Best Goose Down Comforters – The Ultimate Buyers Guide to the 5 Best Down Comforters

Goose comforters are incomparable to any other type of bed covering. Until you have slept underneath a warm goose comforter, you have not experienced the most amazing rest of your life. Yes, they are that spectacular. While it is easy to believe these comforters are restricted for winter use, the construction of down comforters is meant for different levels of seasonal use.

Perhaps you are new to this particular style of bedding. Maybe you have seen pictures of bedrooms which sport glorious, fluffy comforters and have wondered about them. They appear luxurious, and expensive. While some are more expensive than others, the truth is you can own a exquisite goose down comforter.

In fact, we can help you to be an informed consumer, giving you all the information you will need to pick out the right goose down comforter for your home. We have evaluated many down comforters, looking deep into durability, appearance, and performance. With down comforters, the filling and construction remain the most important factors. We looked at comforters to make sure they were made and sold in compliance with the industry standards. This is studying the composition and feather specification claimed by the manufacturer.

We measured performance according to the comforter’s warmth and looked for problems like shrinkage, piling and even the weakening of the outer layer materials. A great down comforter will continue to hold its perfect form over timer and many washes.

We measured performance according to the comforter’s warmth and looked for problems like shrinkage, piling and even the weakening of the outer layer materials. A great down comforter will continue to hold its perfect form over timer and many washes.

We also looked at what consumers were saying about their purchase. Percentages of satisfaction in all areas from customer service to the kind of rest consumers are receiving from their comforters. The idea behind an excellent comforter is to contain your warmth without the heavy weight. A good lofty fill is going to keep you warm all night without ever making you feel constrained.

If you are looking for a down-alternative comforter we cover that type of alternative comforter at the bottom of this article. If you are looking for a goose down duvet... you have come to the right place because for the purposes of this article a goose down duvet is the same as a comforter.

Before you set out to buy a comforter, remember the three things which make up these blankets: fill, construction and fabric, and try to learn as much as you can as to why these three are important. Knowing what you are looking for is your ace for saving money, and not purchasing a faux or poor down comforter. While we have done the work for you with our top five finalists in the best down comforters’ right here, be sure to read the guide following the top 5 best down comforters for insight and knowledge. Be sure to bookmark our ultimate buyer’s guide for goose down comforters in case you require a reference point while shopping for this type of bedding.

Are Quality Comforters Always Expensive?

I know that not everybody has thousands of dollars to spend on a goose down comforter. That’s why I’ve split the list into two parts. The first part lists the top 3 goose down duvets that cost less than $300. The second list includes the top rated down comforters that cost more than $300. Use this guide to find the perfect comforter that fits your budget.

After more than 40 days of research and trying 30 different comforters, I found 6 down comforters that are consistently better than all the other brands. This is my list of the best down comforter brands. I hope this makes it easier for you to do your research.​

  • Design - quality of materials and manufacturing
  • Features - specs for fill power, fill weight, construction method etc
  • Performance - buyer reviews
  • and value you get for your money.

 

What to Know Before You Buy

What determines the performance of a down comforter? The answer to this is construction, down types, fill power, and shell fabric. If any of these areas are compromised just a wee bit, you may have a problem further down the road with maintaining the true form of a down comforter. We will discuss in depth each category further on, but first…

What is Down?

Located beneath a bird’s feathers are three-dimensional clusters, typically found on a goose or ducks belly (see detailed Wikipedia Article). These little insulators are nature’s way of keeping moisture off the birds and keeping them warm. The clusters trap heat in the little air pockets of these tiny little fibers. Contrary to what most people may believe, down is quill-less. True down clusters resemble the size of a quarter. Down is not feathers as these are hair- like strands delicate and soft to the touch. Feathers have the spine down the center which is known as the quill, and they are used often in quality pillows and bedding. Sometimes you can

When you look at down comforters, you will notice there are two choices for the filling: duck down or goose down. Duck down comforters are considerably less expensive because they are generally farmed and more abundant.

Goose down can be found from birds captured in the wild. Goose down is larger and fluffier than duck. Either one of these choices will provide the same kind of insulation. Another difference is goose down clusters typically is taken from older or larger geese and have fewer odor issues unlike found sometimes with duck. Feathers used for lower quality bedding are often cut up into small pieces as a fill.

Down also varies in color, depending on the season the clusters were harvested, and the age of the bird. It does not make a difference in insulation capabilities. White down is preferable over a gray or darker down, because a darker down will make the comforter appear more dingy-colored as it does show through, especially after a few washes.

The key to this is: The larger the cluster, the better the quality. This is when ‘fill power’ becomes an important factor.

What is Fill?

Fill Power: This is the goose down fill to be put in the comforter measured in cubic inches. The rule of thumb on fill is “The higher fill power, the higher the quality of comforter”. A high fill power is going to be more insulating and warmer but still remaining light and with loft. Our suggestion is to start at a fill power of at least 600 (commercial quality) with around 700+ being perfect loft, retaining body heat evenly. The higher the cubic inch measure of the fill power the higher the loft. 

