One of the most common questions I receive about our intelliBED mattress (we have 5 of them!) is actually not about the bed at all … it’s about intelliPILLOW!
I’m guessing the reason is that Federal law prohibits the return of pillows, although the intelliBED itself offers a 90- day money-back guarantee. This combined with the lowest return rate in the mattress industry.
It makes perfect sense that people want to know if a gel pillow is actually comfortable before buying since the purchase is nonrefundable.
Is intelliPILLOW Truly Nontoxic?
People are waking up (literally!) to the fact that exposure to toxins in the bedroom adversely affects the duration and quality of sleep. As a result, it comes as no surprise that conventional foam pillows involve the same flame retardant chemical exposure risks as foam mattresses. To compound matters, the toxins are even closer to your nose and mouth while you sleep with pillows!
What about natural down pillows, my favorite before I switched to intelliPILLOWS? According to Dr. Mercola, down carries the greatest risk of dust mite infestation and hence, the greatest allergy risk. Down is also notoriously difficult to clean in order to remove an infestation. Fungus and mold growth is another risk over time from the warmth and moisture of your head and body (1).
What about popular hypoallergenic pillows? While they may relieve morning allergy symptoms, they’re stuffed with polyester and foam, both synthetic materials made from crude oil. These very soft thermoplastics continuously emit tiny plastic vapors that are inhaled as the fiber warms against your body (2).
Wool or organic cotton pillows are a healthy option, but wool is an allergen for some and both materials trap heat and moisture with the risk of mold over time. Replacing these types of pillows frequently to avoid fungus risk can get very expensive as these quality materials aren’t cheap!
Enter intelliPILLOW (they are part of the Organix mattress line).
Foam Wrapped in intelliGEL
IntelliPILLOW is a hybrid pillow made of gel and foam. The gel is the same used in the intelliBED mattress – completely inert and nontoxic. This article on intelliBED vs organic mattresses contains video footage I filmed while visiting the factory where intelliGEL is produced. The air is so clean there that the workers on the factory floor don’t require any protective gear, and the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) measured right where the gel is coming out of the machine is virtually zero.
What about the foam in the intelliPILLOW? Good news on that front as well. The foam which the intelliGEL wraps inside the pillow is “surene” foam. It’s very soft, yet supportive. It is certipur, which means:
- The foam is made without ozone depleters
- No flame retardants (PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”)) are used
- No mercury, lead, and other heavy metals
- Made without carcinogenic formaldehyde
- No hormone-disrupting phthalates (regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission)
- Low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)
In sum, intelliPILLOW combines the natural benefits of pure down pillows with the practicality and low allergy/mold risk of inert gel. It was the best of both worlds in my view, which is why every bed in our home has an intelliPILLOW. My son, who is going off to college soon, has even asked for an intelliPILLOW for his dorm room! He loves that a gel pillow made with the patented intelliGEL is temperature neutral – neither hot in the summer nor cold in the winter. No need to flip your pillow to the cool side when you own an intelliPILLOW.
intelliPILLOW Comfort and Affordability
As mentioned above, an intelliPILLOW is incredibly comfortable. The temperature neutral nature of this unique pillow is one of the best features, in my opinion.
For some people, it may take a little while to get used to them. My husband and sons loved them right away, but my daughter and I took a few weeks to adjust. Without exception, our entire family loves them now!
Please note that we’ve had our intelliPILLOWS for going on a couple of years. IntelliBED now offers a naturally contoured intelliPILLOW that mimics the shape and thickness of conventional foam and down pillows. Hence, there is likely no adjustment necessary for those who buy these new models.
The standard size (recommended) of intelliPILLOW is 26″ wide x 14″ deep and 5″ thick. The Lo-Profile version for those who need less head/neck support is 26″ wide x 14″ deep and 4″ thick.
With regard to value, an intelliPILLOW costs roughly the same or even a bit less than a quality down pillow or eco-wool/organic cotton pillow. The good news is that intelliPILLOW is going to last years longer without the allergy, mold and/or fungus risks.
Have you tried an intelliPILLOW? If so, what did you like or not like about them? You can learn more about them here.
