Best Down Pillows – Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

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Quick Summary

Pillow choice is very important for getting a good night’s sleep. Sleepers should use a pillow that meets their criteria for thickness, softness, temperature neutrality, and other factors affecting sleep quality and duration. Down pillows are particularly popular among sleepers who prefer exceptionally soft surfaces. By definition, a down pillow is primarily filled with the down (or soft interior plumage) of ducks or geese; the down fill may be supplemented with coarser outer feathers, which reinforce the pillow for added support. Other pillows are 100% down.

Down pillows generally have higher-than-average price-points; more down typically constitutes a higher cost. However, these pillows offer great softness and support. They also tend to sleep fairly cool for most and are quite moldable, making them a great option for sleepers who like to snuggle with a pillow. However, unlike other pillow materials, down may trigger allergies in some sleepers.

This guide will look at styles and characteristics of different down pillows, as well as tips for first-time buyers. Below you’ll find our picks for the best down pillows sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

Best Down Pillows

Editor’s Pick – Helix Down & Feather Pillow

Best Price – Brooklinen Down Pillow

Best Ethically Sourced Down Pillow – Parachute Down Pillow

Best Goose Down – Kassatex White Goose Down Pillow

How We Decided

 

44 down pillows considered –– 75 hours of research –– 4 sleep experts consulted

Best Down Pillows – Tuck's Top 5 Picks

Helix Down & Feather Pillow – Editor's Pick

Highlights
  • 95% down/5% feather core with 550-fill power outer layers
  • Cambric cotton cover
  • ‘Medium Soft’ feel
  • Supportive chambered design
  • 100-night sleep trial, 1-year warranty

Down pillows are renowned for their exceptional softness, but they may feel ‘too soft’ for some sleepers. Our Editor’s Pick, the Down & Feather Pillow from Helix, addresses this concern with an innovative chambered design featuring outer layers of softer down and an inner core with denser feathers. This construction gives the pillow a supportive, ‘Medium Soft’ feel that should be suitable for most sleepers, especially those who find traditional down pillows too soft. The fill consists of 95% down and 5% feathers, while the cover is made from smooth, 230 thread-count cambric cotton.

Double-stitched edges protect the pillow from tearing and prevent fill from escaping. The pillow is also a great choice for hot sleepers, thanks in part to the breathable cover and strong air circulation through the interior. Its price-point is below-average compared to other down pillows, as well. Helix offers free shipping for all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 1-year warranty.

Good for:

  • Side, back, and stomach sleepers
  • Sleepers who prefer ‘Medium Soft’ pillows
  • Value seekers

Brooklinen Down Pillow – Best Price

Highlights
  • Down/feather ratio varies by firmness
  • Cotton cover
  • Multiple firmness options
  • Ethically sourced and produced in Canada
  • Free exchanges and replacements

Down pillows frequently carry price-points that make them more expensive than pillows with other materials – much more expensive, in some cases. Our Best Price pick, the Brooklinen Down Pillow, is a notable exception. The pillow is priced below $90 in all sizes. It also comes in three firmness settings. The softest setting, ‘Plush,’ contains 100% down. The two other settings contain a mix of down and feathers to make the pillow feel firmer and more supportive. As a result, the Brooklinen Down Pillow is suitable for most sleepers regardless of their firmness preferences.

A breathable, 400 thread-count cotton shell ensures good airflow and temperature neutrality throughout the night. The pillow also has double-stitched edges to prevent fill from escaping, giving it a longer-than-average lifespan. The down is ethically sourced from Hutterite farms, making the Brooklinen Down Pillow a good option for animal-conscious shoppers. Brooklinen offers free exchanges and replacements for all dissatisfied customers, as well.

Good for:

  • Side, back, and stomach sleepers
  • Any sleeper regardless of their firmness preference
  • Animal-conscious individuals

Parachute Down Pillow – Best Ethically Sourced Down Pillow

Highlights
  • 85% 750-fillpower down/15% feathers
  • Cotton-sateen cover
  • Multiple firmness options
  • OEKO-TEX 100 and Responsible Down Certified
  • 60-night sleep trial, 3-year warranty

The Down Pillow from Parachute is our pick for the Best Ethically Sourced Down Pillow. The material has earned a Responsible Down certification, which indicates the down has been sustainably and ethically extracted from healthy European ducks. The pillow also carries an OEKO-TEX 100 certification, meaning no harmful chemicals are used to produce it. These factors make the Parachute Down Pillow an excellent choice for eco- and animal-conscious shoppers.

