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Comforter Buying Guide

Shopping for a comforter brings up a lot of questions. What makes a quality comforter? Why are some comforters so much more expensive than others? Should you choose down or down-alternative material? How do you know if the comforter is ethically sourced? How do you choose a comforter online without getting to feel it first? And what in the world is fill power?

Researching and selecting a comforter may seem confusing, but it really isn’t once you know what you’re looking for. Before you go diving under your old covers, take a minute to check out our Comforter Buying Guide. We break down all there is to know about comforters so you can shop like a pro. Keep reading to discover the best comforter for you.

What is the difference between a comforter and a duvet?

The main difference between a comforter and a duvet is that a comforter is a standalone piece of bedding, whereas a duvet is an insert that pairs with a duvet cover. A comforter is ready to be laid on the bed right out of the box. A duvet is typically white and goes inside a decorative cover, similar to a pillow and a pillowcase.

Comforters and duvets are top layers of bedding filled with either down or down alternative material. Typically comforters and duvet inserts are much fluffier than quilts and blankets. Comforters and duvets come in various weights and temperatures, ranging from fluffy and thick to modest and gently warming. 

A duvet insert often features tabs on each corner to attach to the duvet cover. A comforter can also go inside of a duvet cover, but without duvet tabs on the corners it will fit loosely inside of a duvet cover and require more maintenance. One of the perks of using a cover is to protect your bedding from makeup, body oils, crumbs, and stains. You can simply remove and wash the cover rather than having to launder the duvet or comforter itself. Roughly 25% of consumers choose to use a cover for their duvet or comforter. 

Down vs down alternative — choosing the right fill

Choosing the right comforter includes choosing between down and down alternative material and understanding fill power. Since these decisions can be very subjective, we’ve broken down the basics to help you simplify your shopping. 

Down comforters

Down comforters have a longer lifespan than down alternative comforters. They also provide more warmth with less weight than their synthetic counterparts. Down is often confused with feathers, but the two are quite different. Down is a fine layer of light, soft, and fluffy material found on the torso area of a duck or goose. Feathers come from the wings and are rigid and coarse. Down provides superior insulation and is much more expensive than feathers. To be labeled “down,” a product must be comprised of 75% or more of down clusters.

Goose down comforters

The two most common comforter fills are goose down and duck down. Both materials are equally durable and long-lasting, but each offers unique benefits. Goose down typically comes from more mature birds and has larger down clusters. This gives goose down higher fill power and makes it a warmer option. However, due to its popularity, goose down is also more expensive.

Duck down comforters

Duck down is more affordable than goose down and may be a better option for warmer climates and for those who tend to sleep hot. Premium duck down can provide the same insulation as goose down; therefore, down quality is more important than the type of bird. Comforters may use a white down or gray down fill. While white down may seem preferable to blend inside of white bedding, the color of down does not impact the performance or caliber of a comforter.

Down alternative comforters

Down alternative comforters are constructed with naturally hypoallergenic materials that mimic the loftiness of real down. Synthetic fill comforters are a great option for individuals prone to allergies, especially if they are certified allergy & asthma friendly. Down alternative comforters are a fraction of the cost of traditional down comforters.

High-end down alternative comforters traditionally use a polyester blend treated to emulate the softness and warmth of a down comforter. 

PrimaLoft® comforters

PrimaLoft® is the closest down alternative to white goose down. It is a silky-smooth microfiber blend that offers the warmth level of 550 fill power goose down. Primaloft is also hydrophobic, meaning it does not absorb water, which makes drying quick and easy. 

EnviroLoft® comforters

EnviroLoft® is a DOWNLITE-exclusive fiber that uses thicker strands of polyester and delivers exceptional fluffiness. This fill provides added support and rigidity and is popular for hospitality bedding due to its durability and price point.

Fill power is a measurement that applies only to down and measures the fluffiness of a comforter. Essentially, the higher the fill power, the more warmth you get for less weight. Down clusters expand and intertwine, creating pockets of air that provide insulation and warmth. Fill power determines how many cubic inches 1 ounce of down occupies. The highest quality comforters and duvets have a high fill power (typically 650 fill power or higher), so they are both warm and lightweight. 

