Best Down Pillows Reviews – What To Look For
If you’re on the look for the perfect pillow to rest your head on after a long and tiresome day, down pillows are worth a try. When it comes to natural pillow stuffing material, down is considered the most comfortable, soft, and rewarding one out there. Historically, down pillows were reserved for the aristocracy and royalty, while simple feather ones were widely used by the lower social classes. However, you’ll have to pay a significantly higher price if you want to feel like a king or queen every night – as down pillows tend to be more expensive than feather or polystyrene ones.
To start off, if you never shopped for pillows or are totally unfamiliar with the notion of „down,” you might wonder what that is in the first place. Down refers to the clusters of fine feathers that grow under the sturdy outer feathers of a bird (mostly geese and ducks. Chicken do have these as well, but the quantity is considered insufficient to be cast off for pillow use). This kind of pillow has been utilized for a very long time, being considered the best insulating material.
Down pillows offer a lot of advantages compared to regular feathers and synthetic material ones. The are warmer, lighter, soft and plush, as well as resistant to weight. These pillows have about three times the elasticity of standard ones, thus prolonging their lifespan. It also offers a luxurious, silky feeling that is hard to imitate even with the best quality synthetic materials out there. Down feathers also hardly stick together, so you will never encounter a bald spot on this kind of pillow.
If you decided on down pillows as your next bedroom upgrade, here are our Top 5 recommendations regarding these units:
Top Rated Down Pillows of 2017
1. Royal Hotel Bedding (Set Of 2)
The Royal Hotel Bedding will suit even a King hotel suite; the quality of these pillows is extremely high, and that will be mirrored by the price tag as well. However, you will get what you’re paying for, as this set of pillows contains large clustered, 750 down fill power, as well as a 500 thread count cotton cover. The goose down feathers have undergone a process of purification and sanitization before being used as pillow filling, so these will suit even the most sensitive skin. The down filling makes them plush, soft, and improves air circulation, while the sturdy cover will resist to a lot of years of constant usage and dry cleaning.
The pillows are edged with a silky piping to finish off the elegant aspect. They are available in two different sizes, Queen and King, so you can choose whichever suits your needs best.
Despite being fairly expensive, these pillows will certainly pay off over time. Shop the latest price for them here:
2. Cuddledown 700 (Single Unit)
The Cuddledown 700 is great for anyone who likes to have a bit of a choice when it comes to their down pillows. This particular model comes with a 700 fill power, but you can also choose a 600, 800, and 900 figure, for a more customizable firmness level. The 700 fill power one is the perfect unit for side sleepers, providing the right balance between plush and firm. If you wish to have a firmer alternative, we recommend going for a lower figure – in this case, 800 or 900, and if you want to get the feeling of resting your head on a cotton candy cloud, go for 600.
This unit is filled with hypoallergenic goose down feathers and has a 450 thread count European cotton cover to go with it.
Besides the firmness, you can also customize your desired size, and you have a wide range to choose from – European, Standard, King, and Queen.
Shop the latest price for this product here:
3. eLuxurySupply Extra Soft
Stomach sleepers usually have a hard time finding a pillow that is soft enough to rest their head on. Most standard fillings, from feather to foam, will be too sturdy and high for such a sleeping position. However, the eLuxury Supply Extra Soft is a great alternative for those who prefer to sleep on their belly – being one of the plushest alternatives out there.
The duck feathers used for the filling are sterilized and hypoallergenic so that the pillows will work well even for the most sensitive skin. This is extremely important for stomach sleepers, as their face comes in contact with the pillow a lot. You also won’t get any feather stems poking out from the pillow, as the down ones are soft and fluffy. The fill power on this one is 525, meaning it’s rather soft compared to other alternatives, without losing its support qualities.
An advantage of this unit is that it’s machine washable – something you won’t encounter too often when shopping for down pillows. Shop the latest price for this product here:
4. Better Down 700 (Single Unit)
This pillow will be a keeper – the 700 fill power, the 300 thread count cotton cover, and the orthopedic level support will pay off over time. The Better Down 700 is filled with goose down feather and is certified as being hypoallergenic. Besides that, the high figure fill power will make for a rather firm surface, perfect for supporting side and back sleepers. They will be equally supportive even when prompted up against the wall or bed frame, for reading, watching TV, or whatnot.
