Feather pillows for some reason always remind people of their childhood, probably because those were the only pillows that were in use back then, and they were exceptionally comfortable, colling, big, heavy, and then somehow we forgot about them. The new composition materials overflooded the market, and suddenly we were all sleeping onto clouds of memory foam and latex. However, feather pillows are still out there, so we may think about them as traditional cushions, the ones that represent quality and real value. So, that is why we dedicated this post to the good old feather pillows.
Feathers used for pillow stuffing usually come from ducks and geese and can be divided into two subcategories, down and feather. Although down is technically also a feather, it stands for inner plumage which is softer and smaller, while by feathers we consider only the firmer outer plumage. While both down and feathers can go together inside of a feather pillow, down is usually placed in the edges, while the feathers are in the middle of the pad, providing stability and support.
We are going to review some of the best feather pillows in 2019 and go through all the advantages and disadvantages of using feather pillows, so keep reading if you want to learn more about them.
Review of The Best Feather Pillows in 2019
- Canadian Down & Feather Company Down Perfect Pillow
- Malouf Z TripleLayer Down Pillow
- Three Geese White Feather Pillow
- JA Comforts Goose Feather Down Pillow
Canadian Down & Feather Company Down Perfect Pillow
- Warranty period – 5 years
- Different firmness options
As our top choice, we seclude the Down Perfect model – it’s designed with three chambers inside, which secure an equal distribution of downs and feather. Central core chamber is filled with small white goose feather so that it provides firm support for the head. Two lateral chambers are much softer and stuffed with white goose down. The chambers are encased in a 100% fine cotton fabric, which helps with breathability. This pillow has 575+ down fill power, which means that its loft measures 575+ cubic inches per ounce of fill.
Sleeping on a feather pillow is something that people with allergies tend to avoid, but with this pillow, there is no need to worry about it, because Down Perfect model is hypoallergenic, and during manufacturing, anti-microbial processes were used to eliminate bacteria. In conclusion, you can sleep tight and without potential health problems. The total thread count is 255, so the down and feather cannot „escape.“
We suggest placing a pillowcase over it and a zippered cover because that way you will prevent stains and avoid premature wear. To keep it fresh and fluffy, just occasionally leave it outside on the air to „breathe.“ Do not place it in a machine washer or dryer, because if the filling gets even a bit wet, the down or feathers will huddle together and probably enable mildew growth. In need of cleaning, the best option is to dry clean it or take it to a special cleaner that knows how to treat and clean feather pillows. Some small stain can be spot cleaned with warm water and soap, but you have to pull the fabric away from the filling, and then to clean it. For drying, use a hair dryer on a low heat level.
This pillow comes in three sizes: Standard 20 x 26, Queen 20 x 30, and King 20 x 36 inches. All three dimensions are available in two levels of firmness: Medium and Firm. Its produced in Canada.
- Sleepers of all weight groups and sleep positions
- Sleepers with allergies
- Sleepers who want to sleep cool
Malouf Z TripleLayer Down Pillow
- Warranty period – 3 years
- Luxuriously soft and cool
- 90% down outer layers
For a real luxurious sleep experience, we represent you the Z TripleLayer Down model, designed with three horizontal layers of down and feathers to provide an outstandingly comfortable sleep. The supportive inner core layer consists 90% of duck feather and 10% of duck down, while the bottom and top layer are filled with 90% of duck down and 10% of duck feather. These three separate layers are encased in a natural cotton cover which is 100% unbleached, undyed, quilted and highly breathable. The cover is not removable, but the pillow comes with a cotton pouch that is meant to get used for transportation or storage.
The company claims that their down and feathers are harvested responsibly, which means that they never pluck from live animals.
This pillow can be spot cleaned manually with mild detergent, without any bleachers or whiteners. Chlorine bleach will weaken the fibers and cause them to go yellow prematurely. Try blotting excess moisture with a towel, or tumble dry on low heat.
It comes in two sizes, Queen 16 x 29, and King 16 x 34 inches. Although it is on a pricier side with the above average price, it does come with a 3-year warranty, and a proper cozy down feel that is hard to resist.
- All types of sleepers (back, side, stomach)
- Average and lightweight sleepers
- Sleepers seeking for a very soft pillow
Three Geese White Feather Pillow
- Sleep trial period – 30 nights
- Medium firm
This pillow can be a great one for back and side sleepers especially because it has more than 4 inches thick loft, which makes it a medium- to a high-loft pillow, with a medium level of firmness. Side sleepers usually find feather pillows too soft and not supportive enough, because this sleep position requires more than average support level to achieve the spinal alignment and pressure relief.
It’s designed with three inner chambers, the middle one is filled with small goose feathers, while the outer bottom and top chambers are filled with high-quality soft microfiber, so they are extra cuddly. The sleepers will get the comfort of the feather pillow, but the feather itself would not be so close to the sleepers’ face, which is beneficial for those people who are prone to allergies. The cover is not removable, and it is hypoallergenic, OEKO-Tex certified and is made using 600 thread count Egyptian cotton. Comfort, support, high breathability, and cool sleep are top features of this pillow. It is not meant to be machine washed, bleached, or exposed to direct sunlight.
