Goose vs. Duck Down Pillows: Differences & Which to Pick? – The Bedding Planet

Goose vs. Duck Down Pillows: Differences & Which to Pick?

Are you finding it challenging to choose between a goose and duck down pillow?

Worry no more. We have the answer!

Though these two pillows serve the same purpose, they have some differences that make one unique from the other.

The difference between goose down and duck down is their size and fill power of clusters. Goose down pillows come with warmer clusters with higher fill than duck pillows. Geese are larger with bigger down clusters as compared to ducks. In addition, geese reside in cold environments that require their down clusters to be large and fluffy.

Read on to learn more about the differences between goose and duck down, both the materials themeselves as well as how they perform used in pillows.

General Differences Between Goose Down and Duck Down

Goose vs. Duck Down Pillows Differences & Which to Pick

Goose down is thought to be warmer than duck down, which is one of the many reasons you’ll find this type of down filling in most high-quality winter comforters, jackets, and duvets. Goose down is lighter and fluffier than other down types, giving it a more airy and delicate texture.

Down from either geese or ducks is commonly used in winter products. Because geese are larger birds than ducks, their down clusters are also larger.

Goose down filaments can trap more air and give more excellent insulation than other types of down. It goes without saying, the larger the down cluster, the warmer the duvet. If all other conditions remain constant, a goose down duvet with a higher fill power, such as 90%, will be warmer than a duck down duvet with the same fill ability.

Apart from these differences, both are excellent insulators due to their structural similarities. Goose down is also popular for being extremely long-lasting. So, if you take good care of your down-filled pillows, they are well worth the money and time you spent looking for them!

The Difference Between Goose Down And Duck Down Pillows

These two types of pillows offer the same insulation, and both have the same important structure that makes down an outstanding insulator.

The difference between a goose down and duck down pillow is that the duck down comes with 87% of the insulating power to that of a goose down pillow.

Below are other significant differences you should know before settling on either a goose down or duck down pillow.

Fill Power Rating

As explained earlier, goose down has a higher fill power, at least if the down is plucked from younger birds. For older and more mature birds, geese and duck offers pretty much the same fill power in their down. This is because when a bird lives long, its down cluster becomes more developed.

Additionally, to make sure that they achieve the required fill power, manufacturers sort small down clusters, large down clusters, feathers, and other materials to generate down with a specific fill power and content.

The highest goose down fill power available is about 1,000 FP. Nonetheless, this is only found in very small numbers and at exorbitant costs. Eider duck down is the most expensive and high-end down and comes with an anecdotal rating of up to 1,200 FP.

The most typical fill power range is between 450 and 850 FP for goose and duck down. High-end 850-FP duck down is now increasingly accessible in recent years due to the sorting process improvements that remove extremely small down clusters and fibers.


Down comes from birds killed for food and is a byproduct of the meat industry. As a result, most down is imported from China, where duck and geese are consumed in large quantities.

Duck down is far cheaper than goose down, as goose down is less available. This is due to the fact that geese are less popular than ducks. The availability of goose down has decreased as the demand for goose meat has reduced. As a result, most non-luxury down goods use duck down, which is easier to come by.


In general, there is no significant difference in the durability between goose and duck down, apart from fill power. Mostly, their durability depends on the fat and oil content in the down. Some birds have a larger level of oil and fat than others.

Furthermore, whether goose or duck, down is an organic product that changes from season to season due to a variety of factors such as weather, nutrition, bird condition, and so on. There must be a certain quantity of fat and oil to ensure warmth-trapping and keep down robust and elastic.

The down can become dry and brittle if it is “over washed” during manufacturing and the extra amount of oil and fat removed. As a result, it becomes easy to break down hence lowering the fill power of the down. Whether goose or duck down, high-quality down pillows have been appropriately processed to improve performance and durability.


The variations between goose and duck down are minor, and their overall comfort and durability are determined by how the down is processed. Ducks are smaller birds with smaller feathers than geese, but this does not mean a duck down pillow will have poor insulation.

If you are looking for comfort and warmth, both a goose and duck down pillow will work well, perhaps a goose down pillow will be slightly better in this regard because they often have a slightly higher fill power rating.


As I had said before, down is a natural substance. Although a specific amount of fat and oil is required for resilience and softness, the presence of these components also contributes to the down’s smell. Even when the down is in perfect condition, those with a keen sense of smell may detect a faint stench.

Since the feeding habits of goose and duck are different, there is a minor difference in the odor between the two. This is as a result of the smell in the oil content, which is required for the down to be durable. Look for a down pillow that has been DWR-treated; the odor of these products is negligible.


Goose and duck down are found in both white and mottled grey. From a historical standpoint, the bedding business prefers white-colored down, mainly because manufacturers usually prefer white in bedding fabric and wish to conceal the presence of down.

Apart from an aesthetic distinction, there is no difference in performance between white and grey colored down, implying that one is neither warmer nor more long-lasting than the other.

Which is Considered Better: Goose or Duck Down?

You will have to choose between goose and duck down while shopping for a down pillow. It’s essential to understand the production process to make the best decision possible.

