How to Choose a Down Comforter

A classic down comforter is a cotton blanket stuffed with soft goose down or duck down. Also called a duvet, a down comforter is often used as a bed spread and to provide warmth during the night. Down comforters vary greatly in price and quality; there are several key factors that determine whether you will love your down comforter for years, or give it to charity after a few months. Learn how to choose a down comforter with this six-point checklist.

Thread Count

Most people think thread count is only important for sheets, but the thread count of your duvet is the number one factor in whether your blanket comforts you, or drives you crazy with leaking feathers. A high thread count, over 300 fibers per inch, will ensure that the down stays inside the comforter with very few strays.

Outer Material

Whether you buy a duvet and duvet cover set, or a classic down comforter, consider what touches your skin. Egyptian cotton down comforters feel luxurious, and silk covers are even softer. Yet the better the fabric, the higher the price. If you want a moderately priced blanket, look for cotton synthetic blends. Some of the most expensive down comforters are made from 100% Egyptian cotton with 1000+ thread count.


A true down comforter is filled with nothing but down. There are cheaper duvets that are filled with less expensive materials. One popular filling is "down alternative," a synthetic fiber that has the same properties as down. It is plush like down and insulates like down, but there are no leaking feathers to worry about. If you buy a blanket filled with down alternative, you can go with a lower thread count.

Another fill option is feather/down blend. Depending on the size and fluffiness of the feathers, it can feel just like down, or the feathers can leak out and poke you. If you buy a duvet filled with feathers, make sure the fabric covering is dense and thick enough, so the feathers do not stab you. You may need to buy a duvet cover for a feather comforter.

Fill Power

The fill power rating of down is a measure of its ability to bounce back when compressed; it is an indicator of how well the down insulates. Fill power is measured in cubic inches per ounce. A fill power rating of 400-500 is considered medium, 500-600 is good, and 600-750 is excellent. Fill power over 750 is super fluffy but also very expensive.


When a down comforter is stitched in a square quilt-like pattern called "baffle box," the down stays put. With an even distribution of down, the blanket warms you effectively. It is important to choose a duvet that has enough stitching to keep the down in place, yet not so much that the comforter loses its plushness.


Nothing is more annoying than buying a bed cover that is too small for your bed. If you are unsure what size your mattress is, measure its width and length before you purchase the duvet. Standard bed sizes in the US are:

39" x 75" = Twin
53" x 74" = Full
60" x 80" = Queen
76" x 80" = King
72" x 84" = California King

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