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Pillow Reviews > Down Alternative / Gel Pillow Reviews
Based on 4,779 Consumer Experiences
THE GOOD: Generally more soft than firm • often cuddly and moldable • value priced.
THE BAD: May lack adequate support and firmness for some • durability / longevity is no better than fair • regular fluffing may be needed to maintain loft • lumpiness is possible.
THE PILLOWS: Down alternative pillows are filled with polyester "puff" fibers which give them a feel similar to that of down pillows, but without the allergy risk.
The ratings below show how down alternative pillows overall compare to the average pillow as evaluated by consumers. For ratings on specific brands, see the following section.
|Affordable||A-||Prices often range $12-$45. Given their low price, decent durability and respectable owner satisfaction, owners say the pillows are a value.|
|Durability / longevity||c||Expect about a 2-3 year lifespan with regular use in most cases. As the pillow ages, it will flatten and possibly develop clumps and hollow areas.|
|Less (neck) pain||c||Pain relief provided by the pillows is about average with 8% of owners reporting reduced pain, including neck pain. 3% of owners say the pillow causes pain usually due to lack of support.|
|Support||c||A lack of adequate support is the main owner complaint. 15%+ of owners want more support.|
|Moldable||B-||Softer varieties can often be scrunched at least somewhat to provide extra support.|
|Cuddly||B+||A "cuddly" pillow is one that is soft and huggable, as opposed to hard, rigid, stiff and or too heavy. A down alternative pillow's softness helps it to have good ratings on this issue.|
|Contents won't shift / clump||c-||A main complaint for the product. At least 7% of owners report lumpiness, clumpiness.|
|Short break in||B-||The break-in period tends to be fairly short compared to other pillow types and usually pain free.|
|Loft / height options||B-||Loft can vary from high to medium-low depending on the model. While the pillows may appear to have significant height or loft, owners often say that one's head sinks substantially into the pillow. Fluffing may be needed after use to return pillow to its original loft.|
|Back sleep friendly||b||Back sleepers are often pleased unless there is too much or too little loft. Scrunching of the pillow may be needed to achieve adequate loft.|
|Stomach sleep friendly||b-||Stomach sleepers can be pleased if the pillow has medium to soft firmness and low to medium loft.|
|Side sleep friendly||b+||Firm down alternative pillows often provide the loft side sleepers need. Alternatively, scrunching a soft down alternative pillow may achieve adequate loft.|
|No initial odor||b||Complaints about odor exist but are not common.|
|Not a heat trap||b||Owners are usually pleased with air flow.|
|No noise||b||Noise can occasionally be an issue. The cover or lining inside may make a crackling noise.|
|Fewer allergies||c+||Down alternative pillows are hypoallergenic but are susceptible to dust mites given their fibrous content.|
|Easy to maintain||d+||They will likely need at least occasional shaking or fluffing to maintain loft and overall comfort.|
|Ease of care||b||They are often machine washable.|
|Lightweight||B-||They weigh about two pounds on average.|
The table below evaluates down alternative pillows with 83% or higher satisfaction based on 220+ owner experiences. Important: Information below regarding firmness, loft and sleep position shows only what tends to be true for owners. Your personal evaluation may differ.
|Dobby Weave Down Alternative||Hotel Luxury||Nexus Ultimate Down-like||Premier Down Like||Right Choice|
|Owner Satisfaction (sample)|
|88% (243)||88% (449)||85% (668)||85% (2537)
|4 for $70||2 for $25||2 for $33-$37||2 for $33
|choice of soft, medium, firm, extra firm||medium||medium- soft||choice of soft, medium, firm
|medium to high||high||medium-low||medium-low
|Person Size Best Suited For*|
|avg, large||avg, large||avg, small||avg, small||avg, large
|Sleeping Position(s) Best Suited For*|
side: medium to firm,
|back, side||back, stomach||back: medium,
side: medium to firm,
|Scrunchable / Moldable|
|good to fair||fair||good to fair||good to fair||fair|
|king, jumbo||king||standard, queen, king||standard||standard, queen, king, euro|
|2 - 3.75 lbs||2.4 lbs||1.7 - 2.7 lbs||1.2 - 1.7 lbs||2.8 lbs|
(% of owners)
|too soft (6%), goes flat / lacks support (5%), lumpy (4%)||goes flat (6%), too lofty (5%), too soft (3%), heavy (2%)||too soft (18%), goes flat (13%), no support (10%)||lacks support (11%), noisy (5%)||too thick (9%), goes flat (8%), stiff / not scrunchable (6%)|
|30 day||30 day||30 day||30 day||30 day|
* See how to choose a pillow based on your personal needs.
Below are the most common words / phrases that owners use to describe lying on their down alternative / gel pillow.
Ratings are based on over 4,700 actual down alternative pillow owner / consumer reviews collected using an accurate methodology.
– Prices for down alternative pillows often range from $12-$45. Given their relatively low price, decent durability and respectable owner satisfaction, owners tend to say the pillows are a good value.
– Less than three percent of owners report that their pillow sleeps hot or acts as a heat trap.
– Side sleepers may find that the pillows lack support. Scrunching the pillow or even folding it (if possible) may provide the necessary support.
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