Sobakawa (or buckwheat) pillows have their roots in Japan, but you can find them in bedrooms all over the world now. The tough husks that surround buckwheat seeds are what fill these pillows. Many people find that buckwheat pillows are comparable to firm, dense bean bags due to the firm feel and small size of the hulls, which allow them to mold closely to the head and neck.
There are many advantages to sleeping on a high-quality buckwheat hull pillow. First, they can be altered to fit any size. The pillow’s loft and support can be adjusted by adding or removing hulls from within. Because of how long the hulls last, many companies that make buckwheat pillows also sell extra hulls in bulk for those who need to restock. Temperatures can be kept comfortable, which is another perk. Many of these models have breathable cotton or organic cotton covers, and the hulls allow for consistent airflow throughout the pillow’s core.
Check out our best buckwheat pillow guide if you think this style of pillow could be relaxing or at least interesting. We’ll talk about where sobakawa pillows came from, how they’ve changed over time, how they’re made, how they perform in various categories, and how much you can expect to pay for one. Let’s start with the highest-rated buckwheat pillows on our list. All of the products we recommend have been hand-picked after extensive research and analysis, including feedback from real customers and in-depth examination by our own team of experts.
Best Buckwheat Pillows
Sweet Zzz Buckwheat Pillow
14″ x 20″ for $95. 6″ x 17″ – $109 16″ x 28″ – $139
Buckwheat Hulls, Organic
Hardness: Very Hard
This is ideal for:
- Sleepers who want a pillow that can be adjusted for loft
- persons who sleep on their backs
- Shoppers who are dedicated to environmental sustainability
- Changing the loft simply by adding or removing fill is possible.
- Packed with buckwheat hulls that haven’t been genetically modified
- Equipped with a GOTS-certified organic cotton pillowcase.
If you’re looking for a pillow that’s both natural and eco-friendly, the Sweet Zzz Buckwheat Pillow is a fantastic choice. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), one of the world’s leading authorities on these types of products, has certified both the cotton cover and the non-GMO buckwheat hull fill as organic. To make the pillow more or less lofty, the hulls can be added or removed, making it a good choice for those who prefer to sleep on their stomachs, sides, or backs.
This pillow’s other strength is that it regulates temperature. The hulls allow for consistent airflow across the pillow’s interior, which, along with the cover’s high breathability, helps to keep the pillow’s core at a cool temperature. Because cotton and buckwheat hulls are so naturally long-lasting, you can expect this pillow to last for a very long time.
In case you need a new pillow, Sweet Zzz has you covered with three different options. The queen size is a good choice for those who prefer a more conventional rectangular shape. There is also a smaller Japanese size that is comparable to a throw pillow, as well as a cylindrical size that can be used as a bolster or a headrest. All you have to do to clean the cover is take out the hulls before throwing it in the washing machine and dryer.
For all pillow purchases within the 48 contiguous states, standard shipping is free. In addition to the pillow’s one-year warranty, Sweet Zzz provides a 50-night sleep trial.
Turmerry Buckwheat Sobakawa Pillow
Travel: $45 • Mini: $49 • Standard: $69 • Queen: $85 • King: $89
ToFill with: Buckwheat hulls
Hardness: Very Hard
For those who:
- Those who sleep best on pillows that push back firmly and support their heads
- Those in search of a pillow with a movable loft
- Seekers of Value
- Made from organic, non-GMO materials like buckwheat hulls and cotton that hasn’t been bleached, these covers are as eco-friendly as they are stylish.
- There are 6 sizes to choose from, including one that is convenient for traveling.
- Additional hulls can be ordered in bulk by owners.
If you’re looking for a comfortable and affordable pillow, consider the Turmerry Buckwheat Sobakawa Pillow. This pillow, like others in the sobakawa style, is filled with buckwheat hulls, the volume of which can be altered by adding or removing hulls. It’s perfect for those who alternate between using a thicker and flatter pillow throughout the night. When owners run low, they can buy extra hulls in bulk from Turmerry.
