Best Down Alternative Pillows

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Do you love the feeling of a fluffy feather pillow but suffer from bad allergies? Or are you vegan and resistant to buying animal products? A down alternative pillow could be the solution you’re looking for. Down alternative pillows are typically filled with cotton, microfiber, or polyester fibers that are designed to mimic the soft, cushy feel of real goose down— minus the allergy risks and ethical concerns.

As bedding experts, our Mattress Nerd team tested a slew of down alternative pillows. In this article, we’ll share our top picks for the best down alternative pillows, along with key factors to consider when choosing one that’ll best accommodate your sleeping style.

10 Best Down Alternative Pillows of 2024

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Bottom Line: What’s the Best Down Alternative Pillow?

Our expert sleep accessory testers chose the Nolah AirFiber pillow as the Nerd’s Pick for the best down alternative pillow because of its temperature-regulating capabilities for hot sleepers, its soft— yet lofty— feel, and reasonable price tag for those on a budget.

Chosen by Experts and Advocates

To put together this list of the best down alternative pillows, our Certified Sleep Science Coaches performed live testing to evaluate elements like pressure relief, head and neck support, and firmness level.

Best Down Alternative Pillows

Nolah AirFiber Pillow: Nerd’s Pick

Nolah AirFiber Pillow

Nolah AirFiber Pillow

The Nolah Airfiber pillow is a down alternative pillow designed to help hot sleepers stay cool while they sleep. It has phase-change material in both the cover and the fill to help you regulate your body temperature.

Mattress Nerd Score
4.70 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Cotton, Polyester

Trial Period
Trial Period

30 nights

Warranty
Warranty

2-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

The Nolah AirFiber pillow earns the top spot on our list because of its perfect blend of breathability and supportive contouring. The brand’s plush proprietary AirFiber filling is designed to adapt to your head and neck, providing personalized support and pressure relief as you sink into the surface. The AirFiber pillow comes with a phase-changing, cooling cover that regulates body temperature and keeps you feeling comfortable (or at least temperature-neutral) throughout the night.

We also think it’s a great pick for those who sleep hot or live in warm climates, since it promotes air circulation and works to prevent heat build up. Did we mention that it also comes with a 2-year warranty?

Pros of the Nolah AirFiber Pillow

  • Best alignment results for back and stomach sleepers
  • Very moldable for those who like to shape their pillow
  • Great option for hot sleepers

Cons of the Nolah AirFiber Pillow

  • Only offered in a Queen size
  • May not be supportive enough for average to heavyweight side sleepers who need a pillow with a tall profile

How We Select Nerd’s Pick

We select our Nerd’s Pick not based on the overall scoring, but rather how well it suits the average sleeper. In making this decision we considered factors like overall value, versatility, quality of materials, and temperature-regulation. We believe that for the widest range of sleepers, the Nolah AirFoam pillow is the best option; however, we encourage you to read each of these mini-reviews to make sure there isn’t a better option for your specific needs.

What our testers say: “Nolah makes great products. It’s no surprise their AirFiber pillow is another popular option— especially for hot sleepers and back sleepers looking to maintain proper spinal alignment.” – Becca, Lead Accessories Tester

Saatva Down Alternative Pillow: Most Luxurious

Saatva Down Alternative Pillow

Saatva Down Alternative Pillow

Those looking for a hypoallergenic pillow will love the plush and airy feel of the Saatva Down Alternative pillow.

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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Cotton, Microfiber

Trial Period
Trial Period

45-nights

Warranty
Warranty

1-year limited

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

This Saatva Down Alternative pillow is a luxurious option that captures the cloud-like loft and fluffiness of traditional down with its high-end materials and construction. It has a microfiber down alternative filling with small air pockets that provide a noticeably thicker, more plush feel compared to other down alternatives. The 100 percent organic cotton cover feels soft and breathable, complemented by delicate satin piping.

If comfort is your top priority when choosing a down alternative pillow, the Saatva pillow should be your pick. It also does a great job of emulating the loft and feel of traditional down. Those looking for a firm pillow will also enjoy the Saatva Alternative Down pillow since it’s more on the dense side.

Pros of the Saatva Down Alternative Pillow

  • Hypoallergenic for those with allergies
  • Two size options (Queen and King)
  • Great option for side and back sleepers due to lofty profile

Cons of the Saatva Down Alternative Pillow

  • Spot clean only
  • Over $100

What our testers say: “The Saatva Down Alternative pillow feels like one of those hotel pillows that make getting out of bed more difficult than usual (in a good way).” – Becca, Lead Accessories Tester

Lagoon Chinchilla Pillow: Softest Down Alternative

Lagoon Chinchilla Pillow

Lagoon Chinchilla Pillow

The Lagoon Chinchilla has a wonderfully fluffy feel that will especially appeal to stomach sleepers.

