The Best Down Pillows
If you’ve ever used a down pillow, you know that it has a unique feel. These pillows offer a rare combination of softness, moldability, and lightness that can’t be found in other types of pillow materials. For many sleepers, this is an ideal combination that makes a down pillow the perfect fit for support and comfort.
If you’re in the market for a down pillow, this guide will help you find the best option for your needs and budget. We’ll tell you about the best down pillows available and will walk you through the important information that you need to know as you go through the shopping process.
What Are The Best Down Pillows of 2018?
|Brand/Model||Type of Pillow||Loft Level||Price|
|Parachute Down Pillow||85% White Down||3 Options: Soft, Medium, Firm||$69 - $109|
|Continental Bedding Down Pillow||100% Goose Down||Medium||$100|
|Downlite Extra Soft Down Pillow||Duck Down||Low-to-medium||$70|
|Luxuredown Goose Down Pillow||100% White Goose Down||Medium||$100|
|Royal Hotel Down Pillow||75% White Goose Down||4 Options: Soft, Medium Firm, Firm, Adjustable||$149 (Set of 2)|
Parachute Down Pillow
Why we like it:
- Made with high-end 750 fill power white down
- Available in 3 options for firmness and loft
- Down certified according to Responsible Down Standard
- 60-day risk-free trial
Given its combination of materials and design, the Parachute Down Pillow easily makes our list for the best down pillows. The fill is 85% down and 15% feathers, and together it has a fill power of 750. This gives the pillow a softness that is inviting while also having plenty of material for cushioning your head and neck. You can choose from a Soft, Medium, or Firm option depending on your preferred amount of loft and firmness, and this makes the Parachute Pillow a worthy consideration no matter your sleeping position. A cotton sateen shell helps to keep the pillow feeling cool and comfortable.
The down used in this pillow meets the criteria of the Responsible Down Standard regarding its production process. The pillow itself is also machine-washable and comes with a 60-day return window that allows you test it out to make sure it works for you.
Continental Bedding Down Pillow
Why we like it:
- Made with 100% white goose down
- Pillow has fill power of 700, offering comfort without overheating
- 100% cotton cover with thread count of 300
- Certified to meet Responsible Down Standard
The Continental Bedding Down Pillow is made with 100% white goose down providing it with the maximum in terms of softness, lightness, and moldability. With a fill power of 700, there’s enough puffy down to make the pillow comfortable but not so much as to cause you to overheat or wake up with your head in a sweat. A medium loft level combined with the ability to reshape the down makes this a great fit for side and back sleepers.
The fill material all complies with the Responsible Down Standard for ethical production, and the exterior of the pillow is composed of a durable 300 thread count cover made of 100% cotton.
Downlite Extra Soft Down Pillow
Why we like it:
- Made with 525-550 fill power duck down
- Down processed to be hypoallergenic
- Lower loft well-suited to back and stomach sleepers
The Downlite Extra Soft Down Pillow has a lower loft level than many other down pillows that are on the market, and this makes it especially appealing for people who tend to sleep on their stomach or back. At the same time, its moldability still makes it a viable option for people who are side sleepers and need more height from their pillow.
The pillow is filled with duck down that has a fill power of 525-550, so the pillow won’t overheat. A 250 thread count cotton damask cover helps provide a smooth and cool feel, and the entire pillow can be safely machine-washed. The down has also been treated to reduce allergens, making this a viable option for people with mild allergies to down.
Luxuredown Goose Down Pillow
Why we like it:
- 100% white goose down fill
- Fill has 650 fill power for softness and warmth
- 100% cotton sateen cover with 330 thread count
- Medium loft works for most sleepers
The Luxuredown Goose Down Pillow is a high-end pillow with medium loft that is a great fit for the majority of side and back sleepers. It is made with 100% down from white geese, and the pillow has a total fill power of 650. This gives the pillow significant loft and warmth but not so much heat retention as to cause you to sleep hot.
It is also highly moldable, so you can easily adjust this pillow to fit the shape that you need to sleep soundly. The cool, comfortable feel of the pillow is enhanced by the 100% cotton sateen shell with a thread count of 330.
Royal Hotel Down Pillow
Why we like it:
- Made with 75% white goose down
- 4 firmness options so you can select optimal loft
- Adjustable model includes memory foam insert (providing an option for more consistent loft)
- Cotton cover with 500 thread count
For customers who want to be able to select a firmness level, the Royal Hotel Down Pillow is a great choice. The pillow comes in 4 potential levels: Soft, Medium Firm, Firm, and Adjustable. The Adjustable option has a memory foam insert that can be kept in or removed depending on your preference. If you keep the insert in, the pillow has a memory foam core surrounded by soft and moldable down. This adds weight and structure to the pillow while maintaining a feel of down. With this combination of firmness choices, the Royal Hotel Down Pillow has a version that can be an option for sleepers in any position.
