‘Down’ is the softer under-feathers which ducks and geese use for insulation, it is usually considerably softer than the outer feathers, the quills are normally very thin and pliable unlike outer feathers which can be tough. Often, down is sourced from birds that generally live in cold climates (Scandinavia, Russia etc) as their down will tend to be thickest and softest. Goose down pillows are often considered more luxurious than duck down due the larger tufts of down which provides slightly more insulation. They are usually more expensive pillows as well.
In order to be considered as a down pillow, the filling needs to be at least 75% down. Often manufacturers will use other, cheaper material such as feathers to make up the rest. When this is the case this material is often inside an inner core within the pillow which is then surounded by down in order to give external softness.
Down pillows are usually very smooth with no lumps and although the down can occasionally escape from the pillow cover, it usually wont poke you like feathers. As down is not cheap, down pillows are usually amongst the most expensive and luxurious.
- Pros: Tend to make the softest pillows, nice and light, cool an airy, easy to shape, long lasting, quiet
- Cons: Feathers can sometimes poke through the cover (though usually not spikey like feathers), do not offer a lot of support or height – not great for side sleepers, can be expensive, will need occasional fluffing and shaking to get back into shape, not ideal for allergy sufferers unless the down has been correctly processed.
Pillow advisor summary: Although a bit pricey, nothing feels as soft and luxurious as a down pillow. They aren’t ideal where support or neck pain relief is required, but will not disapoint in almost all other circumstances.