How we test products
Our mission is to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect sleep products.
We've dedicated hundreds of hours to testing mattresses and sleep accessories, and rely on a team of testers of differing weights, temperature preferences, and sleeping positions to evaluate each product.
Tested products are granted the Sleep Hero tested stamp of approval, a mark of our review's reliability.
If we haven't personally tested a product, please be assured that we invest significant time and energy into scouring the UK market and researching the best recommendations, and we work with a team of sleep experts who review our articles, ensuring that the insights we provide are not only relatable but also reliable.
What are duck feather and down pillows?
Duck feather and down pillows are some of the most luxurious types of pillows available.
But is there a difference between duck feather pillows and duck down pillows?
What are duck feather pillows?
Duck feather pillows are a luxurious blend of softness and support, filled predominantly with duck feathers, but they also often contain a touch of duck down. 🪶
Unlike polyester-filled pillows, duck feather pillows are largely handmade, with their soft fillings neatly wrapped in a cotton cover.
Their plumpness and lightweight nature make them outstandingly comfortable.
They are designed to contour perfectly to your head, providing both bulk and support. 💪
Feather pillows typically outlast synthetic-filled alternatives thanks to the natural strength of feathers that maintain their shape and fluffiness even after repeated use and washes. 🧼
While cheap synthetic pillows typically last around 1 - 2 years, you can expect feather pillows to last anywhere between 5 - 10 years.
However, they do require regular cleaning and fluffing, but the comfort and longevity they offer make the effort absolutely worthwhile.
The Silentnight Duck Feather pillows are made purely from duck feathers.
What are duck down pillows?
Derived from the duck's underbelly, down serves as insulation, keeping the bird warm.
These insulating properties of down ensure duck feather and down pillows are exceptionally warm and cosy. 🔥
The fine fibres of down are gentle, making them an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin.
Additionally, duck down's natural resistance to mould and mildew minimises odour and allergy concerns. 🤧
The gentle softness of down means that sleeping on a duck down pillow often feels like you're floating on a cloud. ☁️
Pure down pillows are typically more expensive and luxurious than feather pillows, which is why many manufacturers often combine duck feathers and down in one pillow.
Our favourite duck feather and down pillow:
What are the drawbacks of duck feather and down pillows?
While there are many benefits to duck feather pillows, it's also important to consider why they might not be a great choice for everyone.
One of the common issues with feather pillows is the potential for quills to poke through the casing as the pillow ages.
While this is a natural occurrence, it can be somewhat uncomfortable.
Investing in a thicker pillowcase or protector can help mitigate this problem, but it can still be inconvenient.
You can also opt for a pillow that contains more down and less duck feathers.
For those keen on animal-free products, duck feather and down pillows may not be suitable.
However, it's worth noting that many UK duck feather pillow brands ensure all their feather and down are sourced ethically.
You should check the certifications of the duck feather pillow before making a purchase. ✔️
Too warm for some sleepers
The natural heat retention properties of down can sometimes lead to increased warmth. 🌡️
That being said, many modern down pillows are designed to be less dense, allowing for air to flow through the gaps.
Additionally, duck feather and down pillows that include a cotton cover will be more breathable with additional moisture-wicking properties.
Does not provide ergonomic support
While duck feather and down pillows offer a cloud-like feel, they might not provide the neck support some individuals need.
Ergonomic pillows are designed with a specific structure or shape that helps to keep the head and neck supported during sleep.
Alternatively, memory foam pillows are much denser, moulding around the head for immediate pressure relief.
Another benefit of memory foam pillows is that they do not need to be plumped or fluffed and should keep their shape for longer.
Our favourite memory foam pillows:
Can you wash duck feather and down pillows?
There is some debate when it comes to whether or not you can wash duck feather and down pillows.
Some experts advocate for machine washing as long as you use cold water and a mild detergent.
The pillows we have recommended are suitable for washing at 40°C.
You should put the pillows on a gentle cycle to preserve the integrity of the feathers. 🍃
If you tumble-dry your pillow, add a couple of dryer balls to help your pillow remain plush.
However, not all duck feather and down pillows are machine-washable.
Some manufacturers specifically advise seeking professional cleaning for these delicate pillows.
It's essential, therefore, to always check the care label of your pillow before deciding on a cleaning method. 🏷️
If you do wash your pillows, make sure they're completely dry to prevent mould growth.