All of the versions of this pillow use 75% white goose down to provide significant softness and moldability in a lightweight pillow. A 500 thread count cotton cover gives the exterior of the pillow plenty of smoothness and durability to go along with the comfort offered by the fill.
Down Pillow Guide
What Are Down Pillows Made Of?
Down is the material that is found underneath the plumage (the exterior feathers) of ducks and geese. Down feathers are smaller and softer than the exterior feathers. They are also extremely light, and because they are the source of insulation for these birds they are also extremely insulating. This combination of being lightweight, soft, and warm makes down a preferred material for bedding products like comforters and pillows.
The down material can be made up of feathers or of clusters. The clusters are fibers of down connected at a central spoke that have more heat-retaining potential. Some down products will specify the percentage that comes from clusters. The softness and insulating power of the down can vary based on the amount of clusters and the size of the down feathers (for example, those taken from mature geese will be larger and loftier than those taken from ducks).
It is important to note that a down pillow is not necessarily 100% down. Sometimes the down is mixed with exterior feathers. If the percentage of down is 75% or higher, it can be marketed as a down pillow. If it is less, they are marketed as feather pillows. You will also find some pillows clearly labeled as 100% down.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Down Pillow?
Down pillows have a very specific feel and performance that many sleepers love. At the same time, these pillows have certain drawbacks and don’t work for all people.
Some of the benefits of a down pillow include:
- Moldability: one of the best benefits of a down pillow is that it can shaped and reshaped in real time to adjust to your needs. For example, if you want to bunch up the pillow so it better cradles the crook of your neck, you can do that easily. Or if you want to stack the down to give the pillow more loft, you can do that, too.
- Softness: down is extremely soft, and some sleepers just find this plushness to be heavenly when they lay down to sleep.
- Durability: if properly maintained, down usually lasts for many years, in some cases even decades if it of high quality. As it is used, down may even get softer, although this can cause it to lose loft.
- Lightweight: for their size, down pillows are very light and easy to move around.
- Low noise: when you adjust a down pillow, it stays quiet, so it likely won’t have issues of disrupting a partner in bed.
Some of the drawbacks of down pillows include:
- Cost: down is costly to produce and thus expensive to buy in a pillow. If a pillow is 100% down, you can expect it to cost even more. Relative to virtually all other types of pillows, down is the most expensive.
- Smell: there may be some smell when you first remove a down pillow from the packaging, but this usually does not last more than a few days at most.
- Allergies: microbes in down feathers can cause serious allergy issues and reactions like sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and watery eyes.
- Requires regular fluffing: because the down moves around within the shell of the pillow, you have to regularly fluff a down pillow for it to go back to its original shape.
- Difficult to clean: you normally cannot machine-wash a down pillow. In most cases, it will need to be spot cleaned or taken to a dry cleaner.
- Feels too soft: the way that down compresses can make it hard for a down pillow to provide enough loft and support for some people, and others may just feel that the pillow has too much sink.
- Heat retention: the insulating power of down means that these pillows tend to hold in heat, which can be an issue for people who tend to sleep hot.
- Escaping feathers: feathers may come out of the shell or in some cases may poke your skin through the cover. This won’t cause serious pain but may be uncomfortable.
Who is Best Suited to a Down Pillow?
If you’ve never tried out a down pillow, it might be hard to know if it’s likely to work well for you. As a result, it may be helpful to know that down pillows are usually best for people who:
- Sleep on their back or side: if you sleep on your side, it can be useful to have a down pillow that can be scrunched up to fit the angle of your neck while still offering plenty of softness for your head. And if you sleep on your back, the adjustability of a down pillow can help get the proper tilt to your neck to prevent it from bending too much in any one direction.
- Don’t need a lot of loft: if you need consistent loft, down may not be the right fit for you because the down will compress and by its nature is less consistent in its shape.
- Want a moldable pillow: if you find that you’re often changing your sleeping position or head angle and want a pillow that can be easily modified on the fly, then down could be a great fit.
Down pillows are less likely to work well for people who:
- Sleep on their stomach: given how much down compresses and its heat and softness, stomach sleepers may feel like they are drowning in a down pillow.
- Have an allergy to down: if you’ve ever had issues with this kind of allergy, stay away from a down pillow.
- Sleep hot: if you tend to sleep hot, down may cause your head and neck to heat up more.