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The right pillow choice can make the difference between fitful sleep and a good night’s rest. Look for one that will meet your criteria for softness, thickness, temperature neutrality, and more. After all, these factors can and will affect your sleep quality and duration.
Among the most common types of pillows found in stores are goose down pillows. They are especially popular among people who like to lay their heads down on a really soft surface.
A down pillow is filled by definition with down (the underside of geese or ducks), supplementing the coarse outer feathers that provide additional support to the pillow. However, some pillows are made of 100 percent down.
These types of pillows tend to have higher price tags, and all-down pillows are even more expensive, as down is rarer. However, there are so many reasons why people tend to spend the money on down pillows - they are soft, supportive, moldable, and breathable (which allows them to sleep fairly cool). However, the biggest drawback is the possibility of allergies for some individuals.
When looking to buy a down pillow, it is likely you will see many different styles and characteristics to choose from. In this guide, you’ll find our picks for the best down pillows sold today, their pros and cons, as well as tips for the first-time buyers.
The Best Down Pillows
- East Coast Bedding: the best down pillow overall
- DOWNLITE: the best extra soft down pillow
- Royal Bedding: the best down pillow set
- Luxuredown: the best medium firm down pillow
- Queen Anne: the best synthetic down pillow
- Egyptian Bedding: the best down pillow for cover
- Continental Bedding: the best down pillow for the money
- Royal Hotel: the best adjustable down pillow
- Downluxe: the best gusseted down pillow
Table of Contents
The Best Down Pillows Comparison Table
- Made exclusively in the USA
- Comprises 600 fill power duck down
- Comes with 500-thread count cotton cover
- 100% white goose down fill
- Handcrafted in the USA
- 1200 Thread Count, 100% Egyptian cotton cover
- 100% Egyptian cotton, 400-thread count
- Made with 650 fill power with 75 percent down ratio
- Two layers of soft cotton don’t allow for feather pricks
The Best Down Pillows Reviews
East Coast Bedding: The Best Down Pillow Overall
Ignore your pillows of the past, and consider laying your head down on this premium-quality soft goose down pillow. You may never want to go back to regular pillows again.
East Coast Bedding uses high-quality pure white goose down, made exclusively in the U.S. It has a European 800 fill power to ensure you get the highest quality pillow you can purchase on the market. The higher loft makes it suitable for side sleepers. In an effort to match the white goose down quality, the company’s pillows are covered with a solid white sateen 400-thread count cotton fabric shell.
You can choose between the fill amounts:
Standard size – 20 oz.
Queen size – 25 oz.
King size – 28 oz.
East Coast Bedding uses the down filling that is Responsible Down Certified, which means their down is ethically extracted from white geese. When it comes to the best down pillows, this is certainly a top contender.
DOWNLITE: The Best Extra Soft Down Pillow
Downlite’s Extra Soft down pillow comprises 100 percent white duck down with a 600 fill power. It has a 250-thread count cotton damask shell that gives it a smooth feel. A 250-tread count sounds low when comparing it to the other options available, but it’s great to increase the pillow’s breathability and fight against heat retention. If you sleep hot, this is a good choice.
Stomach sleepers will find much benefit from using this product, because the loft, while on the lower side, doesn’t flatten or lose shape, ensuring perfect spinal alignment. People who need more loft can add this pillow to the one they already have on their bed.
Some down pillows are just not great in terms of allergies, but Downlite is hypoallergenic, meaning you won’t be plagued with allergies all night long. The pillow can be washed and dried in a machine and can be found in three sizes – standard, queen, and king.
Royal Bedding: The Best Down Pillow Set
Royal Bedding offers a pillow set of two units, which includes a soft 500-thread count cotton cover. It’s a goose down pillow, which is edged with double silky piping, so you get a cleaner finish. The large wads of white down filling are free of bacteria, to give the most comfort possible and to be free of allergies.
Both pillows have a factory seal with 750 fill power and a 75 percent down ratio. Just 25 percent of the fill is made up of smaller feathers (to add more support). Each pillow measures 20 x 28 inches and should only be dry cleaned.
