6 Best Down Pillows – Complete Guide And Benefits Of Using

Quite a few people tend to underestimate the importance of a good pillow, but that’s changing. This explains why an increasing number of people are showing interest in getting the best down pillows they can get. They’re among the best pillows, since they were first designed for royalty.

True, a lot of focus seems to be on mattresses when it comes to providing a good night’s sleep. It’s also crucial that your bedroom interior design is soothing and relaxing. Yet your pillow holds your head, and when you turn the material is right there by your nose. A pillow is a lot more important than you may think, and getting down pillows can do you a lot of good.

Where to Get Your Product Info

When you’re buying down pillows, you can’t just pick one at random and think that one is as good as the other. That’s not exactly true. Some down pillows are better than others, while you may also find more cost-effective options. But you have to be careful, as you may just get one that isn’t down at all.

If you’re picking by yourself, there are factors to consider. But where do you get your information? Much of it will probably come from the advertising copy released by the manufacturer. While that can be helpful, they’re not exactly objective.

This means that you need to do some research on the manufacturer brand’s reputation. At the very least, you can Google the brand and find out more about the company.

In addition, you should check out the various verified customer reviews that you can find in 3rd-party online retail stores. Sure, you may find reviews on the manufacturers’ websites, but you can’t be too sure if they’re not publishing negative reviews or even featuring false rave reviews.

Of course, you should also take a look at our list of options.

6 Best Down Pillows

Here are some of the best down pillows you need to look at:

1. Coop Home Goods - PREMIUM Adjustable Loft

Let’s start with something extremely popular, with tens of thousands of online rave reviews. This Cooper Home Gods pillow isn’t technically a down pillow, as it uses its secret mix of shredded Visco-elastic memory foam. It’s available in king and queen-sized versions.

  • You can just add or remove foam to adjust it to your sleeping position.
  • It offers great ventilation.
  • The foam is CertiPUR-US Certified.
  • It’s both hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites.
  • The cover is 60% polyester and 40% bamboo-derived
  • It’s machine-washable.
  • It’s made in the US.
  • The warranty is for 5 years and during that time it’s guaranteed to not go flat.
  • You get a satisfaction guarantee for 100 days. If you’re not satisfied during this time, you can return it with no questions asked.

2. Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Combination Shredded Memory Foam Full Body Pillow

This is another extremely popular pillow, and in fact the supply often can’t keep up with the demand. Again, it’s technically not a down pillow, but its materials offer the same down advantages without the drawbacks.

  • It uses a mix of special hypo-allergenic and extremely low V.O.C. Biogreen memory foam and CertiPUR-U.S. certified foam.
  • It’s extremely breathable, due to the soft foam pieces and the special micro-vented bamboo cover.
  • It can be used in any sleeping position.
  • It’s lighter and more resilient than the typical shredded memory foam pillows.
  • It’s hypoallergenic and dust mite-resistant.
  • It’s made in the US.
  • The warranty is for 20 years.
  • The satisfaction guarantee is for 120 days.

3. SmartHome Bedding 2-Pack Hotel Collection Plush Pillow

This is another affordable set of pillows as it uses down alternative materials. It’s available in queen and king-sized versions. It is quite popular as well and not just because it’s affordable. You just need to let it fluff up completely out of the box for at least 24 hours.

  • It’s made in the US.
  • You can use it regardless of your preferred sleeping position.
  • The soft fiber filling offers relief for those with down feather allergies.
  • The cover is half cotton and half polyester.
  • It resists shifting and compression over time.
  • It’s machine-washable.
  • There’s no readily available word regarding the warranty or its satisfaction guarantee, however.

4. Continental Bedding 100% Premium White Goose Down Luxury Pillow, 550 Fill Power

Now this is more expensive than the down alternative options mentioned earlier on this list, but then this uses Premium 100% 26-ounce White Goose Down with no regular feathers at all. It’s available in standard, queen, and king-sized versions.

  • The fill power is 550.
  • The cover is made from 100% Egyptian cotton with a 300 thread count.
  • It’s made in the US.
  • It’s for all sleeping positions.
  • Though it’s made of real down, it’s also hypoallergenic.
  • It’s recommended that you dry clean this only.
  • There’s also no readily available info regarding the warranty or satisfaction guarantee.

5. Luxuredown Goose Down Pillow, Medium Firm

If you’re not too sure whether to go soft or firm for your pillow, take the safe route and go with medium firm. This pillow from Luxuredown is recommended for back and side sleepers.

  • It’s made of 100% goose down
  • Its fill power is 650, so you can expect great loft.
  • It’s made in the US.
  • The cover is 100% cotton.
  • There’s no easily accessible info regarding warranty or satisfaction guarantee.

6. Down Alternative Pillow Cotton Cover Super Plush Microfiber Fill

We round up this list with another affordable down alternative pillow filled with down-like filling. It’s made to be right in the middle of being too soft and too firm.