There is a 30-nights sleep trial, so it easy to try it out and see if it works for you. With excellent customer service comes as well the affordable price, and you can save up some extra money if you buy two pillows at once.
- Average and heavyweight sleepers
- Value seekers
- Back and side sleepers
JA Comforts Goose Feather Down Pillow
- Warranty period – 3 years
- Sleep trial period – 90 nights
- 95% goose feathers, 5% down
If you are looking for a goose feather pillow with a less than average price point than this could be the perfect deal for you. This pillow contains 95% of goose feathers and 5% down encased in 233 thread count 100% cotton fabric cover. Down is placed around the edges, while the feathers occupy most of its inside, providing decent support and balance between firmness and softness. It is dust mite resistant and has hypoallergenic effects, so if you suffer from asthma or allergies, this pillow can suit your needs too.
The pillow comes vacuumed, so when you take it out for the first time, it is suggested to shake it a little bit, and he will quickly recover its shape. Probably one of the best features of this pillow is the fact that, unlike the other feather pillows, this one can be machine washed and dried, no need to struggle with spot cleaning, so that it will save your time and money. It has excellent temperature regulation, and breathability as all of the feather pillows have, and it gently contours to your body curves.
Sleep trial period of 90 nights is rare and long enough to check out if this is the best feather pillow for yourself, it is also backed up with a 3-year warranty which ensures you that even though it is cheap, this pillow is not some gimmick product. Pillow can also get sold in a 2-pack, which makes them even more affordable, and it is another reason to give it a chance.
- Back and side sleepers
- Light and average groups of sleepers
- Sleepers on a budget
Everything You Need to Know about Feather Pillows
After we have reviewed our top picks, now it is time to go into details and see which qualities and features have kept them so popular and long on the market.
Ducks and geese are animals whose plumage is used mostly for feather pillows, but sometimes feathers from some other waterfowl species are used as well. Feathers are thicker and heavier than down, and often feature a small quill which is probably the most annoying thing because those quills could poke you through the pillowcase, sounds funny but it has happened. On the other hand, down is smaller, softer, lighter, inner plumage, and it does not have a sturdy quill, that is why down is usually set around the edges or as a top layer so that the feather quills cannot reach through. Each bird produces way more feather than down, so that also raise the price of pillows with higher down percentage.
Most pillows produced today contain both, feather and down because that blend provides optimal support and softness. Pads that are made with a higher percentage of the feather, or entirely without the down, are usually cheaper. Due to its luxurious feel and softness, down is more praised by the sleepers. If a pillow declares as “feather pillow” it should contain minimum 30% of feathers and less than 70% of down. So any pillow with more than 70% of down is a “down pillow.” The most common case is that there are much more feathers than down in a pillow. If you are interested in finding out which down pillows we recommend, check out our guide to choosing the best down pillow.
To prevent down escaping through the stitches, essential is to have enough thread count, TC stands for the number of threads per square inch of fabric. If the number of TC is high, that means that the thinner thread its used and that the fabric surface has a smoother and softer feel. So, what is the optimal TC for feather pillows? Well, it depends, but anything from 233 to 500 TC is considered to be the proper number. Anything below 233 can lead to feather and down “escaping” or poking through the cover.
Fill power measures fluffiness or the loft height of a down pillow. It ranges from 300 for feathers to 900 for the high-quality goose down. More expensive and rare down of species such as Common eider or Muscovy duck usually has higher fill power that geese down. Measurement process includes 20g of a down which is placed in a Plexiglas cylinder and compressed down with a weighted piston. The test can get executed in an environment with controlled temperature and humidity conditions.
In most cases, feathers that are used for pillows come as a secondary product from geese and ducks raised for consumption. Raising these species for their plumage alone would be too expensive. The lower fill down comes from geese that are around four months old, their down is sorted carefully and washed, but it will never loft as much as the more mature down. The 700+ fill power is rare and expensive, and it comes from a small number of birds that are kept for breeding and molt naturally during the spring.
Features of Feather Pillows
As any other, feather pillows have their good sides and those, well, not so good. We are not going to say “bad” sides just because at the end it all comes down to personal preferences, and something that suits one sleeper needs, may not work for some others. So when buying a feather pillow, listen to your needs and read our list below to check if they match. Some highlights of feather pillows include:
- Softness – because they are filled with such delicate material, feather pillows are excellent for those sleepers who prefer to snuggle with their pillow or to feel maximal comfort level.
- Coolness – all other breathable pads aside, I think that there is no pillow with better temperature regulation. No air holes, vents, or innovative structures can achieve such level of cooling sleep surface through the night.
- Lifespan – these pillows have decent durability and can perform well at least a couple of years.
- Price – although some feather pillows are expensive, most of them comes with an affordable price, so comparing to the other types of pillow stuffing, feather ones can be described as easily available.
