The Best Down Alternative Pillows for Every Sleeping Position

Our favorite is Parachute's Down Alternative Pillow

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

If you’re on the hunt for a new pillow, down alternative pillows are a popular choice thanks to their hypoallergenic design and affordable price point. However, there are still hundreds of different products to choose from.

“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, PhD, a sleep medicine expert. “Down alternatives typically are hypoallergenic. These pillows can come in varying firmness, which is purely a personal decision. The firmer, the more fill, and the thicker the pillow.” After countless hours of research, our top pick is Parachute's Down Alternative Pillow, which is a high-quality option that’s designed to mimic the warmth and loftiness of down.

Here are the best down alternative pillows to bring home.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall : Parachute Down Alternative Pillow

Parachute Down Alternative Pillow

Parachute

What We Like
  • Different densities available

  • Three-year warranty

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Not firm enough for some people

For a high-quality pillow that will last you years, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow is worth your consideration. It comes in both standard and king sizes, and it’s filled with a hypoallergenic microfiber fill that’s designed to mimic the warmth and fluffiness of down. The pillow is covered with a 100 percent sateen cotton shell, and it has a double-stitched piping seam for durability. 

This down-alternative pillow comes in three densities—soft, medium, and firm—to suit your sleep style and preferences. The brand recommends a soft pillow for stomach sleepers, a medium pillow for back sleepers, and a firm pillow for side sleepers. The pillow can be machine-washed or dry cleaned as needed, and it’s backed by a three-year warranty and the brand’s top-notch customer service. 

Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: Hypoallergenic microfiber fill | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: OKEO-TEX

Best Budget: Made By Design Medium Density Bed Pillow

Made By Design Medium Density Bed Pillow

Courtesy of Target

What We Like
  • Soft and plush

  • Different densities available

  • 365-day return period

What We Don't Like
  • Not very durable

While they lack the durability to be an everyday pillow, the Made By Design Bed Pillows are a great choice for stuffing shams or outfitting a guest bed, as they’re comfy and budget-friendly. These pillows come in standard and king sizes, and they’re filled with a polyester-down alternative that’s soft and plush. 

This particular pillow has a medium-density that’s recommended for stomach or back sleepers, but the brand also offers the product in firm and extra-firm. The pillow is STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX certified and can be machine washed, but because it’s inexpensive, it tends to get lumpy and/or flattened faster than other options.

Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: 100% polyester | Cover Material: 60% cotton, 40% recycled polyester | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX

Best for Side Sleepers: Sleep Number PlushComfort Curved Pillow

Sleep Number PlushComfort Curved Pillow

Courtesy of Sleep Number

What We Like
  • Curved to fit around shoulder

  • 100-night sleep trial

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

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

Downlite Low Profile EnviroLoft Pillow

Courtesy of Target

What We Like
  • Low profile for stomach sleepers

  • Soft and plush

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Sizes: Standard, Queen, and King | Fill Material: Hypoallergenic polyester | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None

Best for Back Sleepers: Casper Original Pillow

4
Original Casper Pillow

Courtesy of Casper

What We Like
  • Soft and plush

  • Uniform shape

  • Sleeps cool

  • 100-night sleep trial

What We Don't Like
  • 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 our testers found that it stayed cool and comfortable throughout the night.

Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: Polyester microfiber | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None

Best Firm : The Company Store Company Essentials LoftAIRE Down Alternative Pillow

The Company Store Company Essentials LoftAIRE Down Alternative Pillow

Courtesy of The Company Store

What We Like
  • Extra-firm option provides lots of support

  • Lifetime guarantee

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Sizes: Standard, Queen, and King | Fill Material: LoftAIRE synthetic fiber | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None

Best Soft: RiLEY Down Alternative Pillow

Down Alternative Pillow - RiLEY

 Courtesy of RiLEY

What We Like
  • Soft and plush

  • Removable, washable cover

  • Five-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Only ships to the 48 contiguous United States

You’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud with the Riley Down Alternative Pillow on your bed. This pillow is delightfully soft, and it comes in both plush and firm density options. You can choose from standard or king sizes, and the pillows have a removable, washable cotton percale cover that makes them easy to clean without putting the whole thing in the wash. 

The Riley Pillows are filled with hypoallergenic microfiber that feels just as fluffy as down, and the plush option is recommended for those who sleep on their back or stomach. Plus, the brand backs the product with an impressive five-year warranty.

Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: 100% hypoallergenic microfiber | Cover Material: 100% cotton percale | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None

Best Organic: Boll & Branch Down Alternative Pillow

Boll & Branch Down Alternative Pillow

Courtesy of Boll & Branch

What We Like
  • Made in the USA

  • Different densities available

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

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.

Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: Primaloft synthetic fiber | Cover Material: 100% organic cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX 

Best Eco-Friendly: Buffy Cloud Pillow

Buffy Cloud Pillow
What We Like
  • Different densities available

  • Sleeps cool

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Sizes: Standard and King | Fill Material: 100% recycled PET | Cover Material: Lyocell | Care: Dry clean only | Certifications: None

Best Adjustable: Fern and Willow Down Alternative Pillow Set

What We Like
  • Good value for pack of two

  • Zippered cover to adjust filling level

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Sizes: Standard, Queen, and King | Fill Material: Microfiber | Cover Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a high-quality down alternative pillow, the Parachute Down Alternative Pillow (view at Parachute) is a top choice. It has a hypoallergenic fill that’s as soft and cushioning as real down, and there are three firmness options to suit any sleeping position. For an inexpensive option for a guest bed or decor, consider the Made By Design Medium Density Bed Pillow (view at Target), which is soft and plush but not as long-lasting. 

What to Look for in a Down Alternative Pillow

Fill Material

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. 

Density

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. 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. 

Sleep Position

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. 

Certifications

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.

FAQ
  • What does down alternative mean?

    Down alternative simply means that the pillow’s filling is made from something other than goose/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, PhD, 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.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.