In our Saatva Down Alternative pillow review, we're going to run you through our experience with this top-quality pillow made of hypoallergenic down-alternative fibers. It's the most affordable pillow in the brand's range, alongside a latex option and a memory foam option, and ticks off all the right things from that general pillow checklist. But is it the best pillow for you?
We've been very impressed with this brand's other offerings – it makes our #1 best mattress, for instance (read about it in our Saatva Classic mattress review, and also see our Saatva Loom & Leaf mattress review for an affordable option that helps with back pain). So how does the Saatva Down Alternative pillow match up? Read on to find out.
Saatva Down-Alternative Pillow review in brief
On first impressions, the Saatva Down-Alternative pillow is certainly a promising pillowy proposition. It looks thick and plush, is hypoallergenic, and is made without animal products, too. It also boasts the same top build quality we'd expect from Saatva.
Type: Down-alternative, synthetic stuffing
Best suited to: People with allergies, combination & stomach sleepers
Dimensions: 18 x 28 inches (Queen), 34 x 16 inches (King)
Trial period: 45 days
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
This might be the cheapest option in the current Saatva pillow lineup, but it's still a little on the pricey side. $115 for a Queen and $135 for a King (Saatva sales and deals notwithstanding) isn’t exactly budget-minded in the pillow world, especially when there are sub-$50 options on Amazon that potentially do the job just as well. But, good quality sleep is one of the most vital things for your overall health and wellness, and it’s worth spending a little money to ensure that you’re getting it.
In this case, however, the Saatva Down Alternative isn’t going to be the best investment for everyone. We tested this for about three weeks in different sleeping positions (side, stomach, and back) and on two different mattresses. And, while it delivered excellent temperature regulation and a nice bounce, it's also very thick, and relatively firm. Saatva says it's 'designed to mimic the lofty feel of traditional down pillows' and is 'highly moldable', but we found it offered considerably less sink and shapeability than you'd find with an actual down or feather pillow.
The combination of those properties means that we suspect that many sleepers – especially back and stomach sleepers – will find this too high for a neutral spinal alignment. If you love a firmer pillow, are a side sleeper with particularly broad shoulders or often double up on pillows, it might be perfect though.
While we didn't get on with it too well, this pillow has received a handful of glowing reviews from other customers. But we'd suggest you seriously consider its features as well as reading our full Saatva Down Alternative pillow review before you hit buy. Though if you do want to live on the wild side, at least the brand offers a 45-day trial period.
View the Saatva Down Alternative Pillow from $115 at Saatva
Starting at $115, the Saatva Down Alternative Pillow is designed for side and combination sleepers with allergies. It has a high loft, and is medium-firm, which means it's best suited to those with board shoulders who prefer a thick pillow.
Saatva Down Alternative Pillow review: materials
- Polyester stuffing
- Hypoallergenic materials
- 100% organic cotton cover
Unlike down pillows, which are made of the inner feathers of a waterfowl, typically a duck or a goose, this pillow is filled with two types of synthetic fibers – microdenier down alternative and supportive memory fibers. While some down pillows are ethically sourced, you do need to be careful about what you buy in that area.
The Saatva Down Alternative is a great option to folks who prefer not to have any animal byproduct in their bedding at all. However, it doesn’t just do the bare minimum. Saatva is known for its ethical efforts and sustainable practices so it isn’t a surprise that this pillow is also wrapped in 100% organic hypoallergenic cotton.
Saatva Down Alternative Pillow review: price and deals
- Saatva's cheapest pillow, but still high-end pricing
- MSRP $115 for a Queen, $135 for a King
- Saatva regularly holds sales and discounts throughout the year
The Saatva Down Alternative pillow may be the cheapest of Saatva’s three pillows, but it’s certainly not a budget option. The brand is asking $115 of your hard-earned dollars for a Queen and $135 for a King, which puts it in the luxury pillow category.
