If you like a supportive and lofty feel, a down-filled bed pillow might be right up your alley. Fluffier than their memory foam or down-alternative counterparts, many down pillows come in a variety of firmness levels that can suit all types of sleepers "Everybody has a unique anatomical and psychological composition, making the ideal pillow vary by individual," says board-certified sleep physician Joshua Roland.
When browsing different options, you'll notice that many "down pillows" are actually a mix of down and feathers, sourced from either geese or ducks. The percentage of down versus feathers will determine how firm the pillow is. "[Feather-heavy] pillows generally tend to be plush and on the softer side," Dr. Roland adds, while down-heavy pillows generally provide more support.
With insight from Dr. Roland in mind, we researched and tested top-rated, ethically sourced options with the certifications to prove it. We've spent hours testing a variety of down pillows in The Lab, assessing each design's quality, value, and comfort for a variety of sleeping positions. In addition, we've used these pillows in our own homes to determine how they felt in a real-world setting with regular use. Before any of this testing occurred, and even after reviewing results, we conducted research to find the highest-rated and best-reviewed down pillows, according to customers who've given them a try. Our selections reflect those pillows that provided plenty of comfort during testing and felt well-designed to support a variety of sleepers.
Parachute Down Pillow
Made from high-quality materials
Extremely plush and comfortable
When it comes to bedding, Parachute is one of our go-tos—and, after weeks of in-lab and at-home testing, their down pillow doesn’t disappoint. This splurge-worthy sleeping companion flaunts a 750 fill power, with 85 percent down and 15 percent quill-free feathers encased in an Oeko-Tex-certified cotton shell. The natural feathers and down are certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). This means the materials are humanely sourced from farms that meet strict criteria for animal welfare.
Suiting a variety of sleep styles, the Parachute Down Pillow comes in two sizes (standard and king) and three levels of support, ranging from soft to firm. Our home tester, who’s a combination sleeper, opted for the medium-firm option and found it to be perfectly supportive throughout the night—despite occasionally having to flip it. “This product is really soft and comfortable to sleep on,” she said.“It cradles my neck, which I didn't think it would do since it does deflate a little.” Keeping that in mind, stomach sleepers might want to opt for the firm option.
Given its high price point, this pick does have a luxe factor: the sateen-weave cotton shell is breathable and smooth, slipping effortlessly into whichever pillowcase you choose to use. The pillow’s durability also impressed one of our long-term testers. “We love knowing that this product is made of quality materials that will stand up to many washes,” she said. It has a tight weave and double-stitched piping that work in tandem to help prevent any stray feathers from poking out, whether during use or in your washer/dryer Did we mention it’s machine-washable?
While this option certainly isn't the most affordable bed pillow, we’d say it’s worth the initial investment. In case you change your mind, there’s a 90-day sleep trial, along with a three-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $149 for a standard, medium fill
Sizes: Standard or King | Fill Material: Premium European white down | Shell Material: 100% sateen cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX, Responsible Down Standard
Puredown Natural Goose Down Feather Bed Pillow
Comes in pack of two
Black piping edge
More feathers than down
No firmness options
Looking for something more wallet-friendly? Consider the puredown Feather and Down Pillow, which clocks in at just under twenty dollars. Unlike many other budget options, this product is RDS-certified, ensuring that its contents are ethically sourced.
This affordable pillow comes in standard, queen, and king sizes, and is completely machine-washable. It has a breathable, 100 percent cotton shell that’s filled with a mix of feather and down, giving it a comfortable and plush feel that our testers loved. However, unlike 100 percent feather-down pillows, you might be able some of the feathers inside. “The pieces of feather crinkle a bit in your hands if you hold it,” one of our testers noted. Luckily, the cotton shell is thick enough to prevent any of the feathers from actually poking out.
