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Down — made from the soft and warm material underneath the feathers of geese and ducks — is a popular material for comforters. However, it can also be expensive, allergy-inducing, and difficult to clean and maintain. For this reason, synthetic materials have been developed to mimic the feel of down while avoiding its pitfalls.
Down alternative comforters are made using these synthetic materials with a down-like performance. There’s a huge diversity of down alternative comforters in terms of their composition and price, and as a result, it can be a daunting task to know which one is the best for you.
In this guide, we’ll help you find the best down alternative comforters. In addition to recommending our top picks, we’ll also review the essential background that you need to make an informed purchase.
The Best Down Alternative Comforters of 2019
Editor’s Pick – Buffy Comforter
Fantastic Value – Superior Down Alternative Comforter
Most Luxurious Feel – Egyptian Bedding Goose Down Alternative Comforter
Best All-Season – Lavish Comforts Ultimate Goose Alternative Comforter
Best Winter-Weight – Chezmoi Collection Goose Down Alternative Comforter
The Buffy Comforter takes the top spot as our Editor’s Choice because of its innovative and eco-friendly design. Both the fill and the shell of this comforter break from tradition in terms of the materials that are employed. The fill is made with a polyester that is spun from recycled plastics, and in fact, an average of 50 recycled plastic bottles are removed from the environment for each Buffy Comforter.
But it’s not just eco-friendly; it’s also lofty and airy, providing plenty of warmth year-round without being too hot. The shell is made with a fabric that comes from Eucalyptus and combines both softness and breathability.
Buffy offers free shipping for the comforter and also offers a full refund if you decide within the first 30 nights that this comforter isn’t the right fit for your needs.
For those looking for a low-cost, high-value down alternative comforter, the Superior Down Alternative Comforter should jump to the top of the list.
It gives sufficient warmth thanks to its 100 ounces of polyfill, and this polyester is held in place using baffle-box stitching. That stitching also gives the fill more space within each sewn compartment to keep its loft, preserving warmth during all seasons. The shell uses microfiber to maintain a smooth and soft feel.
This combination of fill and shell materials is hypoallergenic and fully machine-washable, so this comforter is easy to maintain and keep clean.
For customers who want a down alternative comforter that feels luxurious, the Egyptian Bedding Goose Down Alternative Comforter fits the bill.
Two key features give it this plush feel. First, it has a light and lofty polyester fill with significant fill power and weight. This material replicates the feeling of down in terms of softness and warmth (even if not quite as warm as true down).
Second, it has a 600 thread count shell made from 100% Egyptian cotton. This cover is soft, smooth, and durable. The comforter is fully machine-washable so you can easily clean this comforter and maintain its luxury feel.
An all-season comforter needs to be able to be warm enough to use during the winter but not so warm as to make you overheat during summer months. The Lavish Comforts Ultimate Goose Alternative Comforter achieves this goal with its use of polyester fill held in place using baffle-box stitching. When it’s cold, the loft of this comforter will help insulate you, but when the mercury rises, you won’t feel stifling warmth thanks to the breathability of the polyester.
The shell of this comforter is a double-brushed microfiber that has softness that rivals that of Egyptian cotton and gives additional plushness to the comforter.
The Chezmoi Collection Goose Down Alternative Comforter is our pick to help get you through the winter. Its 79 ounces of polyester fill delivers a significant amount of warmth for its weight, and customers report high levels of satisfaction with this comforter even on cold nights. Its heat distribution stays even thanks to the box-stitching that helps hold the fill material in place.
The cover is also made from polyester, and this makes the comforter easy to machine-wash and also prevents allergy issues associated with down. Even with all these benefits, the price of this Chezmoi comforter is accessible even for customers on a budget, making this both a good value and a great choice for winter warmth.
If you’re the type of customer who wants to know the details about what separates one product from another, this guide is for you. To help you know about down and down alternative comforters, we’ll review the most useful background and terminology. This can help you sort through the information that you need to be an informed consumer.
Down is a powerhouse fill material for a comforter thanks to its ability to offer serious warmth and softness in a lightweight package. However, it has some serious limitations, and down alternative comforters can replicate the feeling of down while offering several advantages:
In this section, we’ll review the most important details about the build and design of down alternative comforters.
The term that is used for the outside fabric surrounding the comforter is the “shell.” A diversity of materials may be used for comforter shells:
Fill materials in down alternative comforters are normally synthetic but can also include other materials as well. Within each category is a range of quality and composition.
There are also several other materials that may be used in comforters instead of down that we’ll describe below, but normally the term “down alternative” is reserved for synthetic materials specifically designed to have a feel of down.
Fill power is a term commonly used with down comforters that refers to the amount of space (volume) is taken up by 1 ounce of the down. More fill power generally means more warmth. This term is not used quite as much with down alternative comforters but may still be used in some cases to give an indication of expected heat potential.
Thread count is used to give detail about the composition of the shell of the comforter when it is made of cotton. The thread count is determined by measuring the density of the yarns of cotton within one square inch of fabric. A higher thread count often connotes a more durable and softer cotton. At the same time, thread counts can be exaggerated by “double counting” yarns that are two-ply. If you see a thread count of 300-600, odds are that this will feel plenty smooth. Thread counts that are higher likely are the result of double counting.
The way that a comforter is stitched will shape how much the material can move within the comforter. There are a few primary stitching techniques to be aware of.
One helpful way to care for your comforter is by keeping it in a duvet cover. This can protect it from spills and sweat, and then instead of cleaning the comforter, you can just slip off and wash the duvet cover.
If you do need to clean the comforter itself, most are machine-washable, and typically they are designed to be washed on a delicate setting and then dried on low heat. It is important, though, to check for any specific instructions from the manufacturer.
In many cases, it may not be necessary to wash the entire comforter, and in those cases, you can usually spot clean the shell with a mild detergent and then let it air dry.
If you notice that the material has lost loft or is bunching at all, fluff the comforter. You can also just try to remember to fluff the comforter on a regular basis (such as when you make the bed).