Where to begin? Pillows like allergies are personal. Do you or anyone in your family suffer from allergies, as this will make the difference in the type of fill to purchase?
Natural fill usually refers to down, feather, or a combination of both. It can be from Geese or Ducks. However, these types of pillows tend to attract allergens. So, if you want a Natural fill pillow, then look for those with labels saying “hypoallergenic.” These have been sanitized of all impurities that typically affect allergy sufferers.
Down is the undercoating for ducks and geese, and it is what keeps them warm even in the coldest climates. Down, in its natural form resembles a dandelion pod before the seeds take flight, and is sometimes referred to as a cluster. Clusters from geese are much larger than from ducks therefore pillows made using duck down will have more fill to compensate for the difference in cluster size. These could be a good fit for someone who hugs their pillow. Keep in mind that down pillows tend to flatten out sooner as the fill is not very resilient. Test out the pillows to see if it actually cradles your head like you want, or if it goes straight to the mattress. Some can be very soft (head hits mattress when you lay down on it), as there is less fill in the pillow, and work well for those who sleep on their stomach or are pillow huggers. If you are a Back or Side Sleeper, you will need more support, so look for overfilled down pillows, which tend to be more expensive.
If you are looking for more support or the Down pillows don’t fit in your budget, then look at Down & Feather blends. Granted Feathers are not as soft as the Down, as they are flat and have a quill, but they give the pillow resiliency and will hold their shape longer than the Down will. The more feathers in the mix of the pillow, the firmer and heavier the pillow becomes. Some blended pillows put the feather part of the pillow in an inner pocket and then has the Down wrapped around the outside, giving you a softer feel when sleeping on the pillow. These are a better choice for Back and Side Sleepers as they will give you the support you need.
Synthetic Fill Pillows are usually filled with a polyester fill. There are many different qualities of polyester fill on the market today. So you need to compare pillows side by side, as some will be softer than others depending on the type of polyester used. These are hypo-allergenic and, overall, the most affordable type of bed pillows. For the most part, they are washable and dryable, and work well for kid’s or guest beds. These are good choices for most both Back & Side sleepers.
Down Alternative Fill Pillows are filled with a type of synthetic fill which is coated with a silicone to feel more like clusters of down, which can give the pillow the softness and appeal of a down pillow without the cost. This choice in pillows is great for allergy sufferers who are looking for that soft, down-like support, or for those who cannot afford true down pillows in their budgets. These conform to your head and neck like the natural fill pillows. These are a good choice for any type of sleeper. These pillows will be more expensive than traditional Synthetic Fill Pillows, just due to the process of creating this type of fill, plus these pillows will have a better more expensive, high thread count all cotton cover. Something you won’t find on less expensive Synthetic pillows.
What type of pillows do you prefer to sleep on?