Difference Between Down and Feather

Pillows, blankets, and jackets can be found almost in every house, and we often tend to buy these things for their softness and their delicacy.

But very few people know that this delicacy comes from the birds that we see in the sky. Yes, all these products use certain things like feathers, etc., to become soft and delicate for our use. 

Down and Feather are two such products given by birds that are used in pillows, jackets, and many other things. While these two carry a lot of similarities, they differ a lot as well.

And to understand that which one should be preferred in the products, their difference should be known. 

Down vs Feather 

The main difference between Down and Feather is that the former refers to a soft and delicate fiber-type structure that is attached to the body of a duck or a goose. The crucial point is that this layer exists immediately after the flesh of the bird, and there is nothing in between this layer and the flesh. But on the contrary, the latter is completely different and is attached from the outward only. It can be seen as a firm fiber attached from the outside of the body and not on the inside. 

Down vs Feather

Defining Down, it can be said that it is nothing but a collection of delicate fibers with a center in between.

These exist immediately after the flesh of the bird and protect the bird from external factors such as temperature and other harmful things.

Structure-wise, these look like fluffy flowers with a centralized point inside them, and these are vastly observed by people floating in the air sometimes. 

But on the contrary, a Feather is not attached to the flesh of a bird rather to the outside structure of the body. When the layer of down ends, a layer of feathers starts.

These are firmer in structure and do not look like a round-shaped flower, and have a more flat-looking structure.

Feathers were used for writing long ago, and now, they are mostly seen in things like pillows and jackets, etc.  

Comparison Table Between Down and Feather 

Parameters of Comparison Down  Feather  
Meaning  It is a collection of delicate fibers with a center in between and is attached to the flesh. It is a flat-shaped structure attached to the outer body firmly. 
Situated  Immediately after the flesh. At the other side of the body. 
Purpose  These resist the heat and do not let it escape the body resulting in warmness. This acts as a supporter during flying and helps in maintaining the structure of the body. 
Structure  It consists of thousands of delicate fibers coming together to form a round-shaped structure with a center. It consists of quills and gives a boney and firm texture. 
Expensiveness  It is more expensive. It is less expensive. 
Delicacy  It is delicate in texture. It is hard in texture. 
Heat resistant  It resists heat and allows the air to pass through. It does not work as a resistance. 
Mostly used in Pillows or jackets or duvets. Earrings, ornaments, and other hard commodities. 

What is Down? 

Down can be explained as a layer of feathers on the body of a bird that is different from the feathers having quills.

Down feathers are found immediately after the flesh of the bird and immediately before the outer layer feathers.

These are very soft and delicate in texture and provide a very delicate sensation to the bird. 

Talking about the body part, usually, it is found at the belly of the bird, and it acts as heat resistance.

It does not allow the heat of the body to escape from it and keeps the body warm even in different circumstances.

Commercially, it is used in pillows and blankets, etc. but a pillow made up of 100% of this fiber is very expensive.  

This is because of the delicacy and softness of this fiber.

If you found a 100% pure pillow or jacket made up of this fiber, it is going to feel like heaven as it will be very soft to the body and will maintain the temperature of the body in the winters as well as summers. 

What is Feather? 

A Feather can be defined and explained as a flat-shaped structure attached to the outer body of a bird very firmly.

These exist immediately after the layer of down feathers and provide a shape and texture to the tiny body of a bird.

In other words, these can be termed as the supporter of a bird because they aid in controlling flying and they aid in maintaining the structure of the body.  

At certain times, feathers are also used by the body to prevent it from very cold and harsh temperatures, and when the feathers fall down from the body, certain birds use them to create a nest for them or to keep the young birds warm.

In commercial products, 100% pure feather-based product is rarely available because it becomes very harsh and firm and can poke the person by whom it is being used. 

Therefore, in most cases, the feather is mixed with down to create a commercial and suitable product such as pillows, blankets, jackets, etc.

Many years before, people used to write with feathers with the help of ink, but today, this trend has become obsolete. 

Main Differences Between Down and Feather 

  1. Down is a collection of delicate fibers with a center in between, while Feather is a flat-shaped structure attached from the outside. 
  2. Down consists of thousands of delicate fibers coming together to form a round-shaped structure with a center. But feather consists of quills and gives a boney and firm texture. 
  3. Down happens to be delicate in texture, while Feather is boney and firm. 
  4. Down can be found immediately after the skin while Feather is found attached from the outside area. 
  5. Down is expensive than Feather. 
  6. Down resists the heat from escaping the body and keeps it warm while Feather helps to maintain the structure of the body and flying. 
Difference Between Down and Feather


As it is clear by the comparisons and differences mentioned before, down and feather are two related but completely different things.

While a down is attached to the very flesh of the bird itself and protects the bird from getting any immediate harm to the soft skin, a feather does a different job.

It helps the bird in flying and aids the body in maintaining a firm structure.  

It also protects the bird from the spooky surfaces of trees and other plants and becomes a shield for the body.

If we talk about these two things from the perspective of commercial use, these two have their own pros and cons in any commercial product.

If you’re looking for delicacy and purity, down is a suitable choice for you, but if you’re looking for a firm and boney texture, a feather will work well. 


  1. https://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/9268/
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/(SICI)1097-010X(19991215)285:4%3C291::AID-JEZ1%3E3.0.CO;2-9
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