If you’re on the hunt for a new pillow, down alternative pillows have been an increasingly popular choice due to their hypoallergenic nature and affordable price point. While traditional pillows may be filled with clusters of feathers and/or down, down alternative pillows are typically filled with synthetic polyester microfibers. With hundreds of options on the market with various firmness levels, cover materials, and price points, it can be difficult to find the right down alternative pillow for you.
“There is no one size fits all when choosing the right pillow for you; the key is to determine which is best suited for you,” explains Dr. Peter Polos, MD, Ph.D., a sleep medicine expert. “Down alternatives typically are hypoallergenic. These pillows can come in varying firmness [levels], which is purely a personal decision.”
To help you find the best down alternative pillow, we’ve researched and tested the best options currently on the market, considering quality, breathability, effectiveness, durability, and overall value. Our list showcases a wide variety of down alternative pillows for all types of sleeping positions and firmness preferences, including options from Casper, Parachute, and Saatva.
Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow
Different densities available
60-night trial period
Not firm enough for some people
For a high-quality pillow that will last you years, the Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow is worth your consideration. It comes in both standard and king sizes, and it’s filled with a hypoallergenic fiber fill that’s designed to mimic the warmth and fluffiness of down. The pillow is covered with a 300 thread count and 100 percent cotton shell for optimal comfort through the night.
This down-alternative pillow comes in two densities to suit your sleep style and preferences. The brand also boasts NASA-approved cooling technology designed to fight off heat night after night. Sure enough, the pillow kept cool and helped regulate body temperature all night long.
Each pillow is filled in the United States and all materials are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, so you can feel good about where you lay your head at night. What's more, Slumber Cloud provides a 60-night trial period so you can decide if this pillow is right for you.
Price at time of publish: $84
Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: Hypoallergenic microfiber fill | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: OKEO-TEX
Amazon Basics Down-Alternative Pillows
Soft and plush
Different densities available
Comes in a set of two
Not very durable
These comfy and budget-friendly pillows come in a set of two for an affordable option for stomach and side sleepers. The Amazon Basics down-alternative pillows come in standard and king sizes, and they’re filled with a down alternative that’s soft and plush. They also come in two densities, according to your personal preference.
Additionally, the pillow is Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certified and can be machine washed. Though inexpensive, the down alternative stayed put and formed to the head and shoulder area during our tests. We also loved that the fill resets each day rather than quickly flattening after one use. What's more, it remained cool through the night, even though down pillows can often become hot when in use.
Price at time of publish: $34
Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: Down Alternative | Cover Material: Polyester microfiber | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX
Best for Back Sleepers
Casper Original Pillow
Soft and plush
100-night sleep trial
Only one firmness option
The Casper Original Pillow has a unique pillow-in-a-pillow design that offers the perfect level of softness and support for back sleepers. You can choose from a mid- or low-loft design, as well as standard and king sizes, and the pillow is stuffed with a clump-resistant microfiber fill that mimics the softness of down.
The inner layer of this pillow is more firm and supportive, while the outer layer is soft and cushioning. The cover is made of a breathable percale weave, and we found that it stayed cool and comfortable throughout the night.
Price at time of publish: $65
Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: Polyester microfiber | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None
Best for Side Sleepers
Sleep Number PlushComfort Curved Pillow
Curved to fit around shoulder
100-night sleep trial
Only one firmness option
The unique curved shape of the Sleep Number PlushComfort Curved Pillow makes it a top choice for anyone who sleeps on their side—the contoured shape fits comfortably around your shoulder while still providing support for your neck and head. These pillows are available in standard and king sizes, and they’re filled with a hypoallergenic microfiber fill that’s silky soft.
Sleep Number lets you try out this pillow for up to 100 days and return or exchange it as needed, which is helpful since there’s only one density option. The pillow can be machine-washed, but the brand recommends using a commercial-sized front-loading washer, such as ones you’d find at a laundromat.
Price at time of publish: $50
Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: Hypoallergenic microfiber fill | Cover Material: Brushed cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX
Best for Stomach Sleepers
Downlite Low Profile EnviroLoft Pillow
Low profile for stomach sleepers
Soft and plush
Too soft for other sleep positions
If you sleep on your stomach, you’ll need an extremely soft pillow such as the Downlite Low-Profile Bed Pillow. This down alternative pillow is specifically designed for stomach sleepers—in fact, it’s not recommended for anyone else—and it has an extremely low profile that helps keep your spine in proper alignment while laying in a prone position. The brand even goes so far as to compare it to “laying your head on a comforter” to give you a sense of its height.
