Bamboo Pillow Vs. Down Pillow ⚖️ Which One Is Better?

There are several types of pillows available for a comfortable night’s sleep, but two of the most popular are bamboo pillows and down pillows. If you are like me, you probably want to find the one that will suit your personal sleeping style and provide the perfect balance of softness and support.

Well, you are in luck! I recently conducted my own research into the differences between bamboo and down pillows. I compiled the following review to help anyone in the market for a new pillow decide which one is the best choice for their needs.

Should you purchase a bamboo pillow or a down pillow? If you enjoy a cooler pillow and need more support as a side sleeper or back sleeper, a bamboo pillow with its foam filling is the best bet. On the other hand, those who sleep on their stomach or prefer a much softer place to rest their head will probably find a down pillow more comfortable.

Those are generalized recommendations, though, and several other important variables should be considered before making the final choice about which pillow to buy. Among the most prominent factors to keep in mind are cost, durability, and maintenance. I will discuss each of these details and plenty more in the following sections.

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Deciding Between Bamboo Pillows and Down Pillows

As with almost any product, there are some distinct pros and cons associated with both types of pillows. Of course, individual consumers might disagree about whether a particular feature or characteristic is a benefit or a disadvantage based on their own requirements. Nevertheless, it is probably helpful to take a broad look at the positive and potentially negative attributes of bamboo pillows and down pillows before finalizing your choice.

Let’s start with the pros associated with buying a bamboo pillow:

  • Neck and back support
  • Retains shape 
  • Naturally hypoallergenic

And here are a couple of possible cons:

  • Distinct aroma when new
  • Heavier than down pillows

For the sake of comparison, you can expect the following benefits from a down pillow:

  • Very soft
  • Lasts for years
  • Generally less expensive

And here are the most notable drawbacks:

  • Needs consistent readjustment
  • Filling might poke through

The right pillow will vary depending on the personality and tastes of an individual consumer, so spending a bit of time thinking about how you prefer to sleep is a helpful way to narrow down your available choices.

Those who want a little extra support will naturally gravitate toward the bamboo pillow while individuals who crave a plush sleeping experience can get the most restful sleep out of a down pillow. The comfort factor is also at play when thinking about the filling inside of each option.

While some people might find the foam inside of a bamboo pillow a bit too firm, the opposite could be true with the fluffy filling of a down pillow. Furthermore, the possibility of getting poked by the interior feathers might be off-putting to some consumers.

Although there are some clear differences in the texture and feel of both pillows, it is important to know that the manufacturing process has become quite comprehensive. As a result, some of the factors that previously made bamboo pillows and down pillows a bit less comfortable have now become less pronounced.

The bottom line is that if you are more inclined to choose one option or the other, it will be possible to find a product that will offer a great feeling and plenty of value.

While it is true that different manufacturers can produce pillows that do not always align with the pros and cons listed above, these are typical attributes that can be applied to bamboo pillows and down pillows respectively.

As for which one will best suit your desires, it depends on factors such as how you prefer to sleep, whether you tend to get warm at night, and specific health concerns such as allergies. Keep reading for some important details that will help you make an informed decision that will give you years of great sleep no matter how you choose to lie down at night.

Which Option Provides the Most Support?

If you sleep on your side or back, it is important to have plenty of support in order to ensure that your neck and back remain in alignment throughout the night. In these cases, the bamboo pillow seems to have a clear advantage.

Most of these pillows are filled with shredded foam that will contour to the shape of your head and neck without sinking down too low and causing spinal discomfort. Additionally, this type of filling will easily return to its natural plump state even after a hard night of sleep by gently reshaping it with your hand each morning. 

On the other hand, down pillows are known for being especially soft, which might be a better option for stomach sleepers. If you sleep on your stomach, you have probably noticed that it is easy to throw your neck and upper back out of alignment because it requires turning your head to one side or the other throughout the night.

Even though many experts recommend sleeping on your side or back for optimal health, those who cannot get comfortable in any other position will benefit from the flatter, softer design of a down pillow. This will prevent your head from being elevated too high and create a potentially painful situation. 

In order to ensure that the bamboo pillow retains its proper level of support for as long as possible, it is important to keep it well maintained and clean it appropriately on a regular basis. It is relatively easy to learn how to wash a bamboo pillow. After a quick review of the process, there should be no question about how to keep it in top shape and able to serve its intended purpose for as long as possible.

Which Option Is Cooler?

Many people tend to stay warm at night, which is why they turn on a fan or lower the thermostat before heading to bed. Those might be beneficial steps to take, but the most helpful change could be finding a pillow that remains cool throughout the night. For these individuals, the bamboo pillow is an excellent choice.

