Distinguishing Between Down & Feather

Down and feathers are both commonly used in products such as pillows, duvets, comforters, and winter jackets. While both materials come from geese and ducks, they have different properties and uses.

Key Takeaways

  • Feathers are the outer coverings of birds, helping them to fly, and contain a bony structure called a quill, making them heavier and less soft.
  • Downs are soft, quill-less feathers found beneath the outer feathers, providing insulation and warmth to the bird and products made from them, such as pillows and jackets.
  • Products made with feathers tend to be flatter, heavier, and harder, while those made with down are softer, lighter, and better at trapping heat.

Feathers are the outer coverings of birds, allowing them to fly. They have a bone-like structure called a quill that runs along the length of the feather. The outer feathers of birds, such as geese and ducks, are often multicolored. Pillows made with feathers are flatter and heavier than those made with down due to the presence of quills.

Down feathers are found beneath the outer feathers, lying on the bird’s belly. These soft, tiny cotton ball-like feathers have fibers extending from the center in all directions. Down provides insulation to the bird, helping it withstand extreme weather conditions. Down feathers are harvested from Siberian geese, which are raised for this purpose and have their down plucked by hand three times a year.

The key differences between down and feathers include the presence of quills in feathers, which make them harder and heavier, while down is soft and light. Additionally, down is known for its heat-trapping abilities, while outer feathers help birds fly. Some people may have allergies to feathers, making down a safer option for them. Furthermore, feather quills can sometimes poke through fabric, unlike down, which is soft and does not pose this problem.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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