Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fine Goose Down Pillows

Photo: Bed, Bath & Beyond
My parents always had feather pillows. I'm sure they didn't pay an arm and a leg for them. Our old feather pillows were plush and perfectly supported our heads and necks in all our sleep positions: back, side and stomach. 

The comfort of a bed pillow is very subjective, but how did buying one get so complicated? Goose down verses down alternatives verses memory pillows verses non-traditional shapes like wedges, squares and horseshoes, etc. It gets very confusing! All you can do to narrow down your choice is to lay your head on the possibilities in a store (as you would try a mattress) and buy the most comfortable. 

I proceed straight to the goose down pillows. Familiar with sleeping on them, I can't get used to synthetic fills on a nightly basis. I also select extra firm (but not rock hard), since within six months, most pillows soften. However, if you can't sleep on a firm pillow, you should go with a medium or soft density pillow, since you need to be able to sleep well from the get-go.

I also want the goose down pillow to come zipped up in a fine 100% cotton enclosure. I don't care about pure silk, or Tencel Lyocell (which wicks away moisture). The goose down and cotton enclosure feel cool and smooth enough to me. Plus, the pillow goes into a pillow case, so I'm not paying for silk.

Then I buy a pillow protector (a barrier against dust mites and bed bugs.) I mean, why not? Protection against dust mites extends the life of the pillow; and if you live in New York City, you are petrified of bed bugs! 

I selected an 800 goose down fill, a queen-size, which weights 28

ounces. (Queen, since that's what my old pillow was, and I won't need to buy new bedding.) Unfortunately, I have to pay $199 (minus 20% = $159) for it. I bet my parents paid about $20 for the same quality pillows years ago, and those pillows lasted forever. My mom hang them out in the sun periodically. Now feather/down pillows are washable, yet dry cleaning is often recommended. More then likely, I will be afraid to machine wash a $200 pillow! 

So here's what I learned:

1) A goose down pillow lasts a good 10-15 years if you take care of it. Feather/down fill count (such as 600, 700, or 800 fill) and weight (21 ounces, 24 ounces, 28 ounces, etc.) make a difference in comfort and how flat the pillow gets when you lay your head on it to sleep. Some people will like a pillow lighter and flatter, while others prefer one heavier and filler. The fill comes in different percentages of down to feathers. Just lay your head on the options to decide and don't sweat the math!

2) I dislike goose down alternatives and memory pillows. They have no give and feel hot. Often they are cheaper and must be replaced every 2-3 years. Who wants to buy another pillow so soon? I mean, I have other things to do.

3) At the end of the pillow-shopping day, buy whatever feels most comfortable to you. It's all subjective.

4) It is risky to buy a pillow online. If you don't see, touch and place your head on a pillow, you might make a mistake and not buy the pillow that is right for you. If you are braver then me, I did find an online pillow, which appears to offer excellent quality for the price: Royal Hotel's Goose Down Pillow. I nearly ordered it, but went with an 800 fill instead that I tried out at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If only I could've put my head on the Royal Hotel one. At $79 bucks, 750 fill, 28 ounces and 90% down, it's a steal! Anyone need extra pillows?

5) Reluctantly $172 (with tax, sheesh!) is my limit for a pillow. I like some pillows in the $300-$400 price range (LL Bean, I'm thinking of you), but I am too damn cheap to buy a pillow that is half the cost of a sofa!

How the heck did a bed pillow get so crazy expensive? After my pillow arrives, I will want to hire a guard to stand outside my home!

Do you have a favorite type of pillow for sleeping?

You may also enjoy:

The Tranquility Pod
Let's Have A Pillow Talk  
When Do You Pay Top Dollar?
Sleep Is Crucial For Your Health


  1. How indeed did pillows become so expensive? I also grew up with feather pillows, but have not had one in years - sooooo expensive. In fact have been replacing them every year or so, which is poor economics. Need to re-think the situation, don't I? Usually in January I do the bed/sheets/pillow thing (at the sales!)

    1. Hope you find a fantastic sale on just the right pillow, Trish!

      One of the reasons I didn't order the Royal Hotel pillow was it looks like they offer a standard size (it's a couple of inches shorter than a true queen) and a king; yet my pillow cases are queen. So I thought having to buy new bedding reduced the savings. They have overwhelming positive reviews on that pillow -- there's another listing for a pair of the Royal Hotel pillows (as opposed to a single) where there are 100s of mostly positive reviews from customers. It sounds like quality pillow.

  2. This is the best blog and the detail about goose down pillow is awesome with cheap price.
    good work.

    goose down pillow

    1. You are welcome. Glad the information helped!