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6 Reasons to Avoid a Feather Top Mattress

by Angela Maple


At a Glance:

What is a Feather Top Mattress?

Down vs. Feather: What's the Difference?

6 Reasons Not to Sleep on Feather Top Mattress

2 Best Feather Top Mattress Alternatives

Best Type of Mattress by Sleeping Positions


Why Trust Us?

A good night's sleep shouldn't be difficult to achieve. It can be hard to determine whether you need a mattress topper, enhancer, or featherbed if your mattress is subpar or you want to protect a brand-new one. Mattress toppers frequently contain latex, polyfoam, memory foam, down substitute, down, and feathers, among other materials.

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Feathers, down, or a combination of the two are frequently found in feather mattress toppers, also known as featherbeds. A topper's down and feathers may be from ducks, geese, or both. Although feather top mattresses are perhaps best known for their softness and luxury, like everything else, feather toppers have their benefits and drawbacks.

You will have a lot of options even if you have limited your topper search to feather toppers. Our sleep specialists will explain what a feather top mattress is in this guide and why these feather-filled mattresses might not be the best option. If you decide that feather filling doesn't quite meet your mattress needs, we'll also highlight our top feather top mattress alternatives.

What is a Feather Top Mattress?

closeup feather pillows

It's common to refer to this kind of mattress topper as a featherbed. They resemble duvet filling in many ways. Despite their extreme softness, these mattress toppers offer little support. Additionally, a lot of Americans have feather allergies. Therefore, be sure to perform the check for your partner's and your own health and safety. Additionally, birds are plucked for their feathers used in these mattress toppers. If you're a vegan, vegetarian, or have a stronger affinity for animal rights, you might want to consider some of the alternative choices.

Down vs. Feather: What's the Difference?

Feathers and down originate from the same source — a goose or a duck. The bird's outer layer is made up of feathers, which also contain quills and allow the animal to fly. Under the bird's protective layer of feathers are down fibers. They typically develop from the animal's soft belly and act as insulation to keep it warm.

6 Reasons Not to Sleep on Feather Top Mattress

There are a number of benefits to choosing feathers for your mattress but feather top mattresses might not always be the most comfortable option. Before adding a feather top to your cart, take into account the following:

  • A feather topper might not be the best option for a firm mattress if you have aches and pains because it won't provide the necessary level of firm support.
  • The individual feathers may begin to protrude through the mattress or topper, causing discomfort.
  • As with all feather products, you might need to fluff them up every so often if they start to lose their shape.
  • It might be noisy and crinkly.
  • Over time, feathers become compressed and require periodic shaking.
  • Feathers can cause allergic reactions in some people.

2 Best Feather Top Mattress Alternatives

A good mattress is the best remedy for aches and pains, so it may be best to consider alternatives if a feather top mattress is out of the question. Check out our sleep experts' recommendations for the best mattress alternatives if you frequently experience lower or upper back pain.

Best Medium-Firm Mattress: Spa Retreat for SleepFit™ Fitness 2.0 Graphene Hybrid Medium Queen Mattress in a Box

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When it comes to body aches and pains, the best type of mattress for back pain is one with enough firmness to keep your spine aligned and support your hips and shoulders. This SleepFit mattress from Spa Retreat can provide your back with the relief it needs when you're ready to head off to dreamland. The layers of this SleepFit mattress will redefine sleeping with a peaceful, undisturbed night of rest. In order to prevent tossing and turning caused by a hot sleeper looking at a cold spot, graphene memory foam and CoolTouch temperature regulating fabric work together to maintain a cool sleeping environment. You can rest assured that the Certipur-US HD comfort layer, memory foam, and seven series wrapped coils will prevent hip, shoulder, and back pain when you wake up.

Best Plush Mattress: Stearns & Foster® Estate® Hurston ES2 Luxury Plush Queen Mattress

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If you are looking for a mattress that feels like sleeping on a cloud but don't want to spend the night being poked by the quills of a feather top mattress — try Stearns & Foster plush mattress for the same cloud-like sleep experience. Stearns & Foster is renowned for its excellent craftsmanship, which is enhanced by a fantastic choice of premium materials. In order to keep you dry and supported while you sleep, PrimaSense, IntelliCoil advanced, PrecisionEdge, and even PrimaCool performance have been created. This enables you to drift off peacefully as your worries fade away. The S&F air ventilation layers will also keep you cool and supported as you transition through the various stages of sleep, giving sleepers the most comfort and support possible. Plus, this mattress works with power bases if your back pain requires you to sleep in an upright position or if you want to read a book before bed.

Best Type of Mattress by Sleeping Positions

There isn't a single "ideal" sleeping position for everyone. Depending on your health needs, your best position may change over time.

