Updated at: 15-01-2023 - By: Jane

Feather and down pillows are often used interchangeably. They’re often mistaken for one another, although they’re actually quite distinct.

The components are derived from various parts of the animal, and the internal structure changes accordingly. As an example, goose and duck feathers from the chest and underbelly are used to make down pillows, whereas feathers from the wings and backs of the birds are used to make feather cushions.

For the finest night’s sleep, you need to know the distinctions between feather and down pillows, and this article examines the merits and cons of each.

What are Down Pillows?

Clusters of down from the chest area of a goose, swan, or duck are used to make them. They resemble the white dandelions blown on by children and adults to make a wish. The stuffing can be compared to a cotton ball.

These down-filled cushions should make you feel like you’re sleeping on a bed of cotton candy when you lay on them. There is considerable springiness to the surface of the clusters depending on how large or thick they are.

The most expensive down brands are considered to be the pinnacle of luxury and feature a premium price tag.

What are Feather Pillows?

Feather pillows are manufactured by removing feathers from the animal’s back and wings and sewing them together. Feathers each have a quill, so thin cushions may eventually allow the quills to protrude. Using a pillow protector or a thick pillowcase will help keep the pricking to a minimum.

The feather-filled versions are typically blended with down in order to make them a little more comfortable. As the quills line up, pure feather variants tend to have a thinner profile and may flatten over time as the feathers mature.


Down vs. Feather Pillows


Down is the most comfortable, but it compresses when you put your head on it. The higher the “fill power,” the fluffier the product will be. This will be covered in more detail later. Generally speaking, you should anticipate down to feel soft and light at the same time.

Quills and a lack of “clustering” make feathers less pliable than feathers that have been “cleaned.” As a result, while all of them are soft and fluffy, some will require human fluffing during the night or first thing in the morning.


The tufts of feathers from the birds are used to create a clustered structure in the down. To create a soft and buoyant structure, older birds in colder climates are used rather than clusters from younger birds in warmer regions.

These pillows may have a looser structure and compress more easily than feathers, which may have a hint of crispiness from the quills.

Fill Power

The degree of fluffiness or height (also known as loft) a pillow has is referred to as its “fill power. Only down types are included in this measurement. In terms of quality, the greatest fill power number that may be achieved is 850.

Fill power of 500 is typical for furniture and toys; anything beyond 650 is regarded excellent.


European countries like Hungary produce some of the finest down and feather pillows. A more natural habitat and humane care of the birds contribute to their increased size, maturity, and health. Animal welfare regulations and cleaning procedures in China are often substandard for birds raised there.

Products with the Responsible Down Certification, which forbids the cruel and inhumane practice of plucking down and feathers from live birds, can be found, as can the Bluesign certification, which relates to environmental and worker norms.

Enemies of Feather and Down Fill


Memory foam, on the other hand, tends to retain its shape over time, unlike natural fibers. To avoid this, buy long-lasting pillows that can last a decade or two decades. Fluffing the mattress on a regular basis can assist maintain its form and support.


Feather pillows should be kept dry at all times. Take them to a professional dry cleaner when it’s time to do so.

With soap and water, you can clean down pillows, but you should still treat them with care. They also need to be dried, which takes a long time. The result could be ruined nearly instantly if it isn’t dried completely enough.

Avoid going to bed with wet hair if you’re a nightly showerer. Avoid getting your damp hair on your down or feather cushions by wrapping it in a scarf or adding a pillow protector or additional pillowcase.

Moisture can cause harm to the merchandise even before it reaches your front step!! If the things were transported or stored incorrectly before to purchase, they may have an odor when they arrive at your home. Return or exchange anything that doesn’t meet your expectations.



Your bedding might also be damaged by the oils in your skin or beauty creams. Avoid moisturizing your skin at night or sleeping on your back in the early hours of the morning to prevent the substance from soaking into the material.

Skin and cosmetic products may cause the surface to become yellow and produce unpleasant scents if they are left on for a long period of time.

Goose vs. Duck

Goose is the rarest and most expensive of the two species, despite the fact that both produce high-quality products. For those looking for a premium and long-lasting product, goose down is the way to go. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Because geese are larger, they may form larger flocks.
  • It’s easier for a duck’s body to pick up dirt and trash since its chest is closer to the ground than a dog’s. This could cause you to wake up in the middle of the night with lingering odors.

So don’t feel like you’re receiving a lower quality product by using duck down instead of the more expensive goose down.

Down vs. Down Alternative

There are various advantages to using the down option. It’s not only less expensive, but it’s also hypoallergenic, making it a great option for anyone with allergies. Downsizing can be a viable option in the following scenarios:

  • You’re looking for a high-quality, plush cushion that doesn’t come with a hefty price.
  • Allergies are something you’re worried about.
  • You care deeply about animal rights, or you’re a vegan.
  • Washing your bedding is something that you don’t want to be afraid of doing.

Proper Care

Pillows can last a long time if you take good care of them. Natural cushions can last a long time if you follow these tips:

  • Do not be harsh with them. The material can be broken down more quickly if it is compressed for storage or if it is used in pillow fights.
  • Protect your mattress and pillow with both a protector and a pillowcase.
  • Remember that down and feather pillows can be laundered if done so with care. Go to the dry cleaner if you’re not sure.
  • Regularly wash your pillowcases to prevent the build-up of oil and dirt on the surface.
  • Do not leave them out in the rain or in a humid environment.
  • Hair that is wet or heavily moisturized should be avoided before going to sleep. Moisture could seep into the materials and cause damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which pillow type has more benefits?

Individual preferences may have a role in deciding which is best. In addition, your sleeping posture may have an impact on your decision.

Due to its compressibility, down may be preferred by stomach sleepers because it is still supportive while still providing comfort and support. This is a good option for back sleepers as well.

This is a consideration for those who sleep on their sides. Feather and down blends are the most popular, but a feather-only option could also work well.

Which is better for side sleepers?

Those who sleep on their side require more padding to keep their heads supported. When a surface is too high, the neck and spine can be out of alignment. On the other side, a cushion that is excessively low puts an excessive amount of stress on the shoulder.

The best option may be a thicker variant with a fill power rating of 650 or higher. A down substitute, on the other hand, provides the same level of plushness without the expensive cost.

Are feather types good for neck pain?

Feather, according to Harvard Medical School, is a great option for those suffering from neck pain because it can be molded to the shape of your neck. You might not get as much out of synthetic materials as you would with natural ones.


Are these recommended for asthma sufferers?

Natural materials cause concern for many asthmatics, but this need not be the case. Ducks and geese are often blamed for allergies in people who have them, but that isn’t always the case. Allergic reactions to dust mites in pillows are more common among allergy and asthma sufferers.

If you’d like to use one of these cushions but are concerned about allergies, consider using a dust mite-proof protection on your head cushion.


When it comes to selecting a sleeping surface, the possibilities are virtually endless. Because of the high price of feathers and down, some people choose to utilize alternatives that have a similar look and feel.

Consider sleeping on a feather, down, or blended cushion if you want a more realistic feel. As a result of this information, you should now be able to make an informed decision that could lead to a restful night’s sleep.

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