How to choose a down pillow – what is the difference between different types of down?

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An inappropriate pillow can negate the benefits of even the best mattress for stomach sleepers. Therefore, the choice of this bedding should be approached with great care. Despite the incredibly wide assortment of pillows, many people prefer the good old classics – products from down. But not everyone knows how to choose the right down pillow for sleeping: what nuances to pay attention to, which type of down is better and how much of it should be in the product. The answers to these questions will be given by the specialists of our online store.

The first down pillows appeared in ancient Greece, and throughout their centuries-old history have always been considered a luxury item. For example, among the same Hellenes, only a very wealthy person could afford such an accessory for recreation. The same thing happened in Russia: the pillows of the poor were stuffed with hay or horsehair, and down and feathers were a sign of wealth.

So, let’s figure out what types of fluff are used in production in our time.


Duck down is very popular in the bedding industry. This material is quite light and fluffy, which makes pillows made of it very pleasant, but the cost of such products is usually high. The most appreciated is the down of wild ducks, especially eiderdown (northern diving ducks). The latter, for example, is the most expensive and exclusive filler, as it is collected by hand from the nests and only at certain times of the year. There is no warmer insulation than eider down.


Chicken fluff is not used as a filler for several reasons. First, this material is difficult to clean. Secondly, chicken plumage easily absorbs moisture, after which it quickly decomposes. These factors make chicken fluff pillows less suitable and somewhat dangerous for humans – they quickly turn into a breeding ground for bacteria.


Swan fluff in sleep pillows is nothing more than a marketing ploy. In fact, manufacturers of high quality bedding do not use swan fluff. First, do not forget that swans are thermophilic birds, which means that they practically do not have down as such. Secondly, what some manufacturers call swan down is actually a synthetic material that resembles an eco-fiber. As a filler for pillows, it is not a bad option: products made from ecofiber are soft, light, elastic, breathable, hypoallergenic. Therefore, this filler has nothing to do with real swan plumage.


Most down pillows are stuffed with goose down. This material was not without reason appreciated in ancient times. Its popularity and value is not so small these days, despite the large assortment of modern fillers used in sleep accessories.

The down of geese is voluminous, warm and at the same time very light, which allows you to make fluffy and soft pillows of light weight from it. Among other advantages of this material is its hygroscopicity. In addition, goose pillows are durable: they last up to 15-20 years. But they also have a minus. Since they are quite soft, they are not suitable for people who, according to the recommendations of orthopedists, would like to sleep on an elastic headrest.

White or Gray fluff?

Down is gray and white. The first is obtained from geese and eiders, the second – only from geese. In terms of physical characteristics, regardless of color, both materials have identical properties. But white fluff is still more expensive in the market. This is due to the fact that they can be stuffed with pillows made of fabric of any color and such filler will be invisible, while gray fluff can show through a little through a light cover. That is, the difference between gray and white raw materials is exclusively aesthetic.

Additional tips for choosing a down pillow

When choosing a down pillow, it is not enough to know which filler was used when sewing a product. There are other equally important parameters that must be considered in order for this accessory to be convenient and serve the owner for a long time.


A 100% down pillow is incredibly light and airy. And also – quite an expensive pleasure. Therefore, in most options, a certain amount of feather (from 10 to 70%) is added to the down filler. Accordingly, the higher the percentage of feathers in the composition, the cheaper the product. But the composition of the filler affects not only the price. The larger the feather component, the heavier and more elastic the product is. And this point should be taken into account by people with diseases of the spine.

Standard down to feather ratios:

  • Down is extra class. This filler contains no more than 5% feather, quin 900. They are voluminous, soft, almost weightless, easily take the contour of the sleeping person’s body. Suitable for children, people with low weight, those who like to sleep on low headrests.
  • Down 1 category. The feather content in such products does not exceed 5%, quin 700-800. Such options are also voluminous, light, soft, but to a greater extent shape-stable. They have good air permeability.
  • Down category 2. Pillows of this type are 30% small goose feathers. The products are characterized by lightness, softness, volume. Due to the feather component, they have an average degree of softness.
  • Semi-ukh 1 category. In such products, the amount of down ranges from 15% to 70% and feathers from 30% to 85%. They are also quite light and bulky, but at the same time they are more elastic and hold their shape better than the options with a higher percentage of fluff.
  • Semi-sheepskin category 2. The proportion of down is from 15% to 50%, feathers – from 50% to 85%. This pillow is much cheaper than other options. It is denser, more elastic, keeps its shape well, does not fall through even under heavy weight.

Density of Filler

Many people have probably noticed that some down pillows can be stuffed more densely, while others – less. Which ones are correct? In fact, there is no single density standard for such products. It can be high, medium and low.

A densely padded pillow is always resilient. It is more suitable for broad shoulders and people of large build. It is also the choice of those who prefer to sleep on their side or back. This option is best combined with soft mattresses.

The low density pillow is the softest. It is most comfortable for children and fragile women to sleep on it, as well as for people who prefer to rest on their stomachs. Ideally combined with a firm mattress.

The product of medium density is a cross between the two previous options and is universal for persons of medium build. It is comfortable to sleep on such a pillow in any position.


The choice of a cover for a down pillow should be approached with no less seriousness. The safety of the product, the comfort of sleep and, of course, the price of the product depend on it. Nowadays, covers are most often made from the following materials:

  • Cotton is a natural breathable material, absorbs moisture well, dries quickly, does not cause allergies. Durable when used properly.
  • Teak is a dense natural fabric traditionally used for sewing pillow covers and mattress toppers. Soft, elastic, durable, fluff and feathers do not break through.
  • Satin is a strong, rather dense and durable fabric, smooth and soft to the touch, does not let fluff through.
  • Jacquard – covers made of this material look beautiful and expensive. They are durable and do not allow the filler to pass through.
  • Batiste is a soft natural material. Covers made of it are suitable for children and adults with sensitive skin.
  • Cashmere cambric is a soft breathable material that is also highly durable.
  • Silk – covers made of it are very soft, smooth, pleasant to the touch, do not impede air circulation inside the product.
  • Twill is a durable and dense cotton fabric. Breathes well, durable when used.

The cover can be chosen based on personal preference, but it is best that it be made of a material with a dense weave of threads. This ensures that the fluff does not come out of the pillow.

Contraindications for using down pillows

While down pillows have many benefits, they may be contraindicated for some people. For example, allergy sufferers. True, in recent years, experts are increasingly paying attention to the fact that an allergic reaction can only be caused by a poor-quality filler – poorly purified raw materials, in which bacteria or a dust mite have grown. And modern methods of preparing down can completely prevent this. By the way, the down pillows available in the house must also be dry-cleaned or washed at least once every 2 years. If the feather filler has been treated with ozone or any other modern cleaning method, then there is no need to fear an allergic reaction. However, if there is no confidence in the quality of cleaning the fluff, it is still better for an allergic person to choose a product with a synthetic filler. For example, with the same so-called swan down.

Soft downy products are also contraindicated for people with osteochondrosis and some other diseases of the musculoskeletal system, in which it is important to keep the head and spine in an even position.

We look at the quality of the product

And of course, when choosing a new pillow for sleeping, do not forget to evaluate it visually. The seams on a quality product should be even and strong, and the filler should be evenly spaced, without bumps and dips. All this and other requirements are met by the assortment of our store, with which you can familiarize yourself and see for yourself the high quality.