Fill Weight: The weight of down is measured in ounces. A heavy comforter will have mass fill weight, but don’t confuse this with being too hot. A down comforter can have a high fill weight and still carry a low fill power. When choosing the perfect down comforter for you, always consider your climate and sleeping preferences.

Goose down fills weight is measured in ounces, so a higher ounce weight means a heavier comforter. But heavy doesn't mean hot. If a comforter has a high fill weight and a low fill power, it will feel reassuringly heavy without being too warm. Again, consider your climate and personal preference when choosing a comforter's fill weight.

There are other questions you should ask regarding the fill power in a down comforter such as:

  • Where did the down originate from? You want to know what type of bird and region. For example, is it Hungarian, Egyptian or other? Hungarian goose down is one of the best bird downs you can get, and it is not easily harvested just anywhere.
  • Is the down hypoallergenic or even cleaned and if so, how? What is the process for cleaning? Often, there are steps in the cleaning process which can be only one or up to six. This is crucial for those who may be prone to allergies. Another question to ask is where is it cleaned? Is the cleaning done in China or point of origin
  • Look at the down percentages. How much down is actually down cluster? We recommend at least 75 percent for a finer, more resilient down comforter.

Shortcut to Fill Power Options:

  • 400: Soft, light warmth, in milder climates
  • 500:-600: All seasons down comforter
  • 600-800: Warm but lightweight, colder climates
  • 800 and up: The highest in insulation for maximum warmth

Construction Matters

Construction of a true down comforter will make or break the quality. You may not notice it immediately, but after awhile a poorly made down comforter will shift, creating a flatness and empty areas where there is no warmth. There are different techniques used in making a down comforter. It is important to know about processes such as baffling and stitching. Information about the construction of the down comforter should always be listed on the label. Here are the techniques commonly used:

  • Baffle Box: This type of stitching is the most desirable because the technique uses thin strips of internal fabric (baffles) which connect a thin fabric to the top and bottom layers. This is why you often see a checkered-pattern design in this type of bedding. 
  • Baffle box stitching is important as it maximizes strength, thickness and is responsible for preventing any shifting or corner-clumping in the comforter. Baffle box stitching creates the flatter, smoother version of down comforters, as opposed to a sewn-through box stitching which shows as more fluffy and loftier. Baffle box stitching measures usually between 6 and 15 inches.
  • Sewn-through boxes: By sewing horizontal and vertical stitches into the top and bottom layers of a comforter, compartments are formed. The purpose is to keep the fill from piling or clumping.
  • Ring Stitch: This style is not as common as other construction techniques but you might run across this at some point in your search for a good down comforter. This process consists of small rings stitched into the top and bottom layer of the comforter.
  • Channels: Channels use the same sewn-through process, but instead of seeing a box-shaped compartment, you will notice horizontal or vertical columns to keep fill in place.
  • Gusseting: This is a construction technique which is widely underused, but should be applied more often due to the extra security it provides in durability and resilience of the comforter. Think of it like a thick ribbing or edging against the side walls to secure a comforter's top and bottom layers together. This style provides maximum loft and can have either a baffle-box or sewn-through construction.
  • Karo Step: Another rare but solid technique, the Karo Step includes baffled or sewn-through crosses, like tiny baffle boxes. This type of construction process limits the natural movement of the down comforter and makes it appear heavier.
  • European Bag: This is not the ideal process for down comforters, but there are some out there which use this technique. There are no additional stitches in the fabric besides the parameters. Think of sleeping bags. In down comforters, the down will settle into the corners.

Fabric Counts!

The comforter’s fabric is going to determine the quality. While much is based on personal preference for texture or feel, details like type of fabric and thread count are the luxurious boost aside from the fill power. The main consideration here is finding a good balance between the weave, thread count, and the material. There are four types of fabrics used for down comforters:

  • Damask: One of the best fabrics with a fabulous texture. The quality is finer, and you can usually get this at a good price.
  • Sateen: Looks elegant and provides a high sheen, often considered ‘slippery’.
  • Batiste: Offers strength and high durability while remaining very lightweight
  • Cambric: Not as common as the other three, uses basic weaving but is an excellent value

Thread count is defined as the number of threads woven into a square inch. It is said the higher the count, the smoother the fabric. Thread count can be an indicator of quality. The tighter the weave, the less air escapes and the warmth remains.

When it comes to thread count, the jury is still out. While thread count once was considered luxurious by the higher numbers, these days it is more important to consider the weave. The weave affects how the comforter feels, looks, and how long it will last. What it boils down to is the fibers, longer fibers are going to be stronger and more resilient against piling.

