Fairy tales are replete with images of princesses lying on the best feather pillows in their gilded towers. With this guide, choosing down feather pillows or down alternative pillows that help you sleep like royalty no longer needs to be an elusive dream.
The characteristics of the best pillow have evolved. We will take you through selecting a winner from the best down pillows on the market so that you can sleep soundly, knowing you made a good choice.
Some Reasons to Select a Feather Pillow
Contrary to what you might think, featherbedding might make you cough less. According to PubMed.gov, some epidemiological studies have suggested that, for children predisposed to wheezing in bed, featherbedding is associated with less frequent wheezing than when they use some man-made fiber fillings.
Perhaps this is because, as Harvard Medical School explains, pillows made of down and feathers conform to your shape and repel dust mites. This article cautions that while pillows made of cotton or synthetic cotton are less expensive, they constitute a more attractive climate for all-to-common dust mites.
Sometimes what people think is an allergic reaction to down is more of a response to a lower-quality down filling that has gotten dirty and hasn’t been sufficiently cleaned. Whatever pillow you purchase, consider investing in a washable pillow protector that can both be removed for frequent laundering and will protect your pillow from stains and dust-mite debris. See our pick below for the best pillow protector.*
For those who are genuinely allergic to down or prefer to avoid animal products, we offer a down-free alternative that’s just as luxurious as the real thing.
What to Consider When Selecting a Down Pillow
The best down pillows will have several defining characteristics to look for. These include:
Better down pillows will advertise their “fill power.” Fill power measures how much space a single ounce of down will take up in cubic inches at its maximum loft. This basically measures how plump you could make your pillow. Pillows with higher fill power ratings, like 800, for example, will let you puff them up (loft them) higher. This is supposedly translatable to a softer pillow, and as well as one that will last longer, but not necessarily a firmer pillow.
When purchasing down feather pillows, check to make sure the pillow has double-stitched edges. This might be referred to as double piping. This will prevent the feather fill from escaping and ensure a long lifespan.
The Right Density (Firmness) for Your Sleep Posture
Before buying a pillow, think about (or ask your significant other) what your sleep style is. Don’t assume it’s how you fall asleep only, but how you spend most of the night. Do you sleep on your side? On your back? Choose a pillow density to suit your sleep posture. For those who sleep on their stomachs, select a soft pillow. If you sleep on your back, pick a medium pillow, and for side sleepers, choose a firm or extra-firm pillow.
How to Care for Your Down Pillow
A few manufacturers recommend dry cleaning genuine down pillows, although this is a little controversial. Read the manufacturer’s instructions (a reason to keep the care tag on the pillow). If you do wash your pillow, do not add fabric softener to the wash cycle, and be sure that it is fully dried.
Here are our picks for the best down pillow:
Down and Feather Blends
Pillows that have a 50/50 combination of down and feathers offer a luxurious option for those who want the softness of a down pillow with a little extra loft and slightly less expensive pillow than complete down.
Queen Anne is a manufacturer that strives to sell ethically sourced down pillows, meaning they use down and feathers harvested from geese and ducks raised under humane conditions that are processed for the food industry.
- Hypoallergenic triple-washed 650-fill down & feather blend
- Sturdy, double-rail stitched seam
- Double-stitched seam and shape-extending purple piped edges
- Made in the USA
- Triple comfort guarantee
Goose Down Pillows
Goose down pillows are considered premium to duck down pillows. Pillows that are advertised as 100% goose down pillows will have all down, as opposed to down and feathers, and it will all be goose down, rather than a mix of duck or other types of bird down or feathers. Feathers, unlike true down, have quills, which make them not as soft.
Aptly described as “opulent,” these genuine geese down pillows have many reasons to collect their high praise from owners. Some of their characteristics include:
- Hypoallergenic, 600-fill white goose down
- 300-thread count cotton sateen
- Double-stitched to keep the down in
- Choose from four densities: Soft, Medium, Firm, or Extra-Firm
- Lifetime guarantee
Best Down Alternative Pillows
For those who are interested in cruelty-free products, and those truly allergic to down will want down-free alternatives. Our pick, hands-down:
Price: ($80 – $95)
With over hundreds of 5-star reviews and counting, this is a great pillow. It uses what they call “dimensional fibers” to provide an allergy-safe loft. Here are more claims to fame:
- 100% organic cotton shell
- Free shipping, free returns, and even a 30-night risk-free trial
- A happy, vegan-friendly pillow at a better price than down
*Be sure to purchase a pillow protector that will stand up to frequent washings and protect your down or down alternative pillow for years to come.
Coyuchi Organic Pillow Protector
You want a pillow protector that will breathe, as well as fend off dust mites and stains. This protector comes in King, Queen, and Standard sizes, and closes with a hidden side zipper. Other features include:
- 100% organic cotton is grown and woven in India
- Chemical-free, soft, and cooling fabric
- Densely woven 530-thread count
Now that you’ve discovered how to get the best goose down pillows or best down alternative pillows, you should expect to sleep soundly and wake up refreshed. Since you spend nearly 3,000 hours sleeping each year, if you get your eight hours, you want to choose wisely to get the best quality sleep you can get.