Visco Elastic Foam Pillow And Buckwheat Pillows Consumer Report Comparison

Customer opinions are divided between the two pillow types. Understandably, both buckwheat and viscoelastic foam pillows have pros and cons to consider before settling for one or the other. We’ve compiled the most notable pros and cons in an easy-to-read table.

But first, here’s what you must know about home trials and what makes a good Buckwheat Pillow.

As you may already know, buckwheat neck pillows are made of buckwheat hulls, the exterior husks of buckwheat seeds (which, despite their name, are not cereal, but fruit plants related to rhubarb).

Once the seed is split in half, the inside (called buckwheat meal) is ground into flour (nowadays used by the entire world as a dietary equivalent of wheat) and leftover husks are vacuumed out to remove any remains of meal, dust or twigs.

Pillow manufacturers then buy these hulls, flatten them to increase resistance and stuff them into heavyweight cotton covers which help the pillow maintain its shape.

How Much Will You Pay For Your Pillow?

The average price of a buckwheat pillow is around half what you’d pay for a similar size viscoelastic foam pillow. A new visco pillow, for example, costs you somewhere between $50-100, while a normal hull pillow is around $35-40.

A buckwheat lumbar roll is less than $15. With buckwheat pillows, you may also have to buy spare hulls, especially if you want a firmer pillow. A pound of hulls costs around $6.

Which Is More Popular?

Asian cultures have been sleeping on buckwheat pads for many hundreds of years but it’s only after 1980 that North America and Europe discovered its natural benefits.

Despite their many benefits, buckwheat hull products started losing appeal with consumers when latex and foam became more affordable and lost their luxury status.

Bottom line, memory foam and buckwheat pillows are similar in many ways: they contour the neck and head, aim to offer better support without being to firm and are praised as being extremely comfortable. I think visco foam pillows can be considered the more refined and modern version of the natural, ancient buckwheat pillows.

Visco Elastic Pillow Buckwheat Hull Pillow
Major Pro Can be very comfortable Correct alignment of the neck & spinal cord while sleeping
Other Pros
  • Very supportive
  • Very resistant
  • Keeps its shape
  • No sagging
  • Improves circulation
  • Very supportive
  • Breathable
  • Adjustable thickness
  • Cooler on the head
  • Doesn’t flatten out
  • Lasts a long time (up to 10 years)
Major Con Gets hot during sleep Takes time getting used to
Other Cons
  • High Price
  • Takes time to adjust to it
  • Weird smell in the first weeks
  • Too firm
  • Cost
  • Too firm
  • Too heavy
  • A bit crunchy and noisy
  • Weird smell at the beginning

Customer Opinions

I have been a fibromyalgia sufferer for years. One of the best things that I have found to help me sleep better is the Bucky Pillow. While it may not look like a normal pillow (because it isn’t) it is the only pillow I’ve ever had that helps me sleep on those nights I actually can sleep. It doesn’t make sleep come on our bad nights, but it greatly enhances sleep on those nights that we do actually get some restful sleep.

When I get a migraine, I also have intense neck pain. I lay on this pillow with a cloth over my eyes. The pillow provides immediate relief for my neck, which, in turn, helps my head. The pillow also causes no problem with my dust/mildew allergies.

I read that as the foam is temperature sensitive, that in a cold room, it feels hard. Indeed, when I took delivery of my mattress, it had obviously been sitting on an ice cold truck over night for several days, so when the guys put it down, I couldn’t believe it because it was totally like cement! But, that is no worry because the thing will warm up eventually. And, a cold bedroom is still WAY MORE WARM than being outside on a truck. So, if you have a cold bedroom, do not fear your mattress would be cement. It won’t be, and besides, you body warms it up.

Years ago a Japanese friend suggested I try sleeping on a buckwheat pillow to help control my chronic headaches. It took a bit of getting used to the feel of the pillow, but it really worked for me. So when my mother recently began complaining about neck pain, especially in the mornings, I gave her my pillow and ordered a new one for myself. This is a good investment. The pillows last a long time and really help for a good night’s sleep.

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