Home Goods | October 26, 2021 10:00 am

Review: With Marlow, Brooklinen Brings Its Bedding Magic to Pillows

The new sub-brand looks to take over another part of the sleep experience

A Marlow pillow from Brooklinen's new sub-brand sitting on a bed with yellow sheets and a red pillow next to a nightstand
You've got Brooklinen sheets, so will you spring for a Marlow pillow, too?
Marlow

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It’s been seven years since Brooklinen launched with a goal of offering an easier way to buy better bed sheets for less. In that time, many other direct-to-consumer startups have launched and flamed out while Brooklinen succeeded in taking over bedrooms across the country. Today, we’re happy to recommend their sheets whenever we get the chance.

Over the years the company has expanded — into towels, loungewear, hype-building collaborations that are the hallmark of the DTC industry — but today marks their next big chapter: pillows. That’s right, Brooklinen wants to take over more of your sleep experience with a new sub-brand called Marlow.

I had the chance to test a new pillow from Marlow for the last month or so, and certainly have some thoughts, which you’ll find below. But the first question is: What’s the problem that Marlow is trying to solve in the pillow industry? It’s similar to the Brooklinen model: a better pillow, a lower price and an easier process, because who has time to pore over pillow reviews? 

To that end, Marlow is starting with just two options: a Standard pillow (17.5” x 26”, 2.5 lbs) for $65 and a King pillow (17.5” x 36”, 3.4 pounds) for $85, which, if you’re not up on the pillow prices of today, are competitive rates. And because it’s an internet-first company, you also get free shipping with every order. It gets even better if you buy more than one: they’re offering 25% off two to three and 40% off four or more. The pillows themselves are made of an aerated foam with a microfiber interior, which the company touts as cool, breathable and anti-microbial. 

The best feature, however, is the zipper. Well, two zippers, across the long ends of each pillow, which allow you to adjust the firmness depending on your preference. In essence, they’re offering two pillows in one.

A Marlow pillow from Brooklinen's new sub-brand showing a close-up of the green zipper on the side that adjusts the pillow's firmness
One of two zippers on each Marlow pillow that adjust the firmness.
Marlow

How Does the Marlow Pillow Compare to Other Options?

During my month-long test I slept on the Marlow pillow most nights but also alternated with my own classic down pillows and a firm memory foam option to figure out where Brooklinen’s new design fits in. As expected, it’s somewhere in the middle — unzipped it’s a little more plush, zipped it’s a little firmer — as the company has spent a long time trying to zero in on one design that will work for the most people. But I’d say it’s a little on the firmer side overall, even unzipped, especially if you’re used to down or something similarly fluffy. 

One issue you may be wondering about, considering this pillow is made in China largely from polyurethane foam, is off-gassing. However, after airing out my pillow post-unboxing I didn’t have any smell issues when sleeping. In fact, I even found the construction to offer a cooler-than-average sleep.

One thing I noticed: This feels like a slightly bigger pillow than I’m personally used to. If you’re normally a two-pillow person like myself, you may find yourself sticking with just one Marlow due to the bit of extra area and plushness. That may be a plus or a minus for you, because everyone has their own unique sleep configurations (for me, I like two pillows, side sleeping and one foot sticking out of the covers). But for now, even after the test, I will be keeping my Marlow.

The best thing, unequivocally, about Marlow is this: they offer a two-year warranty and a whopping 365-day return policy. The latter is going to be helpful to those of you who are intrigued, but may be wary because this is a new company with no long-term reviews available. I’ll keep sleeping on mine and report back if there are any significant changes, but you can rest assured knowing you’ve got a whole year to test yours out if you decide to take a chance on a (sorta) new brand.