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Feather pillows are popular among sleepers because they sleep cool and feel exceptionally soft. Despite their name, most pillows in this category are filled with two materials: the coarse outer plumage of ducks or geese (known as ‘feathers’) and the softer inner plumage (known as ‘down’). Down is often used to pad the edges of the pillow while feathers are used in the center to provide more support and stability.
Feather pillows can beneficial for sleepers who find other pillow types to be excessively firm and hot. However, feather pillows do not provide the same levels of conforming and pressure relief as pillows made from other materials, such as memory foam or latex. Feathers may also trigger allergies in some sleepers; down alternative (a material made from polyester puffballs) might be a more suitable alternative for people with allergies.
This guide will explore the various pros and cons of feather pillows. Below you will find our picks for the best feather pillows sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Best Feather Pillows
Editor’s Pick – Canadian Down and Feather Co. Down Perfect Pillow
Best Value Feather Pillow – JA Comforts Goose Feather Down Pillow
Best Luxury Feather Pillow – Malouf Z TripleLayer Down Pillow
Best Feather Pillow for Side Sleepers – Three Geese White Feather Pillow
A common complaint among feather pillow owners is that the surface is too soft to adequately support their head, neck, and shoulders. Our Editor’s Pick, the Down Perfect pillow from Canadian Down and Feather Co., is an exception to this rule. The pillow is available in two firmness settings, ‘Medium’ and ‘Firm’; this range should provide sufficient support to most sleepers, including those with larger heads and/or wider shoulders who normally don’t feel comfortable on softer pillows.
The Down Perfect pillow is constructed with three internal chambers. This design ensures the down and feather fill will be evenly distributed with little to no clumping. Both outer chambers contain goose down for softer edges, while the center chamber contains goose feathers to help provide good support and help the pillow maintain a consistent shape. The Down Perfect pillow also sleeps very cool even by feather pillow standards, due in part to the 100% cotton cover.
The Down Perfect pillow is available in Standard, Queen, and King sizes. It is backed by a five-year warranty.
Feather pillows can be a cost barrier to many customers due to their relatively high average price-point. Our Best Value pick, the Goose Feather Down Pillow from JA Comforts, is widely sold in packs of two for less than $30, making it much more affordable by comparison. However, the Goose Feather Down Pillow offers the same exceptional softness and temperature neutrality of high-end feather pillow models.
The pillow is also quite supportive; down is used to cushion the edges but feathers constitute most of the fill, giving the pillow more resilience. Shape retention is much better than average. The Goose Feather Down Pillow is can be washed and dried in a conventional machine, as well. Most feather pillows require spot cleaning, making them harder to care for and keep clean.
The Goose Feather Down Pillow is available in a Standard/Queen size. JA Comforts backs the pillow with a 90-night sleep trial and a three-year warranty.
The TripleLayer Down Pillow from Malouf’s Z collection is one of the softest feather pillows sold today. The pillow is designed with top and bottom down layers for optimal cushioning, as well as a middle layer of feathers that stabilizes the pillow and provides sleeper support. It also sleeps very cool due to good airflow within the interior, as well as the breathable cover made from unbleached cotton.
The pillow’s soft surface and medium-loft design makes it suitable for all sleep positions. The down padding also prevents feather quills from poking through (a common complaint from feather pillow owners).
The TripleLayer Down Pillow has an above-average price-point, making it a good pick for shoppers with bigger budgets. However, Malouf will make a donation to support survivors of sex trafficking with every purchase of this pillow. The company also offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The TripleLayer Down Pillow is backed by a three-year warranty.
Many side sleepers find that feather pillows are too soft and/or not thick enough; this position requires above-average pillow support in order to align the sleeper’s spine and reduce pressure in their most sensitive areas. The White Goose Feather Bed Pillow from Three Geese is more than 4″ thick (making it medium- to high-loft) and considered ‘Medium Firm.’ As a result, side sleepers sink less and experience fewer aches and pains.
This pillow also sleeps very cool, thanks to great air circulation and a cover made from breathable, 600TC Egyptian cotton. The White Goose Feather Bed Pillow is designed with three chambers – down fill in both outer chambers and feathers in the center – to create a cushioning feel that is also resilient.
The White Goose Feather Bed Pillow is available in Queen and King sizes, and widely sold in discounted two-pillow bundles. Three Geese offers a 30-night sleep trial with full refunds for customers who are not satisfied.
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.