Comforter weight and warmth

The weight and warmth of a comforter can make or break a restful night. Being too hot or too cold may prevent you from falling and staying asleep. If you have trouble deciding between two levels of warmth, the lighter selection is usually the best option to avoid overheating. You can always add an extra blanket if needed, but a comforter that is too warm can lead to disrupted sleep andnight sweats. 

All season comforters

All season comforters are designed to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The All Season warmth level is deemed ‘midweight’ and keeps you comfortable year-round. These versatile comforters are also an excellent choice for minimalist living since they cut down on additional bedding and storage.

Lightweight comforters

Lightweight comforters are perfect for warmer climates or those who tend to sleep hot. These breathable comforters offer enough loft without the extra weight that leads to excessive heat retention. 

Heavyweight comforters

Heavyweight comforters are filled with extra down and are ideal for cold climates and winter weather. A fill power of 650 or more offers the most warmth for frigid nights. 

Comforter size chart

Comforters come in a range of sizes to fit any bed, from a twin up to a California king. However, selecting the proper size comforter isn’t as simple as looking at your mattress size. Mattress thickness and bed frame height are just a few factors that impact how far a comforter will drape on all sides. Additional accessories, such as mattress toppers and feather beds, take up extra space and may require a more oversized comforter. 

Before investing in a comforter, it’s best to measure your bed to ensure the right length and draping. A comforter should extend equally down the sides and foot of the bed. A good rule of thumb is to have 15” of overhang on each side.

Many people choose to upsize to a larger comforter than their bed size. In addition to looking more cozy and inviting, this may benefit partners who tend to have nightly tug-of-wars. Oversized comforters are a great option that provides more width for draping and sharing. If you have an extra thick mattress or just want the most coverage possible, you may be interested in the 10'x10' Colossal King World’s Biggest Comforter. Many California king bed owners do well with oversized king comforters. California king is a relatively niche mattress and comforter size that is often confused with the standard king size.

See the comforter size and dimension chart below to select the perfect comforter for your bed. 

Comforter Sizes

Comforter Dimensions

Twin

66 x 86 to 68 x 88 inches

Twin XL

66 x 90 to 68 x 92 inches

Full / Double

82 x 90 to 86 x 92 inches

Queen

88 x 88 to 92 x 92 inches

King

102 x 86 to 104 x 96 inches

Oversized Queen

90 x 96 to 90 x 98 inches

Oversized King

106 x 96 to 108 x 98 inches

Colossal Queen

110 x 110 inches

Colossal King

120 x 120 inches

Find your fabric and thread count

Thread count is calculated by the number of threads woven together in a square inch. Traditionally, a higher thread count provides optimal comfort, durability, and quiet bedding which can lead to tranquil sleep. However, a high thread count can also cause fabrics to feel heavier. Therefore, a comforter thread count of 230-500 delivers the perfect balance of lightweight and luxury.

Comforter fabric is another consideration. Some comforters feature performance-based fabrics and treatments that offer added benefits, such as moisture-wicking, stain resistance, anti-microbial protection, and thermoregulation comfort.

Downlite’s Intelli-Pedic ClimaSmart™ fabric is a soft, breathable cotton that delivers advanced temperature regulation, moisture-wicking, and anti-microbial technology. 

TENCEL blended with cotton is amazingly soft, durable, and wrinkle resistant. This blend also offers advanced thermoregulation benefits.

100% cotton is the most breathable comforter material and a perfect choice for year-round comfort. Cotton is also soft, naturally hypoallergenic, and easy to clean.

Baffle box vs sewn through — comforter construction

A quality comforter is constructed to provide equally distributed warmth. The two main types of comforter construction that prevent the fill from shifting are baffle box and sewn-through construction.

Baffle box construction

Baffle box construction incorporates thin strips of vertical fabric to connect the top and bottom layers of the comforter. This design creates square-shaped compartments that hold the fill in place. The vertical pieces add extra height and make for a fluffier comforter. Baffle box construction also traps air and prevents heat loss, making it ideal for colder climates.

Sewn-through construction

With sewn-through construction, a comforter's top and bottom layers are stitched directly together, creating individual pockets that keep the fill evenly dispersed. This quilted style design will lay a little flatter than a baffle box comforter. Sewn-through construction typically provides more breathability and is ideal for hot sleepers and warmer climates.

