Best Bedding

Best Down Alternative Pillows 2021

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If you love down pillows but can’t actually sleep on them, then you’ll appreciate a good down alternative pillow. As the name suggests, this pillow is made to mimic the properties and benefits of down pillows without actually using real down. 

Allergies, heavy prices, animal cruelty concerns are some of the reasons most people can’t stand down pillows.

 Down alternative, on the other hand, uses synthetic or cotton-based fibers spun light and made into clusters to provide the same cloud-like plushy feeling a down pillow provides.

However, not all down alternative pillows are down-like. That’s why it’s important to know what you are looking for when searching for a down alternative pillow. In this guide, we share what to look for as well as go over a list of the best down alternative pillows.

Best Down Alternative Pillows 2021

Sweet Zzz Down Alternative Pillow

(Best Overall)​

sweet zzz pillow

Best Overall

When choosing a pillow, there are several factors if present that make for a great pillow. 

The Sweet Zzz Pillow is one such pillow. It performed the best these aspects by being not only comfortable, but supportive, cooling, well priced, and best of all made from natural plant-based down alternative.

The pillow has a 100% organic cotton cover that is not only durable but cooling as well. One thing that sets this pillow apart from others is the use of plant-based down alternative fill. This fill is extra fine, soft, and guaranteed to remain plush for a long time.

The pillow’s fill provides ample support and contouring abilities, making it suitable for any sleep position.  This is especially true for side sleepers since the plant-based down alternative offers more support than its synthetic counterpart.

 Sweet Zzz’s pillow comes with a 50-day risk-free trial, combined with free shipping.

 
 

Features

  • Available in King and Queen sizes
  •  Plant-based down alternative fill
  •  100% natural cotton cover
  •  50-nights risk-free trial
  •  Free shipping
 
 

Saatva Down Alternative Pillow

(Best Luxury Choice)​

Best Luxury Choice

Saatva’s down alternative pillow is the best luxury pillow we tried. The use of organic materials and high-quality down alternative makes this a very luxurious choice but with a much higher price tag.

This plushy pillow stands out with its double-layered fill. It boasts of a hypoallergenic micro denier Down alternative fill. The fine fiberfill creates pockets of micro air for a plushy outcome. It additionally has memory fiber cluster filling. These spring-like fibers add support and durability to the down pillow.

Saatva’s pillow comes with a breathable organic cover and a 45-day risk-free trial period.

 
 

Features

  • 45-day free returns
  •  Free shipping
  •  1-year warranty
  •  Breathable organic cover
  • Available in King and Queen sizes
 
 

Boll and Branch Pillow

Best Firm Choice

Best Firm Choice

Down alternative pillows are not known for their firmness but the Boll and Branch pillow has a firm choice that is sufficient even for side sleepers. This reason makes this the best firm choice down alternative pillow we found.

The pillow is filled with PrimaLoft a lightweight hypoallergenic premium synthetic fiber that is quite similar to traditional down loft.

Primaloft is moisture resistant meaning it doesn’t trap sweat, making it very comfortable to sleep on. 

The pillow is covered in 100% organic cotton with some added details like piping around the edges. Boll and Branch’s pillow also comes with an embroidered outer cover and offers free shipping and 30 night-risk free trials.

Features

  • Organic Cotton Cover
  • Allergy-friendly 
  • Piped edges and
  • Embroidered outer cover
 
 

PLUSH COMFORT in Curved size

(Best Contour)​

Best Contour

Among down alternative pillow highlights, the word contour is not often heard. As far as curved or contouring down alternative pillows are concerned, this is the best we found. Plush comfort down alternative pillows come in three sizes. They are all good, but we are only reviewing the curved size.

The curved pillow is filled with silky soft hypoallergenic down alternative microfiber. It’s covered with a brushed cotton cover for added comfort. The pillow is great for side and back sleepers. The curved shape allows it to contour to the neck, shoulder, and back for proper spine alignment.

Plush comfort’s curved pillow comes with standard and king sizes, a 100 day trial period, and free shipping.

Features

  •  Curved to fit your contours
  • 100 days risk-free trial
  • Free shipping
  •  Easy maintenance and Oeko Tex certified
 
 

Jetsetter Mini Travel Pillow

(Best Travel Size)

Best Travel Size

What makes a perfect travel pillow? Jetsetter tries to answer that question with their Down alternative mini travel pillow.

Made for people on the go, the boomerang-shaped comfy mini pillow is made with a luxurious cotton sateen cover. The boomerang shape hugs the neck and is easy to fit into a carry-on. The pillow is filled with soft hypoallergenic down alternative fiber that is easy to care for.

At the size of 14L*14W*4H combined with its comfort and convenience, this is the best travel-size Down alternative pillow we tried.

Features

  • 100% cotton sateen cover
  • Zippered cover
  • Satin cording trim
  • Hypoallergenic
 
 

Down Alternative Pillow Buying Guide

How To Shop For The Best Down Alternative Pillow For You?

When shopping for a down alternative pillow there are several factors you need to keep in mind. 

Given that this pillow tries to mimic another pillow’s properties, its construction materials should be given paramount importance. 

The more down-like the fill is, the likelier you are to experience a real down-like feel with a down alternative pillow. In this guide, we talk more about what to look for in terms of fill, size, loft, cover material, price, and return policy.

 

  What Is The Actual Fill?

Not all down alternative pillows are equal. Some pillows use cheap polyester fiber that breaks down very quickly. Such pillows usually go flat in a few weeks. When it comes to Down alternatives you want to look for high-quality materials such as plant-based fibers.

