Down vs. Feather Pillows: What's the Difference?

Down vs. Feather Pillows: What's the Difference?

Written by Nectarsleep editorial team

Last Updated on Aug 05, 2022

In this article:

    If you are looking for a fluffy luxe pillow, you must have come across down vs feather pillows! People often confuse them for being the same, but they are pretty different. While both down vs feather pillows are made from animal feathers, they are taken from different parts of an animal or bird’s body.

    For instance, down pillows are made using feathers from the chest or the underbelly of a goose, and feather pillows contain feathers from the wings and backs of the birds. Although both these pillows offer excellent comfort, they both bring forth different qualities. Read ahead to know all about down vs feather pillows.

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    What Are Down Pillows

    Down pillows are so soft and fluffy that they almost feel like you are sleeping on cotton candy balls. But what is a down pillow made of? They are super fluffy pillows made from the clusters of quill-less feathers taken from the chest or underbelly area of a goose, swan, or duck. 

    The term ‘down’ refers to inner feathers, which are fluffier and softer when compared to the firm outer coating. And another reason why the firm outer feathers are avoided is that they come with quills. Now imagine using them in pillows. They can poke you during a deep slumber. But here, the down pillow filled with feathers that are quill-less. So you can rest easy as you can achieve an uninterrupted night’s sleep. 

    What are Feather Pillows?

    Just as the name suggests, a feather pillow is made from the feathers of birds, usually geese or ducks. Feather pillows are not made using quill-less feathers. For this pillow, the feathers are plucked from the wings and the back of the bird. Therefore, there are chances of occasional poking due to the quills, but that occurs very rarely. 

    Feather with quills is used here because it is believed that the quills maintain the shape of the pillows. So, are feather pillows good? Most of the time feather pillows are used for decorative pillows rather than for sleeping. But, let’s unpack more on it below.

    Down vs. Feather Pillows : Know The Difference

    Let’s take a look at all the key differences between down vs feather pillows.

    ParametersDown PillowsFeather Pillows
    SoftnessFluffy and softLess softer
    StructureClustered structureBit loose and gets compressed
    Fill PowerHighest number is 850 Average fill power is 500 and anything above 650 is optimal Only applies to down pillows
    OriginBest ones come from HungaryBest ones come from Hungary

    Why Buy a Down Pillow?

    As mentioned earlier, you already know that down pillows are fluffy and oh-so-soft! So, if you want to feel like you are sleeping on a cloud, a down pillow can be a great choice. Some of the other benefits it offers include; 

    • The pillows will keep you warm during the winters and cool during the summers. This is also a great option for someone who sweats a lot when they are asleep. 
    • You can easily give your down pillows a wash and keep them clean. 
    • Another advantage of a down pillow is that they tend to last longer. On average, a down pillow can last between 5-10 years if not more! 

    If you are worried about the feathers being plucked from live birds, always look for RDS or Responsible Down Standard Certificate. This certificate ensures the feathers from the animals have not been subjected to any harm.

    Why Is Down Preferred Over Feathers?

    Down pillows are usually preferred over feather pillows because down pillows are soft and fluffy and are quill-less. With feather pillows, there are always chances of the quill poking you when you are asleep. Also, down pillows are more durable and can even last up to 10 years. But that’s not the case with feather pillows. They usually give up in a few years.

    Down Alternative Pillows

    If you love all the qualities a down pillow offers but are looking for something that is not sourced from animals, down alternative pillows are what you need! Down alternative is made from synthetic polyester material, which imitates all the qualities of a down. This is also a great choice for people suffering from allergies because the down alternative is hypoallergenic.

    Down alternative pillows are also extremely easy to clean as most of them are machine washable. However, always read the care label before you proceed. This is also a budget-friendly alternative because down prices start from $130 and down alternative prices start from $60.

    Finally, it all comes down to your personal preference. Now that you know all about a down, feather, and a down alternative pillow, you can easily choose one that you think offers the best level of comfort.

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
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