Hi Sarah, I was so pleased to see your endorsement of the Intellibed. We have had ours for ~6 months and are very happy with the investment. I am interested in trying a new pillow, but am having trouble finding the “intellipillow” you refer to in this article. I realize it is from 2017. Can you offer insight into which of the pillows in the current Organix line is the one you and your family are using?
Hi, thank you Sarah for the info. I was excited to check bed/pillow out but there is no way we can afford it. Is there any other bed/pillow you can recommend with organic/good sources? Thank you in advance.
HI Sarah, Thank you for all of the great info over the years!
I am unsure of intellibeds mattress protector. Is the current product they have the one you have? Just want ot be certain it is totally non toxic & safe before purchasing.
Sarah Pope MGA
Yes, I use the IntelliBed mattress protector and have for years. I have been quite happy with it. It has some waterproofing aspects to it, so it isn’t 100% cotton, but there are no offgassing/toxicity issues with it that I’ve been able to uncover.
The online price for the pillow is a non refundable $ 250.00, USD… that seems steep, compared to organic buckwheat, bamboo, and other healthy options.
Pillows can’t be returned by law.
So what type of mattress protector, sheets and blankets do you use on your intellibed? Do you use organic cotton or any wool items?
The mattress protector comes with the Intellibed. I use bamboo sheets and an organic wool comforter (medium weight). These items are listed on my Shopping Guide page under “Healthy Sleep” category. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/resources/#22
I have been using a buckwheat hull pillow and love it. I used to have terrible neck stiffness in the morning but the buckwheat forms nicely to my neck and haven’t had any pain since using it. There was a bit of an adjustment to using it – but its natural and renewable.
I bought an intellipillow and tried it for two weeks…my neck and shoulders became very tight and sore to the point where I’ve had trouble turning my head and my neck has been constantly stiff. I finally gave up on it and my husband tried it last night. He woke up with an awful headache. The pillow is very hard and, to me, not high enough, even though I bought the higher one. Guess I’m out $98.
Try propping it up with another pillow underneath. It took me awhile to adjust too. My husband and sons loved it from the first night.
Rebecca A Burns
I take it they’re no longer making the intellipillow? I can’t find it online.
Sarah Pope MGA
Apparently not. I am now using these pillows. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/go/organic-bedding/
I’ve had my intelliPILLOW for about 1.5 years (I bought it after Sarah’s recommendation). I have it fully deflated and I actually removed the inflation device because I find that the pillow is too big for my neck/head (but I have that problem in general with other pillows, I like low pillows).
It’s true that the pillow is cool (and nontoxic) but I don’t find it that comfortable most nights. I’m just basically waiting until I find time to go pillow shopping again, which takes awhile. I had a foam pillow from a brand I won’t mention, but it got hard after 10 years, I will probably go back to that.
Having said that, I will give the bed a try in the next 6 months.
These sound like a good option, which I am always open to. For the past several years I have used a buckwheat hull pillow, and REALLY like it. It can be molded to fit whatever shape you want, depending on whether you are on your back or side. And it is COOL. I hate pillows that make my head feel hot! The downside is that it sounds “cruchy” when you move. My brain tuned that out after a few days of use.
I have an intellipillow. I bought this to see if I should buy an intellibed. We were in the market for a new bed. I wanted to check out the gel before I bought the bed so I bought the pillow. I like the pillow. Not Adore or hate, just like. Pros: bouncy, supportive once you find the best way to position the pillow, nice size. Cons: cover seems cheap, for price, loud, my husband *hates* me to move the pillow around to get comfy, it reminds him of a plastic bed cover, it’s rather obnoxious but not that bad, mine has a bladder that pumps up but the bladder has slipped out a bit over time and is impossible to get back in correctly. Much better than synthetic pillows but still doesn’t beat a new wool pillow. I did find a wool bolus pillow that is washable at soaring heart naturals.
Needless to say, there is no way my hubby was going for an intellibed. We have opted for a latex bed through foam sweet foam. Adore the bed! I did not buy latex pillows however and opted for the soaring heart ones instead. I am extremely glad I tried the pillow however because it was a wonderful learning experience regarding rest and how important pillows really are.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like you have the older model. The new model doesn’t have any of those issues from my perspective.