Simba Hybrid Pillow review: does a customisable pillow make sense?

Is a height-adjustable pillow a good idea in practice? Our Simba Hybrid Pillow review answers that question

Simba Hybrid Pillow
(Image credit: Simba)
T3 Verdict

The Simba Hybrid Pillow is probably the most expensive pillow you'll ever buy. But it's also the most innovative. Its sophisticated design allows you to customise the size and shape of the pillow so it will fit your head and neck perfectly. And that means this pillow will give you a great night's sleep.

Reasons to buy
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    Soft and luxurious

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    Beautifully breathable

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Reasons to avoid
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    Need to store cubes

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So you think you’ve found the best pillow: it’s well made, soft and luxurious. But frustratingly, you still find yourself tossing and turning at night, because it’s either too flat or too high. Finding a pillow that’s just the right height (what’s known in the industry as the ‘loft’) can be maddeningly difficult. So Simba has found a clever workaround. 

The Simba Hybrid Pillow is stuffed with hundreds of small foam cubes. The idea is that you adjust the number of cubes until the pillow is at the perfect height and shape for your head, allowing you to relax into a deep, deep sleep.

That’s the theory, but does it actually work? We're big fans of the Simba Hybrid Pro mattress, so we had high hopes. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I spent a month with the Simba Hybrid Pillow to find out.

Simba Hybrid Pillow review: construction

Simba boasts about the ‘space age’ technology that’s gone into its pillow design, which is a marketing buzzphrase that usually makes us yawn. But this Simba Hybrid Pillow does really look and feel like something out Star Trek. 

This begins with the cover, which is in two halves. The top cover is made using cotton infused with Simba’s proprietary Stratos material (also found in the Simba Hybrid duvet), which is designed to absorb, store and release heat for better temperature regulation. The bottom half is made from breathable, BCI-sourced cotton. 

The two sections are connected by a ventilation strip, lined with a blue trim, that runs around the middle, providing extra breathability.

Simba Hybrid Pillow review

(Image credit: Tom May)

Inside the pillow there are three layers. The top layer contains mineral-enriched Aerelle fibre, which is designed to dissipate excess body heat. The bottom layer is made up of soft and hypoallergenic fibre. And then in the middle comes the main event: a loose collection of small, blue foam cubes. Simba calls these ‘nanocubes’.

Simba Hybrid Pillow review

(Image credit: Tom May)

These cubes are easily accessed by unzipping the cover, and the idea is that you remove and add them to customise the size and shape of your pillow. Be warned, though: they're bright, colourful and small children will be tempted to put them in their mouths if you're not careful.

Simba offers the following guidelines for different levels of comfort: for a firm feel, remove no cubes; for medium, remove four to six handfuls, and for low, remove eight to 10 handfuls. Your pillow comes with a white cotton bag to store your removed cubes. If you need more cubes, you can buy them here.

This pillow measures 50 x 75cm and is made from a mixture of synthetic, recycled and natural materials. It contains no animal products, making it vegan-friendly.

Simba Hybrid Pillow review: comfort

Simba Hybrid Pillow review

(Image credit: Simba)

When my Simba Hybrid Pillow arrived, I have to admit that I was skeptical. The cover looked weird. The blue cubes inside it made it seem more like a bean bag than a pillow. And overall, my gut was telling me this wasn’t going to give me a pleasant night’s sleep.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The moment my head hit the pillow, I experienced something I haven’t experienced with any other pillow: the perfect balance between comfort and support.

In general I find soft pillows feel luxurious, but they don’t hold my head high enough to keep my body in good spinal alignment. Firmer pillows score well on the latter, but lack comfort. Recently, I’d been experimenting with memory foam, and had good results with the Panda Memory foam pillow. But the Simba Hybrid Pillow has definitely superceded it. Not only is it the perfect shape and size for supporting me comfortably, but it’s continued to keep my head at the right temperature, despite the warmer nights we’ve been having lately.

In short, this is now my favourite pillow, and I can’t see myself using anything else for some time to come. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what it’s like after removing cubes, because I haven’t needed to: there seemed to be just the right amount for me as it was. However, online customers reviews suggest that the system does seem to work well in helping you customise your level of firmness and comfort.

Simba Hybrid Pillow review: cleaning

Simba Hybrid Pillow

(Image credit: Tom May)

The Simba Hybrid Pillow can be cleaned by unzipping the cover, removing the nanocubes and machine-washing the outer casing at 40C. It can then be tumble-dried on a low heat. The only issue with this is that the supplied bag isn't big enough to hold all the nano cubes, so you'll need to find another bag to keep them safe.

Simba Hybrid Pillow review: verdict

Should you buy the Simba Hybrid Pillow? I’d heartily recommend it. This pillow is well-made, beautifully breathable, offers great temperature regulation, is soft and comfortable, and offers excellent, customisable support for your neck and head.

The only downside? The price. Let's face it, an RRP of £99, is far more than most of us would usually pay for a pillow. That said, given its superior construction, I’d expect this pillow to last a good few years, which puts the cost in perspective. Plus, considering how important a good night’s sleep is to your physical and mental health, it might just be worth it.

Simba Hybrid Pillow review: Alternatives to consider

The best alternative to the Simba Hybrid Pillow is the Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow. This soft and cradling pillow is one of the best memory foam pillows on the market so if you like the Simba memory foam, try the Panda memory foam as an alternative. The Panda model is also substantially cheaper than the Simba one if you're on a tight budget.

For a different kind of foam, check out the Levitex Pillow. It's Levitex's own foam which is wonderfully soft and supportive and is great for neck and back support. To understand the difference between pillow materials, have a look at down vs memory foam vs feathers vs synthetic pillows for more.

Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and author of the book, Great Ted Talks: Creativity. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.