Last Updated On August 24th, 2018
If you’re constantly waking up with neck pain or having trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position, you may be in the market for a new pillow. However, finding the right pillow for your needs can be a little more difficult than it sounds, especially with so many on the market claiming to be the best water pillow around.
Don’t worry! We’ve sorted through hundreds of water pillow reviews to cut out the fluff and bring you the best of the best.
What Is a Water Pillow?
The obvious answer is a pillow filled with water, but there’s more to it than just that. Digging under their soft surface, water pillows consist of an area to hold water as well as a layer of polyester fiber to prevent any leakage. They may also be made from memory foam or a synthetic down fabric.
While their concept is simple, it’s important to know what to look if you want to get the most out of your purchase.
– Heat Retention (or Lack Thereof)
If you’re like me, then you enjoy having a cool pillow to lay your head on at night. Have you ever wondered why that is? Research has revealed that keeping your room at a cooler temperature can help you get a better night’s sleep, along with a few other health benefits like boosting metabolism. That decline in temperature sets out bodies up for a peaceful sleep.
It makes sense, then, that we naturally enjoy laying our heads down onto a cool pillow. That added synthetic layer in a water pillow works to stop heat from transferring to the layer of water, keeping the temperature lower for a more restful slumber. Some water pillows also use gel to improve their breathability, which simultaneously helps to maintain a lower temperature. That might be something you want to consider if having a cool pillow is a must.
– Spine Support
Neck and back pain can keep us from the angelic sleep we so desire. While many blame their mattress, having a good chiropractic pillow that supports your head properly through the night is equally a good way to combat those aches and pains.
In a study comparing water based pillows to conventional types, 41 subjects found relief from their cervical pain while enjoying a long night’s sleep. Since water is displaced in a way that contours to your neck and head, the top of the spine is supported in a what is called a neutral position. The neutral positions simply mean that your spine is aligned in a straight line from your head to your tailbone. That straight line works to alleviate unnecessary pressure and twists that are known to cause back and neck pain. Check our comparisons on the best pillow for neck pain for more information on this topic.
So, even if you move around during the night, changing your position, the water will move with you to provide support no matter how you end up in the morning. Personally, I switch from side to side the whole night through and have even woken up on my stomach a few times. So, having that support regardless of my position is a great thing.
Different people need different support, while others simply prefer a different level of softness or firmness when sleeping. Water pillows are made to be adjusted to your liking. Filling one up the whole way offers a firm feel while lessening the amount of water allows for a softer support. Adding more or less water also changes the height, helping you to achieve that neutral sleeping position no matter what size or shape you are.
– Hypoallergenic Advantage
Those with asthma or who are prone to allergies might find that a water pillow will help to alleviate their symptoms. Not every product is made equally, so make sure to look for one that is labeled as hypoallergenic.
Just like anything else, there are a few downsides that come with owning a water based pillow. These may or may not be deal breakers, but it’s good to know their disadvantages before buying one.
– They Can Get Heavy
The first is their weight, which can be incredibly burdensome after they are filled all the way with water. Some can weigh up to 15 pounds, so you might not want to move yours around too much after filling it up.
– Swishing Noises
Like with buckwheat pillows, ultra-light sleepers may find the noise made when moving around in the night to be incredibly annoying. While some water pillows make a “swishing” noise, most users say that they don’t notice a thing. You can help keep your pillow silent by making sure all of the air has been removed from the water pouch. All you have to do is apply a little pressure before placing the cap back on, just like you would remove the air from a zip lock sandwich bag.
Depending on the model, the pillow you choose may or may not last you as long as you’d like. Cheaply made models tend to begin leaking before a year of use has passed, which can be frustrating when you’ve spent good money on one. However, compared to the likes of other types such as feather pillows, for example, these are much more durable and have a longer lifespan. Thankfully, the internet has become a valuable tool in determining whether a product is worth your hard-earned cash or not. Always look at what others have to say about their experience with a product before making a purchase.
Top 5 Water Pillow Reviews
After sorting through hundreds of water pillow reviews, we’ve picked out the top 5 based on the criteria mentioned above.
1. Mediflow Original Waterbase Pillow
Clinically shown to improve sleep as well as reduce neck pain, this is Mediflow’s original design and in our opinion possibly the best water pillow money can buy. In the John Hopkins study, this one ranked top in all categories.
This product features a thermal insulator, which helps to maintain a cooler temperature. Those who find themselves continually flipping over to the cold side might enjoy this feature the most. However, the water filled pillow still retains enough heat to be comfortable.
If you happen to suffer from asthma or allergies, then this hypoallergenic design may help to relieve those symptoms. It features a polyester fiber above the thermal insulator that is incredibly soft. Instead of removing the water pouch, it comes with a two-purpose tool. This funnel-like device’s bottom is used to unscrew and re-tighten the pouch’s cap, as well as allow you to add or remove water more easily.
