Water pillows are an effective method of treating neck and shoulder pain, since they provide even and constant support to your head and neck.
When you hear the name water pillow, people usually imagine a pillow completely filled with water; just like water beds from the 70’s.
However, modern water pillows are made from the same materials as your regular bed pillow. They even feel similar to sleep on thanks to the familiar fillings like memory foam, polyester fiber, cotton fiber, and feathers. And they don’t make a sloshing sound either!
The key difference is that inside the pillow is a bladder that you fill with water. And you can adjust it any way you like. Add more water for a firmer pillow or less water for a softer support.
But however you fill it, the support is constant. And because the water evenly moves around as you move your head around the pillow, a constant support is provided.
But which water pillow is best?
While there may not be a huge range of water pillows that you can choose from, some definitely were better suited for a certain position of sleeping and offered better value for the money than others.
But before we begin, let’s settle some confusion…
Chiroflow vs. Mediflow – Which is best?
The two most common water pillows you will come across are Chiroflow and Mediflow.
And here’s the interesting thing…
Both Chiroflow and Mediflow are registered trademarks of IWI LTD.1 Yep, the same company makes both Mediflow and Chiroflow pillows.
The two pillows are different in name alone. When it comes to materials and performance, Mediflow and Chiroflow pillows are near identical.
The key difference is the availability. As the name suggests, Chiroflow pillows can only be purchased from a registered chiropractor, who stocks the pillows at their practice.
Mediflow, on the other hand, can be purchased from many local and online retail stores. As a result, Mediflow pillows are much easier to locate (and often at a cheaper price). It is also worth mentioning that at the time of writing this, Mediflow offers more varieties of pillow fillings than Chiroflow.
Another interesting note is that according to the pillow tag, the Mediflow pillows are made with a 100% cotton cover while the Chrioflow use a poly-cotton blend (65% polyester, 35% cotton). Despite this, both pillows feel identical.
It is for this reason that we recommend Mediflow over Chiroflow. But rest assured whichever brand you choose, you will have an identical sleeping experience.
Best Water Pillow
Upon researching the different types of water pillows, it soon become apparent that there was a single manufacturer that dominated the niche. If you have spent any time looking for a waterpillow, then you will already know which company that is…. Mediflow.
While there were a few smaller competitors, no other manufacturer focused on water pillows as their primary focus.
While there are other water pillows on the market, Mediflows (and Chiroflow) stood out in terms of performance and features and to top it all off, are manufacturer here in America.
Let’s take a closer look at the top water pillows that we tested.
Best Water Pillow For Side Sleepers
Mediflows Original Premium Water pillow is the ideal water pillow for side sleepers and hits the sweet spot between price and performance. As we will cover further down, most of Mediflows pillows are a variation of this pillow.
At 7” tall when unfilled, the Original Mediflow Water Pillow is perfect for filling the gap that your shoulder leaves between your mattress and your head as a side sleeper.
The polyester fill doesn’t give off a strong odor and results in a surface that is best described as soft and springy.
If you are a side sleeper and want to step up to something a little more premium, Mediflow also offers a premium version, the Mediflow Elite. However, as this pillow is double the price (and then some), it won’t be within everyone’s budget.
For this reason, the Mediflow Premium Water Pillow took first place for side sleepers. When it came to value and comfort, it couldn’t be beat.
Chiroflow equivalent: Chiroflow Original Fiberfill Pillow
Now if you are a back or stomach sleeper then your head will not need to sit so far off the ground. And the Mediflow’s original pillow is tall enough that it will leave your head at an awkward angle.
That’s where the Mediflow Gel Memory Foam Pillow comes in. At just over 3 inches (when unfilled), the thinner water pillow is much better suited for comfortably supporting back or stomach sleepers.
While the memory foam does have a slight odor (like all memory foam products) we noticed the smell disappeared with continued use. So you might want to air it out before sleeping on it for the first time.
The foam was is fairly firm, which won’t suit those of you looking for a super soft pillow. But the whole reason you are buying a water pillow is for support for your back and neck, and it certainly does that!
For stomach and side sleepers, who don’t mind a firmer pillow, this is the best option.
