If you have trouble getting a good night’s rest, it might be time to upgrade your bedding — and replacing your old, worn-in pillows is a good place to start. Expensive pillows made with natural down from ducks and geese are billowy and luxurious, but they aren't as supportive as down alternative options. While choosing the best down alternative pillows, the type you select should largely depend on what kind of support and temperature you prefer while sleeping. To customize, some down alternative pillows are available in different levels of firmness, while others come with extra polyester filling that allows you to adjust the loft to suit your sleeping position. Many also come wrapped in cotton cases that provide maximum breathability.
The type of loft your pillow provides is important for both comfort and proper spinal alignment. For instance, if you lie on your back, you'll want a lower loft that lets your spine relax on its natural curve. Stomach sleepers should also look for very flat pillows. However, if you're a side sleeper, you'll want a higher loft that supports your upper body while keeping your back aligned. Thankfully, some of the options below let you choose how thin or thick you want your pillow to be. Also consider the firmness of the pillow: Do you like the feeling of sinking into your pillow or more support?
As compared to down pillows which retain more heat, down alternative options provide a cool surface area that's suitable for hot sleepers. Those with cotton exteriors provide more airflow than those lined with other materials such as polyester, which is still praised for durability. Lastly, many down alternative pillows are hypoallergenic, including all of the options included in this roundup, making them a great pick for allergies. These are also machine washable, which makes cleaning a breeze.
Still interested in finding the best down alternative pillows? Keep scrolling for my top picks.
1. The Overall Best Down Alternative Pillows With Adjustable Lofts
If you're looking for customizable comfort and breathability, this pair of pillows might be for you. Unlike others on this list, each one comes with up to an extra fourth of polyester filling; if you prefer a lower or higher loft, simply unzip the side seam and adjust the fill to suit your preferences. The lining is made from 100% cotton to help keep things breathable, and the wavy pattern on the outside gives it a chic appearance. These hypoallergenic pillows are machine washable and available in three sizes: standard, queen, and king.
One reviewer wrote: "All I had to do was remove a handful of the down material inside the pillow to make it more comfortable for my needs. No neck ache at all after sleeping with them for 3 weeks now!"
2. The Set With Longevity: These Firm Down Alternative Pillows Lined With Durable Polyester
Even though polyester is generally less breathable than cotton, it's usually more durable, making these pillows with polyester liner ideal for anyone who is looking for longevity. In other words, if you prefer to sleep on your side, you can mold and crush these into any position you'd like without having to worry about doing damage. On top of that, the seams on each are reinforced for added strength. Unlike the first pick, these pillows do not open up for adjustability; they come in one standard firmness level that's apparently ideal for those who sleep on their back, side, or stomach (per the manufacturer). However, one reviewer described the loft and wrote, "This is described as medium support." They continued: "It leans toward soft but is still very comfortable for a side-sleeper." These are hypoallergenic and machine washable, and they also come in three sizes: standard, queen, and king.
One reviewer wrote: "Super soft material on the outside. Perfect firmness for side sleeping or between your knees. They are fluffy but firm."
3. A Pair Of Down Alternative Pillows That Come In 3 Different Firmness Levels
These polyester-filled pillows aren't adjustable, but they come with three different firmness levels to choose from: soft, medium, and firm. It's most affordable out of the three, they don't skimp on the details: The cover on each is made from 100% cotton for maximum breathability. These hypoallergenic pillows are also machine washable and come in three sizes: standard, queen, and king.
One reviewer wrote: "These pillows are amazing! We both like soft but firm, if that makes any sense! Seems like an oxymoron, but it means that these pillows let you sink into their softness but do not get flat in the process!"
Bonus: These "Down-Like" Pillows With Over 8,000 Positive Reviews
If you're a hot sleeper who's in pursuit of coolness and comfort, these "down-like" pillows are the best ones out there. These aren't specifically labeled as "down alternative" — and instead of polyester that mimics the feeling of down, they're filled with "down-like" poly gel fibers that feel like memory foam. Notably though, these fibers are infused with cooling gel that helps regulate your temperature, but they'll remain just as plush as the other picks on this list. These pillows are made with sateen cotton liners that are breathable and silky. However, they're only available in two sizes (queen and king). They don't boast adjustable lofts and only come in one standard level of firmness that's apparently suitable for back, side, and stomach sleepers. Still, one customer wrote, "They are not too firm and not too soft, with a perfect medium fill with gel fibers!" These are also machine washable for simple cleaning.
One reviewer wrote: "Compared to a goose down, these are more squishy. Replace your goose downs with these! When you are lay on any pillow, the weight of your head surely compresses it. Goose downs materials shift & sometimes when you get up, there's a concave of where your head was. This pillow only shifts 50% I'd say. Materials in it are easily maneuvered to get me comfortable."