  • It uses 100% hypoallergenic microfiber fill.
  • It’s hypoallergenic.
  • The 100% cotton cover is breathable and airy, and it has a 300-thread count.
  • It comes with a 1.5-inch gusset for additional loft.
  • It’s for all sleeping positions.
  • It arrives in a clear plastic case instead of being vacuum-sealed.
  • It’s machine-washable.
  • The warranty is for a year.

What is Down Pillow?

Down pillows is a rather luxurious type of pillow, and in fact it was first made for royalty. It’s actually rather more expensive than regular feather pillows, but the demand for it is quite high nonetheless.

It’s not surprising that it’s popular because it can do wonders for the quality of your sleep. The down filling it contains is extremely soft and cuddly, which makes it extremely comfortable. It is also more breathable, and it’s cooler too so it’s great for warm climates and seasons.

A down pillow can be re-cased as well. If its current cover is damaged or stained, the filling can be taken and filled into a new cover. The down pillow may need maintenance and regular cleaning (along with a new pillowcase whenever necessary), but it can last for a decade. In fact, some have been known to last for 20 years.

What’s Inside a Down Pillow?

“Down” in down pillows doesn’t refer to direction. Instead, down refers to the cluster of select feathers that comes from ducks or geese. These are typically taken from the chest, back, and wings of the birds. Regular “feather” pillows, on the other hand, contain the outer feathers of the same birds.

Technically speaking, a down pillow must only contain 25% regular feathers at the most. The rest can be down feathers or some sort of similar filling.

Benefits of Using Down Pillows

PROS
  • They look great. There’s no doubt about the inherent aesthetics of down pillows. They look fuller and plumper compared to their skinnier counterparts with regular feathers or synthetics. So even just by looking it at it.
  • Opulent to the touch. This doesn’t just look great, but it feels fantastic too. It offers not just comfort but adequate support for your head and neck. It’s airy and soft, and it’s like sleeping among the clouds.
  • Durability. As we’ve mentioned, you can expect this to last about 8 to 10 years, but some are known to have lasted much longer.
CONS
  • It loses shape. It’s just like other pillows that it may eventually lose its shape. But you can always just fluff and shake it right back to its proper form. In fact, this fluffing and shaking process doesn’t take as much time as with regular pillows.
  • They are expensive. This is to be expected, as you have to pay for the best. However, many consider this an investment—every cent spent on this is worth the high quality sleep and comfort you can gain with its use. It’s also obviously not as expensive as buying a new mattress!

What are the Types of Down Pillows?

Here are the basic types of pillows to choose from:

Goose

This is considered the most luxurious version of the down pillow. With an excellent goose down pillow, any sleeplessness you experience won’t be due to a substandard pillow.

Duck Down

This may not typically be as expensive or as luxurious as the goose, but the quality of the down feathers matter as well. You’re likely better off with an excellent duck down pillow than an average goose down pillow.

Down Alternative

These pillows can contain synthetic materials or natural fibers. While technically these are not down pillows, you may find that the alternative materials used may just be as soft, rich, and breathable as down feathers.

What’s Better: Down or Down Alternative?

So how does the down feathers compare with their alternative versions? Down alternatives are quite popular as well, since they’re not as expensive as their authentic down counterparts. But if they can offer the same softness and airiness, then they’re certainly a cost-effective option.

The down alternatives are also a much better option for you if you’re allergic or sensitive to down feathers. As these alternatives are either synthetic or natural but non-down materials, you shouldn’t show any allergy symptoms no matter how much these materials simulate the luxuriousness of real down pillows.

What’s Better: Duck or Goose Down Pillows?

If you insist on authentic down feathers in your pillow, which should you choose—the goose or the duck feathers? Usually, the product descriptions will tell you which variety has been used in a particular down pillow. However, you may be surprised to know that often both varieties are present in the pillow.

If you do have only duck or goose, then you need to choose as they both have their own sets of pros and cons. But in general, goose is better.
  • The goose down usually comes from larger and older birds. This makes the goose down more durable and more resilient than their duck down counterpart.
  •  Goose down clusters are usually larger than duck down clusters.
  • You won’t have as much odor issues with goose down as with duck down. In other words, duck down will tend to smell worse.
  • The fill power of goose down is greater than that of duck down.

However, don’t forget that the quality of the down material can still be more important than the source of the down feathers. A so-so quality goose down pillow won’t be as great as a high quality duck down pillow.

What Does Fill Power Mean?

We’ve mentioned that goose down has greater fill power than duck down, but what does that mean? The term “fill power” refers to the loft or fluffiness of the pillow. It’s true that some people say that the fill power of the pillow doesn’t really figure highly in how they regard their pillow.

But the truth of the matter is that for most people, it does matter. The fluffier the pillow is, the more people will regard it as luxurious. People feel that when the fill power is greater, so is the pillow’s insulation.

