The Best Buckwheat Pillows

Buckwheat pillows are gaining popularity for those who wake up with aches and pains. Learn what they are and three of the best buckwheat pillows on the market today.

By Nicole Gleichmann

Aug 26th, 2022

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Imagine sleeping on a pillow made from hard kernels that resembles the firmness of a beanbag chair. This is what those who opt for buckwheat hull pillows are using thanks to their unique ability to support proper spine alignment while allowing for cooler sleep.

For many centuries, buckwheat pillows have been used as the traditional Japanese pillow, as well as for pillows and beading throughout Asia. It wasn’t until last century that they moved to the West, and since then, a fan-base has been steadily growing.

Buckwheat pillow advocates claim that they can help enhance sleep quality, improve back and neck pain, reduce headaches, and more. The composition of the buckwheat pillow allows for it to conform to your unique curves. Plus, most buckwheat pillows have a zipper that allows you to add or remove buckwheat hulls to control its thickness. These unique properties make it a good option for certain sleep positions, particularly as a pillow for side sleepers and back sleepers.

In this article we are going to share our choice for the top three buckwheat pillows available in the Western market and review the pros and cons of using a buckwheat pillow for better sleep.

Buckwheat Pillow Reviews: Our Top Picks

hullo buckwheat pillow

Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

Hullo Buckwheat Pillows are a good option when you are ready to shell out over $100 for a high-quality buckwheat pillow. Their pillows are 100% organic, from the organic buckwheat hulls to the organic cotton twill case. Not only that, but the buckwheat is grown in the United States and the pillows are manufactured here as well. Plus, they offer free shipping in the USA and a 60-night money back guarantee, removing any financial risk from you for trying out a new type of pillow.

  • Price: $109 (Standard Size)
  • Rating: 4 Stars with 42 reviews
sobakawa buckwheat pillow

Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillow

If you are looking for an economical way to try out the buckwheat pillow, look no further than Sobakawa. These pillows are available from third-party sellers and on Amazon through Sobakawa. If you purchase it through Sobakawa on Amazon, your pillow comes with a lifetime guarantee, so you can rest assured that you can enjoy your breathable, supportive pillow for years to come.

  • Price: $29.99 (Standard Size)
  • Rating: 4 Stars with 1,700 reviews
zen chi buckwheat pillow

Zen Chi Organic Buckwheat Pillow

Zen Chi offers a great option for those looking to not spend too much money but who are still looking for the upmost in quality. Their pillows use 100% organic buckwheat, but at a competitive price point. Their pillow cover is made from cotton, although this doesn’t appear to be organic.

  • Price: $44.95 (Standard Size)
  • Rating: 4 Stars with 748 reviews

What Exactly Are Buckwheat Pillows?

Buckwheat pillows are firm pillows made from buckwheat husks. Buckwheat itself is actually a fruit that is encased in a shell-like husk. It has been used for both human and farm animal consumption for many centuries, as well as in bedding and pillows in the East.

In order to make a pillow, these buckwheat husks are typically added to a zippered pillowcase, which allows consumers to add or subtract buckwheat as needed. When you purchase a buckwheat pillow, most retailers will allow you to purchase 10- or 20-pound bags of loose buckwheat for when you want to replace your buckwheat.

One of the biggest selling points of these pillows is that they are made from natural products that few people are allergic to (unlike down feathers, which can be troublesome for many people). The unique composition means that these pillows last longer than the average pillow on the market. That said, they are extremely heavy, often weighing upwards of 10 pounds.

Traditionally in Japan, the buckwheat pillow is a smaller pillow than we’re accustomed to in the West. However, most manufacturers in the USA sell the sizes that we’re used to. There are three typical sizes used by consumers in the US:

  1. Standard Size (20” by 26”): The most common and least expensive of the three options. Most people will use this pillow thanks to its lower weight and cheaper price point. However, if you are someone who moves around a bunch in their sleep, you might want to opt for a wider pillow.
  2. Queen Size (20” by 30”): This size is better for people who move around in their sleep, or those who simply prefer the feel of a wider pillow.
  3. King Size (20” by 36”): King pillows offer the benefit of being wide enough for even the most restless sleeper. Additionally, it’s large and could be shared by two people who are cuddling (although we’d recommend for you both to get your own, smaller pillow to allow for your personal preference when it comes to hull fill level).

Pros and Cons of Using a Buckwheat Pillow

Pros Cons
  1. Adjustable: You can add or remove husks to find the ideal size and level of support for you.
  2. Allows for Proper Spine Alignment: Because the husks can be situated in a way that allows a natural spine and neck alignment while offering firm support, the spine can be in proper alignment all night long.
  3. Sleeps Cool: The husks allow air to circulate, keeping the pillow cool. This is helpful for those who sleep hot. Some people even choose to put their pillow in the freezer before going to bed for an extra-cool pillow.
  4. Could Reduce Back and Neck Pain: Because it offers good support for your head and neck, this pillow might help some people who are struggling with sleep-related aches and pains in their neck and back.
  5. Highly Durable: Buckwheat pillows usually outlast other pillows.
  6. Supportive: Buckwheat husks are supportive, providing a firm pillow that still has just a bit of give when you lay on it. This is a good thing for body alignment as it allows your muscles to fully relax while being properly supported.
  7. May Help with Snoring: Because buckwheat pillows are very supportive, they can help to keep the airway open and reduce snoring.
  1. Somewhat Expensive: You can find certain types of pillows for next to nothing at some retailers like Walmart. Buckwheat pillows, however, tend to cost upwards of $50, with some of the high-end pillows costing $100 plus.
  2. Heavy: If you like to bring your pillow with you when you travel, a full-size buckwheat pillow might not be the best option. Just the smaller, standard size can weight around 10 pounds.
  3. Noisy: Imagine hearing a crunch whenever you move around at night. If you or your partner find it difficult to sleep with noise, buckwheat pillows may be challenging. Fortunately, most people find that the noise fades a bit with time, or that they get used to it.
  4. Not Soft: Some of us are accustomed to cuddling our pillows and moving them with us as we reposition during the night. These pillows aren’t cuddly and are hard to move around.
  5. Clumpy: Some people find that the pillow clumps over the night, and it is not always easy to get it to come lose and return to normal.

Who Is the Buckwheat Pillow For?

Buckwheat pillows are best for side sleepers and back sleepers who can sleep with a firm, supportive pillow. It can be a good option for those who want to use natural materials but who have allergies to other types of pillows, like down feather pillows.

Additionally, a buckwheat pillow can outlast most pillows, so while they might be more expensive upfront than pillows made from cheap, synthetic materials, they can be a good long-term investment. Lastly, they are great for those who sleep hot as the breathability of the material allows for good air circulation.

Word of caution: If you are a stomach sleeper or if you’re sensitive to sound, the buckwheat pillow might not be the best option for you. Stomach sleepers will usually benefit most from no pillow or a very small, flat pillow to avoid neck problems.

Making Your Own Buckwheat Pillow

You might be wondering, with most buckwheat pillows made from a zippered pillowcase with buckwheat kernels, couldn’t you make your own buckwheat pillow? Yes, you can, and many people do choose this route. If you do so, try to find an organic cotton pillowcase and source high-quality, organic buckwheat kernels. This last step is particularly important as poor-quality buckwheat kernels could be contaminated with things like bugs or dust mites.