Feather pillows are a very popular type of pillow that are made with the plumage of ducks and geese. The use of the exterior feathers of these birds gives these pillows a particular feel that is marked by low-to-medium loft, a tendency for the pillow to compress, and an ability to mold the pillow into different shapes or thicknesses. While some people absolutely love feather pillows, other people find them unsupportive, uncomfortable, or otherwise noisy or smelly.
In this guide, we’ll provide all the information that you need to help decide if a feather pillow is right for you. We’ll give details about sizes, composition, cost, and the key pros and cons.
Keep reading to find all this information, or click here to jump straight to our recommendations for the best feather pillows.
What Sizes do Feather Pillows Come In?
Feather pillows are available in a number of different sizes. The sizes that you will typically find include the following:
|Pillow Size||Dimensions||Best Mattress Fit|
|Standard||20″ x 26″||Twin or full mattress|
|Super Standard||20″ x 28″||Twin, full or queen mattress|
|Queen||20″ x 30″||Full or queen mattress|
|King||20″ x 36″||King, California king mattress|
- Standard: 20” wide x 26” long. This is the most common pillow size in the United States. These are compact pillows that fit in nearly all pillowcases. Standard pillows are also usually the least expensive.
- Super Standard: 20” wide x 28” long. These pillows are the same width as a standard but 2 inches longer.
- Queen: 20” wide x 30” long. Queen pillows are popular among people who may toss and turn more in the night and want extra length in their pillow.
- King: 20” wide x 36” long. King-size pillows are 10” longer than a standard and provide much more room for people who turn over frequently in the night. King pillows are also commonly used as a backrest when sitting in bed.
In addition, feather pillows may also come in two other sizes.
- Euro: the defining feature of a Euro pillow is that it is square. The dimensions can change, but they will be equal in length on all sides.
- Body Pillow: 20” wide x 48-54” long. As the name implies, body pillows are usually used to support the body rather than the head. They are held in a position parallel to the body and are very long, allowing a person to use the pillow as a bolster for their body. Some people also use body pillows if they want to snuggle with their pillow while sleeping.
What Are Feather Pillows Made Of?
Feathers from ducks, geese, or similar waterfowl are used to make feather pillows. These birds have different types of feathers. Exterior feathers are tougher and more coarse. The interior feathers, known as “down” feathers, are much softer and lighter.
Feather pillows are made predominantly with the exterior feathers. As a general rule, if a pillow has anything more than 25% exterior feathers, it is considered to be a feather pillow. A pillow with 75% or more down feathers is a down pillow. This guide focuses on feather pillows, but if you want to learn more about down pillows, check out our guide to the Best Down Pillows.
While feather pillows can include some down, that usually only makes up a very small percentage (0-10%) of the pillow’s material. When down is included, it is usually placed toward the outside of the pillow in order to give it a softer feel.
Keep in mind that the exact ratio of exterior feathers to down is not always disclosed. But if a pillow is marketed as a feather pillow and not a down pillow, you can be quite confident that it includes at least 25% exterior feathers and probably a considerably higher percentage than that.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Feather Pillow?
More than with most other pillow types, people tend to love or hate feather pillows. These pillows have a unique feel and performance with certain benefits and downsides. The most widely-recognized positive and negative characteristics of feather pillows include:
- Durability: feathers hold up well over time and with regular use, and you can expect a feather pillow to last several years at least.
- Plushness: while not as soft as down, feather pillows still provide a very soft and luxurious feel.
- Moldability: feathers can be compressed and re-shaped easily, which allows you to mold the pillow to the size or position that you prefer.
- Limited Heat Retention: while down pillows can retain heat, feather pillows usually do not, making them more comfortable for people who may sleep hot.
- Affordable: the average price of a feather pillow is much lower than down and within the budget of most shoppers who are looking for a new pillow.
- Lightweight: even larger feather pillows are usually quite light and easy to move around.
- Limited Loft: the fact that these pillows compress so easily makes it very difficult for them to maintain a high level of loft.
- Support Issues: with less consistency in terms of firmness and shape, some people have major issues with getting proper support for the neck when using a feather pillow. Adequate support is important for overall spinal alignment and for avoiding neck and back pain, so this can be a serious issue for many people.
- Feathers Poking Through: parts of feathers may poke through the seams or through the cover of the pillow, which can be irritating or uncomfortable.
- Odor: some customers find that feather pillows are smelly, and while the smell may decrease with use, this is not always the case.
- Noise: exterior feathers make more noise when they are moved around, so disruptive noise can be an issue when repositioning your head on a feather pillow.
- Harder to Clean: most feather pillows are not machine-washable and need to be dry-cleaned or washed according to special instructions.
- Require Regular Reshaping: in order to get a feather pillow to retake its original shape, you have to fluff or shake the pillow. Many people find that this is something that they have to do on a daily or near-daily basis.
- Potential Allergies: some people may be allergic to microbes or dust mites on feather pillows. Some feathers are treated before they are put into the pillow in order to make them hypoallergenic.
Where Can I Buy a Feather Pillow and How Much Will it Cost?
Feather pillows can be purchased through many different outlets. Stores that sell bedding, such as mattress stores and department stores, usually will have a selection of feather pillows available. In-store, there may be more limitations, though, in terms of the number of models, sizes, and firmness levels.
Online, feather pillows can be purchased through the online portals of major brick-and-mortar stores. Third party retailers like Amazon also sell a range of different models of feather pillows. Some smaller bedding companies may also sell these pillows directly to consumers via their websites.