The hulls are sourced from farms in the Midwest that practice sustainable agriculture, and the cover is made from organic, unbleached cotton, so the pillow should also be appealing to eco-conscious consumers. Since cotton is breathable and allows air to circulate freely within, sleepers who tend to run warm should experience similar levels of comfort.
Your pillow comes in six different sizes to suit your needs. The sizes range from a neckroll to a traditional Japanese “mini” size to the more commonplace standard, queen, and king. The final choice is a travel pillow, which weighs in at a lightweight 2.5 pounds and folds up very small for storage in tight suitcase compartments.
The pillow’s low cost across all six sizes makes it accessible to first-time buyers. Delivery by ground service is free within the 48 contiguous states. Within 30 days of purchase, customers can return pillows for a full refund as long as they have not been used or washed. A pillow is guaranteed for one year for those who choose to keep it.
Hullo Buckwheat Pillow
Room sizes go from $59 for a small to $159 for a king.
Feedstock: buckwheat hulls
Hardness: Very Hard
To whom it will be of greatest benefit:
- Those who want a pillow that contours to their head and neck while still providing firm support
- Those who rest more soundly with pillows that can be adjusted for loft
- A term for people who get hot while they sleep
- Modifiable slant
- Constant airflow is encouraged by the open layout.
- Washable cotton twill outer shell
If you’re interested in trying out a buckwheat pillow but don’t want to break the bank doing so, the Hullo is a fantastic option. There are a variety of room sizes to choose from, including small, regular, and king. It’s easy to return your Hullo pillow if you’re not satisfied with it any time within the first 60 nights.
Though the pillow’s loft can be adjusted, it still has a fairly firm texture. It’s perfect for those who prefer to sleep on their side or back and need a supportive pillow. The organic cotton twill used for the cover is durable and soft. The cover, in addition to the hulls’ inherent durability, greatly increases the pillow’s service life. If you ever need to restock your hull supply, Hullo offers convenient bulk orders of 10 or 20 pounds.
The Hullo’s fill is machine washable and dryer safe, but unlike other buckwheat pillows, you’ll never need to clean the cover. Remember that the total weight of the pillow can range from four to twelve pounds, depending on the size you pick. The standard shipping fee is waived for all orders placed with Hullo within the 48 contiguous states.
PineTales Buckwheat Pillow – Premium
Pricing details: $120 for the Matrix Standard. Pricing starts at $140 for the Standard (Prestige) option. To purchase the Japanese (Matrix) language for $90. Costs one hundred dollars and is of Japanese (Prestige) quality.
Materials: Buckwheat hulls
For those who:
- Both side and back sleepers
- Anyone experiencing neck pain
- Renters whose tastes could shift over time should consider a loft
- The loft of a buckwheat pillow can be adjusted by adding or removing fill.
- Cover and pillowcase are both made from bamboo-derived rayon.
- The buckwheat hulls strike a nice balance between form and comfort.
PineTales sells several varieties of buckwheat pillows, with the Premium being among the most refined. This pillow is great for back and side sleepers because the buckwheat fill molds softly to the head and neck while still providing firm support.
If you don’t like the texture that the buckwheat hulls add, you can leave them out. Since the loft can be adjusted, it should be possible for most people to find a comfortable position that prevents strain on their neck, shoulders, and back while they sleep. Those who regularly wake up with a sore neck can benefit greatly from this.
The buckwheat is protected by a cotton zippered shell and a rayon fabric made from bamboo. If you prefer a pillow that feels like silk against your skin, you can skip the pillowcase and just use the pillow as-is. There are two trendy patterns to choose from for the cover. Customers have the option of purchasing either a standard size or a Japanese size (14 x 20 inches).
PineTales accepts returns of pillows within 30 days for a full refund, though the shipping cost of the return is not refunded.
Turmerry Buckwheat & Wool Hybrid Pillow
A travel size costs $48; a mini costs $69; and a standard costs $119. A Queen’s stay is $139 and a King’s is $169.
Buckwheat and wool make up the other half of the fill.
