The Best Down Comforters for Warmth and Quality
Find the best down comforters available online and learn what to look for when shopping for down.
Feb 13th, 2020 •
Down comforters are a certain type of bedding stuffed with the down of birds, which is a layer of fine feathers found under the tougher exterior feathers. Historically, down feathers were gathered for insulation from wildfowl, gulls, and seabirds. Nowadays, most down feathers come from domesticated geese.
Known for their warmth and loft, you can’t go wrong with a down comforter, especially in winter.
How to Choose the Best Down Comforter
Down comforters vary in quality so it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for this type of bedding. The quality of down is largely determined by the fill power, also known as loft, as well as, the type of down used and how it’s constructed.
Fill power is one of the most important qualities when shopping for a down comforter. Fill power is determined as the amount of down per ounce within the comforter. The higher the fill power, the higher the loft (fluffiness) and insulation (thickness). If you’re living situations are in a warmer setting then you will want to look for a lower fill power. A fill power of 600 or more is considered best for warm, winter months. Any fill power lower is best for all season long or warmer living conditions. If you can’t seem to find the fill power when searching for products, another term to look for is warmth ratings.
Most down comforters are filled with goose or duck feathers. Both are highly efficient at insulating and providing comfort. The only difference is the size. Goose feathers are larger than duck feathers.
Additionally, a down comforters exterior fabric can be made of several different types; cotton, polyester, silk or sateen. There is also such a thing as a down alternative comforter, which are not made with 100% down. Therefore, if you are looking for pure down it’s important to make sure the label reads 100 percent down, otherwise, it may be filled with rayon, polyester or cotton. However, alternative down is great for individuals that struggle with allergies, as many of these comforters are made with a hypoallergenic exterior which prevents allergy disruptions.
Related: Best Cotton Comforters
There are a few terms you should know and look out for as you search for the perfect down comforter:
Shell Fabric and Thread count
In order to determine the level of comfort and quality of your down comforter, the outer fabric, and its thread count is a key indicator. Thread count is defined as the density of sewn threads per square inch. This means that a higher thread count leads to greater breathability and comfort of the down. When the thread count is low, it’s going to feel somewhat crisp and hard. You will even be able to tell the difference in sound when tossing and turning in a high thread count vs low thread count down. Look for a 100 percent cotton shell, as it’s more breathable than synthetic fabrics.
There are two ways that down comforters are stitched together— sewn through or baffle box. Here’s what you need to know about both:
Baffle box construction
This is the more luxurious and expensive construction of down comforter stitching. A baffle box gets sewn internally to create a “box” connecting the top and bottom of the down. This allows an even distribution of loft throughout the entire comforter which results in better insulation.
Sewn-through is what you’ll most likely come across in standard down comforters. It’s less expensive but it doesn’t equally disperse the down like the baffle box construction. The sewn-through method does not connect the two layers, instead, it’s just sewn directly through the fabric. This puts a limit on your warmth opportunity.
Down comforters are not meant to be the top bedding, therefore it doesn’t need to be washed that often. In most cases, down comforters go inside a duvet cover which is what will be washed. However, when you do wash down, it’s important to care for it properly. Here are some standard tips to follow:
- Read the washing directions on YOUR comforter. All manufacturers are made differently so it’s important to see what they recommend.
- Make sure your washing machine is large enough for a full comforter. If not, we suggest getting it professionally laundered.
- If you can wash at home, wash alone and on a gentle cycle but keep the spin cycle on fast to decrease leftover moisture.
- Once it’s ready to dry, it’s up to you or your comforters instructions on what level of heat to use. Most manufacturers recommend drying on a low cycle. You may have to dry multiple times but be patient so the quality of your down stays in top-notch shape.
- An alternative is laying the comforter out flatly on a clean, fresh surface and allowing it to let air dry.
It’s important to know the difference between a down comforter and duvet. A duvet is another form of bed covering that is sewn as a large fabric “bag” and stuffed with down or other materials, such as wool or feathers. Duvets most often come in white because they are meant to be purchased with a duvet cover. Duvets are lighter weight than down comforters and less expensive. The quality and insulation aren’t nearly as strong on a duvet.
The Best Down Comforters
Discussed below are several options based on common characteristics you may be searching for when purchasing a down comforter. Here are our top picks on the best down comforters.
Best for Warmth
The Siberian Down Comforter by Egyptian Bedding offers all the luxury of a down comforter at a decent price point compared to others with the same features. It’s made with 100 percent down from Siberian geese and a 100 percent Egyptian cotton cover, making it extremely smooth and comfortable.
With a 750 fill power and baffle box construction, this is a great choice for warmth. If for some reason it’s not for you, it comes with a 30-day return window in which you can return for a full refund.
Best Budget Option
Remember how we mentioned there’s such thing as a down alternative? Well, this one, for $40 or less, is highly respected. The Utopia Comforter is a duvet insert that is designed with box stitching, evenly distributing comfort and warmth.
The filling is siliconized fiber which is proven to be extremely soft and fluffy. This duvet insert can be machine washed. If you’re looking for an easy, maintenance-free alternative, this is it.
One reviewer says, “The very low price of this comforter almost scared me away but we ended up loving it! It’s surprisingly light, crisp, and fluffy. Hands down the best ‘feel’ I’ve had in years.”
Best Luxury Option
We gave you a budget-friendly option so it’s only fair to give you the most high-end option as well. The Scandia Home Vienna Down Comforter is the best down comforter of all the trades.
This high quality down comforter has a fill power of 750 and is made with Polish white goose down. It’s designed with a premier cotton shell called cotton batiste, which is from a hand-selected German mill. With a 350 thread-count, you can be ensured for exceptional insulation and comfort.
It comes with a lifetime warranty and each comforter is made in the United States.
Best for Hot Sleepers
Calling all hot sleepers! Why should you have to be left out over something you can’t help? Luckily, there’s a down out there for you. Land’s End Essential Down Comforter is the perfect combination of breezy and fluffy.
With a fill power of 550, this comforter doesn’t offer as much warmth- making it the perfect balance for already-toasty individuals. Not only does this option offer the breezy-feel you’re searching for but it’s also designed with baffle box construction and covered with a 300 cotton thread count. You know you’re getting the full down experience when it’s built through baffle box construction.
Best For Any Season
Last but certainly not least, the Snowman Goose Down Comforter is a great choice for year-round use. It’s made with 700 fill power which is a perfect, in-between warmth that will cuddle you through the cold while also letting you breathe in the summer.
It’s designed with baffle box construction and the outer shell is made with 100 percent cotton. The Snowman Goose down comforter is filled with, you guessed it, 100 percent white goose down. It’s also hypoallergenic!
No matter what option you choose for your down comforter, educate yourself on the differences and pay attention to your needs.
Still, have questions about down comforters? Drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get you an answer.
P.S. We recommend getting a duvet cover to protect your comforter from getting soiled. The duvet cover is easier to clean than a comforter, even a machine washable type. We are particularly fond of Primary’s linen duvet. Check out the review here.