Feather vs. Down Pillow: What’s the Difference?

Romeo Vitelli
Romeo Vitelli
Expert Writer
Received his doctorate in Psychology in 1987, spent fifteen years as a staff psychologist in Millbrook Correctional Centre. In 2003 went into full-time private practice. read more
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Last updated: August 13, 2023
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Resting your head after the hard day’s work is essential. Equally important is having a good night’s rest. Thus, pillows are necessary for a good night’s rest.

The right pillow can help in the proper positioning of your head while sleeping. This, in turn, reduces neck pains and the inability to sleep. You can choose to make use of any of the two popular types – feather or down pillows.

Usually, a lot of people do not know the differences between these types.

To extensively discuss their differences, we shall look at their materials. Also, we shall give you the best maintenance tips for both types of pillows Trusted Source Pillow - Wikipedia pillow is a support of the body at rest for comfort, therapy, or decoration. en.m.wikipedia.org .

Which Type Is Better?

In most cases, people find it difficult to point out the difference between the two types of pillow. Both pillows are indeed made from materials gotten from the body of a duck or a goose. However, a clear definition of the two pillows can help in identifying the difference.

What Is a Feather Pillow?

Feather vs. Down Pillow: What's the Difference?A feather pillow is made from feathers gotten from the back or the wings of either a duck or a goose. A feather pillow consists of quills from the feather used. This, at times, is the cause of irritation to some people. Although, a feather pillow is heavier and not as luxurious as a down pillow.

Most times, a feather pillow is best considered for a decorative pillow rather than a sleeping pillow. This is because a thin pillowcase will expose you to poking by the quills.

In case a feather pillow is your choice, we recommend the White Goose feather pillow.

What Is a Down pillow? 

Feather vs. Down Pillow: What's the Difference?Unlike the feather model, a down pillow is made from soft-like clusters gotten from the down area of the birds. They are softer and less heavy compared to a feather pillow. The pillow contains an air-trapping ability, which makes it fluffier. Down pillows are considered luxurious and therefore more expensive than feather pillows.

One major challenge with a down pillow is its tendency to get flat quickly. This happens especially when the fill power is not of a good standard. Ready to have the best experience with a down pillow? You should check out the East Coast Bedding Down pillow.

Notable Differences between Feather and Down Pillows 

It has been earlier stated that there are some differences between feather and down pillows. Much more than the materials being made of. The difference between the two pillows can also be seen in the following;

    • Shape: The feather pillow has a flat structure as a result of the flatness of the feathers. Meanwhile, a Down pillow has a fluffier structure due to its softness and air-trapping ability.
    • Feel: A feather pillow is most time harder and poking due to the presence of quills. Dow pillow on its own is soft and tender to the body.
    • Cost: A Down pillow is considered luxurious and therefore more expensive than a feather pillow. However, whether feather or down pillow, the cost may not determine your choice.

Down Cluster 

Feather vs. Down Pillow: What's the Difference?It has been said that a Down pillow is made from the down area of either a duck or a goose. The down area consists of a soft feather that looks like cotton. The down cluster is, therefore, the constituent of a down pillow. They make it fluffier, soft, and very tender.

The down cluster is said to be spherical and round. This shape contributed to the shape of the down pillow in general. Also, it makes it plump and gives a soothing feeling to the user.

However, the down cluster can differ depending on the animal. The down feather Trusted Source Down feather - Wikipedia The down of birds is a layer of fine feathers found under the tougher exterior feathers. en.m.wikipedia.org of a goose is different from that of a duck. A Goose down cluster is rare and bigger than that of a duck down cluster. As a result, a Goose down has a higher fill power than that of a duck.

The down clusters are also responsible for the durability of the down pillow. It makes it more resilient and helps to return to its position after sleep.

What Does a Feather Look Like? 

As for the feather pillow, it is made of unique material. They are very much softer than the normal bird feather. The Goose feathers especially are softer and more tender for pillows.

The feather consists of quills in the middle and hairs attached to the quill. The quill is the major strongest part of the feather and responsible for holding the hair strands together. Quills, if too hard, can result in itching and poking the skin.

Fill Power and Its Rating 

In comparing feather and down pillows, the fill power is worth mentioning. However, the fill power only associates with a down pillow. Feather pillows do not have fill power.

We define the fill power as the degree to which a down pillow is soft or fluffy. A down pillow differs in its fill power. The higher the fill power, the higher the quality of such a pillow. Consequently, the larger the down cluster present in the pillow and its insulating power.

The fill power measurement for the down pillow is in between 500 and 850 fill power. The fill power of down pillows with a smaller down cluster will be around 500FP and 650FP. At the same time, pillows with larger down clusters have a fill power of 700FP up-to 800FP. However, down pillows with lesser fill power are not as expensive as ones with higher fill power.

