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Last updated: April 11, 2021
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When you spend around eight hours every night with your head on a pillow, it needs to be of high quality and comfortable to sleep on. That’s why so many people are looking for the best down pillow for their beds. These types of pillows look the same as other pillows on the outside, but have some great features you’ll only notice when you lay down. They are soft, cuddly, mold to your head, plus are breathable, keeping you cool all night long.
Before you buy yourself a new down pillow, there are a few features you should consider. One is the filling material, which consists of down feathers and clusters, but could also include regular feathers as well. The fill power shows the loft, or fluffiness, of that pillow. You should also check out the firmness, especially if you have neck or back pain. The type of cover and its features are also essential to look at, for comfort and cleaning purposes.
With so many different down pillows on the market, it can be hard to choose which one is the right one for you. To help you with your search, we’ve spent countless hours researching the top pillow brands, including checking out manufacturer’s websites, reading customer reviews, and testing every product we could get our hands on. Then we created a comparison table, rating the top five products, and added in an in-depth description of each one. We also included a buying guide, so you know which features to look for in the best down pillow.
If you’re looking for the best goose down pillow, this may be the set for you. Two pillows are included, so you can keep both of them for yourself or share one with a spouse or a family member.
Inside the pillow is 100% luxury white goose down. It has a filling weight of 25 ounces and a fill power of 550. This means that this pillow is firm enough to help reduce neck and back pain, but still soft and comfortable. It is also thick enough to support those who sleep on their sides but compresses nicely if you roll onto your back for a better alignment.
Another benefit of this type of down is that it is breathable, so it won’t retain heat while you sleep. The down has also been sterilized, which helps reduce allergy symptoms in those who are sensitive to the down.
On the outside of this pillow is a soft fabric case, made of cotton with a 300 thread count. This outer casing is comfortable against your skin, but can’t be removed for washing, so it is recommended that you use a pillowcase with these pillows. This will keep them cleaner, reducing the frequency of dry cleaning.
If the pillows begin to compress too much, you can throw both in the drier for a minute or two to get rid of any moisture. Doing so will fluff them back up to their original shape and size, giving you back the loft you want.
Though you may need the best firm down pillow for the support, others like a bit more softness to sink into for a great night’s sleep. This pillow from Royal Hotel comes in all types of fill levels, including soft, medium, firm, and even adjustable to allow you to fill it to your exact comfort level. It also comes in two sizes, queen and king, so you can fit it to your body and your bed.
There are two pillows included in this set, both of which boast the same great features. Inside is 100% white goose down, which is soft, yet supportive. It is also extremely breathable to keep you nice and cool all night long.
The queen sized pillows have 33 ounces of filling, with 700 fill power. This allows them to hold their shape, so you can comfortably sleep on your side without fearing your neck and spine to be aligned improperly. This down filling is also allergy free, so you won’t have to deal with any uncomfortable symptoms.
On the outside is a 500 thread count cotton cover, which is soft against your skin for an even more luxurious sleep. Around the edges is double silky piping, which adds a clean finish that looks stylish while holding the down inside the pillow. This cover isn’t removable, though, so it may be best to use a pillowcase to keep it clean.
You may love the softness and comfort down has to offer, but if you are allergic to the down, you’ll be dealing with unpleasant symptoms that keep you from fully enjoying them. Getting your hands on the best down alternative pillow that fits side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers can solve this issue.
These Sable Pillows are filled with 100% cotton stuffing, which is hypoallergenic to eliminate those uncomfortable allergic reactions. The filling is adjustable as well. You can open the zipper on the cover and remove some if you find it too thick, to give you the perfect firmness to keep your body aligned and reduce pain in your back or neck. This also allows you to alter the height for your preferred sleeping position.
The removable cover is also made of cotton, but a much more decorative version than what you find inside. It looks smart, with a diamond quilted pattern over the front and back and a navy blue hem. As well as looking great, this cotton cover is soft and comfortable against your skin. It is also breathable so that it won’t lock in the heat or moisture from your body.
For added convenience, this pillow is machine washable and dryer friendly. You don’t even need to remove the stuffing as you would with a true down pillow. You can put the whole pillow into the washing machine to get it clean all the way through.
If you are suffering from any type of neck pain, you need a decent pillow that cradles your head, giving you the support you need, no matter what position you prefer to sleep in.
The Puredown Natural Goose Down Feather White Pillow is supportive, thanks to the medium loft, holding your head up and keeping it properly aligned. Even with this support, the pillow is still soft enough to be comfortable while you sleep. It also maintains its shape throughout the night, even when you roll around, though you may need to fluff it again in the morning.
There are two pillows in this set, which comes in three sizes for you to choose from, depending on the size of your bed. All of them are filled with 85% white goose down, and 15% small feathers, plus has Responsible Down Standard certification, so you know the filling has been obtained safely. This down is also recyclable and environmentally friendly.