The average price of feather pillows is between $25 and $50. This is a competitive price point for quality pillows. You can see how this average price compares to other pillow types in the table below.
|Pillow Type||Average Price|
|Feather||$25 – $50|
|Down||$70 – $100|
|Down Alternative||$20 – $30|
|Buckwheat||$50 – $75|
|Memory Foam||$50 – $60|
|Latex||$40 – $60|
|Polyester||$10 – $15|
Who Is Best Suited For Using a Feather Pillow?
Every person has different needs and comfort preferences when it comes to their pillow. A feather pillow is more likely to be the right match for those who want to sleep cooler, but persistent snorers should keep away. Take a look at who might like a feather pillow and who might not.
- Side- sleepers: side-sleepers usually need some loft but not too much. Having this balance and the ability to adjust the shape of the pillow makes feather pillows a good fit for many side-sleepers.
- Back-sleepers: a really tall pillow can create an uncomfortable neck position for back-sleepers, so a feather pillow can often provide a plush and comfortable feel.
- Hot sleepers: with their ability to avoid excess heat retention, feather pillows work well for people who tend to sleep hot.
- People who prefer an easily molded pillow: some people find that they are often tossing and turning in the night and wanting to adjust their neck and head position. A feather pillow can be re-shaped rapidly, which makes them a good choice for people who want to regularly mold their pillow through the night.
- Stomach-sleepers: while stomach-sleepers do not want a pillow with too much loft, the compressibility of a feather pillow can make it feel as though the pillow is wrapping around the head of a stomach-sleeper.
- Light or sensitive sleepers: with potential issues relating to unpleasant odors, noise from moving the pillow, and quills poking through the cover, people who are easily distracted or disrupted when sleeping may not be well-suited to a feather pillow.
- People who want consistent shape and loft: many people prefer their pillow to maintain a regular size and shape and do not place much value on moldability. Feather pillows do not provide this consistency and are not a good fit for someone who needs a more baseline level of loft, firmness, and shape.
- People who have problems with chronic snoring: a low-loft pillow that compresses a lot can exacerbate issues relating to snoring, which happens when parts of the airway become narrowed or blocked.
Feather Pillow Ratings
In order to better understand the performance of a feather pillow, you can review the ratings listed below. For each category, these ratings are on a scale of 1 (Poor) to 5 (Excellent).
Feather pillows are considerably less expensive than down pillows, but they are not the lowest-cost option of all the pillow types that are on the market.
The feathers in these pillows have a long useful life relative to most other pillow materials, and most users get at least 2-3 years out of a feather pillow.
The amount of support that is provided by a feather pillow depends in large part on how the pillow is molded and adjusted by the individual. Overall, though, the ratings for support for feather pillows are lower because they do not maintain enough loft or shape to provide adequate neck support for many people.
Even feather pillows that are designed to be firmer still usually have high amounts of compressibility that limit how much actual choice there is for these pillows with regard to loft and firmness.
As you might suspect, feathers are very light, and these pillows tend to be lightweight even in larger sizes.
Feather pillows are more likely to give off unpleasant odors than most other pillow types.
Because they are not machine washable and usually have more specialized cleaning requirements, feather pillows do not rate highly when it comes to ease of cleaning.
A common complaint from users of feather pillows is that the feathers make a rustling noise when the pillow is repositioned.
We know that sorting through all of the pillows out there both in-store and online can be time-consuming and overwhelming, so to make your shopping process easier, we’ve narrowed those options down to our top three picks for the best feather pillows.
The LLOVSOUL feather pillow uses 100% goose feathers as its primary form of support, but it surrounds these feathers with a layer of high-quality microfiber.
Why?: The combination of feathers and microfiber gives the pillow a truly luxurious feel with moldability and plushness, which is further enhanced by a 600 thread-count cotton cover. At roughly $25 per pillow, this is available at the low end of the average price range for feather pillows.
Why Not?: Some customers find that the microfiber does not offer enough cushion, and that the feathers being enclosed in the center of the pillow makes its support uneven. A number of customers also report issues with feathers poking through the cover.
The Bottom Line: While this might not be the best fit for someone wanting a more traditional feather pillow, its unique design and entry-level price point make it a good option for people who are interested in a medium-loft pillow that provides most of the features of feather pillows.
This offering from East Coast Bedding is made of 90% exterior feathers and 10% down and is available at a very competitive price.
Why?: The inclusion of down feathers in the pillow provide an added level of softness and comfort but without pushing the price out of an affordable range for most customers.
Why Not?: Some customers have reported issues with noise and with feathers poking through the cover. The inclusion of the down feathers may further reduce the amount of loft for this pillow as well.
The Bottom Line: As a well-reviewed feather pillow that also includes 10% down, the East Coast Bedding model is an excellent value at its price of $30.
This pillow is available in three different firmness options and is backed by both a short-term satisfaction guarantee and a longer-term warranty.
Why?: For people who want to have choices for the feel of their pillow, you can select between Soft, Medium, and Extra Firm. These pillows get strong reviews from customers, but if they aren’t to your liking, you can send them back within 30 days or can make free adjustments within 1 year. The company also provides a 10-year guarantee on the product.
Why Not?: All of these models cost more than $75, which makes them expensive compared to most other feather pillows. They are more comparable to the cost of down pillows.
The Bottom Line: Though these pillows come with a high price tag, their track record of performance as well as customer-friendly satisfaction policies help make them a worthy option among feather pillows.