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Tips for Picking Out a Down Comforter

Updated on June 22, 2009

The Ultimate Luxury-A Down Comforter

For anyone who has ever spent a night nestled in the soft warmth of a down comforter, there is no going back. A quality down comforter is all at once the softest, lightest, and warmest comforter a person could ever sleep with, almost like being surrounded by clouds! Even though a down comforter is light and fluffy, it is also one of the warmest blankets available, because the tiny clumps of down in the blanket trap pockets of warm air, keeping them close to your body rather than escaping into the chilly night. However, not all down comforters are made equally, and some can be a downright pokey nuisance. Before you purchase a down comforter and launch into a lifetime of blissful slumber, here are some factors to consider.

Psst, wanna cover that down comforter up? Check out my Hub on How to Choose and Maintain a Duvet Cover.

Percentage of Down

 You may think of a down comforter as a feather comforter, but in reality bird down is quite different from bird feathers. Feathers have sharp, poking quills and provide an outer layer of protection for a bird, while the down is a soft underlayer which is found beneath the feathers. Think of it as the difference between you scratchy winter wool coat and cotton undergarments beneath. Down is extremely soft and fuzzy, like clouds or baby chicks. The down is what provides that delicious plumpness to a down comforter, and it is also what traps the heat. Quality down comforters will have a high percentage of down compared to feathers, while cheaper comforters use feathers as a less expensive filler. Trust me, invest in a blanket with lots of down, or you will forever curse those feathers as they poke you in the middle of the night. 

Thread Count

 The outside of your down comforter is also important. For the best night's sleep buy a down comforter with a high thread count, especially if you do not plan to put a duvet cover on your comforter. Thread count is a term which indicates how many threads are woven together over a certain space. Higher thread count indicates finer threads which are more tightly woven, thus creating a smoother surface against your skin. High thread count is also important in down comforters because the more tightly woven the casing is, the less likely feathers and down will be to poke and wiggle their way out of the comforter.


 Another important term in the realm of down comforters is the baffle, and no, I don't mean "confused". (Though sometimes the whole process can feel a bit confusing, I'll admit). Baffling, in down comforter terms, refers to the method of stitching together inserts inside the down comforter which keep the feathers in one particular place. It's similiar to the way a quilt is stitched, but often times the dividing pieces of fabric are internal. Down comforters are constructed this way so that all of the feathers don't bunch up in one particular spot in the blanket. With baffling each little square in the blanket keeps its down and feathers nicely corralled, ensuring even warmth and no lumpiness.

Fill Power and Size

 Finally, you also want to think about fill power, which refers to how thickly the blanket is stuffed. For those in Northern climates a densely filled down comforter may be just perfect, while for those in warmer areas a lighter comforter may suffice. Look for descriptions indicating the warmth of the comforter, and buy accordingly. I personally have two comforters, one for colder and one for warmer weather.

Also be sure to measure the size of your bed before buying a comforter, because many brands vary in their sizing. For one queen size bed you may need a queen size comforter in one brand, and a king size in another. The moral of the story, always check your measurements lest you end up in a midnight squabble with your spouse over who gets the blankets. 


 With careful purchasing you can snag a down comforter that will last many, many years. In order to keep your comforter in tip-top shape be sure to fluff it regularly and dry clean, rather than machine wash it. It may seem like a lot of work to go to for a silly blanket, but after one night in the virtual clouds of down, and you'll understand why we down comforter fanatics go to the lengths we do.


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    • cloudy days profile image

      cloudy days 8 years ago

      You've got some great tips here and some really informative hubs as well!