Buyers Guide for Buckwheat Hull Pillows

Looking to buy a buckwheat hull pillow?

There are many buckwheat pillows out there, some really good, some not very good, and some that are outright awful. A good quality buckwheat hull pillow should last 8 to 10 years. But we hear from people all the time that have bought pillows that only last 6 to 10 months. How come?- because cheap pillows are filled with low-quality hulls that will deteriorate quickly causing the pillow to lose its “loft” and become flat, the fabric used for cheaper pillows will also likely be a cheap lightweight polyester that will not hold a good shape. Below is a brief guide to what we think makes a good pillow and provides some questions to think about when looking at what buckwheat pillow to buy.

What Type of Fabric?

Buckwheat hull is heavier than other types of pillow fill and as a result, the fabric used for the cover should be a fairly heavyweight cotton material which helps the pillow keep its shape. Too light of fabric will result in a pillow that loses its shape and becomes just a “blob-shaped” sack of buckwheat hulls – not a very good pillow to try to sleep on. We used heavyweight unbleached cotton in our EcoPillow line as hold its shapes very well. We also think its better to sleep on unbleached cotton since bleaching of cotton releases a lot of nasty chemicals in the environment.

The pillow must have a Zipper

Your buckwheat pillow must have a zipper to allow you to adjust the pillow to your specific sleeping needs. One of the biggest benefits of a buckwheat pillow is the ability to easily add or remove hulls for a custom fit – without a zipper, you cannot adjust the number of hulls in the pillow. Also, all buckwheat pillows need to be topped-up with buckwheat after about the first 6 months of use as the hull slightly compress – without a zipper you cannot do this.

The Quality of the buckwheat hulls

How clean are the buckwheat hulls?

A dusty pillow is horrible. Buckwheat is grown to produce buckwheat flour. The flour is removed in a mill and the buckwheat hulls are a buy-product The hulls must be sifted and vacuumed to remove debris and flour dust. It is also important that the hulls be treated gently during processing or they can be crushed – this can result in a much shorter life span for the pillow, as the hulls will break down very fast. Really cheap pillows usually are filled with broken buckwheat hulls.

Flattened Hulls?

A good pillow will have flattened hulls. Buckwheat hulls are slightly concave like a little saucer. The hulls need to be mechanically flattened slightly to reduce the volume they take up. Why do hulls need to be flattened? Unflattened hulls will flatten naturally over time as they are used. If a pillow is filled with unflattened hulls it will seem to be pretty well stuffed to begin with but can lose 1/3 to 1/2 of its loft over the first 6 months as the hulls flatten and lose their volume. So you end up with a pillow that is too flat to be of any use. We have heard from many people that have bought low-cost buckwheat pillows and loved them for the first few months only to have them end up being unusable as they shrunk away to a flat little pillow.

Organic hulls?

Typically organic hulls will be of better quality – they are usually from smaller farms and processed in smaller mills and are almost certainly from North America. Further, organic hulls are grown without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Most non-organic hulls are processed primarily to be used as a garden mulch. Given this, there is not a lot of concern about the level of chemicals used on the crop or how they are stored or processed. It is important to make sure that organic hulls are third-party certified. In North America, organic products are typically regulated by government agencies and are required to be third-party certified. Third-party certification ensures the hulls are truly being grown and processed organically.

How many pounds of buckwheat in a pillow? Your pillow should come with more buckwheat fill than the average person would need. A smaller pillow (i.e. about 14″ by 20″ ) should come with 4 to 5 pounds of fill. Most people will find 2 or 3 lbs of buckwheat to be comfortable – however, keep the extra hulls as you will need them to “top” the pillow up in a few months. A larger pillow will require 6 to 7 pounds of fill. It is important that try varying amounts of hulls in the pillow to adjust the pillow to the height and firmness that is best for you.

What sized pillow?

Generally, people find a smaller pillow (i.e. about 14″ x 20″ ) a good choice. Because buckwheat hull pillows are a bit heavier than ordinary pillows, too large of buckwheat hull pillows can be hard to move during the night. A regular rectangular shaped pillow is best for sleeping.

Who stands behind the pillow? – You may want to consider buying from a company that specializes in buckwheat pillows. We think that overall you will get a better pillow and better help with any problems that might arise.

The pillow guarantee

You should get some type of guarantee with the pillow for both construction and materials. Some companies will also take the pillow back if you do not like it. If a company claims to offer this, make sure they will take back a pillow that has been used (how else can you figure out if you like the pillow). Also make sure they refund your money not just offer a credit and ask whether they charge a restocking fee. EcoPillows’ guarantee – use your EcoPillow and like it, or return it for a full refund (less shipping).

Benefits of Buckwheat Hull Pillows

Buckwheat Hull Pillows (also called buckwheat husk pillows) offer advantages over conventional fiberfill, foam, or feather fillings:

For decades people have been trying to make pillows that offer firm head and neck support when sleeping. Many people find that a conventional foam or feather pillow too soft to support their head and neck, or they find the support is not where they need it. This often results in neck and shoulder stress that can cause headaches and other pain. Many people find that buckwheat pillows ( which have been around for thousands of years) provide a perfect combination of adjustable support – support that conforms to their anatomy rather than fighting against their anatomy. The biggest advantage of buckwheat hull pillows is that they will conform exactly to the contours of the neck, shoulders, and head, providing comfortable support for all these areas. Other filling materials will compress and either compress too much or try to return to their original shape. Either way, it results in a pillow that is not supporting you in all areas as well as it should be.

One of the other main benefits of a buckwheat hull pillow is that it can be customized for an optimized fit. If the pillow has a zipper (and all good buckwheat pillows should) hulls can be added or removed to provide a pillow with the perfect amount of fill for you. We’ve all had fiberfill or foam pillows that seemed pretty comfortable but were just a bit too high or a bit too low – unfortunately, conventional pillows cannot be easily adjusted. With a buckwheat pillow, you can adjust the fill amount by just unzipping the pillow and adding or removing hulls to customize the pillow height.

A good pillow should have good moisture absorption ability to allow airflow around your head, neck, and scalp. Buckwheat hulls provide good air circulation to help keep you cool and dry on hot humid nights. Plus the pillow can be cooled in the fridge or freezer for additional cooling.

A well-made buckwheat pillow should last about 10 years as the hulls do not breakdown. Contrast this with fiber or foam pillows that may need replacing every 1 to 2 years. The long life of the buckwheat pillow makes it the best value specialty pillow on the market. Plus EcoPillows buckwheat hull pillows are environmentally friendly, everything in them except the zipper is natural and will biodegrade. The hulls are organically grown and cotton not bleached or dyed. Further by choosing a buckwheat pillow, you forego having to buy several other pillows over the next 10 years – pillows that may be filled with synthetic fiber or foam that will not biodegrade and continue to release chemicals in the air for years.


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