There are two sides to the super-important pillow insert debate: polyfill vs. feather and/or down. Which side are you on? Or maybe you have better things to do than be opinionated on pillow inserts? Touche! Well you are in luck because I am going to be opinionated for you.
I get questions from readers all the time (no I don’t) about which route to go, so I’d thought I do a little post on this very topic. There’s positives and negatives to both types and depending on the situation, I dabble a little in both.
The pom pom pillow on the right is the feather insert and the dragon pillow on the left holds a polyfill insert. If you’re SUPER new to the pillow world, a feather insert is made up of duck feathers. You’re probably also likely to see “feather down” which is a blend of feathers and down. A polyfill insert is filled with polyester fiber clusters.
There are four major things I care about in regards to the function of pillows:
1.) Can I karate chop them?
Feather Insert: YES
Polyfill Insert: MINI CHOPS ONLY
If you are a fan of violently chopping your pillows to get that lovely dip at the top, then feather inserts are for you. A very small karate chop can be achieved with polyfill, but it won’t hold and is just puny overall.
2.) Will they hold their shape?
Feather Insert: NO
Polyfill Insert: YES
I don’t know about you, but I like to lean on my pillows. The pillows I have on my sofa are all feather inserts and these suckers collapse and flatten after a good TV-watching lean session. The implication of this? Lots and lots of fluffing and re-plumping is required. Polyfill, on the other hand, is much more dense and is nearly impossible to flatten.
3.) Do they sit well on the sofa / furniture?
I’m going to get a little complicated here. Keep focused on the pillow in the front—the one that sits in front of the velvet pom pom pillow.
Above: The dragon pillow is the polyfill insert.
This one is a little less noticeable, but I find that polyfill inserts (the blue/yellow/green dragon pillow in the photo above) don’t “settle” well on furniture. They are very rigid and in result have a very hard time looking relaxed.
4.) Are they easy to clean?
Feather insert: NOT REALLY
Polyfill Insert: YES, JUST THROW THEM IN THE WASH
Polyfill inserts are great in that they’re low maintenance in the cleanliness department. I throw mine in the washer on gentle and then low heat in the dryer. I fluff them throughout their dryer cycle to keep clumps from forming. I’ve also heard about putting tennis balls in the dryer along with the insert to keep the whole clumping thing for happening, but that sounds loud to me!
Feather inserts are a whole different ballgame in the laundering department, to me. In fact, I just don’t do it. I make sure I have zippered / removable covers for these types of pillows. There’s something that gives me the heebie jeebies about wet feathers and/or down and I worry I won’t dry them the right way!
Here’s a couple more fun (fun, right!?!!!) facts about each type:
Feather and/or Down Pillow Inserts:
- Naturally conserve body heat
- Comfortable year round (keeps cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold)
- Will last for years
Polyfill (also called “Down Alternative”) Pillow Inserts:
- Practical and cost efficient
- Easy to care for
As far as where to buy these inserts, Crate&Barrel is my go-to source. I use C&B the most when I’m in a pinch. It’s free shipping, they have a ton of sizes on both types of pillows and I think the prices are decent (especially for the sake of convenience). If I have the luxury of time, I’ll cruise the pillow clearance aisle at Home Goods for good inserts.
So, I’m dying to know, which side do you fall on? Or maybe you mix it up?
Go Haus Go: Helping you answer life’s important questions, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. LOL!