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Feather pillows are filled with the plumage of ducks, geese, and other waterfowl. The fill primarily consists of exterior feathers, which are fairly coarse; small amounts of underside plumage known as ‘down’ may also be used to provide extra softness. Feather pillows are noted for their durability, and often perform longer than other pillows types. These pillows also retain minimal body heat, allowing them to sleep fairly cool, and they are usually moldable enough for sleepers who like to snuggle with a pillow during the night. Their price-point is relatively low compared to other pillow types, as well.
However, there are some drawbacks to using feather pillows. They tend to lose shape when bearing weight, which can create an uneven surface that leaves sleepers susceptible to pain and pressure in the head, neck and shoulders. There is also high odor potential, and the feather fill may produce loud noises when compressed. Feather pillows are also somewhat hard to find, and options for loft and firmness are fairly limited.
Read on to learn more about feather pillows and how they compare to other pillow options.
By definition, a feather pillow contains at least 30% exterior feathers and no more than 70% down fill. If a pillow contains 70% or more down, it is typically sold as a ‘down pillow.’ Some pillow manufacturers do not disclose the ratio of down-to-feather fill, but it can be assumed that any model sold as a ‘feather pillow’ has less than 70% down. In fact, the majority of ‘feather pillows’ have roughly 90% to 95% feathers and only 5% to 10% down fill. In most feather pillows, the exterior feathers make up the interior while the down is placed along the edges for a softer feel. Most feather pillow covers have a relatively high thread count in order to prevent the feathers from escaping.
Feather pillows are commonly available in the following sizes:
The table below features rough measurements for the pillow sizes discussed above.
|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”
|Body Pillow||54W” x 20L”|
48W” x 20L”
Pros of feather pillows include:
Cons of feather pillows include:
Generally speaking, feather pillows are best suited for the following people:
However, feather pillows may not be suitable for the following people:
|Criteria||Feather Pillow Rating||Explanation|
|Affordability||Fair to Good||With an average cost of $25 to $50, feather pillows are considered middle-of-the-road in terms of pillow price-point. They are notably cheaper than down pillows.|
|Durability||Good to Very Good||Although they tend to flatten, most feather pillows will perform for at least two to three years.|
|Support||Poor to Fair||Feather pillows are prone to flattening. This may create an uneven surface for the neck and shoulders that leaves these areas vulnerable to pain and pressure.|
|Noise||Poor to Fair||Feather pillows are among the loudest pillow types due to persistent crunching and rustling sounds.|
|Weight||Good to Very Good||As the name suggests, feather pillows are fairly lightweight — three pounds or less in most cases.|
|Odor||Poor to Fair||Feather pillows can be quite smelly, and some owners claim the odors do not dissipate with time.|
|Washable||Poor to Fair||Most feather pillows must be dry cleaned, making them costlier to maintain than machine washable models.|
|Firmness/Loft Options||Fair to Good||Most feather pillows are either low- or high-loft, and firmness options may also be somewhat limited.|
|Availability||Poor to Fair||Feather pillows are somewhat hard to find, particularly with certain loft and firmness settings.|
Feather pillows are sold through various brick-and-mortar and online home goods retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, and Macy’s, as well as exclusively online retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com. Selections at these locations are somewhat limited compared to other pillow types.
The average feather pillow costs between $25 and $50. By comparison, the average down pillow costs between $70 and $100, while the average down alternative pillow costs between $20 and $30. Feather pillows with higher down concentrations tend to be more expensive than pillows made with 100% feathers, but this is not always the case (see table below).
Most feather pillows require dry cleaning, although some models are machine washable.
The graph below looks at average prices for feather pillows and seven other popular pillow types.
|Brand Name||Canadian Down & Feather Company (Multiple Models)||Down & Feather Company (Multiple Models)||Ikea Jordrök||Pacific Coast Feather Company Feather Best Pillow||Princess Feather Pillow|
|Feather Pillow Price Range (Standard)||$14.96 to $55.94|
(Converted to USD)
|$78 to $125||$9.99||$29.99 (Super Standard)||$39.99|
|Composition||100% Feather or Down/Feather||100% Feather||Down/Feather||100% Feather||Down/Feather|
Extra Extra Firm
|Loft Range||Low to Medium||Low to Medium||Medium||Medium||Medium|
|Trial||3 Year Guarantee||30 Nights||365 Nights||30 Nights||30 Nights|
|Cleaning||Dry Clean||Dry Clean||Machine Washable||Machine Washable||Machine Washable|
|Customer Satisfaction Rating||82% (764 Customer Reviews)||81% (540 Customer Reviews)||80% (905 Customer Reviews)||82% (234 Customer Reviews)||83% (143 Customer Reviews)|
For more information about feather pillows and other pillow types, please check out our Pillow Buying Guide.