two down comforters

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People who live in cold climates often consider bedding and outerwear to be must haves. If you have ever been under a airy duvet, you might understand why.

The American Down and Feather Council describes down as “the world’s most efficient natural insulator,” so it stands to reason that many people prefer this fiber in their bedding. Who doesn’t want to feel warm and cozy on the coldest nights of the year?

We recommend the six best down and down alternative comforters.

“Water birds have a layer of fluff down. It provides insulation in the cold weather. The fibers under the birds’ feathers are covered with a soft, lightweight warmth.”

Down works in a similar way when stuffed inside blankets and outerwear, as the down fibers fluff out to provide lightweight, lofty comfort and warmth.

Since down and other feathers that might slip through are lightweight and breathable, down comforters can keep you warm through the night without trapping heat or making you sweat.

We looked at the following criteria when searching for the best down comforters.

  • Customer reviews and testing: We read customer reviews to find the comforters that people love most. We also tested a few of our picks.
  • Materials: These comforters are all down or down alternatives. We also looked for products with other certifications of quality. This list only features comforters from brands that clearly state they ethically source their down.
  • Weight: Down comforters come in different weights, so not all comforters are suitable for every climate. Our picks feature comforters in all weights.
  • Price: Quality down comforters don’t come cheap, but we aimed to include comforters at different price points to better meet the needs of varying budgets.

Pricing guide

The prices for queen or full/queen are broken down into the following categories.

  • $ = under $150
  • $$ = $150–$300
  • $$$ = $300–$450
  • $$$$ = over $450

Editor’s choice down comforter

Brooklinen Down Comforter

  • Price: $$
  • Construction: baffle box
  • Fill power and weight: 700, all-season (medium) warmth
  • Machine washable: not recommended
  • Sleep trial: 1 year

Looking for a classic down comforter with a “just right” weight and feel? This hypoallergenic Canada-made comforter features clusters of Canadian duck down inside a soft cotton sateen cover.

The baffle box stitch construction (more on this below) helps keep the down filling evenly fluffed and secure. Loops at each corner help keep it in place inside your duvet cover. The brand also uses an antimicrobial treatment to keep it clean and fresh.

Brooklinen notes that their down comes from responsible and eco-friendly sources. They don’t use live plucking. All recycled down products are certified by the Responsible Down Standard.

Reviewers praise the quality construction and light, fluffy feel of this comforter, which keeps them comfortable at a range of temperatures. The full/queen size runs a little small according to a few reviews.

We found it to be lofty, smooth, plush, and warm. The distribution of the down is even and no feathers poke out.

“The company does not offer a sleep trial, but they do allow returns of items up to a year from purchase. If you have slept under your comforter for a few months and it doesn’t feel right, you can return it even if you have washed it.”

Best down alternative comforter

Purple Duvet

  • Price: $$$
  • Construction: sewn-through
  • Fill power and weight: varies
  • Machine washable: no
  • Sleep trial: 30 nights

The purple comforter has a fill in a cotton cover that is non- animal related.

It is versatile because it comes in both lightweight and all-season options.

We thought the lightweight duvet had a nice airy feel and was warm without being heavy. The all-season duvet was warm without an additional blanket.

“The quality construction, soft cotton cover, and flatter profile of these comforters made us love them. They will work best for people who don’t like puffy comforter.”

“The duvet is warm, soft, and cozy, but a few reviewers wish it didn’t require dry cleaning.”

“The sleep trial doesn’t include free return shipping, so you should be aware of the extra costs.”

Best temperature-regulating down comforter

Casper Humidity Fighting Duvet

  • Price: $
  • Construction: sewn-through
  • Fill power and weight: 750, medium
  • Machine washable: yes
  • Sleep trial: 30 nights

Casper’s down duvet features something you won’t find in other down comforters: a layer of merino wool. Since wool helps wick away moisture and regulate temperature, this unique blend may help warmer sleepers stay cooler and more comfortable.

The brand says sewn-through chambers help prevent lumping and bunching to keep the down in place for fluffier, loftier comfort. It is machine-washable, but you will want to use a front-loading machine.

The look and feel of this very puffy duvet is very appealing to us. It felt like it was feather-light when we were down. It was warm, fluffy, and absorbent through the night.

Reviewers agree on the temperature control. Even warmer sleepers say it helps reduce clamminess and nighttime sweating.

We noticed it was a little noisy. It rustles when you move. The sound might bother lighter sleepers.

Best lightweight down comforter

Legends Hotel Organic Cotton Down Comforter

  • Price: $$$
  • Construction: sewn-through
  • Fill power and weight: 600, light
  • Machine washable: yes
  • Sleep trial: no, but it does come with a lifetime guarantee

When you want to sleep warm but not too warm, down comforters with a lighter weight can help you get comfortable without overheating. The Company Store recommends this lightweight option for bedroom temperatures of 69 to 74°F.

The duck down comforter has a light, cozy feel, and its organic cotton cover keeps the fill securely in place. Corner loops make it easier to slide on a cover.

“Some reviewers say the light comforter doesn’t fluff as much as they expected, but they don’t think the comforters have a traditional fluffy look.”

Reviewers mention that there is somerinkling when moving under the comforter. The fabric rubs together and it can make a noise.

It is warm, cozy, and great for chilly nights, according to people.

Best organic down comforter

Boll & Branch Down Duvet Insert

  • Price: $$$
  • Construction: baffle box
  • Fill power: 650
  • Machine washable: yes
  • Sleep trial: 30 nights

“The company describes the organic cotton cover as being down-proof, which means it can’t poke out feathers. If you prefer to keep it inside a cover, you will still find loops at each corner.”

