THE GOOD: Down pillows are often softer, more cuddly, and more 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 tend to be pricey, and 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.
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 with down surrounding them to ensure surface softness.
Ratings show how down pillows compare to the average pillow as evaluated by consumers.
|Affordable||d||Prices often range $40-$150. Average price is around $87 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||B-||Down contours to the head and neck moderately resulting in pressure relief and generally equal weight distribution.|
|Moldable||b||A strength especially of medium to soft varieties. A moldable pillow lets its shape be easily altered or scrunched to increase comfort & support. Using an over-sized pillow case can often improve a pillow's moldability.|
|Cuddly||B+||A strength of the medium to soft varieties especially. A cuddly pillow is soft and huggable – as opposed to hard, rigid, stiff, and heavy.|
|Short break in||B-||About three night's use on average seems to be required to obtain normal comfort.|
|Firmness variety||B||Most down pillows have medium-firm to soft firmness.|
|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.|
|Side sleep friendly||b||Scrunching or folding of the pillow may be needed to achieve adequate loft.|
|Stomach sleep friendly||C+||Thinner, softer varieties tend to be popular with stomach sleepers.|
|Reduces snoring||C-||Firmer models tend to perform best on this issue.|
|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 the cleaning process.|
|Not a heat trap||B-||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 tend to make little or no noise, unlike feather pillows.|
|Small person friendly||B-||Softer varieties tend to be better suited for people under 130 pounds.|
|Avg- sized person friendly||B+||The pillows are well suited in most cases for people 130-230 pounds.|
|Large person friendly||C||Firmer and loftier varieties provide better support for people 230+ pounds than do softer, thinner ones.|
|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.|
|Allergy potential||c||They can cause allergies unless the down has had dander and microbes removed. Most brands that do this cleaning clearly state it in some way. As for dust mites, down pillows are susceptible to them.|
|Easy to lift, turn, move||B+||The pillows tend to be "airy" and as a result usually weigh no more than 2.4 pounds.|
The table below evaluates only those down pillows with 82%+ owner satisfaction based on 300+ consumer experiences. Important: Information regarding firmness, loft, and sleep position shows what tends to be true for most owners; your personal evaluation may differ.
|East Coast Bedding||Downlite||luxure down||Royal Hotel||White Goose Down|
|Owner Satisfaction (sample)|
|91% (245)||87% (306)||85% (255)||84% (495)||83% (606)|
|$150-$170 for 2||$45||$90-$110||$150-$180 for 2||$93-$108|
|standard, queen, king||standard||standard, queen, king||standard / queen, king||standard, queen, king|
|med||med-soft||med-firm||choice of med-soft, med-firm, or firm||med-firm|
|med||med-low||med to med-high||med to med-high||med to med-high|
|Sleep Positions Best Suited For|
|back, side, perhaps stomach||back, side, stomach||back, side, perhaps stomach||back, side, perhaps stomach||back, side|
|Scrunchable / moldable**|
|good to fair||good to fair||fair||fair||fair|
|4-4.5 lbs||2 lbs||1.4-3.4 lbs||3-5 lbs||1.5-3 lbs|
|30 day||30 day||30 day||30 day||30 day|
* See the pillow loft guide and loft calculators.
** Using an over-sized pillow case can often improve a pillow's moldability.
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 1,900 actual down pillow consumer reviews collected using an unbiased, accurate methodology.