A well-appointed bed should have a supportive mattress, high-quality linens, and bed pillows that provide comfort and promote an appropriate sleeping position. Many find that feather pillows provide the feeling they want when they’re trying to drift into slumber.
The best feather pillows are made of goose or duck feathers, the down of these birds, or a combination of the two. The feathers provide support while the down provides unparalleled softness.
But even among feather pillows, the types will vary widely. The best feather pillows for one person might contain more feathers for greater firmness, while another person might look for a pillow that is soft enough to sink into.
Those looking for a more luxurious sleep experience should take a look at these top picks for the best feather pillows for a well-dressed bedroom.
- BEST OVERALL: Continental Bedding 100% Goose Down Pillows
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: puredown Natural Goose Down Feather White
- UPGRADE PICK: Royal Hotel Down Pillow
- ECO-FRIENDLY PICK: Lincove Classic Natural Goose Down Luxury Pillow
- BEST FOR TRAVEL: ComfyDown Travel Pillow
- ALSO CONSIDER: Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows for Sleeping
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Feather Pillows
The best feather pillows will fit right into your bedroom and make your sleep much more comfortable. To that end, look at a variety of factors, such as size, fill level, loft, moldability, materials, and more.
The best feather pillows come in a variety of sizes. A standard pillow of 20 inches by 26 inches is the most common in all types of pillows. Super standard is a bit larger at 20 inches by 28 inches. Queen-size pillows are also common and measure 20 inches by 30 inches.
King-size pillows are 20 inches by 36 inches, work well on a king-size bed, and are also suitable for those who like to sit up in bed with a little support. Body pillows are about 20 inches wide and 54 inches long or more, which means they are great for cuddling up with in bed.
They can also work wonders for pregnant individuals or those who have some sort of injury or ailment that requires body support. Finally, there is the euro pillow, which is 20 inches by 20 inches square and is often used as a decorative pillow.
Feather pillows are often a blend of feathers and down. The feathers come from ducks or geese and are the rougher outer plumage that one can readily see. The down is made up of the smaller, softer feathers closer to the body and on the breast of the duck or goose.
In most pillows, the feathers are in the middle to provide firmer support, while the down is on the outer edges of the pillow to provide the right level of softness. Those who find they are allergic to down or feathers might opt for a down alternative, which is simply puffballs of polyester that mimic the feel of down.
How a person sleeps can help determine the best feather pillows for their bed. The idea is to keep the neck and back in alignment as much as possible for maximum relaxation and comfort. Side sleepers need a higher “loft,” or height and firmness, to keep this alignment.
Those who tend to sleep on their stomach or back will need a lower loft. Those who are all over the place during sleep might want to opt for more than one pillow so they can switch them out as necessary through the night.
This refers to the thickness, or height, of the pillow. Some might pick up a feather pillow, feel the softness and immediately decide a thicker pillow is better, but that’s not necessarily the case.
It all depends upon spinal alignment, and sometimes a higher loft isn’t a good thing, such as with those who sleep on their backs or stomachs most of the time. Those who sleep on their sides are the ones who need the higher loft.
Consider the “fill power” of the pillow. Fill power refers to the density of the pillow, measured by how many cubic inches goes into one ounce of down. The higher the fill power, the loftier the pillow will be.
Expect to find feather pillows available in soft, medium, and firm. Some pillows are designed with support chambers inside, which hold the feathers or down in place and can make for a firmer pillow. Additional feather fill can also affect the firmness, as feathers don’t compress as much as down.
To that end, most firm pillows are made with more feathers, while soft pillows are made with more down. Consider the support, pressure relief, and loft you might need to be comfortable at night. It might be best to start out with medium support to determine your specific needs.
Those who prefer the option to mold their pillow to their head will want to go with down fill. This is because down is much more moldable than feathers, and it allows the sleeper to make adjustments to the pressure by simply moving the pillow to a more comfortable position.
Being able to shape a pillow can be especially helpful for those who have some sort of injury or physical ailment that makes it more difficult to find a comfortable position.
Support and Pressure Relief
Those who need strong support might want to consider a feather pillow that is made of mostly feathers, with a little down on the edges. This helps ensure a pillow that will stand up to the weight of the user’s head over time.
It might also provide some pressure relief, preventing strain on the neck and shoulders while using the pillow. The nature of feathers and down means that it compresses much more easily than pillows made of other materials, such as memory foam. If pressure relief isn’t up to par, look for a feather or down pillow that has more feathers.
Those who hate waking up to a pillow that is just too hot will be pleased to know that feathers and down tend to be cooler than other materials. For instance, latex pillows or memory foam are usually much warmer. To ensure you have the right type of pillow for a “hot” sleeper, go with a cooling pillow. Most manufacturers will make this feature clear in their description of the product.
