Buying a goose down comforter for the first time can be a baffling experience. From fill power and fill weight to thread count and baffles there is a whole new world of terminology that you will need to be familiar with if you want to buy the right comforter.
Why Goose Down Instead of A Cheaper Feather Comforter?
To begin, you will need to know that down is different from the normal feathers you see on geese and ducks. While feathers can be hard and stiff, down is very light and soft. The softness means that you won't have uncomfortable feathers poking at you through your comforter and the lightness provides superior insulation without being heavy. Down traps air inside your comforter and this is what keeps you warm but at the same time allows evaporation so you do not feel too hot or sweaty. Due to the loftiness of down, a 100% down comforter will spring back into it's original shape after being squeezed. This is actually a good test to see if you have a genuine goose down comforter or an inferior quality blanket filled with stiff feathers and inexpensive polyester batting.
Get A High Fill Power and Fill Weight Goose Down Comforter
Since down can expand or contract, it is very difficult to judge the warmth of a down comforter by eye. That's why the industry standard is to rate comforters by the amount of down that is in the filling, this is called "fill weight". However a heavier fill weight does not necessarily mean a better blanket! You will also need to look at the "fill power" of your comforter. Fill power is the term used to describe how much volume an ounce (28.3 g) of down occupies. Naturally a higher fill power means a lighter, loftier and warmer blanket so you will want to get the highest fill power down comforter possible. A good guide is to look for fill power over 750 for an expensive quality goose down comforter, while an average quality down comforter (under $100) should have a fill power of around 500-600. A low fill power comforter will feel heavy and lumpy relative to it's size and definitely will not keep you as warm as a better fill power comforter.
Baffle Box Or Quilt Stitched Down Comforters?
There are two ways of separating the down in your comforter and making sure that they stay in place and don't all gather in one corner of the blanket. The best way is called baffling and a baffle box down comforter allows the down in the comforter to expand so it can cover the most area and provide the most warmth. A baffle construction is created by sewing walls of fabric inside the comforter to separate the down into separate "boxes". This type of construction keeps the down from moving around in your blanket but is labor intensive and costly so it will cost more than a simple stitched goose down comforter. In contrast, a quilt stitched comforter uses only stitching through the two sides of the blanket to hold the down in place. This type of stitching compresses the down and thus makes a blanket that is not as warm or lofty since the down cannot expand properly. Not only that, but the stitching can come loose or undone after a while and the down can shift inside the blanket. This means that your goose down comforter will end up empty on one side while all the down has gathered at another corner! Despite these disadvantages, stitching is often used as a cost effective technique by manufacturers especially in lower quality goose down comforters.
I've already put together a list of the best-selling and best-rated comforters for the year.
If you want to save some time I guarantee you won't go wrong with one of the comforters on this list.