Hardness: Very Hard
For those who:
- Those who have fluctuating tastes and whose loft needs may change over
- People who sleep with a painful neck
- The hottest of the sleepers
- Wool and buckwheat are used in tandem in this hybrid design.
- Pressure in the head and neck can be alleviated by wearing wool because it conforms so gently to the body.
- To modify the loft, buckwheat hulls can be removed.
The Turmerry Buckwheat & Wool Hybrid Pillow combines the support of buckwheat pillows with the softness of wool, providing the best of both worlds. Including wool in the construction of this model sets it apart from traditional buckwheat pillows. The gentle contouring of the wool is great for those who suffer from neck pain while sleeping because it relieves pressure in that area.
One side of the pillow is stuffed with buckwheat, and the other is stuffed with wool. The buckwheat side is for those who like a flatter, less contouring pillow, while the wool side is for those who prefer a softer feel. Since the shifting of the buckwheat hulls can be heard, people who are particularly sensitive to noise in their sleeping environment may also favor the wool side. Hot sleepers shouldn’t be uncomfortable on this pillow because wool and buckwheat both have natural breathable properties.
The pillow provides sufficient support for both back and side sleepers, making it a good choice for those who prefer to switch between the two positions. The amount of buckwheat hulls in the loft can be adjusted to suit your needs. The sateen weave cotton used to make the cover for your pillows gives it a soft, silky texture. Customers have their pick of several different sizes, including standard, queen, and king, as well as travel and mini.
Those who purchase this pillow from Turmerry can take advantage of a 30-night trial period and a 1-year warranty. All orders within the contiguous United States ship free of charge.
Bean Products WheatDreamz Buckwheat Hull Pillow
Prices range from $41 for travel/toddler to $46 for Japanese to $70 for standard. Price: $80 for a Queen and $95 for a King
Buckwheat hulls (100%)
For those who:
- Sleeping on one’s side or back
- Pillows with a tunable loft can be found in stores for those who
- Smokers in bed
- Having a firm foundation and a degree of loft that can be adjusted to your
- Breathable organic cotton is used for the optional cover.
- Available in both portable and regular sized sobakawa
The WheatDreamz Buckwheat Hull Pillow is comparable to other options in terms of adjustable loft and extra-firm feel, but its plethora of customization options sets it apart from the competition. Millet hulls, which are slightly softer than 100% buckwheat hulls without sacrificing strength or stability, are also available to consumers. To achieve a more neutral texture, buckwheat and millet hulls can be combined to make a third fill option.
You can go without a pillowcase, use a white one, a natural one made from organic cotton, or leave it on. Due to the breathable cotton and air-circulating hulls, the WheatDreamz is ideal for hot sleepers and warm climates. There are five sizes to choose from, including one that is especially portable and great for kids, as well as a classic “sobakawa” throw from Japan.
If your pillow needs to be refilled, you can buy buckwheat and millet hulls in bulk from Bean Products. Pillows that have been used cannot be returned for a refund, but unopened pillows in their original packaging can be returned for a full refund within 14 days of purchase.
The Futon Shop Organic Wool & Buckwheat Pillow
There is a price difference between the travel and standard versions ($52 vs. $60). Price: $68 for a Queen and $80 for a King
Stuffing: organic virgin wool and organic buckwheat hulls both certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard
Level of Firmness: Medium-Firm
Which users will benefit the most:
- Pillows stuffed on the side are preferred by those who prefer theirs centered.
- Those whose tastes in loft furniture are always shifting
- Those who suffer from morning neck pain or stiffness while sleeping
- Filling is a combination of buckwheat hulls and virgin wool, which allows for air circulation.
- The pillow’s split chambers give you the freedom to adjust its firmness to your liking.
- All components are verified as organic by third-party agencies.
You can adjust the loft of your buckwheat pillow to your preference by adding or removing the hulls. Furthermore, the dual-chamber design of The Futon Shop’s Organic Wool & Buckwheat Pillow enhances this quality. Customers can opt to have the hulls positioned centrally (a la a standard pillow design) or off to the sides (creating a sloped shape). The latter option has the potential to help those who suffer from chronic neck pain by providing a little extra elevation to the head and shoulders.
