41 Questions About Down Alternative Pillows Answered

Down alternative pillows come in handy when you don’t want a natural Down pillow. But are they worth it?

This article answers the top 41 FAQs about them. show

What Are Down Alternative Pillows?

what is a down alternative pillow

Down alternative is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an alternative to Down and designed to mimic it. These pillows are usually stuffed with a petroleum-based material, polyester, and synthetic cotton. They are just as soft and adaptable as natural Down. However, it’s hard to compress Down alternate filling to the same degree as Down.

Check out the best down alternative pillows to buy online

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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Down Alternative Pillows?

  • Budget-friendly
  • Retain less heat
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Lightweight
  • Vegan
  • Not long-lasting
  • Not as soft as Down
  • Not biodegradable
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Can be noisy

Are They Safe?

Due to their hypoallergenic nature, down alternative pillows are considered safe to use. They are breathable, moisture-resistant, made up of synthetic fibers, cruelty-free, and comfortable for people prone to allergies. 

What Is A Down Alternative Pillow Filled With?

Down alternative pillows are usually filled with synthetic fibers like polyester, rayon, and cotton to make them look exactly like Down pillows. Down alternative pillows are filled with hypoallergenic synthetic materials to avoid animal cruelty.

What Do They Feel Like?

Sleeping on Down alternative pillows feels like sleeping on a cloud due to their fluffiness. People who need more support during sleep might like the backing feeling of Down alternative pillows.

Are They Good for Side Sleepers? 

Side sleepers need more elevation and support during sleep. Thus, they prefer towering pillows. Down alternative pillows could be a preference for side sleepers due to their firmness and stability. 

Are They Good for Back Sleepers?

Down alternative pillows aren’t as soft or fluffy as Down pillows. As a result, they’re ideal for back sleepers.

These pillows are malleable, allowing you to find your ideal height. The ability to alter the pillow elevation for adequate neck support is particularly appealing to back sleepers.

Are They Good for Stomach Sleepers?

With their ability to mold to the shape of your head and neck in the Down face or other sleeping positions, Down alternative pillows are one of the most popular options for stomach sleepers.

They maintain their structure, ensuring that your neck and shoulders receive the care they need while you sleep.

Are They Good for Hot Sleepers?

The excellent breathability of Down alternative pillows makes them perfect for people who sweat excessively while sleeping. These pillows absorb very little body heat, allowing you to sleep comfortably and cool.

Are They Worth It?

Due to their synthetic fiber filling, Down alternative pillows are more affordable than Down. Their soft feel and delicate nature make them ideal for hot sleepers. 

How Long Do They Last?

As a general rule of thumb, Down alternative pillows should last one to two years, based on materials and usage.

Clumps in these pillows indicate that the loft and conformity are deteriorating. In that case, you should consider recycling or replacing them.

Check our article for more details on how to recycle old pillows

Down Alternative Or Down Feather, Which Is Better?

The firmness, longevity, and expense of the two types of filling are the main differences. Down pillows are softer, more luxurious, and cozier. However, they are costlier and sturdier than Down alternatives due to the scarcity of natural fiber.

Down vs. Down Alternative Pillow: Which Is The Best? 

Down Alternative PillowDown Pillow
Machine-washableNot machine-washable
Not long-lastingDurable
Less expensiveMore expensive 
Cruelty-freeFeathers are sourced from live birds
Less air movementAir circulation 
Less warmthNatural insulating properties

Down Alternative Vs. Polyester Fill Pillow?

Down Alternative PillowPolyester Pillow
More affordableLess affordable
Doesn’t hold shapeEasily moldable
Not durableDurable
Comparatively heavierLightweight
Less breathableBreathable

Can You Be Allergic To Down Alternative?

Down alternative pillow filling materials are generally non-allergenic. Using an alternative pillow is the best option to prevent allergies.

Is Down or Down Alternative More Sustainable?

Down pillows retain their fluff and stability for a prolonged period, whereas Down alternative pillows don’t. If properly maintained, down alternative pillows might last 1 to 2 years without severely degrading. 

Can You Machine Wash Down Alternative Pillows? 

Yes, Down alternative pillows can be machine-washed. However, they have a high chance of coming out lumpy. It is suggested to wash two pillows simultaneously to maintain the balance and avoid lumping. 

How Do You Dry Down Alternatives?

You can simply put your Down alternatives in the dryer. Make sure to fluff your pillows by hand in between the cycles. It can take multiple cycles to dry your pillows completely.

Sometimes pillows appear dry to the touch, but they may still be wet on the inside, which can later cause molding and subsequent allergies. Always air-dry your Down alternatives to prevent mold. 

Does Machine-Washing Ruin It?

Washing your Down alternative pillows in a heavy cycle can ruin the filling inside and make them look lumpy. Multiple washes can lead to wear and tear, reducing their durability. Using warmer temperatures can also cause shrinkage of the synthetic fiber.

How Do You Fluff Up A Down Alternative Pillow?

You can throw a couple of tennis balls along with your Down alternative pillows to avoid lumping during the drying process. This trick alone can help keep your pillows fluffy. However, fluffing your pillows in-between the spin cycles dries them faster and keeps them new. 

Is Down Alternative Toxic?

Down alternative pillows are non-toxic and made with polyester, rayon, cotton, and other gel-infused synthetic fillings. Since they are hypoallergenic and not made up of animal-sourced materials, they are a great alternative to natural Down pillows.

Are They Better for Those With Allergies?

