Best Down Pillows

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Pillows come and go, but let’s be real…down is forever. Okay, so maybe it won’t literally last forever, but it has stood the test of time as a classic pillow filling that people absolutely love. The best down pillows are often considered posh and luxurious — and therefore more expensive. While that’s true in some cases, it’s possible to select a lightweight, soft, and durable option without breaking the bank.

To find the best down pillow for you, swan-dive into the below four products to learn more about what makes each so fantastic and who they’re the best fit for in terms of primary sleeping position. And you can always check out our overall best pillows guide if you want different options!

Best Down Pillows – 2022

Best Down Pillow: Video Roundup

 

Most Luxurious

TEMPUR-Down Pillow

Pure and sumptuous white duck down is built into the cover of this TEMPUR-Pedic pillow, making the entirety of the cover, including the 100% cotton, 500-thread count surface incredibly delicate and lush. Unzipping the lofty cover, sleepers will discover a lined bag full of shredded TEMPUR material. This proprietary memory foam is supportive (and removable if undesired), so back sleepers and petite side sleepers should enjoy the added firmness.

Additional Pillow Details:

  • Not only is the cover removable – it’s washable, too.
  • It comes with a limited five-year warranty.
  • Price: $149 for a Queen.

Learn more about this TEMPUR-Pedic pillow and others in our ultimate list. 

TEMPUR-Down Pillow
TEMPUR-Down Pillow
TEMPUR-Down Pillow

White duck down and TEMPUR material combine to become a luxurious down pillow fit for any type of sleeper. 

Best Five-Chamber Design

Casper Down Pillow

There’s an abundance of innovative features in the Casper Down, as the brand is one of the first to design pillows with strong cores surrounded by softer layers of filling. The unique five-chamber design involves down-to-feather ratios with more feathers in the center and more down moving outward, allowing for a supportive center and a plush, opulent overall feel. Based on the resulting firmness, I like this pillow for average-sized back and side sleepers.

Additional Pillow Details:

  • Casper has responsibly sourced down in its manufacturing process.
  • The pillow is machine-washable and dryer-friendly. Be sure to use dryer balls to retain the fluffiness!
  • Price: $139–$179, with a 100-night trial. It’s also available in both a mid loft and a low loft.

Read the full and complete review of this pillow.

Casper Down Pillow
Casper Down Pillow
Casper Down Pillow

Supportive inner chambers and soft, luxurious outer chambers make this Casper Down pillow soft, but supportive. It'll work well for back and side sleepers alike. 

Best for Side Sleepers

Brooklinen Down In Mid-Plush

Brooklinen makes an excellent — and affordable — down pillow that comes in three support levels: Plush, Mid-Plush, and Firm. Based on my experience, the word “Plush” in the Mid-Plush title is deceptive because it’s far from soft. It’s actually a full and supportive pillow that runs no risk of falling flat. There’s a significant amount of air trapped by its large down clusters so that the height and loft of the pillow are excellent for back and side sleepers. 

A little bit more about the design: it has a firm core chamber of feathers and an outer chamber — the main one sleepers will feel — made from soft Canada goose down. The ratio is 85% waterfowl feathers in the inner chamber and 15% down in the outer chamber.

Additional Pillow Details:

  • It’s OEKO-TEX® certified to be free of harmful chemicals. It’s also hypoallergenic with an antimicrobial treatment.
  • Brooklinen recommends washing the pillow as seldom as possible, so as to not disturb the texture and fluffiness of the down fibers. If a product is stained, spot-washing with Woolite or Oxyclean is recommended.
  • Price: $69–$99, with a 60-night trial.

Read the full Brooklinen Mid-Plush Down review.

Best for Side Sleepers
Brooklinen Down In Mid-Plush
Brooklinen Down In Mid-Plush
Brooklinen Down In Mid-Plush

Superbly designed inner and outer chambers help protect and enhance the support of this Canada goose down pillow in the Mid-Plush support level. 

Best Cooling Pillow

puredown Cooling

Down clusters can be highly insulating, leading some to feel like they’re sleeping too hot. puredown had the brilliant idea to incorporate a cooling pillowcase, made with a temperature-regulating, silky material — and it works! Sleepers should experience a cool-to-the-touch feel with a light texture.

As for the pillow’s core, it has a slightly more modern vibe than others on the list: 90% feathers and 10% down. This ratio means that the pillow has a higher likelihood of falling flat after a few nights, but will also feel more supportive thanks to the feathers, making it a great match for stomach sleepers.

