Last updated: August 5, 2021

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A water pillow is often overshadowed by a conventional pillow. We would like to dispel this prejudice and explain exactly why the water pillow is a highlight for restful sleep. Say goodbye to your neck pain and look forward to the best sleeping comfort. With a water pillow, you can adjust the firmness level every day with the help of the water filling and find the perfect sleeping position.

With our large water pillow test 2021 we would like to make your purchase decision easier. In our test, we have presented three of the best water pillows for us. You will also find the most important purchase and evaluation criteria and answers to the most frequently asked questions when buying a water pillow.


  • A water pillow is usually filled with tap water. The filling quantity can vary from 2 to 5 litres. The rule is 'the more water in the pillow, the harder the sleeping surface'.
  • A water pillow is a long-term investment and will provide several years of very good service in terms of sleep quality and comfort. Studies and reviews from buyers show that users with problems in the neck and throat area quickly get rid of their pain (1).
  • A water pillow has an elongated shape and is usually narrower than a conventional pillow. The filling is often made of 100 percent polyester or down / feathers.

The Best Water Pillow: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for water pillows

You want to improve your sleeping position and prevent neck pain? A water pillow can be the solution. However, one or the other water pillows differ from each other. We have summarised the most important purchase and evaluation criteria below:

Before you buy a water pillow, it is best to consider these criteria, then you will certainly have made the best decision for you and your sleep.


There are different sizes of water pillows available on the market. The standard size is oblong. The size is usually 40 × 80 cm. Slight variations of, for example, 50 × 70 cm or a compact travel size are available from some manufacturers.

A cover corresponding to the size is usually included in the delivery for a water pillow.

Cleaning and care

Before you decide on a water pillow, one of the first questions to ask is whether a water pillow is suitable for the washing machine?

Most water pillows are washable at a temperature of 30 to 40 degrees Celsius. Often, the manufacturer also recommends the gentle wash cycle.

When washing, make sure that you empty the water from the pillow and wash it without water content! It is sometimes possible to remove the water container from the water pillow.

Be aware that not all water pillows are machine washable. Some manufacturers recommend cleaning the pillow by hand. In addition, a water pillow should not be put in the dryer.

Filling material

A water pillow usually consists of several layers. The combination of these layers is the key to better sleep quality. There are two popular filling materials.

  • Down or feathers
  • Polyester

In the middle of the water pillow there is always a water reservoir in which water is filled. The second layer, around the water container, is usually polyester in the form of thin fibres. Alternatively, water pillows are filled with down or other feathers.

Suitable for allergy sufferers

As an allergy sufferer, special attention should be paid to the filling material. Down or feathers are not recommended for allergy sufferers, whereas polyester is usually harmless.

Filling material Rating
Down or feathers Not suitable for allergy sufferers
Polyester Suitable for allergy sufferers

Often the material of the cover should also be considered. Here, a fabric made of 100 percent cotton is more breathable than fabrics made of polyester or viscose.

Thermal insulation

A water pillow should be just as comfortable and cosy as a conventional pillow. This is guaranteed above all by good thermal insulation.

The thermal insulation helps to prevent the water pillow from getting cold.

Here, the manufacturer ensures that the pillow does not get cold from the filled water, as we know it from a hot water bottle. So pay special attention to this criterion so that you get a pleasant temperature during sleep.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a water pillow

So that you know everything you need to know about water pillows, we have answered the most important and most frequently asked questions in detail in the following sections. This way, nothing will stand in the way of your purchase.

What is special about a water pillow?

In simple terms, a water pillow is a pillow that is filled with water. Compared to conventional pillows, the water pillow offers health benefits.


The water in a water pillow adapts to every movement of your head. This guarantees a sound sleep. (Image source: Noah Usry / unsplash)

The composition of water in combination with a filling material, such as polyester, can significantly improve sleeping comfort.

Water pillows can work wonders for neck pain.

Manufacturers often cite a study by Johns Hopkins University here. The study, conducted in 1997, tested subjects with neck pain and cervical spine problems. In contrast to a conventional pillow, the water pillow from the manufacturer Mediflow emerged as the clear test winner in this study.

The pillow can be perfectly adapted to your needs thanks to the individually adjustable filling quantity.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a water pillow?

A water pillow has many advantages, especially for people with problematic sleep. A water pillow can be a miracle cure for back and neck pain.

  • Suitable for any sleeping position
  • Easy to fill with tap water
  • Can be cleaned in a washing machine
  • Suitable for travelling
  • Relieves pain in the back and neck area
  • Not suitable as a children's toy
  • Cleaning often time-consuming
  • Long shape unfamiliar at first
  • Can leak

Depending on requirements, the pillow can be adapted to one's own sleeping needs and adjusted to be softer or harder depending on the state of the day. This is due to the different filling of the water. This also saves you having to buy different conventional pillows.

Who is a water pillow suitable for?

Anyone can use a water pillow to improve the quality of their sleep. However, it is especially recommended for people with neck problems or pain in the cervical spine.


Using a water pillow will greatly improve your sleep quality and comfort. Neck pain can literally disappear overnight.
(Image source: Bruce Mars / Unsplash)

Children can also use a water pillow. The only thing to note here is that playing, jumping on it or having a pillow fight with it should not be done. This way, the water pillow can quickly break or leak.

How much does a water pillow cost?

The price of a water pillow varies between 30 and 70 euros, depending on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers even charge more than 70 euros for a water pillow. The price usually depends on the brand, size and filling material used.

The prejudice that a water pillow is more expensive than a conventional pillow is not true per se.

How do I set the optimum height for my water pillow?

A water pillow has a water reservoir inside, which can be filled with tap water as standard. If you have very chalky water, distilled or filtered water works well.

You can easily fill the water into the water pillow with a funnel that is usually included. The filling quantity is usually between 2 and 5 litres and depends on your needs.

Below we have listed a recommendation for the optimal amount of water for perfect support:

Water content hardness level
1 to 2 litres of water Soft, flat pillow with a lot of flexibility
3 litres of water For medium hardness and supportive force
4 to 5 litres of water For a hard surface

The list is only intended as a guide. The amount of water depends on your individual needs. How does your neck relax best and how do you feel when you sleep?

When and how do I change the water in the water pillow?

The water should be changed once a year. Simply empty the pillow until there is no more water in the water pillow and refill it with tap water. This is often recommended for non-washable water pillows.

The water in the water pillow should be changed once a year.

If you can wash the water pillow in the washing machine or by hand, you must first empty the water bag inside and remove it if possible. After washing, you can fill the pillow with fresh water. This will ensure that fresh water gets into the water pillow regularly.

Some manufacturers of water pillows state that it is not necessary to change the water because the access to the water bag is sealed.

How much can a water pillow withstand?

The question often arises whether children can use a water pillow or whether pets should be kept away from the pillows?
In principle, children can use a water pillow. However, only from a certain age where a pillow or the bed is not used as a playground. This is because a water pillow is not as durable as a conventional pillow.

If possible, do not jump on it or have a pillow fight. There is a risk that the water pillow will leak and water will spill out on the bed or floor.

In addition, a water pillow with a filling capacity of up to 5 litres weighs several kilograms and can cause injuries when thrown.

Image source: Yastremska / 123rf

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