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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Polyester, Bamboo

Trial Period
Trial Period

100 nights

Warranty
Warranty

5-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping minus HI and AK

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

The Lagoon Chinchilla pillow feels as soft as its animal namesake; constructed with fluffy polyester down alternative and a bamboo blend cover. The Chinchilla gives you the ability to adjust the filling, which makes it a versatile choice for all sleeping positions to alter the feel to their liking. And although it doesn’t have any active cooling properties, its bamboo blend cover can still keep you cool by providing airflow and preventing overheating.

If you want a “sinking” feeling from your pillow, the Chinchilla is your best bet. In our opinion, it’s one of the softest down alternatives we’ve ever tested. Expect to have your head feel engulfed by the soft surface, for the ultimate cozy slumber. Your purchase also includes a 5-year warranty and a 100-night trial.

Pros of the Lagoon Chinchilla Pillow

  • Shredded fill allows for more airflow and less body heat retention
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fully adjustable fill for personalization
  • Great policies that back the quality of your purchase

Cons of the Lagoon Chinchilla Pillow

  • May not be supportive enough for side sleepers

What our testers say: “A microfiber fill and bamboo cover? Yup— that’s the recipe for a very soft pillow.” – Becca, Lead Accessories Tester

Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow: Best Value

Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow

Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow

The Brooklinen Down Alternative pillow is a hypoallergenic, fluffy, and is offered in multiple firmness options.

Mattress Nerd Score
4.80 / 5 starstarstarstarstar

Accessories Details

Material
Material

Microfiber, Cotton

Trial Period
Trial Period

365 Nights

Warranty
Warranty

2-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

The Brooklinen Down Alternative pillow has a hypoallergenic and recycled microfiber filling and a soft all-cotton sateen cover — all at an affordable price tag. It’s also durable thanks to its double-stitched edges and comes in different firmness levels (plush, mid-plush, and firm) to accommodate different preferences.

Even though it’s one of the most affordable options on the market, this down alternative pillow from the Instagram-able brand Brooklinen proves a low price tag doesn’t correlate to lack of quality. We also like the fact that its filling is made from recycled PET bottles, making for a more eco-friendly choice compared to other pillows.

Pros of the Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow

  • Multiple sizes
  • Made with eco-friendly materials
  • Works for all sleeping positions

Cons of the Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow

  • Spot clean or dry clean only

What our testers say: “Brooklinen continues to blow me away by the quality of their products, while maintaining an extremely reasonable price point.” – Becca, Lead Accessories Tester

Boll & Branch Down Alternative: Best Multiple Firmness Pillow

Boll & Branch Down Alternative Pillow

Boll & Branch Down Alternative Pillow

Choose from three firmness options and two sizes with this hypoallergenic, down alternative pillow from Boll & Branch.

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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Cotton

Trial Period
Trial Period

30 nights

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

Boll & Branch’s Down Alternative pillow model is sold as an insert, meaning it’s recommended you use a pillowcase over it. It’s constructed with sustainable yet premium materials, such as its PrimaLoft luxury down filling and 100 percent organic cotton shell. It also comes in three firmness options, each catering to specific sleep preferences and sleeping positions.

Having the option to choose a firmness level that’s optimized for your sleeping style is great because you’re able to get the right amount of support, which is crucial for proper spinal alignment, enough air intake while sleeping (i.e. prevent snoring), and the overall quality of your rest as well. Boll & Branch (and our team of testers) recommends the “soft” firmness option for stomach sleepers, “medium” for back sleepers, and “firm” for side sleepers.

Pros of the Boll & Branch Down Alternative Pillow

  • Three firmness options means all body types and sleeping positions can be accommodated
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Reasonably priced

Cons of the Boll & Branch Down Alternative Pillow

  • No warranty

What our testers say: “This is the best pillow for those who don’t want to compromise for a one-size-fits-all option.” – Becca, Lead Accessories Tester

Avocado Green Pillow: Best Down Alternative Latex Pillow

Avocado Green Pillow

Avocado Green Pillow

Avocado is well-known for creating eco-friendly sleep products that don’t harm the planet. In this review, we want to take a look at whether the Avocado Green Pillow can help you get the rest you need.