- Comfortable when laying on back or side
- Easy to fill with water
- True to its claims of neck pain relief
- Instructions give by-the-cup measurements for firmer/softer feel
- Insulation keeps the Mediflow pillow cool, but not cold
- Pillow still sloshes after trying to remove the air
- Might not help with back pain
2. Chiroflow Premium Water Pillow
This Chiroflow pillow is yet another one from the top end of the market. First, the thread count is a generous 300. This makes for a more durable design as well as an added level of comfort. Continuing with the theme of added comfort, this water based pillow is filled with an exclusive material known as Dacron. This is special and exclusive fiber which offers an extra level of both comfort and support, which might be beneficial to those with chronic neck pain.
Measuring 20” x 28”, this one can fit standard and queen size pillowcases. The directions come with water measurements for different levels of firmness, which can help you to find the most comfortable level for you. Filled all the way, this is a heavy pillow which weighs a whopping 20 pounds! If you have trouble lifting objects due to recent surgery or a chronic condition, this might not be the best option out there.
The thermal layer on this product wraps around the water pouch, bouncing your body heat back towards you. This might be a useful feature for anyone looking for a warmer chiropractic pillow when sleeping.
- Secure water cap prevents leakage
- Dracon filling remains firm after prolonged use
- Chiropractor recommended
- Supports the neck better than foam
- Comfortable when sleeping on back and side
- Some may find the Dacron filling too firm
- Plastic water pouch sometimes makes a crunchy sound
3. Chiroflow Travel Pillow
Just like its larger cousins, this smaller sized Chiroflow pillow provides similar relief from cervical pain by cradling the head to help you sleep in the neutral position. Unlike any of the other water pillow reviews mentioned here, this one sits smaller in stature. Since this product is smaller in size, it might be a better option for those looking to experience the same comfort on the go. Though it may not initially look like a travel pillow due to its traditional rectangular shape, the compactness means it can fit snug into luggage for when you reach your destination, or, perhaps can be used on a car or train journey. Keep in mind that this pillow does need to be drained before taking it on a flight! Additionally, anyone who finds the full-sized pillows too tall to be comfortable may enjoy that this is shorter in height.
- Easy to fill
- Good for neck and shoulders
- Still able to adjust water for various levels of firmness/softness
- Features plenty of foam for support
- The plug is on the back instead of the side, helping to prevent leaks
- Some may require the larger pillow for adequate neck support
- A little small for use at home, you may roll off during the night
4. Mediflow 1066 Elite Waterbase Pillow
Unlike its predecessor, the Mediflow waterbase pillow known as the 1066 Elite features a 65% Polyester and 35% cotton blend. The waterbase pillow features an “elite fiberfill” made from Dacron staloff held in by a woven cord edge instead of the typical fabric found on the original model. The Dacron filling offers thicker padding but is still soft enough to enjoy on its lowest water level. Those that enjoy a thick pillow can still fill the water pouch up the whole way, but those that like a softer feel might benefit the most from this model.
This product features a machine washable 300 thread count cover, which is great because it saves the hassle of finding a comfortable pillowcase. While most standard cases will fit, they might fit a little too tight to be comfortable.
While the water filled pillow itself does not feature a cooling effect, it does remain at a cooler temperature thanks to the insulation layer. This will keep it from becoming uncomfortably hot during the night. Unlike its competition, this model comes with a full three-year warranty. If you would happen to run into any leaks, it’s good to know that the company will replace the product for you.
- Thicker than the original for added support
- Offers both neck and back pain relief
- The three-year warranty is longer than most others
- Stays true to the clinically tested claim
- Cap design works great against leaks
- Some may find the extra padding to be too stiff
5. Mediflow Gel Memory Foam Waterbase Pillow
If you’re a fan of memory foam pillows, and are perhaps weighing up whether or not to buy a Mediflow pillow, this one should sway you easily. This product features a cool gel memory foam layer on the top, which is great for anyone seeking that nice, cool pillow to lay their head on. It is also ventilated to add that extra level of comfortable chill.
The other unique feature of this product is its foam spring center. This is beneficial for the durability and longevity, as well as anyone looking for a little more support or a firmer feel. The dimensions measure 25” x 18”, making it slightly longer than a throw pillow. Those looking for something queen size might not like this model quite as much. However, it does come with a case.
Just like the other Mediflow waterbase pillow, this too features the same water pouch and the same easy filling tool. However, the added weight of the memory foam layer makes this one much heavier. The foam springs help to alleviate what would otherwise be a comfortable cinder block regarding weight.
- Chiropractor recommended
- Foam springs offer additional support without adding weight
- Ventilated for cooling effect
- Gel memory foam provides cooler temperature than polyester or cotton
- Memory foam is high-grade, gel-infused material, adding to overall durability
- Could be larger
- Those used to traditional foam may find this too hard/stiff
All Things Considered
Each of these pillows is designed to alleviate chronic pain by better supporting the spine, but considering their pros and cons, there is one clear winner out of the bunch. We’re giving 1st place to the Gel Memory Foam Mediflow Waterbase Pillow.
Without tearing and leaking issues, the durability of this pillow outranks the rest. It also offers a level of coolness that the rest simply do not. While some may find the gel memory foam to be too stiff, it will wear down over time while still outlasting even the Dacron fillings.
Added springs combined with your choice in water level give your head the support it needs to not only alleviate neck pain but also help with back pain as well. Hypoallergenic and easy to squeeze the air out of for a quiet night’s sleep, this pillow can see you off to dreamland and might be the end of years of chronic pain.