A comfortable night’s rest is a high priority for us all, and the many variables that we can control to help promote such as sleep should be taken into consideration when purchasing sleep products. Our pillow choices are much more important than people give them credit for, and can help determine your body’s overall spinal support as well as temperature control.
Recently The Sleep Judge Team purchased a series of the best rated pillows on the market to provide you with our honest opinions of what they claim to do, as well as how comfortable they sleep. The Purple Pillow is a pretty poplar pick for both supportive comfort, as well as overall breathability which helps with night-time temperature control. Our honest opinions and trial findings are found below:
Breakdown of The Purple Pillow
In the 1980’s two brothers decided to combine their unique talents and experiences to create products to change the world. In 2013 they broke into the sleep industry with their patented Purple Mattress to help their consumers get an entirely new comfort sleep experience. This design quickly translated in other comfort products, one being The Purple Pillow.
This pillow incorporates their Hyper-Elastic Polymer design to provide an wholly unique sleep comfort, all while keeping you in proper cervical alignment with supportive comfort unmatched by any other material found on the market. This open poly mesh design allows for a free flow of air for maximum breathability, as well as keeping it from becoming compressed all while providing head and neck contouring for support.
The design also incorporates an answer to multiple sleep positions and preferences with a adjustable boost option that comes with each pillow. This is to better address the needs of a wider variety of people, and keep them coming back for more.
The Purple Pillow comes tightly rolled in a cylindrical zipper case with an included manual, samples of the Hyper-Elastic Polymer Smart Comfort Grid, and the air booster. Upon opening, the pillow is rolled within the poly bamboo zippered, and washable, cover and easily unrolls flat. The heft and ‘squishiness’ factor, as well as how it doesn’t even feel uniform in shape, is a bit surprising upon opening.
I immediately wanted to take everything apart and figure out what I was feeling. The packaging is excellent and it makes one wonder exactly what fits inside it. Everything is well labeled as to what it is, and easy to explore.
Although not claimed as a cooling pillow per se, Purple is supposed to sleep neutral due to how well air is allowed to flow through the poly chambers that do not compress under weight. The fabrics and materials used help create this effect, as explained below.
Fabric and Material Choices
Since we do rate this pillow as a top cooling pillow option due to how it is constructed, it is important to explain here that sleeping cool is a relative term that is related to the many variables surrounding the choices you make with your sleep products. Everything from the mattress you sleep on to the pajamas you wear can influence your body temperature.
Fabrics, such as cotton and bamboo, naturally breathe easier than synthetics that have a much more closed off cellular structure. These fibers also can draw moisture away from your body and allow it to vaporize into the surrounding air, creating a cooling effect as it does so.
Also, how tightly your fabric choices are, called thread-count, can influence how well air is able to pass through it. Even highly breathable fibers lose their ability to allow for airflow when tightly woven together. Therefor, if you sleep hot, taking a closer look at what your mattress, pillow, sheets, and even pj’s are made from is a step in the right direction to a cooler sleep environment.
Purple Pillow Cooling Claims
As mentioned, the focus of this pillow is true overall comfort rather than is being constructed solely for a cooler surface experience. The material choices are as such to promote the correct conditions for a comfortable sleep temperature to occur as well.
The polymer the pillow is made from is not conducive to a cool environment and isn’t very breathable all on its own, but when constructed in a supportive grid like structure, large, breathable air pockets are created to allow a free flow of air through to the bottom of the pillow. This allows air to move freely even when you are lying upon it, and keep from heat sinks from occurring.
I am not a hot sleeper myself are rarely ever feel too warm to sleep, so in order to gauge how effective this pillow is in helping to maintain a consistent temperature comfort, I ran my trial with multiple room temperature variables. Both a average 72 degree room was used as well as a warmer, 80+ degree room.
