Who is the Birch Pillow For?
- Combination sleepers
- Eco-friendly shoppers
- Sleepers who change positions frequently through the night
- Those who don’t like the feel of memory foam
- People looking to keep their carbon footprints low
- Shoppers ready to invest in a pillow that will last
It can get easy to become so caught up in the mattress shopping experience that we forget the proper comfort and support of the cervical spine. Finding the right pillow for your needs and preferences can improve your quality of life, so let’s see if the brand new Birch pillow by Helix could be for you.
Helix- A Leader in the Industry
Brought to us by parent company Helix, Birch is their spin on an eco-friendly sleep line that sources materials from nature. This almost always results in superior durability, and we’re going to take a look at how Birch incorporates three natural materials to provide a highly responsive pillow for any sleep position.
With so many new companies continually entering the online mattress industry, it can be a breath of fresh air to work with an industry leader. Helix has served more than 100,000 customers to date, and their flagship product was among the first I reviewed. As the leading mattress brand in customized sleep, Helix has proven to me to be a reliable company with responsive customer service and transparency you can count on.
How’s the Birch Pillow Feel?
The exterior of this pillow is super soft. When it comes to people, we’re a very diverse bunch. Some welcome the ultra contour and deep hug offered by memory foam while others find this feeling to be too invasive
Memory foam is notorious for heat retention that causes you to sweat. If you’re not on the memory foam bandwagon, I think you’re going to love this pillow simply because it’s about as different from that feeling as it gets.
Opposite Feeling of Memory Foam
The Birch pillow responds very quickly to pressure and features a bouncy feel that gives you more of a floating feeling rather than a sinking one. I think the combination of latex and wool was smart since Birch was going for the bouncy feel. The curly construction of the Birch Wool enhances bounce as well as introduces a fluffy component that works well with the quick response.
Firmness & Support
The Birch pillow features the same medium-firm feel of the Birch mattress, and, while it is fluffy and soft, it certainly doesn’t lack in that responsive support you need to keep your cervical spine aligned.
A Look at ILDs
Birch uses latex with an indentation load deflection of around 20-24. With 12 being very plush and 50 being very firm, this is pretty reflective of a medium feel, but it does lean just slightly on the firm end of medium.
The firmness setting is going to be most beneficial when back sleeping, but the adjustable loft ultimately makes it compatible with all positions. I like the fact that you still enjoy adequate contour despite the high degree of cradling support, and this is one of the unique properties of latex that you just really can’t emulate with other materials.
Shipping, Unboxing, & Offgassing
Birch products are made right here in the USA, and they ship to all 50 states. It takes up to six business days to receive your order. Your pillow comes packed in a box, but it’s not compressed. Unboxing is very simple. All you have to do is open the box, and your pillow is ready to use.
Unlike pillows that use synthetic materials, the Birch pillow is completely natural. While you will experience off-gassing, it’s different than the chemical smell released when you open a visco or polyfoam product. You’ll notice a natural smell that’s reminiscent of the outdoors for a couple of days after you open your pillow.
Birch Mattress Material Construction
Let’s take some time to discuss the composition of the Birch pillow so you know what we’re working with.
The cover is made of all natural, organic cotton that’s notably soft to the touch. Its natural breathability and moisture-wicking properties can do more than you may realize in helping you take advantage of restorative REM sleep, and we’ll take a look here in a minute how it measures up to other popular sleep products out there in our heat transfer test.
Unlike a pillow that contains a slab of foam, the Birch pillow contents can be fluffed up. This is because it’s filled with shredded, organic Birch Wool and natural latex. This particular filling is unique in that it provides subtle contour for the cervical spine while maintaining the responsive, cradling support latex is famous for.
Not for Memory Foam Fans
If you’re familiar with memory foam, you know it adds contour, but it also produces a sinky feel. If you’re not a big fan, the Birch pillow could be the perfect fit as it provides the exact opposite feeling without compromising on effective contour.
The Birch Wool complements the latex well, and it brings natural insulating properties to the table without the use of plastics and chemicals. All wool used in Birch products can be traced to New Zealand farms and are PGC Wrightson Wool Integrity Program compliant. This assures best farming practices like free range grazing are employed.
Grade A Material Quality
I received my Birch pillow with the Birch mattress and topper and spent several hours investigating the quality of each material used. Keep in mind that I’ve been doing this for a while, so I’ve learned the right questions to ask to uncover dirty little secrets like quality compromises manufacturers try to keep under wraps. However, from what I can tell with the Birch line and having spent over a half-hour speaking with customer service agents, a material quality is grade A. Certifications include:
- GREENGUARD Gold– the pillow is free of harsh chemicals
- OEKO-TEX– the pillow is free of unhealthy off-gassing and hazardous chemicals
Birch Pillow Loft & Size Options
The Birch pillow comes in Standard and King sizes, and I love that the shredded nature of its filling allows for adjustability in the loft. When considering pillow options, you have to take your preferred sleeping position into account:
- Thick pillows work great for side sleepers since they adequately fill in the gap between the shoulders and head.
- A high loft will throw the cervical spine out of alignment when back and stomach sleeping.
