Down alternative pillows are the most common type of pillow on the market these days. And while it may be tempting to pick up a $10 pillow out of a bin, it can be worth it to invest into a higher-quality pillow!
That’s why I’ve rounded up the best down alternative pillows I’ve tested. There’s something for everyone, so keep reading!
Editor’s Note: Some pillows have not been fully reviewed here on Mattress Clarity yet, but I have personally handled each of these pillows!
Our Top Picks for the Best Down Alternative Pillows
- Saatva Down Alternative Pillow – Editor’s Pick
- Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow – Best Hypoallergenic Down Alternative Pillow
- Bear Contour Pillow – Best Down Alternative Pillow For Side Sleepers
- Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow – Best Soft Down Alternative Pillow
- Purple Cloud – Best Down Alternative Pillow that Won’t Flatten
- GoodMorning Microfiber Pillow – Best Down Alternative Pillow for Back Sleepers
Saatva Down Alternative Pillow
When it comes to picking the best down alternative pillow, you’ve gotta check every box. The Saatva Down Alternative Pillow is hypoallergenic, soft, supportive, breathable, and stands out amongst down alternative pillows.
I’ll admit, this is more of a luxurious option, but you get what you pay for! Being made of 100% organic cotton and durable polyester microfibers, this pillow should be a worthy investment and last you a while.
The fill is soft, supportive, and moldable so it should be a good option for all three sleeping positions. And being made of lofty microfibers and a breathable cotton cover, it shouldn’t trap heat.
What Makes the Saatva Down Alternative Pillow Stand Out?
- It’s made of high-quality materials so it should last you a good while!
- It is 100% hypoallergenic.
- It’s full of microfiber clusters that won’t flatten out.
Full review to come!
Saatva uses high-quality, durable materials in its down alternative pillow. It combines comfort and support which is ideal for back sleeping, and it's high loft fill makes it a good choice for side sleepers, too. But it's also moldable enough for stomach sleepers! It's the perfect down alternative pillow.
Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow
Brooklinen makes some fine sheet sets, but the Down Alternative pillow deserves just as much attention as the sheets do. Brooklinen uses a recycled fill which is derived from recycled plastic bottles, making it fairly eco-friendly!
But this also makes it a great hypoallergenic option, too. The Brooklinen Down Alternative won’t trap allergens and the cotton sateen shell will feel soft and smooth against sensitive skin. It’ll work for all three sleeping positions as well.
What Makes the Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow Stand Out?
- It was designed to be 100% hypoallergenic.
- Brooklinen sells this in standard, king, and Euro sizes.
- It comes as a single pillow, but you can order a double pack or a 4-pack.
Read our full Brooklinen Down Alternative pillow review.
The Brooklinen Down Alternative pillow is a great hypoallergenic option that's machine washable and dryer-friendly. This pillow is very full and fluffy, making a particularly great option for side sleepers. You can get $15 off your order with code Mattress15.
Best for Side Sleepers
Bear Contour Pillow
While sleeping on your side requires a tall loft, or height, for your pillow, some side sleeper pillows are just built differently. Literally! The Bear Contour Pillow is a down alternative pillow that has a unique, U-shaped cut out on one side that will accommodate your shoulder for side sleeping.
This medium-firm pillow also features a double-sided outer cover. One side feels soft, smooth, and satin-like for luxurious feeling comfort. The other has Bear’s proprietary Ice Fabric, which is a version of phase change material. This fabric will pull body heat away from you and stay cool all night long. This means it’s a great pick for hot sleepers!
What Makes the Bear Contour Pillow Stand Out?
- It has a U-shaped cutout to accommodate your shoulder.
- It has a double sided cover, one for cooling, one for comfort.
- The cool side is a great option for hot sleepers.
Read our full Bear Contour pillow review.
The Bear Contour Pillow has two sides to its outer cover: a cool side and a soft side. No matter your preference, you'll find what you like! It also has a unique U-shaped cut out to account for shoulders for side sleepers!
Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow
Who doesn’t love resting their head in a soft, fluffy, cloud-like pillow? The Tuft & Needle down alternative pillow is soft, lightweight, and airy, making it perfect for fans of soft pillows everywhere.
You can only order this in a double pack, but when looking for new pillows, sometimes it’s just easier to click “check out” instead of adding the same thing twice. This also makes it a good option for couples who love soft pillows, too.
The Tuft & Needle down alternative pillow is very soft and fluffy, but it still provides a good amount of support for back sleepers, and it’s tall enough that side sleepers can still find what they need in this soft pillow.
What Makes the Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Pillow Stand Out?
- It’s very soft and plush, while still being supportive.
- Tuft & Needle only sells this in a double pack for convenience.
- It comes with a substantial 100-night sleep trial and a 2-year limited warranty.
Full review to come!
Tuft & Needle's down alternative pillow is soft, fluffy, and supportive. It has a cotton outer cover that feels soft and is super breathable. If you're looking for a soft down alternative pillow, and looking to get two in a double pack, this is for you!
Best Pillow that Won’t Flatten
Fluffing your pillow is just part of owning a pillow. But what if there was one that stayed nice, fluffy, and tall even after a night of rest? That’s exactly what the Purple Cloud aims to do.