We've slept on pillows that cost a fraction of that and offered the same level of supportive comfort you’d expect from luxury pillows, so we’d definitely consider this one a splurge. In fact, you’ll find some cheaper options in our best pillow guide, including the $65 Casper Original Pillow. Even our top pick, the Layla Kapok Pillow, is slightly cheaper than the Saatva we're reviewing here.
Saatva does often run sales and deals throughout the year, however, so you might be able to get it for less than the regular price – perhaps during big sale events or with Saatva coupons. And, luckily, if you don’t think it’s right for you, it comes with a 45-day trial period.
Sadly, it isn’t available to non-US customers. Saatva does not even ship directly to Hawaii or Alaska, so ordering from these states might be a little tricky.
Saatva Down Alternative Pillow review: design and features
- Core made up of spring-like down alternative 'memory' fibers
- Thick – might be too thick for some sleepers
- Subtle Saatva logo all over the cover
The hypoallergenic down alternative fibers used as stuffing in the Saatva Down Alternative pillow is designed to keep the pillow light, airy, and cool. Meanwhile, the memory fiber clusters at the center of the pillow have, according to Saatva, spring-like properties that allow the pillow to offer better support and be more durable.
It does have a high loft, which means it’s on the thick side, as Saatva is trying to 'mimic the lofty feel of traditional down pillows'. That means it might serve people who like to double up on pillows well – as long as they prefer their pillow on the firmer side. Though, while it isn’t exactly down-worthy soft and plush, it is reasonably so with a little bit of bounce that we can attribute to those spring-like core clusters.
The cotton cover has the Saatva logo printed all over it, although to be fair it is done in a subtle way that shouldn't show through a pillowcase. Sadly, it isn’t recommended to toss this one in the washer – Saatva only recommends spot cleaning as needed, which is fairly unusual (here's what we recommend in terms of how to clean a pillow) and might shorten the shelf-life of this pillow in the long-run.
Saatva Down Alternative Pillow review: performance
- Absorbs very little body heat and offers good airflow
- Firm with a decent amount of bounce and sink
- Firm, high loft might push your head too high for neutral spinal alignment
We slept on one queen-sized Saatva Down Alternative pillow for three weeks. Our testing panel consists of individuals with varying sleep styles, body types, and sleep concerns. Thus, we were able to thoroughly test these pillows in key areas of performance, including support, comfort, and temperature regulation. Here's what we discovered...
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
Because the Saatva Down Alternative isn’t a down or a feather pillow that can be compressed for packing and shipping, the pillow did come in a box that’s only slightly bigger than its actual dimensions. There’s not a lot of setup involved, therefore, apart from pulling it out of the box and its bag, and perhaps fluffing it up a little, if you like.
The box is easily recyclable, which allows you to simply follow your city’s recycling program instead of doing anything special like dropping it off at a facility. At first, you might be concerned about the clear, thick plastic bag or case the pillow comes in, but it’s actually also a carrier or storage bag that you should keep in case you cycle your pillows or just need to put some of them away from time to time (like if you’re using it solely for guests’ use).
There’s no off-putting smell that stood out to us either. We used this pillow as it is out of the box on the first few nights – just to get a feel of it without the influence of a pillow case – and we haven’t experienced any noxious smell.
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
Cotton and heat aren’t exactly a good combination, which is why we’re very surprised that despite being made of 100% cotton cover, the Saatva Down Alternative has no issues with heat retention. This tester generally runs hot during sleep; as does the friend we had asked to test it for a couple of nights for comparison. And, neither of us experienced any issues with overheating during our individual quality time with it. That certainly says a lot about the efforts Saatva made to give this pillow better temperature regulation.
However, do note that there aren’t any cooling properties present either. This pillow won’t retain heat, but it also won’t keep you pleasantly cool on warm nights either. If you’re looking for some sort of cooling tech, you probably should consider something other than a down-alternative option.