This pillow comes in standard, queen, and king sizes, and it’s filled with hypoallergenic polyester material. The cover is a 250-thread-count damask cotton fabric, and it can be machine washed and dried for easy maintenance.
Price at time of publish: $95
Sizes: Standard, Queen, and King | Fill Material: Hypoallergenic polyester | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None
Fern and Willow Down Alternative Pillow Set
Good value for pack of two
Zippered cover to adjust filling level
Doesn’t include extra fill
If you frequently find pillows to be too thick, you’ll like the Fern and Willow Down Alternative Pillows, which have a zippered cover that lets you take filling out to achieve the perfect height. The pillows come in a set of two, and you can choose from standard, queen, and king sizes.
The cover on these pillows is made from 100 percent cotton, and it has piping along the edges for a neat and tailored appearance. The pillows can be machine washed and air-dried for easy maintenance, but the only downside is that they don’t come with extra fill, so you can’t make the pillow denser.
Price at time of publish: $35
Sizes: Standard, Queen, and King | Fill Material: Microfiber | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None
Parachute Down Alternative Pillow
Cotton sateen shell
Three different support levels
Not supportive enough for all sleeping positions
Light and squishy with a sunken plushness, the Parachute Down Alternative Soft Pillow is an ideal pick for those who tend to sleep on their side or just prefer a plusher pillow. It looks and feels supremely comfortable, and the 100 percent cotton sateen shell makes for a luxurious night’s rest. The pillow is made with a microfiber fill meant to mimic the loft and support of down, which is helpful if you’re used to sleeping on traditional pillows. Reinforced with a double-stitched piping seam, we’re impressed with its high-quality construction.
We also love that it’s machine washable, so you won’t have to worry about tedious or complicated care instructions. However, it’s important to note that although many people love sleeping on a soft pillow, it might not be supportive enough for side and back sleepers who may require more support. Luckily, Parachute also offers the Down Alternative Pillow in medium and firm densities as well.
Price at time of publish: $79
Sizes: Standard, King | Fill Material: Microfiber | Cover Material: Cotton sateen | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: OEKO-TEX Standard 100
The Company Store Company Essentials LoftAIRE Down Alternative Pillow
Extra-firm option provides lots of support
High profile may be uncomfortable for some
One of the firmest down alternative pillows you’ll find is the Company Essentials LoftAIRE Pillow, which comes in both firm and extra firm options—both of which are ideal for side sleepers. The pillows are filled with the brand’s proprietary LoftAIRE synthetic fiber, which mimics the loftiness and insulating properties of down, and they’re covered in a 300-thread-count cotton sateen cover.
These pillows come in standard, queen, and king sizes, and they can be machine washed, though the company recommends a front-loading commercial machine, if possible. Plus, the product is backed by The Company Store’s lifetime guarantee, which means it can be returned at any time for an exchange or merchandise credit.
Price at time of publish: $64
Sizes: Standard, Queen, and King | Fill Material: LoftAIRE synthetic fiber | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None
Boll & Branch Down Alternative Pillow
Made in the USA
Different densities available
Boll & Branch is known for its high-end organic bedding products, and its Down Alternative pillows are no exception. These pillows are wrapped in a 100 percent organic cotton shell, and they’re stuffed with the brand’s signature Primaloft filling, an allergy-friendly synthetic fiber designed to mimic the lightweight loft of real down.
These pillows are crafted in Mason, Ohio, and you can choose from standard or king sizes, as well as three firmness levels. The brand offers a 30-night sleep trial, as well as free returns, and the pillow can be machine washed as needed.
Price at time of publish: $88
Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: Primaloft synthetic fiber | Cover Material: 100% organic cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX
Saatva Down Alternative Pillow
Plush and airy texture
Organic cotton shell
Spot clean only
If you’re prone to night sweats or tend to overheat at night, you may want to consider purchasing a breathable pillow to help regulate your temperature and keep you comfortable all night long. The Saatva Down Alternative Pillow is a great option that offers cloud-like comfort while providing enough airflow to prevent overheating. The 100 percent hypoallergenic pillow is also made with an organic cotton shell, which contributes to its top-notch comfort and breathability. What’s more, the pillow’s quality construction is evident through the elegant satin piping. It also boasts the perfect balance between plushness and support, as the fill contains a resilient micro-denier fiber with small air pockets throughout.
Note that the pillow is spot-clean only, which may not be suitable for households with children or pets. But with proper care, the spring-like fill should keep its loft and last you for years to come. And although the pillow might come at a steeper price point than many of the options on this list, we think its quality construction and durable fill make it a worthwhile investment.
