I have been searching for the perfect pillow for years. As a back and neck pain sufferer, I feel like I've tried them all -- from contoured memory foam to high-quality down to specialty "zone-targeted" pillows purchased through my chiropractor. I'd never tried a Malouf pillow, or a latex pillow, so I thought I would give these expensive pillows a try. Read my pillow reviews below to find out if the Malouf pillows were worth the extra price.
Meeting Personal Needs
Being a budget decorator and an all-around cheapskate, I cringe when thinking about shelling out $100 or more for a pillow. Many times I had often wondered, "Are expensive pillows worth the extra price?" and came to the conclusion of, "No."
A few years ago, I resorted to purchasing cheap pillows and replacing the pillow every month or two when the loft would break down, rendering the pillow useless. But cursed with a slight s-curve of my spine and a life of random back pain due to misuse and injuries, I was growing tired (literally) of frequently waking up with neck and back pain and headaches -- and having to buy new pillows.
As I began poking around stores and following pillow blogs (yes, there is such a thing), I kept hearing about Malouf Fine Linens and was told that their pillows were some of the best on the market. I was also told that their pillows were affordable, as well.
Malouf has a great article on how to find the right pillow, so after reading most of their website and blog, I decided to order two different Malouf pillows: the Zoned Dough Memory Foam pillow and the Talaway Latex pillow. Being a side and back sleeper and slightly wide-shouldered for a woman, I ordered both in high loft.
The Talaway Latex Pillow
The queen-size Talaway Latex pillow costs $119.99 in plush, high loft, and is indeed somewhat affordable. (Note that the king-size will cost you $30 more.) And plush, it is. The embossed velour pillow cover is very cozy, though one wouldn't necessarily feel it through a pillowcase, and the pillow was indeed very soft to the touch.
As excited as I was over the comfortable feel of the Talaway Latex pillow, when I began to use this pillow, it quickly fell short of my needs. Though Malouf states that this pillow has "zoned support" and "superior pressure relief," since I need quite a bit of support, I found this pillow a bit too plush for my tastes and lacking in support for my side/back sleeping needs.
I did notice that the Talaway's latex filling does immediately replump after squeezing or sleeping movements, which I liked. I had no problems with the pillow itself and think that this would prove to be a durable option for someone who needed less support. In fact, my husband, who is a side/stomach sleeper and loves a squishy pillow, said that it might work for him if I had ordered it in low loft. He liked the softness and the easy give of the latex, but since he is mainly a stomach sleeper, he felt he needed even less support than the high loft pillow offered.
The Zoned Dough Memory Foam Pillow
The Zoned Dough Memory Foam pillow in a firm, king-sized high loft, which is what I ordered, will set you back a whopping $179.99. In fact, there is no way to purchase this Malouf pillow for less than $149.99 (queen-size, low loft, plush).
When I removed this pillow from its packaging, I was immediately hit with a not-so-nice, chemical smell (my husband said it smelled like baby diapers ... nice!) that soon permeated my entire living space. I had read that this was normal with latex and memory foam pillows and would dissipate in time. With fingers crossed, I gave this pillow a big "squeeze test."
At first squeeze, this pillow felt as if it offered less support than the Talaway. It certainly had more "give" than the Talaway and a slower replump time. But with high hopes, I put it in my pillowcase and settled down for the night.
Ahhhhh, sleeping bliss! Whether I slept on my side or on my back, this pillow adjusted to my needs and gave me the proper support. After about a week of sleeping on Malouf's Zoned Dough Memory Foam pillow, my morning headaches and neck pain were gone.
I've been using it for a few months now and am still very, very satisfied with this pillow. I still see my chiropractor, but my visits have become less frequent and he has remarked on my improvement. Though the chemical smell is reduced, it is still there, albeit much less offensive than it was. I don't know if it will eventually disappear in time, though I figure the smell is a small price to pay for a good night's rest. When the weather is warmer, I may try to air the pillow outside on a sunny day to see if this further reduces the smell.
I've come to the conclusion that there is no one-pillow-fits-all solution, but you'll more easily find your solution in the higher-priced pillow market than you will in a bargain bin. The more expensive pillows will always offer better support and durability than the budget alternatives.
Of course, I believe that one of these Malouf pillows -- the one that worked for me -- was well worth the price, but it is hard to pay that much for a pillow that won't work for you. Unfortunately, because the bedding return policy set by the U.S. health code is so strict (Malouf won't allow refunds or exchanges unless the pillow is unused and in the original package), you may have to shell out for several pillows, and lose a lot of dough along with sleep, before you can find the pillow of your dreams.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer.