While feather pillows can run the price gamut, we found the mid-priced Pacific Coast Double DownAround Medium Pillow (Est. $60) to be the best value. The name refers to the fact that this is a two-part pillow, with a feather-filled inner compartment and an outer sleeve filled with soft down. The feather filling is specially treated to remove allergens, and the cover blocks out dust mites. Experts and users agree that this pillow is very comfortable and supportive, and in professional tests it holds up fairly well to machine washing. This pillow is also available in firm or soft versions.
The main complaint we saw about the Pacific Coast pillow is that, even in medium firmness, it feels too firm for some users. For those who prefer a softer pillow, we found good ratings for two down pillows from Cuddledown. The Cuddledown Batiste 800 Fill Power European White Goose Down Medium Pillow (Est. $250) is described in Real Simple magazine as "springy, cloudlike, and nearly weightless." User reviews agree that this pillow is extremely comfortable: fluffy yet supportive, conforming to the head and neck. Professional tests also show that the pillow maintains its loft and support well after washing, though the seams may begin to fray a bit. This pillow comes in four levels of firmness: "stomach" (the softest), soft, medium and overfilled.
For those who like a less lofty pillow (or who balk at the 800 Fill's high price tag), there's the Cuddledown 600 Fill Power European Duck Down Stomach Pillow (Est. $100) . The editors of Health magazine recommend this as the best feather pillow for stomach sleepers, saying it's "soft and squishy with just enough support." User reviews on the Cuddledown website also say this flat, soft pillow is ideal for stomach sleepers. In addition to the stomach-sleeper firmness, it also comes in soft and overfilled.
An even softer choice is the Eddie Bauer Premium Goose Down Pillow, Super Soft (Est. $150) . Editors at Real Simple say this pillow offers "the best of both worlds," combining a plump center with low edges so that it's comfortable for both side and back sleepers. However, users aren't universally happy with this extra-soft pillow. While most agree that it's well made, some find it too squishy and lacking in support -- especially for side sleepers. The soft (as opposed to super-soft) version of the pillow doesn't appear to have this problem.
At the other end of the firmness scale is the Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton and Down Firm Pillow (Est. $180) . Real Simple editors dub this pillow "Goldilocks's pick": not too hard, not too soft and ideal for side sleepers. Most user reviews agree that it's both soft and supportive, but some owners find it too flat. Also, professional testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute found that this pillow looked somewhat worse after washing -- although it did maintain its loft and support. This pillow is also available in a soft version.