Sleepers often get confused and lost among the wide range of pillows, their compositions, materials, sizes, features, etc. Some of the most common dilemmas are the difference between the feather and down or the difference between the down and down alternative stuffing.
Natural down is small, inner feather that comes from geese and ducks, it is fluffy, lightweight, and it’s usually used as filling along with larger feathers. Among different pillow filling, down-only is known as the softest and the most expensive stuffing, but besides that, it can be potentially harmful to people who suffer from allergies.
Down pillows can also produce odor, noise, and be hard to clean and maintain due to their natural composition. That is why more and more people who are looking for the luxurious comfort of a down pillow, decide to buy the alternative down models.
‘Down alternative’ stands for polyester microfiber material which can be used for bedding and pillows. This alternative material is just as soft and lightweight as the real down from ducks or geese, but it is 100% hypoallergenic, and it does not contain any animal products. Some brands even use siliconized or gel fibers which are softer than the average down alternative materials.
Another advantage is the fact that these pillows sleep exceptionally cool and absorb a minimal amount of body heat. Although they cannot conform closely as memory foam or latex pillows, these models are highly moldable and can be an excellent choice for sleepers who like to snuggle with their pillow. The average down alternative pad comes with a much lower price point, which is why these pillows are among the most affordable models on the market, while the down pillows are on the more pricier side.
The down alternative pillows are suitable for sleepers in the light and average weight group, while those sleepers who weigh above 230 pounds may find these pillows too soft and not supportive enough. When it comes to sleep positions, these pillows are known for their moldability so they can work well in any preferred sleep position. Majority of these pillows provides average or decent support, which is sometimes not enough for sleepers with back or neck aches, they need to find a pad in that small group of down alternative pillows which have greater support for sleepers neck, spine, and back.
How Long do Down Alternative Pillows Last?
Whether we are investing a large amount of money or buying something cheap on sale, we expect that that product will last and pay off. The durability question is often used as an argument against these pillows; suggesting that they have a short lifespan, but the truth is that their average lifespan is not shorter from, for example, feather pillows, which can perform well for two to three years.
Due to their polyester filling, down alternative pads are easy to maintain and usually machine washable. It is recommended to wash them approximately every six to twelve months, so they can efficiently serve you well for at least three years or more. To maintain pillows shape and loft, just occasionally fluff it or shake it up.
Their price point is the lowest among different pillow types, so purchasing a new pillow approximately every three years will not break the bank. The polyester pillows are the only cheaper models on the market, but they cannot compare with the comfort and durability with down alternative pads. When you take into consideration how much you are paying for a hypoallergenic, comfortable pillow that sleeps cool and can be machine washed, then it pays off to buy a new one every few years. Read our list of the best down alternative pillows reviews and maybe give them a chance.
Counting Sheep’s Top Picks:
- Canadian Down & Feather Company Gel Microfiber
- Malouf Z Gelled Microfiber
- eLuxury Revoloft Down Alternative Pillow
- Classic Brands Quiet Sleep
Canadian Down & Feather Company Gel Microfiber
- Warranty period – 3 years
- Sleep trial period – 30 days
- Sleeps exceptionally cool
Our first suggestion is a gel microfiber pillow that comes from the Canadian manufacturers. This synthetic microfiber filling is naturally resistant to allergens and bacteria and has all the benefits from the technically advanced microscopic fibers. It is well constructed with 2 inches of gusseted edges so that the sleeping surface will always remain flat and supportive. The number of thread count is 300, which is optimal and will prevent the filling from escaping. The luxury down-like filling is encased in a 100% fine cotton cover which in combination with gel microfiber provides cool sleep.
Maintenance is easy because this pillow is machine washable (with cool water only) and it will retain its shape after washing. It can be also be professionally cleaned. Dry it thoroughly on the lowest heat setting and make sure that the filling is completely dry because otherwise, mold may start growing. Washing the pillow at least once a year will also prolong its lifespan and keep your sleeping surface entirely clean. However, the company suggests using a pillowcase or a cover over it, all the time, so that the surface of the pillow stays protected from premature wear and stains, in order to enhance its durability.
Some other useful tips for longer lifespan include taking your pillow out on the fresh air periodically or placing it in a dryer on the cool or low heat cycle.
The support level is tagged as ‘medium’ which will suit the needs of the majority of sleepers, while the loft is 7.5 inches thick in all available sizes. Three different sizes are available: Standard 18 x 24 + 2 inches, Queen 18 x 28 + 2 inches, and King 18 x 35 + 2 inches. The company offers a 3-year warranty against any manufacturing defects, and this pillow is also sold in sets of two.