If you’ve tried other buckwheat pillows and found them to be too firm, you’ll appreciate the suppleness of this one. The moisture-wicking properties of the wool further aid the hulls’ inherent cooling mechanisms. This pillow is ideal for warm sleepers because the cotton cover allows air to circulate freely while you rest. Given that all three ingredients are verified as organic, it should also appeal to eco-conscious consumers.
The loft of a buckwheat pillow can be adjusted by adding or removing the hulls, as is the case with most such pillows. While machine washing the pillow requires removal of the hulls, a pillow protector is available for an additional fee. Available in all the usual sizes, plus queen, king, and even travel options.
This pillow’s prices and shipping costs are standard within the market. There is a 30-day guarantee on all orders.
What Is a Buckwheat Pillow?
Pillows made from buckwheat hulls, the tough coverings of the seeds, are called sobakawa in Japan. Altering the thickness, or loft, of a structure requires either adding or removing hulls from the interior. While the hulls are consistently firm regardless of the fill volume, the malleability of buckwheat pillows makes them an excellent option for those who prefer to sleep on either their side or their back.
There are additional advantages to using buckwheat pillows for sleep. The hulls prevent the pillow from overheating, unlike synthetic fills. Hulls are also a good option for those with allergies to down, feathers, and/or latex because of their inherent hypoallergenicity. The hulls of buckwheat seeds are so sturdy that the pillows last for years; when the time comes to replace them, most pillow companies sell extra hulls in bulk. Most buckwheat pillows feature removable cotton covers that can be washed and dried with your regular laundry, but the hulls themselves will never require cleaning.
The use of a buckwheat pillow is not without its drawbacks. Some people may find the firmness of these pillows to be intolerable, which is the primary source of complaints from those who use them to get some shut-eye. The hulls may initially give off a potent odor that doesn’t go away for a few days. Some people may also have trouble with the added weight that a stuffed buckwheat pillow can add to their bed.
Keep reading to find out why buckwheat pillows are so popular. In this guide, we’ll go over the benefits and drawbacks of buckwheat pillows, as well as address some of the most frequently asked questions customers have about purchasing one.
How to Choose a Buckwheat Pillow
It is best to shop around for a buckwheat pillow before settling on a specific brand or model due to the wide variety of options available. While the vast majority of buckwheat pillows on the market are equivalent, there are a few key variations to keep in mind.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Buckwheat Pillow
The adaptability of buckwheat pillows is arguably their biggest selling point. Most manufacturers sell hulls in bulk for a reasonable price, so you can easily replenish your pillow’s fill whenever you like. In general, the cost of additional hulls ranges from $5 to $15 per pound.
A buckwheat pillow is a great option for those who prefer all-natural materials. Organic cotton covers are also common, and many models are filled with hulls grown and harvested without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. If you find a buckwheat pillow that claims to be organic, you should verify that it actually is. Organic products are certified by a variety of agencies, the most well-known of which are the Global Organic Textile Standard and the United States Department of Agriculture.
You should also be skeptical of other claims made about buckwheat pillows. Some manufacturers falsely claim that adjusting the loft will also alter the pillow’s firmness. Even after being fluffed up, buckwheat pillows still have that firm-to-very-firm feel that comes from the hulls. Despite the claims of some manufacturers, many stomach sleepers do not find buckwheat pillows to be the most comfortable option because of their thickness and firmness.
We advise not putting too much stock in the claims and assurances made by vendors of buckwheat pillows, but rather on the following considerations.
To better suit your needs, most buckwheat pillows come with a loft slider. Their constructions feature a lined pouch to hold the hulls and a zippered exterior cover for easy access to the contents. Since side sleeping typically calls for more loft than back sleeping, this level of customization is especially helpful for people who sleep in different positions.
Since buckwheat hulls are so dense, these pillows are ideal for those who prefer to sleep on their backs or sides. Strong support is provided for the head and neck thanks to the hulls’ ability to conform to the body without sinking too far. Depending on your preferred sleeping posture, you may find that increasing or decreasing the number of hulls in your pillow provides a more comfortable and supportive feel.
