What is the difference between down alternative and polyester? If you have recently been shopping for pillows or bedding, you probably have seen the words polyester or down alternative pop up a lot. They are both hypoallergenic but is there a difference in the way that it feels? 

Here are some differences between polyester and down alternative fibers. 

Down alternative fill for pillows and other bedding items are made to mimic down clusters. The little hollow polyester fibers will feel like down without the big price tag. They will feel silky and slide around easily inside the pillow or comforter. Down alternative bedding typically lasts longer than regular cheap polyester bedding because the hollow polyester fibers don’t lump up together over time and make your bedding feel bumpy and weird. Down alternative bedding is a great choice for people who want hypoallergenic bedding but love the feeling of down. If you see the wording “hollow-fill polyester” on a tag, this is the same as saying down alternative. 

Here is a great down alternative pillow

Down Alternative Carpenter Beyond Down Pillow

Polyester fiberfill can have a few different names and be made to feel a few different ways. Cheap polyester pillows will be made with polyester batting or polyester fiber clusters that can feel a lot like stuffing from inside a stuffed animal or cotton balls. This type of cheap polyester bedding will not last long. The polyester will start to compress together and lump up and create a bumpy hard pillow that nobody likes.

High quality polyester pillows are available and are typically made of special polyester fibers that are made to last. Here is a list of a few high quality polyester fibers.

  • Dacron Fiberfill - This is a very strong polyester fiber that can last a long time while still creating a soft feel. It is a non-absorbent fiber that is mildew resistant. 
  • Gel blown polyester fill - This type of polyester has a silky feel and is a strong polyester fiber. Feels similar to a down alternative but comes in longer strands. 
  • Polyester fiber puffs - This type of polyester can feel like foam clusters. You can feel the individual pieces especially after many washes. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for down alternative/polyester pillows. If they cost around $4, they are junk. Cheap polyester pillows might feel great for a few months but as soon as it is broken in or washed it will feel lumpy and horrible. 

High quality polyester pillows will start around $30-$40. Remember, you spend 33% of your life sleeping. You spend good money for the shoes you wear to have the best comfort possible, do that same for your bedding. Don’t waste 33% of your life on crappy cheap polyester/down alternative pillows and bedding.

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