Luxuredown: The Best Medium Firm Option
When you’re looking for the best down pillow for back and side sleepers, then LuxureDown is what you’re looking for. It’s a high-quality pillow with a mid-loft that comprises 100 percent white goose down and a 650 fill power. The pillow has a significant loft and warmth but doesn’t lock in so much heat that it becomes unbearable to sleep.
Another great aspect is that you can mold it to fit your shape needed for good sleep. Enveloped with 100 percent cotton sateen shell with a 330-thread count, the pillow is also hypoallergenic.
Queen Anne: The Best Synthetic Down Option
The pillow from Queen Anne is made of premium synthetic down alternative. Thanks to the finely-spun polyester clusters, it feels like an actual goose down pillow. They are equally distributed throughout the pillow and won’t clump up, unlike cheap alternatives.
The product can be thrown into a washer, and you can find it with a firm, mid, or soft fill in three sizes – king, queen, or standard. Anybody can use this pillow, depending on the type of firmness you choose. Stomach sleepers will see better benefits with the softer pillow, whereas the back and side sleepers may need something firmer. The company offers a useful chart to help you choose the right option to aid you while you sleep.
Since it’s hypoallergenic, you get a reprieve from respiratory problems. People with sensitive skin can also benefit from this product. The synthetic down has no chemical odor, and it doesn’t contain any flame retardants or PBDEs.
Queen Anne has a cotton 300-thread count cover with bright white sateen stripes that’s been sewn in using a durable, double-stitched thread. The pillow includes the company’s unique purple edges that extend the pillow’s shape.
Many well-known companies – Marriott, Royal Caribbean, and Hilton – bought the original Queen Anne pillow for their guests. While this choice is expensive, it’s a noteworthy contender. We didn’t find any notable warranty, but the company does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Egyptian Bedding: The Best Down Pillow for Cover
Egyptian Bedding has an 80/20 down-to-feather ratio with a 750 Fill Power that provides ultimate support and comfort and is still rather soft. With this feather percentage, you get the durability, and firm support side sleepers need, while the pillow still stays soft and moldable.
Its1,200-thread count Egyptian cotton cover with ultra-fine threads produces a soft, breathable texture. The seams have been double-stitched and piped to ensure the down and feathers don’t poke out from the pillow, and it remains durable for many years.
The product arrives vacuum-sealed, and the manufacturer recommends to let it fluff for up to 12 hours to get the shape you want without a lot of fluffing needed later.
The Egyptian Bedding pillows are moldable, supportive, and ideal for any sleeping position, but you should always get the right size for proper head and neck support.
Continental Bedding: The Best Down Pillow For The Money
Continental Bedding can be found in many sizes and fills – firm to soft – to fit a plethora of sleeping needs, making it one of the more luxurious geese down pillows on the market. Similar to other down pillow choices, it’s quite lofty when plumped up, but quickly settles under your bodyweight. It fills the space between your neck and head to offer ultimate support and aid in relaxation.
The fine 300-thread count 100 percent cotton cover allows for a breathable surface. It’s durable fabric, and double-stitched seams ensure the fill remains in place, and the pillow lasts for many years. Another great aspect of Continental Bedding is that it can be washed and dried in the machine and is hypoallergenic – ideal for allergy sufferers.
It’s a great pillow for any sleeping position due to its soft support and large size. If you like how a down pillow feels, you may need to check this pillow out.
Royal Hotel: The Best Adjustable
Sleepers, who like the idea of choosing their firmness level will want to use the Royal Hotel Down Pillow. It comes in 4 potential levels: adjustable, firm, medium-firm, and soft.
With the adjustable option, you get a memory foam insert that you can leave in or take out based on your preference. If the insert is left in, the pillow’s memory foam core will be enveloped by moldable down, adding in more weight and structure to the pillow while maintaining a plush feel. Thanks to these firmness choices, the product is ideal for anybody – no matter what sleep position.
Every Royal Hotel pillow uses the 650 Fill Power with 75 percent white goose down to give them extra softness and moldability. The 500-thread count cotton cover provides an ample amount of durability and smoothness as well as sheer comfort. People who have allergies will also love this product for its hypoallergenic nature.