Back Sleepers 

Lying on one's back is the second most popular sleeping position, and it has many benefits over lying on one's side. When you're lying on your back, it's easy to maintain spinal alignment and evenly distribute your body weight to prevent any potential neck or back pain. You can lessen congestion brought on by allergies or a stuffy nose if you elevate yourself while sleeping on your back.

When you sleep in this position, your back is most likely to be strained. If your mattress is too soft, your back may be hurt as your torso sinks in. If your mattress is too hard, you won't be able to maintain the natural curve of your spine, which will cause you additional pain. For a better night's sleep, back sleepers should look for the best medium-firm or hybrid mattress.

Pros of back sleeping: 

  • The head, neck, and spine remain in a natural, neutral position for less chance of back pain 
  • Alleviates acid reflux by keeping your head above your esophagus to prevent stomach acid from coming up your digestive tract (if you elevate your head with a pillow or adjustable base) 
  • Helps prevent wrinkles and acne by keeping your face off the pillow, free of pressure, and out of contact with bacteria on your pillowcase 

Side Sleepers 

Nearly 75 percent of sleepers prefer to lie on their side; this is the most common sleeping position. Even though side sleeping is a common sleeping position, if your spine, neck, and hips are not properly aligned, it can lead to shoulder, hip, and back pain.

When you sleep on your side, your shoulders and hips are put under stress. If your mattress is too soft, the body sinks and is not properly aligned. If your mattress is too firm, you might also contribute to misalignment. Mattresses for side sleepers are either medium-soft or medium-firm. The best mattresses for side sleepers are those with memory foam or pillow tops because they offer the perfect balance of comfort and support to relieve pressure on the hips and shoulders.

Pros of side sleeping: 

  • Eases heartburn and acid reflux 
  • Relieves breathing difficulties that lead to snoring 
  • Diminishes sleep apnea symptoms 
  • Improves blood flow because of reduced pressure  

Stomach Sleepers 

You've probably heard that sleeping on your stomach isn't the best for your neck and spine because of the additional stress it places on them. Even so, about 16 percent of people still like to sleep face down. The best mattresses for stomach sleepers are those that offer the best support and comfort.

The lower backs of those who sleep on their stomachs are compressed. Back pain is brought on by too-soft mattresses, which allow the stomach to sink into them, creating a U-shape in the spine. If the mattress is too firm, your back's shape won't be properly taken into account. To support their natural spinal alignment, stomach sleepers should look for the best firm mattress that is a hybrid or made of foam when selecting a mattress.

Pros of stomach sleeping: 

  • Let's you breathe more easily 
  • Diminishes sleep apnea symptoms 

Your preferences and needs will determine the kind of bed or mattress topper that is best for you. If you have any kind of neck or back pain, we highly recommend memory foam. However, if you prefer something a little more luxurious and softer, but goose or duck feathers make you itch, or it seems like too much work to fluff them again, a plush mattress might be the better option. If you live on or along the West Coast (California, Idaho, Washington, or Nevada), Mattress Land is the best mattress store to visit because our sleep advisors can answer all of your sleep-related questions and provide BedFit technology, which takes the guesswork out of mattress shopping.


Before you rush off to Mattress Land to grab your feather top mattress alternative, let's look at some of the questions our customers have had about these beds.

Q: How long do feather top mattresses last?

Mattress toppers with feather filling typically last for two years, but if they are made of high-quality feathers and are well-maintained, they may last much longer, even though they aren't as thick and supportive as other types of mattress toppers.

Q: What's the difference between a mattress topper and a feather bed?

Similar to mattress toppers, featherbeds are made of goose feathers rather than memory foam or down. In most cases, featherbeds can be placed on top of the fitted sheet, allowing you to lie directly on it.

 Why Trust Mattress Land?

Since 1996, Mattress Land has been making strides in the mattress industry to provide our customers the sleep experience they need — and deserve. We do that by offering the ultimate customer experience, complete with our trained experts, BedFIT™ computerized diagnostics, and our impressive showroom. We'll make sure that you find the right sleep solution for your sleeping habits so you can feel energized in your day-to-day life.

We are also proud of our diverse, employee-driven culture, where our teams work hard toward a common goal. We know that better sleep makes all the difference, and our commitment to changing the landscape of traditional mattress shopping is how we know Mattress Land is one of the best mattress stores around.

Shop Mattresses at Mattress Land

At Mattress Land, we provide quality name-brand mattresses for great prices. Our sleep experts are always happy to help you find more supportive bedding than a feather top mattress. With locations throughout California, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington, Mattress Land is bound to have a sleep solution for everyone. We are more accessible than ever! You can call us at 800-909-9299, visit our website to shop Mattress Land sales, and check out Mattress Land reviews online. Or better yet, stop by one of our showrooms to discover why we are everyone's favorite local mattress store. Visit us today!

Learn More: 6 Reasons NOT to Get a Soft Mattress