Review: Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow [Staff Tested]

Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

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Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.

Updated:

Turmerry’s Buckwheat Pillow is a top choice for anyone with back and neck pain or who just wants an organic pillow that’s non-toxic, comfortable, breathable, and adaptable. Here’s my experience with the Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow.

Turmerry pillow test
Turmerry buckwheat pillow
Table of Contents
  1. Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow [Staff tested]
  2. Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow – Overview
  3. Refills and extra stuffing
  4. Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow sizes and weights
  5. How it performs – my experience with the Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow
  6. Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow care and maintenance
  7. Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow certifications
  8. Corporate Social Responsibility at Turmerry
  9. Sustainable shipping at Turmerry
  10. Warranty and returns
  11. Final thoughts on the Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow

Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow [Staff tested]

Leaf Score

Highlights: Breathable, sustainable, non-toxic, easily adjustable pillow made with organic buckwheat in an organic cotton zippered cover. Fantastic for neck and head support, for hot sleepers, and if you sleep on your back or side.

What we like

  • Affordable
  • Adjustable
  • Made with organic materials
  • Breathable (great for hot sleepers)
  • Non-toxic
  • U.S. made
  • Ships fast
  • Robust brass zipper

What could be better

  • Buckwheat isn’t certified organic (though it rarely is anyway)
  • Some plastic packaging

At a glance:

Materials: Organic (though not certified) buckwheat hulls and certified organic cotton

Certifications: Green America Green Business, GOTS (for cotton), American Forests partner

Cost: $55-$115 (Pairs available at a discount)

Sizes available: Travel, Mini, Neckroll, Lumbar, Standard, Queen, King

Adjustable: Yes

Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow – Overview

Turmerry’s Buckwheat Pillow is a well-made, organic pillow ideal for hot sleepers and hot climates. It’s especially good for anyone with neck or back pain as this kind of pillow subtly adjusts to provide gentle support for the cervical spine.

Unlike some buckwheat pillows, the Turmerry pillow is adjustable. The pillow encasement is unbleached GOTS organic cotton with a robust brass zipper. The cover has a fairly dense weave, which helps to keep the buckwheat hulls in place and helps keep dust mites and other critters out of your pillow.

The only downsides I can see to this pillow are that, like most buckwheat pillows, it is:

  • Heavy
  • A bit noisy (though this is minor and you quickly learn to ignore it)
  • Hard to style, because the pillows don’t stand up
  • Not made with certified organic buckwheat.

On that last point, buckwheat is almost always grown organically, like hemp and linen. As such, most buckwheat growers don’t bother going to the expense and effort of pursuing organic certification. Turmerry says that it sources all of its buckwheat from organic farms, however.

Refills and extra stuffing

My Turmerry pillow arrived with plenty of hulls for my needs. Some folks will prefer a firmer and larger pillow, however, so it’s nice to see Turmerry offering hull refills. These are available by the pound, with current prices just $20 per pound and discounts the more you order. (View on Turmerry)

Bear in mind the sizes and weights of pillows below when thinking about refills. If, for instance, you have a smaller pillow already and want to size up, it can work out cheaper (and avoid wasting resources) for you to purchase three refill packs and a new pillow cover with zipper rather than a king size pillow.

Turmerry also offers extra pillow protectors, so you can either add another layer to your pillow or have a spare in case you want to wash your cover. I recommend the heavy duty pillow protector with zipper (view on Turmerry), rather than the lighter cotton pillow protector (view on Turmerry). You might also consider the Turmerry Dust Mite / Bed Bug organic cotton zippered pillow cover which has an even smaller pore size (view on Turmerry).

Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow sizes and weights

Turmerry offers its Organic Buckwheat Pillow in the following sizes and weights:

  • Travel (12 x 16 inch) – 2.5 lb.
  • Mini (15 x 20 inch)
  • Neckroll (13 x 6 inch)
  • Lumbar (16 x 36 inch)
  • Standard (20 x 26 inch) – 8 lb.
  • Queen (20 x 30 inch) – 12 lb.
  • King (20 x 36 inch) – 15 lb.

Like all buckwheat pillows, Turmerry’s is much heavier than most conventional polyester or down pillows. It’s similar in weight to a molded latex pillow or memory foam pillow but much less structured. This means it can be a bit tricky to move around easily, especially with just one hand or in the middle of the night.

How it performs – my experience with the Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow

The Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow is exceptionally comfortable and breathable. It has helped me to stay cool while temperatures soared this summer and while I await my heat pump/air-con installation.

Sure, this pillow is a bit noisy, what with all those hulls moving around, but you quickly get used to the slight crunching with every movement. And, frankly, because this pillow is so adaptable, molding quickly to gently cradle your head, you likely won’t need to move as much to try to get comfortable. The pillow does all the work for you!

I’ve found the Turmerry best for back-sleeping. It’s excellent at supporting my head and neck, without forcing my spine out of alignment. It’s also great for sleeping on my side, although I would advise using a slightly tighter fitting pillowcase if you’re a committed side-sleeper. That would help make the buckwheat pillow a little firmer overall, so you don’t sink in as much.

For stomach-sleepers, the buckwheat pillow can work well, but it’s not ideal. I tend to shimmy most of the fill out of one side and at the bottom if I’m sleeping on my front. This works okay in terms of the pillow not being too high, but the overall feel isn’t as soft on my face as my Avocado Green Pillow made with latex and kapok.