Fill power is determined by the sizes of the down cluster. And heavy and big down clusters can only be found with birds that have been kept for a very long time. As a result of this, older birds are best considered when making a down pillow.

What is the Best Pillow Design? 

Feather vs. Down Pillow: What's the Difference?The best pillow design cannot be outrightly determined by us. This is because there is always a difference in the choices of everyone. This is made known by an online debate on people’s choice of the pillow by  bbc.co.uk Trusted Source Fluffy vs flat: the great pillow debate is taking over the internet - BBC Three Are you flat, foam, or fluffy-curious? www.bbc.co.uk . While many people consider down pillows as the best, some others choose feather pillows over the latter.

The decision and choices of everyone are as well guided by the features offered by the two pillows. A lot of people enjoy the flatness of the feather pillow and, as such, made it their choice. The feather pillow is also notable for the decoration of chairs and other cushions. It has also been listed by the  Washingtonpost.com Trusted Source Designer secrets to up your decorative pillow game - The Washington Post Rules for size, shape, pattern and fluff factor that will help you get the most mileage out of these decorating staples. www.google.com  as a good pillow for decorating the sitting room.

The down pillow on its own is notable for its softness and fluffiness. Most people choose a pillow not because of its luxury but because of its tenderness to the body. The shape as well as an added advantage as it complements its quality design and features. Down pillows have also proven to last longer than feather pillows.

However, we can only give our sincere review of both designs while we leave you to make your decision. You must carefully analyze some factors before you make your choice of pillow. These factors include shape, temperature, longevity, tenderness, and comfort. All these are important to aid the right choice of pillow.

Necessary Things to Watch out for When Using your Pillow 

Feather vs. Down Pillow: What's the Difference?Just like most of our properties and belongings, there is a right and wrong usage of a pillow. In making use of your pillow, there are certain things to avoid and to Watch out for.

This is necessary to enhance the healthy use of the pillow and its longevity. The following are precautionary measures to be taken when using any type of pillows.

  • Follow users guide and instructions from the manufacturer – You must abide by the instructions given by the manufacturer of your pillow. These instructions are necessary for the longevity of your pillow. As you know, down pillows always come with instructions not to wash them. Washing a down pillow can result in the soaking of the down cluster, which may affect its fluffiness and shape.
  • Use the right pillowcase – Making use of the right pillowcase is important to enjoy the effectiveness of your pillow. A feather pillow as it is should be used with a thick pillowcase and not a thin one. This will discourage the penetration of the quill into the skin. A soft and thin pillowcase will help complement the softness of your down pillow.
  • Cleanse your face before going to bed – Ensuring that your face is thoroughly rinsed and dried before making use of your bed is important. This helps to keep your pillow clean and free of stains. Failure to do this might result in skin irritation and even damage the pillow’s quality. You must understand that your pillow should stay free of water, oil, and any other thing that can cause damage to it.

Maintenance Tips for Your Pillow 

Feather vs. Down Pillow: What's the Difference?Learning to maintain your pillow, either feather or down one, properly is essential. The right maintenance will aid the durability and the longevity of the pillow. Even a down pillow can become flat in no time if not properly maintained. The following are maintenance tips for your pillow.

  • Wash the pillowcase regularlyRegularly washing the pillowcase will keep your pillow in a healthy and good condition. Ensure that you do this periodically without minding its usage. A clean pillowcase will enhance the right sleep and complement the quality of the pillow.
  • Do not stand or kneel on your pillow – Regardless of the durability of your pillow, it is made to accommodate the lesser weight. Therefore, avoid standing, sitting, or kneeling on the pillow.

Final Thought 

Pillows are necessary for healthy sleep and optimum enjoyment. They help in the right positioning of your head, which discourages neck pains. But which one is better for you – feather or down pillow?

After considering their features, you are at liberty to decide which is best over the other. Nonetheless, the article has taken the durability, cost, and features of each pillow into consideration. The material being used in the manufacturing of each product was also discussed.

While feather pillows are flat and notable for their hardness, the down pillows are soft and said to have fill power, which is the rate of its fluffiness. The right usage and the maintenance tips to enhance the durability of the pillow is a key factor to be taken into the note.


Pillow - Wikipedia
pillow is a support of the body at rest for comfort, therapy, or decoration.
Down feather - Wikipedia
The down of birds is a layer of fine feathers found under the tougher exterior feathers.
Fluffy vs flat: the great pillow debate is taking over the internet - BBC Three
Are you flat, foam, or fluffy-curious?
Designer secrets to up your decorative pillow game - The Washington Post
Rules for size, shape, pattern and fluff factor that will help you get the most mileage out of these decorating staples.
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