Back and stomach sleepers typically fare better with a thinner loft. These general guidelines would seemingly make it pretty easy to pinpoint the right loft for you unless you switch positions.
While there are some dedicated side, stomach, and back sleepers out there, there are also a lot of people like myself who switch positions through the night. If this sounds like you, you’ll be pleased to know you can fluff the shredded filling of the Birch mattress, allowing you to make it thicker or thinner based on your needs at any given time.
Birch Pillow Breathability
It’s easy to get so caught up in aspects like feel, contour, and firmness that you overlook a pillow’s ability to stay cool, but this is a very critical component. If your body is unable to slightly cool during sleep, it makes it difficult to enter into the restorative REM stage of sleep.
Our sleeping bodies are best able to recover during sleep at a temperature just shy of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The great news with the entire Birch line of sleep products is that thermal regulating components are present in every material used:
- Cotton strands in the cover wick moisture and allow heat to dissipate through their pores.
- The Birch Wool inside the pillow provides a natural, temperature regulating insulator through its multi-layer cellular structure while providing certified fire retardancy without the use of harmful chemicals and plastics.
- Talalay latex is up to seven times more breathable than other latex types.
To put all of these features to the test, I laid on my Birch mattress while using the pillow for a half hour and then stuck around to monitor the cooldown process using my thermal imaging camera. You can see in the video above that both products cooled off at relatively the same rate, returning to room temperature in just under seven minutes.
Considering the 10-minute average I’ve accumulated testing over 70 sleep products, this indicates the Birch line is able to cool off 30% faster than your average product in the current market. If you sleep hot and enjoy a bouncy bed, the Birch line could be that slam dunk you’re looking for.
How Long Will the Birch Pillow Last?
If you don’t already have a pretty good idea, the Birch pillow is of high quality. To break it down, here are just a few features that lead us to believe it’ll hold up over time:
- The ability of the wool to retain its shape prevents indents that cause a pillow to lose support and comfort prematurely.
- Birch Wool fibers can be bent over 20,000 times before they lose integrity.
- Latex is well known for being one of the most durable materials in the mattress industry with its natural ability to prevail over common mattress enemies like mold and dust mites.
- Birch products are handcrafted in the USA.
- You get both a three year warranty on the pillow as well as a 100 night sleep trial.
Maintenance, Protection, Care, & Warranty
Although it’s built to last, you want to make sure you take proper care of your pillow. It is spot clean only, and you can’t remove the cover. So, if you happen to spill something on it, use a damp washcloth and mild detergent to clean it up, and proceed to air dry. Not only will this help it last, but it will also preserve your warranty.
If you decide the pillow just isn’t going to work for you, Helix will provide a full refund during the sleep trial. Depending on the laws in your state, they will donate lightly used returns to charity.
I had the chance to try out the entire Birch line which includes the mattress, topper, and pillow. Each piece is of high quality, and I love that the online business model has allowed those on lower budgets to take advantage of premium materials. If you think the loft versatility and quick response of the Birch pillow could be right for you, here’s what you can expect to pay:
Helix understands their customers don’t always have the full amount on hand. When that’s the case, they don’t want you to have to compromise comfortable sleep while you save up. That’s why they offer two financing options to accommodate all their customers:
You might be interested in: Birch Mattress Review
Birch Pillow Reviews & Feedback
In an effort to provide you with a well-rounded review, I took some time to see what other people have had to say about their experience with the Birch pillow. Here are some of the top takeaways I uncovered:
- Adjustable loft and quick response makes this a good fit combination sleepers
- Excellent durability expectations
- Quick response
- Not a good fit if you’re looking for memory foam feel
- Kinda pricey if you’re on a tight budget, but the quality is there
Who We Recommend the Birch Pillow For
We covered quite a bit of ground here, so let’s cut to the chase. Will the Birch pillow offer the features that are right for your unique needs and preferences? After using mine for several weeks now, I think it could be a great buy if:
- You’re a combination sleeper
- You like to keep your carbon footprint low
- You move around a lot in bed
- You don’t like the feel of memory foam
- You’re looking to invest in a pillow that will last
You might want to check: Birch Plush Pillow Topper
Our Final Verdict
It sounds too good to be true. If the Birch pillow passes with flying colors in durability, heat transfer, support, loft versatility, and comfortable contour, what’s the catch? Why isn’t everyone buying one? That’s because the latex feel simply isn’t for everyone.
Birch Pillow Not for Memory Foam Lovers
If you enjoy the slow, sinky feeling offered by memory foam, you’re very likely not going to be a fan of Birch. However, if you’re the type who cringes at the thought of becoming enveloped in your pillow or mattress, the close-contact placement of the latex in Birch products creates quite the opposite feeling.
If you think this sounds like what you’re looking for, I strongly encourage you to take a look at our Birch mattress review as I think it could offer a complete sleep solution that will serve you well for many years to come. The pillow comes in Standard and King sizes, and the price is surprisingly low considering the quality of materials used, making this one of the best values I’ve come across for a while.
You can rest easy knowing one percent of all sales are donated to the National Forest Foundation to help Birch achieve in their goal of planting 50 million trees by the year 2023. If you’re a hot sleeper who appreciates springy bounce or have mobility issues and don’t like sinky hug, the Birch line is right up your alley.