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- Editor’s pick down pillow: FluffCo Down & Feather
- Best down pillow for stomach sleepers: Brooklinen Down Pillow
- Best down pillow for combination sleepers: Casper Down Pillow
- Best down pillow for side and back sleepers: Boll & Branch Down Pillow
- Best budget down pillow: IKEA LUNDTRAV
- Best down-alternative pillow: Harris Pillow Supply Heavenly Down Pillow
- Best luxury down pillow set: Miraval Pillow Set
Memory foam is all the rage, but down pillows are still the pillow of choice for many luxury hotel chains. Down isn’t for everyone, but some people can’t get enough of the melty softness of a down-filled pillow.
Below, you’ll find a selection of pillows featuring editor’s picks and top-rated options. You’ll also find a bit of background on what makes down so popular.
When most people think of down, they picture feathers. But the two aren’t the same thing. Both come from animals but down is specifically an undercoating that ducks and geese have hidden under their feathers. This soft, fluffy stuff is pricier than feathers and has a slightly different feel.
Pillows with down aren’t as supportive as their feather-filled cousins. Instead, they are very plush. You’ll likely find yourself needing multiple down pillows to provide enough support if you’re a side or back sleeper.
Unfortunately, many companies use the terms feather and down interchangeably, so it can be tough to know precisely what the fill is made of unless you pop the pillow open. Most pillows also contain a combo of both feather and down.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the pros and cons of down:
- Fluffy softness. If you want an exceptionally fluffy, marshmallow-like pillow, a down pillow is the way to go.
- Ideal for stomach sleepers. The plush feel of down pairs well with a prone sleeping position. If sleeping on your stomach is your jam, a down pillow might feel more comfortable than a firm foam option.
- Good for those who sleep cold. Down retains heat very well, so it’s great for sleepers who tend to get chilly in the middle of the night.
- Durable. Down doesn’t lose its fluff as quickly as some synthetic materials, so it’ll stay perky for some time.
- May cause allergies. A true allergy to feathers is pretty
rare, but that doesn’t mean the sniffling is all in your head. Down pillows could attract more mites or produce more particles than other types of fill, exacerbating allergies and asthma.
- Expensive. Down pillows often come with a steep price tag. Cheap down-filled pillows might be composed of more feathers than down or contain less filling than would be ideal.
- Animal welfare concerns. Down has incredible insulating properties — it keeps geese and ducks warm, after all — but it’s also sometimes sourced in a cruel manner. Several standards are in place to help curb unethical down sourcing. The strictest standard is The Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS). Other certifying bodies include the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) and Down Pass.
- Not for everyone. You might not find down supportive enough if you tend to sleep on your side or back. If you prefer sleeping with one pillow, a down-filled one might not feel comfortable.
A new pillow won’t usually break the bank, but it’s still an important purchase. Here’s what we considered when putting this list together:
- Real-world testing. We did some testing of our own and reached out to real people, including Healthline editors, to get input about their favorite down pillows.
- Customer reviews. While real-world testing is great, it also helps to gather feedback from reviewers. Not everyone sleeps the same way, so looking at reviews helps us determine whether a pillow works for various sleepers. We also used reviews to narrow down our search and focus on the pillows that people are raving about.
- Materials. All our picks include some kind of down. If they also contain feathers, that’s clearly noted.
- Variety. In addition to including pillows at several price points, you’ll also find options suitable for different sleeping styles.
Down varies in price, but it’s typically more expensive than synthetic fill pillows. Often, though not always, the more expensive a pillow, the more down it contains. Our pricing guide is based on queen-size pillows unless otherwise stated.
- $ = under $60
- $$ = $60–$120
- $$$ = over $120
FluffCo Down & Feather
- Price: $$
- Fill: Down and feather
The FluffCo Down & Feather pillow contains down and feather sourced via the RDS. You can choose between a soft or firm feel depending on your preferences and sleep style.
Some reviewers say that the soft option is a bit too soft and flattens under pressure. Others rave about the firm option providing the perfect balance between soft and firm, so it may be more accurate to call it medium.
In our own testing, we were blown away by the support the firm version of this pillow gave for side and back sleepers.
If you typically pass up down pillows because you don’t think they’re supportive enough, this pillow could be an amazing option for you. We think its super comfy combination of support and softness is ideal for almost any sleeper.
Best down pillow for stomach sleepers
Brooklinen Down Pillow
- Price: $$
- Fill: Down and feather
The best feature of the puffy Brooklinen Down Pillow is that you can choose from three different firmness levels: plush, mid-plush, and firm. Reviewers love the fluffy feel and describe the pillow as cloud-like.
One of our editors describes the Brooklinen down pillow as “incredibly luxurious.” She says it’s the type of softness that you want your entire bed to be made from when you come home after a long day.
It’s might be a little too plush for a full night’s sleep if you sleep on your side or back and require more support. But if you sleep on your stomach or you’re a fan of soft pillows, this pillow is an amazing option.
Best down pillow for combination sleepers
Casper Down Pillow
- Price: $$$
- Fill: Down and feather (80-20 ratio in the outer chamber, and 60-40 ratio in the inner chambers)
This Casper pillow contains ethically-sourced down feathers certified by the RDS. Unlike most down pillows, it’s machine-washable and can go in the dryer.