Price at time of publish: $27 for a single standard
Sizes: Standard, Queen, or King | Fill Material: 15% down and 85% feather | Shell Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: OEKO-TEX, Responsible Down Standard
Kassatex European White Goose Down Pillow
Washed with environmentally safe detergent
Great for any sleep position
Three firmness levels
A bit overstuffed
If you have a bit more to spend on a new pillow, we recommend the Kassatex European White Goose Down Pillow. Filled with a mix of 80% down and 20% feathers, these 650 fill-power pillows have a lofty feel that offers hotel-style comfort. What’s more, the filling has been washed with environmentally-safe, Bluesign detergent, making it even cleaner than the government standard.
The Kassatex down pillows are available in two sizes and three firmness levels, ranging from Soft to Firm. Our home tester, who describes herself as a combination sleeper, opted for the Soft version and found it to perfectly adjust to her movements throughout the night—a pleasant surprise after a Goldilocks-level hunt for the perfect pillow. “Until recently I haven't necessarily taken my pillow choices seriously,” she noted. “It was taking me a while to find the 'just right' pillow and this one is definitely it.” Our only note of caution with this pillow is that it's a bit challenging to fit the pillow into a pillowcase because it is so lofty! While certainly not a major fault, it's worth noting that you might want to size up when purchasing new pillow cases as to not squish this pillow's contents.
Price at time of publish: $200 for a firm standard
Sizes: Standard, King | Fill Material: 100% goose down | Shell Material: 100% organic cotton | Care: Machine washable on gentle, tumble dry | Certifications: Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX
Best Down Pillow for Side Sleepers
Coyuchi Down Feather Pillow
Humanely sourced fill
Organic cotton shell
Tricky care instructions
If you're part of the majority of people who sleep on their sides, Coyuchi's Down Feather Pillow is your best bet. Containing 80 percent goose feathers and 20 percent down, the medium-firm feel offers the perfect level of support: plenty soft but not too squishy. For stomach sleepers and those who want something more compressible, the brand's Down Pillow may be a better choice.
While this product isn't RDS-certified, the feathers and down come from humanely raised ducks on an Indiana farm, and the 100 percent cotton shell is certified organic. This pillow is technically machine-washable, but only in an oversized machine without a center agitator. And you're supposed to tumble-dry it very slowly on low heat, which may take up to three hours.
Price at time of publish: $138 for a standard
Sizes: Standard, queen, king | Fill Material: Feathers, down | Shell Material: Organic cotton | Care: Machine-wash delicate, tumble-dry | Certifications: None listed
Best Down Pillow for Back Sleepers
Tuft & Needle Down Pillow
High-quality, ethically-sourced down
Might be too filled for some
If you tend to doze on your back, the Tuft & Needle Down Pillow has your name on it. Filled with responsibly sourced North American down fill, the medium-firm density offers adequate support for your head and neck. Our tester, who's a combination sleeper, found it performed best when sleeping on her back, as it has a high loft that might be too much for stomach or side sleepers.
The organic cotton cover is reinforced with a double-stiched edge for extra durability and is also Oeko-Tex certified, meaning it's safe from potentially harmful chemicals and substances. The entire pillow is machine washable, which our home tester greatly appreciated. "The laundering process was super easy," she said. "The pillow did not really smell much after getting it, but it definitely freshened it up [well]."
Price at time of publish: $140 for a standard
Sizes: Standard or King | Fill Material: North American Down | Shell Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine wash, cold | Certifications: Oeko-Tex, Responsible Down Standard
Best Soft Down Pillow
Boll & Branch Down Chamber Pillow
Three firmness levels
Arrived with loose threads around the edges
On the pricier side
You’ll feel like you’re napping on a cloud when you sink your head into the Boll & Branch Down Chamber Pillow. One of three density levels, the soft version of this pillow is filled with down responsibly sourced from American farms. The pillow has an Oeko-Tex certified, 100 percent organic cotton cover, and it comes in Standard and King sizes.
While our home tester tried the medium-firm option, many of her insights still apply to the soft version—namely, the ease of cleaning and the quality of the down, which she says is "not lumpy at all." "It's very smooth and even and doesn't get bunched up at all," she adds. "I feel great about the fact that it's easily machine washable and dryable. Also, I feel like it's a little cooling, as my head doesn't sweat at all while using it."
