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Pillow Reviews > Down Alternative / Gel Pillow Reviews

unbiased Down Alternative Pillow Reviews, Ratings and Comparisons

Based on 4,695 Consumer Experiences

September 30, 2016

What You Need To Know

THE GOOD: Generally more soft than firm • often cuddly and moldable • value priced.

THE BAD: May lack adequate support and firmness • durability / longevity no better than fair • regular fluffing may be needed to maintain loft • some lumpiness 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 allergy risk.

THE COMPETITION: Mainly down pillows and feather pillows. See how they compare to these and other pillow types in the pillow reviews – summary.

Down Alternative Pillow Ratings: As a Group

The ratings 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 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 (neck) pain. Three percent 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% or more of owners want better 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 – not hard, rigid, stiff or too heavy. A down alternative pillow's softness helps it to perform well on this issue.
Contents won't shift / clump c- A main complaint for the product as at least 7% of owners report lumpiness and clumpiness.
Short break in B The break-in period tends to be fairly short compared to other pillow types and is 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, one's head can sink substantially into the pillow. Fluffing may be needed after use to return pillow to its original loft.
Reduces snoring C- Firmer, more supportive pillows tend to perform better.
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.
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.
Stomach sleep friendly b- Stomach sleepers can be pleased if the pillow has medium to soft firmness and low to medium loft.
No initial odor b+ Complaints about odor are uncommon.
Not a heat trap b Owners are usually pleased with air flow.
No noise C+ Noise can occasionally be an issue. The cover or lining inside may make a crackling noise.
Fewer allergies B- 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.

Top-Rated Down Alternative Pillows

The table below evaluates down alternative pillows with 83% or higher satisfaction based on 200+ owner experiences. Information regarding firmness, loft, person size, and sleep position shows what tends to be true for owners; your own personal evaluation may differ.

Premier Down Like Right Choice Hotel Luxury
Owner Satisfaction (sample)    
85% (2819)
83% (1153) 83% (723)
2 for $33
1 for $20-$40 2 for $24
choice of soft, medium, firm
mostly medium medium
medium-high medium-low
Person Size Best Suited For*    
avg, small avg, large
Sleeping Position(s) Best Suited For*    
back: medium,
side: medium to firm,
stomach: soft
back, side back, stomach
Scrunchable / Moldable    
good to fair fair fair
Sizes Available    
standard standard, queen, king, euro king
Pillow Weight    
1.2 - 1.7 lbs 2.8 lbs 2.4 lbs
Return Policy    
30 day 30 day 30 day
overstock.com amazon amazon

* See the pillow loft guide and loft calculators.

Description of Lying on a Down Alternative Pillow

Below are the most common words / phrases that owners use to describe lying on their down alternative / gel pillow.

down alternative pillow

About our unbiased down alternative pillow reviews and research

Ratings are based on over 4,600 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.

– The break-in period tends to be short compared to other pillow types and is usually pain free.

At Amazon:
A Top-Rated Down Alternative Pillow

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