The Best Down Comforters | The Strategist

The Best Down Comforters | The Strategist


Photo: Courtesy retailer

Down duvets and comforters — which are stuffed with down, the layer of fine, soft, and fluffy feathers underneath a duck or goose’s exterior feathers — have an airy, lofty feel while being warm and breathable at the same time. And depending on their weight, they can be used all year long, which is what I do, even in the summer. Because of their natural fill, down comforters and duvets tend to be more expensive than their down-alternative counterparts, but I personally think they’re worth the investment. I’ve slept with down-alternative comforters (typically stuffed with a synthetic material like polyester), and while they are incredibly cozy and comfortable, I find them to be a bit heavy and clumpy for my taste. Still, I want to acknowledge that down-filled comforters are not a practical choice if you’re vegan or have allergies. You can read more about down-alternative comforters here.

But if it’s that puffy, sink-into-bed feeling you’re after, then a down comforter will help you achieve that. To bring you the best down comforters out there, I tested a few myself and also consulted hospitality professionals and other members of the Strategist staff for their favorites. I also get into what you should be looking for in a quality down comforter, as there are a few considerations to make in terms of fill power, the content of the down, and how the actual comforter is constructed. Below, the eight best down comforters and duvets for all seasons, sleepers, and price points. A note: I’ve included both comforters and duvets in my roundup, and while the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are different. Technically speaking, a duvet is typically used with a duvet cover, and a comforter can be used without one.

Down comforters will be filled with a blend of down (the fluffy insulation beneath the feathers) and feathers from either geese or duck, and the ratio between the two will generally determine the price. The higher the ratio of down to feathers, the fluffier the comforter will feel. Most of the down comforters on this list use down from geese, which will be loftier and fluffier than down from ducks.

Then there’s fill power, which measures the volume of how much space a one-ounce sample of down takes up. As a rule of thumb, the higher the fill power, the loftier and warmer (a.k.a., better at insulating) the down will be. Still, fill power is not a definitive measure of warmth, as my colleague Jeremy Rellosa breaks down in his explainer on down fill power. Most of the duvets in this roundup have a fill power of between 550 and 850.

Most comforters come in different weights ranging from light to all-season to heavy, so you can choose the best warmth level based on your sleep preferences. But fill weight, which is how much the down fill actually weighs, is not to be confused with fill power. A brand’s down duvet will typically have the same fill power across all its weight options in that specific style, while the weight of each level (light, medium, heavy) will move up in size.

How the down occupies the inner channels of your comforter is also important. There are two main construction techniques, baffle-box and sewn-through, which will determine the look of your comforter but also how the down will move around in each section. In a sewn-through comforter, the top and bottom layers of the shell are stitched together, creating pockets of down that appear fluffy. In a baffle-box comforter, there are walls between the top and bottom layers of the shell, resulting in boxlike channels that are a bit roomier and allow the down to be distributed more evenly. A baffle-box comforter will also look a bit flatter.

Depending on how you use your comforter, you will also want to pay attention to its outer material. As I mentioned above, comforters are meant to be used without a duvet cover and go right on top of your body, so you’ll want to look for cotton for breathability and a nice hand-feel, if that’s how you like to sleep. In my experience, though, most people opt to use a cover as a protective layer regardless of whether they have a duvet or comforter.

Based on the sheer size of a comforter, it can be a pain to wash, but most of the options on this list can be thrown in the washing machine. If that is the case, I would recommend taking it to a laundromat and using the largest commercial-size washing machine for the best results. You can also take them to the dry cleaner, but note that it will be a bit pricey.