For the shell, these pillows have a double layer of thick cotton with a plush polyester peach skin layer underneath. This adds to the pillow comfort, plus keeps those little feather spines from poking you while you sleep. This thickness also helps keep your pillow intact while protecting you from allergens. These covers can be removed for easy washing, so you don’t even need an extra pillowcase unless you prefer one.
What stands out?
Responsible Down Standard certified
Supportive, yet soft
Good quality materials
What cons did we manage to find?
Needs 24 hours to achieve full loft
Doesn’t always hold its shape, requiring extra fluffing
Though side sleepers need a thick pillow for keeping their spine straight and supported while they sleep, those who prefer to sleep on their back or stomach have different preferences. A thinner pillow that is comfortable and soft is a much better option, which is why this Downlight model may be the best soft down pillow for stomach or back sleepers.
This pillow has only 16 ounces of fill inside, so it isn’t as thick as some other types. It still has 525-550 fill power, though, so you can bet it is comfortable to sleep on all night long. The filling is white duck down, which is hypoallergenic to help keep allergy symptoms at bay.
The cover for this pillow is made of cambric cotton, with a 230 thread count, making it quite soft against your skin. It is stitched securely, so you won’t have to worry about any down fluff leaking out of the pillow, no matter how you shift or fold it.
There is only one size available, which is the standard 20 x 26 inches. Though a bit small when compared to queen or king pillows, the smaller size has the benefit of making this one of the best down travel pillow models available. This pillow can be put right in the washer and dryer, so it is easy to clean as often as needed.
What stands out?
Machine washable and dryable
Soft and comfortable
What cons did we manage to find?
Only one size available
Not much filling, so may flatten over time
Only one pillow included
Things to Consider
You spend about a third of your life in bed, so it only makes sense that you should take your pillow choices very seriously. You need to take into account various features, like the size, fill power, filling weight, firmness, and the type of cover used. How you tend to sleep is also something to consider, as different positions require different support. These features together will help you decide which of the many down pillows on the market will give you the best night’s sleep possible.
Why buy a down pillow?
When you lay on a down pillow, you’ll sink into it while the pillow molds itself around you, forming to the shape of your head and neck. This means down pillows won’t give you the same support as memory foam pillows, for instance, so they aren’t the best for aligning the spine or preventing any pain in your neck or back. This is why down pillows aren’t usually chosen for these types of issues.
There are many other reasons to buy a down pillow, though. First and foremost, down pillows are comfortable. They have a soft, plush feel to them that you won’t find in any other type of pillow. They can be filled with a lot of down, too, so you can get pillows as thick and as firm as you like, without resorting to a hard pillow that is uncomfortable to sleep on.
Another benefit of down is its breathability. This is because the down filling is made up of down clusters, which resemble small spheres. These clusters expand and intertwine, allowing air to pass through them, so they stay cool all the time, eliminating the need for pillow flipping.
Down pillows are also much more durable than other types of filling. You do need to be careful with how you care for them, especially during cleaning, as some are machine washable while others can only be dry cleaned. If you follow the instructions, a quality down pillow can last for years.
Features to consider while choosing a down pillow
Down pillows come with a variety of features, so you need to be careful which one you buy. Otherwise, you may not have the right one to suit your personal sleep habits and preferences. Before spending your money, check out the following features, so you can be sure you are choosing the right down pillow for you.
Many people think that because a down pillow may contain feathers, it is the same thing as a feather pillow. There is a distinct difference between them, though. A feather pillow is filled with the outer feathers of ducks or geese, which come from the bird’s back, chest, or wings. A down pillow, on the other hand, is filled with mostly down feathers or clusters. Down feathers are the under-feathers, beneath the rougher outer ones. Down is much softer, making a more luxurious pillow filling.
Of course, down pillows are not always entirely down. A pillow can contain 75% of down while the other 25% can consist of regular feathers. Others although also named as ‘down pillows’ may have only 5% of down inside which makes them barely different from regular feather pillows. Check out the ratio, so you know what you’re getting.
There are also people out there who are allergic to down but are still interested in the comfort a down pillow offers. For them, the best down alternative pillow, like the Sable Goose Down Alternative Bed Pillow, is the best option. These pillows are made using natural or synthetic fibers, like cotton, which can be created to feel and act similar to down. These types of pillows are also a bit cheaper than the more expensive natural down products.
Every down product on the market, including pillows, comforters, jackets, or sleeping bags, all have a fill power rating on them. This measures the loft that particular product has. Fill power is calculated by figuring out exactly how many cubic inches one ounce of down takes up when at its maximum loft.
The higher the fill power of the pillow, the fluffier it will be. Many people find a higher loft to be more comfortable as well. Though pillows with a fill power rating of 500 or higher are decent pillows, the highest quality pillows have a rating of 750 or more. Of course, the higher fill power also adds to the cost of the pillow, so if you’re on a budget, it may be best to stick with a lower fill power rating.