The pillow is available in ‘Soft,’ ‘Medium,’ and ‘Firm’ settings; this selection should be suitable for most sleepers regardless of their firmness preferences. Double-stitched piping along the edges also holds the pillow together very well and prevents fill from escaping. A breathable cotton-sateen cover ensures strong airflow and good breathability, as well. Parachute offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S.; the pillow is backed by a 60-night sleep trial and a 3-year warranty.

Good for:

  • Side, back, and stomach sleepers
  • Any sleeper regardless of their firmness preference
  • Hot sleepers

Kassatex White Goose Down Pillow – Best Goose Down Pillow

Highlights
  • 650-fill power European white goose down/feather fill
  • Cotton dobby cover
  • Multiple firmness options
  • Hypoallergenic and easy to clean
  • 60-night sleep trial

Pillows made from goose down tend to be softer and lighter than those with duck down. Our top pick in this category, the Kassatex White Goose Down Pillow, contains 650-fill power European white goose down; this material provides an excellent balance of breathability and insulation. The pillow is available in three firmness settings – ‘Soft,’ ‘Medium’,’ and ‘Firm’ – to accommodate sleepers with varying preferences based on their sleep position and weight. It is sold in three different sizes, as well. The cover is made from breathable cotton dobby with a 350 thread-count.

The down and feathers used in the Kassatex Pillow are cleaned two times, which lowers the pillow’s allergy potential; green soaps are used during this process, which also makes the pillows eco-friendly. Unlike many competing down pillows, this model can be washed and dried in conventional machines. Kassatex backs the pillow with a 60-night sleep trial; all U.S. orders qualify for free ground shipping too.

Good for:

  • Side, back, and stomach sleepers
  • Any sleeper regardless of their firmness preference
  • Hot sleepers

Best Down Pillows Buyer's Guide

Down pillows contain the insulating underside feathers of ducks and/or geese. Some down pillows are supplemented with coarser outer feathers — but in order to be considered a true down pillow, it must contain at least 75% down.

Duck or goose down is a popular pillow material because it is naturally soft, lightweight, moldable, and virtually silent when compressed. However, down pillows are relatively expensive compared to pillows made from other materials. Allergy potential is another drawback to consider.

Read on to learn more about down pillows and what sets them apart from other pillow types.

What is the Makeup of a Down Pillow?

Down pillows are filled with the down, or underside feathers, of ducks and geese. Unlike exterior feathers, which can be somewhat coarse, down is exceptionally soft, fine and lightweight. Down also heats and insulates from the cold; in addition to pillows, down is commonly found in quilted winter jackets and layering vests. Natural down may trigger allergies in some individuals.

Many pillow manufacturers produce ‘down blend’ pillows that contain exterior feather fill. For these products, the feather fill is placed in the center and surrounded by down in order to preserve softness. In some cases, as little as 10% of the pillow will contain actual down. In order to be marketed as a ‘down’ pillow (and not a ‘down blend’), the pillow must contain at least 75% down. If it contains less than 75%, then it should be sold as a ‘feather pillow.’ Not surprisingly, pillows made of 100% down are significantly more expensive that those made from less than 100% down; likewise, ‘down’ pillows tend to be pricier than ‘down blend’ pillows.

It is also important to distinguish down from ‘down alternative,’ which is made from polyester fibers that mimic the soft, fine feel of natural down. Down alternative pillows tend to have much lower price-points that natural down pillows, and they pose no allergy risk.

Which Sizes Are Available for Down Pillows?

Down pillows are commonly available in the following sizes:

  • Standard: This is the most commonly sold pillow size. Standards tend to be the shortest and most compact size available, and typically have lower price-points.
  • Super Standard: Roughly two inches longer than a Standard, this size is suitable for people who find Standard pillows slightly too compact.
  • Queen: Queen-size pillows are slightly longer than Standard pillows, making them a suitable option for people who tend to toss and turn or shift positions throughout the night.  
  • King: Like the Queen, the King is long enough to support people who move their heads throughout the night. They are also long enough to serve as headrests or backrests for people who sit up in bed for certain activities, such as reading or watching TV.
  • Euro: Euro-size pillows are square-shaped, and come in a wide range of dimensions to accommodate people with different preferences. While they are often used as sleeping pillows in Europe, many people find that Euro-size pillows are more suitable as headrests or backrests.

The table below features approximate measurements for each of the pillow sizes discussed above.

