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Down Pillow Buying Guide


For a more affordable, fluffy pillow, opt for a style that features both down and feathers. FluffCo uses a two-layer design with down on the outer layer for softness and feathers in the core for support. The responsibly sourced fill is available in both soft and firm options. Users enjoyed its fluffiness, and one told us, "night after night, it maintained the same comfort level as the first day I slept on it." It didn't shrink after washing, and our pros liked how nicely it fit inside a pillowcase.

Back sleepers need a thinner pillow than side sleepers for proper neck alignment. This down pillow from Casper has a loft that's ideal for back sleepers. It fit perfectly in a standard-size pillowcase and was beloved by testers for being comfortable and maintaining its proper shape after use. The five-chamber design keeps the down and feather fill evenly distributed. One tester said she especially loved how it "holds its shape and doesn't go flat."

With a medium loft, this pillow is suitable for multiple sleeping positions, but our testers said its low loft is ideal for stomach sleepers. It features a unique design with a supportive inner chamber of feathers that's surrounded by fluffy down for ultimate softness. After laundering, this pillow showed no shrinkage, but it did show some signs of wear. The down is certified by the Responsible Down Standard for traceability in the supply chain. It's also a Good Housekeeping Seal holder, so it's covered by our limited warranty.

Down creates an excellent plush feel, but it doesn't always offer enough support for some. This hybrid pillow from Allswell features down and polyester fibers with a solid memory foam core. Although it fits perfectly in a standard-size pillow, this pillow had average scores for durability and performance. It's best suited for people who prefer firmer pillows. One tester said: "After initially being stiff, it did eventually conform to my way of sleeping."

If you are looking for a quality down pillow that costs less, then duck is the way to go. In the bedding market they are cheaper, especially in the U.S., because duck down is much more readily available.

Fill power is the amount of space that an ounce of down will occupy in cubic inches within a pillow. The higher the fill power equals the larger the down clusters. Larger down clusters are known to last longer (years) and will sleep softer and warmer than smaller clusters.

This is a good in between when it comes to fill power. The down clusters are a little bit larger than those used in 600 fill power, so the life expectancy is better and the pillow is softer but still firm.

If you are looking for top of the line quality, then the 800 and above range is where you want to explore. The large down clusters come from a more mature bird- a big factor in down quality. A pillow of this magnitude will last years, retain higher loft and will make for a lighter, softer pillow.

Our team at Sleep Foundation performs hands-on pillow tests to bring you the most helpful and data-driven recommendations and reviews. Our testing methodology incorporates objective and subjective evaluations from our expert testers. Below are some guidelines that inform our testing process:

Do you prefer pillows with an exceptionally plush feel that sink beneath your head and neck Are you more partial to light pillows that are very moldable and ideal for snuggling If you answered yes to either question, then you may be a great candidate for a down pillow. Down refers to the inner plumage of ducks and geese, which is very soft and lightweight. Some pillows only contain down while others contain a blend of down and feathers, the coarser outer plumage of the same birds.

Ethical sourcing is an important consideration for down pillows. Since the down and feathers must be extracted from animals, consumers should research how different pillows are sourced and constructed.

A shell made of smooth cotton sateen encases the entire pillow and double-stitched seams help to keep the cover intact and prevent escaping fill. The down and feathers are also treated during production to remove microbes that trigger allergies for some sleepers. Spot or dry cleaning is recommended if stains occur, but you can freshen up the pillow and expand its shape by placing it in a dryer on an air fluff setting.

A common complaint about down pillows is that they feel too soft, since many are crafted for an exceptionally plush feel. The Boll & Branch Down Chamber Pillow is a notable exception because it is available in three density settings. The soft option contains the least amount of fill, which equates to a fill power of about 600. The medium density option contains a slightly more fill, resulting in a mid-level feel, while the firm option has a fill power of 700 and provides great support to the head and neck.