Chiroflow equivalent: Chiroflow Gel Memory Foam Water Pillow
And the rest…
As we touched on above, the rest of Mediflows water pillow range is basically a variation of the our top pick, the Mediflow original. And unless you can pick one up on sale, they are considerably more expensive for the minor improvement in materials that they offer.
If you are looking for a step up in materials and have the money to spare, then these alternatives are definitely worth checking out. But if you find yourself already cringing at the idea of paying more than $20 to upgrade to a water pillow, then you don’t need to go past our top picks.
Mediflow Elite Fiberfill Waterbase Pillow
Essentially a nicer version of the Mediflow Original Water Pillow. Improvements include:
- Hand sewn cord edge (better stitching).
- 3 year warranty against manufacturing defects
- 300 cotton sateen cover
- Staloft fiber filling
While these may sound like huge benefits on paper, they may not be worth stretching your budget for.
The cotton cover – while it may be softer than the other pillows, you won’t be sleeping on the pillow directly anyway; since you should be covering your pillows in a pillow case.
The hand sewn cord edge may look pretty, but again, you are covering it with a pillow case.
As for the 3 year warranty? It doesn’t guarantee against general wear that comes along from sleeping on it. And given that you should be replacing your pillow at least every two years the extended warranty is kinda pointless.
The polyester filling is definitely softer than the Mediflow Original, and if you have to have the softest pillow around (without choosing the down version) then this is it. If a soft, springy pillow is a must for you, then look no further.
We were actually surprised that Mediflows “elite” pillow comes in such plain and ugly packaging. But this is of minor concern. After all, you don’t sleep on the packaging.
This is the only other Mediflow pillow we would recommend. As you will see below, the rest of their water pillow range leaves a lot to be desired.
Mediflow Down Plus Waterbase Pillow
The most expensive water pillow in the Mediflow range. It’s just a shame that it isn’t any good, especially for the price.
The pillow tag states that the pillow shell is made in China, but filled in America. So out of curiosity, we opened it up to check the quality of the down inside. A couple of quick knife slashes revealed something unusual….
Inside the pillow shell is another pillow shell stuffed with down and sewn up. You could use this as a down pillow on it’s own. Yep, a whole down pillow.
Now here is where the pillow tag becomes a little unclear. Does Mediflow “fill” their pillow shell with another pillow from china? And that’s them claiming it’s filled in America? We called Mediflow to find out but customer support didn’t seem to realize that there was a pillow inside the shell. Reassuring.
We believe this is indeed the the case since the pillow inside has the same hand sewn cord that is featured on the Elite pillow. And if this pillow was simply being covered by Mediflow’s outer shell, then nicely finishing the interior pillow is an unnecessary cost. No one will see it anyway.
If this is indeed the case, then stating this pillow is filled in America is a little insincere.
Oh, and to top it all off, the pillow inside has it’s own pillow tag. Again, something that you wouldn’t see. And it says that at least 75% down is used.
We cut open the second shell and were quite disappointed with what was inside. The down used is of poor quality. Small broken pieces of down have obviously been used to cut cost. There was also a large amount of feathers in the mixture. No wonder this pillow had the least supportive filling, the quality of down is terrible.
If you must have a down water pillow, then this really is your only option. But I would seriously recommend you think twice about overpaying for a pillow of inferior quality.
Mediflow Floating Comfort Water Base Pillow
Essentially a softer version of the Mediflow Original Water Pillow
Straight up, this was the worst Mediflow pillow of the lot. While the polyester filling was indeed softer than the Original, the filling wasn’t evenly distributed across the inside of the pillow.
This meant that half the pillow was noticeably less supportive than the other, even when filled with water. And because the polyester filling sits in one big clump, no amount of fluffing the pillow could get the pillow to evenly fill out.
If you want a soft polyester water pillow, choose the Mediflow Elite.
Water pillows that we tested and reviewed
Here you can find a list of all the different water pillows we have tested and reviewed. This list will be updated as new water pillows are released.
- Mediflow Original Fiberfill Pillow
- Mediflow Gel Memoryfoam Waterbase Pillow
- Mediflow Floating Comfort Pillow
- Mediflow Elite Fiberfill Waterbase Pillow
- Mediflow Down Plus Waterbase Pillow
- Chrioflow Waterbase Pillow
- Chiroflow Memoryfoam Waterbase Pillow
- Core Deluxe Water Pillow
Do you use a water pillow? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!