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Is there really a difference between feather and down pillows?

-When searching for a new pillow, the number of options on the market can seem daunting. With a wide range of materials to choose from, you may find it challenging to settle on a pillow that will work for your specific needs. Although it really boils down to your personal preference, when you understand the differences between the two, you will make a better choice when you shop for the right pillow to get a good night’s sleep.

When determining the best place to lay your head at night, it’s helpful to know the difference between down vs feather pillow, many people are confused about the filling materials. As a result, some people prefer feather or down pillows while others may prefer pillows filled with other materials.

 What is a Down Pillow?

A down pillow is a luxury pillow filled with the soft, fluffy clusters collected from the undercoat of ducks, geese, or swans and does not contain stiff quills. These clusters are known as plumules which trap air to keep the bird warm and the same principle applies when down is used in a pillow. Hungarian goose down is often considered the best quality (also the most expensive) down material.

Pros of Down pillows:

· Exceptionally plush (or soft), malleable, lightweight, fluffier with a high loft, and durable.

· Squishy can be molded into any shape for personalized comfort and quickly regain its original fluffiness.

· Provide more comfort and little to no pushback – immediately sinks when you lay your head down, which some may like and others may not.

· The higher fill power indicates higher loft and, broadly, better quality down pillow.

Cons of Down pillows:

· It is expensive but lasts longer than the feather, polyester, and some memory foam pillows.

· Due to the natural insulating property, down pillows sleep a bit warmer. If you tend to sleep hot, a down pillow might not be ideal.

· The support the down pillows offers depends on the loft, fill power, and ration of down/feather content, but in general, down pillows aren’t as supportive as memory foam or latex pillows.

What is a Feather pillow?

Feather pillows are filled with the quills and soft plumage from the wings and back of a duck or goose. The feathers have stiff quills running through the center, making them less plush than down but more supportive. The major downside of feather pillows is that the quills may poke out of the pillowcase and cause discomfort from time to time. Over time, feathers may also start to come out of the pillow and the pillow may start to feel lumpy.

Most feather pillows are mixed with varying amounts of down to give them the required loft and fluffiness. Higher feather content in the pillow means better support, while higher down filling makes the pillow loftier. Usually, higher the down content also means a higher price.

Pros of Feather pillows:

· Soft but not as soft as down.

· Feathers are heavier and offer better support than down.

· More affordable than down pillows but not as durable as down.

· Doesn’t trap heat as much as down.

Cons of Feather Pillows:

They are not as fluffy as down but are fluffier than polyester and memory foam pillows.

· Due to the flat shape of the feathers, it easily collapses and needs to be regularly fluffed. Down and feather pillows are both excellent choices but you need to consider factors like sleeping habits and preferences to decide :

1. Cost: Feather pillows are more affordable than down. If you’re on a budget, a feather pillow is a way to go.

2.Comfort & Feel: Down pillows are plusher, voluminous, and have a snugglier feel, while feather pillows are flatter and offer more support. Feather pillows may slightly sleep cooler than down pillows but that also depends on the type of outer pillowcase used.

3. Sleep Position: Your sleep position is probably the most important factor.

o    If you sleep on your stomach, you want to use a thin pillow or no pillow. A low-profile down pillow with low to medium fill is better for stomach sleepers.

o    Back sleepers need a pillow with medium loft and fill to maintain the natural S-shape of the spine. A medium profile down pillow or a 60:40 mix of feather and down would be ideal for back sleepers.

o    Side sleepers need a pillow with a high loft and medium fill to naturally align the head, neck, and spine. A high profile down pillow or an 80:20 mix of feather and down is recommended for side sleepers.

o    For combination sleepers, a down or feather pillow with medium loft and fill would be a good option as it offers the right amount of support in all positions.

4. Durability: Feather pillows are not as durable as down, but they are more resilient than polyester pillows. A good quality down pillow can last 3 to 4 years, while feather pillows have a lifespan of 18 months to 3 years.

5. Care: Both down and feather pillows need to be regularly fluffed and aired out to maintain their shape and loft. However, feather pillows should never be washed (unless there is an emergency), while down pillows can be hand or machine washed and dried. The down pillows must be 100% dried before use; otherwise, they may mildew.

Now you knew the differences between down and feather pillows and you can decide which one is right for you.