Regardless of the cooling factor, down and feathers serve as natural insulation, so it’s possible that some might notice more warmth as the night goes on. In this case, a proper pillowcase is important. Look for a cotton pillow cover that will wick away moisture and allow for breathability, thus keeping air circulating a bit through the pillow during the night.
Our Top Picks
The top picks for the best feather pillows include options from reputable brands that meet all the considerations discussed above, such as cooling ability, comfort level, moldability, and more.
This medium-firm pillow made of 100 percent goose down brings the softness and the luxurious 400 thread-count Egyptian cotton shell to transform the sleeping experience. Made by Continental Bedding and sold individually or in a two-pack, this pillow is available in standard, queen, and king sizes.
Each pillow contains 24 ounces of European goose down with a 550 power fill, as well as reinforced seams and premium stitching, helping ensure no annoying pokes from feather ends. There is no noise with movement, even when molding the pillow to the user’s liking.
The pillows are made in the USA and are RDS (Responsible Down Standard) certified, which helps ensure the down comes from animals that have been treated humanely.
Available in a set of two and in five classic colors, this pack of natural goose feather pillows offers luxury at an affordable price. The shell is 100 percent Egyptian cotton, with 85 percent goose feathers for support and 15 percent down for softness.
The pillows are 20 inches by 30 inches in size, each filled with 39 ounces of feathers and down. The double-layer cotton shell fabric and plush peach-skin interior layer are designed to help avoid pricks from the feather ends.
The stuffing has been cleaned and disinfected, and it follows RDS (Responsible Down Standard) expectations. These pillows offer medium support.
This luxurious set of pillows from Royal Hotel is available in standard, queen, and king sizes. With 41 ounces of fill in the standard and queen sizes and 58 ounces of fill in the king size, these luxury pillows feature a 500 thread-count cover and double silky piping around the edge for a finished look.
The overfilled pillows have a 75 percent down and 25 percent small-feather ratio, making them unbelievably soft and malleable for even the most active of sleepers. They arrive in a zippered package; fluffing them a bit with a run through the dryer is recommended to prepare them for use. However, don’t throw them in the washer; these are dry-clean only.
The shells of this set of two luxury down pillows from Lincove are hypoallergenic and OEKO-TEX certified, and they adhere to the Responsible Down Standard, meaning the geese used to create the pillows were treated humanely. There are no traces of harmful chemicals in these pillows, so users can breathe easier throughout the night.
With 800 fill power and 600 thread-count covers for the sateen shells, these down-filled pillows come in an elegant travel case, which makes it easy to get a good night’s sleep anywhere. Find the right size with standard, queen, or king, all available in soft, medium, or firm support.
With two size options—the large at 13 inches by 18 inches and the small at 12 inches by 16 inches—this down pillow from ComfyDown is smaller than most other options, but for good reason: It’s designed as a sleeping companion for travel.
Made in the USA, the pillow features a 300 thread-count Egyptian cotton cover, 800 fill power, and 100 percent European goose down. Its 100 percent down filling helps ensure it can be easily molded for personalized comfort and support.
The ergonomic design of this pillow has smooth down-proof seams that prevent feathers from escaping, as well as durable construction to ensure it holds its shape after cleaning and packing. To clean it, pop it into a front-loading washer and use the “delicate” cycle.
Some individuals are allergic to feathers or down. That’s where down alternatives come in, which can feel just like down pillows without the need to worry about allergens. These down alternative pillows from Beckham Luxury Linens are available in king or queen size and feature cooling, plush gel fibers.
They are resistant to fading and staining as well as being hypoallergenic. Bounce-back construction, a double-edged sewing design, and a silky 250 thread-count sateen cover help maintain comfort as time goes by.
These OEKO-TEX Standard 100-certified pillows can be cleaned in a washing machine with cold water on the “delicate” cycle.
FAQs About Feather Pillows
Now that you’ve learned about what makes the best feather pillows, you might still have some questions, such as how to clean your pillows. Here are the answers.
Q. What is the difference between feather pillows and down pillows?
Feather pillows are made with the outer plumage of birds, usually geese or ducks. Down pillows are made with the inner, softer plumage. Feathers tend to be more firm, while down is very soft and compressible.
Q. Are feather pillows adjustable?
In a way, yes. Feather pillows, especially those with high amounts of down, can be molded and shaped by hand to provide more comfortable sleeping positions. Those with more firmness aren’t as easily malleable.
Q. Can you wash feather pillows?
Yes, but be careful. Read the label to be sure. Wash two pillows at a time to avoid unbalancing the washer. Washing them in a front-loading washer might be easier to avoid balancing issues. Dry them thoroughly, using dryer balls to maintain the fluffiness of the pillow.
Q. How often should I replace my feather pillows?
A high-quality down pillow can last up to 15 years with proper care. A cheaper pillow, however, might last only 1 or 2 years. Use a protective case as well as a pillowcase to help the pillow last longer.