Even though shredded memory foam is known to retain heat, the construction of high-quality bamboo pillows counteracts this tendency by providing a cool material that is breathable and allows for maximum airflow. Thus a bamboo pillow gives warm sleepers a refreshing chill to their face that can help regulate the temperature of their entire body. 

Not everyone wants to keep their pillow cool, however, and anyone who wants a warmer experience at night will benefit from buying a down pillow. Since the filling is made of the same natural material that birds use to keep themselves warm, such pillows are insulated and can retain warmth even on chilly nights. 

There are some exceptions to these rules, however. For example, giving a down pillow a quick fluff can help it absorb some air and release a blast of coolness that can be refreshing if you’re starting to get a bit warm in bed. Furthermore, if a bamboo pillow does not have the appropriate cover on it, there is a possibility that the interior foam can retain some residual heat that could make it warmer than other choices. 

Which Option Is Better for the Environment?

Although it might not be directly related to how well a pillow suits your personal tastes and routines, it might help you rest easier to know that whichever one you pick is not unnecessarily harmful to the planet. Although responsible manufacturers do their best to limit the toll that the process takes on nature, there are a few issues to note regarding both bamboo pillows and down pillows.

For starters, there are various chemicals used in the creation of most bamboo pillows. In addition to creating a distinct odor that can last for a few days after unwrapping one of these products, those chemicals are also believed to be somewhat harmful to the environment.

Specifically, if carbon disulfide is used to produce the filling, much of it is probably not being recovered. Research shows that factories using this chemical compound are only able to recover about half of it, leaving the other half to be dispersed into the atmosphere where it can potentially lead to additional environmental damage when released in large quantities.

Fortunately, regulatory agencies have gotten involved and are not allowing companies in America to falsely claim that synthetic materials are authentic bamboo, which can be confusing to consumers who are not entirely sure what they should be looking for in a bamboo pillow.

As for down pillows, there is a clear downside to many environmental activists. Whether you are a vegan or just an animal lover, it might be a deal-breaker to use down, since it comes directly from birds. Despite efforts to ethically source the down used by reputable pillow manufacturers, it is impossible to deny that it is a byproduct of living creatures.

A number of consumers are sure to question the ethics of procuring down for the purposes of creating pillows. There is the option of buying a pillow stuffed with a down alternative, but anyone who has slept on the real thing is likely to notice a difference in the softness and warmth when comparing the real thing with a material meant to imitate down.

Which Option Is Appropriate for People with Allergies?

One of the most frustrating experiences for people who suffer from allergies is when a stuffy nose and sneezing strike right at bedtime. Although it might seem like just a case of bad timing, the problem might lie in an allergy sufferer’s pillow. Fortunately, there might be some great relief available by purchasing a bamboo pillow.

While it is important to receive advice from a medical professional before taking any serious action regarding allergies, there are some simple things anyone can do to help relieve their symptoms. 

The natural qualities of the material used to pad these pillows boast a claim of being antimicrobial, which means that germs and other potentially harmful organisms will not live, thrive, and multiply within the pillow.

These microbes can be harmful to your health, so this aspect of bamboo pillows is clearly a benefit. Additionally, these pillows also have a natural hypoallergenic quality that will reduce the number of breathing problems, skin reactions, and other types of nighttime allergies.

The fact that the material is able to breathe easily and can absorb excess moisture well is another potential health benefit to anyone who is sensitive to certain allergens.

On the other hand, anyone with nagging allergies might not want to select a down pillow. The primary issue in this regard is that down is a particular type of animal fiber that can contain a number of allergens that are difficult to remove even during the cleaning process that occurs prior to the manufacture of the pillow.

Additionally, many people are sensitive to birds in general, which means that the down could be especially triggering to their allergies. 

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Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Related Questions

Can you remove the filling?

When it comes to adjustability, the benefit goes to bamboo pillows that allow for the shredded foam to be removed or added to create a thinner or thicker pillow. In most cases, a down pillow requires the filling to stay put, since the feathers inside would create quite a mess if you tried to take them out.

Which one is the best value?

There are different ways to look at whether a pillow is a great value and it does not always come down to the least expensive option. That being said, it is possible to get a high-quality down pillow for less than a similarly well-crafted bamboo pillow, which can cost more than $100. Both are built to last if they are properly maintained.


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Team SafeSleep

Hi! We're a team of scientists, doctors, teachers, and coaches experienced in helping people with special needs. We hope you like our research and share it with others who might find it helpful too :)

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