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If you’re looking for a top-notch comforter, it’s hard to do better than down. This material is known for its impressive performance, delivering considerable warmth while remaining soft and lightweight. For people who want the best in a comforter, down is a natural place to start.
At the same time, not all down comforters are created equal. It can also be confusing to start shopping for a down comforter because of the confusion that can arise around types of down and other factors that separate one option from another.
In this guide, we’ll present our choices for the best down comforters as well as a guide that will walk you through what you need to know to make the best possible purchase.
The Best Down Comforters of 2018
Editor’s Pick – Tuft & Needle Down Duvet Insert
The Tuft & Needle Down Duvet Insert won us over by featuring all the things we want in a down comforter at an affordable price. Baffle box stitching is an excellent choice for down comforters, as it prevents the shell from compressing the down and reducing its loft. With high-quality workmanship and a soft, moisture-wicking cotton shell, this comforter offers hotel-level luxury without breaking the bank.
Of course, a comforter is nothing without its down. Tuft & Needle uses only humanely-sourced down from North America, allowing you a guilt-free sleep every night. They’ve chosen a medium fill weight which works for all seasons, though those in a colder climate might need to supplement with a blanket in the winter. If this sounds like the comforter for you, but you’re still not sure, Tuft & Needle provides 100 nights for you to make up your mind.
Our runner up is the Parachute Down Duvet Insert. This comforter has all the fundamentals necessary to deliver great performance and has several other excellent features as well. First and foremost, it is made with 100% down that has a fill power of 750. This is plenty of loft to get you through the coldest winter nights. For people who sleep hotter or live in warmer climates, there’s a Lightweight version available alongside the All-Season version.
The fill meets the requirements of the Responsible Down Standard that puts a focus on the material’s production. The softness of the down is enhanced by the 100% cotton sateen shell, and for people who are nervous about trying out a down comforter, there’s a 60-day no-risk return option to help you sleep easy after buying this comforter.
This comforter from Topsleepy takes our top spot for most affordable because it is available at a price point that is much less intimidating to most customers but without making huge sacrifices in terms of warmth.
This comforter uses a mixture of down feathers and other feathers, and those other feathers won’t provide the same robust amount of insulation as down. For this reason, the fill power is only 500+, but this is still enough for most seasons.
In the coldest of winter, it may need to be supplemented with another blanket, but given its price, this option represents a great choice for those who can’t spring for a 100% down comforter and don’t want a down alternative (synthetic) fill.
Baffle box construction, a thick cotton shell, and cloud-soft hypoallergenic down make the Sol Organics Down Comforter our choice for a luxury comforter. This is also the right choice for anyone with allergies or sensitive skin, as the organic shell will reduce irritation and prevent any bits of down from poking through. Reviewers across the board appreciate the comforter’s balance between weight and warmth, and our internal testing found this ratio to be exemplary. Its loft is high and fluffy without being bulky, and the choice of fill weight means it works well in all climates.
Choosing a down comforter can be expensive and confusing, particularly if you’ve never used one before. Sol Organic’s 30-night trial allows you to be certain that this investment in your sleep is worth it.
Our favorite all-season comforter is the Snowman Goose Down Comforter. It has the warmth that’s needed for winter with 700 fill power white goose down, but it’s not so overpowering in warmth to make it unusable in the summer.
To keep the down in place it uses baffle-box construction, and 8 individual loops keep the comforter in place inside a duvet cover. A 100% cotton shell is made with a thread count of 600 to give plenty of smoothness and durability while containing all the down within the comforter.
For a heavy-duty down comforter, the Egyptian Bedding Goose Down comforter is our pick. It packs a serious punch with 100% down from Siberian geese. It has a fill power of 750 and a fill weight of 70 ounces. This down material can better maintain loft thanks to baffle-box stitching, and all together, it makes this a powerhouse when it comes to warmth.
In addition, the shell is made with high-end material, in specific, 100% Egyptian cotton with a thread count of 600 that helps to prevent down from coming out of the shell. It comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee so you have an opportunity to test it out in your own home.
Considering how often we use comforters, it can come as a surprise when purchasing one seems to require a whole new vocabulary. In our guide to buying a down comforter, we’ll walk you through all the crucial details. By the end, you should understand the subject better and feel confident choosing the right comforter for you.
Down can be derived from either ducks or geese. Goose down tends to be somewhat warmer than duck down and may be more expensive. This is because geese are larger than ducks and thus tend have bigger, fluffier down that offers more loft.
However, not all goose down is from large, mature geese, so the down fill is not inherently larger in goose down than duck down. In addition, down clusters offer more warmth, so a duck down comforter with a high percentage of clusters may be as warm or warmer than a goose down comforter made with a lower percentage of clusters.
Sometimes down materials will specify where the goose or duck was raised. While there are trends in terms of the down that comes from certain places (such as duck down from China, which tends to be made up of smaller feathers), the geographic origin of the down is not a guarantee of its size or quality.
The bottom line, though, is that despite the differences, both types of down can be very effective at insulating you and keeping you warm.