Remember that while goose down is believed to be superior to duck down, there is a plethora of high-quality duck down pillows on the market today. They’re usually less expensive, and they provide the same level of insulation as a goose down pillow.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Both Goose and Duck Down. What to Expect From Each

Benefits of Goose Down Pillows


Since synthetic pillows are difficult to maintain and keep clean, they usually last for about two years before being replaced. They also lose their shape and support, which makes them uncomfortable.

On the other hand, goose down pillows can last up to 10 years with good care and maintenance since they are made of natural materials and are simple to care for.


If you always wake up with stiff neck pain, consider purchasing a down-filled pillow.

This light, fluffy softener gently cradles the head, neck, and shoulders as you rest, providing the required maximum support and also relieves pressure on the muscles in this area, allowing for more significant sleep and overall wellness. A high-loft-down pillow will provide you with more softness.


Most pillows will trap a lot of your body’s heat, causing you to sweat excessively as you sleep. On the other hand, down pillows allow air to move freely around your head and neck while resting, ensuring a comfortable night’s sleep.


If you’re a cold sleeper, the ambient temperature and warmth supplied by down-filled pillows will keep you warm all night.

Due to its capacity to retain heat while being breathable, several bedding manufacturers use it for insulating bedding and clothing, like coats, for a long time. Likewise, down pillows insulate your head, making it comfortable but not overheated.


The malleability of these types of pillows is one of the most outstanding features. Down pillows are easy to mold, making them ideal for all sorts of sleepers, even back sleepers.

Additionally, most models have tufts for fluffing out the cushions to a more comfortable height. This feature allows you to resize and reshape your pillows for more significant support.

Drawbacks of Goose Down Pillows

Cleaning can be complicated

Though most feather-filled pillows can be machine washed, the process is not simple. Too much heat, for example, can sear the feathers and damage the cushion.

Leaving even a small amount of moisture on your pillow can cause mold to grow inside, wreaking havoc on your cushion.

If that weren’t terrible enough, washing and drying your pillow might cause the feathers and down clusters to clump together, making it lumpy and flat.

Feather fillings don’t grow on trees

Since feathers come from ducks, geese, and other birds, the method of obtaining them is inhuman. Whether the feathers are taken from a live or dead bird does not matter.

People who care about animal welfare are unlikely to endorse feather or down-filled pillows because their production causes harm to a variety of birds.

Goose pillows flatten in your sleep

You must have heard about how feather pillows provide excellent support and how they contour and cradle your head perfectly.

Most users fail to mention that the support you receive will be temporary. During the night, goose pillows tend to flatten under the weight of your head, causing your head to drop and your neck to flex. The only method to get out of this is to re-fluff the pillow at night to return to its supporting state.

However, most companies use different fillers at the bottom of the pillow to provide support in the event that the feathers flatten under your weight.

New goose pillows have an odor

Here is the drawback to sterilizing and washing the feathers. Some users complain that new feather pillows, after cleaning, have a chemical-like odor. However, this odor will fade over time, or you may become accustomed to it.

Pillow piercing

As previously said, you may find a low-quality feather pillow with quills poking through the pillowcase. As a result, only high-quality pillows made of durable, double-stitched cloth should be purchased.

Benefits of Duck Down Pillows

  • If you like a softer pillow, duck down is probably the right choice. Even when compared to goose, the material provides incomparable plushness and cushioning for the head and neck, and you’ll sink pretty deeply into the pillow.
  • The primary function of down is to keep ducks warm. As a result, many down pillows offer excellent insulation during the winter months.
  • Duck down pillows are perfect for snuggling because of their softness and airy texture. They may be squished into various shapes as well.
  • Most duck down pillows are built to last. To maintain down and feathers from escaping, the covers are piped or double-stitched around the seams, and the fill will not lose its softness with time.

Drawbacks of Duck down pillows

  • While there are some affordable options, duck down pillows are pretty pricey, especially those with high down content.
  • Due to the natural insulating properties of duck down pillows, this fill material may help the pillow absorb body heat and sleep warmly. This is especially possible if the shell and liners are composed of less breathable fabrics such as polyester.
  • Some sleepers may find that duck down pillows don’t provide enough support because they sink so much. Many duck down pillow manufacturers offer these types in various loft and firmness choices.
  • Because most duck down pillows don’t keep their full shape very well, you’ll need to fluff them frequently. Many can be dried to speed up the form recovery process.

What’s The Difference Between White and Gray Duck Down?

The quality of white duck down and gray duck down is essentially the same, with the exception of color. Why is there such a significant price disparity between the two?

Because of its light hue, white duck down is excellent for a wide range of materials, whereas gray duck down is suitable for dark fabrics. Since users subjectively prefer white duck down, there is a far higher demand for it, resulting in a higher price.

Which is Softer: Duck Down or Goose Down?

Due to the fact that geese are larger than ducks, goose down clusters are more significant, providing more insulation and fluffier pillows. Because goose is softer, there is a higher demand for it. Another reason why it is a preferred option is that some duck down produces an unpleasant odor.

The Conclusion

When you consider factors like fill quality, fill power, processing, and so forth, both goose and duck down can insulate. Everything from the bird’s diet during its life to the duration of its life to the manner of washing employed in processing directly impacts down quality.

Regardless of what you choose, make sure you get the best quality down pillow for your bed. No matter what time of year it is, you may have a comfortable, luxurious sleeping experience and ensure that you obtain restorative, soothing sleep every night.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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