Best Feather Pillows | Tuck Sleep

Best Feather Pillows

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.

What is the Makeup of a Feather Pillow?

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.

Which Sizes Are Available for Feather Pillows?

Feather pillows are commonly available in the following sizes:

  • Standard: This is the most popular pillow size in terms of overall sales. Apart from some Euro sizes, Standards tend to be the shortest and most compact size available. They also tend to have the lowest price-points.
  • Super Standard: Super Standard pillows are two inches longer than Standard pillows. They are made for people who find Standard sizes too compact, but who also don’t toss and turn too much.
  • Queen: Queen-size pillows are four inches longer than Standard pillows. This makes them suitable for people who toss and turn or shift positions throughout the night, as well as those who find Standards to be too compact.  
  • King: The King is generally the longest size (other than body pillows), measuring six inches longer than a Queen and 10 inches longer than a Standard. King-size pillows are ideal for people who toss and turn, and also serve as headrests or backrests for people that sit up in bed to read or watch television.
  • Euro: The Euro size is unique in that the pillow is square-shaped; Euros come in a wide range of different dimensions.
  • Body: Body pillows are exceptionally wide, and are designed for people who like to snuggle with a pillow while they sleep.

The table below features rough measurements for the pillow sizes discussed above.

Pillow SizeDimensions
Standard20W” x 26L”
Super Standard20W” x 28L”
Queen20W” x 30L”
King20W” x 36L”
Euro26W” x 26L”
24W” x 24L”
22W” x 22L”
20W” x 20L”
18W” x 18L”
16W” x 16L”
Body Pillow54W” x 20L”
48W” x 20L”

Pros and Cons of Feather Pillows

Pros of feather pillows include:

  • Lifespan: Feather pillows are highly durable, and often perform for at least two to three years.
  • Moldability: Feather pillows are highly moldable, allowing sleepers to scrunch and re-form them in order to achieve their optimal loft.
  • Softness: Because they are so scrunchy, feather pillows are ideal for people who prefer to snuggle with a pillow while they sleep.
  • Weight: Most feather pillows weigh three pounds or less, making them easy to move and adjust for most sleepers.
  • Sleeping Cool: Feather pillows do not retain as much heat as down pillows, allowing sleepers to remain cool and comfortable throughout the night.
  • Price: The average feather pillow costs between $25 and $50, making them fairly affordable compared to other pillow types (including down).

Cons of feather pillows include:

  • Shape: Feather pillows tend to become flattened and misshapen when compressed. As a result, regular shaking and fluffing may be required to maintain a full profile.
  • Support: Because they flatten easily, feather pillows do not provide adequate support for some sleepers. This can cause spinal misalignment, which often leads to added pain and pressure.
  • Odor: Feather pillows typically emit more unpleasant smells than other pillow types.
  • Noise: Many owners say their feather pillow makes crunching and rustling sounds when compressed.
  • Cleaning: Most feather pillows require dry cleaning, which can be expensive over time.
  • Availability: Feather pillow availability is somewhat limited, and some shoppers may not be able to find models that meet their loft and firmness preferences.

Who Is a Feather Pillow Good for?

Generally speaking, feather pillows are best suited for the following people:

  • People who sleep on their back or side, although low-loft pillows may be problematic for those who weigh more than 130 pounds.
  • People who tend to sleep hot, since feather beds retain little body heat and usually sleep cool.
  • People who prefer to cuddle with a pillow while they sleep, due to the above-average moldability of feather pillows.

However, feather pillows may not be suitable for the following people:

  • People who sleep on their stomach. These sleepers may sink too deeply into low-loft pillows, whereas high-loft pillows may cause spinal misalignment.
  • People who awaken easily due to noise, as feather pillows can be somewhat loud.
  • People who are sensitive to smell. A large number of feather pillow owners report persistent unpleasant smells.

Feather Pillow Ratings

CriteriaFeather Pillow RatingExplanation
AffordabilityFair to GoodWith 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.
DurabilityGood to Very GoodAlthough they tend to flatten, most feather pillows will perform for at least two to three years.
SupportPoor to FairFeather 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.
NoisePoor to FairFeather pillows are among the loudest pillow types due to persistent crunching and rustling sounds.
WeightGood to Very GoodAs the name suggests, feather pillows are fairly lightweight — three pounds or less in most cases.
OdorPoor to FairFeather pillows can be quite smelly, and some owners claim the odors do not dissipate with time.
WashablePoor to FairMost feather pillows must be dry cleaned, making them costlier to maintain than machine washable models.
Firmness/Loft OptionsFair to GoodMost feather pillows are either low- or high-loft, and firmness options may also be somewhat limited.
AvailabilityPoor to FairFeather pillows are somewhat hard to find, particularly with certain loft and firmness settings.

Buying Tips for Feather Pillows

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.

Feather Pillow Price Comparison

Feather Pillow Models and Brands

Brand NameCanadian Down & Feather Company (Multiple Models)Down & Feather Company (Multiple Models)Ikea  JordrökPacific Coast Feather Company Feather Best PillowPrincess 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
SizesStandard
Queen
King
Body
Standard
Queen
King
Euro
KingSuper Standard
King
Standard
King
Composition100% Feather or Down/Feather100% FeatherDown/Feather100% FeatherDown/Feather
CoverCottonCottonCottonCotton
Firmness RangeMediumSoft
Medium
Firm
Extra Firm
Extra Extra Firm
Medium FirmMediumMedium
Loft RangeLow to MediumLow to MediumMediumMediumMedium
Trial3 Year Guarantee30 Nights365 Nights30 Nights30 Nights
CleaningDry CleanDry CleanMachine WashableMachine WashableMachine Washable
Customer Satisfaction Rating82% (764 Customer Reviews)81% (540 Customer Reviews)80% (905 Customer Reviews)82% (234 Customer Reviews)83% (143 Customer Reviews)

Conclusion

For more information about feather pillows and other pillow types, please check out our Pillow Buying Guide.