What is a Down Pillow?
There are a plethora of different types of pillows and fillings you can find. One type of pillow that's been around for centuries is down and down feather pillows.
It's getting harder and more expensive to find the best down pillows, most "down" pillows marketed today are down alternative feather pillow, and are much less expensive. So, what is down, and do you really need it for your pillow?
In this article, we're going to explain exactly what down, feathers, and down alternative is and which option you should go with for your next pillow.
Let's get started!
Down vs. Feathers
It's very, very common that the terms "down" and "feathers" are used interchangeably. However, they're very different! They feel different, have different properties, and require different care.
In short, down can be thought of like a bird's undercoat. Imagine the type of feathers you see on a baby bird. These soft, short, and fluffy feathers are known as down.
In adult birds, down is generally found around the chest.
Feathers, on the other hand, are larger, have a quill, and aren't nearly as fluffy. Feathers generally come from the wings or back of the bird, and will be flatter and lack the insulation qualities down has.
Not all down and feathers are created equally. When you get into higher quality down pillows, you'll discover something called "fill power". The bigger the down feather clusters are, the more fluffy support you're going to have.
Bigger feathers with more fill power generally come from a white goose, rather than a smaller bird like a duck. The bigger the bird, the more fill power the down has.
When looking for high quality down pillows with a large fill power, you can expect to pay at least $75 for the pillow, if not more.
What is Down Alternative?
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As we've mentioned, true down pillows can get expensive. However, that doesn't stop people from loving the feeling of down pillows. This love for down led to the creation of a down alternative material.
Down alternative is often made of clumps of synthetic materials like rayon or polyester and fluffed to mimic the feel of down.
Down alternative pillows are much cheaper than true down, but won't last nearly as long.
What Is a Down Pillow, and Should I Get One?
When it comes to choosing a pillow, the ultimate decision is up to personal preference. If you like soft support and a cooling feel, down can be a great choice for a pillow.
With proper care, a down pillow can last for 20 or more years. Just make sure you use a waterproof pillowcase or silk zipping pillow protector, so the pillow doesn't get soaked in natural oils from your face over time.
If you're on a tighter budget, a down alternative pillow will give you the same feel, just expect to have to replace the pillow more often.
Whats your favorite type of pillow? Let us know in the comments section below!
Courtney is the reason The Sleep Shop exists. She’s a Seattle native with a passion for healthy sleep. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a major in marketing. She started The Sleep Shop to help friends and family choose a good mattress, and helped grow the site to what it is today. She does most of the product testing and reviews.