Additional Pillow Details:

  • The 100% cotton cover is removable and can be cleaned separately or removed entirely if necessary. 
  • The down and feathers used in puredown’s products have been certified to the RDS (Responsible Down Standard).
  • Price: This pillow is available on Amazon in Standard, Queen, and King sizes, with a price range of $40.99–$48.99.
puredown Cooling
puredown Cooling
puredown Cooling

Hot sleepers — especially stomach sleepers —who love the feel of down should enjoy the puredown Cooling pillow, which is filled with 90% feathers and a cool-to-the-touch cover. 

Marten’s Take

best pillows for back sleepers 2020 - marten's take

At Mattress Clarity, we love to make personal recommendations to people who need help looking for the best pillow. We often ask about height, weight, and body type. I’ve put together my four favorite pillows, but now it’s Marten’s turn to come in and share his experience. I’m 5’7″ and about average body type while Marten is 6’7″ and about 250 lb. Marten is going to share the pillows on my list that heavier sleepers may enjoy the most.

Hi, everyone! Marten here. Of the four pillows on this list, there are three that I think people with larger body types will enjoy.

TEMPUR-Down Precise Support: I’m a big fan of this pillow because it has that classic down feel, but the middle of it feels more like memory foam. I really enjoyed this particular pillow while lying on my back and my stomach.

Casper Down: This pillow from Casper has a good amount of loft and firmness to it. For that reason, it worked well on my back and on my side.

Brooklinen Mid-Plush Down: To me, this one is a great fit for heavier side sleepers (that’s my primary sleep position as well).  As a larger person, I have a bigger head and broader shoulders, and I need something substantial to support me on my side, and I found that with this pillow.

Types of Down

Down pillows are typically made from duck or goose down and can vary on exactly what type of duck or geese. For example, Canada white goose down is often considered excellent quality, as is Eider duck down.

Some down pillows, like Casper’s pillow, are made through ethically sourced programs. Casper’s down pillow is certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which means the brand’s down filling comes from birds who, “have been treated with care.” For those who love the feel and quality of down but are concerned about the ethics of the manufacturing process, check for labeling like this before making a purchase.

RELATED: Down vs. Feather Pillows – What’s The Difference?

Clusters vs. Feathers

down pillow fillDown pillows can be filled with either all down clusters or — more rarely — all feathers, but more often than not, they’re a combination of the two. Clusters of down are very soft and almost snowflake-like — far less identifiable than a standard bird feather, which most of us are familiar with.

The size of a down cluster is dependent on the bird that provided it. Duck down clusters will be smaller than goose down clusters. This matters because the larger the cluster, the more insulating, as it traps more air and makes the pillow lighter and fluffier in the end. For this reason, pillows made with plenty of down from geese tend to be more luxurious and more expensive than others. They’re also more durable!

Likewise, feathers are flatter and more structured, thanks to their longer quills. Feathers are often used in the center of a pillow to add support and structure while down is filled around it to ensure the classic “down” feel. Feathers are less durable than clusters and not as lightweight. Therefore, pillows with more feathers tend to be more affordable.

Fill Power

Without getting too heavy into the science of it, fill power is the amount of space — measured in cubic inches — one ounce of down will take up to reach its maximum loft. This is basically a measurement of the loftiness of a pillow, and often equates to the durability and quality of a pillow. Higher fill power means larger down clusters and the corresponding amount of trapped air means the longer it’ll retain its loft and firmness. However, fill power is not necessarily an indicator of overall firmness, so keep that in mind as well. A high fill power — around 800 — does not guarantee that the down pillow will be super firm.

Final Thoughts

These are four of the absolute best down pillows out on the market today, but they’re certainly not the only ones to buy. As always, I suggest navigating the pillow purchasing process by starting with one’s primary sleep position and narrowing down pillow options based on the appropriate loft and support for that position from there. Don’t hesitate to comment on my YouTube video if a personal recommendation is needed!

FAQs

How do I choose a down pillow?

In many ways, choosing a down pillow is just like choosing any other pillow. Start with one’s primary sleep position to gauge how much loft and general firmness is needed. Traditionally, stomach sleepers need soft and flatter pillows while side sleepers need the most height (or loft) and firmness.

What is the best down pillow for side sleepers?

The best pillow for side sleepers is going to offer the most firmness and the most height. One combination that I really like — and you can see this in the Brooklinen Mid-Plush — is a pillow with a core of feathers that provides support, but surrounded by down so that there's still plenty of softness and comfort.

What is better — goose or duck down pillows?

Goose down is larger in size than duck down, so on average, goose down pillows have a higher fill power than duck down. This means that goose down pillows won't need as much down to be loftier, lighter in weight, and more luxurious. That being said, they typically cost more. If you opt for duck down, but still want something with the plushness of goose down, look for a higher fill power.

 

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Katie Golde

Katie manages the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news. She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.