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Toppers are individual layers of bedding material that can be added to a mattress to increase or decrease the firmness, and also provide extra cushioning. Toppers are a good solution for sleepers who are dissatisfied with how their mattress feels, as well as those who don’t think their bed is thick enough.
Toppers today are made from a wide range of materials and offered in sizes that correspond to common mattress dimensions. Duck or goose feathers are a popular topper material due in part to their exceptional softness. Feather toppers, commonly called featherbeds, also sleep fairly cool and most are responsive enough for sex.
It’s important to note that many feather toppers contain two components: the exterior feathers, which are coarser and more supportive; and the down, or underside plumage, which is very soft and lightweight. Most featherbeds are structured with down in the middle and feathers reinforcing the edges. The percentage of down and feathers is usually listed in the product specs; generally, higher down concentrations imply softer toppers.
This guide will discuss the pros and cons of featherbeds, and share some shopping tips for first-time buyers. Below you’ll find our picks for the best feather toppers sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Our Editor’s Pick is the Down Feather Bed from Parachute. This topper is constructed with a chambered design that provides varying levels of support to different areas of the body. The exceptionally soft top chamber is 85% white down and 15% feathers, while the firmer bottom chamber is 95% feather and 5% white down. A baffled cotton shell keeps the fill evenly distributed, and the topper will not need to be fluffed very often. The cover sleeps very cool, as well. This topper is 3″ thick, making it suitable for side and back sleepers, as well as those in all weight groups.
The Down Feather Bed has a relatively high price-point, making it a good option for shoppers with bigger budgets. Millsave offers free shipping to all 50 states, including military bases. The topper is also backed by 60-night sleep trial a three-year warranty. In addition to this topper, Millsave offers a comparable down alternative topper that may be more suitable for customers who do not like sleeping on authentic down and feathers.
Our Runner-Up Pick, the Down Perfect Feather Bed from Canadian Down & Feather Company, is another feather topper that maintains a full shape with minimal fluffing thanks to a baffled 225TC cotton cover. Feathers make up most of the fill but down is added at the top of the chambers for more softness and comfort. The baffled construction also promotes good airflow, allowing the topper to sleep fairly cool for most. The Down Perfect Feather Bed is 3″ thick, and should be suitable for side and back sleepers in any weight group.
The price-point is fairly low for this topper compared to similar feather beds. Canadian Down & Feather Company backs this product with a 30-night sleep trial and a five-year warranty.
Most feather toppers are available in one thickness profile, which can be limiting for customers who prefer different dimensions due to their body type and/or sleep position. The Goose Down Featherbed from Millsave is available in three thickness profiles: 2″, 3″, and 5″. The thinner models are ideal for lighter individuals and stomach sleepers, while the 5″ option may be suitable for side and back sleepers, as well as heavier people. The topper also features a breathable cotton cover that sleeps cool and comfortable for most.
The Millsave Goose Down Featherbed is a great value pick due to its relatively low price-point. It is primarily sold on Amazon.com, where it is backed by a 30-night sleep trial.
Most featherbeds offer good temperature neutrality, but the White Goose Feather Topper is a notable standout. The baffled cotton cover promotes strong airflow throughout the topper, allowing it to sleep exceptionally cool, but the chambers also hold the feathers and down in place to prevent clumping or loss of shape. It is 2″ thick, making it most suitable for lighter individuals, as well as any sleep position (including stomach sleepers, who tend to feel less comfortable on thicker toppers).
The White Goose Feather Topper has a very low price-point, and is widely available for less than $80 in a Queen size (most comparable toppers cost at least twice as much). Sweet Jojo Designs backs the topper with a manufacturer’s warranty against defects, even if it has been purchased from a third-party retailer.
The term ‘topper’ refers to an individual cushioning layer that can be added to a mattress for extra comfort, softness, and — in some cases — improved support. Depending on their design, toppers may be tucked beneath top sheets or rest freely on the comfort layer of the mattress. Toppers are available in corresponding sizes for all standard mattress dimensions; toppers are slightly smaller, which allows them to fit more easily beneath sheets without clumping.
Feather toppers, or ‘featherbeds,’ are typically made from the plumage of ducks or geese. Most featherbeds are filled with coarser, exterior feathers. However, some models may contain a combination of outer feathers and softer, underside plumage known as ‘down.’ Down can be measured using ‘fill power,’ which refers to how soft it feels and how effectively it insulates.
The feathers/down in these toppers are typically encased in a cover made of cotton and/or polyester. Featherbed covers are often quilted, or baffled, in order to keep the feathers contained and prevent clumping. Featherbed covers are measured using thread count, which refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch. Higher thread counts mean that the cover is less susceptible to wear and more likely to contain the feathers.
Benefits of using a feather topper include the following:
Some drawbacks associated with featherbeds include the following:
Feather toppers are considered most suitable for the following groups:
However, featherbeds may not be suitable for the following groups:
The average featherbed costs between $100 and $150. Toppers that supplement the feather fill with down for added softness tend to be more expensive, as do models with luxury covers made of materials like organic cotton. Compared to other toppers, featherbeds tend to cost less than memory foam, latex, and wool models. The graph below compares average price-points for the six most common topper types.
|Mattress Topper Material||Average Price|
|Criteria||Feather Topper Rating||Explanation|
|Thickness Selection||Good to Very Good||Featherbeds are on the thicker side, and generally range in thickness between two and five inches.|
|Durability||Fair to Good||Featherbeds typically perform for at least two to three years, which is on par with the average topper lifespan.|
|Support||Fair to Good||While featherbeds can usually improve the comfort of a sleep surface, these toppers are not as effective at making a mattress feel more supportive.|
|Conforming||Poor to Fair||Featherbeds provide little to no conforming or contouring.|
|Pain/Pressure Relief||Fair to Good||Despite minimal conforming, some featherbed owners say these toppers can reduce pain and pressure in the neck, shoulders, lumbar region, and hips.|
|Motion Isolation||Poor to Fair||Featherbeds do not isolate very much motion, which can lead to nighttime disruptions for couples who share a bed.|
|Noise||Fair to Good||Crunching and squeaking sounds are frequently reported from featherbed owners, and these noises may not lessen over time. Fewer complaints are associated with down-and-feather toppers.|
|Temperature Neutrality||Very Good to Excellent||Absorbing minimal body heat and sleeping cool are considered key strengths of feather toppers.|
|Odor||Poor to Fair||Featherbeds carry high odor potential, and the smells may linger.|
|Sex||Good to Very Good||Featherbeds are response and offer little resistance to movement, making them suitable for sex.|
|Ease of Moving||Good to Very Good||Most feather toppers weigh less than 20 pounds, making them fairly easy to move and maneuver for most sleepers.|
|Ease of Cleaning||Poor to Fair||Featherbeds typically need to be dry cleaned, and should not be washed in a machine unless explicitly stated on the tag.|
|Maintenance||Poor to Fair||Regular fluffing and shaking is required to maintain the shape and loft of feather toppers.|
|Availability||Fair to Good||Featherbeds are not as widely available as other topper types, but shoppers should encounter a fairly broad selection in terms of thickness and price-point.|
|Average Price||$100 to $150||Featherbeds have a below-average price-point, although models with down components tend to be much more expensive.|