Mattress Nerd Score
4.50 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Cotton, Latex

Trial Period
Trial Period

100 nights

Warranty
Warranty

1-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

The Avocado Green is a luxurious, eco-friendly down alternative pillow that features an adjustable filling made from a blend of sustainable latex and GOTS-certified organic kapok fiber. This mix creates a unique, medium-plush feel, further enhanced by the organic cotton lining inside. Paired with a 100 percent GOTS-certified organic cotton shell, you get a snug-gable surface with natural moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating properties. This brand in general is a favorite of our Sleep Accessories Editor, Becca.

The latex blend filling in the Avocado Green is very responsive. This is perfect for combination sleepers or those with neck pain who need support with a bit of give that makes transitioning from one position to another, along with pressure relief, a breeze. We also like the fact that their organic materials are GOTS-certified, so you can sleep easy knowing you’re making an environmentally conscious choice. It also comes with a 1-year warranty and a 100-night trial.

Pros of the Avocado Green Pillow

  • Responsive for combination sleepers
  • Won’t retain body heat if you tend to sleep hot
  • Adjustable fill allows for personalization
  • Made with organic materials

Cons of the Avocado Green Pillow

  • Over $100

What our testers say: “The Avocado brand makes some of the best— if not the best— organic sleep products on the market.” – Becca, Lead Accessories Tester

Silk & Snow Pillow: Best Down Alternative Memory Foam Pillow

Silk & Snow Pillow

Silk & Snow Pillow

The Silk & Snow pillow comes with an adjustable, shredded memory foam core with a down-like microfiber fill for an airy, yet supportive feel.

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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Memory foam, Microfiber

Trial Period
Trial Period

100 nights

Warranty
Warranty

3-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

Silk & Snow pillow is a down alternative pillow that has an adjustable shredded memory foam core surrounded by plush microfiber filling. Since the firmness is adjustable, the Silk & Snow is a versatile option for all types of sleepers. It also features a breathable cover made with 100 percent cotton, which helps to regulate temperature and prevent moisture buildup for a comfortable sleep.

If you’re looking for a hybrid feel that prioritizes that plush memory foam impression with the plushness of a down alternative pillow, go for the Silk & Snow. Since the fill is adjustable, it allows you to experiment and find the right loft and comfort for a comfortable night’s sleep. We also like that it comes with a 3-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial, which exceeds the industry standard.

Pros of the Silk & Snow Pillow

  • CertiPUR-US certified foam, which is a quality certification
  • Responsive (think “bouncy”) enough for combination sleepers who need to easily switch sleeping positions
  • Reasonable price tag
  • Machine washable shell

Cons of the Silk & Snow Pillow

  • Some user reviews said it was hard to adjust the fill to be comfortable

What our testers say: “Memory foam lovers will get that impressionable feel, with much more versatility than your traditional block of foam pillow.” – Becca, Lead Accessories Tester

Purple Cloud Pillow: Best Hypoallergenic

Purple Cloud Pillow

Purple Cloud Pillow

The Purple Cloud Pillow is best for side sleepers and back sleepers with average or heavyweight body types. The Cloud is a plush, hotel-like option that’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t require much fluffing. It’s also one of the most affordable Purple pillows.

Mattress Nerd Score
4.10 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Cotton, Gel Fiber

Trial Period
Trial Period

100 nights

Warranty
Warranty

1-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

The Purple Cloud pillow is made from a hypoallergenic, silicone-coated gel fiber filling that’s less likely to clump or flatten compared to other down alternative fillings. It also provides a soft, cushioning feel that molds around your neck and head to provide enough support and comfort throughout the night. The Purple Cloud also comes with a 100 percent cotton cover that makes it breathable and allergy-friendly.

With its 100 percent hypoallergenic filling and cover, the Purple Cloud is a saving grace for allergy sufferers everywhere. Another thing we like about this pillow is its affordable price tag, providing you with a great level of support and comfort without hurting your wallet.

Pros of the Purple Cloud Pillow

  • Two sizes (Queen and King)
  • Machine washable
  • Great policies: free shipping, 100-night sleep trial period, and 1-year warranty

Cons of the Purple Cloud Pillow

  • Some user reviews said this pillow was too soft

What our testers say: “As an allergy sufferer myself, I appreciate the extra steps Purple takes to ensure an allergen-free product that sleepers can rest assured on.” – Becca, Lead Accessories Tester

Types of Down Alternative Pillows

There are different types of down alternative pillows that each have unique features and use cases. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Polyester pillows: The most common type of down alternative and probably the closest to the feel of real down. Polyester pillows are usually designed to mimic down clusters, providing a comparably soft and lofty sleeping surface.
  • Microfiber pillows: Also made from polyester, microfiber has smaller fibers which make it softer, more lightweight, and more breathable than polyester down alternatives.
  • Gel-infused pillows: These are down alternative pillows that are infused with a cooling gel layer that helps regulate body temperature and keep you cool throughout the night. They’re an excellent option for hot sleepers who tend to overheat during sleep.
  • Shredded memory foam pillows: As its name suggests, these are down alternatives that are filled with small pieces of memory foam that can be adjusted to suit your preferred firmness and loft. They provide great support and breathability, also making them good choices for hot sleepers.

