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People who live in colder climates often consider down a must for outerwear and bedding. If you’ve ever snuggled up under an airy duvet, you might understand exactly 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?

Keep reading for more details and our recommendations for the six best down and down alternative comforters.

Down is a light layer of fluff found on water birds. It provides insulation from harsh weather and cold temperatures. These fibers cluster together under the birds’ feathers, coating their skin to offer soft, lightweight warmth without a quill.

When stuffed inside blankets and outerwear, down works in a similar way: 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 considered 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

We include prices for queen or full/queen comforters 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 (RDS).

Reviewers praise this comforter’s quality construction and light, fluffy feel that keeps them comfortable at a range of temperatures. A few reviews noted that the full/queen size runs a little small.

In testing, we found it lofty, smooth, plush, and warm. We appreciate the even distribution of the down and the fact that no feathers poke out.

The company doesn’t technically offer a sleep trial, but they do allow returns of items in any condition up to a year from purchase. So, if you’ve slept under your down comforter for a few months and it doesn’t feel quite right, you can still return it — even if you’ve already 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 Duvet features polyester fill in a hypoallergenic cotton cover for cozy warmth without any animal involvement.

It comes in both lightweight and all-season options, making it versatile.

In testing, we thought the lightweight duvet had a nice, airy feel and offered cozy warmth without feeling heavy. The all-season duvet had a heavier, fuller feel and was perfectly warm without an additional blanket.

We loved the quality construction, soft cotton cover, and flatter profile of these comforters. They’ll likely work best for those who don’t particularly want a puffy comforter.

Most reviewers seem to love the duvet, calling it cozy, soft, and warm — though several people wish it didn’t require dry cleaning.

The sleep trial doesn’t include free return shipping, so keep in mind that returning the duvet could involve some 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 the sewn-through chambers help prevent lumping and bunching to keep the down in place for fluffier, loftier comfort. It’s machine washable, but you’ll want to use a front-loading machine, according to the care tag.

We love the look and feel of this very puffy duvet. In testing, it felt truly feather-light when we snuggled down. And it stayed warm, fluffy, and breathable through the night.

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

We did notice it’s a little noisy, though. It rustles whenever you move. While we didn’t find the sound distracting, it 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.

European duck down gives this hypoallergenic comforter a light, cozy feel, while its organic cotton cover keeps the fill securely in place with box stitching. Corner loops make it easier to slide on a duvet cover without any unnecessary wrestling.

A few reviewers say the light comforter doesn’t fluff as much as they expected, but comforters with a lower fill power have less loft, so they won’t have a traditionally fluffy look.

Several reviewers also mention some crinkling when moving under the comforter. This noise happens when the fabric rubs together, and it may bother lighter sleepers.

Overall, people call it warm, cozy, and great for chilly nights, with a wonderfully lofty feel.

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 U.S.-made, organic cotton cover as “down-proof,” which refers to its ability to keep any down feathers from poking out. But you’ll still find loops at each corner if you prefer to keep it inside a duvet cover.

Baffled box construction helps keep the fill lofty and secure for extra warmth. Fill power and care instructions aren’t clearly stated on the product page, so we reached out to customer service for verification.

Most reviewers praise the comforter’s breathability, softness, weight, and cozy feel.

A few people say the comforter tends to snag 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 unique construction in this U.S.-made goose down comforter concentrates hypoallergenic fill in the center for targeted warmth.

Baffled stitching keeps the fill from shifting and bunching over time, while a down-proof cotton cover is designed to prevent shedding.

This comforter is intended for cold sleepers and cold climates (or both). A few reviewers don’t like the lighter fill on the outer edges of the comforter. Others comment on the crinkling sound, which often fades after a few washes.

Still, most reviewers rave about this comforter’s coziness, loft, and quality, calling it fantastic, weightless but warm, and worth the price.

Even with the warmth and comfort it provides, down is still an animal product, so not everyone may find it appealing. If you have concerns about the treatment of the birds used to source the down and feathers, you may prefer to avoid down comforters altogether.

Yet, down can be both sustainable and ethically sourced.

Keep these considerations in mind to help you find the down comforter that’s right for you.

Duvets vs. comforters

You’ll notice some brands describe their products as “duvet inserts” rather than comforters.

In terms of down bedding, duvets and comforters are fairly similar. Some duvets, particularly full/queen sizes, may run slightly smaller and have less overhang than comforters, but this isn’t always the case.

The term “comforter” often describes a piece of bedding that’s meant to be seen rather than covered. For example, it might have colored or patterned fabric, or a unique stitch pattern for a more finished look.

Duvets, on the other hand, often feature 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 offer more insight if you’re not sure about the specific measurements you’re looking for.

Materials

Down bedding contains goose or duck down. Either type can yield high quality bedding. Still, many people consider goose down comforters warmer, so they often have a higher price tag.

You’ll often see a percentage on the care tag that reflects the amount of down guaranteed within the comforter with language like “minimum 90% white duck down.”

Down comforters and duvets usually have cotton shells or covers. Higher thread counts offer a tighter weave that helps down-proof the fabric, or reduce shedding of down or feathers.

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

Fill power measures a down comforter’s loft, or fluffiness, and its ability to insulate. The fill power measurement describes the size of the down clusters and the amount of space the clusters occupy per ounce.

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

You’ll often find higher fill power in higher quality comforters. More inexpensive comforters with a lower fill power aren’t always low quality comforters, but they may offer less warmth than comforters with a higher fill power.

Other factors can also affect how warm a comforter feels, such as the amount of down versus the amount of feathers in the comforter.

Two types of stitching help keep down fill secure inside a comforter:

  • 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

As you shop, you might notice different 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 particularly important when it comes to ethical down comforters. RDS works to prevent inhumane treatment of birds used for down, and they ensure responsible sourcing practices.

Some brands may not display the RDS label on their website or products, but they still source their down ethically. They’ll usually say this directly on the product page. If not, you’ll often find information about how and where they source their down in the FAQs.

If you can’t find this information, they may not source their down entirely through sustainable, ethical suppliers.

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.

Transparent brands give clear, accurate information about their products without using misleading advertising or leaving out important information, such as the type of down or the percentage of down and feathers.

Care

Checking the care information before you buy a new comforter can help you avoid an unwanted surprise down the line.

Some down comforters require dry cleaning. Others need spot cleaning. Even the comforters you can wash may require a larger washing machine, like one found at a local laundromat.

Many people choose down comforters for the following reasons:

  • They’re breathable and temperature regulating.
  • Though lightweight, they provide great insulation.
  • They’re durable. When cared for properly, down products can last up to 10 years, if not longer.
  • Down is biodegradable, so it’s more environmentally friendly than synthetic bedding materials.

Still, 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.
  • Some people might not like the faint odor down sometimes gives off.
  • The comforter may require special care, such as dry cleaning or regular airing.
  • Down comforters aren’t vegan.
  • While quality down comforters are durable and intended to last many years, they’re generally more expensive than other types of bedding.
  • Many quality comforters contain responsibly sourced down, but you might have a harder time finding ethical down at lower price points.

Down alternative comforters may not feel quite as lightweight, but many people consider them nearly as cozy as down. You won’t have to worry about possible feather allergies, and they’re completely vegan.

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 carefully. You might find yourself cuddling up under your comforter for the next decade.


Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.