Difference Between Down and Duck Feathers

Feathers are just feathers, right? To many people, down and duck feathers can be used interchangeably when referring to feather pillows. As it turns out, many of us are wrong. They are very different and are used differently when it comes to the bedding industry. To put it simply, down feather pillows are made from the underbellies of ducks and geese and are softer. They are considered as premium quality. Duck feathers pillows on the other hand are made from feathers from other parts of the duck or goose.


The biggest difference between the two is quality. As we can clearly see, underbellies have a smaller area compared to other parts of the duck. The location makes the feathers softer and less in quantity and are therefore, considered as premium. Duck feathers in the meantime are considered stiffer and more rigid. However, many duck feather pillow users like them because they provide good support to the neck and shoulders.


Because down feathers are softer, they are also considered as premium not only in quality but also in price. Some of the most expensive down pillows can fetch hundreds of dollars each. Duck feather pillows however, are more affordable. It is also good to note that they are also as durable as down pillows and can last a really long time.


Since down pillows are softer, they are more suited for people who like to sleep on their stomachs. As many of us know from experience, sleeping in this position twists the neck. If you’re using a firm pillow your neck is angled upward which can cause stiffness. Using a soft pillow like down will allow your neck to be “absorbed” the pillow more making your neck rest more comfortably.

Duck feather pillows are more suited for those who sleep on their sides or on their backs. This is because the neck, upper spine and shoulders need firm support so that it rests more naturally and comfortably while sleeping.


Down and duck feather pillow fans will always argue about comfort with each side claiming to be more comfortable. All of this depends on taste. Down pillows are made from softer feathers without quills. This means that feathers have a lower chance of poking you over time. Down pillow fans also claim that duck feather pillows tend to flatten out over time because the feathers will align after years of use.

Duck feather users compensate for possible sticking quills by choosing pillows made with cambric. Those made by Luxura for example, use cambric which is a tightly woven cotton material. You can also choose pillows with high thread count to avoid poking feathers. Duck feathers also provide better support to those who need it compared to down pillows.

Whatever pillow you choose, make sure to keep it away from moisture. Poor drying, humidity and other sources can shorten the lifespan of your down and duck feather pillows. Oil (from face creams or your natural oil) is another common enemy which is why it is important to use a protective cover for your pillows to preserve the feathers inside.