A feather pillow is made using a ‘feather-proof’ outer cover (to stop the feather quills poking through) and is filled with wing and back feathers of duck and geese. Feathers alone can be a little rough and so a feather pillow will usually contain a small percentage of down in order to soften it up a little.
If you’re buying a feather pillow, the quality of the feathers used and the cover are especially important. Make sure you buy from a good feather pillow UK retailer – as with down pillows, we’ve reviewed and would recommend feather pillows from The White Company, John Lewis and Soak and Sleep as they tend to adhere to stricter ethical and animal welfare legislation than some other retailers who source from less regulated manufacturers outside Europe. A good quality UK feather pillow will smell fresh and will be stuffed with washed and sorted high grade feathers, less likely to contain dust and cause allergies.
The most important thing to consider when buying feather pillows is to make sure that the cover is made from good quality cotton with a densely woven high thread count – a thread count of more than 240gsm (the higher the better) should keep dust mites out and help keep spiky feather quills in. In other words will make sure that you get a better night’s sleep on your pillow. A pillow protector is also a really good idea with feather pillows – we’ve reviewed some good ones here.
A down / feather mix pillow will always be more comfortable – giving you the softness of down and the support of feathers.
Pillow advisor summary: Used to be popular but 100% feather pillows are not particularly recommended unless you sleep mostly on your back or front and if feather pillows are your thing.
- Pros: Usually inexpensive, soft, easy to shape, durable – have a good lifespan
- Cons: The feather quills can quite often poke through even the toughest cover – they’re spiky! Do not offer a lot of support or height – not great for side sleepers, can be a bit noisy, will need regular fluffing and shaking to get back into shape, not great for allergy sufferers unless it’s super quality and you use a pillow protector.