The Better Down 700 is available in several sizes, from Standard to Queen and King, and is entirely made in the USA. The pillows are sold by unit, so be careful to avoid confusions. In terms of price, this pillow is one of the most expensive products in this top – but its quality is probably one of the best as well.
5. Pinzon Hypoallergenic (Single Unit)
The Pinzon hypoallergenic are great for anyone who is on a rather tight budget, but nonetheless, wish to have the best quality down pillows available in that price range. This unit is filled with duck down feathers and has a fill power of 550. This makes it rather plush compared to, say, a 700 one, but it’s still pretty supportive for the average person. It will also work great for back and stomach sleepers, much like the eLuxury Supply, which has a similar density.
The pillow comes with a 400 thread count cotton cover, which is removable and machine washable. It is available in Standard, Queen, and King sizes, and is sold by the unit. Overall, the Pinzon Hypoallergenic is great value for the price but is easily surpassed in both comfort and support by the more expensive models. You can check the latest price and further details about it here:
These are our recommendations regarding the best quality down feather pillows out there. However, if some of these figures, numbers, and notions have got you confused, you probably need to read on and find out the most important aspects that make a down pillow. As you could see in the reviews, each pillow is filled with a certain type of feather – either goose or duck. Here are some facts about each of them:
1. Goose. Goose down feather is considered premium-grade filling, has a softer feel and a higher fill power. The clusters are bigger, and they offer the perfect balance between breathability, support, and plushness than duck ones. The most prized type of goose used in the down pillow industry is the Hungarian goose; these tend to grow bigger than other common species, such as the Canadian, Siberian, or the Chinese one, and also live longer. This is important because the older and bigger the bird, the more down feathers will be found on its body. Hungarian farms take pride in their products, that’s why anything that’s labeled “European” will be more expensive than something that it’s not.
2. Duck. Duck is the next best thing when it comes to down feathers. The duck down clusters are a bit smaller than the goose ones and don’t offer such an impressive fill power. However, to the untrained average person, it probably doesn’t make too much of a difference (unless you were sleeping on goose down feathers for several decades already). They are also about twice as cheap as the goose feather ones, but can also be harder to find, due to the high demand of geese counterparts. For instance, the eLuxury Supply in our top is filled with duck down.
Besides the feather provenience, you probably noticed something called the fill power and thread count. Both of these aspects influence the firmness and aspect of the down pillow. In other words,
3. The fill power is a figure that indicates how many inches of space an ounce of down feather clusters occupies. You will see a number between 500 and 900 in the description of the product, which is directly connected to the firmness of the pillow. The lower the number, the plusher the pillow. Respectively, the higher the figure, the firmer and more supportive it is. A good fill power to go for is 700, and 3 of the products included in our top have that. However, if you prefer a softer alternative, 600, 550, and 525 options are also available. Large clusters, aka a higher number, will also indicate better breathability, increased elasticity, and will provide a healthier position during slumber.
4. The thread count refers to the density of the fabric used for the pillow cover. Most of them are made from cotton, be it European or Egyptian, and have thread counts from 300 to 500. The thread count figure equals the number of threads that run up and across an inch of fabric. To give you a general idea, a 200 thread count is what is usually used for cotton bed sheets, which already have a pretty tight weave. A normal pillow cover thread count will be over 300, so as to isolate the feathers completely, reduce the risk of clusters poking through the tiny holes, and to keep them sterile. As many pillows only allow dry cleaning, the cover is usually the only thing that protects the feathers inside from coming in contact with sweat, odors, bacteria, and other unpleasant things.
When it comes to buying the perfect down pillow, here are some questions you would naturally ask yourself:
1. What filling should I choose?
Going back to the down feather provenience, you’ll have to choose between goose and duck. Again, if you’re not a professional pillow tester, it will probably not make a huge difference to you. However, goose down clusters is usually bigger that duck ones, thus influencing the fill power. That is something even an inexperienced person will be able to differentiate – as a 700 fill power is way firmer than a 500 one.
