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Pillow Reviews > Down Pillows
Based on 1,718 Consumer Experiences
THE GOOD: Down pillows are often softer and more cuddly and moldable / scrunchable than other pillow types. They tend to be lightweight, quiet, durable, comfortably warm, and potentially suited for all sleep positions.
THE BAD: They can lack adequate loft and support especially for larger people. Initial odor is possible as are escaping down feathers. The pillows may need to be fluffed / shaken regularly. They tend to be somewhat pricey.
THE PILLOWS: A down pillow is filled with the insulating soft plumage found under the feathers of geese and duck. A pillow is considered down if it is filled with at least 75% down and no more than 25% feathers. Down pillows that contain feathers usually have them make up the pillow core and have the down surround the feathers to ensure surface softness.
Ratings show how down pillows as a group compare to the average pillow as evaluated by consumers. For information on top-rated down pillow models, see the following section.
|Affordable||d||Prices often range $65-$190. Average price is around $80 for one pillow. Less expensive down pillows tend to not have much fill content.|
|Durability / longevity||b||Durability / longevity is generally above average. As the pillows age they tend to become softer. The main durability-related complaint is down feathers escaping from the case.|
|Less (neck) pain||B-||They provide about average relief from (neck) pain. Their softness often results in minimal pressure on the head and neck.|
|Supportive||c||Support can vary from good to poor depending mostly on firmness with softer varieties providing less support. At least 20% of owners complain of a lack of support.|
|Conforming||C+||Down contours to the head and neck moderately resulting in pressure relief and fairly equal weight distribution.|
|Moldable||b||A strength of the medium to softer varieties. A "moldable" pillow is one whose shape can be easily altered or scrunched to increase comfort and support.|
|Cuddly||B+||A strength of the medium to softer varieties of the pillows especially. A "cuddly" pillow is one that is soft and huggable, as opposed to hard, rigid, stiff and or heavy.|
|Short break in||B-||About three night's use on average seems to be required to obtain normal comfort.|
|Firmness variety||C||Most down pillows have medium to soft firmness, while some are firm.|
|Loft variety||c+||Both thicker and thinner down pillows are available. However, when the pillows are compressed they tend to have no more than medium loft, regardless of fill quantity / fill power.|
|Back sleep friendly||b||Generally good, but back sleepers sometimes report not having enough support / loft. Scrunching or folding of the pillow may be needed to achieve adequate loft.|
|Stomach sleep friendly||b||They are often popular with stomach sleepers because they tend to be thinner and softer than other pillow types.|
|Side sleep friendly||b||Scrunching or folding the pillow may be needed to achieve adequate loft.|
|No initial odor||c-||About 7% of owners say that the product can give off an unpleasant odor especially when new. The smell may come from the feathers or chemicals used to clean them.|
|Not a heat trap||c+||Down feathers are used by ducks / geese to keep their eggs warm and insulated. Down captures body heat and then releases it. About 4% of owners say the pillow is too hot.|
|No noise||b||They make little or no noise, unlike feather pillows.|
|Small person friendly||B-||Softer varieties tend to be better suited for smaller people ( under 110 lbs).|
|Avg- sized person friendly||B||The pillows are well suited in most cases for average sized people (110-200 lbs).|
|Large person friendly||C-||Firmer and loftier varieties provide better support for larger people (200+ lbs) than do softer, thinner ones.|
|Allergy potential||c||They can cause allergies unless the down has been cleaned by having dander and microbes removed from it. Most brands that do this cleaning clearly state it in some way. As for dust mites, down pillows are susceptible to them.|
|Easy to maintain||d-||Regular fluffing and shaking may be needed to even out contents and increase loft.|
|Easy to clean||D||Dry cleaning is often recommended.|
|Easy to lift, turn, move||a-||The pillows tend to be "airy" and usually weigh no more than 2.5 lbs.|
|Availability||D||Down pillows are not stocked at most pillow retailers.|
The table below evaluates only those down pillows with 80% or higher owner satisfaction based on a significant sample. Important: Information regarding firmness, loft, and sleep position shows what tends to be true for most owners; your personal evaluation may differ.
|Royal Hotel||Cambric Cotton 600||Better Down||Luxury Soft Goose Down||Siberian White 500 Thread Count|
|Owner Satisfaction (sample)|
|85% (319)||85% (92)||83% (112)||81% (293)||80% (902)|
|$160- $180 for 2||$126- $180||$85- $100||$80 for 2||$48- $64|
|standard, king||standard, queen, king, jumbo||standard, queen, king||standard||king, jumbo|
|med to med-firm||med-firm||med-firm||soft||mostly soft|
|med||med||med to high||med to low||med to low|
|Person Size Best Suited For*|
|avg||avg, large||avg, large||avg, small||avg, small
|Sleeping Position(s) Best Suited For*|
|all||back, side||back, side||all||all|
|Scrunchable / moldable|
|fair||fair to poor||fair to poor||good||good|
|30 day||30 day||30 day||30 day||30 day|
|amazon||overstock .com||amazon||overstock .com||overstock .com|
* See how to choose a pillow.
Fill power is a measure of pillow loft or "fluffiness." Owner experience data suggests that the measurement is largely useless. Pillows with high stated fill power often have no better loft or fluffiness than those with significantly lower stated fill power.
Thread count refers to the number of threads in a one-inch square of fabric. A higher thread count is designed to prevent feathers from escaping the pillow. Again, this measurement appears to be largely useless. Owner experience data suggests there is only a slight correlation between higher thread count and fewer reports of escaping feathers.
Ratings are based on over 1,700 down pillow owner / consumer reviews collected using an unbiased, accurate methodology.
– Fluffing or shaking the pillow may be needed to even contents and return loft to normal. As down ages, increased fluffing/shaking may be needed.
– If you want a down pillow with considerable thickness and support, it should have at least 25 ounces of fill. Unfortunately, many manufacturers do not disclose fill quantity.
– Less expensive down pillows may contain 25% feathers and or have low fill quantity. A true down pillow contains no feathers, only down.
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