The Company Store Premium Alberta Down Medium Warmth Comforter

Filling: 600–650 fill power, European down | Weight: Light, medium, extra | Construction: Baffle-box | Shell: 300-thread-count combed-cotton-sateen shell | Care: Machine washable

This comforter from the Company Store’s Legends Hotel collection is my top pick for best comforter. I’ve used the medium-weight comforter exclusively for over five years — in every season — and it has stayed lofty and warm throughout that time while also still being lightweight. I’ve taken it to the dry cleaner and also washed it in large commercial-size machines, and it always comes out good as new. It pairs well with my favorite percale and linen duvets, and I always feel nice and cozy beneath it. Filled with European down in a baffle-box construction, it comes in three different weight options — light, medium, and extra — and the medium weight has served me well in the spring, winter, and fall. Even in the summer, when I have the A/C on, it never feels oppressive, thanks to how lightweight is. It also doesn’t leak feathers, though it requires some fluffing from time to time, which is easy enough to do: I just give it a good shake from either end then finish making the bed. Given its durability, warmth, and value, it’s my best-in-class pick.

Brooklinen All-Season Down Comforter

Filling: 700 fill power, 80% down from Canada | Weight: Lightweight, all-season, ultra-warm weights | Construction: Baffle-box | Shell: 400-thread-count long-staple cotton-sateen shell | Care: Spot-clean or dry-clean

Brooklinen’s all-season down comforter is a solid comforter that costs about $100 less than the Company Store’s. It’s slightly less lofty and visibly thinner than my top pick above, but it’s still warm and comfortable and I felt cozy sleeping under it in cooler weather. Like the Alberta, it has a baffle-box construction and comes in three weights from light to ultrawarm. But even though it has a higher fill power of 700, its filling is 80 percent down clusters, whereas the Company Store is 100 percent down. Still, it’s a very reliable down comforter for anyone looking to make the upgrade from a synthetic-filled one. Plus, it comes highly recommended by the experts I consulted for this story. Interior designer Lyndsi Lee likes its versatility as an all-season comforter while interior designer Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs calls out how soft its cotton-sateen shell is. For Courtney Laine, owner of Victorian bed-and-breakfast Batterby House and Cottage in Hudson, it’s a solid midrange option for anyone seeking the cloudlike experience of sleeping under a down comforter without having to pay a premium price for it.

Parachute All-Season Down Duvet Insert

Filling: 750 fill power, 85% European white down clusters and 15% down fibers | Weight: Lightweight, all-season | Shell: Cotton sateen | Care: Machine washable or dry-clean

Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens loves this duvet insert that she’s now owned for close to five years and says it’s still the best one she’s ever used. Kitchens chose Parachute’s in the all-season weight because she was looking for something “super lofty,” and it’s still as fluffy as when she first got it. “And it truly works year-round,” she adds, “keeping me warm in the winter and perfectly comfortable in the warmer months.” With a fill power of 750, it’s made with 85 percent down clusters and 15 percent fibers in a baffle-box construction that keeps the fill evenly distributed and contributes to its extra-lofty feel.

L.L.Bean Baffle Box Stitch Goose Down Comforter, Warmer

Fill: 600 fill power, white goose down | Weight: Warm, warmer | Construction: Baffle-box | Shell: 280-thread-count cotton | Care: Machine washable

This 600-fill-power goose-down comforter comes in a “warm” and “warmer” option. Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio has used it for the past three winters and says that it’s still “nice and fluffy, doesn’t get too flat, and holds the loft really well.” She owns it in the “warmer” weight and likes that it doesn’t feel too heavy while also keeping her comfortable during chilly midwestern winter nights. And thanks to the downproof cotton cover, feathers don’t ever poke or leak out of it.

Feathered Friends Organic Bavarian 850 Down Light Comforter

Fill: 850 fill power European white goose down | Weight: Summer, light, medium, arctic | Shell: Cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard | Care: Machine washable

With a fill power of 850-plus, it’s the down comforter with the highest fill power on this list, making it an extremely lofty, fluffy, and cloudlike choice. Strategist senior editor Winnie Yang has owned this in the “light” weight since 2020 and uses it all year long. “It is very warm and feels especially cozy if you keep your bedroom cool,” she says, adding that her husband likes the thermostat set at 68 degrees. It’s made with a Bavarian sewn-through construction that contributes to its pillowy appearance and also keeps the down distributed throughout with no clumping, according to Yang. “It always just looks so inviting,” she says, “so puffy and marshmallowy you want to just sink into it or launch yourself into bed.” It’s also “easy to fluff up” to get that “fancy-hotel-level loft” when she makes the bed, and even though both her cat and dog sleep on top of it, “it still can be fluffed up to maximum loft.” While Yang’s previous duvets got clumpy and flat over the years, leading to patches of cold and “smothering” spots, this has stayed even. “It is definitely the most cloudlike duvet we’ve ever owned,” she concludes.