Technically, the fill power is measured by the volume occupied by a single ounce of down feathers. Most people regard a fill power of 500 as the absolute minimum you need to consider, while for some the sweet spot is at 650 or higher. The truly high quality down pillows tend to boast of at least 750 fill power.

Do remember that in general, a higher fill power also means a higher price. So if 650 fill power is good enough for you, you may not need to pay more to get a fill power of 750.

What’s the Thread Count?

This is a factor that can be seen on your pillow cover. It refers to how many threads you have within a single square inch of the pillow cover fabric.

Why is this important? You need to factor this in because feathers have “spines” and so they may poke through your pillow cover fabric. They’re more liable to poke through if the thread count is low, since there’s not as much fabric to keep the feathers from escaping. But if the thread count is high, it’s less likely for the feathers to poke through.

Hypoallergenic Down Pillows

As has been mentioned, a number of people are allergic to down pillows. A few are allergic to the feathers themselves. In addition, the feathers tend to trap various allergens inside, such as dust mites, pollen, animal dander, and even mold spores. Allergic reactions can cause headaches, coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes.

But down pillows can actually be hypoallergenic in some ways. The manufacturers may process the down feathers they use and they may become resistant to dust mites as well.

Of course, the most hypoallergenic of them all the “down pillows” that are actually stuffed with down alternatives and no down feathers at all.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Down Pillows

Here are the factors that you should consider when you read reviews from experts and customers:

1. Your Sleeping Position

Just as you take your sleeping position into account when you get a mattress, you also factor it in when you get a down pillow. It matters if you sleep on your back, on your side, or on your stomach.

  • If you sleep on your back, you don’t need as much loft. So the fill power doesn’t have to be that high.
  • If you sleep on your side, then the lift power needs to be greater. The pillow should be fluffy enough to provide support of up to 4 to 6 inches.
  • Sleeping on your stomach is a bit more complicated. If you sleep this way with your head to the side, then you don’t really need as much support. But you may need more cushioning if you’re a woman, if you sleep partially sideways and partially on your stomach, or if you sleep with your body over your arms.

2. Pillow Cover

The quality of the cover will also come into play, especially if you sleep to the side or on your stomach. If it’s smoother, then you’ll sleep better.

You also have to keep the thread count in mind, as you don’t want the feathers poking out of the cover.

3. How Easy is It to Clean?

Some are easier to clean than others, and we’re not referring to just the covers. You also have to clean the feathers inside so that you don’t accumulate allergens and foul smells. With goose feathers, you may have to resort to dry cleaning instead of just putting them into a washing machine.

4. How Much Does It Cost?

Every responsible consumer needs to factor the price, obviously. It’s best if you spend enough to get a luxurious feel and a good night’s sleep, without spending more money on a higher quality that you would appreciate anyway.

Just remember that goose down is the most expensive, and you’ll pay more for a higher fill power and thread count. Down alternatives can bring down the cost considerably—and you’re less likely to experience allergic reactions as well.

5. How Comfortable Is It for You?

This seems like it depends greatly on personal preference. However, most of the time people are more comfortable with higher fill power and a greater percentage of down feathers compared to the amount of regular feathers in the pillow.

6. How Long Will the Pillow Last?

This is harder to gauge, as most customer reviews won’t be able to say how long their pillows last because they tend to last for years. But you can check on the reviews to note how many people complain about some sort of defect on their pillows.

7. Return Policy and Warranty

The length of the warranty also gives a clue as to the expected durability of a down pillow. In general, a longer warranty indicates that the manufacturer expects its down pillow to last longer than its competitors.

You should also check on the unconditional return policy, which allows you to return a pillow if you simply don’t like or it doesn’t suit your preferences. Some of these return policy periods last for just 30 days, while others are more generous at 90 days.

Down Pillow Maintenance

These pillows come with a manual, and you should follow its maintenance and cleaning instructions. If you get the most expensive goose down pillows, you may as well spend money having it dry cleaned. Some brands specifically call for dry cleaning, and using a washing machine with them may void your warranty.

In most cases, however, both down pillows and down alternative pillows can be machine-washed. Set the machine on a delicate cycle, use cold water, and put in a mild liquid detergent. Wash the pillows 2 at a time to balance the load. You may want to run a separate rinse cycle to make sure you get rid of the soap residue completely.

After the washing, dry them on low heat. Put in a new tennis ball to keep the pillow fluffy. Make sure they’re completely dry before you put them back on your bed, as the moisture can lead to mold growth. 


The conclusion is simple enough. If you care about the quality of your sleep, you have to care about the quality of your pillows. Down pillows offer the most luxurious feel and they can help you sleep more soundly at night.

Even if they’re a bit more expensive, they’re certainly more affordable than upgrading your mattress. In addition, it doesn’t make sense buying an expensive mattress and settling for mediocre pillows. Try any of the down pillows on our list, and you may find yourself enjoying a good night’s sleep like never before.

Billy L. Osorio
 

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