Whats in a Feather?

Luxury Feather Pillow

We are told that good bedding needs good feathers, but what's the difference?

Bedding, such as quilts and pillows that are feather filled come at vastly different prices. But does more expensive, mean better? The simple answer is yes and here's why.

Types of Feather Fill Used In Bedding


Down consists of clusters of filaments growing from a central quill point without a quill shaft. It looks much like a dandelion pod. Down is the light, fluffy undercoating that geese, ducks, and other waterfowl have to keep them warm. Its three-dimensional structure allows it to make thousands of air pockets, which insulate incredibly well.
Land fowl such as chickens do not produce down. That's why you see goose down or duck down.

Bird Down

Small flight feathers 

Small flight feathers are found among the larger flight feathers and form part of the flying surface of the wing. They are quite small and found on the wing and tail area of the bird. Generally, you don't find these commonly in bedding.

Small Flight Feathers

Larger flight feathers

Large flight feathers are straight, flat feathers with a hard quill shaft running from one end to the other with a series of fibres joining together into a flat structure on each side of the shaft. These feathers are found on the wings and tail. Large flight feathers are often chopped up to use in lower quality pillows and featherbeds. They are a cheaper material that you won't find in higher quality products.

Large Flight Feathers

Body feathers

Body feathers are grown primarily for protection. These feathers are found over the entire body of the bird. Body feathers have a bend or curve to the shaft giving them a spring which makes them suitable for use in better quality featherbeds and feather pillows.

Body Feathers

So why do better quality bedding products use down or body feathers? It's simply because they have either superior insulation properties or superior comfort.

Why do they cost more? They are harder to obtain and therefore manufacturing the final product costs more.

So next time you are looking to buy pillows or quilts, give some thought to what's inside. Cheaper products tend to have lower quality feathers, and while they seem good value at the time, you'll soon find yourself wanting to replace them. So spend that little bit more and buy a product that will last and that will be more comfortable. You and your bed will be thankful you did.