Goose Down Pillow v. Duck Down Pillow – Which One is Best?

If you are buying a down pillow, you will find you have two major choices – a goose down pillow or duck down pillow. So, what are the differences and is one of them the best?


Down is a byproduct of the meat industry, harvested from birds killed for food. As a result, most down comes from China, where more duck and goose are eaten.

Goose down is a lot more expensive than duck down. One reason is because there is less goose down available. This is because fewer people eat goose than duck. As the demand for goose meat has dropped, so has the availability of goose down. As a result, duck down, which is easier to obtain, is used in most non-luxury down products.

Because Queen Anne Pillow only uses ethically soured down and feathers (rather than down that is live plucked from birds), we source our down from Europe. This is because there is greater transparency in the European delivery chain and few opportunities for other poultry feathers and down to be combined with our luxury goose down.


Goose down has higher average “fill power” than duck. Fill power (which measures from 350-750+) is a combined measure of the size of an individual down cluster, its fluffiness, and its ability to insulate heat. Because geese are larger than ducks, they produce larger down clusters. For luxury pillows, goose down makes pillows fluffier and these pillows stay fluffier longer. If you prefer a thinner, denser pillow, duck down may be right for you. One reason Queen Anne Pillow does not use duck down is because it tends to “squish down” faster and lose its loft.


Fill power is also important for people who have had allergic reactions to down pillows. Very few people are actually allergic to down itself, rather, “down allergy” is sometimes caused by the dust that collects between the down clusters. The higher the fill power, the less space available between the clusters for dust to collect, and the healthier you might feel.

Pillows are one of the places where dust mites love to live. If you know you have an allergy to dust mites you may consider a higher fill power pillow to combat it. Cleaning your pillows regularly can also help reduce allergy symptoms (follow your specific pillow care instructions). You may also consider using dust mite pillow covers. Queen Anne goose down is triple washed to be highly hypoallergenic, but some allergy sufferers may still be so sensitive that they require synthetic down fill.

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Odor & Stains:

Another major difference in duck and goose down is that ducks walk closer to the ground. Because of this their down picks up more dirt and odors found on the floors of commercial poultry farms. Ducks also have a more varied diet than geese. Geese are pure grazers. Ducks eat a lot of insects and even eat rats and mice. This can result in a lingering odor even after washing and processing. Most people don’t notice, but if you happen to have a stronger sense of smell, then you may find the odor problematic. Luxury goose down is generally odorless and provides very few problems for people sensitive to smells.

For our luxury pillows, we believe goose down is superior to duck down. It has a higher fill power, is fluffier, less likely to cause allergy problems, and tends to be cleaner and odorless. You can save money by choosing a duck down pillow blend, but we know our luxury pillow customers demand something more than cheap prices. That is why we use 100% goose breast down in all our down pillows – it’s simply the best!