March 06, 2020 2 min read

Our Pillow Talk series continues with an explanation of synthetic down and fiberfill pillows, along with some positives and negatives of each. Choosing the right pillow is subjective only in the sense of wants: you want to be comfortable. But, it’s also objective in the sense of needs: the proper pillow needs to properly support the neck, head and shoulders or it could cause discomfort, or worse, sleep injuries. Use this Pillow Talk Series to learn about the different types of pillows, how they’re made and to help find the one that works for you.


Synthetic Down Pillows

Down alternative, or synthetic down is made with thin, polyester threads molded together into short and long strands that mimic down. The longer threads make the pillow airy, while the shorter threads create bulk and support. Some down alternative is made with eco friendly materials, like recycled plastic bottles. With so many advances in this market, not just for pillows but also for outdoor gear, down alternative feels almost like the real thing, without all of the sneezing and wheezing that usually accompanies down and feathers.

Positives of synthetic down pillows:

  1. Less expensive than real down.
  2. Washable.
  3. Breathable and hypoallergenic.

Negatives of synthetic down pillows:

  1. Not as moldable as real down, so you may not get it into the shape you want.
  2. Made from synthetic material.
  3. Not quite as soft as real down—the fake quills can be ‘pokey.’


Fiberfill Pillows

Fiberfill is blown polyester fibers. This is the least expensive pillow option on the market. Support from these pillows is inconsistent. The odds of finding a fiberfill pillow that offers just-right support for your neck, head and shoulders is slim, as they vary so much in thickness and lose any support they offer after limited use.

Positives of fiberfill pillows:

  1. The least expensive pillow on the market.
  2. Washable and hypoallergenic.
  3. A variety of options, ranging from soft to firm, thick to thin.

Negatives of fiberfill pillows:

  1. Can become lumpy after extended use or washing.
  2. Tend to hollow out where your head rests, so they lose support quickly.
  3. You can’t shape or manipulate it into the kind of support you need.


In part 2 of my Pillow Talk Series I hope you gained some insight into synthetic down and fiberfill pillows. With so many pillow options on the market, it’s important that you make an informed decision when choosing the right pillow for you. Remember: a good pillow needs to support your neck, head and shoulders. Everything else is subjective.


Next week, in Part 3 of my Pillow Talk Series I will talk about natural materials, specifically latex and wool pillows.

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