Features & Benefits
Besides allowing for proper breathability, The Purple Pillow has a lot of other features and benefits that work to create an incredibly unique sleep experience you have to experience for yourself. For the record, I honestly did not know what to think of this think upon opening and immediately had to place my head on it to see if it was even comfortable. In fact, I really didn’t think I’d like sleeping with it and went into my first evening incredibly skeptical. However it’s now a permanent pillow choice that is never leaving my bed as I get a fantastic night’s sleep with it.
A standard pillow is, on average, 20×26 inches. The Purple Pillow is only 16 x 24 inches, and only comes in one size. For the most part this is hardly noticeable, especially if used without the air boost to raise the loft (explained below). When made thicker, the size of the pillow may become a bit problematic for some sleepers depending on their body size.
Generally larger pillows are used by those who have a wide shoulders to help support their upper body and neck correctly. As a 5’4” woman I personally had no problems with the pillow size, although a larger male with much wider shoulders found it difficult to get comfortable with on his side.
Hyper-Elastic Polymer Smart Comfort Grid
This Hyper-Elastic Polymer Grid I keep mentioning is the foundation of this entire company, Made to keep its shape all while contouring to your weight and keeping you properly supported, this material feels like a gummy, rubbery like substance. It is also heavy, coming in at a little over 10 pounds. The bottom of the grid is attached to a separate polymer layer to keep it from bunching as it is moved.
It has a bit of a mind of its own if you pick it up. Meaning this isn’t your typical ‘fluff’ it up type pillow. It’s a heavy and awkward feeling layer that sort off falls over if you pick it up. You definitely do not want to use this pillow in a pillow fight, and the company makes mention of that due to the damage it could cause.
This isn’t a pillow you are going to use to prop up against a headboard to watch tv with, but it does lay flat and stays put through the night, and keeps from shifting even if you do. The polymer is as such that you are unable to use it with another pillow to prop it up, so The Purple Company provides you with a solution to adjust your loft that I will describe below.
Removable, Washable Fabric Cover
The cover is made of a polyester bamboo blend to allow for increased breathability, It is fairly thick in nature, and quite soft overall. The strength of it is obvious to help keep the polymer grid supported and shaped, and it zips off easily to clean.
The zipper is sewn flat to keep from catching on anything and is highly durable in nature. The u-shaped zipper allows you easy access to the polymer for further cleaning, as well as to provide room and adjustability of the air boost layer if needed.
Air Booster for Comfort Adjustability
The pillow is rather thin overall, but it comes with an Air Boost System to help adjust the height in order to better meet the needs of all sleep preferences. This is simply an inflatable pillow that is covered in a soft, poly coating to keep it from sticking to the grid or pillowcase. The company suggests you do not ever use it while full, but rather add a little bit of air at a time until your comfort level has been achieved.
The Booster fits right into the bottom of the pillow, under the Purple Grid. It is made with a series of holes to allow for airflow, and keeps the grid from shifting around as long as you do not fully fill it.
I did not have to sleep with the booster, but when overfilled allowed the Purple Grid to move around as if it was floating on air. This was not at a all stable, nor comfortable for sleeping, so be sure to follow the directions.
Because of this booster, you now have a pillow that has a fully adjustable loft. Side sleeper may find that this is the solution they need to fully utilize this pillow as without it, it only has about a 3 inch loft. For back and stomach sleepers this is great news, but for side sleepers, especially those who have wide shoulders, this may not provide enough support.
With the booster filled 3 three-fourths full as suggested, you can raise the pillow loft to 7.5 inches of contouring, firm support to help keep your head cradled, and your neck properly aligned between your head and shoulders.
As mentioned, the pillow cover is fully machine washable and dryable. The Purple grid is also hand washable, and can be air dried before placing back in the cover. This makes for a decent hypoallergenic and moisture free product for peace of mind.
1 Year Warranty, 100 Night Sleep Trial
The quality of the product is guaranteed, and the company will back their materials and construction for an entire year. If anything happens, they will gladly replace it. They also offer a 100 sleep night trial. If for any reason you decide this isn’t the pillow for you, then you can return it hassle free (and shipping is free too)!