“Theaffled box construction helps keep the fill high and secure. We contacted customer service for verification because the instructions for fill power and care aren’t clearly stated on the product page.”

Reviewers praise the comforter for its weight, feel and breathability.

A few people say the comforter tends to get stuck under pet claws or shed after the first wash, so you may want to protect it with a duvet cover and wash it on a delicate cycle.

Best goose down comforter

L.L. Bean Permabaffle Box Goose Down Comforter

  • Price: $$$$
  • Construction: baffle box
  • Fill power and weight: 600, warm
  • Machine washable: yes, in commercial machines
  • Sleep trial: 1 year

The goose down comforter has a unique construction that concentrates the fill in the center for warmth.

The fill is kept from shifting and bunching byaffled stitching and a cotton cover is designed to prevent shed.

“This comforter is for cold climates. Some reviewers don’t like the lighter fill on the outer edges of the comforter. The crinkling sound fades after a few washes.”

Reviewers rave about the comforter, calling it warm, light, and worth the price.

Down is still an animal product, so not everyone will find it appealing. If you have concerns about the treatment of the birds used to source the down and feathers, you may want to avoid them altogether.

Down can be sustainable and ethicallysourced.

Keep these considerations in mind when you choose a down comforter.

Duvets vs. comforters

Some brands describe their products asuvet inserts.

“Down bedding is similar to comforters. Some full/queen sizes have less overhang than comforters, but this isn’t always the case.”

The term comforter is used to describe a piece of bedding that is meant to be seen rather than covered. It could have a colored fabric or a unique stitch pattern.

Down or down alternative fill is often found in the down or down alternative fill. You might have a harder time washing or cleaning them, so using a duvet cover can help keep them clean and protected.

“Customer reviews for specific products will usually give more insight if you don’t know the exact size you’re looking for.”

Materials

Down bedding has animals in it. High quality bedding can be achieved by either type. goose down comforters are often more expensive than other types of comforters, because they are considered warmer.

The percentage on the care tag is used to show the amount of down that is guaranteed within the comforter.

Down comforter and duvets usually have cotton shells. Higher thread counts help to down-proof the fabric or reduce the amount of feathers in it.

If you suspect you might have a sensitivity to feathers or down, choosing a comforter with a quality cover and protecting your bedding with a duvet cover may prevent feathers from poking out and causing an unwanted reaction.

Older research suggests true feather allergies are rare. You’re more likely to have an allergy to dust mites, but keeping your comforter covered with an easily washable cover can still help prevent dust from collecting.

Construction

The fluffiness of a comforter and its ability to insulate are measured by fill power. The fill power measurement shows the size of the down clusters and the amount of space they occupy.

Larger clusters of down have a higher fill power, so they can trap more warm air.

Higher quality comforters have higher fill power. A lower fill power comforter may not offer as much warmth as a higher fill power comforter.

The amount of feathers in a comforter can affect how warm a comforter feels.

Two types of stitching help keep the comforter secure.

  • Baffle (baffled) box: A comforter featuring this construction has narrow strips of fabric sewn between the top and bottom layers of the comforter shell. This forms small fabric walls within the comforter, giving the down more space to fully inflate and fluff up. When the comforter is sewn closed, the down remains secure in these boxes instead of shifting.
  • Sewn-through: A sewn-through or quilted comforter will use a simple stitch to sew the top and bottom pieces of the comforter shell together into pockets. These pockets might take the shape of rows, ovals, or long channels.

Certifications

You might see certifications listed on product pages.

OEKO-TEX Standard 100, for example, is a common certification for bedding. This means the product doesn’t contain toxic or harmful chemicals or substances.

Other certifications include:

The RDS certification is important when it comes to ethical down comforters. RDS works to prevent inhumane treatment of birds used for down.

“Some brands don’t display the RDS label on their website, but still source their down ethically. They usually say this on the product page. If not, you will find information about how and where they get their information in the FAQ.”

“They may not source their down entirely if you can’t find this information.”

Certain laws prevent companies from making false claims about their down products, such as calling a comforter “goose down” when it’s really a blend of goose and duck down.

The types of down and feathers are important information that can be left out of the information given by transparent brands.

Care

Before you buy a new comforter, you should check the care information.

Down comforters need to be cleaned. Others need to clean. A larger washing machine is needed for comforters, like one found at a laundromat.

Many people choose down comforters for a variety of reasons.

  • They regulate temperature and are Breathable.
  • They provide great insulation.
  • They are durable. Down products can last up to 10 years if properly cared for.
  • Down is more eco-friendly than synthetic bedding.

Down comforters can have a few drawbacks.

  • Some people are allergic to the natural oils on down and feathers or, more often, the dust that collects on the bedding.
  • “Sometimes the smell can give off, and some people don’t like it.”
  • The comforter may need special care.
  • Down comforters are not vegan.
  • Quality down comforters are intended to last many years, but they are more expensive than other types of bedding.
  • You might have a harder time finding ethical down at lower price points if you choose to buy a quality comforters.

“Down alternative comforters are almost as cozy as down. They are completely vegan, and you won’t have to worry about feather allergies.”

Need a lighter alternative? Why not consider a cooling comforter?

Many people swear by down comforters for snug, restful sleep on the coldest nights of the year.

Down is meant to last, so choose wisely. You might find yourself sleeping under your comforter.


Crystal Raypole worked as an editor for GoodTherapy. Her interests include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. She is committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.