Price at time of publish: $115
Sizes: Queen, King | Fill Material: Microdenier fiber | Cover Material: Organic cotton | Care: Spot clean | Certifications: None listed
Buffy Cloud Pillow
Different densities available
Dry clean only
Most down alternative pillows are filled with some type of polyester, but to make the Buffy Cloud Pillow more eco-friendly, the brand uses 100 percent BPA-free, recycled PET as a down alternative. In fact, every pillow recycles approximately 24 to 30 plastic bottles!
The Buffy Pillow is covered in a 300-thread-count sateen lyocell shell, an earth-friendly fiber that’s derived from sustainable wood sources like eucalyptus, and it helps to absorb moisture to keep you cool all night long. The pillow comes in standard and king sizes, and there are three firmness levels to suit all sleep preferences. The only downside is that this pillow is dry clean only, making it harder to wash.
Price at time of publish: $55
Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: 100% recycled PET | Cover Material: Lyocell | Care: Dry clean only | Certifications: None
If you’re looking for a high-quality down alternative pillow, the Slumber Cloud Core Down Alternative Pillow is a top choice. It has a hypoallergenic fill that’s as soft and cushioning as real down, and there are two firmness options to suit any sleeping position. For an inexpensive option, consider the Amazon Basics Down Alternative Pillow, which is soft and plush without flattening over time.
How We Tested
To compile this list, we researched highly rated down alternative pillows from various brands to put to the test at The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa We evaluated each pick on their quality, breathability, effectiveness, durability, and overall value. Then, we sent our top picks home with long-term testers to sleep on the pillows for weeks to test the comfort of each as well as the ease of cleaning. We combined their insights with our writer's research to find our favorites.
What to Look for in a Down Alternative Pillow
Most down alternative pillows use a synthetic fiber filling to mimic the feel of down feathers. Polyester microfiber is the most commonly used material, but some brands have proprietary synthetic fillings that offer additional benefits. If you suffer from allergies, you may also want to look for a pillow that has a hypoallergenic fill, like our top pick from Slumber Cloud.
Your personal preferences and sleep position often dictate whether you like a softer or more firm pillow, and most down alternative pillows come in several density options. Our testers loved picking the firmness that fits their sleeping style. Luckily, brand website often offer helpful information for finding your perfect fit. Firm pillows will have more stuffing and keep your head supported throughout the night, while plush pillows are lightly stuffed to allow your head to sink in more.
Your go-to sleeping position plays a big role in the type of pillow you should buy. To keep the spine in proper alignment, most stomach sleepers need a thin and soft pillow, while side sleepers require a taller pillow that offers more support. Back sleepers have the most options when it comes to pillows but typically prefer medium-firm support. For back sleepers, the Amazon Basics Down Alternative Pillow is a great option, as it supported our tester's neck and shoulders in every position. It didn't flatten over time, remaining supportive and comfortable.
As you shop for down alternative pillows, you’ll likely see products that are labeled as Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certified. This designation means that every component of the product has been tested for harmful substances and is safe for human health.
What does down alternative mean?
Down alternative simply means that the pillow’s filling is made from something other than goose or duck down. Down alternative fillings are typically made from some type of synthetic material, such as polyester microfiber, which mimics the look and the feel of true down.
What’s the difference between down and down alternative pillows?
Down pillows are filled with duck or goose down and/or feathers, and they tend to be warmer, more durable, and more expensive. Down alternative pillows, on the other hand, are typically hypoallergenic and cooler to sleep on, and they often cost less to buy.
Can you wash down alternative pillows?
One of the benefits of owning down alternative pillows is that they’re often machine-washable. You’ll want to check the care tags to confirm, but the majority of these pillows can be cleaned in your at-home washing machine and either machine- or air-dried.
Are down alternative pillows eco-friendly?
While often considered a more humane option than down pillows, which are stuffed with bird feathers, down alternative pillows aren’t necessarily eco-friendly. Most of these pillows are filled with synthetic fibers such as polyester—a material that can't be recycled and won’t break down quickly in the landfill. However, some brands do use recycled fibers to stuff their pillows, which can make them a little more green.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. She considers herself a pillow connoisseur, and she’s had firsthand experience sleeping on many different pillows, including the Made By Design Medium Density Bed Pillow (view at Target) included on this list. While researching down pillows for this article, she spoke with Dr. Peter Polos, MD, Ph.D., a sleep medicine specialist, for insight on the importance of selecting the right pillow. As she selected products to include, she looked at factors such as the fill material, size options, density options, and product certifications.
Bianca Pineda, a commerce writer at The Spruce covering all things bedding, bath, and home decor, conducted additional research and updates.
What Is The Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend, and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.