Besides just general duck and goose down, there are other types of fill materials that may be used in down comforters and other terminology that can be useful to know when selecting one.
While both the cluster and feather are down, they are distinct. The cluster is underneath the feathers and is puffier and has more loft. As a result, if a down comforter has more fill derived from clusters, it generally is warmer.
These are synthetic materials that try to mimic the feel and warmth of down but without any allergenic issues and with lower cost. Some are very low-cost and offer minimal warmth while others, like gel-fiber and Primaloft, are softer and loftier.
There are feathers from ducks and geese that can be used that are not down (e.g, not from the underside of the plumage). These feathers are still light but are not warm like down. Sometimes they are mixed in with down in the fill.
To help make a comforter more affordable, occasionally cotton may be mixed in as part of the fill. While soft, cotton does not offer warmth like down, so don’t expect a blend like this to perform like 100% down.
This material can retain warmth well while at the same time wicking moisture. However, it is heavier and also expensive to produce. As a result it is rare to find it blended with down in the fill.
Given its airy composition, silk has the lightness of down but nowhere near its warmth. It is more commonly used in comforters intended for summer or warm weather use.
Fill power is determined by measuring how much space (volume) is taken up by 1 ounce of a type of down. If it takes up more space, then it will have more loft and warmth. The fill power has a direct impact on expected heat provided by a comforter.
The outside of a comforter is known as its shell, and it can be made from a range of different materials.
This is the most common shell material thanks to its softness and blend of durability and affordability. Some people prefer this feel while others find that cotton sleeps hot and is not breathable.
Silk has long been known for its smoothness, and it also tends to guard against overheating. However, it is more expensive and harder to maintain, so it is not used as frequently.
Wool is an all-purpose textile thanks to its softness and warmth combined with moisture-wicking properties. But it is also heavy and expensive and thus less commonly found as the shell for down comforters.
To give cotton more breathability and less moisture retention, some shells blend it with polyester or other synthetics.
You will often find a thread count listed in the description of the shell of the comforter. This is calculated by looking at the density of yarns inside of a square inch of the fabric.
In general, higher thread counts are smoother and last longer, but sometimes thread counts are manipulated to seem higher by double counting two-ply yarns. Look for thread counts of 300-600 as these should deliver plenty of quality and enough strength to hold in the down material. Thread counts higher than this range likely represent double counting.
One variation among down comforters is how they are stitched as several potential methods may be used.
Down tends to be more expensive than other comforter fillings due to demand and the long process of harvesting, cleaning, and preparing it. However, down also earns its price tag with unparalleled comfort, warmth, and loft. Budget-conscious shoppers should keep an eye out for sales or consider affordable multi-fill options like our value pick above.
Since down is an animal product sourced from geese and ducks, some people may be concerned about ensuring their down has been humanely harvested. The good news is that down is a sustainable byproduct of animals raised for consumption, and as standards in that industry change it has become more common to see down which comes from a cruelty-free supply chain.
If humanely sourced down is important to you, look for down comforters advertising their supply chain (like several of our top picks above). Certification by the Responsible Down Standard is another excellent marker, though the certification is voluntary and not all humane down manufacturers have been certified.
Choosing organic products is important to some people for a variety of reasons, but the two most common are avoiding irritants and allergens, and supporting sustainable, eco-friendly manufacturers.
Conventional cotton production uses large amounts of pesticides, but organic cotton comforter shells are becoming more common and easier to find every year. The cost is usually higher, but worth it if organic products are important to you.
If you’re choosing an organic comforter for allergy or sensitivity reasons, remember to look for hypoallergenic down which has been carefully cleaned of irritating dander.
Although the general size of down comforters is standardized, the exact dimensions can vary. For example, one brand’s queen-size comforter might be sized to fit a queen-size bed exactly, while another will be made to hang far over the edges. Double-check sizes to ensure your new comforter has the dimensions you’re looking for.
Most down comforters are only available in white since they are meant to be used with a separate duvet cover. These covers are available in a wide range of fabrics, colors, and patterns and can easily be switched if you want to change up your bedroom’s look.
A down comforter is an investment, and with the proper care you can get many years of excellent use from it. Here are three key tips to caring for your down comforter.
First, shake it out regularly. This helps to redistribute the down and maintain the loft of the comforter. If you notice any material coming out of the shell, make sure to repair it quickly.
Second, clean it properly. Follow any instructions from the manufacturer. If it can be washed in a machine, don’t use hot water, and only use a light or mild detergent. Top-loading washing machines should be avoided because they tend to put more twisting pressure on the fill. Dry cleaning is controversial as some manufacturers recommend it, but it can in some cases damage a down comforter.
Third, store it cautiously. Down should never be stuffed tightly in a box or in a plastic bag as this will compress the down and trap in any moisture or dirt. Instead, if you need to store it (such as in the summer), fold it up and keep it in a dry place (such as a closet). Ideally, you can fold it and store it in a cotton bag that keeps it contained but allows airflow through the bag and the comforter to keep it fresh.
A comforter is only one part of a comfortable, sleep-friendly bed. To learn about other styles of bedding or read about our favorite pillows and sheets, follow the links below: