The 4 Best Pillow Protectors

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You've probably been buying, washing, and replacing pillowcases for ages, but adding a pillow protector could dramatically improve your quality of sleep. The best pillow protectors resemble zippered pillowcases. However, dig a little deeper, and you'll find that they can mean the difference between a night of sneezing and mornings waking up with puffy sinuses and a more restful sleep.

A pillow protector's main purpose is to protect pillows from common allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and even the pollen that breezes in through open windows. Some high-end protectors are even lab-certified to be able to allow air to permeate while stopping liquids and allergens. They can also keep bed bugs away from your pillow — and who wouldn't sleep just a little better knowing that?

If you are a sweaty sleeper, have kids, or sometimes spill that glass of water you keep on your bedside table, waterproof pillow protectors help keep pillows stain-free and prevent mold and mildew from forming inside. Those looking for a little allergy protection with added beauty sleep benefits for hair and skin should consider a zippered silk case.

No matter your budget or which protector you choose, you'll sleep better, keep allergens at bay, and protect your pillows so that they last longer.

1. The Best Overall Pillow Protector

This pillow protector is made from breathable 100-percent cotton and has a fully zippered enclosure with an auto-locking feature to make sure it keeps your pillow protected. This pillow has an allergen barrier with a pore size of 3 to 4 microns, which means it's way more difficult for allergens like pet dander and dust mites, or even bed bugs, to find their way into the pillow. Though this isn’t a cooling accessory, the cotton material makes the protector comfortable to the touch without the crinkly sound you'll find with some protectors that are made from vinyl or polyester materials.

According to customers, the seams are snug and fit well, which means this isn’t a bulky protector. You can slip a pillowcase over this if you prefer to sleep on a different fabric such as silk or satin.

This protector is machine washable, though some reviewers reported shrinking in the dryer. And, speaking of reviews, this item is so popular it has more than 2,500 of them with an overall 4.4-star rating, making it one of the most popular pillow protectors on Amazon. At a fair price (with big discounts if you buy a few at a time), it's no wonder this is our choice for best all-around pillow protector.

2. The Best Silk Pillow Protector For Hair And Skin

Silk pillowcases are being embraced by those looking to prevent hair breakage and dryness, and avoid irritation on sensitive skin. This zippered pillowcase made from 25 momme mulberry silk, does double duty by protecting your pillow as well.

Silk is naturally hypoallergenic, so while this is not sold strictly as a pillow protector, it will nonetheless help lessen the effects of allergies. The manufacturer notes that it's dust mite and bed bug resistant and repels dust and pollen, however, those seriously struggling with allergies might prefer one backed by lab testing. Others noted that it wrinkled easily after washing.

Plus, thanks to silk's temperature-regulating abilities that keep your head cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, this is a great choice for those looking for a comfortable sleeping experience that is gentle on hair and skin.

This item also offers the most color options of any pillow protector on this list with more than 15 including lavender, silver, and gold.

3. The Best Budget Waterproof Pillow Protector

If you are a sweaty sleeper, live in a warm climate, have children, or worry about beverages spilling on your pillow, it helps to have a waterproof pillow protector like this one, which is made with a membrane barrier to keep your pillow dry.

This also promises to protect against dust mites, bacteria, and bed bugs. It is zippered and offers a 15-year full replacement warranty. While the hypoallergenic cotton terry surface naturally cools, it's not everyone's cup of tea — one reviewer says it feels like a bath towel.

However, most reviewers were happy with the membrane which some noted was barely noticeable, though some found that it made it difficult for the air to escape.

"We have used it on our pillows for several nights now and there is no plastic noise, no sweating, and I didn't even notice it is on the pillow ... Because of the waterproof membrane, it takes a few seconds for the air to escape," one review reports. Others noted that it holds up well after repeated washings and is offered at a reasonable price.

4. The Best Cooling Pillow Protector For Sweaty Sleepers

This is the ultimate cooling pillow protector for sweaty sleepers willing to spend a bit more. It is designed with a fabric that continually moves heat away from your head, providing a cooling sensation. As an added bonus, if you or your family still sweats, it has a lab-certified, vinyl-free waterproof barrier that also stops dust mites, bacteria, and allergens from entering your pillow. Reviewers appreciated that it effective but didn't feel "plasticky."

This is a pricey set at more than $30 each, but most reviewers say it's worth the investment if cooling features are important to you or if you've already splurged on expensive pillows you want to protect. One downside is that you have to follow the cleaning instructions carefully: Air drying is recommended, but tumble drying with other sheets is acceptable.

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