Do you find that even using your best pillow, you can’t get your head comfy at night? That you end up tossing and turning, shifting your head this way and that, but still feel it's not in the right position? Then maybe you need to switch to a memory foam pillow.
We’re big fans of the Panda Cloud Bamboo duvet, and so we were keen to try out the company’s memory foam pillow too. Read on for our full Panda Bamboo pillow review, and a closer look at the design, materials and features, plus what it’s like to use in practice. We tested the adult pillow, but Panda makes two more in the same range: the Panda Kids pillow and Panda toddler pillow.
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Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow review: Materials
The pillow measures 12cm deep x 40cm wide x 60cm long, making it slightly shorter than the standard 70cm. It features three layers of visco memory foam, a type of polyurethane foam that was developed for airplane cushions in the 1970s, and which is now used widely in memory foam bedding.
So where, you may ask, is the bamboo mentioned in the product’s title? That you’ll find in the pillow’s outer cover, which is made from 40 per cent bamboo fibre and 60 per cent polyester. The inner cover, meanwhile, is 100 per cent polyester.
Anyone with sensitive skin should also note that this cover conforms to the OEKO-TEX standard. This means that it’s free from harmful chemicals that are likely to cause allergies and irritation.
Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow review: Design
The first thing you notice about the design of the cover is that it’s super-soft, and feels smooth and luxurious to the touch. On close examination, the cover was tightly and securely stitched in place everywhere... well, almost. Unfortunately, the thread on ours had started to come away a little near the metal zip.
Moving inside the pillow itself, we also felt four hard blobs of what we assume is glue. Our main concern, however, was the zip itself, which protrudes from the outside of the cover, and we feared might be irritating during sleep.
However, in practice, none of these elements were noticeable when it came to actually sleeping on the pillow, essentially because the memory foam stops your head from moving around much in the first place. Also, we have to commend Panda for including a super-soft washing label, rather than the hard and crinkly ones we’ve experienced on cheaper pillows.
Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow review: Comfort
While it does seem a little cheeky to call this a ‘Bamboo’ pillow, when bamboo only constitutes 40 per cent of the cover material, the beautiful softness of the cover cannot be disputed. But what’s the pillow like to actually sleep on? Well, if you’ve never tried memory foam before, it may be a little unnerving, as it really is a different experience from other types of pillow.
When you lay your head on the Panda Memory Foam pillow, there’s some initial pushback, until your head slowly sinks into it and the pillow conforms around its exact contours. From here on, your head remains firmly cradled in a stable, rigid position. It’s less like sleeping on a cloud, then, than sleeping on a giant marshmallow.
I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to this experience. But rather than feeling uncomfortably stuck, as I'd feared, I actually felt a soothing experience of calm at being held in place so securely.
As someone who generally tends to move around a lot in bed, this was a novel and unexpectedly relaxing feeling. As a result, this has now become my favourite pillow, period.
The relatively high loft of 12cm means your head is at a bit of an angle, so I was initially concerned this might put strain on my spine. However, in practice I found the angle to be fine for good spinal alignment, and had no issues with my back or joints in the morning. It’s worth noting, though, that I’m a side sleeper, and back or front sleepers may have more of a problem with the high loft.
Another concern was that visco memory foam tends to be heat-retaining. However, that seems to be balanced out by the breathability of the pillow cover, and both my head and neck remained noticeably (and pleasantly) cool during the night.
Panda Bamboo Pillow review: Cleaning
As with all memory foam pillows, the Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow cannot be either machine-washed or hand-soaked. Instead, Panda offers a set of detailed cleaning instructions here involving a combination of vacuum cleaning and spot cleaning (using a dash of laundry detergent and water). The cover, meanwhile, should be washed at 40 degrees and put on a low tumble dry. It must not be ironed.
Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow review: The small print
It’s rare for pillow companies to offer free trials, but because memory foam isn’t for everyone, the Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow comes with a generous 30-night trial. Panda says, "If you’re not 100% satisfied, simply get in contact and we’ll deal with the rest". However, be warned that the trial only applies to online purchases: if you buy it through a third-party retailer it may not be available.
Panda also provides a 10-year warranty. Delivery to the UK mainland is free for orders over £30, and will take place within five working days of your order.
Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow review: Verdict
Memory foam pillows aren’t for everyone: some people love them, others find them too moulding and inflexible. But if you're in the former camp, the Panda Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow comes highly recommended from us. Despite my negative expectation, in practice this premium pillow offered a soft and luxurious experience, with great cooling properties, and it looks pretty cool too.
Not sure about memory foam? Or concerned, as a back sleeper or combination sleeper, that the loft may be too high? Then Panda’s generous 30-night trial offers a free and easy way to try it out.