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    The Everything Guide To Down Vs Feather Pillows

    If you want to sleep like a baby, you’ve got to invest in a quality pillow. Pick a good one and it’ll keep going for years. Whether you should go for down vs feather pillows, it’s a personal choice.

    Both, down and feather pillows, have a luxurious feel and can give you a refreshing nights sleep.

    What’s the difference between down and feather pillows, and which kind is best for you?

    We’ve put together some hints and tips that’ll help to make up your mind on down vs feather, a breeze.

    Your Pillow Makes a Difference to Your Sleep

    We spend around a third of our lives sleeping, so it makes sense that our sleeping equipment is up to scratch, right?

    Humans have a natural curve in our spines, between our head and upper back. This whole area needs to be supported while we sleep.

    Not only does our sleep quality improve when our head, neck, and upper back get the support they need, but this also maintains good back health.

    The right pillow will help keep these areas properly aligned, and reduce neck and back stiffness, aches and pains.

    Shapes and Sizes

    Pillows come in many different shapes and sizes.

    The rectangular pillows we’re used to are the most popular kind, and most of us use one or two when we sleep.

    People with specific health issues, like sleep apnea, asthma, joint problems or back and neck pain, need different characteristics in these sleeping aids.

    Some choose triangular pillows, shaped like a large wedge, or a V-shaped pillow, to support their backs when sitting up in bed. Others use a long, narrow aid called a body pillow, which molds to the contours of your body and aligns it correctly.

    The type or number of pillows we choose will also depend on our sleeping position. For example, experts recommend that if we sleep on our side, it’s best to place a pillow firmly between the knees, to maintain correct alignment.

    Another suggestion is to place a pillow wherever there’s a gap between body and mattress.

    Sleeping Position

    For some of us, it’s the way we’ve always slept. For others, it’s a way we’ve had to adapt to, based on an ailment or injury. Whatever the cause, all of us has our own distinct sleeping position.

    The size, density, and shape of our perfect pillow is based largely on the shape we’re most comfortable in during the night.

    Side Sleepers

    Side sleeping is the most natural sleeping position and the one adopted by most of us. The best pillow for side-sleepers should keep your head straight, and not tip it backward or forward through the night.

    Side sleepers do best with a thick, firm pillow, that fills in the gap between your neck and the mattress.

    Back Sleepers

    For those who sleep on their backs, you’re in for a great night’s sleep. Back sleepers have an even pressure exerted across the whole body, for better alignment.

    Back sleepers do best with a pillow similar to the side-sleeper but with medium firmness, and medium-thickness.

    Front Sleepers

    Front, or stomach sleepers, do just that – lie flat, with their faces toward the pillow. Front sleepers don’t need much support, as their necks aren’t strained during sleep.

    A fairly soft and flat pillow is best, that lifts the head slightly to align your neck with your spine.

    Down Vs Feather

    Now you’ve worked out the size, shape, and firmness of your next pillow. Let’s look at the choice between down vs feather.

    Feathers have been used in pillows since the ancient Greeks and Romans began to make soft pillows.

    Back then, along with feathers, they would stuff pillows with things like reeds and straw, for firmness. While it may sound uncomfortable, that was nothing compared to the wood and stone used by the ancient Egyptians.

    Happily, soft, snuggly pillows have been honed and perfected through time, and we now have a vast choice at our fingertips.

    Though both down and feathers come from the same birds, there are some distinct differences between the two.

    Read on to work out how to make your choice between down vs feather.

    Down Pillows

    Down pillows are recognized as the most luxurious, as they are soft and squishy while maintaining some firmness.

    The Lowdown on Down

    Down comes from the undercoating of a bird’s feathers, and the down in your pillows is usually from ducks and geese.

    While feathers are long and fan out, down clusters are spherical, and have soft strands coming from a soft central quill.

    These 3D spheres form an insulating air-trap, which provide softness and temperature regulation.

    What’s in a Quill?

    An important thing to remember with down vs feather is, while both have quills, down quills are soft and hard to detect.