The microfiber fill has been reinforced with silicone to give this pillow a soft, plush, but uber supportive feel. You can place your head on this pillow and sink in a little, but still get exceptional support.
Other things to note are that this is a 100% machine-washable pillow! When it gets dirty, into the machine it goes. And out of all the pillows on this list, this is definitely one of the most affordable.
What Makes the Purple Cloud Stand Out?
- The microfiber fill has been reinforced with silicone to prevent flattening.
- The whole pillow can be machine-washed.
- It’s a very budget friendly pick.
Read our full Purple Cloud pillow review.
If you love plush down alternative pillows, the Purple Cloud is for you! This soft, plush pillow is tall and supportive and works best for back and side sleepers. Better yet, it's Purple's most affordable pillow!
Best for Back Sleepers
GoodMorning Microfiber Pillow
When it comes to the best down alternative pillow for back sleeping, you want a blend of comfort and support. The GoodMorning microfiber pillow provides both! It has a three-chamber design to it that has soft, plush outer layers that surround a densely packed microfiber core. It feels both fluffy and supportive for that classic-medium firm feel.
GoodMorning also uses anti-clumping technology to prevent the pillow from falling flat or feeling lumpy and uncomfortable. All these features to the GoodMorning pillow will keep your head from going too far back, or too far forward. The ideal placement for your head when back sleeping is chin in line with chest, which is what this pillow will do.
What Makes the GoodMorning Microfiber Pillow Stand Out?
- It has a three chamber design that offers plush outer layers that surround a firm middle, making it great for back sleepers.
- It has a responsive feel so it’s easy to move around on.
- It has a breathable design so it won’t trap heat!
Full review to come!
If you're looking for a down alternative pillow that provides great comfort and support for back sleeping, then the GoodMorning microfiber pillow is for you. It's got a three-chamber design that has soft, plush down alternative on the outside that surrounds denser, supportive down alternative.
What To Consider When Looking for the Best Down Alternative Pillows
Down alternative pillows are super accessible these days. Let’s go over some important factors what to look for in the best down alternative pillows and what makes them so different from down pillows.
What Are Down Alternative Pillows Made Of?
If I were to be cheeky, I could say that a down alternative is just anything that’s not down. But when I refer to a down alternative pillow, more often than not, I’m referring to pillows that have a fill that is made from synthetic materials, such as fluffy polyester microfibers.
Down alternative pillows can also have polyester or cotton outer covers, as well. Some brands will include polyester fill with shredded memory foam as well.
How To Wash a Down Alternative Pillow
Taking care of your pillow is important no matter what the material is. After all, the name of the game is making your pillow last as long as possible. Most of the down alternative pillows on this list are recommended spot clean only.
Some down alternative pillows, like the Purple Cloud, are 100% machine-washable. I would recommend starting with spot cleaning your pillows regularly, or when accidents happen. Only machine-wash the pillow if the manufacturer recommends it, so be sure to closely read the instructions provided.
Down vs Down Alternative Pillows
Down alternatives were designed to mimic the feel of down clusters. If you aren’t sure what down is, down are fiber-like feathers that are found close to a bird’s skin. These are often super soft to the touch, and when made into clusters can feel very fluffy and a perfect resting place for your head.
But down, being an animal product, means that down pillows will be considerably more expensive than the more accessible, synthetic down alternative. Down acts as a natural insulant for birds, so down pillows can sometimes trap heat more than down alternatives.
Some down pillows can be machine-washed, but it is a rather sensitive material, so you need to be careful when washing down pillows. Some down alternative pillows can be machine-washed, but you should stick with spot-cleaning.
Down alternative pillows aren’t as durable as down, so while you may be saving money with a down alternative, you may be replacing them more often.
Let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the best down alternative pillows.
What does down alternative mean?
If you’re unfamiliar with down, down alternatives can be equally as confusing. Down refers to very small, fiber-like feathers that are found on birds. So, down alternatives are materials that give pillows that same, plush, fluffy feeling to down, but removes the animal product part of it.
Down alternatives can be just about anything, but more often than not, down alternatives are made from polyester microfibers. This makes down alternative pillows considerably more affordable and hypoallergenic.
Are down alternative pillows good?
Yes! While I wouldn’t recommend pulling one out of a $10 or less bin, there are high-quality down alternative pillows available. Most of them made it into this list!
Down alternative is very accessible and can provide just as much support and comfort as down or memory foam pillows.
How long do down alternative pillows last?
Being a synthetic material, down alternative isn’t the most durable. And if you are buying one of those inexpensive down alternative pillows, they may go flat very quickly. However, if you invest in any of the high-quality pillows listed above, they should last you at least a year, if not more, with good care. Tuft & Needle and GoodMorning offer multi-year warranties on their down alternative pillows, so they should last at least as long as the warranties listed.
Tony is a staff writer at Mattress Clarity where he analyzes sleep products and appears in review videos. He earned a B.A in English from Sam Houston State University and a M.A in Mass Communication from Texas State University.
When he isn’t writing about sleep products, Tony loves to unwind with a good book or can be found playing Pokemon Go outside with his friends, or cuddling with his cat, Penguin. He’s always down to try a new, local restaurant and try new foods.