Casper also offers an in-home trial for its pillows, so you can return it for free if it doesn’t work for you.
Reviewers say the pillow is well worth the price, saying it helped relieve their neck and back pain. People love that it’s supportive but that it allows for movement, making it an excellent choice for combination sleepers.
Best down pillow for side and back sleepers
Boll & Branch Down Pillow
- Price: $$$
- Fill: Down
The Boll and Branch Down Pillow comes in three density options: soft, medium, and firm. We tested the medium one, which we think is the perfect feel for side sleepers.
It’s the type of softness you expect from luxury hotel bedding, but it’s still supportive enough to keep your head elevated and prevent kinks in your neck.
While we love the medium feel, we recommend getting the firm density if you sleep on your back and need more support. For stomach sleepers, the soft option is likely your comfiest bet.
Best budget down pillow
- Price: $
- Fill: Down and feather (20-80 ratio)
If you’re on a budget but really want the feel of down, the LUNDTRAV is an affordable option. The one we tried during editorial testing was a bit too flat for side and back sleepers — though there’s a loftier option at a slightly higher price point.
We think this could be a great pillow for stomach sleepers. On the other hand, side sleepers will likely feel that this pillow doesn’t have enough height to properly support their neck.
Still, this pillow definitely has the soft feel of down. It also doesn’t retain as much heat as we expected — likely because it’s a feather-down combo. The breathable cotton cover might also play a part in regulating temperature and preventing heat from trapping.
Best down-alternative pillow
Harris Pillow Supply Heavenly Down Pillow
- Price: $$
- Fill: Blend of microfiber clusters and conjugated fiber
Whether you’re allergic to down or prefer to steer clear of products made with animal feathers, a down-alternative pillow can be a good solution for an ultra-soft feel without real feathers.
We discovered this company’s bedding in a hotel in Arizona. It’s one of the comfiest down-alternative pillows we’ve ever tried.
If you’re looking for a melt-into-it kind of feel, the Heavenly Down Pillow won’t disappoint.
Best luxury down pillow set
Miraval Pillow Set
- Price: $$$
- Fill: Down and feather
These are the favorite pillows of one Healthline editor who dreams about them after a hotel stay in Texas. She says it was the most comfortable bedding she’s ever slept on, and it gave her the best night’s sleep she had in forever.
She also says the pillows are soft and moldable, have a great weight and density, and hold their shape without sinking (like you might find with other feathered pillows).
If you’re looking for that ultra-luxurious, hotel-like feel for your bedding, this set might help you achieve just that.
Shopping for down is a bit more complicated than shopping for other types of pillows. There are a few extra considerations to take.
It’s always important to stick to products you can afford, but a good pillow is also an investment in sleep improvement. Down pillows can cost anywhere from $25 to over $200, so take inventory of your budget before you start shopping.
Firmness, support, and loft
Many companies offer different firmness options for their pillows. It’s important to consider your sleeping position and preferences when choosing your firmness level.
Sleep on your stomach or prefer that softer feel? Opt for a pillow with a softer construction to prevent a crick in your neck. Sleep on your side or back? Look for a firmer, more supportive pillow to help keep your neck aligned with your spine.
You might also see the word “loft” in different pillow product descriptions. Loft is a measure of height in pillows. For down pillows, the higher the loft, the fluffier the pillow will be.
Stomach sleepers usually prefer thinner pillows, while back and side sleepers usually prefer medium to high loft for more support.
Type of down
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has some specific policies about advertising and labeling for down products. While the FTC has laid down rules for what qualifies as a down-filled product (for example, products labeled “all” or “pure down” need to contain at least 70 percent down), laws may vary from state to state.
The FTC can crack down on companies making deceptive claims about their down products.
What about down sourcing? How can you find out whether the down inside pillows has been sourced ethically? A few independent bodies aim to ensure down and feathers used in textiles are sourced ethically.
Look for companies with the following certifications:
- Global TDS
- Down Pass
The fill ratio refers to the ratio of down to feathers. An 80-20 down-to-feather ratio, for example, means that 80 percent of the fill is made up of down, and the rest is feathers. More down means more warmth and, typically, a fluffier feel.
Whether a down pillow will work for you depends a bit on your personal preference and sleeping style.
If you tend to sleep on your side, you’ll need a down pillow that has enough loft to provide support — but not too much that it knocks your spine out of alignment. People who sleep on their stomachs need something a bit flatter.
While there’s no firm evidence that says down can cause allergies, down is harder to take care of than other materials. Improper or lack of cleaning can lead to mold growth or attract allergy-producing dust mites.
In the end, being comfortable is all that matters. You might buy the “perfect” pillow for side sleepers only to find out it gives you shoulder pain.
Ultimately, down fill is ideal if you’re someone who wants a cloud-like feel.
The Better Sleep Council recommends refreshing your pillow every 3 years or so.
If it’s time for a switch and you’re looking for an upgrade, consider a soft, fluffy down pillow to help you comfortably drift off to sleep.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.