What’s the Difference Between Feather and Down?

Feather and down is a well-recognised term but one that we read without thinking too much about. Everyone would know that it references a pillow or duvets filling, but the question is, how many would know the difference between feather and down?

Here we delve into the world of feather and down and explain the benefits and qualities of both.



Feathers explained

Feathers used in a duvet or pillow will typically come from either ducks or geese and form the outer layer of the bird. Feathers are larger than down, heavier, and more robust which makes them great filling as they offer durability and support.

All our natural duvets are encased in a 100% cotton cambric cover. These stitched pockets ensure the filling remains evenly distributed which means any cold spots are eliminated and quills are less likely to poke through.


Down explained

Down is incredibly light and fluffy and can be found on the belly of the bird underneath their protective layer of outer feathers. It’s soft and airy properties make it by for the most prized and best performing duvet filling due to its superior natural insulating qualities.

Down clusters have a round centre known as plumule from which thousands of tiny fibres radiate – a little like the head of a dandelion. The round shape means they naturally springs back into shape which it what gives the duvet or pillow ‘loft’. The general rule of thumb is the thicker the clusters, the better the insulation.


What is loft?

The ‘loft’ of a duvet or pillow refers to its fluffiness. The higher the loft the better the insulating properties will be, meaning less down filling is needed.

The lofty structure of natural fillings allow moisture produced by the sleeper, to evaporate. This in turn keeps you cool and dry.


The benefits of feather and down

Given that feather and down are both natural products, they are ideal for keeping you at just the right temperature. This is how they work for the bird and it’s no different when they’re in a duvet or pillow.

Natural fillings make the bedding light and fluffy due to their natural insulation and durability properties. The feather and down works to trap warm air around it, meaning it doesn’t have to be crammed full of filling to be effective.


Choosing goose or duck down

Duck down is a firm favourite amongst many people; it’s extremely cosy yet it generally carries a smaller price tag then that of goose down.

Goose down is more luxurious and more expensive because geese have larger down clusters which makes them extremely insulating.


When to replace your duvet and pillow

We recommend you replace your duvet every five to ten years to ensure it’s performing as it should do. The tell-tale signs that your duvet needs replacing are things such as discolouration, cold spots or it feeling lumpy.

Pillows provide important support for your head and neck so you need to think about replacing them every two to four years. If your pillow is very droopy, lumpy, flat or you experience neck ache then it’s time for a new one.


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If you need further information on bedding in general, have a read of our Bedding Guide.


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