If you’re on a tight budget, we’d recommend you stick with duck. They are about twice as cheap as goose down pillows but provide a similar comfort level. Look for the highest fill power available for duck pillows and go for that- it will be half the price of goose down. However, if money is not an issue for you, choose a goose down pillow and enjoy the best quality out there on the market.
2. What fill power should I choose?
This is a rather easy question. We’ll group the answers into three categories:
For those on a tight budget, those who prefer soft pillows, and stomach sleepers: 500-600 is a common fill power for duck down feathers, it’s cheaper and plusher.
For those who want to experience the classic down feather feeling: 700 is the most common fill power for goose down pillows, and will be easier to find. It’s also in the mid-to-high price range.
For those who need orthopedic level support, back sleepers, or just people who prefer firm pillows: anything up to 900, but be prepared to pay a higher price.
3. What thread count should I choose?
Unlike the fill power, there’s only one answer to this question – a higher thread count is always better than a lower one. Anything above 400 is considered good quality cotton for pillow covers and will isolate the filling inside well enough. If you’re going for anything below 400, the pillow should probably be machine washable, or the cover removable, for a proper sanitization.
Last but not least, here are some advantages of buying down feather pillows, if you aren’t fully convinced yet:
1. Elasticity and plushness. Most people prefer to have softer pillows to sleep on, rather than firm ones. Down feather pillows are probably the most delicate ones on the market, while still providing proper support for your neck and head. Despite that, they are not quick to lose their initial shape, being also rather elastic, at least compared to standard feather ones.
2. Ideal for stomach sleepers. If you’re one of the 25% of people who prefer sleeping on their stomachs, down feather is the best pillow filling you could wish for. A cheap, soft, yet supportive pillow like the down ones is definitely what you’re looking for.
3. They are lightweight. While for some people, this might not be classified as a real advantage, the lightness of these pillows will be a treasure for those who travel often, move a lot, or just carry them from room to room a lot.
4. Long lifespan. Despite their fragile appearance, down pillows can live up to 10 years with the proper care. If you dry clean them regularly, they will not lose shape and support for a very long time.
5. Good looking. This is the main reason why they are a popular pick for hotels – down pillows look excellent, are plumper and more elastic than standard feather or Primaloft ones, which keeps them from sagging and clumping after a while of use.
6. Silent. Yes, there is such a thing as noise from a pillow. Unless you never slept on buckwheat or feather pillow, you’re probably a bit unfamiliar with that, but down feather pillows are known to be the least noisy alternative out there. If you’re someone who struggles with a noisy pillow, a down one will make a world of a difference.
Naturally, there are some disadvantages you need to know as well:
1. Poor support. Well, not exactly poor, but these pillows are less supportive than foam or latex ones, which are considered the best for relieving neck muscle strain, and other support related issues. You probably won’t wake up with an aching neck and shoulder from a down pillow, but it won’t relieve it if you already have this problem.
2. Low loft. The pillows are rather low compared to any other type of filling, and some people reported them to be uncomfortable for certain sleeping positions.
3. Are fast to lose shape during the night. Due to the rather low density of the down feathers, these pillows will lose their shape and require manual fluffing and shaking to get back into their original form. However, that shouldn’t take more than a couple of seconds.
4. The price. This is the biggest turn off for most people, as one single down pillow can cost as much as a whole set of standard feather ones. They cost over $150, but duck ones can be found at a lower price as well.
To sum up the information in this guide, we’d like to give our subjective answer to the “what is the best down pillow?” question. In our opinion, and based on hundreds of customer reviews, the best down pillows are the Royal Hotel Bedding. Not only do they come in a set of 2 for a rather convenient price, but they have some of the most impressive stats out there. With a 750 fill power, goose down feathers and a 500 thread count cotton cover, these pillows are the epitome of excellent quality. You can choose from two of the most popular sizes, and their firmness is the golden mean for almost anyone. However, if you prefer to customize your pillows, even more, the Cuddledown 700 is the next best thing. You can choose your fill power and size, but one single Cuddledown 700 unit costs as much as the Royal Hotel Set of 2.