- Shape – the pillows are easy to scrunch, fold, and then re-form, if you need a loft adjustment. If you wonder how to know if your cushion is worn-out, fold it in half, and if it’s still in good shape, it will spring back. If the pillow does not unfold itself, then it might be the time to replace it.
Some potential concerns may include:
- Odor – well, as they are made from natural material, these pillows tend to emit unpleasant smells more than some other types of pads.
- Allergies – bird feathers can be a nuisance to almost everyone suffering from allergies or asthma. Symptoms can vary, but most common ones include sneezing, itchy eyes, skin rash, headache, etc. So if you are prone to allergies, try finding feather pillows that are hypoallergenic.
- Cleaning – most of the feather pillows should not be machine washed or dried, so spot cleaning is the only way, and that sometimes is just not enough. Some feather pads can be dry cleaned, but that is more expensive.
- Support – these pillows flatten easily and start losing their support level which may lead to neck pain, the pressure in shoulders and spinal misalignment. So to keep up pillows shape and fluffiness, just shake it up from time to time.
- Noise – feather models are probably among the loudest pads on the market, if not the loudest, because as you move you can hear constant rustling and crunching sounds.
Shopping Tips for Feather Pillows
If you have decided that you need a feather pillow, here are some additional information and tips which will ease your shopping experience.
- Sleep type – after we have summed up all the pros and cons, we can say that feather pillows will suit the best those who sleep hot because there is no better heat regulation pillow. They are highly moldable which makes them perfect for sleepers who love to snuggle with a pillow when sleeping. Back and side sleepers will enjoy them as well because feather pillows offer proper support without too feeling too firm. If you are a stomach sleeper, feather pillows are not your ideal match.
- Online shopping – feather cushions can be found in in-store brands but can also be purchased online. If you are unsure about your choice, try buying first a pillow which comes with a sleep trial period. That way you can check if the feather pillows are for you without losing any money. Also, check our guide for online shopping, its created for mattresses, but some tips can be helpful for pillows as well.
- Thread count – make sure to pay attention to the thread count number, a higher number means that the cover is tightly knitted and that it will prevent quills poking through, or down escaping through small spaces in the material. With lower thread count quills will easily poke through and may scratch your skin.
- Cleaning – remember that feather pillow can be a little hard to maintain because not all of them are suitable for machine washing and drying. Usually, they have to be spot cleaned or dry cleaned which can cost you your money and time, so try finding the one that is washable.
- Firmness – feather pillows firmness is determined by the amount of feather or down stuffed into it. Pillows that are softer contain fewer ounces of the feather, while the more firm ones contain more ounces of the feather. Also, if the pad has a more significant percentage of down, it is likely to be softer than the ones with higher feather amount.
- Considerations – if you are prone to allergies, seek for pillows with hypoallergenic feathers that are cleaned of bacteria, dust mites, and bird dander. But, do not let your allergy turn you away prematurely from feather because some studies have shown that synthetic pillows can contain even more dust mites than feather pillows, and that is another consideration to keep in mind for people suffering from allergies.
- Budget – a proper feather pillow can be found from 20$ to 55$, which is not as expensive as some non-feather pillows. Of course, there are some pricier feather pillows, but overall, the vast majority of them is widely affordable. Compared to other pillows, only polyester and down alternative pillows can be found on a lower price, and feather pillow offers much bigger quality for just a little bit more.
Price Comparison Chart
In this table, we would like to show you average price points of different types of pillows, so that you can compare how different materials and compositions dictate the price, and how our feather pillows stand in comparison to others.
|Average Polyester Pillow||10 – 15$|
|Average Down Alternative Pillow||20 – 30$|
|Average Feather Pillow||25 – 50$|
|Average Latex Pillow||40 – 60$|
|Average Memory Foam Pillow||50 – 60$|
|Average Buckwheat Pillow||50 – 75$|
|Average Down Pillow||70 – 100$|
|Average Natural/Organic Pillow||150$ and higher|
Size Range of Feather Pillows
Feather pillows are available in some of the most common sizes, so in the table below, we are going to summarize it all in one place for you.
|Size of the Pillow||Dimensions||Notes|
|Standard||20W x 26L inches||The most common and popular size, usually with the lowest price point.|
|Super Standard||20W x 28L inches||Two inches longer than Standard.|
|Queen||20W x 30L inches||Four inches longer than Standard. Suits those who turn or shift positions.|
|King||20W x 36L inches||The longest size (except body pillows). Six inches longer than a Queen, and 10 inches longer than Standard.|
|Euro||26W x 26L inches
24W x 24L inches
22W x 22L inches
20W x 20L inches
18W x 18L inches
16W x 16L inches
|Square-shaped pillows, they come in various dimensions.|
|Body Pillow||54W x 20L inches
48W x 20L inches
|Expentionaly wide, and created for those sleepers who like to snuggle.|
Co-founder of Counting Sheep and Sleepaholic