Difference Between Down and Feather

It was a long time back when entrepreneurs used to think that they can benefit from the birds feathers and downs, and use them for stuffing or making warm clothes and bedding.

For many people, down and feather are the two names of the same thing which is a misconception. Although both of them can be acquired from the same bird but they are different in the structure, shape, size and function.

Feathers are attached with the body of the bird through a shaft, while down wraps the flesh of a bird’s body, especially young bird.

The structural difference between down and feather also sets them apart. Down has a thick cluster with tiny fibres instead of plumes. On the other hand feathers are very thin and are full of plumes and if you gather one pound of feathers you can find some amount of down in it.

They two structures differ in shape and size also. While comparing the shape of the two; the shape of a feather is somewhat elongated while down cluster is sphere-shaped. The size of a down is smaller than that of a feather.

The function of feathers and down is also different; feathers help the bird in flying while the downs do not.

Moreover both have distinct industrial usage. People use feathers for decorative purposes but when warmth is of concern then downs are preferred. A feather is just like a spring and that’s explains why these are used in pillows. In addition to this, feathers not only help in retaining the shape of the pillow but also provide good support. Down provides warmth with its amazing quality of insulation and will not cause you to precipitate, something which happens when we use synthetic materials like nylon and polyester.

Another difference is in their touch. If you feel the down with your hand, it is fluffy and quite flexible. The feathers are however stiffer.

Lastly, there is a huge difference in the prices of the products made from these base materials. The ones made of down are expensive while the ones made with feathers are not that much pricy.


  • 1


    These are small soft and fluffy feathers that make the cover the body of a bird.

    Image Courtesy: hungariangoosedown.com

  • 2


    Feathers are neat plumage found on the body of the birds. A feather has a quill running at the middle with the vane or soft blades attached on either side.

    Image Courtesy: riverregionunitedway.org

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