Downluxe: The Best Gusseted Down Pillow
These Downluxe down pillows provide you with the best support and softness one can find on the market. They are made of the best down feather fill that can be easily fluffed to ensure ultimate comfort while sleeping. Offering the best softness you can find, they still provide great support, whether you are a side sleeper, back sleeper, or stomach sleeper.
Downluxe is made with goose down and feathers, making it extremely soft and hypoallergenic. It also comes with a 100 percent JACQUARD cover and a decorative piped edge. Thanks to its double-layered fabric design, the feathers are unlikely to poke you or make a lot of noise while you sleep. The pillow’s fill remains in place thanks to the high-quality stitching and reinforced seams.
Best of all, it’s Oekotex 100 approved, meaning the product is free of dangerous toxins and safe for you and your family to use. Independent third-party audits the Downluxe down and it’s RDS (Responsible Down Standards) Certified. It’s both odorless and hypoallergenic, which means it’s exceptionally breathable so you can stay cool all night long.
Another wonderful aspect? You can toss these pillows into the washer, so they look and feel new all the time.
What Is A Down Pillow?
Down pillows are made of down - underside feathers of geese and ducks. These feathers are much softer and lightweight than the exterior feathers (which are a bit coarse). Aside from comfort, down will also protect users from the winter season because it heats and insulates from the cold. For this reason, it’s also found in layering vests and quilted winter jackets.
The only real drawback is that natural down can cause allergies for some people.
Some manufacturers will make a down-blend pillow, which is a mixture of interior and exterior feather fill. In these products, the feather fill is placed in the middle with down surrounding it to keep the surface soft. A pillow cannot be marketed as a down pillow unless it contains at least 75 percent of down or more. The cost of pillows with 100 percent down fill is much more expensive than those made of a down blend.
In your search for the best down pillows, you should also distinguish different types of down from ‘down alternative.’ Let’s look at this in more detail.
Types of Down Pillows
Down alternative pillows mimic natural down very closely, which can be a bit deceptive. This fill is manufactured in a factory using synthetic materials and polyester microfibers. Still, it’s not as cheap as the polyester fill.
While a high-quality material, it’s not near as convenient as regular and authentic down, but don’t rule this option out completely. Such pillows are not very bulky, but still quite comfortable. They’re also hypoallergenic – more so than actual down. However, down pillows are much more durable and last longer than down alternative ones.
Still, when compared to natural down, down alternative sleeps much cooler because air can breathe through it. And, due to its airy nature and softness, you feel as if you sleep on a cloud.
If you opt for a duck down pillow, just know that you won’t regret it. It’s considered a medium-quality option that’s very affordable and fits in most budgets. Due to the use of smaller down clusters, the quality is a minute less. It’s also not as durable as goose down and has a shorter lifespan. However, for the average consumer, this is a worthwhile purchase at a price point that’s comfortable for most households.
Goose down pillows are amongst the finest of all of them. And, because of their quality and advantages, they also have the highest price tag. The reason for the expense is the high fill power and large clusters of goose down, which is better than what you’d see with duck models.
You might be interested to know that Hungarian geese will grow much bigger than the geese in Canada, China, and Siberia. This is why goose down made from Hungarian geese is regarded as the best of the best. Farmers in this region tend to pride themselves on making such a high-quality product.
Benefits And Drawbacks Of Down Pillows
Benefits of down pillows:
Lightweight – Down doesn’t weight a lot, and it’s easy to move around when needed.
Noise – Down pillows are nearly quiet even when compressed or bearing weight. This can lower the chances for sleep disruptions – nice for couples who experience tossing and turning.
Huggable – These pillows are ideal for those who like to snuggle with their pillows at night while also using a pillow for their head and neck.
Foldability – Since down pillows are extremely soft, you can fold them easily to increase their loft.
Moldability – These pillows will conform closely to the users, giving them much support and comfort, no matter the weight or size of their head and neck.
Lifespan – As down ages, it becomes finer and softer, outlasting pillows that comprise other materials that degrade over time.