Firmness and support
Our rating: 3.5 / 5
As we’ve mentioned before, the Saatva Down Alternative is a high loft, medium firm pillow. That means it’s plenty thick and while it’s not too firm and does have a bit of sink and shapeability, it’s not at the same level as a proper down or feather pillow.
There’s a lot of support, therefore, especially for side-sleepers who need that exact design to keep their necks at a neutral position. However, not all side-sleepers will appreciate that. Especially those who like a little bit of sink or cloud-like fluffiness and those who have narrow shoulders might find their neck craning a little overnight.
As a side-sleeper herself, this reviewer has often woken up with strained lateral neck muscles using this pillow. At first, we thought that this might have something to do with the fact that the mattress being used during testing was a little on the softer side, but we have yielded similar results sleeping on a firm mattress pad. It’s worth noting that the distance between the tip of the reviewer’s shoulder and the side of her neck is about five inches, and this pillow is about six-and-a-half to seven inches thick. That difference wouldn’t have mattered had the pillow offered a bit more sink.
Pillow compatibility differs from person to person, so we also asked a friend who is a combination sleeper and prefers doubling up on pillows to test it for a couple of nights as well. This person is also taller and bigger so we thought he might have a different experience. As much as this person praises it for its heat handling, he also isn’t a fan of its thickness and firmness. He felt that the pillow forced his neck at an angle during testing, particularly when he slept on his back and to a small degree when he slept on his side.
That isn’t to say, of course, that there aren’t people out there that will love the Saatva Down Alternative. It might just be that this pillow is only ideal for a handful of sleepers and body types, particularly those who are used to firmer options and have broader shoulders.
Saatva Down Alternative Pillow review: Other reviews
While we didn't get on too well with the Saatva Down Alternative pillow during our testing, based on the user reviews on the Saatva side, there are consumers out there that will find this pillow an ace. Although Saatva only has four reviews on the pillow at time of writing, those four gave it a perfect score, with one reviewer claiming that it's the best pillow they’ve ever owned.
One back sleeper found it comfortable to sleep on in that position, which is somewhat contradictory to what we experienced during testing. Another reviewer mentioned that it kept their neck in line with their shoulders, which again isn't what we found, although this will depend on your particular body shape. Another praised it for being firm but not too firm, which we'd agree with.
A reason we can think of to explain these differences in opinion is that these customers preferred firmer pillows while the two people who tested it for this review preferred fluffier and more shapeable options. Firmer pillows, especially when you’re used to down or feather pillows, can be a bit of an adjustment.
It also must be noted that anyone can just post a review on the Saatva site, as you don’t need to verify a purchase to do so. It could also be that one or two of these reviews are for another Saatva pillow mistakenly posted by the reviewer/s on the Saatva Down-Alternative page.
Should you buy the Saatva Down Alternative Pillow?
The Saatva Down Alternative Pillow has all the makings of an excellent pillow. It is made of down alternative fibers that are hypoallergenic, breathable, and airy. It has a spring-like core that gives it a bit of bounce and better head support. Finally, it boasts that high loft and medium firm support that side and combination sleepers might appreciate. And, we would have been happy to pay its high price of entry.
Unfortunately, firmness requires some getting used to, and if you prefer your pillows being shapeable and/or fluffy with some sink, you might find this a bit of an adjustment. Similarly, if you have narrower shoulders, you might find your neck straining – at least until the pillow has been broken in and has lost some of its extra thickness.
Again, this isn’t to say that the pillow isn’t worth considering. The stellar reviews on Saatva’s website prove otherwise. However, this is definitely one of those products that are better suited for a handful of consumers rather than for most people. Luckily, if it does look appealing to you, it comes with a 45-day trial so you can test it out without fully committing.
If you prefer a more cloud-like pillow, you might love the Parachute Down Pillow, another premium option that allows you to choose its density for comfort that is customized specifically for you. If you need something cheaper and with cooling properties, the Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow might be preferable.