60% polyester | Filling: Memory foam
What we like:
- 4 adjustable solid loft heights
- Foam good for neck-pain relief
- Machine washable
- Not a superhigh percentage of bamboo
Why we chose it: An ergonomic pillow that delivers on customization and support for your neck and spine.
UTTU’s pillow cover is made of 40 percent bamboo viscose, so it will provide a cooling effect for sleepers. But its sweet spot is found inside with the company’s proprietary foam that molds to the natural curvature of your neck and spine. The pillow itself is contoured, and you can adjust the filling to be four different loft heights (meaning it’s a good fit for virtually all sleep types). We especially like that the adjustable filling is solid rather than shredded, which can be a bit messy. It’s made without formaldehyde, mercury, lead, or heavy metal (it’s also CertiPUR-US and Oeko-Tex certified). The only downside we found is that the percentage of bamboo is lower here than in other models we’ve highlighted, but if finding an adjustable, supportive pillow is your top priority, this could be just the one.
Best Cooling: Zen Bamboo Breathable Pillows
For: Side sleepers | Sizes: Queen, king | Shell: 100% viscose from bamboo | Filling: 100% gel foam
What we like:
- Comes in 2-pack
- Breathable, allowing for airflow
- Machine washable
- Medium firmness
Why we chose it: A bamboo and gel foam pillow that will be a dream come true for sleepers who run warm.
This powerfully cooling pillow has a cover that’s made of 100 percent viscose from bamboo, and the filling is 100 percent gel foam. Attention, hot sleepers: In contrast to memory foam, gel is particularly good at keeping temperatures down, which means if you’re tired of waking up in the middle of the night in a puddle of sweat, this pick should pique your interest. The pillow has a medium firmness, so it’s a strong option for side sleepers but might be too lofty for stomach sleepers (and not firm enough for back sleepers). To make things convenient, it comes in a set of two and the whole thing can be thrown in the washing machine.
Best for Combination Sleepers: Luxome Customizable Pillow
For: Combination sleepers | Sizes: Queen, king | Shell: Viscose from bamboo | Filling: Memory foam
What we like:
- 3 insert options for a build-your-own-pillow effect
- Machine washable
- 30-day trial
- Takes a bit to figure out your perfect combination
Why we chose it: A highly customizable pillow that lets you choose your firmness level and degree of cooling.
The most customizable pillow on our list, this pick is another of Murray’s favorites. “It’s moldable, customizable, and good for those who like a memory foam pillow,” she notes. “You can change the firmness with three different types of buildable inserts including a down alternative (softest and warmest), gel/down alternative (medium-firm and heat regulating), and gel (firmest and most cooling).” Because this pillow can be personalized so much, it’s good for combination sleepers. The one (possible) minor snafu? It could take some getting used to to find the right balance of firmness for your preferences.
We also have our eye on Sleepsia’s Bamboo Pillow, which has shredded memory foam on the inside (hello, customization!) and a machine washable bamboo cover. Also on our want-to-sleep-on list: Puffy’s take on the bamboo pillow (simply called the Puffy Pillow). It’s also adjustable and cooling, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
How We Chose These Products
We know that finding the perfect pillow is kind of like finding the perfect pair of jeans—it takes time, patience, and a whole lot of trial and error. In an effort to streamline this process for you, we spoke with sleep experts and researched dozens of bamboo pillows before editing down our list. We wanted to make sure all of the options hit the mark in terms of cooling properties, and we also sought out picks that offer a variety of firmness levels so stomach, side, and back sleepers could all find a pillow best suited to their snooze style. What we ended up with was a narrowed-down list of bamboo pillows that will make falling (and staying) asleep a cinch.
Our Shopping Checklist
Design and Materials
Bamboo pillows on the market are composed of a couple of parts: the encasement (or cover or shell) and the filling. The former is typically crafted from bamboo fibers and the latter can be anything from bamboo fibers to memory foam (or a combination). Because of the variation, paying attention to these differences and their ratios is important, Murray notes: “We spend one-third of our lifetime sleeping, so you want to ensure you’re sleeping in high-quality natural fibers.”
Firmness and Loft
Because the ratio of bamboo fibers in options like memory foam can vary from pillow to pillow, the level of support and loft that you can expect from a bamboo pillow depends on the specific brand you’re considering. On top of that, these fillings can be either solid or shredded (the latter making it possible to adjust and customize the firmness of your pillow—something a bamboo pillow is beloved for in addition to its cooling properties).
Keep an eye out for certifications like Greenguard Gold and CertiPUR-US. The former is a good way to tell that your pillow has been made with low chemical and particle emissions, while the latter applies to regulations of different polyurethane foam types. If a pillow carries an Oeko-Tex certification, that means it has been tested to make sure there aren’t dangerous levels of toxic substances.
Care and Maintenance
Bamboo is a natural, long-lasting material, so the higher the ratio of bamboo in your pillow, the longer it’s likely to stay in good shape. On the flip side, if the filling of your bamboo pillow has a higher concentration of memory foam (which degrades quicker), it may not last as long. That said, because you can restuff these pillows with new filling, the life span can be extended. To take care of your bamboo pillow, first always follow the instructions provided, but generally speaking, you can expect to either machine wash or spot-clean your pillow.
Q: How much of a bamboo pillow is actually bamboo?
That entirely depends on the brand. All bamboo pillows will have bamboo in their covers (some 100 percent and others combined with other materials). Where it tends to fluctuate the most is the filling, which can include a percentage of bamboo or no bamboo at all, including materials like memory foam or gel foam instead.
Q: Are bamboo pillows sold separately or in pairs?
Both! You can buy a single pillow or choose to go with a pair. The reason you might do this is because many bamboo pillows come with a shredded memory foam filling that can be adjusted in real time, which means if you want one pillow that’s on the firmer side and another that’s a bit softer, you can pull out the filling from one pillow to use for another.
Q: Why are bamboo pillows good at cooling you down?
“Sleeping in natural fibers is one of the ways you can help your body to regulate temperature through the night and prevent waking up,” Murray explains. This might include cotton, linen, Tencel, wool, or—the star of this guide—bamboo.
The Last Word
Bamboo pillows reign supreme when it comes to customization, cooling properties, and incorporating natural materials. If you’re still on the hunt for your perfect match and enjoy the idea of adjusting your filling according to your sleep style (with the potential for never overheating), we think you should give a bamboo pillow a go. Happy snoozing!