Degree of Stiffness
You can expect a firm to very firm feel from a buckwheat pillow. Some people really enjoy the firmness and support of the pillows, while others find them to be too stiff and cumbersome. The Sachi Organics Rejuvenation Pillow, for example, is one of the few exceptions because it is filled with a combination of buckwheat hulls and a softer material that provides additional cushioning.
Release From Tension
Those who prefer to sleep on their sides typically need a pillow with more loft to properly align their head and neck with their spine while they sleep. For those who sleep on their sides, buckwheat pillows are an excellent option due to the high hull content. Sleeping on one’s back helps maintain proper spinal alignment, so less loft is required in this position.
Buckwheat pillows, like most pillow varieties sold in North America, come in a variety of standard, queen, and king sizes. The classic Japanese sobakawa pillow has inspired a number of brands to produce smaller versions. While body pillows filled with buckwheat hulls aren’t widely distributed, they are available from a few reputable manufacturers.
In either the queen or king size, buckwheat pillows typically cost between $50 and $150. Choosing the smaller, conventional sobakawa size typically results in a price savings for the consumer. Prices for hulls typically range from $5 to $15 per pound when purchased in bulk, with some sellers offering discounts for orders of 10 pounds or more.
Although buckwheat hulls are very long-lasting, pillows made from them eventually lose their shape, so it’s likely that you’ll need to buy a new batch of hulls in bulk before the pillow wears out. Be sure to double-check the back-cover layout, too. Buckwheat pillowcases are typically made of cotton, organic cotton, or bamboo rayon.
Shells conform closely to the shape of the body. The firmness of a buckwheat pillow has been compared to that of a beanbag chair. The small size of the hulls allows the pillow to mold closely to the head and neck, providing superior support and relieving pressure points.
Management of Temperature
A significant benefit of these pillows is their ability to maintain a constant temperature. The hulls allow for constant circulation of air within the space, preventing overheating that can occur with some fill materials (like foam). As an added bonus, the covers of most buckwheat pillows are airy.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Buckwheat Pillows?
There is a wide range of firmness that can be achieved in buckwheat pillows, and they provide excellent support and longevity. However, many people find these pillows too firm; we advise giving a buckwheat pillow a test run as part of a sleep trial before making a final decision.
These are some of the benefits and drawbacks of buckwheat pillows:
Who Is Best Suited to a Buckwheat Pillow?
A buckwheat pillow is an excellent choice for those who prefer something very firm and supportive for their head and neck. These pillows allow you to change the amount of loft, or height, so that each night you can find the perfect level of support. In addition to the aforementioned types of sleepers, the following may or may not benefit from using buckwheat pillows:
- A lofty buckwheat pillow can help side sleepers maintain spinal alignment because it conforms to the head and neck while still providing firm support. Pillows that are too flat can cause problems with spinal alignment, leading to increased pressure for those who sleep on their sides. If you suffer from neck pain, you should look for a buckwheat pillow that provides firm support without making your head and neck sink to an uncomfortable level.
- It has been found that buckwheat pillows with a medium loft are the most accommodating for back sleepers. This helps to keep their head and neck in line with the rest of their body, which can alleviate strain on the neck and shoulders.
- People with Allergies: Buckwheat allergies are unusual, but they do exist. If you have an allergy to latex, down, or feathers, but still want a soft, supportive pillow, try a buckwheat one instead.
- Buckwheat pillows provide a remarkably cool night’s sleep, even for those who tend to sleep hot. The hulls are not like foam or down in that they will not absorb and retain body heat, and the interior features unrestricted airflow. Covers made from breathable materials are standard on most of these pillows.
Who doesn’t belong:
- Even when the hull fill is supplemented with softer materials like wool or cotton batting, buckwheat pillows typically feel quite firm, which isn’t ideal for those who prefer plush pillows. This is what causes the most debate about them. While some prefer the extra firmness and support, others find the pillows to be too stiff and uncomfortable.