Pillow Size Dimensions
Standard 20W” x 26L”
Super Standard 20W” x 28L”
Queen 20W” x 30L”
King 20W” x 36L”
Euro 26W” x 26L”
24W” x 24L”
22W” x 22L”
20W” x 20L”
18W” x 18L”
16W” x 16L”

Pros and Cons of Down Pillows

Pros of down pillows include the following:

  • Lifespan: Down becomes softer and finer as it ages, allowing down pillows to outlast pillows made from materials that degrade or become coarser over time.
  • Moldability: Down pillows conform closely to the sleeper, providing adequate comfort and support regardless of the weight or size of their head and neck.
  • Scrunching: Because they are so soft, down pillows can be easily scrunched in order to improve the loft.
  • Hugging: Down pillows are suitable for people who prefer to snuggle with a pillow while they sleep, in addition to the primary pillow they use under their head and neck.
  • Noise: Down pillows are virtually silent when compressed or bearing weight, which can cut down on nighttime disruptions — particularly for couples who toss and turn.
  • Lightweight: Down is naturally very lightweight, and minimal effort is required to lift and move down pillows.

Cons of down pillows include the following:

  • Price-point: Down pillows tend to be much more expensive than other pillow types, with an average price-point of $70 to $100.
  • Availability: Lack of availability may be an issue for down pillow shoppers, as these products are somewhat uncommon.
  • Odor: Down may produce unpleasant smells after unpackaging, but these tend to dissipate rather quickly, especially in well-ventilated rooms.
  • Allergies: Down can carry microbes that trigger allergies in certain people, although some down pillows are treated to remove these allergens during the manufacturing process.
  • Maintenance: Down pillows require regular fluffing in order to maintain a consistent shape and decent loft. Additionally, they almost always need to be dry-cleaned.
  • Support: Due to their moldability, most down pillows when compressed have low- to medium-loft. As a result, some sleepers complain of minimal support.

Who is a Down Pillow Good For?

Generally speaking, down pillows are best suited for the following types of sleepers:

  • People who sleep on their back or side, although they may need to scrunch the pillow in order to feel properly supported.
  • People who weigh 200 pounds or less, since people with average or below-average weights usually feel comfortable and supported on softer, lower-loft pillows.
  • People who sleep hot. Although down is an insulating material, very few down pillow owners complain of uncomfortable heat retention.
  • People who prefer to snuggle with a pillow while they sleep, due to down’s soft and moldable properties.

On the other hand, down pillows may not be suitable for the following sleeper types:

  • People who sleep on their stomach, with the exception of ultra-soft pillows that will not make them feel smothered.
  • People who weigh more than 200 pounds, as people with above-average weight tend to feel most comfortable and supported on thicker, higher-loft pillows.
  • People who snore due to conditions like sleep apnea. These individuals generally require a firmer pillow that will keep their heads upright and not compress too deeply.
  • People with down allergies. Down alternative may be a good substitute for these individuals.

Down Pillow Ratings

Criteria Down Pillow Rating Explanation
Affordability Poor to Fair The average down pillow costs between $70 and $100, making them significantly more expensive than other pillow types.
Durability Very Good to Excellent Because down becomes softer and finer over time, down pillows tend to have a relatively long lifespan.
Support Fair to Good The supportiveness of a down pillow generally depends on firmness and the sleeper’s body type, but many claim that these pillows offer below-average support.
Noise Very Good to Excellent Down pillows produce little to no noise, making them a good choice for people who awaken easily.
Weight Very Good to Excellent Down pillows are exceptionally lightweight and easy to move; most weigh less than 3 pounds.
Odor Poor to Fair Down pillows often produce some odor when they are unpackaged.
Washable Poor to Fair Down pillows usually need to be dry-cleaned, and should never be machine-washed; this will drive up maintenance costs.
Firmness/Loft Options Fair to Good In terms of firmness, down pillows generally range from very soft to medium-firm. Loft selection is a little more limited, and those who prefer high-loft pillows may be better suited for other pillow types.
Availability Poor to Fair Down pillows are fairly uncommon compared to other pillow types.

Buying Tips for Down Pillows

Down pillows are relatively hard to find, although shoppers can usually find a limited selection through various home goods retailers with brick-and-mortar stores, such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, and Wayfair. Down pillows are also available through exclusively online retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com

Down pillows cost between $90 and $120 on average, but some may cost more than $300. They are generally the most expensive pillow type in terms of average price-point. By comparison, the average feather pillow costs between $25 and $50, while the average down alternative pillow costs between $20 and $30.

Down pillows may also be somewhat expensive to maintain over time due to the fact that the vast majority are ‘dry clean only.’

The graph below lists average price-points for eight of the most common pillow types.

Down Pillow Cost Comparison