Down vs Synthetic Pillows

February 17, 2019 by nadia with 0 comments

Down vs Synthetic Pillow


The debate between down and synthetic pillows involves many differences in opinion. The reason why there is no overwhelming verdict is the fact that these types of pillows differ in many ways, each with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.

That is why we must list all of the main considerations in the list below, then compare both types of pillows based on each. This way, you will get a more accurate overview of which type of pillow you should purchase.

First, we will explain what these pillows are made of.

What Is A Down Pillow?

Down is often used in a multitude of products for the same reasons as it is used in pillows. Down is what can be found beneath the plumage of fowl, such as geese and ducks. The feathers found above the down can also be inserted into a pillow. But a pillow is considered to be a ‘down pillow’ when it contains at least 75% down and less than 25% feathers. It is really the down material that provides the various qualities that we will list below.

What Is A Synthetic Or Down Alternative Pillow?

Synthetic pillows, also know as down alternative pillows, are filled with man-made polyester materials. However, just because they are ‘artificial’, does not mean they are of lower quality. In fact, there are many ways in which a synthetic pillow is better than a down pillow.

What To Consider When Deciding Between Down And Synthetic Pillows

  • Plushness: Both types of pillows are vary in plushness on their own. The difference does not necessarily come in making the difference between down and synthetic. However, we will note that down pillows can feel lighter and more airy. Whether that has a better feel is up to the individual.
  • Stability: Down pillows can sometimes offer less stability due to them generally offering less loft. This means that for those who prefer to sleep on their backs, a thicker down pillow may be needed than normal. For side-sleepers who have broad shoulders, folding of the pillow tends to provide the most comfort, which is not ideal. Those who need extra support and stability often find that synthetic pillows do the trick by offering more material to work with.
  • Cost: The cost of down pillows is significantly higher than their synthetic counterparts. A lot more processing goes into producing down pillows. Not only does the material need to be plucked from fowl, it needs to be cleaned in order to rid it from impurities that may cause allergic reactions. To add to the cost of down in recent years is the emergence of a socially conscious movement against the treatment of stock animals, including fowl.
  • Heat retention: One of the main reasons down is used in products is its ability to retain plenty of warmth. So, in jackets and sleeping bags for example, a high warmth-to-weight ratio is preferable. However, heat retention is not always the best quality in a pillow. This leads to more perspiration, which can get uncomfortable for those who are prone to sweating and irregular temperature control.
  • Durability: The most a synthetic pillow will usually last is about 3 years before it begins to go flat. Down pillows will last considerably longer, as long as they do not get torn and begin to lose their feathers.
  • Maintenance: With many synthetic pillows, you can use the washer and dryer. But you cannot do that with down, as it requires special handling and a special detergent. So if you like to clean your pillows frequently, a down pillow could get cumbersome.

The Verdict

Both types of pillows can be best depending on how you look at it. For some people, the higher cost of down pillows is justified by the fact that they get something soft and light. Down pillows are fun to cuddle, while synthetic pillows are great if you need plenty of stability and support. This is not to say that down pillows cannot provide this, but it will cost more for a loftier down pillow.

We like and use both types of pillows for all of the reasons listed above. Rotating between these types of pillows can be fun and can really enhance the joys of sleeping.

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