While some 800 thread count fabrics feel glorious, other versions made by different manufacturers of the same thread count may be deceptive to the touch. The bottom line here is personal preference, and not to pay more just because the comforter boasts the highest thread count imaginable (with exception to Egyptian cotton).

The Enemies of Feather and Down fill:

Down comforters are relatively easy to care for but there are areas in which to watch for such as these three common enemies:

  • Moisture: The ultimate enemy of down is moisture. This can begin even at the point of origin before you buy from the manufacturer not properly drying the comforter fill or it can happen from humidity in the home. There are many ways for moisture to attack your down comforter. Improper washing and drying can be culprits too, as down requires a lot of time to dry.
  • Oil: It may be a slow process, but if you are not careful the oils from the skin, moisturizing creams, and other factors will find their way into your down comforter. This is best handled by a duvet cover. Duvet covers can be removed and washed easier than the down comforter. Oils are also responsible for the yellowing of comforters.
  • Compression: Eventually, the wear and tear of a comforter is the crushing of all the natural fibers. Even though high quality down comforters will last years, filaments still have the tendency to break down, especially if you purchased a poorly constructed comforter.
  • Dust Mite: With the wrong protection goose down dust mites could start to live in your comforter. You are not safe if you have an alternative comforter other than the fact they are machine washable. The best protection for dust mites for your comoforter is having a clean bed and as added protection your can use a duvet cover.

Alternative Down Comforters:

The difference between true down comforters and alternative down comforters is the fill. The fill in alternative down comforters is synthetic and designed to mimic those soft down clusters. They are completely proven to be hypoallergenic. Alternative down comforters were created specifically for this reason, so people with strong allergies could benefit from down qualities.

Alternative down comforters require more synthetic fill in order to equal the same kind of warmth a true down comforter provides. This makes them heavier. They also have to be replaced more often due to the fast breakdown of synthetic fibers. Some ideal synthetic fills are polyester, cotton, and wool. Plus you will find these types of comforters to be a budget-friendly option.

Helpful Accessories:

While you choose the perfect down comforter, it is wise to pick up a decorative and functional duvet cover. It is a coordinating bed cover which is removable and easily washed. This will lengthen the lifetime of your down comforter by protecting it from mishaps like moisture. Duvet covers are spectacular for instantly changing the color scheme of your bedroom.

If you love the great rest you receive from a down comforters, add down pillows. You have the knowledge of how to buy down, so the process will be a breeze. Other great items to consider are featherbeds and mattress pads. There are zillion ways to improve your night’s sleep these days.

Also considering picking up some comforter/duvet clips. These snap-on clips are quite useful in holding the corners of the comforter in place, removing any shifting problems.

You might need a light or summer weight down blanket instead if...

 

  • You live in the tropics or the South – in Florida, Texas, or Asia – where it is both hot and muggy throughout the year.
  • You are always hot and wake up soaking wet in sweat under normal comforters that most people say are fine.
  • You want the fluffiness and lightness of a down comforter without the warmth. Some people are cuddlers and absolutely cannot live without their down bedding even during the summer when it’s 90F+ outside.

If any of these descriptions apply to you, then you would be better off with one of the recommended down blankets on this list.

If you came here because you want to replicate the amazing bed you slept in at a 5 star hotel...

Then you will want to get the same bedding that the top hotels use! I did a bit of sleuthing and information gathering and found out which hotels use which brands of down comforters in their chains. Fortunately almost 80% of the down comforters, feather beds/mattress toppers, and pillows at the top hotles are supplied by 2-3 companies and the bedding manufacturers do sell the same products to the public too! Check out my guide to hotel collection down comforters, feather beds, and pillows if you want to replicate the 5-star experience at home.

How to Care for your Comforter:

Comforters are compressed during transport, this is not permanent. You can restore the natural loft with a vigorous shake and put it on your bed. It takes only a day for the fluffy loft to resume. Maintain the beautiful look of your comforter by shaking it out on a weekly basis to redistribute the down inside. Some comforters can go in the dryer on low or no heat to fluff. Add a couple tennis balls to help the fluff along. Any comforter made of sateen over 600 thread count cannot go into the dryer, but must be professionally cared for.

Most down comforters only need to be cleaned once every year or so. You can wait longer if you use a duvet cover to protect the comforter. If machine washing, always use mild detergent and a delicate cycle. Dry using no heat, as down comforters are sensitive to higher temperatures yet they take quite a bit time to dry completely. Even one damp area can become moldy.

If you need to store your down comforter use a breathable fabric such as canvas. Plastic promotes mildew and traps moisture in the delicate down fill.

Down comforters are almost a must-have bedding these days. They are incredibly beautiful, functional, and provide the nice warmth needed. The fabric is breathable, and lightweight, making them great for all season use. They come in a huge array of styles and price ranges. Whether you are going for the high-end Hungarian goose down comforter or the polyester alternative down comforter, you are going to notice the difference in how you rest at night.