What Is A Down Pillow?

April 21, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team

Basically the miniature version of your mattress, your pillow is just as crucial to restful sleep, spinal health, and overall comfort. Your pillow can be made from a variety of different fabrics, and today, we’re talking about down pillows

But what is a down pillow?

A down pillow is a quill-less pillow that contains feathers from the underbelly of geese, swans, and ducks. Read on to learn more about this pillow material to decide if it may be right for you. 

What’s Really Inside a Down Pillow?

What is a down pillow made of? The answer to this may surprise some sleepers.

Down refers to the feathers of geese, swans, and ducks. Although similar in nature, a down pillow is not to be confused with a feather pillow. Down is extracted from the soft underbelly of these animals, while “feathers” are taken from their wings.

Why Is Down Preferred Over Feathers?

To the average pillow buyer, down and feathers could seem interchangeable—but there are some distinct differences. For example: a feather pillow is stuffed with material that contains quills—much like the old-fashioned writing quills they used in Hamilton

Imagine that pointy feather filling poking through a thin pillow cover and scratching your face. 

It’s not an ideal situation.

Down, on the other hand, has swan, duck, or goose feathers completely free of quills. Instead, down pillows are filled entirely with soft, gentle material that’s perfect for an uninterrupted night’s rest.

Why Buy a Down Pillow?

Now that we’ve got feathers off the mind (and out of the pillow), it’s time to talk about the ups and downs of down pillows. People purchase down pillows for a number of reasons, but here are a few of the material’s biggest benefits:

  • Softness – If you want to feel like you’re resting on a cloud, then a down sleeping pillow is the way to go. The structure of down creates a soft pillow filling that’s fluffy, malleable, and perfect for those who tend to move around in their sleep.
  • Reliability – The quality of down pillows won’t vary much between pillows. So, if you’re looking for a reliable material that guarantees comfort, down is a great option. While how often to replace pillows will vary, a down pillow is a durable choice that will last you for quite some time.  
  • Warmth – Cold sleepers in particular will appreciate the coziness of a down-filled pillow. Frequently used in insulated winter coats, down is a material that retains heat while remaining breathable. If you tend to get the shivers, a down sleeping pillow may help keep your head at a comfortable temperature all night long.

As with any type of pillow, down may not be the right pillow type for every kind of sleeper. Consider these factors when deciding between down and an alternative pillow filling:

  • Support – While many people love a softer pillow made of down, others need a bit more structure to support their chosen sleeping position. If you tend to sleep on a firmer pillow that offers ample neck support, like memory foam, a down-filled pillow may not be your best option. In this case, we recommend the Casper Foam Pillow—it comes with three layers of supportive foam to support your neck’s proper alignment during sleep. 
  • Non-hypoallergenic – Down is a gentle material, but it’s technically not hypoallergenic. Those with sensitive skin and allergies should test out this material before committing to down as their go-to pillow type.

What About Down Alternative Pillows?

Many pillow buyers opt for an affordable down alternative. While some alternative fiber fillings, like the Original Casper Pillow, offer support and breathability, not all alternatives are created equal. When looking for a down alternative pillow, you want to keep an eye out for certain characteristics:

  • Breathability – The synthetic materials used in some down alternatives can be less breathable than the real thing. Synthetic pillows may lead to a hotter, sweatier, and less comfortable experience. You want to ensure your down alternative pillow feels light and fluffy—not heavy and solid.
  • Shape – If you find yourself fluffing, folding, and reshaping your pillow at night, you’ll want a firm pillow material that can withstand this kind of treatment. A good down alternative pillow will hold its structure and bounce back easily when bent.

While some down alternatives offer a comfortable night’s sleep, they may not be quite as soft as the real thing. On the other hand, those who have allergies or need additional neck support may find a down alternative is right for them.

Casper Has Your Next Down Pillow

If you’ve concluded your research and decided this soft, elegant material is the right choice, we have the right pillow for you. 

The Casper Down Pillow is filled with 100% ethically sourced materials, making it a great choice for those who dream of a more eco-friendly world. The five-chamber structure creates a breathable, supportive pillow for side, back, and even stomach sleepers. 

Whether you’re down with the down or interested in a down alternative, Casper pillows can help you get a better night’s rest on your terms.

Related Content:

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  1. Huffington Post. We’ve Broken Down Your Entire Life Into Years Spent Doing Tasks. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/10/18/weve-broken-down-your-entire-life-into-years-spent-doing-tasks_a_23248153/ 
  2.  The Difference Between. Difference Between Down and Feathers.  http://www.differencebetween.net/language/words-language/difference-between-down-and-feathers/ 
  3. Mattress Nerd. Down vs Down Alternative Pillows.  https://www.mattressnerd.com/down-vs-down-alternative-pillows/