Durability – Down pillows, when taken care of, can last for several years – or even decades - if made with high-quality material. Over time, down will become softer, but it may also cause it to lose loft.
Softness – These pillows are incredibly soft, which can help some people just fall right to sleep.
Drawbacks of down pillows:
Poking – Although the cover of these pillows tends to be thick, it’s not uncommon for the feathers to poke through the shell and into your skin. While not serious enough to cause pain, it can be a bit uncomfortable.
Support – Since down pillows are moldable, the majority of them have a mid-to-low loft when compressed. One of the biggest complaints people have is the lack of support they provide.
Maintenance – Down pillows need to constantly be fluffed to keep their shape and loft. Additionally, they almost always need to be dry-cleaned.
Allergies – Down is bad about holding in microbes that can cause allergies for certain individuals. Some manufacturers will treat their products to eliminate the allergy-causing offenders while the pillow is being made.
Odor – Down material can produce an odd smell after you take it out of the package, but it quickly dissipates, especially in a well-ventilated room.
Availability – Shoppers have a harder time finding down pillows because of how uncommon they are on the market.
Price – The best down pillows can cost anywhere from $70 to $100, making them more expensive than other types of pillows.
Who Should Use A Down Pillow?
When out shopping, it’s important to know who should and should not use certain types of products. Sleepers who fit the list below are the ones best to use down pillows for their sleeping needs:
People who like snuggling with their pillows – Down pillows are soft and moldable in a way that makes it comfortable to snuggle with them.
Hot sleepers – Though down is considered an insulating material, most of the sleepers never experience its heat retention.
People who don’t weigh more than 200 pounds – People with average or below-average weight usually feel comfortable and get support from lower-loft pillows.
People who sleep on their side or back – However, it may be necessary to fold the pillow over to get some support.
Who should not use a down pillow
Allergies sufferers – For these people, a down-alternative pillow is a better option for a good night’s rest.
Snorers due to medical conditions – Snorers need a firm pillow that doesn’t compress too deeply to ensure their heads stay upright.
People who weigh more than 200 pounds – People who are overweight or obese (of more than 200 pounds) need a thicker, loftier pillow.
People who sleep on their stomachs – the only time a down pillow should be used is when the users don’t feel as if they’ll suffocate.
Things To Consider Before You Buy
In most cases, down pillows are found in five common sizes:
- Euro – This is a square-shaped pillow with an array of dimensions to address individual preferences. While designed for sleeping in Europe, many people tend to find that they are more suitable as a backrest or headrest.
- King – This size is great for people whose heads move around while they sleep. They’re also great as a back or neck rest for users who like to read or watch TV in bed.
- Queen – This size is longer than the standard pillow, which makes them ideal for toss and turners or people who change their sleeping position throughout the night (back to side, side to stomach, etc.)
- Super-Standard – These are about two inches longer than the standard size, and are ideal for people who feel the Standard pillow is too compact.
- Standard – This is the most common size of all pillows on the market. They are usually very compact and don’t cost a lot of money.
- Back Sleepers – People who sleep on their backs tend to do well with down pillows, as it helps to keep the spine aligned.
- Side Sleepers – People who sleep on their side don’t generally like the down feather pillow, as this position causes their head to be a bit higher off the surface, and the pillow cannot provide ample support.
- Stomach Sleepers– People who sleep on their stomachs get real benefits out of this kind of pillow, usually because of the lower, softer loft.
You could also call this fluffiness. This indicates the amount of space inside the pillow can an ounce of feather or down fill. The higher the fill power, the mature the bird it came from. Pillows with a high fill power last longer and don’t wear out quickly. They actually make a worthwhile investment.
People who suffer from allergies or respiratory problems may need to buy special pillows – hypoallergenic ones. And, you can find options that have hypoallergenic down or feathers in them. All it means is that the filling has been specially treated to eliminate the bacteria, dander, and dust coming from birds, which might have otherwise led to allergy problems.
Down is an insulating, but also breathable material. In the summertime, you can stay cool, as it will regulate your body temperature, and, in the cooler months, it can keep you warm without retaining a lot of body heat.