Most Down alternative pillows are dust mite and mold resistant. Their hypoallergenic properties make them a perfect choice for those who are looking for a synthetic pillow. 

What Is The Difference Between Down And Down Alternative Pillows?

The primary difference between Down pillows and Down alternatives is their filling. As their name implies, Down alternative pillows are a great substitute for Down pillows for people who are looking for synthetic alternatives.

Known for their silky feel, both pillows come in various levels of firmness. However, Down alternatives provide the same comfort as a down pillow in a more affordable way. 

The lifespan of Down alternatives is typically less than that of Down, as they can last 1-2 years, whereas Down pillows can last for more than five years with proper care. 

Are They Hypoallergenic?

Down alternative pillows come with hypoallergenic properties. The synthetic fibers in Down alternatives are less prone to collecting allergens, which makes them ideal for people who are prone to allergies. 

How Much Do They Cost?

The price of Down alternative pillows ranges from $20 to $50 depending on the size, density, and filling of the pillows.

Down alternative pillows are less expensive than those filled with Down feathers and memory foam due to the low cost of manufacturing the synthetic fill materials.

Check out the best places to buy pillows online here

Should You Buy A Down Alternative Pillow?

Absolutely! Popular for their fluffy appearance and utmost comfort, Down alternative pillows are a great option for anyone looking to buy a soft, lightweight, and affordable synthetic pillow. 

What to Look For In A Down Alternative Pillow?

Here are some factors you should consider before buying a Down alternative pillow:

  • Comfort: If you prefer a soft, easily malleable pillow, look for a fluffy pillow with a good loft. A firm pillow is a better choice if you want head and neck support.
  • Price: If you are looking for an affordable option that can provide the same comfort like that of Down, Down alternative is the best option.
  • Longevity: If you’re looking for a long-term investment like Down pillows, Down alternatives are not ideal due to their limited durability.
  • Size: You can choose your desirable Down alternative size from the range of sizes in the market. Regular, Queen, King, and Body sized pillows are some of the popular choices. 

Are They Eco-Friendly?

Down alternative pillows are not eco-friendly. Their manufacture pollutes the environment. They are incapable of biodegradation, so they wind up in landfills, which adds to the problem of environmental contamination. 

Who Is Best Suited For A Down Alternative Pillow?

Back and side sleepers who need a medium to high loft in pillows that conform to their head and keep their neck straight can choose Down alternative pillows. 

Which Down Alternative Pillow Sizes Are Available?

Down alternative pillows are available in nearly all sizes as other pillow types.

  • Regular size: 20” x 26”
  • King size: 20” x 36”
  • Queen size: 20” x 30”
  • Body size: 20” x 54” 

Is Down Or Down Alternative Better For Throw Pillows?

Because of their softness, lightweight, and longevity, Down pillows are a better option for throw pillows than Down alternatives. 

Are They Good for Neck Pain?

Most Down alternative pillows can easily conform to your head’s shape and provide a firmer surface and better support. Sleeping on a firm pillow can reduce neck twisting by keeping the head in a straight position and help with neck and shoulder pain.

How Do I Clean a Down Alternative Pillow? 

Since Down alternative pillows are machine-washable and come with a removable pillow cover, keeping them clean is relatively convenient. It is recommended to wash and change its shell at least once a month.

Remove the outer cover and throw it in the washing machine with a normal-to-medium spin cycle. However, it is suggested not to use hot water since it can cause shrinkage.

To machine-wash, your Down alternative pillows, throw them in the machine with another pillow or cotton towel to maintain the balance. Add washing detergent.

However, it is recommended to avoid bleaching agents as they can affect the synthetic fiber and ruin your pillows. Dry them on low heat with tennis balls to avoid lumping and fluff in-between the cycles.

Read more about how to wash pillows here

Are They Adjustable?

The synthetic fill inside Down alternative pillows are completely adjustable, making them an ideal choice for side sleepers who require pillows with adjustable loft for good neck and head support.

Do Down Alternative Pillows Have Odor?

Yes. However, compared to the Real Down and Goose Down pillows, Down alternative pillows do not have a strong odor. 

Is Down Alternative Pillow Soft?

Most Down alternative pillows are puffy and have a soft feel exactly like traditional Down. Their softness depends on the synthetic fibers and the firmness of microfibers made from cotton, polyester, and rayon. 

Can You Use a Down Alternative Pillow to Replace a Traditional Feather or Down Pillow?

Yes, many people who are happy with a traditional feather or Down pillow’s softness but cannot tolerate the smell of natural feathers replace them with Down alternative pillows.  

What Is the Best Down Alternative Material?

Synthetic cotton is the best Down alternative material due to its versatile nature. Cotton is suitable for all weather conditions. It is cold in the summer climate and warm in the winter climate. Cotton has several advantages due to its excellent breathability and sweat-absorbing properties. It is also easy to wash and dry in the machine.

What Is the Difference Between Goose Down And Down Alternative?

Goose down pillows are filled with soft goose feathers and can be easily molded to the desired shape. Down alternatives, on the other hand, are much more affordable because of their synthetic fibers. Here are some key features of both:

Goose Down PillowsDown Alternative Pillows
Feathers sourced from birdsCruelty-free
More air movementLess air movement

Learn more about Down pillows here

Do They Go Flat?

Yes, Down alternative pillows tend to go flat rapidly, especially when used frequently and washed vigorously.

Where Can I Buy a Down Alternative Pillow?

You can buy the best Down alternative pillows on the following websites:

Select from a variety of brands, pillow sizes, and price ranges that fit a range of budgets.