 

How much do comforters cost?

The price of a comforter varies on the materials, size, and fill power. A quality comforter ranges from $80 to over $500. While this may sound broad, there are many factors to consider that cater to nearly every budget.

Down alternative comforters are less expensive than down. Goose down is much more expensive than duck down. 

Hotel comforters deliver premium quality, durability, and easy care. No matter what type of comforter you are shopping for, the manufacturer is one of the most important considerations. Purchasing from a trusted company with bedding expertise is a surefire way to guarantee value at any price.

While there are many “deals” out there, you may want to consider the old adage that “quality is long remembered after cost is soon forgotten.” In other words, you get what you pay for. There are bargain comforters on the market, often constructed with cheap materials and poor sewing. They wear quickly, clump more easily, and will need to be replaced much sooner than a quality comforter. While the price tag may seem appealing, these defects outweigh the perks.

Investing in a good night’s sleep to function well and improve your overall health is priceless.

Conscious shopping

Being a conscientious consumer helps preserve the environment, ensure humane working conditions, and impact the world for the better. Making thoughtful and responsible shopping decisions may help you sleep better at night, knowing that your behavior has positive effects on sustainability and the future.

Assembled in the USA

Approximately 90% of DOWNLITE Comforters are assembled in the USA using imported and domestic materials. Shopping for products assembled in the USA supports American jobs and workers, ensures better labor and environmental standards, and typically results in high-quality goods built to last.

Family-owned and operated

DOWNLITE has been a family-owned and operated business for three generations. The strong family ties, passion for bedding, product knowledge, and experience are felt in every product and unparalleled customer service. 

Responsibly Sourced Down

DOWNLITE is proud to be RDS certified. This global certification ensures that all down is responsibly sourced and ensures humane practices and processes to improve animal welfare. A yearly audit verifies that all geese and ducks used for down are not inflicted with unnecessary harm, such as live-plucking or force-feeding. The Responsible Down Standard also requires suppliers and businesses to abide by the Five Freedoms of animal welfare: freedom from hunger or thirst, freedom from discomfort, pain, injury, and disease, freedom to express normal and natural behavior, and freedom from fear and distress.

OEKO-TEX® certified

Oeko-Tex® certifies the safety of textile products throughout all stages of production (from raw materials and fabrics to finished goods). Oeko-Tex® is on a mission to make sustainability easy and inform consumers of products free from harmful substances. Downlite is proud to offer Oeko-Tex® certified comforters to ensure high product safety and promote a sustainable future.

Eco-friendly bedding

With a commitment toward sustainability and the environment, DOWNLITE donates 1% of all e-commerce sales to One Percent for the Planet. This global organization pairs members with environmental non-profits looking to make an impact and tackle the most pressing issues facing our planet. To date, these 1% contributions have raised $250 million to go toward environmental issues. You can be philanthropic by purchasing goods from a company that gives back.

When is the best time to buy a comforter?

January is typically the best time of year to buy a comforter. Retailers traditionally offer a “white sale” just after the new year with significant discounts on bedding.

The busiest season for buying winter bedding is October through February. During these months, items may run out of stock due to demand, so it’s best to purchase before October.

Many retailers offer holiday sales and promotions throughout the year. One way to get alerted of upcoming offers is to sign up for emails.

Additional ways to find comforter sale prices are looking for manufacturer-direct pricing, checking for promo codes, and shopping for overstock sale items.

Find your new favorite comforter today

Discover hotel quality bedding at manufacturer-direct prices from DOWNLITE. Approximately 90% of our comforters are assembled in the USA at our headquarters in Mason, Ohio. Shop comforters from Downlite Bedding

We understand that shopping online eliminates the touch and feel of fabrics that may sway your purchase decisions. That’s why our seasoned customer service representatives are ready to give you personal recommendations based on your unique preferences. Contact customer service to have all your questions answered and get matched with your new favorite comforter.

If your new comforter isn’t everything you were hoping for, we offer a simple 30-day return window and a 1 year minimum warranty of workmanship.

 

Looking for fresh bedding to go with your new comforter? Check out our other buying guides:

Pillow Buying Guide  |  Mattress Pad & Topper Buying Guide  |  Bedding Fill Guide