- Sleepers of all weight groups
- Back and side sleepers
- Sleepers who prefer higher loft
Malouf Z Gelled Microfiber
- Warranty period – 3 years
- Two pillow forms
Although most of the alternative down pillows sleep cool, the Malouf model is infused with cooling gel to provide even better temperature regulation and cool sleep. The filling consists of hypoallergenic gel-coated microfibers that are soft, antimicrobial, dust mite resistant, lightweight, and can be molded to reach everyone’s ideal comfort level. Sleepers will experience luxurious down feel but without the odor, allergens or quills poking through the pillowcase. The siliconized polyester fibers are encased in a 100% cotton cover with 250 thread count, which is enough to prevent the filling from escaping.
One possible downside of this gel pillow is the fact that it is not supposed to be machine washed or dried. It can be spot cleaned by hand with a damp cloth, or the cover can be removed and washed on a gentle cycle and dried on low heat. Overdrying or using high heat settings can shrink the cover or weaken the fibers.
This model is available in standard King (16 x 35 inches), and Queen (16 x 29 inches) sizes with loft thickness of 5 inches and 2 pounds of weight, but it also comes in a Body size which is favorite among pregnant ladies, and its dimensions are 20 x 54 inches, with 6 inches thick loft and total weight of 6.7 pounds. The 3-year warranty will cover any defects in workmanship or materials, but we recommend shoppers to check what is included.
eLuxury Revoloft Down Alternative Pillow
- Sleep trial period – 30 nights
- Conforms closely and relieves the pressure
- Medium firm
Down alternative pillows usually cannot provide close contouring, but this one is an exception. With 6 inches thick loft and the medium level of firmness, this pillow will contour your neck, head, and shoulders, which makes it an excellent choice for all the sleepers with neck pain problems. When it comes to sleep positions, side sleepers will benefit the most, as this pillow will enable proper neck support and spinal alignment. It will also suit the needs of allergy sufferers as it is hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.
The company achieved the look and the feel of a down by using Revoloft siliconized, hollow polyester cluster fibers. These fibers will create a luxurious feel while staying resilient over time, and they are produced on the newest fiber production lines in the world. Revoloft fibers have a cross-section which delivers high-loft balance, durability and fill power. It comes in even six different sizes, Standard 20 x 16, Queen 20 x 30, King 20 x 36, Jumbo 20 x 28, and Baby 20 x 16 inches, so that there is a perfect fit for everyone. This man-made filling is highly durable, and thanks to its features this pillow can be completely machine washed and dried. Wash it in cold water and on gentle cycle, for drying use the low heat setting because hot water can cause shrinkage.
Not only does it come in various sizes but it comes with a 30-night sleep trial, which is perfect for testing it out. Its affordable price can be further decreased if you buy a bundle of two pillows.
- Side and back sleepers
- Sleepers with neck and back pains
- Sleepers of all weight groups
Classic Brands Quiet Sleep
- Warranty period – 3 years
- 8 inches high loft
We already mentioned that down alternative pillows are inexpensive, but just how low their price can go? Well, we saved the best for the end, the first place for the most affordable among affordable pillows goes to Quiet Sleep Gel Fiber Pillow, because it can be found for the price of under 25$ for a bundle of two pads – now that’s a bargain! Usually, that is the average price of one down alternative pillow, but with Classic Brands you will get two pillows for the price of one, and their quality is really not questionable.
After we attracted your attention with this shockingly low price point, let’s see what can you get for your money. Inside of the 100% cotton dobby stripe cover is a no-shift gel fiber filling, which will contour to the sleepers body curves while taking care of temperature regulation. Although it has 8 inches thick loft, this pillow is exceptionally soft and fluffy, so it will quickly adjust to sleepers body features and weight, without causing any new pressure points or stiff neck. It can be beneficial for all sleep positions because it will maintain proper posture and spinal alignment and soothe the back and neck aches. Like all of the other down alternative models, this one is also hypoallergenic, resistant to bacteria, dust mites and mold. No matter how much you use it, this pillow would not flatten easily or lose its shape.
The silky smooth cover is not removable, so we suggest placing a pillowcase over it, but you can also use it without one because this breathable cover is stain and fade resistant, meaning that it will retain its new look and feel.
When it comes to dimensions, it comes in just one standard size of 20 x 26 x 8 inches, and it weighs around 5 pounds. This pillow offers impressive quality for the unbeatable low price, and it even comes with a 3-year warranty, just outstanding.
- Side and back sleepers
- Sleepers with neck or back pain
- Sleepers of all weigh groups