Considerations for a Down Alternative Pillow

There are tons of options in the market for down alternative pillows. To make sure that you get the best pillow for your needs, consider the following factors when shopping:

  • Cost: Down alternative pillows can range from budget-friendly options to luxury choices. Although you can argue that a higher price tag may be commensurate to the quality, some wallet-friendly options can provide you with great value. Always consider whether a pillow’s quality and features are worth its price tag.
  • Materials: Down alternative pillows can be made from a variety of synthetic materials, including polyester, microfiber, and rayon. Each has its own unique properties, such as softness, breathability, hypoallergenic properties, and moisture-wicking capabilities, so it’s important to choose a material that aligns with your needs and preferences.
  • Firmness: The firmness of a down alternative pillow can range from soft to firm, depending on the construction and the amount and type of filling. Keeping in mind your preferred sleeping position, choose a pillow with the right level of firmness to ensure proper spinal alignment and support for your neck and head.
  • Warranty: Finally, it’s important to check whether the pillow comes with a warranty, preferably provided by its manufacturer. A quality down alternative pillow should come with a warranty that covers defects so that you can enjoy a good night’s sleep without much worry.

Who Should Get A Down Alternative Pillow?

Down alternative pillows are a great alternative to real down pillows for various reasons. If you’re any of the following, you may want to consider opting for a down alternative pillow instead:

  • Allergy sufferers: Using traditional down pillows can worsen your allergies due to the presence of feathers and dust mites. That’s why down alternative pillows are hypoallergenic alternatives and don’t contain materials that can trigger allergies. Down alternative pillows are often made of synthetic materials such as microfiber or polyester, which are less prone to collecting dust, mold, or bacteria.
  • Vegans and animal lovers: For vegans or those who are passionate about animal welfare, using pillows made from feathers derived from birds may be a valid concern. In this case, down alternative pillows are an ideal alternative because they’re completely synthetic and do not utilize any animal products.
  • Environmentally conscious: If you’re someone who values sustainability and environmental consciousness, down alternative pillows may be a good alternative. However, it’s important to do your own research as some synthetic materials are made through high-energy, waste-producing production processes. On the other hand, some down alternative pillows are made from recycled synthetic materials, such as microfiber or recycled polyester, that are produced through a more sustainable manufacturing process than real down.
  • Budget-conscious and value shoppers: Down alternative pillows are a more wallet-friendly alternative to down pillows— without sacrificing too much on comfort and quality. Additionally, down alternatives tend to last longer and retain their shape and fluffiness better than real down pillows, giving you a bang for your buck in terms of durability and use. It’s also easier to clean and maintain than real down, which saves you a lot of time and effort.

Down Alternative Pillow FAQs

What is the difference between down and down alternative pillows?

The biggest difference is the materials they’re made from. Down pillows are made from the under-feathers of geese or ducks, while down alternatives are made from synthetic materials like microfiber or polyester. Because of their materials, down alternative pillows are also more affordable, more hypoallergenic, and easier to maintain than down pillows.

How long do down alternative pillows last?

It depends on various factors, such as the quality of materials, the amount of daily wear and tear it experiences, and how often it is cleaned. Usually, down alternative pillows can last between 1-2 years before they start to lose their shape and support. To maximize the lifespan of your down alternative pillow, make sure to regularly fluff and clean it. You can also use a pillow cover to protect it from dust and moisture.

Can you wash down alternative pillows?

Yes, most down alternative pillows are machine-washable. However, you should always check the care instructions to be safe. Usually, though, down alternative pillows can be machine or hand-washed using mild detergent and dried on low heat (or better yet, air-dried).

Recap of the Best Adjustable Pillows

Pillow ModelSuperlative
Nolah AirFiber PillowNerd’s Pick
Saatva Down Alternative PillowMost Luxurious
Lagoon Chinchilla PillowSoftest Down Alternative
Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow Best Value
Boll & Branch Down Alternative PillowBest Multiple Firmness
Avocado Green PillowBest Latex
Silk & Snow PillowBest Memory Foam
Purple Cloud PillowBest Hypoallergenic
Sources