Pottery Barn Sleepsmart 37.5 Technology Temperature Regulating 550FP Down Blend Duvet Insert

Filling: 550 fill power, white down and 37.5 fiber | Weight: Medium | Construction: Sewn-through | Shell: Cotton and polyester | Care: Machine washable

At her inn and rental cottage, Laine chose this temperature-regulating down duvet insert from Pottery Barn for the guests’ beds. Made with a blend of white down and a proprietary fiber that helps trap heat when it’s cold and promotes evaporation of excess humidity when it’s warm, it’s a great option to use in both cooler and warmer seasons. “Our inn and cottage have 100-plus-year-old radiator heat, which sometimes works too well, so we switched to temperature-regulating down duvets,” she says. “It has the nice fluff and weight of a classic down duvet, but on cold upstate nights when the radiator is really cranking, you won’t wake up sweaty.” The duvet’s 230-thread-count shell is woven from a blend of cotton and that same temperature-regulating fiber for even more breathability.

Rewardon EcoLuxe Standard Down Kapok Comforter

Fill: 600 fill power recycled down and kapok | Weight: Standard, extra | Construction: Baffle-box | Shell: Polyester | Care: Machine washable

This comforter uses a blend of recycled down and kapok, a soft and fluffy cottonlike fiber from the kapok-seed pod, making it a great option for someone who’s looking for a more affordable down option. After upgrading to it from a poly-filled comforter, Strategist writer Katherine Gillespie calls it “undoubtedly the fluffiest and most luxurious comforter I have owned.” She loves how it “sits so nicely on the bed due to the square baffles — no big weird clumps” and its “good weight that is lovely to crawl under at night.” Because she’s always been “a bit on the fence” about the ethics around goose down, the recycled down in this comforter appealed to her, as did the natural kapok fiber, which she says “feels exactly the same as feathers to me — maybe even fluffier.” In terms of warmth, Gillespie says that while it’s “too heavy for peak-summer in New York City,” it’s ideal during all other seasons and “definitely more breathable” than her previous synthetic comforter.

Dewoolfson Cambric Down Comforter

Filling: 650 to 750 fill power European white goose down | Weight: Florida Light, Southern Light, Carolina Piedmont, Mountain Air, Canadian Winter | Construction: Baffle-box | Shell: Cambric cotton | Care: Machine washable

If you want to replicate the experience of sleeping at a luxury hotel, consider this comforter from Dewoolfson, which interior designer Elizabeth Strianese of Elizabeth Strianese Interiors discovered while staying at a high-end hotel in Sweden. She actually called the hotel a month after her stay to ask about the comforters — which felt like “sleeping under meringue” — so she could purchase one for her home. The comforters are expensive — they’re made with all-European white goose down and a special German-engineered downproof chambraylike fabric that doesn’t leak — but according to Strianese, they cost a fraction of those from luxury-bedding brands like Frette and Matouk, whose down comforters can cost a couple thousand dollars apiece. Dewoolfson also offers five warmth levels, the most on this list, ranging from lightest (“Florida Light”) to midweight (“Carolina Piedmont”) to warmest (“Canadian Winter”).

• Katherine Gillespie, Strategist writer
• Linda Hayslett, founder of LH.Designs
• Simone Kitchens, Strategist senior editor
• Courtney Laine, Batterby House & Cottage
• Lyndsi Lee, interior designer
• Elizabeth Strianese, founder of Elizabeth Strianese Interiors
• Jen Trolio, Strategist senior editor
• Winnie Yang, Strategist senior editor

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