This is a great way to have the time to play with adjustments and comfort levels without feeling rushed or having to give up before finding what works for you. I’ve found that adjustable pillows, although awesome in theory, have a learning curve in reference to the many different comfort zones they provide, Having patience and finding what works best for your unique sleep style is important.
Like my own initial impression, many people weren’t exactly sure what it was they were dealing with upon unpackaging. It definitely feels unlike any sleep product you’ve ever experienced. And because of this it is somewhat of a pillow that you will either love or hate judging by the many comments I read.
With that being said, there are MANY more positive experiences with this pillow than negative, and even when it didn’t work out, the customers were easily able to get a full refund.
The biggest complaints surround it being too firm to provide proper neck support, difficult to adjust, or the air boost losing air through the night. Many of these consumers are Purple Mattress lovers and feel some more ingenuity needs to go into the pillow. There also were complaints about how heavy it is, making it difficult to move during the night.
Fans of the pillow love how it works well for stomach and back sleepers, the support it provides for their necks, and how well it contours to their head. Many also commented on the time it took to get used to it and to allow a bit of time to adjust to the different feel. These same reviewers were happy they had done so because they feel they are getting a great night’s sleep now.
My Sleep Trial Experiences
Related: Best Pillows For Back Sleepers
I am mostly a side and stomach sleeper, and tried this pillow out in both positions. Without the Air Booster I never spent the entire night one my side and always woke up on my stomach. It does need a little extra loft for proper neck support when using as a side sleeper pillow. It also felt great as a back sleeping choice and kept my head and neck in a comfortable position.
Related: Best Pillows For Side Sleepers
I did love it on my stomach however, and have pretty much found this to be one of my favorite stomach sleeping pillows ever. Because of this my personal trials were all spent sleeping on my stomach after playing with Air Boost to find a comforting side position. Even though I was able to find one that worked for me, I still would more recommend this pillow for back and stomach sleepers.
My Trial Room Temperatures Variables
SInce our objective in this trial was to gauge how cool the pillow slept, I made sure to sleep with it in the average temperature I keep my bedroom at as well as in a warmer atmosphere. Typically my house is right around 72 degree with the help of my AC, but to help raise the temperature I did leave it off for a few days to provide an ambient temperature I wasn’t used to sleeping within. This fell typically within the lower 80 degree range.
My Trial Thread Count Variables
As described earlier, fiber choices and thread count can play absolut havor with the air flow associated with your sleep products. I made sure to sleep with both a 100% cotton 250 thread count pillowcase as well as a microfiber, 750 thread count case to better feel out how well this air flow technology really worked.
As I said, I had some pretty happy results overall concerning this pillow, and despite my initial reservations have ranked it as one of my all time favorites. This doesn’t mean that my experiences will be shared by all, especially since how we sleep is wholly unique to who we are both physically and mentally concerning our overall comfort choices.
The surface is a bit firm, but I find I did not have any undue pressure points along the side of my head or against my ear. This pillow isn’t created to provide a cooling sensation either, rather the construction is as such to allow for free flow of air. This helps provide an optimum sleep temperature and keep heat from being retained near your body.
72 Degrees/Cotton Casing
This was an ideal sleep trial as the nights I slept (and still am) with this combination had me sleeping like a baby. On the few times I have woken up due to dogs barking or other such nonsense, I was easily able to get back to sleep. If you are in the habit of ‘plumping’ up your pillow for any reason, it may make you crazy to be unable to do so with this pillow at first- but I assure you it may be worth breaking the habit over.
Result: No obvious heat sinks defined these nights, and my head felt comfortable against the oddly comforting Purple ‘squish’.
72 Degrees/Microfiber Casing
These night’s mimicked my cotton casing night’s almost to a ‘T’. I slept well with no heat or any other issues that may cause discomfort.
Result: In a controlled ambient temperature your choice of casing may not make much of a difference to airflow or temperature comfort.
Hot Room/Cotton Casing
I honestly did not feel much of a difference concerning temperature changes within a warmer room. I did kick off my sheet and sleep in shorts and a t-shirt, but I had no heat retention near my head nor did I wake in the night feeling overly warm. The pillow did not feel cool to the touch like many other ‘cooling’ pillows do, but it also did not create an uncomfortable experience.