Price at time of publish: $158 for a standard
Sizes: Standard or King | Fill Material: White down feathers | Shell Material: 100% organic cotton | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Certifications: OEKO-TEX, International Down Standard
Best Medium Firm Down Pillow
Three Geese White Goose Feather with Polyester Bed Pillow
Comfortable for multiple sleep positions
Antimicrobial treatment on cover
Dry clean only
The Three Geese White Goose Feather with Polyester Bed Pillow provides a medium level of support that’s ideal for back and side sleepers (especially those who don’t like to be propped up too high). It's also a great pillow for combination sleepers. It’s designed with three chambers—the inner chamber is comprised of 60 percent goose feathers, while the outer two are filled with polyester fibers to add extra volume and fluff. It’s encased in an Oeko-Tex-certified cotton cover, which is down-proof to prevent any pesky feathers from poking out.
After one month of sleeping with this pillow, our home tester found it to be a worthy addition to her nightly routine. “This pillow is very supportive but not overly firm,” she notes. “I change positions a good bit during the night and [it] holds up to the challenge.” Just note that the cotton cover can be a bit hard to wrangle inside a pillowcase—but once it’s in, it’s in.
Price at time of publish: $33 for a queen
Sizes: Queen, or King | Fill Material: Premium white down | Shell Material: 100% sateen cotton | Care: Dry clean only | Certifications: Oeko-Tex, Responsible Down Standard
Best Firm Down Pillow
Pottery Barn Classic Feather-Down Pillow
Down filling is thoroughly cleaned
Three levels of support for each type of sleeper
Commercial washer and dryer required
The Pottery Barn Classic Feather-Down Pillow is a top choice for anyone who likes their pillows to be firm and supportive. These pillows are stuffed with 100 percent down feathers (which tend to be more supportive than down clusters), and you can choose from soft, medium, or firm densities. While we haven't had the chance to test this specific pillow from Pottery Barn, we have tested the Pottery Barn Supreme Down Pillow, which was well-constructed and filled with clusters.
The classic feather-down pillows are covered in a 300-thread-count cotton fabric with a subtle damask stripe, and the filling is put through a cleaning process that guarantees feathers are meticulously cleaned and free of dust and odor. While we appreciate how well-priced these pillows are, we wish they didn't have to be washed in a commercial-size washer and dryer.
Price at time of publish: $99 for a soft standard
Sizes: Standard or King | Fill Material: 100% down feathers | Shell Material: 100% cotton | Care: Commerical machine washable | Certifications: Responsible Down Standard certified
Best Gusseted Down Pillow
Casper Down Pillow
Multi-chamber design adapts to your sleep position
30-night sleep trial
May be too firm for some
Side and back sleepers might consider a gusseted option, like Casper's mid-loft Down Pillow. The multi-layered design features an inner core with a duck feather-down blend, surrounded by an outer chamber of 80 percent down and 20 percent feathers, then polyester panels for structure, and a cotton outer shell.
With a 2-inch gusset and puffy comfort that holds its loft, you can count on optimal support for your head and neck.¹ And the fill materials are RDS-certified, so you can rest assured they're ethically sourced. This bed pillow is also conveniently machine-washable.
Price at time of publish: $139 for a standard
Sizes: Standard or King | Fill Material: White duck down and feathers | Shell Material: 100% cotton | Care: Machine washable | Certifications: None
You can’t go wrong with the Parachute Down Pillow, which is well-priced and comes in three different densities to suit various sleep positions. We found this pillow to be both soft and supportive during testing, and it has numerous certifications that ensure it’s well-made. For a more budget-friendly down pillow, consider the Puredown Natural Goose Down Feather Bed Pillow, which comes in a pack of two.
