Everyone has different preferences when it comes to bedding, so it can be hard to find a pillow that works for all types of sleepers. Some prefer their pillows soft and fluffy while others want them as firm as possible, which makes it seemingly impossible to create a one-size-fits-all design.
So when we heard about Marlow, a new pillow brand by the founders of Brooklinen, we knew we had to try it out. The creators surveyed thousands of people on their pillow-related problems and used those insights to bring Marlow to fruition—and it resulted in a cooling memory foam pillow that's easily adjustable based on your preferences.
How We Tested
To find out if it actually lived up to the hype, five writers (who sleep very differently) put the Marlow pillow to the test—some for as long as two months. We slept with it in place of our normal pillows and took note of things like how soft or firm it felt, how breathable it was throughout the night, and perhaps most importantly, how it compared to the pillows we typically use. Here's what we thought.
It's really easy to adjust the firmness.
One of the main reasons we love the Marlow pillow is because of its adjustability. Other adjustable pillows usually come with extra fill (which can get messy) or a removable insert (which is easy to misplace), but the Marlow can be modified to your preferences with zippers only. Leave them open for a softer feel or closed for a firmer feel.
You can customize the settings until you find your perfect level of comfort, even if it means sleeping with only one side zipped shut. Keep in mind that some of us found it hard to notice a difference in firmness at first. But after a few nights, I learned that as a side sleeper (at least most of the time), I prefer the pillow completely unzipped to avoid straining my neck.
"I like that it's adjustable, which will help with overnight guests in the future who might have their own pillow preferences. It's simple yet feels luxe."
—Ruby Grais, product reviews coordinator
It feels breathable, so it's great for hot sleepers.
Even though it's December in New York City, my apartment is nearly 75 degrees Fahrenheit without the heat on—which means I find myself sweating even more at night now than I did in the middle of summer. But thanks to a combination of aerated memory foam, polyester fibers, and a cotton shell, the Marlow pillow still feels cool to the touch.
I've slept on a few different foam pillows that felt like they trapped heat, so it was a relief to find the Marlow pillow so breathable. And my fellow product testers agreed: Four out of five of us said it stayed noticeably cool throughout the night.
"I never felt super hot while using the pillow, and I didn't feel the need to continually flip the pillow to get a cooler side."
— Lauren Rearick, e-commerce writer
It's designed to be a one-size-fits-all pillow, but it's not a perfect solution for everyone.
Since it's so versatile and easily adjustable, the Marlow pillow is a great choice for placing in a guest room or giving as a gift. Most people should be able to find their ideal settings, but it might not be the best choice for anyone who wants an extremely firm or extremely soft pillow.
One of our testers found the pillow too soft and not supportive enough for them to sleep on their side, so they stopped using it. "I couldn't find that perfect soft/firm middle ground and there were times I felt as if it was either too soft or too hard," said Rearick, who added, "I'm a really light sleeper that needs everything to be just perfect and I don't think this is the right pillow for me."
But other testers who identified themselves as side sleepers (as well as stomach and back sleepers) found the Marlow pillow to be more supportive than their previous pillows, so there's no clear-cut way to figure out exactly who it's best for.
"This pillow offers so much more support than pillows I've used in the past, which is more comfortable while sleeping and feels better on my neck and upper back."
—Madeline Diamond, e-commerce writer
Final Thoughts: A Versatile Pillow That's Worth Trying Out
Overall, our testers were really happy with the Marlow pillow—in fact, four out of five of us said we will likely continue to sleep with it. We love that it's adjustable, breathable, and supportive enough for most people, so we think it's worth trying out if you're in the market for a new pillow.
Plus, the generous return policy gives you 365 days to make sure it's the right choice for you. Even after that, there's a two-year warranty in case of any defects. (For comparison, Casper offers a 30-day return period on pillows, while Tempur-Pedic doesn't allow returns on pillows unless they arrive damaged.)
The Marlow pillow is available in standard and king sizes with prices starting at $56 and $73 respectively. If you buy more than one, you can save up to 40 percent—the discount brings it down to as little as $39 per pillow. Whether you're shopping for yourself or upgrading your guest bedroom, this versatile pillow is a great choice for most types of sleepers.