Granted some Down alternative pillows are made from polyester microfiber which is not to be confused with cheap poly-fill.

 However, you want down alternative pillows made from plant sources such as cotton and latex. Natural materials such as cotton have considerable benefits. They not only last longer, but they are also safer, and eco-friendlier. 

Plant-based materials also tend to be gentle on the skin and sleep cooler.

When considering an option using synthetic fiber, go for a pillow that uses high-quality polyester microfiber.

  What Is The Right Size For You?

Most Down alternative pillows come in common pillow sizes like standard, queen, and king sizes. However, the exact dimensions might vary between different brands.

Standard

  • Standard pillow sizes measuring 20*26 inches are the smallest pillow size after the travel-sized pillow. This size pillow works well for a twin or full-size bed

 

  • Queen-size pillows measure 20*30 and are one of the most common pillow sizes. This is partly due to the popularity of the queen-size bed, and also because the pillows are a bit longer and can be used in various ways. Queens are also very popular with pillow shams.
  • King size pillows are considerably longer than the other pillow sizes. At 20*36 king size pillows may feel large even for people with King size beds. They are, however, perfect for those who toss and turn during sleep. Another great use for King pillows is that they act as a good prop when sitting up in bed.

 

  What Is The Right Price For A Down Alternative Pillow?

Unlike down pillows, down alternatives are priced more affordably. Pillow prices are heavily influenced by the quality of materials used in them. This is the same case with down alternative pillows. 

Generally polyester down pillows will cost anywhere from $20-$85. While they might be cheaper and feel good for the first couple of days, cheaper materials are known to deteriorate very quickly. With some failing to last even a month.

High-quality materials, cooling technology, and the quality of the cover material can raise the price a bit more. With that being said, however, nothing should cost more than $120, no matter how great the quality is.

  What Is the Right Pillow Firmness and Loft for You?

Since their firmness is easy to adjust, down alternative pillows work well for different types of sleeping positions.

Stomach sleepers need a low loft pillow to avoid twisting their neck. Back sleepers can use a medium loft pillow to hold up their head and avoid hurting their back. The right spot is in between the balance of medium loft and firmness. 

You don’t want a pillow that is too lofty to crane your neck upwards. Or too flat that it allows your head to sink deep leaving your shoulders on the surface of the mattress, which is uncomfortable. 

You want to find the right balance so that your head and spine are in alignment.

Side sleepers can use a medium to high loft pillow to bridge the gap between their ear and the edge of their shoulder. This removes the extra weight from the shoulders, helping you sleep more comfortably and saving you, shoulder pains.

 Down alternative pillows are highly moldable, which makes them a great choice for any sleeping position including combination sleepers.

 By scrunching the pillow, you can find just the right loft for you. Most come with adjustable fill, so that you can adjust to the right pillow height and feel.

  Does the Pillow’s, Cover Matter?

Most people pick pillows without really considering the pillow cover. That’s a mistake!!

When choosing the right pillow cover it is important to consider natural and sustainable materials for their numerous benefits.

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a pillow cover is comfort. 

You want to choose a soft pillow cover and avoid a rough pillow cover especially those made from synthetic materials. This will help you avoid your face getting scratched.

Soft natural pillowcases are gentler on the face, minimizing wrinkles and scratches on the skin.

A comfortable pillowcase will also be good at temperature regulation. Most natural materials are good thermoregulators. They sleep cool when it’s hot and sleep warm when it’s cold.

A good pillow cover is breathable for a comfortable night’s rest.

Natural and sustainable materials such as cotton, Tencel, or bamboo are also environmentally friendly.

  What About The Pillows Warranty And Return Policy?

A warranty is a seller’s way of standing behind their product. They are promises made by the manufacturer that if the product fails to work the way it’s expected, then they will replace or repair it.

Most pillow companies will offer both warranties and sleep trials because they are two different services.

 A sleep-trial period helps you determine whether or not you like the pillow you have purchased. A good trial period is risk-free and long enough for you to determine whether the pillow is a good fit. A reasonable sleep trial period is 30 days.

A risk-free trial period offers a full refund upon return within the trial period (of course you have to check and comply with the company’s terms and conditions). Some brands offer free return shipping which is a great offer.

Warranties on the other hand cannot be used to return a pillow because you don’t like it. The warranty covers such things as faulty workmanship, or the product not performing as expected. 

Be careful to check what a warranty will and won’t cover. Warranties usually don’t cover wear and tear from normal or abnormal usage. A good warranty for a down alternative pillow is 3-5 years.

Conclusion

Down alternative pillows are great replacements for down pillows. But not all down alternative pillows are quality.

 To get the real cloud-like plush experience common with a down pillow it’s important to find the right pillow. 

In this guide, we went through a list of our top 5 best down alternative pillows for the year 2021.

 Our favorite was the Sweet zzz pillow for using plant-based down alternative fill. The pillow is soft, comfortable, cooling, and supportive. 

Others like the Saatva pillow took the best luxury award, the Boll and Branch got the best firm choice, Plush comfort got the best-curved contouring pillow, and Jetsetter got the best for their mini travel pillow.

An important note to remember is to look at the down alternative pillow’s fill, size, cover material, loft, price, and return policy before making a purchase. All the best tips to look out for are listed in the guide.

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After 8 years as a sleep expert in a couple of mattress stores and seeing thousands of people experiences with many brands, he decided to write and put all of these years of experience into help guides so others can make the right decision when buying sleep products without having to suffer sleepless nights as a result of choosing the wrong mattress.