Fill power uses volume for its measurements, but filling weight uses the actual weight of the down itself. This shows you the actual amount of down that is inside the pillow, telling you how heavy the down, and the pillow, will be. The filling weight of down pillows varies from pillow to pillow, too. For instance, the DOWNLITE Hypoallergenic Soft Down Pillow has a fill weight of 16 ounces, while the puredown Natural Goose Down Feather White Pillow has 33 ounces, almost double the weight of the lighter pillow. If you need the best down travel pillow, the first one is a better option, but for home use, the right fill weight is a matter of preference.
Like many other pillows on the market, down pillows have varying firmness levels. Which one you choose depends on your preferred sleeping position. The firmer a pillow is, the thicker it will be, keeping your head higher than a soft pillow would.
So, if you are a stomach sleeper, a soft pillow that has your head lower and aligned with your body is the best choice. For those who like to sleep on their back, a medium pillow is a better choice, giving you a bit more elevation.
Side sleepers need a firm pillow to keep their heads up and their spine straight. Otherwise, if their head and neck aren’t supported, they will likely be dealing with some neck pain in the morning. Of course, the size of your shoulders also factors in, as wider shoulders will need a firmer and thicker pillow to keep their head up. A slimmer person doesn’t need as much firmness, so a medium or medium-firm pillow may offer enough support.
Though you may be buying these pillows for the down filling, the cover is also an important feature to consider. A cover that is rough on your skin isn’t very comfortable, no matter how soft the down inside is. Softer materials, like cotton, are much better than rougher synthetic fibers, plus add some breathability to your pillow.
You should also check out the thread count of the cover. The thread count shows the number of threads there are in every square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the more threads there are. This helps in a few ways. The more threads, the more durable the material will be. It also creates a thicker barrier for the down and feathers to escape through.
Another thing to look at is the stitching around the sides of the cover. It should be very well done, with no gaps between them. Otherwise, the down could leak out, leaving small feathers inside your pillowcase or all over your bed.
If the cover is removable, it should have a decent zipper, like a YKK one. These are extra strong so that they can handle some pillow shifting during the night. They also won’t fall apart in the washing machine or dryer.
Like other types of pillows on the market, the best soft down pillow will come in a few different sizes. All the products on our list come in a variety of sizes and even firmness levels, like the Royal Hotel Medium Firm Down Pillow. The only product with just one size option is the DOWNLITE Hypoallergenic Soft Down Pillow, which only comes in the standard size. Though this is the smallest size available, it is still a decent pillow for home, plus is an excellent size for travel.
Down pillows are bought for comfort, but there are a few extra features that make any down pillow even better. One is an adjustable loft, like the customizable fill of the Sable Goose Down Alternative Bed Pillow. This allows you to add or remove as much filling as you like to give you the proper firmness for your preferred sleeping position.
A zipper on the cover allows you to remove the filling, making it easier to wash and dry. If the entire pillow is machine washable, including the down filling, this is even more convenient and saves you the added cost of a dry cleaning bill.
You may also want to check out where the pillow materials come from. Some types of down are Responsible Down Standard certified. This means that the down is harvested using safe and humane measures, so the birds are not being mistreated to make your pillow. Where the pillow is assembled is also something to consider, as manufacturing standards are higher in certain areas than in others.
Tips to maintain a down pillow
If you take care of it, your down pillow can last for decades. To do so properly, follow these tips:
Use a zip-on cover and a pillowcase to protect your pillow from dust, moisture, and natural oils.
Fluff them daily to redistribute the filling and prevent dust.
Air them out on a clothesline, out of direct sunlight, once a month.
For small stains, use a mild detergent for spot cleaning.
Check the label to be sure of washing instructions (machine washable, dry clean only, etc.).
Hand-wash or use a front-loading washing machine for washing covers or pillows.
Tumble dry on low heat with clean, dry towels for excess moisture absorption.
Add clean tennis balls in cotton socks to help redistribute down.
Check cover regularly for tears and fix any immediately.
For side sleepers, a medium to firm pillow is best, depending on the width of your shoulders. The fill power is more of a personal preference, though, so it depends on how fluffy you like your pillow to be. If you want it to be really thick, higher fill power is best.
Down pillows are quite a bit more durable than some other pillows on the market. Because they don`t have the spines and quills of regular feathers, they won`t wear out as quickly. The down also doesn`t break down as easily as synthetic filling will, so it lasts longer. The larger the clusters of down are, the more life the pillow will have.
The best down pillow can give you a great night`s sleep, but with so many brands to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one to buy. To help, here are our top choices.
The East Coast Bedding 100% White Goose Down Pillow is our favorite. It comes in three sizes, with 100% goose down filling, has 500 fill power, and a fill weight of 25 ounces. On the outside is a durable soft cotton cover with a 300 thread count.
The Royal Hotel Medium Firm Down Pillow is also a great choice, also with 100% goose down filling. The fill power is 700 for extra loft, plus it comes in two sizes with a variety of firmness options. The cover is soft 500 thread count cotton with double silky piping for extra seam strength.
If you`re allergic to down, the Sable Goose Down Alternative Bed Pillow is a good option, especially if you`re on a budget. It uses cotton for the filling, which is adjustable using the zipper in the removable cotton cover, so you can customize it to your preferred sleeping position.