    These soft quills mean down pillows hold their shape better over the years. When they’re compressed while you sleep, their round clusters suffer little damage and spring back into shape when released.

    This results in a pillow that’s soft, springy and will last for years.

    Fill Power vs Fill Weight

    When it comes to down vs feather, only down pillows have ‘fill power.’ Feathers don’t.

    Fill power denotes the quality of each down pillow. The higher the fill power, the higher the quality of the pillow.

    Fill power depends on the size of the down clusters, and quality down pillows range from a fill power of 500 to 800. 500 fill power means smaller down clusters, from smaller birds.

    800 fill power clusters are larger, more luxurious and longer lasting, but they take longer to achieve, which is why they cost more.

    Most people prefer to go for a fill power of 700, which has many of the benefits of 800 but costs less.

    Fill weight, on the other hand, is the amount of down stuffing that is put into a down pillow, to give it its desired size, weight, density, and thickness.

    Duck Down vs Goose Down

    The main difference between the two comes down to the size of the clusters or, as we’ve just learned, the fill power.

    Ducks are smaller than geese, so the down they produce is a lower fill power.

    Geese are larger so, naturally, the fill power of their down is higher and longer-lasting. Goose feather down is more popular than duck down. It’s also more expensive, though.

    Feather Pillows

    In the choice between down vs feather, feather pillows definitely come out better in price.

    Feather pillows are heavier than down, so for some, they provide better support.

    Because they’re easier to find and gather than down, feather pillows are also much cheaper.

    All About the Quill

    A major sticking point when it comes to down vs feather is to do with quills.

    As we’ve said, both down and feathers have quills. Feather quills are harder, and can sometimes be felt beneath the surface of your pillow.

    Over time, feather quills tend to align, which means your pillow becomes flat. To counter this, you can fluff up your pillow to disperse them but, before long, those quills will line up again.

    Ever been the unsuspecting victim of a pillow-poke? That’ll be the quill.

    Another issue with feather quills is that they tend to poke through the fabric of your pillow, which can mean a sharp jab in your back or neck. To avoid this, choose a feather pillow with a thick cover to keep pillow-poke at bay.

    Duck Vs Goose

    Duck feathers are smaller and heavier than goose feathers, which are large, light, and soft.

    For those who want the benefits of an all-down pillow but simply can’t afford one, a goose feather and down combination is a popular compromise.

    The mix of soft goose feathers and fluffy down clusters provide the luxury feel of down while keeping costs down.

    Another benefit of a feather and down mix is, with the down clusters slowing down the alignment of feather quills, durability is increased. And because the down provides a buffer, quill-poke is reduced.

    Cost and Quality

    Usually, the deciding factor on whether someone buys a down vs feather pillow comes down to cost.

    Because of their easy availability, feather pillows are cheaper than their down cousins.

    Many feather pillows now contain a feather and down mix and can start from as little as $20 per pair.

    All-down pillows start from around $60 for 500 fill-power duck down, per pillow. Costs increase depending on the density of your pillow, so if you choose a soft pillow it’ll be cheaper than a firm one.

    Now, contrast that with luxury goose down pillows with 800 fill-power, which can cost from between $200 – $350… and yes, that price is per pillow.

    When it comes to down vs feather, the cost implications will probably impact your decision. Our advice would be to try and buy the best quality you can possibly afford.

    A better quality pillow will last longer, so you will save money in the long-run, and helps provide you with the good night’s sleep you’re after.

    The Bottom Line on Down Vs Feather Pillows

    Both down and feather pillows are popular choices, as they both offer varying levels of support, as well as the comforting softness you’d expect from a pillow.

    When making your choice, think about your sleeping position to work out how firm you’ll need your pillow to be. Then, set your budget. You can often find quality pillows reduced during seasonal sales, so why not see if you can pick one up for less.

    Your pillow is your closest friend for around a third of your day. Treat yourself right by reading our tips above, and making the best choice between down vs feather, for you.

    Loved this article? Check out my review of the best down pillows.