- People who sleep on their bellies typically select a pillow with a low to medium loft. Too much thickness in a pillow can cause the head and neck to be positioned in an awkward position. People who sleep on their stomachs tend to favor softer surfaces. It’s true that some stomach sleepers find buckwheat pillows to be quite comfortable, but they’re in the minority.
- If you have trouble sleeping quietly, the pillow’s hulls will make a gentle rustling sound as they mold to the shape of your head and neck. For those who are easily roused by noise, this could mean a restless night.
Which Buckwheat Pillow Sizes Are Available?
Western and standard sizes are both available from most buckwheat pillow manufacturers. Conversely, buckwheat pillows are not as widely sold as other pillow types, so you may be limited to a small number of sellers based on your budget. Buckwheat pillows come in the following sizes:
- Standard: The dimensions for a standard rectangular pillow are 20 inches wide by 26 inches long, though this can vary slightly between different manufacturers. The standard pillow size is one of the most common and works well for those who don’t move around much during sleep.
- A super standard is 20 inches wide and 28 inches in length. Super standards aren’t that common, so they’re best for those who like the standard size but want a few extra inches of space.
- Typically, a queen-sized pillow is 20 inches wide by 30 inches long. Like kings and standards, queens enjoy widespread availability. In the event that you find both the standard and king sizes to be too small or large, this is a good “middle of the road” option.
- Typically, a king-sized pillow will be 20 inches wide by 36 inches long. Those who toss and turn or switch sleeping positions frequently will benefit most from this dimension’s generous width and length. You’ll need a wider bed if you and your bedmate each use king-sized pillows.
- In terms of the body, buckwheat body pillows are hard to come by but are offered by a select few retailers. These pillows are great for side sleeping and cuddling because the hulls conform closely to the shape of your head and neck. It’s important to note that a fully stuffed buckwheat body pillow can weigh more than 20 pounds.
- Unique feature: many buckwheat pillow manufacturers provide “Japanese” or “personal” sizes that are slightly smaller than the standard, mirroring the original sobakawa design. They can be used as bolsters for the knees and legs, or as pillows for sleeping if you don’t need much width.
The price of buckwheat pillows, if you don’t mind my asking. In comparison to other pillow materials, buckwheat pillows tend to be on the pricier side, with prices ranging from $50 to $150 for a queen or standard size pillow. Hulls can be purchased in bulk from most brands for $5 to $15 per pound.
Please advise on the best way to launder a buckwheat pillow. When cleaning a buckwheat pillow, the first step is to remove all of the hulls and store them in a large, sturdy container like a plastic bin. The majority of models have covers made of machine-washable materials like cotton, rayon from bamboo, or another similar material. The hulls should never be washed.
Can you tell me where I can get a buckwheat pillow? Although buckwheat pillows are still relatively uncommon, their rising profile has resulted in greater availability across North America. Although some domestic brands do offer traditional sizes, they are not as widespread, so you may want to consider purchasing the pillow from a company based in Japan if you want to ensure you get the right one.
For what length of time do buckwheat pillows maintain their shape and support? Buckwheat pillows have a very long lifespan provided they are well taken care of. The most common issue with durability is the premature breakdown of the cover. With continued use, the cover’s fabric will begin to show wear and eventually need to be replaced. The hulls are long-lasting, and many manufacturers of buckwheat pillows sell them in bulk.
Can you alter the firmness of a buckwheat pillow? Supportive and malleable, buckwheat pillows can be stuffed to your desired firmness. The thickness of the pillow can be adjusted by adding or removing the hulls. However, no matter how many hulls you add, the majority of buckwheat pillows will still be quite firm.
I was wondering if buckwheat pillows gave off any sort of smell. When the pillow is first opened, you may notice a distinct, earthy scent from the hulls. It may take a week or more for the hulls to completely lose their odor, but eventually they will.
Is it true that buckwheat is eco-friendly? Because they don’t require any synthetic materials, buckwheat pillows are much more eco-friendly than other pillow options. The buckwheat plants used to make organic pillows are raised and processed without the use of any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. There are requirements that must be met for the cotton used to make the cover to be considered organic.
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