Side sleepers often struggle with down pillows because they are not lofty enough, resulting in uncomfortable sinkage along the head and neck. As its name implies, the Parachute Down Side Sleeper Pillow is designed to remedy this issue. A thick 3.5-inch gusset along the sides helps the pillow maintain a thick, full shape that is conducive to the side sleeping position. This gusset is reinforced with thick piping for added longevity.

Although the pillow has a medium feel, most of its fill consists of premium European white down. This creates a plush, cloud-like feel. The cover is made from smooth cotton sateen, making this pillow a good option for people with sensitive skin. Parachute recommends machine washing the pillow in a cold, gentle cycle with mild detergent if it needs to be cleaned, though dry cleaning is also acceptable. Standard and king sizes are available.

If you wake up with a sore or stiff neck, your pillow may be to blame. The Kassatex Organic Cotton Pillow is packed with pure down, creating a luxuriously soft and lofty feel that can cradle the neck to alleviate aches and pains. A thick profile makes the pillow especially well-suited to side sleepers, since people who use this position need ample cushioning between their head and downward-facing shoulder to ensure proper spinal alignment. Back sleepers on our team also felt comfortable on this pillow because the down was sufficiently supportive.

Standard and king sizes are available. You may launder the pillow at home, provided you own a front-loading washer. Otherwise you can opt for dry cleaning or machine washing at a laundromat. The down and feathers are ethically sourced.

Read on to learn more about how to find the best down feather pillows. This guide will discuss price expectations, size availability, pros and cons for sleepers, and ethical considerations for this type of pillow.

Most down pillows offer a similar feel characterized by exceptional plushness and deep sinkage beneath the head and neck. However, there are subtle differences between these pillow models that make them better suited for some types of sleepers and less suited for others. Important considerations include the type of down used, ratio of down to feathers, cover material, loft, and price-point. We also encourage shoppers to research the down and feather harvesting practices of different companies to ensure their pillows and other products are ethically sourced and manufactured.

While misleading claims and specs are widely used throughout the mattress and bedding industry, this problem is particularly common with products containing down. Some pillows contain 100 percent down, but most contain a blend of down and feathers from the same type of bird. The feathers provide more support to stabilize the pillow and prevent excessive sinkage.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates how down and feather pillows and other products are labeled. According to the International Down and Feather Testing Laboratory (IDFL), pillows containing at least 75 percent down require the percentage of down to be listed on the product tag. If a pillow contains less than 75 percent down, then percentages for both down and feather fill must both be listed. Only pillows that contain 100 percent down can carry this listing.

Loft, or thickness, affects how supportive the pillow feels. Side sleepers generally need more loft in order to align the head and neck with the spine, which in turn reduces pressure throughout the body. Back sleepers need some loft to keep their body on an even plane, but too much can elevate the head and create neck and shoulder pain. For most stomach sleepers, a low-loft down pillow allows them to rest comfortably without contorting their head too much.

Most down pillows are sold in traditional standard, queen, and king sizes, all of which have a rectangular shape. Some brands offer body pillows padded with down and feather fill, as well, but these models are fairly rare. Contoured and orthopedic down pillows are virtually non-existent; in order to reduce neck and shoulder pain, these pillows are constructed from foams, latex, and other denser materials.

The average down pillow costs between $80 and $200 in a standard or queen size. Expect to pay more for pillows with 100 percent down content or a high content of goose down. Those with higher ratios of feather fill will typically cost less.

The quality of a down pillow can affect how it performs in different areas. Dense down with a high fill power will give the pillow a fuller shape that requires less fluffing and shaking on your part. Cover quality is also important, since shell fabrics that deteriorate quickly can cause the down and feathers to escape and essentially ruin the pillow.

We personally are not the most diligent about pillow care. But our research found that everyone should wash their pillows a couple of times a year, to zap any crud that sneaks past pillowcases and even pillow protectors. We asked down expert Jack Sukalac, owner of All About Down, and Christian Alexander, chief operating officer at Nest Bedding, how to wash pillows with different kinds of fill. 59ce067264


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