Pillow Protector Vs. Pillowcase Buying Guide and Tips

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The bed is probably the most important piece of furniture you own, considering that you spend an average of seven hours on it every night. You might not realize it, but you spend more than 2500 hours on your bed every year! That is a third of your year!

However, there’s a lot more to a bed than just it’s built. Having your bed look and feel comfortable will help you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep. 

Although quality pillows can help you stay comfortable throughout the night, they don't do much to improve the look and feel of your bed on their own. This is where pillow protectors and pillowcases come in.

Pillow protectors and pillowcases are sometimes confused with one other. However, learning about their unique characteristics and the benefits they offer can help you get the right products and make your bed a lot more comfortable.

In this post, we’ll go over the differences between pillow protectors and pillowcases, and help you understand why and how you should use them.

What Is A Pillow Protector?

A pillow protector is a lot different than a pillowcase. As the name suggests, pillow protectors are designed to protect pillows from dust, dirt, stains, and pests. In essence, pillow protectors shield your cushions from any unnecessary damage.

Pillow protectors also help in wicking away moisture, which helps keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night. 

They come in different styles and are made from different materials. While some are plush and soft and add to a pillow's comfort, others are thin, but are waterproof and protect the pillow from getting stained or dirty.

In general, pillow protectors are easy to clean, and you can pop most protectors in the washing machine safely when they get dirty.

What Is A Pillowcase?

Pillowcases are designed to enhance the look of your pillow and make them slightly more comfortable to rest your head-on. Unlike pillow protectors, pillowcases don’t protect your pillow from pests or staining. They only offer a little protection from dirt and dust.

They come in a variety of styles, patterns, and colors, and you can easily find a pillowcase that complements the rest of your bedding. 

Pillowcases have an opening on one side, which is sometimes zippered for added hold. They are soft and usually come with a flange, which makes them easy to handle. They are also easy to wash and maintain and last many years.

In a nutshell, pillow protectors are designed to prolong the life of a pillow, whereas pillowcases are simple, decorative covers designed to make your bed more appealing.

However, not all pillow protectors and pillowcases are the same, and subtle differences can make a huge difference in your sleeping experience. Also, with the market loaded with tons of alluring options, finding the right products can be a challenge in and of itself.

Here are some tips that will help you better understand what you should be looking for in a pillow protector and a pillowcase.

What To Look For In A Pillow Protector

All pillow protectors prolong the life of your pillow and keep you safe from bed bugs and dust mites. Nonetheless, some protectors are more comfortable while others are more durable. 

Knowing which ones will enable you to set preferences and find a protector that meets your requirements. Here are the two most common pillow protectors you'll find in the market, along with their benefits and drawbacks.

Cotton Pillow Protectors

Cotton pillow protectors are the most comfortable protectors you’ll find. They’re also least likely to disrupt the pillows’ comfort and feel. 

Cotton is a natural fabric and is intrinsically hypoallergenic. Getting a cotton pillow protector will not only keep you comfortable, but it will also keep you safe from dust mites. 

Some cotton protectors are also bed-bug proof. If you're a hot sleeper, though, a cotton protector might not be the best option for you since cotton tends to retain moisture.

Stellmark and Berkeley cotton protectors are some of the best protectors available in the market that you can get your hands on for cheap. 

Wool-Filled Pillow Protectors

Wool-filled pillow protectors are the most durable protectors you'll find. These protectors boast excellent temperature regulation qualities and naturally repel dust mites.

Although wool-filled protectors are not waterproof, they have exceptional moisture resistance and will help keep your cool when you sleep. 

One disadvantage with wool-filled pillows is that they're a touch too firm, and can reduce the plushness of your cushion.

St Dormeir protectors are some of the highest-quality wool-filled protectors one can get their hands on.

What To Look For In A Pillowcase 

Attractive designs boost your beds' appeal, but the design is only one of the factors you must consider when purchasing a pillowcase. Here's what else you should look at:


Like bed sheets, pillowcases are also made with different materials, and you’ll find both natural and synthetic options in the market. 

The fabric of the pillowcase determines both the comfort and durability of the pillowcase. To get the best possible experience, you must look for an all-natural pillowcase made from fabrics like cotton (satin) and wool (flannel), since these fabrics tend to be both soft and durable. 

Try and avoid polyester blends since they tend to be less breathable and more prone to wear and tear.


People are often confused about the difference between shams and closures. Both of these are pillowcase styles, and they do the same job – covering your pillows and giving them a neat, beautiful look. 

The only difference between closures and shams is that closures have an opening on one side and do not have extra fabric around the edges, whereas shams are open in the back, and are usually finished on all four sides.

Additionally, shams can include ties, overlaps, and zippers, which you won’t typically find in a regular closure. For this reason, shams are used more often for decorative purposes than as a practical pillow cover.

Ease of maintenance and size are two other essential factors you must consider before buying any pillowcase. 

Why You Need A Pillow Protector

If you have an old pillow and are looking to extend its life, then getting a padded pillow protector is a great idea. 

Also, if you’ve purchased a new pillow, using a pillow protector will ensure that you get the most out of the pillow without damaging it. 

You will find hotels taking full advantage of pillow protectors since they're cost-effective solutions that make pillows last longer, become easier to maintain and feel comfier.

If you do want to use a pillow protector, you must keep in mind that you must put these on your pillow before you put on a pillowcase. A protector must always remain under the pillowcase. 

It will not only protect the inner lining of the cushion, but it will also enable you to throw on your favorite pillowcase and revitalize your bed's appeal.

Getting the right pillow protector and pillowcase can not only improve the quality of your sleep, but it can also prolong the life of your pillow.

Now that you know the differences between pillow protectors and cases, and know what you should be looking for, finding the perfect products to use with your pillow should be easy.

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