If you’re mostly a stomach-sleeper, I’d suggest adding a quilted pillowcase to your buckwheat pillow for an extra layer of comfort.

Or, you might consider Turmerry’s Toddler Pillow (view on Turmerry), which is a fantastic, affordable, organic latex pillow with a very low profile and super soft feel.

Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow care and maintenance

Unsurprisingly, you can’t machine wash the Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow. After all, those hulls will absorb water if fully soaked and may disintegrate or otherwise break down in the wash.

Instead of washing the pillow fill, you can air out the hulls every so often. Typically, this means shaking out the hulls onto a large tray (or two, for my queen pillow) and then airing them in the sun for a few hours while you wash the pillow encasement.

Use cold water and no bleach to wash the cover, then hang it to dry. Be very sure the cover is totally dry before you fill up the pillow with the hulls again.

If you accidentally spill something on your buckwheat pillow, you can try to isolate and replace any spoiled fill. Or, if the spillage is just water or other benign liquid, remove the fill and air dry as necessary. Turmerry does not recommend recommend rinsing or washing the buckwheat hulls, but you could attempt this if absolutely necessary. Make sure to rinse the hulls briefly and then spread them out well, so they dry fully and fast.

Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow certifications

Turmerry is a woman-owned family business founded with sustainability and health in mind. While Turmerry doesn’t have as many major certifications as bigger bedding companies such as Avocado, it definitely punches above its weight.

GOTS organic logo

Turmerry also specializes in natural and organic bedding and doesn’t sell any toxic polyfoam products. Most products comprise GOLS certified organic latex, organic cotton, linen, or bamboo.

For the Buckwheat Pillow itself, the cotton case is GOTS certified and made in India. The buckwheat is grown in the U.S. to organic standards, but not certified. The pillow is put together in the U.S.

Corporate Social Responsibility at Turmerry

Turmerry is now a Green America Green Business, as of July 2023, and is also a partner with American Forests, with 36,000 trees to its name already.

The company regularly donates (returned) organic mattress toppers to those in need in the U.S. and also puts together food kits for families living in poverty in Kerala, India. Turmerry also donates to food banks in North Carolina, where it is based.

If you’re a veteran, first responder, senior, teacher, or student, ask Turmerry about its discount program.

Sustainable shipping at Turmerry

Turmerry shipped my pillow (plus my Toddler Pillow) in an unbranded cardboard box with no unnecessary packaging. The pillow was in a plastic bag for protection, which I included in my flexible plastic recycling. If you don’t have this kind of recycling where you live, check out TerraCycle.

By shipping in unbranded boxes, Turmerry saves on dyes and energy. It would be nice, however, to see Turmerry switch to biodegradable or reusable organic cotton bags instead of plastic poly bags. However, given the potential for buckwheat hulls to spoil if they get wet during transit, it’s understandable that Turmerry still uses some plastic.

For some of its products, such as pillow protectors and bedding, Turmerry already uses plastic-free packaging.

Warranty and returns

Turmerry offers a 120 Day Return Policy for Pillows. You can return unused pillows (you pay for shipping) in their original packaging for a full refund within 120 days of your purchase.

If you’ve used your pillow but don’t like it, Turmerry offers up to 110% store credit. The catch is that you have to donate the pillow, which Turmerry will help you with.

Turmerry will also replace any items that arrive damaged (take photos!).

Before you give up on a Turmerry pillow, though, remember that the Buckwheat Pillow is adjustable. This means it may take a little experimentation for you to find a fill level that works for you. Every time you change the fill level, give it at least a week’s trial.

You might also consider trying different pillowcases with the Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow. A smaller pillow case will make the pillow feel much firmer and allow less sinkage overall. This is usually best for side-sleepers and some back-sleepers. A larger pillowcase will make the pillow much more flexible, which can work well for combination sleepers and stomach-sleepers.

Final thoughts on the Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow

The Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow is a top choice for a sustainable, adjustable, comfortable pillow. It may take a little time to get used to this style of pillow if you’ve never used a buckwheat pillow before, but the adjustment period is definitely worth it, especially if you tend to sleep hot or live somewhere hot and humid.

The Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow is exceptionally breathable and the fine nature of buckwheat means the pillow subtly adapts to every move you make while you sleep. This translates to continuous, gentle support for your neck and head, which means less (or no!) neck and back pain on waking.

The Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow is non-toxic, sustainably made, and great for side-sleepers, back-sleepers, and some stomach-sleepers. You can adjust the fill as necessary and care and maintenance is straightforward and minimal.

All in all, this pillow is a top choice for an eco-friendly, non-toxic bedroom.

Turmerry Buckwheat Pillow [Staff tested]

Leaf Score

Highlights: Breathable, sustainable, non-toxic, easily adjustable pillow made with organic buckwheat in an organic cotton zippered cover. Fantastic for neck and head support, for hot sleepers, and if you sleep on your back or side.

Do buckwheat pillows attract dust mites and bed bugs?

Buckwheat hulls are non-nutritive, so tend not to attract pests that want to eat them. In some cases, poorly hulled or washed (or unwashed) hulls can harbor pests, however.

Turmerry makes sure to source hulls that are grown organically and properly hulled and washed.

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