Result: Air flow helps keep your head from creating a heat sink and provides an optimal sleep temperature no matter what temperature you sleep it.
Hot Room/Microfiber Casing
This is where I began to get a bit uncomfortable. It was obvious about 10 minutes into this trial that I wasn’t going to sleep as comfortably as I had been. Even though I never felt any heat sink, the microfiber casing was obviously retaining some of my body heat and blocking the airflow I had been experiencing. I did sleep all night with this but for the first time in a long time woke up with slightly damp hair from sweating.
Result: As with many of my other cooling pillow trials, when airflow to the pillow is restricted your pillowcase may begin to cause a heat sink. In a warmer environment this is even more noticeable.
The pillow does stand up to its expectations and provides a consistent temperature based on your room temperature. Basically if you are sleeping comfortably you probably aren’t going to have any heat retention issues unless you are choosing a material that may inhibit the airflow that helps with this effect.
I was very happy with my quality of sleep with this pillow after getting used to the different feel of the Purple Grid. I would recommend the pillow in a controlled room temperature with your choice of bedding, and also suggest to give yourself some time to properly adjust to the feel of the pillow, as well as use the Air Booster to find your ideal comfort.
Since I had no need of the Air Booster Pillow addition I felt I needed to get the opinion of somebody who would. My trial partner is broad shouldered, much heavier than me, and is a self-proclaimed side sleeper who is often too warm for comfort. Although he used varying room temperatures like I did (at slightly lower temps), as well as differing pillowcases that I provided, he struggled to ever truly find his comfort zone.
His complaints surrounded comfort however, and made a point to mention that never at any time did the pillow create a heat sink or feel uncomfortably warm. He preferred the cooling sensation other pillows provide, but despite that the temperature was never an issue.
As for the comfort factor, using the Air Booster at varying heights he still felt he was unable to get the correct support his head needed while on his side. And when he did get somewhat comfortable, he felt the Purple moved too much upon the air pillow addition.
Result: Once again the pillow came through with flying colors concerning a lack of heat sink, even with variable room temperatures and pillowcase choices. The comfort with the addition of the Booster did become an issue, mimicking some of the cons I had made note of in my consumer reviews.
As with every unique sleep preferences every person has, their experiences with The Purple Pillow is bound to vary in comfort as well. My trials and reviews surrounding cooling effect and temperature control reflects that The Purple Pillow does indeed provide a good enough air flow to let you rest easy and cool throughout the night in a controlled sleep environment.
Overall Rating: 4.5
As a cooling pillow this is considered one of our top picks due to how well it regulates ambient room temperature and provides your body heat a way to easily disperse away from you- resulting in a more restful, cooler sleep. The Purple material is highly breathable and never loses this quality even under varying weights that cause compression.
However, it may not be the most comfortable choice for everyone, but the company’s 100 night sleep trial provides you the opportunity to really ‘feel’ out the pillow and see if it is the right one for you.
As a stomach sleeper I was incredibly happy to find a quality, specialized pillow that I could actually take advantage of since most are geared for side sleepers only. I would imagine that many other side, and back, sleeper would be happy to take advantage of this thinner, supportive pillow as well.
If you have been on the search for a supportive pillow that has the ability to be adjustable, never loses loft, is supportive and contouring, but also allows for maximum airflow for a comfortable night’s sleep- then considering a trial run of The Purple Pillow should be high on your list of priorities.
Keeping in mind that it is a very different product than what you are used to, it is well worth a closer look if you have been subject to sleeping hot, or waking in a sweat. Patience may be key to finding the best comfort it can provide, but the risk-free sleep offer that comes with it guarantees this comfort or your money back.
Related: Purple Plush Pillow Review
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there offgassing?
Best for which position?
Back and stomach sleepers.
What's the loft?
Adjustable: 3-7.5 inches.
Is it organic?
What's the warranty?