The cover of your pillow, which is usually made of cotton, is important. It’s regarded as a pillow’s finishing touch, which is going to play an important role in its quality and the cloud-like sleeping sensation. When looking at the best down pillows on the market, you really need to take it into consideration.
Here’s what to keep in mind here – the higher the thread count, the tighter the fabric. Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per every square inch of fabric. And, it lets you know just how breathable the material will be. The best down pillows are ones with the highest thread count, as the feathers won’t slip through fabric holes and poke you while you sleep. Lower thread counts could cause the quills to poke through and scratch your face during the night.
Ease of Cleaning
Most people want something that is easy for them to care for, but down pillows – even the best down pillows – are not always easy to clean. For example, goose down pillows must be taken to the dry cleaners as a regular washing machine can ruin them.
If you want to purchase a down pillow, the cost will be more than a traditional pillow. While the final price will be depending on the kind of down you want to buy, your budget is going to play a role in how much you spend overall.
A goose down pillow is regarded as the most expensive, and if you go with higher thread counts and opt for Hungarian down, you’re really going to pay some money for the product. A duck down pillow is usually less expensive, while a down-alternative can still give you the benefits of a down pillow but without the added cost.
How To Properly Care For Your Down Pillow
A good number of manufacturers have made their pillows easily washable and dryable. But, as with anything, you need to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to extend the life of your pillow. There are several tips you can use to ensure your investment is taken well care of and will last you a long time.
- Put two pillows into the washer to ensure it stays balanced.
- Use cooler water temperatures to keep it from shrinking. If you need a warmer temperature, be mindful that the pillowcase could shrink.
- Do not use fabric softeners, as this will ruin the down by sticking to it.
- For whitening purposes, use non-chlorine bleach.
- Use a gentle soap.
- Let the pillows go through several rinse cycles to get rid of all the soap.
- Throw the pillows into the dryer but on tumble dry, low heat.
How Can A Down Pillow Remain Fluffy?
Make sure you’re fluffing your pillow every day to maintain its fluffiness, loft, and durability. Be sure this pillow fluffing becomes a part of the bed-making routine. Just shake the pillows a couple of times to break up any clumps. Now, in addition to daily fluffing, toss your pillow in the dryer along with a couple of tennis balls that will bounce off the walls to help with the whole fluffing process. You can also air it in the sun, as the heat can make down bounce back to life.
How Often Does A Down Pillow Need Washing?
A down pillow needs to be washed two times a year. After all, it collects dust, dander, dead skin cells, oil, and saliva. This will cause the pillow to become flatter and heavier. It’s also a good idea to use a pillowcase to reduce these things, getting onto the pillow itself. Still, you should wash the pillow on a regular basis, too.
Can Such Pillows Lead To Allergies?
The best down pillows will come with a return policy, so if you’re never have had such a pillow before, be sure you get one that offers this. After all, you may or may not have an allergy to the material it’s made of. While many down pillows are made hypoallergenic, people who don’t know they have a severe allergy could end up experiencing one. If you do believe you could become allergic, use a synthetic down alternative.
Do They Sleep Hot?
According to some users, they do sleep hot, and that’s not uncommon. Using down filling could lead to a warmer sleeping environment than pillows made of other materials. It’s thought that the feathers help to circulate heat, and therefore this heat is increased as you lay upon your pillow. If you’re the type of person who runs hot while sleeping, it may be worthwhile to use a pure down pillow as opposed to one with a ratio of feathers.
Is There A Smell With Down Pillows?
It’s not uncommon for down pillows to smell several hours after you open their package. However, you can alleviate the issue by airing them out for a day or so before using them. This will help to release odors that have been locked in.
If, after this, the pillow still has an odor, you may want to dry it – either by the dryer in a tumble dry setting or by the sun. The smell is usually the result of moisture in the filling.
What To Keep In Mind…
Down pillows are great for people who love the idea of a very soft pillow, which is what one could experience with one of the best down pillows from our list. They can still be firm and lofty, but that cloud-like sensation is often found with many of them. When out shopping, do your research, consider your sleeping habits and personal preferences to get the rest you want. You may find yourself sleeping soundly like never before with your ideal down pillow.