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Based on 1,104 Consumer Experiences
THE GOOD: Down pillows are soft, cuddly and moldable. They tend to be lightweight, durable and potentially suitable for all sleeping positions. Unlike feather pillows, down pillows are usually quiet.
THE BAD: They can lack adequate loft and support. Initial odor is possible as are escaping down feathers. The pillows may need to be fluffed / shaken regularly to even their contents and elevate loft. 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.
The ratings below discuss how the pillows overall as a group are evaluated by owners. For information on specific brands, see the section following this one.
|Owner satisfaction||b-||Down pillows overall as a group have 82% owner satisfaction. ( ) Satisfaction can differ somewhat by brand and model.
|Durability / longevity||b||Durability / longevity is generally good. The main durability-related complaint is that down feathers escape from the case.|
|Affordable||d||Prices often range from $45-$140. Average price paid is around $59. Less expensive down pillows tend to not have much fill content, while the pricier ones generally do. However, pricier down pillows tend to not rate much, if any, higher than lower priced down pillows.|
|Less pain||c+||They provide about average relief from pain, such as neck pain, compared to other pillow types.|
|Supportive||c-||The softness of the pillow often provides only limited supportiveness. At least 20% of owners complain of a lack of support.|
|Moldable||b+||A main strength. A "moldable" pillow is one whose shape can be easily altered or "scrunched" to increase comfort and support.|
|Cuddly||a||A main strength. A "cuddly" pillow is one that is soft and huggable, as opposed to hard, rigid, stiff and or heavy.|
|Firmness variety||d+||The different brands and models tend to have similar firmness levels. Nearly all owners consider firmness to be medium to soft.|
|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.|
|Stomach sleep friendly||b||They are often popular with stomach sleepers because they tend to be thinner and softer than other types.|
|Side sleep friendly||b-||Scrunching or folding of 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||The product makes little or no noise, unlike feather pillows that can crunch.|
|Fewer allergies||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.|
|No fluffing / shaking needed||d-||Regular fluffing and shaking may be needed to even out contents and to increase loft.|
|Ease of cleaning||c-||Some are machine washable. For others, dry cleaning is best.|
|Lightweight||a-||The pillows are "airy" and often weigh no more than 1-2 lbs.|
The table below evaluates only those down pillows which rate higher than 80% in owner satisfaction based on a significant sample size.
Important: Information below concerning firmness, loft and sleeping position shows only what tends to be true according to most owners. Your personal evaluation may differ.
|Owner Satisfaction / Sample Size||Price||Retailer||Sizes||Firm-
|Loft||Sleeping Position(s) Best Suited For||Main Complaints (% of owners)||Main Praises (% of owners)||Return Policy||Comments|
|Hotel Grand Naples||85% / 189||$60||overstock
|jumbo (20"x28"), king||medium||med-
|all||too thin / lacks support (15%), loose feathers (15%)||soft yet supportive (35%), longevity (10%)||30 days||22 to 28 ounces of fill depending on size|
|Beauty Stripe Down Pillow||84% / 125||$42||overstock
|standard, queen, king||soft-
|stomach||too thin / Lacks support (48%), Odor (11%)||good value (27%)||30 days||thin pillow. dry cleaning recom-mended|
|Siberian White 500 Thread Count||83% / 732||$50||overstock
|standard, jumbo (20"x28"), king||mostly
|all||no loft / lacks support (10%), loose feathers (6%)||conforming and molding (37%), soft and fluffy (35%)||30 days||18 to 25 ounces of fill depending on size. dry clean recom-mended|
|Down Pillow with Removable Cover||84% / 38||$105-
|standard, queen, king||medium-
|med||back and side||goes flat (10%)||supportive (25%), soft (17%)||90 days+||may contain 25% feathers, 75% down|
|Marrikas||82% / 20||$115
|med||back and side||goes flat (15%)||supportive (20%), soft (15%), high quality (12%)||30 days||30 ounces of Hungarian goose down fill|
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.
Therefore, fill power and thread count should not play much role, if any, in your buying decision.
Our ratings are based on over 1,100 down pillow owner / consumer reviews that were 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.
– Down pillows can be found at several retailers including Macy's, JCPenney, Bed Bath (& Beyond, Amazon.com, Overstock.com and others.
– 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.
– If a down pillow is inexpensive, then it likely means that it contains 25% feathers and or has low fill quantity. A true down pillow contains no feathers, only down.
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