How We Tested the Down Pillows
To make this list, we first researched the most popular and highly-rated down pillows on the market. Then, these picks were tested at The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa based on their quality, durability, and feel. Our long-term testers then took each of our original picks home to sleep on them, wash them, and evaluate them for weeks. They noted how the pillow performed and whether it enhanced or hurt their sleep. We combined our writer's research with our tester's insights to compile this list.
What to Look for in a Down Pillow
Down vs. Feathers
When browsing bed pillows, keep in mind that feathers and down fibers are not the same thing. While they're both sourced from geese or ducks and offer natural breathability and temperature regulation, the materials have different qualities.
Down is the undercoating of the bird, and the feathers are the outermost layer found on the back and wings—which is why feather-filled products sometimes contain quills. "Down pillows tend to be somewhat softer and hold their shape a bit better than feather pillows," says Joshua Roland, a board-certified sleep physician, explaining that a higher percentage of feathers may provide more support.
There’s also the matter of goose vs. duck down. As you might expect, goose down tends to be larger than duck down, simply based on the size of the bird, which makes goose down more insulating and warmer.
Most down pillows come in several density options, with the most common being soft, medium, and firm. A softer pillow is more squishy and allows your head to sink in more, while firmer pillows provide more support. In general, soft pillows are recommended for back or stomach sleepers, while firm pillows are preferred by side sleepers. However, it’s really a matter of personal preference and what makes you comfortable. Many brands, including Boll & Branch, offer different density levels of the same pillow to find your perfect fit.
It’s important to keep your spine in proper alignment during the night, and different sleeping positions often benefit from certain styles of pillows. “Back and side sleepers should strive for a pillow that aligns their neck and spine properly,” says Peter Polos, a board-certified doctor in both pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine. “A pillow that’s too high or too low can cause neck discomfort.”
Every tester shared their sleeping positions in their insights to get a better feel for how that pillow performed for their personal styles. In general, back and side sleepers enjoyed a firmer pillow, while stomach sleepers preferred something a bit softer.
You should also look for various certifications, such as the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). "Make sure the down in the product is RDS-certified to ensure…the geese or ducks it came from were raised in the best way possible," says Daniel J. Uretsky, esquire and president of Allied Feather & Down. Some feather pillows carry a DownPass label, which tells you the fill was ethically sourced from a traceable supply chain.
Additionally, you'll find Oeko-Tex-certified options, ensuring the materials are free of over 100 harmful chemicals. And some pillows may have organic cotton shells certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). As Uretsky explains, these labels "help assure the product is made in the best way possible for the birds throughout the supply chain, as well as for the health of our planet." Many of our testers added points to picks with these certifications or that use eco-friendly materials.
What are the benefits of down feather pillows?
According to Dr. Roland, feathers and down fibers sourced from geese and ducks have natural temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking properties, which is great for folks to run hot or get night sweats. And they're antimicrobial, meaning the materials won't harbor bacteria and mildew.
What’s the difference between down and down alternative pillows?
Down pillows are filled with duck or goose down and/or feathers, while down alternative pillows are filled with synthetic materials designed to mimic the feel of down. Down alternative pillows are typically more affordable than down pillows. Also, down pillows can also cause allergies, according to Robert Hayden, a chiropractor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association.
Can you wash down pillows?
Some down pillows can be laundered in the washing machine, but be sure to closely review the care instructions—manufacturers often recommend using a commercial-size machine, such as those found at a laundromat. Other down pillows may be spot or dry clean only.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a freelance writer and product reviewer specializing in bedding, home decor, and lifestyle. She interviewed two experts for this article, including Joshua Roland, M.D., FAASM, a board-certified sleep medicine physician, expert, consultant, and medical director at Thirty Madison, and Daniel J. Uretsky, esquire and president of Allied Feather & Down. After researching the best feather pillows and compiling insights from our testers, she narrowed it down to high-quality options with reasonable care requirements for different sleeping styles.
Lily Sperry, a commerce editor at The Spruce, contributed additional research and reporting. Expert advice was also provided by Peter Polos, M.D., Ph.D., board-certified doctor in both pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine, and Robert Hayden, D.C., chiropractor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association.
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.